SUNDAY MAGAZINE



SUNDAY MAGAZINE

 Bringing you a selection of Quotes, Inspiring Short Stories, Humor, Well known Classics in Serial form, Matters of general interest, and of course, Articles contributed by YOU.

Your valuable comments on the content and suggestions for improvement of "Sunday Magazine" and the website in general, will be very much appreciated.




22 April 2018

posted 21 Apr 2018, 07:08 by C S Paul

22 April 2018

Quotes to Inspire

  • The true secret of giving advice is, after you have honestly given it, to be perfectly indifferent whether it is taken or not and never persist in trying to set people right.Hannah Whitall Smith
  • In giving advice, seek to help, not please, your friend. Solon
  • If you want to take the meaning of the word integrity and reduce it to its simplest terms, you'd conclude that a man of integrity is a promise keeper. When he gives you his word. You can take it to the bank. His word is good. Bill McCartney
  • One of the secrets of a long and fruitful life is to forgive everybody everything every night before you go to bed. - Bernard Baruch
  • The secret of a good life is to have the right loyalties and hold them in the right scale of values. - Norman Thomas
  • It's a fact of earthly life that when God opens the windows of heaven to bless us, the devil opens the doors of hell to blast us. When God begins moving, the devil fires up all his artillery. Adrian Rogers
  • Concentrate on counting your blessings and you'll have little time to count anything else. -Woodrow Kroll
  • The greatest blessing the the whole world is being a blessing. Jack Hyles
  • Don't be afraid to give your best to what seemingly are small jobs. Every time you conquer one it makes you that much stronger. If you do the little jobs well, the big ones tend to take care of themselves. - Dale Carnegie
  • Fame is what you have taken, character is what you give. When to this truth you awaken, then you begin to live. Bayard Taylor
  • Don't be reluctant to give of yourself generously, it's the mark of caring and compassion and personal greatness. Brian Tracy
  • You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give. - Kahlil Gibran
  • No matter what you've done for yourself or for humanity, if you can't look back on having given love and attention to your own family, what have you really accomplished? Lee Iacocca
Mother
-- By Ken Pierpont

She dreamed of you from the time she was a little girl cradling a baby doll in her arms. She always saw you playing around the little cottage in her childhood dreams.

She carried you in her body and you made her sick every morning for weeks and weeks. She bore you into the world through intense pain but when she heard you cry and saw your wrinkled face she forgot all about it and wept tears of joy.

She fed you at her breast and her whole world revolved around you. She stole into your room at night just to watch you sleep and she was sure you were the most beautiful child on earth. She set up through the night to bathe away the fever and at breakfast your dad said; "Sleep well, honey?" oblivious to the all-night vigil. She somehow always knew when you needed her, even in the middle of the night, and she came to your room and changed your bedding and made sure you were warm and dry.

She covered your ears and gave you your coat and checked your homework and made you practice the piano and set through all your ball games and recitals like they were the seventh game of the World Series and a debut at Carnegie Hall. She nagged you to brush your teeth with words of wisdom like; "Be true to your teeth or they will be false to you." She changed your diaper and cleaned up when you were sick and washed underwear no one else would touch without a chemical suit. And who do you think always cleaned the gunk out of the kitchen sink and bathtub drain?

She made sure you had the drumstick and your dad had the breast and acted like she preferred the wings. Her oatmeal cookies made you forget the beating you took from the neighborhood bully, or the slow rate of greeting card sales.

She listened to you and didn't laugh when others would have mocked you. She believed in you when you didn't believe in yourself and prayed for you even when you didn't think you needed it. She made you think you could do things you were sure you couldn't do. She was tough enough to call your bluff and discipline you and give you a sense of boundaries and the security that comes with it. She spanked you when "Spocking" was all the trend with lesser mothers. She knew when you needed a spanking or just a nap and she didn't always give you candy though she longed to indulge you.

She was always waiting when you came in late. When you complained about it, she pretended to be asleep the way you always did when you wanted her to carry you in from the car after a long trip.

She read the Bible to you and read the Bible in front of you and did what mothers have to do to make sure the family is faithful in church. She made your dad a much better man than he ever would have been without her. She mended clothes as a labor of love and it broke her heart to see how quickly you grew out of them. She knew you were only loaned to her from God and soon the house would fall silent again. She washed mountains of dishes and truckloads of laundry. She put up food on the hottest summer days and didn't complain.

Her most sincere prayers were the ones she sent heavenward in gratitude for you. She filled your home with fragrance and beauty and music. The smell or her perfume and fresh-cut flowers, bacon for breakfast and Sunday roast. Her eyes were bright and happy and full of life. She wept though, wept and worried a thousand times for you when no one ever knew.

She rose early on holidays so you could enjoy a festive meal and an enduring memory. She planned for days and worked for hours so that in a few minutes you could gulp it down and go watch football. You didn't always thank her or help her with the dishes, but those meals have been a cherished memory for years.

She baked you special treats just to watch you eat them. Something inside made her happier the more you ate (If you could see me you would know this made my mother a very happy woman).

She wore old dresses so you could have a new ball glove. She skipped vacations and second honeymoons so you could go to camp. She limited expenses for her hobbies so you could get your band instrument. She was happy with last year's fashion so you could have this years tennis shoes. She didn't abandon the family when your dad was insensitive to her needs. She took the blame for your failures and stood back and let your dad have the glory for your successes. And having done all these things and a thousand others that make mother a sacred word, she still felt she wasn't the mother she should have been.

The Japanese master

A great Japanese master received a university professor who came to enquire about wisdom. The master served tea. He poured his visitor's cup full, and then kept on pouring. The professor watched the overflow until he could no longer restrain himself. 'It is overfull. No more will go in!' 'Like this cup,' the master said, 'you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you wisdom unless you first empty your cup?'

My Mom is Meaner than your Mom!
-- written in 1967 by Bobbie Pingaro
 
Was your Mom mean?

I know mine was. We had the meanest mother in the whole world!

While other kids ate candy for breakfast, we had to have cereal, eggs, and toast. When others had a soda and pizza for lunch, we had to eat sandwiches. And you can guess our mother fixed us a dinner that was different from what other kids had, too.

Mother insisted on knowing where we were at all times. You'd think we  were convicts in a prison.

She had to know who our friends were, and what we were doing with them. She insisted that if we said we would be gone for an hour, we would be gone for an hour or less. We were ashamed to admit it, but she had the nerve to break the Child Labor Laws by making us work.

We had to wash the dishes, make the beds, learn to cook, vacuum the floor, do laundry, and all sorts of cruel jobs. I think she would lie awake nights thinking of more things for us to do.

She always insisted on us telling the truth the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. By the time we were teenagers, she could read our minds. Then, life was really tough! Mother wouldn't let our friends just honk the horn when they drove up. They had to come up to the door so she could meet them while everyone else could date when they were 12 or 13, we had to wait until we were 16.

Because of our mother, we missed out on lots of things other kids experienced. None of us have ever been caught shoplifting, vandalizing other's property or ever arrested for any crime. It was all her fault! We never got drunk, took up smoking, stayed out all night, or a million other things other kids did.

Sundays were reserved for church, and we never missed once. We knew better than to ask to spend the night with a friend on Saturdays.

Now that we have left home, we are all God-fearing, educated, honest adults. We are doing our best to be mean parents just like Mom was.

I think that is what's wrong with the world today.

It just doesn't have enough mean moms anymore. 

I'm sure thankful for my mean mom!

Happy Mother's Day... every day!

Who you are speaks louder to me than anything you can say
Lee Ryan Miller

At the beginning of my 8:00 a.m. class one Monday at University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), I cheerfully asked my students how their weekend had been. One young man said that his weekend had not been very good. He'd had his wisdom teeth extracted. The young man then proceeded to ask me why I always seemed to be so cheerful. His question reminded me of something I'd read somewhere before: "Every morning when you get up, you have a choice about how you want to approach life that day", I said to the young man. "I choose to be cheerful". "Let me give you an example", I continued.

The other 60 students in the class ceased their chatter and began to listen to our conversation. As soon as I got there, I called AAA and asked them to send a tow truck. The secretary in the Provost's office asked me what had happened. "This is my lucky day", I replied, smiling. "Your car breaks down and today is your lucky day??" She was puzzled. "What do you mean?"

"I live 17 miles from here", I replied. "My car could have broken down anywhere along the freeway. It didn't. Instead, it broke down in the perfect place: off the freeway, within walking distance of here. I'm still able to teach my class, and I've been able to arrange for the tow truck to meet me after class. If my car was meant to break down today, it couldn't have been arranged in a more convenient fashion." The secretary's eyes opened wide, and then she smiled. I smiled back and headed for class.' So ended my story to the students in my economics class at UNLV.

I scanned the 60 faces in the lecture hall. Despite the early hour, no one seemed to be asleep. Somehow, my story had touched them. Or maybe it wasn't the story at all. In fact, it had all started with a student's observation that I was cheerful. A wise man once said: "Who you are speaks louder to me than anything you can say". I suppose it must be so.

Did you Know ?
  • In 1992, Sachin became the youngest cricketer to reach a 1000 runs in Test cricket.
  • India invented the number system and Aryabhatta was the scientist who invented the digit zero.
  • Chess was invented in India.
  • India is the 6th largest country in the world, the largest democracy and one of the oldest civilization.
  • India has the most number of mosques. It has 300,000 mosques which is much more than the Muslim world.
  • India is one of the largest exporter of computer software products.
  • Before 1986, India was the only place in the world where Diamonds could be found.
  • Sharks can live up to 100 years.
  • Mosquitos are more attracted to the color blue than any other color.
  • Kangaroos can't walk backwards.
  • About 75 acres of pizza are eaten in in the U.S. everyday.
  • The largest recorded snowflake was 15 Inch wide and 8 Inch thick. It fell in Montana in 1887.
  • The tip of a bullwhip moves so fast that the sound it makes is actually a tiny sonic boom.
  • When young Sachin fell from a tree on a Sunday evening during his summer vacation, while Guide was shown on national TV, his infuriated brother (and mentor) Ajit sent him to cricket coaching class as a punishment.
  • A prankster that he is, Sachin once put a hose pipe into Sourav Ganguly's room and turned the tap on.
  • Sachin Tendulkar was without a bat contract until the start of the 1996 Cricket World Cup. At the end of the tournament, a famous tyre manufacturer sponsored his willow.
Just for Laughs

Acts and the Burglar

A woman went into her kitchen to find a burglar loaded down with a bunch of stuff he was stealing from her kitchen. Not having any kind of weapon to scare him off, she raised her hand and said "Acts 2:38," and proceeded to quote scripture. 

The burglar froze in place and didn't move. The woman called 911; the police arrived and were amazed to find the burglar still frozen where he stood. 

"What did you say to him that kept him from moving?" they asked the woman. 

She told them that she had simply said Acts 2:38 and quoted scripture. 

The police chuckled and escorted the burglar out to the patrol car. "Why did the woman's quoting scripture scare you so much?" they asked. 

"Scripture?" said the burglar, "I thought she said she had an ax and two 38's! 

15 April 2018

posted 14 Apr 2018, 08:44 by C S Paul

15 April 2018

Quotes to Inspire

  • No matter what age you are, or what your circumstances might be, you are special, and you still have something unique to offer. Your life, because of who you are, has meaning. Barbara De Angelis
  • How far you go in life depends on you being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and the strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these. George Washington Carver
  • Everyone has a purpose in life... a unique gift or special talent to give to others. And when we blend this unique talent with service to others, we experience the ecstasy and exultation of our own spirit, which is the ultimate goal of all goals. Deepak Chopra 
  • Pleasure is not the purpose of man's existence. Joy is. David O. McKay
  • Strange is our situation here upon earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to divine a purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that man is here for the sake of other men. Albert Einstein
  • Every living creature that comes into the world has something allotted him to perform; therefore, he should not stand an idle spectator of what others are doing. - Sarah Kirby Trimmer
  • The key that unlocks energy is desire. It's also the key to a long and interesting life. If we expect to create any drive, any real force within ourselves, we have to get excited.Earl Nightingale
  • If you want your life to be a magnificent story, then begin by realizing that you are the author and everyday you have the opportunity to write a new page. Mark Houlahan
  • When you take charge of your life, there is no longer a need to ask permission of other people or society at large. When you ask permission, you give someone veto power over your life.- Geoffrey F. Abert
  • Hold on to your dreams for they are, in a sense, the stuff of which reality is made. It is through our dreams that we maintain the possibility of a better, more meaningful life. Leo Buscaglia
  • Our emotions need to be as educated as our intellect. It is important to know how to feel, how to respond, and how to let life in so that it can touch you. Jim Rohn
A Chicken Teaches a Lesson of Faith at Easter
By Isabel Wolseley, Syracuse, New York

It was an Easter Sunday we would never forget.

What do you think of when you think of Easter?

Eggs, of course. The symbol of new life come spring. How better to illustrate the season's spiritual message?

I looked forward to teaching the lesson of the egg in my Sunday school class as Easter approached, but when I asked the children where eggs came from the answer surprised me.

"Bunnies!" all 12 students shouted.

Bunnies? I thought. Could these kids be so far removed from nature they actually think rabbits lay eggs? My own chickens would have been insulted!

"It's on TV," one of the girls explained. "A white rabbit lays chocolate eggs."

Now I knew what they meant. I'd seen the commercial, but it didn't have much to do with the lesson I wanted to teach. I had to think this through.

The following Sunday morning I got ready for school, still not sure what to do. I have to find a way to set them straight, I thought.

I checked my chicken coop before I left. My birds strutted and clucked around the hen houses: Ida, Ada and Henney Penney in their nesting boxes, Rudy the rooster scratching at the ground. Penney puffed her feathers to twice her size when Rudy got close. She was guarding a dozen eggs.

"If only the kids at Sunday school could see your eggs," I said, stroking Penney's copper-speckled feathers, "they'd forget all about chocolate."

That's when it hit me: What if I took Penney and her eggs to Sunday school with me? How many of the kids had ever seen a real egg hatch? Or watched an ordinary-looking, beige-colored egg turn into a live chick with bright little BB-pellet eyes, downy feathers and tiny feet, peeping away? The hatching of an egg was like a miracle. Why not share it with the kids? I'd give those children an Easter message they'd never forget!

I hunted for a box to hold the eggs. But wait a minute: Was I really planning to bring a chicken to church? I tried to remember another time any kind of animal had joined us at our solemn service. Once a sparrow flew in an open window and fluttered around, disturbing the reading. And a puppy had wandered in and led the ushers in a merry chase around the aisles while the children laughed. But those events hadn't been planned.

I thought of a certain church lady, a good Christian with very strong opinions. She'd once objected to my son's carrying in a Bible with a jazzy cover. "It's a New Testament," I'd assured her as she eyed the brightly colored jacket. 

"Well," she'd sniffed, "it looks like a Betty Crocker cookbook!"

I had a vision of my little bantam hen pooping on the ecclesiastical carpet. "I guess chickens really don't belong in church," I said. But then I remembered Jesus' own words in the Gospel of Matthew: "How often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings."

