SUNDAY MAGAZINE



SUNDAY MAGAZINE

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

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

free counter

24 February 2019

posted 21 Feb 2019, 23:03 by C S Paul


24 February 2019

Quotes to inspire

  • You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist. - Indira Gandhi 
  • Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow. - Swedish proverb 
  • There is nothing wrong with making mistakes. Just don’t respond with encores.  unknown
  • The door of opportunity won’t open unless you do some pushing. - unknown
  • True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice. Martin Luther King, Jr. 
  • Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down. - Oprah Winfrey
  • We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have. - unknown
  • We expect more of ourselves than we have any right to.- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
  • Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.  - unknown
  • Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring and integrity they think of you.  unknown
  • The real tragedy of life is not being limited to one talent, but failing to use that one talent.  - unknown 
  • Never look down on anybody unless you're helping them up. - Jesse Jackson 
  • Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip. Will Rogers 
  • Life is a promise; fulfill it- Mother Teresa 

My Sons Would Know

The story is told of a father who took his two boys one afternoon to play miniature golf.

The father walked up to the man at the ticket counter and said, "How much is it to get in?" The young man replied, "Three dollars for you and three dollars for any kid who is older than six. We let them in for free if they are six or younger. 

How old are your two?" The father replied, "This one is three and the other one is seven, so I owe you $6.00." 

The young man at the ticket counter said, "Hey mister, did you just win the lottery or something? You could have saved yourself three bucks if you would have told me that the older one was six. I wouldn't have known the difference."

The father replied, "Yes, that may be true, but the boys would have known the difference."

Puppies

A farmer had some puppies he needed to sell. He painted a sign advertising the pups and set about nailing it to a post on the edge of his yard. As he was driving the last nail into the post, he felt a tug on his overalls. He looked down into the eyes of a little boy. 

"Mister," he said, "I want to buy one of your puppies." 

"Well," said the farmer, as he rubbed the sweat off the back of his neck, "These puppies come from fine parents and cost a good deal of money." The boy dropped his head for a moment. 

Then reaching deep into his pocket, he pulled out a handful of change and held it up to the farmer. 

"I've got thirty-nine cents. Is that enough to take a look?" 

"Sure," said the farmer. And with that he let out a whistle, "Here, Dolly!" he called. Out from the doghouse and down the ramp ran Dolly followed by four little balls of fur. The little boy pressed his face against the chain link fence. His eyes danced with delight. 

As the dogs made their way to the fence, the little boy noticed something else stirring inside the doghouse. Slowly another little fur ball appeared; this one noticeably smaller. Down the ramp it slid. Then in a somewhat awkward manner the little pup began hobbling toward the others, doing its best to catch up.... 

"I want that one," the little boy said, pointing to the runt. The farmer knelt down at the boy's side and said, "Son, you don't want that puppy. He will never be able to run and play with you like these other dogs would." 

With that the little boy stepped back from the fence, reached down, and began rolling up one leg of his trousers. In doing so he revealed a steel brace running down both sides of his leg attaching itself to a specially made shoe. Looking back up at the farmer, he said, "You see sir, I don't run too well myself, and he will need someone who understands." 

The world is full of people who need someone who understands. Do you understand? 

Provided by Free Christian Content.org

A foot has no nose
by Ellen K. Kuzwayo

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

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

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

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

The mouse trap

A mouse looked through the crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife open a package. "What food might this contain?" the mouse wondered. He was devastated to discover it was a mousetrap.

Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed the warning: "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!"

The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said "Mr.Mouse, I can tell this is a grave concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me. I cannot be bothered by it."

The mouse turned to the pig and told him "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!" The pig sympathized, but said "I am so very sorry, Mr.Mouse, but there is nothing I can do about it but pray. Be assured you are in my prayers."

The mouse turned to the cow and said "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!" The cow said "Wow, Mr. Mouse. I'm sorry for you, but it's no skin off my nose."

So, the mouse returned to the house, head down and dejected, to face the farmer's mousetrap alone.

That very night a sound was heard throughout the house - like the sound of a mousetrap catching its prey. The farmer's wife rushed to see what was caught. In the darkness, she did not see it was a venomous snake whose tail the trap had caught. The snake bit the farmer's wife. The farmer rushed her to the hospital and she returned home with a fever.

Everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken soup, so the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup's main ingredient. But his wife's sickness continued, so friends and neighbors came to sit with her around the clock. To feed them, the farmer butchered the pig. The farmer's wife did not get well; she died. So many! people came for her funeral, the farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide enough meat for all of them.

The mouse looked upon it all from his crack in the wall with great sadness. So, the next time you hear someone is facing a problem and think it doesn't concern you, remember: when one of us is threatened, we are all at risk. We are all involved in this journey called life. We must keep an eye out for one another and make an extra effort to encourage one another. Each of us is a vital thread in another person's tapestry.

Did you know ?

  • Homing pigeons use roads where possible to help find their way home. In fact, some pigeons followed roads so closely that they actually flew around traffic circles before choosing the exit that led them home. 
  • A snowflake can take up to a hour to fall from the cloud to the surface of the Earth.
  • Only 5 percent of the ocean floor has been mapped in as much detail as the surface of Mars. 
  • The only people whose likenesses adorn Pez dispensers are Betsy Ross and Paul Revere. 
  • Pain is measured in units of "dols". The instrument used to measure pain is a "dolorimeter". 
  • In a nod to astronauts, Texas is the only state that permits residents to cast absentee ballots from space. 
  • Eleven top executives of the Direct Marketing Association (the telemarketers' group that is trying to kill the federal "Do Not Call" list) have registered for the list themselves. 
  • An iceberg the size of Long Island, New York, has broken off Antarctica and has blocked sea lanes used by both ships and penguins. 
  • In 2003, the Transportation Security Administration dropped a requirement that air marshals pass a marksmanship test. Some applicants were even hired after they repeatedly shot flight attendants in mock hijacking episodes. 
  • As of January 2004, the United States economy now borrows $1,500,000,000 each day from foreign investors. 
  • A Costa Rican worker who makes baseballs earns about $2,750 annually. The average American pro baseball player earns $2,377,000 per year. 
  • Former keyboard player for Jethro Tull David Palmer is now a woman named Dee Palmer. He waited until his wife died before going through with his longtime desire for a sex change. 
  • During Bill Clinton's entire eight year presidency, he only sent two e-mails. One was to John Glenn when he was aboard the space shuttle, and the other was a test of the e-mail system. 
Just for laughs.

Sin of lying

A minister told his congregation, "Next week I plan to preach about the sin of lying. To help you understand my sermon, I want you all to read Mark 17."

The following Sunday, as he prepared to deliver his sermon, the minister asked for a show of hands. He wanted to know how many had read Mark 17. Quite a few hands went up.  

The minister smiled and said, "Mark has only 16 chapters. I will now proceed with my sermon on the sin of lying."

In a minute

A man was taking it easy, laying on the grass and looking up at the clouds. He was identifying shapes when he decided to talk to God.

"God," he said, "how long is a million years?"

God answered, "In my frame of reference, it's about a minute."

The man asked, "God, how much is a million dollars?"

God answered, "To me, it's a penny."

The man then asked, "God, can I have a penny?"

God answered, "In a minute."

Dear God ...

If you give me a genie lamp like Alladin, I will give you anything you want except my money or my chess set. Raphael

My brother is a rat. You should give him a tail. Ha ha. Danny

Please send Dennis Clark to a different camp this year. Peter

Maybe Cain and Abel would not kill each so much if they had their own rooms. It works with my brother. Larry

I want to be just like my Daddy when I get big but not with so much hair all over. Sam

17 February 2019

posted 15 Feb 2019, 21:36 by C S Paul


17 February 2019

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

The house with the golden windows

-Unknown

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

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

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

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

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

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

Puppy Love

-- By Bill McCartney

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~~~~~~~~~

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


Nothing is written

Roger Darlington

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

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

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

Nothing Beats Family

By Ridgely Goldsborough

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Did You Know ?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10 February 2019

posted 7 Feb 2019, 21:07 by C S Paul


10 February 2019

Quotes to Inspire

  • "Age does not protect you from love. But love, to some extent, protects you from age." – Jeanne Moreau
  • "What you think of yourself is much more important than what others think of you." – Lucius Annaeus Seneca
  • "Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future." – Paul Boese
  • "An inventor fails 999 times, and if he succeeds once, he's in. He treats his failures simply as practice shots." – Unknown
  • "It's amazing what ordinary people can do if they set out without preconceived notions." Unknown
  • "Technology is like a steamroller. If you're not on the steamroller, then you are destined to become part of the road." – Bits & Pieces
  • "You will never stub your toe standing still. The faster you go, the more chance there is of stubbing your toe, but the more chance you have of getting somewhere." – Charles Kettering
  • "A man who works with his hands is a laborer; a man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman; but a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist." – Louis Nizer
You're Better Than That
Michael Josephson 

Todd was an angry nine-year-old being raised by his mom after his dad abandoned the family. Not knowing how to handle his anger, she sent him for the summer to live with his grandparents on a farm. When Todd screamed at his grandmother, his granddad immediately pulled him outside where he showed him a two-by-four, a box of two-inch nails and a big hammer. He told Todd that every time he lost his temper he would be sent outside and that he couldn't return until he pounded a big two-inch nail all the way into the two-by-four.

After about a dozen trips to the "nail shed," Todd began to control his temper more and pound less. After a solid week of self-control he proudly announced that he had learned his lesson.

His grandma said, "Not yet," and she took him to the shed. She told him to pull out all the nails he had pounded in. After two hours Todd told his grandma he was finished.

She smiled and put her arm around him as they surveyed the bent nails and the holes in the two-by-four. Then she said: "Your temper may have helped you pound in those nails but it didn't change anything, did it? Pulling out the nails didn't do much good either. It's like saying you're sorry. Sorry doesn't fix the holes."

"Here's the thing, Todd. Anger makes holes that sorry can't fix. You can't do much about old holes, but you can stop making new ones. Remember, every time you do something mean and nasty you're putting a hole somewhere, in someone. That's what your dad did to you. Please don't do that to anyone else. You are better than that."

My Attorney

After living a "decent" life, my time on earth came to an end. The first thing I remember is sitting on a bench in the waiting room of what I thought to be a court house. The doors opened and I was instructed to come in and have a seat by the defense table. As I looked around I saw the "prosecutor." He was a villainous looking gent who snarled as he stared at me. He definitely was the most evil person I have ever seen. I sat down and looked to my left and there sat my lawyer, a kind and gentle looking man whose appearance seemed familiar to me. The corner door flew open and there appeared the judge in full flowing robes. He commanded an awesome presence as he moved across the room. I couldn't take my eyes off of him. 

As he took his seat behind the bench, he said, "Let us begin." The prosecutor rose and said, "My name is Satan and I am here to show you why this man belongs in hell." He proceeded to tell of lies that I told, things that I stole, and in the past when I cheated others. Satan told of other horrible perversions that were once in my life and the more he spoke, the further down in my seat I sank. I was so embarrassed that I couldn't look at anyone, even my own lawyer, as the Devil told of sins that even I had completely forgotten about. As upset as I was at Satan for telling all these things about me, I was equally upset at my representative who sat there silently not offering any form of defense at all. I know I had been guilty of those things, but I had done some good in my life, couldn't that at least equal out part of the harm I've done? Satan finished with a fury and said, "This man belongs in hell, he is guilty of all that I have charged and there is not a person who can prove otherwise. 

When it was his turn, my lawyer first asked if he might approach the bench. The judge allowed this over the strong objection of Satan, and beckoned him to come forward. As he got up and started walking, I was able to see him in his full splendor and majesty. I realized why he seemed so familiar. This was Jesus representing me, my Lord and my Savior. He stopped at the bench and softly said to the judge, "Hi Dad," and then he turned to address the court. "Satan was correct in saying that this man had sinned, I won't deny any of these allegations. And yes the wages of sin is death, and this man deserves to be punished." Jesus took a deep breath and turned to his Father with outstretched arms and proclaimed, "However, I died on the cross so that this person might have eternal life and he has accepted me as his Savior, so he is mine." My Lord continued with, "His name is written in the book of life and no one can snatch him from me. Satan still does not understand yet. This man is not to be given justice, but rather mercy." 

As Jesus sat down, he quietly paused, looked at his Father and replied, "There is nothing else that needs to be done. I've done it all." The judge lifted his mighty hand and slammed the gavel down. The following words bellowed from his lips... "This man is free. The penalty for him has already been paid in full. Case dismissed." 

As my Lord led me away, I could hear Satan ranting and raving, "I won't give up, I'll win the next one." I asked Jesus as he gave me my instructions where to go next, "Have you ever lost a case?" Christ lovingly smiled and said, "Everyone that has come to me and asked me to represent them has received the same verdict as you, Paid in Full." 

Provided by Free Christian Content.org

Thank you, Lord

A newly arrived soul in Heaven was met by St. Peter. The saint toured the soul around Heaven. Both of them walked side by side inside a large workroom filled with angels. St. Peter stopped in front of the first section and said, "This is the Receiving Section. Here, all the petitions to God said in prayer are received". The soul looked at the section, and it was terribly busy with so many angels sorting out petitions written on voluminous paper sheets from all the people of the world.

They walked again until they reached the 2nd section, and St. Peter told the soul, "This is the Packaging and Delivery Section. Here, the graces and blessings the people asked for are packed and delivered to the persons who asked for them down on earth." The soul saw how busy it was. There were so many angels working in that room, since so many blessing were being packed and delivered to Earth.

Finally at the farthest corner of the room, the soul stopped at the last section. To the surprise of the soul, only one angel stayed there idly, doing nothing. "This is the Acknowledging Section," St. Peter told the soul. "How is it that, there is no work here?" "That's the sad thing," St. Peter answered. "After the people received the blessings they asked for, very few send their acknowledgments". "How does one acknowledge God's blessing?" "Simple," St. Peter answered. "Just say, "Thank you, Lord."

Thank you Lord, for giving me the chance to share this message with others and also, for giving me so many wonderful people to share this with.

Provided by Free Christian Content.org

The Homeless Person
-- Author- Unknown
The parking lot filled rapidly on Sunday morning as members of the large church congregation filed into church. As usually happens in a church that size, each member had developed a certain comfort zone - a block of space within those four church walls that became theirs after the second or third sitting.

It was as much a part of their church experience as the recliner was to the television at home. Some of the older members had been sitting in the same row on the same side for several decades. A team of oxen could not have moved them to the opposite side of the church.

One morning a stranger stood at the edge of the parking lot near a dumpster. As families parked cars and piled out, they noticed him rummaging through the trash. "Oh no! I don't believe it," whispered a lady to her husband. "That's all we need -- a bunch of homeless people milling around here."

One worried little girl tugged on her dad's sleeve. "But Daddy..."

Daddy was busy sizing up the bearded stranger, whose baggy, outdated trousers and faded flannel shirt had dusted too many park benches.

"Don't stare at him, honey," he whispered, and hurried her inside.

Soft music filled the high-ceiling sanctuary as churchgoers settled into their usual spots. The choir sang an opening chorus, "In His presence there is comfort ... in His presence there is peace...".

Sunlight suddenly flooded the center aisle. The double doors swung open and the homeless man, sloppy and stooped, headed toward the front.

"Oh no, it's him!" somebody muttered.

"What does he think he's doing, anyway?" snapped an incredulous usher.

The stranger set his bagful of dumpster treasures on the very first pew which had been upholstered in an expensive soft teal fabric just three months ago. The music stopped. And before anyone had a chance to react, he ambled up the stairs and stood behind the fine, handcrafted oak podium, where he faced a wide-eyed congregation.

The disheveled stranger spoke haltingly at first, in a low, clear voice. Unbuttoning and removing his top layer of clothing, he described Jesus, and the love He has for all people.

"Jesus possesses a sensitivity and love that far surpasses what any of us deserves."

Stepping out of the baggy old trousers, the stranger went on to describe a forgiveness that is available to each and every one of us...without strings attached.

"Unconditionally He loves us. Unconditionally He gave His very life for us. Unconditionally and forever, we can have the peace and assurance that no matter who we are, where we've come from, or how badly we may have mistreated others or ourselves, there is hope."

"In Jesus, there is always hope."

"You see, my friends, it is never too late to change," the man continued.

"He is the Author of change, and the Provider of forgiveness. He came to bring new meaning to 'life'."

Men and women squirmed as reality hit them like an electrical current. The stranger tugged at his knotted gray beard, and removed it.

"I'm here to tell you that we are loved with a love far beyond human understanding, a love that enables us to accept and love others in return." Then tenderly he added, "Let's pray together."

That wise pastor - under the guise of a homeless "nobody" - did not preach a sermon that day, but every person left with plenty to think about.

Did You Know?

  • There is a bar in London that sells vaporized vodka, which is inhaled instead of sipped. 
  • According to market research firm NPD Fashion world, fifty percent of all lingerie purchases are returned to the store. 
  • On EBay, there are an average of $680 worth of transactions each second. 
  • The Eiffel Tower shrinks 6 inches in winter. 
  • The first FAX machine was patented in 1843, 33 years before Alexander Graham Bell demonstrated the telephone. 
  • 72% of Americans sign their pets' names on greeting cards they send out. 
  • In an effort to encourage the use of nuclear energy, the United States lent highly enriched uranium to countries all over the world between 1950 and 1988. Enough weapons-grade material to make 1,000 nuclear bombs has still not been returned by such countries as Pakistan, Iran, Israel and South Africa. 
  • There are an average of 18,000,000 items for sale at any time on EBay. 
  • The New York Times reports that in February 2004, 62% of all e-mail was spam. 
  • U.K. telecom provider Telewest Broadband is testing a device that hooks to your PC and wafts a scent when certain e-mails arrive. 
  • In 1993, David McLean developed lung cancer. He died on October 12, 1995. McLean's death made him the second Marlboro Man to die of lung cancer. Another actor, Wayne McLaren, died in 1992 at the age of 51 from lung cancer. 
Just for laughs

DOMINATED MEN

God looks over the millions of people and says 'Welcome to Heaven. I want the women to go with Saint Peter, and the men to form two lines. Make one line of the men that dominated their women on earth, and the other of men who were dominated by their women.'
There's much movement, but eventually the women are gone and there are two lines. The line of the men that were dominated is 100 miles long. The line of men that dominated women has only one man.

God gets angry and says, 'You men should be ashamed of yourselves. I created you in my image and you were all dominated by your mates. Look at the only one of my sons that stood up and made me proud. Learn from him!'

He turns to the man and says, 'Tell them, my son. How did you manage to be the only one on that line?'

