Friday, December 31, 2010


Give God what's right, not what's left!

A lot of kneeling will keep you in good standing.

We're too blessed to be depressed!

DON'T put a question mark where God put a period.

Eternity: Smoking or Non-Smoking?

God grades on The Cross, not on a the curve.

Prayer -- Don't give God instructions - simply report for duty!

God doesn't want shares of your life, He wants controlling interest!

Don't wait for six strong men to take you to church.

We don't change the message, the MESSAGE CHANGES US!

When God ordains, He SUSTAINS!

WARNING: Exposure to the SON will prevent burning!

Most people want to serve God -- but only in an advisory capacity.

Exercise daily -- walk with the Lord!

Coincidence is when God chooses to remain anonymous.

Wisdom has two parts: 1) Having a lot to say. 2) Not saying it.

Never give the devil a ride! He always wants to drive!

Watch your step carefully! Everyone else does!

A clean conscience makes a soft pillow.

Kindness is difficult to give away because it keeps coming back.

He who angers you controls you!

God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called!

Worry is the darkroom in which "negatives" are developed!

Forbidden fruit creates many jams.

Be ye fishers of men, you catch them -- He will clean them.

Deciding not to choose is still making a choice.

If God is your co-pilot it's time to swap seats!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Little Shadows

I saw a young mother
With eyes full of laughter
And two little shadows
Came following after.

Wherever she moved,
They were always right there
Holding onto her skirts,
Hanging onto her chair.
Before her, behind her-
An adhesive pair.

"Don't you ever get weary
As, day after day,
Your two little tagalongs
Get in your way?

She smiled as she shook
Her pretty young head,
And I'll always remember
The words that she said

"It's good to have shadows
That run when you run,
That laugh when you're happy
And hum when you hum -
For you only have shadows

When your life's filled with sun."

Author Unknown

Saturday, December 25, 2010


"If there are poor among you, in one of the towns of the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be selfish or greedy toward them. But give freely to them, and freely lend them whatever they need."—Deut. 15:7-8

In spite of the fun and laughter, 13-year-old Frank Wilson was not happy. It was true that he had received all the presents he wanted. And he enjoyed these traditional Christmas Eve reunions of relatives, this year at Aunt Susan's, for the purpose of exchanging gifts and good wishes. But Frank was not happy because this was his first Christmas without his brother, Steve, who during the year, had been killed by a reckless driver. Frank missed his brother and the close companionship they had together.

Frank said good-bye to his relatives and explained to his parents that he was leaving a little early to see a friend: from there he could walk home. Since it was cold outside, Frank put on his new plaid jacket. It was his favorite gift. The other presents he placed on his new sled.

Then Frank headed out, hoping to find the patrol leader of his Boy Scout troop. Frank always felt understood by him. Though rich in wisdom, he lived in the Flats, the section of town where most of the poor lived, and his patrol leader did odd jobs to help support his family. To Frank's disappointment, his friend was not home.

As Frank hiked down the street toward home, he caught glimpses of trees and decorations in many of the small houses. Then, through one front window, he glimpsed a shabby room with the limp stockings hanging over an empty fireplace. A woman was seated near them weeping.

The stockings reminded him of the way he and his brother had always hung theirs side by side. The next morning, they would be bursting with presents. A sudden thought struck Frank, he had not done his "good turn" for the day.

Before the impulse passed, he knocked on the door. "Yes?" the sad voice of the woman inquired. "May I come in?" "You are very welcome," she said, seeing his sled full of gifts, and assuming he was making a collection, "but I have no food or gifts for you. I have nothing for my own children."

"That's not why I am here," Frank replied. "Please choose whatever presents you'd like for your children from this sled."

"Why, God bless you!" the amazed woman answered gratefully. She selected some candies, a game, the toy airplane and a puzzle. When she took the new Scout flashlight, Frank almost cried out. Finally, the stockings were full.

"Won't you tell me your name?" she asked, as Frank was leaving. "Just call me the Christmas Scout," he replied.

The visit left the boy touched, and with an unexpected flicker of joy in his heart. He understood that his sorrow was not the only sorrow in the world. Before he left the Flats, he had given away the remainder of his gifts. The plaid jacket had gone to a shivering boy.

But he trudged homeward, cold and uneasy. Having given his presents away, Frank now could think of no reasonable explanation to offer his parents. He wondered how he could make them understand.

