I love thought provoking short stories. Anything that delivers us from a mundane existence and draws us closer to the Lord is a good thing.

 

Also, a good poem that causes us to smile, laugh and think, is invaluable.

 

If you would like to share your short story or poem,  or know of one that would bless others, contact me through the contact page and I will consider using it. Some of these stories are going to make your eyes sweat. God bless you and enjoy these. Tom


"Socialism only works
in two places:
Heaven where they don't
need it and hell where they already have it."
-Ronald Reagan 
'Here's my strategy on
the Cold War:
We win, they lose.'
- Ronald Reagan
'The most terrifying words
In the English language are:
I'm from the government
and I'm here to help.'
-Ronald Reagan
'The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant;
it's just that they know so much that isn't so.'
-Ronald Reagan
'Of the four wars in my lifetime,
none came about because the U.S.   was too strong.
- Ronald Reagan

'I have wondered at
times about what the
Ten Commandments would
have looked like if Moses
had run them through
the  U.S.   Congress..
-Ronald Reagan

'The taxpayer:
That's someone who works
For the federal government
but doesn't have to take the
civil service examination.'
- Ronald Reagan

'Government is like a baby:
An alimentary canal with a
big appetite at one end and
no sense of responsibility
at the other'
- Ronald Reagan

'The nearest thing to eternal life
we will ever see on this earth is a
government program.'
- Ronald Reagan

'It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession.
I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first'
- Ronald Reagan

'Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases:
If it moves, tax it.
If it keeps moving, regulate it.
And if it stops moving,
subsidize it'
- Ronald Reagan

'Politics is not a bad profession.
If you succeed,
there are many rewards;
if you disgrace yourself,
you can always write a book.'
- Ronald Reagan

'No arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world,
is as formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.'
- Ronald Reagan

'If we ever forget that we're one nation under GOD, then we will be a nation gone under.'
-Ronald Reagan

 

 


A BEAUTIFUL STORY

John & Annie Glenn - 

For half a century, the world has applauded John Glenn as a heart- stirring American hero.  He lifted the nation's spirits when, as one  of the original Mercury 7 astronauts, he was blasted alone into orbit  around the Earth; the enduring  affection for him is so powerful that even now people find themselves misting  up at the sight of his face or the sound of his voice.

 

But for all these years, Glenn has had a hero of his own, someone  ho he has seen display endless courage of a different kind: Annie  Glenn.

They have been married for 73 years. He is 95; she is 97.

 

On every anniversary of John Glenn's flight into orbit, He is reminded by folks that he remains America's unforgettable hero.

He has never really bought that.

 

Because the heroism he most cherishes is of a sort that is seldom cheered. It belongs to the person he has known longer than he has known anyone else in the world.


John Glenn and Annie Castor first knew each other when, literally, they shared a playpen. In New Concord, Ohio, his parents and hers were friends.  When the families got together, their children played together.

 

John, the future Marine fighter pilot, the future test-pilot ace, the future astronaut was pure gold from the start. He would end up having what it took to rise to the absolute pinnacle of American regard during the space race; imagine what it meant to be the young John Glenn in the small confines of New Concord. Three-sport varsity athlete, most admired boy in town, Mr. Everything.

 

Annie Castor was bright, was caring, talented, and generous of spirit. But she could talk only with the most excruciating of difficulty.  It haunted her. Her stuttering was so severe that it was categorized as an "85%" disability, 85% of the time,  she could not manage to make words come out.
When she tried to recite a poem in elementary school, she was laughed at. She was not able to speak on the telephone. She could not have a regular conversation with a friend.

 

And John Glenn loved her. Even as a boy he was wise enough to understand that people who could not see past her stuttering were missing out on knowing a rare and wonderful girl.

 

They married on April 6, 1943. As a military wife, she found that life as she and John moved around the country could be quite hurtful. She has written: "I can remember some very painful experiences, especially the ridicule."

 

In department stores, she would wander unfamiliar aisles  trying to find the right section, embarrassed to attempt to ask the salesclerks  for help. In taxis, she would have to write requests to the driver, because she couldn't speak the destination out loud. In restaurants, she would point to the items on the menu.

A fine musician, Annie, in every community where she and John moved, would play the organ in church as a way to make new friends. She and John had two children; she has written: "Can you imagine living in the modern world and being afraid to use the telephone? 'Hello' used to be so hard for me to say. I worried that my children would be injured and need a doctor. Could I somehow find the words to get the information across on the phone?"

 

John, as a Marine aviator, flew 59 combat missions in World  War II and 90 during the Korean War.  Every time he was deployed, he and Annie said goodbye the same way. His last words to her before leaving were: "I'm just going down to the corner store to get a pack of gum." And, with just the two of them there, she was able to always reply: "Don't be long."

 

On  that February day in 1962 when the world held its breath and the Atlas rocket was about to  propel him toward space, those were their words, once again. And in 1998, when, at 77, he went back to space aboard the shuttle Discovery, it was an understandably tense time for them. What if something happened to end their life together? She knew what he would say to her before boarding the shuttle. He did, and this time he gave  her a present to hold onto: A pack of gum.
 
She carried it in a pocket next to her heart until he was safely home.

 

Many times in her life she attempted various treatments to  cure her stutter. None worked. But in 1973, she found a doctor in Virginia who ran an intensive program she and John hoped would help her. She traveled there to enroll and to give it her best effort. The miracle she and John had always waited for, at last, as miracles will do, arrived. At age 53, she was able to talk fluidly, and not in brief, anxiety-ridden, agonizing bursts.

 

John has said that on the first day he heard her speak to him with confidence and clarity, he dropped to his knees to offer a prayer of gratitude.

 

He has written: "I saw Annie's perseverance and strength through the years and it just made me admire her and love her even more." He has heard roaring ovations in countries around the globe for his own valor, but his awe is reserved for Annie, and what she accomplished: "I don't know if I would have had the courage."

 

Her  voice is so clear and steady now that she regularly gives public talks. If you are lucky enough to know the Glenns, the sight and sound of them bantering and joking with each other and playfully finishing each others' sentences is something that warms you and makes you thankful just to be in the same room.

On each anniversary of the Mercury space shot, people will remember, and will speak of the heroism of Glenn the astronaut.

 

But if you ever find yourself at an event where the Glenns are appearing, and you want to see someone so brimming with pride and love that you may feel your own tears start to well up, wait until the moment that Annie stands to say a few words to the audience.

 

And as she begins, take a look at her husband's eyes.

 

 

 

 


TOO BUSY TO BE A FRIEND?

One day a teacher asked her students to list the names of the other students in the room on two sheets of paper, leaving a space between each name.

Then she told them to think of the nicest thing they could say about each of their classmates and write it down.

It took the remainder of the class period to finish their assignment, and as the students left the room, each one handed in their papers.

That Saturday, the teacher wrote down the name of each student on a separate sheet of paper and listed what everyone else had said about that individual. 

On Monday she gave each student his or her list. Before long, the entire class was smiling.  Most of the comments she heard whispered were: 'Really?’, 'I never knew that I meant anything to anyone!' and, 'I didn't know others liked me so much.' 

No one ever mentioned those papers in class again. She never knew if they discussed them after class or with their parents, but it didn't matter. The exercise had accomplished its purpose. The students were happy with themselves and one another. That group of students moved on.

Several years later, one of the students was killed in Vietnam and his teacher attended the funeral of that special student. She had never seen a serviceman in a military coffin before. He looked so handsome, so mature.

The church was packed with his friends. One by one, those who loved him took a last walk by the coffin. The teacher was the last one to bless the coffin.

As she stood there, one of the soldiers who acted as pallbearer came up to her.  He asked, "Were you Mark's math teacher?" She replied, “Yes.”  Then he said, "Mark talked about you a lot."

After the funeral, most of Mark's former classmates went together to a luncheon.  Mark's mother and father were there, patiently waiting to speak with his teacher.

Taking a wallet out of his pocket, his father said, "We want to show you something.  They found this on Mark when he was killed. We thought you might recognize it."

Opening the billfold, he carefully removed two worn pieces of notebook paper that had obviously been taped, folded and refolded many times. The teacher knew without looking that the papers were the ones on which she had listed all the good things each of Mark's classmates had said about him.

Mark's mother said, "Thank you so much for doing that, as you can see, Mark treasured it."

All of Mark's former classmates started to gather around. Charlie smiled rather sheepishly and said, "I still have my list. It's in the top drawer of my desk at home."

Chuck's wife said, "Chuck asked me to put his in our wedding album."

Marilyn said, "I have mine too, it's in my diary."

Then Vicki, another classmate, reached into her pocketbook, took out her wallet and showed her worn and frazzled list to the group. "I carry this with me at all times," Vicki said and without batting an eyelash, she continued, "I think we all saved our lists."

That's when the teacher finally sat down and cried. She cried for Mark and for all his friends who would never see him again.

The density of people in society is so thick that we forget that life will end one day. And we don't know when that one day will be.

So please, tell the people you love and care for, that they are special and important. Tell them, before it is too late.

And one way to accomplish this is to forward this message on. If you do not send it, you will have, once again, passed up the wonderful opportunity to do something nice and beautiful.

If you've received this, it is because someone cares for you and it means that they feel that you are someone who cares for them.

Take a few moments to forward this message. Ask yourself, ‘If I don’t forward this, will it be the very first time that I didn't do that little something that would make a difference in our relationships?'

The more people that you send this to, the better you'll be at reaching out to those you care about.

Remember, you reap what you sow. That which you put into the lives of others comes back into your own.

Blessings to you!!!

 

 


 

A Special Day in the Life of Malaika

By Tom Hanson

Malaika hurried along the street which was seldom used by traffic anymore. He had decided just before he went to sleep last night that today would be the day. For weeks he had been thinking about what he was going to do that would surely please Allah. He was convinced that it was Allah’s will for him today to take the life of an infidel that he had come to despise. The person who was the object of his hatred was a Christian girl who had been trying to convert young Muslim girls, in a nearby neighborhood, to her religion. These young girls, who were being told about this Jesus, known to Muslims as Isa, lived near this Christian girl and her parents. This Christian family lived next to the church building where the girls father frequently lead their meetings. These meetings were called “worship services”, but Malaika knew the only thing these infidels worshipped was Satan.

Suddenly, memories from his childhood flooded his mind and his heart was momentarily conflicted. He thought about the two brothers he used to play with when he was seven and eight years old. They were children of a missionary couple that had come from America to share what they called the gospel with his people. He thought about the times he sat in his little friend’s bedroom and looked at the children’s storybooks about Jesus, Mary and Joseph and how Jesus had grown up and died on the cross for the sins of men. He too had grown up and he had no place for childish stories in his life anymore. He had work to do for Allah.

Malaika and a cleric at the Mosque he attended talked about what should be done with this Christian girl who was trying to convert Muslim girls to her satanic religion. The cleric said that Allah would approve of whatever Malaika thought necessary to stop the lies she was telling these Muslim girls.

Malaika knew she would come to the bus stop, to which he was headed, just around the next corner. She came at the same time every morning, usually about ten minutes before the bus arrived. Someone told him, she took the bus across town to one of the poorer sections where the church ran a free health clinic. Supposedly, her only job was to give out religious paraphernalia and try to persuade all Muslims who came to the clinic to believe in Jesus.

If she wasn’t already at the bus stop when he arrived, Malaika would simply wait in front of a vacant building, which was across the street from the bus stop. There was very little foot or vehicle traffic in this part of town, because so many businesses had closed and their buildings left vacant. The location of the bus stop was right in front of what used to be a neighborhood food store. On one side of the old food store building was a narrow lane that went down to the neighborhood where this girl lives. On the other side of the old store building was a little alley, which had been used for delivering and receiving food store supplies. It ended behind the old store building.

Malaika came in sight of the bus stop and saw that no one was waiting at the stop yet. Stopping in front of the vacant building across the street from the bus stop, Malaika looked up and down the street in both directions and saw no one out moving about. With his right hand Malaika felt the switchblade knife in his back pocket. He took the knife out of his pocket and concealed it in his right hand. There was no sign yet of the girl coming up the narrow lane that went to the neighborhood where she lived. He hated that church and the people who went there, because the Qur’an taught Muslims to hate the infidels.

While Malaika waited, he rehearsed in his mind his plan to accomplish his goal. When the girl came to the bus stop, he would saunter across the street as if he was going to wait on the bus also. Then, assuming no one else was around, as soon as he came near her he would reach out and wrap his right arm around her neck and his left hand over her mouth. This would stifle her attempts to scream for help. At the same time he would open the switch blade of his knife with his right hand directly in front of her face, while threatening to slash her face, if she resisted him. Next, he would drag her down the little alleyway to the back of the old food store building where no one could see them from the street. Then he would have his way with her. When he was through, he would cut her throat with the knife and walk back home.

Just as Malaika started to look at his watch for about the tenth time, he saw the young girl walking up to the bus stop. Looking both ways and seeing no one and no cars in either direction he began to casually walk across the street. As he walked he felt the muscles in his body begin to tense up. The closer he got to where the girl was standing the more heightened his senses seemed to become. The girl seemed to not have noticed him coming across the street for she had turned and was looking back toward the neighborhood from which she had come.

Anticipation began to mount in every sinew and muscle of his body. With her back to him this was going to be easy. He moved the thumb of his right hand over the button on the side of his switchblade, but in his heightened sense of eagerness, he pressed the button and the switch blade flipped open. The snapping sound made by the blade of the knife springing open caused the girl to turn her head toward him.

Suddenly, there was a blur of movement immediately in front of Malaika and he lost sight of the girl, as something had instantaneously appeared and blocked his view. Stopping dead in his tracks, Malaika’s eyes focused on what appeared to be a bright white robe, a thobe, but unlike the thobe worn by Muslim men. As his brain tried to make sense of what he was looking at, he noticed a silver belt of sorts buckled around the robe. Hanging from the silver belt was an empty sterling silver frog for holding a sword. For a moment Malaika’s mind seemed to refuse to function, not being able to make sense of what he was seeing. Slowly he began to tilt his head back, looking upward. About four feet above his head was the upper torso of some kind of enormous being…. perhaps some kind of an angel!

Though, Malaika’s brain could not make sense of what he was seeing, he knew that whatever it was, it was otherworldly and it was holding a flaming sword over its head. The red hot metal blade of the sword was shimmering and seemingly beginning to arc downward as if to severe Malaika’s head from his shoulders.

Suddenly great fear welled up in Malaika’s throat and he felt his knees giving way to this overpowering fear. The only thing that Malaika could think to do was to cover his head with his arms and hands and drop on to his knees. Before hitting the ground, He heard himself begging for mercy, for he knew in that next moment his head was going to be severed from his body.

The moment Malaika’s knees touched the surface he was engulfed in a blinding light. The light was so bright Malaika immediately feared that were he to open his eyes they would melt in their sockets! Then from the midst of the light surrounding him, Malaika heard a voice call his name and his intuition told him it wasn’t the being he had seen that had just spoken. Malaika sensed that every fiber of his being was crying out to hear the voice speak again. It did. It said:

“Malaika, I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to Me except the Father who sent me draws him. He who comes to me in faith, I will not turn away. He who believes in me, the Father and I will give to him the free gift of eternal life. He who believes in me will never perish and will never be condemned by the Father or Me. But, he who does not believe in me has already condemned himself, because he has not believed in me. He who dies in his unbelief will spend eternity burning in the fires of hell!”

When the voice ceased speaking, Malaika could hear his heart beating in his ears. He knew for the first time in his life, that his life was being weighed in some kind of balance. He knew without knowing how he knew, that the voice he had just heard was Isa. He wanted to cry out the name, but Isa was the Muslim name for this person. He discovered he couldn’t say the Muslim word Isa, because in his heart of hearts, he knew His true name was Jesus Christ. Tears welled up in Malaika’s eyes, his heart seemed ready to burst, he began to whisper the name:

“Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. Somehow, I know in my heart, right this moment, that you are the Son of the true living God. Oh, oh, you are not the son of the god that I have served all my life, for the god that I have served cannot have a son. Oh, oh, Jesus I have been following a god that is a creation of Satan himself. But, Jesus I know that you are the one my little Christian friends told me about when I was boy. I know now that you truly love all men and died that all mankind could spend eternity with you and your Father. Jesus, I want to serve you, and I will from this moment onward, if you will have me”.

Malaika, suddenly overcome by emotion, his body convulsing with his sobs of contrition, could not speak for a moment. When he spoke again with his head still bowed, he said:

“Jesus, I am ashamed that I have persecuted and treated horribly those who love and follow you. I came to this bus stop today to do harm to a young lady who is a follower of yours. I have heard those who believe in you say, that if one will believe in their heart that you are the Son of the true God and that you died on that cross for the sins of all men, that You Lord Jesus, will come into that persons heart and save them from the horrors of hell. Please come into my heart Lord Jesus”.

Moments later, Malaika was aware that the light had dissipated. Through the tears that still flowed from his eyes he looked up and saw the young lady standing there looking at him with a smile on her face and tears in her eyes.

Why would she be smiling and crying he wondered. Surely she heard me confess just now that I came here to do horrible things to her.

He stood up and pivoting on his feet he looked around, expecting to see the angel or Jesus, but neither was there. Then turning back to the girl he asked her:

“Did you see the one who was speaking to me?”

Shaking her head, indicating she had not, but smiling through her tears which were running down her cheeks, she answered:

“No, I did not see him. But, I saw the light from heaven which engulfed you and knocked you off your feet. And I heard His voice as He was speaking to you and I heard you speak his name several times. Do you know who He was who was speaking to you”?

“Oh yes! Yes!” Malaika exclaimed. “It was Jesus, the one whom you believe in and so willingly tell others about”. Malaika paused momentarily and as he struggled within himself to find words to voice what he wanted to say next, he wiped his eyes with the back of his hands and with trembling lips, began to speak again.

“I am so sorry, for what I came here to do to you because you are a Christian. I am so ashamed for the hatred and bitterness I’ve had toward Christians most of my life. I am ashamed of the things I have said out of my hatred and the way I have treated believers in Jesus Christ, since becoming a young man”.

He paused for a moment and then continued:

“As I was there on my knees listening to the things that Jesus was saying to me, I felt as if the words were entering into my innermost being. It was as if His words were penetrating my heart and as His words entered my heart, ugly, horrible things were being pushed out and were leaving me. And as that happened, I began feeling clean inside. Clean inside, something I have never felt before! Can you explain that to me?”

The young lady looked into his eyes and smiled affirmatively and said:

“Yes, I think I can. As the Lord Jesus spoke to you, the Holy Spirit was there giving spiritual meaning to the words of Jesus, so that you could understand on a spiritual plane. In this way the Holy Spirit convicted you, as a person who did not believe in Jesus, of your sin of unbelief, so that you could believe in Him. Do you understand this?”

Malaika nodded his head to indicate he thought he understood. She continued:

“The moment you believed in Jesus, He forgave you all the sins you have ever committed. At that moment you were completely cleansed of all of your unrighteousness; also, the judgment and condemnation that your sins had brought upon you were done away with. At that same moment you were born anew from above. These things will take time to comprehend and take ownership of, but nevertheless they are true. You have just been born anew from above!”.

The sound of an approaching vehicle startled them both. They both turned to see the bus coming to a stop just a few meters away. Reaching into the small purse she was carrying, the young lady withdrew a small black New Testament and held it out to him.

“Here, I want you to have this. Please begin your reading with the book of John. My Father is the pastor of the church down that lane. After reading the book of John please visit him. He can help you understand how it is that you now have Jesus and the Holy Spirit living in you and how they will help you live a life that pleases our heavenly Father. I hope to see you again. Perhaps we could talk about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. That’s part of your story now and your story is part of the greatest story that has ever been told”.

With that she walked to the waiting bus and climb aboard. As the bus drove away, Malaika marveled at what had just taken place in his life. He turned to walk back toward his home. Looking at the little black book in his hand, he continued to marvel at the clean feeling that seemed to permeate his whole being.

Suddenly, he stopped, turned around and looked down the street upon which the bus could be seen in the distance. Smiling and shaking his head, he said to himself:

“I forgot to ask her if she saw the angel. I know that’s what it was!”

Still smiling, he turned and started again toward his home. His heart was filled with joy as he had never experienced joy in his whole life. As he walked he silently mused: She said to start reading in the book of John, so I will. He couldn’t wait, so he opened the book to John’s gospel and began to read:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made”.

Knowing not from whence the understanding came, just knowing that it came, he proclaimed excitedly aloud:

“This is talking about Jesus! He is the Word! He was in the beginning with the true God! All things were made by Him! Oh Jesus I have so much to learn about You and about my new faith. Teach me Lord Jesus I pray!”

Thus Malaika began his journey. O, he knew in his heart that his life from now on wasn’t going to always be smooth sailing. There were so many issues that he was going to have to face: his family, his friends, others who would become irate with him for turning his back on Islam, and Allah, and Mohammad. But, in his heart he believed there now lived One who would always see him through the difficult times.

The journey that Malaika is on is made only by those who place their faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. Are you on that journey?

 

 


Good War II Story

A nice short story from WW II....

Sometime it's not really just luck. Clinton White was a navigator in a B-17 during WW II.  He tells this story of a World War II bombing run over Kassel, Germany and the unexpected result of a direct hit on their gas tanks.

Our B-17, the Tondelayo, was barraged by flak from Nazi antiaircraft guns.  That was not unusual, but on this particular occasion our gas tanks were hit.  Later, as I reflected on the miracle of a 20 millimeter shell piercing the fuel tank without touching off an explosion, our pilot, Bohn Fawkes, told me it was not quite that simple.  On the morning following the raid, Bohn had gone down to ask our crew chief for that shell as a souvenir of unbelievable luck.  The crew chief told Bohn that not just one shell but 11 had been found in the
gas tanks.  Eleven unexploded shells where only one was sufficient to blast us out of the sky.  It was as if the sea had been parted for us. A near-miracle, I thought.

Even after 35 years, so awesome an event leaves me shaken, especially after I heard the rest of the story from Bohn.  He was told that the shells had been sent to the armorers to be defused. The armorers told him that Intelligence had picked them up.  They could not say why at the time, but Bohn eventually sought out the answer.  Apparently when the armorers opened each of those shells, they found no explosive charge. They were as clean as a whistle and just as harmless.

Empty? Not all of them!  One contained a carefully rolled piece of paper.  On it was a scrawl in Czech.  The Intelligence people scoured our base for a man who could read Czech.  Eventually they found one to decipher the note.  It set us marveling.  Translated, the note read: "This is all we can do for you now...Using Jewish slave labour is never a good idea."

 

 


Our  14-year-old dog Abbey died last month.

The  day after she passed away my 4-year-old  daughter Meredith was  crying and talking about how much she missed  Abbey.  

She asked if we could write  a  letter  to God so that when Abbey got to Heaven, God would recognize her.  

I told  her that I thought that we could, so she  dictated these words:  

Dear God, 
Will  you please take care of my dog? 
Abbey  died yesterday and is with you in  heaven. 
I miss  her very much.

I 'm happy that you let me  have her  as my  dog even though she got sick.
I hope you will  play with her. 
She  likes to swim and play with balls.  

I am  sending a picture of her so when you see her you  will know that she is my dog.  

I really miss  her.
              
Love,

Meredith


We put the letter in an  envelope with a picture of Abbey & Meredith and addressed it to God/Heaven.  

We put our  return address on it.  

Meredith pasted  several stamps on the front of the envelope because  she said it would take lots of stamps to get the  letter all the way to heaven. 
That  afternoon she dropped it into the  letter box at the post office.  

A few days  later, she asked if God had  gotten the letter yet. 
I told  her that I thought He had.  

Yesterday, there  was a package wrapped  in gold paper on our front porch  addressed, 'To  Meredith'  in an  unfamiliar hand.  

Meredith opened  it. 
Inside  was a book by Mr. Rogers called,   'When a Pet Dies.'  

Taped to the inside front  cover was the letter we had written to God in  its opened envelope.  

On the opposite page  was the  picture  of Abbey & Meredith and this note: 

Dear Meredith,  

Abbey arrived  safely in heaven.  Having  the picture was a big help and I  recognized her right away.  

Abbey isn't  sick anymore. Her  spirit is here with me just like it  stays in your heart.  

Abbey loved being your  dog.  

Since we don't need our  bodies  in  heaven, I don't have any pockets to keep your  picture  in so  I'm sending it back to you in this little book for
you to keep and have something to remember Abbey  by.  

Thank you for the beautiful letter and  thank your mother for  helping you write it and sending it to me.   

What a wonderful mother you  have. I picked her especially for you.  

I  send my blessings every day and  remember that I love you very much.  

By the  way, I'm easy to find. 
I am  wherever there is love.  

Love,
God

 
 

The P-51
P-51 Mustang Clipart
 
Read to the very end of this story!!This is a true story that you’ll want to enjoy…every single word of it!
 
Absolutely outstanding .
Salute
 
This 1967 true story is of an experience by a young 12 year old lad in Kingston , Ontario , Canada . It is about the vivid memory of a privately rebuilt P-51 from WWII and its famous owner/pilot.

In the morning sun, I could not believe my eyes. There, in our little airport, sat a majestic P-51.  They said it had flown in during the night from some U.S. Airport, on its way to an air show. The pilot had been tired, so he just happened to choose Kingston for his stop over.  It was to take to the air very soon.  I marveled at the size of the plane, dwarfing the Pipers and Canucks tied down by her. It was much larger than in the movies. She glistened in the sun like a bulwark of security from days gone by. 
 
The pilot arrived by cab, paid the driver, and then stepped into the pilot's lounge.  He was an older man; his wavy hair was gray and tossed. It looked like it might have been combed, say, around the turn of the century.  His flight jacket was checked, creased and worn - it smelled old and genuine. Old Glory was prominently sewn to its shoulders.  He projected a quiet air of proficiency and pride devoid 
of arrogance.  He filed a quick flight plan to Montreal ("Expo-67 Air Show") then walked across the tarmac. 
 
After taking several minutes to perform his walk-around check, the tall, lanky man returned to the flight lounge to ask if  anyone would be available to stand by with fire extinguishers while he "flashed the old bird up, just to be safe."  Though only 12 at the time I was allowed to stand by with an extinguisher after brief instruction on its use -- "If you see a fire, point, then pull this lever!", he said.  (I later became a firefighter, but that's another story.)  The air around the exhaust manifolds shimmered like a mirror  from fuel fumes as the huge prop started to rotate.  One manifold, then another, and yet another barked -- I stepped back with the others.  In moments the Packard -built Merlin engine came to life with a thunderous roar. Blue flames knifed from her manifolds with an arrogant snarl.  I looked at the others' faces; there was no concern.  I lowered the bell of my extinguisher.  One of the guys signaled to walk back to the lounge. We did. 
 
Several minutes later we could hear the pilot doing his pre-flight run-up. He'd taxied to the end of runway 19, out of sight. All went quiet for several seconds. We ran to the second story deck to see if we could catch a glimpse of the P-51 as she started down the runway. We could not.  There we stood, eyes fixed to a spot half way down 19. Then a roar ripped across the field, much louder than before. Like a furious hell spawn set loose -- something mighty this way was coming. "Listen to that thing!" said the controller. 
 
In seconds the Mustang burst into our line of sight. It's tail was already off the runway and it was moving faster than anything I'd ever seen by that point on 19.  Two-thirds the way down 19 the Mustang was airborne with her gear going up. The prop tips were supersonic.  We clasped our ears as the Mustang climbed hellishly fast into the circuit to be eaten up by the dog-day haze. We stood for a few moments, in stunned silence, trying to digest what we'd just seen. 

