SUNDAY MAGAZINE



SUNDAY MAGAZINE

 Bringing you a selection of Quotes, Inspiring Short Stories, Humor, Well known Classics in Serial form, Matters of general interest, and of course, Articles contributed by YOU.

Your valuable comments on the content and suggestions for improvement of "Sunday Magazine" and the website in general, will be very much appreciated.




17 September 2017

posted 15 Sep 2017, 03:09 by C S Paul

17 September 2017

Quotes to Inspire 
  • "There is a law in psychology that if you form a picture in your mind of what you would like to be, and you keep and hold that picture there long enough, you will soon become exactly as you have been thinking." – William James
  • "Sometimes when I consider what tremendous consequences come from little things I am tempted to think there are no little things." – Bruce Barton
  • "Failure is a part of success. There is no such thing as a bed of roses all your life. But failure will never stand in the way of success if you learn from it." – Hank Aaron
  • "Character may be manifested in the great moments, but it is made in the small ones." – Sir Winston Churchill
  • "No matter what accomplishments you achieve, somebody helps you." – Althea Gibson
  • "Faith is a bird that feels the dawn breaking and sings while it is still dark." – Scandinavian proverb.
  • "Kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not." – Samuel Johnson
  • "A man flattened by an opponent can get up again. A man flattened by conformity stays down for good." – Thomas Watson Jr.
  • "How come you never see this headline: 'Psychic wins lottery'?" – Jay Leno
  • "Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength." – Corrie Ten Boom
  • "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." – Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • "Before you can inspire with emotion, you must be swamped with it yourself. Before you can move their tears, your own must flow. To convince them, you must yourself believe."– Winston Churchill
  • "Failure is the opportunity to begin again, more intelligently." – Henry Ford
  • "In looking for people to hire, look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence and energy. But if they don't have the first, the other two will kill you." – Warren Buffet
  • "Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed and in such desperate enterprise? If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away."  Henry David Thoreau, 1817-1862
God's wings
Author Unknown

An article in National Geographic several years ago provided a penetrating picture of God's wings. After a forest fire in Yellowstone National Park, forest rangers began their trek up a mountain to assess the inferno's damage. One ranger found a bird literally petrified in ashes, perched statuesquely on the ground at the base of a tree.

Somewhat sickened by the eerie sight, he knocked over the bird with a stick. When he gently struck it, three tiny chicks scurried from under their dead mother's wings. The loving mother, keenly aware of impending disaster, had carried her offspring to the base of the tree and had gathered them under her wings, instinctively knowing that the toxic smoke would rise.

She could have flown to safety but refused to abandon her babies. When the blaze had arrived and the heat had scorched her small body, the mother had remained steadfast.

Because she had been willing to die, those under the cover of her wings would live.

"He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge." Psalm 91:4

God's coffee
-- Author unknown

A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life. Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups - porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite -- telling them to help themselves to the coffee.

When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said: "If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress. Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the coffee. In most cases it is just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink. What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups... And then you began eyeing each other's cups."
 
"Now consider this," he continued... "Life is the coffee. The jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain life, and the type of cup we have does not define, nor change the quality of life we live. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee God has provided us."
 
God brews the coffee, not the cups... Enjoy your coffee!  

"The happiest people don't have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything they have."

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply.

Speak kindly... and leave the rest to God.

God's hands
Author Unknown

Wishing to encourage her young son's progress on the piano, a mother took her boy to a Paderewski concert. After they were seated, the mother spotted a friend in the audience and walked down the aisle to greet her. Seizing the opportunity to explore the wonders of the concert hall, the little boy rose and eventually explored his way through a door marked "NO ADMITTANCE."

When the house lights dimmed and the concert was about to begin, the mother returned to her seat and discovered that the child was missing.

Suddenly, the curtains parted and spotlights focused on the impressive Steinway on stage. In horror, the mother saw her little boy was sitting at the keyboard, innocently picking out "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." At that moment, the great piano master made his entrance, quickly moved to the piano, and whispered in the boy's ear, "Don't quit. Keep playing."

Then, leaning over, Paderewski reached down with his left hand and began filling in a bass part. Soon his right arm reached around to the other side of the child and he added a running obligato. Together, the old master and the young novice transformed a frightening situation into a wonderfully creative experience. The audience was so mesmerized they couldn't recall what else the great master played. Only the classic "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star."

That's the way it is with God. What we can accomplish on our own is hardly noteworthy. We try our best, but the results aren't exactly graceful flowing music. But with the hand of the Master, our life's work truly can be beautiful. Next time you set out to accomplish great feats, listen carefully. You can hear the voice of the Master, whispering in your ear, "Don't quit. Keep playing."

-----
Feel His loving arms around you. Know that His strong hands are there helping you turn your feeble attempts into true masterpieces.

Remember, God doesn't call the equipped, He equips the called. And He'll always be there to love and guide you on to great things. Life is more accurately measured by the lives you touch than the things you acquire.

Is your hut burning?
-- Author unknown

The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him, and every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming.

Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect Him from the elements, and to store his few possessions. Then one day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, the smoke rolling up to the sky. The worst had happened; everything was lost.

He was stunned with grief and anger. "God, how could you do this to me!" he cried.

Early the next day, however, he was awakened by the sound of a ship that was approaching the island. It had come to rescue him. "How did you know I was here?" asked the weary man of his rescuers. "We  saw your smoke signal," they replied.

It is easy to get discouraged when things are going bad. But we shouldn't lose heart, because God is at work in our lives, even in the midst of pain and suffering. Remember, next time your little hut is burning to the ground-it just may be a smoke signal that summons the grace of God.

For all the negative things we have to say to ourselves, God has a positive answer for it.

You say: "It's impossible"
God says: All things are possible (Luke 18:27)

You say: "I'm too tired"
God says: I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28-30)

You say: "Nobody really loves me"
God says: I love you (John 3:16 & John 13:34)

You say: "I can't go on"
God says: My grace is sufficient (II Corinthians 12:9& Psalm 91:15)

You say: "I can't figure things out"
God says: I will direct your steps (Proverbs 3:5-6)

You say: "I can't do it"
God says: You can do all things (Philippians 4:13)

You say: "I'm not able"
God says: I am able (II Corinthians 9:8)

You say: "It's not worth it"
God says: It will be worth it (Roman 8:28)

You say: "I can't forgive myself"
God says: I FORGIVE YOU (I John 1:9 & Romans 8:1)

You say: "I can't manage"
God says: I will supply all your needs (Philippians 4:19)

You say: "I'm afraid"
God says: I have not given you a spirit of fear (II Timothy 1:7)

You say: "I'm always worried and frustrated"
God says: Cast all your cares on ME (I Peter 5:7)

You say: "I don't have enough faith"
God says: I've given everyone a measure of faith (Romans 12:3)

You say: "I'm not smart enough"
God says: I give you wisdom (I Corinthians 1:30)

You say: "I feel all alone"
God says: I will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5)
 
Did you know ?
  • According to L. Frank Baum, the name Oz was thought up when he looked at his filing cabinet and noticed one drawer marked A-G, a second tagged H-N, and a third labeled O-Z. 
  • According to the film's animators, you'll see 6,469,952 black spots every time you watch 101 Dalmatians.  
  • About 75% of the people in the U.S. live on 2% land.  
  • About 80% of the city was burned in the Great Fire of London in 1666.
  • Absolutely pure gold is so soft that it can be molded with the hands. 
  • According to an Old English system of time units, a moment is considered to be one and a half minutes.  
  • According to National Geographic, Mt. Everest grows about 4 millimeters a year: the two tectonic plates of Asia and India, which collided millions of years ago to form the Himalayas, continue to press against each other, causing the Himalyan peaks to grow slightly each year 
  • According to Scandinavian folklore, trolls only come out at night because sunlight would turn them to stone.  
  • According to the 1900 U.S. Census, there were: 596,000 carpenters, 280,000 laundresses, 220,000 blacksmiths, 134,000 tailors, 102,000 shoemakers, 42,000 porters, 37,000 stonecutters, 25,000 millers, 8,000 bootblacks, and 7,000 furriers 
  • According to Bristol zoo, the Howler monkey's growl is so loud, it can be heard 5km (3.3 miles for u Americans) away.  
  • According to German researchers, the risk of heart attack is higher on Monday than any other day of the week. 
  • According to Hammurabi's Code, the penalty for medical malpractice was to cut off the doctor's hands. 
  • According to Illinois state law, it is illegal to speak English. The officially recognized language is "American." 
Just for laughs

Children's Bible Statement

The following statements about the Bible were written by children and have not been retouched or corrected.

1. The seventh commandment is thou shalt not admit adultery. 

2. A Christian should have only one spouse. This is called monotony. 

3. Adam and Eve were created from an apple tree. 

4. Noah's wife was called Joan of Ark. 

5. Lot's wife was a pillar of salt by day, but a ball of fire by night. 

6. The Jews were a proud people and throughout history they had trouble with unsympathetic Genitals. 

7. Moses led the Hebrews to the Red Sea, where they made unleavened bread, which is bread without any ingredients. 

8. The first commandment was when Eve told Adam to eat the apple. 

9. Moses died before he ever reached Texas. 

10. Then Joshua led the Hebrews in the battle of Geritol. 

11. The greatest miracle in the Bible is when Joshua told his son to stand still and he obeyed him. 

12. David was a Hebrew king skilled at playing the liar. He fought with the Finklesteins, a race of people who lived in Biblical times. 

13. Solomon, one of David's sons, had 300 wives, and 700 porcupines. 

14. Jesus was born because Mary had an immaculate contraption. 

15. Jesus enunciated the Golden Rule, which says to do one to others before they do one to you. 

10 September 2017

posted 8 Sep 2017, 03:34 by C S Paul

10 September 2017

Quotes to Inspire 
  • Happiness in simplicity can be achieved with a flexible mindset and nine hours sleep each night. - Dalai Lama
  • Every day there is only one thing to learn: how to be honestly happy. Sri Chinmoy
  • Cherish all your happy moments: they make a fine cushion for old age. -Christopher Morley
  • Happiness comes from good health and a bad memory. Ingrid Bergman
  • The purpose of our lives is to be happy. Dalai Lama
  • Unconditional acceptance of others is the key to happy relationships. Brian Tracy
  • I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances. - Martha Washington
  • Experience praises the most happy, the one who made the most people happy. Karl Marx
  • Think of all the beauty still left around you, and be happy. Anne Frank
  • You are only ever unhappy, when you focus upon what you don't have. Patrick Combs
  • A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes. - Hugh Downs
  • The happiness of a man in this life does not consist in the absence but in the mastery of his passions. Alfred Lord Tennyson
A Box Full of Kisses
-- Author Unknown

The story goes that some time ago, a man punished his 3-year-old daughter for wasting a roll of gold wrapping paper. Money was tight, and he became infuriated when the child tried to decorate a box to put under the Christmas tree. Nevertheless, the little girl brought the gift to her father the next morning and said, "This is for you, Daddy."

The man was embarrassed by his earlier overreaction, but his anger flared again when he found out the box was empty. He yelled at her, stating, "Don't you know, when you give someone a present, there is supposed to be something inside? The little girl looked up at him with tears in her eyes and cried, "Oh, Daddy, it's not empty at all. I blew kisses into the box. They're all for you, Daddy."

The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little girl, and he begged for her forgiveness.

Only a short time later, an accident took the life of the child. It is also told that her father kept that gold box by his bed for many years and, whenever he was discouraged, he would take out an imaginary kiss and remember the love of the child who had put it there.

In a very real sense, each one of us, as humans beings, have been given a gold container filled with unconditional love and kisses... from our children, family members, friends, and God. There is simply no other possession, anyone could hold, more precious than this.

Nothing is more precious than the beauty of a child's perception. Please consider sharing this short story with loved ones. Thank

Winds of Forgiveness
- Unknown -

Winds of Forgiveness Two friends were walking through the desert. During some point of the journey, they had an argument and one friend slapped the other one in the face. The one who got slapped was hurt, but without saying anything, wrote in the sand: “Today my best friend slapped me in the face.” They kept on walking, until they found an oasis, where they decided to take a bath. The one who had been slapped got stuck in the mire and started drowning, but the friend saved him. After he recovered from the near drowning, he wrote on a stone: “Today my best friend saved my life.”

Winds of Forgiveness The friend who had slapped and saved his best friend asked him, “After I hurt you, you wrote in the sand and now, you write on a stone, why?” The friend replied, when someone hurts us we should write it down in the sand, where the winds of forgiveness can erase it away. But, when someone does something good for us, we must engrave it in stone where no wind can ever erase it.”

Winds of Forgiveness Awesome! Without forgiveness, there is no future. We could add to the statement in several ways without changing its basic meaning:  Without forgiveness, there is no freedom. Without forgiveness, there is no recovery. Without forgiveness, there is no healing. This joy is as abundant, as rich and as unlimited as the Lord’s abundant forgiveness of us. It is my prayer that you would experience this forgiveness, practice this forgiveness and, in so doing, receive this joy.

Brooklyn Bridge 
 
The Brooklyn suspension Bridge that connects New York and Long Island is a spectacular structure. Along with the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building, the Brooklyn Bridge has proven itself as one of New York’s most recognizable and photogenic landmarks. we could regularly see this beautiful hanging structure across the water body in many famous Hollywood movies such as Spiderman, Godzilla, Fantastic four, The seige etc.

Not only it is famous for its proven strength and scenic beauty, the True Life Story behind Brooklyn is really inspirational.

Year 1869, was a vital year in the life of Engineer John Roebling, it was in this year he came out with his idea to build a spectacular bridge to connect Long Island with New York. Since there was no other bridge of its magnitude at that point of time the experts rejected his idea saying that it was an impossible feat. The whole world was against his idea and told him to drop his plan.

Roebling’s Intuition kept telling him that his vision was right about the bridge. The only support he had for his idea was his son Washington, who at that time was an upcoming engineer. They together prepared a detailed plan and recruited the necessary team. Though they were well prepared for bottle necks, a tragic accident occurred at the site killing Roebling. This incident happened few months after the bridge building work had started. Normally anyone would have given up. But Washington wanted his father’s vision come true.

Fate was so cruel that Washington suffered brain damage and was injured to an extent where he became immobile. He could neither walk nor talk or even move. As usual the experts who claimed the bridge cannot be built started raising questions about the continuation of the project. There was an uproar about scrapping the construction project terming that Washington was not in a position to extend his services. But these did not deter Washington. He was clear about his objective.
He depended entirely on his wife to communicate. He used his only moving finger to communicate to her. He developed a code to make her understand his communication. Initially everyone thought he was foolish. His instructions were interpreted by his wife and passed on to the engineers. She spent the next 11 years assisting Washington Roebling for bridge’s construction. Finally, the bridge was completed and inaugurated on 24th May 1883, the day on which Washington Roebling was on his death-bed. On the same day 150,000 people crossed the bridge.