"Where are your presents, son?" asked his father as he entered the house. "I gave them away."

"The airplane from Aunt Susan? Your coat from Grandma? Your flashlight? We thought you were happy with your gifts."

"I was very happy," the boy answered lamely.

"But, Frank, how could you be so impulsive?" his mother asked. "How will we explain to the relatives who spent so much time and gave so much love shopping for you?" His father was firm. "You made your choice, Frank. We cannot afford any more presents."

His brother gone, his family disappointed in him, Frank suddenly felt dreadfully alone. He had not expected a reward for his generosity. For he knew that a good deed always should be it's own reward. It would be tarnished otherwise. So he did not want his gifts back, however, he wondered if he would ever again truly recapture joy in his life. He thought he had this evening, but it had been fleeting. Frank thought of his brother and sobbed himself to sleep.

The next morning, he came downstairs to find his parents listening to Christmas music on the radio. Then the announcer spoke: "Merry Christmas, everybody! The nicest Christmas story we have this morning comes from the Flats. A crippled boy down there has a new sled this morning, another youngster has a fine plaid jacket, and several families report that their children were made happy last night by gifts from a teenage boy who simply referred to himself as the Christmas Scout. No one could identify him, but the children of the Flats claim that the Christmas Scout was a personal representative of old Santa Claus himself."

Frank felt his father's arms go around his shoulders, and he saw his mother smiling through her tears. "Why didn't you tell us? We didn't understand. We are so proud of you, son."

The carols came over the air again filling the room with music.

"...Praises sing to God the King, and peace to men on Earth."

Written by Samuel D. Bogan

Thursday, December 23, 2010


I remember my first Christmas party with Grandma. 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," she jeered. "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 rumor 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 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.

"Is this a Christmas present for someone?" the lady behind the counter asked kindly, as I laid my ten dollars down.

"Yes," I replied shyly. "It's ... for Bobbie."

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. Then 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 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.

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 rumors about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were ridiculous. Santa was alive and well, and we were on his team.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Do Not Wake Up With Regrets

This is a wonderful piece by Michael Gartner, editor of newspapers large and small and former president of NBC News. In 1997, he won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. It is well worth reading, and a few good chuckles are guaranteed. Life is too short to wake up with regrets. So love the people who treat you right. Thanks to Angela who sent me the story. Have a nice day every one. Merry Christmas and a happy new year to you and yours!


A Life Without Left Turns by Michael Gartner

My father never drove a car. Well, that's not quite right. I should say I never saw him drive a car.

He quit driving in 1927, when he was 25 years old, and the last car he drove was a 1926 Whippet.

"In those days," he told me when he was in his 90s, "to drive a car you had to do things with your hands, and do things with your feet, and look every which way, and I decided you could walk through life and enjoy it or drive through life and miss it."

At which point my mother, a sometimes salty Irishwoman, chimed in:

"Oh, bull----!" she said. "He hit a horse."

"Well," my father said, "there was that, too."

So my brother and I grew up in a household without a car. The neighbors all had cars -- the Kollingses next door had a green 1941 Dodge, the VanLaninghams across the street a gray 1936 Plymouth, the Hopsons two doors down a black 1941 Ford -- but we had none.

My father, a newspaperman in Des Moines , would take the streetcar to work and, often as not, walk the 3 miles home. If he took the streetcar home, my mother and brother and I would walk the three blocks to the streetcar stop, meet him and walk home together.

My brother, David, was born in 1935, and I was born in 1938, and sometimes, at dinner, we'd ask how come all the neighbors had cars but we had none. "No one in the family drives," my mother would explain, and that was that.

But, sometimes, my father would say, "But as soon as one of you boys turns 16, we'll get one." It was as if he wasn't sure which one of us would turn 16 first.

But, sure enough, my brother turned 16 before I did, so in 1951 my parents bought a used 1950 Chevrolet from a friend who ran the parts department at a Chevy dealership downtown.

It was a four-door, white model, stick shift, fender skirts, loaded with everything, and, since my parents didn't drive, it more or less became my brother's car.

Having a car but not being able to drive didn't bother my father, but it didn't make sense to my mother.

So in 1952, when she was 43 years old, she asked a friend to teach her to drive. She learned in a nearby cemetery, the place where I learned to drive the following year and where, a generation later, I took my two sons to practice driving. The cemetery probably was my father's idea. "Who can your mother hurt in the cemetery?" I remember him saying more than once.

