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SUNDAY MAGAZINE

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9 December 2018

posted 7 Dec 2018, 20:52 by C S Paul   [ updated 7 Dec 2018, 21:31 ]


Christmas Special - I

9 December 2018

sXmas_carolers_100-100 THE STORY OF CHRISTMAS 

taken from the classic

BEN-HUR: A TALE OF THE CHRIST 

by Lew Wallace
PART ONE - CHAPTER X.

At a certain hour in the evening the shouting and stir of the people in and about the khan ceased; at the same time, every Israelite, if not already upon his feet, arose, solemnized his face, looked towards Jerusalem, crossed his hands upon his breast, and prayed; for it was the sacred ninth hour, when sacrifices were offered in the temple on Moriah, and God was supposed to be there.

When the hands of the worshippers fell down, the commotion broke forth again; everybody hastened to bread, or to make his pallet.

A little later, the lights were put out, and there was silence, and then sleep.

* * * * * *

About midnight some one on the roof cried out, "What light is that in the sky? Awake, brethren, awake and see!"

The people, half asleep, sat up and looked; then they became wide-awake, though wonder-struck. And the stir spread to the court below, and into the lewens; soon the entire tenantry of the house and court and enclosure were out gazing at the sky.

And this was what they saw. A ray of light, beginning at a height immeasurably beyond the nearest stars, and dropping obliquely to the earth; at its top, a diminishing point; at its base, many furlongs in width; its sides blending softly with the darkness of the night, its core a roseate electrical splendour.

The apparition seemed to rest on the nearest mountain south-east of the town, making a pale corona along the line of the summit.

The khan was touched luminously, so that those upon the roof saw each other's faces, all filled with wonder.

Steadily, through minutes, the ray lingered, and then the wonder changed to awe and fear; the timid trembled; the boldest spoke in whispers.

"Saw you ever the like?" asked one.

"It seems just over the mountain there. I cannot tell what it is, nor did I ever see anything like it," was the answer.

"Can it be that a star has burst and fallen?" asked another, his tongue faltering.

"When a star falls, its light goes out."

"I have it!" cried one, confidently. "The shepherds have seen a lion, and made fires to keep him from the flocks."

The men next the speaker drew a breath of relief, and said, "Yes, that is it! The flocks were grazing in the valley over there to-day."

A bystander dispelled the comfort.

"No, no! Though all the wood in all the valleys of Judah was brought together in one pile and fired, the blaze would not throw a light so strong and high."

After that there was silence on the house-top, broken but once again while the mystery continued.

"Brethren!" exclaimed a Jew of venerable mien, "what we see is the ladder our father Jacob saw in his dream. Blessed be the Lord God of our fathers!"

PART ONE - CHAPTER XI

A mile and a half, it may be two miles, southeast of Bethlehem, there is a plain separated from the town by an intervening swell of the mountain. Besides being well sheltered from the north winds, the vale was covered with a growth of sycamore, dwarf-oak, and pine trees, while in the glens and ravines adjoining there were thickets of olive and mulberry; all at this season of the year invaluable for the support of sheep, goats, and cattle, of which the wandering flocks consisted.

At the side farthest from the town, close under a bluff, there was an extensive marah, or sheepcot, ages old. In some long-forgotten foray, the building had been unroofed and almost demolished.

The enclosure attached to it remained intact, however, and that was of more importance to the shepherds who drove  their charges thither than the house itself. The stone wall around the lot was high as a man's head, yet not so high but that sometimes a panther or a lion, hungering from the wilderness, leaped boldly in. 

On the inner side of the wall, and as an additional security against the constant danger, a hedge of the rhamnus had been planted, an invention so successful that now a sparrow could hardly penetrate the over topping branches, armed as they were with great clusters of thorns hard as spikes.

The day of the occurrences which occupy the preceding chapters, a number of shepherds, seeking fresh walks for  their flocks, led them up to this plain; and from early morning the groves had been made ring with calls, and the blows of axes, the bleating of sheep and goats, the tinkling of bells, the lowing of cattle, and the barking of dogs. 

When the sun went down, they led the way to the marah, and by nightfall had everything safe in the field; then they kindled a fire down by the gate, partook of their humble supper, and sat down to rest and talk, leaving one on watch.

There were six of these men, omitting the watchman; and after while they assembled in a group near the fire, some sitting, some lying prone. As they went bareheaded habitually, their hair stood out in thick, coarse, sunburnt shocks; their beard covered their throats, and fell in mats down the breast; mantles of the skin of kids and lambs, with the fleece on, wrapped them from neck to knee, leaving the arms exposed; broad belts girthed the rude garments to their waists; their sandals were of the coarsest quality; from their right shoulders hung scrips containing food and selected stones for slings, with which they were armed; on the ground near each one lay his crook, a symbol of his calling and a weapon of offence.

Such were the shepherds of Judea! In appearance, rough and savage as the gaunt dogs sitting with them around the blaze; in fact, simple-minded, tender-hearted; effects due, in part, to the primitive life they led, but chiefly to their  constant care of things lovable and helpless.

They rested and talked, and their talk was all about their flocks, a dull theme to the world, yet a theme which was all the world to them. If in narrative they dwelt long upon affairs of trifling moment; if one of them omitted nothing of detail in recounting the loss of a lamb, the relation between him and the unfortunate should be remembered: at birth it became his charge, his to keep all its days, to help over the floods, to carry down the hollows, to name and train; it was to be his companion, his object of thought and interest, the subject of his will; it was to enliven and share his wanderings; in its defense he might be called on to face the lion or robber--to die.

The great events, such as blotted out nations and changed the mastery of the world, were trifles to them, if perchance they came to their knowledge. Of what Herod was doing in this city or that, building palaces and gymnasia, and indulging forbidden practises, they occasionally heard. As was her habit in those days, Rome did not wait for people slow to inquire about her; she came to them.

Over the hills along which he was leading his lagging herd, or in the fastnesses in which he was hiding them, not unfrequently the shepherd was startled by the blare of trumpets, and, peering out, beheld a cohort, sometimes a legion, in march; and when the glittering crests were gone, and the excitement incident to the intrusion over, he bent  himself to evolve the meaning of the eagles and gilded globes of the soldiery, and the charm of a life so the opposite of his own.

Yet these men, rude and simple as they were, had a knowledge and a wisdom of their own. On Sabbaths they were accustomed to purify themselves, and go up into the synagogues, and sit on the benches farthest from the ark. When the chazzan bore the Torah round, none kissed it with greater zest; when the sheliach read the text, none listened to the interpreter with more absolute faith; and none took away with them more of the elder's sermon, or gave it more thought  afterwards. In a verse of the Shema they found all the learning and all the law of their simple lives--that their Lord was One God, and that they must love him with all their souls. And they loved him, and such was their wisdom, surpassing that of kings.

While they talked, and before the first watch was over, one by one the shepherds went to sleep, each lying where he had sat.

The night, like most nights of the winter season in the hill country, was clear, crisp, and sparkling with stars. There was no wind. The atmosphere seemed never so pure, and the stillness was more than silence; it was a holy hush, a warning that heaven was stooping low to whisper some good thing to the listening earth.

By the gate, hugging his mantle close, the watchman walked; at times he stopped, attracted by a stir among the sleeping herds, or by a jackal's cry off on the mountain-side. The midnight was slow coming to him; but at last it came. His task was done; now for the dreamless sleep with which labor blesses its wearied children!

He moved towards the fire, but paused; a light was breaking around him, soft and white, like the moon's. He waited breathlessly.

The light deepened; things before invisible came to view; he saw the whole field, and all it sheltered. A chill sharper than that of the frosty air--a chill of fear--smote him. He looked up; the stars were gone; the light was dropping as from a window in the sky; as he looked, it became a splendor; then, in terror, he cried, "Awake, awake!"

Up sprang the dogs, and, howling, ran away.

The herds rushed together bewildered.

The men clambered to their feet, weapons in hand.

"What is it?" they asked, in one voice.

"See!" cried the watchman, "the sky is on fire!"

Suddenly the light became intolerably bright, and they covered  their eyes, and dropped upon their knees; then, as their souls  shrank with fear, they fell upon their faces blind and fainting, and would have died had not a voice said to them, "Fear not!"

And they listened.

"Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people."

The voice, in sweetness and soothing more than human, and low  and clear, penetrated all their being, and filled them with assurance.

They rose upon their knees, and, looking worshipfully, beheld in the centre of a great glory the appearance of a man, clad in a robe intensely white; above its shoulders towered the tops of wings shining and folded; a star over its forehead glowed with steady lustre, brilliant as Hesperus; its hands were stretched towards them in blessing; its face was serene and divinely beautiful.

They had often heard, and, in their simple way, talked, of angels;  and they doubted not now, but said, in their hearts, The glory of God is about us, and this is he who of old came to the prophet by  the river of Ulai.

Directly the angel continued:

"For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord!"

Again there was a rest, while the words sank into their minds.

"And this shall be a sign unto you," the annunciator said next.

"Ye shall find the babe, wrapped in swaddling-clothes, lying in a manger."

The herald spoke not again; his good tidings were told; yet he stayed awhile. Suddenly the light, of which he seemed the centre, turned roseate and began to tremble; then up, far as the men could see, there was flashing of white wings, and coming and going of radiant forms, and voices as of a multitude chanting  in unison,

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good-will towards men!"

Not once the praise, but many times.

Then the herald raised his eyes as seeking approval of one far off; his wings stirred, and spread slowly and majestically, on their upper side white as snow, in the shadow vari-tinted, like mother-of-pearl; when they were expanded many cubits beyond his stature, he arose lightly, and, without effort, floated out of view, taking the light up with him. Long after he was gone, down from the sky fell  the refrain in measure mellowed by distance, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good-will towards men."

When the shepherds came fully to their senses, they stared at each other stupidly, until one of them said, "It was Gabriel, the Lord's messenger unto men."

None answered.

"Christ the Lord is born; said he not so?"

Then another recovered his voice, and replied, "That is what he said."

"And did he not also say, in the city of David, which is our Bethlehem yonder. And that we should find him a babe in swaddling-clothes?"

"And lying in a manger."

The first speaker gazed into the fire thoughtfully, but at length said, like one possessed of a sudden resolve, "There is but one place in Bethlehem where there are mangers; but one, and that is in the cave near the old khan. Brethren, let us go see this thing which has come to pass. The priests and doctors have been a  long time looking for the Christ. Now he is born, and the Lord has given us a sign by which to know him. Let us go up and worship him."

"But the flocks!"

"The Lord will take care of them. Let us make haste."

Then they all arose and left the marah.

* * * * * *

Around the mountain and through the town they passed, and came to the gate of the khan, where there was a man on watch.

"What would you have?" he asked.

"We have seen and heard great things to-night," they replied.

"Well, we, too, have seen great things, but heard nothing. What did you hear?"

"Let us go down to the cave in the enclosure, that we may be sure; then we will tell you all. Come with us, and see for yourself."

"It is a fool's errand."

"No, the Christ is born."

"The Christ! How do you know?"

"Let us go and see first."

The man laughed scornfully.

"The Christ indeed! How are you to know him?"

"He was born this night, and is now lying in a manger, so we were told; and there is but one place in Bethlehem with mangers."

"The cave?"

"Yes. Come with us."

They went through the court-yard without notice, although there were some up even then talking about the wonderful light. The door of the cavern was open. A lantern was burning within, and they entered unceremoniously.

"I give you peace," the watchman said to Joseph and the Beth  Dagonite. "Here are people looking for a child born this night, whom they are to know by finding him in swaddling-clothes and lying in a manger."

For a moment the face of the stolid Nazarene was moved; turning away, he said, "The child is here."

They were led to one of the mangers, and there the child was.

The lantern was brought, and the shepherds stood by mute. The little one made no sign; it was as others just born.

"Where is the mother?" asked the watchman.

One of the women took the baby, and went to Mary, lying near, and put it in her arms. Then the bystanders collected about the two.

"It is the Christ!" said a shepherd, at last.

"The Christ!" they all repeated, falling upon their knees in worship.

One of them repeated several times over, "It is the Lord, and his glory is above the earth and heaven."

And the simple men, never doubting, kissed the hem of the mother's robe, and with joyful faces departed. In the khan, to all the people aroused and pressing about them, they told their story; and through the town, and all the way back to the marah, they chanted the refrain of the angels, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good-will towards men!"

The story went abroad, confirmed by the light so generally seen; and the next day, and for days thereafter, the cave was visited by curious crowds, of whom some believed, though the greater part laughed and mocked.

to be continued next week


Thoughts for Christmas
  • "As long as we know in our hearts what Christmas ought to be, Christmas is." -- Eric Sevareid 
  • "Christmas is the day that holds time together." -- Alexander Smith 
  • "Christmas renews our youth by stirring our wonder. The capacity for wonder has been called our most pregnant human faculty, for in it are born our art, our science, our religion." -- Ralph Sockman 
  • "Christmas ... is not an eternal event at all, but a piece of one's home that one carries in one's heart." -- Freya Stark 
  • "Many banks have a new kind of Christmas club in operation. The new club helps you save money to pay for last year's gifts." -- Unknown 
  • "Are you willing to believe that love is the strongest thing in the world - stronger than hate, stronger than evil, stronger than death - and that the blessed life which began in Bethlehem nineteen hundred years ago is the image and brightness of the Eternal Love? Then you can keep Christmas." -- Henry Van Dyke
  • "Christmas is for children. But it is for grownups too. Even if it is a headache, a chore, and nightmare, it is a period of necessary defrosting of chill and hide-bound hearts." -- Lenora Mattingly Weber 
  • “How many observe Christ's birthday! How few, His precepts!” -- Benjamin Franklin
  • “I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” -- Charles Dickens
  • “Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.” -- Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • “Christmas, children, is not a date. It is a state of mind. ” -Mary Ellen Chase
  • “Christmas! The very word brings joy to our hearts. No matter how we may dread the rush, the long Christmas lists for gifts and cards to be bought and given--when Christmas Day comes there is still the same warm feeling we had as children, the same warmth that enfolds our hearts and our homes.” -- Joan Winmill Brown
  • “As long as we know in our hearts what Christmas ought to be, Christmas is.” - Eric Sevareid
  • "Remember, if Christmas isn't found in your heart, you won't find it under a tree." -- Charlotte Carpenter 

  • "Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas." -- Calvin Coolidge 
  • "Christmas, in its final essence, is for grown people who have forgotten what children know. Christmas is for whoever is old enough to have denied the unquenchable spirit of man." -- Margaret Cousins 
  • "Unless we make Christmas an occasion to share our blessings, all the snow in Alaska won't make it 'white'." -- Bing Crosby 
  • "Whatever else be lost among the years, Let us keep Christmas still a shining thing: Whatever doubts assail us, or what fears, Let us hold close one day, remembering Its poignant meaning for the hearts of men. Let us get back our childlike faith again." -- Grace Noll Crowell 
  • "Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone." -- Charles Schulz 

sXmas_santahat_100-101 The Gift of Forgiveness
by John William Smith 

Christmas tree - The Christmas of 1949 we didn’t have a tree.

My dad had as much pride as anybody, I suppose, so he wouldn’t just say that we couldn’t afford one.

When I mentioned it, my mother said that we weren’t going to have one this year, that we couldn’t afford one, and even if we could – it was stupid to clutter up your house with a dead tree.

I wanted a tree badly though, and I thought – in my naïve way – that if we had one, everybody would feel better.

Taking Matters into my Own Hands About three days before Christmas, I was out collecting for my paper route.

It was fairly late – long after dark – it was snowing and very cold.

I went to the apartment building to try to catch a customer who hadn’t paid me for nearly two months – she owed me seven dollars.

Much to my surprise, she was home.

She invited me in and not only did she pay me, she gave me a dollar tip!

It was a windfall for me – I now had eight whole dollars.

What happened next was totally unplanned.

On the way home, I walked past a Christmas tree lot and the idea hit me.

The selection wasn’t very good because it was so close to the holiday, but there was this one real nice tree.

It had been a very expensive tree and no one had bought it; now it was so close to Christmas that the man was afraid no one would.

He wanted ten dollars for it, but when I – in my gullible innocence – told him I only had eight, he said he might sell it for that.

I really didn’t want to spend the whole eight dollars on the tree, but it was so pretty that I finally agreed.

I dragged it all the way home – about a mile, I think – and I tried hard not to damage it or break off any limbs.

The snow helped to cushion it, and it was still in pretty good shape when I got home.

You can’t imagine how proud and excited I was.

I propped it up against the railing on our front porch and went in.

My heart was bursting as I announced that I had a surprise.

I got Mom and Dad to come to the front door and then I switched on the porch light.

Surprise!!

"Where did you get that tree?" my mother exclaimed.

But it wasn’t the kind of exclamation that indicates pleasure.

"I bought it up on Main Street. Isn’t it just the most perfect tree you ever saw?" I said, trying to maintain my enthusiasm.

"Where did you get the money?" Her tone was accusing and it began to dawn on me that this wasn’t going to turn out as I had planned.

"From my paper route." I explained about the customer who had paid me.

"And you spent the whole eight dollars on this tree?" she exclaimed. She went into a tirade about how stupid it was to spend my money on a dumb tree that would be thrown out and burned in a few days.

She told me how irresponsible I was and how I was just like my dad with all those foolish, romantic, noble notions about fairy tales and happy endings and that it was about time I grew up and learned some sense about the realities of life and how to take care of money and spend it on things that were needed and not on silly things.

She said that I was going to end up in the poorhouse because I believe in stupid things like Christmas trees, things that didn’t amount to anything.

I Just Stood There

My mother had never talked to me like that before and I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

I felt awful and I began to cry.

Finally, she reached out and snapped off the porch light.

"Leave it there," she said. "Leave that tree there till it rots, so every time we see it, we’ll all be reminded of how stupid the men in this family are."

Then she stormed up the stairs to her bedroom and we didn’t see her until the next day.

Dad and I brought the tree in and we made a stand for it.

He got out the box of ornaments and we decorated it as best as we could; but men aren’t too good at things like that, and besides, it wasn’t the same without mom.

There were a few presents under it by Christmas day – although I can’t remember a single one of them – but Mom wouldn’t have anything to do with it.

It was the worst Christmas I ever had.

Fast Forward to Today

Judi and I married in August of 1963, and dad died on October 10 of that year. 

Over the next eight years, we lived in many places. Mom sort of divided up the year – either living with my sister Jary or with us.

In 1971 we were living in Wichita, Kansas – Lincoln was about seven, Brendan was three and Kristen was a baby. Mom was staying with us during the holidays. 

On Christmas Eve I stayed up very late. I was totally alone with my thoughts, alternating between joy and melancholy, and I got to thinking about my paper route, that tree, what my mother had said to me and how Dad had tried to make things better.

I heard a noise in the kitchen and discovered that it was mom. She couldn’t sleep either and had gotten up to make herself a cup of hot tea – which was her remedy for just about everything. As she waited for the water to boil, she walked into the living room and discovered me there. She saw my open Bible and asked me what I was reading. When I told her, she asked if I would read it to her and I did.

The Truth Comes Out

When the kettle began to whistle, she went and made her tea. She came back, and we started to visit. I told her how happy I was that she was with us for Christmas and how I wished that Dad could have lived to see his grandchildren and to enjoy this time because he always loved Christmas so. It got very quiet for a moment and then she said, "Do you remember that time on Twelve Mile Road when you bought that tree with your paper route money?"

