2 September, 2012

posted 31 Aug 2012, 05:45 by C S Paul

2 September, 2012

Pappy and the Bell

Pappy was a pleasant-looking old fellow. He had the whitest hair which he kept neatly cut and combed. His eyes were blue, though faded with age, and they seemed to emit warmth from within. His face was quite drawn, but when he smiled, even his wrinkles seemed to soften and smile with him. 

He had a talent for whistling and did so happily each day as he dusted and swept his pawnshop; even so, he had a secret sadness, but everyone who knew him respected and adored him. 

Most of Pappy's customers returned for their goods, and he did not do much business, but he did not mind. To him, the shop was not a livelihood as much as a welcome pastime. 

There was a room in the back of his shop where he spent time tinkering with a menagerie of his own precious items. He referred to this back room as "memory hall." In it were pocket watches, clocks, and electric trains. There were miniature steam engines and antique toys made of wood, tin, or cast iron, and there were various other obsolete trinkets as well. Spending time in memory hall delighted him as he recalled many treasured moments from his past. He handled each item with care, and sometimes he would close his eyes and pause to relive a sweet, simple childhood memory. 

One day, Pappy was working to his heart's content reassembling an old railroad lantern. As he worked, he whistled the melody of a railroad tune and reminisced about his own past as a switchman. It was a typical day at the shop. Outside, the sun illuminated the clear sky, and a slight wind passed through the front screen door. Whenever the weather was this nice, Pappy kept the inner door open. He enjoyed the fresh air, almost as much as the distinctive smell of antiques and old engine oil. 

As he was polishing his newly restored lantern, he heard the tinkling of his bell on the shop door. The bell, which produced a uniquely charming resound, had been in Pappy's family for over a hundred years. He cherished it dearly and enjoyed sharing its song with all who came to his shop. Although the bell hung on the inside of the main door, Pappy had strung a wire to the screen door so that it would ring whether the inner door was open or not. Prompted by the bell, he left memory hall to greet his customer. 

At first, he did not see her. Her shiny, soft curls barely topped the counter. "And how can I help you, little lady?" Pappy's voice was jovial. 

"Hello, sir." The little girl spoke almost in a whisper. She was dainty. Bashful. Innocent. She looked at Pappy with her big brown eyes, then slowly scanned the room in search of something special. 

Shyly she told him, "I'd like to buy a present, sir." 

"Well, let's see," Pappy said, "who is this present for?" 

"My grandpa. It's for my grandpa. But I don't know what to get." 

Pappy began to make suggestions. "How about a pocket watch? It's in good condition. I fixed it myself," he said proudly. 

The little girl didn't answer. She had walked to the doorway and put her small hand on the door. She wiggled the door gently to ring the bell. Pappy's face seemed to glow as he saw her smiling with excitement. 

"This is just right," the little girl bubbled. "Momma says grandpa loves music." 

Just then, Pappy's expression changed. Fearful of breaking the little girl's heart, he told her, "I'm sorry, missy. That's not for sale. Maybe your grandpa would like this little radio." 

The little girl looked at the radio, lowered her head, and sadly sighed, "No, I don't think so." 

In an effort to help her understand, Pappy told her the story of how the bell had been in his family for so many years, and that was why he didn't want to sell it. 

The little girl looked up at him, and with a giant tear in her eye, sweetly said, "I guess I understand. Thank you, anyway." 

Suddenly, Pappy thought of how the rest of the family was all gone now, except for his estranged daughter whom he had not seen in nearly adecade. Why not, he thought. Why not pass it on to someone who will share it with a loved one? God only knows where it will end up anyway. 

"Wait little lady." Pappy spoke just as the little girl was going out the door, just as he was hearing his bell ring for the last time. "I've decided to sell the bell. Here's a hanky. Blow your nose." 

The little girl began to clap her hands. "Oh, thank you, sir. Grandpa will be so happy." 

"Okay, little lady. Okay." Pappy felt good about helping the child; he knew, however, he would miss the bell. "You must promise to take good care of the bell for your grandpa... and for me, too, okay?" He carefully placed the bell in a brown paper bag. 

"Oh, I promise," said the little girl. Then, she suddenly became very still and quiet. There was something she had forgotten to ask. She looked up at Pappy with great concern, and again almost in a whisper, asked, "How much will it cost?" 

