April 22, 2012

posted 21 Apr 2012, 19:29 by C S Paul   [ updated 21 Apr 2012, 19:33 ]

April 22, 2012

Laughter the best medicine



Laughter and humor help you stay emotionally healthy

Laughter makes you feel good. And the good feeling that you get when you laugh remains with you even after the laughter subsides. Humor helps you keep a positive, optimistic outlook through difficult situations, disappointments, and loss.

More than just a respite from sadness and pain, laughter gives you the courage and strength to find new sources of meaning and hope. 

Even in the most difficult of times, a laugh–or even simply a smile–can go a long way toward making you feel better. And laughter really is contagious—just hearing laughter primes your brain and readies you to smile and join in the fun.

The social benefits of humor and laughter

Humor and playful communication strengthen our relationships by triggering positive feelings and fostering emotional connection. 

When we laugh with one another, a positive bond is created. This bond acts as a strong buffer against stress, disagreements, and disappointment.


Brownies With A Difference

by Annette Nay

Many parents are hard put to explain to their youth why some music, movies, books, and magazines are not acceptable material for them to bring into the home, for their youth to see, or hear. One parent came up with an original idea that was hard to refute. 

He listened to all the reasons his children gave for wanting to see a particular PG-13 movie. It had their favorite actors. Everyone else was seeing it. Even church members said it was great. It was only rated PG-13 because of the suggestion of sex. They never really showed it. The language was pretty good. They only used the Lord's name in vain three times in the whole movie. The video effects were fabulous and the plot was action packed. Yes, there was the scene where a building and a bunch of people got blown up, but the violence was just the normal stuff. It wasn't very bad. 

Even with all these explanations for the rating, the father wouldn't give in. He didn't even give them a satisfying explanation for saying,  "No." He just said, "No." 

It was a little bit later that evening, that this same father asked his teens if they would like some brownies he had prepared. He explained that he had taken the families favorite recipe and added something new. They asked what it was. He calmly replied that he had added dog poop. He stated that it was only a little bit. All the ingredients were gourmet quality. He had taken great care to bake it at the precise temperature for the exact time. He was sure the brownies  would be superb.

Even with all the explanations of the perfect attributes of the brownies, the teens would not take one. 

The father acted surprised. There was only one little element that would have caused them to act so stubbornly. He assured them that they  would hardly notice it if at all. They all held firm and would not try the brownies.

He then explained that the movie they wanted to see was just like the brownies. Satan tries to enter our minds and our homes by deceiving us into believing that just a little bit of evil won't matter. With the brownies, just a little bit makes all the difference between a great brownie and a totally unacceptable product. He explained that even though the movie people would have us believe the movies which are coming out are acceptable for adults and youth's to see they are 
not. Test your movie and see. Would you be comfortable taking Christ with you to see the movie? 

Now when this father's youth want to do something or see something they should not, the father merely asks them if they would like some of his special dog poop brownies and they never ask about that item again. 

The Glasses

Author Unknown

Mother's father worked as a carpenter.  On this particular day, he was building some crates for the clothes his church was sending to some orphanage in China.  On his way home, he reached into his shirt pocket to find his glasses, but they were gone.  When he mentally replayed his earlier actions, he realized what happened; the glasses had slipped out of his pocket unnoticed and fallen into one of the crates, which he had nailed shut.  His brand new glasses were heading for China!

The Great Depression was at it's height and Grandpa had six children.  He had spent $20 for those glasses that very morning.  He was upset by the thought of having to buy another pair.  "It's not fair," he told God as he drove home in frustration.  "I've been very faithful in giving of my time and money to your work, and now this."

Several months later, the director of the orphanage was on furlough in the United States.  He wanted to visit all the churches that supported him in China, so he came to speak one Sunday at my grandfather's small church in Chicago.  The missionary began by thanking the people for their faithfulness in supporting the orphanage.  "But most of all," he said, "I must thank you for the glasses you sent last year.  You see, the Communists had just swept through the orphanage, destroying everything, including my glasses.  I was desperate.  Even if I had the money, there was simply no way of replacing those glasses.

Along with not being able to see well, I experienced headaches every day, so my coworkers and I were much in prayer about this.  Then your crates arrived. When my staff removed the covers, they found a pair of glasses lying on top.

The missionary paused long enough to let his words sink in.  Then, still gripped with the wonder of it all, he continued: "Folks, when I tried on the glasses, it was as though they had been custom-made just for me!  I want to thank you for being a part of that."

The people listened, happy for the miraculous glasses. But the missionary surely must have confused their church with another, they thought.  There were no glasses on their list of items to be sent overseas.

But sitting quietly in the back, with tears streaming down his face, an ordinary carpenter realized the Master Carpenter had used him in an extraordinary way.