Roebling had not just made a bridge that looked incredibly strong, it also turned out to be just as strong in reality. But even after the inauguration, many New Yorkers were not convinced the bridge was safe. So as to prove the doubters wrong, a caravan of circus animals – including a herd of 21 elephants – across the bridge in 1884.

Brooklyn Bridge stands as a spectacular land mark and is standing tall with an Inspirational True Life Story behind it for people who face obstacles in their life.

Honesty Story of an Emperor
Author Unknown

Once there was an emperor in the Far East who was growing old and knew it was coming time to choose his successor. Instead of choosing one of his assistants or one of his own children, he decided to do something different.

He called all the young people in the kingdom together one day. He said, "It has come time for me to step down and to choose the next emperor. I have decided to choose one of you." The kids were shocked! But the emperor continued. "I am going to give each one of you a seed today. One seed. It is a very special seed. I want you to go home, plant the seed, water it and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from
this one seed. I will then judge the plants that you bring to me, and the one I choose will be the next emperor of the kingdom!"

There was one boy named Ling who was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly told his mother the whole story. She helped him get a pot and some planting soil, and he planted the seed and watered it carefully. Every day he would water it and watch to see if it had grown.

After about three weeks, some of the other youths began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow.

Ling kept going home and checking his seed, but nothing ever grew. Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by. Still nothing.

By now others were talking about their plants but Ling didn't have a plant, and he felt like a failure. Six months went by, still nothing in Ling's pot. He just knew he had killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing. Ling didn't say anything to his friends, however. He just kept waiting for his seed to grow.

A year finally went by and all the youths of the kingdom brought their plants to the emperor for inspection. Ling told his mother that he wasn't going to take an empty pot. But she encouraged him to go, and to take his pot, and to be honest about what happened. Ling felt sick to his stomach, but he knew his mother was right. He took his empty pot to the palace.

When Ling arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by all the other youths. They were beautiful, in all shapes and sizes. Ling put his empty pot on the floor and many of the other kinds laughed at him. A few felt sorry for him and just said, "Hey nice try."

When the emperor arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted the young people. Ling just tried to hide in the back. "My, what great plants, trees and flowers you have grown," said the emperor.

"Today, one of you will be appointed the next emperor!"

All of a sudden, the emperor spotted Ling at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered his guards to bring him to the front.

Ling was terrified. "The emperor knows I'm a failure! Maybe he will have me killed!"

When Ling got to the front, the Emperor asked his name. "My name is Ling," he replied. All the kids were laughing and making fun of him. The emperor asked everyone to quiet down. He looked at Ling, and then announced to the crowd, "Behold your new emperor! His name is Ling!"

Ling couldn't believe it. Ling couldn't even grow his seed. How could he be the new emperor?

Then the emperor said, "One year ago today, I gave everyone here a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds which would not grow. All of you, except Ling, have brought me trees and plants and
flowers. When you found that the seed would not grown, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Ling was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the new emperor!"

Did You Know ?
  • Henry Ford is among the honorary judges for the 500-mile inaugural.
  • Of the 23 car makes represented in the inaugural 500, only ?three survive today: Buick, Fiat, and Mercedes.
  • Approximate 80,000 components come together to make an F1 car. The cars have to be assembled with cent per cent accuracy. If it were assembled 99.9% correctly, it would go on the track with 80 components wrongly placed.
  • F1 car engines complete their life in about two hours of racing. Just compare this with normal engines which go on serving us faithfully for decent 20 years.
  • An average person has over 1,460 dreams a year which is about 4 dreams every night!
  • On a clear night ,the human eye can see between 2000 to 3000 stars in the sky.
  • Do you know the similarity between human body and a banana? You will be amazed to know that 50% of human DNA is same as in banana!
  • The human body has enough iron in it to make 3 inches long nail.
  • June 5, 1909: Indy stages its first race. As construction crews toil below, the racers soar high above the surface—in gas balloons. Fisher’s balloon race draws nine starters, including himself. The winner spends more than a day in the air, alighting 382 miles away, in Alabama.
  • 1911: Forty-six cars enter the first “500-mile Sweepstakes,” 44 show up, and 40 qualify. Qualifying consists of sustaining 75 mph for a quarter-mile down Indy’s front straight.
  • Paying $1 each for grandstand seats, 80,200 spectators turn out for the first 500.
Just For Laughs

Acting Up In Church 

One Sunday in a Midwest City, a young child was "acting up" during the morning worship hour. The parents did their best to maintain some sense of order in the pew but were losing the battle. 
       
Finally, the father picked the little fellow up and walked sternly up the aisle on his way out. 
       
Just before reaching the safety of the foyer, the little one called loudly to the congregation, "Pray for me! Pray for me!"

Flying Sermons

The pastor's wife is often his best friend... or severest critic. Realizing that her pastor husband did not have a good feeling about the sermon he had just delivered a few moments earlier, she asked, "So Honey, how do you feel about the service today?"

"It was a good worship service," he responded in a somber tone, "the sermon just never got off the ground."

Before she could stop the words from coming out of her mouth, she replied, "well, it sure taxied long enough!" 

27 August 2017

posted 25 Aug 2017, 23:00 by C S Paul

27 August 2017

Quotes to Inspire 

  • "Call on God, but row away from the rocks." – Indian Proverb
  • "You must be the change you want to see in the world." – Mahathma Gandhi
  • "The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events." – Winston Churchill
  • "We can stand affliction better than we can prosperity, for in prosperity we forget God." – Dwight L. Moody
  • "If it is desirable that our children be kind, responsible, pleasant and honest, then those qualities must be taught—not hoped for." – James Dobson
  • "When your only tool is a hammer, you see every problem as a nail." – A. Maslow
  • "You can wash your hands but not your conscience." – Yiddish Proverb
  • "Success is more a function of consistent common sense than it is of genius."  An Wang
  • "Common sense is the knack of seeing things as they are, and doing things as they ought to be done." – Harriett Beecher Stowe
  • "It really doesn't matter if the person who hurt you deserves to be forgiven. Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. You have things to do and you want to move on."  Author Unknown
  • "You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take" – Wayne Gretzky
  • "Every generation of Americans [and others] needs to know that freedom exists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought." – Pope John Paul II
  • "The price of greatness is responsibility." – Sir. Winston Churchill

Are you proud or embarrassed of your dad ?

Author Unknown

On the first day, as President Abraham Lincoln entered to give his inaugural address, just in the middle, one man stood up. 

He was a rich aristocrat .

He said, “Mr. Lincoln, you should not forget that your father used to make shoes for my family .”

And the whole Senate laughed; they thought they had made a fool of Abraham Lincoln. But Lincoln and that type of people are made of a totally different mettle.

Lincoln looked at the man and said, ”

Sir I know that my father used to make shoes in your house for your family, and there will be many others here….

Because the way he made shoes; nobody else can. He was a creator .

His shoes were not just shoes; he poured his whole soul in it. I want to ask you, have you any complaint?

Because I know how to make shoes myself. 

If you have any complaint I can make another pair of shoes .

But as far as I know, nobody has ever complained about my father’s shoes. 

He was a genius, a great creator and I am proud of my father”.

The whole Senate was struck dumb. 

They could not understand what kind of man Abraham Lincoln was.

He was proud because his father did the job so well that not even a single complaint had ever been heard.

Moral of the story

Are you proud or embarrassed of your dad and what he used to do for a living?

“No one can hurt you without your consent.”

” It is not what happens to us that hurts us. It is our response that hurts us.”

To give service to a single heart with a Single Act of Kindness is greater than a thousand heads bowing in Prayers…..

Dashrath Manjhi, the Man who Moved a Mountain

Written By: Mousumi Kumar Saha    

“When I started hammering the hill, people called me a lunatic but that steeled my resolve.” Dashrath Manjhi

Almost five decade ago, a landless farmer Dashrath Manjhi from Gahlor Ghati, of Gaya (a district of Bihar) resolved to end the difficulties of his villagers by shouldering a near impossible task of slitting a 300-feet-high hill apart to create a one-km passage.

His village would nestle in the lap of rocky hills for which villagers would often face gigantic troubles for crossing small distance between Atri and Wazirganj, the outskirts of Gaya town. He started hammering the hill in early 1959 in the memory of his wife, who could not be taken to the nearest health care center on time for the immediate treatment as the nearest road that connected them to the city was 50km long.

He knew his voice will not create any reaction in the deaf ear of the government; therefore, Dashrath chose to accomplish this Herculean task alone. He sold his goats to purchase chisel, rope and a hammer. People would call him mad and eccentric spirited with no idea of his plans. Unfazed by his critics’ discouraging remarks, Dashrath hammered consistently for 22 long years to shorten the distance from 50km to 10km between Atri and Wazirganj. The day came when he stepped through a flat passage — about one-km long and 16-feet wide — to his dream, ‘the other side of the hill’.

After this impossible accomplishment, Dashrath Manjhi became popular as the‘mountain man’. On August 18, 2007, he breathed his last after fighting cancer at New Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences. He got state burial on the following Saturday evening.

Some invaluable lessons to learn from this Legend

1. He never got panicked by measuring the whole task at once; instead, he started keeping his tiny steps one by one, faced difficulties on its encountering and progressed while solving them one by one. There is no point thinking much about the task that looks seemingly unconquerable and impossible; nobody completes them in one step. What matters the most is your small steps through which you reach there. So focus on your task and accomplish them with great care.

“The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.” ― Molière

2. Patience is the greatest virtue that leads us to success. Dashrath Manjhi cut through the hill for long 22 years. His patience give him the courage to overcome extreme pain, frustration, disappointments and personal loss.

“Patience. A minor form of despair disguised as a virtue.” Ambrose Bierce

3. Dream the impossible! Dashrath Manjhi dreamt of making a walkway through two arrogant and treacherous rocky hills. He planned accordingly, accomplished the task and walked his dream. He was a legend who taught us to dare to dream the impossible. If you keep working on, the near-impossible task will seem a lot easier tomorrow.

“Whether an idea becomes a reality or not, does not depend so much on whether it is possible — but on how great the desire for it is.” ― Edmond Danken Sailer

4. Attitude matters! Don’t ever blame difficulties if you crumble if front of them; it is not the difficulties but the attitude that lets you down. If Dashrath Manjhi could triumph over difficulties, it was his attitude that kept him stay focused and going.

“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” ― Winston Churchill

5. Stay positive! Your positive thoughts and words initiate you to reach your destiny along with your own values.

“Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior. Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

6. Don’t lose heart if people call you mad and crazy for you unique thoughts. The same people appreciate you, promote you and example your tale for encouragement on successfully completion of your plans. When Dashrath Manjhi began working on his plan, people called him mad and discouraged him with impossibilities, but these same people appreciated him and used the way that he created.

“Never let your head hang down. Never give up and sit down and grieve. Find another way. And don’t pray when it rains if you don’t pray when the sun shines.” Richard M. Nixon

Bruised Apples

Author Unknown

A few years ago a group of salesmen went to a regional sales convention in Chicago. They had assured their wives that they would be home in plenty of time for Friday night’s dinner. Well, as such things go, one thing led to another. The sales meeting lasted longer than anticipated.

Their flights were scheduled to leave out of Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, and they had to race to the airport. With tickets in hand, they barged through the terminal to catch their flight back home. In their rush, with tickets and briefcases, one of these salesmen inadvertently kicked over a table, which held a display of baskets of apples. Apples flew everywhere.

Without stopping or looking back, they all managed to reach the plane in time for their nearly missed boarding, all but one. He paused, took a deep breath and experienced a twinge of compassion for the girl whose apple stand had been overturned. He told his buddies to go on without him and told one of them to call his wife when they arrived at their home destination and explain his taking a later flight.

Then he returned to the terminal where the apples were all over the floor. He was glad he did. The 16-year-old girl at the apple stand was totally blind! She was softly crying, tears running down her cheeks in frustration, and at the same time helplessly groping for her spilled produce as the crowd swirled about her, no one stopping or to care for her plight.

The salesman knelt on the floor with her, gathered up the apples, put them into the baskets, and helped set the display up once more. As he did this, he noticed that many of them had become battered and bruised; these he set aside in another basket. When he had finished, he pulled out his wallet and said to the girl, “Here, please take this $20 for the damage we did. Are you okay?” She nodded through her tears.

He continued on with, “I hope we didn’t spoil your day too badly.”

As the salesman started to walk away, the bewildered blind girl called out to him, “Mister….” He paused and turned to look back into those blind eyes. She continued, “Are you Jesus?”

He stopped in mid-stride, and he wondered. Then slowly he made his way to catch the later flight with that question burning and bouncing about in his soul: “Are you Jesus?”

Do people mistake you for Jesus? That’s our destiny, is it not? To be so much like Jesus that people cannot tell the difference as we live and interact with a world that is blind to His love, life and grace. If we claim to know Him, we should live, walk and act as He would. Knowing Him is more than simply quoting Scripture and going to church. It’s actually living the Word as life unfolds day to day.

You are the apple of His eye even though we, too, have been bruised by the fall. He stopped what He was doing and picked you and me up on a hill called Calvary and paid in full for our damaged fruit.

Celebration of Life

Author Unknown

On my way home from coaching basketball yesterday, I was listening to WGN; my favorite talk radio station out of Chicago. I could tell right away that there was something wrong by the somber mood of the speaker. There had been a plane crash. Two small planes collided into each other over a northern suburb of Chicago. What made the story hit close to home was that Bob Collins, the morning show man for WGN, was the pilot of one of the planes and had been killed. (I’m sure that many readers have tuned in “Uncle Bobby” on their car radios in the Midwest.) Later that night, as I made my 40 minute drive to my third shift job, I listened as the station reminisced and paid tribute to a man who was loved by many. They told story after story, describing him as the ultimate friend, and a man who had lived life to the fullest. Genuine love and affection poured in from all over the country. The more I listened about how this man had influenced those around him, the more discouraged I became.

Why you ask?

I was discouraged because I wanted to know why we as a culture, wait until somebody has passed away before we tell them how much we love them? Why do we wait until someone’s ears can’t hear before we let them how much they mean to us? Why do we wait until it is too late before we recall the good qualities of a person? Why do we build someone up after they have gone into eternity? What good does it do then! We share memory after memory, as we laugh, cry, and think back about what was positive in a person’s life. Yes, it does help us cope with the grief of losing someone that was special to us. And yes it does bring those who are coping, closer together. But as we lovingly remember this person, our words fall short of the ears that most needed to hear them.

Just once I would like to see a celebration of life, instead of a gathering of death. A celebration where stories are told, eyes mist over, laughter rings out; and as the speaker concludes his or her loving tribute, the person they are honoring rises from their chair and gives them the biggest bear hug! Wouldn’t that be something! The special person gets to hear the stories and come to the realization that they have made a difference on this earth. And all this is done well before they leave their earthly bodies and go into eternity. And when the inevitable funeral finally comes, we can say good bye with the knowledge that they knew exactly how people felt about them while they were here on earth.