"Well, let's see. How much have you got to spend?" Pappy asked with a grin. The child pulled a small coin purse from her pocket then reached up and emptied two dollars and forty-seven cents onto the counter. After briefly questioning his own sanity, Pappy said, "Little lady, this is your lucky day. That bell costs exactly two dollars and forty-seven cents." 

Later that evening as Pappy prepared to close up shop, he found himself thinking about his bell. Already he had decided not to put up another one. He thought about the child and wondered if her grandpa will like his gift. Surely he would cherish anything from such a precious grandchild. 

At that moment, just as he was going to turn off the light in memory hall, Pappy thought he heard his bell. Again, he questioned his sanity; he turned toward the door, and there stood the little girl. She was ringing the bell and smiling sweetly. 

Pappy was puzzled as he strolled toward the small child. "What's this, little lady? Have you changed your mind?" 

"No," she grinned. "Momma says it's for you." 

Before Pappy had time to say another word, the child's mother stepped into the doorway, and choking back a tear, she gently said, "Hello, Dad." 

The little girl tugged on her grandpa's shirttail. "Here, Grandpa. Here's your hanky. Blow your nose."

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by Lew Wallace

Part Three

In Italy, Greek pirate-ships have been looting Roman vessels in the Aegean Sea. The prefect Sejanus orders the Roman Quintus Arrius to take warships to combat the pirates. 

Judah is a galley slave rowing chained on one of the Roman warships. He had survived three hard years, fueled by his passion for vengeance. Arrius is impressed by Judah and finds out more about his life and his story. 

The ship is attacked by pirates and the ship is sunk. Judah uses a plank as a raft. Arrius surfaces besides him and the two of them hold on until a Roman ship appears and rescues them. They return to Misenum and Judah is adopted by the influential Arrius, becoming a Roman citizen.

Part three - CHAPTER V  continued

For a while the water foamed and eddied violently about Ben-Hur, taxing all his strength to hold to the support and at the same time keep the Roman's head above the surface. The galley had passed, leaving the two barely outside the stroke of its oars.

Right through the floating men, over heads helmeted as well as heads bare, she drove, in her wake nothing but the sea sparkling with fire. A muffled crash, succeeded by a great outcry, made the rescuer look again from his charge. A certain savage pleasure touched his heart--the Astroea was avenged.

After that the battle moved on. Resistance turned to flight. But who were the victors? Ben-Hur was sensible how much his freedom and the life of the tribune depended upon that event. He pushed the plank under the latter until it floated him, after which all his care was to keep him there. The dawn came slowly. He watched its growing hopefully, yet sometimes afraid. Would it bring the Romans
or the pirates? If the pirates, his charge was lost.

At last morning broke in full, the air without a breath. Off to the left he saw the land, too far to think of attempting to make it. Here and there men were adrift like himself. In spots the sea was blackened by charred and sometimes smoking fragments. A galley up a long way was lying to with a torn sail hanging from the tilted yard, and the oars all idle. Still farther away he could discern moving specks, which he thought might be ships in flight or pursuit, or they might be white birds a-wing.

An hour passed thus. His anxiety increased. If relief came not speedily, Arrius would die. Sometimes he seemed already dead, he lay so still. He took the helmet off, and then, with greater difficulty, the cuirass; the heart he found fluttering. He took hope at the sign, and held on. There was nothing to do but wait, and, after the manner of his people, pray.


he throes of recovery from drowning are more painful than the drowning. These Arrius passed through, and, at length, to Ben-Hur's delight, reached the point of speech.

Gradually, from incoherent questions as to where he was, and by whom and how he had been saved, he reverted to the battle. The doubt of the victory stimulated his faculties to full return, a result aided not a little by a long rest--such as could be had on their frail support. After a while he became talkative.

"Our rescue, I see, depends upon the result of the fight. I see also what thou hast done for me. To speak fairly, thou hast saved my life at the risk of thy own. I make the acknowledgment broadly; and, whatever cometh, thou hast my thanks. More than that, if fortune doth but serve me kindly, and we get well out of this peril, I will do thee such favor as becometh a Roman who hath power and opportunity to prove his gratitude. Yet, yet it is to be seen if, with thy good intent, thou hast really done me a kindness; or, rather, speaking to thy good-will"--he hesitated--"I would exact of thee a promise to do me, in a certain event, the greatest favor one man can do another--and of that let me have thy pledge now."

