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8 December 2019

posted 6 Dec 2019, 21:20 by C S Paul   [ updated 6 Dec 2019, 21:55 ]

8 December 2019
Christmas Special
animated Christmas tree with lights
Thoughts for Christmas

  • "My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?" -- Bob Hope 
  • "The joy of brightening other lives, bearing each others' burdens, easing other's loads and supplanting empty hearts and lives with generous gifts becomes for us the magic of Christmas." -- W. C. Jones 
  • "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 
  • "There is no ideal Christmas; only the one Christmas you decide to make as a reflection of your values, desires, affections, traditions." -- Bill McKibben 
  • "I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month." -- Harlan Miller 
  • "Christmas is the keeping-place for memories of our innocence." -- Joan Mills 
  • "Christmas is, of course, the time to be home - in heart as well as body." -- Garry Moore 
  • "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. Pharo 
  • "Somehow, not only for Christmas, But all the long year through, The joy that you give to others, Is the joy that comes back to you. And the more you spend in blessing, The poor and lonely and sad, The more of your heart's possessing, Returns to you glad.-- John Greenleaf Whittier 
  • "Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree. In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall." -- Larry Wilde
  • “He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree. ”  -- Roy L. Smith
  • " The perfect Christmas tree? All Christmas trees are perfect!" -- Charles N. Barnard 
  • "Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas." -- Peg Bracken 
  • "The earth has grown old with its burden of care But at Christmas it always is young, The heart of the jewel burns lustrous and fair And its soul full of music breaks the air, When the song of angels is sung.-- Phillips Brooks

sXmas_santahat_100-101 The Gold Wrapping Paper 
- An Inspirational Short Christmas Story

Once upon a time, there was a man who worked very hard just to keep food on the table for his family. This particular year a few days before Christmas, he punished his little five-year-old daughter after learning that she had used up the family's only roll of expensive gold wrapping paper.

As money was tight, he became even more upset when on Christmas Eve he saw that the child had used all of the expensive gold paper to decorate one shoebox she had put under the Christmas tree. He also was concerned about where she had gotten money to buy what was in the shoebox.

Nevertheless, the next morning the little girl, filled with excitement, brought the gift box to her father and said, "This is for you, Daddy!"

As he opened the box, the father was embarrassed by his earlier overreaction, now regretting how he had punished her.

But when he opened the shoebox, he found it was empty and again his anger flared. "Don't you know, young lady," he said harshly, "when you give someone a present, there's supposed to be something inside the package!"

The little girl looked up at him with sad tears rolling from her eyes and whispered: "Daddy, it's not empty. I blew kisses into it until it was all full."

The father was crushed. He fell on his knees and put his arms around his precious little girl. He begged her to forgive him for his unnecessary anger.

An accident took the life of the child only a short time later. It is told that the father kept this little gold box by his bed for all the years of his life. Whenever he was discouraged or faced difficult problems, he would open the box, take out an imaginary kiss, and remember the love of this beautiful child who had put it there. 

In a very real sense, each of us has been given an invisible golden box filled with unconditional love and kisses from our children, family, friends and God. There is no more precious possession anyone could hold.


sXmas_santahat_100-101 For the Man Who Hated Christmas 
By Nancy W. Gavin

It's just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past ten years.

It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas. Oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it – overspending and the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma – the gifts given in desperation because you couldn't think of anything else.

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

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

As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler's ears. It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford.

Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, "I wish just one of them could have won," he said. "They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them." Mike loved kids – all kids. He so enjoyed coaching little league football, baseball and lacrosse. That's when the idea for his present came.

That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes, and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church. On Christmas Eve, I placed a small, white envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done, and that this was his gift from me.

Mike's smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year. And that same bright smile lit up succeeding years. For each Christmas, I followed the tradition – one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on.

The white envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning, and our children – ignoring their new toys – would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents. As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the small, white envelope never lost its allure.

The story doesn't end there. You see, we lost Mike last year due to dreaded cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree. And the next morning, I found it was magically joined by three more. Unbeknownst to the others, each of our three children had for the first time placed a white envelope on the tree for their dad. The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing to take down that special envelope.

Mike's spirit, like the Christmas spirit will always be with us.


sXmas_santahat_100-101 On Santa's Team
Author Unknown

My grandma taught me everything about Christmas. I was just a kid. I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her on the day my big sister dropped the bomb: "There is no Santa Claus," jeered my sister. "Even dummies know that!"

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

Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm. Between bites, I told her everything. She was ready for me.

"No Santa Claus!" she snorted. "Ridiculous! Don't believe it. That rumour has been going around for years, and it makes me mad, plain mad. Now, put on your coat, and let's go."

"Go? Go where, Grandma?" I asked. I hadn't even finished my second cinnamon bun.

"Where" turned out to be Kerby's General Store, the one store in town that had a little bit of just about everything. As we walked through its doors, Grandma handed me ten dollars. That was a bundle in those days.

"Take this money," she said, "and buy something for someone who needs it. I'll wait for you in the car." Then she turned and walked out of Kerby's.

I was only eight years old. I'd often gone shopping with my mother, but never had I shopped for anything all by myself. The store seemed big and crowded, full of people scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping. For a few moments I just stood there, confused, clutching that ten-dollar bill, wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy it for. I thought of everybody I knew: my family, my friends, my neighbors, the kids at school, the people who went to my church.

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

I fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing excitement. I would buy Bobbie Decker a coat. I settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood to it. It looked real warm, and he would like that. I didn't see a price tag, but ten dollars ought to buy anything. I put the coat and my ten-dollar bill on the counter and pushed them toward the lady behind it.

She looked at the coat, the money, and me. "Is this a Christmas present for someone?" she asked kindly. "Yes," I replied shyly. "It's ... for Bobbie. He's in my class, and he doesn't have a coat." The nice lady smiled at me. I didn't get any change, but she put the coat in a bag and wished me a Merry Christmas.

That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat in Christmas paper and ribbons, and write, "To Bobbie, From Santa Claus" on it ... Grandma said that Santa always insisted on secrecy.

Then she drove me over to Bobbie Decker's house, explaining as we went that I was now and forever officially one of Santa's helpers. Grandma parked down the street from Bobbie's house, and she and I crept noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front walk.

Suddenly, Grandma gave me a nudge. "All right, Santa Claus," she whispered, "get going."

I took a deep breath, dashed for his front door, threw the present down on his step, pounded his doorbell twice and flew back to the safety of the bushes and Grandma. Together we waited breathlessly in the darkness for the front door to open. Finally it did, and there stood Bobbie. He looked down, looked around, picked up his present, took it inside and closed the door.

Forty years haven't dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering, beside my grandma, in Bobbie Decker's bushes. That night, I realized that those awful rumours about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were: Ridiculous!

Santa was alive and well ... AND WE WERE ON HIS TEAM!


sXmas_santahat_100-101 The Christmas Truce 
by David G. Stratman

It was December 25, 1914, only 5 months into World War I, German, British, and French soldiers, already sick and tired of the senseless killing, disobeyed their superiors and fraternized with "the enemy" along two-thirds of the Western Front (a crime punishable by death in times of war). German troops held Christmas trees up out of the trenches with signs, "Merry Christmas."

"You no shoot, we no shoot." Thousands of troops streamed across a no-man's land strewn with rotting corpses. They sang Christmas carols, exchanged photographs of loved ones back home, shared rations, played football, even roasted some pigs. Soldiers embraced men they had been trying to kill a few short hours before. They agreed to warn each other if the top brass forced them to fire their weapons and to aim high.

A shudder ran through the high command on either side. Here was disaster in the making: soldiers declaring their brotherhood with each other and refusing to fight. Generals on both sides declared this spontaneous peacemaking to be treasonous and subject to court martial. By March 1915 the fraternization movement had been eradicated, and the killing machine put back in full operation. By the time of the armistice in 1918, fifteen million would be slaughtered.

Not many people have heard the story of the Christmas Truce. On Christmas Day, 1988, a story in the Boston Globe mentioned that a local FM radio host played "Christmas in the Trenches," a ballad about the Christmas Truce, several times and was startled by the effect. The song became the most requested recording during the holidays in Boston on several FM stations. "Even more startling than the number of requests I get is the reaction to the ballad afterwards by callers who hadn't heard it before," said the radio host. "They telephone me deeply moved, sometimes in tears, asking, 'What the hell did I just hear?' "

You can probably guess why the callers were in tears. The Christmas Truce story goes against most of what we have been taught about people. It gives us a glimpse of the world as we wish it could be and says, "This really happened once." It reminds us of those thoughts we keep hidden away, out of range of the TV and newspaper stories that tell us how trivial and mean human life is. It is like hearing that our deepest wishes really are true: the world really could be different.


sXmas_santahat_100-101 A Mysterious Gift… A Man’s Reflection
By Mike Woodard 

I looked at the gift. It looked SO different than the others under the tree. It was so carefully wrapped and even had a ribbon tied in a bow. In rich red paper it was beautiful! THIS gift was larger than the others too. Something was missing… It didn’t have a name on it. I couldn’t ask whose it was; it seemed too special. I just looked in wonder. Just having it under the tree added something special to Christmas.

That Christmas, along with other holidays, was not special. Holidays, in my home, were filled with lots of drinking.

Drinking always led to yelling. . .

Yelling led to fights. . .

Fights sometimes went beyond words . . .

In our home the “special” had been lost in holiday events. This Christmas in particular was framed in angry discussions of job loss and financial stress.  I overheard a lot.

The GIFT was so mysterious; it was a blaze of red colour in my black and white world. It captured my mind.

I could hardly contain myself as the time came to open presents! I am the youngest of four. Presents were handed out in order, oldest to youngest. Each time another gift was handed out the anticipation built.

It did not go to my sister. . .

My oldest brother did not get it. . .

My middle brother was given the box next to it. . .

Next, my mom’s hand reached for THE gift . . . my world went into slow motion when she handed THE mysterious, beautifully wrapped gift to me! For just a moment I didn’t move. Maybe it was a mistake… then I saw the hidden tag; it said, “To Mike from Santa.”   It was real. It was for me. My fingers began to un-wrap the box; I was still in disbelief.  As the paper fell away, I could hardly believe my eyes; a brand new pair of black ice skates. New for ME!  Being the youngest boy with two older brothers almost nothing was new coming to me. Now right in front of me were brand new shiny ice skates.

I remember nothing else of that day beyond skating up and down the ice covered country roads. I was the only one thankful for the recent ice storm! In the next few days, I’m sure I must have broken some world record for the distance skated by a 9 year old boy.

That gift lifted me out of a fog. I’m not sure what I would label the fog. Maybe it was the expectation that somehow Christmas should be special. Maybe it was TV or maybe comments I heard at school but somehow I thought Christmas should be a special time. The mysterious gift made that Christmas the most memorable of my childhood. I never found out who “Santa” was. I wish I could say, “Thank you” and let them know how much that gift meant. Someone’s kindness made a significant impact and a memorable Christmas.

I now know there is another mysterious gift that makes Christmas special.  Often it is missed in the busyness, emotion or misplaced focus of the season. This gift has removed the fog of despair that had a grip on my life. This mysterious gift came in the form of a baby born in a stable. When I consider that Jesus left the perfection of heaven, it is almost incomprehensible. He came to walk the planet He created. Each day, His heart was broken by the people he came to serve. He did this for nine year old boys. All this is wonderful, mysterious and beautiful. What a gift. Since I do know THIS gift giver, I can say “Thank you” for a life changing gift. 

Have you considered Jesus, the One whose heart has been broken and He knows all your hurts and sorrows. Would you like to know Him personally?  You can by simply opening up your life to Him and asking Him to come into your life, forgive you sins and be direct your life from this moment on. You can pray a prayer something like this:

Lord Jesus, I want to know You personally. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to You and ask You to come in as my Saviour and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Bring peace to my world this Christmas. Make me the kind of person You want me to be.

If you invited Christ into your life, thank God often that He is in your life, that He will never leave you and that you have eternal life. As you learn more about your relationship with God, and how much He loves you, you’ll experience life to the fullest.

We would like to send you helpful articles that will help you get to know Jesus Christ.  Just fill in the form below.  God bless you!



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

  • According to the Guinness world records, the tallest Christmas tree ever cut was a 221-foot Douglas fir that was displayed in 1950 at the Northgate Shopping Center in Seattle, Washington.
  • The traditional three colours of Christmas are green, red, and gold. Green has long been a symbol of life and rebirth; red symbolizes the blood of Christ, and gold represents light as well as wealth and royalty.
  • Candy Canes: Originally White—and for Bored Kids The first known candy cane was made in 1670 by a German choirmaster to help children endure lengthy nativity services. They were white and modelled after shepherds' canes. The candy cane made its way to America in 1847, when a German immigrant decorated the tree in his Ohio home with the iconic candy.
  • Norwegian scientists have hypothesized that Rudolph’s red nose is probably the result of a parasitic infection of his respiratory system.
  • The Germans made the first artificial Christmas trees out of dyed goose feathers.
  • The world’s largest Christmas stocking measured 106 feet and 9 inches (32.56 m) long and 49 feet and 1 inch (14.97 m) wide. It weighed as much as five reindeer and held almost 1,000 presents. It was made by the Children’s Society in London on December 14, 2007.
  • Christmas trees have been sold in the U.S. since 1850.
  • Christmas trees usually grow for about 15 years before they are sold.
  • Many European countries believed that spirits, both good and evil, were active during the Twelve Days of Christmas. These spirits eventually evolved into Santa’s elves, especially under the influence of Clement C. Moore’s The Night Before Christmas (1779-1863) illustrated by Thomas Nast (1840-1902).
  • Each year there are approximately 20,000 “rent-a-Santas” across the United States. “Rent-a-Santas” usually undergo seasonal training on how to maintain a jolly attitude under pressure from the public. They also receive practical advice, such as not accepting money from parents while children are looking and avoiding garlic, onions, or beans for lunch.
  • Because they viewed Christmas as a decadent Catholic holiday, the Puritans in America banned all Christmas celebrations from 1659-1681 with a penalty of five shillings for each offense. Some Puritan leaders condemned those who favoured Christmas as enemies of the Christian religion.
  • A Yule log is an enormous log that is typically burned during the Twelve Days of Christmas (December 25-January 6). Some scholars suggest that the word yule means “revolution” or “wheel,” which symbolizes the cyclical return of the sun. A burning log or its charred remains is said to offer health, fertility, and luck as well as the ability to ward off evil spirits.
  • Christmas is a contraction of “Christ’s Mass,” which is derived from the Old English Cristes mæsse (first recorded in 1038). The letter “X” in Greek is the first letter of Christ, and “Xmas” has been used as an abbreviation for Christmas since the mid 1500s.
  • In 1962, the first Christmas postage stamp was issued in the United States.
  • In Germany, Heiligabend, or Christmas Eve, is said to be a magical time when the pure in heart can hear animals talking.
  • In many households, part of the fun of eating Christmas pudding is finding a trinket that predicts your fortune for the coming year. For instance, finding a coin means you will become wealthy. A ring means you will get married; while a button predicts bachelorhood. The idea of hiding something in the pudding comes from the tradition in the Middle Ages of hiding a bean in a cake that was served on Twelfth Night. Whoever found the bean became "king" for the rest of the night.
  • Frumenty was a spiced porridge, enjoyed by both rich and poor. It was a forerunner of modern Christmas puddings. It is linked in legend to the Celtic god Dagda, who stirred a porridge made up of all the good things of the earth.
  • In Greek legend, malicious creatures called Kallikantzaroi sometimes play troublesome pranks at Christmas time. In order to get rid of them, salt or an old shoe is burnt. The pungent burning stench drives off, or at least helps discourage, the Kallikantzaroi. Other techniques include hanging a pig’s jawbone by the door and keeping a large fire so they can’t sneak down the chimney.
  • The word "Christmas" comes from the Old English name "Christes Maesse," which means "Christ's Mass."
  • The common abbreviation of Christmas to "Xmas" is derived from the Greek alphabet. "Chi," the first letter of Christ's name in the Greek alphabet, is written as "X.".
  • Before Western Christians decided on December 25 to celebrate the birth of Jesus, several dates were proposed: January 2, March 21, March 25, April 18, April 19, May 20, May 28, and November 20.


sXmas_santa_100-102 Something to laugh during Christmas 

sXmas_santalaughing_100-100 Christmas Carols

One night Freda went carol singing.