I now have a stronger resolve to tell those around me how much they mean to me. I am going to let my wife know just how loved and appreciated she is, not only by my words, but also by my actions. I am going to play Batman with my four year old more often, and in the middle of our romping, I am going to grab him, hug him tightly, and tell him how thankful I am that he is my son. I am going to sneak into my sleeping toddler’s bedroom, place my lips on his chubby cheek, and thank God for the bundle of joy he has brought into my life. Each day I will make a point to tell both of my boys how much I love them, whether they are four or eighteen! From there, I am going to let family and friends know the tremendous impact they have had on my life. And last but not least, I am going to let the high school players I coach know that I look forward to each and every minute that I get to spend with them in the gym.

Do you love someone? Then tell them! Has someone been an influence in your life? Then give them a call! Has someone made a difference in your life? Then write them a letter or send them an email! Don’t let another day go by without letting that person know. There is something special about a written letter that expresses feelings of love towards another. I don’t know about you, but I have letters and cards from people that I have saved for years, and from time to time, I get them out and reread them. They can turn a depressing day into one where you realize just how blessed and loved you are.

Life is too short to leave kind words unsaid. The words you say, or the letter you write, might just make all the difference in the world.

A Promise is a Promise

Author Unknown

A man’s wife called him, “How long will you be poring over that newspaper? Will you come here and make your darling daughter eat her food?”, he tossed the paper away and rushed to the scene.

His only daughter Sindu, looked frightened, tears were welling up in her eyes, in front of her was a bowl filled to its brim with Curd Rice.

Sindu was a nice child, quite intelligent for her age, she has just turned eight, she particularly detested Curd Rice. His wife and her mother were orthodox and believed firmly in the ‘cooling effects’ of Curd Rice! He cleared his throat, and picked up the bowl.“Sindu, darling, why don’t you take a few mouthfuls of this Curd Rice? Just for Dad’s sake, dear? And, if you don’t, your Mom will shout at me.”He could sense his wife’s scowl behind his back. Sindu softened a bit, and wiped her tears with the back of her hands.

“OK, Dad. I will eat – not just a few mouthfuls, but the whole lot of this. But, you should…” Sindu hesitated, “Dad, if I eat this entire curd Rice, will you give me whatever I ask for?”

“Oh sure, darling’.“Promise?”

“Promise.”

He covered the pink soft hand extended by his daughter with his and clinched the deal.

“Ask Mom also to give a similar promise”, his daughter insisted, his wife slapped her hand on Sindu’s, muttering, “Promise”, without any emotion.

Now he became a bit anxious. “Sindu dear, you shouldn’t insist on getting a computer or any such expensive items, Dad does not have that kind of money right now. OK?”

“No, Dad. I do not want anything expensive.”

Slowly and painfully, she finished eating the whole quantity, he was silently angry with his wife and her mother for forcing his child to eat something that she detested. After the ordeal was through, Sindu came to him with her eyes wide with expectation, all our attention was on her.

“Dad, I want to have my hair shaved off, this Sunday!’ was her demand.

“Atrocious!” shouted the wife, “A girl child having her hair shaved off? Impossible!” 

“Never in our family!” her mother rasped. “She has been watching too much television, our culture is getting totally spoiled with these TV programs!”

“Sindu darling, why don’t you ask for something else? we will be sad seeing you with a clean-shaven head.”

“No, Dad. I do not want anything else”, Sindu said with finality.

“Please, Sindu, why don’t you try to understand our feelings?” he tried to plead with her.

“Dad, you saw how difficult it was for me to eat that Curd Rice.” Sindu was in tears. “And you promised to grant me whatever I ask for, now, you are going back on your words. Was it not you who told me the story of King Harishchandra, and its moral that we should honor our promises no matter what?”

It was time for him to call the shots. “Our promise must be kept.”

“Are you out your mind?” chorused his wife and her mother.

“No. If we go back on our promises, she will never learn to honor her own, Sindu, your wish will be fulfilled.”

With her head clean-shaven, Sindu had a round-face, and her eyes looked big and beautiful. On Monday morning, he dropped her at her school. It was a sight to watch his hairless Sindu walking towards her classroom. She turned around and waved, he waved back with a smile.

Just then, a boy alighted from a car, and shouted, “Sinduja, please wait for me!”

What struck him was the hairless head of that boy. Maybe, that is the in-stuff, he thought.

“Sir, your daughter Sinduja is great indeed!”

He stood transfixed and then, wept. He said “My little Angel, you have taught me how selfless real love is!”

Did you know ?
  • A word or sentence that is the same front and back (racecar, kayak) is called a "palindrome".  
  • A young lady named Ellen Church convinced Boeing Air Transport that her nursing skills and love of flying would qualify her to assist with the passengers and emergencies. She became the first known stewardess. 
  • A zebra is white with black stripes. 
  • ABBA GOLD has been in the UK charts for over 280 weeks, thats over 5 years 
  • Abdul Kassam Ismael, Grand Vizier of Persia in the tenth century, carried his library with him wherever he went. Four hundred camels carried the 117,000 volumes. 
  • Abe Lincoln's mother died when the family dairy cow ate poisonous mushrooms and Ms. Lincoln drank the milk. 
  • About 10% of the world's population is left-handed.
  • A pregnant goldfish is called a twit 
  • A quarter of raw potato placed in each shoe at night will keep the leather soft and the shoes smelling fresh and clean. 
  • A quarter of the horses in the US died of a vast virus epidemic in 1872. 
  • A state law in Illinois mandates that all bachelors should be called master, not mister, when addressed by their female counterparts. 
Just for laughs

Our children's Sunday School classes were presenting their end of the year program for the congregation - telling about the life of Jesus.

When it came to the part about Jesus' miracles, one little boy said, "Yes, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead!" The teacher urged him to tell us more.

He said, "Well, Jesus told them to open the tomb, and then He said, 'Lazarus, come out!' And it's a good thing he didn't just say 'Come out!' because there would have been a stampede of dead guys."

Needless to say our congregation enjoyed the presentation very much. 

20 August 2017

posted 17 Aug 2017, 22:40 by C S Paul

20 August 2017

Quotes to Inspire 
  • People who cannot find time for recreation are obliged sooner of later to find time for illness." – John Wanamaker
  • "Failing to prepare is preparing to fail." – John Wooden
  • "Reputation is what you are in the light; character is what you are in the dark." – American Proverb
  • "Nothing would be done at all if a man or woman waited until they could do it so well that no one could find fault with it." – John Henry Newman
  • "Behavior is what a man does, not what he thinks, feels, or believes"  Emily Dickinson
  • "Do not wait for leaders–do it alone, person to person." – Mother Teresa
  • "In order to be a leader, a man must have followers. And to have followers, a man must have their confidence. Hence, the supreme quality for a leader is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible." – Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th US President
  • "In the final analysis it is not what you do for your children but what you have taught them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings." – Ann Landers
  • "There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One is roots; the other, wings." – Hodding Carter
  • Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens. Carl Jung 
  • A person’s true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. Mohammed 
  • Don't be afraid that your life will end, be afraid that it will never begin. – Unknown
Who Packed Your Parachute?

Sometimes in the daily challenges that life gives us, we miss what is really important. We mayfail to say hello, please, or thank you, congratulate someone on something wonderful     that has happened to them, give a compliment, or just do something nice for no reason. 

Charles Plumb, a US Naval Academy graduate, was a jet pilot in Vietnam. After 75 combat
missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and
parachuted into enemy lands. 

He was captured and spent 6 years in a communist Vietnamese prison. He survived the or   deal and now lectures on lessons learned from that experience. One day, when Plumb and    his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said, "You're   Plumb! You   flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were      shot down!" 

"How in the world did you know that?" asked Plumb. "I packed your parachute," the man replied. Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude. The man pumped his hand and said, "I    guess it worked!" Plumb assured him, "It sure did. If your chute hadn't worked, I wouldn't     be here today."

Plumb couldn't sleep that night, thinking about that man. Plumb says, "I kept wondering    what he might have looked like in a Navy uniform: A white hat, a bib in the back, and bell bottom trousers.I wonder how many times I might have seen him and not even said good morning,  how are you or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot, and he was just       a sailor."


Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent on a long wooden table in the bowels    
of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, holding in his hands each time the fate of someone he didn't know.


Now, Plumb asks his audience, "Who's packing your parachute?"

Everyone has someone who provides what they need to make it through the day. Plumb also points out that he needed many kinds of parachutes when his plane was shot down over enemy territory - he needed his physical parachute, his mental parachute, his 
emotional parachute, and his spiritual parachute. 

He called on all these supports before reaching safety. His experience reminds us all to prepare ourselves to weather whatever storms lie ahead. As you go through this week, this month, this year... recognize people who pack your parachute!


My Father's Clothes

Provided by Free Christian Content.org

What my father wore embarrassed me as a young man. I wanted him to dress like a doctor or lawyer, but on those muggy mornings when he rose before dawn to fry eggs for my mother and me, he always dressed like my father.

We lived in south Texas, and my father wore tattered jeans with the imprint of his pocketknife on the seat. He liked shirts that snapped more than those that buttoned and kept his pencils, cigars, glasses, wrenches and screwdrivers in his breast pocket. My father's boots were government issues with steel toes that made them difficult to pull off his feet, which I sometimes did when he returned from repairing air conditioners, his job that also shamed me.

But, as a child, I'd crept into his closet and modeled his wardrobe in front of the mirror. My imagination transformed his shirts into the robes of kings and his belts into soldiers' holsters. I slept in his undershirts and relied on the scent of his collars to calm my fear of the dark. Within a few years, though, I started wishing my father would trade his denim for khaki and retire his boots for loafers. I stopped sleeping in his clothes and eventually began dreaming of another father.

I blamed the way he dressed for my social failures. When boys bullied me, I thought they'd seen my father wearing his cowboy hat but no shirt while walking our dog. I felt that girls snickered at me because they'd glimpsed him mowing the grass in cut-offs and black boots. The girls' families paid men (and I believed better dressed ones) to landscape their lawns, while their fathers yachted in the bay wearing lemon yellow sweaters and expensive sandals.

My father only bought two suits in his life. He preferred clothes that allowed him the freedom to shimmy under cars and squeeze behind broken Maytags, where he felt most content. But the day before my parents' twentieth anniversary, he and I went to Sears, and he tried on suits all afternoon. With each one, he stepped to the mirror, smiled and nodded, then asked about the price and reached for another. He probably tried ten suits before we drove to a discount store and bought one without so much as approaching a fitting room. That night my mother said she'd never seen a more handsome man.

Later, though, he donned the same suit for my eighth grade awards banquet, and I wished he'd stayed home. After the ceremony (I'd been voted Mr. Citizenship, of all things), he lauded my award and my character while changing into a faded red sweat suit. He was stepping into the garage to wash a load of laundry when I asked what even at age fourteen struck me as cruel and wrong.

"Why," I asked, "don't you dress 'nice,' like my friends' fathers?"

He held me with his sad, shocked eyes, and searched for an answer. Then before he disappeared into the garage and closed the door between us, my father said, "I like my clothes." An hour later my mother stormed into my room, called me an "ungrateful child," a phrase that echoed in my head for years to come. 

As I matured I realized that girls avoided me not because of my father but because of his son. I realized that my mother had scolded me because my father could not, and it soon became clear that what he had really said that night was that there are things more important than clothes. He'd said he couldn't spend a nickel on himself because there were things I wanted. That night, without another word, my father had said, "You're my son, and I sacrifice so your life will be better than mine."

For my high school graduation, my father arrived in a suit he and my mother had purchased earlier that day. Somehow he seemed taller, more handsome and imposing, and when he passed the other fathers they stepped out of his way. It wasn't the suit, of course, but the man. The doctors and lawyers recognized the confidence in his swagger, the pride in his eyes, and when they approached him, they did so with courtesy and respect. After we returned home, my father replaced the suit in the flimsy Sears garment bag, and I didn't see it again until his funeral.

I don't know what he was wearing when he died, but he was working, so he was in clothes he liked, and that comforts me. My mother thought of burying him in the suit from Sears, but I convinced her otherwise and soon delivered a pair of old jeans, a flannel shirt and his boots to the funeral home.

On the morning of the services, I used his pocketknife to carve another hole in his belt so it wouldn't droop around my waist. Then I took the suit from Sears out of his closet and changed into it. Eventually, I mustered the courage to study myself in his mirror where, with the exception of the suit, I appeared small and insignificant. Again, as in childhood, the clothes draped over my scrawny frame. My father's scent wafted up and caressed my face, but it failed to console me. I was uncertain: not about my father's stature - I'd stopped being an ungrateful little twerp years before. No, I was uncertain about myself, my own stature. And I stood there for some time, facing myself in my father's mirror, weeping and trying to imagine

... as I will for the rest of my life ...

the day I'll grow into my father's clothes. 

Karoly Takacs : A Hero, An Inspiration

You’ve probably never heard of him. However, in Hungary, he’s a national hero – everybody there knows his name and his incredible story. After reading his story, you’ll never forget him…
In 1938, Karoly Takacs of the Hungarian Army, was the top pistol shooter in the world. He was expected to win the gold in the 1940 Olympic Games scheduled for Tokyo.

Those expectations vanished one terrible day just months before the Olympics.While training with his army squad, a hand grenade exploded in Takacs’ right hand, and Takacs’ shooting hand was blown off.

Takacs spent a month in the hospital depressed at both the loss of his hand, and the end to his Olympic dream. At that point most people would have quit. And they would have probably spent the rest of their life feeling sorry for themselves. Most people would have quit but not Takacs. Takacs was a winner. Winners know that they can’t let circumstances keep them down. They understand that life is hard and that they can’t let life beat them down. Winners know in their heart that quitting is not an option.

Takacs did the unthinkable; he picked himself up, dusted himself off, and decided to learn how to shoot with his left hand! His reasoning was simple. He simply asked himself, “Why not?”

Instead of focusing on what he didn’t have – a world class right shooting hand, he decided to focus on what he did have – incredible mental toughness, and a healthy left hand that with time, could be developed to shoot like a champion.

For months Takacs practiced by himself. No one knew what he was doing. Maybe he didn’t want to subject himself to people who most certainly would have discouraged him from his rekindled dream.
In the spring of 1939 he showed up at the Hungarian National Pistol Shooting Championship. Other shooters approached Takacs to give him their condolences and to congratulate him on having the strength to come watch them shoot. They were surprised when he said, “I didn’t come to watch, I came to compete.” They were even more surprised when Takacs won!

The 1940 and 1944 Olympics were cancelled because of World War II. It looked like Takacs’ Olympic Dream would never have a chance to realize itself. But Takacs kept training and in 1944 he qualified for the London Olympics. At the age of 38, Takacs won the Gold Medal and set a new world record in pistol shooting. Four years later, Takacs won the Gold Medal again at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics. Takacs – a man with the mental toughness to bounce back from anything.

Winners in every field have a special trait that helps them become unstoppable. A special characteristic that allows them to survive major setbacks on the road to success. Winners recover QUICKLY. Bouncing back is not enough.Winners bounce back QUICKLY. They take their hit, they experience their setback, they have the wind taken out of their sails, but they immediately recover. Right away they FORCE themselves to look at the bright side of things – ANY bright side, and they say to themselves, “That’s OK. There is always a way. I will find a way.” They dust themselves off, and pick up where they left off.