"That settles it," I told Penney. "Jesus would approve of a chicken in church, and he's who matters!" Penney would be in the Sunday school wing anyway. Nowhere near the church, actually. And nowhere near that straitlaced church lady (I hoped).

I poked holes in the lid of a straw-filled cardboard box and transferred Penney and her eggs into it. It was waiting on the table when the children came to class. As they took their seats I said, "Guess what's inside."

"Rabbits!" one boy shouted.

"Kitten!" a girl said over him.

"Puppy!" called someone else.

"Nobody has guessed it," I said and lifted the lid. All the children gasped. Penney blinked in the sudden light and ruffled her feathers, but soon settled down and clucked. The children came forward slowly, so as not to scare her. The girls took turns stroking her feathers.

"What do you think Penney's brought with her?" I said. I lifted her up to reveal a dozen eggs. 

A boy poked one of the shells with a pudgy finger. "How can she sit on them?" he asked. "They're hard!

"Penney wants her babies very much," I said. "She's willing to go through hard things. Just like your mother did before you were born. God puts love into all parents' hearts—even chicken parents!"

Now that the children had seen the eggs, I offered them a deal. "Penney has laid 12 eggs. That's one for each of you," I said. "You have a choice what to do with your egg. You can take it home and have your mom cook it for breakfast..."

The children giggled.

"Or I can bring Penney back next week and you can see your eggs turn into babies!"

Not one child voted for an omelet. By the following week the children had told all their friends. We discussed the impending blessed event. They couldn't wait to see the chicks they'd been promised on Easter Sunday.

I promised, I thought as I got ready for bed on Saturday night. Should I have been so confident the children would see chicks on Easter? It took 21 days for a bantam hen egg to hatch, and in the interest of timing, I'd taken the eggs from under Penney so that she'd miss a day of brooding. But what if I'd miscounted, or addled the eggs when moving them? What if Penny's temperature wasn't just right? The hatching of a chicken was God's work, not mine. God, I prayed after I switched off the light, please let at least one egg hatch for them.

The church parking lot was crowded the next morning. Everyone came for the Easter service. But why were so many people gathered around the Sunday school wing? I made my way through the crowd with my cardboard box.

"Is that Penney?" a woman asked me.

"Did the eggs hatch yet?" a man said.

They were all here to see Penney and her eggs! Along with every child from every Sunday school class, not just my own. Even the pastor came over to see what was going on. "It's an expectant hen," I told him, blushing. "I thought the children would like to see the eggs hatch."

"What a perfect way to illustrate today's sermon!" he said. "Would you bring Penney into the church?"

So much for keeping Penney under wraps, I thought as a pack of children cheered and followed me into the sanctuary. They plunked themselves on the stage at the front of the church. Okay, God, I thought as I lifted the lid. Time for an Easter miracle! 

A gasp went up. There was Penney with not one but six wobbly chicks. Three were already dried and fluffy as dandelion down. The other three were still wet from their shells. Two more eggs were nearly cracked in half, the babies just emerging. The last four eggshells showed tiny holes where miniature beaks were pecking.

I looked up, beaming, from Penney's new family—right into the face of that straitlaced parishioner I'd dreaded. She was gazing down at the chicks as happy and amazed as the little girl in front of her who asked, "How did you get the eggs to hatch right on Easter?"

"God decides when the eggs hatch," I said. "He knew this was the right time!"

And just the right place—right in his own house, where all new life begins.

The Miraculous Easter Dinner
By MaryBeth Seal, Niles, Michigan

She enjoyed the perfect Easter meal, thanks to a friend and a mysterious coincidence.

I love everything about making Easter dinner except the Saturday shopping. That day, the supermarket can be as crowded as a department store at Christmas. And this Easter, on top of my regular checklist, I had to buy the ingredients for a delicious new recipe I’d discovered: sliced ham and turkey layered with Swiss cheese and spinach, all wrapped in pastry dough.

Trouble was, my work schedule had left me no time to shop earlier in the week.

I’ll get up extra early and take care of everything Saturday morning, I thought, as I drove to the office Friday. But that morning Yola, one of my co-workers, asked if my husband, Robert, and I would help her move the next day. “I really don’t have anybody else to ask,” she apologized.

“Sure,” I told her, soft touch that I am. Bright and early Saturday morning, Robert, my 15-year-old son Ben, and I drove our pickup to her old apartment. Oh, the piles of furniture and boxes! It took us till late afternoon to get her settled in her new place.

By the time we returned home, I was spent. I don’t know how I’m going to go shopping now, let alone cook Easter dinner, I thought. The only ingredient I had at home was the spinach.

On the kitchen counter were two shopping bags of food Yola had sent home with us – her thanks for helping her move. She was leaving on a trip the next day, and didn’t want the food to go to waste.

I reached into the first bag and pulled out a package of sliced ham. Well, that’s lucky, I thought. At least I can cross one thing off my list.

Then I pulled out a package of sliced turkey, and another of Swiss cheese.

That’s odd, I thought. There’s no way Yola knew my Easter dinner plans.

I reached back into the grocery bag, thinking of the Easter miracle. All of sudden, the strangest feeling came over me. My hand closed around a package near the bottom of the bag. I lifted it out. It was a box of pastry dough – the final ingredient I needed for my recipe. 

Faith and Prayer Helped Her Overcome Depression
By Julie West Garmon, Snellville, Georgia

Joy eluded me like a forgotten melody. I felt as if I'd lost myself...

Easter Sunday, the calendar on my kitchen wall proclaimed. So did the kids' baskets with their neon-colored eggs and marshmallow bunnies. And our new outfits for church.

Jamie, 13, and Katie, 11, had polka-dot dresses like mine, and three-year-old Thomas proudly wore a miniature tie. Easter was all around.

So why wasn't it Easter inside me too?

"Look!" my husband, Rick, said as we pulled out of the driveway. "The pear trees are blooming! First time since we planted them!"

I don't even remember us having pear trees. What's the matter with me, Lord? It had come on so suddenly, this gray, gloomy hopeless feeling.

At church, shouts of "Happy Easter!" bombarded us. "Happy Easter!" I parroted, mimicking my friends' bright smiles. Put on a happy face. What kind of Christian is sad on Easter?

I told myself it was only temporary. But April and May went by with the same dreary numbness. I forgot to eat, I was losing weight, I couldn't sleep. My mother wanted me to see my doctor, but what could I say to him–"I'm feeling sad but there's no reason for it"?

Besides, weren't Christians supposed to rejoice in the Lord? All my 34 years I'd gone to two church services every Sunday, Tuesday night outreach, Wednesday night Girls-in-Action when I was younger, nowadays Prayer Meeting with Rick.

What would everyone think if they knew that I was feeling this darkness inside, that I was failing God so?

Maybe I just needed a change of scene. In June, when we went on vacation, things would be different.

On the drive to Florida's Gulf coast, I tried to join in with Rick and the kid's excited plans about everything they wanted to do once we got to the beach, but I ended up feeling like the odd sock in the dryer.

At our rental condo I went through the motions, packed picnics for the beach, played games, and at night while my family slept, slipped outside to cry.

Stepping out the glass sliding doors into the briny darkness, I listened to the rhythm of the waves. Why didn't it soothe me as it always had? I have new freckles on my arms, Lord, so I must be in Florida. Why can't I feel anything?

I came home feeling worse than when we left. I stopped looking in mirrors, unwilling to face the drawn, needy-eyed woman lurking there.

All summer I forced myself to take the kids to our neighborhood pool, thinking, Maybe if I act like the other moms, I can feel like a mom again. As my friends chatted, I put on sunglasses and pretended to be absorbed in a magazine.

I thought I was fooling even Rick, till one evening he said, "You don't hum any more, Julie. Is something the matter?"

No! That was the trouble. Everything was fine, except me. "I'm just a little tired," I told him.

"Let's pray about it," he said.

I have prayed! I've prayed and prayed and nothing happens. Rick must have been more worried than he let on, because for the first time in our married life, he suggested we kneel and pray out loud together. I repeated everything after him, like wedding vows.

"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want."

"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want."

It became a nightly ritual, praying together at bedtime. "Thank you, Lord," Rick would close, "for giving Julie your perfect peace." I'd feel peaceful too–for as long as he prayed. Then he'd fall asleep, and when I couldn't lie still any longer, I'd ease off the covers and tiptoe over to the clock.
12:10. 2:30. 4:15. It became one more thing to conceal. How could I tell my husband that his prayers weren't working? How could I disappoint Rick like I'd disappointed God?

By October my mother had started dropping in "just to say hello" a couple of times a week. She asked no questions but her transparent efforts to cheer me up told me that my forced smiles were no longer fooling her, either.

In early November she insisted on taking me shopping. At the mall Mother zipped over to an outfit. "Look, Julie, this is the new color for fall! Mustard. See those jeans? And the matching vest?" Explaining it to me like I'm a preschooler.

She grabbed the clothes and pushed me into the fitting room. My back to the mirror, I pulled on the jeans, two sizes smaller than usual, and tightened the belt to its last notch.

"Julie, what's taking so long? Can I come in now?"

"Okay," I said resignedly.

"Oh, Julie, that color's wonderful with your red hair! I'm getting you the outfit. Why don't you wear it out, and we'll stop for ice cream on the way home." Yippee. Ice cream.

Back in her Oldsmobile, I refused to get out again. "You go in for the ice cream and bring it out." I was safer in the car than with people who might expect me to be chatty and cheerful.

Mother came back with my childhood favorite, a chocolate milkshake with real whipped cream. I sucked hard and fast through the straw to try to remember those shivery feelings. It was no good. Why isn't anything in life fun anymore?

Mother started coming by daily. I hated it when she arrived, and I hated it worse when she left. One morning she walked in with her camera and followed me around the house snapping pictures. "I want to show you how pretty you are."

Mothers always think daughters are pretty. I'm a fake and a failure and it has to show. Still, seeing her trotting after me, clicking away, was so funny that I had to laugh. It was like hearing a forgotten song. She finished the roll and hurried off to a one-hour developer.

Coming back, she fanned out the pictures like a winning hand of cards. She must have had these touched up. I look so... normal.

I picked out my favorite shot, the one with me laughing, and carried it around the rest of the day, then put it on the refrigerator. I wanted to hold on to that laugh, to believe it meant I could be happy–be me–again. But as with Rick's prayers at bedtime, the lift didn't last.

When Mother came back the next day, I was sitting on the kitchen floor crying. She got down beside me. "Julie, I think it's time to see the doctor."

The last fragments of my self-respect crumbled at that. Dialing the doctor's number felt like the final defeat. He gave me an appointment right away.

I sat in the familiar green leather chair in his waiting room, wishing I could be one of the other patients. The lady with the five fidgety kids, the old man staring out the window, the gangly teenager.

What grown woman needs her mother to go to the doctor with her? And what would Dr. Kelly say when he found there was nothing wrong with me? I could see him marking my chart "Mental Case/Weirdo."

"Julie, come on back," the nurse called. Would she have to know too?

"What's the matter, Julie?" Dr. Kelly prompted gently.

Confessing my condition to someone else was one of the hardest things I'd ever done. "I–I just don't feel like myself anymore. I guess I haven't felt like me for maybe nine months now and I can't seem to stop crying."

In a matter-of-fact manner, my doctor went on asking questions. Had the symptoms come on suddenly? he inquired.

"Have you lost weight?"

"Do you sleep too little or too much?"

"Have you lost pleasure in the things you used to enjoy?"

"Do you have trouble concentrating?"

Yes, yes, yes! To them all.

"Julie," the doctor said, "you're in a depression. Depression can have many causes, but when it comes on this suddenly it can be a physical condition due to a decreased serotonin level in the brain. It's not a character failing or a sign of weakness. Even big, strong football players experience depression."

He's not judging me! Football players. Say it again... a physical condition...

"But, Dr. Kelly, if I had enough faith, couldn't God heal depression?"

"I'm a man of faith too, Julie. Sometimes God uses doctors to help heal. Remember when Jamie broke her arm? You took her to an orthopedist.

"Depression is an illness," he went on, "often treatable with medication." He tore a prescription off his pad.

"With this, your serotonin level will gradually increase. As it does, I believe you'll start feeling like your old self. You'll need to stay on the medicine at least six months. I'll want to see you again in four weeks."

I left his office walking on air. But a week on the medication changed nothing. Hope slipped away like an escaping balloon.

Then one morning in the second week, I woke up and realized I had slept the whole night through. Like a slow-motion film, frame by frame, other changes followed, cheerful moments breaking one by one through the grayness.

One Saturday some two months after my visit to the doctor, Rick and I took the kids to McDonald's. We stepped through the door and suddenly I remembered the taste of french fries. This is what it feels like to be excited about food! I stood in line like an impatient child.

"May I take your order?" said the boy on the other side of the counter.

"Yes!" I answered eagerly. "I'll have a large order of french fries and a large chocolate milkshake, and, oh yeah, lots of ketchup!"

I grabbed the tray and followed my family to a booth. Yummy, salty, hot french fries! Adding plenty of pepper, I dragged each fry through a big mound of ketchup. The saltiness made me crave my milkshake. I sucked the cold drink down so hard and fast that my throat shivered.

Thank you, Lord, for my chocolate milkshake. I grabbed Rick's hand under the table and whispered, "I love you."

Two more months went by, the good days coming more and more often. Then it was Easter Sunday again–oh, but not like any Easter I'd ever known!

As we pulled out of the driveway on the way to church, I noticed the pear trees were a glory of white lace. In place of dull gray were yellow daffodils, pink dogwood–everywhere new life, new hope.

And most of all in me. Dr. Kelly was wrong. "You'll be your old self again," he promised. But this was a new self! This self didn't have to be the model Christian who never missed a church service and showed only her best side.

This self was weak and needy and depressed and knew that was all right–all right with people and all right with God. Once I admitted I was hurting, I'd found his helpers all around me. Rick. Mother. Dr. Kelly. My friends at church I'd assumed would be so disapproving.

It was when I thought I'd failed God that I'd truly found him, when I'd plummeted the farthest that I'd landed in his arms. Sometimes, I realized as we drove up to the church, the most glorious way we can rejoice in the Lord is to let him have our deepest pain.

Did you Know ?
  • The “spot” on the 7-Up comes from its inventor who had red eyes – he was an albino. ’7' was because the original containers were 7 ounces and ‘UP’ indicated the direction of the bubbles.
  • Chocolate can kill dogs, as it contains theobromine, which affects their heart and nervous system.
  • Because metal was scarce, the Oscars given out during World War II were made of plaster.
  • There are only two words in the English language that have all five vowels in order: “abstemious” and “facetious.”
  • If one places a tiny amount of liquor on a scorpion, it will instantly go mad and sting itself to death.
  • Bruce Lee was so fast that they actually had to slow film down so you could see his moves.
  • Mosquitoes have 47 teeth.
  • Beavers can hold there breath underwater for 45 minutes.
  • A bear can run up to 30 mph.
  • Flamingos are pink because there diet consists mainly of shrimp.
  • A chameleon's tongue is as long than its body.
  • The largest pig on record was a Poland-China hog named Big Bill, who weighed 2,552 lbs
  • The giant cricket of Africa enjoys eating human hair
  •  A duck’s quack doesn’t echo. No one knows why!
Just for laughs

Pearly Gates Story

A man dies and goes to heaven. Of course, St. Peter meets him at the pearly gates. St. Peter says, "Here's how it works. You need 100 points to make it into heaven. You tell me all the good things you've done, and I give you a certain number of points for each item, depending on how good it was. When you reach 100 points, you get in." 