She knocked on the door of a house and began to sing. A man with a violin in his hand came to the door

Within half a minute tears were streaming down his face! Freda went on singing for half an hour, every carol she knew - and some she didn't.

As last she stopped.

'I understand,' she said softly. 'You are remembering your happy childhood Christmas days. You're a sentimentalist!'

'No,' he snivelled. 'I'm a musician!'


sXmas_santalaughing_100-100 Praying For Gifts

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

"I PRAY FOR A NEW BICYCLE..." 

"I PRAY FOR A NEW NINTENDO..." 

"I PRAY FOR A NEW VCR..." 

His older brother leaned over and nudged the younger brother and said, "Why are you shouting your prayers? God isn't deaf." 

To which the little brother replied, "No, but Grandma is!" 

sXmas_santalaughing_100-100 None of Them Are Toys!
.. SAL Ridgeway Ontario

When my daughters were little I would always tell them around Christmas that this is Jesus' birthday, and he only received 3 things so do not be disappointed in what lies under the tree. 

When it came time for worship on Christmas morning, I asked the children what they thought Jesus would think of Santa and all the hype. 

Would he ask Santa a question? My youngest daughter replied, "I think Jesus would ask how come I only got three things and none of them were toys?" .



sXmas_carolers_100-100 THE STORY OF CHRISTMAS 

taken from the classic

BEN-HUR: A TALE OF THE CHRIST 

by Lew Wallace

PART ONE -  CHAPTER VIII  

The reader is now besought to return to the court described as part of the market at the Joppa Gate. It was the third hour of the day, and many of the people had gone away; yet the press continued without apparent abatement. Of the new-comers, there was a group over by the south wall, consisting of a man, a woman, and a donkey, which requires extended notice.

The man stood by the animal's head, holding a leading-strap, and leaning upon a stick which seemed to have been chosen for the double purpose of goad and staff. His dress was like that of the ordinary Jews around him, except that it had an appearance of newness. The mantle dropping from his head, and the robe or frock which clothed his person from neck to heel, were probably the garments he was accustomed to wear to the synagogue on Sabbath days. His features were exposed, and they told of fifty years of life, a surmise confirmed by the gray that streaked his otherwise black beard. He looked around him with the half-curious, half-vacant stare of a stranger and provincial.

The donkey ate leisurely from an armful of green grass, of which there was an abundance in the market. In its sleepy content, the brute did not admit of disturbance from the bustle and clamor about; no more was it mindful of the woman sitting upon its back in a cushioned pillion. An outer robe of dull woolen stuff completely covered her person, while a white wimple veiled her head and neck. Once in a while, impelled by curiosity to see or hear something passing, she drew the wimple aside, but so slightly that the face remained invisible.

At length the man was accosted.

"Are you not Joseph of Nazareth?"

The speaker was standing close by.

"I am so called," answered Joseph, turning gravely around; "And you--ah, peace be unto you! my friend, Rabbi Samuel!"

"The same give I back to you." The Rabbi paused, looking at the woman, then added, "To you, and unto your house and all your helpers, be peace."

With the last word, he placed one hand upon his breast, and inclined his head to the woman, who, to see him, had by this time withdrawn the wimple enough to show the face of one but a short time out of girlhood. Thereupon the acquaintances grasped right hands, as if to carry them to their lips; at the last moment, however, the clasp was let go, and each kissed his own hand, then put its palm upon his forehead.

"There is so little dust upon your garments," the Rabbi said, familiarly, "that I infer you passed the night in this city of our fathers."

"No," Joseph replied, "as we could only make Bethany before the night came, we stayed in the khan there, and took the road again at daybreak."

"The journey before you is long, then--not to Joppa, I hope."

"Only to Bethlehem."

The countenance of the Rabbi, theretofore open and friendly, became lowering and sinister, and he cleared his throat with a growl instead of a cough.

"Yes, yes--I see," he said. "You were born in Bethlehem, and wend thither now, with your daughter, to be counted for taxation, as ordered by Caesar. The children of Jacob are as the tribes in Egypt were--only they have neither a Moses nor a Joshua. How are the mighty fallen!"

Joseph answered, without change of posture or countenance, "The woman is not my daughter."

But the Rabbi clung to the political idea; and he went on, without noticing the explanation, "What are the Zealots doing down in Galilee?"

"I am a carpenter, and Nazareth is a village," said Joseph, cautiously. "The street on which my bench stands is not a road leading to any city. Hewing wood and sawing plank leave me no time to take part in the disputes of parties."

"But you are a Jew," said the Rabbi, earnestly. "You are a Jew, and of the line of David. It is not possible you can find pleasure in the payment of any tax except the shekel given by ancient custom to Jehovah."

Joseph held his peace.

"I do not complain," his friend continued, "of the amount of the tax--a denarius is a trifle. Oh no! The imposition of the tax is the offense. And, besides, what is paying it but submission to tyranny? Tell me, is it true that Judas claims to be the Messiah?

You live in the midst of his followers."

"I have heard his followers say he was the Messiah," Joseph replied.

At this point the wimple was drawn aside, and for an instant the whole face of the woman was exposed. The eyes of the Rabbi wandered that way, and he had time to see a countenance of rare beauty, kindled by a look of intense interest; then a blush overspread her cheeks and brow, and the veil was returned to its place.

The politician forgot his subject.

"Your daughter is comely," he said, speaking lower.

"She is not my daughter," Joseph repeated.

The curiosity of the Rabbi was aroused; seeing which, the Nazarene hastened to say further, "She is the child of Joachim and Anna of Bethlehem, of whom you have at least heard, for they were of great repute--"

"Yes," remarked the Rabbi, deferentially, "I know them. They were lineally descended from David. I knew them well."

"Well, they are dead now," the Nazarene proceeded. "They died in Nazareth. Joachim was not rich, yet he left a house and garden to be divided between his daughters Marian and Mary. This is one of them; and to save her portion of the property, the law required her to marry her next of kin. She is now my wife."

"And you were--"

"Her uncle."

"Yes, yes! And as you were both born in Bethlehem, the Roman compels you to take her there with you to be also counted."

The Rabbi clasped his hands, and looked indignantly to heaven, exclaiming, "The God of Israel still lives! The vengeance is his!"

With that he turned and abruptly departed. A stranger near by, observing Joseph's amazement, said, quietly, "Rabbi Samuel is a zealot. Judas himself is not more fierce."

Joseph, not wishing to talk with the man, appeared not to hear, and busied himself gathering in a little heap the grass which the donkey had tossed abroad; after which he leaned upon his staff again, and waited.

In another hour the party passed out the gate, and, turning to the left, took the road into Bethlehem. The descent into the valley of Hinnom was quite broken, garnished here and there with straggling wild olive-trees. Carefully, tenderly, the Nazarene walked by the woman's side, leading-strap in hand. On their left, reaching to the south and east round Mount Zion, rose the city wall, and on their right the steep prominences which form the western boundary of the valley.

Slowly they passed the Lower Pool of Gihon, out of which the sun was fast driving the lessening shadow of the royal hill; slowly they proceeded, keeping parallel with the aqueduct from the Pools of Solomon, until near the site of the country-house on what is now called the Hill of Evil Counsel; there they began to ascend to the plain of Rephaim.

The sun streamed garishly over the stony face of the famous locality, and under its influence Mary, the daughter of Joachim, dropped the wimple entirely, and bared her head. Joseph told the story of the Philistines surprised in their camp there by David. He was tedious in the narrative, speaking with the solemn countenance and lifeless manner of a dull man. She did not always hear him.

Wherever on the land men go, and on the sea ships, the face and figure of the Jew are familiar. The physical type of the race has always been the same; yet there have been some individual variations.

"Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to." Such was the son of Jesse when brought before Samuel.

The fancies of men have been ever since ruled by the description.

Poetic license has extended the peculiarities of the ancestor to his notable descendants. So all our ideal Solomons have fair faces, and hair and beard chestnut in the shade, and of the tint of gold in the sun. Such, we are also made believe, were the locks of Absalom the beloved. And, in the absence of authentic history, tradition has dealt no less lovingly by her whom we are now following down to the native city of the ruddy king.

She was not more than fifteen. Her form, voice, and manner belonged to the period of transition from girlhood. Her face was perfectly oval, her complexion more pale than fair. The nose was faultless; the lips, slightly parted, were full and ripe, giving to the lines of the mouth warmth, tenderness, and trust; the eyes were blue and large, and shaded by drooping lids and long lashes; and, in harmony with all, a flood of golden hair, in the style permitted to Jewish brides, fell unconfined down her back to the pillion on which she sat. The throat and neck had the downy softness sometimes seen which leaves the artist in doubt whether it is an effect of contour or color. To these charms of feature and person were added others more indefinable--an air of purity which only the soul can impart, and of abstraction natural to such as think much of things impalpable. Often, with trembling lips, she raised her eyes to heaven, itself not more deeply blue; often she crossed her hands upon her breast, as in adoration and prayer; often she raised her head like one listening eagerly for a calling voice.

Now and then, midst his slow utterances, Joseph turned to look at her, and, catching the expression kindling her face as with light, forgot his theme, and with bowed head, wondering, plodded on.

So they skirted the great plain, and at length reached the elevation Mar Elias; from which, across a valley, they beheld Bethlehem, the old, old House of Bread, its white walls crowning a ridge, and shining above the brown scumbling of leafless orchards. They paused there, and rested, while Joseph pointed out the places of sacred renown; then they went down into the valley to the well which was the scene of one of the marvellous exploits of David's strong men. The narrow space was crowded with people and animals. A fear came upon Joseph--a fear lest, if the town were so thronged, there might not be house-room for the gentle Mary.

Without delay, he hurried on, past the pillar of stone marking the tomb of Rachel, up the gardened slope, saluting none of the many persons he met on the way, until he stopped before the portal of the khan that then stood outside the village gates, near a junction of roads. 

PART ONE - CHAPTER  IX

To understand thoroughly what happened to the Nazarene at the khan, the reader must be reminded that Eastern inns were different from the inns of the Western world. They were called khans, from the Persian, and, in simplest form, were fenced enclosures, without house or shed, often without a gate or entrance. Their sites were chosen with reference to shade, defence, or water. Such were the inns that sheltered Jacob when he went to seek a wife in Padan-Aram.

Their like may been seen at this day in the stopping-places of the desert. On the other hand, some of them, especially those on the roads between great cities, like Jerusalem and Alexandria, were princely establishments, monuments to the piety of the kings who built them. In ordinary, however, they were no more than the house or possession of a sheik, in which, as in headquarters, he swayed his tribe. Lodging the traveller was the least of their uses; they were markets, factories, forts; places of assemblage and residence for merchants and artisans quite as much as places of shelter for belated and wandering wayfarers.

Within their walls, all the year round, occurred the multiplied daily transactions of a town.

The singular management of these hostelries was the feature likely to strike a Western mind with most force. There was no host or hostess; no clerk, cook, or kitchen; a steward at the gate was all the assertion of government or proprietorship anywhere visible.

Strangers arriving stayed at will without rendering account.

A consequence of the system was that whoever came had to bring his food and culinary outfit with him, or buy them of dealers in the khan. The same rule held good as to his bed and bedding, and forage for his beasts. Water, rest, shelter, and protection were all he looked for from the proprietor, and they were gratuities.

The peace of synagogues was sometimes broken by brawling disputants, but that of the khans never. The houses and all their appurtenances were sacred: a well was not more so.

The khan at Bethlehem, before which Joseph and his wife stopped, was a good specimen of its class, being neither very primitive nor very princely. The building was purely Oriental; that is to say, a quadrangular block of rough stones, one story high, flat-roofed, externally unbroken by a window, and with but one principal entrance--a doorway, which was also a gateway, on the eastern side, or front. The road ran by the door so near that the chalk dust half covered the lintel. A fence of flat rocks, beginning at the northeastern corner of the pile, extended many yards down the slope to a point from whence it swept westwardly to a limestone bluff; making what was in the highest degree essential to a respectable khan--a safe enclosure for animals.

In a village like Bethlehem, as there was but one sheik, there could not well be more than one khan; and, though born in the place, the Nazarene, from long residence elsewhere, had no claim to hospitality in the town. Moreover, the enumeration for which he was coming might be the work of weeks or months; Roman deputies in the provinces were proverbially slow; and to impose himself and wife for a period so uncertain upon acquaintances or relations was out of the question. So, before he drew nigh the great house, while he was yet climbing the slope, in the steep places toiling to hasten the donkey, the fear that he might not find accommodations in the khan became a painful anxiety; for he found the road thronged with men and boys who, with great ado, were taking their cattle, horses, and camels to and from the valley, some to water, some to the neighboring caves. And when he was come close by, his alarm was not allayed by the discovery of a crowd investing the door of the establishment, while the enclosure adjoining, broad as it was, seemed already full.