The radio controller rushed by me to the radio. " Kingston tower calling Mustang?"  He looked back to us as he waited for an acknowledgment. The radio crackled, "Go ahead, Kingston ." "Roger, Mustang. Kingston tower would like to advise the circuit is clear for a low level pass."  I stood in shock because the controller had just, more or less, asked the pilot to return for an impromptu air show! The controller looked at us. "Well, What?"  He asked. "I can't let that guy go without asking. I couldn't forgive myself!" 
 
The radio crackled once again,  " Kingston , do I have permission for a low level pass, east to west, across the field?" "Roger, Mustang, the circuit is clear for an east to west pass." "Roger, Kingston, I'm coming out of 3,000 feet, stand by."
 
We rushed back onto the second-story deck, eyes fixed toward the eastern haze. The sound was subtle at first, a high-pitched whine, a muffled screech, a distant scream. Moments later the P-51 burst through the haze. Her airframe straining against positive G's and gravity. Her wing tips spilling contrails of condensed air, prop-tips again supersonic. The burnished bird blasted across the eastern margin of the field shredding and tearing the air. At about 500 mph and 150 yards from where we stood she passed with the old American pilot saluting. Imagine. A salute! I felt like laughing; I felt like crying; she glistened; she screamed; the building shook; my heart pounded.  Then the old pilot pulled her up and rolled, and rolled, and rolled out of sight into the broken clouds and indelible into my memory. 
 
I've never wanted to be an American more than on that day!  It was a time when many nations in the world looked to America as their big brother.  A steady and even-handed beacon of security who navigated difficult political water with grace and style; not unlike the old American pilot who'd just flown into my memory.  He was proud, not arrogant, humble, not a braggart, old and honest, projecting an aura of America at its best. 
 
That America will return one day! I know it will!  Until that time,
I'll just send off this story. Call it a loving reciprocal salute to a Country, and especially to that old American pilot:  the late-JIMMY STEWART (1908-1997),  Actor, real WWII Hero  (Commander of a US Army Air Force Bomber Wing stationed in England ), and a USAF Reserves Brigadier General, who wove a wonderfully fantastic memory for a young Canadian boy that's lasted a lifetime.
 

 

 

 


Have a blessed and peaceful day.                        

 
Sometimes we wonder, "What did I do to deserve
this?" or "Why did God have to do this to me?"
 
Here is a wonderful explanation!
 
A daughter is telling her Mother how everything is
going wrong, she's failing algebra, her boyfriend
broke up with her and her best friend is moving
away.....
 
Meanwhile, her Mother is baking a cake and asks
her daughter if she would like a snack, and the
daughter says, "Absolutely Mom, I love your cake."
 
Here, have some cooking oil," her Mother
offers. "Yuck" says her daughter.....
"How about a couple raw eggs?"
"Gross, Mom!"
"Would you like some flour then? Or maybe baking
soda?"
 
"Mom, those are all yucky!"
To which the mother replies: "Yes, all those
things seem bad all by themselves. But when they are put
together in the right way, they make a wonderfully delicious cake!
 
God works the same way. Many times we wonder why
He would let us go through such bad and difficult
times. But God knows that when He puts these things
all in His order, they always work for good!
 
We just have to trust Him and, eventually, they will all
make something wonderful!
 
God is crazy about you. He sends you flowers every spring
and a sunrise every morning. Whenever you want to talk, He'll listen.
He can live anywhere in the universe, and He chose your
heart.
 
If you like this, send this on to the people you really care about. I did.
 
I hope your day is a "piece of cake!"

 

 


 

A Keeper
Their marriage was good, their dreams focused.
Their best friends lived barely a wave away.
I can see them now,
Dad in trousers, work shirt and a hat;
And Mom in a house dress,
Lawn mower in one hand, and dish-towel in the other.
It was the time for fixing things:
A curtain rod, the kitchen radio, screen door,
The oven door, the hem in a dress.
Things we keep.

 


It was a way of life, and sometimes it made me crazy.
All that re-fixing, re-heating leftovers, renewing;
I wanted just once to be wasteful? Waste meant affluence. Throwing things away meant you knew there'd always be more.

But when my mother died, and I was standing in that clear morning light in the warmth of the hospital room,
I was struck with the pain of learning
That sometimes there isn't any more.

Sometimes, what we care about most gets all used up and goes away...never to return.
So..... While we have it, it's best we love it... And care for it...
And fix it when it's broken... And heal it when it's sick.


This is true: For marriage... And old cars...
And children who misbehaveat times...
Dogs and cats with bad hips...
And aging parents...
And grandparents.
We keep them because they are worth it,

Because we are worth it.
Some things we keep,
Like a best friend that moved away
Or a classmate we grew up with.

There are just some things that make life important,
Like people we know who are special...

And so, we keep them close!

 


Good friends are like stars
... You don't always see them,
But you know they are always there!

 

 

 

 

 

 


Short Lessons in Life

1. I interviewed my grandmother for part of a research paper I'm working on for my Psychology class. When I asked her to define success in her own words, she said, "Success is when you look back at your life and the memories make you smile."

 

2. I asked my mentor - a very successful business man in his 70s- what his top 3 tips are for success. He smiled and said, "Read something no one else is reading, think something no one else is thinking, and do something no one else is doing."

 

3. After a 72 hour shift at the fire station, a woman ran up to me at the grocery store and gave me a hug. When I tensed up, she realized I didn't recognize her. She let go with tears of joy in her eyes and the most sincere smile and said, "On 9-11-2001, you carried me out of the World Trade Center."

 

4. After I watched my dog get run over by a car, I sat on the side of the road holding him and crying. And just before he died, he licked the tears off my face.

 

5. At 7AM, I woke up feeling ill, but decided I needed the money, so I went into work. At 3PM I got laid off. On my drive home I got a flat tire. When I went into the trunk for the spare, it was flat too. A man in a BMW pulled over, gave me a ride, we chatted, and then he offered me a job. I start tomorrow.

 

6. As my father, three brothers, and two sisters stood around my mother's hospital bed, my mother uttered her last coherent words before she died. She simply said, "I feel so loved right now. We should have gotten together like this more often."

 

7. I kissed my dad on the forehead as he passed away in a small hospital bed. About 5 seconds after he passed, I realized it was the first time I had given him a kiss since I was a little boy.

 

8. In the cutest voice, my 8-year-old daughter asked me to start recycling. I chuckled and asked, "Why?" She replied. "So you can help me save the planet,"  I chuckled again and asked, "And why do you want to save the planet?" Because that's where I keep all my stuff," she said.

 

9. When I witnessed a 27-year-old breast cancer patient laughing hysterically at her 2-year-old daughter's antics, I suddenly realized that I need to stop complaining about my life and start celebrating it again.

 

10. A boy in a wheelchair saw me desperately struggling on crutches with my broken leg and offered to carry my  backpack and books for me. He helped me all the way across campus to my class and as he was leaving he said, "I hope you feel better soon."

 

11. I was feeling down because the results of a biopsy came back malignant. When I got home, I opened an e-mail that said, "Thinking of you today. If you need me, I'm a phone call away." It was from a high
school friend I hadn't seen in 10 years.

 

12. I was traveling in Kenya and I met a refugee from Zimbabwe. He said he hadn't eaten anything in over 3 days and looked extremely skinny and unhealthy. Then my friend offered him the rest of the sandwich he was eating. The first thing the man said was, "We can share it.”

 

The best sermons are lived, not preached

 

 

 


Breakfast at McDonald's

I am a mother of three (ages 14, 12, 3) and have recently completed my college degree. 

The last class I had to take was Sociology. 
The teacher was absolutely inspiring with the qualities that I wish every human being had been graced with.  

Her last project of the term was called, 'Smile.'

The class was asked to go out and smile at three people and document their reactions.. 
I am a very friendly person and always smile at everyone and say hello anyway. So, I thought this would be a piece of cake,
literally.

Soon after we were assigned the project, my husband, youngest son, and I went out to McDonald's one crisp March morning. 

It was just our way of sharing special playtime with our son. 

We were standing in line, waiting to be served, when all of a sudden everyone around us began to back away, and then
even my husband did.

I did not move an inch.... an overwhelming feeling of panic welled up inside of me as I turned to see why they had moved. 

As I turned around I smelled a horrible 'dirty body' smell, and there standing behind me were two poor homeless men. 

As I looked down at the short gentleman, close to me, he was 'smiling'

His beautiful sky blue eyes were full of God's Light as he searched for acceptance..... 

He said, 'Good day' as he counted the few coins he had been clutching..

The second man fumbled with his hands as he stood behind his friend. I realized the second man was mentally challenged and the blue-eyed gentleman was his salvation 

I held my tears as I stood there with them.
The young lady at the counter asked him what they wanted. 
He said, 'Coffee is all Miss' because that was all they could afford. (If they wanted to sit in the restaurant and warm up, they had to buy something. He just wanted to be warm). 

Then I really felt it - the compulsion was so great I almost reached out and embraced the little man with the blue eyes.

That is when I noticed all eyes in the 

restaurant were set on me, judging my every action.

I smiled and asked the young lady behind the counter to give me two more breakfast meals on a separate tray.

I then walked around the corner to the table that the men had chosen as a resting spot. I put the tray on the table and laid my hand on the blue-eyed gentleman's cold hand. 

He looked up at me, with tears in his eyes, and said, 'Thank you.' 

I leaned over, began to pat his hand and said, 'I did not do this for you. God is here working through me to give you hope.'

I started to cry as I walked away to join my husband and son... When I sat down my husband smiled at me and said, 'That is why God gave you to me, Honey, to give me hope...'

We held hands for a moment and at that time, we knew that only because of the Grace that we had been given were we able to give..  

We are not church goes, but we believe.

That day showed me the pure Light of God's sweet love. 
I returned to college, on the last evening of class, with this story in hand.
I turned in 'my project' and the instructor read it.  

Then she looked up at me and said, 'Can I share this?'

I slowly nodded as she got the attention of the class. 

She began to read and that is when I knew that we as human beings and being part of God share this need to heal people and to be healed.

In my own way I had touched the people at McDonald's, my son,the instructor, and every soul that shared the classroom on the last night I spent as a college student.

I graduated with one of the biggest lessons I would ever learn:  

UNCONDITIONAL ACCEPTANCE..

 


Santa Claus and Grandma

I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her on the day my big sister dropped the bomb:  "There is no Santa Claus," she jeered.  "Even dummies know that!"

My Grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been.  I fled to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me.  I knew Grandma always told the truth, and I knew that the truth always went down a whole lot easier when swallowed with one of her "world-famous" cinnamon buns.  I knew they were world-famous, because Grandma said so.  It had to be true.

Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm.  Between bites, I told her everything.  She was ready for me. "No Santa Claus?" she snorted...."Ridiculous!  Don't believe it.  That rumor has been going around for years, and it makes me mad,  plain mad!!  Now, put on your coat, and let's go."

"Go? Go where, Grandma?" I asked.  I hadn't even finished my second world-famous cinnamon bun.  "Where" turned out to be Kerby's General Store, the one store in town that had a little bit of just about everything. As we walked  through its doors, Grandma handed me ten dollars.  That was a bundle in those days. "Take this money," she said, "and buy something for someone who needs it.   I'll wait for you in the car."  Then she turned and walked out of Kerby's.

I was only eight years old.  I'd often gone shopping with my mother, but never had I shopped for anything all by myself.  The store seemed big and crowded, full of people scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping.

For a few moments I just stood there, confused, clutching that ten-dollar bill, wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy it for.

I thought of everybody I knew: my family, my friends, my neighbors, the kids at school, the people who went to my church.

I was just about thought out, when I suddenly thought of Bobby Decker.  He was a kid with bad breath and messy hair, and he sat right behind me in Mrs. Pollock's grade-two class. Bobby Decker didn't have a coat.  I knew that because he never went out to recess during the winter.  His mother always wrote a note, telling the teacher that he had a cough, but all we kids knew that Bobby Decker didn't have a cough; he didn't have a good coat. I fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing excitement.  I would buy Bobby Decker a coat!

I settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood to it.  It looked real warm, and he would like that.

"Is this a Christmas present for someone?" the lady behind the counter asked kindly, as I laid my ten dollars down. "Yes, ma'am," I replied shyly. "It's for Bobby."

The nice lady smiled at me, as I told her about how Bobby really needed a good winter coat.  I didn't get any change, but she put the coat in a bag, smiled again, and wished me a Merry Christmas.

That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat (a little tag fell out of the coat, and Grandma tucked it in her Bible) in Christmas paper and ribbons and wrote, "To Bobby, From Santa Claus" on it.

Grandma said that Santa always insisted on secrecy.  Then she drove me over to Bobby Decker's house, explaining as we went that I was now and forever officially, one of Santa's helpers.

Grandma parked down the street from Bobby's house, and she and I crept noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front walk. Then Grandma gave me a nudge. "All right, Santa Claus," she whispered, "get going."

I took a deep breath, dashed for his front door, threw the present down on his step, pounded his door and flew back to the safety of the bushes and Grandma.

Together we waited breathlessly in the darkness for the front door to open.   Finally it did, and there stood Bobby.

Fifty years haven't dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering, beside my Grandma, in Bobby Decker's bushes.  That night, I realized that those awful rumors about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were  --  ridiculous.  Santa was alive and well, and we were on his team.

I still have the Bible, with the coat tag tucked inside: $19.95.

May you always have LOVE to share, HEALTH to spare and FRIENDS that care...

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

And may you always believe in the magic of Santa Claus!

 

 


A Father, a daughter and a dog - very heart-touching.

 

A true story by Catherine Moore

 

"Watch out!  You nearly broad sided that car!" My father  yelled at me. "Can't you do anything right?"  

 

Those words hurt worse than blows. I turned my head toward the elderly man in the seat beside me, daring me to challenge him.  A lump rose in my throat as I averted my eyes. I wasn't prepared for another battle.

 

 "I saw the car, Dad . Please don't yell at me when I'm driving."

 

 My voice was measured and steady, sounding far calmer than I really felt.

 

 Dad glared at me, then turned away and settled back. At home I left Dad in front of the television and went outside to collect my thoughts... dark, heavy clouds hung in the air with a promise of rain.  The rumble of distant thunder seemed to echo my inner turmoil.  What could I do about him?

 

 Dad had been a lumberjack in Washington and Oregon.  He had enjoyed being  outdoors and had reveled in pitting his strength against the forces of nature.  He had entered grueling lumberjack competitions, and had placed often.  The shelves in his house were filled with trophies that attested to his prowess.

 

 The years marched on relentlessly. The first time he couldn't lift a heavy log, he joked about it, but later that same day I saw him outside alone, straining to lift it. He became irritable whenever anyone teased him about his advancing age or when he couldn't do something he had done as a younger man.

 

 Four days after his sixty-seventh birthday, he had a heart attack. An ambulance sped him to the hospital while a paramedic administered CPR to keep blood and oxygen flowing. At the hospital, Dad was rushed into an operating room. He was lucky, he survived. But something inside Dad died. His zest for life was gone altogether. Dad was left alone.

 

 My husband, Dick, and I asked Dad to come live with us on our small farm. We hoped the fresh air and rustic atmosphere would help him adjust. Within a week after he moved in, I regretted the invitation. It seemed nothing was satisfactory. He criticized everything I did. I became frustrated and moody. Soon I was taking my pent-up anger out on Dick. We began to bicker and argue. Alarmed, Dick sought out our pastor and explained the situation. The clergyman set up weekly counseling appointments for us. At the close of each session he prayed, asking God to soothe Dad's troubled mind.

 

But the months wore on and God was silent. Something had to be done and it was up to me to do it. The next day I sat down with the phone book and methodically called each of the mental health clinics listed in the Yellow Pages. I explained my problem to each of the sympathetic voices that answered in vain. Just when I was giving up hope, one of the voices suddenly exclaimed, "I just read something that might help you! Let me go get the article."

 

 I listened as she read. The article described a remarkable study done at a nursing home. All of the patients were under treatment for chronic depression. Yet their attitudes had improved dramatically when they were given responsibility for a dog. I drove to the animal shelter that afternoon.  After I filled out a questionnaire, a uniformed officer led me to the kennels. The odor of disinfectant stung my nostrils as I moved down the row of pens. Each contained five to seven dogs. Long-haired dogs, curly-haired dogs, black dogs, spotted dogs all jumped up, trying to reach me. I studied each one but rejected one after the other for various reasons too big, too small, too much hair. As I neared the last pen a dog in the shadows of the far corner struggled to his feet, walked to the front of the run and  sat down. It was a pointer, one of the dog world's aristocrats. But this was a caricature of the breed. Years had etched his face and muzzle with shades of gray. His hip bones jutted out in lopsided triangles. But it was his eyes that caught and held my attention. Calm and clear, they beheld me unwaveringly. I pointed to the dog. 

 

 "Can you tell me about him?" I asked.

 

The officer looked, then shook his head in puzzlement. "He's a funny one. Appeared out of nowhere and sat in front of the gate. We brought him in, figuring someone would be right down to claim him. That was two weeks ago and we've heard nothing. His time is up tomorrow." He gestured helplessly. As the words sank in I turned to the man in horror. "You mean you're going to kill him?" "Ma'am," he said gently, "that's our policy. We don't have room for every unclaimed dog."

 

 I looked at the pointer again. The calm brown eyes awaited my decision. "I'll take him," I said. I drove home with the dog on the front seat beside me. When I reached the house I honked the horn twice. I was helping my prize out of the car when Dad shuffled onto the front porch.

 

"Ta-da! Look what I got for you, Dad!" I said excitedly.

 

Dad looked, then wrinkled his face in disgust. "If I had wanted a dog I would have gotten one. And I would have picked out a better specimen than that bag of bones. Keep it! I don't want it" Dad waved his arm scornfully and turned back toward the house.

 

 Anger rose inside me. It tightened my throat muscles and pounded in my temples. "You'd better get used to him, Dad. He's staying!"

 

 Dad ignored me. "Did you hear me, Dad?" I screamed.  

 

At those words Dad whirled angrily, his hands clenched at his sides, his eyes narrowed and blazing with hate. We stood glaring at each other like duelists, when suddenly the pointer pulled free from my grasp. He wobbled toward my dad and sat down in front of him. Then slowly, carefully, he raised his paw.

 

Dad's lower jaw trembled as he stared at the uplifted paw. Confusion replaced the anger in his eyes. The pointer waited patiently, then Dad was on his knees hugging the animal.

 

It was the beginning of a warm and intimate friendship. Dad named the pointer Cheyenne. Together he and Cheyenne explored the community. They spent long hours walking down dusty lanes. They spent reflective moments on the banks of streams, angling for tasty trout. They even started to attend Sunday services together, Dad sitting in a pew and Cheyenne lying quietly at his feet.

 

Dad and Cheyenne were inseparable throughout the next three years. Dad's bitterness faded, and he and Cheyenne made many friends. Then late one night I was startled to feel Cheyenne's cold nose burrowing through our bed covers. He had never before come into our bedroom at night. I woke Dick, put on my robe and ran into my father's room. Dad lay in his bed, his face serene. But his spirit had left quietly sometime during the night.

 

 Two days later my shock and grief deepened when I discovered Cheyenne lying dead beside Dad's bed.  I wrapped his still form in the rag rug he had slept on. As Dick and I buried him near a favorite fishing hole, I silently thanked the dog for the help he had given me in restoring Dad's peace of mind.

 

The morning of Dad's funeral dawned overcast and dreary. This day looks like the way I feel, I thought, as I walked down the aisle to the pews reserved for family. I was surprised to see the many friends Dad and Cheyenne had made filling the church. The pastor began his eulogy. It was a tribute to both Dad and the dog who had changed his life.

 

 And then the pastor turned to Hebrews 13:2. "Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this, some have entertained angels without knowing it. I've often thanked God for sending that angel," he said.

 

For me, the past dropped into place, completing a puzzle that I had not seen before:  The sympathetic voice that had just read the right article; Cheyenne's unexpected appearance at the animal shelter; his calm acceptance and complete devotion to my father and the proximity of their deaths. And suddenly I understood. I knew that God had answered my prayers after all. Life is too short for drama or petty things, so laugh hard, love truly and forgive quickly. Live While You Are Alive. Forgive now those who made you cry. You might not get a second time. Share this with someone. Lost time can never be found. God answers our prayers in His time......not ours.

 

 

 


One Colleges Class Exercise in Socialism

An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before, but had recently failed an entire class. That class had insisted that Obama's socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.

The professor then said, "OK, we will have an experiment in this class on Obama's plan". All grades will be averaged and everyone will receive the same grade so no one will fail and no one will receive an A.... (substituting grades for dollars - something closer to home and more readily understood by all).

After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy. As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little.

The second test average was a D! No one was happy.

When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F.

As the tests proceeded, the scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else.

To their great surprise, ALL FAILED and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great, but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed.

It could not be any simpler than that. (Please pass this on).

Remember, there IS a test coming up - The 2014 elections.

These are possibly the 5 best sentences you'll ever read and all applicable to this experiment:

What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.

The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.

You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it!When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation.

 

 

 

 

 

 


This Must Truly Be Heaven

 

 

An old cowboy was riding his trusty horse followed by his faithful dog along an unfamiliar road.  The cowboy was enjoying the new scenery, when he suddenly remembered dying, and realized the dog beside him had been dead for years, as had his horse.  Confused, he wondered what was happening, and where the trail was leading them.
 

 

After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall that looked like fine marble.  At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch topped by a golden letter "H" that glowed in the sunlight.  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 gold.
 

 

He rode toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side.  Parched and tired out by his journey, 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.'
 

 

As the gate began to open, the cowboy asked  'Can I bring my partners, too?'
 

 

'I'm sorry, sir, but we don't accept pets.'
 

 

The cowboy thought for a moment, then turned back to the road and continued riding, his dog trotting by his side.
 

 

After another long ride, at the top of another hill, he came to a dirt road leading through a ranch gate that looked as if it had never been closed.  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?'
 

 

'Sure, there's a pump right over there.  Help yourself.'
 

 

'How about my friends here?' the traveler gestured to the dog and his horse.
 

 

'Of course!  They look thirsty, too,' said the man.
 

 

The trio went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old-fashioned hand pump with buckets beside it.  The traveler filled a cup and the buckets with wonderfully cool water and took a long drink, as did his horse and dog.
 

 

When they were full, he walked back to the man who was still standing by the tree;
 

 

'What do you call this place?' the traveler asked.
 

 

'This is Heaven,' he answered.
 

 

'That's confusing,' the traveler said.  'The man down the road said that was Heaven, too.'

 

'Oh, you mean the place with the glitzy, gold street and fake pearly gates?  That's hell.'
 

 

'Doesn't it make you angry when they use your name like that?'
 

 

'Not at all.  Actually, we're happy they screen out the folks who would leave their best friends behind...'

 

P.S.: You're welcome at my watering hole anytime. 

 

 

Life is short... forgive quickly,

 

love truly, laugh uncontrollably...

 

and never

 

regret anything that made you smile.

 

 

 

 


Obituary printed in the London Times.....Absolutely Dead

Brilliant!!


Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has 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 as: 
- Knowing when to come in out of the rain; 
- Why the early bird gets the worm; 
- Life isn't always fair; 
- And maybe it was my fault. 
Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).
His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-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. 
Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.
 
It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion. 
Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims. 
Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault. 
Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement. 
Common Sense was preceded in death,
-by his parents, Truth and Trust,
-by his wife, Discretion,
-by his daughter, Responsibility,
-and by his son, Reason. 
He is survived by his 5 stepbrothers; 
- I Know My Rights 
- I Want It Now 
- Someone Else Is To Blame 
- I'm A Victim
- Pay me for Doing Nothing 
Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. 
If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.

 

 


 

A very poor man lived with his wife.

One day, his wife, who had very long hair asked him to buy her a comb for her hair to grow well and to be well-groomed.

The man felt very sorry and said no. He explained that he did not even have enough money to fix the strap of his watch he had just broken.

She did not insist on her request.

The man went to work and passed by a watch shop, sold his damaged watch at a low price and went to buy a comb for his wife.

He came home in the evening with the comb in his hand ready to give to his wife.

He was surprised when he saw his wife with a very short haircut.

She had sold her hair and was holding a new watch band.

Tears flowed simultaneously from their eyes, not for the futility of their actions, but for the reciprocity of their love.

MORAL: To love is nothing, to be loved is something, but to love and to be loved by the one you love, that is EVERYTHING.

Never take love for granted.

 

 

 


Vietnam Veteran Credits Billy Casper, Golf Pro for Saving His Life

 

Courtesy of Julia Cervantes

Billy Casper and Clebe McClary enjoy a long embrace after being reunited after 46 years.

AUGUSTA, Ga. –

We interrupt the pimento-cheese sandwiches, ball-skipping at the 16th and solemn walks around Amen Corner to pose a philosophical question: When finally after 46 years you meet the man to whom you owe all the happiness and joy you feel blessed to have enjoyed for most of your life, how long of a hug is long enough?

Clebe McClary wasn’t sure, so as the embrace intensified, Billy Casper leaned in and whispered, “”Don’t let go till you want to let go.””

So right there in front of dozens of patrons, in the shadow of the iconic oak tree behind the Augusta National clubhouse, McClary and Casper hugged . . . and hugged . . . and hugged.

“We hugged for five minutes,”” said Casper, who choked back tears. But McClary? He didn’t even try to hold 'em back. He cried like a baby, which was not so conspicuous because as the scene played out, so, too, did the emotions of so many others let loose.

“We all just cried our eyes out,” said Julia Cervantes, one of Casper’s 11 children.

On any day, Casper is a wonderful story, a righteous man with a keen sense of human kindness. But on this cool, breezy Masters day, his story was even more wonderful thanks to a reunion with McClary, who told everyone how Casper had saved his life. It was 1968, the height of the Vietnam War, and Casper, in the prime of his golf career, was off to Japan to play some offseason tournaments.

While he was there, did he want to visit some wounded American troops, who had been convalescing from Vietnam? Casper said yes, because, well, that’s his warm-hearted nature. “I was recently asked by a man what I want to be remembered for,” Casper said. “I told him, I want to be remembered for how I loved my fellow man.”

That day at a hospital in Japan may have shown Casper at his warmest because when he looked over at a bed and saw a young man who had been wounded to a point where he could barely be recognized, the golfer moved closer. A doctor told him not to bother, that Marine 1st Lt. Patrick Cleburne "Clebe" McClary was ready to die, said Casper, but something made him approach the man.

“I will never forget that day,” said McClary, who on March 3, 1968 had been wounded during his 19th reconnaissance mission in Vietnam. McClary lost his left arm and his left eye and laid in that bed that day thinking one thing. “I’d given up," he said. "I wanted to die, and I.d have died right there if not for him.””

 

Courtesy of Julia Cervantes

Jay Haas (left) arranged for Billy Casper (middle) and Clebe McClary (right) to meet on Tuesday at Augusta National.

Casper, by 1968 a two-time U.S. Open champion and one of the most prolific winners on the PGA Tour, sensed McClary’s hopelessness as he approached the man.

“He put his arm around me, leaned in and said, “God could use you today. Don’t give up," McClary said. “Then he thanked me for what I had done for our country and said, “God bless you.” "

Somehow, McClary found the resolve to fight. Somehow, he survived, left that hospital in Japan, and settled in his native South Carolina, near Myrtle Beach. Years went by and he often wondered about this gentle golfer who had brought out the fight in him, but there was nothing more than that. “I mean, I didn’t know golf from polo” McClary said.