"Okay," the man says, "I was married to the same woman for 50 years and never cheated on her, even in my heart." 

"That's wonderful," says St. Peter, "that's worth three points!" 

"Three points?" he says. "Well, I attended church all my life and supported its ministry with my tithe and service." 

"Terrific!" says St. Peter, "that's certainly worth a point." 

"One point? Golly. How about this: I started a soup kitchen in my city and worked in a shelter for homeless veterans." 

"Fantastic, that's good for two more points," he says. 

"TWO POINTS!!" the man cries, "At this rate the only way I get into heaven is by the grace of God!" 

Come on in!"  
Small Female Janitor

A very small female janitor (4’10’, 90 pounds) worked at an amusement park and was told to go out and sweep up the trash. 

As she was getting ready to start cleaning up her supervisor noticed her putting rocks in her pockets. 

When the supervisor asked her what she was doing, she said, “It’s very windy out there and I’ll get knocked over by the wind… So, now I weigh me down to sweep.” 

8 April 2018

posted 7 Apr 2018, 07:09 by C S Paul

8 April 2018

Quotes to Inspire

  • When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us. - Helen Keller
  • It is in the expectations of happiness that much of happiness itself is found. And it takes courage to expect happiness.- Earl Nightingale
  • Money like health, love, happiness, and all forms of success that you want to create for yourself is the result of living purposefully. It is not a goal unto itself. - Dr. Wayne Dyer
  • Happiness.. resides not in possessions, and not in gold, but the feeling of happiness dwells in the soul. Democritus
  • You might be poor, and unhappy; but become suddenly rich, and you will still be unhappy. -Rick Beneteau
  • The most exhausting thing in life, I have discovered, is insincerity. - Anne Morrow Lindbergh
  • “You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • “Kindness is more important than wisdom, and the recognition of this is the beginning of wisdom.” — Theodore Isaac Rubin, M.D.
  • “Today I bent the truth to be kind, and I have no regret, for I am far surer of what is kind than I am of what is true.” — Robert Brault
  • The greatest joys of life are happy memories. Your job is to create as many of them as possible. -  Brian Tracy
Who you are speaks louder to me than anything you can say
-- Author Unknown

At the beginning of my 8:00 a.m. class one Monday at University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), I cheerfully asked my students how their weekend had been. One young man said that his weekend had not been very good. He'd had his wisdom teeth extracted. The young man then proceeded to ask me why I always seemed to be so cheerful. His question reminded me of something I'd read somewhere before: "Every morning when you get up, you have a choice about how you want to approach life that day", I said to the young man. "I choose to be cheerful". "Let me give you an example", I continued.

The other 60 students in the class ceased their chatter and began to listen to our conversation. As soon as I got there, I called AAA and asked them to send a tow truck. The secretary in the Provost's office asked me what had happened. "This is my lucky day", I replied, smiling. "Your car breaks down and today is your lucky day??" She was puzzled. "What do you mean?"

"I live 17 miles from here", I replied. "My car could have broken down anywhere along the freeway. It didn't. Instead, it broke down in the perfect place: off the freeway, within walking distance of here. I'm still able to teach my class, and I've been able to arrange for the tow truck to meet me after class. If my car was meant to break down today, it couldn't have been arranged in a more convenient fashion." The secretary's eyes opened wide, and then she smiled. I smiled back and headed for class.' So ended my story to the students in my economics class at UNLV.

I scanned the 60 faces in the lecture hall. Despite the early hour, no one seemed to be asleep. Somehow, my story had touched them. Or maybe it wasn't the story at all. In fact, it had all started with a student's observation that I was cheerful. A wise man once said: "Who you are speaks louder to me than anything you can say". I suppose it must be so.

Author: Lee Ryan Miller - story from his book "Teaching Amidst the Neon Palm Trees" - for whose website click here.

The Yellow Shirt
-- Author Unknown

The baggy yellow shirt had long sleeves, four extra-large pockets trimmed in black thread and snaps up the front.  It was faded from years of wear, but still in decent shape.  I found it in 1963 when I was home from college on Christmas break, rummaging through bags of clothes Mom intended to give away.

"You're not taking that old thing, are you?"  Mom said when she saw me packing the yellow shirt.  "I wore that when I was pregnant with your brother in 1954!"

"It's just the thing to wear over my clothes  during art class, Mom.  Thanks!" I slipped it into my suitcase before she could object.

The yellow shirt became a part of my college wardrobe.  I loved it.  After graduation, I wore the shirt the day I moved into my new apartment and on Saturday mornings when I cleaned.

The next year, I married.  When I became pregnant, I wore the yellow shirt during big-belly days.  I missed Mom and the rest of my family, since we were in Colorado and they were in Illinois. But that shirt helped.  I smiled, remembering that Mother had worn it when she was pregnant, 15 years earlier.

That Christmas, mindful of the warm feelings the shirt had given me, I patched one elbow, wrapped it in holiday paper and sent it to Mom. When Mom wrote to thank me for her "real" gifts, she said the yellow shirt was lovely.  She never mentioned it again.

The next year, my husband, daughter and I stopped at Mom and Dad's to pick up some furniture.  Days later, when we uncrated the kitchen table, I noticed something yellow taped to its bottom.  The shirt!

And so the pattern was set.

On our next visit home, I secretly placed the shirt under Mom and Dad's mattress.  I don't know how long it took for her to find it, but almost two years passed before I discovered it under the base of our living-room floor  lamp.  The yellow shirt was just what I needed now while refinishing furniture.  The walnut stains added character.

In 1975 my husband and I divorced.  With my three children, I prepared to move back to Illinois.  As I packed, a deep depression overtook me.  I wondered if I could make it on my own.  I wondered if I would find a job.

I paged through the Bible, looking for comfort.  In Ephesians, I read,  "So use every piece of God's armor to resist the enemy whenever he attacks, and when it is all over, you will be standing up."

I tried to picture myself wearing God's armor, but all I saw was the stained yellow shirt.  Slowly, it dawned on me.  Wasn't my mother's love a piece of God's armor?  My courage was renewed.

Unpacking in our new home, I knew I had to get the shirt back to Mother.  The next time I visited her, I tucked it in her bottom dresser drawer.

Meanwhile, I found a good job at a radio  station.  A year later I discovered the yellow shirt hidden in a rag bag in my cleaning closet.  Something new had been added.  Embroidered in bright green across the breast pocket were the words "I BELONG TO PAT."

Not to be outdone, I got out my own embroidery materials and added an apostrophe and seven more letters.  Now the shirt proudly proclaimed, "I BELONG TO PAT'S MOTHER."  But I didn't stop there. I zig-zagged all the frayed seams, then had a friend mail the shirt in a fancy box to Mom from Arlington, VA.  We enclosed an official looking letter from "The Institute for the Destitute," announcing that she was the recipient of an award for good deeds.  I would have given anything to see Mom's face when she opened the box.  But, of course, she never mentioned it.

Two years later, in 1978, I remarried.  The day of our wedding, Harold and I put our car in a friend's garage to avoid practical jokers.  After the wedding, while my husband drove us to our honeymoon suite, I reached for a pillow in the car to rest my head. It felt lumpy.  I unzipped the case and found, wrapped in wedding paper, the yellow shirt.  Inside a pocket was a note:

"Read John 14:27-29.  I love you both, Mother."

That night I paged through the Bible in a hotel room and found the verses:  "I am leaving you with a gift: peace of mind and heart.  And the peace I give isn't fragile like the peace the world gives.  So don't be troubled or afraid.  Remember what I told you: I am going away, but I will come back to you again. If you really love me, you will be very happy for me, for now I can go to the Father, who is greater than I am.  I have told you these things before they happen so that when they do, you will believe in me."

The shirt was Mother's final gift.  She had known for thre months that she had terminal Lou Gehrig's disease.  Mother died the following year at age 57.

I was tempted to send the yellow shirt with her to her grave. But I'm glad I didn't, because it is a vivid reminder of the love-filled game she and  I played for 16 years.  Besides, my older daughter is in college now, majoring in art.  And every art student needs a baggy yellow shirt with big pockets.

The Eagle
Source: an adaptation from an Anthony de Mello story

Once a farmer found an abandoned eagle's nest and in it was an egg still warm. He took the egg back to his farm and laid it in the nest of one of his hens. The egg hatched and the baby eagle grew up along with the other chickens. It pecked about the farmyard, scrabbling for grain. It spent its life within the yard and rarely looked up. When it was very old, one day it lifted up its head and saw above it a wonderful sight - an eagle soaring high above in the sky. Looking at it, the old creature sighed and said to itself, "If only I'd been born an eagle".

Going the extra mile
 Karan Bilimoria

I was 20 and had just finished my first degree when I aksed my father's advice on how to approach the world of work. He had a long and distinguished career in the Indian Army and rose to become commander-in-chief of a million men. He was a soldier's soldier and his men adored him. His manner was strict and firm, but he was very friendly. He appreciated and trusted people and gave then freedom.

"Come and see me in my office if you want to talk to me about work" he said. So I made an appointment with his ADC and went to see him. He had a huge office and I felt very small.

"You are starting out and you will be given a lot of tasks to fulfil" he said. "The first thing is always to do something to the best of your ability. Then the second time you do it, give it that little bit extra". What he was saying was: "Take the initiative; be innovative; be creative. Always go the extra mile."

Did You Know ?
  • Takshila – the first university. Education was also encouraged from the ancient days. Takshila – the first university of the world was set up in India in about 700 B.C. The University of Nalanda was also established in India during 4th Century in India. More than 10,000 students studied over 60 subjects from all over the world.
  • The 'Place Value System' and the 'Decimal System' were developed in India in 100 B.C.
  • The World's First Granite Temple is the Brihadeswara Temple at Tanjavur, Tamil Nadu. The shikhara of the temple is made from a single 80-tonne piece of granite. This magnificent temple was built in just five years, (between 1004 AD and 1009 AD) during the reign of Rajaraja Chola.
  • A housefly beats its wings about 20,000 times per minute.
  • A hummingbird weighs less than a penny!
  • A jellyfish is 95% water.
  • A mole can dig a tunnel 300 feet long in just one night!
  • Mosquito - The smallest animal in this list, the Mosquito, is by far the most dangerous animal in the world. In fact they kill over one million people every year by transmitting deadly disease such as malaria, west nile, and yellow fever.
  • A monkey was once tried and convicted for smoking a cigarette in South Bend, Indiana.
Just For Laughs

Going Down

As the storm raged, the captain realized his ship was sinking fast. He called out, "Anyone here know how to pray?" One man stepped forward. "Aye, Captain, I know how to pray." 

"Good," said the captain, "you pray while the rest of us put on our life jackets - we're one short." 

They're hushers

Six-year-old Angie and her four-year-old brother Joel were sitting together in church. Joel giggled, sang, and talked out loud.

Finally, his big sister had had enough. "You're not supposed to talk out loud in church."

"Why? Who's going to stop me?" Joel asked.

Angie pointed to the back of the church and said, "See those two men standing by the door? They're hushers."

1 April 2018

posted 30 Mar 2018, 07:43 by C S Paul   [ updated 30 Mar 2018, 07:43 ]

1 April 2018
Quotes to Inspire
  • “Wise sayings often fall on barren ground, but a kind word is never thrown away.” — Sir Arthur Helps
  • “You will regret many things in life, but you will never regret being too kind or too fair.”— Brian Tracy
  • “Don’t wait for people to be kind. Show them how.” — Anonymous
  • “The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.” — Oscar Wilde
  • “That best portion of a good man’s life: his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love.” — William Wordsworth
  • “Kindness is loving people more than they deserve.” — Joseph Joubert
  • “We are made kind by being kind.” — Eric Hoffer
  • “Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.” — Benjamin Franklin
  • "The important thing is not to stop questioning.” — Albert Einstein
  • "A strong man stands up for himself ... A stronger man stands up for others." — Keeler
  • "The best helping hand that you will ever receive is the one at the end of your own arm.”— Fred Dehner
  • "Harry Emerson Fosdick said: 'Democracy is based upon the conviction that there are extraordinary possibilities in ordinary people.' Sadly, it can be destroyed by evil, controlling people." — RWI
  • "Nature decrees that we do not exceed the speed of light. All other impossibilities are optional.” — Robert Brault
The Teacher and the Taught
Author Unknown

A young teacher from an industrial city in the north of England had accepted a temporary job teaching a class of four-year-olds out in one of the most isolated, rural parts of north Wales. One of her first lessons involved teaching the letter S so she held up a big colour photograph of a sheep and said: "Now, who can tell me what this is?"

No answer. Twenty blank and wordless faces looked back at her. "Come on, who can tell me what this is?" she exclaimed, tapping the photograph determinedly, unable to believe that the children were quite so ignorant. The 20 faces became apprehensive and even fearful as she continued to question them with mounting frustration.

Eventually, one brave soul put up a tiny, reluctant hand. "Yes!" she cried, waving the snap aloft. "Tell me what you think this is!" "Please, Miss," said the boy warily. "Is it a three-year-old Border Leicester?"

The Thing I Value Most
Author Unknown

It had been some time since Jack had seen the old man. College, girls, career, and life itself got in the way. In fact, Jack moved clear across the country in pursuit of his dreams. There, in the rush of his busy life, Jack had little time to think about the past and often no time to spend with his wife and son. He was working on his future, and nothing could stop him.

Over the phone, his mother told him, "Mr. Belser died last night. The funeral is Wednesday." Memories flashed through his mind like an old newsreel as he sat quietly remembering his childhood days.

"Jack, did you hear me?"

"Oh, sorry, Mom. Yes, I heard you. It's been so long since I thought of him. I'm sorry, but I honestly thought he died years ago," Jack said.

"Well, he didn't forget you. Every time I saw him he'd ask how you were doing. He'd reminisce about the many days you spent over 'his side of the fence,' as he put it," Mom told him.

"I loved that old house he lived in," Jack said.

"You know, Jack, after your father died, Mr. Belser stepped in to make sure you had a man's influence in your life," she said.

"He's the one who taught me carpentry," he said. "I wouldn't be in this business if it weren't for him. He spent a lot of time teaching me things he thought were important... Mom, I'll be there for the funeral," Jack said.

As busy as he was, he kept his word. Jack caught the next flight to his hometown.

Mr. Belser's funeral was small and uneventful. He had no children of his own, and most of his relatives had passed away.

The night before he had to return home, Jack and his Mom stopped by to see the old house next door one more time.

Standing in the doorway, Jack paused for a moment. It was like crossing over into another dimension, a leap through space and time.

The house was exactly as he remembered. Every step held memories. Every picture, every piece of furniture... Jack stopped suddenly.

"What's wrong, Jack?" his Mom asked.

"The box is gone," he said.

"What box? " Mom asked.