 The Wallet

Author Unknown


As I walked home one freezing day, I stumbled on a wallet someone had lost in the street. I picked it up and looked inside to find some identification so I could call the owner. But the wallet contained only three dollars and a crumpled letter that looked as if it had been in there for years.

The envelope was worn and the only thing that was legible on it was the return address. I started to open the letter, hoping to find some clue. Then I saw the dateline--1924. The letter had been written almost sixty years ago.

It was written in a beautiful feminine handwriting on powder blue stationery with a little flower in the left-hand corner. It was a "Dear John" letter that told the recipient, whose name appeared to be Michael, that the writer could not see him any more because her mother forbade it. Even so, she wrote that she would always love him. It was signed, Hannah.

It was a beautiful letter, but there was no way except for the name Michael, that the owner could be identified. Maybe if I called information, the operator could find a phone listing for the address on the envelope.

"Operator," I began, "this is an unusual request. I'm trying to find the owner of a wallet that I found. Is there anyway you can tell me if there is a phone number for an address that was on an envelope in the wallet?"

She suggested I speak with her supervisor, who hesitated for a moment then said, "Well, there is a phone listing at that address, but I can't give you the number." She said, as a courtesy, she would call that number, explain my story and would ask them if they wanted her to connect me. I waited a few minutes and then she was back on the line. "I have a party who will speak with you."

I asked the woman on the other end of the line if she knew anyone by the name of Hannah. She gasped, "Oh! We bought this house from a family who had a daughter named Hannah. But that was 30 years ago!"

"Would you know where that family could be located now?" I asked.

"I remember that Hannah had to place her mother in a nursing home some years ago," the woman said. "Maybe if you got in touch with them they might be able to track down the daughter."

She gave me the name of the nursing home and I called the number. They told me the old lady had passed away some years ago but they did have a phone number for where they thought the daughter might be living. I thanked them and phoned. The woman who answered explained that Hannah herself was now living in a nursing home.

This whole thing was stupid, I thought to myself. Why was I making such a big deal over finding the owner of a wallet that had only three dollars and a letter that was almost 60 years old?

Nevertheless, I called the nursing home in which Hannah was supposed to be living and the man who answered the phone told me, "Yes, Hannah is staying with us. "

Even though it was already 10 p.m., I asked if I could come by to see her. "Well," he said hesitatingly, "if you want to take a chance, she might be in the day room watching television."

I thanked him and drove over to the nursing home. The night nurse and a guard greeted me at the door. We went up to the third floor of the large building. In the day room, the nurse introduced me to Hannah.

She was a sweet, silver-haired old timer with a warm smile and a twinkle in her eye. I told her about finding the wallet and showed her the letter. The second she saw the powder blue envelope with that little flower on the left, she took a deep breath and said, "Young man, this letter was the last contact I ever had with Michael."

She looked away for a moment deep in thought and then said Softly, "I loved him very much. But I was only 16 at the time and my mother felt I was too young. Oh, he was so handsome. He looked like Sean Connery, the actor."

"Yes," she continued. "Michael Goldstein was a wonderful person. If you should find him, tell him I think of him often. And," she hesitated for a moment, almost biting her lip, "tell him I still love him. You know," she said smiling as tears began to well up in her eyes, "I never did marry. I guess no one ever matched up to Michael..."

I thanked Hannah and said goodbye. I took the elevator to the first floor and as I stood by the door, the guard there asked, "Was the old lady able to help you?"

I told him she had given me a lead. "At least I have a last name. But I think I'll let it go for a while. I spent almost the whole day trying to find the owner of this wallet."

I had taken out the wallet, which was a simple brown leather case with red lacing on the side. When the guard saw it, he said, "Hey, wait a minute! That's Mr. Goldstein's wallet. I'd know it anywhere with that bright red lacing. He's always losing that wallet. I must have found it in the halls at least three times."

"Who's Mr. Goldstein?" I asked as my hand began to shake.

"He's one of the old timers on the 8th floor. That's Mike Goldstein's wallet for sure. He must have lost it on one of his walks." I thanked the guard and quickly ran back to the nurse's office. I told her what the guard had said. We went back to the elevator and got on. I prayed that Mr. Goldstein would be up.

On the eighth floor, the floor nurse said, "I think he's still in the day room. He likes to read at night. He's a darling old man."

We went to the only room that had any lights on and there was a man reading a book. The nurse went over to him and asked if he had lost his wallet. Mr. Goldstein looked up with surprise, put his hand in his back pocket and said, "Oh, it is missing!"

"This kind gentleman found a wallet and we wondered if it could be yours?"

