10 November 2013

posted 8 Nov 2013, 08:11 by C S Paul

10 November 2013

Quotes to Inspire

  • "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
  • "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

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.

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.

Just for Laughs


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."

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)
  • 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. 


by Lew Wallace

Part Seven

Biblical references: John 1:29-34

At a meeting in Bethany, Ben-Hur and his Galileans organise a resistance force, an army which will revolt against Rome. Judah asks Simonides and Ilderim for help, and they establish a training base in Ilderim's territory, deep in the desert. After training for some time, Malluch sends him a letter announcing the appearance of a prophet who he believes to be a herald for the Christ. Judah journeys to the Jordan to see the Prophet, and on the way meets Balthasar and Iras again, traveling for the same purpose. Judah does not accept Balthasar's reasoning of the Christ as a savior rather than an earthly king, and continues with his plan to fight. They reach Bethabara, where a group has gathered to watch John the Baptist. A man walks up to John, and asks to be baptized. Judah recognizes him as the same man that gave him water at the well in Nazareth many years earlier, and Balthasar worships and almost faints at once again seeing he Christ.


The meeting took place in the khan of Bethany as appointed. Thence Ben-Hur went with the Galileans into their country,where his exploits up in the old Market-place gave him fame and influence. Before the winter was gone he raised three legions, and organized them after the Roman pattern. He could have had as many more, for the martial spirit of that gallant people never slept. The proceeding, however, required careful guarding
as against both Rome and Herod Antipas. Contenting himself for the present with the three, he strove to train and educate them for systematic action. For that purpose he carried the officers over into the lava-beds of Trachonitis, and taught them the use
of arms, particularly the javelin and sword, and the manoeuvering peculiar to the legionary formation; after which he sent them home as teachers. And soon the training became a pastime of the people.

As may be thought, the task called for patience, skill, zeal, faith, and devotion on his part--qualities into which the power of inspiring others in matters of difficulty is always resolvable; and never man possessed them in greater degree or used them to better effect. How he labored! And with utter denial of self! Yet withal he would have failed but for the support he had from Simonides, who furnished him arms and money, and from Ilderim, who kept watch and brought him supplies. And still he would have failed but for the genius
of the Galileans.

Under that name were comprehended the four tribes--Asher, Zebulon, Issachar, and Naphthali--and the districts originally set apart to them. The Jew born in sight of the Temple despised these brethren of the north; but the Talmud itself has said, "The Galilean loves honor, and the Jew money."

Hating Rome fervidly as they loved their own country, in every revolt they were first in the field and last to leave it. One hundred and fifty thousand Galilean youths perished in
the final war with Rome. For the great festal days, they went up to Jerusalem marching and camping like armies; yet they were liberal in sentiment, and even tolerant to heathenism. In Herod's beautiful cities, which were Roman in all things, in Sepphoris and
Tiberias especially, they took pride, and in the building them gave loyal support. They had for fellow-citizens men from the outside world everywhere, and lived in peace with them. To the glory of the Hebrew name they contributed poets like the singer of the Song of Songs and prophets like Hosea.

Upon such a people, so quick, so proud, so brave, so devoted, so imaginative, a tale like that of the coming of the King was all-powerful. That he was coming to put Rome down would have been sufficient to enlist them in the scheme proposed by Ben-Hur; but when, besides, they were assured he was to rule the world, more mighty than Caesar, more magnificent than Solomon, and that the rule was to last forever, the appeal was irresistible, and they vowed themselves to the cause body and soul. They asked Ben-Hur his authority for the sayings, and he quoted the prophets, and told them of Balthasar in waiting over in Antioch; and they were satisfied, for it was the old much-loved legend of the Messiah, familiar to them almost as the name of the Lord; the long-cherished dream
with a time fixed for its realization. The King was not merely coming now; he was at hand.

So with Ben-Hur the winter months rolled by, and spring came, with gladdening showers blown over from the summering sea in the west; and by that time so earnestly and successfully had he toiled that he could say to himself and his followers, "Let the good King
come. He has only to tell us where he will have his throne set up. We have the sword-hands to keep it for him."

And in all his dealings with the many men they knew him only as a son of Judah, and by that name.

* * * * * *

One evening, over in Trachonitis, Ben-Hur was sitting with some of his Galileans at the mouth of the cave in which he quartered, when an Arab courier rode to him, and delivered a letter. Breaking the package, he read,

"Jerusalem, Nisan IV.

"A prophet has appeared who men say is Elias. He has been in the wilderness for years, and to our eyes he is a prophet; and such also is his speech, the burden of which is of one much greater than himself, who, he says, is to come presently, and for whom he is now
waiting on the eastern shore of the River Jordan. I have been to see and hear him, and the one he is waiting for is certainly the King you are awaiting. Come and judge for yourself.

"All Jerusalem is going out to the prophet, and with many people else the shore on which he abides is like Mount Olivet in the last days of the Passover.


Ben-Hur's face flushed with joy.

"By this word, O my friends," he said--"by this word, our waiting is at end. The herald of the King has appeared and announced him."

Upon hearing the letter read, they also rejoiced at the promise it held out.

"Get ready now," he added, "and in the morning set your faces homeward; when arrived there, send word to those under you, and bid them be ready to assemble as I may direct. For myself and you, I will go see if the King be indeed at hand, and send you report. Let us,
in the meantime, live in the pleasure of the promise."

Going into the cave, he addressed a letter to Ilderim, and another to Simonides, giving notice of the news received, and of his purpose to go up immediately to Jerusalem. The letters he despatched by swift messengers. When night fell, and the stars of direction
came out, he mounted, and with an Arab guide set out for the Jordan, intending to strike the track of the caravans between Rabbath-Ammon and Damascus.

The guide was sure, and Aldebaran swift; so by midnight the two were out of the lava fastness speeding southward.

to be continued