But one day more than a year ago, McClary was down at his beach house talking with a neighbor, a guy named Jay Haas, telling him his life story. The left arm and left eye had been lost in 'Nam, and his life should have been ended in a hospital in Japan, if not for a golfer. With that, Haas’ ear perked up. “I said, Who was the golfer?” " Haas said. “He said, “Billy Casper. Do you know him?"

Haas smiled, then made it his mission to reunite McClary and Casper. The Masters would offer the perfect opportunity. Casper, the 1970 champion, would never miss the pilgrimage. Neither would Haas, who competed 22 times at the Masters and whose son Bill is a regular participant these years and whose uncle, the irrepressible Bob Goalby, won in 1968.

The first chance fell apart Monday when rain washed out the day’s action at Augusta National, but on Tuesday the story unfolded to perfection. Haas met McClary up behind the clubhouse, found Goalby, who tracked down Casper and then . . . well, it is said that Augusta National is a magical place, and here was proof positive that it is.

“You never know what effect you’re going to have on another human being” said Cervantes, who watched the emotions unfold alongside her mother, Shirley, other family members, Haas and Goalby.

When finally the long, emotional hug was over and the pictures were taken, Casper and McClary had so much to say to each other. Forty-six years is a long, long time, but the Marine told the golfer that he had thought of him often. The golfer nodded, because he felt similarly.

McClary told Casper that he was proud of his life. Not because of the Silver Star or Bronze Star or the three Purple Hearts that he had been presented. It wasn’t for the book he had written, “Living Proof,”” either. No, he was proud because he had heeded Casper’s advice to stay strong and find faith in God.

“But make no mistake about it: You’re the reason he’s living. He was ready to die” one of McClary’s friends said to Casper.

McClary, a motivational speaker who has given talks in all 50 states, smiled, wiped away tears, and nodded his head. “”My guardian angel” he said, pointing to Casper.

As they stood side by side, Casper and McClary threw long, satisfied looks out over the greenest landscape known to man. “A special, special place, but you need to see more of it,” Casper said, and McClary nodded.

He was going to walk Augusta National, but McClary had to have one more hug and a promise from Casper that if the Hall of Famer were ever in Pawley’s Island, S.C., he had to stop in.

Casper agreed, then McClary started on his walk. But before he did, the former Marine reached into his pocket and handed his business card to someone standing nearby. It read: “”I’m just a nobody, that wants to tell everybody, about somebody, that can save anybody.”

 


Apples

A few years ago a group of salesmen from Dallas went to a regional sales convention in Chicago. They had assured their wives that they would be home in plenty of time for Friday night's dinner. In their rush to catch the plane home and with both hands filled with tickets and carry-ons, one of the salesmen inadvertently kicked over a table which held a display of apples. Apples flew everywhere. Without stopping or looking back, they all managed to reach the plane in time for their nearly-missed boarding.

ALL BUT ONE ! He paused before stepping aboard aircraft, took a deep breath, and experienced a twinge of guilt laced compassion for the girl whose apple stand had been overturned. He told his buddies to go on without him, waved good-bye, told one of them to call his wife when they arrived at their home destination and explain his taking a later flight.

He quickly returned to the terminal area where the table of apples had been knocked over. The apples were all over the terminal floor. He was glad he made the decision to come back. The teenage girl, down on her knees groping for the apples, was totally blind! She was softly crying, tears running down her cheeks in frustration, and at the same time helplessly searching for her spilled produce as the crowd swirled about her; no one stopping and no one to care for her plight.

The salesman knelt on the floor with her, gathered up the apples, put them back on the table and helped organize her display. As he did this, he noticed that many of them had become battered and bruised; these he set aside in another basket.

When he had finished, he pulled out his wallet and taking the girls hand he placed a fifty dollar bill in it, saying to the girl, "I am so sorry that we knocked over your table of apples and didn’t even stopped at the time to see if you were ok. Please take this $50 for the damage we did. Are you okay now that you and I have set your table back up?"  She nodded through her tears that everything was all right.

Still holding her hand he simply continued, "I hope we didn't spoil your day too badly." 

She whispered, “I’m ok now, thank you for helping me>”

He patted her hand, released it and started to walk away, the bewildered blind girl called out to him, "Mister...."

He turned to look back into those blind eyes.

She continued, "Are you Jesus?"

The question caused him to catch his breath. He slowly went back to her and gently said, "No, I am nothing like Jesus - He is good, kind, caring, loving, and had He bumped into your display, He would have stopped right then an made all things right.

The girl, almost in a whisper stated: "I only asked because I prayed for Jesus to help me gather the apples and He sent you to help me, Thank you for hearing Jesus, Mister."

Slowly he made his way to catch the later flight with that question burning and bouncing about in his heart: "Are you Jesus?"

Important Question

Do people ever mistake you for Jesus?

That should be the goal of every believer, should it not? To be so much like Jesus that people cannot tell the difference as we live and interact with a world that is blind to His love, life, and grace.

If we claim to know Him, we should live, walk and act as He would. Knowing Him is more than simply quoting scripture and going to church. It's actually living the Word as life unfolds day to day.

You are the apple of His eye even though you, too, have been bruised by the fall. Jesus stopped what He was doing, picked up His Cross, carried it up a hill called Calvary and there He paid in full for your and my damaged fruit.

 


The Old Man Who Fed the Gulls

It happened every Friday evening, almost without fail, when the sun resembled a Giant Orange and was starting to dip into the blue ocean.Everyday old Ed came strolling along the beach to his favorite pier. Clutched in his bony hand was a bucket of shrimp. Ed would then walk out to the end of the pier, where it seems he almost has the world to himself.

By now, the glow of the sun is a golden bronze and everybody's gone, except for a few joggers on the beach. Standing out on the end of the pier, Ed is alone with his thoughts...and his bucket of shrimp. Before long, however, he is no longer alone.

Up in the sky a thousand white dots come screeching and squawking,

winging their way toward that lanky frame standing there on the end of the pier.

Before long, dozens of seagulls have enveloped him, their wings fluttering and flapping wildly. Ed stands there tossing shrimp to the hungry birds. As he does, if you listen closely, You can hear him say with a smile, 'Thank you. Thank you.'

In a few short minutes the bucket is empty. But Ed doesn't leave. He stands there lost in thought, as though transported to another time and place. When he finally turns around and begins to walk back toward the beach, a few of the birds hop along the pier with him until he gets to the stairs, and then they, too, fly away. Old Ed quietly makes his way down to the end of the beach and on home.

If you were sitting there on the pier with your fishing line in the water, Ed might seem like 'a funny old duck,' as my dad used to say. Or, to onlookers, he's just another old codger, lost in his own weird world, feeding the seagulls with a bucket full of shrimp.

To the onlooker, rituals can look either very strange or very empty. They can seem altogether unimportant, maybe even a lot of nonsense. Old folks often do strange things, at least in the eyes of younger generations.

 

Most of those would probably write Old Ed off, down there in  Florida. That's too bad. They'd do well to know him better. His full name: Eddie Rickenbacker. He was a famous hero in World War I and then again in WWII. He became one of America’s most famous pilots. On one of his flying missions across the Pacific, He and his seven-member crew went down. Miraculously, all of the men survived, Crawled out of their plane, and climbed into a life raft. Captain Rickenbacker and his crew floated for days on the rough waters of the Pacific with only a few rations.

They fought the sun. They fought sharks. Most of all, they fought hunger and thirst. By the eighth day their rations ran out. For days there was no food and no water. They were hundreds of miles from land and no one knew where they were, or even if they were alive. Every day across America millions wondered and prayed that Eddie Rickenbacker and his crew might somehow be found alive.

The men adrift needed a miracle. That afternoon they had a simple devotional service and prayed for a miracle. They tried to nap. Eddie leaned back and pulled his Military cap over his nose. Time dragged on and all Eddie could hear was the slap of the waves against the raft...

Suddenly, Eddie felt something land on the top of his cap.  It was a seagull! Old Ed would later describe how he sat perfectly still, planning his next move. With a flash of his hand and a squawk from the gull, he managed to grab it and wring its neck.

He tore the feathers off, and he and his starving crew made a meal of gull - a very slight meal for eight men. Then they used the intestines for bait. With it, they caught fish, which gave them food and more bait . . . and the cycle continued. With that simple survival technique, they were able to endure the rigors of the sea until they were found and rescued after 24 days at sea.

Eddie Rickenbacker lived many years beyond that ordeal, but he never forgot the sacrifice of that first life-saving seagull. And, he never stopped saying, 'Thank you.' That's why almost every Friday night he would walk to the end of the pier with a bucket full of shrimp and a heart full of gratitude.
Reference:

(Max Lucado, "In The Eye of the Storm", pp..221, 225-226)  

PS: Eddie Rickenbacker was the founder of Eastern Airlines. Before WWI he was race car driver. In WWI he was a pilot and became America 's first ace pilot.  In WWII he was an instructor and military adviser and he flew missions with the combat pilots. 

Eddie Rickenbacker is a true American hero. Now you know another story about the trials and sacrifices that brave men have endured for our freedom.

 

 


TWENTY THINGS TO REMEMBER

1. Faith is the ability to not panic.

2. If you worry, you didn’t pray.

3. As a child of God, prayer is kind of like calling home every day.

4. Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.

5. When we get tangled up in our problems, be still. God wants us to be still so He

     can untangle the knot.

6. Do the math. Count the blessings.

7. God wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts.

8. Dear God, I have a problem. It’s me.

9. Silence is often misinterpreted, but never misquoted.

10. Laugh every day---- it’s like inner jogging.

11. The most important things in your home are the people.

12. Growing old is inevitable, growing up is optional.

13. There is no key to happiness. The door is always open. Come on in.

14. A grudge is a heavy thing to carry.

15. He who dies with the most toys is still dead.

16. We do not remember days, but moments. Life moves too fast, so enjoy your

       precious moments.

17. Nothing is real to you until you experience it. Otherwise it is just hearsay.

18. It’s all right to sit on your pity pot every now and again. Just be sure to flush

       when you are done.

19. Surviving and living your life successfully require courage. The goals and

      dreams you are seeking require courage and risk-taking. Learn from the

      turtle: It only makes progress when it sticks out its neck.

20. No matter the storm, when you are with God, there’s always a rainbow

      waiting.

                                     

 

 

 


The Fence

August 1942. Piotrkow , Poland

The sky was gloomy that morning as we waited anxiously. All the men, women and children of Piotrkow's Jewish ghetto had been herded into a square.

Word had gotten around that we were being moved. My father had only recently died from typhus, which had run rampant through the crowded ghetto. My greatest fear was that our family would be separated.
'Whatever you do,' Isidore, my eldest brother, whispered to me, 'don't tell them your age. Say you're sixteen.’

I was tall for a boy of 11, so I could pull it off. That way I might be
deemed valuable as a worker.

An SS man approached me, boots clicking against the cobblestones.. He looked me up and down, and then asked my age.
'Sixteen,' I said. He directed me to the left, where my three brothers and other healthy young men already stood.

My mother was motioned to the right with the other women, children, sick and elderly people.

I whispered to Isidore, 'Why?'

He didn't answer.

I ran to Mama's side and said I wanted to stay with her.
'No, 'she said sternly. 'Get away. Don't be a nuisance. Go with your brothers.'

She had never spoken so harshly before. But I understood: She was protecting me. She loved me so much that, just this once, she pretended not to. It was the last I ever saw of her.

My brothers and I were transported in a cattle car to Germany.

We arrived at the Buchenwald concentration camp one night later and were led into a crowded barrack. The next day, we were issued uniforms and identification numbers.

'Don't call me Herman anymore.' I said to my brothers. 'Call me 94983.'
I was put to work in the camp's crematorium, loading the dead into a
hand-cranked elevator. I, too, felt dead. Hardened, I had become a number.

Soon, my brothers and I were sent to Schlieben, one of Buchenwald's sub-camps near Berlin. One morning I thought I heard my mother's voice.

'Son,' she said softly but clearly, ‘I am going to send you an angel.'

Then I woke up. It was just a dream, a beautiful dream. But in this place there could be no angels. There was only work. And hunger. And fear.

A couple of days later, I was walking around the camp, around the barracks, near the barbed wire fence where the guards could not easily see. I was alone. On the other side of the fence, I spotted someone: a little girl with light, almost luminous curls. She was half-hidden behind a birch tree. I glanced around to make sure no one saw me.

I called to her softly in German. 'Do you have something to eat?'

She didn't understand.

I inched closer to the fence and repeated the question in Polish. She stepped forward. I was thin and gaunt, with rags wrapped around my feet, but the girl looked unafraid. In her eyes, I saw life. She pulled an apple from her woolen jacket and threw it over the fence.

I grabbed the fruit and, as I started to run away, I heard her say faintly, 'I'll see you tomorrow.'

I returned to the same spot by the fence at the same time every day. She was always there with something for me to eat - a hunk of bread or, better yet, an apple. We didn't dare speak or linger. To be caught would mean death for us both.

I didn't know anything about her, just a kind farm girl, except that she understood Polish. What was her name? Why was she risking her life for me? Hope was in such short supply, and this girl on the other side of the fence gave me some, as nourishing in its way as the bread and apples.

Nearly seven months later, my brothers and I were crammed into a coal car and shipped to Theresienstadt camp in Czechoslovakia.

'Don't return,' I told the girl that day. 'We're leaving.'
I turned toward the barracks and didn't look back, didn't even say good-bye to the little girl whose name I'd never learned, the girl with the apples.

We were in Theresienstadt for three months. The war was winding down and Allied forces were closing in, yet my fate seemed sealed.

On May 10, 1945, I was scheduled to die in the gas chamber at 10:00 AM. In the quiet of dawn, I tried to prepare myself. So many times death seemed ready to claim me, but somehow I'd survived. Now, it was over.

I thought of my parents. At least, I thought, we will be reunited. But at 8 a.m. there was a commotion. I heard shouts, and saw people running every which way through camp. I caught up with my brothers.
Russian troops had liberated the camp! The gates swung open. Everyone was running, so I did too. Amazingly, all of my brothers had survived; I'm not sure how. But I knew that the girl with the apples had been the key to my survival. In a place where evil seemed triumphant, one person's goodness had saved my life, had given me hope in a place where there was none. My mother had promised to send me an angel, and the angel had come.

Eventually I made my way to England where I was sponsored by a Jewish charity, put up in a hostel with other boys who had survived the Holocaust and trained in electronics. Then I came to America , where my brother Sam had already moved. I served in the U. S. Army during the Korean War, and returned to New York City after two years.
By August 1957 I'd opened my own electronics repair shop. I was starting to settle in.

One day, my friend Sid who I knew from England called me.
'I've got a date. She's got a Polish friend. Let's double date.'

A blind date? Nah, that wasn't for me. But Sid kept pestering me, and a few days later we headed up to the Bronx to pick up his date and her friend Roma.

I had to admit, for a blind date this wasn't so bad. Roma was a nurse at a Bronx hospital. She was kind and smart. Beautiful, too, with swirling brown curls and green, almond-shaped eyes that sparkled with life.

The four of us drove out to Coney Island. Roma was easy to talk to, easy to be with. Turned out she was wary of blind dates too!
We were both just doing our friends a favor. We took a stroll on the
boardwalk, enjoying the salty Atlantic breeze, and then had dinner by the shore. I couldn't remember having a better time.

We piled back into Sid's car, Roma and I sharing the backseat.
As European Jews who had survived the war, we were aware that much had been left unsaid between us.

She broached the subject, 'Where were you,' she asked softly, 'during the war?'

'The camps,' I said. The terrible memories, the irreparable loss, all were still vivid. I had tried to forget. But you can never forget.

She nodded. 'My family was hiding on a farm in Germany, not far from Berlin,' she told me. 'My father knew a priest, and he got us Aryan papers.'

I imagined how she must have suffered too, fear, a constant companion. And yet here we were both survivors, in a new world.

'There was a camp next to the farm.' Roma continued. 'I saw a boy there and I would throw him apples every day.'

What an amazing coincidence that she had helped some other boy. 'What did he look like? I asked.

'He was tall, skinny, and hungry. I must have seen him every day for six months.'

My heart was racing. I couldn't believe it. This couldn't be.
'Did he tell you one day not to come back because he was leaving Schlieben?'

Roma looked at me in amazement. 'Yes!'

'That was me!'

I was ready to burst with joy and awe, flooded with emotions. I couldn't believe it! This was my angel.

'I'm not letting you go.' I said to Roma. And in the back of the car on that blind date, I proposed to her. I didn't want to wait.

'You're crazy!' she said. But she invited me to meet her parents for Shabbat dinner the following week.

There was so much I looked forward to learning about Roma, but the most important things I always knew: her steadfastness, her goodness. For many months, in the worst of circumstances, she had come to the fence and given me hope. Now that I'd found her again, I could never let her go.

That day, she said yes. And I kept my word. After nearly 50 years of marriage, two children and three grandchildren, I have never let her go.
Herman Rosenblat of Miami Beach, Florida

 

 


A Snowstorm in Alabama and A Good Chick-fil-a Sandwich

 

A snowstorm in the South is about as rare as a glass of unsweetened tea at a church supper. Folks around Birmingham, Ala. weren’t all that worried though. The storm was only supposed to dust the city – not even enough powder for a Southern snowman.

So when the first snowflakes began to fall, no one paid all that much attention. But then, the flakes kept falling. Before too long folks in places like Hoover and Inverness realized it was much more than a dusting. By that point, it was too late for anyone to do anything.

Icy interstates and highways soon became clogged with cars and trucks. Thousands of motorists soon found themselves stranded with nowhere to go – including many stuck on Highway 280.

But a good number of those stranded motorists were able to find shelter in the storm thanks to the kindness and generosity of Chick-fil-A restaurant employees and the restaurant's owner, Mark Meadows.

Once the snow started accumulating, Meadows closed the restaurant and sent his staff home. But a few hours later, many of them returned – unable to get to their homes.

“Our store is about a mile and a half from the interstate and it took me two hours to get there,” manager Audrey Pitt told me. “It was a parking lot as far as I could see.”

So Audrey left her car on the side of the interstate and joined a flock of bundled up drivers trudging through the snow.

“At one point there were more people walking than driving,” she said.

Some of the drivers had been stuck in their cars for nearly seven hours without any food or water. So the staff of the Chick-fil-A decided to lend a helping hand.

“We cooked several hundred sandwiches and stood out on both sides of 280 and handed out the sandwiches to anyone we could get to – as long as we had food to give out.”

The staffers braved the falling snow and ice, slipping and sliding, as they offered hot juicy chicken breasts tucked between two buttered buns. And Chick-fil-A refused to take a single penny for their sandwiches.

The meal was a gift – no strings attached.

For the frozen drivers, it was manna from heaven.

“They were very excited and extremely thankful,” she said. “People were thankful to get something to put in their stomachs.”

Audrey said they were especially surprised that the sandwiches were free. Why not make some extra money during the storm? It’s not like anyone could go to another restaurant. Chick-fil-A had a captive crowd of hungry customers. So why did they give away their food?

“This company is based on taking care of people and loving people before you’re worried about money or profit,” Audrey told me. “We were just trying to follow the model that we’ve all worked under for so long and the model that we’ve come to love. There was really nothing else we could have done but try to help people any way we could.”

Lauren Dango was one of those stranded motorists. She’s known Meadows for years and she was stunned when she saw him walking from car to car with Chick-fil-A sandwiches.

“I looked up and I’m like, what is he doing,” Dango told me. “He had a catering order and it got canceled, so he pulled over and started giving away food.”

And if that wasn’t enough, Meadows helped a driver maneuver along the icy road by pushing a car up an incline.

Dango was so touched by Meadows’ kindness, she sent a letter to Chick-fil-A’s corporate headquarters.

“Kudos to Mark Meadows for not only preaching the "second mile" concept, but actually living by it,” she wrote.

It’s no secret that Chick-fil-A was founded by a Christian family. And it’s no secret that they run their business on biblical values. What happened in Birmingham is an example of how those biblical values are played out.

“We just wanted to be able to help,” Audrey said. “Yesterday was such a hopeless situation. We wanted to do something to make people feel a little bit better. We were here. We had food and there were people outside who needed food. So it just made sense to do something for them.”

But Chick-fil-A’s generosity didn’t stop there.

“We opened up our dining room to anyone who wanted to sleep on a bench or a booth,” Audrey told me. And this morning, the weary staff members fired up their ovens and began preparing chicken biscuits. The only thing that is closed – is Chick-fil-A’s cash register.

“We’re not open for business,” she said. ‘We’re just feeding people who are hungry.”

I’d say the Chick-fil-A team blessed a lot of people in Birmingham – but that’s not how Audrey sees it.

“It’s a blessing to us to be able to help people,” she said. “It really is.”

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat,” Jesus said in the Gospel of Matthew. “I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.”

It was a Sunday school lesson illustrated on a snowy winter day along Highway 280 in Alabama with a chicken sandwich and a side of waffle fries.

 


Jesse The Chicken  Plucker

Let me tell you, Jesse hated this  job. And you would too.  Imagine, if you had to do it. Jesse was a chicken plucker. That's right. He stood on a line in a chicken factory and spent his days pulling the feathers off dead chickens so the rest of us wouldn't have to.  It wasn't much of a job. But at the time, Jesse didn't think he was much of a person.  

His father was a brute of a man.   His dad was actually thought to be mentally ill and treated Jesse  rough all of his life.  Jesse's older brother wasn't much better.   He was always picking on Jesse and beating him  up. Yes, Jesse grew up in a very rough home in West Virginia. Life was anything but easy and he thought life didn't hold much hope for him.  That's why he was standing in this chicken line, doing a job that darn few people wanted.

In addition to all the rough treatment at home, it seems that Jesse was always sick. Sometimes it was real physical illness, but way too often it was all in his head.  He was a small child, skinny and meek. That sure didn't help the situation any.  

When he started to school, he was the object of every Bully on the playground.  He was a hypochondriac of the first order.  For Jesse, tomorrow was not always something he looked forward to.  But, he had dreams. He wanted to be a ventriloquist. He found books on ventriloquism. He practiced with sock puppets and saved his hard earned dollars until he could get a real ventriloquist dummy.  

When he got old enough, he joined the military.  And even though many of his hypochondriac symptoms persisted, the military did recognize his talents and put him in the entertainment corp.  That was when his world changed.  He gained confidence.  He found that he had a talent for making people laugh, and laugh so hard they often had tears in their eyes.  Yes, little Jesse had found himself.  

You know, folks, the history books are full of people who overcame a handicap to go on and make a success of themselves, but Jesse is one of the few I know of who didn't overcome it. Instead he used his paranoia to make a million dollars, and become one of the best-loved characters of all time in doing it!  

Yes, that little paranoid hypochondriac, who transferred his nervousness into a successful career, still holds the record for the most Emmy's given in a single category.  The wonderful, gifted, talented, and nervous comedian who brought us Barney Fife was Jesse Don Knotts.

NOW YOU KNOW, "THE REST OF THE STORY

 

 


This is a little late for Christmas, but a beautiful story.

Santa & Sara: 

 Three years ago, a little boy and his grandmother came to see Santa at the Mayfair Mall in Wisconsin. The child climbed up on his lap, holding a picture of a little girl. "Who is this?" asked Santa, smiling. "Your friend?"

Your sister?  

 "Yes, Santa," he replied. "My sister, Sarah, who is very sick," he said sadly.   

Santa glanced over at the grandmother who was waiting nearby, and saw her dabbing her eyes with a tissue.  

 "She wanted to come with me to see you, oh, so very much, Santa!"  

The child exclaimed. "She misses you," he added softly.  

 Santa tried to be cheerful and encouraged a smile to the boy's face, asking him what he wanted Santa to bring him for Christmas. When they finished their visit, the Grandmother came over to help the child off his lap, and started to say something to Santa, but halted.  "What is it?" Santa asked warmly.  

 "Well, I know it's really too  much to ask you, Santa, but ..." the old

woman began, shooing her grandson over to one of Santa's elves to collect the little gift which Santa gave all his young visitors.  

 "The girl in the photograph .. My granddaughter .. well, you see .. she has leukemia and isn't expected to make it even through the Holidays," she said through tear-filled eyes. "Is there any way, Santa .... any possible way that you could come see Sarah? That's all she's asked for, for Christmas, is to see Santa."

Santa blinked and swallowed hard and told the woman to leave information with his elves as to where Sarah was, and he would see what he could do.

Santa thought of little else the rest of that afternoon. He knew what he had to do. "What if it were MY child lying in that Hospital bed, dying," he thought with a sinking heart, "this is the Least I can do."

 When Santa finished visiting with all the boys and girls that evening, he retrieved from his helper  the name of the hospital where Sarah was staying. He asked the assistant location manager how to get to Children's Hospital.  

"Why?" Rick asked, with a puzzled look on his face.  

Santa relayed to him the conversation with Sarah's grandmother earlier that day. "C'mon .... I'll take you there," Rick said softly.

Rick drove them to the hospital and came inside with Santa. They found out which room Sarah was in. A pale Rick said he would wait out in the hall.  

Santa quietly peeked into the room through the half-closed door and saw little Sarah on the bed. The room was full of what appeared to be her family; there was the Grandmother and the girl's brother he had met earlier that day.  

A woman whom he guessed was Sarah's mother stood by the bed, gently pushing Sarah's thin hair off her forehead. And another woman who he discovered later was Sarah's aunt, sat in a chair near the bed with weary, sad look on  her face. They were talking quietly, and Santa could sense the warmth and closeness of the family, and their love and concern for Sarah.

Taking a deep breath, and forcing a smile on his face, Santa entered the room, bellowing a hearty, "Ho, ho, ho!"

"Santa!" shrieked little Sarah weakly, as she tried to escape her bed to run to him, IV tubes intact.

Santa rushed to her side and gave her a warm hug. A child the tender age of his own son -- 9 years old -- gazed up at him with wonder and excitement.

Her skin was pale and her short tresses bore telltale bald patches from the effects of chemotherapy. But all he saw when he looked at her was a pairof huge, blue eyes.  

His heart melted, and he had to force himself to choke back tears.  

Though his eyes were riveted upon Sarah's face, he could hear the gasps and quiet sobbing of the women in the room.

As he and Sarah began talking, the family crept quietly to the bedside one  by one, squeezing Santa's shoulder or his hand gratefully, whispering "thank you" as they gazed sincerely at him with shining eyes.  

Santa and Sarah talked and talked, and she told him excitedly all the toys she wanted for Christmas, assuring him she'd been a very good girl that year.  

As their time together dwindled, Santa felt led in his spirit to pray for Sarah, and asked for permission from the girl's mother. She nodded in agreement and the entire family circled around Sarah's bed, holding hands.  

Santa looked intensely at Sarah and asked her if she believed in angels. 

"Oh , yes, Santa ... I do!" she exclaimed.  

 "Well, I'm going to ask that angels watch over you, "he said.  

Laying one hand on the child's head, Santa closed his eyes and prayed. He asked that God touch little Sarah, and heal her body from this disease.  

He asked that angels minister to her, watch and keep her. And when he finished  praying, still with eyes closed, he started singing softly,  

"Silent Night, Holy Night - all is calm, all is bright."  

The family joined in, still holding hands, smiling at Sarah, and crying tears of hope, tears of joy for this moment, as Sarah beamed at them all.  

When the song ended, Santa sat on the side of the bed again and held Sarah's frail, small hands in his own.  

 "Now, Sarah," he said authoritatively, "you have a job to do, and that is to concentrate on getting well. I want you to have fun playing with your friends this summer, and I expect to see you at my house at Mayfair Mall this time next year!"  

He knew it was risky proclaiming that, to this little girl who had  

terminal cancer, but he "had" to.  

He had to give her the greatest gift he could -- not dolls or games or toys -- but the gift of HOPE .  