The man says, 'I don't know, my wife told me to stand here.' 

GOD WILL PROVIDE

A young woman brought her fiance home to meet her parents.After dinner,her mother told her father to find out about the young man.

The father invited the fiance to his study for a talk.

'So what are your plans?' the father asked the young man.

'I am a biblical scholar,' he replied.

'A Biblical scholar.Hmmm,' the father said. 'Admirable,but what will you do to provide a nice house for my daughter to live in?'

'I will study,' the young man replied, 'and God will provide for us.'

'And how will you buy her a beautiful engagement ring, such as she deserves?' asked the father.

'I will concentrate on my studies,' the young man replied,'God will provide for us.'

'And children?' asked the father. 'How will you support children?'

'Don't worry, sir, God will provide,' replied the fiance.

The conversation proceeded like this, and each time the father questioned, the young idealist insisted that God would provide.

Later, the mother asked, 'How did it go, Honey?'

The father answered, 'He has no job and no plans, and he thinks I'm God!' 

3 February 2019

posted 2 Feb 2019, 03:51 by C S Paul


3 February 2019

Quotes to Inspire

  • "It is not what you do to live, but what you live to do." – Unknown
  • "If you don't take a chance you don't have a chance." – Unknown
  • "Our doubts are traitors / And make us lose the good we oft might win / By fearing to attempt." – William Shakespeare
  • "Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away." – Unknown
  • "If football taught me anything about business, it is that you win the game one play at a time." – Fran Tarkenton
  • "The virtue of man ought to be measured, not by his extraordinary exertions but by his everyday conduct." – Blaise Pascal
  • "The best way to predict your future is to create it." – Erich Fromm
  • "Before you can inspire with emotion, you must be swamped with it yourself. Before you can move their tears, your own must flow. To convince them, you must yourself believe."– Winston Churchill
  • "A life of reaction is a life of slavery, intellectually and spiritually. One must fight for a life of action, not reaction." – Rita Mae Brown
  • "If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality." – Bishop Desmond Tutu
  • "You're never as good as everyone tells you when you win, and you're never as bad as they say when you lose." – Lou Holt
  • "Most battles are won [or lost] before they are ever fought." – George Patton, US Army general
  • "The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything they have." – Unknown
  • "Football: A game where a whole group of big, strong players run around like crazy for two hours while millions of people who really need the exercise sit and watch." – Unknown
  • "We always have time for the things we put first." – Paul Johnson
  • "The task ahead of us is never as great as the Power behind us." – Unknown

Buy The Milk
Author Unknown

A young man had been to Wednesday night Bible Study. The Pastor had spoken about "listening to God and obeying the Lord's voice."

The young man couldn't help but wonder, "Does God still speak to people?" After service he went out with some friends for coffee and pie and they discussed the message. Several different ones talked about how God had led them in different ways. It was about ten o'clock when the young man started driving home. Sitting in his car, he just began to pray,"God, if you still speak to people, speak to me. I will listen. I will do my best to obey."
As he drove down the main street of his town, he had the strangest thought to stop and buy a gallon of milk. He shook his head and said out loud, "God is that you?" He didn't get a reply, so he started on toward home. But again, the thought came to him... buy a gallon of milk.

The young man thought about Samuel, and how he didn't recognize the voice of God, and how little Samuel ran to Eli. "Okay, God, in case that is you, I will buy the milk." It didn't seem like too hard a test of obedience. He could always use the milk. So, he stopped and purchased the gallon of milk and started toward home.

As he passed Seventh Street, he again felt the urge, "Turn down that street." This is crazy, he thought, and drove on past the intersection. Again, he felt that he should turn down Seventh Street. At the next intersection, he turned back and headed down Seventh. Half jokingly, he said out loud, "Okay, God, I will".

He drove several blocks, when suddenly, he felt like he should stop. He pulled over to the curb and looked around. He was in a semi-commercial area of town. It wasn't the best, but it wasn't the worst of neighborhoods either. The businesses were closed and most of the houses looked dark, like people were already in bed.

gain, he sensed something, "Go and give the milk to the people in the house across the street." The young man looked at the house. It was dark and it looked like the people were either gone or they were already asleep. He started to open the door and then sat back in the car seat. "Lord, this is insane. Those people are asleep and if I wake them up, they are going to be mad and I will look stupid."

Again, he felt like he should go and give the milk. Finally, he opened the door and said, "Okay God, if this is you, I will go to the door and I will give them the milk. If you want me to look like a crazy person, okay. I want to be obedient. I guess that will count for something but, if they don't answer right away, I am out of here."

He walked across the street and rang the bell. He could hear some noise inside. A man's voice yelled out, "Who is it? What do you want?" Then the door opened before the young man could get away. The man was standing there in his jeans and T-shirt. He looked like he just got out of bed. He had a strange look on his face and he didn't seem too happy to have some stranger standing on his doorstep.

The man asked, "What is it?"

The young man thrust out the gallon of milk and said, "Here, I brought this to you," he said. The man took the milk and rushed down a hallway speaking loudly in Spanish. Then from down the hall came a woman carrying the milk toward the kitchen.
The man was following following her holding a baby. The baby was crying. The man had tears streaming down his face. The man began speaking and half crying, "We were just praying. We had some big bills this month and we ran out of money. We didn't have any milk for our baby. I was just praying and asking God to show me how to get some milk." His wife in the kitchen yelled out,"I ask him to send an angel with some. Are you an Angel?"

The young man reached into his wallet and pulled out all the money he had on him and put it in the man's hand. Then he turned and walked back toward his car and tears were streaming down his face. He knew then that God does still speak to people... and answer prayers.


Can Anybody See God?
-- Author Unknown

A small boy once approached his slightly older sister with a question about God.

"Susie, can anybody ever really see God?" he asked. Busy with other things, Susie curtly replied: "No, of course not, silly. God is so far up in heaven that nobody can see him."

Time passed, but his question still lingered, so he approached his mother: "Mom, can anybody ever really see God?" "No, not really," she gently said. "God is a spirit and he dwells in our hearts, but we can never really see him."

Somewhat satisfied but still wondering, the youngster went on his way. Not long afterwards, his saintly old grandfather took the little boy on a fishing trip. They were having a great time together -- it had been an ideal day. The sun was beginning to set with unusual splendor as the day ended.

The old man stopped fishing and turned his full attention to the exquisite beauty unfolding before him.  On seeing the face of his grandfather reflecting such deep peace and contentment as he gazed into the magnificent ever-changing sunset, the little boy thought for a moment and finally spoke hesitatingly: "Granddad, I - I wasn't going to ask anybody else, but I wonder if you can tell me the answer to something I've been wondering about a long time. Can anybody, can anybody ever really see God?"

The old man did not even turn his head. A long moment slipped by before he finally answered. "Son," he quietly said. "It's getting so I can't see anything else."
---
"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world."

-- Psalm 19:1-4

Daddy’s Empty Chair
-- Author Unknown

A man’s daughter had asked the local minister to come and pray with her father. When the minister arrived, he found the man lying in bed with his head propped up on two  pillows.

An empty chair sat beside his bed.

The minister assumed that the old fellow had been informed of his visit. “I guess you were  expecting me," he said.

“No, who are you?” said the father.

The minister told him his name and then remarked, “I saw the empty chair and I figured you knew I was going to show up,”

“Oh yeah, the chair,” said the bedridden man. “Would you mind closing the door?”

Puzzled, the minister shut the door.

“I have never told anyone this, not even my daughter,” said the man. “But all of my life I have never known how to pray. At church I used to hear the pastor talk about prayer, but it went right over my head. I abandoned any attempt at prayer,” the old man continued, “until one day, four years ago, my best friend said to me, ‘Johnny, prayer is just a simple matter of having a conversation with Jesus. Here is what I suggest...’”

‘Sit down in a chair; place an empty chair in front of you, and in faith see Jesus on the chair. It’s not spooky, because He promised, ‘I will be with you always.’ Then just speak to Him in the same way you’re doing with me right now.’”

“So, I tried it and I’ve liked it so much that I do it a couple of hours every day. I’m careful though. If my daughter saw me talking to an empty chair, she’d either have a nervous breakdown or send me off to the funny farm.”

The minister was deeply moved by the story and encouraged the old man to continue on the journey. Then he prayed with him, anointed him with oil, and returned to the church.

Two nights later the daughter called to tell the minister that her daddy had died that afternoon.

“Did he die in peace?” the minister asked.

“Yes. When I left the house about two o’clock, he called me over to his bedside, told me he loved me and kissed me on the cheek. When I got back from the store an hour later, I found him dead. But, there was something strange about his death. Apparently, just before Daddy died, he leaned over and rested his head on the chair beside the bed. What do you make of that?”

The minister wiped a tear from his eye and said, “I wish we could all go like that.”


Define What You Have In Mind
-- Author unknown

Have you ever heard the quote by Mark Twain "The world owes you nothing, it was here first?" A conversation I had today with one of my students got me thinking. Why does everyone think we're just entitled to success? The truth is...

You don't deserve anything.

Yet, you deserve to have it all.

Does that make sense? Two opposites, that at only the highest level of awareness - can you sit at both completely comfortable and content being in both realties. Because both are true. The world is unfortunately set up for your failure. All the odds are against you? But aren't there promises blatantly scribed in the worlds most ancient scriptures proclaiming we are and we become what we seek.

This isn't the Law of Attraction.

I'm not about the "woo woo" --- Really. I'm not!

Here's what I am saying. Today you have the option to become whatever you want. You have the option to design the life. And your current situation is the direct consequence by your design (or default) in the past.

And I'm talking about specifics.

My aunt and I were speaking yesterday about the power of prayer. Now, we may not have the same God (if you need one, I can introduce you to mine)... but I think we can both agree on the power of prayer.

A young man was telling a story in a book about how for months he prayed to God asking for a bicycle and a desk. Discouraged and in tears one night, this kid sought his God to question Him "Why are you forgetting me? I've been praying ever so diligently" God responded; "You've asked for nothing, I have no idea what bicycle you want, there are thousands of varieties...and you desk? How big? What color? Do you want a chair too?"

The boy stirred up his faith and his Design Cap and captured his dream bike and desk on paper. He wanted an American bike (was from Asia) and a desk made of Philippine mahogany. After some time in thought, he went back to sleep.

The best part of the story was a few months later he had the exact bike he wanted and the desk he longed for.

What do you want? Looking for a spouse? Have you clearly written down exactly what your ideal spouse looks like, sounds like, does for a living, their body type, race, occupation?

How about your dream business or clientele? I know for me, when I am designing my life - I don't ask for just "more customers" What kind of customers do you want? I want those that are absolutely in love with my product. That refer me their colleagues. Ones that will reorder religiously.

This works for everything!

Once things are clearly defined and you realize that as much as you are worth every bit to receive this (oh, and that's so important) now you have to set your sights on accepting it into your life.

There is nothing that will stomp on a dream or a vision or a plan than lack of faith and crossed arms. Open wide.

There is a common phrase we hear so often "Ask and you shall receive," but they sometimes leave out the next portion "Seek and you shall find."

The next step is to seek the information. Seek the prospects (business or romantic LOL!). To seek is to act. To act is to win.

Be a winner!

Did You Know ?

  • A hinny is the offspring of a female donkey. 
  • A googol is a 1 followed by 100 zeros. Mathematician Edward Kasner supposedly asked his nephew Milton Sirotta to suggest a name for the number, and he came up with this word.  
  • A grasshopper needs a minimum temperature of 62 degrees Fahrenheit in order to be able to hop.  
  • A group od geese on the ground is a gaggle, a group in the air is a skein. 
  • A group of crows is called a murder. 
  • A manned rocket can reach the moon in less time than it used to take to travel the length of England by stagecoach.  
  • A mark twain, a nautical measurement of depth, is equal to twelve feet. 
  • A McDonald's straw will hold 7.7 ml, or just over one-and-a-half teaspoons of whatever you are drinking.
  • A person who is lost in the woods and starving can obtain nourishment by chewing on his shoes. Leather has enough nutritional value to sustain life for a short time. 
  • A person will die from total lack of sleep sooner than from starvation. Death will occur about 10 days without sleep, while starvation takes a few weeks. 
  • A piano leg went through the floor of the white house in 1948 during President Truman's term. 
 
Just for laughs

Why do doctors and lawyers call what they do practice?

Why is abbreviation such a long word?

Why is it that when you're driving and looking for an address, you turn down the volume on your radio?

Why is a boxing ring square?

What was the best thing before sliced bread?

How do they get the deer to cross the highway at those yellow signs?

How did a fool and his money get together in the first place?

Family Problems ?

Two men met recently and struck up a conversation. One was telling the other about some problems he was having with one of his kids.

After a while the other guy said, "You think you have family problems? Get a load of my situation. A few years ago I met a young widow with a grown-up daughter and we got married. Later, my father married my stepdaughter. That made my stepdaughter my stepmother and my father became my stepson.

"Also, my wife became mother-in-law of her father-in-law. Then the daughter of my wife, my stepmother, had a son. This boy was my half-brother because he was my father's son, but he was also the son of my wife's daughter, which made him my wife's grandson. That made me grandfather of my half-brother.

"This was nothing until my wife and I had a son. Now the sister of my son, my mother-in-law, is also the grandmother. This makes my father the brother-in-law of my child, whose stepsister is my father's wife.

"I am my stepmother's brother-in-law, my wife is her own child's aunt, my son is my father's nephew and I am my own grandfather. Wow! You think you have family problems."1

I don't know about you, but now I'm utterly konfuzed with a capital "K"!

27 January 2019

posted 25 Jan 2019, 02:24 by C S Paul


27 January 2019

Quotes to Inspire

  • "Be mindful of how you approach time. Watching the clock is not the same as watching the sun rise." – Sophia Bedford-Pierce
  • "I cannot say whether things will get better if we change; what I can say is they must change if they are to get better." – G. C. Lichtenberg
  • "In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility." – Eleanor Roosevelt
  • "To handle yourself, use your head; To handle others, use your heart." – Unknown
  • "Anger is only one letter short of danger." – Unknown
  • "You will never know how high you can jump until you reach a failure point." – Robert Schuller
  • "Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape." – Michael McGriff, M.D.
  • "There are two kinds of people who don't say much: Those who are quiet and those who talk a lot." – Ideas for Better Living
  • "Have you ever noticed that common sense is not very common?" –  Unknown
  • "You have not converted a man because you have silenced him." – Unknown
  • "The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated." – William James
  • "It is not length of life, but depth of life." – Ralph Waldo Emerson

What Did You Expect Him To Do?

      By Michael Josephson of Character Counts 


One of the highlights of my life as a dad—and having five kids, I've had quite a few—occurred on a Saturday afternoon when I was taking my then 13-year-old son Justin and his friend Aaron to a movie. As we entered the theater, I noticed the ticket seller had undercharged me, so I asked the boys to wait a moment while I returned the money.


This did not please the boys, who were anxious to get choice seats.

Nevertheless, I endured hostile glares from people in line and even an annoyed reaction from the cashier, who corrected the mistake.


When I returned, Aaron, who was exasperated because the prime seats had been taken, asked, "Why did you have to do that? It was her mistake, not yours."


I was about to launch into a lecture on integrity when my son, who was also irritated, looked at his friend and said, "What did you expect him to do?"


Many years later, this memory is an uplifting reminder of the impact we have on the character of our kids. Hearing from my son that he expected me to be honest and knew I expected the same of him was like a pat on the back saying I'd done okay as a father.


My son, still one of the most honest people I know, realized that honesty is neither a convenience nor a choice. To a person who values integrity, it's a habit.


When it comes to parenting, it's hard to know what's working and what isn't, but one of the best rewards for attentive parenting is seeing something good in our children and knowing we played a part.


This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.


Logic 101

Author Unknown

A college student was in a philosophy class which had a discussion about God's existence. 

The professor presented the following logic: 


"Has anyone in this class heard God?"


Nobody spoke.


"Has anyone in this class touched God?"


Again, nobody spoke.


"Has anyone in this class seen God?"


When nobody spoke for the third time, he simply stated, "Then there is no God." 


One student thought for a second, and then asked for permission to reply. Curious to hear this bold student's response, the professor granted it, and the student stood up and asked the following questions of his classmates: 


"Has anyone in this class heard our professor's brain?"


Silence.


"Has anyone in this class touched our professor's brain?"


Absolute silence.


"Has anyone in this class seen our professor's brain?"


When nobody in the class dared to speak, the student concluded, "Then, according to our professor's logic, it must be true that our professor has no brain!" 


(...The student received an "A" in the class.) 


The Burden

Author Unknown

"Why was my burden so heavy?" I slammed the bedroom door and leaned against it. Is there no rest from this life? I wondered.I stumbled to my bed and dropped onto it, pressing my pillow around my ears to shut out the noise of my existence. "Oh God," I cried, "let me sleep. Let me sleep forever and never wake up!" With a deep sob I tried to will myself into oblivion, then welcomed the blackness that came over me. 


Light surrounded me as I regained consciousness. I focused on its source: The figure of a man standing before a cross. "My child," the person asked, "why did you want to come to Me before I am ready to call you?" "Lord, I'm sorry. It's just that... I can't go on. You see how hard it is for me. Look at this awful burden on my back. I simply can't carry it anymore." "But haven't I told you to cast all of your burdens upon Me, because I care for you? My yoke is easy, and My burden is light." "I knew You would say that. But why does mine have to be so heavy?" "My child, everyone in the world has a burden. 


Perhaps you would like to try a different one?" "I can do that?" He pointed to several burdens lying at His feet. "You may try any of these." 


All of them seemed to be of equal size. But each was labeled with a name. "There's Joan's," I said. Joan was married to a wealthy businessman. She lived in a sprawling estate and dressed her three daughters in the prettiest designer clothes. Sometimes she drove me to church in her Cadillac when my car was broken. "Let me try that one." How difficult could her burden be? I thought. The Lord removed my burden and placed Joan's on my shoulders. I sank my knees beneath its weight. "Take it off!" I said. ""What makes it so heavy?" "Look 

inside." I untied the straps and opened the top. Inside was a figure of her Mother-in-law, and when I lifted it out, it began to speak. 


"Joan, you'll never be good enough for my son," it began. "He never should have married you. You're a terrible mother to my grandchildren..." I quickly placed the figure back in the pack and withdrew another. It was Donna, Joan's youngest daughter. Her head was bandaged from the surgery that had failed to resolve her epilepsy. A third figure was Joan's brother. Addicted to drugs, he had been convicted of killing a police officer. "I see why her burden is so heavy, Lord. But she's always smiling and helping others. I didn't realize...." 

"Would you like to try another?" He asked quietly. 