"Yes," I said, "I’ve just been thinking about it you know."

She hesitated for a long moment, as though she were on the verge of something that was bottled up so deeply inside her soul that it might take surgery to get it out. Finally, great tears started down her face and she cried, "Oh, son, please forgive me."

"That time and that Christmas have been a burden on my heart for twenty-five years. I wish your dad were here so I could tell him how sorry I am for what I said. Your dad was a good man and it hurts me to know that he went to his grave without ever hearing me say that I was sorry for that night. Nothing will ever make what I said right, but you need to know that your dad never did have any money sense (which was all too true).

We were fighting all the time - though not in front of you - we were two months behind in our house payments, we had no money for groceries, your dad was talking about going back to Arkansas and that tree was the last straw. I took it all out on you. It doesn’t make what I did right, but I hoped that someday, when you were older, you would understand. I’ve wanted to say something for ever so long and I’m so glad it’s finally out."

Well, we both cried a little and held each other and I forgave her – it wasn’t hard, you know.

Then we talked for a long time, and I did understand; I saw what I had never seen and the bitterness and sadness that had gathered up in me for all those years gradually washed away.

It was marvelously simple.

The great gifts of this season – or any season – can’t be put under the tree; you can’t wear them or eat them or drive them or play with them. We spend so much time on the lesser gifts – toys, sweaters, jewelry, the mint, anise and dill of Christmas – and so little on the great gifts – understanding, grace, peace and forgiveness. It’s no wonder that the holiday leaves us empty, because when it’s over, the only reminders we have are the dirty dishes and the January bills.



sXmas_santahat_100-101 The Great Gift
- Unknown

The great gifts are like the one gift – the gift that began it all back there in Bethlehem of Judea. You can’t buy them, and they’re not on anybody’s shopping list. They come as He came – quietly, freely, unexpectedly – and if you’re not careful, you’ll miss them entirely.

On a cold Christmas Eve in 1952, when Korea was in the throes of civil war, one young woman struggled along a village street, obviously soon to deliver a child. She pleaded with passersby,

"Help me! Please. My baby."

No one paid any attention to her.

A middle-aged couple walked by. The wife pushed away the young mother and sneered,
"Where's the father? Where's your American man now?"

The couple laughed and went on.

The young woman almost doubled up from a contraction as she watched them go.

"Please . . ." she begged.

She had heard of a missionary living nearby who might help her. Hurriedly, she began walking to that village. If only he would help her baby. Shivering and in pain, she struggled over the frozen countryside. But the night was so cold. 

Snow began to fall. Realizing that the time was near to deliver her baby, she took shelter under a bridge. There, alone, her baby was born on Christmas Eve.

Worried about her newborn son, she took off her own clothes, wrapped them around the baby and held him close in the warm circle of her arms.

The next day, the missionary braved the new snow to deliver Christmas packages. As he walked along, he heard the cry of a baby. He followed the sound to a bridge. Under it, he found a young mother frozen to death, still clutching her crying new born son. The missionary tenderly lifted the baby out of her arms.

When the baby was 10 years old, his now adoptive father told him the story of his mother's death on Christmas Eve.

The young boy cried, realizing the sacrifice his mother had made for him.

The next morning, the missionary rose early to find the boy's bed empty. 

Seeing a fresh set of small footprints in the snow outside, he bundled up warmly in a winter coat and followed the trail. It led back to the bridge where the young mother had died.

As the missionary approached the bridge, he stopped, stunned. Kneeling in the snow was his son, naked and shivering uncontrollably. His clothes lay beside him in a small pile. Moving closer, he heard the boy say through chattering teeth:

"Mother, were you this cold for me?"

That story reminds me of another mother and Son who sacrificed so much. One winter night, Jesus left his home, His glory and the warmth of heaven to be born in a stable to an unwelcome world. Just before He was born, Mary, His mother, was not welcome in any of the cozy inns in Bethlehem. Instead, she delivered her baby in the darkness of a cold stable. The Creator of the Universe, the Perfect Judge who could destroy the world with a single word, was willing to endure this inauspicious beginning for you and me. That is 
unconditional love!

We who have experienced God's unconditional love are commanded to share that love with others. John writes in 1 John 4:11,

"Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other" (New Living Translation).

God wants us to express His supernatural love to others. We become examples of God's love to the world as we love our neighbors through the enabling of His Holy Spirit.

My prayer for you is the same as Paul's prayer for the believers in Ephesians 3:17,18:

"May your roots go down deep in to the soil of God's marvelous love. And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love really is" (NLT ) .

You may confess, "I don't have that kind of love to share with anyone." To experience God's supernatural love, claim it by faith. We have the potential to love anyone God puts in our path. One of the greatest lessons I have learned in my Christian life is "how to love by faith."

When we by faith invite God's unconditional love to flow through us, we will discover a rekindled love that is alive and well. That is true for an "unlovable" spouse, boss, employee, or anyone.

Nothing breaks the hardened ground of unforgiveness and bitterness like sincere acts and words of love. Sometimes you and I, by faith, must take the first step of restoration. A positive response may not be immediate, but keep on loving and reaching out. There is no power on earth stronger than God's supernatural love.



sXmas_santahat_100-101 An Awesome Christmas Eve
by Katherine Kehler

“All who are oppressed may come to Him. He is a refuge for them in their times of trouble” (Psalm 9:9)

My father was born and spent his first 15 years in the Ukraine. One Christmas his two older brothers bought their parents a German-made Christmas musical wind-up tree stand. It was mechanical and played Silent Night. It brought great joy to this family of ten.

Not long after, the country experienced World War I and then the Russian revolution. Many people endured tremendous persecution - women were raped and fathers were kidnapped and murdered. Thieves arrived at the homes, demanded food and stole whatever they wanted, including the horses.

It was during one of those raids that God used this Christmas tree stand to perform a miracle and save their lives. It was Christmas Eve and the tree was in the stand playing Silent Night. The door burst open and a gang of ruffians stormed in, all holding guns. Fear spread through each family member as they wondered what would happen next. They were astounded as they watched these uninvited guests stop and become totally still. Then, without saying a word, they backed out of the house and closed the door. God used the tree and Silent 

Night to save their lives. A miracle on Christmas Eve!


sXmas_santahat_100-101 A Wonderful Christmas Morning!
- Author unknown

In September 1960, I woke up one morning with six hungry babies and just 75 cents in my pocket. Their father was gone.

The boys ranged from three months to seven years; their sister was two. Their Dad had never been much more than a presence they feared. Whenever they heard his tires crunch on the gravel driveway they would scramble to hide under their beds.

He did manage to leave $15 a week to buy groceries. Now that he had decided to leave, there would be no more beatings, but no food either. If there was a welfare system in effect in southern Indiana at that time, I certainly knew nothing about it. I scrubbed the kids until they looked brand new and then put on my best homemade dress, loaded them into the rusty old 51 Chevy and drove off to find a job.

The seven of us went to every factory, store and restaurant in our small town. No luck. The kids stayed crammed into the car and tried to be quiet while I tried to convince whoever would listen that I was willing to learn or do anything. I had to have a job. Still no luck. The last place we went to, just a few miles out of town was an old Root Beer Barrel drive-in that had been converted to a truck stop. It was called the Big Wheel.

An old lady named Granny owned the place and she peeked out of the window from time to time at all those kids. She needed someone on the graveyard shift, 11 at night until seven in the morning. She paid 65 cents an hour, and I could start that night. I raced home and called the teenager down the street that baby-sat for people.

I bargained with her to come and sleep on my sofa for a dollar a night. She could arrive with her pajamas on and the kids would already be asleep. This seemed like a good arrangement to her, so we made a deal. That night when the little ones and I knelt to say our prayers, we all thanked God for finding Mommy a job. And so I started at the Big Wheel.

When I got home in the mornings I woke the baby-sitter up and sent her home with one dollar of my tip money-- fully half of what I averaged every night. 

As the weeks went by, heating bills added a strain to my meager wage. The tires on the old Chevy had the consistency of penny balloons and began to leak. I had to fill them with air on the way to work and again every morning before I could go home.

One bleak fall morning, I dragged myself to the car to go home and found four tires in the back seat. New tires! There was no note, no nothing, just those beautiful brand new tires. Had angels taken up residence in Indiana I wondered? I made a deal with the local service station. In exchange for his mounting the new tires, I would clean up his office. I remember it took me a lot longer to scrub his floor than it did for him to do the tires.

I was now working six nights instead of five and it still wasn't enough. Christmas was coming and I knew there would be no money for toys for the kids. 

I found a can of red paint and started repairing and painting some old toys - then hid them in the basement so there would be something for Santa to deliver on Christmas morning. Clothes were a worry too. I was sewing patches on top of patches on the boy’s pants and soon they would be too far gone to repair.

On Christmas Eve the usual customers were drinking coffee in the Big Wheel.  There were the truckers, Les, Frank, and Jim, and a state trooper named Joe. A few musicians were hanging around after a gig at the Legion and were dropping nickels in the pinball machine. The regulars all just sat around and talked through the wee hours of the morning and then left to get home before the sun came up.

Gift box. When it was time for me to go home at seven o'clock on Christmas morning, to my amazement, my old battered Chevy was filled full to the top with boxes of all shapes and sizes. I quickly opened the driver's side door,crawled inside and kneeled in the front facing the back seat. Reaching back, I pulled off the lid of the top box. Inside was a whole case of little blue jeans, sizes 2-10! I looked inside another box: It was full of shirts to go with the jeans.

Then I peeked inside some of the other boxes. There was candy and nuts and bananas and bags of groceries. There was an enormous ham for baking, and canned vegetables and potatoes. There was pudding and Jell-O and cookies, pie filling and flour. There was a whole bag of laundry supplies and cleaning items. And there were five toy trucks and one beautiful little doll. As I drove back through empty streets as the sun slowly rose on most amazing Christmas Day of my life, I was sobbing with gratitude. And I will never forget the joy on the faces of my little ones that precious morning.

Yes, there were angels in Indiana that long-ago December. And they all hung out at the Big Wheel truck stop.



sXmas_santahat_100-101 The Selfish Giant
- Oscar Wilde - 
Note: Oscar Wilde intended this story to be read to children 

Every afternoon, as they were coming from school, the children used to go and play in the Giant's garden.

It was a large lovely garden, with soft green grass. Here and there over the grass stood beautiful flowers like stars, and there were twelve peach-trees that in the spring-time broke out into delicate blossoms of pink and pearl, and in the autumn bore rich fruit. The birds sat on the trees and sang so sweetly that the children used to stop their games in order to listen to them. 'How happy we are here!' they cried to each other.

One day the Giant came back. He had been to visit his friend the Cornish ogre, and had stayed with him for seven years. After the seven years were over he had said all that he had to say, for his conversation was limited, and he determined to return to his own castle. When he arrived he saw the children playing in the garden.

'What are you doing here?' he cried in a very gruff voice, and the children ran away.

'My own garden is my own garden,' said the Giant; 'any one can understand that, and I will allow nobody to play in it but myself.' So he built a high wall all round it, and put up a notice-board. 

TRESPASSERS WILL BE PROSECUTED 

He was a very selfish Giant.

The poor children had now nowhere to play. They tried to play on the road, but the road was very dusty and full of hard stones, and they did not like it. They used to wander round the high wall when their lessons were over, and talk about the beautiful garden inside.

'How happy we were there,' they said to each other.

Then the Spring came, and all over the country there were little blossoms and little birds. Only in the garden of the Selfish Giant it was still Winter. 

The birds did not care to sing in it as there were no children, and the trees forgot to blossom. Once a beautiful flower put its head out from the grass, but when it saw the notice-board it was so sorry for the children that it slipped back into the ground again, and went off to sleep. The only people who were pleased were the Snow and the Frost. 'Spring has forgotten this garden,' they cried, 'so we will live here all the year round.' The Snow covered up the grass with her great white cloak, and the Frost painted all the trees silver. 

Then they invited the North Wind to stay with them, and he came. He was wrapped in furs, and he roared all day about the garden, and blew the chimney-pots down. 'This is a delightful spot,' he said, 'we must ask the Hail on a visit.' So the Hail came. Every day for three hours he rattled on the roof of the castle till he broke most of the slates, and then he ran round and round the garden as fast as he could go. He was dressed in grey, and his 
breath was like ice.

'I cannot understand why the Spring is so late in coming,' said the Selfish Giant, as he sat at the window and looked out at his cold white garden; 'I hope there will be a change in the weather.'

But the Spring never came, nor the Summer. The Autumn gave golden fruit to every garden, but to the Giant's garden she gave none. 'He is too selfish,' she said. So it was always Winter there, and the North Wind, and the Hail, and the Frost, and the Snow danced about through the trees.

One morning the Giant was lying awake in bed when he heard some lovely music. It sounded so sweet to his ears that he thought it must be the King's musicians passing by. It was really only a little linnet singing outside his window, but it was so long since he had heard a bird sing in his garden that it seemed to him to be the most beautiful music in the world. Then the Hail stopped dancing over his head, and the North Wind ceased roaring, and a delicious perfume came to him through the open casement. 'I believe the Spring has come at last,' said the Giant; and he jumped out of bed and looked out.

What did he see?

He saw a most wonderful sight. Through a little hole in the wall the children had crept in, and they were sitting in the branches of the trees. In every tree that he could see there was a little child. And the trees were so glad to have the children back again that they had covered themselves with blossoms, and were waving their arms gently above the children's heads. The birds were flying about and twittering with delight, and the flowers were 
looking up through the green grass and laughing. It was a lovely scene, only in one corner it was still Winter. It was the farthest corner of the garden, and in it was standing a little boy. He was so small that he could not reach up to the branches of the tree, and he was wandering all round it, crying bitterly. The poor tree was still quite covered with frost and snow, and the North Wind was blowing and roaring above it. 'Climb up! little boy,' said the Tree, and it bent its branches down as low as it could; but the little boy was too tiny.

And the Giant's heart melted as he looked out. 'How selfish I have been!' he said; 'now I know why the Spring would not come here. I will put that poor little boy on the top of the tree, and then I will knock down the wall, and my garden shall be the children's playground for ever and ever.' He was really very sorry for what he had done.

So he crept downstairs and opened the front door quite softly, and went out into the garden. But when the children saw him they were so frightened that they all ran away, and the garden became Winter again. Only the little boy did not run, for his eyes were so full of tears that he died not see the Giant coming. And the Giant stole up behind him and took him gently in his hand, and put him up into the tree. And the tree broke at once into blossom, and the birds came and sang on it, and the little boy stretched out his two arms and flung them round the Giant's neck, and kissed him. And the other children, when they saw that the Giant was not wicked any longer, came running back, and with them came the Spring. 'It is your garden now, little children,' said the Giant, and he took a great axe and knocked down the wall. And when the people were gong to market at twelve o'clock they found the Giant playing with the children in the most beautiful garden they had ever seen.

All day long they played, and in the evening they came to the Giant to bid him good-bye.

'But where is your little companion?' he said: 'the boy I put into the tree.' The Giant loved him the best because he had kissed him.

'We don't know,' answered the children; 'he has gone away.'

'You must tell him to be sure and come here to-morrow,' said the Giant. 

But the children said that they did not know where he lived, and had never seen him before; and the Giant felt very sad.

Every afternoon, when school was over, the children came and played with the Giant. But the little boy whom the Giant loved was never seen again. The Giant was very kind to all the children, yet he longed for his first little friend, and often spoke of him. 'How I would like to see him!' he used to say.

Years went over, and the Giant grew very old and feeble. He could not play about any more, so he sat in a huge armchair, and watched the children at their games, and admired his garden. 'I have many beautiful flowers,' he said; 'but the children are the most beautiful flowers of all.'

One winter morning he looked out of his window as he was dressing. He did not hate the Winter now, for he knew that it was merely the Spring asleep, and that the flowers were resting.

Suddenly he rubbed his eyes in wonder, and looked and looked. It certainly was a marvellous sight. In the farthest corner of the garden was a tree quite covered with lovely white blossoms. Its branches were all golden, and silver fruit hung down from them, and underneath it stood the little boy he had loved.

Downstairs ran the Giant in great joy, and out into the garden. He hastened across the grass, and came near to the child. And when he came quite close his face grew red with anger, and he said, 'Who hath dared to wound thee?' For on the palms of the child's hands were the prints of two nails, and the prints of two nails were on the little feet.

'Who hath dared to wound thee?' cried the Giant; 'tell me, that I may take my big sword and slay him.'

'Nay!' answered the child; 'but these are the wounds of Love.'

'Who art thou?' said the Giant, and a strange awe fell on him, and he knelt before the little child.

And the child smiled on the Giant, and said to him, 'You let me play once in your garden, to-day you shall come with me to my garden, which is Paradise.'

And when the children ran in that afternoon, they found the Giant lying dead under the tree, all covered with white blossoms.



sXmas_santawarning_100-100You may not know that........