"Yes, Santa!" Sarah  exclaimed, her eyes bright.   

He leaned down and kissed her on the forehead and left the room.  

Out in the hall, the minute Santa's eyes met Rick's, a look passed between them and they wept unashamed. Sarah's mother and grandmother slipped out of the room quickly and rushed to Santa's side to thank him.   

"My only child is the same age as Sarah," he explained quietly.   

"This is the least I could do." They nodded with understanding and hugged him.

One year later, Santa Mark was again back on the set in Milwaukee for his six-week, seasonal job which he so loves to do. Several weeks went by and then one day a child came up to sit on his lap.  

"Hi, Santa! Remember me?!"  

"Of course, I do," Santa proclaimed (as he always does), smiling down at her.  

After all, the secret to being a "good" Santa is to always make each child feel as if they are the "only" child in the world at that moment.  

"You  came to see me in the hospital last year!" The young girl said.

Santa's jaw dropped.   

Tears immediately sprang in his eyes, and he grabbed this little miracle and held her to his chest. "Sarah!" he exclaimed. He scarcely recognized her, for her hair was long and silky and her cheeks were rosy -- much different from the little girl he had visited just a year before. He looked over and saw Sarah's mother and grandmother in the sidelines smiling and waving and wiping their eyes.  

That was the best Christmas ever for Santa Claus.  

He had witnessed --and been blessed to be instrumental in bringing about -- this miracle of hope. This precious little child was healed. She was cancer-free, alive and well.

He silently looked up to Heaven and humbly whispered, "Thank You Father. 'Tis a very, Merry Christmas!"

If you believe in miracles you will copy and pass this on. I did!!

LIFE IS GOD'S GIFT TO YOU .... HOW YOU LIVE IT IS YOUR GIFT TO GOD, YOURSELF, YOUR FRIENDS AND LOVED ONES.

 

 


The Brick

 

A young and successfulexecutive 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 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.

 

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 to continue barreling down life’s highway oblivious to those with needs which we can meet, around us.

 


Christmas Eve 1881.
Pa never had much compassion for the lazy or those who squandered their means and then never had enough for the necessities. But for those who were genuinely in need, his heart was as big as all outdoors. It was from him that I learned the greatest joy in life comes from giving, not from receiving.

It was Christmas Eve, 1881. I was fifteen years old and feeling like the world had caved in on me because there just hadn't been enough money to buy me the rifle that I'd wanted for Christmas.

We did the chores early that night for some reason. I just figured Pa wanted a little extra time so we could read in the Bible.

After supper was over I took my boots off and stretched out in front of the fireplace and waited for Pa to get down the old Bible. I was still feeling sorry for myself and, to be honest, I wasn't in much of a mood to read Scriptures.
But Pa didn't get the Bible, instead he bundled up again and went outside. I couldn't figure it out because we had already done all the chores. I didn't worry about it long though, I was too busy wallowing in self-pity.

Soon Pa came back in. It was a cold clear night out and there was ice in his beard. "Come on, Matt," he said. "Bundle up good, it's cold out tonight." I was really upset then. Not only wasn't I getting the rifle for Christmas, now Pa was dragging me out in the cold, and for no earthly reason that I could see.

We'd already done all the chores, and I couldn't think of anything else that needed doing, especially not on a night like this. But I knew Pa was not very patient at one dragging one's feet when he'd told them to do something, so I got up and put my boots back on and got my cap, coat, and mittens.

Ma gave me a mysterious smile as I opened the door to leave the house. Something was up, but I didn't know what.

Outside, I became even more dismayed. There in front of the house was the work team, already hitched to the big sled. Whatever it was we were going to do wasn't going to be a short, quick, little job. I could tell.

We never hitched up this sled unless we were going to haul a big load. Pa was already up on the seat, reins in hand. I reluctantly climbed up beside him. The cold was already biting at me. I wasn't happy.

When I was on, Pa pulled the sled around the house and stopped in front of the woodshed. He got off and I followed. "I think we'll put on the high sideboards," he said. "Here, help me." The high sideboards! It had been a bigger job than I wanted to do with just the low sideboards on, but whatever it was we were going to do would be a lot bigger with the high side boards on.

After we had exchanged the sideboards, Pa went into the woodshed and came out with an armload of wood - the wood I'd spent all summer hauling down from the mountain, and then all fall sawing into blocks and splitting. What was he doing? Finally I said something. "Pa," I asked, "what are you doing?"

"You been by the Widow Jensen's lately?" he asked. The Widow Jensen lived about two miles down the road. Her husband had died a year or so before and left her with three children, the oldest being eight. Sure, I'd been by, but so what?

Yeah," I said, "Why?"

"I rode by just today," Pa said. "Little Jakey was out digging around in the woodpile trying to find a few chips. They're out of wood, Matt." That was all he said and then he turned and went back into the woodshed for another armload of wood. I followed him. We loaded the sled so high that I began to wonder if the horses would be able to pull it.

Finally, Pa called a halt to our loading, then we went to the smoke house and Pa took down a big ham and a side of bacon. He handed them to me and told me to put them in the sled and wait. When he returned he was carrying a sack of flour over his right shoulder and a smaller sack of something in his left hand.

"What's in the little sack?" I asked.

“Shoes,” Pa answered, “They're out of shoes. Little Jakey just had gunny sacks wrapped around his feet when he was out in the woodpile this morning. I got the children a little candy too. It just wouldn't be Christmas without a little candy."

We rode the two miles to Widow Jensen's pretty much in silence. I tried to think through what Pa was doing. We didn't have much by worldly standards. Of course, we did have a big woodpile, though most of what was left now was still in the form of logs that I would have to saw into blocks and split before we could use it.

We also had meat and flour, so we could spare that, but I knew we didn't have any money, so why was Pa buying them shoes and candy? Really, why was he doing any of this? Widow Jensen had closer neighbors than us; it shouldn't have been our concern.

We came in from the blind side of the Jensen house and unloaded the wood as quietly as possible, then we took the meat and flour and shoes to the door. We knocked. The door opened a crack and a timid voice said, "Who is it?" "Lucas Miles, Ma'am, and my son, Matt, could we come in for a bit?"

Widow Jensen opened the door and let us in. She had a blanket wrapped around her shoulders. The children were wrapped in another and were sitting in front of the fireplace by a very small fire that hardly gave off any heat at all. Widow Jensen fumbled with a match and finally lit the lamp.

"We brought you a few things, Ma'am," Pa said and set down the sack of flour. I put the meat on the table. Then Pa handed her the sack that had the shoes in it. She opened it hesitantly and took the shoes out, one pair at a time. There was a pair for her and one for each of the children - sturdy shoes, the best... shoes that would last.

I watched her carefully. She bit her lower lip to keep it from trembling and then tears filled her eyes and started running down her cheeks. She looked up at Pa like she wanted to say something, but it wouldn't come out.

"We brought a load of wood too, Ma'am," Pa said. He turned to me and said, "Matt, go bring in enough to last awhile. Let's get that fire up to size and heat this place up."

I wasn't the same person when I went back out to bring in the wood. I had a big lump in my throat and as much as I hate to admit it, there were tears in my eyes too. In my mind I kept seeing those three kids huddled around the fireplace and their mother standing there with tears running down her cheeks with so much gratitude in her heart that she couldn't speak.

My heart swelled within me and a joy that I'd never known before, filled my soul. I had given at Christmas many times before, but never when it had made so much difference. I could see we were literally saving the lives of these people.

I soon had the fire blazing and everyone's spirits soared. The kids started giggling when Pa handed them each a piece of candy and Widow Jensen looked on with a smile that probably hadn't crossed her face for a long time. She finally turned to us. "God bless you," she said. "I know the Lord has sent you. The children and I have been praying that he would send one of his angels to spare us."

In spite of myself, the lump returned to my throat and the tears welled up in my eyes again. I'd never thought of Pa in those exact terms before, but after Widow Jensen mentioned it, I could see that it was probably true. I was sure that a better man than Pa had never walked the earth. I started remembering all the times he had gone out of his way for Ma and me, and many others. The list seemed endless as I thought on it.

Pa insisted that everyone try on the shoes before we left. I was amazed when they all fit, and I wondered how he had known what sizes to get. Then I guessed that if he was on an errand for the Lord, that the Lord would make sure he got the right sizes.

Tears were running down Widow Jensen's face again when we stood up to leave. Pa took each of the kids in his big arms and gave them a hug. They clung to him and didn't want us to go. I could see that they missed their Pa, and I was glad that I still had mine.

At the door Pa turned to Widow Jensen and said, "The Mrs. wanted me to invite you and the children over for Christmas dinner tomorrow. The turkey will be more than the three of us can eat, and a man can get cantankerous if he has to eat turkey for too many meals. We'll be by to get you about eleven. It'll be nice to have some little ones around again. Matt, here, hasn't been little for quite a spell." I was the youngest... my two brothers and two sisters had all married and had moved away.

Widow Jensen nodded and said, "Thank you, Brother Miles. I don't have to say, may the Lord bless you, I know for certain that He will."

Out on the sled I felt a warmth that came from deep within and I didn't even notice the cold. When we had gone a ways, Pa turned to me and said, "Matt, I want you to know something. Your Ma and me have been tucking a little money away here and there all year so we could buy that rifle for you, but we didn't have quite enough.

Then yesterday a man who owed me a little money from years back came by to make things square. Your Ma and me were real excited, thinking that now we could get you that rifle, and I started into town this morning to do just that, but on the way I saw little Jakey out scratching in the woodpile with his feet wrapped in those gunny sacks and I knew what I had to do.

Son, I spent the money for shoes and a little candy for those children. I hope you understand."

I understood alright and my eyes became wet with tears again. I understood very well, and I was so glad Pa had done it. Now the rifle seemed very low on my list of priorities. Pa had given me a lot more. He had given me the look on Widow Jensen's face and the radiant smiles of her three children.

For the rest of my life, whenever I saw any of the Jensens, or split a block of wood, I remembered, and remembering brought back that same joy I felt riding home beside Pa that night. Pa had given me much more than a rifle that night, he had given me the best Christmas of my life.

Don't be too busy today, share this inspiring message. Merry Christmas and God bless you!

"The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord's doing: It is marvelous in our eyes." Psalms 118: 22-23

Merry Christmas

 


Delta Flight 15
*Take a moment and read this story, you will be amazed...*
It is 11 years since 9/11 and here is a wonderful story about that terrible day.
Jerry Brown Delta Flight 15... (true story)
Here is an amazing story from a flight attendant on Delta Flight 15, written following 9-11:

 

On the morning of Tuesday, September 11, we were about 5 hours out of Frankfurt, flying over the North Atlantic. All of a sudden the curtains parted and I was told to go to the cockpit, immediately, to see the captain. As soon as I got there I noticed that the crew had that "All Business" look on their faces. The captain handed me a printed message. It was from Delta's main office in Atlanta and simply read, "All airways over the Continental United States are closed to commercial air traffic. Land ASAP at the nearest airport. Advise your destination."

 

No one said a word about what this could mean. We knew it was a serious situation and we needed to find terra firma quickly. The captain determined that the nearest airport was 400 miles behind us in Gander, New Foundland.

 

He requested approval for a route change from the Canadian traffic controller and approval was granted immediately -- no questions asked. We found out later, of course, why there was no hesitation in approving our request.

 

While the flight crew prepared the airplane for landing, another message arrived from Atlanta telling us about some terrorist activity in the New York area. A few minutes later word came in about the hijackings.

 

We decided to LIE to the passengers while we were still in the air. We told them the plane had a simple instrument problem and that we needed to land at the nearest airport in Gander, New Foundland, to have it checked out.

 

We promised to give more information after landing in Gander. There was much grumbling among the passengers, but that's nothing new! Forty minutes later, we landed in Gander. Local time at Gander was 12:30 PM! .... that's 11:00 AM EST.

 

There were already about 20 other airplanes on the ground from all over the world that had taken this detour on their way to the U.S.

 

After we parked on the ramp, the captain made the following announcement: "Ladies and gentlemen, you must be wondering if all these airplanes around us have the same instrument problem as we have. The reality is that we are here for another reason." Then he went on to explain the little bit we knew about the situation in the U.S.

 

There were loud gasps and stares of disbelief. The captain informed passengers that Ground control in Gander told us to stay put.

 

The Canadian Government was in charge of our situation and no one was allowed to get off the aircraft. No one on the ground was allowed to come near any of the air crafts. Only airport police would come around periodically, look us over and go on to the next airplane. In the next hour or so more planes landed and Gander ended up with 53 airplanes from all over the world, 27 of which were U.S. commercial jets.

 

Meanwhile, bits of news started to come in over the aircraft radio and for the first time we learned that airplanes were flown into the World Trade Center in New York and into the Pentagon in DC. People were trying to use their cell phones, but were unable to connect due to a different cell system in Canada. Some did get through, but were only able to get to the Canadian operator who would tell them that
the lines to the U.S. were either blocked or jammed.

 

Sometime in the evening the news filtered to us that the World Trade Center buildings had collapsed and that a fourth hijacking had resulted in a crash. By now the passengers were emotionally and physically exhausted, not to mention frightened, but everyone stayed amazingly calm. We had only to look out the window at the 52 other stranded aircraft to realize that we were not the only ones in this predicament.       We had been told earlier that they would be allowing people off the planes one plane at a time. At 6 PM, Gander airport told us that our turn to deplane would be 11 am the next morning. Passengers were not happy, but they simply resigned hemselves to this news without much noise and started to prepare themselves to spend the night on the airplane.

 

Gander had promised us medical attention, if needed, water, and lavatory servicing. And they were true to their word.

 

Fortunately we had no medical situations to worry about. We did have a young
lady who was 33 weeks into her pregnancy. We took REALLY good care of her. The night passed without incident despite the uncomfortable sleeping arrangements.

 

About 10:30 on the morning of the 12th a convoy of school buses showed up. We got off the plane and were taken to the terminal where we went through immigration and Customs and then had to register with the Red Cross.

 

After that we (the crew) were separated from the passengers and were taken in vans to a small hotel. We had no idea where our passengers were going. We learned from the Red Cross that the town of Gander has a population of 10,400 people and they had about 10,500 passengers to take care of from all the airplanes that were forced into Gander! We were told to just relax at the hotel and we would be contacted when the U.S. airports opened again, but not to expect that call for a
while.

 

We found out the total scope of the terror back home only after getting to our hotel and turning on the TV, 24 hours after it all started.

 

Meanwhile, we had lots of time on our hands and found that the people of Gander were extremely friendly. They started calling us the "plane people." We enjoyed their hospitality, explored the town of Gander and ended up having a pretty good time.

 

Two days later, we got that call and were taken back to the Gander airport. Back on the plane, we were reunited with the passengers and found out what they had been doing for the past two days. What we found out was incredible.

 

Gander and all the surrounding communities (within MATCH about a 75 Kilometer radius) had closed all high schools, meeting halls, lodges, and any other large gathering places. They converted all these facilities to mass lodging areas for all the stranded travelers. Some had cots set up, some had mats with sleeping bags and pillows set up.

 

ALL the high school students were required to volunteer their time to take care of the "guests." Our 218 passengers ended up in a town called Lewisporte, about 45 kilometers from Gander where they were put up in a high school. If any women wanted to be in a women-only facility, that was arranged. Families were kept together. All the elderly passengers were taken to private homes.

 

Remember that young pregnant lady? She was put up in a private home right across the street from a 24-hour Urgent Care facility. There was a dentist on call and both male and female nurses remained with the crowd for the duration.

 

Phone calls and e-mails to the U.S. and around the world were available to everyone once a day. During the day, passengers were offered "Excursion" trips. Some people went on boat cruises of the lakes and harbors. Some went for hikes in the local forests. Local bakeries stayed open to make fresh bread for the guests.

 

Food was prepared by all the residents and brought to the schools. People were driven to restaurants of their choice and offered wonderful meals. Everyone was given tokens for local laundry mats to wash their clothes, since luggage was still on the aircraft. In other words, every single need was met for those stranded travelers.

 

Passengers were crying while telling us these stories. Finally, when they were told that U.S. airports had reopened, they were delivered to the airport right on time and without a single passenger missing or late. The local Red Cross had all the information about the whereabouts of each and every passenger and knew which plane they needed to be on and when all the planes were leaving. They coordinated everything beautifully.

 

It was absolutely incredible.

 

When passengers came on board, it was like they had been on a cruise. Everyone knew each other by name. They were swapping stories of their stay, impressing each other with who had the better time. Our flight back to Atlanta looked like a chartered party flight. The crew just stayed out of their way. It was mind-boggling.

 

Passengers had totally bonded and were calling each other by their first names, exchanging phone numbers, addresses, and email addresses. And then a very unusual thing happened.

 

One of our passengers approached me and asked if he could make an announcement over the PA system. We never, ever allow that. But this time was different. I said "of course" and handed him the mike. He picked up the PA and reminded everyone about what they had just gone through in the last few days. He reminded them of the hospitality they had received at the hands of total strangers. He continued by saying that he would like to do something in return for the good folks
of Lewisporte.

 

He said he was going to set up a Trust Fund under the name of DELTA 15 (our flight number). The purpose of the trust fund is to provide college scholarships for the high school students of Lewisporte. He asked for donations of any amount from his fellow travelers.

 

When the paper with donations got back to us with the amounts, names,
phone numbers and addresses, the total was for more than $14,000!

 

The gentleman, a MD from Virginia, promised to match the donations and to start the administrative work on the scholarship. He also said that he would forward this proposal to Delta Corporate and ask them to donate as well.

 

As I write this account, the trust fund is at more than $1.5 million and has assisted 134 students in college education.

 

"I just wanted to share this story because we need good stories right now. It gives me a little bit of hope to know that some people in a faraway place were kind to some strangers who literally dropped in on them. It reminds me how much good there is in the world."

 

"In spite of all the rotten things we see going on in today's world this story confirms that there are still a lot of good people in the world and when things get bad, they will come forward.

 

*This is one of those stories that need to be shared. Please do so...*

 

 


 

The Last Cab Ride

Author Unknown

 

I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes I honked again. Since this was going to be my last ride of my shift, I thought about just driving away, but instead I put the car in park and walked up to the door and knocked.

 

'Just a minute', answered a frail, elderly voice.

 

I could hear something being dragged across the floor.

 

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90's stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940's movie.

 

By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.

 

There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

 

Would you carry my bag out to the car?' she asked.

 

I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman. She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.

 

She kept thanking me for my kindness. 'It's nothing', I told her.. 'I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated.'

 

'Oh, you're such a good boy, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, 'Could you drive through downtown?'

 

'It's not the shortest way,' I answered quickly.

 

'Oh, I don't mind,' she said. 'I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a

 

hospice.

 

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening.
'I don't have any family left,' she continued in a soft voice. 'The doctor says I don't have very long.' I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

 

'What route would you like me to take?' I asked.

 

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.

 

We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

 

Sometimes she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and she would sit, staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

 

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, 'I'm tired. Let's go now'.

 

We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.

 

Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her. I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

 

'How much do I owe you?' She asked, reaching into her purse.

 

'Nothing,' I said.

 

'You have to make a living,' she answered.

 

'There are other passengers,' I responded.

 

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.

 

'You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,' she said. 'Thank you.'

 

I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light.. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.

 

I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly, lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk.

 

What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

 

On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life.

 

We are conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.

 

But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

 

PEOPLE MAY NOT REMEMBER EXACTLY WHAT YOU DID, OR WHAT YOU SAID ~BUT~THEY WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER HOW YOU MADE THEM FEEL.

 

I, the owner of this website, encourage you to copy and paste and email to all your friends.

 

Thank you, my friend.

 

Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance.

 

 

 


The Old Man and His Bucket of Shrimp

It happened every Friday evening, almost without fail, when the sun resembled a giant orange and was starting to dip into the blue ocean.

Old Ed came strolling along the beach to his favorite pier. Clutched in his bony hand was a bucket of shrimp. Ed walks out to the end of the pier, where it seems he almost has the world to himself. The glow of the sun is a golden bronze now.

Everybody's gone, except for a few joggers on the beach. Standing out on the end of the pier, Ed is alone with his thoughts...and his bucket of shrimp.

Before long, however, he is no longer alone. Up in the sky a thousand white dots come screeching and squawking, winging their way toward that lanky frame standing there on the end of the pier.

Before long, dozens of seagulls have enveloped him, their wings fluttering and flapping wildly. Ed stands there tossing shrimp to the hungry birds. As he does, if you listen closely, you can hear him say with a smile, 'Thank you. Thank you.'

In a few short minutes the bucket is empty. But Ed doesn't leave.

He stands there lost in thought, as though transported to another time and place.

When he finally turns around and begins to walk back toward the beach, a few of the birds hop along the pier with him until he gets to the stairs, and then they, too, fly away. And old Ed quietly makes his way down to the end of the beach and on home.

If you were sitting there on the pier with your fishing line in the water, Ed might seem like 'a funny old duck,' as my dad used to say. Or, to onlookers, he's just another old codger, lost in his own weird world, feeding the seagulls with a bucket full of shrimp.

To the onlooker, rituals can look either very strange or very empty. They can seem altogether unimportant ... Maybe even a lot of nonsense.

Old folks often do strange things, at least in the eyes of Boomers and Busters.

Most of them would probably write Old Ed off, down there in Florida. That's too bad. They'd do well to know him better.

His full name: Eddie Rickenbacker. He was a famous hero in World War I, and then he was in WWII.  On one of his flying missions across the Pacific, he and his seven-member crew went down. Miraculously, all of the men survived, crawled out of their plane, and climbed into a life raft.

Captain Rickenbacker and his crew floated for days on the rough waters of the Pacific. They fought the sun. They fought sharks. Most of all, they fought hunger and thirst. By the eighth day their rations ran out. No food. No water. They were hundreds of miles from land and no one knew where they were or even if they were alive. Every day across America millions wondered and prayed that Eddie Rickenbacker might somehow be found alive.

The men adrift needed a miracle. That afternoon they had a simple devotional service and prayed for a miracle. They tried to nap. Eddie leaned back and pulled his military cap over his nose. Time dragged on.  All he could hear was the slap of the waves against the raft...

Suddenly, Eddie felt something land on the top of his cap.  It was a seagull!

Old Ed would later describe how he sat perfectly still, planning his next move. With a flash of his hand and a squawk from the gull, he managed to grab it and wring its neck. He tore the feathers off, and he and his starving crew made a meal of it - a very slight meal for eight men. Then they used the intestines for bait. With it, they caught fish, which gave them food and more bait . . . And the cycle continued. With that simple survival technique, they were able to endure the rigors of the sea until they were found and rescued after 24 days at sea.

Eddie Rickenbacker lived many years beyond that ordeal, but he never forgot the sacrifice of that first life-saving seagull... And he never stopped saying, 'thank you.' That's why almost every Friday night he would walk to the end of the pier with a bucket full of shrimp and a heart full of gratitude.
Reference:

(Max Lucado, "In The Eye of the Storm", PP..221, 225-226)

 

 

 


The Pearl Necklace

The cheerful little girl with bouncy golden curls was almost five. Waiting with her mother at the checkout stand, she saw them, a circle of glistening white pearls in a pink foil box.

"Oh mommy please, Mommy. Can I have them? Please, Mommy, please?"
Quickly the mother checked the back of the little foil box and then looked back into the pleading blue eyes of her little girl's upturned face.

"A dollar ninety-five. That's almost $2.00. If you really want them, I'll think of some extra chores for you and in no time you can save enough money to buy them for yourself.. Your birthday's only a week away and you might get another crisp dollar bill from Grandma."

As soon as Jenny got home, she emptied her penny bank and counted out 17 pennies. After dinner, she did more than her share of chores and she went to the neighbor and asked Mrs. McJames if she could pick dandelions for ten cents. On her birthday, Grandma did give her another new dollar bill and at last she had enough money to buy the necklace.

Jenny loved her pearls. They made her feel dressed up and grown up. She wore them everywhere, Sunday school, kindergarten, even to bed. The only time she took them off was when she went swimming or had a bubble bath. Mother said if they got wet, they might turn her neck green.

Jenny had a very loving daddy and every night when she was ready for bed, he would stop whatever he was doing and come upstairs to read her a story. One night as he finished the story, he asked Jenny, "Do you love me?"

"Oh yes, daddy. You know that I love you."

"Then give me your pearls."

"Oh, daddy, not my pearls. But you can have Princess, the white horse from my collection, the one with the pink tail.. Remember, daddy? The one you gave me. She's my very favorite."

"That's okay, Honey, daddy loves you. Good night." And he brushed her cheek with a kiss.

About a week later, after the story time, Jenny's daddy asked again, "Do you love me?"

"Daddy, you know I love you."

"Then give me your pearls."

"Oh, daddy, not my pearls. But you can have my baby doll. The brand new one I got for my birthday. She is beautiful and you can have the yellow blanket that matches her sleeper."

"That's okay. Sleep well. God bless you, little one. Daddy loves you."
And as always, he brushed her cheek with a gentle kiss.

A few nights later when her daddy came in, Jenny was sitting on her bed with her legs crossed Indian style.

As he came close, he noticed her chin was trembling and one silent tear rolled down her cheek.

"What is it, Jenny? What's the matter?"

Jenny didn't say anything but lifted her little hand up to her daddy. And when she opened it, there was her little pearl necklace. With a little quiver, she finally said, "Here, daddy; this is for you."

With tears gathering in his own eyes, Jenny's daddy reached out with one hand to take the dime store necklace, and with the other hand he reached into his pocket and pulled out a blue velvet case with a strand of genuine pearls and gave them to Jenny.

He had them all the time. He was just waiting for her to give up the dime-store stuff so he could give her the genuine treasure. So it is, with our Heavenly Father. He is waiting for us to give up the cheap things in our lives so that he can give us beautiful treasures.

God will never take away something without giving you something better in its place.


A Soldier Died Today  

He was getting old and paunchy
And his hair was falling fast,
And he sat around the Legion,
Telling stories of the past.

Of a war that he once fought in
And the deeds that he had done,
In his exploits with his buddies;
They were heroes, every one.

And 'tho sometimes to his neighbors
His tales became a joke,
All his buddies listened quietly
For they knew where of he spoke.

But we'll hear his tales no longer,
For ol' Joe has passed away,
And the world's a little poorer
For a Soldier died today.

He won't be mourned by many,
Just his children and his wife.
For he lived an ordinary,
Very quiet sort of life.

He held a job and raised a family,
Going quietly on his way;
And the world won't note his passing,
'Tho a Soldier died today.

When politicians leave this earth,
Their bodies lie in state,
While thousands note their passing,
And proclaim that they were great.

Papers tell of their life stories
From the time that they were young
But the passing of a Soldier
Goes unnoticed, and unsung.

Is the greatest contribution
To the welfare of our land,
Some jerk who breaks his promise
And cons his fellow man?

Or the ordinary fellow
Who in times of war and strife,
Goes off to serve his country
And offers up his life?

The politician's stipend
And the style in which he lives,
Are often disproportionate,
To the service that he gives.

While the ordinary Soldier,
Who offered up his all,
Is paid off with a medal
And perhaps a pension, small.

It is not the politicians
With their compromise and ploys,
Who won for us the freedom
That our country now enjoys.

Should you find yourself in danger,
With your enemies at hand,
Would you really want some cop-out,
With his ever waffling stand?

Or would you want a Soldier

His home, his country, his kin,
Just a common Soldier,
Who would fight until the end.

He was just a common Soldier,
And his ranks are growing thin,
But his presence should remind us
We may need his likes again.

For when countries are in conflict,
We find the Soldier's part
Is to clean up all the troubles
That the politicians start.