I handed Mr. Goldstein the wallet and the second he saw it, he smiled with relief and said, "Yes, that's it! It must have dropped out of my pocket this afternoon. I want to give you a reward."

"No, thank you," I said. "But I have to tell you something. I read the letter in the hope of finding out who owned the wallet."

The smile on his face suddenly disappeared. "You read that letter?"

"Not only did I read it, I think I know where Hannah is."

He suddenly grew pale. "Hannah? You know where she is? How is she? Is she still as pretty as she was? Please, please tell me," he begged.

"She's fine...just as pretty as when you knew her." I said softly.

The old man smiled with anticipation and asked, "Could you tell me where she is? I want to call her tomorrow." He grabbed my hand and said, "You know something, mister, I was so in love with that girl that when that letter came, my life literally ended. I never married. I guess I've always loved her."

"Mr. Goldstein," I said, "Come with me."

We took the elevator down to the third floor. The hallways were darkened and only one or two little night-lights lit our way to the day room where Hannah was sitting alone watching the television. The nurse walked over to her.

"Hannah," she said softly, pointing to Michael, who was waiting with me in the doorway. "Do you know this man?"

She adjusted her glasses, looked for a moment, but didn't say a word.

Michael said softly, almost in a whisper, "Hannah, it's Michael. Do you remember me?"

She gasped, "Michael! I don't believe it! Michael! It's you! My Michael!"

He walked slowly towards her and they embraced. The nurse and I left with tears streaming down our faces.

"See," I said. "See how the Good Lord works! If it's meant to be, it will be."

About three weeks later I got a call at my office from the nursing home. "Can you break away on Sunday to attend a wedding? Michael and Hannah are going to tie the knot!"

It was a beautiful wedding with all the people at the nursing home dressed up to join in the celebration. Hannah wore a light beige dress and looked beautiful. Michael wore a dark blue suit and stood tall.

They made me their best man. The hospital gave them their own room and if you ever wanted to see a 76-year-old bride and a 79-year-old groom acting like two teenagers, you had to see this couple.

A perfect ending for a love affair that had lasted nearly 60 years


BEN-HUR: A TALE OF THE CHRIST 

by Lew Wallace

Part Two

Biblical references: Luke 2:51-52

Judah Ben-Hur is a prince descended from a royal family of Judaea. Messala, his closest childhood friend, the son of a Roman tax-collector, leaves home for five years of education in Rome. He returns as a proud and avaricious Roman. He mocks Judah and his religion and the two become enemies. Judah decides to go to Rome, as Messala had, for military training but use his skills to fight the Roman Empire.

Valerius Gratus, the fourth Roman prefect of Judaea, passes by Judah's house. As Judah watches the procession, a roof tile is loosed, falls into the street and hits the governor. Messala betrays Judah, who is arrested. There is no trial; Judah's family is secretly imprisoned in the Antonia Fortress and all the family property is seized. Judah vows vengeance against the Romans. He is sent to become a slave aboard a Roman warship. On the way to the ship he meets Jesus, who offers him water, which deeply moves Judah.  


CHAPTER VII

Next day a detachment of legionaries went to the desolated palace, and, closing the gates permanently, plastered the corners with wax, and at the sides nailed a notice in Latin:

"THIS IS THE PROPERTY OF THE EMPEROR."

In the haughty Roman idea, the sententious announcement was thought sufficient for the purpose--and it was.

The day after that again, about noon, a decurion with his command of ten horsemen approached Nazareth from the south--that is, from the direction of Jerusalem. The place was then a straggling village, perched on a hill-side, and so insignificant that its one street was little more than a path well beaten by the coming and going of flocks and herds. The great plain of Esdraelon crept close to it on the south, and from the height on the west a view could be had of the shores of the Mediterranean, the region beyond the Jordan, and Hermon. The valley below, and the country on every side, were given to gardens, vineyards, orchards, and pasturage. Groves of palm-trees Orientalized the landscape. The houses, in irregular assemblage, were of the humbler class--square, one-story, flat-roofed, and covered with bright-green vines. The drought that had burned the hills of Judea to a crisp, brown and lifeless, stopped at the boundary-line of Galilee.

A trumpet, sounded when the cavalcade drew near the village, had a magical effect upon the inhabitants. The gates and front doors cast forth groups eager to be the first to catch the meaning of a visitation so unusual.

Nazareth, it must be remembered, was not only aside from any great highway, but within the sway of Judas of Gamala; wherefore it should not be hard to imagine the feelings with which the legionaries were received. But when they were up and traversing the street, the duty that occupied them became apparent, and then fear and hatred were lost in curiosity, under the impulse of which the people, knowing there must be a halt at the well in the northeastern part of the town, quit their gates and doors, and closed in after the procession.