I tested several. Paula's felt heavy: She was raising four small boys without a father. Debra's did too: A childhood of sexual abuse and a marriage of emotional abuse. When I Came to Ruth's burden, I didn't even try. I knew that inside I would find arthritis, old age, a demanding full-time job, and a beloved husband in a nursing home. 


"They're all too heavy, Lord" I said. ""Give back my own." As I lifted the familiar load once again, It seemed much lighter than the others. "Lets look inside" He said. I turned away, holding it close. 


"That's not a good idea," I said. "Why?" "There's a lot of junk in there." "Let Me see." The gentle thunder of His voice compelled me. I opened my burden. He pulled out a brick. "Tell me about this one." 


"Lord, You know. It's money. I know we don't suffer like people in some countries or even the homeless here in America. But we have no insurance, and when the kids get sick, we can't always take them to the doctor. They've never been to a dentist. And I'm tired of dressing them in hand-me-downs." "My child, I will supply all of your needs... and your children's. I've given them healthy bodies. I will teach them that expensive clothing doesn't make a person valuable in My sight." 


Then He lifted out the figure of a small boy. "And this?" He asked. "Andrew..." I hung my head, ashamed to call my son a burden. "But, Lord, he's hyperactive. He's not quiet like the other two. He makes me so tired. He's always getting hurt, and someone is bound to think 

I abuse him. I yell at him all the time. Someday I may really hurt him...." "My child," He said, "If you trust Me, I will renew your strength, if you allow Me to fill you with My Spirit, I will give you patience." 


Then He took some pebbles from my burden. 


"Yes, Lord," I said with a sigh. "Those are small. But they're important. I hate my hair. It's thin, and I can't make it look nice. I can't afford to go to the beauty shop. I'm overweight and can't stay on a diet. I hate all my clothes. I hate the way I look!" "My child, people look at your outward appearance, but I look at your heart. By My Spirit you can gain self-control to lose weight. But your beauty should not come from outward appearance. Instead, it 

should come from your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in My sight." My burden now seemed lighter than before. "I guess I can handle it now" I said. 


"There is more," He said. "Hand Me that last brick." "Oh, You don't have to take that. I can handle it." "My child, give it to Me." Again .


His voice compelled me. He reached out His hand, and for the first time I saw the ugly wound. "But, Lord, this brick is so awful, so nasty, so.....Lord! What happened to Your hands? They're so scarred!" 


No longer focused on my burden, I looked for the first time into His face. In His brow were ragged scars-as though someone had pressed thorns into His flesh. "Lord," I whispered. 


"What happened to You?" 


His loving eyes reached into my soul. "My child, you know. Hand Me the brick. It belongs to Me. I bought it." "How?" "With My blood." 


"But why, Lord?" "Because I have loved you with an everlasting love. Give it to Me." 


I placed the filthy brick into His wounded palm. It contained all the dirt and evil of my life: my pride, my selfishness, the depression that constantly tormented me. He turned to the cross and hurled my .brick into the pool of blood at its base. It hardly made a ripple. 


"Now, My child, you need to go back. I will be with you always. When you are troubled, call to Me and I will help you and show you things you cannot imagine now." "Yes, Lord, I will call on You." 


I reached to pick up my burden. 


"You may leave that here if you wish. You see all these burdens? They are the ones that others have left at My feet. Joan's, Paula's, Debra's, Ruth's..... As I placed my burden with Him, the light began to fade. Yet I heard Him whisper, "I will never leave you, nor forsake you." 


The Grocery List  
~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."

Only God Knows how much a prayer weighs.

So many of us do not take advantage of the power God has given us. A prayer!

The Quilt
-Author Unknown

As I faced my Maker at the last Judgment, I knelt before the Lord along with the other souls. Before each of us laid our lives, like the squares of a quilt, in many piles.

An Angel sat before each of us sewing our quilt squares together into a tapestry that was our life.

But as my Angel took each piece of cloth off the pile, I noticed how ragged and empty each of my squares were. They were filled with giant holes! Each square was labeled with a part of my life that had been difficult, the challenges and temptations I was faced with in everyday life. I saw hardships that I had endured, (which were the largest holes of all).

I glanced around me. Nobody else had such squares. Others had a tiny hole here and there, other tapestries were filled with rich color and the bright hues of worldly fortune.

I gazed upon my own life and was disheartened. My Angel was sewing the ragged pieces of cloth together, threadbare and empty, like binding air. Finally the time came when each life was to be displayed, held up to the light and the scrutiny of truth. The others rose each in turn, holding up their tapestries. So filled their lives had been.

My Angel looked upon me, and nodded for me to rise. My gaze dropped to the ground in shame. I hadn't had all the earthly fortunes. I had love in my life, and laughter. But there had also been trials of illness, death, and false accusations that took from me my world as I knew it. I had to start over many times. I often struggled with the temptation to quit, only to somehow muster the strength to pick up and begin again. I had spent many nights on my knees in prayer, asking for help and guidance in my life. I had often been held up to ridicule, which I endured painfully; each time offering it up to the Father, in hopes that I would not melt within my skin beneath the judgmental gaze of those who unfairly judged me. And now, I had to face the truth. My life was what it was, and I had to accept it for what it had been.

I rose and slowly lifted the combined squares of my life to the light. An awe-filled gasp filled the air. I gazed around at the others who stared at me with eyes wide. Then, I looked upon the tapestry before me. Light flooded through the many holes, creating an image.

The face of Christ.

Then our Lord stood before me, with warmth and love in His eyes. He said,

"Every time you gave over your life to Me, it became My life, My hardships, and My struggles. Each point of light in your life is when you stepped aside and let Me shine through, until there was more of Me than there was of you...Welcome Home My Child"

Did You Know ?
  • The Kumbh Mela is a huge Hindu religious festival that takes place in India every 12 years. In 2001, 60 million people attended, breaking the record for the world’s biggest gathering.
  • India has the world’s largest movie industry, based in the city of Mumbai .The B in “Bollywood” comes from Bombay, the former name for Mumbai.
  • Mumbai (Bombay) is India’s largest city, with a population of 15 million.
  • India has the world’s third largest road network at 1.9 million miles. It also has the world’s second largest rail network.
  • 15th August also marks the independence of three other nations - South Korea won its independence from Japan on 15th August 1945, Bahrain from UK in 1971 and Republic of the Congo from France in 1960.
  • Today, India exports software to 90 countries of World.
  • The four religions born in India - Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism, are followed by 25% of the world's population.
  • 38% of doctors in America are Indians, 12% scientists in america are indians, 36% of NASA employees are indians,34% of microsoft employees are Indians and 28% ibm employees
  • 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.

Just for Laughs

Cleopatra's Skull.

I read about a lady who spent some time in Egypt and brought back a rather unusual story. She was at a bazaar on one of Cairo's side streets, and saw a skull being exhibited. She asked the proprietor about it. He told her it was the skull of Cleopatra.

Alongside that skull was a smaller one which piqued her interest.

When she asked about that one, the proprietor said: "That m'lady is also Cleopatra's—but as a child."

A Sure Thing 

Three Pastors in the south were having lunch in a diner. One said "Ya know, since summer started I've been having trouble with bats in my loft and attic at church. I've tried everything--noise, spray, cats--nothing seems to scare them away. Another said "Yea, me too. I've got hundreds living in my belfry and in the narthex attic. I've even had the place fumigated, and they won't go away." The third said, "I baptized all mine, and made them members of the church... Haven't seen one back since!!!" 

20 January 2019

posted 18 Jan 2019, 21:13 by C S Paul


20 January 2019

Quotes to Inspire

  • "That best portion of a good man's life is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love." – William Wordsworth
  • "I didn't get to where I am by thinking about it or dreaming about it. I got there by doing it." – Estee Lauder
  • "And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." – Anais Nin
  • "By perseverance the snail reached the ark." – Charles Haddon Spurgeon
  • "Thank you, God, for this good life and forgive us if we do not love it enough." – Garrison Keillor
  • "What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us" – William Morrow
  • "Opportunity never knocks; it is within you." – Denis Waitley
  • "There are three kinds of people: Those who make things happen; those who watch things happen; and those who wonder what happened!" – An old American military saying
  • "I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took an excuse." – Florence Nightingale
  • "Those who travel the high road of humility are not troubled by heavy traffic." – Alan Simpson
  • "Everyone wants to be appreciated. So if you appreciate someone, don't keep it a secret." – Mary Kay Ash
  • "Better to be prepared and not called than to be called and not prepared." – Jim Wallace
  • "Sticks and stones may break my bones but names may break my heart" – Linda McCartney
  • "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
Lesson of the snake
 
This very short and enlightening story is like a parable from the Bible. It teaches that it's never to late to learn a lesson in life... especially if it can save a life ---- Author unknown

A man was in his cabin in the middle of a terrible snow storm when he heard a feeble scratching at his door.

He opened it to see a half frozen rattle snake on his doorstep begging to be let in from the bitter cold.

The man said to the snake, “I’m not going to let you in! You’re a rattle snake and you’re going to bite me!”

“No I won’t,” hissed the snake. “Just bring me in and get me warm and I’ll be your friend for life.”

Well, the man let the snake come in and even allowed it to rest upon his chest by the fire to get warm.

When the snake was completely comfortable it bit the man on the neck.

As he was dying, the man said, “but you promised you wouldn’t bite me and would be my friend for life.”

The snake calmly replied... “but you knew I was a snake when you let me in.”

Safe in the Storm
- Author unknown

A young man named Paul related a childhood memory of growing up in West Texas, which is tornado country. Springtime brings tornadoes there. One day when Paul was three or four years old, the skies turned black and the wind began to roar. 

Paul's father hustled the five boys into the house and covered them with a mattress for protection from potential debris uprooted by the whirling winds. Paul peeked from under the mattress and watched his father standing by the window carefully watching the movement of the funnel cloud as it roared across the prairie.

Tensions rose. Fear gripped their hearts and Paul's heart pounded. Paul could not resist the urge to struggle out of the arms of his mother, race to the window, and wrap his arms around his father. 

He remembers the distinct impression that the safest place to be in a storm was standing next to his father. Storms do come. Stand next to your [Heavenly] Father. It's safe there!

The Brick
-- Author unknown

A young and successful executive was traveling down a neighborhood street, going a bit too fast in his new Jaguar.

He was watching for kids darting out from between parked cars and slowed down when he thought he saw something.

As his car passed, no children appeared. Instead, a brick smashed into the Jag's side door!

He slammed on the brakes and backed the Jag back to the spot where the brick had been thrown.

The angry driver then jumped out of the car, grabbed the nearest kid and pushed him up against a parked car shouting, "What was that all about and who are you?

Just what the heck are you doing? That's a new car and that brick you threw is going to cost a lot of money. Why did you do it?"

The young boy was apologetic.

"Please, mister... please, I'm sorry but I didn't know what else to do," He pleaded. "I threw the brick because no one else would stop... " With tears dripping down his face and off his chin, the youth pointed to a spot just around a parked car.

"It's my brother," he said. "He rolled off the curb and fell out of his wheelchair and I can't lift him up."

Now sobbing, the boy asked the stunned executive, "Would you please help me get him back into his wheelchair? He's hurt and he's too heavy for me."

Moved beyond words, the driver tried to swallow the rapidly swelling lump in his throat. He hurriedly lifted the handicapped boy back into the wheelchair, then took out a linen handkerchief and dabbed at the fresh scrapes and cuts.

A quick look told him everything was going to be okay.

"Thank you and may God bless you," the grateful child told the stranger.

Too shook up for words, the man simply watched the boy push his wheelchair-bound brother down the sidewalk toward their home. It was a long, slow walk back to the Jaguar.

The damage was very noticeable, but the driver never bothered to repair the dented side door. He kept the dent there to remind him of this message.

"Don't go through life so fast that someone has to throw a brick at you to get your attention!"

God whispers in our souls and speaks to our hearts.
Sometimes when we don't have time to listen, He has to throw a brick at us.

It's our choice to listen or not.

Life In a Manure Pile
By Marsha Jordan

There was a time when my husband aspired to be a self-sufficient, back-to-the-land pioneer. He bought a windmill, some oil lamps, beehives, and a couple of pigs, which our son named Lois Lane and Clark Kent.

This dirty duo caused me many headaches, from the day we took them home. Although tied in gunny sacks and secured in the back of our pickup truck, the Houdini hoglets managed to free themselves , leap from the truck, and head for the hills. We eventually got the slippery little buggers safely home, but only after a rough and tumble scramble through the woods.

Lois and Clark were adventurous piglets who soon learned to scale their little pig house and jump off the roof to freedom outside the fence. Motorists on the busy highway near our home frequently reported seeing "two wild pigs" darting between cars. And more than once, I received angry phone calls from neighbors who found the pair digging up their flower beds.

I was usually the only one home when the pigs went exploring, so the job of luring them home fell to yours truly. How does one convince two full grown hogs to follow you? It requires a slop bucket full of cottage cheese, apple peels, and other goodies.

Once I had to trudge through waist-high snow, leaving a trail behind me of table scraps. By this time, L and C had become man eaters, so they followed close behind chomping at my heels.

Yes, pigs BITE - at least Lois and Clark did. And once they tasted blood, they preferred it to their usual diet.

That diet consisted of truckloads of stale bakery bread , sour milk from the dairy, and scraps from local restaurants. Keeping the pair of porkers fed was a big job. Lois and Clark ate a lot - and you can imagine what else they did - a LOT. The manure pile grew into a mountain which remained in the field long after Lois and Clark were transformed to bacon and pork chops and laid to rest in our freezer.

The following summer, I planted a huge garden. I lovingly weeded it, fertilized it, and tended it daily only to discover at the end of the season that my prized vegetables were dwarfed in comparison to the huge tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash that had sprung up from the manure pile.

Why am I telling you more than you cared to know about pigs and manure? Because there is something to be learned here (God has lessons for us everywhere, if we are willing to see them).

Most folks have felt the pain of seeing their hopes shattered and dreams destroyed. We all have felt at times like life is one big dung heap and we're living smack dab in the middle of a mountain of manure!

The Bible says that God can produce beauty from ashes. He can take the smelly, disgusting pile of manure that our lives can sometimes be - and He can grow some prize-winning, life-giving fruit (and veggies) from what looks to us like garbage.

So there is hope - even atop the manure pile. Just as the garbage in a compost heap makes a garden grow, the garbage in our lives can bring forth good things too that help us to grow.

We may wonder why God allows the manure to pile up in our lives, but I'm sure it's no accident or surprise to Him. The good news is that we don't have to climb that manure mountain alone. Trouble comes into every life, but we have a source of strength to uphold and guide us; and we have hope, the essential ingredient for making it through the dung heap.

So grab a shovel and start digging. There's a harvest on the other side.

Did you Know?
  • Buttermilk does not contain any butter.
  • The human brain is 80% water.
  • Men’s shirts have the buttons on the right while women’s shirts have the buttons on the left.
  • Human fingernails grow nearly 4 times faster than toenails.
  • The Great Pyramid at Giza in Egypt holds a constant temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • The liquid inside young coconuts can be used as a substitute for blood plasma.
  • Oak trees do not produce acorns until they are fifty years of age.
  • It takes approximately 2 million flowers for a bee to make 1 pound of honey.
  • Elephants have been known to remain standing after they die.
  • Dolphins can swim and sleep at the same time.
  • Armadillos have four babies at the same time, and they are always the same sex.
  • The bullfrog is the only animal that never sleeps.
  • Snakes can see through their eyelids.
Just for Laughs

THEOLOGY AS EXPLAINED BY CHILDREN

The first book of the Bible is Guinessis, in which Adam & Eve were created from an apple tree.

Noah's wife was called Joan of Ark.

Lot's wife was a pillar of salt by day and a ball of fire by night.

Samson slayed the Philistines with the axe of the Apostles.

Unleavened bread is bread made without ingredients.

Moses went to the top of Mt. Cyanide to get the 10 commandments.

The 7th commandment is 'Thou shalt not admit adultery.'

Joshua let the Hebrew in the battle of Geritol. 

David fought the Finkelsteins, a race of people who lived in Biblical times.

Solomon has 300 wives and 700 porcupines.

Jesus was born because Mary had an immaculate contraption.

The people who followed Jesus were called the 13 decibels.

The Epistles were the wives of the Apostles.

One of the opossums was St. Matthew.

Paul preached holy acrimony, which is another name for marriage.

A Godly person should have only one wife. This is called monotony. 

13 January 2019

posted 11 Jan 2019, 21:13 by C S Paul


13 January 2019

Quotes to Inspire

  • "A man has made at least a start on discovering the meaning of human life when he plants shade trees under which he knows full well he will never sit." – D. Elton Trueblood
  • "When the morning's freshness has been replaced by the weariness of midday, when the leg muscles give under the strain, the climb seems endless, and suddenly nothing will go quite as you wish—it is then that you must not hesitate." – Dag Hammarskjol
  • "There is no traffic jam on the extra mile." – Unknown
  • "That best portion of a good man's life; his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love." – William Wordsworth
  • "The biggest mistake we could ever make in our lives is to think we work for anybody but ourselves." – Brian Tracy
  • "You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing that we call 'failure' is not the falling down, but the staying down." – Mary Pickford
  • "Every evening, write down the six most important things that you must do the next day. Then while you sleep your subconscious will work on the best ways for you to accomplish them. Your next day will go much more smoothly." – Tom Hopkins
  • "You don't get to control any outcome, only every choice you make along the way." – Stephen C. Paul
  • "If you don't design your own life plan, chances are you'll fall into someone else's plan. And guess what they might have planned for you? Not much." – Jim Rohn
  • "A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person." – Dave Barry
  • "The value of a relationship is in direct proportion to the time that you invest in the relationship." – Brian Tracy
  • "I would rather work with five people who really believe in what they are doing rather than 500 who can't see the point." – Patrick Dixon
THE POWER OF A LITTLE PRAYER
Tony K.

It was the end of a great day! My wife and I were on our way home. It was about midnight. We were both relaxed and enjoying the ride on a clear autumn night. I was driving our 1999 Mazda 626 down the highway and was preparing to exit onto a major 4 lane road. 

Sarah and I frequently pray as we travel, especially at night. We were both in a reflective mood and decided to pray about half way home. I had already finished praying to God. Sarah was still talking to Him as we started up the long exit ramp. She was asking Him for His protection on all her family who were also traveling home that evening. Little did she know we were about to become the recipients of that very protection. 

We both were watching the traffic light as we got about half way up the ramp. It was solid green. There were no vehicles in front of us so we simply rolled into the intersection at about 30 MPH, to make the sweeping left turn onto the other road. 