If we cannot do him honor
While he's here to hear the praise,
Then at least let's give him homage
At the ending of his days.

Perhaps just a simple headline
In the paper that might say:
"OUR COUNTRY IS IN MOURNING,
A SOLDIER DIED TODAY


A Father, a Daughter and a Dog- A true story

by Catherine Moore

"Watch out! You nearly broad sided that car!" My father yelled at me, "Can't you do anything right?"

Those words hurt worse than blows. I turned my head toward the elderly man in the seat beside me, daring me to challenge him. A lump rose in my throat as I averted my eyes. I wasn't prepared for another battle.

"I saw the car, Dad. Please don't yell at me when I'm driving."

My voice was measured and steady, sounding far calmer than I really felt.

Dad glared at me, then turned away and settled back. At home I left Dad in front of the television and went outside to collect my thoughts. Dark, heavy clouds hung in the air with a promise of rain. The rumble of distant thunder seemed to echo my inner turmoil. What could I do about him?

Dad had been a lumberjack in Washington and Oregon . He had enjoyed being outdoors and had reveled in pitting his strength against the forces of nature. He had entered grueling lumberjack competitions, and had placed often. The shelves in his house were filled with trophies that attested to his prowess.

The years marched on relentlessly. The first time he couldn't lift a heavy log, he joked about it; but later that same day I saw him outside alone, straining to lift it. He became irritable whenever anyone teased him about his advancing age, or when he couldn't do something he had done as a younger man.

Four days after his sixty-seventh birthday, he had a heart attack. An ambulance sped him to the hospital while a paramedic administered CPR to keep blood and oxygen flowing.

At the hospital, Dad was rushed into an operating room. He was
lucky; he survived. But something inside Dad died. His zest for life was gone. He obstinately refused to follow doctor's orders. Suggestions and offers of help were turned aside with sarcasm and insults. The number of visitors thinned, then finally stopped altogether. Dad was left alone.

My husband, Dick, and I asked Dad to come live with us on our small farm. We hoped the fresh air and rustic atmosphere would help him adjust.

Within a week after he moved in, I regretted the invitation. It seemed nothing was satisfactory. He criticized everything I did. I became frustrated and moody. Soon, I was taking my pent-up anger out on Dick. We began to bicker and argue.

Alarmed, Dick sought out our pastor and explained the situation. The clergyman set up weekly counseling appointments for us. At the close of each session he prayed, asking God to soothe Dad's troubled mind.

But the months wore on and God was silent. Something had to be
done and it was up to me to do it.The next day I sat down with the phone book and methodically called each of the mental health clinics listed in the Yellow Pages. I explained my problem to each of the sympathetic voices that answered in vain.

Just when I was giving up hope, one of the voices suddenly exclaimed, "I just read something that might help you! Let me go get the article."

I listened as she read. The article described a remarkable study done at a nursing home. All of the patients were under treatment for chronic depression. Yet their attitudes had proved dramatically when they were given responsibility for a dog.

I drove to the animal shelter that afternoon.. After I filled out a
questionnaire, a uniformed officer led me to the kennels. The odor of disinfectant stung my nostrils as I moved down the row of pens. Each contained five to seven dogs. Long-haired dogs, curly-haired dogs, black dogs, spotted dogs all jumped up, trying to reach me. I studied each one, but rejected one after the other for various reasons too big, too small, too much hair. As I neared the last pen a dog in the shadows of the far corner struggled to his feet, walked to the front of the run and sat down. It was a pointer, one of the dog world's aristocrats. But this was a caricature of the breed.

Years had etched his face and muzzle with shades of gray. His hip bones jutted out in lopsided triangles. But it was his eyes that caught and held my attention. Calm and clear, they beheld me unwaveringly.

I pointed to the dog. "Can you tell me about him?"

The officer looked, then shook his head in puzzlement. "He's a funny one. Appeared out of nowhere and sat in front of the gate. We brought him in, figuring someone would be right down to claim him. That was two weeks ago and we've heard nothing. His time is up tomorrow." He gestured helplessly.

As the words sank in I turned to the man in horror.. "You mean you're going to kill him?"

"Ma'am," he said gently, "that's our policy. We don't have room for every unclaimed dog."

I looked at the pointer again. The calm brown eyes awaited my decision. "I'll take him," I said.

I drove home with the dog on the front seat beside me.  When I reached the house I honked the horn twice. I was helping my prize out of the car when Dad shuffled onto the front porch... "Ta-da!  Look what I got for you, Dad !" I said excitedly.

Dad looked, then wrinkled his face in disgust. "If I had wanted a dog I would have gotten one. And I would have picked out a better specimen than that bag of bones. Keep it! I don't want it" Dad waved his arm scornfully and turned back toward the house.

Anger rose inside me. It squeezed my throat muscles together and pounded into my temples. "You'd better get used to him, Dad. He's staying!"

Dad ignored me.

"Did you hear me, Dad?" I screamed. At those words Dad whirled angrily, his hands clenched at his sides, his eyes narrowed and blazing with hate. We stood glaring at each other like duelists, when suddenly the pointer pulled free from my grasp. He wobbled toward my dad and sat down in front of him. Then slowly, carefully, he raised his paw.

Dad's lower jaw began to tremble as he stared at the uplifted paw confusion replaced the anger in his eyes. The pointer waited patiently. Then Dad was on his knees hugging the animal.

It was the beginning of a warm and intimate friendship. Dad named the pointer Cheyenne. Together he and Cheyenne explored the community. They spent long hours walking down dusty lanes. They spent reflective moments on the banks of streams, angling for tasty trout. They even started to attend Sunday services together, Dad sitting in a pew and Cheyenne lying quietly at his feet.

Dad and Cheyenne were inseparable throughout the next three years. Dad's bitterness faded, and he and Cheyenne made many friends. Then late one night I was startled to feel Cheyenne's cold nose burrowing through our bed covers. He had never before come into our bedroom at night. I woke Dick, put on my robe and ran into my father's room. Dad lay in his bed, his face serene. But his spirit had left quietly sometime during the night.

Two days later my shock and grief deepened when I discovered Cheyenne lying dead beside Dad's bed. I wrapped his still form in the rag rug he had slept on. As Dick and I buried him near a favorite fishing hole, I silently thanked the dog for the help he had given me in restoring Dad's peace of mind.

The morning of Dad's funeral dawned overcast and dreary. This day looks like the way I feel, I thought, as I walked down the aisle to the pews reserved for family. I was surprised to see the many friends Dad and Cheyenne had made filling the church.. The pastor began his eulogy. It was a tribute to both Dad and the dog who had changed his life.

And then the pastor turned to Hebrews 13:2. "Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.

“I've often thanked God for sending that angel." He reverently said, speaking of Cheyenne.

For me, the past dropped into place, completing a puzzle that I had not seen before: the sympathetic voice that had just read the right article; Cheyenne 's unexpected appearance at the animal shelter; his calm acceptance and complete devotion to my father; and the proximity of their deaths. Suddenly, I understood. I knew that God had answered my prayers after all.

Life is too short for drama or petty things, so laugh hard, love truly, care deeply and forgive quickly. Live While You Are Alive. Forgive now those who made you cry. You might not get a second time.


BOSTON

National guard units seeking to confiscate a cache of recently banned assault weapons were ambushed on April 19th by elements of a para-military extremist faction. Military and law enforcement sources estimate that 72 were killed and more than 200 injured before government forces were compelled to withdraw.

Speaking after the clash, Massachusetts Governor Thomas Gage declared that the extremist faction, which was made up of local citizens, has links to the radical right-wing tax protest movement. Gage blamed the extremists for recent incidents of vandalism directed against internal revenue offices. The governor, who described the group's organizers as "criminals," issued an executive order authorizing the summary arrest of any individual who has interfered with the government's efforts to secure law and order. The military raid on the extremist arsenal followed wide-spread refusal by the local citizenry to turn over recently outlawed assault weapons.

Gage issued a ban on military-style assault weapons and ammunition earlier in the week. This decision followed a meeting in early this month between government and military leaders at which the governor authorized the forcible confiscation of illegal arms.

One government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, pointed out that "none of these people would have been killed had the extremists obeyed the law and turned over their weapons voluntarily." Government troops initially succeeded in confiscating a large supply of outlawed weapons and ammunition. However, troops attempting to seize arms and ammunition in Lexington met with resistance from heavily-armed extremists who had been tipped off regarding the government's plans. During a tense standoff in Lexington 's town park, National Guard Colonel Francis Smith, commander of the government operation, ordered the armed group to surrender and return to their homes. The impasse was broken by a single shot, which was reportedly fired by one of the right-wing extremists. Eight civilians were killed in the ensuing exchange.

Ironically, the local citizenry blamed government forces rather than the extremists for the civilian deaths. Before order could be restored, armed citizens from surrounding areas had descended upon the guard units. Colonel Smith, finding his forces overmatched by the armed mob, ordered a retreat.

Governor Gage has called upon citizens to support the state/national joint task force in its effort to restore law and order. The governor also demanded the surrender of those responsible for planning and leading the attack against the government troops. Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, and John Hancock, who have been identified as "ringleaders" of the extremist faction, remain at large.   

And this, people, is how the American Revolution began.


Some of America's Best

As I came out of the supermarket that sunny day, pushing my cart of groceries towards my car, I saw an old man with the hood of his car up and a lady sitting inside the car, with the door open. The old man was looking at the engine. I put my groceries away in my car, and continued to watch the old gentleman from about twenty five feet away.  

I saw a young man in his early twenties with a grocery bag in his arm walking towards the old man. The old gentleman saw him coming too, and took a few steps towards him.  

I saw the old gentleman point to his open hood and say something. The young man put his grocery bag into what looked like a brand new Cadillac Escalade. He then turned back to the old man. I heard him yell at the old gentleman saying: 'You shouldn't even be allowed to drive a car at your age.' And then with a wave of his hand, he got in his car and peeled rubber out of the parking lot.  

I saw the old gentleman pull out his handkerchief, and mop his brow as he went back to his car and again looked at the engine.  He then went to his wife and spoke with her; he appeared to tell her it would be okay. I had seen enough, and I approached the old man. He saw me coming and stood straight, and as I got near him I said, 'Looks like you're having a problem.'  

He smiled sheepishly, and quietly nodded his head.  I looked under the hood myself, and knew that whatever the problem was, it was beyond me. Looking around, I saw a gas station up the road, and I told the old man that I would be right back.  I drove to the station and went inside.

I saw three attendants working on cars. I approached one of them, and related the problem the old man had with his car. I offered to pay them if they could follow me back down and help him. The old man had pushed the heavy car under the shade of a tree and appeared to be comforting his wife. When he saw us he straightened up and thanked me for my help.

As the mechanics diagnosed the problem (overheated engine), I spoke with the old gentleman.  When I shook hands with him earlier, he had noticed my Marine Corps ring and had commented about it, telling me that he had been a Marine too. I nodded and asked the usual question, 'What outfit did you serve with?'  

He said that he served with the first Marine Division at Guadalcanal, Pelieliu, and Okinawa.  He had hit three of the worst ones, and retired from the Corps after the war was over. As we talked we heard the car engine come on and saw the mechanics lower the hood. They came over to us as the old man reached for his wallet, but was stopped by me. I told him I would just put the bill on my AAA card.  

He still reached for the wallet and handed me a card that I assumed had his name and address on it, and I stuck it in my pocket. We all shook hands all around again, and I said my goodbye's to his wife.  

I then told the two mechanics that I would follow them back up to the station. Once at the station, I told them that they had interrupted their own jobs to come along with me and help the old man. I said I wanted to pay for the help, but they refused to charge me.

One of them pulled out a card from his pocket, looking exactly like the card the old man had given to me. Both of the men told me then that they were Marine Corps Reserves. Once again we shook hands all around and as I was leaving, one of them told me I should look at the card the old man had given to me. I said I would and drove off.  

For some reason I had gone about two blocks, when I pulled over and took the card out of my pocket and looked at it for a long, long time.

The name of the old gentleman was on the card in golden leaf and under his name was written: 'Congressional Medal of Honor Society.'

I sat there motionless, looking at the card and reading it over and over. I looked up from the card and smiled to no one but myself and marveled that on this day, four Marines had all come together because one of us needed help. He was an old man all right, but it felt good to have stood next to greatness and courage, and an honor to have been in his presence.  

Remember, as the most recent Memorial or Independence Day fades away, OLD men like him gave you, and all of us, FREEDOM for America .  

Thanks to those who served and still serve, and to all of those who supported them, and who continue to support them. America is not at war. The U.S. Military is at war. America is at the Mall.


IT DON'T COST NUTHIN' TO BE NICE

At a Touchdown Club meeting many years ago, Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant told the following story:
I had just been named the new head coach at Alabama and was off in my old car down in South Alabama recruiting a prospect who was supposed to have been a pretty good player, and I was having trouble finding the place.

Getting hungry, I spied an old cinderblock building with a small sign out front that simply said "Restaurant." I pull up, go in, and every head in the place turns to stare at me. Seems I'm the only white fella in the place. But the food smelled good, so I skip a table and go up to a cement bar and sit. A big ole man in a tee shirt and cap comes over and says, "What do you need?"

I told him I needed lunch and what did they have today?

He says, "You probably won't like it here. Today we're having chitlins, collard greens and black-eyed peas with cornbread. I'll bet you don't even know what chitlins are, do you?"(small intestines of hogs prepared as food in the deep South)
I looked him square in the eye and said, "I'm from Arkansas, and I've probably eaten a mile of them. Sounds like I'm in the right place."

They all smiled as he left to serve me up a big plate. When he comes back he says, "You ain't from around here then?"

I explain I'm the new football coach up in Tuscaloosa at the University and I'm here to find whatever that boy's name was, and he says, "Yeah I've heard of him, he's supposed to be pretty good." And he gives me directions to the school so I can meet him and his coach.

As I'm paying up to leave, I remember my manners and leave a tip, not too big to be flashy, but a good one, and he told me lunch was on him, but I told him for a lunch that good, I felt I should pay. The big man asked me if I had a photograph or something he could hang up to show I'd been there. I was so new that I didn't have any yet. It really wasn't that big a thing back then to be asked for, but I took a napkin and wrote his name and address on it and told him I'd get him one.

I met the kid I was looking for later that afternoon and I don't remember his name, but do remember I didn't think much of him when I met him.
I had wasted a day, or so I thought. When I got back to Tuscaloosa late that night, I took that napkin from my shirt pocket and put it under my keys so I wouldn't forget it. Back then I was excited that anybody would want a picture of me. The next day we found a picture and I wrote on it, "Thanks for the best lunch I've ever had."
Now let's go a whole buncha years down the road. Now we have black players at Alabama and I'm back down in that part of the country scouting an offensive lineman we sure needed. Y'all remember, (and I forget the name, but it's not important to the story), well anyway, he's got two friends going to Auburn and he tells me he's got his heart set on Auburn too, so I leave empty handed and go on to see some others while I'm down there.

Two days later, I'm in my office in Tuscaloosa and the phone rings and it's this kid who just turned me down, and he says, "Coach, do you still want me at Alabama ?"

And I said, "Yes I sure do." And he says OK, he'll come.
And I say, "Well son, what changed your mind?"

And he said, "When my grandpa found out that I had a chance to play for you and said no, he pitched a fit and told me I wasn't going nowhere but Alabama, and wasn't playing for nobody but you. He thinks a lot of you and has ever since y'all met."

Well, I didn't know his granddad from Adam's housecat so I asked him who his granddaddy was and he said, "You probably don't remember him, but you ate in his restaurant your first year at Alabama and you sent him a picture that he's had hung in that place ever since. That picture's his pride and joy and he still tells everybody about the day that Bear Bryant came in and had chitlins with him..."

"My grandpa said that when you left there, he never expected you to remember him or to send him that picture, but you kept your word to him and to Grandpa, that's everything. He said you could teach me more than football and I had to play for a man like you, so I guess I'm going to."

I was floored. But I learned that the lessons my mama taught me were always right. It don't cost nuthin' to be nice. It don't cost nuthin' to do the right thing most of the time, and it costs a lot to lose your good name by breaking your word to someone.

When I went back to sign that boy, I looked up his Grandpa and he's still running that place, but it looks a lot better now. And he didn't have chitlins that day, but he had some ribs that would make Dreamland proud. I made sure I posed for a lot of pictures; and don't think I didn't leave some new ones for him, too, along with a signed football.

I made it clear to all my assistants to keep this story and these lessons in mind when they're out on the road. If you remember anything else from me, remember this. It really doesn't cost anything to be nice, and the rewards can be unimaginable.

Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant

*********************************
Editor's Note: Coach Bryant was in the presence of those few gentlemen for only minutes, and he defined himself for life. Regardless of our profession, we do define ourselves by how we treat others, and how we behave in the presence of others, and most of the time, we have only minutes or seconds to leave a lasting impression. We can be rude, crude, arrogant, cantankerous, or we can be nice.
Nice is always a better choice.

********************************************

“I expect to pass through the world but once. Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness I can show to any creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer it, for I shall not pass this way again.”


WHEN YOU THOUGHT I WASN'T LOOKING

A message every adult should read because children are watching you and doing as you do, not as you say.

When you thought I wasn't looking I saw you hang my first painting on the refrigerator, and I immediately wanted to paint another one.

When you thought I wasn't looking I saw you feed a stray cat, and I learned that it was good to be kind to animals.

When you thought I wasn't looking I saw you make my favorite cake for me, and I learned that the little things can be the special things in life.

When you thought I wasn't looking I heard you say a prayer, and I knew that there is a God I could always talk to, and I learned to trust in Him.
When you thought I wasn't looking I saw you make a meal and take it to a friend who was sick, and I learned that we all have to help take care of each other.

When you thought I wasn't looking I saw you take care of our house and everyone in it, and I learned we have to take care of what we are given.

When you thought I wasn't looking I saw how you handled your responsibilities, even when you didn't feel good, and I learned that I would have to be responsible when I grow up.

When you thought I wasn't looking I saw tears come from your eyes, and I learned that sometimes things hurt, but it's all right to cry.

When you thought I wasn't looking I saw that you cared, and I wanted to be everything that I could be.

When you thought I wasn't looking I learned most of life's lessons that I need to know to be a good and productive person when I grow up.

When you thought I wasn't looking I looked at you and wanted to say,' Thanks for all the things I saw when you thought I wasn't looking.


Apples 
A few years ago a group of salesmen went to a regional sales convention in Chicago. They had assured their wives that they would be home in plenty of time for Friday night's dinner. In their rush, with tickets and briefcases, one of these salesmen inadvertently kicked over a table which held a display of apples. Apples flew everywhere. Without stopping or looking back, they all managed to reach the plane in time for their nearly-missed boarding.

ALL BUT ONE THAT IS!!! He paused, took a deep breath, got in touch with his feelings and experienced a twinge of compassion for the girl whose apple stand had been overturned.

He told his buddies to go on without him, waved good-bye, told one of them to call his wife when they arrived at their home destination and explain his taking a later flight. Then he returned to the terminal where the apples were all over the terminal floor.

He was glad he did. The 16-year-old girl was totally blind! She was softly crying, tears running down her cheeks in frustration, and at the same time helplessly groping for her spilled produce as the crowd swirled about her; no one stopping and no one to care for her plight.

The salesman knelt on the floor with her, gathered up the apples, put them back on the table and helped organize her display. As he did this, he noticed that many of them had become battered and bruised; these he set aside in another basket.
When he had finished, he pulled out his wallet and said to the girl, "Here, please take this $40 for the damage we did. Are you okay?"

She nodded through her tears. He continued on with, "I hope we didn't spoil your day too badly."

As the salesman started to walk away, the bewildered blind girl called out to him, "Mister." He paused and turned to look back into those blind eyes. She continued, "Are you Jesus?"

He stopped in mid-stride and he wondered why she would ask him that question. He slowly walked back to her and said, "No, I am nothing like Jesus - He is good, kind, caring, loving, and would never have bumped

into your display in the first place."

The girl nodded faintly: "I only asked because I prayed for Jesus to help me gather the apples. He sent you to help me, so you are like Him. Only He knows who will do His will. Thank you for hearing His call."

Then slowly he made his way to catch the later flight with that question burning and bouncing about in his soul: "Are you Jesus?"

Do people mistake you for Jesus?

That is our destiny, is it not? To be so much like Jesus that people cannot tell the difference as we live and interact with a world that is blind to His love, His life and His grace.

If we claim to know Him, we should live, walk and act as He would. Knowing Him is more than simply quoting Scripture and going to church. It's actually living the Word as life unfolds day to day .

You are the apple of His eye even though you, too, have been bruised by this world. He stopped what He was doing and picked you and me up on a hill called Calvary and paid in full for our damaged fruit.

Sometimes we just take things for granted, when we really need to be sharing what we know.

Being happy doesn't mean everything is perfect. It means you've decided to see beyond the imperfections.
The nicest place to be is in someone's thoughts, the safest place to be is in someone's prayers, and the very best place to be is ........in the hands of God!


Burned Biscuits - A Lesson For The Learning.

When I was a kid, my Mom liked to make breakfast food for dinner every now and then. I remember one night in particular when she had made breakfast after a long, hard day.

On that evening so long ago, my Mom placed a plate of eggs, sausage and extremely burned biscuits in front of my dad. I remember waiting to see if anyone noticed!

All my dad did was reach for his biscuit, smile at my Mom and ask me how my day was at school. I don't remember what I told him that night, but I do remember watching him smear butter and jelly on that ugly burned biscuit. He ate every bite of that thing...never made a face nor uttered a word about it!

When I got up from the table that evening, I remember hearing my Mom apologize to my dad for burning the biscuits. And I'll never forget what he said, "Honey, I love burned biscuits every now and then."

Later that night, I went to kiss Daddy good night and I asked him if he really liked his biscuits burned. He wrapped me in his arms and said, "Your Mom put in a hard day today and she's real tired. And besides--a little burned biscuit never hurt anyone!"

As I've grown older, I've thought about that many times. Life is full of imperfect things and imperfect people. I'm not the best at hardly anything, and I forget birthdays and anniversaries just like everyone else.

But what I've learned over the years is that learning to accept each other's faults and choosing to celebrate each other’s differences is one of the most important keys to creating a healthy, growing, and lasting relationship.

And that's my prayer for you today...that you will learn to take the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of your life and lay them at the feet of God. Because in the end, He's the only One who will be able to give you a relationship where a burnt biscuit isn't a deal-breaker!

We could extend this to any relationship. In fact, understanding is the basis of any relationship, be it a husband-wife or parent-child or friendship!

"Don't put the key to your happiness in someone else's pocket--keep it in your own."

So, please pass me a biscuit, and yes, the burned one will do just fine.

Author Unknown


The Smell of Rain

A cold March wind danced around the dead of night in Dallas as the doctor walked into the small hospital room of Diana Blessing. She was still groggy from surgery.

Her husband, David, held her hand as they braced themselves for the latest news.

That afternoon of March 10, 1991, complications had forced Diana, only 24-weeks pregnant, to undergo an emergency Cesarean to deliver couple's new daughter, Dana Lu Blessing.

At 12 inches long and weighing only one pound nine ounces, they already knew she was perilously premature.

Still, the doctor's soft words dropped like bombs. “I don't think she's going to make it,” he said, as kindly as he could.

“There's only a 10-percent chance she will live through the night, and even then, if by some slim chance she does make it, her future could be a very cruel one.”

Numb with disbelief, David and Diana listened as the doctor described the devastating problems Dana would likely face if she survived.

She would never walk, she would never talk, she would probably be blind, and she would certainly be prone to other catastrophic conditions from cerebral palsy to complete mental retardation, and on and on.

“No! No!” was all Diana could say.

She and David, with their 5-year-old son Dustin, had long dreamed of the day they would have a daughter to become a family of four. Now, within a matter of hours, that dream was slipping away.

But as those first days passed, a new agony set in for David and Diana. Because Dana 's underdeveloped nervous system was essentially 'raw', the lightest kiss or caress only intensified her discomfort, so they couldn't even cradle their tiny baby girl against their chests to offer the strength of their love. 

All they could do, as Dana struggled alone beneath the ultraviolet light in the tangle of tubes and wires, was to pray that God would stay close to their precious little girl.

There was never a moment when Dana suddenly grew stronger. But as the weeks went by, she did slowly gain an ounce of weight here and an ounce of strength there.

At last, when Dana turned two months old, her parents were able to hold her in their arms for the very first time.

And two months later, though doctors continued to gently but grimly warn that her chances of surviving, much less living any kind of normal life, were next to zero, Dana went home from the hospital, just as her mother had predicted.

Five years later, when Dana was a petite but feisty young girl with glittering gray eyes and an unquenchable zest for life. She showed no signs whatsoever of any mental or physical impairment. Simply, she was everything a little girl can be and more. But that happy ending is far from the end of her story.

One blistering afternoon in the summer of 1996 near her home in Irving, Texas, Dana was sitting in her mother's lap in the bleachers of a local ball park where her brother Dustin's baseball team was practicing.

As always, Dana was chattering nonstop with her mother and several other adults sitting nearby, when she suddenly fell silent. Hugging her arms across her chest, little Dana asked, “Do you smell that?”

Smelling the air and detecting the approach of a thunderstorm, Diana replied, “Yes, it smells like rain.”

Dana closed her eyes and again asked, “Do you smell that?”

Once again, her mother replied, “Yes, I think we're about to get wet. It smells like rain.

Still caught in the moment, Dana shook her head, patted her thin shoulders with her small hands and loudly announced. “No, it smells like Him. It smells like God when you lay your head on His chest.”

Tears blurred Diana's eyes as Dana happily hopped down to play with the other children.

Before the rains came, her daughter's words confirmed what Diana and all the members of the extended Blessing family had known, at least in their hearts, all along. During those long days and nights of her first two months of her life, when her nerves were too sensitive for them to touch her, God was holding Dana on His chest and it is His loving scent that she remembers so well.


Jesus and Old Ben

A Minister passing through his church

In the middle of the day,

Decided to pause by the altar

To see who had come to pray.

Just then the back door opened,

And a man came down the aisle,

The minister frowned when he saw the man

Hadn't shaved in quite a while.

His shirt was torn and shabby, 

And his coat was worn and frayed, 

The man knelt down and bowed his head, 

Then rose and walked away.

At noon in the days that followed, 

The preacher saw this chap,

Each time he knelt for a moment,

A lunch pail in his lap.

The minister grew suspicious,

With robbery a main fear,

He decided to stop and ask the man, 

'What are you doing here?' 

He said he was a factory worker 

And for lunch he had half an hour

Lunchtime was his prayer time,

For finding strength and power. 

I stay only a moment

Because the factory's far away;

As I kneel here talking to the Lord,

This is kind of what I say: 

‘I just came by to tell you Lord

How happy I have been,

Since we found each others friendship

And You took away my sin.

Don’t know much of how to pray,

But I think about You everyday.

So, Jesus, this is your friend Ben,

Just checking in today.’  

The minister feeling foolish,

Told Ben that it was fine.

He told Ben that he was welcome

To pray there anytime. 

'It's time to go, and thanks,' Ben said 

As he hurried to the door.

Then the minister knelt there at the altar,

Which he'd never done before. 

His cold heart melted, warmed with love, 

As he met with Jesus there.

As the tears flowed down his cheeks,

He repeated old Ben's prayer: 

‘I just came by to tell you, Lord,

How happy I have been,

Since we found each others friendship

And you took away my sin. 

I don’t know much of how to pray,

But I think bout you every day.

So, Jesus, This is me,

Just checking in today.’  

Past noon one day, the minister saw,

That old Ben hadn't come.

As more days passed and still no Ben,

He began to worry some. 