A prisoner whom the horsemen were guarding was the object of curiosity. He was afoot, bareheaded, half naked, his hands bound behind him. A thong fixed to his wrists was looped over the neck of a horse. The dust went with the party when in movement, wrapping him in yellow fog, sometimes in a dense cloud. He drooped forward, footsore and faint.

The villagers could see he was young. 

At the well the decurion halted, and, with most of the men, dismounted. The prisoner sank down in the dust of the road, stupefied, and asking nothing: apparently he was in the last stage of exhaustion. Seeing, when they came near, that he was but a boy, the villagers would have helped him had they dared.

In the midst of their perplexity, and while the pitchers were passing among the soldiers, a man was descried coming down the road from Sepphoris. At sight of him a woman cried out, "Look! Yonder comes the carpenter. Now we will hear something."

(to be continued)

Just for Laughs

Kids Prayers

A woman invited some people to dinner. At the table, she turned to her six-year-old daughter and said, "Would you like to say the blessing?" "I wouldn't know what to say," the little girl replied. "Just say what you hear Mommy say," the mother said. 

The little girl bowed her head and said, "Dear Lord, why on Earth did I invite all these people to dinner?"

Cross Examination

It can be a challenge keeping a straight face as a court reporter. 

The following are from a book called Disorder in the American Courts, and are things people actually [or supposedly] said in court, word for word, taken down and now published by court reporters that had the torment of staying calm while these exchanges were actually taking place.

ATTORNEY: What was the first thing your husband said to you that morning? 
WITNESS: He said , 'Where am I, Cathy?'
ATTORNEY: And why did that upset you? 
WITNESS: My name is Susan!

Did You Know ?

  • During the Battle of Waterloo, Lord Uxbridge had his horse shot from under him 9 times.
  • Chevy Chase was a battle that took place on the English-Scottish border in 1388.
  • The NATO attack on Serbia in 1999 during the Kosovo war killed more animals than people.
  • There are more TV sets in the US than there are people in the UK.
  • For 3000 years, until 1883, hemp was the world’s largest agricultural crop, from which the majority of fabric, soap, paper, medicines, and oils were produced.
  • George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both grew hemp. Ben Franklin owned a mill that made hemp paper. The US Declaration of Independence was written on hemp paper.
  • The word malaria comes from the words mal and aria, which means bad air. This derives from the old days when it was thought that all diseases are caused by bad, or dirty air.
  • The names of all the continents end with the letter they start with.
  • On every continent there is a city called Rome.
  • The oldest inhabited city is Damascus, Syria.

 Power of Positive Thinking

 by Norman Vincent Peale


Chapter 6 (continued)

A friend of mine who was compelled to take an enforced rest 
as a result of "pressure" wrote me, "Many lessons have been 
learned during this enforced retreat. Now I know better than 
before that in the quiet we become aware of His presence.

Life can get muddled. But 'muddied water,' says Lao-tse, 'let 
stand, will become clear.' "

A physician gave some rather whimsical advice to a patient, 
an aggressive, go-getter type of businessman. Excitedly he 
told the doctor what an enormous amount of work he had to 
do and that he had to get it done right away quick or else.

"I take my brief case home every night and it's packed with 
work," he said with nervous inflection.

"Why do you take work home with you at night?" the doctor 
asked quietly.

"I have to get it done," he fumed.

"Cannot someone else do it, or help you with it?" asked the 
doctor.

"No," the man snapped. "I am the only one who can do it. It 
must be done just right, and I alone can do it as it must be 
done, and it has to be done quickly. Everything depends 
upon me."

"If I write you a prescription, will you follow it?" asked the 
doctor.

This, believe it or not, was the prescription. His patient was 
to take off two hours every working day and go for a long 
walk. Then he was to take off a half-day a week and spend 
that half-day in a cemetery.

In astonishment the patient demanded, "Why should I spend 
a half-day in a cemetery?"

"Because," answered the doctor, "I want you to wander 
around and look at the gravestones of men who are there 
permanently. I want you to meditate on the fact that many of 
them are there because they thought even as you do, that the 
whole world rested on their shoulders. Meditate on the 
solemn fact that when you get there permanently the world 
will go on just the same and, as important as you are, others
will be able to do the work you are now doing. I suggest that 
you sit on one of those tombstones and repeat this statement, 
'...a thousand years in Thy sight are but as yesterday when it 
is past, and as a watch in the night.'" (Psalm 90:4)

The patient got the idea. He slowed his pace. He learned to 
delegate authority. He achieved a proper sense of his own 
importance. He stopped fuming and fretting. He got 
peaceful. And, it might be added, he does better work. He is 
developing a more competent organization and he admits 
that his business is in better condition.

(to be continued)



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