"There was a small gold box that he kept locked on top of his desk. I must have asked him a thousand times what was inside. All he'd ever tell me was 'the thing I value most,'" Jack said.

It was gone. Everything about the house was exactly how Jack remembered it, except for the box. He figured someone from the Belser family had taken it.

"Now I'll never know what was so valuable to him," Jack said. "I better get some sleep. I have an early flight home, Mom."

It had been about two weeks since Mr. Belser died. Returning home from work one day Jack discovered a note in his mailbox. "Signature required on a package. No one at home. Please stop by the main post office within the next three days," the note read.

Early the next day Jack retrieved the package.

The small box was old and looked like it had been mailed a hundred years ago. The handwriting was difficult to read, but the return address caught his attention.

"Mr. Harold Belser," it read.

Jack took the box out to his car and ripped open the package. There inside was the gold box and an envelope.

Jack's hands shook as he read the note inside.

"Upon my death, please forward this box and its contents to Jack Bennett. It's the thing I valued most in my life." A small key was taped to the letter.

His heart racing, tears filling his eyes, Jack carefully unlocked the box. There inside he found a beautiful gold pocket watch. Running his fingers slowly over the finely etched casing, he unlatched the cover.

Inside he found these words engraved: "Jack, thanks for your time! Harold Belser."

"The thing he valued most... was... my time."

Jack held the watch for a few minutes, then called his office and cleared his appointments for the next two days.

"Why?" Janet, his assistant asked.

"I need some time to spend with my son," he said.

"Oh, by the way, Janet... thanks for your time!"

The Story of Father's Day
-- Author Unknown

Father's Day, contrary to popular misconception, was not established as a holiday in order to help greeting card manufacturers sell more cards. In fact when a "father's day" was first proposed there were no Father's Day cards!

Mrs. John B. Dodd, of Washington, first proposed the idea of a "father's day" in 1909. Mrs. Dodd wanted a special day to honor her father, William Smart. William Smart, a Civil War veteran, was widowed when his wife (Mrs. Dodd's mother) died in childbirth with their sixth child. Mr. Smart was left to raise the newborn and his other five children by himself on a rural farm in eastern Washington state. It was after Mrs. Dodd became an adult that she realized the strength and selflessness her father had shown in raising his children as a single parent.

The first Father's Day was observed on June 19, 1910 in Spokane Washington. At about the same time in various towns and cities across American other people were beginning to celebrate a "father's day." In 1924 President Calvin Coolidge supported the idea of a national Father's Day. Finally in 1966 President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation declaring the 3rd Sunday of June as Father's Day.

Father's Day has become a day to not only honor your father, but all men who act as a father figure. Stepfathers, uncles, grandfathers, and adult male friends are all honored on Father's Day.

Helping hands
Author Unknown

A mother, wishing to encourage her son's progress at the piano, bought tickets to a performance by the great Polish pianist Ignace Paderewski. When the evening arrived, they found their seats near the front of the concert hall and eyed the majestic Steinway waiting on the stage. Soon the mother found a friend to talk to, and the boy slipped away.

At eight o'clock, the lights in the auditorium began to dim, the spotlights came on, and only then did they notice the boy - up on the piano bench, innocently picking out "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." His mother gasped in shock and embarassment but, before she could retrieve her son, the master himself appeared on the stage and quickly moved to the keyboard.

He whispered gently to the boy, "Don't quit. Keep playing." Leaning over, Paderewski reached down with his left hand and began filling in the bass part. Soon his right arm reached around the other side and improvised a delightful obligato. Together, the old master and the young novice held the crowd mesmerized with their blended and beautiful music.

In all our lives, we receive helping hands - some we notice, some we don't. Equally we ourselves have countless opportunites to provide helping hands - sometimes we would like our assistance to be noticed, sometimes we don't. Little of what we all achieve is without learning from others and without support from others and what we receive we should hand out.

Did You Know?
  • The aorta, the largest artery in the body, is almost the diameter of a garden hose.Capillaries, on the other hand, are so small that it takes ten of them to equal the thickness of a human hair.
  • Your body has about 5.6 liters (6 quarts) of blood. This 5.6 liters of blood circulates through the body three times every minute.
  • The heart pumps about 1 million barrels of blood during an average lifetime--that's enough to fill more than 3 super tankers.
  • Babies start dreaming even before they're born.
  • The human body can function without a brain.
  • Humans are the only primates that don't have pigment in the palms of their hands.
  • If you could save all the times your eyes blink in one life time and use them all at once you would see blackness for 1.2 years!
  • The life span of a taste bud is ten days.
  • It's impossible to sneeze with your eyes open.
  • Give a tennis ball a good, hard squeeze. You're using about the same amount of force your heart uses to pump blood out to the body.
Just for Laughs

The Oldest Profession 

A doctor, a civil engineer, and a computer scientist were arguing about what was the oldest profession in the world. 

The doctor remarked, 'Well, in the Bible it says that God created Eve from a rib taken from Adam. This clearly required surgery, so I can rightly claim that mine is the oldest profession in the world.' 

The civil engineer interrupted and said, 'But even earlier in the book of Genesis, it states that God created the order of the heavens and the earth from out of the chaos. This was the first and certainly the most spectacular application of civil engineering. 

Therefore, fair doctor, you are wrong; mine is the oldest profession in the world.' The computer scientist leaned back in his chair, smiled and said confidently, 'Ah, but who do you think created the chaos?' 

25 March 2018

posted 24 Mar 2018, 00:28 by C S Paul

25 March 2018
Quotes to Inspire

  • "A man flattened by an opponent can get up again. A man flattened by conformity stays down for good." – Thomas Watson Jr.
  • "How come you never see this headline: 'Psychic wins lottery'?" – Jay Leno
  • "Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength." – Corrie Ten Boom
  • "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." – Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • "The world cares very little about what a man or woman knows; it is what the man or woman is able to do that counts." – Booker T. Washington
  • "The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful is the man who will win." – Roger Bannister
  • "If the only tool you own is a hammer, every problem begins to look like a nail." – Unknown
  • "The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." – Nelson Mandela
  • "Man is so made that when anything fires his soul, impossibilities vanish." – Jean De La Fontaine
  • "Kindness is the oil that takes friction out of life." – Author Unknown
  • "Failure is a part of success. There is no such thing as a bed of roses all your life. But failure will never stand in the way of success if you learn from it." – Hank Aaron
  • "Character may be manifested in the great moments, but it is made in the small ones." – Sir Winston Churchill
  • "No matter what accomplishments you achieve, somebody helps you." – Althea Gibson
  • "Faith is a bird that feels the dawn breaking and sings while it is still dark." – Scandinavian proverb. 
  • "Kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not." – Samuel Johnson
Parable of Distrust
-- Author unknown

This is a story about a man called Joseph, who had the misfortune to get caught in a serious flood. The water was rising all around him and was soon up to his knees. He climbed the staircase to the first floor but still the water rose. It wasn't long before the water was up to his waist and he looked out of the window to see what was happening to his neighbours.

A boat was passing and the occupant shouted, "Hey, Joseph! Quick, climb aboard my boat and I will take you to safety." Joseph smiled and replied, "Thank you very much, but I have had a word with God and he will take care of me. You use the space on your boat to help others less fortunate than myself." Soon the boat was out of sight.

The flood would not stop and the water continued to climb. Joseph was forced onto the roof of his home and he surveyed the catastrophe below him.
A helicopter flew over Joseph and a man used his microphone to tell Joseph that worse was yet to come. He threw a rope down to Joseph and cried, "Quick Joseph, climb up while you still have a chance!" Nevertheless, Joseph had been a good man all his life and placed his faith in the Lord, so he declined the offer, requesting that they go in search of other people. "You don't have to worry about me," he shouted, "I have spoken with God and he will not let me die."

The helicopter flew away and the waters rose and rose until finally it was all over. Joseph was taken from this earth.

As stated earlier, Joseph was a good man, so naturally he was taken to the pearly gates to meet St. Peter. On entering heaven he was taken and introduced to God who welcomed him with open arms. But, Joseph was not content and asked God, "I am confused my Lord. I have been a devout follower my entire life, and never once have I strayed from your chosen path. I believe I was too young to die now. I prayed to you and asked you to save me, but my faith let me down. How could you have been so cruel?"

And the Lord replied, "What do you mean I let you down? I sent you a boat to save you, and a helicopter as well."
------
So often we try to help each other, but our efforts are met with distrust or total apathy. So little faith... especially when we try to lead people to the word of God, and His plan for them. But, often we fail to get the message across. "You can lead the horse to water, but you cannot make him drink." However, as faithful disciples, it is the wish of our Lord that we keep trying.

Sit. Stay. Pray.
By Rachel Bickford

Sunday afternoon, five o’clock sharp. The organ hums while I set refreshments on the front table and walk to the pulpit. I’m the pastor of Pilgrim Congregational Church in North Weymouth, Massachusetts, and my parishioners are my second family. I look out at my regulars. There’s Lucy, an older gal with a spring in her step and perfectly coiffed blonde curls. Sam, in his usual seat in the front pew, gazes back at me with his soulful brown eyes. Chloe, a rambunctious youngster, fidgets a little, but she’ll settle down when the choir begins. Oh, there’s something I should mention. Lucy is a terrier, Sam is a pug and Chloe is a Bernese mountain dog.

Our service for people and their pets started last October. Sometimes, though, I wonder if the seed wasn’t planted earlier. Growing up, I’d wanted to be a vet, but in my twenties I felt called to seminary. After seven years at Pilgrim Congregational, I still loved coming to work. But folks just weren’t coming to church as much anymore. Too many sporting events on Sundays and too little faith. I looked out at the half-empty sanctuary one Sunday and thought, Lord, what can I do to get people as excited as I am about coming to church?

A few days later, I got an e-mail from an old friend who needed some extra prayers. I bowed my head. That’s when my gaze fell on my two apricot cockapoos, Tugger and Indy, curled up at my feet. One of my favorite verses, Psalm 148, suddenly came to mind: “Let all wild animals and small creatures and flying birds praise the Lord. All animals praise the Lord.”

Something about those words gave me a charge. Plenty of people loved bringing their dogs to our town dog park. What if those folks could bring their dogs to church?

“Honey, I have an idea,” I said to my husband, Peter, that evening. “People should be able to bring their dogs to church. Dogs give unconditional love and support. I mean, it just makes sense ...or does it?”

“Bring ...their dogs ...to church,” he said slowly, then paused. “Actually, Rachel, that’s so wild, it just might work.”

That week I mentioned the idea to my fellow pastors, hoping they wouldn’t think I’d lost it. They didn’t. They loved it! We advertised a Sunday afternoon service. It would be like our more formal one, but after worship we’d serve biscuits and toss tennis balls with our dogs in the side yard. All breeds, as long as they were leashed, were welcome. We decided on a name: Woof’n’Worship.

That first Sunday I was nervous. Maybe I hadn’t thought things through. What if the dogs didn’t get along? Lord, is this too crazy?, I wondered, walking Tugger and Indy to the pulpit with me. I looked up.

The sea of furry faces, and the smiling people in the pews beside them, made me smile too. Before long we had 150 people—150! The dogs got along famously. I giggled when, during my first reading, a handsome German Shepherd with a clownish grin licked a tiny Chihuahua’s ears. Later, the choir sang “Amazing Grace.” Everyone roared when PeeWee, a schnauzer, began howling along. He was almost in key! The best perk of all is that people are reaching out to each other more. The dogs are a great icebreaker. “Sometimes I feel out of place among all the families here,” a single college student told me. “But with Chewy, I fit right in.”

One woman who’s battling breast cancer confided, “Whenever I’m tempted to stay in bed, I remember my responsibility to Diego. We’ve made so many new friends from bringing him to church.” I peer out from my pulpit and take another look at my regulars. Yup, it’s true, my church is going to the dogs—and that’s just fine with me. Sometimes, when we ask God for a solution to a problem, his answer is far better (and crazier!) than we could ever imagine on our own.

Nothing is Written
By Roger Darlington

My all-time favourite film is "Lawrence Of Arabia" and, if I have a favourite scene from the movie, then I guess it is the one of Lawrence's triumphal return from the Nefud desert, having gone back to rescue the Arab Gasim. The crossing of the Nefud desert is considered impossible, even by the local Arabs, but Lawrence persuades them that, in this way, they can take the Turkish port at Aqaba from the rear.

Having carried out the superhuman feat of traversing this furnace, it is discovered that one of the Arabs, Gasim, has fallen off his camel and is no doubt dying somewhere back in the desert. Lawrence is told that any idea of rescue is futile and, in any event, Gasim's death is "written". When Lawrence achieves the impossible and returns with Gasim still alive, Sherif Ali admits to him: "Truly, for some men nothing is written unless they write it".

As an impressionable teenager when this film was first released, I was stunned by Lawrence's courage and unselfishness in going back into the hell of the Nefud to attempt to find a man he hardly knew among the vast expanse of a fiery terrain and I was so moved by the sense of purpose of a man who is determined to take nothing as "written" but to shape his own destiny. This sense of anti-determinism and this belief that anything is possible has stayed with me always and continues to inspire me in small ways and large.

Have You Tasted Jesus?
-- Author unknown

At the University of Chicago Divinity School, each year, they have what is called "Baptist Day." On this day, each one is to bring a lunch to be eaten outdoors in a grassy picnic area. Every "Baptist Day" the school would invite one of the greatest minds to lecture in the theological education center. 

One year they invited Dr. Paul Tillich. Dr.Tillich spoke for two and one-half hours attempting to prove that the resurrection of Jesus was false. He quoted scholar after scholar and book after book. He concluded that since there was no such thing as the historical resurrection, the religious tradition of the church was groundless, emotional mumbo-jumbo... because it was based on a relationship with a risen Jesus, who, in fact never rose from the dead in any literal sense. He then asked if there were any questions.

After about 30 seconds, an old, dark skinned preacher with a head of short-cropped, woolly white hair stood up in the back of the auditorium. "Docta Tillich, I got one question," he said as all eyes turned toward him.

He reached into his sack lunch and pulled out an apple and began eating it. "Docta Tillich... CRUNCH, MUNCH... My question is a simple question... CRUNCH, MUNCH... "Now, I  ain't never read them books you read... CRUNCH, MUNCH... and I can't recite the Scriptures in the original Greek... CRUNCH,  MUNCH... I don't know nothin' bout Niebuhr and Heidegger... CRUNCH, MUNCH..."

He finished the apple... "All I wanna know is: This apple I just ate... was it bitter or sweet?

Dr. Tillich paused for a moment and answered in exemplary scholarly fashion... "I cannot possibly answer that question, for I haven't tasted your apple." 

The white-haired preacher dropped the core of his apple into his crumpled paper bag, looked up at Dr. Tillich and said calmly, "Neither have you tasted my Jesus." 

The 1,000 plus in attendance could not contain themselves. The auditorium erupted with applause and cheers.

Dr. Tillich thanked his audience and promptly left the platform.

Have you tasted Jesus?

"Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. If you have, rejoice in the hope of the resurrection that your faith in Him brings." -- Psalm 34:8

Please pass this on. Others need to read this too. 