At the factory, he asked about him,

Learning he was ill.

The hospital staff was worried,

But he'd given them a thrill. 

The week that Ben was with them,

Brought changes in the ward.

His smiles and joy contagious.

Changed people were his reward. 

The head nurse couldn't understand

How Ben could be so glad,

When not a flower, call or card,

Nor visitor had he had. 

The minister stayed by his bed,

The nurse voiced her concern:

‘No friends had come to show they cared.

There was no one to whom he could turn.’ 

Looking surprised, old Ben spoke up 

And with a winsome smile;

'The nurse is wrong, she couldn't know,

He's been here all the while. 

Everyday at noon He comes,

This dear friend of mine, you see,

He sits right down and takes my hand,

Leans over and says to me: 

‘I just came by to tell you, Ben,

How happy I have been,

Since we began this friendship,

And I took away your sin. 

I think about you all the time,

And I love to hear you pray,

And so Ben, this is Jesus,

Just checking in today.’’

Author Unknown


Tommy's Story

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. 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 on 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 I 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 clever. 

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 remember. 

"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. 

"Like what?, I asked. 

"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 afterlife, 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." 

"Well, talk! 

"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 many years. " 

"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, three weeks. " 

“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.” 

"Oooh.. 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. 

If this story means anything to you, please pass it on to a friend or two.

It is a true story and is not enhanced for publicity purposes. 

With thanks,

Rev. John Powell,

Professor, Loyola University , Chicago


Inspiration

This is a true story reprinted from Patriot Post

February 18th, 2013

13-year-old Anna with daughter Josey Ann

"I received an amazing email from Anna, who gave me permission to post her story and her name. ...

'When I was little I was molested for eight years by my stepfather. ... I got pregnant the first time when I was 12. I was scared and told him. He hit me and then loaded me up on drugs, telling my mom that I had been injured while out playing with some other kids. He killed my baby. ... When I was 13, I became pregnant again. This time I did not say anything to him. My mom noticed that my body was changing, even though I was only about two months along at the time, and asked me about it. I finally got the courage and told her everything. She immediately packed up my brother, sister, and I and took us to our Aunt's house. From there she called the police. In the end, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison for molesting not only me but my sister. I was told by therapists, friends, teachers, family, and even strangers, that it would probably be best if I had an abortion; but I couldn't. It was harder than I have words to describe. But there are some things in life that are worth fighting for, and she was one of them. I decided to name her Josey Ann, after a character in a book I had read. On Friday, July 28, 1995, roughly six weeks before my due date, I went into labor. Words cannot express the joy I felt when we got to bring her home the day before I started the 7th grade. My mom was amazing, she watched my daughter so that I could finish school. I did graduate and was my class historian. I met a wonderful man who loves both me and my daughter, and we now have four children. It wasn't until I was 26 that I truly found a relationship with Jesus Christ. A wonderful neighbor of ours showed me how much Jesus loves me. Because He loves us, He gave us free will. My stepfather abused that gift when he abused me. But like Romans 8:28 says, God used something horrible to bring me one of the greatest blessings in my life. To anyone who is where I was, please hold on. You can make it, and your child will bring you more joy than you can imagine. It will be hard, but it is worth it.'" --LifeNews' Jill Stanek


WANT A FREE HOUSE?

Posted 2-17, 2013
I was in my neighborhood restaurant this morning and was seated behind a group of jubilant individuals celebrating the coming implementation of the health care bill. I could not finish my breakfast. This is what ensued:
They were a diverse group of several races and both sexes. I heard the young man exclaim, “Isn’t Obama like Jesus Christ? I mean, after all, he is healing the sick.”
The young woman enthusiastically proclaimed, “Yeah, and he does it for free. I cannot believe anyone would think that a free market would work for health care.”
Another said, ‘The stupid Republicans want us all to starve to death so they can inherit all of the power. Obama should be made a Saint for what he did for those of us less fortunate.”
At this, I had more than enough. I arose from my seat, mustering all the restraint I could find, and approached their table. “Please excuse me; may I impose upon you for one moment?”
They smiled and welcomed me to the conversation. I stood at the end of their table, smiled as best I could and began an experiment.
“I would like to give one of you my house. It will cost you no money, and I will pay all of the expenses and taxes for as long as you live there.
Anyone interested?”
They looked at each other in astonishment.
“Why would you do something like that?” asked a young man. “There isn’t anything for free in this world.”
They began to laugh at me, as they did not realize this man had just made my point.
“I am serious, I will give you my house for free, no money whatsoever.
Anyone interested?”
In unison, a resounding “Hell Yeah” fills the room.
“Since there are too many of you, I will have to make a choice as to who receives this money-free bargain.”
I noticed an elderly couple was paying attention to the spectacle unfolding before their eyes, the old man shaking his head in apparent disgust.
“I tell you what; I will give it to the one of you most willing to obey my rules.”
Again, they looked at one another, an expression of bewilderment on their faces.
The perky young woman asked, “What are the rules?”

I smiled and said, “I don’t know. I have not yet defined them.
However, it is a free home that I offer you.”
They giggled amongst themselves, the youngest of which said, “What an
old coot. He must be crazy to give away his home. Go take your meds, old
man.”
I smiled and leaned into the table a bit further. “I am serious, this
is a legitimate offer.”
They gaped at me for a moment.
“I’ll take it you old fool. Where are the keys?” boasted the youngest
among them.
“Then I presume you accept ALL of my terms then?” I asked.
The elderly couple seemed amused and entertained as they watched from the privacy of their table. “Oh, hell yeah! Where do I sign up?”
I took a napkin and wrote, “I give this man my home, without the burden of financial obligation, so long as he accepts and abides by the terms that I shall set forth upon consummation of this transaction.”
I signed it and handed it to the young man who eagerly scratched out his signature.
“Where are the keys to my new house?” he asked in a mocking tone of voice.
All eyes were upon us as I stepped back from the table, pulling the keys from pocket and dangling them before the excited new homeowner.
“Now that we have entered into this binding contract, witnessed by all of your friends, I have decided upon the conditions you are obligated to adhere from this point forward. You may only live in the house for one hour
a day. You will not use anything inside of the home. You will obey me without question or resistance. I expect complete loyalty and admiration for this gift I bestow upon you. You will accept my commands and wishes
with enthusiasm, no matter the nature. Your morals and principles shall be as mine. You will vote as I do, think as I do and do it with blind faith.

These are my terms. Here are your keys.”
I reached the keys forward and the young man looked at me dumbfounded.


“Are you out of your mind? Who would ever agree to those ridiculous terms?” the young man appeared irritated.
“You did when you signed this contract before reading it, understanding it and with the full knowledge that I would provide my conditions only after you committed to the agreement.”
The elderly man chuckled as his wife tried to restrain him. I was looking at a now silenced and bewildered group of people.

"You can shove that stupid deal up your nose old man. I want no part of it!” exclaimed the now infuriated young man.
'You have committed to the contract, as witnessed by all of your friends. You cannot get out of the deal unless I agree to it. I do not intend to let you free now that I have you ensnared. I am the power you agreed to. I am the one you blindly and without thought chose to enslave yourself to. In short, I am your Master.”
At this, the table of celebrating individuals became a unified group against the unfairness of the deal. After a few moments of unrepeatable comments and slurs, I revealed my true intent.
“What I did to you is what this administration and congress did to you with the health care legislation. I easily suckered you in and then revealed the real cost of the bargain. Your folly was in the belief that you can have something you did not earn, and for that which you did not earn, you willingly allowed someone else to think for you. Your failure to research, study and inform yourself permitted reason to escape you. You have entered into a trap from which you cannot flee. Your only chance of freedom is if your new Master gives it to you. A freedom that is given can also be taken away. Therefore, it is not freedom at all.”
With that, I tore up the napkin and placed it before the astonished young man. “This is the nature of your new health care legislation.”
I turned away to leave these few in thought and contemplation -- and was surprised by applause.
The elderly gentleman, who was clearly entertained, shook my hand enthusiastically and said, “Thank you, Sir. These kids don’t understand Liberty.”
He refused to allow me to pay my bill as he said, “You earned this one. It is an honor to pick up the tab.”
I shook his hand in thanks, leaving the restaurant somewhat humbled and sensing a glimmer of hope for my beloved country.
Remember, four boxes keep us free: the soap box, the ballot box, the jury box, and the cartridge box.


The Silent Sermon

A member of the church, who previously had been attending services regularly, stopped going. After a few weeks, the pastor decided to visit him.

It was a chilly evening. The pastor found the man at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire. Guessing the reason for his pastor's visit, the man welcomed him, led him to a comfortable chair near the fireplace and waited.

The pastor made himself at home but said nothing. In the grave silence, he contemplated the dance of the flames around the burning logs. After some minutes, the pastor took the fire tongs, carefully picked up a brightly burning ember and placed it to one side of the hearth all alone then he sat back in his chair, still silent.

 The host watched all this in quiet contemplation. As the one lone ember's flame flickered and diminished, there was a momentary glow and then its fire was no more. Soon it was cold and dead.

Not a word had been spoken since the initial greeting. The pastor glanced at his watch and realized it was time to leave. He slowly stood up, picked up the cold, dead ember and placed it back in the middle of the fire.

Immediately it began to glow, once more with the light and warmth of the burning coals around it.

  As the pastor reached the door to leave, his host said with a tear running down his cheek, 'Thank you so much for your visit and especially for the fiery sermon. I will be back in church next Sunday.'

We live in a world today, which tries to say too much with  too  little. Consequently, few listen. Sometimes the best sermons are the ones left unspoken.

The Lord is my Shepherd ----- that's a Relationship!

I shall not want ----- that's Supply!

He makes me to lie down in green pastures ----that's Rest!

He leads me beside the still waters -----that's Refreshment!

He restores my soul ----- that's Healing!

He leads me in the paths of righteousness --that's Guidance!

For His name sake ----- that's Purpose!

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death--that's Testing!

I will fear no evil ----- that's Protection!

For You are with me ----- that's Faithfulness!

Your rod and Your staff comfort me -----that's Discipline!

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies------that's Hope!

You anoint my head with oil -----that's Consecration!

My cup runs over ----- that's Abundance!

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life----that's Blessing!

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord -----that's Security !

Forever ----- that's Eternity!


THE WOMAN AND A FORK

There was a young woman who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and had been given three months to live. So as she was getting her things 'in order,' she contacted her Pastor and had him come to her house to discuss certain aspects of her final wishes.

She told him which songs she wanted sung at the service, what scriptures she would like read, and what outfit she wanted to be buried in.

Everything was in order and the Pastor was preparing to leave when the young woman suddenly remembered something very important to her.

'There's one more thing,' she said excitedly..

'What's that?' came the Pastor's reply?

'This is very important,' the young woman continued. 'I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand.'

The Pastor stood looking at the young woman, not knowing quite what to say.

That surprises you, doesn't it?' the young woman asked.

'Well, to be honest, I'm puzzled by the request,' said the Pastor.

The young woman explained. 'My grandmother once told me this story, and from that time on I have always tried to pass along its message to those I love and those who are in need of encouragement. In all my years of attending socials and dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say, 'Keep your fork.' It was my favorite part because I knew that something better was coming...like velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie, something wonderful, and with substance!'

So, I just want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder 'What's with the fork?' Then I want you to tell them: 'Keep your fork …...the best is yet to come.'

The Pastor's eyes welled up with tears of joy as he hugged the young woman good-bye. He knew this would be one of the last times he would see her before her death. But he also knew that the young woman had a better grasp of heaven than he did. She had a better grasp of what heaven would be like than many people twice her age, with twice as much experience and knowledge. She KNEW that something better was coming.

At the funeral people were walking by the young woman's casket and they saw the cloak she was wearing and the fork placed in her right hand. Over and over, the Pastor heard the question, 'What's with the fork?' And over and over he smiled.

During his message, the Pastor told the people of the conversation he had with the young woman shortly before she died. He also told them about the fork and about what it symbolized to her. He told the people how he could not stop thinking about the fork and told them that they probably would not be able to stop thinking about it either.

He was right. So the next time you reach down for your fork let it remind you, ever so gently, that the best is yet to come. Friends are a very rare jewel, indeed. They make you smile and encourage you to succeed. Cherish the time you have, and the memories you share. Being friends with someone is not an opportunity, but a sweet responsibility.

Copy and Send this to everyone you consider a FRIEND...and I'll bet this will be an Email they do remember, every time they pick up a fork!

And just remember...keep your fork!

The BEST is yet to come!

God Bless !


JOHN MCCAIN'S REMARKS ABOUT THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE!

In light of the recent appeals court ruling in California , with respect to the Pledge of Allegiance, the following recollection from Senator John McCain is very appropriate.

"The Pledge of Allegiance" - by Senator John McCain

 As you may know, I spent five and one half years as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War. In the early years of our imprisonment, the NVA kept us in solitary confinement or two or three to a cell. In 1971 the NVA moved us from these conditions of isolation into large rooms with as many as 30 to 40 men to a room.
This was, as you can imagine, a wonderful change and was a direct result of the efforts of millions of Americans on behalf of a few hundred POWs 10,000 miles from home.

One of the men who moved into my room was a young man named Mike Christian. Mike came from a small town near Selma, Alabama . He didn't wear a pair of shoes until he was 13 years old. At 17, he enlisted in the US Navy. He later earned a commission by going to Officer Training School. Then he became a Naval Flight Officer and was shot down and captured in 1967. Mike had a keen and deep appreciation of the opportunities this country and our military provide for people who want to work and want to succeed.

As part of the change in treatment, the Vietnamese allowed some prisoners to receive packages from home. In some of these packages were handkerchiefs, scarves and other items of clothing.
Mike got himself a bamboo needle.

Over a period of a couple of months, he created an American flag and sewed it on the inside of his shirt.

Every afternoon, before we had a bowl of soup, we would hang Mike's shirt on the wall of the cell and say the Pledge of Allegiance.

I know the Pledge of Allegiance may not seem the most important part of our day now, but I can assure you that in that stark cell it was indeed the most important and meaningful event.

One day the Vietnamese searched our cell, as they did periodically, and discovered Mike's shirt with the flag sewn inside, and removed it.

That evening they returned, opened the door of the cell, and for the benefit of all of us, beat Mike Christian severely for the next couple of hours. Then, they opened the door of the cell and threw him in. We cleaned him up as well as we could.

The cell in which we lived had a concrete slab in the middle on which we slept. Four naked light bulbs hung in each corner of the room.

As I said, we tried to clean up Mike as well as we could. After the excitement died down, I looked in the corner of the room, and sitting there beneath that dim light bulb with a piece of red cloth, another shirt and his bamboo needle, was my friend, Mike Christian. He was sitting there with his eyes almost shut from the beating he had received, making another American flag. He was not making the flag because it made Mike Christian feel better. He was making that flag because he knew how important it was to us to be able to pledge our allegiance to our flag and country.

So the next time you say the Pledge of Allegiance, you must never forget the sacrifice and courage that thousands of Americans have made to build our nation and promote freedom around the world.

You must remember our duty, our honor, and our country.

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."


A Blue Rose

Having four visiting family members, my wife was very busy, so I offered to go to the store for her to get some needed items, which included light bulbs, paper towels, trash bags, detergent and Clorox. So, off I went. I scurried around the store, gathered up my goodies and headed for the checkout counter, only to be blocked in the narrow aisle by a young man who appeared to be about sixteen-years-old. I wasn't in a hurry, so I waited for the boy to realize that I was there. This was when he waved his hands excitedly in the air and declared in a loud voice, "Mommy, I'm over here!"

It was obvious now, he was mentally challenged and also startled as he turned and saw me standing so close to him, waiting to squeeze by. His eyes widened and surprise exploded on his face as I said, "Hey Buddy, what's your name?"

"My name is Denny and I'm shopping with my mother," he responded proudly.

"Wow," I said, "that's a cool name; I wish my name was Denny, but my name is Steve."

"Steve, like Stevarino?" he asked.

"Yes," I answered. "How old are you Denny?"

"How old am I now, Mommy?" he asked his mother as she came
over from the next aisle.

"You're fifteen-years-old Denny; now be a good boy and let the man pass by."

I acknowledged her and continued to talk to Denny for a couple minutes about summer, bicycles and school. I watched his brown eyes dance with excitement, because he was the center of someone's attention. He then abruptly turned and headed toward the toy section. Denny's mom had a puzzled look on her face and thanked me for taking the time to talk with her son. She told me that most people wouldn't even look at him, much less talk to him.

I told her that it was my pleasure. And then I said something that I have no idea where it came from... I told her that "there are plenty of red, yellow, and pink roses in God's Garden; however, 'Blue Roses' are very rare and should be appreciated for their beauty and distinctiveness. You see, Denny is a Blue Rose and if someone doesn't stop and smell that rose with their heart and touch that rose with their kindness, then they've missed a blessing from God."

She was silent for a second, then with a tear in her eye she asked, "Who are you?"

Without thinking I said, "Oh, I'm probably just an ole dandelion, but I sure love living in God's garden."

She reached out, squeezed my hand and said, "God bless you!" and then I had tears in my eyes.

May I suggest, the next time you see a Blue Rose, don't turn your head and walk off. Take the time to smile and say "Hello."

Why? Because, by the grace of God, this mother or father could be you. This could be your child, grandchild, niece or nephew. What a difference a few kind moments can mean to that person or their family.


Hands!

A basketball in my hands is worth about $19.
A basketball in Michael Jordan's hands is worth about $33 million.
It depends whose hands it's in.

A baseball in my hands is worth about $6.
A baseball in Roger Clemens' hands is worth $475 million.
It depends on whose hands it's in.

A tennis racket is useless in my hands.
A tennis racket in Andre Agassi's hands is worth millions.
It depends whose hands it's in.

A rod in my hands will keep away an angry dog.
A rod in Moses' hands will part the Mighty sea.
It depends whose hands it's in.

A slingshot in my hands is a kid's toy.
A slingshot in David's hand is a Mighty weapon.
It depends whose hands it's in.

Two fish and 5 loaves of bread In my hands is a couple of fish sandwiches. Two fish and 5 loaves of bread in Jesus' Hands will feed thousands.

It depends whose hands it's in.

Nails in my hands might produce a birdhouse.
Nails in Jesus Christ's hands will produce salvation for the entire world.
It depends whose hands it's in.

As you see now, it depends whose hands it's in.
So put your concerns, your worries, Your fears, your hopes, your dreams, Your families and your relationships in God's hands because-
It depends whose hands it's in.
This message is now in YOUR hands.
What will YOU do with it? 

Remember? It Depends on WHOSE Hands it's in!


Two Little Boys

Two little boys, ages 8 and 6, are excessively mischievous. They are always getting into trouble and their parents know if any mischief occurs in their town, the two boys are probably involved.

The boys' mother heard that a preacher in town had been successful in disciplining children, so she asked if he would speak with her boys.

The preacher agreed, but he asked to see them individually.

The mother sent the 6 year old in the morning, with the older boy to see the preacher in the afternoon. The preacher, a huge man with a deep booming voice, sat the younger boy down and asked him sternly,

"Do you know where God is, son?"

The boy's mouth dropped open, but he made no response, sitting there wide-eyed with his mouth hanging open.

So the preacher repeated the question in an even sterner tone, "Where is God?!”

Again, the boy made no attempt to answer.

The preacher raised his voice even more and shook his finger in the boy's face and bellowed, "WHERE IS GOD?!"

The boy screamed & bolted from the room, ran directly home & dove into his closet, slamming the door behind him. When his older brother found him in the closet, he asked,

"What happened?"

The younger brother, gasping for breath, replied, "We are in BIG trouble this time! GOD is missing, and they think WE did it!"


"New Pledge of Allegiance"

Now I sit me down in school

Where praying is against the rule

For this great nation under God

Finds mention of Him very odd.

If scripture now the class recites,

It violates the Bill of Rights.

And anytime my head I bow

Becomes a Federal matter now.

Our hair can be purple, orange or green,

That's no offense; it's a freedom scene..

The law is specific, the law is precise.

Prayers spoken aloud are a serious vice.

For praying in a public hall

Might offend someone with no faith at all..

In silence alone we must meditate,

God's name is prohibited by the state.

We're allowed to cuss and dress like freaks,

And pierce our noses, tongues and cheeks...

They've outlawed guns, but FIRST the Bible.

To quote the Good Book makes me liable.

We can elect a pregnant Senior Queen,

And the 'unwed daddy,' our Senior King.

It's 'inappropriate' to teach right from wrong,

We're taught that such 'judgments' do not belong.

We can get our condoms and birth controls,

Study witchcraft, vampires and totem poles

But the Ten Commandments are not allowed,

No word of God must reach this crowd.

It's scary here I must confess,

When chaos reigns the school's a mess.

So, Lord, this silent plea I make:

Should I be shot; My soul please take!

Amen



JOYFUL THINGS


At times I'm so discouraged
with problems of the day
I fail to see the joyful things
that are along the way.

When troubles overwhelm me
It's then my nerves may fray
that's when I need to take the time
To simply sit and pray.

Reflecting on God's many the gifts
It makes me so aware
Of all the joy in little things
around me everywhere!

I must try to remember
though problems come my way
not to miss the joyful things
and the beauty of the day.

-- Author Unknown


WILL WE KNOW THE FACE OF GOD WHEN WE SEE HIM?

Daniel's Gloves

I sat, with two friends, in the picture window of a quaint restaurant just off the corner of the town-square. The food and the company were both especially good that day.

As we talked, my attention was drawn outside, across the street. There, walking into town, was a man who appeared to be carrying all his worldly goods on his back. He was carrying, a well-worn sign that read, 'I will work for food.' My heart sank.  

I brought him to the attention of my friends and noticed that others around us had stopped eating to focus on him. Heads moved in a mixture of sadness and disbelief. 

We continued with our meal, but his image lingered in my mind. We finished our meal and went our separate ways. I had errands to do and quickly set out to accomplish them. I glanced toward the town square, looking somewhat halfheartedly for the strange visitor. I was fearful, knowing that seeing him again would call some response. I drove through town and saw nothing of him. I made some purchases at a store and got back in my car.  

Deep within me, the Spirit of God kept speaking to me: 'Don't go back to the office until you've at least driven once more around the square.' 

Then with some hesitancy, I headed back into town. As I turned the square's third corner, I saw him. He was standing on the steps of the store front church, going through his sack.  

I stopped and looked; feeling both compelled to speak to him, yet wanting to drive on. The empty parking space on the corner seemed to be a sign from God: an invitation to park. I pulled in, got out and approached the town's newest visitor. 

“Looking for the pastor?” I asked. 

“Not really,” he replied, “just resting.”

“Have you eaten today?” 

“Oh, I ate something early this morning.” 

“Would you like to have lunch with me?” 

“Do you have some work I could do for you?” 

“No work,” I replied “I commute here to work from the city, but I would like to take you to lunch.” 

“Sure,' he replied with a smile.” 

As he began to gather his things, I asked some surface questions. “Where you headed?” 

“St. Louis.” 

“Where you from?” 

“Oh, all over; mostly Florida.”  

“How long you been walking?” 

“Fourteen years” came the reply. 

I knew I had met someone unusual. We sat across from each other in the same restaurant I had left earlier. His face was weathered slightly beyond his 38 years. His eyes were dark yet clear, and he spoke with an eloquence and articulation that was startling. He removed his jacket to reveal a bright red T-shirt that said, “Jesus is The Never Ending Story.” 

Then Daniel's story began to unfold. He had seen rough times early in life. He'd made some wrong choices and reaped the consequences. Fourteen years earlier, while backpacking across the country, he had stopped on the beach in Daytona. He tried to hire on with some men who were putting up a large tent and some equipment. A concert, he thought.  

He was hired, but the tent would not house a concert but revival services, and in those services he saw life more clearly. He gave his life over to God. 

“Nothing's been the same since,” he said, “I felt the Lord telling me to keep walking, and so I did, some 14 years now.” 

“Ever think of stopping?” I asked.  

“Oh, once in a while, when it seems to get the best of me, but God has given me this calling. I give out Bibles. That's what's in my sack. I work to buy food and Bibles, and I give them out when His Spirit leads.” 

I sat amazed. My homeless friend was not homeless. He was on a mission and lived this way by choice. The question burned inside for a moment and then I asked: “What's it like?”  

“What?” He asked. 

“To walk into a town carrying all your things on your back and to show your sign?” 

“Oh, it was humiliating at first. People would stare and make comments. Once someone tossed a piece of half-eaten bread at me and made a gesture that certainly didn't make me feel welcome. But then it became humbling to realize that God was using me to touch lives and change people's concepts of other folks like me.” 

My concept was changing, too. We finished our dessert and gathered his things. Just outside the door, he paused He turned to me and said, “Come Ye blessed of my Father and inherit the kingdom I've prepared for you. For when I was hungry you gave me food. When I was thirsty you gave me drink, a stranger and you took me in.” 

I felt as if we were on holy ground. “Could you use another Bible?” I asked. 

He said he preferred a certain translation. It traveled well and was not too heavy. It was also his personal favorite. “I've read through it 14 times,” he said.  

“I'm not sure we've got one of those, but let's stop by our church and see.” I was able to find my new friend a Bible that would do well, and he seemed very grateful. 

“What are your plans when you get to St. Louis?” I asked. 

“Well, I found this little map on the back of this amusement park coupon.” 

“Are you hoping to hire on there for awhile?”  

“No, I just thought I should go there. I figure someone under that star right there needs a Bible, so that's where I'm going next.” 

He smiled, and the warmth of his spirit affirmed the sincerity of his mission. I drove him back to the town-square where we'd met two hours earlier, and as we drove, it started raining. We parked and unloaded his things.   

“Would you sign my autograph book?” he asked. “I like to keep messages from folks I meet.” 

I wrote in his little book that his commitment to his calling had touched my life. I encouraged him to stay strong. And I left him with a verse of scripture from Jeremiah, “I know the plans I have for you,” declared the Lord; “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you; Plans to give you a future and a hope.”  

“Thanks, man,” he said. “I know we just met and we're really just strangers, but I want you to know, I love you.” 

“I know,” I said, “I love you, too.”

He gave me sort of a half smile, “Isn’t the Lord good?!” 

“Yes, He is.” I answered through a tightening throat. Then I asked, “How long has it been since someone hugged you?” 

“A long time,” he replied. 

And so on the busy street corner in the drizzling rain, my new friend and I embraced, and I felt deep inside that I had been changed. He put his things on his back, smiled his winning smile and said, “See you in the New Jerusalem.” 

“I'll be there!” was my reply.  

He began his journey again. He headed away with his sign dangling from his bedroll and pack of Bibles. He stopped, turned and said, “When you see something that makes you think of me, will you pray for me?” 

“You bet,” I shouted back, “God bless you!” 

“And God bless you!” Replied he.

And that was the last I saw of him. 

Late that evening as I left my office, the wind blew strong. The cold front had settled hard upon the town. I bundled up and hurried to my car. As I sat back and reached for the emergency brake, I saw them.... a pair of well-worn brown work gloves neatly laid over the length of the handle. I picked them up and thought of my friend and wondered if his hands would stay warm that night without them.  

Then I remembered his words: “If you see something that makes you think of me, will you pray for me?”

Right then and there, I leaned forward, laid my head on the steering wheel and remembering Daniel, I prayed as never before. 

Today his gloves lie on my desk in my office. They help me to see the world and its people in a new way, and they help me remember those two hours with my unique friend and to pray for his ministry. “See you in the New Jerusalem,” he had said.

Yes, Daniel, I know for sure, we will see each other there……

“I shall pass this way but once.. Therefore, any good that I can do or any kindness that I can show, let me do it now, for I shall not pass this way again.”