The reason quick recovery is important is that if you recover quickly, you don’t lose your momentum and your drive. Takacs recovered in only one month. If he had wallowed in his misery, if he had stayed “under the circumstances,” if he had played the martyr, and felt sorry for himself much longer, he would have lost his mental edge – his “eye of the tiger” and he never would have been able to come back.

When a boxer gets knocked down, he has ten seconds to get back up. If he gets up in eleven seconds, he loses the fight. Remember that next time you get knocked down.

Takacs definitely had a right to feel sorry for himself. He had a right to stay depressed and to ask himself “Why me?” for the rest of his life. He had the right to act like a mediocre man.
Takacs could have let his terrible accident cause him to become permanently discouraged, to take up heavy drinking, to quit on life alltogether, and maybe even to end his own life. He could have acted like a loser.

But Takacs made the DECISION to dig deep inside and to find a solution. To pick himself up and to learn to shoot all over again. Winners always search for a solution. Losers always search for an escape.

Next time you get knocked down, DECIDE you will act like a winner. DECIDE to act like Takacs. Get up quickly, take action, and astound the world!

Passing the Torch

John LeBlanc

Most of you know that both my dad and my father in law died in the same week this past July. Since then my wife and I have been busy literally selling the farm my parents lived on and disposing of all the farm equipment and 75 years accumulation of business, farm and personal stuff. Just going through it is a long process, not to mention disposing of it.


I found a few really neat things I had not seen since I was a kid right away. I decided then and there that there would not be any wholesale removal of anything. The memories those things brought back were just too valuable.

After many hours, days and weeks of blood, sweat and tears literally, on the top shelf of my Dad's workshop covered with dirt daubers and spider webs was a Gerber baby food jar. Inside it was a key ring. On the key ring was a Nickel alloy almost round magnet the size of a dine and about 4 mm thick. 

My dad was a radiator repairman and welder. One of the problems right after WWII was radiators had a lot of iron parts on them that caused repair problems. Dad needed a handy magnet to sort out these parts. His uncle was a metallurgist at a local refinery and made that magnet for him. As a kid I always remember it on his key ring. About 10 years ago I asked what happened to it and he told me he did not know.

He obviously put it in a safe place. I found it.

Dad, it is on my key ring just like it was on yours. 

The torch is passed.

When it came time to do the same thing at my father in law's house my brother in law "I just can't do it" is what he told me. Too sensitive of a guy. My dad took that sensitivity out of me with a little strip of leather and the admonition to "suck it up and take it like a man". 

My Dad's parents were both killed when he was 16 in 1932 in the midst of the depression. Dad knew what "suck it up and take it like a man" meant. He had been there, done that. I often thought of him telling me that and it got me through many a dismal hour in my youth, the U S Army, at Philmont and all along life's path.

I even passed it along to my daughters. My 23 year old is often heard telling her whining friends to "suck it up and take it like a man" and they do!

Anyway, the time came to clean out my father in law's attic. He notoriously saved EVERYTHING, packaged it in an appropriate box or bag, tied it with string and labeled it. This was brought to my attention when my wife and I had our first child (the 23 year old) and she was ready to start coloring with Crayolas.

Grandpa fetched my wife's coloring books and Crayolas from the attic where he put them some 35 year earlier.

OK, I approached my brother in law about cleaning out the attic. He told me he just couldn't put his mind to it that it was too painful and anyway almost everything up there was mine. He told his sister she could have anything that was up there. 

True my wife had put a lot of baby stuff in her dad's attic as ours is not very big so we got after it. 

Yesterday we started working on the attic. Besides five computers that belonged to her brother and three degrees worth of engineering notes and texts stored there we also found his Cub Scout uniform from 50 years ago.

She also found a silver tray and coffee and tea service that she had never seen before. The note in the box told that it was her great grandmothers. We had it appraised today at $500.00. It is not the monetary value, but the fact that it is a family heirloom she had never seen or heard about.

Today I found her brother's A. C. Gilbert No 6-1/2 Erector Set complete with instruction booklet and the electric motor and gear box. Mine gave up the ghost long ago and what is left of the "customized" parts is in some landfill. If you have never built things with an Erector Set, you just have never lived.

I don't think the gear box on the motor drive would pass OSHA standards today but back then kids didn't go sticking their fingers into gears to see what it would do. We knew without trying.

Since he told me the stuff was all mine I am enjoying playing with MY Erector Set even though his name is written on the box. I just got off the phone from telling him how much fun it was to play with it again after a 50 year hiatus.

I told him that when I got through playing with MY new toy, he could borrow it someday so long as he returned it the same day. No overnight loans. I did not want him to become attached to it.

In reality, I'll clean it up and give it to him for a Christmas present. In the meantime, I'm gonna make him sweat. I'll throw in his Cub Scout uniform for good measure. He doesn't even know I found it.

His daddy always put the things into the attic and Gene and Susan had no idea where or what was there. The attic was their dad's sanctum sanctuary.

Now I am the custodian of the attic. 

And again, the torch is passed.

Did you know ?

  • Julius Caesar was the first to encode communications, using what has become known as the Caesar Cipher.
  • The first mention of soap was on Sumerian clay tablets dating about 2,500 BC. The soap was made of water, alkali and cassia oil.
  • The first animal in space was the female Samoyed husky named Laika, launched by the Soviets in 1957.
  • In 1958, the US sent two mice called Laska and Benjy into space.
  • In 1961. the US launched a male chimpanzee called Ham into space.
  • In 1963, the French launched a cat called Feliette into space.
  • Pork is the world’s most widely-eaten meat.
  • In Denmark there are twice as many pigs as people.
  • Beer was the first trademarked product – British beer Bass Pale Ale received its trademark in 1876.
  • Playing-cards were known in Persia and India as far back as the 12th century. A pack then consisted of 48 instead of 52 cards.
  • Excavations from Egyptian tombs dating to 5,000 BC show that the ancient Egyptian kids played with toy hedgehogs.
  • Accounts from Holland and Spain suggest that during the 1500s and 1600s urine was commonly used as a tooth-cleaning agent.
Just for Laughs

A sweet grandmother telephoned Mount Sinai Hospital.  She timidly asked, "Is it possible to speak to someone who can tell me how a patient is doing?"  

The operator said, "I'll be glad to help, Dear.  What's the name and room number?"

The grandmother in her weak tremulous voice said, "Holly Finkel, room 302.

The Operator replied, "Let me check.  Oh, good news.  Her record says that Holly is doing very well.  Her blood pressure is fine; her blood work just came back as normal and her physician, Dr. Cohen, has scheduled her to be discharged Tuesday."

 The Grandmother said, "Thank you.  That's wonderful!  I was so worried!  God bless you for the good news."

 The operator replied, "You're more than welcome.  Is Holly your daughter?"

 The Grandmother said, "No, I'm Holly Finkel in 302.  No one tells me squat."

13 August 2017

posted 11 Aug 2017, 22:20 by C S Paul

13 August 2017

Quotes to Inspire 
  • "He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else." – Benjamin Franklin
  • "Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost." – John Quincy Adams
  • "A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still." – Author Unknown
  • "Your attitude determines your altitude!" – Denis Waitle
  • "Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new." – Albert Einstein
  • "The church exists by mission, as fire exists by burning." – Emil Brunner
  • "It's a good thing to have all the props pulled out from under us occasionally. It gives us some sense of what is rock under our feet, and what is sand." – Madeleine L'Engle
  • "A great attitude does much more than turn on the light in our worlds; it seems to magically connect us to all sorts of serendipitous opportunities that were somehow absent before we changed." – Earl Nightingale

Ragman

by Walter Wangerin, Jr.

I saw a strange sight. I stumbled upon a story most strange, like nothing my life, my street sense, my sly tongue had ever prepared me for.

Hush, child. Hush, now, and I will tell it to you.

Even before the dawn one Friday morning I noticed a young man, handsome and strong, walking the alleys of our City. He was pulling an old cart filled with clothes both bright and new, and he was calling in a clear, tenor voice: “Rags!” Ah, the air was foul and the first light filthy to be crossed by such sweet music.

“Rags! New rags for old! I take your tired rags! Rags!”

“Now, this is a wonder,” I thought to myself, for the man stood six-feet-four, and his arms were like tree limbs, hard and muscular, and his eyes flashed intelligence. Could he find no better job than this, to be a ragman in the inner city?

I followed him. My curiosity drove me. And I wasn’t disappointed.

Soon the Ragman saw a woman sitting on her back porch. She was sobbing into a handkerchief, sighing, and shedding a thousand tears. Her knees and elbows made a sad X. Her shoulders shook. Her heart was breaking.

The Ragman stopped his cart. Quietly, he walked to the woman, stepping round tin cans, dead toys, and Pampers.

“Give me your rag,” he said so gently, “and I’ll give you another.”

He slipped the handkerchief from her eyes. She looked up, and he laid across her palm a linen cloth so clean and new that it shined. She blinked from the gift to the giver.

Then, as he began to pull his cart again, the Ragman did a strange thing: he put her stained handkerchief to his own face; and then HE began to weep, to sob as grievously as she had done, his shoulders shaking. Yet she was left without a tear.

“This IS a wonder,” I breathed to myself, and I followed the sobbing Ragman like a child who cannot turn away from mystery.

“Rags! Rags! New rags for old!”

In a little while, when the sky showed grey behind the rooftops and I could see the shredded curtains hanging out black windows, the Ragman came upon a girl whose head was wrapped in a bandage, whose eyes were empty. Blood soaked her bandage. A single line of blood ran down her cheek.

Now the tall Ragman looked upon this child with pity, and he drew a lovely yellow bonnet from his cart.

“Give me your rag,” he said, tracing his own line on her cheek, “and I’ll give you mine.”

The child could only gaze at him while he loosened the bandage, removed it, and tied it to his own head. The bonnet he set on hers. And I gasped at what I saw: for with the bandage went the wound! Against his brow it ran a darker, more substantial blood – his own!

“Rags! Rags! I take old rags!” cried the sobbing, bleeding, strong, intelligent Ragman.

The sun hurt both the sky, now, and my eyes; the Ragman seemed more and more to hurry.

“Are you going to work?” he asked a man who leaned against a telephone pole. The man shook his head.

The Ragman pressed him: “Do you have a job?”

“Are you crazy?” sneered the other. He pulled away from the pole, revealing the right sleeve of his jacket – flat, the cuff stuffed into the pocket. He had no arm.

“So,” said the Ragman. “Give me your jacket, and I’ll give you mine.”

Such quiet authority in his voice!

The one-armed man took off his jacket. So did the Ragman – and I trembled at what I saw: for the Ragman’s arm stayed in its sleeve, and when the other put it on he had two good arms, thick as tree limbs; but the Ragman had only one.

“Go to work,” he said.

After that he found a drunk, lying unconscious beneath an army blanket, and old man, hunched, wizened, and sick. He took that blanket and wrapped it round himself, but for the drunk he left new clothes.

And now I had to run to keep up with the Ragman. Though he was weeping uncontrollably, and bleeding freely at the forehead, pulling his cart with one arm, stumbling for drunkenness, falling again and again, exhausted, old, old, and sick, yet he went with terrible speed. On spider’s legs he skittered through the alleys of the City, this mile and the next, until he came to its limits, and then he rushed beyond.

I wept to see the change in this man. I hurt to see his sorrow. And yet I needed to see where he was going in such haste, perhaps to know what drove him so.

The little old Ragman – he came to a landfill. He came to the garbage pits. And then I wanted to help him in what he did, but I hung back, hiding. He climbed a hill. With tormented labor he cleared a little space on that hill. Then he sighed. He lay down. He pillowed his head on a handkerchief and a jacket. He covered his bones with an army blanket. And he died.

Oh, how I cried to witness that death! I slumped in a junked car and wailed and mourned as one who has no hope – because I had come to love the Ragman. Every other face had faded in the wonder of this man, and I cherished him; but he died. I sobbed myself to sleep.

I did not know – how could I know? – that I slept through Friday night and Saturday and its night, too.

But then, on Sunday morning, I was wakened by a violence.

Light – pure, hard, demanding light – slammed against my sour face, and I blinked, and I looked, and I saw the last and the first wonder of all. There was the Ragman, folding the blanket most carefully, a scar on his forehead, but alive! And, besides that, healthy! There was no sign of sorrow nor of age, and all the rags that he had gathered shined for cleanliness.

Well, then I lowered my head and trembling for all that I had seen, I myself walked up to the Ragman. I told him my name with shame, for I was a sorry figure next to him. Then I took off all my clothes in that place, and I said to him with dear yearning in my voice: “Dress me.”

He dressed me. My Lord, he put new rags on me, and I am a wonder beside him. The Ragman, the Ragman, the Christ!

A sea captain’s prayer

There is a story of about a sea captain who in his retirement skippered a boat taking day-trippers to Shetland Islands. On one trip, the boat was full of young people. They laughed at the old captain when they saw him say a prayer before sailing out, because the day was fine and the sea was calm.

However they weren’t long at sea when a storm suddenly blew up and the boat began to pitch violently. The terrified passengers came to the captain and asked him to join them in prayer. But he replied,  ”I say my prayers when it’s calm. When it’s rough I attend to my ship!”

Is there a lesson for us, here?

If we cannot seek God in quiet moments of our lives, we are not likely to find Him when trouble strikes. We are more likely to panic. But if we have learnt to seek Him and trust Him in quiet moments, then most certainly we will find Him when the going gets rough.

Happiness

An anonymous friar in a monastery once wrote these words: "If I had my life to live over again, I'd try to make more mistakes next time. I would relax, I would limber up, I would be sillier than I have been this trip. I know of very few things I would take seriously. I would take more trips. I would be crazier. I would climb more mountains, swim more rivers and watch more sunsets. I would do more walking and looking. I would eat more ice cream and less beans. I would have more actual troubles and fewer imaginary ones. You see, I'm one of the people who lives life prophylactically and sensibly hour after hour, day after day.

Oh, I've had my moments, and if I had to do it over again, I'd have more of them. In fact, I'd try to have nothing else, just moments, one after another, instead of living so many years ahead each day. I've been one of those people who never go anywhere without a thermometer, a hot-water bottle, a gargle, a raincoat, aspirin, and a parachute. If I had it to do over again, I would go places, do things, and travel lighter than I have. If I had my life to live over again I would start barefooted earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I would play hockey more. I wouldn't make such good grades, except by accident. I would ride more merry-go-rounds. I'd pick more daisies."

    — Pastor's Professional Research Service, "Happiness."

      Cited by David Leininger, "Ask the Average Person." 

Live and Work

Author Unknown

Father was a hardworking man who delivered bread as a living to support his wife and three children. He spent all his evenings after work attending classes, hoping to improve himself so that he could one day find a better paying job. Except for Sundays, Father hardly ate a meal together with his family. He worked and studied very hard because he wanted to provide his family with the best money could buy.