As we entered the intersection we saw a flash of light to our left and instantly heard a loud crash and felt a jarring impact. Our bodies were thrown to the right, then whipped back immediately to an upright position. I felt a sharp blow to my lower side and back as our car stopped dead in the intersection. It felt like somebody had hit me full force with a baseball bat. I just sat there, dazed and moaning. I could not believe what had just happened. 

I heard my wife asking me if I was OK. I told her my back hurt but otherwise I seemed to be alright. I asked if she was injured, expecting an answer involving neck pain. Praise God she was completely unhurt! I then realized that I did not have any neck trauma either. In spite of being violently slammed sideways we had no obvious injuries to our necks. 

The paramedics checked me over in the car then helped me out the passenger side because the drivers side was crushed shut. They checked me out in the ambulance and said I was OK except for some possible bruised ribs where the side impact door beam hit me in the back. I didn't even have to go to the hospital. 

Our car had to be towed away, (it had almost $10,000 damage), but we walked away! Amazingly, the 3 teenagers in the Blazer that hit us were also completely unharmed. The speed limit was 45 MPH on that road and the driver said she had a green light, so she would not have been slowing down before she hit us broadside in the intersection. There is no reasonable explanation for the lack of serious injuries for all of us, unless we believe in miracles! We do! 

There are a lot of things that don't make any sense about this whole thing. Looking back on the accident, and observing the damage to the vehicles, there are many things that I simply don't understand. This all should have been much worse! 

What I do know is this. Jesus saves.....in more ways than one! Jesus heard my wife's prayer for protection. He put an angel between the two vehicles to absorb the majority of the energy that would have sent some of us to the hospital with major injuries. His intervention saved lives that night. I walked away from an accident that other people, at other times, never did. Why? I can't answer that question. 

I don't know the mind of God and why He chooses to save one and not another at any given time. What I do know is that God is good all the time....and all the time God is good! His goodness and love never changes. He allows nothing bad to happen that is not ultimately for some good. He has a purpose for each and every one of us, and maybe we don't always understand it, but there is a reason for all things, good and bad, in our lives. 

I don't know why He chose to spare me and my wife this time, but we are very thankful that He did. He also extended His mercy to the 3 teens that we didn't even know and spared them too. I don't claim to know all the answers. All I can testify to is the fact that at the time of impact my wife was talking to God and asking for His protection, and we all walked away from this wreck with no serious injuries. The facts speak for themselves! What more can I say? 

GOD WAS THERE!
Name withheld by request

Last December 20th I had a experience that changed my life and nearly ended it. I had personal questions that were answered also that I had in my mind for a while. I had been feeling a little under the weather on the 16th of December and decided not to work that following Monday or Tuesday. I thought since I had a lot of sick days built up I may as well take advantage of them since I didnt really feel well. I had very little appetite and was just not energetic at all. 

That Tuesday night at 11:30 I decided to go to bed and get some sleep. I stood up and with the remote in my hand I turned the television off and at that point the world stopped and life ended. The next thing I knew I was in Barnes hospital in an ICU unit. I thought I was in a dream because everything looked wrong to me. I could not see very well or very clearly. I could see maybe ten feet and it was very very murky and cloudy looking. Giving it a dreamlike appearance. I saw people that I worked with and thought "hmmm I Ive never dreamed of them before! After about a few times of going in and out of consciousness, I came to my senses and realized that I was not dreaming! I really was here in the hospital! "How did I get here?" I thought. I wondered did I have wreck or what. 

I noticed that the television had the date as the 23rd of December on it. I was completely baffled about the whole thing. I noticed I was hooked to all kinds of electronic things. There was a red light on my finger and a wire that went into my chest to my heart. My legs were attached to a massage machine and my arm to a blood pressure machine that took readings every 15 minutes it seemed. "What happened to me?" My legs hurt really bad and I was weak. 

When I realized that I was REALLY in a hospital I thought "How did I get here? Did I have a wreck? I was lost. About 15 minutes after I had regained consciousness, a doctor came in and explained to me how I had been in a coma and how a lucky young man I was to be here. His words were very serious words, but the only thing I thought was what I was going to do when I get out. Later on during my hospital stay I learned from friends what had happened the four days that I was missing in my mind. I thought about God. God, in my view, did not let me die. 

He did an amazing thing in my book by saving my life. Here is what I am thnkful for. Life? Of course! But I am glad that God saw me when I was dying in my bed and before anyone had prayed a prayer about me, He acted! God, I now know, really loves me a lot! I didnt know that I was about to die that Tuesday night, but He did! He did NOT allow it. For whatever reason. Maybe He was just being Himself...nice! I loved Him and admired Him long before any of this thing happened to me.

What a Great Person He is! He defies logic to me. A Person Who can not only be smart and ever in control of things but He can be, and is, NICE!! He has been my Friend Who I have talked to for years and this is not the only time He has saved my life but that is for another time. I may not know who the beast is or false prophet or whatever. But I will go to my grave knowing that the God that I know really is a friend and that I am crazy about Him. By the way...He does love you deeply too. He will do for you what He has done for anyone. He really is No respecter of persons or any of the stuff we hold is high esteem. Thank Him that He is not. God...You are amazing! 

The Ticket
Author Unknown

Jack took a long look at his speedometer before slowing down: 73 in a 55 zone. Fourth time in as many months. How could a guy get caught so often? 

When his car had slowed to 10 miles an hour, Jack pulled over, but only partially. Let the cop worry about the potential traffic hazard. Maybe some other car will tweak his backside with a mirror. 

The cop was stepping out of his car, the big pad in hand. 

Bob? Bob from church? Jack sunk farther into his trench coat. This was worse than the coming ticket. A Christian cop catching a guy from his own church. A guy who happened to be a little anxious to get home after a long day at the office. A guy he was about to play golf with tomorrow. Jumping out of the car, he approached a man he saw every Sunday, a man he'd never seen in uniform. 

"Hi, Bob. Fancy meeting you like this." 

"Hello, Jack." No smile. 

"Guess you caught me red-handed in a rush to see my wife and kids." 

"Yeah, I guess." 

Bob seemed uncertain. Good. "I've seen some long days at the office lately. I'm afraid I bent the rules a bit-just this once." Jack toed at a pebble on the pavement. "Diane said something about roast beef and potatoes tonight. Know what I mean?" 

"I know what you mean. I also know that you have a reputation in our precinct." 

Ouch! This was not going in the right direction. Time to change tactics. 

"What'd you clock me at?" 

"Seventy-one. Would you sit back in your car, please?" 

"Now wait a minute here, Bob. I checked as soon as I saw you. I was barely nudging 65." The lie seemed to come easier with every ticket. 

"Please, Jack, in the car." 

Flustered, Jack hunched himself through the still-open door. Slamming it shut, he stared at the dashboard. He was in no rush to open the window. The minutes ticked by. Bob scribbled away on the pad. Why hadn't he asked for a driver's license? Whatever the reason, it would be a month of Sundays before Jack ever sat near this cop again. A tap on the door jerked his head to the left. There was Bob, a folded paper in hand. Jack rolled down the window a mere two inches, just enough room for Bob to pass him the slip. 

"Thanks." Jack could not quite keep the sneer out of his voice. Bob returned to his car without a word. Jack watched his retreat in the mirror. Jack unfolded the sheet of paper. How much was this one going to cost? Wait a minute. What was this? Some kind of joke? Certainly not a ticket. Jack began to read: 

"Dear Jack,
Once upon a time I had a daughter. She was six when killed by a car. You guessed it - a speeding driver. A fine and three months in jail, and the man was free. Free to hug his daughters. All three of them. I only had one, and I'm going to have to wait until heaven before I can ever hug her again. A thousand times I've tried to forgive that man. A thousand times I thought I had. Maybe I did, but I need to do it again. Even now. . . Pray for me. And be careful. My son is all I have left. Bob" 

Jack...twisted around in time to see Bob's car pull away and head down the road. Jack watched until it disappeared. A full 15 minutes later, he too, pulled away and drove slowly home, praying for forgiveness and hugging a surprised wife and kids when he arrived. 

Life is precious. Handle with care. 

An Unspoken Bible
Author Unknown

His name is Bill. He has wild hair, wears a T-shirt with holes in it, jeans and no shoes. This was literally is wardrobe for his entire four years of college. He is brilliant. Kind of esoteric and very, very bright. He became a Christian recently while attending college. 

Across the street from the campus is a well-dressed, very conservative church. One day Bill decides to go there. He walks in with no shoes, jeans, his T-shirt, and wild hair. The service has already started and So Bill starts down the aisle looking for a seat.

The church is completely packed and he can't find a seat. By now people are really looking a bit uncomfortable, but no one says anything. Bill gets closer and closer and closer to the pulpit and, when he realizes there are no seats, he just squats down right on the carpet. (Although perfectly acceptable behavior at a college fellowship, trust me, this had never happened in this church before! 

By now the people are really uptight, and the tension in the air is thick. About this time, the minister realizes that from way at the back of the church, an Elder is slowly making his way toward Bill. Now the Elder is in his eighties, has silver-gray hair, and a three-piece suit. A godly man, very elegant, very dignified, very courtly. He walks with a cane and, as he starts walking toward this boy, everyone is saying To themselves that you can't blame him for what he's going to do. 

How can you expect a man of his age and of his background to understand some college kid on the floor? It takes a long time for the man to reach the boy. The church is utterly silent except for the clicking of the man's cane. 

All eyes are focused on him. You can't even hear anyone breathing. The minister can't even preach the sermon until the Elder does what he has to do. And now they see this elderly man drop his cane on the floor. With great difficulty he lowers himself and sits down next to Bill and worships with him so he won't be alone. 

Everyone chokes up with emotion. When the minister gains control, he says, "What I'm about to preach, you will never remember. What you have just seen, you will never forget. Be careful how you live. You may be the only Bible some people will ever read." 


Did You Know ?

  • The atomic bomb that was detonated over Nagasaki ,Japan,by the United States on 9 August 1945 was code-named 'Fat Man'.
  • Do you know why chocolates melt in your mouth? It is because melting point of a chocolate is slightly below your body temperature so as soon as you put chocolate in your mouth ,it reaches its melting point. 10 more Facts about Chocolates
  • Do you know there is a world record even for the tennis balls held in a dog's mouth ! Current world record for the no. of tennis balls held in a dog’s mouth is 5.
  • Did you have a piggy bank when you were small? Do you know the name Piggy banks come from a clay called pygg from which jars were made for saving money in old times.
  • India produces more movies than any other country in the world and Bollywood is the largest film industry in the world?
  • Indians go out to the cinema about 3 billion times a year?
  • India has about 800 dialects and 15 major Languages?
  • Algebra, Calculus, and Trigonometry comes from India?
  • Cuteness and softness inspires aggression which is why we often squeeze things which we find cute or soft .Examples:Teddy bear,cheeks of a small baby .

Just for Laughs

SMARTEST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD

A doctor, a lawyer, a little boy and a priest were out for a Sunday afternoon flight on a small private plane. Suddenly, the plane developed engine trouble. In spite of the best efforts of the pilot, the plane started to go down. Finally, the pilot grabbed a parachute, yelled to the passengers that they had better jump, and then he bailed out. 

Unfortunately, there were only three parachutes remaining. The doctor grabbed one and said "I'm a doctor, I save lives, so I must live," and jumped out. 

The lawyer then said, "I'm a lawyer and lawyers are the smartest people in the world. I deserve to live." He also grabbed a parachute and jumped. 

The priest looked at the little boy and said, "My son, I've lived a long and full life. You are young and have your whole life ahead of you. Take the last parachute and live in peace." 

The little boy handed the parachute back to the priest and said, "Not to worry, Father. The 'smartest man in the world' just took off with my back pack." 

A CORRECT ASSUMPTION

A man was being tailgated by a stressed out woman on a busy boulevard. Suddenly, the light turned yellow, just in front of him. He did the right thing, stopping at the crosswalk, even though he could have beaten The red light by accelerating through the intersection.

The tailgating woman was furious and honked her horn, screaming in frustration as she missed her chance to get through the intersection, dropping her cell phone and makeup. 

As she was still in mid-rant, she heard a tap on her window and looked up into the face of a very serious police officer. The officer ordered her to exit her car with her hands up. He took her to the police station where she was searched, finger printed, photographed, and placed in a hold ing cell. After a couple of hours, a policeman approached the cell and opened the door. She was escorted back to the booking desk where the arresting officer was waiting with her personal effects. 

He said, "I'm very sorry for this mistake. You see, I pulled up behind your car while you were blowing your horn, flipping off the guy in front of you, and cussing a blue streak at him. I noticed the 'What Would Jesus Do' bumper sticker, the 'Choose Life' license plate holder, the 'Follow Me to Sunday-School' bumper sticker, and the chrome-plated Christian fish emblem on the trunk, Naturally... I assumed you had stolen the car." 

6 January 2019

posted 4 Jan 2019, 20:50 by C S Paul


6 January 2019

Quotes to Inspire
  • "The place to improve the world is first in one's own heart and head and hands." – Robert M. Pirsig
  • "To fly we have to have resistance." – Maya Lin, architect
  • "The golden opportunity you are seeking is in yourself. It is not in your environment; it is not in luck or chance, or the help of others; it is in yourself alone." – Orison Swett Marden
  • "Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success." – Napoleon Hill
  • "The greatest of faults, I should say, is to be conscious of none." – Thomas Carlyle
  • "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
  • "Evaluation of the past is the first step toward vision for the future." – Chris Widener
  • "When one door closes another one opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the ones which open for us." – Alexander Graham Bell
  • "If you would hit the mark, you must aim a little above it; every arrow that flies feels the attraction of earth." – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  • "It is surmounting difficulties that makes heroes." – Louis Pasteur
  • "God does not ask your ability or your inability. He asks only your availability." – Mary Kay Ashe
  • "The human race is divided into two classes—those who go ahead and do something, and those who sit still and inquire, 'Why wasn't it done the other way?'" – Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
The Chinese Farmer
-- Author Unknown

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

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

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

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

Perseverance
-- Author Unknown

Robert the Bruce became king of Scotland in 1306, when Scotland was at war with England—and not doing too well.

Legend tells how Robert took refuge in a cave to hide from the armies of England. While lying on a bed half dozing, he saw a spider trying to attach its web to a ceiling beam. 

Time after time, it tried and failed. However, on the seventh try, the spider succeeded. Inspired by this display of spider power, Robert went on to engage the English in a series of battles. They climaxed in the 1314 Battle of Bannockburn, at which Scotland won its independence. (Glad Tidings of Good Things)

Thought: Maybe like Robert the Bruce, you're in a cave of defeat. If so, then remember: "Let us not grow weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not" (Galatians 6:9).

Make This An Adventure
By Charles F. Kemp (in The Disciple)

A young man was faced with a difficult job. He was anxious and concerned. 

An older friend, who was both wiser and more experienced, gave him this advice, complete in four words: "Make this an adventure."

It changed his whole perspective. What had been a problem was now a challenge. What had been a source of anxiety now became a source of excitement. 

He said he applied this bit of advice through the years to many different situations. It almost always gave them new meaning. 

The Donkey
-- Author Unknown

One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do.

Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn't worth it to retrieve the donkey.

He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone's amazement he quieted down.

A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up.

As the farmer's neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up.

Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!

Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a stepping stone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up.

NOW... Here's the Epilog...

The donkey later came back, and bit the farmer who had tried to bury him. The gash from the bite got infected and the farmer eventually died in agony from septic shock.

And... here's the Moral to the story...

When you do something wrong, and try to cover your ass, it always comes back to bite you.

Did you Know ?
  • Human hair and fingernails continue to grow after death
  • You burn more calorie while sleeping than watching TV.
  • Humans can make do longer without food than sleep. While you might feel better prepared to stay up all night partying than to give up eating, that feeling will be relatively short lived. 
  • The only part of the body that has no blood supply is the cornea in the eye. It takes in oxygen directly from the air.
  • The sound you hear when you crack your knuckles is actually the sound of nitrogen gas bubbles bursting.
  • Women blink nearly twice as much as men.
  • It takes about 20 seconds for a red blood cell to circle the whole body.
  • Every drop of blood in your body is filtered by your body over 300 times a day.
  • Babies are born with pink lungs but they darken in color as we breathe in polluted air.
  • Your right lung is bigger than left lung! The left lung is small so as to adjust heart in that part ! .
Just for Laughs

Hush

Six-year-old Angie and her four-year-old brother Joel were sitting together during church services. Joel giggled, sang, and talked out loud. Finally, his big sister had enough. 

'You're not supposed to talk out loud in church.'

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

Angie pointed to the back of the church and said, 'See those two men standing by the door? 

They're hushers.' 

SHORT N SWEET

A little boy opened the big and old family Bible with fascination, and looked at the old pages as he turned them. Suddenly, something fell out of the Bible, and he picked it up and looked at it closely. It was an old leaf from a tree that had been pressed between the pages. 

'Momma, look what I found,' the boy called out.

'What have you got there, dear?' his mother asked.

With astonishment in the young boy's voice, he answered: 'I think it's Adam's suit!'

30 December 2018

posted 28 Dec 2018, 07:31 by C S Paul   [ updated 28 Dec 2018, 21:49 ]

Happy new year graphics

30 December 2018
NEW YEAR 2019 SPECIAL

Perhaps your year will be all about professional growth. Or, maybe you want to focus on bettering yourself and your relationships. Whatever your goals for 2019, press forward, stay positive, and work hard. You can’t discover your potential if you don’t push yourself to succeed, learn, and achieve. Happy New Year!
sXmas_santa_100-102 Start this New Year 
with some Humour 

Practical Religion - I

There is the allegedly true story of Father George who began his sermon early one Sunday morning by announcing to his congregation at St John's, Newbury, England, 'I have good news and bad news. The good news is, we have enough money to pay for our new building programme. The bad news is, it's still out there in your pockets.'

Practical Religion - II

Father Michael, of St Mary's church began his sermon with this story: 'I was on a plane last week, from Edinburgh to London, when we ran into some very severe weather which resulted in turbulence. As it got worse, the passengers became more and more alarmed, and even the airline stewards began to look concerned.

Finally, one of them noticed that I had 'Reverend' in front of my name on the passenger list, so she approached me, and said, 'Sir, this is really frightening. Do you suppose you could, I don't know.........do something religious?'

'So I took up a collection,' retold Father Michael with a grin.

Something Missing - Missing Something?

Going over our church finances I found a receipt from a local paint store signed by someone named Christian. I wasn't aware of anyone buying paint, so I called the store to point out its mistake

'I'm sorry,' I told the manager, 'but there are no Christians here at St Mary's Church.'