"We cannot reach the door," Joseph said, in his slow way. "Let us stop here, and learn, if we can, what has happened."

The wife, without answering, quietly drew the wimple aside. The look of fatigue at first upon her face changed to one of interest. She found herself at the edge of an assemblage that could not be other than a matter of curiosity to her, although it was common enough at the khans on any of the highways which the great caravans were accustomed to traverse. There were men on foot, running hither and thither, talking shrilly and in all the tongues of Syria; men on horseback screaming to men on camels; men struggling doubtfully with fractious cows and frightened sheep; men peddling bread and wine; and among the mass a herd of boys apparently in chase of a herd of dogs. Everybody and everything seemed to be in motion at the same time. Possibly the fair spectator was too weary to be long attracted by the scene; in a little while she sighed, and settled down on the pillion, and, as if in search of peace and rest, or in expectation of some one, looked off to the south, and up to the tall cliffs of the Mount of Paradise, then faintly reddening under the setting sun.

While she was thus looking, a man pushed his way out of the press, and, stopping close by the donkey, faced about with an angry brow.

The Nazarene spoke to him.

"As I am what I take you to be, good friend--a son of Judah—may I ask the cause of this multitude?"

The stranger turned fiercely; but, seeing the solemn countenance of Joseph, so in keeping with his deep, slow voice and speech, he raised his hand in half-salutation, and replied, "Peace be to you, Rabbi! I am a son of Judah, and will answer you.

I dwell in Beth-Dagon, which, you know, is in what used to be the land of the tribe of Dan."

"On the road to Joppa from Modin," said Joseph.

"Ah, you have been in Beth-Dagon," the man said, his face softening yet more. "What wanderers we of Judah are! I have been away from the ridge--old Ephrath, as our father Jacob called it--for many years. When the proclamation went abroad requiring all Hebrews to be numbered at the cities of their birth-- That is my business here, Rabbi."

Joseph's face remained stolid as a mask, while he remarked, "I have come for that also--I and my wife."

The stranger glanced at Mary and kept silence. She was looking up at the bald top of Gedor. The sun touched her upturned face, and filled the violet depths of her eyes, and upon her parted lips trembled an aspiration which could not have been to a mortal. For the moment, all the humanity of her beauty seemed refined away: she was as we fancy they are who sit close by the gate in the transfiguring light of Heaven. The Beth-Dagonite saw the original of what, centuries after, came as a vision of genius to Sanzio the divine, and left him immortal.

"Of what was I speaking? Ah! I remember. I was about to say that when I heard of the order to come here, I was angry. Then I thought of the old hill, and the town, and the valley falling away into the depths of Cedron; of the vines and orchards, and fields of grain, unfailing since the days of Boaz and Ruth, of the familiar mountains--Gedor here, Gibeah yonder, Mar Elias there--which, when I was a boy, were the walls of the world to me; and I forgave the tyrants and came--I, and Rachel, my wife, and Deborah and Michal, our roses of Sharon."

The man paused again, looking abruptly at Mary, who was now looking at him and listening. Then he said, "Rabbi, will not your wife go to mine? You may see her yonder with the children, under the leaning olive-tree at the bend of the road. I tell you"--he turned to Joseph and spoke positively--"I tell you the khan is full. It is useless to ask at the gate."

Joseph's will was slow, like his mind; he hesitated, but at length replied, "The offer is kind. Whether there be room for us or not in the house, we will go see your people. Let me speak to the gate-keeper myself. I will return quickly."

And, putting the leading-strap in the stranger's hand, he pushed into the stirring crowd.

The keeper sat on a great cedar block outside the gate. Against the wall behind him leaned a javelin. A dog squatted on the block by his side.

"The peace of Jehovah be with you," said Joseph, at last confronting the keeper.

"What you give, may you find again; and, when found, be it many times multiplied to you and yours," returned the watchman, gravely, though without moving.

"I am a Bethlehemite," said Joseph, in his most deliberate way. "Is there not room for--"

"There is not."

"You may have heard of me--Joseph of Nazareth. This is the house of my fathers. I am of the line of David."

These words held the Nazarene's hope. If they failed him, further appeal was idle, even that of the offer of many shekels. To be a son of Judah was one thing--in the tribal opinion a great thing; to be of the house of David was yet another; on the tongue of a Hebrew there could be no higher boast. A thousand years and more had passed since the boyish shepherd became the successor of Saul and founded a royal family. Wars, calamities, other kings, and the countless obscuring processes of time had, as respects fortune, lowered his descendants to the common Jewish level; the bread they ate came to them of toil never more humble; yet they had the benefit of history sacredly kept, of which genealogy was the first chapter and the last; they could not become unknown, while, wherever they went In Israel, acquaintance drew after it a respect amounting to reverence.

If this were so in Jerusalem and elsewhere, certainly one of the sacred line might reasonably rely upon it at the door of the khan of Bethlehem. To say, as Joseph said, "This is the house of my fathers," was to say the truth most simply and literally; for it was the very house Ruth ruled as the wife of Boaz, the very house in which Jesse and his ten sons, David the youngest, were born, the very house in which Samuel came seeking a king, and found him; the very house which David gave to the son of Barzillai, the friendly Gileadite; the very house in which Jeremiah, by prayer, rescued the remnant of his race flying before the Babylonians.

The appeal was not without effect. The keeper of the gate slid down from the cedar block, and, laying his hand upon his beard, said, respectfully, "Rabbi, I cannot tell you when this door first opened in welcome to the traveller, but it was more than a thousand years ago; and in all that time there is no known instance of a good man turned away, save when there was no room to rest him in. If it has been so with the stranger, just cause must the steward have who says no to one of the line of David. Wherefore, I salute you again; and, if you care to go with me, I will show you that there is not a lodging-place left in the house; neither in the chambers, nor in the lewens, nor in the court--not even on the roof. May I ask when you came?"

"But now."

The keeper smiled.

"'The stranger that dwelleth with you shall be as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself.' Is not that the law, Rabbi?"

Joseph was silent.

"If it be the law, can I say to one a long time come, 'Go thy way; another is here to take thy place?'"

Yet Joseph held his peace.

"And, if I said so, to whom would the place belong? See the many that have been waiting, some of them since noon."

"Who are all these people?" asked Joseph, turning to the crowd. "And why are they here at this time?"

"That which doubtless brought you, Rabbi--the decree of the Caesar"--the keeper threw an interrogative glance at the Nazarene, then continued--"brought most of those who have lodging in the house.

And yesterday the caravan passing from Damascus to Arabia and Lower Egypt arrived. These you see here belong to it--men and camels."

Still Joseph persisted.

"The court is large," he said.

"Yes, but it is heaped with cargoes--with bales of silk, and pockets of spices, and goods of every kind."

Then for a moment the face of the applicant lost its stolidity; the lustreless, staring eyes dropped. With some warmth he next said, "I do not care for myself, but I have with me my wife, and the night is cold--colder on these heights than in Nazareth. She cannot live in the open air. Is there not room in the town?"

"These people"--the keeper waved his hand to the throng before the door--"have all besought the town, and they report its accommodations all engaged."

Again Joseph studied the ground, saying, half to himself, "She is so young! if I make her bed on the hill, the frosts will kill her."

Then he spoke to the keeper again.

"It may be you knew her parents, Joachim and Anna, once of Bethlehem, and, like myself, of the line of David."

"Yes, I knew them. They were good people. That was in my youth."

This time the keeper's eyes sought the ground in thought. Suddenly he raised his head.

"If I cannot make room for you," he said, "I cannot turn you away.

Rabbi, I will do the best I can for you. How many are of your party?"

Joseph reflected, then replied, "My wife and a friend with his family, from Beth-Dagon, a little town over by Joppa; in all, six of us."

"Very well. You shall not lie out on the ridge. Bring your people, and hasten; for, when the sun goes down behind the mountain, you know the night comes quickly, and it is nearly there now."

"I give you the blessing of the houseless traveller; that of the sojourner will follow."

So saying, the Nazarene went back joyfully to Mary and the Beth-Dagonite. In a little while the latter brought up his family, the women mounted on donkeys. The wife was matronly, the daughters were images of what she must have been in youth; and as they drew nigh the door, the keeper knew them to be of the humble class.

"This is she of whom I spoke," said the Nazarene; "and these are our friends."

Mary's veil was raised.

"Blue eyes and hair of gold," muttered the steward to himself, seeing but her. "So looked the young king when he went to sing before Saul."

Then he took the leading-strap from Joseph, and said to Mary, "Peace to you, O daughter of David!" Then to the others, "Peace to you all!" Then to Joseph, "Rabbi, follow me."

The party were conducted into a wide passage paved with stone, from which they entered the court of the khan. To a stranger the scene would have been curious; but they noticed the lewens that yawned darkly upon them from all sides, and the court itself, only to remark how crowded they were. By a lane reserved in the stowage of the cargoes, and thence by a passage similar to the one at the entrance, they emerged into the enclosure adjoining the house, and came upon camels, horses, and donkeys, tethered and dozing in close groups; among them were the keepers, men of many lands; and they, too, slept or kept silent watch. They went down the slope of the crowded yard slowly, for the dull carriers of the women had wills of their own. At length they turned into a path running towards the gray limestone bluff overlooking the khan on the west.

"We are going to the cave," said Joseph, laconically.

The guide lingered till Mary came to his side.

"The cave to which we are going," he said to her, "must have been a resort of your ancestor David. From the field below us, and from the well down in the valley, he used to drive his flocks to it for safety; and afterwards, when he was king, he came back to the old house here for rest and health, bringing great trains of animals.

The mangers yet remain as they were in his day. Better a bed on the floor where he has slept than one in the court-yard or out by the roadside. Ah, here is the house before the cave!"

This speech must not be taken as an apology for the lodging offered. There was no need of apology. The place was the best then at disposal. The guests were simple folks, by habits of life easily satisfied.

To the Jew of that period, moreover, abode in caverns was a familiar idea, made so by every-day occurrences, and by what he heard of Sabbaths in the synagogues. How much of Jewish history, how many of the many exciting incidents in that history, had transpired in caves! Yet further, these people were Jews of Bethlehem, with whom the idea was especially commonplace; for their locality abounded with caves great and small, some of which had been dwelling-places from the time of the Emim and Horites. No more was there offence to them in the fact that the cavern to which they were being taken had been, or was, a stable. They were the descendants of a race of herdsmen, whose flocks habitually shared both their habitations and wanderings. In keeping with a custom derived from Abraham, the tent of the Bedawin yet shelters his horses and children alike. So they obeyed the keeper cheerfully, and gazed at the house, feeling only a natural curiosity. Everything associated with the history of David was interesting to them.

The building was low and narrow, projecting but a little from the rock to which it was joined at the rear, and wholly without a window. In its blank front there was a door, swung on enormous hinges, and thickly daubed with ochreous clay. While the wooden bolt of the lock was being pushed back, the women were assisted from their pillions.  Upon the opening of the door, the keeper called out, "Come in!"

The guests entered, and stared about them. It became apparent immediately that the house was but a mask or covering for the mouth of a natural cave or grotto, probably forty feet long, nine or ten high, and twelve or fifteen in width. The light streamed through the doorway, over an uneven floor, falling upon piles of grain and fodder, and earthenware and household property, occupying the centre of the chamber. Along the sides were mangers, low enough for sheep, and built of stones laid in cement. There were no stalls or partitions of any kind. Dust and chaff yellowed the floor, filled all the crevices and hollows, and thickened the spider-webs, which dropped from the ceiling like bits of dirty linen; otherwise the place was cleanly, and, to appearance, as comfortable as any of the arched lewens of the khan proper. In fact, a cave was the model and first suggestion of the lewen.

"Come in!" said the guide. "These piles upon the floor are for travellers like yourselves. Take what of them you need."

Then he spoke to Mary.

"Can you rest here?"

"The place is sanctified," she answered.

"I leave you then. Peace be with you all!"

When he was gone, they busied themselves making the cave habitable.

to be continued next week



1 December 2019

posted 30 Nov 2019, 03:21 by C S Paul

1 December 2019

Quotes to Inspire
  • "If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow." — Chinese proverb 
  • "You are wise when you learn from your mistakes. You are wiser still when you learn from others' mistakes." — Rob Acker 
  • "The experience of resistance and frustration is often an indication that you are doing the wrong thing." — Brian Tracy 
  • "Every person is working for him or herself." — Brian Tracy 
  • "He who never walks except where he sees other men's tracks will make no discoveries." — Unknown 
  • "Success is a marathon, not a sprint." — Unknown 
  • And, "If it's going to be, it will be up to me." — Unknown 
  • "I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?" — God (Jeremiah 32:27, NIV).
  • "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths" — God (Proverbs 3:5-6, NKJV).
  • "Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best." — William Blake
  • "Don't be afraid to take a big step if one is indicated; you can't cross a chasm in two small jumps." — David Lloyd George
  • "I would rather fail in a cause that will ultimately triumph than to triumph in a cause that will ultimately fail." — Jim Elliot 
  • "Would that God would make hell so real to us that we cannot rest; heaven so real that we must have men there; Christ so real that our supreme motive and aim shall be to make the Man of Sorrows the Man of Joy by the conversion to him of many." — J. Hudson Taylor.

Never be late

 Unknown -

A parish priest was being honored at a dinner on the twenty-fifth anniversary  of his arrival in that parish. A leading local politician, who was a member of the congregation, was chosen to make the presentation and give a little speech at the dinner, but he was delayed in traffic, so the priest decided to say his own few words while they waited.

"You will understand," he said, "the seal of the confessional, can never be broken. However, I got my first impressions of the parish from the first confession I heard here. I can only hint vaguely about this, but when I came here twenty-five years ago I thought I had been assigned to a terrible place. The very first chap who entered my confessional told me how he had stolen a television set, and when stopped by the police, had almost murdered the officer. Further, he told me he had embezzled money from his place of business and had an affair with his boss's wife.

I was appalled. But as the days went on I knew that my people were not all like that, and I had, indeed come to, a fine parish full of understanding and loving people."

Just as the priest finished his talk, the politician arrived full of apologies at being late. He immediately began to make the presentation and give his talk.

"I'll never forget the first day our parish priest arrived in this parish,"
said the politician. "In fact, I had the honour of being the first one to go to him for confession."

Moral: NEVER EVER BE LATE 

Reality of Life

- Unknown -

This is a story of four people called Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody.

There was some important work that had to be done, and Everybody was sure that 
Somebody would do it. 

Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry because of this, since it was Everybody's job. 

Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody understood that Everybody wouldn't do it. 