  • Evergreens (from the Old English word aefie meaning “always” and gowan meaning “to grow”) have been symbols of eternal life and rebirth since ancient times. The pagan use and worship of evergreen boughs and trees has evolved into the Christianized Christmas tree.a
  • Because of their pagan associations, both the holly (associated with the masculine principle) and the ivy (the feminine) and other green boughs in home decoration were banned by the sixth-century Christian Council of Braga.
  • Christmas has its roots in pagan festivals such as Saturnalia (December 17-December 23), the Kalends (January 1 -5, the precursor to the Twelve Days of Christmas), and Deus Sol Invictus or Birthday of the Unconquerable Sun (December 25). The Christians church heartily disapproved of such celebrations and co-opted the pagans by declaring December 25 as Christ’s day of birth, though there is no evidence Christ was born on that day.
  • santa claus Santa Claus is based on a fourth-century bishop from modern-day Turkey Santa Claus is based on a real person, St. Nikolas of Myra (also known as Nikolaos the Wonderworker, Bishop Saint Nicholas of Smyrna, and Nikolaos of Bari), who lived during the fourth century. Born in Patara (in modern-day Turkey), he is the world’s most popular non-Biblical saint, and artists have portrayed him more often than any other saint except Mary. He is the patron saint of banking, pawnbroking, pirating, butchery, sailing, thievery, orphans, royalty, and New York City.
  • Early illustrations of St. Nicholas depict him as stern, commanding, and holding a birch rod. He was more a symbol of discipline and punishment than the jolly, overweight elf children know today.
  • Puritan Oliver Cromwell outlawed Christmas celebrations and carols in England from 1649-1660. The only celebrations allowed were sermons and prayers.
  • Christmas stockings allegedly evolved from three sisters who were too poor to afford a marriage dowry and were, therefore, doomed to a life of prostitution. They were saved, however, when the wealthy Bishop Saint Nicholas of Smyrna (the precursor to Santa Claus) crept down their chimney and generously filled their stockings with gold coins.
  • The first lighted Christmas tree can be traced to Martin Luther. The first person to decorate a Christmas tree was reportedly the Protestant reformer Martin Luther (1483-1546). According to legend, he was so moved by the beauty of the stars shining between the branches of a fir tree, he brought home an evergreen tree and decorated it with candles to share the image with his children.
  • The first printed reference to a Christmas tree was in 1531 in Germany. Approximately 30-35 million real (living) Christmas trees are sold each year in the U.S.A
  • The Bible Does Not Actually State When Jesus Was Born. The Gospels leave specific dates and even seasonal references out but mention shepherds tending their flocks when Jesus was born, which leads some to believe that he's more likely an Aries than a Capricorn.
  • The Man Behind the Icon - Inspired at least in part by Sinterklaas and the history of St. Nicholas, author Clement Clarke Moore wrote a poem titled "A Visit from St. Nicholas." From this work came much of what we now associate with Santa Claus: The flying reindeer, his ample gut, and jolly laughter.
  • So, No: Coca-Cola Did Not Invent Santa. But his image has been used extensively in wintertime marketing materials since 1931, cementing both his image and persona in the public consciousness.
  • Christmas trees were first decorated with foods such as apples, nuts and dates.
  • In the  18th century Christmas trees began being decorated with candles.
  • Electric Christmas tree lights were first used in 1895.
  • Did you know that giving presents were once banned by the Catholic Church.  It was believed that gift giving was connected to paganism.
  • DESPITE the tale of three wise men paying homage to baby Jesus, the Bible never gives a number. Matthew's Gospel refers to merely "wise men".
  • CAROLS began as an old English custom called wassailing, toasting neighbours to a long life.
  • CAROLS weren't sung in churches until they were introduced by St Francis of Assisi in the 13th century.
  • HANGING stockings out comes from the Dutch custom of leaving shoes packed with food for St Nicholas's donkeys. He would leave small gifts in return.
  • Noel is the word which is used in place of Christmas in France. The word was derived from the French phrase "les bonnes nouvelles" which means "the good news" and it refers to the gospel.
  • In the Ukraine, if you find a spider web in the house on Christmas morning, it is believed to be a harbinger of good luck! There once lived a woman so poor, says a Ukrainian folk tale, that she could not afford Christmas decorations for her family. One Christmas morning, she awoke to find that spiders had trimmed her children’s tree with their webs. When the morning sun shone on them, the webs turned to silver and gold. An artificial spider and web are often included in the decorations on Ukrainian Christmas trees.
sXmas_santa_100-102 Something to laugh for Christmas 

Helpful Holiday Diet Tips

1. If no one sees you eat it, it has no calories

2. If you drink a diet soda with a candy bar, they cancel each other out

3. If you eat standing up, it doesn't count!

4. STRESSED is just DESSERTS spelled backwards

5. If you eat the food off someone else's plate, it doesn't count

6, Cookie pieces contain no calories because the process of breakage cause calorie leakage

7. Food used for medicinal purposes have no calories. This includes: any chocolate used for energy, brandy, cheesecake, and Haagen-Daz Ice Cream

8. When eating with someone else, calories don't count if you both eat the same amount

9. Movie-related foods are much lower in calories simply because they are a part of the entertainment experience and not part of one's personal fuel. This includes: Milk Duds, popcorn with butter, Junior Mints, Snickers, and Gummi Bears.

True story

The nativity play was going as planned and Joseph and Mary were going from house to house knocking on the doors and asking it there was any room for them. As they continued to get "no room" answers a little voice called from the back "YOU SHOULD HAVE BOOKED!" bringing the house down.
What Are The Three Gifts?

While participating in a chruch Christmas pageant many years past, I had the good fortune to be chosen as the narrator. Each rehearsal went off well and then on the night of the show, I, in a loud and penetrating voice announced the gifts of the Magi as "gold, Frankenstein and myrrh."

No Room In The Inn?

A boy wanted to be Joseph in the Sunday School pageant. He was cast as the landlord and objected loudly, but to no avail. When the pageant was presented, Mary and Joseph knocked on the door and asked him if he had a room for them. The boy smiled and said, "Yes, sure. Lots of room. Come on in!"


Didn't You Get My E-Mail?

As a little girl climbed onto Santa's lap, Santa asked the usual, "And what would you like for Christmas?"

The child stared at him open mouthed and horrified for a minute, then gasped: "Didn't you get my E-mail?"  


Signs of Christmas
    
 Toy Store: "Ho, ho, ho spoken here."  
   
 Bridal boutique: "Marry Christmas."  
   
 Outside a church: "The original Christmas Club."  
   
 At a department store: "Big pre-Christmas sale.  
 Come in and mangle with the crowd."  
   
 A Texas jeweler store: "Diamond tiaras -- $70,000.  
 Three for $200,000.  
   
 A reducing salon: "24 Shaping Days until Christmas."  
   
 In a stationery store: "For the man who has everything...  
 a calendar to remind him when payments are due."  



2 December 2018

posted 30 Nov 2018, 20:32 by C S Paul


2 December 2018

Quotes to Inspire

  • "The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by obvious realities. We need men and women who can dream of things that never were." – John F. Kennedy
  • "It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently." – Warren Buffett
  • "The highest reward for a man's toil is not what he gets for it but what he becomes by it." – John Ruskin
  • "By perseverance the snail reached the ark." – Charles Spurgeon
  • "Many men owe the grandeur of their lives to their tremendous difficulties." – Charles Spurgeon
  • "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." – Maya Angelou
  • "In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves ... Self-discipline with all of them came first." – Harry Truman
  • "Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations." – Steve Jobs
  • "A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have." – Gerald Rudolph Ford
  • "The person who upsets you the most is your best teacher, because they bring you face to face with who you are." – Lynn Andrews
  • "Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men." – Martin Luther King Jr.
  • "Character, in the long-run, is the decisive factor in the life of an individual and of nations alike." – Theodore Roosevelt
The Barber
-- Author unknown

A man went to a barbershop to have his hair cut and his beard trimmed. As the barber began to work, they began to have a good conversation. They talked about so many things and various subjects. When they eventually touched on the subject of God, the barber said: "I don't believe that God exists."

"Why do you say that?" asked the customer.

"Well, you just have to go out in the street to realize that God doesn't exist. Tell me, if God exists, would there be so many sick people? Would there be abandoned children? If God existed, there would be neither suffering nor pain. I can't imagine loving a God who would allow all of these things."

The customer thought for a moment, but didn't respond because he didn't want to start an argument. The barber finished his job and the customer left the shop. Just after he left the barbershop, he saw a man in the street with long, stringy, dirty hair and an untrimmed beard. He looked dirty and un-kept. The customer turned back and entered the barber shop again and he said to the barber: "You know what? Barbers do not exist."

"How can you say that?" asked the surprised barber. "I am here, and I am a barber. And I just worked on you!"

"No!" the customer exclaimed. "Barbers don't exist because if they did, there would be no people with dirty long hair and untrimmed beards, like that man outside."

"Ah, but barbers DO exist! What happens is, people do not come to me."

"Exactly!" affirmed the customer. "That's the point! God, too, DOES exist! What happens is, people don't go to Him."

"NASA AND THE BIBLE"
-- Author Unknown

Mr. Harold Hill, President of the Curtis Engine Company in Baltimore, Maryland and a consultant in the Space Program relates the following development. "I think one of the most amazing things that God has for us today happened recently to our astronauts and space scientists at Greenbelt, Maryland.

They were checking the position of the sun, moon, and planets out in space where they would be 100 years and 1000 years from now. We have to know this so we won't send a satellite up and have it
bump into something later on in its orbits. We have to lay out the orbits in terms of the life of the satellite, and where the planets will be so the whole thing will not bog down.

They ran the computer measurement back and forth over the centuries and it came to a halt. The computer stopped and put up a red signal, which meant that there was something wrong either with the information fed into it or with the results as compared to the standards. They called in the service department to check it out and they asked, "What's wrong?"

Well, they found there is a day missing in space in elapsed time. They scratched their heads and tore their hair. There was no answer.

Finally, a Christian man on the team said, "You know, one time I was in Sunday School and they talked about the sun standing still." While they didn't believe him, they didn't have an answer either, so they said, "Show us."

He got a Bible and went back to the book of Joshua where they found a pretty ridiculous statement for anyone with common sense. There they found the Lord saying to Joshua, "Fear them not, I have delivered them into thy hand; there shall not a man of them stand before thee." Joshua was concerned because he was surrounded by the enemy and if darkness fell they would overpower them. So, Joshua asked the Lord to make the sun stand still!

That's right, "The sun stood still and the moon stayed - and hasted not to go down about a whole day!" (Joshua 10:12-13)

The astronauts and scientists said, "There is the missing day!" They checked the computers going back into the time it was written and found it was close but not close enough. The elapsed time that was missing back in Joshua's day was 23 hours and 20 minutes - not a whole day.

They read the Bible and there it was "about (approximately) a day." These little words in the Bible are important, but they were still in trouble because, if you cannot account for 40 minutes, you'll still be in trouble 1,000 years from now. Forty minutes had to be found because it can be multiplied many times over in orbits.

As the Christian employee thought about it, he remembered somewhere in the Bible where it said the sun went BACKWARDS.

The scientists told him he was ! out of his mind, but they got out the Book and read these words in 2 Kings that told of the following story:

Hezekiah, on his deathbed, was visited by the prophet Isaiah who told him that he was not going to die. Hezekiah asked for a sign as proof. Isaiah said, "Do you want the sun to go ahead ten degrees?" Hezekiah said "It is nothing for the sun to go ahead ten degrees, but let the shadow return backward ten degrees."
Isaiah spoke to the Lord and the Lord brought the shadow ten degrees BACKWARD! Ten degrees is exactly 40 minutes!

Twenty-three hours and 20 minutes in Joshua, plus 40 minutes in Second Kings make the missing day in the universe!"

References: Joshua 10:8 and 12,13 and 2 Kings 20:9-11.

---
Note

This story was factual according to Snopes.com. HOWEVER, their explanation is not totally convincing, so you may want to read it yourself. Stories like this are run for inspirational reasons. We need do not feel a story must be true to be appreciated. To review this documentation, go to: http://www.snopes.com/religion/lostday.htm

A Thousand Marbles
– Author Unknown. 

I'm a ham radio operator and when I heard the following story coming over the air waves, it really made me think!

"Well, Tom, it sure sounds like you're busy with your job. I'm sure they pay you well but it's a shame you have to be away from home and your family so much. Hard to believe a young fellow should have to work 60 or 70 hours a week to make ends meet. Too bad you missed your daughter's recital."

He continued, "Let me tell you something, Tom, something that has helped me keep a good perspective on my own priorities."

And that's when he began to explain his theory of "A thousand marbles."

"You see, I sat down one day and did a little arithmetic. The average person lives about 75 years. I know, some live more and some live less, but on average, folks live about 75 years.

"Now then, I multiplied 75 times 52 and I came up with 3,900 which is the number of Saturdays that the average person has in their entire lifetime. Now stick with me Tom, I'm getting to the important part.

"It took me until I was 55 years old to think about all this in any detail," he went on, "and by that time I had lived through over 28 hundred Saturdays. I got to thinking that if I lived to be 75, I only had about a thousand of them left to enjoy.

"So I went to a toy store and bought every single marble they had. I ended up having to visit three toy stores to round up 1,000 marbles. I took them home and put them inside of a large, clear plastic container right here in the shack next to my gear. Every Saturday since then, I have taken one marble out and thrown it away.

"I found that by watching the marbles diminish, I focused more on the really important things in life. There is nothing like watching your time here on this earth run out to help get your priorities straight.

"Now let me tell you one last thing before I sign off with you and take my lovely wife out for breakfast. This morning I took the very last marble out of the container. I figure if I make it until next Saturday, then I have been given a little extra time.

"And the one thing we can all use is a little more time.

"It was nice to meet you Tom, I hope you spend more time with your family, and I hope to meet you again."

You could have heard a pin drop on the radio when this fellow signed off. I guess he gave us all a lot to think about. I had planned to work on the antenna that morning, and then I was going to meet up with a few hams to work on the next club newsletter. Instead, I went upstairs and woke my wife up with a kiss.

"C'mon honey, I'm taking you and the kids to breakfast."

"What brought this on?" she asked with a smile.

"Oh, nothing special, it's just been a long time since we spent a Saturday together with the kids. Hey, can we stop at a toy store while we're out? I need to buy some marbles."

The Devil's Convention
– Author Unknown. 

Satan called a worldwide convention. In his opening address to his evil angels, he said, "We can't keep Christians from going to church. We can't keep them from reading their Bibles and knowing the truth. We can't even keep them from conservative values. But we can do something else. We can keep them from forming an intimate, abiding relationship experience in Christ. If they gain that connection with Jesus, our power over them is broken. So let them go to church, let them have their conservative lifestyles, but steal their time, so they can't gain that experience in Jesus Christ. This is what I want you to do, angels. Distract them from gaining hold of their Savior and maintaining that vital connection throughout their day!"

"How shall we do this?" shouted his angels.

"Keep them busy in the non essentials of life and invent unnumbered schemes to occupy their minds" he answered. "Tempt them to spend, spend, spend then borrow, borrow, borrow. Convince the wives to go to work for long hours and the husbands to work six or seven days a week, ten to twelve hours a day so they can afford their lifestyles. Keep them from spending time with their children. As their family fragments, soon their homes will offer no escape from the pressures of work."

"Overstimulate their minds so that they cannot hear that still small voice. Entice them to play the radio or cassette player whenever they drive, to keep the TV, VCR, CD's and their PC's going constantly in their homes. And see to it that every store and restaurant in the world plays non-biblical music constantly. This will jam their minds and break that union with Christ."

Fill their coffee tables with magazines and newspapers. Pound their minds with news 24 hours a day. Invade their driving moments with billboards. Flood their mailboxes with junk mail, sweepstakes, mail order catalogues, and every kind of newsletter and promotional offering, free products, services and false hopes."

"Even in their recreation, let them be excessive. Have them return from their recreation exhausted, disquieted, and unprepared for the coming week. Don't let them go out in nature to reflect on God's wonders. Send them to amusement parks, sporting events, concerts and movies instead. And when they meet for spiritual fellowship, involve them in gossip and small talk so that they leave with troubled consciences and unsettled emotion."

"Let them be involved in soul-winning. But crowd their lives with so many good causes they have no time to seek power from Christ. Soon they will be working in their own strength, sacrificing their health and family unity for the good of the cause."

It was quite a convention in the end. And the evil angels went eagerly to their assignments causing Christians everywhere to get busy, busy, busy and rush here and there.

Has the devil been successful at his schemes? You be the judge.

Did You Know?
  • India never invaded any country in her last 100000 years of history.
  • When many cultures were only nomadic forest dwellers over 5000 years ago, Indians established Harappan culture in Sindhu Valley (Indus Valley Civilization)
  • The name 'India' is derived from the River Indus, the valleys around which were the home of the early settlers. The Aryan worshippers referred to the river Indus as the Sindhu.
  • The Persian invaders converted it into Hindu. The name 'Hindustan' combines Sindhu and Hindu and thus refers to the land of the Hindus.
  • Chess was invented in India.
  • Algebra, Trigonometry and Calculus are studies, which originated in India.
  • Martial Arts were first created in India, and later spread to Asia by Buddhist missionaries.
  • Yoga has its origins in India and has existed for over 5,000 years.
  • Producer of milk: Because India’s pastoral community is heavily dependent on milk, India has become the largest producer of milk in the world.
  • National drink: Chai, or tea is drunk widely in India. They produce more tea than any other country, exporting to countries all over the world.
  • Spices: While Saffron has its roots in neighboring countries, India uses the most expensive spice in several sweets and other dishes.
Just for Laughs

Quick Action

George was going up to bed when his wife told him that he'd left the light on in the garden shed, which she could see from the bedroom window.

George opened the back door to go turn off the light but saw that there were people in the shed stealing things.

He phoned the police, who asked "Is someone in your house?" and he said no. Then they said that all patrols were busy, and that he should simply lock his door and an officer would be along when available.

George said, "Okay," hung up, counted to 30, and phoned the police again.

"Hello, I just called you a few seconds ago because there were people in my shed. Well, you don't have to worry about them now 'cause I've just shot them all." Then he hung up.

Within five minutes three police cars, an Armed Response unit, and an ambulance showed up at George's residence.

Of course, the police caught the burglars red-handed. One of the policemen said to George: "I thought you said that you'd shot them!"

George said, "I thought you said there was nobody available!"
    
ADAM'S RIB

In Sunday School,they were teaching how God created everything,including human beings. 

Little Johnny seemed especially intent when they told him how Eve was created out of one of Adam's ribs. 

Later in the week,his mother noticed him lying down as though he were ill,and said,'Johnny what is the matter? Little Johnny responded,'I have a pain in my side. 

I think I'm going to have a wife.' 

25 November 2018

posted 24 Nov 2018, 03:35 by C S Paul


25 November 2018

Quotes to Inspire


  • "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
  • "Losers make promises they often break. Winners make commitments they always keep." – Denis Waitley
  • "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
  • "Transformation through reconfiguration: We become transformed to the express image of Christ through the reconfiguration of our thinking, habits, and all else we do, say and believe. Believe me; it takes courage to do so." — Pete Patterson
  • "Begin challenging your own assumptions. Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won't come in." — Alan Alda
  • "We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude." — Cynthia Ozick
  • "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, runner
  • "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

Help Somebody
Author Unknown

It was a cold winter's day that Sunday. The parking lot to the church was filling up quickly. I noticed as I got out of my car that fellow church members were whispering among themselves as they walked to the church.

As I got closer I saw a man leaned up against the wall outside the church. He was almost laying down as if he was asleep. He had on a long trench coat that was almost in shreds and a hat topped his head, pulled down so you couldn't see his face.

He wore shoes that looked 30 years old, too small for his feet, with holes all over them, his toes stuck out. I assumed this man was homeless, and asleep, so I walked on by through the doors of the Church.

We all enjoy fellowship for a few minutes, and then someone brought up the man who was laying outside. People snickered and gossiped, but no one bothered to ask him to come in, including me. A few moments later church began. We all waited for the Preacher to take his place, and to give us The Word, when the doors to the church opened. In came the homeless man, walking down the aisle with his head down.

People gasped and whispered and made faces. He made his way down the aisle and up onto thepulpit. When he took off his hat and coat my heart sank. There stood our preacher... he was the "homeless man."

No one said a word... the room was silent and still.

Then the preacher took his Bible and laid it on the stand.

"Folks, I don't think I have to tell you what I'm preaching about today." Then he started singing the words to this song...

"If I can help somebody as I pass along,
If I can cheer somebody with a word or song,
If I can show somebody that he's traveling wrong,
Then my living shall not be in vain."


How much does a prayer weigh?

-Author Unknown-

Louise Redden, a poorly dressed lady with a look of defeat on her face, walked into a grocery store. She approached the owner of the store in a most humble manner and asked if he would let her charge a few groceries. She softly explained that her husband was very ill and unable to work, they had seven children and they needed food.

John Longhouse, the grocer, scoffed at her and requested that she leave his store.

Visualizing the family needs, she said: "Please, sir! I will bring you the money just as soon as I can."

John told her he could not give her credit, as she did not have a charge account at his store.

Standing beside the counter was a customer who overheard the conversation between the two. The customer walked forward and told the grocer that he would stand good for whatever she needed for her family.

The grocer said in a very reluctant voice, "Do you have a grocery list?"