Bedtime Story Letter to God 

Darlene was sitting on her grandfather's lap as he read her a bedtime story.

From the time to time, she would take her eyes off the book and reach up to touch his wrinkled cheek. She was alternately stroking her own cheek, then his again. Finally she spoke up, 'Grandpa, did God make you?'

'Yes, darling,' he answered, 'God made me a long time ago.'

'Oh,' Darlene paused, 'Grandpa, did God make me too?'

'Yes, indeed, poppet,' he said, 'God made you just a little while ago.'

Feeling their respective faces again, Darlene observed, 'God' is getting better at it, isn't he?'

Help from God

A woman named Edna finds herself in dire trouble. Her business has gone bust, and she's in serious financial trouble. She's so desperate that she decides to ask God for help. She begins to pray...' God, please help me. I've lost my business, and if I don't get some money, I'm going to lose my house as well. Please let me win the lotto.'

Lotto night comes, and somebody else wins it.

Edna again prays.... 'God, please let me win the lotto! I've lost my business, my house and I'm going to lose my car as well.'

Lotto night comes, and Edna still has no luck.

Once again, she prays, 'My God, why have you forsaken me?? I've lost my business, my house, and my car. My children are starving. I don't often ask you help, and I have always been a good servant to you. PLEASE, just let me win the lotto this one time so I can get my life back in order.

Suddenly there is a blinding flash of light as the heavens open and Edna is confronted by the voice of God Himself:

'Edna, meet Me halfway on this. Buy a ticket.'


Thoughts for the NEW YEAR
  • “Not every end is the goal. The end of a melody is not its goal, and yet if the melody has not reached its end, it has not reached its goal.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
  • “Only as high as I reach can I grow, only as far as I seek can I go, only as deep as I look can I see, only as much as I dream can I be.” – Karen Ravn
  • “To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.” – Anatole France
  • “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill
  • Reach high, for the stars lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.” – Pamela Vaull Starr
  • You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” – C.S. Lewis
  • “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs
  • “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
  • “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” – Zig Ziglar
  • “Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be.” – George Sheehan
  • “For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice.” – T.S. Eliot
  • “Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.” – Benjamin Franklin
  • “Today’s patience can transform yesterday’s discouragements into tomorrow’s discoveries. Today’s purposes can turn yesterday’s defeats into tomorrow’s determination.” – William Arthur Ward
  • “Do not lose hold of your dreams or aspirations. For if you do, you may still exist but you have ceased to live.” – Henry David Thoreau
  • “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” – Henry David Thoreau
  • “To dream anything that you want to dream. That’s the beauty of the human mind. To do anything that you want to do. That is the strength of the human will. To trust yourself to test your limits. That is the courage to succeed.” – Bernard Edmonds
  • “Through perseverance many people win success out of what seemed destined to be certain failure.” – Benjamin Disraeli
  • “I do not think there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature.” – John D. Rockefeller
  • “A little more persistence, a little more effort, and what seemed hopeless failure may turn to glorious success.” – Elbert Hubbard
  • “Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained.” – Marie Curie
  • Life is a challenge, meet it! Life is a dream, realize it! Life is a game, play it! Life is love, enjoy it!” – Sri Sathya Sai Baba
  • “If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.” – Albert Einstein
  • “What is not started today is never finished tomorrow.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  • “Difficulties increase the nearer we approach the goal.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  • “When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reach, don’t adjust the goals; adjust the action steps.” – Confucius
  • “Many are stubborn in pursuit of the path they have chosen, few in pursuit of the goal.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
  • “The more intensely we feel about an idea or a goal, the more assuredly the idea, buried deep in our subconscious, will direct us along the path to its fulfillment.” – Earl Nightingale

sXmas_santahat_100-101 Just Decide
- Unknown -

I was waiting to pick up a friend at the airport when I had one of those life changing experiences, the kind that you sometimes hear other people talk about, the kind that sneaks up on you unexpectedly. This one occurred a mere two feet away from me.
As I was straining to locate my friend amongst the line of passengers exiting the airport, I noticed a man coming towards me carrying two light bags. He stopped right next to me to greet his family.

First he motioned to his youngest son (maybe 6 years old) as he laid down his bags. He crouched down, and they gave each other a long, loving hug. As they separated enough to look in each other's face, I heard the father say, "Its too good to see you, son I missed you so much!" His son smiled somewhat shyly, averted his eyes and replied softly,"Me too dad!"
Then the man stood up and gazed in the eyes of his oldest son (maybe 9 or 10 years old) and while cupping his son's face in his hands said," You are already quite the young man. I love you very much." They too shared a very loving and tender hug.

While this was happening a baby girl was squirming excitedly in her mother's arms, never once taking her little eyes off the wonderful sight of her returning father. The man said "Hi, baby girl!" as he gently took the child from her mother. He kissed her face all over and then held her close to her chest while rocking her from side to side. The little girl instantly relaxed and simply laid her head on his shoulder, motionless in pure contentment.

After several moments, he handed his daughter to his eldest son and declared, "I have saved the best until last!" and proceeded to give his wife, the most loving kiss I ever remember seeing.

He gazed into her eyes for several seconds and then silently mouthed "I love you so much." They started looking into each others eyes, beaming big smiles at one another, while holding both hands. For an instant they reminded me of newlyweds, but I knew by the age of their kids that they couldn't possibly be.

I puzzled about it for a moment then realized how totally engrossed I was in this wonderful display of unconditional love not more than an arm's length away from me. I suddenly felt uncomfortable, as if I was invading something sacred, but was amazed to hear my own voice nervously ask, "Wow! How long have you two been married?" "We've been together 14 years in total and married for 12 of those." he replied, without breaking his gaze from his lovely wife's face."Well then how long have you been away?" I asked.  The man finally turned and looked at me, still beaming his smile,"Two whole days".

Two days?! I was stunned by the intensity of greeting, I had assumed he had been gone for at least several weeks - If not months. I know my expression betrayed me, I said almost offhandedly, hoping to end my intrusion with some semblance of grace, "I hope my marriage is still that passionate after 12 years!"

The man suddenly stopped smiling and looked straight into my eyes and with forcefulness that burned right into my soul, he said something that just left me a different person. He said, "Don't hope,friend, just decide!" Then he flashed me his wonderful smile again, shook my hand and said "God Bless!" With that he and his family turned and strode away together.
I was still watching that exceptional man and his special family walking away when my friend came up to me and asked," What are you looking at?" Without hesitating, and a with a curious sense of certainty, I replied, "My future!" "I wish I could be such a wonderful wife of such wonderful man."


sXmas_santahat_100-101 A Circle of Kindness Started by a 10 Year Old Girl
- Unknown -

I was shopping at my local supermarket., as I normally have for years.  One particular day, I had done about 2 weeks worth of shopping and was headed toward the register to pay for my groceries.  After the cashier had scanned my items and I had bagged them up, she stated that the total was $150.  

I reached into my back right pocket to grab the money to pay and noticed that there was no money in there.  I started to get nervous.  I knew my pocket book was in the car and I was sure I had put the money in my back right pocket. I look at cashier with wet eyes and a confused look not knowing what to do.  There were people behind me on the line. She told me to speak with the courtesy counter.  I laughed and said, "Really? It's cash, no one would hand that in!"  

I said I would be right back and ran to my truck to get out more money to pay my bill, money that was to be used to pay another bill.  I ran back inside and handed money to the cashier.  She again prompted me to ask the courtesy desk, "You never know..." she said.  I laugh and said "okay".  

I decided that there was no harm in checking so I walked up to a women behind the counter and said "I have to ask, did anyone turn in cash by any chance?". She asked "How much?".  My face then lit up.  "$200 in the form of one hundred dollar bills." I replied.  She said, "Actually, yes, someone did!".  I was so surprised! "Who? I want to thank them."  She points to a young girl about 10 years old and says, "She did."

I walked over to the mom and hugged her.  She said, "It wasn't me, it was my daughter".  I said "I know, I wanted thank you both, although she found it ... it's because of you that I got this back."  I was so happy, I was almost in tears. 

The next day at work, a person in another department offered me tickets to the circus.  He handed me 5 tickets. Almost instantly that young girls face popped in my head.  After work I went back to the supermarket and stopped at the courtesy counter and asked if they had any idea who that women was?  She smiled and said, "Yes, actually I do.  She is a friend of mine".  Oh good, I was so happy.   I asked her to do me a favor and pass along these 5 tickets to her and say thank you from me.

She told me that the family of the little girl who found my money don't have very much so they would really appreciate this.  She also said that they have 3 children, so five was the prefect number of tickets! "Wow," I thought.

At first, I had I felt a little weird bringing those tickets to the store but I am SO glad I did!
Lesson: Never think twice about doing something nice for someone. 


sXmas_santahat_100-101 A Shoe Seller Walks in the Shoes of Kindness
- Unknown -

Today, I felt terrible. My head was full of problems and confusion.  I decided to take a walk even though I didn't know where I would go. The most extraordinary thing happened when I was out on this walk.

I saw an old man sitting on a chair. He was a seller of second-hand shoes. I thought he looked at least 70 years old. He seemed so tired and nobody was buying his shoes. I wanted to give him something but I had not brought anything with me.

Then, a little girl came toward him. I heard the child say, "Grandfather, may I polish your shoes?" That old man took pity on her, smiled, and he gave her a  shoe to polish.
The girl said, "I polish the shoe because I need money to buy my brother a new school uniform." 

I heard this and tears came to my eyes. The old man answered, "Oh, little girl. Just stop doing this. Come with me, and I will buy you a uniform." Then they walked to a market (I followed behind) and he bought her a uniform.
 
The girl was so happy.  She said, "Thank you so much for doing this. May God bless you." Then she left, leaving the old man smiling.

He walked away from the market, but I stopped him. I whispered in his ear, "You are a hero! Thank you for your kindness!"  As I walked away, I glanced back, and I could see him still smiling.

I was blown away by the kindness I had just seen.  Someone who had so little themselves, was able to show such incredible generosity! Amazing! My own sadness had completely disappeared, chased way by the light of this kind act.

I began realizing that I have a lot to be thankful for. I hope, some day, I can show my appreciation of what I have by following the example of the old man who only had a little, but shared it so beautifully with someone who had nothing.


sXmas_santahat_100-101 A 15 Year Blessing From A Homeless Person 
- Unknown -

This is a story that happened 20 years ago, but it has always stayed with me since then.
 
On the way back from work every evening, more often than not there would be a homeless man standing at the exit of the freeway.  He looked to be in his late 40's but was probably a lot younger. He had shoulder length straight black hair a short beard, and he was of average stature.
 
His eyes were what struck me the most about him, they were brown and they had a sparkle. Like an inside light that was beaming out of his eyes.  His eyes, I thought, represented the man in general. People say they can tell a lot from a person’s eyes. It was certainly true in his case.  He always waved at every car, he was always happy and smiling and sometimes almost dancing. 
 
Every day after work I would remember to gather any spare change, and put it aside to give to him if I saw him. A feeling of joy would come over me every time I saw him, as I came off the ramp.  He had that effect.
 
I’d quickly roll down my window and give him the coins. Occasionally the red light would be on for a minute, and we would ask each other about our day. His answer would always be the same, “I’m blessed!”.
 
I knew what his answer was going to be every time, yet I would still ask. It amazed me that even in his situation of being homeless he was so positive, and his answer would remind me of how blessed I was. A single mother of four amazing kids, with a place to call home and with a job to provide for my kids.
 
Then one day I was called into my boss’s office and was told that I was being laid off due to the economy.  A feeling of worry engulfed me, and for the rest of that day all I could think of was “how am I going to provide for my kids, how am I going to pay rent, what am I going to do?”
 
Needless to say that on my way home that day I was very sad and upset. I didn’t remember to look for my spare change and keep it ready like I usually did.  I wasn’t feeling the joy as I got off the ramp where the homeless man would be. Yet there he was as always, as I turned the ramp.  He set his eyes on me, while still smiling and waving at others.
 
I’d hoped to catch the green light, but I missed it. While I was waiting for the red light to turn, he strolled over to my car.  He had a big smile he looked me straight in the eyes and said “today I will give you a dollar”.  He then reached into his pocket and pulled out a dollar bill.  I was blown away.  I burst into tears. I wanted to jump out of my car and hug him!
 
You see that day he gave me more than a dollar bill, he taught me a valuable lesson. No matter what material things are taken from you, no one can take away your choice to be joyful. My ride home was smooth sailing, I had lost my job, had no savings, but I knew I was blessed!
 
Every time I’m faced with challenges, I think of the homeless man’s valuable lesson and remember that I am blessed.


sXmas_santahat_100-101 Turning Fear Into True Compassion
-- Unknown -

This is a true story that happened to my friend Rekha...

Rekha maintains an exercise regime that includes a brisk walk every morning around some gardens in our neighbourhood.  One morning, she was walking earlier then usual, daybreak was only just beginning to set in and it was still relatively dark.

As she was walking, a cyclist came up to her, snatched her handbag (containing her keys, phone and credit cards) and sped off with it! She ran after him shouting  "thief - thief".  A man further ahead must have heard her, or seen what had happened.  He was washing a car and had a bucket of water with him.  He grabbed the bucket and threw the water on to the cyclist.

The cyclist, caught off guard, drove off the pavement, and his bike fell over.  The other people in the park rushed over and surrounded him.  My friend Rekha was worried that the people would try and beat him up, as often happens in India, and so she pleaded with them not to hurt him.

She bent down and asked the man why he did this to her?  He was extremely repentant and explained that he was the son of a poor farmer and that this year their crops had failed.  He said that the money lenders had threatened to beat up his father and hurt their family if they didn't pay on time.  He said that he was absolutely desperate and didn't know what else to do.  He was very sorry.

Rekha was deeply moved by this story.  She could see that boy was young and he was so skinny and bonny.  She looked into the boy's eyes and said that she forgave him.  She then pulled out some money from her handbag and gave it to him.  She told him that stealing was wrong and that he shouldn't do it again.  He said he wouldn't.  He said he was from a good family and well brought up and that he had made a terrible mistake.



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

  • According to the records as found with the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the number of vehicles stolen on the New Year’s Day is much higher than that registered on any other national holiday.
  • People across different parts of the world widely believe in the concept of fist footing. The first visitors one sees or the one who first person to step into the house after the clock strikes midnight is considered to bring either good luck or bad fortune. The first visitor is also expected to carry a gift that signifies wealth and prosperity.
  • New Year’s strange traditions also feature embracing of anything that comes in round or ring shape as such a shape is said to symbolize ‘completion of a full circle”. There is a popular belief in several cultures that shape of a ring brings in good fortune. Therefore, people prefer to consume cakes in round shape or donuts to attract wealth.
  • Fireworks were banned and thus came into existence the Time Square New Year's Eve Ball that became highly famous for its illumination on New Year’s Day. It was in 1907 that the first ball was lighted up, made of wood and iron and weighing around 700-pound. The first ball was decorated with over a hundred 25-watts light bulbs. Time Square New Year's Eve Ball of today has come to weigh around 11,875-pounds and is 12 feet in diameter. The ball is designed by Waterford Crystal and adorned with nearly 2,668 Waterford crystals. The wartime restrictions became the reason for not lowering the New Year's Eve ball in 1942 and 1943.
  • The first month of the year in the Gregorian calendar- January has been named after God Janus, who holds two faces. One face of the God look backwards, while the other one look towards the future and represents the ‘spirit of the opening’.
  • An interesting trivia about the New Year is the wishes being written and collected from visitors to Times Square in New York City. Pieces of confetti strewn across the Times Square are picked up and used by visitors to the site for conveying their greetings and wishes for the New Year. The wishes are gathered and added to the ton of the confetti, which is eventually being showered on the crowd gathered in Times Square for celebrations marked to ring in the New Year.
  • People across different cultures are seen consuming different kinds of lucky foods for the New Year’s Day. Some people believe that eating fish, pork, legumes, lentils and cooked green can bring in good fortune in the upcoming year and hence they arrange for meals comprising the auspicious food for their celebrations on the New Year’s Eve. Consumption of chicken or lobsters is considered to bring in bad luck for the entire year because chicken moves backwards. It is widely believed that eating unlucky foods for celebrating New Year’s Day might cause a reversal of their good fortune. 
  • There is long-lived New Year tradition of burning effigies and dolls in several parts of the world on the eve of the New Year Day. Dolls are burnt to get rid of the evil spirits of the past and to wash away the bad memories. People in Puerto Rico, Colombia and Cuba ring in the New Year by putting on fire a life-size doll with the belief that by burning it they would also be able to bury the haunting and painful experiences of the past.
  • The practice of is not a few years old but its origin can be traced back to as early as the Babylonians. According to the data, nearly 40-45% of the people in the US take a pledge on the New Year’s Day. Most of the resolutions taken by people include issues such as weight loss, quitting of bad habits such as alcohol consumption and smoking. The research also throws up an interesting trivia about New Year resolutions. It is seen that merely a few stick to tjeir resolutions till the end of the first month of the New Year, while nearly 25% of the people forget about their resolutions before the end of January. 
  • A search on trivia related to New Year shows that there is a tradition of making the first baby born on the first day of the New Year as a symbol to signify the year. This practice was started by the ancient Greeks around 600 B.C. and has been in continuation till date. Some cultures also follow the norm of carrying a baby in a basket to pay tribute to the God of fertility- Dionysus. It is also meant for signifying the annual birth of the baby in some countries. 
  • People in countries like Mexico, Bolivia and Italy also follow a weird New Year tradition of wearing red underwear on the eve of the New Year. It is said to bring good luck for the entire year, while yellow underwear is also worn on the New Year’s Day as it symbolizes money. 
  • Some of the countries also follow the ritual of eating some lucky foods for the New Year. Spain has the ritual of eating twelve grapes-each for a month to bring about good fortune in the upcoming year. In Philippines, people prefer to eat food items in round shape to secure happiness and invite economic prosperity all round the year.
  • The common belief behind lighting up fireworks in some countries on New Year’s Day is that it not only illuminates the sky but also dispels bad spirits and unpleasant memories of the past.
  • Geographically, the world will be half way into 2014 when the time zone GMT or UTC enters the New Year. This time zone includes the United Kingdom, Ireland, Morocco, Iceland, and Western Sahara.
  • The most densely populated time zone is in the UTC offset of +8 hours. This time zone includes China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Western Australia with up to a quarter of the world’s population. About half of the world’s population will have begun 2014 at UTC+5:30 when India enters the New Year.