(Author Unknown....or is it?)


Written by a 90 year old
This is something we should all read at least once a week!!!!! Make sure you read to the end!!!!!! Written by Regina Brett, 90 years old, of the Plain Dealer, Cleveland , Ohio .

"To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most requested column I've ever written. My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more:

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.
16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will this matter?'
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time, time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.
35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood.
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.
41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
42. The best is yet to come...
43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
44. Yield.
45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift."


Girl With An Apple

(This is a true story and you can find out more by

Googling Herman Rosenblat. He was Bar Mitzvahed at age 75.)

August 1942. Piotrkow, Poland.
The sky was gloomy that morning as we waited anxiously. All the men, women and children of Piotrkow's Jewish ghetto had been herded into a square. Word had gotten around that we were being moved. My father had only recently died from typhus, which had run rampant through the crowded ghetto. My greatest fear was that our family would be separated.

'Whatever you do,' Isidore, my eldest brother, whispered to me, 'don't tell them your age. Say you're sixteen.'

I was tall for a boy of 11, so I could pull it off. That way I might be deemed valuable as a worker. An SS man approached me, boots clicking against the cobblestones.. He looked me up and down, and then asked my age. 'Sixteen,' I said. He directed me to the left, where my three brothers and other healthy young men already stood. My mother was motioned to the right with the other women, children, sick and elderly people. I whispered to Isidore, 'Why?' He didn't answer. I ran to Mama's side and said I wanted to stay with her. 'No, 'she said sternly. 'Get away. Don't be a nuisance. Go with your brothers.' She had never spoken so harshly before. But I understood: She was protecting me. She loved me so much that, just this once, she pretended not to. It was the last I ever saw of her.

My brothers and I were transported in a cattle car to Germany . We arrived at the Buchenwald concentration camp one night later and were led into a crowded barrack. The next day, we were issued uniforms and identification numbers. 'Don't call me Herman anymore.' I said to my brothers. 'Call me 94983.'

I was put to work in the camp's crematorium, loading the dead into a hand-cranked elevator. I, too, felt dead. Hardened, I had become a number. Soon, my brothers and I were sent to Schlieben, one of Buchenwald's sub-camps near Berlin. One morning I thought I heard my mother's voice. 'Son,' she said softly but clearly, I am going to send you an angel.' Then I woke up. Just a dream. A beautiful dream. But in this place there could be no angels. There was only work. And hunger. And fear.

A couple of days later, I was walking around the camp, around the barracks, near the barbed-wire fence where the guards could not easily see. I was alone. On the other side of the fence, I spotted someone: a little girl with light, almost luminous curls. She was half-hidden behind a birch tree. I glanced around to make sure no one saw me. I called to her softly in German. 'Do you have something to eat?' She didn't understand. I inched closer to the fence and repeated the question in Polish. She stepped forward. I was thin and gaunt, with rags wrapped around my feet, but the girl looked unafraid. In her eyes, I saw life. She pulled an apple from her woolen jacket and threw it over the fence. I grabbed the fruit and, as I started to run away, I heard her say faintly, 'I'll see you tomorrow.'

I returned to the same spot by the fence at the same time every day.. She was always there with something for me to eat - a hunk of bread or, better yet, an apple. We didn't dare speak or linger. To be caught would mean death for us both. I didn't know anything about her, just a kind farm girl, except that she understood Polish. What was her name? Why was she risking her life for me? Hope was in such short supply, and this girl on the other side of the fence gave me some, as nourishing in its way as the bread and apples. Nearly seven months later, my brothers and I were crammed into a coal car and shipped to Theresienstadt camp in Czechoslovakia . 'Don't return,' I told the girl that day. 'We're leaving.' I turned toward the barracks and didn't look back, didn't even say good-bye to the little girl whose name I'd never learned, the girl with the apples.

We were in Theresienstadt for three months. The war was winding down and Allied forces were closing in, yet my fate seemed sealed. On May 10, 1945, I was scheduled to die in the gas chamber at 10:00 AM. In the quiet of dawn, I tried to prepare myself. So many times death seemed ready to claim me, but somehow I'd survived. Now, it was over. I thought of my parents.. At least, I thought, we will be reunited. But at 8 A.M. there was a commotion. I heard shouts, and saw people running every which way through camp. I caught up with my brothers. Russian troops had liberated the camp! The gates swung open. Everyone was running, so I did too. Amazingly, all of my brothers had survived;

I'm not sure how. But I knew that the girl with the apples had been the key to my survival. In a place where evil seemed triumphant, one person's goodness had saved my life, had given me hope in a place where there was none. My mother had promised to send me an angel, and the angel had come.

Eventually I made my way to England where I was sponsored by a Jewish charity, put up in a hostel with other boys who had survived the Holocaust and trained in electronics. Then I came to America, where my brother Sam had already moved. I served in the U. S. Army during the Korean War, and returned to New York City after two years.

By August 1957 I'd opened my own electronics repair shop. I was starting to settle in. One day, my friend Sid who I knew from England called me. 'I've got a date. She's got a Polish friend. Let's double date.' A blind date? Nah, that wasn't for me. But Sid kept pestering me, and a few days later we headed up to the Bronx to pick up his date and her friend Roma. I had to admit, for a blind date this wasn't so bad. Roma was a nurse at a Bronx hospital. She was kind and smart. Beautiful, too, with swirling brown curls and green, almond-shaped eyes that sparkled with life. The four of us drove out to Coney Island . Roma was easy to talk to, easy to be with. Turned out she was wary of blind dates too! We were both just doing our friends a favor. We took a stroll on the boardwalk, enjoying the salty Atlantic breeze, and then had dinner by the shore. I couldn't remember having a better time. We piled back into Sid's car. Roma and I sharing the backseat. As European Jews who had survived the war, we were aware that much had been left unsaid between us. She broached the subject, 'Where were you,' she asked softly, 'during the war?'

'The camps,' I said. The terrible memories still vivid, the irreparable loss. I had tried to forget. But you can never forget. She nodded. 'My family was hiding on a farm in Germany, not far from Berlin,' she told me. 'My father knew a priest, and he got us Aryan papers.'

I imagined how she must have suffered too, fear, a constant companion. And yet here we were both survivors, in a new world.

'There was a camp next to the farm.' Roma continued. 'I saw a boy there and I would throw him apples every day.' What an amazing coincidence that she had helped some other boy. 'What did he look like? I asked. 'He was tall, skinny, and hungry. I must have seen him every day for six months.' My heart was racing. I couldn't believe it. This couldn't be. 'Did he tell you one day not to come back because he was leaving Schlieben?'

Roma looked at me in amazement. 'Yes!' 'That was me!' I was ready to burst with joy and awe, flooded with emotions. I couldn't believe it! My angel. 'I'm not letting you go.' I said to Roma. And in the back of the car on that blind date, I proposed to her. I didn't want to wait. 'You're crazy!' she said. But she invited me to meet her parents for Shabbat dinner the following week.

There was so much I looked forward to learning about Roma, but the most important things I always knew: her steadfastness, her goodness. For many months, in the worst of circumstances, she had come to the fence and given me hope. Now that I'd found her again, I could never let her go. That day, she said yes. And I kept my word. After nearly 50 years of marriage, two children and three grandchildren, I have never let her go.
Herman Rosenblat of Miami Beach, Florida
This story is being made into a movie called 'The Fence.' 


"We are sleeping on a volcano. A wind of revolution blows. The storm is on the horizon."

– Alexis de Tocqueville

Freedom is just too tough for the average American. That's the only way to explain why Americans are voting themselves back into bondage in an effort to trade their freedom for free-stuff."

--J.B. Williams

"Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy. Its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery."

--Winston Churchill

"...... a leader will take you to places where you would not go alone."

--Gen Mark Welsh, USAF

"You cannot get the water to clear up until you get the pigs out of the creek."

--Author Unknown

"Mistakes are a natural part of learning. Do not judge someone by the mistakes they make; judge them by the mistakes they repeat. Behavior predicts behavior."

--Author Unknown


Indifference

When Jesus came to Golgotha they hanged Him on a tree,

They drove great nails through hands and feet, and made a Calvary;

For those were crude and cruel days, and human flesh was cheap.

And I recalled that He had said, “What you sew you’re going to reap.”

When Jesus came to Birmingham they simply passed Him by,

They never hurt a hair of Him; they only let Him die;

For men had grown more tender, and would not give Him pain,

They passed Him by on the side of the street, and left Him in the rain.

Still Jesus cried, "Forgive them, for they know not what they do,

And still it rained the wintry rain that drenched Him through and through;

The crowds went home and left the streets without a soul to see,

And Jesus crouched against a wall and cried for Calvary.


LET THIS BE OUR AFFIRMATION/RESOLUTION FOR 2012?

By Francis R. Havergal 1874

Take my life and let it be

Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.

*Take my moments and my days,

Let them flow in endless praise.

Take my hands and let them move

At the impulse of Thy love.

Take my feet and let them be

Swift and beautiful for Thee.

Take my voice and let me sing,

Always, only for my King.

Take my lips and let them be

Filled with messages from Thee.

Take my silver and my gold,

Not a mite would I withhold.

Take my intellect and use

Every pow'r as Thou shalt choose.

Take my will and make it Thine,

It shall be no longer mine.

Take my heart, it is Thine own,

It shall be Thy royal throne.

Take my love, my Lord, I pour

At Thy feet its treasure store.

Take myself and I will be

Ever, only, all for Thee.


RECALL NOTICE:

The Maker of all human beings (GOD) is recalling all units manufactured, regardless of make or year, due to a serious defect in the primary and central component of the heart.

This is due to a malfunction in the original prototype units code named Adam and Eve, resulting in the reproduction of the same defect in all subsequent units.

This defect has been identified as "Subsequential Internal Non-morality," more commonly known as S.I.N, as it is primarily expressed.

Some of the symptoms include:

1. Loss of direction

2. Foul vocal emissions

3. Amnesia of origin

4. Lack of peace and joy

5. Selfish or violent behavior

6. Depression or confusion

7. Fearfulness

8. Idolatry

9. Rebellion

The Manufacturer, who is neither liable nor at fault for this defect, is providing factory-authorized repair and service free of charge to correct this defect.

The Repair Technician, JESUS, has most generously offered to bear the entire burden of the staggering cost of these repairs. There is no additional fee required.

The number to call for repair in all areas is:

P-R-A-Y-E-R.

Once connected, please upload your burden of SIN through the REPENTANCE procedure.

Next, download ATONEMENT from the Repair Technician, Jesus, into the heart component.

No matter how big or small the SIN defect is,Jesus will replace it with:

1. Love

2. Joy

3. Peace

4. Patience

5. Kindness

6. Goodness

7. Faithfulness

8. Gentleness

9. Self control

Please see the operating manual, the B.I.B.L.E. (BEST Instructions Before Leaving Earth) for further details on the use of these fixes.

WARNING: Continuing to operate the human being unit without correction voids any manufacturer warranties, exposing the unit to dangers and problems too numerous to list, and will result in the human unit being permanently impounded. For free emergency service, call on Jesus.

DANGER: The human being units not responding to this recall action will have to be scrapped in the furnace. The SIN defect will not be permitted to enter Heaven so as to prevent contamination of that facility. Thank you for your attention! - GOD

P.S. Please assist where possible by notifying others of this important recall notice, and you may contact the Father any time by 'Knee mail'!


The Doctor With The Frog Hat

My 9-year-old's last-second request surprised his doctor and taught me a

valuable lesson about sharing the gospel. Tina Blessitt

Last fall my 9-year-old son, Austin, had his tonsils removed. Before the surgery, Austin 's anesthesiologist came to start an IV. He was wearing a cool surgical cap covered in colorful frogs. Austin loved that "frog hat."

The doctor explained that he had two choices. He could either try to start the IV, or he could wait until Austin was up in the operating room. In the O.R. the doctor would give Austin some "goofy" gas, and start the IV when he was more relaxed.

"So, Austin ," he asked, "which do you want?"

Austin replied, "I'll take the gas." But when the doctor started to leave, Austin called, "Hey, wait."

The doctor turned. “Yeah, buddy, what do you need?"

"Do you go to church?"

"No," the doctor admitted. "I know I probably should, but I don't."

Austin then asked, "Well, are you saved?"

Chuckling nervously, the doctor said, "Nope. But after talking to you, maybe it's something I should consider."

Pleased with his response, Austin answered, "Well, you should, 'cause Jesus is great!"

"I'm sure He is, little guy," the doctor said, and quickly made his exit.

After that a nurse took me to the waiting room. She informed me that someone would come and get me when Austin's surgery was done.

After about 45 minutes, the anesthesiologist came into the waiting room. He told me the surgery went well and then said, "Mrs. Blessitt, I don't usually come down and talk to the parents after a surgery, but I just had to tell you what your son did."

Oh boy, I thought. What did that little rascal do now?

The doctor explained that he'd just put the mask on Austin when my son signaled that he needed to say something. When the doctor removed the mask, Austin blurted, "Wait a minute, we have to pray!"

The doctor told him to go ahead, and Austin prayed, "Dear Lord, please let all the doctors and nurses have a good day. And Jesus, please let the doctor with the frog hat get saved and start going to church. Amen."

The doctor admitted this touched him. "I was so sure he would pray that his surgery went well," he explained. "He didn't even mention his surgery. He prayed for me! Mrs Blessitt, I had to come down and let you know what a great little guy you have."

A few minutes later a nurse came to take me to post-op. She had a big smile on her face as we walked to the elevator.

"Mrs. Blessitt, I couldn't wait to tell you something exciting that your son did."

With a smile, I told her that the doctor already mentioned Austin 's prayer.

"But there's something you don't know," she said. "Some of the other nurses and I have been witnessing to and praying for that doctor for a long time. After your son's surgery, he tracked a few of us down to tell us about Austin's prayer. He said, 'Well girls, you got me. If that little boy could pray

for me when he was about to have surgery, then I think maybe I need his Jesus too."

She then recounted how they joined the doctor as he prayed to receive Christ right there in the hospital.

Wow! Austin had played a small part in something wonderful. But then, so did the nurses who prayed and witnessed.

I thought about John's words in his Gospel, "One sows and the other reaps" (John 4:37 ).

Austin 's experience taught me that, although we never know which role we may be called to play, in the end it doesn't matter. What's important is that we remain faithful in sharing the gospel.

Tina Blessitt, a freelance writer, lives with her husband and four children in Kentucky ...

"Don't tell God how big your troubles are--tell your trouble HOW BIG YOUR

GOD IS!!!


A POEM WORTH READING

And sharing!

(Author unknown)

He was getting old and paunchy

And his hair was falling fast,

And he sat around the Legion,

Telling stories of the past.

Of a war that he once fought in

And the deeds that he had done,

In his exploits with his buddies;

They were heroes, every one.

And 'tho sometimes to his neighbors

His tales became a joke,

All his buddies listened quietly

For they knew whereof he spoke.

But we'll hear his tales no longer,

For old Bob has passed away,

And the world's a little poorer

For a Soldier died today.

He won't be mourned by many,

Just his children and his wife.

For he lived an ordinary,

Very quiet sort of life.

He held a job and raised a family,

Going quietly on his way;

And the world won't note his passing,

'Tho a Soldier died today.

When politicians leave this earth,

Their bodies lie in state,

While thousands note their passing,

And proclaim that they were great.

Papers tell of their life stories

From the time that they were young

But the passing of a Soldier

Goes unnoticed, and unsung.

Is the greatest contribution

To the welfare of our land,

Someone who breaks his promise

And cons his fellow man?

Or the ordinary fellow

Who in times of war and strife,

Goes off to serve his country

And offers up his life?

The politician's stipend

And the style in which he lives,

Are often disproportionate,

To the service that he gives.

While the ordinary Soldier,

Who offered up his all,

Is paid off with a medal

And perhaps a pension, small.

It is not the politicians

With their compromise and ploys,

Who won for us the freedom

That our country now enjoys.

Should you find yourself in danger,

With your enemies at hand,

Would you really want some cop-out,

With his ever waffling stand?

Or would you want a Soldier--

His home, his country, his kin,

Just a common Soldier,

Who would fight until the end?

He was just a common Soldier,

And his ranks are growing thin,

But his presence should remind us

We may need his like again.

For when countries are in conflict,

We find the Soldier's part

Is to clean up all the troubles

That the politicians start.

If we cannot do him honor

While he's here to hear the praise,

Then at least let's give him homage

At the ending of his days.


My Beautiful America

The Charlie Daniels Band

Have you ever spent the late afternoon

watching the purple shadows deepen in Arizona desert?

Or seen a herd of Elk plow their way

through waist deep snow on a cold Colorado dome?

Did you ever see the sun go down in Hawaii,

Or seen the stormy waves break over the rock bound coast of Maine?

Or have you ever see an eagle fly up out of the mists of Alaska?

Or a big October moon hanging full over the still Dakota badlands?

Have you ever tasted the gumbo in New Orleans, Bar-B-Que in Carolina

Or the chicken wings in Buffalo?

Have you ever had Brunswick stew in Macon, or cornbread in Birmingham?

Or brisket slow cooked over hill country mesquite wood?

Did you ever drink the water from a gurgling branch in Utah,

Or, stand on the mountain above El Paso Del Norte

And see the lights twinkling clear over into Mexico?

Did you ever jangle horses in the pre-dawn stillness of a perfect Texas day

And watch their shod hooves kicking up sparks on the volcanic rock?

Or tended a trout line on a foggy Carolina morning,

Or heard the distant song of a lovesick whippoorwill

On a pristine Tennessee late night?

Have you seen the faces on Mount Rushmore,

or stood at the Vietnam monument?

Have you ever crossed the mighty Mississippi,

Or been to the daddy of them all in Cheyenne, Wyoming?

Or seen the mighty Vols run out on the football field

on a chilly autumn afternoon?

Did you ever see the Chicago skyline from Lake Shore Drive at night?

Or the New England foliage in the fall,

Or the summer beauty of the Shenandoah valley,

Or Indiana covered with new snow?

Did you ever seen a herd of wild horses running free

Across the empty spaces in Nevada?

Or caught a walleyed pike out of a cold Wisconsin stream?

Or marveled at the tall ship docked in the harbor at Baltimore?

Did you ever see the early morning dew sparkling on the blue grass,

Or the wind stir the wheat fields on a hot Kansas afternoon?

Or driven the lonely stretches of old Route 66?

Have you ever heard the church bells

peal their call to worship On an early Sunday,

in some small town in the deep south?

Or pass through the redwood forest

just as the sun was going down?

Have you ever been to Boise or Batchlee or Beufort or Billings?

Have you ever passed through Sanford or Suffolk or San Angelo?

Have you ever seen the falls at Niagara?

The ice palace in Saint Paul?

Or the Gateway to the west?

This then is America!

The land God blesses with everything

And no Eiffel Tower: no Taj Mahal;

No Alps; No Andes;

No native hut; nor Royal Palace —

Can rival her awesome beauty,

Her diverse population, her monolithic majesty.

America the Free!

America the mighty!

America the beautiful!

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America

And to the republic for which it stands

One Nation Under God indivisible

with liberty and justice for all!


My Kind of Redneck

We have enjoyed the redneck jokes for years. It's time to take a reflective look at the core beliefs of a culture that values home, family, country and God. If I had to stand before a dozen terrorists who threaten my life, I'd

choose a half dozen or so rednecks to back me up.

Tire irons, squirrel guns and grit -- that's what rednecks are made of (and those of us who believe we have the right to bear arms in the protection of our way of life and our family).

I am one of those. If you feel the same, pass this on to your redneck friends. Y'all know who ya are .

You might be a redneck if: It never occurred to you to be offended by the phrase, 'One nation, under God..'

You might be a redneck if: You've never protested about seeing the 10 Commandments posted in public places.

You might be a redneck if: You still say ' Christmas' instead of 'Winter Festival.'

You might be a redneck if: You bow your head when someone prays.

You might be a redneck if: You stand and place your hand over your heart when they play the National Anthem

You might be a redneck if: You treat our armed forces veterans with great respect, and always have.

You might be a redneck if: You've never burned an American flag, nor intend to. (Except as part of a proper flag disposal!)

You might be a redneck if: You know what you believe and you aren't afraid to say so, no matter who is listening.

You might be a redneck if: You respect your elders and raised your kids to do the same.

You might be a redneck if: You'd give your last dollar to a friend.

You might be a redneck if: You believe in God & Jesus and believe that others have the right to believe in which ever God they believe in as long as their God does not tell them to kill anyone who does not believe the same as they do!!!!!

Keep the fire burning, redneck friend.

IN GOD WE TRUST!


The Nail Holes

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 back of 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. But It won't matter how many times you say I'm sorry, the wound will still be there. A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one.

Remember that friends are very rare jewels indeed. They make you smile and encourage you to succeed; They lend an ear, they share words of praise and they always want to open

their hearts to us, yet every time we needlessly hurt them it is like driving a nail into their soul. You might be able to make amends, remove the nail so to speak, but the hole will still be there in their souls long after the original wound heals.


Tommy

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. 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 I 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 clever.

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.

"Like what?"

"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 afterlife, 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.

"Yes, what?" he asked without lowering the newspaper.

"Dad, I would like to talk with you."

"Well, talk."

"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 many years."

"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, three weeks."

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..."

"Oooh.. 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 said. "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.

If this story means anything to you, please pass it on to a friend or two.

It is a true story and is not enhanced for publicity purposes.

With thanks, Rev. John Powell, Professor,

Loyola University, Chicago


ROSE

The first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn't already know. I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder.

I turned around to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being..

She said, 'Hi handsome. My name is Rose. I'm eighty-seven years old. Can I give you a hug?'

I laughed and enthusiastically responded, 'Of course you may!' and she gave me a giant squeeze..

'Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?' I asked.

She jokingly replied, 'I'm here to meet a rich husband, get married, and have a couple of kids...'

'No seriously,' I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age.

'I always dreamed of having a college education and now I'm getting one!' she told me.

After class we walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake.

We became instant friends. Every day for the next three months we would leave class together and talk nonstop. I was always mesmerized listening to this 'time machine' as she shared her wisdom and experience with me..

Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went. She loved to dress up and she reveled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She was living it up.

At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet I'll never forget what she taught us. She was introduced and stepped up to the podium. As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her three by five cards on the floor.

Frustrated and a little embarrassed she leaned into the microphone and simply said, 'I'm sorry I'm so jittery. I gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey is killing me! I'll never get my speech back in order so let me just tell you what I know.'

As we laughed she cleared her throat and began, ' We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing.

There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy, and achieving success. You have to laugh and find humor every day. You've got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die.

We have so many people walking around who are dead and don't even know it!

There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up.

If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don't do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old. If I am eighty-seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty-eight.

Anybody! Can grow older. That doesn't take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding opportunity in change. Have no regrets.

The elderly usually don't have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets..'

She concluded her speech by courageously singing 'The Rose.'

She challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them out in our daily lives. At the year's end Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those months ago.

One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep.

Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example that it's never too late to be all you can possibly be.

When you finish reading this, please send this peaceful word of advice to your friends and family, they'll really enjoy it!

These words have been passed along in loving memory of ROSE.

REMEMBER, GROWING OLDER IS MANDATORY. GROWING UP IS OPTIONAL. We make a Living by what we get. We make a Life by what we give.

God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage. If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.

Pass this message on to 7 people. You will receive a miracle tomorrow (if you don't think so....look out your window when you wake in the morning and think about it )

If you choose not, then you refuse to bless someone else.

'Good friends are like stars..... ....You don't always see them, but you know they are always there.'


Forty Five Lessons Life Has Taught Me

Written by Regina Brett, 90 years old, of the Plain Dealer, Cleveland , Ohio.

"To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most requested column I've ever written.

My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more:

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.

8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.

12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.

16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.

18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.

19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will this matter?'

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive everyone everything.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.

35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

36. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood.

38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.

41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

42. The best is yet to come...

43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

44. Yield.

45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift."


HERE IS WHAT I BELIEVE--

A Birth Certificate shows that we were born

A Death Certificate shows that we died

Pictures show that we live!

Have a seat. Relax . . .

And read this slowly.

I Believe...

That just because two people argue,

It doesn't mean they don't love each other.

And just because they don't argue,

It doesn't mean they do love each other.

I Believe...

That we don't have to change friends if

We understand that friends change.

I Believe....

That no matter how good a friend is,

They're going to hurt you,

Every once in a while

And you must forgive them for that.

I Believe.....

That true friendship continues to grow,

Even over the longest distance.

Same goes for true love.

I Believe...

That you can do something in an instant

That will give you heartache for life.

I Believe....

That it's taking me a long time

To become the person I want to be.

I Believe...

That you should always leave loved ones with Loving words.

It may be the last time you see them.

I Believe....

That you can keep going long after you think you can't.

I Believe....

That we are responsible for what

We do, no matter how we feel.

I Believe...

That either you control your attitude or it controls you.

I Believe....

That heroes are the people

Who do what has to be done

When it needs to be done,

Regardless of the consequences.

I Believe....

That my best friend and I

Can do anything or nothing

And have the best time..

I Believe....

That sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you're down will be the ones to help you get back up.

I Believe...

That sometimes when I'm angry

I have the right to be angry, but that

Doesn't give me the right to be cruel.

I Believe...

That maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you've had

And what you've learned from them and less to do with how many birthdays you've celebrated.

I Believe.....

That it isn't always enough,

To be forgiven by others.

Sometimes, you have to learn

To forgive yourself.

I Believe...

That no matter how bad

Your heart is broken,

The world doesn't stop for your grief.

I Believe....

That our background and circumstances

May have influenced who we are, but,

We are responsible for who we become.

I Believe...

That you shouldn't be

So eager to find out a secret.

It could change your life forever.

I Believe....

Two people can look at the exact same

Thing and see something totally different.


The Gift

======

A young man was getting ready to graduate from college. For many months he had admired a beautiful sports car in a dealer's showroom, and knowing his father could well afford it, he told him that was all he wanted.

As Graduation Day approached, the young man awaited signs that his father had purchased the car. Finally, on the morning of his graduation, his father called him into his private study.

His father told him how proud he was to have such a fine son and told him how much he loved him. Then the father handed his son a beautifully wrapped gift box.

Curious and somewhat disappointed, the young man opened the box and found a lovely, leather-bound Bible, with his name embossed in gold. In Anger, the son raised his voice at his father and said, "With all your money, all you give me is a Bible?"

With that he stormed out of the house.

Many years passed.

The young man was very successful in business. He had a beautiful home and wonderful family. He realized that his father was already very old and thought perhaps he should patch things up with him. He had not seen him since that graduation day.

However, before he could make arrangements, he received a telegram

telling him his father had passed away and willed all of his possessions to his son. But, the son needed to come home immediately and take charge of his fathers estate.

When he arrived, a wave of sadness and regret enveloped his heart. He began to search through his father's important papers and saw the still gift-wrapped Bible, just as he had left it years ago.

With tears, he opened the Bible and began to leaf through the pages. His father had carefully underlined a verse, Matt.7:11.

"If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts

to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give

good gifts to those who ask him!"

As he read those words, a car key dropped from the back of the Bible. It had a tag with the dealer's name, the same dealer who had the sports car he had desired. On the tag was the date of his graduation and the words PAID IN FULL.

Sometimes we under estimate our heavenly father's plan and power

and we do things on our own will. But our God knows what to give and when to give.

~Author Unknown~


Just Another Poem

Although things are not perfect

Because of trial or pain

Continue in thanksgiving

Do not begin to blame.

Even when the times are hard

Fierce winds are bound to blow

God is forever able

Hold on to what you know.