Louise replied, "Yes sir"

"O.K." he said, "put your grocery list on the scales and whatever your grocery list weighs, I will give you that amount in groceries."

Louise, hesitated a moment with a bowed head, then she reached into her purse and took out a piece of paper and scribbled something on it. She then laid the piece of paper on the scale carefully with her head still bowed.

The eyes of the grocer and the customer showed amazement when the scales went down and stayed down.

The grocer, staring at the scales, turned slowly to the customer and said begrudgingly, "I can't believe it."

The customer smiled and the grocer started putting the groceries on the other side of the scales. The scale did not balance so he continued to put more and more groceries on them until the scales would hold no more. The grocer stood there in utter disgust.

Finally, he grabbed the piece of paper from the scales and looked at it with greater amazement. It was not a grocery list, it was a prayer which said:

"Dear Lord, you know my needs and I am leaving this in your hands."

The grocer gave her the groceries that he had gathered and stood in stunned silence. Louise thanked him and left the store. The customer handed a fifty-dollar bill to the grocer and said, "It was worth every penny of it."

It was some time later that the grocer discovered the scales were broken; therefore, only God knows how much a prayer weighs.

Have a blessed day!

Heaven Scent
A TRUE STORY - Author Unknown

A cold March wind danced around the dead of night in Dallas as the doctor walked into the small hospital room of Diana Blessing. Still groggy from surgery, her husband David held her hand as they braced themselves for the latest news.

That afternoon of March 10, 1991, complications had forced Diana, only 24-weeks pregnant, to undergo an emergency cesarean section to deliver the couple's new daughter, Danae Lu Blessing. At 12 inches long and weighing only one pound and nine ounces, they already knew she was perilously premature. Still, the doctor's soft words dropped like bombs. "I don't think she's going to make it" he said, as kindly as he could. "There's only a 10-percent chance she will live through the night, and even then, if by some slim chance she does make it, her future could be a very cruel one."

Numb with disbelief, David and Diana listened as the doctor described the devastating problems Danae would likely face if she survived. She would never walk; she would never talk; she would probably be blind; she would certainly be prone to other catastrophic conditions from cerebral palsy to complete mental retardation; and on and on.

"No! No!" was all Diana could say. She and David, with their 5-year-old son Dustin, had long dreamed of the day they would have a daughter to become a family of four. Now, within a matter of hours, that dream was slipping away.

Through the dark hours of morning as Danae held onto life by the thinnest thread, Diana slipped in and out of drugged sleep, growing more and more determined that their tiny daughter would live - and live to be a healthy, happy young girl. But David, fully awake and listening to additional dire details of their daughter's chances of ever leaving the hospital alive, much less healthy, knew he must confront his wife with the inevitable.

David walked in and said that we needed to talk about making funeral arrangements, Diana remembers "I felt so bad for him because he was doing everything, trying to include me in what was going on, but I just wouldn't listen, I couldn't listen. I said, 'No, that is not going to happen, no way! I don't care what the doctors say. Danae is not going to die! One day she will be just fine, and she will be coming home with us!'"

As if willed to live by Diana's determination, Danae clung to life hour after hour, with the help of every medical machine and marvel her miniature body could endure But as those first days passed, a new agony set in for David and Diana.

Because Danae's underdeveloped nervous system was essentially 'raw,' the lightest kiss or caress only intensified her discomfort - so they couldn't even cradle their tiny baby girl against their chests to offer the strength of their love. All they could do, as Danae struggled alone beneath the ultra-violet light in the tangle of tubes and wires, was to pray that God would stay close to their precious little girl.

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

At last, when Danae turned two months old, her parents were able to hold her in their arms for the very first time. And two months later - though doctors continued to gently but grimly warn that her chances of surviving, much less living any kind of normal life, were next to zero.

Danae went home from the hospital, just as her mother had predicted. Today, five years later, Danae is a petite but feisty young girl with glittering gray eyes and an unquenchable zest for life. She shows no signs, whatsoever, of any mental or physical impairments. Simply, she is everything a little girl can be and more - but that happy ending is far from the end of her story.

One blistering afternoon in the summer of 1996 near her home in Irving, Texas, Danae was sitting in her mother's lap in the bleachers of a local ball park where her brother Dustin's baseball team was practicing. As always, Danae was chattering non-stop with her mother and several other adults sitting nearby when she suddenly fell silent. Hugging her arms across her chest, Danae asked, "Do you smell that?"

Smelling the air and detecting the approach of a thunderstorm, Diana replied, "Yes, it smells like rain." Danae closed her eyes and again asked, 'Do you smell that?' Once again, her mother replied, "Yes, I think we're about to get wet, it smells like rain." Still caught in the moment, Danae shook her head, patted her thin shoulders with her small hands and loudly announced, "No, it smells like Him. It smells like God when you lay your head on His chest."

Tears blurred Diana's eyes as Danae then happily hopped down to play with the other children. Before the rains came, her daughter's words confirmed what Diana and all the members of the extended Blessing family had known, at least in their hearts, all along. During those long days and nights of her first two months of her life, when her nerves were too sensitive for them to touch her, God was holding Danae on His chest - and it is His loving scent that she remembers so well.
-------------
This heartwarming story began its Internet life around April 1998, after having appeared under its original title, "Heaven Scent," in Miracles in Our Midst, a 1997 compilation of inspirational tales. It's a "true" story in the sense that there is such a child, and the tale of her premature birth and subsequent battle for health was a real one... according to Snopes.com.

Only in Texas ... The Power of Prayer

Texas Beer Joint Sues Local Church over Lightning Strike!

A bar called Drummond's in Mt Vernon, Texas, began construction on an expansion of their building, hoping to "grow" their business.

In response, the local Southern Baptist Church started a campaign to block the bar from expanding with petitions, prayers, etc.

About a week before the bar's grand re-opening, a bolt of lightning struck the bar and burned it to the ground!

Afterward, the church folks were rather smug—bragging about "the power of prayer."
The angry bar owner eventually sued the church on grounds that the church, "Was ultimately responsible for the demise of his building, through direct actions or indirect means."

Of course, the church vehemently denied all responsibility or any connection to the building's demise.

The judge read carefully through the plaintiff's complaint and the defendant's reply. He then opened the hearing by saying: "I don't know how I'm going to decide this, but it appears from the paperwork that what we have here is a bar owner who now believes in the power of prayer, and an entire church congregation that does not."

Reported as a true story. I report. You decide!

Did you know ?
  • CBS's fine for Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" in the 2004 Super Bowl show was $550,000. This could be paid with only 7.5 seconds of commercial time during the same Super Bowl telecast. 
  • In September 2004, a Minnesota state trooper issued a speeding ticket to a motorcyclist who was clocked at 205 mph. 
  • Al Gore's roommate in college (Harvard, class of 1969) was Tommy Lee Jones. 
  • In her later years, Florence Nightingale kept a pet owl in her pocket. 
  • The New York Jets were unable to find hotel rooms for a game in Indianapolis recently because they had all been booked up by people attending Gencon, a gaming convention. 
  • China is the world's largest market for BMW's top of the line 760Li. This car sells for $200,000 in China - more than almost all people in China make in a lifetime. 
  • Each year, sixteen million gallons of oil run off pavement into streams, rivers and eventually oceans in the United States. This is more oil than was spilled by the Exxon Valdez. 
  • An employee of the Alabama Department of Transportation installed spyware on his boss's computer and proved that the boss spent 10% of his time working (20% of time checking stocks and 70% of the time playing solitaire). The employee was fired, the boss kept his job. 
  • Solid structures (parking lots, roads, buildings) in the United States cover an area the size of Ohio. 
  • Physicists have already performed a simple type of teleportation, transferring the quantum characteristics of one atom onto another atom at a different location. 
  • George Washington spent about 7% of his annual salary on liquor. 
  • Each year, more people are killed by teddy bears than by grizzly bears. 
  • If you disassembled the Great Pyramid of Cheops, you would get enough stones to encircle the earth with a brick wall twenty inches high.
  • Nearly one third of New York City public school teachers send their own children to private schools. 
  • The New York City Police Department has a $3.3 billion annual budget, larger than all but 19 of the world's armies. 

Just for laughs 

Ice cream is good for the soul

Unknown

Last week I took my children to a restaurant.  My six-year-old son asked if he could say grace.

As we bowed our heads he said,  "God is good. God is great.  Thank you for the food,  and I would even thank you more if  Mom gets us ice cream for dessert. And Liberty and justice for all!

Amen!"

Along with the laughter from the other customers nearby I heard a woman remark, "That's what's wrong with this country.  Kids today don't even know how to pray. Asking God for ice-cream! Why, I never!"

Hearing this, my son burst into tears and asked me, "Did I do it wrong? Is God mad at me?"
As I held him and assured him  that he had done a terrific job and  God was certainly not mad at him, an elderly gentleman approached the table.  He winked at my son and said,
"I happen to know that God thought that was a great prayer."

"Really?" my son asked.

"Cross my heart," the man replied.

Then in a theatrical whisper he added (indicating the woman whose remark had started this whole thing), "Too bad she never asks God for ice cream.  A little ice cream is good for the soul sometimes."
 
Naturally, I bought my kids ice cream at the end of the meal.  My son stared at his for a moment  and then did something I will remember the rest of my life. He picked up his 
sundae and without a word, walked over and placed it in front of the woman. 

With a big smile he told her,  "Here, this is for you. Ice cream is good for the soul sometimes; and my soul is good already."

18 November 2018

posted 17 Nov 2018, 03:12 by C S Paul


18 November 2018

Quotes to Inspire

  • "The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is today." – Chinese proverb
  • "We don't see things as they are. We see them as we are." – Anais Nin
  • "Other people's opinion of you does not have to become your reality." – Les Brown
  • "The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance—it is the illusion of knowledge." – Daniel J. Boorstin
  • "The easiest thing in the world is to be you. The most difficult thing to be is what other people want you to be. Don't let them put you in that position." – Dr. Leo Buscaglia
  • "The past is a guidepost, not a hitching post." – L. Thomas Holdcroft
  • "The person rowing the boat seldom has time to rock it." – Author Unknown
  • "Few men during their lifetime come anywhere near exhausting the resources dwelling within them. There are deep wells of strength that are never used." – Richard Byrd
  • "The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving." – Holmes
  • "If you want your children to keep their feet on the ground, put some responsibility on their shoulders" – Abigail Van Buren
The Power of Discipline
By Brian Tracy

Why are some people more successful than others? Why do some people make more money, live happier lives and accomplish much more in the same number of years than the great majority?

I started out in life with few advantages. I did not graduate from high school. I worked at menial jobs. I had limited education, limited skills and a limited future.
And then I began asking, "Why are some people more successful than others?" This question changed my life.

Over the years, I have read thousands of books and articles on the subjects of success and achievement. It seems that the reasons for these accomplishments have been discussed and written about for more than two thousand years, in every conceivable way. One quality that most philosophers, teachers and experts agree on is the importance of self-discipline. As Al Tomsik summarized it years ago, "Success is tons of discipline."

Some years ago, I attended a conference in Washington. It was the lunch break and I was eating at a nearby food fair. The area was crowded and I sat down at the last open table by myself, even though it was a table for four.

A few minutes later, an older gentleman and a younger woman who was his assistant came along carrying trays of food, obviously looking for a place to sit.
With plenty of room at my table, I immediately arose and invited the older gentleman to join me. He was hesitant, but I insisted. Finally, thanking me as he sat down, we began to chat over lunch.

It turned out that his name was Kop Kopmeyer. As it happened, I immediately knew who he was. He was a legend in the field of success and achievement. Kop Kopmeyer had written four large books, each of which contained 250 success principles that he had derived from more than fifty years of research and study. I had read all four books from cover to cover, more than once.

After we had chatted for awhile, I asked him the question that many people in this situation would ask, "Of all the one thousand success principles that you have discovered, which do you think is the most important?"

He smiled at me with a twinkle in his eye, as if he had been asked this question many times, and replied, without hesitating, "The most important success principle of all was stated by Thomas Huxley many years ago. He said, 'Do what you should do, when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not.'"

He went on to say, "There are 999 other success principles that I have found in my reading and experience, but without self-discipline, none of them work."

Self-discipline is the key to personal greatness. It is the magic quality that opens all doors for you, and makes everything else possible. With self-discipline, the average person can rise as far and as fast as his talents and intelligence can take him. But without self-discipline, a person with every blessing of background, education and opportunity will seldom rise above mediocrity.
-------
"No stream or gas drives anything until it is confined. No Niagara is ever turned into light and power until it is tunneled. No life ever grows great until it is focused, dedicated and disciplined."? -- Harry E. Fosdick

Self-discipline and self-motivation are joined at the hip. When you practice self-discipline you feel like you are in control of your life. You feel content and motivated because you're moving toward your goals.

A Profoundly Inspiring Near-Death Experience Story

A True Story by Mellen-Thomas Benedict

Mellen-Thomas Benedict is an artist who survived a near-death experience in 1982. He was dead for over an hour and a half. During that time, he rose up out of his body and went into the light. Curious about the universe, he was taken far into the remote depths of existence, and even beyond, into the energetic void of nothingness behind the Big Bang. Eminent near-death experience researcher Dr. Kenneth Ring has said, "His story is one of the most remarkable I have encountered in my extensive research on near-death experiences."
-------
In 1982, I died from terminal cancer. My condition was non-operable. I chose not to have chemotherapy. I was given six to eight months to live. Before this time, I had become increasingly despondent over the nuclear crisis, the ecology crisis, and so forth. I came to believe that nature had made a mistake – that we were probably a cancerous organism on the planet. And that is what eventually killed me.

Before my near-death experience, I tried all sorts of alternative healing methods. None helped. So I determined that this was between me and God. I had never really considered God. Neither was I into any kind of spirituality. But my approaching death sent me on a quest for more information about spirituality and alternative healing. I read various religions and philosophies. They gave hope that there was something on the other side.

I had no medical insurance, so my life savings went overnight on tests. Unwilling to drag my family into this, I determined to handle this myself. I ended up in hospice care and was blessed with an angel for my hospice caretaker, whom I will call "Anne." She stayed with me through all that was to follow.

Into the Light

I woke up about 4:30 am and I knew that this was it. I was going to die. I called a few friends and said good-bye. I woke up Anne and made her promise that my dead body would remain undisturbed for six hours, since I had read that all kinds of interesting things happen when you die. I went back to sleep. The next thing I remember, I was fully aware and standing up. Yet my body was lying in the bed. I seemed to be surrounded by darkness, yet I could see every room in the house, and the roof, and even under the house.

A Light shone. I turned toward it, and was aware of its similarity to what others have described in near-death experiences. It was magnificent and tangible, alluring. I wanted to go towards that Light like I might want to go into my ideal mother's or father's arms. As I moved towards the Light, I knew that if I went into the Light, I would be dead. So I said/felt, "Please wait. I would like to talk to you before I go."

??The entire experience halted. I discovered that I was in control of the experience. My request was honored. I had conversations with the Light. That's the best way I can describe it. The Light changed into different figures, like Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, archetypal images and signs. I asked in a kind of telepathy, "What is going on here?"

The information transmitted was that our beliefs shape the kind of feedback we receive. If you are a Buddhist or Catholic or Fundamentalist, you get a feedback loop of your own images. I became aware of a Higher Self matrix, a conduit to the Source. We all have a Higher Self, or an oversoul part of our being, a conduit. All Higher Selves are connected as one being. All humans are connected as one being.

It was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. It was like all the love you've ever wanted, and it was the kind of love that cures, heals, regenerates. I was ready to go at that time. I said "I am ready, take me." Then the Light turned into the most beautiful thing that I have ever seen: a mandala of human souls on this planet. I saw that we are the most beautiful creations – elegant, exotic ... everything.

I just cannot say enough about how it changed my opinion of human beings in an instant. I said/thought/felt, "Oh, God, I didn't realize." I was astonished to find that there was no evil in any soul. People may do terrible things out of ignorance and lack, but no soul is evil. "What all people seek – what sustains them – is love," the Light told me. "What distorts people is a lack of love."

The revelations went on and on. I asked, "Does this mean that Humankind will be saved?" Like a trumpet blast with a shower of spiraling lights, the Light "spoke," saying, "You save, redeem and heal yourself. You always have and always will. You were created with the power to do so from before the beginning of the world." In that instant I realized that we have already been saved.

I thanked the Light of God with all my heart. The best thing I could come up with was: "Oh dear God, dear Universe, dear Great Self, I love my Life." The Light seemed to breathe me in even more deeply, absorbing me. I entered into another realm more profound than the last, and was aware of an enormous stream of Light, vast and full, deep. I asked what it was. The Light answered, "This is the River of Life. Drink of this manna water to your heart's content." I drank deeply, in ecstasy.

The Void of Nothingness

Suddenly I seemed to be rocketing away from the planet on this stream of Life. I saw the earth fly away. The solar system whizzed by and disappeared. I flew through the center of the galaxy, absorbing more knowledge as I went. I learned that this galaxy – and the entire Universe – is bursting with many different varieties of life. I saw many worlds. We are not alone in this Universe. It seemed as if all the creations in the Universe soared past me and vanished in a speck of Light.

Then a second Light appeared. As I passed into the second Light, I could perceive forever, beyond Infinity. I was in the Void, pre-Creation, the beginning of time, the first Word or vibration. I rested in the Eye of Creation and it seemed that I touched the Face of God. It was not a religious feeling. I was simply at One with Absolute Life and Consciousness.

I rode the stream directly into the center of the Light. I felt embraced by the Light as it took me in with its breath again. And the truth was obvious that there is no death; that nothing is born and nothing dies; that we are immortal beings, part of a natural living system that recycles itself endlessly.

It would take me years to assimilate the Void experience. It was less than nothing, yet greater than anything. Creation is God exploring God's Self through every way imaginable. Through every piece of hair on your head, through every leaf on every tree, through every atom. God is exploring God's Self. I saw everything as the Self of all. God is here. That's what it is all about. Everything is made of light; everything is alive.

The Light of Love

I was never told that I had to come back. I just knew that I would. It was only natural, from what I had seen. As I began my return to the life cycle, it never crossed my mind, nor was I told, that I would return to the same body. It did not matter. I had complete trust in the Light and the Life process.

As the stream merged with the great Light, I asked never to forget the revelations and the feelings of what I had learned on the other side. I thought of myself as a human again and I was happy to be that. From what I have seen, I would be happy to be an atom in this universe. An atom. So to be the human part of God ... this is the most fantastic blessing. It is a blessing beyond our wildest imagination of what a blessing can be.

For each and every one of us to be the human part of this experience is awesome, and magnificent. Each and every one of us, no matter where we are, screwed up or not, is a blessing to the planet, right where we are. So I went through the reincarnation process expecting to be a baby somewhere.

But I reincarnated back into this body. I was so surprised when I opened my eyes, to be back in this body, back in my room with someone looking over me, crying her eyes out. It was Anne, my hospice caretaker. She had found me dead thirty minutes before. We do not know how long I was dead, only that she found me thirty minutes before. She had honored my wish to have my newly-dead body left alone. She can verify that I really was dead.