It ended with Everybody blaming Somebody as Nobody did what Anybody could have done.

Oooops.............Got it? ;)

If You Didn't  Read Again

In Case I'm Gone

- Unknown -

One day a man's wife died, and on that clear, cold morning, in the warmth of their bedroom, the husband was struck with the pain of learning that sometimes there isn't anymore.

No more hugs, no more special moments to celebrate together, no more phone calls just to chat, no more "just one minute."

Sometimes, what we care about the most gets all used up and goes away, never to return before we can say good-bye and say "I love you."

So while we have it, it's best we love it, care for it, fix it when it's broken and heal it when it's sick.

This is true for marriage, children with bad report cards, dogs with bad hips, and aging parents and grandparents. We keep them because they are worth it, because we are worth it.

Some things we keep—like a best friend who moved away or a sister-in-law after divorce. There are just some things that make us happy, no matter what.

Suppose one morning you never wake up, do all your friends know you love them? It's so very important to let every one of your friends know you love them, even if you think they don't love you back.

For one day we will all be gone.
       

Speed

- Unknown -


Nothing is more terrifying than seeing those flashing lights turn on as your cruising down the road. Most of us will see these nice red/white/blue light in our rear view mirror at one point in our lives or another, and if you have not yet, consider yourself lucky. Or smart.

The other day I was late for work and flying down the road. Knowing it was wrong I still proceeded to speed down the four lane road to my job. I rounded the corner and to my surprise a cop was sitting there waiting for me. I slammed on my breaks. Then slowly and as innocent as possible, I crept past him.

When I turned around I was so relieved to see him munching on a donut and reading a newspaper. So, after turning the next corner I sped back up and flew at mock speed down the road. "Yes! Free at last, free at last, thank God I'm free at last." I thought as I pulled into the parking lot of my work. I thought for sure that I was a goner and that he would have seen me speeding. 

Friends, this may work in real life going to work, but that day I realized something I haven't before. Even though I was able to slip by the cop without him seeing me, we aren't able to slip by God. So many times we try to slow down when we think God is paying attention and do the right things. Then we speed back up and fly down the road of sin when He may have His back turned. I hate to be the one to break it to you, but God knows all and sees all. You can't out run Him or sneak past Him. This is not meant to scare you just to remind you. He loves us so much and wants to only do everything in His power to bless you. We just need to follow His speed limit. Trust in Him, and always aim to do His will. Then in the end you will make it to your destination in heaven, safe, secure, and on time! 

Opportunity Comes to Pass ...
- Unknown -

As Jesus said, "As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work."  

Once upon a time a city dweller moved to the country and bought a farm with a cow. In no time his cow went dry. When he told this to the neighbouring farmer, the farmer was surprised as this cow had always given lots of milk.

The city man was surprised, too, and told the other farmer how considerate he had been of the cow. He said, "I never took more milk than I needed. If I only needed a quart, that's all I took. If I didn't need any milk, I didn't milk her that day!

"What the man didn't realize is that, to keep a cow producing milk, he needed to take what she had to give.That's kind of like life, isn't it? If we don't use the gifts we have, we may lose them. 

And if we don't take the opportunities for service, for growth, for spiritual enrichment while we have them, we may lose these opportunities too.

Remember: "Opportunity comes to pass, not to pause!"


DID YOU KNOW ?

  • 1 in 5,000 north Atlantic lobsters are born bright blue.
  • 1 kg (2.2 pounds) of lemons contain more sugar than 1 kg of strawberries.
  • 1,525,000,000 miles of telephone wire are strung across the Unites States.
  • 1.7 litres of saliva is produced each day. In Discovery Channel, its a quart.
  • 10 percent of all human beings ever born are alive at this very moment.
  • 10% of human dry weight comes from bacteria
  • 11% of the world is left-handed.
  • 2 and 5 are the only prime numbers that end in 2 or 5.
  • 203 million dollars is spent on barbed wire each year in the U.S.
  • 22,000 checks will be deducted from the wrong bank accounts in the next hour.
  • 23% of all photocopier faults worldwide are caused by people sitting on them and photocopying their buttocks.
  • 25% of a human's bones are in its feet.
  • 259200 people die every day.

Just for laughs

God's Will

A farmer was on his way to town to buy a cow. On the way he stopped for a brief visit with his neighbor who was a Christian. 

"Where are you going today," the neighbor asked. 

"I'm going to town to buy a cow." 

Well actually, the Christian neighbor instructed, you ought to say, "the Lord willing, I'm going to town to buy a cow." 

God's Will "What do you mean, I have the money, they have the cow, I'm going to town to 
buy a cow." 

With that, he resumed his walk. Just before reaching the town, the farmer was mugged, his money stolen, and he was left unconscious by the side of the road. When he finally came too, and realizing all his money was gone, he started to limp back towards home. 

The Christian neighbor saw him coming, and hastened to help. After hearing the story, the Christian farmer asked, "So now what are you going to do?"

"Well, the Lord willing, I'm going home."

A Timely Help 

An old man lived alone. He wanted to dig his potato garden, but it was very hard work and his only son, who would have helped him, was in prison for bank robbery. The old man wrote a letter to his son and mentioned his predicament.

Shortly, he received this reply: "FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE, Dad, don't dig up the entire garden, that's where I buried the money." At 4 A.M. the next morning, a dozen policemen showed up and dug up the entire garden without finding any money.

Confused, the old man wrote another note to his son telling him what happened, and asking him what to do next. His son's reply was, "Now plant your potatoes, Dad. It's the best I could do from here."

24 November 2019

posted 22 Nov 2019, 21:17 by C S Paul

24 November 2019

Quotes to Inspire

  • "My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me." – Jim Valvano
  • "My father had his struggles, was misunderstood by many (including myself), but he gave me what I believe was the greatest gift any child could ever receive—he took me to a church where I learned about God and His plan of eternal salvation through Jesus Christ my Lord." – Dick Innes
  • "Everyone is ignorant on different subjects." – Will Rogers
  • "Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I'm going to learn, I must do the listening." – Larry King
  • "If you only know your side of an argument, you didn't learn it very well." – Michael Hodgin
  • "The ideas that have lighted my way have been kindness, beauty and truth." – Albert Einstein
  • "The greatest gift you and your partner can give your children is the example of an intimate, healthy, and loving relationship." – Barbara DeAngelis
  • "I watched a small man with thick calluses on both hands work fifteen and sixteen hours a day. I saw him once literally bleed from the bottoms of his feet, a man who came here uneducated, alone, unable to speak the language, who taught me all I needed to know about faith and hard work by the simple eloquence of his example." – Mario Cuomo (Famous former Italian governor of New York)
  • "The greatest thing a FATHER can do to his children, is to love their mother." – Anjaneth Garcia Untalan
  • "It is easier for a father to have children than for children to have a real father." – Pope John XXIII
Priorities – Parable of two sons
Unknown

To watch him play while at the park one day, a woman sat down next to a man on a bench near a playground. “That’s my son over there,” she said, pointing to a little boy in a red sweater who was gliding down the slide. “He’s a fine looking boy,” the man said. “That’s my son on the swing in the blue sweater.”

Then, looking at his watch, he called to his son. “What do you say we go, Todd?” 

Todd pleaded, “Just five more minutes, Dad. Please? Just five more minutes.” The man nodded and Todd continued to swing to his heart’s content.

What Are Your Priorities?

Minutes passed and the father stood and called again to his son. “Time to go now?” Again Todd pleaded, “Five more minutes, Dad. Just five more minutes.” The man smiled and said, “Okay.”

“My, you certainly are a patient father,” the woman responded. 

The man smiled and then said, “My older son Tommy was killed by a drunk driver last year while he was riding his bike near here. I never spent much time with Tommy and now I’d give anything for just five more minutes with him. I’ve vowed not to make the same mistake with Todd. “He thinks he has five more minutes to swing. The truth is . . . I get five more minutes to watch him play.”

The Carpenter
Unknown

Once upon a time, two brothers who lived on adjoining farms fell into conflict. It was the first serious rift in 40 years of farming side-by-side, sharing machinery and trading labor and goods as needed without a hitch.

Then the long collaboration fell apart. It began with a small misunderstanding and it grew into a major difference and finally, it exploded into an exchange of bitter words followed by weeks of silence.

One morning there was a knock on John’s door. He opened it to find a man with a carpenter’s toolbox. “I ‘m looking for a few days’ work,” he said. “Perhaps you would have a few small jobs here and there I could help with? Could I help you?”

House “Yes,” said the older brother. “I do have a job for you. Look across the creek at that farm. That’s my neighbor. In fact, it’s my younger brother! Last week there was a meadow between us. He recently took his bulldozer to the river levee and now there is a creek between us. Well, he may have done this to spite me, but I’ll do him one better. See that pile of lumber by the barn? I want you to build me a fence an 8-foot fence — so I won’t need to see his place or his face anymore.”

The carpenter said, “I think I understand the situation. Show me the nails and the post-hole digger and I’ll be able to do a job that pleases you.”

The Carpenter The older brother had to go to town, so he helped the carpenter get the materials ready and then he was off for the day. The carpenter worked hard all that day — measuring, sawing and nailing. About sunset when the farmer returned, the carpenter had just finished his job.

The farmer’s eyes opened wide, his jaw dropped. There was no fence there at all. It was a bridge .. A bridge that stretched from one side of the creek to the other! A fine piece of work, handrails and all! And the neighbor, his younger brother, was coming toward them, his hand outstretched..

The Bridge “You are quite a fellow to build this bridge after all I’ve said and done.”

The two brothers stood at each end of the bridge, and then they met in the middle, taking each other’s hand. They turned to see the carpenter hoist his toolbox onto his shoulder.

“No, wait! Stay a few days. I’ve a lot of other projects for you,” said the older brother.

“I’d love to stay on,” the carpenter said, “but I have many more bridges to build.”

Impossible Situations
by Pamela Rosario

The day was almost over. As I cleaned the room in preparation for The day was almost over. As I cleaned the room in preparation for the next patient, I heard the intercom blare my name announcing a call waiting for me at the nurses’ station.

I maneuvered my way through the crowded hospital corridor and picked up the first free phone I could find. The grim tone of my brother’s voice caused my heart to leap into my throat.

“They found a large tumor on Mom’s liver.” This was not the first time we had heard the words “tumor” or “cancer.”

Six years earlier, she had fought a hard fight against colon cancer and won. 

However, we felt the winds of change after a kidney infection landed her in the emergency room earlier that month. Her doctor performed a blood test that 

indicated her cancer might have returned. The CAT scan confirmed our worst fears. 

The cancer had spread, or metastasized, to her liver.

“What are we going to do?” Alan’s voice broke through my stunned silence.

After asking a few more questions about my mother’s test results, all I could say was, “I’ll call you back.”

I left the desk and found my husband in another area of the emergency room where we both worked as nurses. I shared the news with him and other co-workers who were standing by. Concerned looks and pats on the shoulder were all they could offer in the way of a solution. My husband turned to me. “What about Rhonda?”

Spurred on by a glimmer of hope, I grabbed the phone. My hands shook as I dialed the number. The din of the emergency room grew faint as I waited for the familiar 

voice to answer.

“Hey, Rhon. It’s Pam. Can you talk for a minute?”

“What’s wrong?” she asked.

I launched into the story without taking a breath. “Mom has a tumor on her liver. 

Alan told me her doctor said he can’t operate because it is wrapped around a major blood vessel. What can I do? Who can I take her to?”

Then came the inevitable question, “What kind of insurance does she have?”

I took a deep breath “She doesn’t have any."

The silence that followed was shattered by my friend’s determined voice, “Pam, give me a minute and I will call you back.” The phone went dead.

As I waited, my heart began to sink. How would my mother get the care she needed? 

Mom had survived two major surgeries, six weeks of radiation, and eighteen months of chemotherapy. After she went into remission, my parents tried to obtain some sort of health coverage for her. All of these efforts were fruitless. Because of her history, no conventional insurance company would touch her. She was too young for Medicare, and when she tried applying for Medicaid, she was told she would have to divorce my father in order to qualify for benefits. After fifty years of marriage, this was not an option. Furthermore, even if we had the funds, where would she get a doctor? Few surgeons in the state would call themselves qualified to tackle such a case, and, if they did, it could take months to get an appointment. Our chances seemed bleak. It was an impossible situation.

Throughout the Bible, we find story after story of men and women surrounded by circumstances that had no viable solution. In the Old Testament, we read about a couple of senior citizens waiting for a promised child to be born. Let us not forget the runaway murderer commissioned by God to lead Israel out of centuries of slavery against the super power of his day. How about the Israeli leader who needed more hours of daylight in order to defeat the enemy? All of these were impossible situations.

In the New Testament, we can feel the anxiety of the disciples as five thousand hungry people waited for the meal Jesus announced that He would provide. Ponder this: Lazarus was dead. Mary and Martha were racked with grief when Jesus finally arrived three days later. “Where were you?” they cried. More impossible situations.

The list goes on and on, but with every insurmountable obstacle, God comes through. Abraham and Sarah have a healthy baby boy. Moses brings the children of Israel out of bondage after four hundred years of oppression while being chased by the entire Egyptian army. Joshua defeated the enemy when God made the sun stand still. Jesus not only fed five thousand men, but also all the women and children who were there with food to spare. Much to the delight of Mary and Martha, Jesus brought Lazarus back to life. When the world shakes its head and announces there is no way, God flexes His muscles on behalf of those whose hearts are loyal to Him, (2 Chronicles 16:9).

Replaying the events of that day, I feel humbled and honored at the evidence of God’s hand at work in Mom’s life. Little did I know that God would use an old friendship to bring about a new solution. When the call finally came, Rhonda’s voice rang full of confidence.

“Pam, the doctor I work for has agreed to see your Mom. He is one of the best trauma surgeons in Florida. And, because of where her tumor is located, we are going to enroll her in the teaching program so all her hospital costs will be covered. She won’t have to pay for a thing.”

Friend, are you facing an impossible situation? Perhaps a loved one has been touched by an unexpected illness like my mother, or your checkbook shows more withdrawals than deposits. If so, just remember what God asked Jeremiah in chapter 32, verse 27: “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is there anything too difficult for me?” When we see obstacles, God sees opportunities. 

God is ready, willing, and able to do all that we need. Turn the burden over to Him, ignite your faith, and watch the hand of God turn your situation around.“Heavenly Father, thank you for working all things for my good. Give me a loyal heart so that you can ‘show Yourself strong’ in my life. Bring to my mind how You have rescued me in the past. Increase my faith so I can see Your solution to my impossible situation. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

The Man, the Boy, and the Donkey
A story you may have heard

The Man, the Boy, and the DonkeyA Man and his son were once going with their Donkey to market. As they were walking along by its side a countryman passed them and said: “You fools, what is a Donkey for but to ride upon?”