Whenever the family complained that he was not spending enough time with them, he reasoned that he was doing all this for them. But he often yearned to spend more time with his family.

The day came when the examination results were announced. To his joy, Father passed, and with distinctions too! Soon after, he was offered a good job as a senior supervisor which paid handsomely.

Like a dream come true, Father could now afford to provide his family with life’s little luxuries like nice clothing, fine food and vacation abroad.

However, the family still did not get to see father for most of the week. He continued to work very hard, hoping to be promoted to the position of manager. In fact, to make himself a worthily candidate for the promotion, he enrolled for another course in the open university.

Again, whenever the family complained that he was not spending enough time with them, he reasoned that he was doing all this for them. But he often yearned to spend more time with his family.

Father’s hard work paid off and he was promoted. Jubilantly, he decided to hire a maid to relieve his wife from her domestic tasks. He also felt that their three-room flat was no longer big enough, it would be nice for his family to be able to enjoy the facilities and comfort of a condominium. Having experienced the rewards of his hard work many times before, Father resolved to further his studies and work at being promoted again. The family still did not get to see much of him. In fact, sometimes Father had to work on Sundays entertaining clients. Again, whenever the family complained that he was not spending enough time with them, he reasoned that he was doing all this for them. But he often yearned to spend more time with his family.

As expected, Father’s hard work paid off again and he bought a beautiful condominium overlooking the coast of Singapore. On the first Sunday evening at their new home, Father declared to his family that he decided not to take anymore courses or pursue any more promotions. From then on he was going to devote more time to his family.

Father did not wake up the next day.


The Most Important Job in the World

adapted by James Moore

Dr. Tony Campolo is a well-known and highly-respected, inspirational speaker. Over the last several years, Tony Campolo has spent much of his time traveling around the world on speaking tours.

Meanwhile, his wife, Peggy, has chosen to stay home and give herself and all that she has to the "Bringing Up" of their two children, Bart and Lisa. On those rare occasions when Peggy does travel with Tony, she finds herself engaged in conversations with some of the most accomplished, impressive, influential, sophisticated people in the world.

After one such trip, Peggy told Tony that sometimes as she visits with these powerful people… she finds herself feeling intimidated and sometimes even questioning her own self-worth. Tony said to her: "Well, honey, why don't you come up with something you could say when you meet people that will let them know that you strongly value what you do and you feel that it is dramatically, urgent and crucial and important.

Well, not long after that, Tony and Peggy Campolo were at a party… when a woman said to Peggy in a rather condescending tone, "Well, my dear, what do you do?" Tony Campolo heard his wife say:

"I am nurturing two Homo Sapiens into the dominant values of the Judaeo-Christian tradition in order that they might become instruments for the transformation of the social order into the kind of eschatological utopia God envisioned from the beginning of time."

And the other woman said:

"O, my, I'm just a lawyer."

I like that story because it reminds us that there are a lot of important jobs in the world today but not one of them is more important than the job of being a mother.

Did you know ?

  • A whole library floor of books can be stored on 50 Gigabytes.  
  • A wind with a speed of 74 miles or more is designated a hurricane.  
  • A women's heart beats faster than men.  
  • A woodchuck only breathes 10 times during hibernation.  
  • A woodpecker can peck twenty times a second.
  • A two-inch garden hose will carry four times as much water as a one-inch hose. 
  • A typical American eats 28 pigs in his/her lifetime. 
  • A typical bed usually houses over 6 billion dust mites. 
  • A typical lightning bolt is two to four inches wide and two miles long.  
  • A vexillologist is an expert in the history of flags 
  • A volcano can shoot its debris as high as 50km into the sky. 
  • A vulture will never attack a human or animal that is moving. 
  • A whip makes a cracking sound because its tip moves faster than the speed of sound. 

Just for Laughs

Stolen coat

After a morning service, one church elder came rushing in to see the Vicar.

"Reverend!" he blurted, "My overcoat's been pinched from the vestry!"

"Wonderful news!" replied the Vicar. "We've had some sinners in at last!" 

I AIN'T AFRAID

One Sunday morning, everyone in a bright, beautiful, tiny town got up early and went to the local church. Before the services started, the townspeople were sitting in their pews and talking about their lives, their families, etc. 

Suddenly, Satan appeared at the front of the church. Everyone started screaming and running for the front entrance, trampling each other in a frantic effort to get away from evil incarnate. 

Soon everyone was evacuated from the church, except for one elderly gentleman who sat calmly in his pew, not moving, seemingly oblivious to the fact that God's ultimate enemy was in his presence. Now this confused Satan a bit, so he walked up to the man and said, "Don't you know who I am?" 

The man replied, "Yep, sure do." 

Satan asked, "Aren't you afraid of me?" 

"Nope, sure ain't," said the man. 

Satan was a little perturbed at this and queried, "Why aren't you afraid of me?"

The man calmly replied, "Been married to your sister for over 48 years." 

6 August 2017

posted 4 Aug 2017, 04:29 by C S Paul

6 August 2017

Quotes to Inspire
  • "It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently." – Warren Buffett
  • "The highest reward for a man's toil is not what he gets for it but what he becomes by it." – John Ruskin
  • "I never did repent for doing good." – Shakespeare
  • "A man that knoweth not himself, is not known." – Unknown
  • "Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do." – John Wooden
  • "A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have." – Gerald Rudolph Ford
  • "The person who upsets you the most is your best teacher, because they bring you face to face with who you are." – Lynn Andrews
  • "Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men." – Martin Luther King Jr.
  • "Character, in the long-run, is the decisive factor in the life of an individual and of nations alike." – Theodore Roosevelt
  • "The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by obvious realities. We need men and women who can dream of things that never were." – John F. Kennedy
This Is Good
- Author Unknown

An old story is told of a king in Africa who had a close friend with whom he grew up. The friend had a habit of looking at every situation that ever occurred in his life (positive or negative) and remarking, “This is good!”

One day the king and his friend were out on a hunting expedition. The friend would load and prepare the guns for the king. The friend had apparently done something wrong in preparing one of the guns, for after taking the gun from his friend, the king fired it and his thumb was blown off. Examining the situation the friend remarked as usual, “This is good!” To which the king replied, “No, this is NOT good!” and proceeded to send his friend to jail.

About a year later, the king was hunting in an area that he should have known to stay clear of. Cannibals captured him and took him to their village. They tied his hands, stacked some wood, set up a stake and bound him to the stake. As they came near to set fire to the wood, they noticed that the king was missing a thumb. Being superstitious, they never ate anyone that was less than whole. So untying the king, they sent him on his way.

As he returned home, he was reminded of the event that had taken his thumb and felt remorse for his treatment of his friend. He went immediately to the jail to speak with his friend. “You were right,” he said, “it was good that my thumb was blown off.” And he proceeded to tell the friend all that had just happened. “And so I am very sorry for sending you to jail for so long. It was bad for me to do this.”

“No,” his friend replied, “This is good!” “What do you mean,’This is good’? How could it be good that I sent my friend to jail for a year?” “If I had NOT been in jail, I would have been with you.”

Don’t Hope… Decide!
- Author Unknown

While waiting to pick up a friend at the airport in Portland, Oregon, I had one of those life-changing experiences that you hear other people talk about -the kind that sneaks up on you unexpectedly. This one occurred a mere two feet away from me. Straining to locate my friend among the passengers de-planing through the jet way, I noticed a man coming toward me carrying two light bags.

He stopped right next to me to greet his family. First he motioned to his youngest son (maybe six years old) as he laid down his bags. They gave each other a long, loving hug. As they separated enough to look in each other’s face, I heard the father say, “It’s so good to see you, son. I missed you so much!” His son smiled somewhat shyly, averted his eyes and replied softly, “Me, too, Dad!”

Then the man stood up, gazed in the eyes of his oldest son (maybe nine or ten) and while cupping his son’s face in his hands said, “You’re already quite the young man. I love you very much, Zach!” They too hugged a most loving, tender hug.

While this was happening, a baby girl (perhaps one or one-and-a-half) was squirming excitedly in her mother’s arms, never once taking her little eyes off the wonderful sight of her returning father.

The man said, “Hi, baby girl!” as he gently took the child from her mother. He quickly kissed her face all over and then held her close to his chest while rocking her from side to side. The little girl instantly relaxed and simply laid her head on his shoulder, motionless in pure contentment.

After several moments, he handed his daughter to his oldest son and declared, “I’ve saved the best for last!” and proceeded to give his wife the longest, most passionate kiss I ever remember seeing.

He gazed into her eyes for several seconds and then silently mouthed. “I love you so much!” They stared at each other’s eyes, beaming big smiles at one another, while holding both hands. For an instant they reminded me of newlyweds, but I knew by the age of their kids that they couldn’t possibly be.

I puzzled about it for a moment then realized how totally engrossed I was in the wonderful display of unconditional love not more than an arm’s length away from me.

I suddenly felt uncomfortable, as if I was invading something sacred, but was amazed to hear my own voice nervously ask, “Wow! How long have you two been married?” “Been together fourteen years total, married twelve of those.” he replied, without breaking his gaze from his lovely wife’s face. “Well then, how long have you been away?” I asked the man finally turned and looked at me, still beaming his joyous smile.”Two whole days!”

Two days? I was stunned. By the intensity of the greeting, I had assumed he’d been gone for at least several weeks – if not months. I know my expression betrayed me, I said almost offhandedly, hoping to end my intrusion with some semblance of grace (and to get back to searching for my friend), “I hope my marriage is still that passionate after twelve years!”

The man suddenly stopped smiling. He looked me straight in the eye, and with forcefulness that burned right into my soul, he told me something that left me a different person. He told me, “Don’t hope, friend… decide!” Then he flashed me his wonderful smile again, shook my hand and said, “God bless!” With that, he and his family turned and strode away together.

I was still watching that exceptional man and his special family walk just out of sight when my friend came up to me and asked, “What’cha looking at?” Without hesitating, and with a curious sense of certainty, I replied, “My future!”

How Much Do You Make An Hour?
- Author Unknown

With a timid voice and idolizing eyes, the little boy greeted his father as he returned from work, “Daddy, how much do you make an hour?” Greatly surprised, but giving his boy a glaring look, the father said: “Look, son, not even your mother knows that. Don’t bother me now, I’m tired.” “But Daddy, just tell me please!? How much do you make an hour,” the boy insisted.

The father finally giving up replied: ” Twenty dollars per hour.” “Okay, Daddy? Could you loan me ten dollars?” the boy asked. Showing restlessness and positively disturbed, the father yelled: “So that was the reason you asked how much I earn, right?? Go to sleep and don’t bother me anymore!”

It was already dark and the father was meditating on what he had said and was feeling guilty. Maybe he thought, his son wanted to buy something. Finally, trying to ease his mind, the father went to his son’s room.

“Are you asleep son?” asled the father. “No, Daddy. Why?” replied the boy partially asleep. “Here’s the money you asked for earlier,” the father said. “Thanks, Daddy!” rejoiced the son, while putting his hand under his pillow and removing some money. “Now I have enough! Now I have twenty dollars!” the boy said to his father, who was gazing at his son, confused at what his son just said. “Daddy could you sell me one hour of your time?”

The Power of Encouragement
- Author Unknown

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, the famous 19th-century poet and artist, was once approached by an elderly man. The old fellow had some sketches and drawings that he wanted Rossetti to look at and tell him if they were any good, or if they at least showed potential talent.
Rossetti looked them over carefully. After the first few, he knew that they were worthless, showing not the least sign of artistic talent. But Rossetti was a kind man, and he told the elderly man as gently as possible that the pictures were without much value and showed little talent. He was sorry, but he could not lie to the man. The visitor was disappointed, but seemed to expect Rossetti’s judgment.

He then apologized for taking up Rossetti’s time, but would he just look at a few more drawings – these done by a young art student? Rossetti looked over the second batch of sketches and immediately became enthusiastic over the talent they revealed. “These,” he said, “oh, these are good. This young student has great talent. He should be given every help and encouragement in his career as an artist. He has a great future if he will work hard and stick to it.”

Rossetti could see that the old fellow was deeply moved. “Who is this fine young artist?” he asked. “Your son?” “No,” said the old man sadly. “It is me – 40 years ago. If only I had heard your praise then! For you see, I got discouraged and gave up – too soon.”

Did you know ?  
  • A mosquito will become restless and start flying around if there is an increase of carbon dioxide in the surrounding air 
  • A mother in Sydney, Australia, gave birth to twins 56 days apart and in different years; one was born in 17th December'1952 and the other on 10th February'1953. 
  • A mule is a crossbreed between a male donkey and a female horse. A hinnie is yada yada a female donkey and a male horse. 
  • A murder is committed in the US every 23 minutes, which makes about 22852 murders each year. 
  • A newborn kangaroo is about 1 inch in length. 
  • A penguin swims at a speed of approximately 15 miles per hour. 
  • A perfect game in baseball is one in which the same player pitches the entire game without allowing any player of the opposing team to reach first base -by any means.  
  • A person afflicted with hexadectylism has six fingers or six toes on one or both hands and feet. 
  • A mockingbird has been known to change its tune 87 times over a span minute span. 
  • A mole can dig a tunnel 300 feet long in just one night.  
  • A mongoose is not a goose but more like a meercat, which is not a cat but more like a prairie dog, which is not a dog but more like a ground squirrel.  
  • A monkey was once tried and convicted for smoking a cigarette in South Bend, Indiana.
Just for laughs

The Combination

The temporary Sunday School teacher was struggling to open a combination lock on the supply cabinet. She had been told the combination, but couldn't quite remember it. 

Finally, she went to the pastor's study and asked for help. The pastor came into the room and began to turn the dial. 

After the first two numbers, he paused and stared blankly for a moment. 

Finally, he looked serenely heavenward and his lips moved silently. 

Then he looked back at the lock, and quickly turned to the final number, and opened the lock. 

The teacher was amazed. "I'm in awe at your faith, pastor," she said. 

"It's really nothing," he answered. "The number is on a piece of tape on the ceiling." 

30 July 2017

posted 28 Jul 2017, 03:36 by C S Paul

30 July 2017

Quotes to Inspire

Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man. - Benjamin Franklin

We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day. -Edith Lovejoy Pierce

We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives... not looking for flaws, but for potential. - Ellen Goodman

Time is the school in which we learn, time is the fire in which we burn. - Delmore Schwartz

Time goes, you say? Ah, no! alas, time stays, we go. -Henry Austin Dobson

Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that the stuff life is made of. - Benjamin Franklin

Until you value yourself, you will not value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it. - M. Scott Peck

Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such. - Henry Miller

This only is denied even to God: the power to undo the past. - Agathon

Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils. - Hector Berlioz

Yesterday I dared to struggle. Today I dare to win. -Bernadette Devlin
You can’t have a better tomorrow if you are thinking about yesterday all the time. -Charles F. Kettering

The future will be better tomorrow. -Dan Quayle

Be thou the rainbow in the storms of life. The evening beam that smiles the clouds away, and tints tomorrow with a prophetic ray. -Lord Byron

Yesterday is but today's memory, and tomorrow is today's dream. - Kahlil Gibran

Tomorrow hopes we have learned something from yesterday. -John Wayne

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. - Mark Twain

God's hands
Author Unknown

Wishing to encourage her young son's progress on the piano, a mother took her boy to a Paderewski concert. After they were seated, the mother spotted a friend in the audience and walked down the aisle to greet her. Seizing the opportunity to explore the wonders of the concert hall, the little boy rose and eventually explored his way through a door marked "NO ADMITTANCE."