"If the thing be not forbidden, I will do it," Ben-Hur replied.

Arrius rested again.

"Art thou, indeed, a son of Hur, the Jew?" he next asked.

"It is as I have said."

"I knew thy father--"

Judah drew himself nearer, for the tribune's voice was weak--he drew nearer, and listened eagerly--at last he thought to hear of home.

"I knew him, and loved him," Arrius continued.

There was another pause, during which something diverted the speaker's thought.

"It cannot be," he proceeded, "that thou, a son of his, hast not heard of Cato and Brutus. They were very great men, and never as great as in death. In their dying, they left this law--A Roman may not survive his good-fortune. Art thou listening?"

"I hear."

"It is a custom of gentlemen in Rome to wear a ring. There is one on my hand. Take it now."

He held the hand to Judah, who did as he asked.

"Now put it on thine own hand."

Ben-Hur did so.

"The trinket hath its uses," said Arrius next. "I have property and money. I am accounted rich even in Rome. I have no family. Show the ring to my freedman, who hath control in my absence; you will find him in a villa near Misenum. Tell him how it came to thee, and ask anything, or all he may have; he will not refuse
the demand. If I live, I will do better by thee. I will make thee free, and restore thee to thy home and people; or thou mayst give thyself to the pursuit that pleaseth thee most. Dost thou hear?"

"I could not choose but hear."

"Then pledge me. By the gods--"

"Nay, good tribune, I am a Jew."

"By thy God, then, or in the form most sacred to those of thy faith--pledge me to do what I tell thee now, and as I tell thee; I am waiting, let me have thy promise."

"Noble Arrius, I am warned by thy manner to expect something of gravest concern. Tell me thy wish first."

"Wilt thou promise then?"

"That were to give the pledge, and-- Blessed be the God of my fathers! yonder cometh a ship!"

"In what direction?"

"From the north."

"Canst thou tell her nationality by outward signs?"

"No. My service hath been at the oars."

"Hath she a flag?"

"I cannot see one."

Arrius remained quiet some time, apparently in deep reflection.

"Does the ship hold this way yet?" he at length asked.

"Still this way."

"Look for the flag now."

"She hath none."

"Nor any other sign?"

"She hath a sail set, and is of three banks, and cometh swiftly--that is all I can say of her."

"A Roman in triumph would have out many flags. She must be an enemy. Hear now," said Arrius, becoming grave again, "hear, while yet I may speak. If the galley be a pirate, thy life is safe; they may not give thee freedom; they may put thee to the oar again; but they will not kill thee. On the other hand, I--"

to be continued

Keep on Singing

Like any good mother, when Karen found out that another baby was on the way, she did what she could to help her 3-year-old son, Michael, prepare for a new sibling. They find out that the new baby is going to be a girl, and day after day, night after night, Michael sings to his sister in Mommy's tummy.

The pregnancy progresses normally for Karen, an active member of the Panther Creek United Methodist Church in Morristown, Tennessee. Then The labor pains come. Every five minutes ... every minute. But Complications arise during delivery. Hours of labor. Would a C-section be required? Finally, Michael's little sister is born. But she is in serious condition. With siren howling in the night, the ambulance rushes the infant to the neonatal intensive care unit at St. Mary's Hospital,Knoxville, Tennessee.

The days inch by. The little girl gets worse. The pediatric specialist tells the parents, "There is very little hope. Be prepared for the worst." Karen and her husband contact a local cemetery about a burial plot. They have fixed up a special room in their home for the new baby - now they plan a funeral.

Michael, keeps begging his parents to let him see his sister, "I want to sing to her," he says. Week two in intensive care. It looks as if a funeral will come before the week is over. Michael keeps nagging about singing to his sister, but kids are never allowed in Intensive Care. But Karen makes up her mind. She will take Michael whether they like it or not. If

he doesn't see his sister now, he may never see her alive. She dresses him in an oversized scrub suit and marches him into ICU. He looks like a walking laundry basket, but the head nurse recognizes him as a child and bellows, "Get that kid out of here now! No children are allowed. The mother rises up strong in Karen, and the usually mild-mannered lady glaressteel-eyed into the head nurse's face, her lips a firm line. "He is not leaving

until he sings to his sister!" Karen tows Michael to his sister's bedside. He gazes at the tiny infant losing the battle to live. And he begins to sing. In the pure hearted voice of a 3-year-old, Michael sings:

"You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are gray --- "

Instantly the baby girl responds. The pulse rate becomes calm and steady.

