11 September 2016

posted 9 Sep 2016, 04:40 by C S Paul

11 September 2016

Quotes to Inspire

  • "Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it." – Albert Einstein
  • "Where you are headed is more important than how fast you are going. Rather than always focusing on what's urgent, learn to focus on what is really important." – Stephen Covey
  • "One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again." – Abraham Maslow
  • "How far you go in life depends on you being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and the strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these." – George Washington Carver
  • "Remember: Flattery is like perfume. Sniff it, don't drink it!" – Unknown
  • "The end never justifies the meanness." – Cited in Bits & Pieces
  • "No matter what your past may have been, everyone can have a clean future. Talk to God about it. He has the answer." – Unknown
  • "You cannot do a kindness too soon because you never know how soon it will be too late."– Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • "You will never know how high you can jump until you reach a failure point." – Robert Schuller
  • "Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape." – Michael McGriff, M.D.
  • "There are two kinds of people who don't say much: Those who are quiet and those who talk a lot." – Ideas for Better Living
  • "Have you ever noticed that common sense is not very common?" –  Unknown
  • "You have not converted a man because you have silenced him." – Unknown
  • "The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated." – William James
  • "The highest reward for your toil is not what you get for it, but what you become by it." – John Ruskin
Thank You, Lord
-Author Unknown

Even though I clutch my blanket and growl when the alarm rings. Thank you, Lord, that I can hear. There are many who are deaf.

Even though I keep my eyes closed against the morning light as long as possible. Thank you, Lord, that I can see. Many are blind.

Even though I huddle in my bed and put off rising. Thank you, Lord, that I have the strength to rise. There are many who are bedridden.

Even though the first hour of my day is hectic, when socks are lost, toast is burned, tempers are short, and my children are so loud.

Thank you, Lord, for my family. There are many who are lonely.

Even though our breakfast table never looks like the picture in magazines and the menu is at times unbalanced.

Thank you, Lord, for the food we have. There are many who are hungry.

Even though the routine of my job often is monotonous. Thank you, Lord, for the opportunity to work. There are many who have no job.

Even though I grumble and bemoan my fate from day to day and wish my circumstances were not so modest.

Thank you, Lord, for life.

The Homeless Person
-Author Unknown

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"In Jesus, there is always hope."

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

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

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

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

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

Jeremy's Egg
-Author Unknown

Jeremy was born with a twisted body, a slow mind and a chronic, terminal illness that had been slowly killing him all his young life. Still, his parents had tried to give him as normal a life as possible and had sent him to St. Theresa's Elementary School.

At the age of 12, Jeremy was only in second grade, seemingly unable to learn. His teacher, Doris Miller, often became exasperated with him. He would squirm in his seat, drool and make grunting noises. At other times, he spoke clearly and distinctly, as if a spot of light had penetrated the darkness of his brain. Most of the time, however, Jeremy irritated his teacher. One day, she called his parents and asked them to come to St. Teresa's for a consultation.

As the Forresters sat quietly in the empty classroom, Doris said to them, "Jeremy really belongs in a special school. It isn't fair to him to be with younger children who don't have learning problems. Why, there is a five-year gap between his age and that of the other students!"

Mrs. Forrester cried softly into a tissue while her husband spoke. "Miss Miller," he said, "there is no school of that kind nearby. It would be a terrible shock for Jeremy if we had to take him out of this school. We know he really likes it here."

Doris sat for a long time after they left, staring at the snow outside the window. Its coldness seemed to seep into her soul. She wanted to sympathize with the Forresters. After all, their only child had a terminal illness. But it wasn't fair to keep him in her class. She had 18 other youngsters to teach and Jeremy was a distraction. Furthermore, he would never learn to read or write. Why waste any more time trying?

As she pondered the situation, guilt washed over her. "Oh God," she said aloud, "here I am complaining when my problems are nothing compared with that poor family! Please help me to be more patient with Jeremy."

From that day on, she tried hard to ignore Jeremy's noises and his blank stares. Then one day he limped to her desk, dragging his bad leg behind him. "I love you, Miss Miller," he exclaimed, loudly enough for the whole class to hear. The other children snickered, and Doris' face turned red. She stammered, "Wh-Why, that's very nice, Jeremy. Now please take your seat."

Spring came, and the children talked excitedly about the coming of Easter. Doris told them the story of Jesus, and then to emphasize the idea of new life springing forth, she gave each of the children a large plastic egg. "Now," she said to them, "I want you to take this home and bring it back tomorrow with something inside that shows new life. Do you understand?"

Yes, Miss Miller!" the children responded enthusiastically - all except for Jeremy. He just listened intently, his eyes never left her face. He did not even make his usual noises. Had he understood what she had said about Jesus' death and resurrection? Did he understand the assignment? Perhaps she should call his parents and explain the project to them. That evening, Doris' kitchen sink stopped up. She called the landlord and waited an hour for him to come by and unclog it. After that, she still had to shop for groceries, iron a blouse and prepare a vocabulary test for the next day. She completely forgot about phoning Jeremy's parents.