When the house lights dimmed and the concert was about to begin, the mother returned to her seat and discovered that the child was missing.

Suddenly, the curtains parted and spotlights focused on the impressive Steinway on stage. In horror, the mother saw her little boy was sitting at the keyboard, innocently picking out "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." At that moment, the great piano master made his entrance, quickly moved to the piano, and whispered in the boy's ear, "Don't quit. Keep playing."

Then, leaning over, Paderewski reached down with his left hand and began filling in a bass part. Soon his right arm reached around to the other side of the child and he added a running obligato. Together, the old master and the young novice transformed a frightening situation into a wonderfully creative experience. The audience was so mesmerized they couldn't recall what else the great master played. Only the classic "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star."

That's the way it is with God. What we can accomplish on our own is hardly noteworthy. We try our best, but the results aren't exactly graceful flowing music. But with the hand of the Master, our life's work truly can be beautiful. Next time you set out to accomplish great feats, listen carefully. You can hear the voice of the Master, whispering in your ear, "Don't quit. Keep playing."

-----

Feel His loving arms around you. Know that His strong hands are there helping you turn your feeble attempts into true masterpieces.

Remember, God doesn't call the equipped, He equips the called. And He'll always be there to love and guide you on to great things. Life is more accurately measured by the lives you touch than the things you acquire.

The Park Bench

Author Unknown

The park bench was deserted as I sat down to read beneath the long, straggly branches of an old willow tree. Disillusioned by life with good reason to frown, for the world was intent on dragging me down.

And if that weren't enough to ruin my day, A young boy out of breath approached me, all tired from play.

He stood right before me with his head tilted down and said with great excitement, "Look what I found!"

In his hand was a flower, and what a pitiful sight, with it's petals all worn, not enough rain, or to little light. Wanting him to take his dead flower and go off to play, I faked a small smile and then shifted away. But instead of retreating he sat next to my side and placed the flower to his nose and declared with overacted surprise, "It sure smells pretty and it's beautiful, too. That's why I picked it; here it's for you."

The weed before me was dying or dead. Not vibrant of colors, orange, yellow or red. But I knew I must take it, or he might never leave. So I reached for the flower, and replied, "Just what I need." But instead of him placing the flower in my hand, he held it mid-air without reason or plan. It was then that I noticed for the very first time that weed-toting boy could not see: he was blind.

I heard my voice quiver, tears shone like the sun as I thanked him for picking the very best one. You're welcome, he smiled, and then ran off to play, unaware of the impact he'd had on my day. I sat there and wondered how he managed to see a self-pitying woman beneath an old willow tree. How did he know of my self-indulged plight?

Perhaps from his heart, he'd been blessed with true sight. Through the eyes of a blind child, at last I could see the problem was not with the world; the problem was me. And for all of those times I myself had been blind, I vowed to see the beauty in life, and appreciate every second that's mine. And then I held that wilted flower up to my nose and breathed in the fragrance of a beautiful rose. And smiled as I watched that young boy, another weed in his hand about to change the life of an unsuspecting old man.

Keep your fork
Attributed to Roger William Thomas

A woman was diagnosed with a terminal illness and given three months to live. She asked her Pastor to come to her home to discuss her final wishes. She told him which songs she wanted sung at her funeral, and what scriptures she wanted read, and which outfit she wanted to be buried in.

Then she said, "One more thing... I want to be buried with a fork in my hand."

The pastor was surprised.

The woman explained, "In all my years of attending church socials and potluck dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably say to everyone, 'Keep your fork.' It was my favorite time of the dinner, because I knew something better was coming, like velvety chocolate cake or deep dish apple pie - something wonderful. So, I want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and wonder, ' What's with the fork?' Then, I want you to tell them, ' Keep your fork, because the best is yet to come.' "

The pastor's eyes welled up with tears of joy as he bid the woman goodbye. He realized she had a better grasp of heaven than he did, and knew something better was coming.

At the funeral, when people asked him why she was holding a fork, the pastor told them of the conversation he had with the woman before she died. He said he could not stop thinking about the fork, and knew they probably would not be able to stop thinking about it either. He was right.

"Keep your fork. The best is yet to come."

The Star Fish

Based on the story by Loren Eisley...

I awoke early, as I often did, just before sunrise to walk by the ocean's edge and greet the new day. As I moved through the misty dawn, I focused on a faint, far away motion. I saw a youth, bending and reaching and flailing arms, dancing on the beach, no doubt in celebration of the perfect day soon to begin.

As I approached, I sadly realized that the youth was not dancing to the bay, but rather bending to sift through the debris left by the night's tide, stopping now and then to pick up a starfish and then standing, to heave it back into the sea. I asked the youth the purpose of the effort. "The tide has washed the starfish onto the beach and they cannot return to the sea by themselves," the youth replied. "When the sun rises, they will die, unless I throw them back to the sea."

As the youth explained, I surveyed the vast expanse of beach, strectching in both directions beyond my sight. Starfish littered the shore in numbers beyond calculation. The hopelessness of the youth's plan became clear to me and I countered, "But there are more starfish on this beach than you can ever save before the sun is up. Surely you cannot expect to make a difference."

The youth paused briefly to consider my words, bent to pick up a starfish and threw it as far as possible. Turning to me he simply said, "I made a difference to that one."

I left the boy and went home, deep in thought of what the boy had said. I returned to the beach and spent the rest of the day helping the boy throw starfish in to the sea.

It's how you see it
Author Unknown

A blind boy sat on the steps of a building with a hat by his feet.  He had a sign which read: "I am blind. Please Help."  There were only a few coins in the hat.

When a man came walking by, he took a few coins from his pocket and dropped them into the hat.  Then he took the sign, turned it around, and wrote some words on the back.  He put the sign where it was, so that everyone who walked by would see the new words.

Soon the hat began to fill up.  A lot more people were giving money to the blind boy. 

That afternoon the man who had changed the sign came to see how things were going.  The boy recognized his footsteps and asked, "Were you the one who changed my sign this morning?  What did you write?"

The man said, "I only wrote the truth. I said what you said but in a different way.  I wrote: 'Today is a beautiful day, but I cannot see it.'"

Both signs told people the same thing... that the boy was blind.  But the first sign simply said the boy was blind.  The second sign told people they were extremely fortunate that they were not blind.  Should we be surprised that the second sign was more effective?

Moral of the Story: 
Be thankful for what you have. 
Be creative.  Be innovative.  Think differently and positively.

When life gives you a reason to cry, show life that you have 100 reasons to smile.  Face your past without regret.  Handle your present with confidence.  Prepare for the future without fear.

Keep the faith and drop the fear... just remember God is Near!

Did you know ?
  • A snail can have about 25,000 teeth.  
  • A snail can sleep for 3 years.  
  • A snail can travel over a razor blade without cutting itself. 
  • A sneeze can exceed the speed of 100 mph. 
  • A soccer ball has 32 panels.  
  • A speleologist studies caves. 
  • A Sphygmomanometer measures blood pressure.  
  • A spremologer collects trivia.  
  • A starfish can turn its stomach inside out. 
  • A queen bee lays about 1,500 eggs on an average day. 
  • A raisin dropped in a glass of fresh champagne will bounce up and down continuously from the bottom of the glass to the top.  
  • A rat can go without water longer than a camel can. 
  • A rattlesnake's fangs fold inward when its mouth is closed so it doesn't bite itself. 
  • A recent study indicates when men crave food, they tend to crave fat and salt. When women crave food, they tend to desire chocolate. 
  • A Red Giant(a kind of exploded star) has a lower density than any vacuum here on earth. 
Just for Laughs

The dead donkey

A city boy, Kenny, moved to the country and bought a donkey from an old farmer for $100. The farmer agreed to deliver the donkey the next day.  The next day the farmer drove up and said, "Sorry son, but I have some bad  news, the donkey died."

Kenny replied, "Well then, just give me my money back."

The farmer said, "Can't do that.  I went and spent it already."

Kenny said, "OK then, at least give me the donkey."

The farmer said, "What ya gonna do with him?"

Kenny, "I'm going to raffle him off."

Farmer, "You can't raffle off a dead donkey!"

Kenny, "Sure I can.  Watch me.  I just won't tell anybody he is dead."

A month later the farmer met up with Kenny and asked, "What happened with that dead donkey?"

Kenny,  "I raffled him off.  I sold 500 tickets at two dollars a piece and
made a profit of $898."

Farmer, "Didn't anyone complain?"

Kenny, "Just the guy who won.  So I gave him his two dollars back."

Kenny grew up and eventually became the chairman of Enron.

23 July 2017

posted 22 Jul 2017, 19:41 by C S Paul

23 July 2017

Quotes to Inspire
  • The purpose of Christianity is not to avoid difficulty, but to produce a character adequate to meet it when it comes. It does not make life easy; rather it tries to make us great enough for life. -- James L. Christensen
  • Life is an adventure in forgiveness. -- Norman Cousins
  • The fewer the words, the better the prayer. -- Martin Luther
  • Whatever makes men good Christians, makes them good citizens. -- Daniel Webster
  • I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen. Not only because I see it, but because I see everything by it. -- C.S.Lewis
  • To be like Christ is to be a Christian. -- Daniel Webster
  • The measure of a Christian is not in the height of his grasp but in the depth of his love. -- Clarence Jordan
  • A Christian is a keyhole through which other folk see God--Robert E. Gibson
  • We should live our lives as though Christ was coming this afternoon. - Jimmy Carter
  • "There's been nothing but discipline, discipline, discipline all my life.— Celine Dion, singer
  • "Without God there is no virtue because there is no prompting of the conscience ... without God there is a coarsening of the society; without God democracy will not and cannot long endure ... If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a Nation gone under." — Ronald Reagan
  • "The most important thing about goals is—having one." — Geoffry F. Abert
  • A horse never runs so fast as when he has other horses to catch up and outpace." — Ovid, Roman poet
  • “People who are out to find fault seldom find anything else.” — Unknown
  • "Don't worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition." — Abraham Lincoln
  • Christianity is not a theory or speculation, but a life; not a philosophy of life, but a living presence. -- Samuel Taylor 
  • Christian life consists of faith and charity. -- Martin Luther
Don’t Judge the Composer

Author Unknown

When visiting in a parish neighbourhood, a pastor stopped at a house and asked the man who lived there to visit his church the next Sunday, mentioning at the same time that the man’s neighbour went to that same church. 

On hearing this, the man said he would never go to that church because he wanted nothing to do with a religion that would have a man like his neighbour in it. In fact, he said, his neighbour was the worst neighbour he ever had.

The pastor, seeing that the man had a piano, asked the man’s young daughter if she would play a piece by Beethoven that was on the piano. 

The man said that Beethoven’s music was far too advanced for his daughter. 

Still the pastor insisted, and the girl gave it a try. Needless to say, she butchered Beethoven.

After the daughter was finished, the pastor said, “Boy, that Beethoven sure wasn’t much of a composer was he?”

On hearing this, the man suddenly understood that he, too, had been judging the music of Christian living by the player rather than by the composer.

Let us all try to be good players, but let us not judge the composer by the player.

God works in mysterious ways
Author Unknown

It was an unusually cold day for the month of May. Spring had arrived and everything was alive with colour. But a cold front from the North had brought winter's chill back to Indiana. I sat, with two friends, in the picture window of a quaint restaurant just off the corner of the towns-square. The food and the company were both especially good that day.

As we talked, my attention was drawn outside, across the street. There, walking into town, was a man who appeared to be carrying all his worldly goods on his back. He was carrying, a well-worn sign that read, "I will work for food."

My heart sank. I brought him to the attention of my friends and noticed that others around us had stopped eating to focus on him. Heads moved in a mixture of sadness and disbelief. We continued with our meal, but his image lingered in my mind. We finished our meal and went our separate ways.

I had errands to do and quickly set out to accomplish them. I glanced toward the town square, looking somewhat half-heartedly for the strange visitor. I was fearful, knowing that seeing him again would call some response. I drove through town and saw nothing of him. I made some purchases at a store and got back in my car.

Deep within me, the Spirit of God kept speaking to me: "Don't go back to the office until you've at least driven once more around the square." And so, with some hesitancy, I headed back into town. As I turned the square's third corner. I saw him. He was standing on the steps of the store-front church, going through his sack. I stopped and looked, feeling both compelled to speak to him, yet wanting to drive on.

The empty parking space on the corner seemed to be a sign from God: an invitation to park. I pulled in, got out and approached the town's newest visitor. "Looking for the pastor?" I asked. "Not really," he replied, "just resting."

"Have you eaten today?" "Oh, I ate something early this morning."

"Would you like to have lunch with me?"

"Do you have some work I could do for you?"

"No work," I replied. "I commute here to work from the city, but I would like to take you to lunch."

"Sure," he replied with a smile.

As he began to gather his things. I asked some surface questions. "Where are you headed?"

"St. Louis."

"Where you from?" "Oh, all over; mostly Florida."

"How long you been walking?"

"Fourteen years," came the reply.

I knew I had met someone unusual. We sat across from each other in the same restaurant I had left earlier. His face was weathered slightly beyond his 38 years. His eyes were dark yet clear, and he spoke with an eloquence and articulation that was startling. He removed his jacket to reveal a bright red T-shirt that said, "Jesus is The Never Ending Story."

Then Daniel's story began to unfold. He had seen rough times early in life. He'd made some wrong choices and reaped the consequences. Fourteen years earlier, while backpacking across the country, he had stopped on the beach in Daytona.

He tried to hire on with some men who were putting up a large tent and some equipment. A concert, he thought. He was hired, but the tent would not house a concert but revival services, and in those services he saw life more clearly.

He gave his life over to God. "Nothing's been the same since," he said, "I felt the Lord telling me to keep walking, and so I did, some 14 years now."

"Ever think of stopping?" I asked.

"Oh, once in a while, when it seems to get the best of me.

But God has given me this calling. 
I give out Bibles.

That's what's in my sack. I work to buy food and Bibles, and I give them out when His Spirit leads."

I sat amazed. My homeless friend was not homeless. He was on a mission and lived this way by choice. The question burned inside for a moment and then I asked: "What's it like?"

"What?"

"To walk into a town carrying all your things on your back and to show your sign?"

"Oh, it was humiliating at first. People would stare and make comments.

Once someone tossed a piece of half-eaten bread and made a gesture that certainly didn't make me feel welcome. But then it became humbling to realize that God was using me to touch lives and change people's concepts of other folks like me."