For the next 45 years or so, until she was 90, my mother was the driver in the family. Neither she nor my father had any sense of direction, but he loaded up on maps -- though they seldom left the city limits -- and appointed himself navigator. It seemed to work.

Still, they both continued to walk a lot. My mother was a devout Catholic, and my father an equally devout agnostic, an arrangement that didn't seem to bother either of them through their 75 years of marriage.

(Yes, 75 years, and they were deeply in love the entire time.)

He retired when he was 70, and nearly every morning for the next 20 years or so, he would walk with her the mile to St. Augustin's Church. She would walk down and sit in the front pew, and he would wait in the back until he saw which of the parish's two priests was on duty that morning. If it was the pastor, my father then would go out and take a 2-mile walk, meeting my mother at the end of the service and walking her home.

If it was the assistant pastor, he'd take just a 1-mile walk and then head back to the church. He called the priests "Father Fast" and "Father Slow."

After he retired, my father almost always accompanied my mother whenever she drove anywhere, even if he had no reason to go along. If she were going to the beauty parlor, he'd sit in the car and read, or go take a stroll or, if it was summer, have her keep the engine running so he could listen to the Cubs game on the radio. In the evening, then, when I'd stop by, he'd explain: "The Cubs lost again. The millionaire on second base made a bad throw to the millionaire on first base, so the multimillionaire on third base scored."

If she were going to the grocery store, he would go along to carry the bags out -- and to make sure she loaded up on ice cream. As I said, he was always the navigator, and once, when he was 95 and she was 88 and still driving, he said to me, "Do you want to know the secret of a long life?"

"I guess so," I said, knowing it probably would be something bizarre.

"No left turns," he said.

"What?" I asked.

"No left turns," he repeated. "Several years ago, your mother and I read an article that said most accidents that old people are in happen when they turn left in front of oncoming traffic.

As you get older, your eyesight worsens, and you can lose your depth perception, it said. So your mother and I decided never again to make a left turn."

"What?" I said again.

"No left turns," he said. "Think about it. Three rights are the same as a left, and that's a lot safer. So we always make three rights."

"You're kidding!" I said, and I turned to my mother for support.

"No," she said, "your father is right. We make three rights. It works."

But then she added: "Except when your father loses count."

I was driving at the time, and I almost drove off the road as I started laughing.

"Loses count?" I asked.

"Yes," my father admitted, "that sometimes happens. But it's not a problem. You just make seven rights, and you're okay again."

I couldn't resist. "Do you ever go for 11?" I asked.

"No," he said " If we miss it at seven, we just come home and call it a bad day. Besides, nothing in life is so important it can't be put off another day or another week."

My mother was never in an accident, but one evening she handed me her car keys and said she had decided to quit driving. That was in 1999, when she was 90.

She lived four more years, until 2003. My father died the next year, at 102.

They both died in the bungalow they had moved into in 1937 and bought a few years later for $3,000. (Sixty years later, my brother and I paid $8,000 to have a shower put in the tiny bathroom -- the house had never had one. My father would have died then and there if he knew the shower cost nearly three times what he paid for the house.)

He continued to walk daily -- he had me get him a treadmill when he was 101 because he was afraid he'd fall on the icy sidewalks but wanted to keep exercising -- and he was of sound mind and sound body until the moment he died.

One September afternoon in 2004, he and my son went with me when I had to give a talk in a neighboring town, and it was clear to all three of us that he was wearing out, though we had the usual wide-ranging conversation about politics and newspapers and things in the news.

A few weeks earlier, he had told my son, "You know, Mike, the first hundred years are a lot easier than the second hundred." At one point in our drive that Saturday, he said, "You know, I'm probably not going to live much longer."

"You're probably right," I said.

"Why would you say that?" He countered, somewhat irritated.

"Because you're 102 years old," I said..

"Yes," he said, "you're right." He stayed in bed all the next day.

That night, I suggested to my son and daughter that we sit up with him through the night.

He appreciated it, he said, though at one point, apparently seeing us look gloomy, he said: "I would like to make an announcement. No one in this room is dead yet"

An hour or so later, he spoke his last words: "I want you to know," he said, clearly and lucidly, "that I am in no pain. I am very comfortable. And I have had as happy a life as anyone on this earth could ever have."