23 December 2018

posted 21 Dec 2018, 23:01 by C S Paul   [ updated 21 Dec 2018, 23:04 ]

Christmas Special - III
animated Christmas tree with lights

23 December 2018

sXmas_carolers_100-100 THE STORY OF CHRISTMAS 

taken from the classic

BEN-HUR: A TALE OF THE CHRIST 

by Lew Wallace

>>>>>>>>Continued from last week


BOOK FIRST - CHAPTER XIII (continued)

Yet later in the evening the wise men were lying in a lewen of the khan awake. The stones which served them as pillows raised their heads so they could look out of the open arch into the depths of the sky; and as they watched the twinkling of the stars, they thought of the next manifestation. How would it come? What would it be?

They were in Jerusalem at last; they had asked at the gate for Him they sought; they had borne witness of his birth; it remained only to find him; and as to that, they placed all trust in the Spirit.

Men listening for the voice of God, or waiting a sign from Heaven, cannot sleep.

While they were in this condition, a man stepped in under the arch, darkening the lewen.

"Awake!" he said to them; "I bring you a message which will not be put off."

They all sat up.

"From whom?" asked the Egyptian.

"Herod the king."

Each one felt his spirit thrill.

"Are you not the steward of the khan?" Balthasar asked next.

"I am."

"What would the king with us?"

"His messenger is without; let him answer."

"Tell him, then, to abide our coming."

"You were right, O my brother!" said the Greek, when the steward was gone. "The question put to the people on the road, and to the guard at the gate, has given us quick notoriety. I am impatient; let us up quickly."

They arose, put on their sandals, girt their mantles about them, and went out.

"I salute you, and give you peace, and pray your pardon; but my master, the king, has sent me to invite you to the palace, where he would have speech with you privately."

Thus the messenger discharged his duty.

A lamp hung in the entrance, and by its light they looked at each other, and knew the Spirit was upon them. Then the Egyptian stepped to the steward, and said, so as not to be heard by the others, "You know where our goods are stored in the court, and where our camels are resting. While we are gone, make all things ready for our departure, if it should be needful."

"Go your way assured; trust me," the steward replied.

"The king's will is our will," said Balthasar to the messenger."We will follow you."

The streets of the Holy City were narrow then as now, but not so rough and foul; for the great builder, not content with beauty, enforced cleanliness and convenience also. Following their guide, the brethren proceeded without a word.

Through the dim starlight, made dimmer by the walls on both sides, sometimes almost lost under bridges connecting the house-tops, out of a low ground they ascended a hill. At last they came to a portal reared across the way. In the light of fires blazing before it in two great braziers, they caught a glimpse of the structure, and also of some guards leaning motionlessly upon their arms. They passed into a building unchallenged.

Then by passages and arched halls; through courts, and under colonnades not always lighted; up long flights of stairs, past innumerable cloisters and chambers, they were conducted into a tower of great height. Suddenly the guide halted, and, pointing through an open door, said to them, "Enter. The king is there."

The air of the chamber was heavy with the perfume of sandal-wood, and all the appointments within were effeminately rich. Upon the floor, covering the central space, a tufted rug was spread, and upon that a throne was set. The visitors had but time, however, to catch a confused idea of the place--of carved and gilt ottomans and couches; of fans and jars and musical instruments; of golden candlesticks glittering in their own lights; of walls painted in the style of the voluptuous Grecian school, one look at which had made a Pharisee hide his head with holy horror. Herod, sitting upon

the throne to receive them, clad as when at the conference with the doctors and lawyers, claimed all their minds.

At the edge of the rug, to which they advanced uninvited, they prostrated themselves. The king touched a bell. An attendant came in, and placed three stools before the throne.

"Seat yourselves," said the monarch, graciously.

"From the North Gate," he continued, when they were at rest, "I had this afternoon report of the arrival of three strangers, curiously mounted, and appearing as if from far countries. Are you the men?"

The Egyptian took the sign from the Greek and the Hindoo, and answered, with the profoundest salaam, "Were we other than we are, the mighty Herod, whose fame is as incense to the whole world, would not have sent for us. We may not doubt that we are the strangers."

Herod acknowledged the speech with a wave of the hand.

"Who are you? Whence do you come?" he asked, adding significantly, "Let each speak for himself."

In turn they gave him account, referring simply to the cities and lands of their birth, and the routes by which they came to Jerusalem. Somewhat disappointed, Herod plied them more directly.

"What was the question you put to the officer at the gate?"

"We asked him, Where is he that is born King of the Jews."

"I see now why the people were so curious. You excite me no less. Is there another King of the Jews?"

The Egyptian did not blanch.

"There is one newly born."

An expression of pain knit the dark face of the monarch, as if his mind were swept by a harrowing recollection.

"Not to me, not to me!" he exclaimed.

Possibly the accusing images of his murdered children flitted before him; recovering from the emotion, whatever it was, he asked, steadily, "Where is the new king?"

"That, O king, is what we would ask."

"You bring me a wonder--a riddle surpassing any of Solomon's," the inquisitor said next. "As you see, I am in the time of life when curiosity is as ungovernable as it was in childhood, when to trifle with it is cruelty. Tell me further, and I will honor you as kings honor each other. Give me all you know about the newly born, and I will join you in the search for him; and when we have found him, I will do what you wish; I will bring him to Jerusalem, and train him in kingcraft; I will use my grace with Caesar for his promotion and glory. Jealousy shall not come between us, so I swear. But tell me first how, so widely separated by seas and deserts, you all came to hear of him."

"I will tell you truly, O king."

"Speak on," said Herod.

Balthasar raised himself erect, and said, solemnly, "There is an Almighty God."

Herod was visibly startled.

"He bade us come hither, promising that we should find the Redeemer of the World; that we should see and worship him, and bear witness that he was come; and, as a sign, we were each given to see a star. His Spirit stayed with us. O king, his Spirit is with us now!"

An overpowering feeling seized the three. The Greek with difficulty restrained an outcry. Herod's gaze darted quickly from one to the other; he was more suspicious and dissatisfied than before.

"You are mocking me," he said. "If not, tell me more. What is to follow the coming of the new king?"

"The salvation of men."

"From what?"

"Their wickedness."

"How?"

"By the divine agencies--Faith, Love, and Good Works."

"Then"--Herod paused, and from his look no man could have said with what feeling he continued--"you are the heralds of the Christ. Is that all?"

Balthasar bowed low.

"We are your servants, O king."

The monarch touched a bell, and the attendant appeared.

"Bring the gifts," the master said.

The attendant went out, but in a little while returned, and, kneeling before the guests, gave to each one an outer robe or mantle of scarlet and blue, and a girdle of gold. They acknowledged the honors with Eastern prostrations.

"A word further," said Herod, when the ceremony was ended. "To the officer of the gate, and but now to me, you spoke of seeing a star in the east."

"Yes," said Balthasar, "his star, the star of the newly born."

"What time did it appear?"

"When we were bidden come hither."

Herod arose, signifying the audience was over. Stepping from the throne towards them, he said, with all graciousness,

"If, as I believe, O illustrious men, you are indeed the heralds of the Christ just born, know that I have this night consulted those wisest in things Jewish, and they say with one voice he should be born in Bethlehem of Judea. I say to you, go thither; go and search diligently for the young child; and when you have found him bring me word again, that I may come and worship him. To your going there shall be no let or hindrance. Peace be with you!" And, folding his robe about him, he left the chamber.

Directly the guide came, and led them back to the street, and thence to the khan, at the portal of which the Greek said, impulsively, "Let us to Bethlehem, O brethren, as the king has advised."

"Yes," cried the Hindoo. "The Spirit burns within me."

"Be it so," said Balthasar, with equal warmth. "The camels are ready."

They gave gifts to the steward, mounted into their saddles, received directions to the Joppa Gate, and departed. At their approach the great valves were unbarred, and they passed out into the open country, taking the road so lately travelled by Joseph and Mary. As they came up out of Hinnom, on the plain of Rephaim, a light appeared, at first wide-spread and faint.

Their pulses fluttered fast. The light intensified rapidly; they closed their eyes against its burning brilliance: when they dared look again, lo! the star, perfect as any in the heavens, but low down and moving slowly before them. And they folded their hands, and shouted, and rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

"God is with us! God is with us!" they repeated, in frequent cheer, all the way, until the star, rising out of the valley beyond Mar Elias, stood still over a house up on the slope of the hill near the town.

BOOK FIRST - CHAPTER XIV

It was now the beginning of the third watch, and at Bethlehem the morning was breaking over the mountains in the east, but so feebly that it was yet night in the valley. The watchman on the roof of the old khan, shivering in the chilly air, was listening for the first distinguishable sounds with which life, awakening, greets the dawn, when a light came moving up the hill towards the house. He thought it a torch in some one's hand; next moment he thought it a meteor; the brilliance grew, however, until it became a star. Sore afraid, he cried out, and brought everybody within the walls to the roof. The phenomenon, in eccentric motion, continued to approach; the rocks, trees, and roadway under it shoneas in a glare of lightning; directly its brightness became blinding.

The more timid of the beholders fell upon their knees, and prayed, with their faces hidden; the boldest, covering their eyes, crouched, and now and then snatched glances fearfully. Afterwhile the khan andeverything thereabout lay under the intolerable radiance. Such as dared look beheld the star standing still directly over the house in front of the cave where the Child had been born.

In the height of this scene, the wise men came up, and at the gate dismounted from their camels, and shouted for admission. When the steward so far mastered his terror as to give them heed, he drew the bars and opened to them. The camels looked spectral in the unnatural light, and, besides their outlandishness, there were in the faces and manner of the three visitors an eagerness and exaltation which still further excited the keeper's fears and fancy; he fell back, and for a time could not answer the question they put to him.

"Is not this Bethlehem of Judea?"

But others came, and by their presence gave him assurance.

"No, this is but the khan; the town lies farther on."

"Is there not here a child newly born?"

The bystanders turned to each other marvelling, though some of them answered, "Yes, yes."

"Show us to him!" said the Greek, impatiently.

"Show us to him!" cried Balthasar, breaking through his gravity; "for we have seen his star, even that which ye behold over the house, and are come to worship him."

The Hindoo clasped his hands, exclaiming, "God indeed lives! Make haste, make haste! The Savior is found. Blessed, blessed are we above men!"

The people from the roof came down and followed the strangers as they were taken through the court and out into the enclosure; at sight of the star yet above the cave, though less candescent than before, some turned back afraid; the greater part went on.

As the strangers neared the house, the orb arose; when they were at the door, it was high up overhead vanishing; when they entered, it went out lost to sight. And to the witnesses of what then took place came a conviction that there was a divine relation between the star and the strangers, which extended also to at least some of the occupants of the cave. When the door was opened, they crowded in.

The apartment was lighted by a lantern enough to enable the strangers to find the mother, and the child awake in her lap.

"Is the child thine?" asked Balthasar of Mary.

And she who had kept all the things in the least affecting the little one, and pondered them in her heart, held it up in the light, saying,

"He is my son!"

And they fell down and worshipped him.

They saw the child was as other children: about its head was neither nimbus nor material crown; its lips opened not in speech; if it heard their expressions of joy, their invocations, their prayers, it made no sign whatever, but, baby-like, looked longer at the flame in the lantern than at them.

In a little while they arose, and, returning to the camels, brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, and laid them before the child, abating nothing of their worshipful speeches; of which no part is given, for the thoughtful know that the pure worship of the pure heart was then what it is now, and has always been, an inspired song.

And this was the Savior they had come so far to find!

Yet they worshipped without a doubt.

Why?

Their faith rested upon the signs sent them by him whom we have since come to know as the Father; and they were of the kind to whom his promises were so all-sufficient that they asked nothing about his ways. Few there were who had seen the signs and heard the promises--the Mother and Joseph, the shepherds, and the Three—yet they all believed alike; that is to say, in this period of the plan of salvation, God was all and the Child nothing. But look forward, O reader! A time will come when the signs will all proceed from the Son. Happy they who then believe in him! 

Let us wait that period.


Thoughts for Christmas
  • “Peace on earth will come to stay, When we live Christmas every day.” - Helen Steiner Rice
  • "Do give books - religious or otherwise - for Christmas. They're never fattening, seldom sinful, and permanently personal." - Lenore Hershey 
  • "It is the personal thoughtfulness, the warm human awareness, the reaching out of the self to one's fellow man that makes giving worthy of the Christmas spirit." - Isabel Currier 
  • “Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree. In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall”  Larry Wilde
  • “Jesus soon is coming, and Christmas too, Good reason for being happy,Helping people to do.”  Miguel Ángel Sáez Gutiérrez
  • “Unless we make Christmas an occasion to share our blessings, all the snow in Alaska won't make it 'white'." -  Bing Crosby (1904-1977), American singer and film actor
  • “The worst gift I was given is when I got out of rehab that Christmas; a bottle of wine. It was delicious.” - Craig Ferguson
  • “It is the personal thoughtfulness, the warm human awareness, the reaching out of the self to one's fellow man that makes giving worthy of the Christmas spirit.”  Isabel Currier
  • “A Christmas candle is a lovely thing; It makes no noise at all, But softly gives itself away; While quite unselfish, it grows small.” - Eva K. Logue
  • “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 ~ (1889-1970), American religious leader.
  • “Except the Christ is born again tonight In dreams of all men, saints and sons of shame, The world will never see his kingdom bright. - Vachel Lindsay
  • “The Church does not superstitiously observe days, merely as days, but as memorials of important facts. Christmas might be kept as well upon one day of the year as another; but there should be a stated day for commemorating the birth of our Saviour, because there is danger that what may be done on any day, will be neglected. ”  Samuel Johnson
  • “There are some wonderful aspects to Christmas. It's magical. And each year, from at least November, well, September, well, if I'm honest, May, I look forward to it hugely.” Miranda Hart
  • “Mankind is a great, an immense family... This is proved by what we feel in our hearts at Christmas.” - Pope John XXIII
  • “We must look to Mary's example to know how to deal with the glorious impossibilities of God. Look how she turned the world upside down by making one simple statement ...”  Calvin Miller
  • “Before God does anything, before he makes anything for us to be sustained by, God says, "More than food, more than water, more than shelter, more than other people, they are going to need me.” - Wesley Miller
  • “Want to keep Christ in Christmas? Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, forgive the guilty, welcome the unwanted, care for the ill, love your enemies, and do unto others as you would have done unto you.” - Steve Maraboli
  • “Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.” - Hamilton Wright Mabie
  • “Christmas is not as much about opening our presents as opening our hearts.” - Janice Maeditere
  • “What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace." - Agnes M. Pahro
  • “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
  • “One of the things that Christmas reminds us is that Jesus Christ was once a child.”  Hark Herald Sarmiento
  • “Christmas is a bridge. We need bridges as the river of time flows past. Today's Christmas should mean creating happy hours for tomorrow and reliving those of yesterday.” - Gladys Taber

sXmas_santahat_100-101 The Little Match Girl

Most terribly cold it was; it snowed, and was nearly quite dark, and evening-- the last evening of the year. In this cold and darkness there went along the street a poor little girl, bareheaded, and with naked feet. When she left home she had slippers on, it is true; but what was the good of that? They were very large slippers, which her mother had hitherto worn; so large were they; and the poor little thing lost them as she scuffled away across the street, because of two carriages that rolled by dreadfully fast.

One slipper was nowhere to be found; the other had been laid hold of by an urchin, and off he ran with it; he thought it would do capitally for a cradle when he some day or other should have children himself. So the little maiden walked on with her tiny naked feet, that were quite red and blue from a cold. She carried a quantity of matches in an old apron, and she held a bundle of them in her hand. Nobody had bought anything of her the whole livelong day; no one had given her a single farthing.

She crept along trembling with cold and hunger--a very picture of sorrow, the poor little thing!

The flakes of snow covered her long fair hair, which fell in beautiful curls around her neck, but of that, of course, she never once now thought. From all the windows the candles were gleaming, and it smelt so deliciously of roast goose, for you know it was New Year's Eve; yes, of that she thought.

In a corner formed by two houses, of which one advanced more than the other, she seated herself down and cowered together. Her little feet she had drawn close up to her, but she grew colder and colder, and to go home she did not venture, for she had not sold any matches and could not bring a farthing of money: from her father she would certainly get blows, and at home it was cold too, for above her she had only the roof, through which the wind whistled, even though the largest cracks were stopped up with straw and rags.

Her little hands were almost numbed with cold. Oh! a match might afford her a world of comfort, if she only dared take a single one out of the bundle, draw it against the wall, and warm her fingers by it. She drew one out. "Rischt!" how it blazed, how it burnt! It was a warm, bright flame, like a candle, as she held her hands over it: it was a wonderful light. It seemed really to the little maiden as though she were sitting before a large iron stove, with burnished brass feet and a brass ornament at top. The fire burned with such blessed influence; it warmed so delightfully. The little girl had already stretched out her feet to warm them too; but--the small flame went out, the stove vanished: she had only the remains of the burnt-out match in her hand.

She rubbed another against the wall: it burned brightly, and where the light fell on the wall, there the wall became transparent like a veil, so that she could see into the room. On the table was spread a snow-white tablecloth; upon it was a splendid porcelain service, and the roast goose was steaming famously with its stuffing of apple and dried plums. And what was still more capital to behold was, the goose hopped down from the dish, reeled about on the floor with knife and fork in its breast, till it came up to the poor little girl; when--the match went out and nothing but the thick, cold, damp wall was left behind. She lighted another match. Now there she was sitting under the most magnificent Christmas tree: it was still larger and more decorated than the one which she had seen through the glass door in the rich merchant's house.

Thousands of lights were burning on the green branches, and gaily-colored pictures, such as she had seen in the shop-windows, looked down upon her. The little maiden stretched out her hands towards them when--the match went out. The lights of the Christmas tree rose higher and higher, she saw them now as stars in heaven; one fell down and formed a long trail of fire.

"Someone is just dead!" said the little girl; for her old grandmother, the only person who had loved her, and who was now no more, had told her, that when a star falls, a soul ascends to God.

She drew another match against the wall: it was again light, and in the lustre there stood the old grandmother, so bright and radiant, so mild, and with such an expression of love.

"Grandmother!" cried the little one. "Oh, take me with you! You go away when the match burns out; you vanish like the warm stove, like the delicious roast goose, and like the magnificent Christmas tree!" And she rubbed the whole bundle of matches quickly against the wall, for she wanted to be quite sure of keeping her grandmother near her. And the matches gave such a brilliant light that it was brighter than at noon-day: never formerly had the grandmother been so beautiful and so tall. She took the little maiden, on her arm, and both flew in brightness and in joy so high, so very high, and then above was neither cold, nor hunger, nor anxiety--they were with God.