It was not a near-death experience. I believe I probably experienced death itself for at least an hour and a half. When I later awakened and saw the light outside, confused, I tried to get up to go to it, but I fell out of the bed. She heard a loud "clunk", ran in, and found me on the floor. When I recovered, I was surprised and awed about what had happened. I had no memory at first of the experience. I kept slipping out of this world and kept asking, "Am I alive?" This world seemed more like a dream than that one.

Within three days, I was feeling normal again, clearer, yet different than ever before. My memories of the journey came back later. But from my return I could find nothing wrong with any human being I had ever seen. Previous to my death I was judgmental, believing that people were really screwed up. Everyone but me.

About three months later a friend said I should get tested for the cancer. So I got the scans and so forth. I felt healthy. I still remember the doctor at the clinic looking at the "before" and "after" scans. He said, "I can find no sign of cancer now." "A miracle?" I asked. "No," he answered. "These things happen ... spontaneous remission." He seemed unimpressed. But I was impressed. I knew it was a miracle.

Lessons Learned

I asked God: "What is the best religion on the planet? Which one is right?" God said with great love: "It doesn't matter." What an incredible grace. It does not matter what religion we are. Religions come and they go. They change. Buddhism has not been here forever, Catholicism has not been here forever, and they are all about to become more enlightened. More light is coming into all systems now. Many will resist and fight about it, one religion against the next, believing that only they are right.

When God said, "It doesn't matter," I understood that it is for us to care about, because we are the caring beings. The Source does not care if you are Protestant, Buddhist, or Jew. Each is a reflection, a facet of the whole. I wish that all religions would realize it and let each other be. It is not the end of separate religions, but live and let live. Each has a different view, and it all adds up to the big picture.

I went over to the other side with a lot of fears about toxic waste, nuclear missiles, the population explosion, the rain forest. I came back loving every single problem. I love nuclear waste. I love the mushroom cloud; this is the holiest mandala that we have manifested to date, as an archetype. More than any religion or philosophy on Earth, that terrible, wonderful cloud brought us together all of a sudden, to a new level of consciousness.

Knowing that maybe we can blow up the planet fifty times, or 500 times, we finally realize that maybe we are all here together now. For a period, they had to keep setting off more bombs to get it into us. Then we started saying, "we do not need this any more." Now we are actually in a safer world than we have ever been in, and it is going to get even safer.

So I came back loving toxic waste, because it brought us together. These things are so big. Clearing of the rain forest will slow down, and in fifty years there will be more trees on the planet than in a long time. If you are into ecology, go for it; you are that part of the system that is becoming aware. Go for it with all your might, but do not be depressed or disheartened. Earth is in the process of domesticating itself, and we are cells on that Body. Population increase is getting very close to the optimal range of energy to cause a shift in consciousness. That shift in consciousness will change politics, money, energy, and more.

The Great Mystery of life has little to do with intelligence. The Universe is not an intellectual process. The intellect is helpful; but our hearts are the wiser part of ourselves. Since my return I have experienced the Light spontaneously. I have learned how to get to that space almost any time in my meditation. You can also do this. You don't have to die first. You are wired for it already. The body is the most magnificent Light being there is. The body is a universe of incredible Light. We don't need to commune with God; God is already communing with us in every moment!

The Power of Small
-- By Rick Beneteau

Routinely, I rise out of bed before the birds, and watch the sunlight flood my office every morning. See, I love this time of day! But what I don't love is being rudely rousted out of a deep sleep before my normal rise and shine time, and every day for the past few months I have been.

I sleep with the windows open, and at around 4:00 each and every morning, rain or shine, there has been this very obnoxious bird "somewhere" close by screeching his mating call at what seems like 130 decibels! Many times I've wearily peered out to be able to witness first hand what sounded like a pterodactyl-size creature on some kind of steroids. But never would this clever 'lil creature reveal himself!

I appreciate nature as much as the next person, but this large sound at this wee hour of the morning is not music to my ears! In one agitated state my fine-feathered foe put me in, I thought about locating a 'sportsman' in the neighborhood to take him out, but that was only wishful fantasizing. Besides, I don't believe in 'the sport of hunting.'

By now though, I've gotten pretty used to my tree dwelling alarm and looking on the positive side of this situation, could even thank him for the extra hour of work I am able to put in every day.

One day last week, I was pounding away on my laptop on the front porch swing, when lo and behold - THAT PIERCING SOUND AGAIN! And it was NEAR! Imagine my surprise when after peeking out from under the canopy, perched on the telephone line above was this teeny weenie finch, smaller than my prized canary,
warbling away what was really a beautiful anthem, at least heard at this normal hour of the day.

Oh my, the power of small!

Now, may I ask: How many times in your life have you thought that you were "too small" to make a difference? How many times has this thought actually stopped you from doing something you knew in your heart was worthwhile? Perhaps something like changing careers, starting a new business, creating your own product or even buying that dream home. Like me, I bet plenty of times!

Think about this. Every great achievement in this world had its roots as a single thought in the mind of a single human being. There's no exception - the greatest inventions, the biggest corporations and the tallest skyscrapers were all borne of the single idea of one individual!

The difference between most of us and the Henry Ford's and Bill Gates of this world is the total self-belief and conviction in their ideas to just "build it!" No matter the size, no matter the scope, no matter the naysayers around them. And, knowing full well that the road to achieving their goal was going to be paved with major setbacks and failures.

Here's one of my favorite quotes about achievers:

"There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other." -- Douglas Everett

You've heard many of the stories about the above 'icons' and people like Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison and Gandhi. Their journeys were filled with great adversity, devastating setbacks and yes, heartbreaking failures. But still, because of the sheer level of belief in themselves and what they set out to achieve, they were able to leave a legacy that today affects every one of us, every hour of every day.

There are millions everyday people who will never become household names who have made magnificent differences in their lives and the lives of those around them.

Take for instance, the single mother who was reluctantly forced onto the welfare rolls due to a deadbeat dad, and pounds the pavement until she lands a job, determined to excel, and works her way up the ladder until she ends up with a wonderful career to the benefit of herself and her family.

Or, the foreign medical student whose family sacrificed their entire lives in order to send their child to a 'free country' to get an education, who, through sheer determination graduates at the top of his class but decides not to chase the almighty big bucks that await him in the 'land of promise' and instead returns to his homeland so that he may help alleviate the dire suffering of the people in his native land.

Or, how about the countless entrepreneurs who have taken a single idea and no matter what obstacles they faced, and the many sacrifices they had to make, created successful businesses with products that impacted thousands or even millions of people?

I am privileged to know so many individuals who have accomplished great things only because of the great belief they had in themselves and their ideas. As such, I firmly believe that every human being, no matter where they believe they are at on this roller coaster ride we call life, CAN accomplish great things.

As strange as this may seem at this time, I can tell you with all the sincerity I possess, that this great universe of ours awaits your simple and sincere decision, so that it can begin to fill you with all the power you need to make your dream a reality. It's a matter of truly making that decision and then opening yourself up to receiving that invisible assistance.

"The Creator has not given you a longing to do that which you have no ability to do." -- Orison Swett Marden

Now back to my miniscule, winged friend. On cue, and still prior to daylight, he shakes me out of my peaceful slumber. He knows nothing else. No other way. He just cranks it up at enormous volume at nature's call, oblivious to the fact he is impacting me on a major scale by doing the only thing he was designed to do. How we all should be, don't you agree?

Just for Laughs

Lost in the Service

One Sunday morning, the pastor noticed little Johnny standing in the foyer of the church, looking at a large plaque that hung there. After the young man of seven had stood there for some time, the pastor walked up beside him and said quietly, 

"Good morning son." 

"Good morning Pastor," replied the youngster, not taking his eyes off the plaque. "Can I ask you, Sir, what is this for? Why are all these names listed on here?" 

"Well, son, these are all the people who have died in the service," replied the pastor. Soberly, they stood together, staring up at the large plaque. 

Little Johnny's voice barely broke the silence when he asked quietly, "Which one, Sir, the 8:30 or the 10:30?" 

Did You know?
  •  “Rhythm” is the longest English word without a vowel.
  •  Like fingerprints, every person’s tongue print is different.
  •  No piece of normal-size paper can be folded in half more than 7 times.
  •  The tongue is the only muscle that is attached from one end only.
  •  Pumice is the only rock that floats in water.
  •  Camel’s milk does not curdle.
  •  Your foot is the same length as your forearm, and your thumb is the same length as your nose. Also, the length of your lips is the same as the index finger.
  •  Natural pearls melt in vinegar.
  • Coca-Cola was originally green.
  •  Moths are unable to fly during an earthquake.
  •  Contrary to popular belief, the white is not the healthiest part of an egg. It’s actually the shell.
  •  Nearly three percent of the ice in Antarctic glaciers is penguin urine.
  •  Hot water will turn into ice faster then cold water.

11 November 2018

posted 10 Nov 2018, 02:07 by C S Paul


11 November 2018

Quotes to Inspire

  • "It matters not what a person is born, but (whom) they choose to be." – J. K. Rowling
  • "If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn't lead anywhere." – Frank A. Clark
  • "There are many truths of which the full meaning cannot be realized until personal experience has brought it home." – John Stuart Mill
  • "What is harder than rock, or softer than water? Yet soft water hollows out hard rock. Persevere." – Ovid, Roman poet
  • "A man may learn wisdom even from a foe." – Aristophanes
  • "The work of the individual still remains the spark that moves mankind forward." – Igor Sikorsky
  • "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." – Albert Einstein
  • "Learn to differentiate between what is truly important and what can be dealt with at another time." – Mia Hamm, soccer champion
  • "Rudeness is a weak man's imitation of strength." – Eric Hoffer
  • "Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves." – Carl Jung
  • "Everyone wants to be appreciated. So if you appreciate someone, don't keep it a secret." – Mary Kay Ash,
  • "Character may be manifested in the great moments, but it is made in the small ones." – Phillips Brooks

The Status Badge Game
By Dr. Anthony Fernando PhD.

In today’s materialistic society most of us have been conditioned to make snap judgments about a person’s level of success based on the ’status badges’ that they own and display.

These status badges include the sunglasses they own, the watch on their arm, the car they drive, the handbag they carry and the shoes they wear.

The big problem with this ‘Status Badge Game’ is that in an attempt to look successful to others, many people fall into the trap of purchasing status badges instead of managing their money wisely in order to achieve true financial independence.

One of the best decisions you can ever make for yourself and your family is to elect not to play the Status Badge Game.

Let’s take a look at an example that illustrates what this means in the real world.

Cameron was looking to purchase a new pair of sunglasses. After looking around the local shopping center he identified three options:

Status Example

Cameron began his decision making process by excluding the cheap sunglasses because they did not have a UV Rating and he was not prepared to compromise his health to save a few dollars.

The Oceangear glasses were sturdy, had the highest UV Protection Rating possible and came with a 1 year guarantee. To Cameron’s way of thinking these glasses represented good value for money.

The Monage glasses were also well made and had the highest UR Protection Rating. However, they were also $210.05 more expensive than the Oceangear glasses. Cameron realized that this difference in price was the cost of the ’status badge’ associated with wearing the Monage brand.

Since Cameron and his wife had decided not to play the Status Badge Game, he bought the Oceangear glasses and kept the $210.05 cost of the status badge in his bank account.

It’s important to note that deciding not to play the Status Badge Game is not about becoming a cheap miser who refuses to spend a cent.

Instead, it is about identifying items that represent good value for money without paying the large overheads necessary to accumulate high status badges. Always remember to:

“Shop For Value Not Status” 
- Dr. Anthony Fernando

By applying this simple financial philosophy to your personal items, your clothes, your car and your home you can save many thousands of dollars over your lifetime. You can then redirect this money into acquiring income producing assets and enjoying meaningful life experiences with the people you love.

So today I’d like to encourage you to see the Status Badge Game for what it really is – An elaborate conditioning process devised by savvy marketers attempting to maximize company profits.

As soon as you understand this and make the decision not to play the Status Badge Game, your whole perspective will shift. You will find yourself free of the burden of ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ and will soon be on the path to achieving true financial freedom.

The Richest Man In The World
By Guy Finley 

There was once a small community of people who lived in a remote valley surrounded on all sides by huge, towering mountains. Although the mountains protected the township from the severe weather common to the area, they also prevented the residents from accessing fertile fields located nearby.

One day, a large earthquake jolted the area, and in the aftermath it was discovered that a path had opened up leading to those rich fields. Chaos ensued as individuals and families rushed to the area, hoping to claim the new land as their own.

Sensing a great opportunity for himself in the growing confusion as to ownership of these new lands, the city mayor, a wealthy, crooked, and cunning man, devised a plan. Through clever persuasion he convinced the town council that since these valleys now represented the most fertile land in the area, it only made sense that the wealthiest family should own them. After all, the mayor reasoned, surely the wisest among them would know the best way to divide up the new wealth. The town council, relieved just to have a plan for resolving the problem, agreed to the mayor's proposal.

The mayor knew quite well his own secret superior financial position, but he also knew that the residents would never take him just on his word. So he had a huge set of scales constructed in the town center, and then sent invitations to those people who wished to vie for the land. They were instructed to bring all their valuable possessions to the town center the next morning for a friendly competition to determine who was the wealthiest.

As the next day dawned, thirty families lined up at the scales, eagerly anticipating the start of the competition. Their carts brimmed with gold and silver coins, precious gems, and various other treasures. One by one, the townspeople poured their belongings on to one side of the giant scales. And one by one, weighing in against the mayor's riches, they saw their fortunes fail to tilt the scales in their favor.

As the competition was about to close, with his confidence and conceit reaching their peak, the mayor's glance happened to fall upon the "town fool" standing nearby. This man was a calm fellow, relatively small in stature, and well liked by the people who took the time to know him. With an evil grin the mayor called out, "Hey, Joseph, don't you want to be in the competition?"

"Uh . . . no," replied Joseph quietly.

"Oh come on, Joseph, come on. Bring your things up - come on, what have you got?"

"Nothing, really," replied Joseph.

"Well then, you get on the scale," the mayor scoffed. "Come on, you get up there and we'll see how far YOU tilt the scale!" And with this the crowd began to call upon Joseph to accept the challenge.

A man standing next to Joseph turned to him and said, "Go on, Joe, give them their fun. Besides," he winked, "you never know what might happen!"

So Joseph walked over and stepped on to the scales. The people gasped at what happened next. Joseph tilted them all the way to the ground! He outweighed the mayor's riches!

The townspeople looked on in utter disbelief, stunned into silence by what they saw. Their eyes widened and their mouths fell open as voices exclaimed, "Did that just...? Did you...? How... ? What in the world just happened?"

And the man who was Joseph's close friend said to those who could hear him, "The real wealth of a man is his character."

The Power of Words
-- By Author Unknown

A group of frogs were traveling through the woods, and two of them fell into a deep pit. All the other frogs gathered around the pit. When they saw how deep the pit was, they told the two frogs that they were as good as dead.

The two frogs ignored the comments and tried to jump up out of the pit with all of their might. The other frogs kept telling them to stop, that they were as good as dead. Finally, one of the frogs took heed to what the other frogs were saying and gave up. He fell down and died.

The other frog continued to jump as hard as he could. Once again, the crowd of frogs yelled at him to stop the pain and just die. He jumped even harder and finally made it out.

When he got out, the other frogs said, "Did you not hear us?" The frog explained to them that he was practically deaf. He thought they were encouraging him the entire time.

The moral of this story: Be careful of what you say. 
1. Encouraging words to people who are down can motivate them to achieve their goals. 
2. Destructive words to people who are down can have a devastating effect.

Consider this statement as it relates to Words...
"The Snow may look smooth and soft, but the rocks underneath are sharp!" 
-- Mark Russell
 
Phrase your words so they inspire and encourage, not hurt or destroy.

Blessings From Giving
-- By Author Unknown

Three young men were once given three kernels of corn apiece by a wise old sage, who admonished them to go out into the world, and use the corn to bring themselves good fortune.

The first young man put his three kernels of corn into a bowl of hot broth and ate them.

The second thought, I can do better than that, and he planted his three kernels of corn. Within a few months, he had three stalks of corn. He took the ears of corn from the stalks, boiled them, and had enough corn for three meals.

The third man said to himself, I can do better than that! He also planted his three kernels of corn, but when his three stalks of corn produced, he stripped one of the stalks and replanted all of the seeds in it, gave the second stalk of corn to a sweet maiden, and ate the third.

His one full stalk’s worth of replanted corn kernels gave him 200 stalks of corn! And the kernels of these he continued to replant, setting aside only a bare minimum to eat. He eventually planted a hundred acres of corn.With his fortune, he not only won the hand of the sweet maiden but purchased the land owned by the sweet maiden’s father. And he never hungered again.
-------
It is possible to give freely to GOD and become more wealthy, but those who are stingy will lose everything. The generous prosper and are satisfied; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:24-25

The more you give, the more you get. 
However that should NOT be the reason for your giving.

Did You Know?
  • A homing pigeon will not be able to find its way home if a magnet it attached to their neck.
  • It is interesting to know that in the last 10,000 years, India never invaded any country. The name of the country “India” has derived from the Indus river.
  • When many cultures were only nomadic over 5000 years ago, Indians established Harappan culture in Sindhu Valley known as Indus Valley Civilization.
  • There are 1,652 dialects and languages spoken in India. It is not at all unusual for an Indian to speak at least two and often more languages well.
  • Recognized languages: There are currently 22 recognized languages in India, with Standard Hindi and English being the standard languages.
  • A giraffe can run faster than a horse and go longer without water than a camel.
  • Crocodiles can't move their tongues.
  • Most wild birds live only 10% of their normal life span.
  • The pouch on a pelican's beak can hold up to 2 gallons of water.
  • Pigeons have three sets of eyelids.
Just For Laughs

Catholic Heart Attack
Unknown

A man suffered a serious heart attack and had open heart bypass surgery. 

He wakened from the surgery to find himself in the care of nuns at a Catholic hospital As he was recovering, a nun asked him questions regarding how he would like to pay for his treatment. She asked if he had health insurance. 

He replied, in a raspy voice, "No health insurance." 

The nun asked if he had money in the bank. 

He replied, "No money in the bank." 

The nun asked, "Do you have a relative who could help you?" 

He said, "I only have a spinster sister, who is a nun." 

The nun became agitated and announced loudly, "Nuns are not spinsters! Nuns are married to God." 

The patient replied, "Send the bill to my brother in law. 

4 November 2018

posted 2 Nov 2018, 22:39 by C S Paul


4 November 2018

Quotes to Inspire

  • "A man's make [character] can be seen by the way that he treats those who are of absolutely no value to him." — Unknown
  • "Don't be afraid to take a big step if one is indicated; you can't cross a chasm in two small jumps." — David Lloyd George
  • "I would rather fail in a cause that will ultimately triumph than to triumph in a cause that will ultimately fail."  Jim Elliot
  • "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self." — Cyril Connolly
  • "Some want to live within the sound of church or chapel bell; I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell." — C.T. Studd
  • "Would that God would make hell so real to us that we cannot rest; heaven so real that we must have men there, Christ so real that our supreme motive and aim shall be to make the Man of Sorrows the Man of Joy by the conversion to him of many." — J. Hudson Taylor.
  • "I was taught that the way of progress is neither swift nor easy." — Marie Curie
  • "The highest form of success comes to the man who does not shrink from danger, hardship or from bitter toil; and who, out of these, wins the splendid ultimate triumph." — Theodore Roosevelt
  • "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." — Maya Angelou
  • "Sometimes we stare so long at a door that is closing that we see too late the one that is open."  Alexander Graham Bell
  • "As I look back on my life, I realize my father gave me the best gift I ever received in my youth. That was the gift of 'unconditional love and acceptance.' There is no greater gift that you can give someone." — Ray Lammie
  • "An optimist is the human personification of spring." Susan J. Bissonette
Refuge from the Storm

 Author Unknown

You Can Sleep When The Wind Blows.... Refuge from the Storm. 