The next morning, 19 children came to school, laughing and talking as they placed their eggs in the large wicker basket on Miss Miller's desk. After they completed their Math lesson, it was time to open the eggs. In the first egg, Doris found a flower. "Oh yes, a flower is certainly a sign of new life," she said. "When plants peek through the ground we know that spring is here." A small girl in the first row waved her arms. "That's my egg, Miss Miller," she called out.

The next egg contained a plastic butterfly, which looked very real. Doris held it up. "We all know that a caterpillar changes and grows into a beautiful butterfly. Yes that is new life, too" Little Judy smiled proudly and said, "Miss Miller, that one is mine."

Next Doris found a rock with moss on it. She explained that the moss, too, showed life. Billy spoke up from the back of the classroom. "My Daddy helped me!" he beamed.

Then Doris opened the fourth egg. She gasped. The egg was empty! Surely it must be Jeremy's, she thought, and, of course, he did not understand her instructions. If only she had not forgotten to phone his parents. Because she did not want to embarrass him, she quietly set the egg aside and reached for another.

Suddenly Jeremy spoke up. "Miss Miller, aren't you going to talk about my egg?" Flustered, Doris replied, "but Jeremy - your egg is empty!" He looked into her eyes and said softly, "Yes, but Jesus' tomb was empty too!"

Time stopped. When she could speak again. Doris asked him, " Do you know why the tomb was empty?"

"Oh yes!" Jeremy exclaimed. "Jesus was killed and put in there. Then his Father raised him up!"

The recess bell rang. While the children excitedly ran out to the school yard, Doris cried. The cold inside her melted completely away.

Three months later Jeremy died. Those who paid their respects at the mortuary were surprised to see 19 eggs on top of his casket, all of them empty.

The Folded Napkin
-Author Unknown

I try not to be biased, but I had my doubts about hiring Stevie. His placement counselor assured me that he would be a good, reliable busboy. But I had never had a mentally handicapped employee and wasn't sure I wanted one. I wasn't sure how my customers would react to Stevie.

He was short, a little dumpy with the smooth facial features and thick-tongued speech of Downs Syndrome. I wasn't worried about most of my trucker customers because truckers don't generally care who buses tables as long as the meatloaf platter is good and the pies are homemade.

The four-wheeler drivers were the ones who concerned me; the mouthy college kids traveling to school; the yuppie snobs who secretly polish their silverware with their napkins for fear of catching some dreaded "truck stop germ" the pairs of white-shirted business men on expense accounts who think every truck stop waitress wants to be flirted with. I knew those people would be uncomfortable around Stevie so I closely watched him for the first few weeks.

I shouldn't have worried. After the first week, Stevie had my staff wrapped around his stubby little finger, and within a month my truck regulars had adopted him as their official truck stop mascot.

After that, I really didn't care what the rest of the customers thought of him. He was like a 21-year-old in blue jeans and Nikes, eager to laugh and eager to please, but fierce in his attention to his duties. Every salt and pepper shaker was exactly in its place, not a bread crumb or coffee spill was visible when Stevie got done with the table. Our only problem was persuading him to wait to clean a table until after the customers were finished. He would hover in the background, shifting his weight from one foot to the other, scanning the dining room until a table was empty. Then he would scurry to the empty table and carefully bus dishes and glasses onto his cart and meticulously wipe the table up with a practiced flourish of his rag.

If he thought a customer was watching, his brow would pucker with added concentration. He took pride in doing his job exactly right, and you had to love how hard he tried to please each and every person he met.

Over time, we learned that he lived with his mother, a widow who was disabled after repeated surgeries for cancer. They lived on their Social Security benefits in public housing two miles from the truck stop. Their social worker, who stopped to check on him every so often, admitted they had fallen between the cracks. Money was tight, and what I paid him was probably the difference between them being able to live together and Stevie being sent to a group home. That's why the restaurant was a gloomy place that morning last August, the first morning in three years that Stevie missed work.

He was at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester getting a new valve or something put in his heart. His social worker said that people with Downs Syndrome often have heart problems at an early age so this wasn't unexpected, and there was a good chance he would come through the surgery in good shape and be back at work in a few months.

A ripple of excitement ran through the staff later that morning when word came that he was out of surgery, in recovery, and doing fine.

Frannie, the head waitress, let out a war hoop and did a little dance in the aisle when she heard the good news.

Belle Ringer, one of our regular trucker customers, stared at the sight of this 50-year-old grandmother of four doing a victory shimmy beside his table.