My concept was changing, too. We finished our dessert and gathered his things. Just outside the door, he paused. He turned to me and said, "Come, Ye blessed of my Father, and inherit the kingdom I've prepared for you. For when I was hungry you gave me food, when I was thirsty you gave me drink, a stranger and you took me in."

I felt as if we were on holy ground.

"Could you use another Bible?" I asked.

He said he preferred a certain translation. It travelled well and was not too heavy. It was also his personal favourite. "I've read through it 14 times," he said. "I'm not sure we've got one of those, but let's stop by our church and see."

I was able to find my new friend a Bible that would do well, and he seemed very grateful.

"Where you headed from here?"

"Well, I found this little map on the back of this amusement park coupon."

"Are you hoping to hire on there for awhile?"

"No, I just figure I should go there. I figure someone under that star right there needs a Bible, so that's where I'm going next." He smiled, and the warmth of his spirit radiated the sincerity of his mission.

I drove him back to the town-square where we'd met two hours earlier, and as we drove, it started raining. We parked and unloaded his things.

Would you sign my autograph book?" he asked.

"I like to keep messages from folks I meet."

I wrote in his little book that his commitment to his calling had touched my life. I encouraged him to stay strong. And I left him with a verse of scripture from Jeremiah, "I know the plans I have for you," declared the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a future and a hope."

"Thanks, man," he said. "I know we just met and we're really just strangers, but I love you."

"I know," I said, "I love you, too."

"The Lord is good."

"Yes, He is. How long has it been since someone hugged you?" I asked.

"A long time," he replied.

And so on the busy street corner in the drizzling rain, my new friend and I embraced, and I felt deep inside that I had been changed. He put his things on his back, smiled his winning smile and said, "See you in the New Jerusalem."

"I'll be there!" was my reply.

He began his journey again. He headed away with his sign dangling from his bed roll and pack of Bibles. He stopped, turned and said, "When you see something that makes you think of me, will you pray for me?"

"You bet," I shouted back, "God bless."

"God bless." And that was the last I saw of him. Late that evening as I left my office, the wind blew strong. The cold front had settled hard upon the town. I bundled up and hurried to my car. As I sat back and reached for the emergency brake, I saw them... a pair of well-worn brown work gloves neatly laid over the length of the handle. I picked them up and thought of my friend and wondered if his hands would stay warm that night without them. I remembered his words: "If you see something that makes you think of me, will you pray for me?"

Today his gloves lie on my desk in my office. They help me to see the world and its people in a new way, and they help me remember those two hours with my unique friend and to pray for his ministry.

"See you in the New Jerusalem," he said.

Yes, Daniel, I know I will.

Shake It Off and Step Up

- Author Unknown

A parable is told of a farmer who owned an old mule. The mule fell into the farmer’s well. The farmer heard the mule ‘braying’ — or whatever mules do when they fall into wells. 

After carefully assessing the situation, the farmer felt sorry for the mule, but decided that neither the mule nor the well was worth saving. Instead, he called his neighbours together and told them what had happened and asked them to help haul dirt to bury the old mule in the well and put him out of his misery.

Initially, the old mule was hysterical! But as the farmer and his neighbours continued shovelling and the dirt hit his back, a thought struck him. It suddenly dawned on him that every time a shovel load of dirt landed on his back: he should shake it off and step up! 

This is what the old mule did, blow after blow. “Shake it off and step up… shake it off and step up… shake it off and step up!” he repeated to encourage himself.

No matter how painful the blows, or distressing the situation seemed, the old mule fought “panic” and just kept right on shaking it off and stepping up! You guessed it! It wasn’t long before the old mule, battered and exhausted, stepped triumphantly over the wall of that well! 

What seemed like it would bury him, actually end up blessing him. All because of the manner in which he handled his adversity.

God created the teacher
Author Unknown

On the 6 th day, God created men and women. On the 7 th. day, he rested. Not so much to recuperate, but rather to prepare himself for the work he was going to do on the next day. 

For it was on that day - the 8 th day - that God created the FIRST TEACHER.

This TEACHER, though taken from among men and women, had several significant modifications. In general, God made the TEACHER more durable than other men and women. The TEACHER was made to arise at a very early hour and to go to bed no earlier than 11:30 PM with no rest in between.

The TEACHER had to be able to withstand being locked up in an air-tight classroom for six hours with thirty-five "monsters" on a rainy Monday. And the TEACHER had to be fit to correct 103 papers over Easter vacation. Yes, God made the TEACHER tough... but gentle, too. The TEACHER was equipped with soft hands to wipe away the tears of the neglected and lonely student... those of the sixteen-year old girl who was not asked to the prom.

And into the TEACHER God poured a generous amount of patience. Patience when a student asks to repeat the directions the TEACHER has just repeated for someone else. Patience when the kids forget their lunch money for the fourth day in a row. Patience when one-third of the class fails the test. Patience when the text books haven't arrived yet, and the semester starts tomorrow.

And God gave the TEACHER a heart slightly bigger than the average human heart. For the Teacher's heart had to be big enough to love the kid who screams, "I hate this class - it's boring!" and to love the kid who runs out of the classroom at the end of the period without so much as a "goodbye," let alone a "thank you."

And lastly, God gave the TEACHER an abundant supply of HOPE. For God knew that the TEACHER would always be hoping. Hoping that the kids would someday learn how to spell... hoping not to have lunchroom duty... hoping that Friday would come... hoping for a free day... hoping for deliverance.

When God finished creating the TEACHER, he stepped back and admired the work of His hands. And God saw that the TEACHER was good. Very Good! And God smiled, for when he looked at the TEACHER, he saw into the future.

He knew that the future is in the hands of the TEACHERS. 

Did you know ?
  • A SEAL's weapon of choice is the Heckler and Koch MP-5 submachine gun. 
  • A shark can detect one part of blood in 100 million parts of water.  
  • A shark can grow a new set of teeth in a week.  
  • A shark is the only fish that can blink with both eyes.  
  • A shrimp's heart is in its head.  
  • A single drop of water contains one hundred billion billion atoms. 
  • A single share of Coca-Cola stock, purchased in 1919, when the company went public, would have been worth $92,500 in 1997. 
  • A snail can actually glide over the sharp edge of a knife or razor without harming itself. This has something to do with the mucus it produces. 
  • A rhinoceros horn is made of compacted hair.  
  • A Saudi Arabian woman can get a divorce if her husband doesn't give her coffee.  
  • A scientific report form the University of California found that the steam rising from a cup of coffee contains the same amounts of antioxidants as three oranges. The antioxidants are heterocyclic compounds which prevents cancer and heart disease. It's good for you!  
  • A scientist who weighed people immediately before and after death concluded that the human soul weighs 21 gms. 
  • A scrum in rugby is equivalent of a hockey face-off, except that it involves all playing the forward position on both teams. 
Just for laughs

A Prayer Upon Waking

Dear God, so far today, I've done all right. I have not gossiped, and I have not lost my temper. 

I haven't been grumpy, nasty or selfish, and I'm really glad of that! But in a few minutes, God, I'm going to get out of bed, and from then on, I'm probably going to need a lot of help. 

Thank you! Amen. 
The Fall

A man named Jack was walking along a steep cliff one day, when he accidentally got too close to the edge and fell. On the way down he grabbed a branch, which temporarily stopped his fall. He looked down and to his horror saw that the canyon fell straight down for more than a thousand feet. 

He couldn't hang onto the branch forever, and there was no way for him to climb up the steep wall of the cliff. So Jack began yelling for help, hoping that someone passing by would hear him and lower a rope or something. 

HELP! HELP! Is anyone up there? "HELP!" 

He yelled for a long time, but no one heard him. He was about to give up when he heard a voice. Jack, Jack. Can you hear me?" 

"Yes, yes! I can hear you. I'm down here!" 

"I can see you, Jack. Are you all right?" 

"Yes, but who are you, and where are you? 

"I am the Lord, Jack. I'm everywhere." 

"The Lord? You mean, GOD?" 

"That's Me." 

"God, please help me! I promise if, you'll get me down from here, I'll stop sinning. I'll be a really good person. I'll serve You for the rest of my life." 

"Easy on the promises, Jack. Let's get you off from there; then we can talk." 

"Now, here's what I want you to do. Listen carefully." 

"I'll do anything, Lord. Just tell me what to do." 

"Okay. Let go of the branch.""What?" "I said, let go of the branch. Just trust Me. Let go." 

There was a long silence. 

Finally Jack yelled, "HELP! HELP! IS ANYONE ELSE UP THERE?" 

Author Unknown
 

16 July 2017

posted 14 Jul 2017, 22:33 by C S Paul   [ updated 14 Jul 2017, 23:56 ]

16 July 2017

Quotes to Inspire
  • We are all full of weakness and errors; let us mutually pardon each other our follies --Voltaire. -- Voltaire from Tentmakers 
  • We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.-Oscar Wilde
  • Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow - Albert Einstein 
  • In all things it is better to hope than to despair.- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  • Hope is the dream of a soul awake.-French Proverb
  • He who has never hoped can never despair.-George Bernard Shaw
  • Hope never abandons you; you abandon it.-George Weinberg
  • No man is beaten until his hope is annihilated, his confidence gone. As long as a man faces life hopefully, confidently, triumphantly, he is not a failure; he is not beaten until he turns his back on life. - Orison Swett Marden
  • The grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.- Allan K. Chalmers
  • We forgive to the extent that we love. -- Francois de La Rochefoucauld
  • He that cannot forgive others, breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass if he would reach heaven: for every one has need to be forgiven. -- Thomas Fuller
  • Life to me appears too short to be nursing animosity or registering wrongs. -- Charlotte Bronte
  • They who forgive most shall be most forgiven. -- Josiah Bailey
  • Good to forgive--Best to forget.-- Robert Browning
  • Life is an adventure in forgiveness. -- Norman Cousins
God and the Geese!
Author Unknown

There was once a man who didn’t believe in God, and he didn’t hesitate to   let others know how he felt about religion and religious holidays. His wife, however, did believe, and she raised their children to also have faith in God and Jesus, despite his disparaging comments.

One snowy Eve, his wife was taking their children to service in the farm   community in which they lived.    They were to talk about Jesus’ birth.  She asked him to come, but he refused that story is nonsense!” he said.

“Why would God lower Himself to come to  Earth as a man? That’s ridiculous!” So she and the children left, and he stayed home.    A while later, the winds grew stronger and the snow turned into a  blizzard. As the man looked out the window, all he saw was a blinding  snowstorm. He sat down to relax before the fire for the evening.

Then he   heard a loud thump. Something had hit the window. He looked out, but couldn’t see more than a few feet. When the snow let up a little, he ventured outside to see what could have been beating on his window. In the field near his house he saw a flock of wild geese. Apparently they had been flying south for the winter when they got caught in the snowstorm and couldn’t go on. They were lost and stranded on his farm, with no food or shelter. They just flapped their wings and flew around the field in low circles, blindly and aimlessly.

A  couple of them had flown into his window, it seemed. The man felt sorry for the geese and wanted to help them. The barn would be a great place for them to stay, he thought. It’s warm and safe; surely they could spend the night and wait out the storm. So he walked over to the barn and opened the doors wide, then watched and waited, hoping they would notice the open barn and go inside.

But the geese just fluttered around aimlessly and didn’t seem to notice the barn or realize what it could mean for them. The man tried to get their attention, but that just seemed to scare them, and they moved further away. He went into the house and came with some bread, broke it up, and made a  bread crumb trail leading to the barn. They still didn’t catch on. Now he was getting frustrated. He got behind them and tried to shoo them  toward the barn, but they only got more scared and scattered in ever  direction except toward the barn. Nothing he did could get them to go into the barn where they would be warm  and safe.

“Why don’t they follow me?!” he exclaimed “Can’t they see this is the only place where they can survive the storm?” He thought for a moment and realized that they just wouldn’t follow a human “If only I were a goose, then I could save them,” he said out loud. Then he had an idea. He went into barn, got one of his own geese, and carried it in his arms as he circled around behind the flock of wild  geese. He then released it.

His goose flew through the flock and straight into the barn and one-by-one, the other geese followed it to safety. He stood silently for a moment as the words he had spoken a few minutes  earlier replayed in his mind: “If only I were a goose, then I could save them!” Then he thought about what he had said to his wife earlier. “Why   would God want to be like us? That’s ridiculous!”

Suddenly it all made sense. That is what God had done. We were like the geese-blind, lost, perishing. God had His Son become like us so He could show us the way and save us. As the winds and blinding snow died down, his soul became quiet and pondered this wonderful thought.

Suddenly he understood why Christ had come. Years of doubt and disbelief vanished with the passing storm. He fell to his knees in the snow, and prayed his first prayer: “Thank You, God, for coming in human form to get me out of the storm.”

From "Bombay to Bangalore" by Sudha Murthy

Sudha Murty, chairperson, Infosys Foundation and author, is known for her ability to glean interesting stories from the lives of ordinary people and weave these narratives into a unique blend of anecdote and fable.

Her latest collection of stories, ‘The Day I Stopped Drinking Milk’, features a fascinating cast of characters, each of whom made an indelible impression on the author. Extracted here is a nugget from ‘Bombay (Now, Mumbai) to Bangalore (Now, Bengaluru)’, one of the most heartwarming stories in this collection:

It was the beginning of summer. I was boarding Udyan Express at Gulbarga railway station. My destination was Bangalore. As I boarded the train, I saw that the second-class reserved compartment was jam-packed with people. I sat down and was pushed to the corner of the berth. Though it was meant for three people, there were already six of us sitting on it…
The ticket collector came in and started checking people’s tickets and reservations.. Suddenly, he looked in my direction and asked, ‘What about your ticket?’ ‘I have already shown my ticket to you,’ I said.

‘Not you, madam, the girl hiding below your berth. Hey, come out, where is your ticket?’ I realized that someone was sitting below my berth. When the collector yelled at her, the girl came out of hiding.

She was thin, dark, scared and looked like she had been crying profusely. She must have been about thirteen or fourteen years old.She had uncombed hair and was dressed in a torn skirt and blouse. She was trembling and folded both her hands.. The collector started forcibly pulling her out from the compartment. Suddenly, I had a strange feeling. I stood up and called out to the collector. ‘Sir, I will pay for her ticket,’ I said. Then he looked at me and said, ‘Madam, if you give her ten rupees, she will be much happier with that than with the ticket.’

I did not listen to him. I told the collector to give me a ticket to the last destination, Bangalore, so that the girl could get down wherever she wanted.

Slowly, she started talking. She told me that her name was Chitra. She lived in a village near Bidar. Her father was a coolie and she had lost her mother at birth. Her father had remarried and had two sons with her stepmother. But a few months ago, her father had died. Her stepmother started beating her often and did not give her food. She was tired of that life. She did not have anybody to support her so she left home in search of something better.