Years ago a farmer owned land along the Atlantic sea coast. He constantly advertised for hired hands. Most people were reluctant to work on farms along the Atlantic. They dreaded the awful storms that raged across theAtlantic, wreaking havoc on the buildings and crops.

As the farmer interviewed applicants for the job, he received a steady stream of refusals. 

Finally, a short, thin man, well past middle age, approached the farmer."Are you a good farmhand?" the farmer asked him."Well, I can sleep when the wind blows," answered the little man.Although puzzled by this answer, the farmer, desperate for help, hired him. 

The little man worked well around the farm, busy from dawn to dusk,and the farmer felt satisfied with the man's work. 

Then one night the wind howled loudly in from offshore. Jumping out of bed, the farmer grabbed a lantern and rushed next door to the hired hand's sleeping quarters. He shook the little man and yelled,"Get up! A storm is coming! Tie things down before they blow away!" 

The little man rolled over in bed and said firmly, "No sir. I told you, I can sleep when the wind blows." Enraged by the old man's response, the farmer was tempted to fire him on the spot. Instead, he hurried outside to prepare for the storm. 

To his amazement, he discovered that all of the haystacks had been covered with tarpaulins. The cows were in the barn, the chickens were in the coops, and the doors were barred. The shutters were tightly secured. Everything wastied down. Nothing could blow away. 

The farmer then understood what his hired hand meant, and he returned to bed to also sleep while the wind blew. 

SPIRITUAL TRUTH:When you're prepared, you have nothing to fear.Can you sleep when the wind blows through your life? The hired hand in the story was able to sleep because he had secured the farm against the storm. 

We secure ourselves against the storms of life by grounding ourselves firmly in the Word of God. 

Passing the Torch

John LeBlanc

Both my dad and my father in law died in the same week this past July. Since then my wife and I have been busy literally selling the farm my parents lived on and disposing of all the farm equipment and 75 years accumulation of business, farm and personal stuff. Just going through it is a long process, not to mention disposing of it.


I found a few really neat things I had not seen since I was a kid right away. I decided then and there that there would not be any wholesale removal of anything. The memories those things brought back were just too valuable.

After many hours, days and weeks of blood, sweat and tears literally, on the top shelf of my Dad's workshop covered with dirt daubers and spider webs was a Gerber baby food jar. Inside it was a key ring. On the key ring was a Nickel alloy almost round magnet the size of a dine and about 4 mm thick. 

My dad was a radiator repairman and welder. One of the problems right after WWII was radiators had a lot of iron parts on them that caused repair problems. Dad needed a handy magnet to sort out these parts. His uncle was a metallurgist at a local refinery and made that magnet for him. As a kid I always remember it on his key ring. About 10 years ago I asked what happened to it and he told me he did not know.

He obviously put it in a safe place. I found it.

Dad, it is on my key ring just like it was on yours. 

The torch is passed.

When it came time to do the same thing at my father in law's house my brother in law "I just can't do it" is what he told me. Too sensitive of a guy. My dad took that sensitivity out of me with a little strip of leather and the admonition to "suck it up and take it like a man". 

My Dad's parents were both killed when he was 16 in 1932 in the midst of the depression. Dad knew what "suck it up and take it like a man" meant. He had been there, done that. I often thought of him telling me that and it got me through many a dismal hour in my youth, the U S Army, at Philmont and all along life's path.

I even passed it along to my daughters. My 23 year old is often heard telling her whining friends to "suck it up and take it like a man" and they do!

Anyway, the time came to clean out my father in law's attic. He notoriously saved EVERYTHING, packaged it in an appropriate box or bag, tied it with string and labeled it. This was brought to my attention when my wife and I had our first child (the 23 year old) and she was ready to start coloring with Crayolas.

Grandpa fetched my wife's coloring books and Crayolas from the attic where he put them some 35 year earlier.

OK, I approached my brother in law about cleaning out the attic. He told me he just couldn't put his mind to it that it was too painful and anyway almost everything up there was mine. He told his sister she could have anything that was up there. 

True my wife had put a lot of baby stuff in her dad's attic as ours is not very big so we got after it. 

Yesterday we started working on the attic. Besides five computers that belonged to her brother and three degrees worth of engineering notes and texts stored there we also found his Cub Scout uniform from 50 years ago.

She also found a silver tray and coffee and tea service that she had never seen before. The note in the box told that it was her great grandmothers. We had it appraised today at $500.00. It is not the monetary value, but the fact that it is a family heirloom she had never seen or heard about.

Today I found her brother's A. C. Gilbert No 6-1/2 Erector Set complete with instruction booklet and the electric motor and gear box. Mine gave up the ghost long ago and what is left of the "customized" parts is in some landfill. If you have never built things with an Erector Set, you just have never lived.

I don't think the gear box on the motor drive would pass OSHA standards today but back then kids didn't go sticking their fingers into gears to see what it would do. We knew without trying.

Since he told me the stuff was all mine I am enjoying playing with MY Erector Set even though his name is written on the box. I just got off the phone from telling him how much fun it was to play with it again after a 50 year hiatus.

I told him that when I got through playing with MY new toy, he could borrow it someday so long as he returned it the same day. No overnight loans. I did not want him to become attached to it.

In reality, I'll clean it up and give it to him for a Christmas present. In the meantime, I'm gonna make him sweat. I'll throw in his Cub Scout uniform for good measure. He doesn't even know I found it.

His daddy always put the things into the attic and Gene and Susan had no idea where or what was there. The attic was their dad's sanctum sanctuary.

Now I am the custodian of the attic. 

And again, the torch is passed.

The Teacher

Author Unknown

Stories like this, always have a way of putting the right perspective on life.

Jean Thompson stood in front of her fifth-grade class on the very first day of school in the fall and told the children a lie. Like most teachers, she looked at her pupils and said that she loved them all the same, that she would treat them all alike. And that was impossible because there in front of her, slumped in his seat on the third row, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard.

Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed he didn't play well with the other children, that his clothes were unkept and that he constantly needed a bath. And Teddy was unpleasant.

It got to the point during the first few months that she would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X's and then marking the F at the top of the paper biggest of all. Because Teddy was a sullen little boy, no one else seemed to enjoy him, either.

At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child's records and put Teddy's off until last. When she opened his file, she was in for a surprise. His first-grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is a bright, inquisitive child with a ready laugh." "He does his work neatly and has good manners...he is a joy to be around."

His second-grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is an excellent student well-liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle."

His third-grade teacher wrote, "Teddy continues to work hard but his mother's death has been hard on him. He tries to do his best but his father doesn't show much interest and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren't taken."

Teddy's fourth-grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is withdrawn and doesn't show much interest in school. He doesn't have many friends and sometimes sleeps in class. He is tardy and could become a problem."

By now Mrs. Thompson realized the problem, but Christmas was coming fast. It was all she could do, with the school play and all, until the day before the holidays began and she was suddenly forced to focus on Teddy Stoddard.

Her children brought her presents, all in beautiful ribbon and bright paper, except for Teddy's, which was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper of a scissored grocery bag. Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents.

Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one-quarter full of cologne. She stifled the children's laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume behind the other wrist. Teddy Stoddard stayed behind just long enough to say, "Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my mom used to."

After the children left she cried for at least an hour. On that very day, she quit teaching reading, writing, and speaking. Instead, she began to teach children. Jean Thompson paid particular attention to one they all called "Teddy."

As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded. On days where there would be an important test, Mrs. Thompson would remember that cologne. By the end of the year he had become one of the smartest children in the class and...well, he had also become the "pet" of the teacher who had once vowed to love all of her children exactly the same.

A year later she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that of all the teachers he'd had in elementary school, she was his favorite. Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy.

He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still his favorite teacher of all time.

Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he'd stayed in school, had stuck with it, and would graduate from college with the highest of honors. He assured Mrs. Thompson she was still his favorite teacher.

Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor's degree, he decided to go a little further. The letter explained that she was still his favorite teacher, but that now his name was a little longer. The letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, M.D.

The story doesn't end there. You see, there was yet another letter that Spring. Teddy said he'd met this girl and was to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering...well, if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit in the pew usually reserved for the mother of the groom. And guess what, she wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing. And I bet on that special day, Jean Thompson smelled just like...well, just like the way Teddy remembered his mother smelling on their last Christmas together.

THE MORAL: You never can tell what type of impact you may make on another's life by your actions or lack of action. Consider this fact in your venture thru life.


Just for laughs

Kid Talk

We were at my husband's grandmother's funeral with our four year old son. We were at the graveside and the casket was about to be lowered. 

Our son, being a keen Sunday School student, knew that when Jesus died, he rose again. When the casket began to be lowered, and many of our family were crying, our son said in his loudest voice "When is Great Nan going to rise again?!" It certainly relieved the tension of the moment.

The 'Reed Sea' Miracle

"Wow! Amazing!" Forrest Gump said. "My bible says that God parted the Red Sea and let all His people through on dry ground! That sure is amazing!"

"Sorry," said the biblical 'expert'. "But that wasn't the Red Sea; it was the Reed Sea. And its water is only about one foot deep. No miracle was involved."

"Oh," said Forrest, disappointed, and he read a little more.

Suddenly, he yelled "Wow! What a fantastic miracle! God drowned all those Egyptians in only one foot of water!"

  

Did you know ?

  • The first mention of soap was on Sumerian clay tablets dating about 2,500 BC. The soap was made of water, alkali and cassia oil.
  • The first animal in space was the female Samoyed husky named Laika, launched by the Soviets in 1957.
  • In 1958, the US sent two mice called Laska and Benjy into space.
  • In 1961. the US launched a male chimpanzee called Ham into space.
  • In 1963, the French launched a cat called Feliette into space.
  • Pork is the world’s most widely-eaten meat.
  • In Denmark there are twice as many pigs as people.
  • Beer was the first trademarked product – British beer Bass Pale Ale received its trademark in 1876.
  • Playing-cards were known in Persia and India as far back as the 12th century. A pack then consisted of 48 instead of 52 cards.
  • Excavations from Egyptian tombs dating to 5,000 BC show that the ancient Egyptian kids played with toy hedgehogs.
  • Accounts from Holland and Spain suggest that during the 1500s and 1600s urine was commonly used as a tooth-cleaning agent.
  • Julius Caesar was the first to encode communications, using what has become known as the Caesar Cipher.

28 October 2018

posted 26 Oct 2018, 22:14 by C S Paul

28 October 2018

Quotes to Inspire

  • "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." — Eleanor Roosevelt
  • "If you have learned how to disagree without being disagreeable, then you have discovered the secret of getting along—whether it be business, family relations, or life itself." — Bernard Meltzer
  • "It will not do, my friend, to grant an easy indulgence to natural appetite and desire, for they ever seek to be our masters." — T.S. Arthur
  • "With lies you may get ahead in the world—but you can never go back." — Russian proverb
  • "We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude."— Cynthia Ozick
  • "We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate." — Unknown
  • "The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." — Thomas Jefferson (1743—1826)
  • "Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are." — John Wooden
  • "It is your attention and not your intention that determines your destination."— Unknown
  • "ANGER is only one letter short of DANGER." — Unknown
  • "Great minds have purpose, others have wishes." — Washington Irving
  • "As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do." — Andrew Carnegie
The Tiger's Whisker

A Korean fable

Once upon a time, a young wife named Yun Ok was at her wit's end. Her husband had 
always been a tender and loving soulmate before he had left for the wars but, ever since he returned home, he was cross, angry, and unpredictable. She was almost afraid to live with her own husband. Only in glancing moments did she catch a shadow of the husband she used to know and love.

When one ailment or another bothered people in her village, they would often rush for a cure to a hermit who lived deep in the mountains. Not Yun Ok. She always prided herself that she could heal her own troubles. But this time was different. 

She was desperate.

As Yun Ok approached the hermit's hut, she saw the door was open. The old man said without turning around: "I hear you. What's your problem?"

She explained the situation. His back still to her, he said, "Ah yes, it's often that way when soldiers return from the war. What do you expect me to do about it?"

"Make me a potion!" cried the young wife. "Or an amulet, a drink, whatever it takes to get my husband back the way he used to be."

The old man turned around. "Young woman, your request doesn't exactly fall into the same category as a broken bone or ear infection."

"I know", said she.

"It will take three days before I can even look into it. Come back then."

Three days later, Yun Ok returned to the hermit's hut. "Yun Ok", he greeted her with a smile, "I have good news. There is a potion that will restore your husband to the way he used to be, but you should know that it requires an unusual ingredient. You must bring me a whisker from a live tiger."

"What?" she gasped. "Such a thing is impossible!"

"I cannot make the potion without it!" he shouted, startling her. He turned his back. "There is nothing more to say. As you can see, I'm very busy."

That night Yun Ok tossed and turned. How could she get a whisker from a live tiger?

The next day before dawn, she crept out of the house with a bowl of rice covered with meat sauce. She went to a cave on the mountainside where a tiger was known to live. She clicked her tongue very softly as she crept up, her heart pounding, and carefully set the bowl on the grass. Then, trying to make as little noise as she could, she backed away.

The next day before dawn, she took another bowl of rice covered with meat sauce to the cave. She approached the same spot, clicking softly with her tongue. She saw that the bowl was empty, replaced the empty one with a fresh one, and again left, clicking softly and trying not to break twigs or rustle leaves, or do anything else to startle and unsettle the wild beast.

So it went, day after day, for several months. She never saw the tiger (thank goodness for that! she thought) though she knew from footprints on the ground that the tiger - and not a smaller mountain creature - had been eating her food. 

Then one day as she approached, she noticed the tiger's head poking out of its cave. Glancing downward, she stepped very carefully to the same spot and with as little noise as she could, set down the fresh bowl and, her heart pounding, picked up the one that was empty.

After a few weeks, she noticed the tiger would come out of its cave as it heard her footsteps, though it stayed a distance away (again, thank goodness! she thought, though she knew that someday, in order to get the whisker, she'd have to come closer to it).

Another month went by. Then the tiger would wait by the empty food bowl as it heard her approaching. As she picked up the old bowl and replaced it with a fresh one, she could smell its scent, as it could surely smell hers.

"Actually", she thought, remembering its almost kittenish look as she set down a fresh bowl, "it is a rather friendly creature, when you get to know it." The next time she visited, she glanced up at the tiger briefly and noticed what a lovely downturn of reddish fur it had from over one of its eyebrows to the next. Not a week later, the tiger allowed her to gently rub its head, and it purred and stretched like a house cat.

Then she knew the time had come. The next morning, very early, she brought with her a small knife. After she set down the fresh bowl and the tiger allowed her to pet its head, she said in a low voice: "Oh, my tiger, may I please have just one of your whiskers?" While petting the tiger with one hand, she held one whisker at its base and, with the other hand, in one quick stroke, she carved the whisker off. She stood up, speaking softly her thanks, and left, for the last time.

The next morning seemed endless. At last her husband left for the rice fields. 

She ran to the hermit's hut, clutching the precious whisker in her fist. Bursting in, she cried to the hermit: "I have it! I have the tiger's whisker!"

"You don't say?" he said, turning around. "From a live tiger?"

"Yes!" she said.

"Tell me", said the hermit, interested. "How did you do it?"

Yun Ok told the hermit how, for the last six months, she had earned the trust of the creature and it had finally permitted her to cut off one of its whiskers. 

With pride she handed him the whisker. The hermit examined it, satisfied himself that it was indeed a whisker from a live tiger, then flicked it into the fire where it sizzled and burned in an instant.

"Yun Ok", the hermit said softly, "you no longer need the whisker. Tell me, is a man more vicious than a tiger? If a dangerous wild beast will respond to your gradual and patient care, do you think a man will respond any less willingly?"

Yun Ok stood speechless. Then she turned and stepped down the trail, turning over in her mind images of the tiger and of her husband, back and forth. She knew what she could do.

The Hedgehogs

It was the coldest winter ever. Many animals died because of the cold.

The hedgehogs, realizing the situation, decided to group together to keep warm. 

This way they covered and protected themselves; but the quills of each one wounded their closest companions.

After awhile, they decided to distance themselves one from the other and they began to die, alone and frozen. So they had to make a choice: either accept the quills of their companions or disappear from the Earth.

Wisely, they decided to go back to being together. They learned to live with the little wounds caused by the close relationship with their companions in order to receive the heat that came from the others. This way they were able to survive.

The best relationship is not the one that brings together perfect people, but when each individual learns to live with the imperfections of others and can admire the other person's good qualities.

Peace of mind

Once Buddha was walking from one town to another town with a few of his followers. This was in the initial days. While they were travelling, they happened to pass a lake. They stopped there and Buddha told one of his disciples, I am thirsty. Do get me some water from that lake there.?

The disciple walked up to the lake. When he reached it, he noticed that some people were washing clothes in the water and, right at that moment, a bullock cart started crossing through the lake. As a result, the water became very muddy, very turbid. The disciple thought, How can I give this muddy water to Buddha to drink!? So he came back and told Buddha, The water in there is very muddy. I don't think it is fit to drink.?

After about half an hour, again Buddha asked the same disciple to go back to the lake and get him some water to drink. The disciple obediently went back to the lake. This time he found that the lake had absolutely clear water in it. The mud had settled down and the water above it looked fit to be had. So he collected some water in a pot and brought it to Buddha.

Buddha looked at the water, and then he looked up at the disciple and said, See what you did to make the water clean. You let it be ... and the mud settled down on its own  and you got clear water... Your mind is also like that. When it is disturbed, just let it be. Give it a little time. It will settle down on its own. 

You don't have to put in any effort to calm it down. It will happen. It is effortless.

What did Buddha emphasize here? He said, It is effortless. Having 'peace of mind' is not a strenuous job; it is an effortless process. When there is peace inside you, that peace permeates to the outside. It spreads around you and in the environment, such that people around start feeling that peace and grace.

Gratitude – Good comes around

At the end of the nineteenth century in America, two children from poor families 
were admitted to the university. In order to earn some money to pay for their school fees and living expenses, they thought of a plan to make money. They decided to organize a concert for a famous pianist and hoped to earn some money from the commission. They found a famous pianist of that era, Mr. Ignace Paderewski.

The manager of Mr. Paderewski and the two young men discussed the terms and agreed that the maestro would receive US$2000 for the concert performance. The maestro was agreeable to the proposal and thought the payment was sufficiently attractive. But to the two young men, US$2000 was a huge sum. If the income for the performance did not reach two thousand dollars, they would lose money.

The two young men signed the contract and commenced to work their hearts out in order to put on a successful concert. At the end of the concert, after totaling the money they had collected from the concert, they found out that they only had made $1600.