The Man, the Boy, and the DonkeySo the Man put the Boy on the Donkey and they went on their way. But soon they passed a group of men, one of whom said: “See that lazy youngster, he lets his father walk while he rides.”

The Man, the Boy, and the DonkeySo the Man ordered his Boy to get off, and got on himself.

But they hadn’t gone far when they passed two women, one of whom said to the other: “Shame on that lazy lout to let his poor little son trudge along.”

The Man, the Boy, and the DonkeyWell, the Man didn’t know what to do, but at last he took his Boy up before him on the Donkey. By this time they had come to the town, and the passers-by began to jeer and point at them. The Man stopped and asked what they were scoffing at. The men said:

The Man, the Boy, and the Donkey“Aren’t you ashamed of yourself for overloading that poor donkey of yours and your hulking son?”

The Man and Boy got off and tried to think what to do. They thought and they thought, till at last they cut down a pole, tied the donkey’s feet to it, and raised the pole and the donkey to their shoulders.

The Man, the Boy, and the DonkeyThey went along amid the laughter of all who met them till they came to Market Bridge, when the Donkey, getting one of his feet loose, kicked out and caused the Boy to drop his end of the pole. In the struggle the Donkey fell over the bridge, and his fore-feet being tied together he was drowned.

“That will teach you,” said an old man who had followed them:

Just for laughs

 Show and Tell 

A kindergarten teacher gave her class a "show and tell" assignment of bringing something to represent their religion. 
       
      The first boy got in front of the class and said, "My name is Benjamin and I am Jewish and this is the Star of David." 
       
      The second boy got in front of the class and said, "My name is Mary. I'm am Catholic and this is the Crucifix." 
       
      The third boy got in front of the class and said, " My name is Tommy and I am Baptist and this is a casserole."

Church Bells 

A minister was walking to church one morning when he passed one of his members working in his garden. "Can't you hear those bells calling you to church?" asked the minister. 
       
      "Eh, what's that?" said the member. 
       
      "Can't you hear those bells calling you to church?" 
       
      "I'm afraid you'll have to speak a little louder!" said the member. 
       
      "CAN'T YOU HEAR THOSE BELLS CALLING YOU TO CHURCH?!" shouted the minister. 
       
      "I'm sorry," said the member, "I can't hear you because of those darned BELLS!"


Did you know ?
  • The first car was invented in the year 1672 by Ferdinand Verbiest. 
  • The first cars did not have steering wheels. Drivers steered with a lever.
  • The first self-propelled car was invented by Nicolas Cugnot in 1769. It was designed with three wheels and an engine in the front along with the boiler. The car was able to run at a speed of 6 km/hr. 
  • Jamshedji Tata was the first Indian to own a car. He bought a car in 1901. 
  • Research suggests that Children tend to grow faster in spring season as compared to any other time of the year !
  • Hugging releases oxytocin,which helps to heal physical wounds,makes someone trust you more !
  • Do you know that your Toe-prints are also unique , just like your finger prints !And imagine even your tongue print is unique!
  • You know ,you have no sense of smell when you're sleeping!
  • You know ,you can see your nose all the time but somehow your brain always ignores it!
  • We all blink after every few seconds, but do we know the purpose of blinking ! 
  • If you keep a Goldfish in the dark room, it will eventually turn white.
  • A snail can sleep for 3 years.
  • Many hamsters only blink one eye at a time.
  • The housefly hums, middle octave, key of F.
  • A Horse has 18 more bones than a Human.
  • Elephants are the only mammals that can't jump.

17 November 2019

posted 15 Nov 2019, 05:23 by C S Paul

17 November 2019

Quotes to Inspire
  • "There's a big difference between what you have a right to do and what is right to do." — Potter Stewart
  • "Yet, in the end, the purpose of our work is not just to make a living, but to make a life. And, when it's all over, we will be judged not by what we have, but by what we have become." – Michael Josephson
  • "Love is not blind—it sees more, not less. But because it sees more, it is willing to see less" – Rabbi Julius Gordon 
  • "He that cannot forgive others breaks the bridge over which he must pass himself; for every man has need to be forgiven." – Thomas Fuller 
  • "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." – Theodore Roosevelt
  • "Most people spend more time planning a vacation or a party than they spend planning their lives." – Denis Waitley 
  • "Almost anything is easier to get into than to get out of." – Agnes Allen
  • "The best proof of love is trust." – Joyce Brothers, Psychologist
  • "Good habits are as addictive as bad habits, and a lot more rewarding." – Harvey Mackay
  • "A life without purpose is a languid, drifting thing; Every day we ought to review our purpose, saying to ourselves: 'This day let me make a sound beginning, for what we have hitherto done is naught.'" – Thomas A. Kempis
  • "Those who don't get their feet wet don't catch fish." – Chinese Proverb
  • "It is a wise father that knows his own child." – William Shakespeare
  • "One father is more than a hundred schoolmasters." – English Proverb
  • "I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father's protection." – S. Freud
  • The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it." – Michelangelo Buonarroti
  • "To dare is to lose one's footing momentarily. To not dare is to lose oneself." – Soren Kierkegaard
  • "Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own." – Charles Scribner Jr., Publisher
  • "It is not genius, nor glory, nor love that reflects the greatness of the human soul; it is kindness." – Henri-Dominique Lacordaire
The secret of happiness

Author: Paul Coelho in "The Alchemist"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The house with the golden windows

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!

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.

How Olympic shooter Karoly Takacs succeeded

In 1938, Karoly Takacs of the Hungarian Army, was the top pistol shooter in the world. He was expected to win the gold in the 1940 Olympic Games scheduled for Tokyo.

Those expectations vanished one terrible day just months before the Olympics. 

While training with his army squad, a hand grenade exploded in Takacs’ right hand, and Takacs’ shooting hand was blown off. He spent a month in the hospital depressed at both the loss of his hand, and the end to his Olympic dream.

But then Takacs did the unthinkable; he picked himself up, dusted himself off, and decided to learn how to shoot with his left hand! His reasoning was simple. 

He simply asked himself, “Why not?

For months, Takacs practiced by himself. In the spring of 1939 he showed up at the Hungarian National Pistol Shooting Championship. Other shooters approached Takacs to give him their condolences and to congratulate him on having the strength to come watch them shoot.

They were surprised when he said, “I didn’t come to watch, I came to compete.” 

They were even more surprised when Takacs won!

The 1940 and 1944 Olympics were cancelled because of World War II. In 1948, he qualified for the London Olympics.

At the age of 38, Takacs won the Gold Medal and set a new world record in pistol shooting. Four years later, Takacs won the Gold Medal again at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics. Takacs – a man with the mental toughness to bounce back from anything.

Instead of focusing on what he didn’t have – a world class right shooting hand, he decided to focus on what he did have – incredible mental toughness, and a healthy left hand that with time, could be developed to shoot like a champion.

Winners in every field have a special trait that helps them become unstoppable. A special characteristic that allows them to survive major setbacks on the road to success.

Bouncing back is not enough. Winners bounce back QUICKLY. They dust themselves off, and pick up where they left off…

Just for Laughs

 Can't work in the dark.

Two factory workers were talking. "I think I'll take some time off from work." said the man.
"How do you think you'll do that?" said his workmate.

He proceeded to show him ... by climbing up to the rafters, and hanging upside down.

The boss walked in, saw the worker hanging from the ceiling, and asked him what on earth he was doing?

"I'm a light bulb," answered the guy

"I think you need some time off," said the boss.

So, the man jumped down and walked out of the factory. His workmate began walking out, too.

The boss asked him where did he think he was going? He answered, "Home, I can't work in the dark."

Why ?

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?

Did you know ?

  • The estates of 22 dead celebrities earned over $5 million in 2004. These celebrities include Elvis Presley, Dr. Seuss, Charles Schulz, J.R.R. Tolkien and John Lennon. 
  • Astronauts are not allowed to eat beans before they go into space because passing wind in a spacesuit damages them.
  • Even today, 90% of the continental United States is still open space or farmland. 
  • 90% of Canada's 31,000,000 citizens live within 100 miles of the U.S. border. 
  • Researchers have found that doctors who spend at least three hours a week playing video games make about 37% fewer mistakes in laparoscopic surgery than surgeons who didn't play video games. 
  • For the first time in history, the number of people on the planet aged 60 or over will soon surpass those under 5. 
  • The Swedish pop group ABBA recently turned down an offer of $2 billion to reunite. 
  • 40 Billion e-mails are sent each day throughout the world. 
  • The richest self-made American under 40 is Michael Dell, chairman of Dell Computers. He is worth $18 billion. 

10 November 2019

posted 9 Nov 2019, 05:42 by C S Paul

10 November 2019

Quotes to Inspire
  • "Integrity is not a 90 percent thing, not a 95 percent thing. Either you have it or you don't." – Peter Scotese
  • "Nobody stands taller than those willing to stand corrected." – William Safire
  • Never, never be too proud to say "I'm sorry", to your child when you've made a mistake. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another... James 5:16
  • The best academy....a mother's knee. James Lowell
  • Discipline your son, and he will give you peace; he will bring delight to your soul.Proverbs 29:17
  • A father's words are like a thermostat that sets the temperature in the house. Paul Lewis
  • Death and life are in the power of the tongue; and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. Proverbs 18:21
  • The child that never learns to obey his parents in the home will not obey God or man out of the home. Susanne Wesley
  • "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off your bow-lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." – Mark Twain
  • "We don't have to be sick to get better." – Michael Josephson
  • "There's no doubt that our character has a profound effect on our future. What we must remember, however, is not merely how powerful character is in influencingour destiny, but how powerful we are in shaping our own character and, therefore, our own destiny. Character may determine our fate, but character is not determined by fate." – Michael Josephson
  • "One of our greatest strengths is to admit our weaknesses and mistakes. Only then can we ever overcome them. Denial traps us in the web of our own insecurities." – Dick Innes
  • "Denying our actions when we have done wrong and willfully continuing with these wrong or sinful actions can readily lead to a seared conscience." – Dick Innes
How Will the Church Be Lighted?
     — James W. Moore, Some things Are Too Good 
          Not To Be True, Dimensions: Nashville, 1994,

Several centuries ago in a mountain village in Europe, a wealthy nobleman wondered what legacy he should leave to his townspeople. He made a good decision. He decided to build 
them a church. No one was permitted to see the plans or the inside of the church until it was finished. At its grand opening, the people gathered and marveled at the beauty of the new church. 

Everything had been thought of and included. It was a masterpiece.

But then someone said, "Wait a minute! Where are the lamps? It is really quite dark in here. How will the church be lighted?" The nobleman pointed to some brackets in the walls, and then he gave each family a lamp, which they were to bring with them each time they came to worship.

"Each time you are here'" the nobleman said, "the place where you are seated will be lighted. Each time you are not here, that place will be dark. This is to remind you that whenever you fail to come to church, some part of God's house will be dark."

That's a poignant story, isn't it? And it makes a very significant point about the importance of our commitment and loyalty to the church.  

Alexander and Diogenes

Source: "A Little History Of The World" by E.H. Gombrich

Now when Alexander [the Great] appeared before the Greek leaders in Corinth they greeted him warmly and paid him lavish compliments- all of them, that is but one. A funny fellow, a philosopher named Diogenes. He had views not unlike those of the Buddha. According to him, possessions and all the things we think we need only serve to distract us and get in the way of our simple enjoyment of life. So he had given away everything he owned and now sat, almost naked, in a barrel in the market square in Corinth where he lived, free and independent like a stray dog.

Curious to meet this strange fellow, Alexander went to call on him. Dressed in shining armour, the plume on his helmet waving in the breeze, he walked up to the barrel and said to Diogenes: 'I like you. Let me know your wish and I shall grant it.' Diogenes, who had until then been comfortably sunning himself, replied: 

'Indeed, Sire, I have a wish.' 'Well, what is it?' 'Your shadow has fallen over me: stand a little less between me and the sun.' Alexander is said to have been so struck by this that he said: 'If I weren't Alexander, I should like to be Diogenes.'

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.

Being Rich

A True Story by Jaye Lewis 

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

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

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

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

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

We joked as we continued our treasure hunt, clutching our spending money of five dollars apiece, all hoping to be the first to find the oldest, least expensive book. It was a bittersweet excursion. Frequently Louie and I would brush past one another, finding excuses to touch or to give on another's hand an extra squeeze.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finally, in between another hug and kiss, I saw the perfect book for me! It was one hundred years old, and it was on my favorite time period, the Middle Ages. 

Oh, how I wanted that book! I quickly checked the inside cover for the price, and my heart fell. It was twenty-five dollars! We just didn't have it. I looked up at Louie, already knowing the answer.

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

I gave Louie and extra hug, and half serious, I murmured, as my eyes locked with hers.

"Oooohh, I wish I were rich!"

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

Who was she? I'll never know. But what she did for my outlook, was nothing short of miraculous. I will never forget her. Where did she disappear to? I can't say. Strangely enough, within days, my husband received a job offer in southwestern Virginia. In less than two weeks, he was hired and we moved to the place that is now our home. The job notice had been sent out two days before Christmas, even as we hugged and kissed and wished in that bookstore. Even as I heard the words, "It looks to me, as though you already are," events were already in motion to unite our family.

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

Just for Laughs

Change

Old Simpson, a stubborn opponent of changing anything, was a constant thorn in the side of the Parent-Teachers Association. For one thing, he was loudly against the introduction of foreign languages in the town's junior high school curriculum.

Waving his Bible high in the air, he shouted, "If English was good enough for the prophets and the apostles, it's plenty good enough for me."

Pictures

Terri asked her Sunday School class to draw pictures of their favorite bible stories. She was puzzled by Kyle's picture, which showed four people on an airplane, so she asked him which 
story it was meant to represent. 

"The flight to Egypt," said Kyle. 

"I see ... And that must be Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus," 


Ms.Terri said. 

"But who's the fourth person?" 

"Oh, that's Pontius the Pilot!"