Keep on singing, Michael. "You never know, dear, how much I love you, Please don't take my sunshine away---" The ragged, strained breathing becomes as smooth as a kitten's purr.

Keep on singing, Michael. "The other night, dear, as I lay sleeping, I dreamed I held you in my arms..." Michael's little sister relaxes as rest, healing rest, seems to sweep over her.

Keep on singing, Michael. Tears conquer the face of the bossy head nurse. Karen glows. "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. Please don't, take my sunshine away."

Funeral plans are scrapped. The next, day-the very next day-the little girl is well enough to go home!

Woman's Day magazine called it "the miracle of a brother's song." The medical staff just called it a miracle. Karen called it a miracle of God's love!


Power of Positive Thinking

 by Norman Vincent Peale

Chapter 8 continued

One of the most inspiring illustrations of this act is the story of Amos Parrish who twice every year brings together hundreds of leading department-store executives and style
experts in two huge clinics held in the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. At these clinics Mr. Parrish gives advice to the merchants and their associates on business trends, on merchandise, on selling methods, and other matters important to the conduct of their business. Having attended a number of the clinics, however, I am convinced that the greatest values Mr. Parrish transmits to his customers are courage and positive thinking, a deep belief in themselves, and the confidence that they can overcome all difficulties.

He seems a living example of the philosophy which he teaches. As a boy he was sickly. Moreover, he stuttered. He was sensitive and a victim of an inferiority complex. It was
thought that he would not live because of his weakened physical condition, but one day Amos Parrish had a spiritual experience. Faith dawned in his mind, and from then on he
knew that with the help of God and the utilization of his own powers he could achieve.
He developed a unique idea of service to businessmen, and so highly do they rate it that they are willing to pay large fees to attend a two-day session twice a year under the business
wisdom and inspiration of Amos Parrish. To me it is a moving experience to sit with that big crowd in a hotel ballroom and listen to "A. P.," as he is affectionately called, talk positive thinking to those important businessmen and women.

Sometimes he has the greatest difficulty with his stuttering, but he is never discouraged. He refers to it frankly and with a sense of humor. One day, for example, he was trying to say
the word Cadillac. He tried several times and was unable to get it out, and finally did so with a powerful effort. Then he commented, "I can't even say C-C-C-Cadillac, let alone buy
one." The audience roared with laughter, but I noted that they looked up at him with affection written on their faces.

Everyone leaves a meeting at which he speaks with the conviction that they, too, can turn their obstacles into assets.

Again I repeat, there is no difficulty you cannot overcome. 

A wise and philosophical Negro man once said to me, when asked how he overcame his difficulties, "How do I get through a trouble? Well, first I try to go around it, and if I can't go around it, I try to get under it, and if I can't get under it, I try to go over it, and if I can't get over it, I just plough right through it." Then he added, "God and I  plough  right through it."

Take seriously that formula of a businessman given earlier in this chapter. Stop reading for a moment and repeat it over to yourself five times, and each time you say it conclude with
this affirmation, "I believe that." Here is the formula again, "I can do all things through Christ which strengthened me." (Philippians 4:13) Say that five times every day and it will release indomitable power in your mind.

to be continued

Just for Laughs

Support Desk @ God Inc.

* "There is an upgrade path from the Old to the New Testament, but it's difficult and unsupported."

* "We were only able to get the first seven Commandments on the stone tablets. The last three will be in Commandments '98."

* "You can't get your bush to burn? Have you tried sacrifice?"

* "You'll need more RAM to run all four horseman concurrently."

* "The first semaphore is being dropped, the second is returning an olive branch."

* "I.S. says it will rain for exactly 20 days."

* "Kai's Revelations Tools produce some really cool effects but they're difficult to understand and use."

* "The walls of Jericho won't fall without a 100% fully compatible Soundblaster Card."

* "The voice of God is a standardized protocol, but each prophet implements it differently."

* "Each loaf and fish comes with an AOL disk!"

* "Yes, the documentation is poorly organized, contradictory and written by committee. It's still better than UNIX man pages."

* "Adam & Eve would still be in the garden if they'd eaten the Windows."

* "Who told you that? Lucifer? Of COURSE he'd say heaven has heating problems."