They gave all the one thousand six hundred dollars to Mr. Paderewski and also gave him a check for four hundred dollars, promising to honor the check as quickly as they could. Mr. Paderewski was touched by the two poor youngsters and tore the four hundred dollar check to pieces. He then handed over the one thousand six hundred dollars to the two young men and said, “Please deduct your school fees and living expenses from this money. Then from whatever is left of it, take ten percent of it as the commission for your effort. I will take what is left.” The two young men were moved to tears.

Many years later, at the end of World War I, Paderewski returned to his native Poland and became the Prime Minister of Poland. As a result of the devastation from the war, the country was experiencing financial difficulty and people were starving. Tens of thousands of hungry citizens were appealing to him for help. He rushed everywhere but was unable to solve the great crisis. Having no other alternative, he approached the head of the US Food and Relief Administration, Mr. Herbert Hoover, for assistance. When Mr. Herbert Hoover received the request, he immediately replied that he would send a large quantity of provisions to Poland.

Not long after that, more than ten thousand tons of provisions arrived in Poland. The tragedy in Poland was averted. Prime Minister Paderewski wanted to thank Mr. Herbert Hoover in person and made an appointment to meet with him in Paris.When the two men met, Mr. Herbert Hoover said: “You need not thank me. It is I who must thank you. Prime Minister Paderewski, perhaps there is something that you may have long forgotten, but I will remember it forever! When you were in America, you helped two poor university students. I was one of them!”
People who have noble characters and command respect from others often do a lot of things to help other people while expecting nothing in return.

Those who benefit from their generosity tend to start doing the same things themselves. Because of this, benevolent people sometimes received unexpected benefits in return for their good deeds.

It is a natural rule that revolves around the cycle of cause and effect. The universal truth is that genuine kindness and compassion will shine through the ages and won’t fade with the passage of time.

Just for Laughs

Baseball in Heaven

Two ninety year old men, Moe and Sam, have been friends all their lives. It seems that Sam is dying, so Moe comes to visit him. 

"Sam," says Moe, "You know how we have both loved baseball all our lives. Sam, you have do me one favor. When you go, somehow you've got to tell me if there's baseball in heaven." 

Sam looks up at Moe from his deathbed and says, "Moe, you've been my friend many years. This favor I'll do for you." And with that, Sam passes on. 

It is midnight a couple nights later. Moe is sound asleep when a distant voice calls out to him, "Moe.... Moe...." 

"Who is it?" says Moe sitting up suddenly. "Who is it?" 

"Moe, it's Sam." "Come on. You're not Sam. Sam died." 

"I'm telling you," insists the voice. "It's me, Sam!" 

"Sam? Is that you? Where are you?" 

"I'm in heaven," says Sam, "and I've got to tell you, I've got some good news and some bad news." 

"Tell me the good news first," says Moe. 

"The good news," says Sam "is that there is baseball in heaven." 

"Really?" says Moe, "That's wonderful! What's the bad news?" 

"You're pitching Tuesday!" 

Non-Partisan Pastor


A new pastor of a Presbyterian church in a southern city found himself in a difficult position due to the fact that two officers in his church were running for mayor. The young preacher had to walk with much caution the impartial, equal-time line.

At the post office one morning, a church member who was flagrantly partisan asked, "Pastor, what do you think about the election?"

"I'm praying about it," the pastor told her.

"Well, what are you praying for?" the partisan Presbyterian wanted to know.

And the preacher told her, "I'm just thanking God for the secret ballot."


Did you know ?
  • 1.5 million Americans are charged with drunk driving each year. 
  • A Georgia company will mix your loved one's ashes with cement and drop it into the ocean to form an artificial reef. 
  • The Washington Times newspaper is owned by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon. 
  • The busiest shopping hour of the holiday season is between 3:00 pm and 4:00 pm on Christmas Eve. 
  • In 2002, women earned 742,000 bachelor's degrees. Men earned only 550,000 during the same year. The difference is growing so large that many colleges now practice (quietly) affirmative action for male applicants. 
  • Most of the deck chairs on the Queen Mary 2 have had to be replaced because overweight Americans were breaking the
  • There are 150,000,000 cell phones in use in the United States, more than one per every two human beings in the country. 
  • More than 2,500 left-handed people are killed each year from using products that are made for right-handed people. 
  • For every person on earth, there are an estimated 200 million insects. 

21 October 2018

posted 19 Oct 2018, 23:00 by C S Paul


21 October 2018

Quotes to Inspire


  • "The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it's on ... a football field, in an army or in an office." – Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • "Iron rusts from disuse; water loses its purity from stagnation ... even so does inaction sap the vigor of the mind." – Leonardo da Vinci
  • "Peace is not the absence of conflict; it's the absence of inner conflict." – Unknown
  • "There are none so blind as those who refuse to see." – Helen Keller
  • "It isn't what you have in your pocket that makes you thankful, but what you have in your heart." – Unknown
  • "Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired and success achieved." – Helen Keller
  • "Without personal growth the best we can achieve is infantile relationships." – Terry George
  • "There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it." – Edith Wharton
  • "Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around." – Leo Buscaglia
  • "What this power is I cannot say; all I know is that it exists and it becomes available only when a man is in that state of mind in which he knows exactly what he wants and is fully determined not to quit until he finds it." – Alexander Graham Bell
Letter From God
-Author Unknown
To Women

When I created the heavens and the earth, I spoke them into being. When I created man, I formed him and breathed life into his nostrils. But you woman, I fashioned after I breathed the breath of life into man because your nostrils are too delicate. I allowed a deep sleep to come over him so I could patiently and perfectly fashion you.

Man was put to sleep so that he could not interfere with the creativity. From one bone I fashioned you. I chose the bone that protects his heart and his lungs and supports him, as you are meant to do. Around this one bone I shaped you. I modeled you. I created you perfectly and beautifully. Your characteristics are as the rib, strong yet delicate and fragile. You provide protection for the most delicate organ in man, his heart. His heart is the center of his being; his lungs hold the breath of life. The rib cage will allow itself to be broken before it will allow damage to the heart. Support the man as the rib cage supports the body. You were not taken from his feet, to be under him, nor were you taken from his head, to be above him. You were taken from his side, to stand beside him and be held close to his side. You are My perfect angel. You are My beautiful little girl. You have grown to be a splendid woman of excellence, and My eyes fill when I see the virtues in your heart. Your eyes – don’t change them. Your lips – how lovely when they part in prayer. Your nose, so perfect in form, your hands so gentle in touch. I’ve caressed your face in your deepest sleep; I’ve held your heart close to mine.

Of all that lives and breathes, you are the most like Me. Adam walked with Me in the cool of the day and yet he was lonely. He could not see Me or touch Me. He could only feel Me. So everything I wanted Adam to share and experience with Me, I fashioned in you: My holiness, My strength, My purity, My love, My protection and support. You are special because you are the extension of Me. Man represents My image, woman My emotions. Together you represent the totality of God. So man – treat woman well. Love her, respect her, for she is fragile. In hurting her, you hurt Me. What you do to her, you do to Me. In crushing her, you only damage your own heart, the heart of your Father, and the heart of her Father. Woman, support man. In humility, show him the power of emotion I have given you. In gentle quietness show your strength. In love, show him that you are the rib that protects his inner self.

Billionaire Rockefeller and Managing skills
-Author Unknown

Many years ago a senior executive of the then Standard Oil Company made a wrong decision that cost the company more than $2 million.

John D. Rockefeller was then running the firm.
On the day the news leaked out most of the executives of the company were finding various ingenious ways of avoiding Mr. Rockefeller, lest his wrath descend on their heads.

There was one exception, however; he was Edward T. Bedford, a partner in the company.
Bedford was scheduled to see Rockefeller that day and he kept the appointment, even though he was prepared to listen to a long harangue against the man who made the error in judgment.
When he entered the office the powerful head of the gigantic Standard Oil empire was bent over his desk busily writing with a pencil on a pad of paper. Bedford stood silently, not wishing to interrupt. After a few minutes Rockefeller looked up.

“Oh, it’s you, Bedford,” he said calmly. “I suppose you’ve heard about our loss?”
Bedford said that he had.”I’ve been thinking it over,” Rockefeller said, “and before I ask the man in to discuss the matter, I’ve been making some notes.”

Bedford later told the story this way:
“Across the top of the page was written, ‘Points in favor of Mr. _______.’
There followed a long list of the man’s virtues, including a brief description of how he had helped the company make the right decision on three separate occasions that had earned many times the cost of his recent error.

“I never forgot that lesson. In later years, whenever I was tempted to rip into anyone, I forced myself first to sit down and thoughtfully compile as long a list of good points as I possibly could. Invariably, by the time I finished my inventory, I would see the matter in its true perspective and keep my temper under control.

There is no telling how many times this habit has prevented me from committing one of the costliest mistakes any executive can make — losing his temper.
“I commend it to anyone who must deal with people.”

Edith Burns Easter Story
-Author Unknown

Edith Burns was a wonderful Christian who lived in San Antonio, Texas. She was the patient of a doctor by the name of Will Phillips. Dr. Phillips was a gentle doctor who saw patients as people. His favorite patient was Edith Burns. One morning he went to his office with a heavy heart and it was because of Edith Burns. When he walked into that waiting room, there sat Edith with her big black Bible in her lap earnestly talking to a young mother sitting beside her. Edith Burns had a habit of introducing herself in this way:

"Hello, my name is Edith Burns. Do you believe in Easter?" Then she would explain the meaning of Easter, and many times people would be saved.

Dr. Phillips walked into that office and there he saw the head nurse, Beverly. Beverly had first met Edith when she was taking her blood pressure. Edith began by saying, My name is Edith Burns. Do you believe in Easter?"

Beverly said, "Why yes I do." Edith said, "Well, what do you believe about Easter?"

Beverly said, "Well, it's all about egg hunts, going to church, and dressing up."

Edith kept pressing her about the real meaning of Easter, and finally led her to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Dr. Phillips said, "Beverly, don't call Edith into the office quite yet. I believe there is another delivery taking place in the waiting room.

After being called back in the doctor's office, Edith sat down and when she took a look at the doctor she said, "Dr. Will, why are you so sad? Are you reading your Bible? Are you praying?"

Dr. Phillips said gently, "Edith, I'm the doctor and you're the patient." With a heavy heart he said, "Your lab report came back and it says you have cancer, and Edith, you're not going to live very long."

Edith said, "Why Will Phillips, shame on you. Why are you so sad? Do you think God makes mistakes? You have just told me I'm going to see my precious Lord Jesus, my husband, and my friends. You have just told me that I am going to celebrate Easter forever, and here you are having difficulty giving me my ticket!"

Dr. Phillips thought to himself, "What a magnificent woman this Edith Burns is!" Edith continued coming to Dr. Phillips. Christmas came and the office was closed through January 3rd. On the day the office opened, Edith did not show up. Later that afternoon, Edith called Dr. Phillips and said she would have to be moving her story to the hospital and said, "Will, I'm very near home, so would you make sure that they put women in here next to me in my room who need to know about Easter."

Well, they did just that and women began to come in and share that room with Edith. Many women were saved. Everybody on that floor from staff to patients were so excited about Edith, that they started calling her Edith Easter; that is everyone except Phyllis Cross, the head nurse.

Phyllis made it plain that she wanted nothing to do with Edith because she was a "religious nut". She had been a nurse in an army hospital. She had seen it all and heard it all. She was the original G.I. Jane. She had been married three times, she was hard, cold, and did everything by the book.

One morning the two nurses who were to attend to Edith were sick. Edith had the flu and Phyllis Cross had to go in and give her a shot. When she walked in, Edith had a big smile on her face and said, "Phyllis, God loves you and I love you, and I have been praying for you."

Phyllis Cross said, "Well, you can quit praying for me, it won't work. I'm not interested." Edith said, "Well, I will pray and I have asked God not to let me go home until you come into the family."

Phyllis Cross said, "Then you will never die because that will never happen," and curtly walked out of the room.

Every day Phyllis Cross would walk into the room and Edith would say, "God loves you Phyllis and I love you, and I'm praying for you." One day Phyllis Cross said she was literally drawn to Edith's room like a magnet would draw iron. She sat down on the bed and Edith said, "I'm so glad you have come, because God told me that today is your special day."

Phyllis Cross said, "Edith, you have asked everybody here the question, 'Do you believe in Easter?' but you have never asked me."

Edith said, "Phyllis, I wanted to many times, but God told me to wait until you asked, and now that you have asked..."

Edith Burns took her Bible and shared with Phyllis Cross the Easter Story of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Edith said, "Phyllis, do you believe in Easter? Do you believe that Jesus Christ is alive and that He wants to live in your heart?" Phyllis Cross said, "Oh I want to believe that with all of my heart, and I do want Jesus in my life." Right there, Phyllis Cross prayed and invited Jesus Christ into her heart. For the first time Phyllis Cross did not walk out of a hospital room, she was carried out on the wings of angels.

Two days later, Phyllis Cross came in and Edith said, "Do you know what day it is?" Phyllis Cross said, "Why Edith, it's Good Friday." Edith said, "Oh, no, for you every day is Easter. Happy Easter Phyllis!"

Two days later, on Easter Sunday, Phyllis Cross came into work, did some of her duties and then went down to the flower shop and got some Easter lilies because she wanted to go up to see Edith and give her some Easter lilies and wish her a Happy Easter. When she walked into Edith's room, Edith was in bed. That big black Bible was on her lap. Her hands were in that Bible. There was a sweet smile on her face.

When Phyllis Cross went to pick up Edith's hand, she realized Edith was dead. Her left hand was on John 14: "In my Father's house are many mansions. I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also." Her right hand was on Revelation 21:4, " And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes, there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away."

Phyllis Cross took one look at that dead body, and then lifted her face toward heaven, and with tears streaming down her cheeks, said, "Happy Easter, Edith - Happy Easter!"

Phyllis Cross left Edith's body, walked out of the room, and over to a table where two student nurses were sitting. She said, "My name is Phyllis Cross. Do you believe in Easter?"

T-Bone Steaks
-Author Unknown

I walked into the grocery store not particularly interested in buying groceries. I wasn't hungry. The pain of losing my husband of 7 years was still too raw. And this grocery store held so many sweet memories.

He often came with me and almost every time he'd pretend to go off and look for something special. I knew what he was up to. I'd always spot him walking down the aisle with the three yellow roses in his hands.

He knew I loved yellow roses. With a heart filled with grief, I only wanted to buy my few items and leave, but even grocery shopping was different since he had passed on.

Shopping for one took time, a little more thought than it had for two.

Standing by the meat, I searched for the perfect small steak and remembered how he had loved his steak.

Suddenly a woman came beside me. She was blonde, slim and lovely in a soft green pantsuit. I watched as she picked up a large package of T-bones, dropped them in her basket.. Hesitated, and then put them back. She turned to go and once again reached for the pack of steaks.

She saw me watching her and she smiled. "My husband loves T-bones, but honestly, at these prices, I don't know."

I swallowed the emotion down my throat and met her pale blue eyes.

"My husband passed away eight days ago," I told her. Glancing at the package in her hands, I fought to control the tremble in my voice. "Buy him the steaks. And cherish every moment you have together."

She shook her head and I saw the emotion in her eyes as she placed the package in her basket and wheeled away.

I turned and pushed my cart across the length of the store to the dairy products. There I stood, trying to decide which size milk I should buy. A Quart, I finally decided and moved on to the ice cream. If nothing else, I could always fix myself an ice cream cone.

I placed the ice cream in my cart and looked down the aisle toward the front. I saw first the green suit, then recognized the pretty lady coming towards me. In her arms she carried a package. On her face was the brightest smile I had ever seen. I would swear a soft halo encircled her blonde hair as she kept walking toward me, her eyes holding mine.

As she came closer, I saw what she held and tears began misting in my eyes. "These are for you," she said and placed three beautiful long stemmed yellow roses in my arms. "When you go through the line, they will know these are paid for." She leaned over and placed a gentle kiss on my cheek, then smiled again. I wanted to tell her what she'd done, what the roses meant, but still unable to speak, I watched as she walked away as tears clouded my vision.

I looked down at the beautiful roses nestled in the green tissue wrapping and found it almost unreal. How did she know? Suddenly the answer seemed so clear. I wasn't alone.

Oh, you haven't forgotten me, have you? I whispered, with tears in my eyes. He was still with me, and she was his angel.

Just for Laughs

What God Looks Like 

A kindergarten teacher was observing her classroom of children while they drew. She would occasionally walk around to see each child's artwork. As she came to one little girl who was working diligently, she asked what the drawing was. 
       
      The girl replied, "I'm drawing God." 
       
      The teacher paused and said, "But no one knows what God looks like." 
       
      Without missing a beat, or looking up from her drawing the girl replied,. . . . "They will in a minute."

Did You Know ?
  • Matter spiraling into a black hole is torn apart and glows so brightly that it creates the brightest objects in the Universe – quasars.
  • The swirling gases around a black hole turn it into an electrical generator, making it spout jets of electricity billions of kilometers out into space.
  • The opposite of black holes are estimated to be white holes which spray out matter and light like fountains.
  • A day in Mercury lasts approximately as long as 59 days on earth.
  • The Universe is probably about 15 billion years old, but the estimations vary.
  • One problem with working out the age of the Universe is that there are stars in our galaxy which are thought to be 14 to 18 billion years old – older than the estimated age of the Universe. So, either the stars must be younger, or the Universe older.
  • The very furthest galaxies are spreading away from us at more than 90% of the speed of light.
  • The Universe was once thought to be everything that could ever exist, but recent theories about inflation (e.g. Big Bang) suggest our universe may be just one of countless bubbles of space time.
  • The Universe may have neither a centre nor an edge, because according to Einstein’s theory of relativity, gravity bends all of space time around into an endless curve.
  • If you fell into a black hole, you would stretch like spaghetti.

14 October 2018

posted 12 Oct 2018, 08:40 by C S Paul


14 October 2018

Quotes to Inspire

  • "If you want to know how to live your life, think about what you want people to say about you after you die—and live backward." – Author Unknown
  • "Pain is inevitable but misery is optional." – Barbara Johnson
  • "Good people are found, not changed. Recently I read a headline that said, 'We don't teach people to be nice. We simply hire nice people.' Wow! What a clever short cut." – Jim Rohn
  • "If you don't want anyone to know, don't do it." – Chinese Proverb
  • "You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving." – Unknown
  • "Don't blame others for your failure to be fully accountable for your own life. If others are to blame, then you have given them control." – Bob Perks
  • "To go against the dominant thinking of your friends, of most of the people you see every day, is perhaps the most difficult act of heroism you can perform." – Theodore White
  • To be upset over what you don't have, is to waste what you do have. – Ken S. Keyes, Jr.
  • "The world is a great mirror. It reflects back to you what you are. If you are loving, if you are friendly, if you are helpful, the world will prove loving and friendly and helpful to you. The world is what you are." – Thomas Dreier
  • "Ordinary riches can be stolen, real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you." – Oscar Wilde
  • "If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader." – John Quincy Adams
  •  "If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning." – C.S. Lewis
  • "The further backward you look, the further forward you can see." – Winston Churchill
Don’t Put it Off 
--Author unknown

Too many people put off something that brings them joy just because they haven't thought about it, don't have it on their schedule, didn't know it was coming or are too rigid to depart from their routine.