 Did You Know ?
  • A two-inch garden hose will carry four times as much water as a one-inch hose.
  • A typical American eats 28 pigs in his/her lifetime.
  • A typical bed usually houses over 6 billion dust mites.
  • A typical lightning bolt is two to four inches wide and two miles long. 
  • A vexillologist is an expert in the history of flags
  • A volcano can shoot its debris as high as 50km into the sky.
  • A vulture will never attack a human or animal that is moving. 
  • A whale's penis is called a dork. 
  • A whip makes a cracking sound because its tip moves faster than the speed of sound.
  • A whole library floor of books can be stored on 50 Gigabytes. 
  • A pregnant goldfish is called a twit
  • A quarter of raw potato placed in each shoe at night will keep the leather soft and the shoes smelling fresh and clean.
  • A quarter of the horses in the US died of a vast virus epidemic in 1872.
  • A state law in Illinois mandates that all bachelors should be called master, not mister, when addressed by their female counterparts.
  • A traditional dish from Savolax, called "kalakukko" (fishcock in engl.) is made of white fish and porkfat encased in a baked crust of rye.
Just for Laughs
Bible quiz
Q. Who was the greatest female financier in the Bible?
    A. Pharaoh's daughter. She went down to the bank of the Nile and drew out a little       prophet. 

Q. What kind of motor vehicles are in the Bible?
    A. Jehovah drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden in a Fury. 
    A. David's Triumph was heard throughout the land. 
    A. Honda--because the apostles were all in one Accord. 
    A. 2 Cor. 48 describes going out in service in a Volkswagen Beetle: "We are pressed in every way, but not cramped beyond movement." 

Q. Who was the greatest comedian in the Bible?
    A. Samson. He brought the house down. 

Q. Where is the first baseball game in the Bible?
    A. In the big inning, Eve stole first, Adam stole second. Cain struck out Abel, and the Prodigal Son came home. The Giants and the Angels were rained out. 

Q. How did Adam and Eve feel when expelled from the Garden of Eden?
    A. They were really put out. 

Q. What is one of the first things that Adam and Eve did after they were kicked out?
    A. They really raised Cain. 

Q. The ark was built in 3 stories, and the top story had a window to let light in, but how did they get light to the bottom 2 stories?
    A. They used floodlights. 

18 March 2018

posted 17 Mar 2018, 09:50 by C S Paul

18 March 2018
Quotes to Inspire
  • "Living consciously involves being genuine; it involves listening and responding to others honestly and openly; it involves being in the moment." — Sidney Poitier
  • "Never does the human soul appear so strong and noble as when it forgoes revenge and dares to forgive an injury." — E. H. Chapin
  • "You can't shake hands with a clenched fist." — Golda Meir
  • "Don't ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up." — Robert Frost
  • "I quit being afraid when my first venture failed and the sky didn't fall down.” — Allen H. Neuharth
  • "People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within.”— Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
  • Most of your happiness will come from your relationships with others. Handle them with care. - Brian Tracy
  • "Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate." — John F Kennedy
  • "I will study and prepare, and someday my opportunity will come." — Abraham Lincoln
  • "Better to be prepared and not called, than to be called and not prepared." — James Wallace
  • "Brotherhood is the very price and condition of man's survival." — Carlos Romulo
  • "True grit is making a decision and standing by it, doing what must be done." — John Wayne
  • "Character, not circumstances, make the man." — Booker T. Washington
The Carpenter
-- Author unknown

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, with 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 the 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."

The Stranger
-- Author Unknown

A few months before I was born, my Dad met a stranger who was new to our small town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around to welcome me into the 
world a few months later.

As I grew up, I never questioned his place in my family. In my young mind, he had a special niche. My parents were complementary instructors: Mom taught me the word of God, and Dad taught me to obey it. But the stranger.. He was our storyteller. He would keep us 
spellbound for hours on end with adventures, mysteries and comedies.

If I wanted to know anything about politics, history or science, he always knew the answers about the past, understood the present and even seemed able to predict the future! He took my family to the first major league ball game. He made me laugh, and he made me cry. The stranger never stopped talking, but Dad didn't seem to mind.

Sometimes, Mom would get up quietly while the rest of us were shushing each other to listen to what he had to say, and she would go to her room and read her books (I wonder now if she ever prayed for the stranger to leave.)

Dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions, but the stranger never felt obligated to honor them. Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our home... not from us, our friends or any visitors. Our longtime visitor, however, got away with four-letter words that burned my ears and made my dad squirm and  my mother blush.

My Dad was a teetotaler who didn't permit alcohol in the home, not even for cooking. But the stranger encouraged us to try it on a regular basis. He made cigarettes look cool, cigars manly and pipes distinguished. He talked freely (much too freely!) about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing.

I now know that my early concepts about relationships were influenced strongly by the stranger. Time after time, he opposed the values of my parents, yet he was seldom rebuked... and NEVER asked to leave.

More than fifty years have passed since the stranger moved in with our family. He has blended right in and is not nearly as fascinating as he was at first. Still, if you were to walk into my parent's den today, you would still find him sitting over in his corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures. His name?....

We just call him... "TV."

He has a younger sister now. We call her "Computer."

Being Rich - True
By Jaye Lewis

We prowled through the second hand bookstore, the day after Christmas, just my husband, Louie, our daughters, Jenny and Helen, and me. This was a precious time for us, because we would be splitting up as a family, again, in just a couple of days.

It had been a tough eight months since my husband had retired from the Navy. As plotters and planners, we had manipulated the "military system," while on active duty, as much as we could, trying to prevent a long, dreaded absence from one another. Now, here we were, retired, and 
we were eight months into our longest separation.

When my husband retired, we discovered that the only job available for him was in the city of Norfolk, Virginia. Our dream was to live out the rest of our lives in the mountains of southwestern Virginia, six and a half hours away. My health had gotten so bad, that it was impossible for me to stay with Louie in the city. We had settled for a separation, praying that a job would become available in the beautiful region that we love.

So, there we were, delaying the inevitable, passing time in a second hand bookstore, before the girls and I headed back to southwest Virginia. We were as broke as we'd ever been, supporting two households; yet we were grateful to be together, and we seized every 
opportunity for extra hugs, shared daydreams and laughter.

There was only one other person in the bookstore, besides the proprietor, a lovely, well-dressed, woman, about my age. I noticed her clothes, her shoes, and her expensive handbag, and I wondered what it would be like, to be rich enough to walk into a bookstore and have the 
money to buy any book my heart desired. But we were having so much fun, that I quickly forgot the woman.

We joked as we continued our treasure hunt, clutching our spending money of five dollars apiece, all hoping to be the first to find the oldest, least expensive book. It was a bittersweet excursion. 

Frequently Louie and I would brush past one another, finding excuses to touch or to give on another's hand an extra squeeze.

Jenny remembered, that there was an ATM machine, not far from the bookstore, and she decided that she needed another twenty dollars that she had squirreled away.

"No fair!" I cried, laughing. "The rest of us can only spend five dollars, and here you're going to have twenty-five dollars?!"

We all laughed, and we began to tease Jenny, mercilessly, but she was able to convince her Dad that she must have the $20, in order to get that irresistible book.

"Come on, Jenny," Louie laughed. "I'll drive you to the ATM."

Then we did another round of hugging and kissing, none of us wanting to be apart for even a few minutes.

Soon Louie and I would be saying "good-bye." We couldn't resist the opportunity to assure one another of our love, and our faith that our separation would soon come to an end. It must have been a curious ballet, this demonstrative family scene, but we were oblivious to what others might think.

Military families seem to fall into two categories: those who look for affectionate pportunities, and those who avoid close contact, because "good-byes" are painful. I have to admit that we're a pretty "huggy-kissy" family, so unmindful of anyone else, we continued to give kisses and hugs all around. In our military career, we had become painfully aware, that anything can happen during even the briefest separation. 

But now, as I look back, I realize how odd me must have looked.Finally, in between another hug and kiss, I saw the perfect book for me! It was one hundred years old, and it was on my favorite time period, the Middle Ages. Oh, how I wanted that book! I quickly checked the inside cover for the price, and my heart fell. It was twenty-five dollars! We just didn't have it. I looked up at Louie, already knowing the answer.

He must have wanted me to have that book. I could see the pain in his eyes. Louie reached out and gave me an extra hug. I understood his "honey, we just can't afford it" message. I leaned into his sheltering arms, and I saw that the well-dressed lady was also touching the book that I wanted. Ah well, let her have it. I gave Louie and extra hug, and half serious, I murmured, as my eyes locked with hers.

"Oooohh, I wish I were rich!"

"It looks to me, as though you already are," she said with a smile.There was a pause that stretched through eternity, and my heart filled with comprehension. I looked up at my husband, and I gazed at my daughters, wrapped as we were in the arms of love, and I knew it. I was 
rich. Very rich. I quickly turned to thank the woman for her gentle reminder, but she was gone!

Who was she? I'll never know. But what she did for my outlook, was nothing short of miraculous. I will never forget her. Where did she disappear to? I can't say.

Strangely enough, within days, my husband received a job offer in southwestern Virginia. In less than two weeks, he was hired and we moved to the place that is now our home. The job notice had been sent out two days before Christmas, even as we hugged and kissed and wished 
in that bookstore. Even as I heard the words, "It looks to me, as though you already are," events were already in motion to unite our family.

I am quite certain that it was all part of God's plan, to remind me of what being "rich" is all about... faith, love, family, and friends. And when I get to heaven, I will not be at all surprised to discover that God sent an angel to a second hand bookstore, in Norfolk, Virginia, to give me his richest message, the day after Christmas, many years ago.

I must at least try
by Joe Simpson

In June 1985, two British mountaineers Joe Simpson and Simon Yates made the first-ever climb of the West Face of the 21,000 foot snow-covered Siula Grande mountain in Peru. It was an exceptionally tough assault - but nothing compared to what was to come. Early in the descent, Simpson fell and smashed his right knee. Yates could have abandoned him but managed to find a way of lowering him down the mountain in a series of difficult drops blinded by snow and cold. Then Simpson fell into a crevasse and Yates eventually had no choice but to cut the rope, 
utterly convinced that his friend was now dead.

In his subsequent book on the climb entitled "Touching The Void", Joe Simpson wrote: "As I gazed at the distant moraines, I knew that I must at least try. I would probably die out there amid those boulders. The thought didn't alarm me. It seemed reasonable, matter-of-fact. That was how it was. I could aim for something. If I died, well, that wasn't so surprising, but I wouldn't have just waited for it to happen. The horror of dying no longer affected me as it had in the crevasse. I now had the chance to confront it and struggle against it. It wasn't a bleak dark terror any more, just fact, like my broken leg and frostbitten fingers, and I couldn't be afraid of things like that. My leg would hurt when I fell and when I couldn't get up I would die."

The survival of Yates himself was extraordinary. That Simpson somehow found a way of climbing out of the crevasse after 12 hours and then literally crawled and dragged himself six miles back to camp, going three days and nights without food or drink, losing three stone, and 
contracting ketoacidosis in the process, would be the stuff of heroic fiction if it was not so true. Indeed, six operations and two years later, he was even back climbing. All because, against all the odds, he tried ..

Did You Know? 

  • The two cultures that have influenced Indian food cooking and food habits are the Hindu and the Muslim traditions. The Hindu vegetarian tradition is widespread in India, although many Hindus eat meat.
  • The Portuguese, the Persians and the British made important contributions to the Indian Food scene.  It was the British who started the commercial cultivation of tea in India.
  • A Boeing 737 weighing 150,000 pounds (68,000 kg) must deflect about 88,000 pounds (40,000 kg) of air - over a million cubic feet (31,500 cubit metres) down by 55 feet (16.75 m) each second while in flight. 
  • A commercial aircraft door will not open in flight because it is actually bigger than the window frame itself, and the door opens inwards towards the cabin. To open, it must be opened inwards, rotated, and then slipped sideways out of the frame. Even if the door could somehow be opened, it would be like lifting a 2,200 pound weight. 
  • Most planes flying internationally have their home country's flag painted on or around their tails. Genrally, the flag is facing the proper way round on the left (port) side of the aircraft, and backward on the starboard side. Why? Because that's how it would look if a real flage were hoisted on a pole above the airplane during the flight. 
  • “The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) was established in 1935 as the Central Bank of the Country. RBI was nationalised in 1949.”
  • “RBI was established with initial share capital worth Rs. 5 crores with 5 Lakh Rs. 100 share dividend.”
  • “The State Bank of India was known as The Imperial Bank of India prior to 1955.“
  • Most of Indian kitchens have their own secret recipes, ingredients or way of preparing certain recipes which makes the dish completely unique in itself.
  • In Northern parts of India, people tend to rely on red ‘n’ green chilies, saffron, yoghurt are among most commonly used ingredients. Ghee (clarified butter) is most essential ingredient of any north Indian dish which is full of fats but still considered healthy adding amazing taste to the food.
  • In the South, people love black pepper, tamarind and coconut in their food. Coconut is most famous, being used in different forms such as coconut milk, oil, dried and grated. South Indian food is largely non-greasy, roasted and steamed.
Just for Laughs

Drunk on the Subway
Author Unknown

A drunk man who smelled like cheap wine sat down on a subway seat next to a priest. The man's tie was stained, his face was plastered with red lipstick, and a half empty bottle of gin was sticking out of his torn coat pocket. He opened his newspaper and began reading. 

After a few minutes the man turned to the priest and asked, "Say, Father, what causes arthritis?" 

"My Son, it's caused by loose living, being with cheap, wicked women, too much alcohol and a contempt for your fellow man."

"Well, I'll be hornswaggled," the drunk muttered, returning to his paper. 

The priest, thinking about what he had said, nudged the man and apologized. "I'm very sorry. I didn't mean to come on so strong. How long have you had arthritis?" 

"I don't have it, Father. I was just reading here that the Pope does". 


The Computer Is Down
Author Unknown

Two priests died at the same time and met Saint Peter at the Pearly Gates. St. Peter said, "I'd like to get you guys in now, but our computer is down. You'll have to go back to Earth for about a week, but you can't go back as priests. So what else would you like to be?" 

The first priest says, "I've always wanted to be an eagle, soaring above the Rocky Mountains." 

"So be it," says St. Peter, and off flies the first priest. 

The second priest mulls this over for a moment and asks, "Will any of this week count, St. Peter?" 

"No, I told you the computer's down. There's no way we can keep track of what you're doing." 

"In that case," says the second priest, "I've always wanted to be a stud." 

"So be it," says St. Peter, and the second priest disappears. 

A week goes by, the computer is fixed, and the Lord tells St. Peter to recall the two priests. 

"Will you have any trouble locating them?" He asks. 

"The first one should be easy," says St. Peter. "He's somewhere over the Rockies, flying with the eagles. But the second one could prove to be more difficult." 

"Why?" asked the Lord. 

"He's on a snow tire, somewhere in North Dakota." 