But in the corner, at the cold hour of dawn, sat the poor girl, with rosy cheeks and with a smiling mouth, leaning against the wall--frozen to death on the last evening of the old year. Stiff and stark sat the child there with her matches, of which one bundle had been burnt. "She wanted to warm herself," people said. No one had the slightest suspicion of what beautiful things she had seen; no one even dreamed of the splendor in which, with her grandmother she had entered on the joys of a new year.



sXmas_santahat_100-101 A Letter from Santa Claus
by Mark Twain

Palace of Saint Nicholas in the Moon
Christmas Morning

My Dear Susy Clemens,

I have received and read all the letters which you and your little sister have written me . . . . I can read your and your baby sister's jagged and fantastic marks without any trouble at all. But I had trouble with those letters which you dictated through your mother and the nurses, for I am a foreigner and cannot read English writing well. You will find that I made no mistakes about the things which you and the baby ordered in your own letters--I went down your chimney at midnight when you were asleep and delivered them all myself--and kissed both of you, too . . . . But . . . there were . . . one or two small orders which I could not fill because we ran out of stock . . . .

There was a word or two in your mama's letter which . . . I took to be "a trunk full of doll's clothes." Is that it? I will call at your kitchen door about nine o'clock this morning to inquire. But I must not see anybody and I must not speak to anybody but you. When the
kitchen doorbell rings, George must be blindfolded and sent to the door. You must tell George he must walk on tiptoe, and not speak-- otherwise he will die someday. Then you must go up to the nursery and stand on a chair or the nurse's bed and put your ear to the
speaking tube that leads down to the kitchen and when I whistle through it you must speak in the tube and say, "Welcome, Santa Claus!" Then I will ask whether it was a trunk you ordered or not.

If you say it was, I shall ask you what color you want the trunk to be . . . and then you must tell me every single thing in detail which you want the trunk to contain. Then when I say "Good-by and a merry Christmas to my little Susy Clemens," you must say "Good-by, good old Santa Claus, I thank you very much." Then you must go down into the library and make George close all the doors that open into the main hall, and everybody must keep still for a little while. I will go to the moon and get those things and in a few minutes I will come down the chimney that belongs to the fireplace that is in the hall--if it is a trunk you want--because I couldn't get such a thing as a trunk down the nursery chimney, you know . . . .If I should leave any snow in the hall, you must tell George to sweep it into the fireplace, for I haven't time to do such things. George must not use a broom, but a rag--else he will die someday . . . . If my boot should leave a stain on the marble, George must not holystone it
away. Leave it there always in memory of my visit; and whenever you look at it or show it to anybody you must let it remind you to be a good little girl. Whenever you are naughty and someone points to that mark which your good old Santa Claus's boot made on the marble, what will you say, little sweetheart?

Good-by for a few minutes, till I come down to the world and ring the kitchen doorbell.

Your loving Santa Claus

Whom people sometimes call "The Man in the Moon"



sXmas_santahat_100-101 THE GIFT OF THE MAGI
by O. Henry

One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one's cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty- seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas.

There was clearly nothing to do, but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl. So Della did it. Which instigates the moral reflection that life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.

While the mistress of the home is gradually subsiding from the first stage to the second, take a look at the home. A furnished flat at $8 per week. It did not exactly beggar description, but it certainly had that word on the lookout for the mendicancy squad.

In the vestibule below was a letter-box into which no letter would go, and an electric button from which no mortal finger could coax a ring. Also appertaining thereunto was a card bearing the name "Mr. James Dillingham Young."

The "Dillingham" had been flung to the breeze during a former period of prosperity when its possessor was being paid $30 per week. Now, when the income was shrunk to $20, though, they were thinking seriously of contracting to a modest and unassuming D. But whenever Mr. James Dillingham Young came home and reached his flat above he was called "Jim" and greatly hugged by Mrs. James Dillingham Young, already introduced to you as Della. Which is all very good.

Della finished her cry and attended to her cheeks with the powder rag. She stood by the window and looked out dully at a grey cat walking a gray fence in a gray backyard. Tomorrow would be Christmas Day, and she had only $1.87 with which to buy Jim a present. She had been saving every penny she could for months, with this result. Twenty dollars a week doesn't go far. Expenses had been greater than she had calculated. They always are. Only $1.87 to buy a present for Jim. Her Jim. Many a happy hour she had spent planning for something nice for him. Something fine and rare and sterling--something just a little bit near to being worthy of the honour of being owned by Jim.

There was a pier-glass between the windows of the room. Perhaps you have seen a pier-glass in an $8 flat. A very thin and very agile person may, by observing his reflection in a rapid sequence of longitudinal strips, obtain a fairly accurate conception of his looks. Della, being slender, had mastered the art.

Suddenly she whirled from the window and stood before the glass. her eyes were shining brilliantly, but her face had lost its colour within twenty seconds. Rapidly she pulled down her hair and let it fall to its full length.

Now, there were two possessions of the James Dillingham Youngs in which they both took a mighty pride. One was Jim's gold watch that had been his father's and his grandfather's. The other was Della's hair. Had the queen of Sheba lived in the flat across the airshaft, Della would have let her hair hang out the window some day to dry just to depreciate Her Majesty's jewels and gifts. Had King Solomon been the janitor, with all his treasures piled up in the basement, Jim would have pulled out his watch every time he passed, just to see him pluck at his beard from envy.

So now Della's beautiful hair fell about her rippling and shining like a cascade of brown waters. It reached below her knee and made itself almost a garment for her. And then she did it up again nervously and quickly. Once she faltered for a minute and stood still while a tear or two splashed on the worn red carpet.

On went her old brown jacket; on went her old brown hat. With a whirl of skirts and with the brilliant sparkle still in her eyes, she fluttered out the door and down the stairs to the street.

Where she stopped the sign read: "Mne. Sofronie. Hair Goods of All Kinds." One flight up Della ran, and collected herself, panting. Madame, large, too white, chilly, hardly looked the "Sofronie."

"Will you buy my hair?" asked Della.

"I buy hair," said Madame. "Take yer hat off and let's have a sight at the looks of it."

Down rippled the brown cascade.

"Twenty dollars," said Madame, lifting the mass with a practised hand.

"Give it to me quick," said Della.

Oh, and the next two hours tripped by on rosy wings. Forget the hashed metaphor. She was ransacking the stores for Jim's present.

She found it at last. It surely had been made for Jim and no one else. There was no other like it in any of the stores, and she had turned all of them inside out. It was a platinum fob chain simple and chaste in design, properly proclaiming its value by substance alone and not by meretricious ornamentation--as all good things should do. It was even worthy of The Watch. As soon as she saw it she knew that it must be Jim's. It was like him. Quietness and value--the description applied to both. Twenty-one dollars they took from her for it, and she hurried home with the 87 cents. With that chain on his watch Jim might be properly anxious about the time in any company. Grand as the watch was, he sometimes looked at it on the sly on account of the old leather strap that he used in place of a chain.

When Della reached home her intoxication gave way a little to prudence and reason. She got out her curling irons and lighted the gas and went to work repairing the ravages made by generosity added to love. Which is always a tremendous task, dear friends--a mammoth task.

Within forty minutes her head was covered with tiny, close-lying curls that made her look wonderfully like a truant schoolboy. She looked at her reflection in the mirror long, carefully, and critically.

"If Jim doesn't kill me," she said to herself, "before he takes a second look at me, he'll say I look like a Coney Island chorus girl. But what could I do--oh! what could I do with a dollar and eighty- seven cents?"

At 7 o'clock the coffee was made and the frying-pan was on the back of the stove hot and ready to cook the chops.

Jim was never late. Della doubled the fob chain in her hand and sat on the corner of the table near the door that he always entered. Then she heard his step on the stair away down on the first flight, and she turned white for just a moment. She had a habit for saying little silent prayer about the simplest everyday things, and now she whispered: "Please God, make him think I am still pretty."

The door opened and Jim stepped in and closed it. He looked thin and very serious. Poor fellow, he was only twenty-two--and to be burdened with a family! He needed a new overcoat and he was without gloves.

Jim stopped inside the door, as immovable as a setter at the scent of quail. His eyes were fixed upon Della, and there was an expression in them that she could not read, and it terrified her. It was not anger, nor surprise, nor disapproval, nor horror, nor any of the sentiments that she had been prepared for. He simply stared at her fixedly with that peculiar expression on his face.

Della wriggled off the table and went for him.

"Jim, darling," she cried, "don't look at me that way. I had my hair cut off and sold because I couldn't have lived through Christmas without giving you a present. It'll grow out again--you won't mind, will you? I just had to do it. My hair grows awfully fast. Say `Merry Christmas!' Jim, and let's be happy. You don't know what a nice-- what a beautiful, nice gift I've got for you."

"You've cut off your hair?" asked Jim, laboriously, as if he had not arrived at that patent fact yet even after the hardest mental labor.

"Cut it off and sold it," said Della. "Don't you like me just as well, anyhow? I'm me without my hair, ain't I?"

Jim looked about the room curiously.

"You say your hair is gone?" he said, with an air almost of idiocy.

"You needn't look for it," said Della. "It's sold, I tell you--sold and gone, too. It's Christmas Eve, boy. Be good to me, for it went for you. Maybe the hairs of my head were numbered," she went on with sudden serious sweetness, "but nobody could ever count my love for you. Shall I put the chops on, Jim?"

Out of his trance Jim seemed quickly to wake. He enfolded his Della. For ten seconds let us regard with discreet scrutiny some inconsequential object in the other direction. Eight dollars a week or a million a year--what is the difference? A mathematician or a wit would give you the wrong answer. The magi brought valuable gifts, but that was not among them. This dark assertion will be illuminated later on.

Jim drew a package from his overcoat pocket and threw it upon the table.

"Don't make any mistake, Dell," he said, "about me. I don't think there's anything in the way of a haircut or a shave or a shampoo that could make me like my girl any less. But if you'll unwrap that package you may see why you had me going a while at first."

White fingers and nimble tore at the string and paper. And then an ecstatic scream of joy; and then, alas! a quick feminine change to hysterical tears and wails, necessitating the immediate employment of all the comforting powers of the lord of the flat.

For there lay The Combs--the set of combs, side and back, that Della had worshipped long in a Broadway window. Beautiful combs, pure tortoise shell, with jewelled rims--just the shade to wear in the beautiful vanished hair. They were expensive combs, she knew, and her heart had simply craved and yearned over them without the least hope of possession. And now, they were hers, but the tresses that should have adorned the coveted adornments were gone.

But she hugged them to her bosom, and at length she was able to look up with dim eyes and a smile and say: "My hair grows so fast, Jim!"

And them Della leaped up like a little singed cat and cried, "Oh, oh!"

Jim had not yet seen his beautiful present. She held it out to him eagerly upon her open palm. The dull precious metal seemed to flash with a reflection of her bright and ardent spirit.

"Isn't it a dandy, Jim? I hunted all over town to find it. You'll have to look at the time a hundred times a day now. Give me your watch. I want to see how it looks on it."

Instead of obeying, Jim tumbled down on the couch and put his hands under the back of his head and smiled.

"Dell," said he, " let's put our Christmas presents away and keep 'em a while. They're too nice to use just at present. I sold the watch to get the money to buy your combs. And now suppose you put the chops on."

The magi, as you know, were wise men--wonderfully wise men--who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. O all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi.


sXmas_santahat_100-101 The Elves and the Shoemaker
by Brothers Grimm

A shoemaker, by no fault of his own, had become so poor that at last he had nothing left but leather for one pair of shoes. So in the evening, he cut out the shoes which he wished to begin to make the next morning, and as he had a good conscience, he lay down quietly in his bed, commended himself to God, and fell asleep. In the morning, after he had said his prayers, and was just going to sit down to work, the two shoes stood quite finished on his table. He was astounded, and knew not what to say to it. He took the shoes in his hands to observe them closer, and they were so neatly made that there was not one bad stitch in them, just as if they were intended as a masterpiece.

Soon after, a buyer came in, and as the shoes pleased him so well, he paid more for them than was customary, and, with the money, the shoemaker was able to purchase leather for two pairs of shoes. He cut them out at night, and the next morning was about to set to work with fresh courage, but he had no need to do so, for, when he got up, they were already made, and buyers also were not wanting, who gave him money enough to buy leather for four pairs of shoes. The following morning, too, he found the four pairs made; and so it went on constantly — what he cut out in the evening was finished by the morning, so that he soon had his honest independence again, and at last became a wealthy man.

Now it befell that one evening not long before Christmas, when the man had been cutting out, he said to his wife, before going to bed, "What think you if we were to stay up to-night to see who it is that lends us this helping hand?" The woman liked the idea, and lighted a candle, and then they hid themselves in a corner of the room, behind some clothes which were hanging up there, and watched. When it was midnight, two pretty little naked men came, sat down by the shoemaker's table, took all the work which was cut out before them and began to stitch, and sew, and hammer so skilfully and so quickly with their little fingers that the shoemaker could not turn away his eyes for astonishment. They did not stop until all was done, and stood finished on the table; and then they ran quickly away.

Next morning the woman said, "The little men have made us rich, and we really must show that we are grateful for it. They run about so, and have nothing on, and must be cold. I'll tell thee what I'll do: I will make them little shirts, and coats, and vests, and trousers, and knit both of them a pair of stockings, and do thou, too, make them two little pairs of shoes." The man said, "I shall be very glad to do it;" and one night, when everything was ready, they laid their presents all together on the table instead of the cut-out work, and then concealed themselves to see how the little men would behave. At midnight they came bounding in, and wanted to get to work at once, but as they did not find any leather cut out, but only the pretty little articles of clothing, they were at first astonished, and then they showed intense delight. They dressed themselves with the greatest rapidity, putting the pretty clothes on, and singing, "Now we are boys so fine to see, Why should we longer cobblers be?"

Then they danced and skipped and leapt over chairs and benches. At last they danced out of doors. From that time forth they came no more, but as long as the shoemaker lived all went well with him, and all his undertakings prospered.

 
sXmas_santahat_100-101 Christmas Day in the Morning
By Pearl S. Buck

He woke suddenly and completely. It was four o'clock, the hour at which his father had always called him to get up and help with the milking. Strange how the habits of his youth clung to him still! Fifty years ago, and his father had been dead for thirty years, and yet he waked at four o'clock in the morning. He had trained himself to turn over and go to sleep, but this morning it was Christmas, he did not try to sleep.

Why did he feel so awake tonight? He slipped back in time, as he did so easily nowadays. He was fifteen years old and still on his father's farm. He loved his father. He had not known it until one day a few days before Christmas, when he had overheard what his father was saying to his mother.

"Mary, I hate to call Rob in the mornings. He's growing so fast, and he needs his sleep. If you could see how he sleeps when I go in to wake him up! I wish I could manage alone

"Well, you can't, Adam." His mother's voice was brisk. "Besides, he isn't a child anymore. It's time he took his turn."

"Yes," his father said slowly. "But I sure do hate to wake him."

When he heard these words, something in him spoke: his father loved him! He had never thought of that before, taking for granted the tie of their blood. Neither his father nor his mother talked about loving their children--they had no time for such things. There was always so much to do on the farm.

Now that he knew his father loved him, there would be no loitering in the mornings and having to be called again. He got up after that, stumbling blindly in his sleep, and pulled on his clothes, his eyes shut, but he got up.

And then on the night before Christmas, that year when he was fifteen, he lay for a few minutes thinking about the next day. They were poor, and most of the excitement was in the turkey they had raised themselves and mince pies his mother made. His sisters sewed presents and his mother and father always bought him something he needed, not only a warm jacket, maybe, but something more, such as a book. And he saved and bought them each something, too.

He wished, that Christmas when he was fifteen, he had a better present for his father. As usual he had gone to the ten-cent store and bought a tie. It had seemed nice enough until he lay thinking the night before Christmas. He looked out of his attic window, the stars were bright.

"Dad," he had once asked when he was a little boy, "What is a stable?"

"It's just a barn," his father had replied, "like ours."

Then Jesus had been born in a barn, and to a barn the shepherds had come...

The thought struck him like a silver dagger. Why should he not give his father a special gift too, out there in the barn? He could get up early, earlier than four o'clock, and he could creep into the barn and get all the milking done. He'd do it alone, milk and clean up, and then when his father went in to start the milking he'd see it all done. And he would know who had done it. He laughed to himself as he gazed at the stars. It was what he would do, and he musn't sleep too sound.

He must have waked twenty times, scratching a match to look each time to look at his old watch -- midnight, and half past one, and then two o'clock.

At a quarter to three he got up and put on his clothes. He crept downstairs, careful of the creaky boards, and let himself out. The cows looked at him, sleepy and surprised. It was early for them, too.

He had never milked all alone before, but it seemed almost easy. He kept thinking about his father's surprise. His father would come in and get him, saying that he would get things started while Rob was getting dressed. He'd go to the barn, open the door, and then he'd go get the two big empty milk cans. But they wouldn't be waiting or empty, they'd be standing in the milk-house, filled.

"What the--," he could hear his father exclaiming.

He smiled and milked steadily, two strong streams rushing into the pail, frothing and fragrant.

The task went more easily than he had ever known it to go before. Milking for once was not a chore. It was something else, a gift to his father who loved him. He finished, the two milk cans were full, and he covered them and closed the milk-house door carefully, making sure of the latch.

Back in his room he had only a minute to pull off his clothes in the darkness and jump into bed, for he heard his father up. He put the covers over his head to silence his quick breathing. The door opened.

"Rob!" His father called. "We have to get up, son, even if it is Christmas."

"Aw-right," he said sleepily.

The door closed, and he lay still, laughing to himself. In just a few minutes his father would know. His dancing heart was ready to jump from his body.

The minutes were endless -- ten, fifteen, he did not know how many -- and he heard his father's footsteps again. The door opened, and he lay still.

"Rob!"

"Yes, Dad--"

His father was laughing, a queer sobbing sort of laugh.

"Thought you'd fool me, did you?" His father was standing by his bed, feeling for him, pulling away the cover.

"It's for Christmas, Dad!"

He found his father and clutched him in a great hug. He felt his father's arms go around him. It was dark, and they could not see each other's faces.

"Son, I thank you. Nobody ever did a nicer thing--"

"Oh, Dad, I want you to know -- I do want to be god!" The words broke from him of their own will. He did not know what to say. His heart was bursting with love.

He got up and pulled on his clothes again, and they went down to the Christmas tree. Oh what a Christmas, and how his heart had nearly burst again with shyness and pride as his father told his mother and made the younger children listen about how he, Rob, had got up all by himself.

"The best Christmas gift I ever had, and I'll remember it, son every year on Christmas morning, so long as I live."