* "Ah, no sir. No, I'm afraid not. We stopped honoring indulgences hundreds of years ago."

* "No. I'm afraid not. That's NOT what the Rapture is all about. In fact, that's still classified as a sin".

* "Yes we do offer a lifetime guarantee. As long as you registered yourself with us via baptism, you're covered. Yes, even then. Yes, we know it's quite a good deal. Why thank you, we like to think it's the best deal around."

* "Did you read the release notes for Godly service? No? Well, it clearly states that 'Celibate' was a typo. It should have been 'Celebrate'... Sir? Sir?"

* "I'm sorry. There is currently no way to extend the beta period for an individual human."

* "The office of God has no official comment on the use or existence of other 'companies', past, present or future."

* "We simply provide a tool called 'life'. It's neither good nor bad. What you do with it is up to you. However, you may want to get in touch with our marketing department so we can use you as an endorsement or case study if things go particularly well."

* "Satan called in again, pretending to be a customer."

* "I'm sorry sir, but we do not support life on Mars."

* "We have seen problems with receiving the Holy Spirit, so we need to rre-initialize your COM port."

* "I'm very sure that if it's got serial number 666, it's not our product."

* "You're feeling lustful for your neighbor's wife? We have a technote for that."

* "Worshipping a false idol certainly is in violation of the support agreement."

* "Ma'am, yelling at me isn't going to make Him fix the problem any sooner."

Did You Know ?

  • Dogs are mentioned 14 times in the Bible, and lions 55 times, but domestic cats are not mentioned at all.
  • The Bible is the world’s most shoplifted book.
  • The oldest almost-complete manuscript of the Bible still existing is the Codex Vaticanus, dating from the first half of the 4th century, now held in the Vatican library.
  • The word “Christian” appears only three times in the Bible: Acts 11:26; 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16.
  • There are 66 books in the Bible, 39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament.
  • The 66 books of the Bible is divided into 1,189 chapters consisting of 31,102 verses. The Old Testament has 929 chapters, the New Testament 260 (King James version).
  • The King James Old Testament consist of 592,439 words consisting of 2,728,100 letters and the New Testament 181,253 words consisting of 838,380 letter (total 3,566,480 letters).
  • The Wright Brothers tested the first airplane in a wind tunnel before flying it.
  • Air-filled tires were used on bicycles before they were used on motorcars.
  • A dog was the first in space and a sheep, a duck and a rooster the first to fly in a hot air balloon. A dog was the first to parachute.
  • In ancient China, the nose of a criminal who attacked travelers was cut off.
  • Electric cars were introduced in 1896 and by the end of the century almost 50% of motorcars worldwide were electric. Now that they are in demand again, you can purchase your own electric car with an auto loan at Nationwide and choose the coverage that suits your needs at your price.
  • Yet, by 1905 80% of cars were petrol driven and by 1920 the electric car was, well, almost history.

The Lord's Baseball Game

Bob and the Lord stood by to observe a baseball game. The Lord's team was playing Satan's team. 

The Lord's team was at bat, the score was tied zero to zero, and it was the bottom of the 9th inning with two outs. They continued to watch as a batter stepped up to the plate whose name was Love. 

Love swung at the first pitch and hit a single, because Love never fails. 

The next batter was named Faith, who also got a single because Faith works with Love. 

The next batter up was named Godly Wisdom. Satan wound up and threw the first pitch. Godly Wisdom looked it over and let it pass: Ball one. Three more pitches and Godly Wisdom walked, because Godly Wisdom never swings at what Satan throws. 

The bases were now loaded. The Lord then turned to Bob and told him He was now going to bring in His star player. Up to the plate stepped Grace. Bob said, "He sure doesn't look like much!" 

Satan's whole team relaxed when they saw Grace. Thinking he had won the game, Satan wound up and fired his first pitch. To the shock of everyone, Grace hit the ball harder than anyone had ever seen. 

But Satan was not worried; his center fielder let very few get by. He went up for the ball, but it went right through his glove, hit him on the head and sent him crashing on the ground; then it continued over the fence for a home run! 

The Lord's team won! 

The Lord then asked Bob if he knew why Love, Faith, and Godly Wisdom could get on base but could not win the game. Bob answered that he did not know why. 

The Lord explained, "If your love, faith, and wisdom had won the game you would think you had done it by yourself. Love, Faith and Wisdom will get you on base but only My Grace can get you Home. 

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