11 March 2018

posted 9 Mar 2018, 02:52 by C S Paul

11 March 2018
Quotes to Inspire
  • "The happiness of life is made up of minute fractions—the little, soon-forgotten charities of a kiss or smile, a kind look or heartfelt compliment." – Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  • When we ask of the Lord cooly, and not fervently, we do as it were, stop His hand, and restrain Him from giving us the very blessing we "pretend" that we are seeking. - Charles Spurgeon
  • When we get full of this grace we want to see every one blessed--we want to see all the churches blessed, not only all the churches here, but in the whole country. That was the trouble with Christ's disciples. He had hard work to make them understand that His gospel was for every one, that it was a stream to flow out to all nations of the earth. They wanted to confine it to the Jews, and He had to convince them that it was for every living being. - D.L. Moody
  • The Lord has given us a table at which to feast, not an altar on which a victim is to be offered; He has not consecrated priests to make sacrifice, but servants to distribute the sacred feast. - John Calvin
Christmas Envelope
Unknown

It's just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past 10 years or so. It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas-oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it-overspending, the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma-the gifts given in desperation because you couldn't think of anything else.

Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way.

Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was wrestling at the junior level at the school he attended; and shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church, mostly black. These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes. 

As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler's ears. It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford. Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. And as each of their boys got up from the mat, he swaggered around in his tatters with false bravado, a kind of street pride that couldn't acknowledge defeat. Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, "I wish just one of them could have won," he said. "They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them."

Mike loved kids-all kids-and he knew them, having coached little league football, baseball and lacrosse. That's when the idea for his present came. That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church. 

On Christmas Eve, I placed the envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done and that this was his gift from me. His smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year and in succeeding years. For each Christmas, I followed the tradition-one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on. The envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning and our children, ignoring their new toys, would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents.

As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the envelope never lost its allure. The story doesn't end there. You see, we lost Mike last year due to dreaded cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree, and in the morning, it was joined by three more. Each of our children, unbeknownst to the others, had placed an envelope on the tree for their dad. The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing around the tree with wide-eyed anticipation watching as their fathers take down the envelope. Mike's spirit, like the Christmas spirit, will always be with us.

May we all remember the Christmas spirit this year and always.

If I Could Do It All Over Again 
BY JOYCE MAYNARD

Raising kids is an on-the-job education. Too bad we don't start out with half the expertise we pick up along the way.
 
I started writing about parenting 19 years ago, when I was pregnant with my first child, Audrey. Last June, she graduated from high school. Charlie, my middle child, recently entered high school. Willy, the baby, will be joining his brother next year.

None of this means my days of parenting are over. I remember when my kids were six, two, and two weeks old, and how I'd sometimes took with envy at mothers and fathers whose children were the same Age as mine are now. But I've since learned that my presence is just as necessary to my teenagers these days as it was when I was changing their diapers and getting up in the middle of the night.

I wasn't mistaken that life with older kids is physically less taxing and filled with more freedom and independence for the parent-not to mention the child. What I hadn’'t realized was that it would still be emotionally and intellectually demanding to have these three people, whose expanded world had become so interesting and complex, in my life. I hadn't anticipated what it would feet like to have my three beloved children reach the age where their heartbreaks could no longer be repaired with a hug and five minutes on my lap or their desires satisfied by a $2.99 plaything from Toys "R" Us.

For most of you who read these pages, the stage of parenthood I've reached is still a long way off. But be advised: You'll get here sooner than you think. As endless as the days seem now when you're rereading for the millionth time the page where Curious George gets a new bicycle-you'll wake up one morning wishing you could relive them.

Because I can't revisit those days, this will be my last reflection on parenting for this column. And because my kids have either left or are leaving childhood, it seems appropriate to look back and assess the long term implications of all the little short-term choices I've made as a parent.

One thing that stands out about raising young children is how little opportunity there is to step back to examine the big picture. A parent rarely has the luxury of taking the time to make sense of what worked and what didn't. In many cases, those things that we once considered so incredibly important now seem, with the benefit of hindsight, equally insignificant.

And although I'm certainly proud of the job my children's father and I have done raising them, you can't help but recognize what you might have done better. So how would I have done things differently if I were just now beginning to raise my first child instead of seeing her off to college?

Maybe it was because my husband and I had so little money the year Audrey was born, but back then I cared an inordinate amount about the trappings that go along with having a baby. I used to walk through fancy stores stocked with baby layettes and tiny smocked dresses, wishing I could buy them. When my mother sent me a birthday check, I raced right out and bought an expensive mobile to hang over our not-yet born infant's crib.

These days, I'd have less difficulty coming up with the money for baby clothes and toys. Oddly enough, though, I'd be far less interested in buying them. And I'm not just talking about the baby stuff. Most of us buy much more for our children than they need. More, even, than is good for them. I know I did. My newborn daughter would have been just as delighted with a bunch of measuring spoons and interesting scarves over her crib. I could have played her my favorite Irish folk records instead of buying a half dozen lullaby tapes.

Not that any of these purchases caused my children emotional distress down the line. Toys made them happy, and that made me happy, too. But, in effect, I was establishing a pattern, modeling a way of life. And that model was based on consumption and acquisition.

Another consequence of giving our kids too much is that-it raises their expectations. The more a child has, the more she wants. Carried to an extreme, a parent's overzealous buying habits can actually inhibit a child's ability to entertain herself or make her feel as though life just isn't worth living without that coveted item of the minute.

If I had the past 19 years to do over, I'd focus on a very different lesson: You can get by with very little. The most important thing is what's inside yourself.

Some of the times that I feel best about as a parent have been those my children spent with me, and with their father, exploring the natural world-camping, hiking, riding bikes. Likewise, I realize that some of our very best adventures centered around making our own toys building forts, sewing doll clothes, constructing doll house furniture. All these things taught our kids valuable lessons about finding joy in simple ways.

In retrospect, I'd also spend less time with my vacuum cleaner and more time with my children. It's so easy to continuously pick up after kids-and feel frazzled as a result. When Charlie was in second grade, his teacher had the class put together a little book for Mother's Day, titled My Mom, in which each child was asked to write a description of his mother. When I opened the book to Charlie's page, I read: "My mom cleans our house a lot."

This was not, in fact, the whole story of Charlie's life with me. But for my son to perceive me this way, I couldn't avoid the conclusion that my priorities were off base. "Do you realize," my daughter asked me a while back, "that the majority of our worst fights have been about housework?"
She was right. But some of those arguments were important, because they dealt with respecting a parent's time and energy and learning personal responsibility. Children need to learn to look after themselves, to take care of the house and pets, and make their own meals at times. It's not good for parents-or our children-when we do their work for them.
And I might go so far as to keep television out of the house completely. Or keep one around only for watching movies on video. Not as a baby sitter but as an occasional family event. To me, the politicians are dead wrong when they cite violent or explicit television programming as the main culprit in corrupting today's youth. The fundamental problem with television isn't what kids are viewing but how much. When a child is watching TV, she's disengaged from the world instead of involved in it.
In the spiritual realm, I didn't raise my children within a particular religion, and not having grown up with a clear set of religious convictions of my own, I don't know how it could have been otherwise. What I tried to do, and wish that Id done more of, was to make room in our lives for spiritual exploration.
In recent years, we started observing the Jewish holidays whenever we could. (My mother was a nonpracticing Jew.) Likewise, the small act of pausing to say grace before eating our dinner every night became important to my kids. I should have taken this one step further and established a pattern of prayer (whatever form it might take), which offers comfort to a child. Id also set up a routine of contributing, regularly and consistently, to our community and the world beyond, and not just, during the holiday season.

Our family was fortunate to do quite a bit of traveling together over the years-sometimes to distant and exotic places, more often a simple road trip a few miles from home. And although the places we visited were important, even more significant were the lessons we learned about each other. Leaving home-getting away from familiar territory and the distractions of work, friends, television, and ringing phones-focuses our lives. In just two weeks on the road, I'd see my children grow more than I might in a full two months at home. And because of that, I wish we'd gone even more places together.

Like most parents, I think I've done a decent job of meeting my kids' needs. On the other hand, recognizing the importance of balancing my needs with theirs was much harder. For years I was so preoccupied with taking care of them that I neglected myself. From the age of 23 to nearly 35, 1 drove my children to their sporting events, then sat on a bench waiting for them, without ever playing tennis or taking a dance lesson or going to a gym myself. And because of those small deficits, accumulated over long periods of time, I constantly carried around a sense of martyrdom and frustration.

If I were to name my single greatest regret about my approach to parenthood, it would be that I tried to be perfect. Needless to say, I didn't succeed. But the sheer effort of trying was enough to take away a lot of the fun. And fun is something it's easy for parents to lose sight of. Which is a shame, because raising young children should be tons of fun.

Having grown up in a family where way too much anxiety existed, I brought to my own mothering the desire to spare my children that feeling. I didn't want them to have to experience even the small disappointments of birthday party invitations that didn't arrive, not winning the baseball game, not getting to wear the prettiest dress.

I tried to protect them and was often successful, but no parent can ever succeed in shielding her children from the real sorrows life delivers. And recently, I've realized that as much as I love my children, I wouldn't want them to experience life without disappointment or hardship or grief. I've come to realize that adversity actually makes a person compassionate and strong. I now understand that there's no avoiding disappointment, no way to control your child's universe. And it's just as well.

These days, when I watch my son get defeated at a tennis tournament or tell my daughter that we can't afford a college that doesn't provide scholarships, what seems most important is not to make my children's lives perfect or spare them pain but to raise them to be strong in the face of life's inevitable roadblocks.

I believe my three children are happy people today, because they carry an internal sense of well-being that's dependent on no person or thing but only on their own strong identity. I plan to be around to mother my kids for many years to come. But it's reassuring to know that they could get along without me. And that, of course, is what all parents are trying to accomplish.
Joyce MAYNARD is a contributing editor of PARENTING and the publisher of the quarterly newsletter Domestic Affairs (P.O. Box 1135, Keene, NH 03431;
 
A foot has no nose
 "African Wisdom" by Ellen K. Kuzwayo

Of the many interactions I had with my mother those many years ago, one stands out with clarity. I remember the occasion when mother sent me to the main road, about twenty yards away from the homestead, to invite a passing group of seasonal work-seekers home for a meal. She instructed me to take a container along and collect dry cow dung for making a fire. I was then to prepare the meal for the group of work-seekers.

The thought of making an open fire outside at midday, cooking in a large three-legged pot in that intense heat, was sufficient to upset even an angel. I did not manage to conceal my feelings from my mother and, after serving the group, she called me to the veranda where she usually sat to attend to her sewing and knitting.

Looking straight into my eyes, she said "Tsholofelo, why did you sulk when I requested you to prepare a meal for those poor destitute people?" Despite my attempt to deny her allegation, and using the heat of the fire and the sun as an excuse for my alleged behaviour, mother, giving me a firm look, said ""Lonao ga lo na nko" - "A foot has no nose". It means: you cannot detect what trouble may lie ahead of you.

Had I denied this group of people a meal, it may have happened that, in my travels some time in the future, I found myself at the mercy of those very individuals. As if that was not enough to shame me, mother continued: "Motho ke motho ka motho yo mongwe". The literal meaning: "A person is a person because of another person".

Faith of the Apostles

The disciples of Jesus gave their lives for the preaching of the gospel.

DO YOU KNOW HOW THE APOSTLES DIED?

This will serve as a reminder that our personal and business sufferings are minor... compared to the intense persecution and cold cruelty the Apostles and disciples of Jesus Christ faced in those times... because of their undying Faith.

Matthew 
Suffered martyrdom in Ethiopia, killed by a sword wound.

Mark 
Died in  Alexandria, Egypt, after being dragged by horses through the streets until he was dead.

Luke 
Was hanged in Greece as a result of his tremendous preaching to the lost.

John 
Faced martyrdom when he was boiled in huge basin of boiling oil during a wave of persecution in Rome. However, he was miraculously delivered from death. John was then sentenced to the mines on the prison island of Patmos. He wrote his prophetic "Book of Revelation" on Patmos. The apostle John was later freed and returned to serve as Bishop of Edessa  in modern Turkey. He died as an old man, the only apostle to die peacefully

Peter 
He was crucified upside down on an x-shaped cross. According to church tradition it was because he told his tormentors that he felt unworthy to die in the same way that Jesus Christ had died.

James 
Just "The Leader" of the church in Jerusalem, he was thrown over a hundred feet down from the southeast pinnacle of the Temple when he refused to deny his faith in Christ. When they discovered that he survived the fall, his enemies beat James to death with a fuller's club. This was the same pinnacle where Satan had taken Jesus during "The Temptation."

James the Great 
Son of Zebedee, James was a fisherman by trade when Jesus called him to a lifetime of ministry. As a strong leader of the church, James was ultimately beheaded at Jerusalem. The Roman officer who guarded James watched amazed as James defended his faith at his trial. Later, the officer walked beside James to the place of execution. Overcome by conviction, he declared his new faith to the judge and knelt beside James to accept beheading as a Christian.

Bartholomew 
Also known as Nathaniel, he was a missionary to Asia. He witnessed for our Lord in present day Turkey. Bartholomew was martyred for his preaching in Armenia where he was flayed to death by a whip.

Andrew 
He was crucified on an x-shaped cross in Patras, Greece. After being whipped severely by seven soldiers, they tied his body to the cross with cords to prolong his agony. His followers reported that, when he was led toward the cross, Andrew saluted it in these words: "I have long desired and expected this happy hour. The cross has been consecrated by the body of Christ hanging on it." He continued to preach to his tormentors for two days until he expired.

Thomas 
Thomas was stabbed with a spear in India during one of his missionary trips to establish the church in the sub-continent.

Jude 
Was killed with arrows when he refused to deny his faith in Christ.

Matthias 
The apostle chosen to replace the traitor Judas Iscariot, was stoned and then beheaded.

Paul 
Was tortured and then beheaded by the evil Emperor Nero at  Rome in A.D. 67. Paul endured a lengthy imprisonment, which allowed him to write his many epistles to the churches he had formed throughout the Roman Empire. These letters, which taught many of the foundational doctrines of Christianity, form a large portion of the New Testament.

This is an important message for all Christians, and a testament of faith for all others. Through out  history, Christianity has proven to be the most loving, giving and profoundly devout religion known to man.

Not Just for laughs

Appropriate Attire 

One Sunday morning an old cowboy entered a church just before services were to begin. Although the old man and his clothes were spotlessly clean, he wore jeans, a denim shirt and boots that were very worn and ragged. In his hand he carried a worn out old hat and an equally worn out Bible. 

The church he entered was in a very upscale and exclusive part of the city. It was the largest and most beautiful church the old cowboy had ever seen. The people of the congregation were all dressed with expensive clothes and accessories. As the cowboy took a seat, the others moved away from him. No one greeted, spoke to, or welcomed him. They were all appalled at his appearance and did not attempt to hide it. 

As the old cowboy was leaving the church, the preacher approached him and asked the cowboy to do him a favor. "Before you come back in here again, have a talk with God and ask him what he thinks would be appropriate attire for worship." The old cowboy assured the preacher he would. The next Sunday, he showed back up for the services wearing the same ragged jeans, shirt, boots, and hat. Once again he was completely shunned and ignored. 