I got to thinking one day about all those people on the Titanic who passed up dessert at dinner that fateful night in an effort to cut back. From then on, I've tried to be a little more flexible.

How many women out there will eat at home because their husband didn't suggest going out to dinner until after something had been thawed? Does the word 'refrigeration' mean nothing to you?

How often have your kids dropped in to talk and sat in silence while you watched 'Jeopardy' on television?

I cannot count the times I called my sister and said , 'How about going to lunch in a half hour?' She would gas up and stammer, 'I can't. I have clothes on the line. My hair is dirty. I wish I had known yesterday, I had a late breakfast, It looks like rain' And my personal favorite: 'It's Monday.' She died a few years ago. We never did have lunch together.

Because Americans cram so much into their lives, we tend to schedule our headaches. We live on a sparse diet of promises we make to ourselves when all the conditions are perfect!

We'll go back and visit the grandparents when we get Steve toilet-trained. We'll entertain when we replace the living-room carpet. We'll go on a second honeymoon when we get two more kids out of college.

Life has a way of accelerating as we get older. The days get shorter, and the list of promises to ourselves gets longer. One morning, we awaken, and all we have to show for our lives is a litany of 'I'm going to,' 'I plan on,' and 'Someday, when things are settled down a bit.'

When anyone calls my 'seize the moment' friend, she is open to adventure and available for trips. She keeps an open mind on new ideas. Her enthusiasm for life is contagious. You talk with her for five minutes, and you're ready to trade your bad feet for a pair of Rollerblades and skip an elevator for a bungee cord.

My lips have not touched ice cream in 10 years. I love ice cream. It's just that I might as well apply it directly to my stomach with a spatula and eliminate the digestive process. The other day, I stopped the car and bought a triple-decker. If my car had hit an iceberg on the way home, I would have died happy.

Now... go on and have a nice day. Do something you WANT to... not something on your SHOULD DO list. If you were going to die soon and had only one phone call you could make, who would you call and what would you say? And why are you waiting?

Make sure you read this to the end; you will understand why I sent this to you.

Have you ever watched kids playing on a merry go round or listened to the rain lapping on the ground? Ever followed a butterfly's erratic flight or gazed at the sun into the fading night? Do you run through each day on the fly? When you ask 'How are you?' Do you hear the reply?

When the day is done, do you lie in your bed with the next hundred chores running through your head? Ever told your child, 'We'll do it tomorrow.' And in your haste, not see his sorrow? Ever lost touch? Let a good friendship die? Just call to say 'Hi'?

When you worry and hurry through your day, it is like an unopened gift... Thrown away... Life is not a race. Take it slower. Hear the music before the song is over.

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

Where Are the Nine?
 by Dick Innes

Jesus asked, "Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?"1

"You probably read about Paddy who was driving down the street in a sweat because he had an important meeting and couldn't find a parking place.

"Looking up to heaven he said, 'Lord take pity on me. If you find me a parking place I will go to Mass every Sunday for the rest of me life and give up me Irish Whiskey.

"Miraculously, a parking place appeared.

"Paddy looked up again and said, 'Never mind, I found one."

While we make jokes about such things, I wonder how often I pray, God answers, and I forget to say thank you ... or fail to even see that God has answered my prayer because it wasn't in the way that I wanted or expected it to be.

The fact is, when my prayer is sincere from the heart, God always hears and answers it. Sometimes the answer is "Yes," sometimes it is "No," and sometimes it is "Wait a while." And sometimes it is in a way that is totally different from what I expected.

The important thing is that we always thank God for hearing and answering our prayers regardless of the way in which they are answered because God always knows what is best for us. Let's not be like the ten lepers whom Jesus healed and only one came back to acknowledge and thank Jesus for healing him.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you that you always hear and answer my prayers in one way or another. May I always have a grateful heart and learn to thank you regardless of the way in which you answer my prayer. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus' name, amen."
She Lied
--Author unknown

One day, when a seamstress was sewing while sitting close to a river, her thimble fell into the river. When she cried out, the Lord appeared and asked, "My dear child, why are you crying?" The seamstress replied that her thimble had fallen into the water and that she needed it to help her husband in making a living for their family. The Lord dipped His hand into the water and pulled up a golden thimble set with sapphires.

"Is this your thimble?" the Lord asked. The seamstress replied, "No."

The Lord again dipped into the river. He held out a golden thimble studded with rubies.

"Is this your thimble?" the Lord asked. Again, the seamstress replied, "No."

The Lord reached down again and came up with a leather thimble.

"Is this your thimble?" the Lord asked. The seamstress replied, "Yes." The Lord was pleased with the woman's honesty and gave her all three thimbles to keep, and the seamstress went home happy.

Some years later, the seamstress was walking with her husband along the riverbank, and her husband fell into the river and disappeared under the water. When she cried out, the Lord again appeared and asked her, "Why are you crying?'' "Oh Lord, my husband has fallen into the river!"

The Lord went down into the water and came up with George Clooney. "Is this your husband? The Lord asked.

"Yes," cried the seamstress.

The Lord was furious. "You lied! That is an untruth!" The seamstress replied, "Oh, forgive me, my Lord. It is a misunderstanding. You see, if I had said "no" to George Clooney, you would have come up with Brad Pitt.

Then if I said "no" to him, you would have come up with my husband. Had I then said "yes," you would have given me all three. Lord, I'm not in the best of health and would not be able to take care of all three husbands, so THAT'S why I said "yes" to George Clooney. And so the Lord let her keep him.

The moral of this story is: 

Whenever a woman lies, it's for a good and honorable reason, and in the best interest of others. That's our story, and we're sticking to it.

My father is the pilot
--Author unknown

A priest was on a long flight home after a Conference. The first warning of approaching problems came when the ‘Fasten Your Seat Belts’ sign flashed on.

After a while a calm voice said, “We shall not be serving beverages at this time as we are expecting a little turbulence. Please make sure your seat belt is fastened.”

The priest looked around the aircraft and saw that many of the passengers were becoming apprehensive.

Later, the voice on the intercom said, “We are so sorry that we are unable to serve meals at this time… The turbulence is still ahead of us.”

And then the storm broke.

The ominous cracks of thunder could be heard even above the roar of the engines. Lightning lit up the darkening skies, and within moments that great plane was tossed around like a cork in a celestial ocean. One moment it was lifted on terrific currents of air, the next it fell as if about to crash.

As the priest looked around he could see that nearly all the passengers were alarmed – except one little girl!

She sat calmly, feet tucked under her, looking at pictures in a book, oblivious of the turbulence around her. Sometimes she would close her eyes, and then she would go back to her book.

The storm blew over. When the plane landed and the passengers were disembarking, the priest approached the little girl and asked her why she was not afraid like the other passengers.

The little girl replied, “Cause my Daddy’s the pilot and he’s taking me home.”

There are many storms that buffet us…Physical, mental, financial, domestic and other storms that can darken our skies and throw us into turmoil.

Like the little girl, let us always remember: Our Father is the Pilot.

He is in control… He will take us Home… Don’t worry!

Did you Know ?
  • There are more plastic flamingos in the U.S. than there are 
  • The world’s first university was established in Takshila in 700BC. More than 10,000 students from all over the world studied over 60 subjects. The University of Nalanda built in the 4th century BC was one of the greatest achievements of ancient India in the field of education.
  • Sanskrit is the mother of all European languages. Sanskrit is the most suitable language for computer software (report in Forbes magazine, July 1987) 
  • Ayurveda is the earliest school of medicine known to man. Charaka, the father of medicine consolidated Ayurveda 2500 years ago. Today Ayurveda is fast regaining its rightful place in society. 
  • A baby octopus is about the size of a flea when it is born.
  • A mole can dig a tunnel three hundred feet long in a single night.
  • Squirrels can climb trees faster than they can run on the ground.
  • Dairy cows can produce 25-30 gallons of saliva every day.
  • A Candlefish is so oily that it was once burned for fuel.
Just for Laughs

The First Stone 

Jesus saw a crowd chasing down a woman to stone her and approached them. "What's going on here, anyway?" he asked. One of the crowd responded, "This woman was found committing adultery and the law says we should stone her!" 

"Wait," yelled Jesus, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." 
       
Suddenly, a stone was thrown out from the sky, and knocked the woman on the side of her head. 
       
"Aw, c'mon, Dad ... " Jesus cried, "I'm trying to make a point here!"

7 October 2018

posted 5 Oct 2018, 21:15 by C S Paul


7 October 2018

Quotes to Inspire

  • "A holy life will produce the deepest impression. Lighthouses blow no horns; they only shine." – Dwight L. Moody
  • "The gospel is neither a discussion nor a debate. It is an announcement." – Paul S. Rees
  • "If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done... Keep on sowing your seed, for you never know which will grow—perhaps it all will." – King Solomon,
  • "Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither." – C.S. Lewis
  • "If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its freedom; and the irony of it is that if it is comfort or money that it values more, it will lose that too." – W. Somerset Maugham
  • "Do not blame anybody [else]for your mistakes and failures." – Bernard Baruch
  • "Your life is a gift from God. What you make of it is your presentation back to God." – Unknown
  • "Kind words can be short, but their echoes are endless." – Mother Teresa
  • "People of character do the right thing, not because they think it will change the world but because they refuse to be changed by the world." – Michael Josephson
  • "I have an irrepressible desire to live till I can be assured that the world is a little better for my having lived in it." – Abraham Lincoln
  • "One of the secrets of a long and fruitful life is to forgive everybody everything every night before going to bed." – Bernard Baruch
  • "Solemn prayers, rapturous devotions, are but repeated hypocrisies unless the heart and mind be conformed to them." – William Law
Be An Encourager

By Jon Gordon

With so many people in the world telling us we can't succeed, we need to hear people telling us we can.

I remember my high school English teacher telling me not to apply to Cornell University because they wouldn't accept me and even if they did I wouldn't be able to do the work. (It's funny that I'm a writer now).

I almost didn't apply but a few days later I saw Ivan Foldfarb, a former teacher, in the hallway and asked him about Cornell. He said, "If you get in, then you go. You can do it." His words made all the difference. I applied, was accepted and majored in Lacrosse.? 

Too often we think it's our role to inject a dose of "reality" into someone's life. We think it's our job to protect people from the pain of failure and defeat. We think we must point out how bad the economy is and how horrible the job market is and how the sky is falling. We think that dreams were meant for others.? 

I say there are enough pessimists and "realists" in the world. The world doesn't need more negativity and impossible thinkers. The world needs more optimists, encouragers, and inspirers.

The world needs more people to speak into the hearts of others and say "I believe in you." "Follow your passion and live your purpose." "If you have the desire then you also have the power to make it happen." "Keep working hard." "You're improving and getting better. Keep it up." "The economy is tough but you can still grow your business." "The job market is not great but I believe you'll find the right job for you." "We've hit a lot of obstacles but we'll get the project finished." "Even if you fail it will lead to something even better." "You're learning and growing." ?

When it comes to encouragement I know that every one of us loves working for and with people who bring out the best in us. We love being around people who uplift us and make us feel great.

And while we'll always remember the negative people who told us we couldn't accomplish something, we will always cherish and hold a special place in our heart for those who encouraged us.? ?

Today I want to encourage you to be an encourager. So often the difference between success and failure is belief. And so often that belief is instilled in us by someone who encouraged us.

Today decide to be that person who instills a positive belief in someone who needs to hear your encouraging words. Uplift someone who is feeling down. Fuel your team with your positive energy. Rally others to focus on what is possible rather than what seems impossible.

Share encouragement. It matters and we all need it.

A Dose of Positive Attitude

- Author Unknown

Michael is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, "If I were any better, I would be twins!" He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, Michael was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.

Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Michael and asked him, "I don't get it! You can't be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?" Michael replied, "Each morning I wake up and say to myself, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood... or you can choose to be in a bad mood. I choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim... or I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining... or I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life.

"Yeah, right, it's not that easy," I protested.

"Yes, it is," Michael said. "Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It's your choice how you live your life."

I reflected on what Michael said. Soon thereafter, I left the Tower Industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.

Several years later, I heard that Michael was involved in a serious accident, falling some 60 feet from a communications tower. After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Michael was released from the hospital with rods placed in his back. I saw Michael about six months after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he replied. "If I were any better, I'd be twins. Wanna see my scars?" I declined to see his wounds, but I did ask him what had gone through his mind as the accident took place.

"The first thing that went through my mind was the well-being of my soon to be born daughter," Michael replied. "Then, as I lay on the ground, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live... or I could choose to die. I chose to live."

"Weren't you scared? Did you lose consciousness?" I asked.

Michael continued... "The paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read "He's a dead man. I knew I needed to take action."

"What did you do?" I asked.

"Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me," said Michael. "She asked if I was allergic to anything. "Yes, I replied." The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, "Gravity." Over their laughter, I told them, "I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead."

"Michael lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude. I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully. Attitude, after all, is everything. Matthew 6:34 states: Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

After all, today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.

Enjoy each day, each breath and mostly... each and every friend.

And remember to start each day with an "attitude of gratitude!"

Building Your House
-
- Author Unknown

An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer-contractor of his plans to leave the house-building business to live a more leisurely life with his wife and enjoy his extended family. He would miss the paycheck each week, but he wanted to retire. They could get by.

The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes, but over time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end a dedicated career.

When the carpenter finished his work, his employer came to inspect the house. Then he handed the front-door key to the carpenter and said, "This is your house... my gift to you."

The carpenter was shocked!

What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently.

So it is with us. We build our lives, a day at a time, often putting less than our best into the building. Then, with a shock, we realize we have to live in the house we have built. If we could do it over, we'd do it much differently.

But, you cannot go back. You are the carpenter, and every day you hammer a nail, place a board, or erect a wall.

Someone once said, "Life is a do-it-yourself project." Your attitude, and the choices you make today, help build the "house" you will live in tomorrow.

Build wisely!

Broken Wing 

A True Story by Jim Hullihan

Some people are just doomed to be failures. That's the way some adults look at troubled kids. Maybe you've heard the saying, "A bird with a broken wing will never fly as high." I'm sure that T. J. Ware was made to feel this way almost every day in school.

By high school, T. J. was the most celebrated troublemaker in his town. Teachers literally cringed when they saw his name posted on their classroom lists for the next semester. He wasn't very talkative, didn't answer questions and got into lots of fights. He had flunked almost every class by the time he entered his senior year, yet was being passed on each year to a higher grade level. Teachers didn't want to have him again the following year. T. J. was moving on, but definitely not moving up.

I met T. J. for the first time at a weekend leadership retreat. All the students at school had been invited to sign up for ACE training, a program designed to have students become more involved in their communities. T. J. was one of 405 students who signed up. When I showed up to lead their first retreat, the community leaders gave me this overview of the attending students: "We have a total spectrum represented today, from the student body president to T. J. Ware, the boy with the longest arrest record in the history of town." Somehow, I knew that I wasn't the first to hear about T. J.'s darker side as the first words of introduction.

At the start of the retreat, T. J. was literally standing outside the circle of students, against the back wall, with that "go ahead, impress me" look on his face. He didn't readily join the discussion groups, didn't seem to have much to say. But slowly, the interactive games drew him in. The ice really melted when the groups started building a list of positive and negative things that had occurred at school that year. T. J. had some definite thoughts on those situations. The other students in T. J.'s group welcomed his comments. All of a sudden T. J. felt like a part of the group, and before long he was being treated like a leader. He was saying things that made a lot of sense, and everyone was listening. T. J. was a smart guy, and he had some great ideas.

The next day, T. J. was very active in all the sessions. By the end of the retreat, he had joined the Homeless Project team. He knew something about poverty, hunger and hopelessness. The other students on the team were impressed with his passionate concern and ideas. They elected T. J. co-chairman of the team. The student council president would be taking his instruction from T. J. Ware.

When T. J. showed up at school on Monday morning, he arrived to a firestorm. A group of teachers were protesting to the school principal about his being elected co-chairman. The very first communitywide service project was to be a giant food drive, organized by the Homeless Project team. These teachers couldn't believe that the principal would allow this crucial beginning to a prestigious, three-year action plan to stay in the incapable hands of T. J. Ware.

They reminded the principal, "He has an arrest record as long as your arm. He'll probably steal half the food." Mr. Coggshall reminded them that the purpose of the ACE program was to uncover any positive passion that a student had and reinforce its practice until true change can take place. The teachers left the meeting shaking their heads in disgust, firmly convinced that failure was imminent.

Two weeks later, T. J. and his friends led a group of 70 students in a drive to collect food. They collected a school record: 2,854 cans of food in just two hours. It was enough to fill the empty shelves in two neighborhood centers, and the food took care of needy families in the area for 75 days. The local newspaper covered the event with a full-page article the next day. That newspaper story was posted on the main bulletin board at school, where everyone could see it. T. J.'s picture was up there for doing something great, for leading a record-setting food drive. Every day he was reminded about what he did. He was being acknowledged as leadership material.

T. J. started showing up at school every day and answered questions from teachers for the first time. He led a second project, collecting 300 blankets and 1,000 pairs of shoes for the homeless shelter. The event he started now yields 9,000 cans of food in one day, taking care of 70 percent of the need for food for one year. T. J. reminds us that a bird with a broken wing only needs mending. But once it has healed, it can fly higher than the rest. T. J. got a job. He became productive. He is flying quite nicely these days.

Did you Know?
  • 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.
  • Ayurveda is the earliest school of medicine known to mankind. The Father of Medicine, Charaka, consolidated Ayurveda 2500 years ago.
  • India was one of the richest countries till the time of British rule in the early 17th Century. Christopher Columbus, attracted by India's wealth, had come looking for a sea route to India when he discovered America by mistake.
  • The Art of Navigation & Navigating was born in the river Sindh over 6000 years ago. The very word Navigation is derived from the Sanskrit word 'NAVGATIH'. The word navy is also derived from the Sanskrit word 'Nou'.
  • India is the largest democracy in the world, the 7th largest Country in the world, and one of the most ancient civilizations.
  • The game of Snakes & Ladders was created by the 13th century poet saint Gyandev. It was originally called 'Mokshapat'. The ladders in the game represented virtues and the snakes indicated vices. The game was played with cowrie shells and dices. In time, the game underwent several modifications, but its meaning remained the same, i.e. good deeds take people to heaven and evil to a cycle of re-births.
  • The world's highest cricket ground is in Chail, Himachal Pradesh. Built in 1893 after leveling a hilltop, this cricket pitch is 2444 meters above sea level.
  • India has the largest number of Post Offices in the world.
  • The largest employer in India is the Indian Railways, employing over a million people.
Just for Laughs

Last Request

An elderly woman died last month. Having never married, she requested no male pallbearers. In her handwritten instructions for her memorial service, she wrote, 'They wouldn't take me out while I was alive, I don't want them to take me out when I'm dead.' 

Jesus is Watching

One night a robber broke into a home. While he was aggressively searching through a desk the robber heard a voice say, ''Jesus is watching you!” 

He yelled, ''Who said that?!'' 

Once again the robber heard the same thing, ''Jesus is watching you!'' 

The robber looked around the room only to see a parrot. He asked the parrot what its name was and the parrot replied, ''Arthur.'' 

The robber said, ''Ha ha! Who names a parrot that?!” 

With attitude the parrot laughs, ''Ha ha! The same person who named the pit-bull behind you Jesus!!" 

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