Did you know ?
  • According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the best time to spray household insects is 4:00 p.m. Insects are most vulnerable at this time. (It's just like its better to water your plants in the early mornings or the evenings)
  • Volleyball was invented by William George Morgan of Holyoke, Massachusetts in 1895.
  • A badminton shuttle easily travels 180 km/h (112 mph).
  • The muscle that lets your eye blink is the fastest muscle in your body. It allows you to blink 5 times a second.
  • On average, you blink 15 000 times a day. Women blink twice as much as men.
  • Activated charcoal made from coconut shells is the odor absorbing agent in odor-eating shoe liners. 
  • If the entire population of earth was reduced to exactly 100 people, 51% would be female, 49% male; 50% of the world's currency would be held by 6 people, one person would be nearly dead, one nearly born. 
  • The little hole in the sink that lets the water drain out, instead of flowing over the side, is called a "porcelator." 
  • The wingspan of a Boeing 747 jet is longer than the Wright Brothers' first flight. 
  • Some dogs can predict when a child will have an epileptic seizure, and even protect the child from injury. They're not trained to do this, they simply learn to respond after observing at least one attack. 
  • One out of five people in the world (1.1 billion people) live on less than $1 per day.
  • Gerald Ford once worked as a cover model for Cosmopolitan magazine. 

3 November 2019

posted 2 Nov 2019, 06:44 by C S Paul

3 November 2019

Quotes to Inspire
  • "A fondness for power is implanted in most men, and it is natural to abuse it when acquired." — Alexander Hamilton, 1775
  • "We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give." – Winston Churchill
  • "Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." – Friedrich Nietzsche
  • "They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel." – Carl W. Buechner
  • "You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say." – Martin Luther, Priest, Scholar, Reformer
  • "The graveyards are full of indispensable men." — Charles de Gaulle
  • "You can pretend to be serious; you can't pretend to be witty." — Sacha Guitry
  • "We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, but others judge us by what we have already done." — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  • "When at a loss for the right word, try silence." — Unknown
  • "We are told that talent creates its own opportunities. But it sometimes seems that intense desire creates not only its own opportunities, but its own talents." — Eric Hoffer
The Silent Sermon
-- Author unknown

A member of a certain church, who previously had been attending services regularly, stopped going.  After a few weeks, the preacher decided to visit him.
It was a chilly evening. The pastor found the man at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire.  Guessing the reason for his preacher’s visit, the man welcomed him, led him to a comfortable chair near the fireplace…and waited.

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

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

Not a word had been spoken since the initial greeting.  The preacher glanced at his watch and realized it was time to leave.  He slowly stood up, picked up the cold, dead ember and placed it back in the middle of the fire.  Immediately it began to glow, once more with the light and warmth of the burning coals around it.

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

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

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!

The Seedling . . . . .
-- Author unknown

A Guru felt it was time to prepare his shishyas for the day he would hand over charge to his successor and told them so. Desirous, however, that the successor be one of his own students who’d been under his tutelage for years, he decided to put them to the test.
Calling all his pupils – ten of them – together one morning he gave them each a seed and said: “Please pick up a pot lying around, fill it with soil and manure and plant this seed in it.” At sundown, the pots having been filled in course of the day, he once again called them together and said: “Tomorrow morning you shall all leave for your respective homes along with the pots in which you have planted the seed. Take care of the growth of the seed to the best of your ability and then return here exactly 30 days from today together with the pot.”

Next morning, the students departed for their respective homes, where, they spared no effort in looking after the seed in their respective pot. On the morning of the 30th day all the ten arrived at the gurukul from different directions to be received warmly by the Guru. They each seemed excited with the growth of their respective seedling. One had a beautiful bush of fine roses in bloom, another a high growth of mixed flowers; yet another had a full-grown bonsai variety of the Chickoo while another a growth of colourful ferns, and so on, with the guru complimenting each of them for the results they were showing him – save one, who chose to try remaining unnoticeable to the Guru. He had with him his pot in which not even a leaf seemed to have grown.

Later, with lunch over, the guru’s generosity in welcoming his shishyas back showing through the splendid dishes prepared painstakingly by himself, the Guru invited them to carry their respective pots to meet with him in the garden of meditation where, he said, he would announce his successor. The pupils did as instructed and each sat cross-legged in a circle, their respective pots placed proudly in front of them. The one with the pot in which nothing seemed to have grown tried to remain inconspicuous.

The Guru said: “Can any one of you guess who is going to be my successor?” In an instant, every hand was straight up in anticipation, except the hand of the one who had nothing in his pot to show. Instructing the pupils to put their hands down, the Guru declared: “The one who is to be my successor is none other than the pupil who has come with a pot that has no growth in it at all!” Murmurs of protest began rising until one of them summed up the boldness to ask: “Why him, Guru? His pot is plantless!”

“Yes, my dear, I know! I also know how aware you are that I had given the same seedling to each one of you, including the one who has his pot plantless. The reason why he is going to be my successor is that he alone had the courage to be true to the voice of his conscience in response to the voice of his Guru!

“The seed I gave you all was a boiled one from which nothing could ever grow. But each of you, on discovering that it wouldn’t sprout, has replaced it with a seed of your own choice, except this faithful shishya. The result is, his pot shows an invisible growth of truth, while the pots of the rest of you has a visible growth of untruth in full bloom! Just how can you be leaders of others, moulders of their minds?”

Is Your Hut Burning?
-- Author unknown

The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him, and every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming.

Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect Him from the elements, and to store his few possessions. Then one day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, the smoke rolling up to the sky. The worst had happened; everything was lost.

He was stunned with grief and anger. "God, how could you do this to me!" he cried.

Early the next day, however, he was awakened by the sound of a ship that was approaching the island. It had come to rescue him. "How did you know I was here?" asked the weary man of his rescuers. "We  saw your smoke signal," they replied.

It is easy to get discouraged when things are going bad. But we shouldn't lose heart, because God is at work in our lives, even in the midst of pain and suffering. Remember, next time your little hut is burning to the ground-it just may be a smoke signal that summons the grace of God.

Just for Laughs
Real Pane

A young minister was filling in for Noman Vincent Peal at Marblegate Cathedral. Ascending the pulpit he looked at the magnificent colored glass windows and told the congregation: "You know, these beautiful windows remind me of your pastor and his sermons. I'm afraid that I will be like that piece of cardboard in that broken window over there by comparison." 

After he had finished, (and he did a very good job), he said farewell to the people leaving.

One little old lady warmly shook his hand and gazing fondly up at him gushed: "Oh Pastor, you weren't just a piece of cardboard, you were a real pane!" 

Did you Know
  • There are only three types of snakes on the island of Tasmania and all three are deadly poisonous. 
  • The United States has five percent of the world's population, but twenty-five percent of the world's prison population. 
  • The largest McDonald's is in Beijing, China - measuring 28,000 square feet. It has twenty nine cash registers. 
  • The chicken is one of the few things that man eats before it's born and after it's dead. 
  • The number of US college students studying Latin is three times the number studying Arabic. 
  • There are 1,008 McDonald's franchises in France. 
  • Only 30% of stolen artwork worth more than $1,000,000 each is recovered. 
  • The typical American child receives 70 new toys a year, most of them during the holiday season. 

27 October 2019

posted 26 Oct 2019, 05:46 by C S Paul


27 October 2019
Quotes to Inspire

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

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

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

She was desperate.

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

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

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

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

"I know", said she.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Yes!" she said.

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

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

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

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

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

Peace of mind

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

The disciple walked up to the lake. When he reached it, he noticed that some people were washing clothes in the water and, right at that moment, a bullock cart started crossing through the lake. As a result, the water became very muddy, very turbid. The disciple thought, ?How can I give this muddy water to Buddha to drink!? So he came back and told Buddha, ?The water in there is very muddy. I don?t think it is fit to drink.?

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

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

You don?t have to put in any effort to calm it down. It will happen. It is effortless.?

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

The Hedgehogs

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gratitude – Good comes around

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just for Laughs

Non-Partisan Pastor

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

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

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

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

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

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


20 October 2019

posted 19 Oct 2019, 03:09 by C S Paul

20 October 2019

Quotes to Inspire
  • "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
  • "Today is the first day of the rest of your life." — Charles Dederich
  • "I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been." — Wayne Gretzky
  • "Courage is not the lack of fear. It is acting in spite of it." — Mark Twain
  • "Most of the important things in the world have been accompanied by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all." — Dale Carnegie
  • "Temptation usually comes in through a door that has deliberately been left open." — Unknown
  • "The last thing one knows is what to put first." — Blaise Pascal
  • "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
  • "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me." - Paul the Apostle
  • "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." — Albert Einstein
Accidental Angel 
Scott Shaunfield  
   
When I was in school, I participated in an undergraduate internship with a hospital chaplain. This largely consisted of me visiting with specific hospital patients and then discussing the interaction with the chaplain. I had no specific training in this, and introducing myself to strangers was not one of my natural talents.

On one particular visit, I cautiously entered a darkened room to find an elderly man lying in the bed. There was no one else in the room, and I initially thought he was sleeping. When I moved closer to the bed, I realized that he was very much awake, but also very confused and anxious. He desperately wanted to communicate something, but I couldn’t understand what he was saying. He seemed weak and frail, and I couldn’t tell if he was in pain, or just scared. I knew nothing about this man’s life or history, and I felt totally helpless. He obviously didn’t want me to leave, but I felt so lost and uncomfortable that I had to leave the room after only a couple of minutes.

The next time I was at the hospital, I was assigned to make follow up visits with the same list of patients. I expected my time with the confused man to be just as short as the last time...if he was even still alive. It seemed pointless to frustrate myself trying to interact with someone so disoriented.

As I arrived at the room, the first thing I noticed was that the lights were on. His daughter was there visiting with him. He was sitting up in the bed and much more alert. I introduced myself to the daughter and explained that I had come by before. Addressing the patient, I then suggested that I was certain he didn’t remember me at all.

He corrected me immediately, saying “I remember you. You were the angel that gave me hope in my darkest hour!” I would have thought his memory was delirious, but he then accurately recounted enough details of our first meeting to remove any doubt of his clarity. I was so amazed that, once again, I didn’t know how to respond. We talked a little more, I told him I was glad he was feeling so much better, and we said goodbye.

In the brief moment of my initial interaction with this inconsolable patient, I had no idea what to say or what to do. I knew of nothing I could offer him. I did absolutely nothing to help this man... except show up. I may never be able to explain it, but somehow he found in me something he needed at a critical point in his life, just because I was there.

I have thought about this encounter often over the past 25 years. It has shaped the way I see life, the way I see myself, and the way I see others. It has influenced not only my career path, but also the decisions I make on a daily basis. It makes me want to offer whatever kindness I can to others, and I try to recognize and appreciate the kindness that others share with me. Obviously, we can’t know the impact our actions, or even just our presence, will have on life.

I don’t know who he was. I don’t know his name, where he came from, or what happened to him after that. It took years of hindsight for me to recognize the gift he had given me, so I didn’t even know to thank him at the time.

So a stranger in the form of a frail old man changed the rest of my life with a single comment. Who was the angel to whom?

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.”

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

A Lesson in Faith - The Charles Blondin Story 
-- Author unknown

The amazing story of Charles Blondin, a famous French tightrope walker, is a wonderful illustration of what true faith is.

Blondin's greatest fame came on September 14, 1860, when he became the first person to cross a tightrope stretched 11,000 feet (over a quarter of a mile) across the mighty Niagara Falls. People from both Canada and America came from miles away to see this great feat.

He walked across, 160 feet above the falls, several times... each time with a different daring feat - once in a sack, on stilts, on a bicycle, in the dark, and blindfolded. One time he even carried a stove and cooked an omelet in the middle of the rope!

A large crowd gathered and the buzz of excitement ran along both sides of the river bank. The crowd “Oohed and Aahed!” as Blondin carefully walked across - one dangerous step after another - pushing a wheelbarrow holding a sack of potatoes.

Then a one point, he asked for the participation of a volunteer. Upon reaching the other side, the crowd's applause was louder than the roar of the falls!

Blondin suddenly stopped and addressed his audience: "Do you believe I can carry a person across in this wheelbarrow?"

The crowd enthusiastically yelled, "Yes! You are the greatest tightrope walker in the world. We believe!"

"Okay," said Blondin, "Who wants to get into the wheelbarrow."

As far as the Blondin story goes, no one did at the time!

This unique story illustrates a real life picture of what faith actually is. The crowd watched these daring feats. They said they believed. But... their actions proved they truly did not believe.

Similarly, it is one thing for us to say we believe in God. However, it's true faith when we believe God and put our faith and trust in His Son, Jesus Christ.
-----
Note: In August of 1859, Blondin's manager, Harry Colcord, did ride on Blondin's back across the Falls.
Don't Worry
Author Unknown

Years ago, I was enthralled as I listened to a pastor who for several years had faithfully served the church. His executive responsibilities had taken him all over this country. As he concluded his message, he told of one of the most frightening, yet thought-provoking, experiences of his life.

He had been on a long flight from one place to another. The first warning of the approaching problems came when the sign on the airplane flashed on: Fasten your seat belts. Then, after a while, a calm voice said, "We shall not be serving the beverages at this time as we are expecting a little turbulence. Please be sure your seat belt is fastened."

As he looked around the aircraft, it became obvious that many of the passengers were becoming apprehensive. Later, the voice of the announcer said, "We are so sorry that we are unable to serve the meal at this time. The turbulence is still ahead of us."

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

The pastor confessed that he shared the discomfort and fear of those around him. 

He said, "As I looked around the plane, I could see that nearly all the passengers were upset and alarmed. Some were praying. The future seemed ominous and many were wondering if they would make it through the storm.

Then, I suddenly saw a little girl. Apparently the storm meant nothing to her. 

She had tucked her feet beneath her as she sat on her seat; she was reading a book and every thing within her small world was calm and orderly. Sometimes she closed her eyes, then she would read again; then she would straighten her legs, but worry and fear were not in her world. When the plane was being buffeted by the terrible storm when it lurched this way and that, as it rose and fell with frightening severity,when all the adults were scared half to death, that marvelous child was completely composed and unafraid." The minister could hardly believe his eyes.

It was not surprising therefore, that when the plane finally reached its destination and all the passengers were hurrying to disembark,our pastor lingered to speak to the girl whom he had watched for such a long time. Having commented about the storm and behavior of the plane, he asked why she had not been afraid.

The child replied, "'Cause my Daddy's the pilot, and he's taking me home."

There are many kinds of storms that buffet us:
• Physical,
• Mental,
• Financial,
• Domestic, and...
Many other storms can easily and quickly darken our skies and throw our plane into apparently uncontrollable movement. We have all known such times, and let us be honest and confess, it is much easier to be at rest when our feet are on the ground than when we are being tossed about a darkened sky.

Let us remember... Our Father is the Pilot. He is in control and taking us home... so Don't Worry.

Just for Laughs
Ring, Ring

A fellow showed up at church on Sunday morning with his ears painfully blistered. 