Frannie blushed, smoothed her apron and shot Belle Ringer a withering look.

He grinned. "OK, Frannie, what was that all about?" he asked.

"We just got word that Stevie is out of surgery and going to be okay."

"I was wondering where he was. I had a new joke to tell him. What was the surgery about?"

Frannie quickly told Belle Ringer and the other two drivers sitting at his booth about Stevie's surgery, then sighed: "Yeah, I'm glad he is going to be OK," she said. "But I don't know how he and his Mom are going to handle all the bills. From what I hear, they're barely getting by as it is." Belle Ringer nodded thoughtfully, and Frannie hurried off to wait on the rest of her tables. Since I hadn't had time to round up a busboy to replace Stevie and really didn't want to replace him, the girls were busing their own tables that day until we decided what to do.

After the morning rush, Frannie walked into my office. She had a couple of paper napkins in her hand and a funny look on her face.

"What's up?" I asked.

"I didn't get that table where Belle Ringer and his friends were sitting cleared off after they left, and Pony Pete and Tony Tipper were sitting there when I got back to clean it off," she said. "This was folded and tucked under a coffee cup."

She handed the napkin to me, and three $20 bills fell onto my desk when I opened it. On the outside, in big, bold letters, was printed "Something For Stevie".

"Pony Pete asked me what that was all about," she said, "so I told him about Stevie and his Mom and everything, and Pete looked at Tony and Tony looked at Pete, and they ended up giving me this." She handed me another paper napkin that had "Something For Stevie" scrawled on its outside. Two $50 bills were tucked within its folds. Frannie looked at me with wet, shiny eyes, shook her head and said simply: "truckers."

That was three months ago. Today is New Years day , the first day Stevie is supposed to be back to work.

His placement worker said he's been counting the days until the doctor said he could work, and it didn't matter at all that it was a holiday. He called 10 times in the past week, making sure we knew he was coming, fearful that we had forgotten him or that his job was in jeopardy. I arranged to have his mother bring him to work. I then met them in the parking lot and invited them both to celebrate his day back.

Stevie was thinner and paler, but couldn't stop grinning as he pushed through the doors and headed for the back room where his apron and busing cart were waiting.

"Hold up there, Stevie, not so fast," I said. I took him and his mother by their arms. "Work can wait for a minute. To celebrate you coming back, breakfast for you and your mother is on me!" I led them toward a large corner booth at the rear of the room.

I could feel and hear the rest of the staff following behind as we marched through the dining room. Glancing over my shoulder, I saw booth after booth of grinning truckers empty and join the procession. We stopped in front of the big table. Its surface was covered with coffee cups, saucers and dinner plates, all sitting slightly crooked on dozens of folded paper napkins. "First thing you have to do, Stevie, is clean up this mess," I said. I tried to sound stern.

Stevie looked at me, and then at his mother, then pulled out one of the napkins. It had "Something for Stevie" printed on the outside. As he picked it up, two $10 bills fell onto the table.

Stevie stared at the money, then at all the napkins peeking from beneath the tableware, each with his name printed or scrawled on it. I turned to his mother. "There's more than $10,000 in cash and checks on that table, all from truckers and trucking companies that heard about your problems. "Happy New Year!"

Well, it got real noisy about that time, with everybody hollering and shouting, and there were a few tears, as well.

But you know what's funny? While everybody else was busy shaking hands and hugging each other, Stevie, with a big, big smile on his face, was busy clearing all the cups and dishes from the table.

Best worker I ever hired.

Did you Know?
  • Humans are the only primates that don’t have pigment in the palms of their hands.
  • It’s possible to lead a cow upstairs…but not downstairs.
  • Dogs have four toes on their hind feet, and five on their front feet.
  • A cockroach will live nine days without it’s head, before it starves to death.
  • Butterflies taste with their feet.
  • Earth’s atmosphere is the only atmosphere discovered till date that human can breathe in.
  • Earth’s atmosphere was formed from gases pouring out from volcanoes.
  • Jupiter has no surface for a spacecraft to land on because it is made mostly from helium gas and hydrogen. The massive pull of Jupiter’s gravity squeezes the hydrogen so hard that it is liquid.
  •  On the moon’s surface are large dark patches called seas – because this is what people once believed they were. They are, in fact, lava flows from ancient volcanoes.
  • Quasars are the most distant known objects in the Universe. Even the nearest is billions of light years away.
Just for Laughs

Glad It’s Done

Gladys was the preacher's wife and accompanied her husband each Sunday to church. 

One particular Sunday when the sermon seemed to go on forever, many in the congregation fell asleep. 

After the service, to be sociable, she walked up to a very sleepy looking gentleman. 

In an attempt to revive him from his stupor, she extended her hand in greeting, and said, "Hello, I'm Gladys Dunn." To which the gentleman replied, "You're not the only one!

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