They had both remembered it, and now that his father was dead, he remembered it alone: that blessed Christmas dawn when, alone with the cows in the barn, he had made his first gift of true love.

This Christmas he wanted to write a card to his wife and tell her how much he loved her, it had been a long time since he had really told her, although he loved her in a very special way, much more than he ever had when they were young. He had been fortunate that she had loved him. Ah, that was the true joy of life, the ability to love. Love was still alive in him, it still was.

It occurred to him suddenly that it was alive because long ago it had been born in him when he knew his father loved him. That was it: Love alone could awaken love. And he could give the gift again and again.This morning, this blessed Christmas morning, he would give it to his beloved wife. He could write it down in a letter for her to read and keep forever. He went to his desk and began his love letter to his wife: My dearest love...

Such a happy, happy Christmas!


sXmas_santahat_100-101 THE CHRISTMAS CUCKOO
By Frances Browne [Adapted]

Once upon a time there stood in the midst of a bleak moor, in the North Country, a certain village. All its inhabitants were poor, for their fields were barren, and they had little trade; but the poorest of them all were two brothers called Scrub and Spare, who followed the cobbler's craft. Their hut was built of clay and wattles. The door was low and always open, for there was no window. The roof did not entirely keep out the rain and the only thing comfortable was a wide fireplace, for which the brothers could never find wood enough to make sufficient fire. There they worked in most brotherly friendship, though with little encouragement.

On one unlucky day a new cobbler arrived in the village. He had lived in the capital city of the kingdom and, by his own account, cobbled for the queen and the princesses. His awls were sharp, his lasts were new; he set up his stall in a neat cottage with two windows. The villagers soon found out that one patch of his would out wear two of the brothers'. In short, all the mending left Scrub and Spare, and went to the new cobbler.

The season had been wet and cold, their barley did not ripen well, and the cabbages never half- closed in the garden. So the brothers were poor that winter, and when Christmas came they had nothing to feast on but a barley loaf and a piece of rusty bacon. Worse than that, the snow was very deep and they could get no firewood.

Their hut stood at the end of the village; beyond it spread the bleak moor, now all white and silent. But that moor had once been a forest; great roots of old trees were still to be found in it, loosened from the soil and laid bare by the winds and rains. One of these, a rough, gnarled log, lay hard by their door, the half of it above the snow, and Spare said to his brother: --

"Shall we sit here cold on Christmas while the great root lies yonder? Let us chop it up for firewood, the work will make us warm."

"No," said Scrub, "it's not right to chop wood on Christmas; besides, that root is too hard to be broken with any hatchet."

"Hard or not, we must have a fire," replied Spare. "Come, brother, help me in with it. Poor as we are there is nobody in the village will have such a yule log as ours."

Scrub liked a little grandeur, and, in hopes of having a fine yule log, both brothers strained and strove with all their might till, between pulling and pushing, the great old root was safe on the hearth, and beginning to crackle and blaze with the red embers.

In high glee the cobblers sat down to their bread and bacon. The door was shut, for there was nothing but cold moonlight and snow outside; but the hut, strewn with fir boughs and ornamented with holly, looked cheerful as the ruddy blaze flared up and rejoiced their hearts.

Then suddenly from out the blazing root they heard: "Cuckoo! cuckoo!" as plain as ever the spring-bird's voice came over the moor on a May morning.

"What is that?" said Scrub, terribly frightened; "it is something bad!"

"Maybe not," said Spare.

And out of the deep hole at the side of the root, which the fire had not reached, flew a large, gray cuckoo, and lit on the table before them. Much as the cobblers had been surprised, they were still more so when it said: --

"Good gentlemen, what season is this?"

"It's Christmas," said Spare.

"Then a merry Christmas to you!" said the cuckoo. "I went to sleep in the hollow of that old root one evening last summer, and never woke till the heat of your fire made me think it was summer again. But now since you have burned my lodging, let me stay in your hut till the spring comes round, -- I only want a hole to sleep in, and when I go on my travels next summer be assured I will bring you some present for your trouble."

"Stay and welcome," said Spare, while Scrub sat wondering if it were something bad or not.

"I'll make you a good warm hole in the thatch," said Spare. "But you must be hungry after that long sleep, -- here is a slice of barley bread. Come help us to keep Christmas!"

The cuckoo ate up the slice, drank water from a brown jug, and flew into a snug hole which Spare scooped for it in the thatch of the hut.

Scrub said he was afraid it wouldn't be lucky; but as it slept on and the days passed he forgot his fears.

So the snow melted, the heavy rains came, the cold grew less, the days lengthened, and one sunny morning the brothers were awakened by the cuckoo shouting its own cry to let them know the spring had come.

"Now I'm going on my travels," said the bird, "over the world to tell men of the spring. There is no country where trees bud, or flowers bloom, that I will not cry in before the year goes round. Give me another slice of barley bread to help me on my journey, and tell me what present I shall bring you at the twelve month's end."

Scrub would have been angry with his brother for cutting so large a slice, their store of barley being low, but his mind was occupied with what present it would be most prudent to ask for.

"There are two trees hard by the well that lies at the world's end," said the cuckoo; "one of them is called the golden tree, for its leaves are all of beaten gold. Every winter they fall into the well with a sound like scattered coin, and I know not what becomes of them. As for the other, it is always green like a laurel. Some call it the wise, and some the merry, tree. Its leaves never fall, but they that get one of them keep a blithe heart in spite of all misfortunes, and can make themselves as merry in a hut as in a palace."

"Good master cuckoo, bring me a leaf off that tree!" cried Spare.

"Now, brother, don't be a fool!" said Scrub; "think of the leaves of beaten gold! Dear master cuckoo, bring me one of them!"

Before another word could be spoken the cuckoo had flown out of the open door, and was shouting its spring cry over moor and meadow.

The brothers were poorer than ever that year. Nobody would send them a single shoe to mend, and Scrub and Spare would have left the village but for their barley-field and their cabbage- garden. They sowed their barley, planted their cabbage, and, now that their trade was gone, worked in the rich villagers' fields to make out a scanty living.

So the seasons came and passed; spring, summer, harvest, and winter followed each other as they have done from the beginning. At the end of the latter Scrub and Spare had grown so poor and ragged that their old neighbours forgot to invite them to wedding feasts or merry makings, and the brothers thought the cuckoo had forgotten them, too, when at daybreak on the first of April they heard a hard beak knocking at their door, and a voice crying: --

"Cuckoo! cuckoo! Let me in with my presents!"

Spare ran to open the door, and in came the cuckoo, carrying on one side of its bill a golden leaf larger than that of any tree in the North Country, and in the other side of its bill, one like that of the common laurel, only it had a fresher green.

"Here," it said, giving the gold to Scrub and the green to Spare, "it is a long carriage from the world's end. Give me a slice of barley bread, for I must tell the North Country that the spring has come."

Scrub did not grudge the thickness of that slice, though it was cut from their last loaf. So much gold had never been in the cobbler's hands before, and he could not help exulting over his brother.

"See the wisdom of my choice," he said, holding up the large leaf of gold. "As for yours, as good might be plucked from any hedge, I wonder a sensible bird would carry the like so far."

"Good master cobbler," cried the cuckoo, finishing its slice, "your conclusions are more hasty than courteous. If your brother is disappointed this time, I go on the same journey every year, and for your hospitable entertainment will think it no trouble to bring each of you whichever leaf you desire."

"Darling cuckoo," cried Scrub, "bring me a golden one."

And Spare, looking up from the green leaf on which he gazed as though it were a crown-jewel, said: --

"Be sure to bring me one from the merry tree."

And away flew the cuckoo.

"This is the feast of All Fools, and it ought to be your birthday," said Scrub. "Did ever man fling away such an opportunity of getting rich? Much good your merry leaves will do in the midst of rags and poverty!"

But Spare laughed at him, and answered with quaint old proverbs concerning the cares that come with gold, till Scrub, at length getting angry, vowed his brother was not fit to live with a respectable man; and taking his lasts, his awls, and his golden leaf, he left the wattle hut, and went to tell the villagers.

They were astonished at the folly of Spare, and charmed with Scrub's good sense, particularly when he showed them the golden leaf, and told that the cuckoo would bring him one every spring.

The new cobbler immediately took him into partnership; the greatest people sent him their shoes to mend. Fairfeather, a beautiful village maiden, smiled graciously upon him; and in the course of that summer they were married, with a grand wedding feast, at which the whole village danced except Spare, who was not invited, because the bride could not bear his low-mindedness, and his brother thought him a disgrace to the family.

As for Scrub he established himself with Fairfeather in a cottage close by that of the new cobbler, and quite as fine. There he mended shoes to everybody's satisfaction, had a scarlet coat and a fat goose for dinner on holidays. Fairfeather, too, had a crimson gown, and fine blue ribbons; but neither she nor Scrub was content, for to buy this grandeur the golden leaf had to be broken and parted With piece by piece, so the last morsel was gone before the cuckoo came with another.

Spare lived on in the old hut, and worked in the cabbage-garden. [Scrub had got the barley-field because he was the elder.] Every day his coat grew more ragged, and the hut more weather- beaten; but people remarked that he never looked sad or sour. And the wonder was that, from the time any one began to keep his company, he or she grew kinder, happier, and content.

Every first of April the cuckoo came tapping at their doors with the golden leaf for Scrub, and the green for Spare. Fairfeather would have entertained it nobly with wheaten bread and honey, for she had some notion of persuading it to bring two golden leaves instead of one; but the cuckoo flew away to eat barley bread with Spare, saying it was not fit company for fine people, and liked the old hut where it slept so snugly from Christmas till spring.

Scrub spent the golden leaves, and remained always discontented; and Spare kept the merry ones.

I do not know how many years passed in this manner, when a certain great lord, who owned that village, came to the neighbourhood. His castle stood on the moor. It was ancient and strong, with high towers and a deep moat. All the country as far as one could see from the highest turret belonged to its lord; but he had not been there for twenty years, and would not have come then only he was melancholy. And there he lived in a very bad temper. The servants said nothing would please him, and the villagers put on their worst clothes lest he should raise their rents.

But one day in the harvest-time His Lordship chanced to meet Spare gathering water-cresses at a meadow stream, and fell into talk with the cobbler. How it was nobody could tell, but from that hour the great lord cast away his melancholy. He forgot all his woes, and went about with a noble train, hunting, fishing, and making merry in his hall, where all travelers were entertained, and all the poor were welcome.

This strange story spread through the North Country, and great company came to the cobbler's hut, -- rich men who had lost their money, poor men who had lost their friends, beauties who had grown old, wits who had gone out of fashion, -- all came to talk with Spare, and, whatever their troubles had been, all went home merry.

The rich gave him presents, the poor gave him thanks. Spare's coat ceased to be ragged, he had bacon with his cabbage, and the villagers began to think there was some sense in him.

By this time his fame had reached the capital city, and even the court. There were a great many discontented people there; and the king had lately fallen into ill humour because a neighbouring princess, with seven islands for her dowry, would not marry his eldest son.

So a royal messenger was sent to Spare, with a velvet mantle, a diamond ring, and a command that he should repair to court immediately.

"To-morrow is the first of April," said Spare, "and I will go with you two hours after sunrise."

The messenger lodged all night at the castle, and the cuckoo came at sunrise with the merry leaf.

"Court is a fine place," it said, when the cobbler told it he was going, "but I cannot come there; they would lay snares and catch me; so be careful of the leaves I have brought you, and give me a farewell slice of barley bread."

Spare was sorry to part with the cuckoo, little as he had of its company, but he gave it a slice which would have broken Scrub's heart in former times, it was so thick and large. And having sewed up the leaves in the lining of his leather doublet, he set out with the messenger on his way to court.

His coming caused great surprise there. Everybody wondered what the king could see in such a common-looking man; but scarcely had His Majesty conversed with him half an hour, when the princess and her seven islands were forgotten and orders given that a feast for all comers should be spread in the banquet hall.

The princes of the blood, the great lords and ladies, the ministers of state, after that discoursed with Spare, and the more they talked the lighter grew their hearts, so that such changes had never been seen at court.

The lords forgot their spites and the ladies their envies, the princes and ministers made friends among themselves, and the judges showed no favour.

As for Spare, he had a chamber assigned him in the palace, and a seat at the king's table. One sent him rich robes, and another costly jewels; but in the midst of all his grandeur he still wore the leathern doublet, and continued to live at the king's court, happy and honored, and making all others merry and content.




sXmas_santawarning_100-100You may not know that........
  • The most lights lit on simultaneously on a Christmas tree is 194,672 and was achieved by Kiwanis Malmedy and Haute Fagnes Belgium in Belgium last year.
  • THE first commercial Christmas cards were commissioned by civil servant Sir Henry Cole in London in 1843. Featuring a family drinking wine, one sold for #8,469 last year.
  • JINGLE Bells was the first song broadcast from space when Gemini 6 astronauts Tom Stafford and Wally Schirra sang it on December 16, 1965.
  • MANY theologians estimate that Jesus wasn't born on December 25 but sometime in September between 6BC and 30AD.
  • A Fishy Tradition - In parts of Eastern Europe, it's customary to place a live carp in your bathtub for consumption on Christmas Eve. Why? Some suggest that it's due to the fish's vital role in the area's fishing industry and because eating meat was considered a luxury—thus the need to save the carp for a special occasion.
  • Why the Bright Lights ? - Historians note celebrating Christmas is a natural response to the winter solstice. "If you happen to live in a region in which midwinter brings striking darkness and cold and hunger, then the urge to have a celebration at the very heart of it to avoid going mad or falling into deep depression is very, very strong," researcher Philip Shaw of Leicester University told
  • Originally, Santa Was Sinterklaas. Dutch children have long cheered the annual coming of Sinterklaas—known also as Saint Nicholas—who sports a crimson miter and rolls into town on a steam boat filled with presents in mid-November. Then, he rides around on his mighty white steed Amerigo and distributes gifts. Over time, Sinterklaas' image was transmuted into Santa's, and Amerigo became a sled with flying reindeer.
  • Did you ever wonder where X-Mas came from? X means Christ in Greek so to shorten the word Christmas we sometimes use X-Mas.
  • ALTHOUGH now mostly vegetarian, in Victorian times, mince pies were made with beef and spices.
  • THE tradition of putting tangerines in stockings comes from 12th-century French nuns who left socks full of fruit, nuts and tangerines at the houses of the poor.
  • JESUS was probably born in a cave and not a wooden stable, say Biblical scholars.
  • THE abbreviation Xmas isn't irreligious. The letter X is a Greek abbreviation for Christ.
  • THE world's tallest Xmas tree at 221ft high was erected in a Washington shopping mall in 1950.
  • BEFORE turkey, the traditional Christmas meal in England was a pig's head and mustard.
  • IN 1647, after the English Civil War, Oliver Cromwell banned festivities. The law wasn't lifted until 1660.
  • THE Greeks celebrate Christmas on January 7, according to the old Julian calendar, while Xmas presents are opened on New Year's Day.
  • HANGING presents on trees may come from the Druids who believed the tree was the giver of all good things.
  • THE largest Christmas cracker - 45.72m long and 3.04m in diameter - was pulled in Australia in 1991.
  • THE long shopping spree before Christmas began in America when relatives of soldiers posted overseas in the Second World War were encouraged to mail gifts early.
  • ELECTRIC tree lights were invented by Edward Johnson in the US in 1882.
  • THEY may date back to pagan traditions, but the earliest known reference to a Christmas tree is in a German pamphlet from 1570.
  • RUDOLPH the red-nosed reindeer was invented for a US firm's Christmas promotion in 1938.
  • GOLD-wrapped chocolate coins commemorate St Nicholas who gave bags of gold coins to the poor.
  • THE first Christmas celebrated in Britain is thought to have been in York in 521AD.
  • IN Greece, Italy, Spain and Germany, workers get a Christmas bonus of one month's salary by law.
  • IN the Czech Republic they enjoy dinners of fish soup, eggs and carp. The number of people at the table must be even, or the one without a partner will die next year.
  • In Germany, Christmas Eve is said to be a magical time of the year when the pure in heart can hear animals talking.
  • Santa Claus is based on a real person, St. Nikolas of Myra, the world's most popular non-biblical saint.
  • The smallest Christmas card was made by scientists at the University of Glasgow in the United Kingdom in 2010. At only 200 x 290 micrometers in size, 8,276 of these cards would fit in one postage stamp.
  • The most expensively dressed Christmas tree was valued at $11,026,900 and was displayed by the Emirates Palace in the United Arab Emirates last year.
  • The largest artificial Christmas tree measures 170.6 feet and can be found in Brazil.
  • The largest Christmas star ornament measures 103 feet and eight inches tall and can be found in India.
  • The largest Christmas stocking measures about 168 feet in length and 70 feet in width, and can be found in Italy.
sXmas_santa_100-102 Something to laugh for Christmas 


Viking Mary

When my son was 8 years of age, He was in a Christmas Pageant at our church. His line started "And the Virgin Mary was with Child." He did his line correctly at every rehearsal. On the night the of the presentation everything was going wonderful. 

All the children were relaxed and reciting their lines without flaw. It came time for my son to recite his line and this is exactly how it came out: "And the Viking Mary was with Child." It was quite a job for all the adults watching the presentation to restrain ourselves and not bellow out in laughter. ...Patty Louisiana

The Three Gifts

After the Christmas pageant, I asked my 6-year-old son if he remembered the gifts that the Magi brought to Jesus. He thought for a minute then said "gold, frankincense, and humor". We could all use that!

Going the wrong way in the "Advent Rush"

While a man had gone out driving to do some Christmas shopping, his wife had been watching TV when she heard the announcer say, "be very careful and watch driving on I5 today, there is a motorist driving the wrong way"! His wife got hold of him on the cell phone to warn him, and his reply was: "You tell me, there are hundreds of them here".
 
The Wrong Gift

The parents began to assemble the special Christmas gift they had for their children.   They had ordered a kit for a tree house and received the plans for it.   However, the materials they received were for a sailboat.  They wrote the company to complain.  

The company's reply:  "While we regret the inconvenience this mistake must have cause you, it is nothing compared to that of the man who is out on a lake somewhere trying to sail your tree house."  Bud Brooks, Stamping Ground, KY  


God's Not Deaf

Two young boys were spending the night at their grandparents' house the week before Christmas. At bedtime, the two boys knelt beside their beds to say their prayers. The younger one began praying at the top of his lungs:

"I PRAY FOR A NEW BICYCLE..."
"I PRAY FOR A NEW NINTENDO..."

His older brother leaned over, nudged him and said, "Why are you shouting? God isn't deaf." to which the little brother replied, "No, but Grandma is!"


1-10 of 405