After services, the concerned preacher asked, "What in heaven happened to you?" 

"I was lying on the couch yesterday afternoon watching a ball game on TV and my wife was ironing nearby," the man explained. "I was totally engrossed in the game when she left the room, leaving the iron near the phone. The phone rang, and keeping my eyes glued to the television, I grabbed the hot iron and put it to my ear." 

"So how did the other ear get burned?" the preacher asked. 

"Well, I had no more than hung up and the guy called again."


Did you Know ?
  • Austin High School in Texas has removed candy from its vending machines. Now some enterprising students are earning $200 per week dealing in black market candy. 
  • In 2004, Virgin Atlantic Airlines introduced a double bed for first class passengers who fly together. 
  • The world's largest book, "Bhutan: A Visual Odyssey" is in a Chicago public library. The book measures 5 feet tall by 7 feet wide when open. It weighs 133 pounds. 
  • 55% of Americans claim they would continue working even if they received a $10,000,000 lottery prize. 
  • A ten year old mattress weighs double what it did when it was new, because of the -ahem- debris which is absorbed through the years. That debris includes dust mites (their droppings and their decaying bodies), mold, millions of dead skin cells, dandruff, animal and human hair, secretions, excretions, lint, pollen, dust, soil, sand and a lot of perspiration, of which the average person loses a quart per day. Good night! 
  • About 20% of gift cards never are redeemed at the full value of the card.
  • The second Saturday in September is usually a popular time for weddings. Not in 2004, as most couples did not want their anniversaries on September 11. 
  • Mel Gibson has personally earned almost $400,000,000 from his movie "The Passion of the Christ". 
  • The company that manufactures the greatest number of women's dresses each year is Mattel. Barbie's got to wear something. 
  • All radios in North Korea have been rigged so listeners can only receive a North Korean government station. The United States recently announced plans to smuggle $2,000,000 worth of small radios into the country so North Koreans can get a taste of (what their government calls) "rotten imperialist reactionary culture". 

13 October 2019

posted 12 Oct 2019, 05:11 by C S Paul

13 October 2019

Quotes to Inspire
  • "Successful people form the habit of doing what failures don't like to do. They like the results they get by doing what they don't necessarily enjoy." — Earl Nightingale
  • "An 'enemy' is someone that God puts in our path that is most in need of our love; not retaliation or retribution or harm or insult." — John Carmody
  •  "Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act." — Dietrich Bonhoeffer from Germany in Hitler's Era
  • "To see what is right and not do it is a lack of courage." — Confucius
  • "If you don't fail now and again, it's a sign you're playing it safe." — Woody Allen
  • "The price of wisdom is above rubies." — Solomon
  • "The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary." — Unknown
  • "Don't put off to tomorrow what you've already put off until today." — Unknown
  • "No matter how good an idea sounds, test it first." — Henry Bloch
  • "Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking together in the same direction." — Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • "The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny." — Albert Ellis
  • "I'm not in competition with anybody but myself. My goal is to beat my last performance."— Celine Dion
Give time to our family
-- Author unknown

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

The other woman that my wife wanted me to visit was my MOTHER, who has been a widow for 19 years, but the demands of my work and my three children had made it possible to visit her only occasionally. That night I called to invite her to go out for dinner and a movie. “What’s wrong, are you well?” she asked.

My mother is the type of woman who suspects that a late night call or a surprise invitation is a sign of bad news. “I thought that it would be pleasant to spend some time with you,” I responded. “Just the two of us.” She thought about it for a moment, and then said, “I would like that very much.”

That Friday after work, as I drove over to pick her up I was a bit nervous. When I arrived at her house, I noticed that she, too, seemed to be nervous about our date. She waited in the door with her coat on. She had curled her hair and was wearing the dress that she had worn to celebrate her last wedding anniversary. She smiled from a face that was as radiant as an angel’s. “I told my friends that I was going to go out with my son, and they were impressed, “she said, as she got into the car. “They can’t wait to hear about our meeting.”

We went to a restaurant that, although not elegant, was very nice and cozy. My mother took my arm as if she were the First Lady. After we sat down, I had to read the menu. Her eyes could only read large print. Half way through the entries, I lifted my eyes and saw Mom sitting there staring at me. A nostalgic smile was on her lips. “It was I who used to have to read the menu when you were small,” she said. “Then it’s time that you relax and let me return the favor,” I responded. During the dinner, we had an agreeable conversation – nothing extraordinary but catching up on recent events of each other’s life. We talked so much that we missed the movie. As we arrived at her house later, she said, “I’ll go out with you again, but only if you let me invite you.” I agreed.

“How was your dinner date?” asked my wife when I got home. “Very nice. Much more so than I could have imagined,” I answered.

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

At that moment, I understood the importance of saying in time: “I LOVE YOU” and to give our loved ones the time that they deserve. Nothing in life is more important than your family. Give them the time they deserve, because these things cannot be put off till “some other time.”

Prable of Distrust
-- Author unknown

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

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

The flood would not stop and the water continued to climb. Joseph was forced onto the roof of his home and he surveyed the catastrophe below him.

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

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

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

And the Lord replied, "What do you mean I let you down? I sent you a boat to save you, and a helicopter as well."
------
So often we try to help each other, but our efforts are met with distrust or total apathy. So little faith... especially when we try to lead people to the word of God, and His plan for them. But, often we fail to get the message across. 

"You can lead the horse to water, but you cannot make him drink." However, as faithful disciples, it is the wish of our Lord that we keep trying.

Dropped Chalk

-- Author unknown
 
There was a professor of philosophy there who was a deeply committed atheist. His 
primary goal for one required class was to spend the entire semester attempting to prove that God couldn't exist. His students were always afraid to argue with him because of his impeccable logic. For twenty years, he had taught this class and no one had ever had the courage to go against him. Sure, some had argued in class at times, but no one had ever really gone against him because of his reputation. At the end of every semester on the last day, he would say to his class of 300 students, "If there is anyone here who still believes in Jesus, stand up!"

In twenty years, no one had ever stood up. They knew what he was going to do next. He would say, "Because anyone who believes in God is a fool. If God existed, he could stop this piece of chalk from hitting the ground and breaking. 

Such a simple task to prove that He is God, and yet He can't do " it." And every year, he would drop the chalk onto the tile floor of the classroom and it would shatter into a hundred pieces. All of the students would do nothing but stop and stare. Certainly, a number of Christians had slipped through, but for 20 years, they had been too afraid to stand up.

Well, a few years ago there was a freshman who happened to enroll. He was a Christian, and had heard the stories about his professor. He was required to take the class for his major, and he was afraid. But for three months that semester, he prayed every morning that he would have the courage to stand up no matter what the professor said, or what the class thought. Nothing they said could ever shatter his faith...he hoped.

Finally, the day came. The professor said, "If there is anyone here who still believes in God, stand up!" The professor and the class of 300 people looked at him, shocked, as he stood up at the back of the classroom. The professor shouted, "You FOOL!!! If God existed, he would keep this piece of chalk from breaking when it hit the ground!"

He proceeded to drop the chalk, but as he did, it slipped out of his fingers, off his shirt cuff, onto the pleat of his pants, down his leg, and off his shoe. As it hit the ground, it simply rolled away unbroken. The professor's jaw dropped as he stared at the chalk. He looked up at the young man, and then ran out of the lecture hall.

The young man who had stood, proceeded to walk to the front of the room and shared his faith in Jesus for the next half hour. 300 students stayed and listened as he told of God's love for them and of His power through Jesus.

Sleeping Through The Storm
A Parable-like Story -- Author Unknown

A young man applied for a job as a farmhand. When the farmer asked for his qualifications, he said, "I can sleep through a storm."

This puzzled the farmer... but he liked the young man.  So he hired him.

A few weeks later, the farmer and his wife were awakened in the night by a violent storm ripping through the valley.  He leapt out of bed and called for his new hired hand, but the young man was sleeping soundly.

So they quickly began to check things to see if all was secure.  They found that the shutters of the farmhouse had been securely fastened.  A good supply of logs had been set next to the fireplace.

The farmer and his wife then inspected their property.  They found that the farm tools had been placed in the storage shed, safe from the elements.  He sees that the bales of wheat had been bound and wrapped in tarpaulins.

The tractor had been moved into its garage. The barn was properly locked tight. Even the animals were calm and had plenty of feed. All was well.

The farmer then understood the meaning of the young man's words, "I can sleep through a storm."

Because the farmhand did his work loyally and faithfully when the skies were clear, he was prepared for any storm.  So when the storm did actually break, he was not concerned or afraid.  He could sleep in peace.

Moral:::

If we tend to the things that are important in life,if we are right with those we love and behave in line with our faith, our lives will not be cursed with the aching throb of unfulfilled business. 

Our words will always be sincere, our embraces will be tight. We will never wallow in the agony of 'I could have, I should have.' 

We can sleep in a storm.

And when it's our time to go, our good-byes will be complete.


Acts of Kindness
-- Author Unknown

He was driving home one evening, on a two-lane country road. Work, in this small mid-western community, was almost as slow as his beat-up Pontiac. But he never quit looking. Ever since the Levis factory closed, he'd been unemployed, and with winter raging on, the chill had finally hit home. It was a lonely road. Not very many people had a reason to be on it, unless they were leaving. Most of his friends had already left. They had families to feed and dreams to fulfill. But he stayed on. After all, this was where he buried his mother and father. He was born here and knew the country.

He could go down this road blind, and tell you what was on either side, and with his headlights not working, that came in handy. It was starting to get dark and light snow flurries were coming down. He'd better get a move on. You know, he almost didn't see the old lady, stranded on the side of the road. But even in the dim light of day, he could see she needed help. So he pulled up in front of her Mercedes and got out. His Pontiac was still sputtering when he approached her.

Even with the smile on his face, she was worried. No one had stopped to help for the last hour or so. Was he going to hurt her? He didn't look safe, he looked poor and hungry. He could see that she was frightened, standing out there in the cold. He knew how she felt. It was that chill that only fear can put in you. He said, "I'm here to help you m'am. Why don't you wait in the car where it's warm. 

"By the way, my name is Joe."

Well, all she had was a flat tire, but for an old lady, that was bad enough Joe crawled under the car looking for a place to put the jack, skinning his knuckles a time or two. Soon he was able to change the tire. But he had to get dirty and his hands hurt. As he was tightening up the lug nuts, she rolled down her window and began to talk to him. She told him that she was from St. Louis and was only just passing through. She couldn't thank him enough for coming to her aid. Joe just smiled as he closed her trunk.

She asked him how much she owed him. Any amount would have been alright with her.
She had already imagined all the awful things that could have happened had he not 
stopped. Joe never thought twice about the money. This was not a job to him. This was helping someone in need, and God knows there were plenty who had given him a hand in the past. He had lived his whole life that way, and it never occurred to him to act any other way. He told her that if she really wanted to pay him back, the next time she saw someone who needed help, she could give that person the assistance that they needed, and Joe added "...and think of me".

He waited until she started her car and drove off. It had been a cold and depressing day, but he felt good as he headed for home, disappearing into the twilight. A few miles down the road the lady saw a small cafe. She went in to grab a bite to eat, and take the chill off before she made the last leg of her trip home. It was a dingy looking restaurant. Outside were two old gas pumps. The whole scene was unfamiliar to her. The cash register was like the telephone of an out of work actor, it didn't ring much.

Her waitress came over and brought a clean towel to wipe her wet hair. She had a sweet smile, one that even being on her feet for the whole day couldn't erase. The lady noticed that the waitress was nearly eight months pregnant, but she never let the strain and aches change her attitude. The old lady wondered how someone who had so little could be so giving to a stranger. Then she remembered Joe.

After the lady finished her meal, and the waitress went to get her change from a hundred dollar bill, the lady slipped right out the door. She was gone by the time the waitress came back. She wondered where the lady could be, then she noticed something written on a napkin. There were tears in her eyes, when she read what the lady wrote. It said, "You don't owe me a thing, I've been there too. Someone once helped me out, the way I'm helping you. If you really want to pay me back, here's what you do. Don't let the chain of love end with you."

Well, there were tables to clear, sugar bowls to fill, and people to serve, but the waitress made it through another day. That night when she got home from work and climbed into bed, she was thinking about the money and what the lady had written. How could she have known how much she and her husband needed it ? With the baby due next month, it was going to be hard. She knew how worried her husband was, and as he lay sleeping next to her, she gave him a soft kiss and whispered soft and low, "Everything's gonna be alright, I love you Joe."

Did you know ?
  • The lead singer of The Knack, famous for "My Sharona," and Jack Kevorkian's lead defence attorney are brothers, Doug and Jeffrey Feiger. 
  • One out of three employees who received a promotion use a coffee mug with the company logo on it. 
  • In 1963, baseball pitcher Gaylord Perry remarked, "They'll put a man on the moon before I hit a home run." On July 20, 1969, a few hours after Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, Gaylord Perry hit his first (and only) home run. 
  • Pinocchio is Italian for "pine eye". 
  • All of the clocks in the movie "Pulp Fiction" read 4:20. 
  • Dogs and cats consume almost $7 billion worth of pet food a year. 
  • The Pentagon has twice as many restrooms as necessary. When it was built, segregation was still in place in Virginia, so separate restrooms for blacks and whites were required by law. 
  • If you stretch a standard Slinky out flat it measures 87 feet long. 
  • Each year, over 1,000,000 people fail to itemize out the mortgage interest deduction on their income taxes. Last year, this amounted to $473,000,000 in taxes. 
  • In 1998, more fast-food employees were murdered on the job than police officers. 
  • Al Capone's business card said he was a used furniture dealer. 
  • Only 14% of Americans say they've skinny dipped with the opposite sex. 
  • "60 Minutes" on CBS is the only TV show to not have a theme song or music. 
  • Half of all Americans live within 50 miles of their birthplace. 
Just for Laughs

An artist asked the gallery owner if anyone had shown interest in his paintings. 

"I've got good news and bad news," she said. "The good news is that some guy 

inquired if it would appreciate in value after you died. When I told him it 

would, he bought all 15 of your paintings."

"And the bad news?"

"The guy was your doctor."