Imagine life without His love

Joy would cease to be

Keep thanking Him for all the things

Love imparts to thee.

Move out of 'Camp Complaining'

No weapon that is known

On earth can yield the power

Praise can do alone.

Quit looking at the future

Redeem the time at hand

Start every day with worship

To 'thank' is a command.

Until we see Him coming

Victorious in the sky

We'll run the race with gratitude

Exalting God most high.

Yes, there'll be good times

And yes some will be bad

But your mansion waits in glory

Where none are ever Sad!


Cherokee Legend

Do you know the legend of the Cherokee Indian youths' rite of Passage?

His father takes him into the forest, blindfolds him and leaves him alone. He is required to sit on a stump the whole night and not remove the blindfold until the rays of the morning sun shine through it. He cannot cry out for help to anyone.

Once he survives the night, he is a MAN.

He cannot tell the other boys of this experience, because each lad must come into manhood on his own. The boy is naturally terrified. He can hear all kinds of noises. Wild beasts must surely be all around him. Maybe even some human might do him harm.

The wind blew the grass and earth, and shook his stump, but he sat stoically, never removing the blindfold. It would be the only way he could become a man!

Finally, after a horrific night the sun appeared and he removed his blindfold. It was then that he discovered his father sitting on the stump next to him. He had been at watch the entire night, protecting his son from harm.

We, too, are never alone. Even when we don't know it, God is watching over us, sitting on the stump beside us.

When trouble comes, all we have to do is reach out to Him.

If you liked this story, copy and pass it on.

If not, you took off your blindfold before dawn.

Moral of the story:

Just because you can't see God,

Doesn't mean He is not there.

"For we walk by faith, not by sight."


THE BIRTH OF THE SONG 'PRECIOUS LORD'

Back in 1932, I was a fairly new husband. My wife, Nettie and I were living in a little apartment on Chicago's south side. One hot August afternoon I had to go to St. Louis where I was to be the featured soloist at a large revival meeting. I didn't want to go. Nettie was in the last month of pregnancy with our first child. But a lot of people were expecting me in St. Louis I kissed Nettie good-bye, clattered downstairs to our Model A and, in a fresh Lake Michiganbreeze, chugged out of Chicagoon Route 66. However, outside the city, I discovered that in my anxiety at leaving, I had forgotten my music case. I wheeled around and headed back.

I found Nettie sleeping peacefully. I hesitated by her bed; something was strongly telling me to stay. But eager to get on my way, and not wanting to disturb Nettie, I shrugged off the feeling and quietly slipped out of the room with my music.

The next night, in the steaming St. Louis heat, the crowd called on me to sing again and again. When I finally sat down, a messenger boy ran up with a Western Uniontelegram. I ripped open the envelope. Pasted on the yellow sheet were the words: YOUR WIFE JUST DIED.

People were happily singing and clapping around me, but I could hardly keep from crying out. I rushed to a phone and called home. All I could hear on the other end was 'Nettie is dead. Nettie is dead.'

When I got back, I learned that Nettie had given birth to a boy. I swung between grief and joy. Yet that same night, the baby died. I buried Nettie and our little boy together, in the same casket. Then I fell apart.

For days I closeted myself. I felt that God had done me an injustice. I didn't want to serve Him anymore or write gospel songs. I just wanted to go back to that jazz world I once knew so well. But then, as I hunched alone in that dark apartment those first sad days, I thought back to the afternoon I went to St. Louis. Something kept telling me to stay with Nettie. Was that something God? Oh, if I had paid more attention to Him that day, I would have stayed and been with Nettie when she died.

From that moment on I vowed to listen more closely to Him. But still I was lost in grief. Everyone was kind to me, especially one friend. The following Saturday evening he took me up to Maloney's Poro College, a neighborhood music school. It was quiet; the late evening sun crept through the curtained windows.

I sat down at the piano, and my hands began to browse over the keys. Something happened to me then. I felt at peace. I felt as though I could reach out and touch God. I found myself playing a melody, once into my head they just seemed to fall into place: 'Precious Lord, take my hand, lead me on, let me stand, I am tired, I am weak, I am worn, through the storm, through the night, lead me on to the light, take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home.'

The Lord gave me these words and melody, He also healed my spirit. I learned that when we are in our deepest grief, when we feel farthest from God, this is when He is closest, and when we are most open to His restoring power.

And so I go on living for God willingly and joyfully, until that day comes when He will take me and gently lead me home.

-Tommy Dorsey-


THE OLD FISHERMAN

Our house was directly across the street from the clinic entrance of Johns

Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. We lived downstairs & rented the upstairs

rooms to outpatients at the Clinic.

One summer evening as I was fixing supper, there was a knock at the door.

I opened it to see a truly awful looking man. “Why, he's hardly taller than

my eight-year-old,” I thought, as I stared at the stooped, shriveled body.

But the appalling thing was his face, lopsided from swelling, red and raw.

Yet, his voice was pleasant as he said, “Good evening. I've come to see if

you've a room for just one night. I came for a treatment this morning from

the eastern shore and there's no bus 'till morning.”

He told me he'd been hunting for a room since noon but with no success; no one seemed to have a room.

“I guess it's my face. I know it looks terrible, but my doctor says with a few more treatments.” He continued, noticeable dejection in his voice.

For a moment I hesitated, but his next words convinced me.

“I could sleep in this rocking chair on the porch. My bus leaves early in the morning.”

I told him we would find him a bed, but to rest on the porch and I would prepare him a room after I finished getting supper.

When we were ready, I asked the old man if he would join us.

“No thank you. I have plenty.” He smiled and held up a brown paper bag.

When I had finished the dishes, I went out on the porch to talk with him a few minutes. It didn't take a long time to see that this old man had an over

sized heart crowded into that tiny body. He told me he fished for a living to support his daughter, her five children & her husband, who was hopelessly crippled from a back injury.

He didn't tell it by way of complaint; in fact, every other sentence was prefaced with thanks to God for a blessing. He was grateful that no pain accompanied his disease, which was apparently a form of skin cancer. He was thankful for the strength to keep going.

At bedtime, we put a camp cot in the children's room for him. When I got up in the morning, the bed linens were neatly folded, and the little man was out on the porch.

He refused breakfast, but just before he left for his bus, haltingly, as if asking a great favor, he said, “Could I please come back and stay the next time I have a treatment? I won't put you out a bit. I can sleep fine in a

chair.” He paused a moment and then added, “Your children made me feel at home. Grownups are bothered by my face, but children don't seem to mind.”

I told him he was welcome to come again.

And on his next trip he arrived a little after seven in the morning. As a gift, he brought a big fish and a quart of the largest oysters I had ever seen. He said he had shucked them that morning before he left so that they'd be nice and fresh. I knew his bus left at 4 a.m., so I wondered what time he had to get up in order to do this for us.

In the years he came to stay overnight with us there was never a time that he did not bring us fish or oysters or vegetables from his garden. Other times we received packages in the mail, always by special delivery; fish and oysters packed in a box of fresh young spinach or kale, every leaf carefully washed. Knowing that he must walk three miles to mail these and knowing how little money he had made the gifts doubly precious.

When I received these little remembrances, I often thought of a comment our next-door neighbor made after he left that first morning.

“Did you keep that awful looking man last night? I turned him away! You can lose roomers by putting up such people!”

Maybe we did lose roomers once or twice, but, oh if only they could have known him, perhaps their illness would have been easier to bear. I know our family will always be grateful to have known him; from him we learned what it was to accept the bad without complaint and the good with great amounts of gratitude.

Recently I was visiting a friend who has a greenhouse. As she showed me her flowers, we came to the most beautiful one of all, a golden chrysanthemum, bursting with blooms. But to my great surprise, it was growing in an old dented, rusty bucket.

I thought to myself, “If this were my plant, I'd put it in the loveliest container I had!”

My friend changed my mind. “I ran short of pots,” she explained, “and knowing how beautiful this one would be, I thought it wouldn't mind starting out in this old pail. It's just for a little while, till I can put it out in the garden.”

She must have wondered why I laughed so delightedly, but I was imagining just such a scene in heaven. “There's an especially beautiful one,” God might have said when he came to the soul of the sweet old fisherman. “He won't mind starting in this small body.”

All this happened long ago -- and now, in God's garden, how tall this lovely soul must stand.

The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.'

Friends are very special. They make you smile & encourage you to succeed. They lend an ear & they share a word of praise. So, don’t you forget. Show your friends how much you care.


THE OLD PATHS

I liked the old paths, when

Moms were at home.

Dads were at work.

Brothers went into the army.

And sisters got married

BEFORE having children!

Crime did not pay;

Hard work did;

And people knew the difference.

Moms could cook;

Dads would work;

Children would behave.

Husbands were loving;

Wives were supportive;

And children were polite.

Women wore the jewelry;

And Men wore the pants.

Women looked like ladies;

Men looked like gentlemen;

And children looked decent.

People loved the truth,

And hated a lie.

They came to church to get IN,

Not to get OUT!

Hymns sounded Godly;

Sermons sounded helpful;

Rejoicing sounded normal;

And crying sounded sincere.

Cursing was wicked;

Drugs were for illness.

The flag was honored;

America was beautiful;

And God was welcome!

We read the Bible in public;

Prayed in school;

And preached from house to house.

To be called an American was worth dying for;

To be called an American was worth living for;

To be called a traitor was a shame!

I still like the old paths the best!

'The Old Paths' was written by a retired minister who lives In Tennessee .


The Pickle Jar

The pickle jar as far back as I can remember sat on the floor beside the dresser in my parents' bedroom. When he got ready for bed, Dad would empty his pockets and toss his coins into the jar. As a small boy, I was always fascinated at the sounds the coins made as they were dropped into the jar. They landed with a merry jingle when the jar was almost empty. Then the tones gradually muted to a dull thud as the jar slowly filled.

I used to squat on the floor in front of the jar to admire the copper and silver circles that glinted like a pirate's treasure when the sun poured through the bedroom window. When the jar was filled, Dad would sit at the kitchen table and roll the coins before taking them to the bank.

Taking the coins to the bank was always a big production. Stacked neatly in a small cardboard box, the coins were placed between Dad and me on the seat of his old truck. Each and every time, as we drove to the bank, Dad would look at me hopefully. 'Those coins are going to keep you out of the textile mill, son. You're going to do better than me. This old mill town's not going to hold you back.'

Also, each and every time, as he slid the box of rolled coins across the counter at the bank toward the cashier, he would grin proudly.. 'These are for my son's college fund. He'll never work at the mill all his life like me.'

We would always celebrate each deposit by stopping for an ice cream cone. I always got chocolate. Dad always got vanilla. When the clerk at the ice cream parlor handed Dad his change, he would show me the few coins nestled in his palm. “When we get home, we'll start filling the jar again.” He would always say.

He always let me drop the first coins into the empty jar. As they rattled around with a brief, happy jingle, we grinned at each other.

“You'll get to college on pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters,” he said. “But you'll get there; I'll see to that.”

No matter how rough things got at home, Dad continued to doggedly drop his coins into the jar. Even the summer when Dad got laid off from the mill, and Mama had to serve dried beans several times a week, not a single dime was taken from the jar.

To the contrary, as Dad looked across the table at me, pouring catsup over my beans to make them more palatable, he became more determined than ever to make a way out for me. “When you finish college, Son,” he told me, his eyes glistening, “You'll never have to eat beans again - unless you want to.”

The years passed, and I finished college and took a job in another town. Once, while visiting my parents, I used the phone in their bedroom, and noticed that the pickle jar was gone. It had served its purpose and had been removed.

A lump rose in my throat as I stared at the spot beside the dresser where the jar had always stood. My dad was a man of few words: he never lectured me on the values of determination, perseverance, and faith. The pickle jar had taught me all these virtues far more eloquently than the most flowery of words could have done.

When I married, I told my wife Susan about the significant part the lowly pickle jar had played in my life as a boy. In my mind, it defined, more than anything else, how much my dad had loved me.

The first Christmas after our daughter Jessica was born, we spent the holiday with my parents. After dinner, Mom and Dad sat next to each other on the sofa, taking turns cuddling their first grandchild. Jessica began to whimper softly, and Susan took her from Dad's arms. “She probably needs to be changed,” she said, carrying the baby into my parents' bedroom to diaper her. When Susan came back into the living room, there was a strange mist in her eyes. She handed Jessica back to Dad before taking my hand and leading me into the room. “Look,” she said softly, her eyes directing me to a spot on the floor beside the dresser.

To my amazement, there, as if it had never been removed, stood the old pickle jar, the bottom already covered with coins. I walked over to the pickle jar, dug down into my pocket, and pulled out a fistful of coins. With a gamut of emotions choking me, I dropped the coins into the jar. I looked up and saw that Dad, carrying Jessica, had slipped quietly into the room. Our eyes locked, and I knew he was feeling the same emotions I felt. Neither one of us could speak.

This truly touched my heart. Sometimes we are so busy adding up our troubles that we forget to count our blessings. Never underestimate the power of your actions.

With one small gesture you can change a person's life, for better or for worse. God puts us all in each other's lives to impact one another in some way. Look for GOOD in others.

The best and most beautiful things cannot be seen or touched - they must be felt with the heart ~ Helen Keller

- Happy moments, praise God.

- Difficult moments, seek God.

- Quiet moments, worship God.

- Painful moments, trust God.

- Every moment, thank God.


Billy Graham's New Suit

Billy Graham is now 92-years-old with Parkinson's disease. In January 2000, leaders in Charlotte , North Carolina , invited their favorite son, Billy Graham, to a luncheon in his honor.

Billy initially hesitated to accept the invitation because he struggles with Parkinson's disease. But the Charlotte leaders said, 'We don't expect a major address. Just come and let us honor you.' So he agreed.

After wonderful things were said about him, Dr. Graham stepped to the rostrum, looked at the crowd, and said, "I'm reminded today of Albert Einstein, the great physicist who this month has been honored by Time magazine as the Man of the Century. Einstein was once traveling from Princeton on a train when the conductor came down the aisle, punching the tickets of every passenger. When he came to Einstein, Einstein reached in his vest pocket. He couldn't find his ticket, so he reached in his trouser pockets. It wasn't there. He looked in his briefcase but couldn't find it. Then he looked in the seat beside him. He still couldn't find it.

"The conductor said, 'Dr Einstein, I know who you are. We all know who you are. I'm sure you bought a ticket. Don't worry about it.'

"Einstein nodded appreciatively. The conductor continued down the aisle punching tickets. As he was ready to move to the next car, he turned around and saw the great physicist down on his hands and knees looking under his seat for his ticket.

"The conductor rushed back and said, 'Dr. Einstein, Dr. Einstein, don't worry, I know who you are; no problem. You don't need a ticket. I'm sure you bought one.'

Einstein looked at him and said, 'Young man, I too, know who I am. What I don't know is where I'm going.''

Having said that Billy Graham continued, "See the suit I'm wearing? It's a brand new suit. My children and my grandchildren are telling me I've gotten a little slovenly in my old age. I used to be a bit more fastidious. So I went out and bought a new suit for this luncheon and one more occasion. You know what that occasion is? This is the suit in which I'll be buried. But when you hear I'm dead, I don't want you to immediately remember the suit I'm wearing. I want you to remember this: I not only know who I am. I also know where I'm going.


GOD'S ROSEBUD

Anonymous

A new minister was walking with an older, more seasoned minister in the garden one day. Feeling a bit insecure about what God had for him to do, he was asking the older preacher for some advice.

The older preacher walked up to a rosebush and handed the young preacher a rosebud and told him to open it without tearing off any petals.

The young preacher looked in disbelief at the older preacher and was trying to figure out what a rosebud could possibly have to do with his wanting to know the will of God for his life and ministry.

But because of his great respect for the older preacher, he proceeded to try to unfold the rose, while keeping every petal intact. It wasn't long before he realized how impossible this was to do.

Noticing the younger preacher's inability to unfold the rosebud without tearing it, the older preacher began to recite the following poem...

"It is only a tiny rosebud,

A flower of God's design;

But I cannot unfold the petals

With these clumsy hands of mine."

"The secret of unfolding flowers

Is not known to such as I.

GOD opens this flower so easily,

But in my hands they die."

"If I cannot unfold a rosebud,

This flower of God's design,

Then how can I have the wisdom

To unfold this life of mine?"

"So I'll trust in God for leading

Each moment of my day.

I will look to God for guidance

In each step of the way."

"The path that lies before me,

Only my Lord knows.

I'll trust God to unfold the moments,

Just as He unfolds the rose."

~ Please share this poem with a friend if you enjoyed being reminded to let go and let God unfold your life


TEN LITTLE CHRISTIANS

Ten little Christians standing in a line,

One disliked the pastor, then there were nine.

Nine little Christians stayed up very late,

One slept in on Sunday, then there were eight.

Eight little Christians on their way to heaven,

One took the low road, then there were seven.

Seven little Christians chirping like chicks,

One disliked the music, then there were six.

Six little Christians seemed very much alive,

But one lost his interest, then there were five.

Five little Christians pulling for Heaven's shore,

But one stopped to rest, then there were four.

Four little Christians, each busy as a bee,

One got her feelings hurt, then there were three.

Three little Christians knew what to do,

One joined the sports crowd, then there were two.

Two little Christians, our rhyme is nearly done,

Differed with each other, then there was one.

One little Christian can't do much 'tis true;

Brought his friend to Bible study, then there were two.

Two earnest Christians, each won one more,

That doubled their number, then there were four.

Four sincere Christians worked early and late,

Each won another, then there were eight.

Eight little Christians, if they doubled as before,

In just a few short weeks, we'd have 1,024.

In this little jingle, there's a lesson true:

You belong to the building--or the wrecking crew.


GRANDMA'S HANDS

Grandma, some ninety plus years of age, sat feebly on the patio bench.. She didn't move, just sat with her head down staring at her hands. When I sat down beside her she didn't acknowledge my presence and the longer I sat I wondered if she was OK.

Finally, not really wanting to disturb her but wanting to check on her at the same time, I asked her if she was OK. She raised her head and looked at me and smiled. “Yes, I'm fine, thank you for asking,” she said in a clear voice strong.

“I didn't mean to disturb you, grandma, but you were just sitting here staring at your hands and I wanted to make sure you were alright,” I explained to her.

“Have you ever looked at your hands,” she asked. “I mean really looked at your hands?”

I slowly opened my hands and stared down at them. I turned them over, palms up and then palms down. No, I thought , I guess I had never really looked at my hands as I tried to figure out the point she was making.

Grandma smiled and related this story:

“Stop and think for a moment about the hands you have, how they have served you well throughout your years. These hands though wrinkled shriveled and weak have been the tools I have used all my life to reach out and grab and embrace life.

“They braced and caught my fall when as a toddler I crashed upon the floor. They put food in my mouth and clothes on my back. As a child, my mother taught me to fold them in prayer. They tied my shoes and pulled on my boots. They held my husband and wiped my tears when he went off to war.

“They have been dirty, scraped and raw, swollen and bent. They were uneasy and clumsy when I tried to hold my newborn son. Decorated with my wedding band, they showed the world that I was married and loved someone special. They wrote my letters to him and trembled and shook when I buried my parents and spouse.

“They have held my children and grandchildren, consoled neighbors, and closed into fists of anger when I didn't understand.

“They have covered my face, combed my hair, and washed and cleansed the rest of my body. They have been sticky and wet, bent and broken, dried and raw. And to this day when not much of anything else of me works real well these hands hold me up, lay me down, and again continue to fold in prayer.

“These hands are the mark of where I've been and the ruggedness of life.

But more importantly it will be these hands that God will reach out and take when he leads me home. And with my hands He will lift me to His side and there I will use these hands to touch the face of God.”'

I will never look at my hands the same again. But I remember God reached out and took my grandma's hands and led her home. When my hands are hurt or sore or when I stroke the face of my children and husband I think of grandma. I know she has been stroked and caressed and held by God’s hands of love.

I, too, want to touch the face of God and feel His hands upon my face.


My belated Mothers Day Card to all mothers in America

A Newborn ' s Conversation with God

A baby asked God, "They tell me you are sending me to earth tomorrow, but how am I going to live there being so small and helpless?"

God said, "Your angel will be waiting for you and will take care of you."

The child further inquired, "But tell me, here in heaven I don't have to do anything but sing and smile to be happy."

God said, "Your angel will sing for you and will also smile for you. And you will feel your angel's love and be very happy."

Again the small child asked, "And how am I going to be able to understand when people talk to me if I don't know the language?"

God said, "Your angel will tell you the most beautiful and sweet words you will ever hear, and with much patience and care, your angel will teach you how to speak."

"And what am I going to do when I want to talk to you?"

God said, "Your angel will place your hands together and will teach you how to pray."

"Who will protect me?"

God said, "Your angel will defend you even if it means risking its life."

"But I will always be sad because I will not see you anymore."

God said, "Your angel will always talk to you about Me and will teach you the way to come back to Me, even though I will always be next to you."

At that moment there was much peace in Heaven, but voices from Earth could be heard and the child hurriedly asked, "God, if I am to leave now, please tell me my angel's name."

God said, You will simply call her, "Mom."


My Kind of Mentor

I was at the corner grocery store buying some early potatoes. I noticed a small boy, delicate of bone and feature, ragged but clean, hungrily apprising a basket of freshly picked green peas.

I paid for my potatoes but was also drawn to the display of fresh green peas. I am a pushover for creamed peas and new potatoes.

Pondering the peas, I couldn't help overhearing the conversation between Mr. Miller (the store owner) and the ragged boy next to me.

'Hello Barry, how are you today?'

'H'lo, Mr. Miller. Fine, thank ya. Jus' admirin' them peas. They sure look good.'

'They are good, Barry. How's your Ma?'

'Fine. Gittin' stronger alla' time.'

'Good. Anything I can help you with?'

'No, Sir. Jus' admirin' them peas.'

'Would you like to take some home?'

Asked Mr. Miller.

'No, Sir. Got nuthin' to pay for 'em with.'

'Well, what have you to trade me for some of those peas?'

'All I got's my prize marble here.'

'Is that right? Let me see it' said Miller.

'Here 'tis. She's a dandy.'

'I can see that. Hmm mmm, only thing is this one is blue and I sort of go for red. Do you have a red one like this at home?' the

Store owner asked..

'Not zackley but almost.'

'Tell you what. Take this sack of peas home with you and next trip this way let me look at that red marble'. Mr. Miller told the boy.

'Sure will. Thanks Mr. Miller.'

Mrs. Miller, who had been standing nearby, came over to help me.

With a smile she said, 'There are two other boys like him in our community, all three are in very poor circumstances. Jim just loves to bargain with them for peas, apples, tomatoes, or whatever.

When they come back with their red marbles, and they always do, he decides he doesn't like red after all and he sends them home with a bag of produce for a green marble or an orange one, when they come on their next trip to the store.'

I left the store smiling to myself, impressed with this man. A short time later I moved to Colorado , but I never forgot the story of this man, the boys, and their bartering for marbles.

Several years went by, each more rapid than the previous one. Just recently I had occasion to visit some old friends in that Idaho community and while I was there learned that Mr. Miller had died. They were having his visitation that evening and knowing my friends wanted to go, I agreed to accompany them. Upon arrival at the mortuary we fell into line to meet the relatives of the deceased and to offer whatever words of comfort we could.

Ahead of us in line were three young men. One was in an army uniform and the other two wore nice haircuts, dark suits and white shirts...all very professional looking. They approached Mrs. Miller, standing composed and smiling by her husband's casket.

Each of the young men hugged her, kissed her on the cheek, spoke briefly with her and moved on to the casket. Her misty light blue eyes followed them as, one by one; each young man stopped briefly and placed his own warm hand over the cold pale hand in the casket. Each left the mortuary awkwardly, wiping his eyes.

Our turn came to meet Mrs. Miller. I told her who I was and reminded her of the story from those many years ago and what she had told me about her husband's bartering for marbles. With her eyes glistening, she took my hand and led me to the casket.

'Those three young men who just left were the boys I told you about.

They just told me how they appreciated the things Jim 'traded' them. Now, at last, when Jim could not change his mind about color or size......they came to pay their debt.'

'We've never had a great deal of the wealth of this world,' she confided, 'but right now, Jim would consider himself the richest man in Idaho ..'

With loving gentleness she lifted the lifeless fingers of her deceased husband. Resting underneath were three exquisitely shined red marbles.

The Moral:

We will not be remembered by our words, but by our kind deeds. Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath.


The Carpenter

Once upon a time, two brothers who lived on adjoining farms fell into conflict. It was the first serious rift in 40 years of farming side-by-side, sharing machinery and trading labor and goods as needed without a hitch.

Then the long collaboration fell apart. It began with a small misunderstanding and it grew into a major difference and finally, it exploded into an exchange of bitter words followed by weeks of silence.

One morning there was a knock on John's door. He opened it to find a man with a carpenter's toolbox. "I 'm looking for a few days' work," he said. "Perhaps you would have a few small jobs here and there I could help with? Could I help you?"

"Yes," said the older brother. "I do have a job for you. Look across the creek at that farm. That's my neighbor. In fact, it's my younger brother! Last week there was a meadow between us. He recently took his bulldozer to the river levee and now there is a creek between us. Well, he may have done this to spite me, but I'll do him one better. See that pile of lumber by the barn? I want you to build me a fence an 8-foot fence -- so I won't need to see his place or his face anymore."

The carpenter said, "I think I understand the situation. Show me the nails and the post-hole digger and I'll be able to do a job that pleases you."

The older brother had to go to town, so he helped the carpenter get the materials ready and then he was off for the day. The carpenter worked hard all that day -- measuring, sawing and nailing. About sunset when the farmer returned, the carpenter had just finished his job.

The farmer's eyes opened wide, his jaw dropped. There was no fence there at all.

It was a bridge .. a bridge that stretched from one side of the creek to the other! A fine piece of work, handrails and all! And the neighbor, his younger brother, was coming toward them, his hand outstretched..

"You are quite a fellow to build this bridge after all I've said and done."

The two brothers stood at each end of the bridge, and then they met in middle, taking each other's hand. They turned to see the carpenter hoist his toolbox onto his shoulder.

"No, wait! Stay a few days. I've a lot of other projects for you," said the older brother.

"I'd love to stay on," the carpenter said, "but I have many more bridges to build."


Remember This...

At the judgment seat of Christ...

He won't ask what kind of car you drove, He knows. He will also know how many people you helped get where they needed to go.

He won't ask the square footage of your house, He knows. He also knows how many people you welcomed into your home.

He won't ask about the clothes and shoes you had in your closet, He knows. But He also knows how many you helped to clothe.

He won't ask how many friends you had, He knows. He may ask you the names of the people to whom you were a friend.

Jesus won't ask in what neighborhood you lived, He also knows that. However, He also knows how you treated your neighbors.

He won't ask about the color of your skin, He knows. He may remind you about the content of your character while living here on earth.

He won't ask why it took you so long to seek Salvation, He knows. But He'll lovingly take you to your mansion in Heaven, and not to the gates of hell.


Knowing Your Master

A man turned to his doctor as he was preparing to leave the examination room and said, "Doctor, I am afraid to die. Tell me what lies on the other side." Very quietly, the doctor said, "I don't know." "You don't know? You're a Christian, and don't know what's on the other side?"

The doctor was holding the handle of the door; on the other side came a sound of scratching and whining, and as he opened the door, a dog sprang into the room and leaped on him with an eager show of gladness.

Turning to the patient, the doctor said, "Did you notice my dog? He's never been in this room before. He didn't know what was inside. He knew nothing except that his master was here, and when the door opened, he sprang in without fear. I know little of what is on the other side of death, but I do know one thing...I know my Master is there and that is enough."