A short time later, he died.

I miss him a lot, and I think about him a lot. I've wondered now and then how it was that my family and I were so lucky that he lived so long.

I can't figure out if it was because he walked through life,
Or because he quit taking left turns.


Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Most Unexpected Story

Thanks to Freddie who sent me the following post by email. I am sharing this with you with the hope that it will inspire you. Take care and God bless you.

The Carpenter's Glasses

My mother's father worked as a carpenter. On this particular day, he was building some crates for the clothes his church was sending to orphanages 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 had 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 its 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.

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 him.

But most of all, he said, I must thank you for the glasses you sent last. 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.

There are times we want to blame God instead of thanking him! Perhaps we ought to try to thank Him more often.

May GOD bless your week.
Look for the perfect mistakes. People are like tea bags - you have to put them in hot water before you know how strong they are.

By: ~ Harry S. Truman, Former US President ~

Moral of the story, always believe that God knows what's best for us, even if it may seem like a disaster has befallen upon us. Always look at the positive side.
Have faith my friends.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Legend For You

There is a Cherokee legend that defines how a Cherokee boy is to become a man.

His father must take him deep into the forest at night, blindfold him, and leave him there alone. The boy must sit on a stump the entire night and not remove his blindfold until the rays of the morning sun shine through. He cannot cry out for help.

Once he survives the night, he is a MAN. He cannot tell the other boys of this experience, because each must come into manhood on his own.

The boy is naturally terrified. He hears the wind blow and the many strange noises of the night. Wild beasts must surely be around him . Maybe even a human will do him harm but he must sit stoically, never removing the blindfold. It is the only way he can become a man!

Finally, after a horrific night the sun appears and he removs his blindfold.

It is then that he discovers his father sitting on the stump next to him. He had been at watch the entire night, protecting his son from harm.

~ Cherokee Legend ~

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Master and his Disciple

A 10 year old boy decided to study Judo despite the fact that he had lost his left arm in a devastating car accident. The boy began lessons with an old Japanese judo master. The boy was doing well, so he couldn't understand why, after three months of training, the master had taught him only one move.

"Sensei," the boy finally said, "Shouldn't I be learning more moves?"

"This is the only move you know, but this is the only move you'll ever need to know," the sensei replied.

Not quite understanding, but believing in his teacher, the boy kept training.

Several months later, the sensei took the boy to his first tournament. Surprising himself, the boy easily won his first two matches. The third match proved to be more difficult, but after some time, his opponent became impatient and charged; the boy deftly used his one move to win the match.

Still amazed by his success, the boy was now in the finals. This time, his opponent was bigger, stronger, and more experienced. For a while, the boy appeared to be overmatched. Concerned that the boy might get hurt, the referee called a time-out. He was about to stop the match when the sensei intervened.

"No," the sensei insisted, "Let him continue."

Soon after the match resumed, his opponent made a critical mistake: He dropped his guard. Instantly, the boy used his move to pin him. The boy had won the match and the tournament. He was the champion.

On the way home, the boy and the sensei reviewed every move in each and every match. Then the boy summoned the courage to ask what was really on his mind:

"Sensei, how did I win the tournament with only one move?"

"You won for two reasons," the sensei answered. "First, you've almost mastered one of the most difficult throws in all of judo. And second, the only known defense for that move is for your opponent to grab your left arm."

The boy's biggest weakness had become his biggest strength

~ Author Unknown ~

Sunday, December 5, 2010

One Day At A Time

Our lives are made up of a million moments,
spent in a million different ways.
Some are spent searching for
love, peace, and harmony.
Others are spent surviving day by day.

But there is no greater moment
than when we find that life,
with all it's joys and sorrows,
is meant to be lived one day at a time.
It's in this knowledge that we discover
the most wonderful truth of all.

Whether we live in a forty-room mansion,
surrounded by servants and wealth,
or find it a struggle to manage
the rent month to month,
we have it within our power to be fully
satisfied and live a life with true meaning.

One day at a time - we have that ability,
through cherishing each moment
and rejoicing in each dream.
We can experience each day anew,
and with this fresh start we have
what it takes to make all our dreams come true.
Each day is new, and living one day at a time
enables us to truly enjoy life and live it to the fullest.

*Thanks to Angela who sent me this post.