6 October 2019

posted 4 Oct 2019, 22:45 by C S Paul

6 October 2019

Quotes to Inspire
  • "The seeds of our death are present at the moment of our conception." – Dick Innes
  • "A father may know best, but a mother cares best, and children will pick caring over knowing every time." – Eric Fellman
  • "If humans evolved from apes, why do we still have apes?" – Unknown
  • "One person with passion is better than forty who are merely interested." – Thomas K. Connellan
  • "Virtue does not consist so much in abstaining from vice, as in not having an affection for it." – W.T. Eldridge
  • "You can preach a better sermon with your life than with your lips." – Oliver Goldsmith
  • If you want a baby, have a new one. Don't baby the old one. - Jessamyn West.
  • Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying. - Proverbs 19:18
  • "If you haven't the strength to impose your own terms upon life, you must accept the terms it offers you." – T.S. Eliot
  • Someone once said to Helen Keller, "What a pity you have no sight!" Helen Keller replied, "Yes, but what a pity so many have sight but cannot see!"
  • "God, grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know it's me!" – Cited by Andy Chap
  • "Nothing is so strong as gentleness, and nothing is so gentle as true strength." – Ralph Sockman

A 4-Year-old's Letter to God
A True Story -- Author unknown

There is a kind soul working in the dead letter office of the U.S. Postal Service somewhere...

Our 14 year old dog, Abbey, died last month. The day after she died, my 4-year-old daughter Meredith was crying and talking about how much she missed Abbey. She asked if we could write a letter to God, so that when Abbey got to heaven, God would recognize her. I told her that I thought we could, so she dictated these words:
....................................................

Dear God,

Will you please take care of my dog? She died yesterday and is with you in heaven. I miss her very much. I am happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she got sick. I hope you will play with her. She likes to play with balls and to swim. I am sending a picture of her so when you see her you will know that she is my dog. I really miss her.

Love, Meredith.
(written by the mother of Mer Claire)
....................................................

We put the letter in an envelope with a picture of Abbey and Meredith and addressed it to: God in Heaven. We put our return address on it. Then Meredith pasted several stamps on the front of the envelope because she said it would take lots of stamps to get the letter all the way to heaven. That afternoon she dropped it into the letter box at the post office.

A few days later, she asked if God had gotten the letter yet. I told her that I thought He had. Yesterday there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front porch addressed, "To Meredith" in an unfamiliar hand.

Meredith opened it. Inside was a book by Mr. Rogers, titled, "When a Pet Dies." Taped to the inside front cover was the letter we had written to God in its opened envelope. On the opposite page was the picture of Abbey & Meredith and this note:

....................................................

Dear Meredith,

Abbey arrived safely in heaven. Having the picture was a big help. I recognized Abbey right away. Abbey isn't sick anymore. Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart. Abbey loved being your dog. Since we don't need our bodies in heaven, I don't have any pockets to keep your picture in, so I am sending it back to you in this little book for you to keep and have something to remember Abbey by.

Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother for helping you write it and sending it to me. What a wonderful mother you have. I picked her especially for you. I send my blessings every day and remember that I love you very much. By the way, I am wherever there is love.

"Love, God"

4-Finger Pianist

This story will inspire you... to realize how anyone can overcome adversity!

What do you do when you’re born with two digits on each hand and your legs are amputated at the knees when you’re three? Well, if you’re Hee Ah Lee, you become a concert pianist. She is quite a pro at it now, and you’ll love hearing her play... watch this video below:

Hee Ah Lee was born with sever physical deformities. She only had two fingers on each hand. And her legs ended at her knees. Her doctors didn’t expect her to live.

But she did live. At the age of six she started to play piano. At the time, her four fingers were very weak. She couldn’t even hold a pencil. Her mother hoped playing piano would strengthen her grip.

It worked. But more than that, Lee found a calling. She now tours the world, playing for stunned audiences. She plays pieces that would be difficult for able-bodied pianists.

TRUE Story according to TruthorFiction.com

The videos are real and Hee Ah Lee is Authentic. It is the story of a mother and a daughter who have overcome odds from the very beginning.

Lee’s mother became unexpectedly pregnant while married to a disabled man.  Doctors told her that because of a medication she had been taking her child would not be normal.  She elected to continue with the pregnancy and in 1985 in Seoul, South Korea, little Hee Ah Lee was born with only two fingers on each hand, disfigurement of her legs, and slight brain injury.  The hospital told Sun that she could not care for the child at home and relatives wanted her to place the child for adoption in a foreign country.  Sun thought her baby was beautiful, however, and was determined that she would live a successful life.

When Lee was a pre-schooler her mother decided that she wanted her daughter to take piano lessons and for two reasons.  One was that she felt it would help her strengthen her hands so she could hold a pencil.  The other was that she felt that if she could master the piano, she could master anything.   For six months piano schools turned them down then the one teacher who did accept the task got discouraged and wanted to quit.  It became a three-month contest of wills between mother and daughter that led to a confrontation in which Sun actually threw her daughter on the floor in frustration.  She said Lee got back up on the piano bench and for the first time played the children’s song she had been trying to learn.  That was the turning point and one year later Lee won the grand prize in a piano concert for Kindergartners. It was at age 7 that Lee won Korea’s 19th National Handicap Conquest Contest and was presented with her award by the President of Korea.

Today Lee is 22, has won numerous awards, and is a widely traveled concert pianist with more than 200 appearances.  Her first album titled “Hee-ah, a Pianist with Four Fingers” was to be released in June, 2008.

Lee gives tribute to her mother for challenging her to master the piano and said that although her training was difficult, “as time went by, the piano became my source of inspiration and my best friend.”

A Story of Miracles by 
By Marta C., 7th-grader

The staff at Inspire 21 was extremely pleased to receive this inspirational story about miracles from a remarkable 7th-grader. We hope you enjoy her story as much as we did.
______________

When I was only 18 months old, I was diagnosed with lead poisoning. I was supposed to end up in the hospital in a wheelchair.

My parents told me that the day I was brought into the hospital, my face was yellow and I wouldn't stop crying. The doctor said it was permanent. But in just one month, I
went back to the doctor, and he said the lead poisoning was completely gone. My parents had prayed for me throughout the whole month, hoping it would go away.

My dad always drank. My older brother and I always got scared of him when he came home drunk. One day, my dad had to go to the hospital because he drank too much. He was in the hospital for one month, and I prayed every day for him to get better. My dad was in pain and agony, and no medicine made him feel better. By the time my dad was able to come home, the doctor said he had one year to live. My dad is now 52, and it has been six years. My dad stopped drinking when I got into second grade. It was a miracle. Ever since, my dad never drank again.

The doctor told me 11 years ago that I would be in a wheelchair, unable to talk, see, move or do anything. Yet in second grade, I was entered in a Talented Artist Program; in fifth grade, I was in honors classes; in sixth grade I was in a play and on two softball teams; and in seventh grade, I am in a play, am president of my class, and I am in a Documentary Film Club.

I thank God every day for the blessings he gave me. He is what motivates me and inspires me every day. He inspires me to be the best I can. My parents' love for me also inspires me to be the best of the best. I love God and my family.

A Night on Call - true story
 
By Ofc. Dave Gomez

In the Police Academy they told us over and over again to be ready for anything when we show up on a scene. As I am driving around in my patrol car a citizen calls 911 to report an issue in my city. The dispatcher takes the call, talks with the caller, and translates the conversation into a call type and a sentence or two that comes across my computer screen on what I need to respond to and where.

The dispatcher looks and sees the address is in my area and comes over the air to let me know I have a call holding. I acknowledge to her that I am en route to whatever call she has put in my que. She assigns the amount of officers depending on the call type. A fight situation might need 4 officers where as a vandalism report usually only needs one officer. The dispatchers have to use their best discretion on translating what is told to them over the phone into how many officers will go to the call. There are about 20 different call types that include traffic accidents, lost kids, property checks, drunk drivers, and welfare checks just to name a few. The dispatchers are awesome and they really watch out for our safety and do a great job.

En route to the call I always think through the scenarios of what might possibly happening so that I can formulate a plan of action. Sometimes a call comes across where it seems there will be a battle and it turns out to be nothing. Some times a call comes across that seems very small and it turns into a huge deal.

Last night I was dispatched as a single responder to a traffic hazard call.

The caller told dispatch there was a dead dog in the road that was causing a traffic issue. Fortunately it was 11pm on a smaller street and I knew there couldn’t be too much of a traffic issue so I was in no hurry. While driving to the call I didn’t even give it a second though. My plan was to get to the scene, move the dog to the side of the road, and let animal control know they needed to pick it up in the morning. I was already finished with the call before I got there and did not even contemplate there could possibly be more to the story.

As I approached the area I turned on my spotlight and easily found the dog as it was a large retriever dog and was right in the middle of a two lane road. I turned on my overheads (blue and red flashing lights) so no one would run me over as I was moving the dog. One truck approached and went around me pausing briefly to look at the dog on the roadway. I was putting on rubber gloves to move the dog when a smaller passenger car approached and came to a stop right next to the dog. As I looked inside I saw a woman in her late 40’s open the window and lean out to look at the dog. I was about to tell her to move on as she was blocking the only route around my patrol car. As I approached her she put her head back into her seat, covered her face with her hands, and started uncontrollably sobbing. I was not sure if she really loved dogs or if this was her dog that had been hit. I approached her window and asked her if it was her dog that was on the road. She could only slightly nod her head yes through her tears. I asked her to move over to the side of the road so that other traffic could pass and I would be right there to talk to her.

I moved the dog to the opposite side of the road from where the lady had parked and turned my car around and parked directly behind the lady. I approached the vehicle and gave her a moment to calm down because I couldn’t understand anything she was saying through her sobs. Once she could talk she explained that her son was in the military and had been killed last month. She explained this was his dog, “Charlie” and that it was the best reminder she had of her dead son. She broke down sobbing again as she tried to explain to me that she didn’t know how she would tell her two grandchildren that Charlie had been killed such a short time after their father had been killed. At this time I had to take a step back and compose myself and try and be as strong as I could for this poor lady. In the end all I could do was put a hand on her shoulder and tell her I was sorry for her loss.

The lady had a 15 year old son in the car with her. The 15 year old was being very brave himself and trying to comfort his mom as best he could. I asked her if she had any family close by she would like me to call for her and she said she just moved here recently to be by the grand-kids and didn’t have family here. The 15 year old did not have a license and could not drive her home like I would have liked. I told her I would follow her home to make sure she got home safe as I was very concerned for her.

Before we left the scene she asked if I would take the collar off Charlie so that she could bury it and remember him. I told her of course I would get the collar for her. I took Charlie’s collar off him and placed it in a small brown paper evidence bag. I went to the opposite side of the car and gave the bag to the 15 year old who was quietly sitting in the passenger seat. I explained to the 15 year old as I gave him the bag that he would have to be the man of the house tonight and take extra good care of his mother. He bravely took the bag and placed it under his seat where his mom could not see it and said he would do his best to take care of her.

I followed her to her house which was very close and made sure she made it home safe. I waved goodbye and cleared my call so that I would be available for the next call to come across my computer screen.

A short while later I ended up transporting a young lady to jail for a probation violation. It is about a 15 minute drive time to the jail from any place in the city and I often talk with my passengers. This young lady began to tell me how rough her month and year had been. I told her the story about the dog in the road that I had just come from and her attitude quickly changed. While still upset she was going to jail she decided some people have much tougher problems.

I signed up for this job because of the adventure and the excitement. You never know what will be at the address you are going to and I love every bit of it.

It will be a while before I go to a traffic hazard call without thinking of Charlie the dog who was a much bigger story than could fit onto two lines of my computer screen.

Did you Know ?

Q: Why do men's clothes have buttons on the right while women's clothes have buttons on the left?

A: When buttons were invented, they were very expensive and worn primarily by the rich. Since most people are right-handed, it is easier to push buttons on the right through holes on the left. Because wealthy women were dressed by maids, dressmakers put the buttons on the maid's right!  And that's where women's buttons have remained since.

Q: Why do ships and aircraft use 'mayday' as their call for help?

A: This comes from the French word m'aidez -meaning 'help me' -- and is pronounced, approximately, 'mayday.'

Q: Why are zero scores in tennis called 'love'?

A: In France , where tennis became popular, round zero on the scoreboard looked like an egg and was called 'l'oeuf,' which is French for 'egg.' When tennis was introduced in the US,  Americans mispronounced it 'love.'

Q. Why do X's at the end of a letter signify kisses?

A: In the Middle Ages, when many people were unable to read or write, documents were often signed using an X.  Kissing the X represented an oath to fulfill obligations specified in the document.  The X and the kiss eventually became synonymous.

Q: Why is shifting responsibility to someone else called 'passing the buck'?

A: In card games, it was once customary to pass an item, called a buck, from player to player to indicate whose turn it was to deal. If a player did not wish to assume the responsibility of dealing, he would 'pass the buck' to the next player.

Q: Why do people clink their glasses before drinking a toast?

A: It used to be common for someone to try to kill an enemy by offering him a poisoned drink. To prove to a guest that a drink was safe, it became customary for a guest to pour a small amount of his drink into the glass of the host. Both men would drink it simultaneously.  When a guest trusted his host, he would only touch or clink the host's glass with his own. 
  
Q: Why are people in the public eye said to be 'in the limelight'?

A: Invented in 1825, limelight was used in lighthouses and theatres by burning a cylinder of lime which produced a brilliant light. In the theatre, a performer 'in the limelight' was the centre of attention. 
  
Q: Why is someone who is feeling great 'on cloud nine'?

A: Types of clouds are numbered according to the altitudes they attain, with nine being the highest cloud.  If someone is said to be on cloud nine, that person is floating well above worldly cares.

Q: In golf, where did the term 'Caddie' come from?

A. When Mary Queen of Scots went to France as a young girl, Louis, King of France, learned that she loved the Scots game 'golf.'  So he had the first course outside of Scotland built for her enjoyment. To make sure she was properly chaperoned  (and guarded) while she played, Louis hired cadets from a military school to accompany her. Mary liked this a lot and when returned to Scotland (not a very good idea in the long run), she took the practice with her.  In French, the word cadet is pronounced  'ca-day' and the Scots changed it into 'caddie. 
  
Q: Why are many coin banks shaped like pigs?

A: Long ago, dishes and cookware in Europe were made of a dense orange clay called 'pygg'.  When people saved coins in jars made of this clay, the jars became known as 'pygg banks.' When an English potter misunderstood the word, he made a container that resembled a pig.  And it caught on.

Just for Laughs

Prayer Before an Exam

Mike was studying for a test one evening. He was very quiet for a long time. So naturally his parents became curious. When they checked on him, they overheard this prayer:

Now I lay me down to rest,
And hope to pass tomorrow's test.
If I should die before I wake,
That's one less test I have to take

Publish Sermons

After a particularly inspiring worship service, a church member greeted the pastor.

"Reverend, that was a wonderful sermon. You should have it published."

The pastor replied, "Actually, I'm planning to have all my sermons published posthumously." "Great!" enthused the church member. "The sooner the better!"

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