The preacher approached the man and said, "I thought I asked you to speak to God before you came back to our church." "I did," replied the old cowboy. "If you spoke to God, what did he tell you the proper attire should be for worshiping in here?" asked the preacher. "Well, sir, God told me that He didn't have a clue what I should wear. He said He'd never been in here before." 

Did you know ?
  • The human body has less muscles in it than a caterpillar.
  • As the earth turns, the stars come back to the same place in the night sky every 23 hours, 56 minutes and 4.09 seconds. This is a sidereal day (star day).
  • When Neil Armstrong stepped on the Moon for the first time, he said these famous words: “That’s one small step for a man; one giant leap for mankind.”
  • From the moon, astronauts brought back 380 kg of Moon rock.
  • During the moon landing, a mirror was left on the Moon’s surface to reflect a laser beam which measured the Moon’s distance from the Earth with amazing accuracy.
  • The stars in each constellation are named after a Greek alphabet.
  • The brightest star in each constellation is called the Alpha Star, the next brightest Beta, and so on.
  • The distance to the planets is measured by bouncing radar signals off them and timinghow long the signals take to get there and back.
  • Your body contains enough iron to make a spike strong enough to hold your weight.
  • The surface area of a human lung is equal to that of a tennis court.
  • Most people have lost fifty per cent of their taste buds by the time they reach the age of sixty.
  • The amount of carbon in the human body is enough to fill about 9,000 'lead' pencils.
  • One square inch of human skin contains 625 sweat glands.
  • When you blush, your stomach lining also reddens.

16

4 March 2018

posted 1 Mar 2018, 22:14 by C S Paul   [ updated 1 Mar 2018, 22:15 ]

4 March 2018

Quotes to Inspire

  • "The less you talk, the more people will listen." — Unknown
  • "Only he who keeps his eye fixed on the far horizon will find his right road." — Dag Hammarskjold
  • Life at its essence boils down to one day at a time. Today is the day! - Jim Stovall
  • "The person who never made a mistake never made anything." – Les Smith
  • "A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes." – Hugh Downs
  • "The will to win is important, but the will to prepare is vital." – Joe Paterno, football coach
  • "Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves." – James Matthew Barrie
  • "The church has been likened to a football game in which thousands of spectators desperately in need of exercise are watching a handful of players desperately in need of rest. Are you a spectator or a player?" – Unknown
  • "And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." – Abraham Lincoln
  • "I know the price of success; dedication, hard work and an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen." – Frank Lloyd Wright
  • "An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail." — Edwin Land
  • "Nothing is harder to direct than a man in prosperity; nothing more easily managed than one in adversity." — Plutarch
  • "It is the mark of an educated mind to entertain a thought without accepting it." — Aristotle
  • "Actions speak louder than words, but not as often." — Unknown
Being A Mother
-- Author Unknown

After 21 years of marriage, my wife wanted me to take another woman out to dinner and a movie. She said, "I love you, but I know this other woman loves you too, and she would love to spend some time with you."

The other woman that my wife wanted me to visit was my MOTHER, who has been a widow for 19 years, but the demands of my work and my three children had made it possible to visit her only occasionally. That night I called to invite her to go out for dinner and a movie.

"What's wrong, are you well?" she asked. My mother is the type of woman who suspects that a late night call or a surprise invitation is a sign of bad news.

"I thought that it would be pleasant to spend some time with you," I responded. "Just the two of us."

She thought about it for a moment, and then said...
"I would like that very much."

That Friday after work, as I drove over to pick her up, I was a bit nervous. When I arrived at her house, I noticed that she, too, seemed to be nervous about our date. She waited in the door with her coat on. She had curled her hair and was wearing the dress that she had worn to celebrate her last wedding anniversary. She smiled from a face that was as radiant as an angel's.

"I told my friends that I was going to go out with my son, and they were impressed," she said, as she got into the car. "They can't wait to hear about our meeting."

We went to a restaurant that, although not elegant, was very nice and cozy. My mother took my arm as if she were the First Lady. After we sat down, I had to read the menu. Her eyes could only read large print. Half way through the entries, I lifted my eyes and saw Mom sitting there staring at me. A nostalgic smile was on her lips.

"It was I who used to have to read the menu when you were small," she said.

"Then it's time that you relax and let me return the favor," I responded.

During the dinner, we had an agreeable conversation - nothing extraordinary but catching up on recent events of each other's life. We talked so much that we missed the movie.

As we arrived at her house later, she said, "I'll go out with you again, but only if you let me invite you." I agreed.

"How was your dinner date?" asked my wife when I got home.

"Very nice. Much more so than I could have imagined," I answered.

A few days later, my mother died of a massive heart attack. It happened so suddenly that I didn't have a chance to do anything for her.  Some time later, I received an envelope with a copy of a restaurant receipt from the same place mother and I had dined. An attached note said: "I paid this bill in advance. I wasn't sure that I could be there; but nevertheless, I paid for two plates - one for you and the other for your wife. You will never know what that night meant for me. I love you, son."

At that moment I understood the importance of saying, in time, "I LOVE YOU."
And to give our loved ones the time they deserve.  Because nothing is more important in life than family... and they shouldn't be put off until "some other time.”

Everyone can play
Rabbi Paysach Krohn

At a fundraising dinner for an American school that serves learning disabled children,the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question:

"When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does is done with perfection. Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the natural order of things in my son?" The audience was stilled by the query.

The father continued. "I believe,that when a child like Shay, physically and mentally handicapped comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes, in the way other people treat that child."Then he told the following story:

Shay and his father had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked,"Do you think they'll let me play?" Shay's father knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but the father also understood that if his son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.

Shay's father approached one of the boys on the field and asked if Shay could play, not expecting much. The boy looked around for guidance and said, "We're losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning."

Shay struggled over to the team's bench put on a team shirt with a broad smile and his Father had a small tear in his eye and warmth in his heart. The boys saw the father's joy at his son being accepted. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three. In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the right field.

Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as his father waved to him from the stands. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay's team scored again. Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat.

At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game? Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball.

However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing the other team putting winning aside for this moment in Shay's life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least be able to make contact. The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher.

The game would now be over, but the pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game.

Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the head of the first baseman, out of reach of all team mates. Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, "Shay, run to first! Run to first!" Never in his life had Shay ever ran that far but made it to first base. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled.

Everyone yelled, "Run to second, run to second!" Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and struggling to make it to second base. By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball, the smallest guy on their team, who had a chance to be the hero for his team for the first time. He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher's intentions and he too intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman's head. Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home.

All were screaming, "Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way Shay" Shay reached third base, the opposing shortstop ran to help him and turned him in the direction of third base, and shouted, "Run to third! Shay, run to third" As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams and those watching were on their feet were screaming, "Shay, run home! Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the "grand slam" and won the game for his team.

That day, said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world. Shay didn't make it to another summer and died that winter, having never forgotten being the hero and making his father so happy and coming home and seeing his mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!

The Burnt Biscuit
-- Author Unknown

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

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! Yet 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 biscuit and eat every bite!

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."

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 Momma put in a hard day at work today and she's real tired. And besides - a little burnt biscuit never hurt anyone!"

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 others faults - and choosing to celebrate each others 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 base 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."

God Bless You... Now, and Always.

So, please pass me a biscuit, and yes, the burnt one will do just fine!
And consider passing this along to someone who has enriched your life.

Believe what you feel
by Mitch Albom

On this day, Morrie says that he has an exercise for us to try. We are to stand, facing away from our classmates, and fall backward, relying on another student to catch us. Most of us are uncomfortable with this, and we cannot let go for more than a few inches before stopping ourselves. We laugh in embarrassment.

Finally, one student, a thin, quiet, dark-haired girl whom I notice almost always wears bulky, white fisherman sweaters, crosses her arms over her chest, closes her eyes, leans back, and does not flinch, like one of those Lipton tea commercials where the model splashes into the pool..

For a moment, I am sure she is going to thump on the floor. At the last instant, her assigned partner grabs her head and shoulders and yanks her up harshly.

"Whoa!!" several students yell. Some clap. Morrie finally smiles. "You see", he says to the girl, 'you closed your eyes, That was the difference. Sometimes you cannot believe what you see, you have to believe what you feel. And if you are ever going to have other people trust you, you must feel that you can trust them too - even when you're in the dark. Even when you're falling".

Just for Laughs

The Monkey
Author Unknown

One day the zoo-keeper noticed that the monkey was reading two books - the Bible and Darwin's The Origin of Species. In surprise he asked the ape, "Why are you reading both those books"? 

"Well," said the monkey, "I just wanted to know if I was my brother's keeper or my keeper's brother." 

The Old Bore
Author Unknown

A tired pastor was at home resting, and through the window he saw a woman approaching his door. She was one of those too-talkative people, and he was not anxious to talk with her. He said to his wife, "I'll just duck upstairs and wait until she goes away." 

An hour passed, then he tiptoed to the stair landing and listened ... not a sound. He was very pleased, so he started down calling loudly to his wife, "Well, My Dear, did you get rid of that old bore at last?" 

The next moment he heard the voice of the same woman caller, and she couldn't possibly have missed hearing him. Two steps down, he saw them both staring up at him. It seemed truly a crisis moment. 

The quick-thinking pastor's wife answered, "Yes, Dear, she went away over an hour ago. But Mrs. Jones has come to call in the meantime, and I'm sure you'll be glad to greet her." 

Did you Know?
  • Rain has never been recorded in some parts of the Atacama Desert in Chile.
  • A 75 year old person will have slept about 23 years.
  • Boeing 747's wing span is longer than the Wright brother's first flight. The Wright brother's invented the airplane.
  • There are as many chickens on earth as there are humans. 
  • One type of hummingbird weighs less than a penny.
  • There are 17 major languages and 844 dialects spoken in India.
  • India was one of the richest countries on earth until the British invasion in the early 17th century.
  • There are 300,000 active mosques in India , more than in any other country, including the Muslim world
  • Sanskrit is the mother of all the European Languages . Sanskrit is the most suitable language for computer software - a report in Forbes magzine July 1987.
  • The Statue of Liberty's index finger is eight feet long.

25 February 2018

posted 23 Feb 2018, 07:31 by C S Paul

25 February 2018
Quotes to Inspire
  • When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds: Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great, and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be. Patanjali
  • Great minds have purposes, others have wishes. Washington Irving
  • What allows us, as human beings, to psychologically survive life on earth, with all of its pain, drama, and challenges, is a sense of purpose and meaning. - Barbara de Angelis
  • Purpose is the seed from which a successful existence sprouts. Rick Beneteau
  • The person without a purpose is like a ship without a rudder. Thomas Carlyle 
  • It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others. Lily Tomlin
  • Purpose and laughter are the twins that must not separate. Each is empty without the other. Paul Martinelli
  • If I am doing nothing, I like to be doing nothing to some purpose. That is what leisure means. Alan Bennett
  • If your job is not making a difference in this world, by all means, get out there and find something else. But in many situations, you'll find a sense of making a difference through your work if you simply look for it. John Maxwell
  • We seek purpose when we are not in touch with who we really are. When an apple tree discovers who it is, the question 'what must I do?' disappears. When you discover who you are (at the deepest place of your being) you will find your purpose. Colleen-Joy Page
  • Bring me men to match my mountains: Bring me men to match my plains: Men with empires in their purpose and new eras in their brains. Thomas Paine
  • There is one quality which one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it. - Napoleon Hill
The wise teacher and the jar

There was once a very wise teacher, whose words of wisdom students would come from far and wide to hear. One day as usual, many students began to gather in the teaching room. They came in and sat down very quietly, looking to the front with keen anticipation, ready to hear what the teacher had to say.

Eventually the teacher came in and sat down in front of the students. The room was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. On one side of the teacher was a large glass jar. On the other side was a pile of dark grey rocks. Without saying a word, the teacher began to pick up the rocks one by one and place them very carefully in the glass jar (Plonk. Plonk.) When all the rocks were in the jar, the teacher turned to the students and asked, 'Is the jar full?' 'Yes,' said the students. 'Yes, teacher, the jar is full'.

Without saying a word, the teacher began to drop small round pink pebbles carefully into the large glass jar so that they fell down between the rocks. (Clickety click. Clickety click.) When all the pebbles were in the jar, the teacher turned to the students and asked, 'Is the jar now full?' The students looked at one another and then some of them started nodding and saying, 'Yes. Yes, teacher, the jar is now full. Yes'.

Without saying a word, the teacher took some fine silver sand and let it trickle with a gentle sighing sound into the large glass jar (whoosh) where it settled around the pink pebbles and the dark grey rocks. When all the sand was in the jar, the teacher turned to the students and asked, 'Is the jar now full?'

The students were not so confident this time, but the sand had clearly filled all the space in the jar so a few still nodded and said, 'Yes, teacher, the jar is now full. Now it's full'.

Without saving a word, the teacher took a jug of water and poured it carefully, without splashing a drop, into the large glass jar. (Gloog. Gloog.)

When the water reached the brim, the teacher turned to the students and asked, 'Is the jar now full?' Most of the students were silent, but two or three ventured to answer, 'Yes, teacher, the jar is now full. Now it is'.

Without saying a word, the teacher took a handful of salt and sprinkled it slowly over the top of the water with a very quiet whishing sound. (Whish.) When all the salt had dissolved into the water, the teacher turned to the students and asked once more, 'Is the jar now full?' The students were totally silent. Eventually one brave student said, 'Yes, teacher. The jar is now full'. 'Yes,' said the teacher 'The jar is now full'.

The teacher then said: 'A story always has many meanings and you will each have understood many things from this demonstration. Discuss quietly amongst yourselves what meanings the story has for you. How many different messages can you find in it and take from it?'

The students looked at the wise teacher and at the beautiful glass jar filled with grey rocks, pink pebbles, silver sand, water and salt. Then they quietly discussed with one another the meanings the story had for them. After a few minutes, the wise teacher raised one hand and the room fell silent. The teacher said: 'Remember that there is never just one interpretation of anything. You have all taken away many meanings and messages from the story, and each meaning is as important and as valid as any other'.

And without saying another word, the teacher got up and left the room.

And another version of the same story ...

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was. So the professor then picked up a box of small pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous "Yes." The professor then produced two cans of beer from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

"Now", said the professor, as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things - your family, your children, your health, your friends, your favorite passions - things that, if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, your car.

The sand is everything else - the small stuff. If you put the sand into the jar first" he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. There will always be time to clean the house, and fix the rubbish. Take care of the golf balls first, the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand".

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the beer represented. The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that, no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of beers".

Listening - at Christmas and always
Author: Roger Darlington

A few years after I left my secondary school in Manchester, I was invited to help out with the school's Christmas Fair and I decided to have a go at being Father Christmas. I had recently grown my first full beard and thought that I would enter into the role by rubbing flour into my growth. Though I say it myself, I looked rather splendid and certainly I attracted lots of custom.

I was enjoying myself enormously, bringing a sense of magic to so many young children, but I was mystified by one young boy who paid for a second visit and then astonishingly for a third. The presents on offer were really pretty pitiful, so I asked him why he was coming to see me so often. He answered simply: "I just love talking to you".

It was then that I realised that, in many households, parents do not encourage their children to talk and really listen to them. This was a lesson that I have taken with me throughout my life. So, at home, at work, socially, always encourage family, friends, colleagues to talk about themselves and their feelings - and really listen.

The secret of happiness
Author: Paul Coelho in "The Alchemist"

A certain shopkeeper sent his son to learn about the secret of happiness from the wisest man in the world. The lad wandered through the desert for 40 days, and finally came upon a beautiful castle, high atop a mountain. It was there that the wise man lived.

Rather than finding a saintly man, though, our hero, on entering the main room of the castle, saw a hive of activity: tradesmen came and went, people were conversing in the corners, a small orchestra was playing soft music, and there was a table covered with platters of the most delicious food in that part of the world. The wise man conversed with everyone, and the boy had to wait for two hours before it was his turn to be given the man's attention.

The wise man listened attentively to the boy's explanation of why he had come, but told him that he didn't have time just then to explain the secret of happiness. He suggested that the boy look around the palace and return in two hours.

"Meanwhile, I want to ask you to do something", said the wise man, handing the boy a teaspoon that held two drops of oil. "As you wander around, carry this spoon with you without allowing the oil to spill".

The boy began climbing and descending the many stairways of the palace, keeping his eyes fixed on the spoon. After two hours, he returned to the room where the wise man was.

"Well", asked the wise man, "Did you see the Persian tapestries that are hanging in my dining hall? Did you see the garden that it took the master gardener ten years to create? Did you notice the beautiful parchments in my library?"

The boy was embarrassed, and confessed that he had observed nothing. His only concern had been not to spill the oil that the wise man had entrusted to him.

"Then go back and observe the marvels of my world", said the wise man. "You cannot trust a man if you don't know his house".

Relieved, the boy picked up the spoon and returned to his exploration of the palace, this time observing all of the works of art on the ceilings and the walls. He saw the gardens, the mountains all around him, the beauty of the flowers, and the taste with which everything had been selected. Upon returning to the wise man, he related in detail everything he had seen.

"But where are the drops of oil I entrusted to you?" asked the wise man. Looking down at the spoon he held, the boy saw that the oil was gone.

"Well, there is only one piece of advice I can give you", said the wisest of wise men. "The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon".

The Chinese farmer

There is a Chinese story of an old farmer who had an old horse for tilling his fields. One day the horse escaped into the hills and, when all the farmer's neighbours sympathised with the old man over his bad luck, the farmer replied, 'Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?'

A week later the horse returned with a herd of wild horses from the hills and this time the neighbours congratulated the farmer on his good luck. His reply was, 'Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?'

Then, when the farmer's son was attempted to tame one of the wild horses, he fell off its back and broke his leg. Everyone thought this very bad luck. Not the farmer, whose only reaction was, 'Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?'

Some weeks later the army marched into the village and conscripted every able-bodied youth they found there. When they saw the farmer's son with his broken leg they let him off. Now was that good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?

Did you know ?
  • In India, Dutta Samant led a year-long strike in 1982 involved about 200000 workers?
  • Rusi Surti is the only Indian test cricketer to played Sheffield Shield cricket in Australia?
  • The airline company Air Deccan was the first low-cost flight company in India?
  • About 50% of the residents in India are under 25 years old?
  • The highest cricket ground in the world is Chail in Himachal Pradesh, India?
  • Indian Railways transport about five billion passengers annually?
  • The longest station name on the Indian Railways is Venkatanarasimharajuvariapeta?
  • Indian Railways is the largest employer in the world, about 1.6 million people?
  • The distance learning University IGNOU in India is short for Indira Gandhi National Open University?
  • The oldest Public Sector Bank in India having branches all over India and serving the customers for the last 132 years Allahabad Bank
  • The first Indian commercial bank which was wholly owned and managed by Indians Central Bank of India
  • The number of births that occur in India each year is higher than the entire population of Australia?
  • The word mongoose comes from India?

Just for Laughs

 Softball in Heaven

Author Unknown

Two 90-year-old women, Rose and Barb, had been friends all of their lives. 

When it was clear that Rose was dying, Barb visited her every day. One day Barb said, 'Rose, we both loved playing women's softball all our lives, and we played it all through High School. 

Please do me one favor, when you get to Heaven, somehow you must let me know if there is women's softball there. 

Rose looked up at Barb from her deathbed, Barb; you have been my best friend for many years. If it is at all possible, I will do this favor for you. 

Shortly after that, Rose passed on. 

A couple of nights later, Barb was awakened from a sound sleep by a blinding flash of white light and a voice calling out to her, Barb, Barb. 

Who is it? asked Barb, sitting up suddenly. Who is it? 

Barb – it is me, Rose. 

You are not Rose. Rose just died. 

I am telling you, it is me, Rose, insisted the voice. 

Rose! Where are you? 

In Heaven, replied Rose. I have some really good news and a little bad news. 

Tell me the good news first, said Barb. 

The good news, Rose said, is that there is Softball in Heaven. Better yet, all of our old buddies who died before us are here, too. Better than that, we are all young again. Better still, it is always springtime, and it never rains or snows. And best of all, we can play softball all we want, and we never get tired. 

That's fantastic, said Barb. It is beyond my wildest dreams! So what is the bad news? 

You are pitching Tuesday. 

The Healthy Christians

Author Unknown

Two Christians have lived very good, and also very healthy lives. They die, and go to heaven. 

As they are walking along, marveling at the paradise around them, one turns to the other and says "Wow. I never knew heaven was going to be as good as this!" 

"Yeah", says the other. "And just think, if we hadn't eaten all that oat bran we could have got here ten years sooner." 

18 February 2018

posted 16 Feb 2018, 02:28 by C S Paul   [ updated 16 Feb 2018, 02:29 ]

18 February 2018

Quotes to Inspire
  • "To be prepared is half the victory." — Miguel de Cervantes
  • "Strength: Those who say 'I can't' and those who say 'I can' are both right. There is no way we can do anything worthwhile if we say and believe we can't. The power to achieve is in the 'I can!'" — Ray Lammie
  • "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me." — Paul the Apostle (Philippians 4:13)
  • "Pressure is what turns coal into diamonds." — Unknown
  • "People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself. But the self is not something one finds, it is something one creates." — Thomas Szasz
  • "If you don't fail now and again, it's a sign you're playing it safe." — Woody Allen
  • "People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel." — Unknown
  • "Friendship is a candle whose flame glows brighter when the hour is darker." — Unknown
  • "A real friend is when you can sit alone together and never say a word … and walk away feeling that you have had the best conversation." — Unknown
  • Forgiveness is man's deepest need and highest achievement. -- Horace Bushnell
  • "It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves." — Edmund Hillary
  • "I ask not for a lighter burden, but for broader shoulders." — Jewish Proverb
  • "When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn." — Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • "Do not wait ... the time will never be just right ... start where you stand ... and work with whatever tools you may have at your command at the moment ... and better tools will be found as you go along." — Napoleon Hill


The house with the golden windows

-Unknown

The little girl lived in a small, very simple, poor house on a hill and as she grew she would play in the small garden and as she grew she was able to see over the garden fence and across the valley to a wonderful house high on the hill - and this house had golden windows, so golden and shining that the little girl would dream of how magic it would be to grow up and live in a house with golden windows instead of an ordinary house like hers.

And although she loved her parents and her family, she yearned to live in such a golden house and dreamed all day about how wonderful and exciting it must feel to live there.

When she got to an age where she gained enough skill and sensibility to go outside her garden fence, she asked her mother is she could go for a bike ride outside the gate and down the lane. After pleading with her, her mother finally allowed her to go, insisting that she kept close to the house and didn't wander too far. The day was beautiful and the little girl knew exactly where she was heading! Down the lane and across the valley, she rode her bike until she got to the gate of the golden house across on the other hill.

As she dismounted her bike and lent it against the gate post, she focused on the path that lead to the house and then on the house itself...and was so disappointed as she realised all the windows were plain and rather dirty, reflecting nothing other than the sad neglect of the house that stood derelict.

So sad she didn't go any further and turned, heart broken as she remounted her bike ... As she glanced up she saw a sight to amaze her...there across the way on her side of the valley was a little house and its windows glistened golden ...as the sun shone on her little home.

She realised that she had been living in her golden house and all the love and care she found there was what made her home the 'golden house'. Everything she dreamed was right there in front of her nose!

Puppy Love

-- By Bill McCartney

We jog, run, camp, fish, and build furniture. But, do we ever cross the line?

I'm Bill McCartney... It's 4th and Goal!

I know men who can take raw wood and a few nails and create a family heirloom. And then there are those of us who can listen to a sputtering engine and pinpoint the problem without even popping the hood. Other guys fly fish or fry up a gourmet meal.

Some of us are music lovers, avid readers and huge pet fans. These interests help fulfill us, but sometimes we can get caught up filling our days... and evenings... and weekends... pursuing activities that leave our families in the dust.

Take our interest in man's best friend. Our animals are companions for kids, protection for the home and just plain furry fun for the whole family. But, with all the extras and supplies available, there can be a tendency to get a little carried away.

We've got doggy beds, doggy diet chow, and special canine clothing. People primp their pooches, put them up in pet hotels, and even take them to counselors, when they're not sure what's dogging Fido. Things can easily get out of hand.

While we enjoy our outside interests and hobbies, do we let these "extras" become sore spots in our lives? Do they absorb far more time, energy and money than we should be sacrificing?

Any diversion can draw us away from the relationships that make life worth living. Let's ask ourselves what's more important, fulfilling our own needs or being a father to our children? What will they remember longer? The shiny wax job on the classic 'vette? Or, all those times we got on the ground and wrestled around with them?

Guys, we can take our hobbies to the extreme, pouring money and time into efforts that have no lasting value. Anything we put ahead of our wives and children, whether a pedigreed pooch, a workbench full of tools, or a super-deluxe convertible, says something about who we are, as men. Let's keep first things first and stay clear of anything that pulls us away from our first priorities as fathers and husbands.

"...Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things." -- Philippians 4:8

~~~~~~~~~

Former head football coach of the University of Colorado, Coach Bill McCartney is the founder and former president of Promise Keepers. Currently he is the founder and chairman of The Road to Jerusalem ministry.

Nothing Beats Family

By Ridgely Goldsborough

I stepped into my hotel room to a pleasant surprise. Lots of room surrounded an inviting king-size bed, flanked by overstuffed armchairs that rested against sliding glass doors that opened onto a private patio. A small dining table sat next to a kitchenette with a separate sink, refrigerator and coffee machine. "Wow," I thought to myself. "Nice place."

I love hotels - from the Holiday Inn Express to the Ritz-Carlton and everything in between. I love to enter a clean room, hang my clothes and gaze out the window, walk out in the morning knowing that each afternoon when I return, someone else will have made the bed. I like in-room dining and the way they greet you so professionally. "Nice to have you with us again, Mr. Goldsborough." Very cool.

The problem is that unless Alison travels with me, I never sleep well in hotels. I miss my family. Even though Linus and Camille, at ages 4 and almost 2, find a way to interrupt even the best night's sleep at home, still, I'd rather be with them. I'll take Linus clamoring over me at five AM or a kick in the chin from Camille over the finest linens and a chocolate on my pillow. When I'm on the road I yearn for my loved ones.

I'm deeply troubled by the number of parents who wake up too late with the realization: "My children grew up too fast. In the hustle-bustle of career and corporate rat race, I missed their childhood." What they fail to say but too often inwardly think causes me even more pain: "...and I barely even know them."This applies to couples as well - so in a hurry to get who-knows-where - a destination seldom defined. Relationships turn into co-habitations, romance into convenience. Very disturbing.

A hundred years from now, no one will remember the size of your bank account, the car you drove or the square footage of your house. The world might differ greatly however, based on your impact in the life of a small child. Your life will most certainly improve, if you pay attention to your significant other, make the choice to put her or him first. Your example will benefit the rest of us. Our world cries out for role models and heroes of every day living. What could you do today to let your loved ones know how much they mean to you? What will you do tomorrow? And the next day?

Think of one specific action that you can take, and take it. Then think of another one and take that, too. Challenge yourself to find new ways to express your appreciation and love on a daily basis. It will pay off ten-fold at home.

On those slightly stressful days when the grass looks a little greener and you feel like maybe you need a break, remember this. Room service will never kiss you goodnight!

Nothing is written

Roger Darlington

My all-time favourite film is "Lawrence Of Arabia" and, if I have a favourite scene from the movie, then I guess it is the one of Lawrence's triumphal return from the Nefud desert, having gone back to rescue the Arab Gasim. The crossing of the Nefud desert is considered impossible, even by the local Arabs, but Lawrence persuades them that, in this way, they can take the Turkish port at Aqaba from the rear.

Having carried out the superhuman feat of traversing this furnace, it is discovered that one of the Arabs, Gasim, has fallen off his camel and is no doubt dying somewhere back in the desert. Lawrence is told that any idea of rescue is futile and, in any event, Gasim's death is "written". When Lawrence achieves the impossible and returns with Gasim still alive, Sherif Ali admits to him: "Truly, for some men nothing is written unless they write it".

As an impressionable teenager when this film was first released, I was stunned by Lawrence's courage and unselfishness in going back into the hell of the Nefud to attempt to find a man he hardly knew among the vast expanse of a fiery terrain and I was so moved by the sense of purpose of a man who is determined to take nothing as "written" but to shape his own destiny. This sense of anti-determinism and this belief that anything is possible has stayed with me always and continues to inspire me in small ways and large.

Did You Know ?

  • A flamingo can eat only when its head is upside down.
  • No other animal gives us more by-products than the pig. These by-products include pig suede, buttons, glass, paint brushes, crayons, chalk and insulation to name a few.
  • Ayurveda is the earliest school of medicine known to mankind. The father of medicine, Charaka, consolidated Ayurveda 2500 years ago.
  • Although modern images & descriptions of India often show poverty, India was one of the richest countries till the time of British in the early 17th Century. Christopher Columbus was attracted by India's wealth and was looking for route to India when he discovered America by mistake.
  • India has the most post offices in the world !
  • The largest employer in the world is the Indian railway system, employing over a million people !.   
  • The World's first university was established in Takshila in 700 BC. More than 10,500 students from all over the world studied more than 60 subjects. The University of Nalanda built in the 4th century was one of the greatest achievements of ancient India in the field of education.
  • A kangaroo can't jump unless its tail is touching the ground.
  • Dolphins don't automatically breath; they have to tell themselves to do it.
  • Cats sleep 16 to 18 hours per day.
Just for Laughs
The Minister and the Taxi Driver
Unknown

A minister has just died and is standing in line waiting to be judged and admitted to Heaven.

While waiting he asks the man in front of him about himself. The man says, "I am a taxi driver from New York City." 

The angel standing at the gate calls out next and the taxi driver steps up. The angel hands him a golden staff and a cornucopia of fruits, cheeses, and wine and lets him pass. The taxi driver is quite pleased, and proceeds through the gates. 

Next, the minister steps up to the angel who hands him a wooden staff and some bread and water. 

The minister is very concerned and asks the angel, "That guy is a taxi driver and gets a golden staff and a cornucopia! I spend my entire life as a minister and get nothing! How can that be?" 

The angel replies, "Up here we judge on results—all of your people sleep through your sermons—in his taxi, they pray." 

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