By this time, the train had reached Bangalore. I said goodbye to Chitra and got down from the train. My driver came and picked up my bags. I felt someone watching me. When I turned back, Chitra was standing there and looking at me with sad eyes. But there was nothing more that I could do. I had paid her ticket out of compassion but I had never thought that she was going to be my responsibility!… One day, when I was in Delhi, I got a call from Chitra. She was very happy. ‘Akka, my company is sending me to USA! I wanted to meet you and take your blessings but you are not here in Bangalore.’.

Years passed. Occasionally, I received an e-mail from Chitra. She was doing very well in her career. She was posted across several cities in USA and was enjoying life. I silently prayed that she should always be happy wherever she was.

Years later, I was invited to deliver a lecture in San Francisco for Kannada Koota, an organization where families who speak Kannada meet and organize events. The lecture was in a convention hall of a hotel and I decided to stay at the same hotel. After the lecture, I was planning to leave for the airport. When I checked out of the hotel room and went to the reception counter to pay the bill, the receptionist said, ‘Ma’am, you don’t need to pay us anything. The lady over there has already settled your bill. She must know you pretty well.’ I turned around and found Chitra there.
------------
I told her to get into my car. My driver looked at the girl curiously. I told him to take us to my friend Ram’s place. Ram ran separate shelter homes for boys and girls. We at the Infosys Foundation supported him financially. I thought Chitra could stay there for some time and we could talk about her future after I came back from my tours.

I was not sure if Chitra would even be there. But to my surprise, I saw Chitra looking much happier than before. Ram suggested that Chitra could go to a high school nearby. I immediately agreed and said that I would sponsor her expenses as long as she continued to study. I left the shelter knowing that Chitra had found a home and a new direction in her life.

I got busier and my visits to the shelter reduced to once a year. But I always enquired about Chitra’s well-being over the phone. I knew that she was studying well and that her progress was good.. I offered to sponsor her college studies if she wanted to continue studying. But she said, ‘No, Akka. I have talked to my friends and made up my mind. I would like to do my diploma in computer science so that I can immediately get a job after three years.’ She wanted to become economically independent as soon as possible.. Chitra obtained her diploma with flying colours. She also got a job in a software company as an assistant testing engineer. When she got her first salary, she came to my office with a sari and a box of sweets.
-------------
She was standing with a young white man and wore a beautiful sari. She was looking very pretty with short hair. Her dark eyes were beaming with happiness and pride. As soon as she saw me, she gave me a brilliant smile, hugged me and touched my feet. I was overwhelmed with joy and did not know what to say. I was very happy to see the way things had turned out for Chitra. But I came back to my original question. ‘Chitra, why did you pay my hotel bill? That is not right.’ Suddenly sobbing, she hugged me and said, ‘Because you paid for my ticket from Bombay to Bangalore!’


Become a Lake
Author Unknown

The old Master instructed the unhappy young lady to put a handful of salt in a glass of water and then to drink it. “How does it taste?” the Master asked. “Very bad” Said the lady.
The Master then asked the young lady to take another handful of salt and put it in the lake. The two walked in silence to the nearby lake and when the apprentice swirled his handful of salt into the lake, the old man said, “Now drink from the lake.”

As the water dripped down the young lady’s chin, the Master asked, “How does it taste?” “Good!” remarked the apprentice. “Do you taste the salt?” asked the Master. “No,” said the young lady.

The Master said, “The pain of life is pure salt; no more, no less. The amount of pain in life remains the same, exactly the same. But the amount we taste the ‘pain’ depends on the container we put it into.

So when you are in pain, the only thing you can do is to enlarge your sense of things…..
Stop being a glass. Become a lake!”

Love, Wealth & Success
Author Unknown

A woman came out of her house and saw 3 old men were sitting in her front yard. She did not recognize them. She said “I don’t think I know you, but you must be hungry. Please come in and have something to eat.”

“Is the man of the house home?”, they asked.

“No”, she replied. “He’s out.”

“Then we cannot come in”, they replied.

In the evening when her husband came home, she told him what had happened.”Go tell them I am home and invite them in!”

The woman went out and invited the men in” We do not go into a House together,” they replied. ”Why is that?” she asked.

One of the old men explained: “His name is Wealth,” he said pointing to one of his friends, and said pointing to another one, “He is Success, and I am Love.” Then he added,”Now go in and discuss with your husband which one of us you want in your home.”

The woman went in and told her husband what was said. Her husband was overjoyed. “How n ice!!”, he said. ” Since that is the case, let us invite Wealth. Let him come and fill our home with wealth!”His wife disagreed. “My dear, why don’t we invite Success?”
Their daughter was listening from the other corner of the house. She jumped in with her own suggestion: “Would it not be better to invite Love? Our home will then be filled with love!”

“Let us heed our daughter’s advice,” said the husband to his wife.”Go out and invite Love to be our guest .”

The woman went out and asked the 3 old men, “Which one of you is Love? Please come in and be our guest.”

Love got up and started walking toward the house. The other 2 also got up and followed him. Surprised, t he lady asked Wealth and Success: “I only invited Love, Why are you coming in?”

The old men replied together: “If you had invited Wealth or Success, the other two of us would’ve stayed out, but since you invited Love, wherever He goes, we go with him.
Wherever there is Love, there is also Wealth and Success !”


Did you know ?
  • A horse can sleep standing up.  
  • A male emperor moth can smell a female emperor moth up to 7 miles away.  
  • A male moth can smell a female moth from 100 yards away. 
  • A man and woman in Mexico city were engaged for 67 yrs and finally married at the age of 82 yrs. 
  • A man named Charles Osborne had the hiccups for 69 years 
  • A Manatee (Dugong) has very slow-clotting blood, and important in finding out about haemophilia. 
  • A Michigan law states that a wife's hair legally belongs to her husband. 
  • A millipede has 4 legs on each segment of its body.
  • A hippopotamus can run faster than a man can.  
  • A Holstein's spots are like a fingerprint or snowflake. No two cows have exactly the same pattern of spots. 
  • A honey bee must tap two million flowers to make one pound of honey 
  • A honey bee travels an estimated 43,000 miles to gather one pound of honey. A pound of honey consists of 29,184 drops. 
  • A honeybee can fly at fifteen miles per hour.  
Just for laughs

Shhhhhh!

A man arrives at the gates of heaven. St. Peter asks, "Denomination?" The man says, "Methodist." St. Peter looks down his list, and says, "Go to room 24, but be very quiet as you pass room 8." 

Another man arrives at the gates of heaven. "Denomination?" 

"Lutheran." 

"Go to room 18, but be very quiet as you pass room 8." 

A third man arrives at the gates. "Denomination?" 

"Presbyterian." 

"Go to room 11, but be very quiet as you pass room 8." 

The man says, "I can understand there being different rooms for different denominations, but why must I be quiet when I pass room 8?" 

St. Peter tells him, "Well the Baptists are in room 8, and they think they're the only ones here. 

Heavenly Rewards

An 85 year old couple, having been married almost 60 years, died in a car crash. They had been in good health the last ten years mainly due to her interest in health food, and exercise. 

When they reached the pearly gates, St. Peter took them to their mansion, which was decked out with a beautiful kitchen and master bath suite and Jacuzzi. As they "oohed and aahed" the old man asked Peter how much all this was going to cost. "It's free," St. Peter replied, "this is Heaven." 

Next they went out back to survey the championship golf course that the home backed up to. They would have golfing privileges everyday and each week the course changed to a new one representing the great golf courses on earth. The old man asked, "what are the green fees?". 
St. Peter said, "This is heaven, you play for free." 

Next they went to the club house and saw the lavish buffet lunch with the cuisines of the world laid out. 

"How much is it to eat?" asked the old man. 

"Don't you understand yet? This is heaven, it is free!" St. Peter replied with some exasperation. 

"Well, where are the low fat and low cholesterol tables?" the old man asked timidly. 

St. Peter lectured, "That's the best part...you can eat as much as you like of whatever you like and you never get fat and you never get sick. This is Heaven." 

After hearing that the old man went into a fit of anger, throwing down his hat and stomping on it, and shrieking wildly. St. Peter and the wife both tried to calm him down, asking what was wrong. 

The old man looked at his wife and said, "This is all your fault. If it weren't for your bran muffins, I could have been here ten years ago!" 


9 July 2017

posted 6 Jul 2017, 22:45 by C S Paul

9 July 2017

Quotes to Inspire
  • Every man's life is a fairy tale written by God's fingers. - Hans Christian Andersen
  • Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths. -- Proverbs 3:5-6
  • There is no emptiness of soul ever for those whose life is devoted to God. -- William Lawson
  • A true love of God must begin with a delight in his holiness. -- Jonathan Edwards
  • Never think that God's delays are God's denials. Hold on! hold fast! hold out! Patience is genius. -- Georges L.L. de Buffon
  • All who call on God in true faith, earnestly from the heart, will certainly be heard, and will receive what they have asked and desired. -- Martin Luther
  • God's greatness flow around our incompleteness; Round our restlessness, his rest.--Elizabeth Barrett Browning
  • God is a good worker but loves to be helped. -- Basque Proverb
  • Earth, with her thousand voices, praises God. -- Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  • God enters by a private door into every individual. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • It's only forgetting yourself that you draw near to God. -- Henry David Thoreau
  • In whatever direction you turn, you will see God coming to meet you; nothing is void of him, he himself fills all his work. -- Seneca The Younger
  • No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. -- John 4:12
  • One on God's side is a majority. -- Wendell Phillips
  • The stars rule men but God rules the stars. --Christoph Cellarius
  • All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • God helps the brave. -- Johann Christoph Freidrich von Schiller
  • True happiness is not found in any other reward than that of being united with God.-Thomas Merton
Don't forget to smile

A little girl walked to and from school daily. Though the weather that morning was questionable and clouds were forming, she made her daily trek to the elementary school. As the afternoon progressed, the winds whipped up, along with thunder and lightning. The mother of the little girl felt concerned that her daughter would be frightened as she walked home from school and she herself feared that the electrical storm might harm her child.

Following the roar of thunder, lightning, like a flaming sword, would cut through the sky. Full of concern, the mother quickly got into her car and drove along the route to her child’s school. As she did so, she saw her little girl walking along, but at each flash of lightning, the child would stop, look up and smile. Another and another were to follow quickly and with each the little girl would look at the streak of light and smile.

When the mother’s car drove up beside the child she lowered the window and called to her.

“What are you doing? Why do you keep stopping?”

The child answered, “I am trying to look pretty, God keeps taking my picture.”

May God bless you today as you face the storms that come your way.

Don't worry
Author Unknown

Years ago, I was enthralled as I listened to a pastor who for several years had faithfully served the church. His executive responsibilities had taken him all over this country. As he concluded his message, he told of one of the most frightening, yet thought-provoking, experiences of his life.

He had been on a long flight from one place to another. The first warning of the approaching problems came when the sign on the airplane flashed on: Fasten your seat belts. Then, after a while, a calm voice said, "We shall not be serving the beverages at this time as we are expecting a little turbulence. Please be sure your seat belt is fastened."

As he looked around the aircraft, it became obvious that many of the passengers were becoming apprehensive. Later, the voice of the announcer said, "We are so sorry that we are unable to serve the meal at this time. The turbulence is still ahead of us."

Then the storm broke. The ominous cracks of thunder could be heard even above the roar of the engines. Lightening lit up the darkening skies, and within moments that great plane was like a cork tossed around on a celestial ocean. One moment the airplane was lifted on terrific currents of air; the next, it dropped as if it were about to crash.

The pastor confessed that he shared the discomfort and fear of those around him. He said, "As I looked around the plane, I could see that nearly all the passengers were upset and alarmed. Some were praying. The future seemed ominous and many were wondering if they would make it through the storm.

Then, I suddenly saw a little girl. Apparently the storm meant nothing to her. She had tucked her feet beneath her as she sat on her seat; she was reading a book and every thing within her small world was calm and orderly. Sometimes she closed her eyes, then she would read again; then she would straighten her legs, but worry and fear were not in her world. When the plane was being buffeted by the terrible storm when it lurched this way and that, as it rose and fell with frightening severity,when all the adults were scared half to death, that marvelous child was completely composed and unafraid." The minister could hardly believe his eyes.

It was not surprising therefore, that when the plane finally reached its destination and all the passengers were hurrying to disembark,our pastor lingered to speak to the girl whom he had watched for such a long time. Having commented about the storm and behavior of the plane, he asked why she had not been afraid.

The child replied, "'Cause my Daddy's the pilot, and he's taking me home."

There are many kinds of storms that buffet us:
• Physical,
• Mental,
• Financial,
• Domestic, and...
Many other storms can easily and quickly darken our skies and throw our plane into apparently uncontrollable movement. We have all known such times, and let us be honest and confess, it is much easier to be at rest when our feet are on the ground than when we are being tossed about a darkened sky.

Let us remember... Our Father is the Pilot. He is in control and taking us home... so Don't Worry.

Dropped chalk

Unknown

There was a professor of philosophy there who was a deeply committed atheist. His primary goal for one required class was to spend the entire semester attempting to prove that God couldn't exist. His students were always afraid to argue with him because of his impeccable logic. For twenty years, he had taught this class and no one had ever had the courage to go against him. Sure, some had argued in class at times, but no one had ever really gone against him because of his reputation. At the end of every semester on the last day, he would say to his class of 300 students, "If there is anyone here who still believes in Jesus, stand up!"

In twenty years, no one had ever stood up. They knew what he was going to do next. He would say, "Because anyone who believes in God is a fool. If God existed, he could stop this piece of chalk from hitting the ground and breaking. Such a simple task to prove that He is God, and yet He can't do " it." And every year, he would drop the chalk onto the tile floor of the classroom and it would shatter into a hundred pieces. All of the students would do nothing but stop and stare. Certainly, a number of Christians had slipped through, but for 20 years, they had been too afraid to stand up.

Well, a few years ago there was a freshman who happened to enroll. He was a Christian, and had heard the stories about his professor. He was required to take the class for his major, and he was afraid. But for three months that semester, he prayed every morning that he would have the courage to stand up no matter what the professor said, or what the class thought. Nothing they said could ever shatter his faith...he hoped.

Finally, the day came. The professor said, "If there is anyone here who still believes in God, stand up!" The professor and the class of 300 people looked at him, shocked, as he stood up at the back of the classroom. The professor shouted, "You FOOL!!! If God existed, he would keep this piece of chalk from breaking when it hit the ground!"

He proceeded to drop the chalk, but as he did, it slipped out of his fingers, off his shirt cuff, onto the pleat of his pants, down his leg, and off his shoe. As it hit the ground, it simply rolled away unbroken. The professor's jaw dropped as he stared at the chalk. He looked up at the young man, and then ran out of the lecture hall.

The young man who had stood, proceeded to walk to the front of the room and shared his faith in Jesus for the next half hour. 300 students stayed and listened as he told of God's love for them and of His power through Jesus.

Do you think I'll ever find God?

-- By Father John Powell

A TRUE STORY about an Atheist Theology Student Who Was Found by God

Some twelve years ago, I stood watching my university students file into the classroom for our first session in the Theology of Faith. That was the day I first saw Tommy.

My eyes and my mind both blinked. He was combing his long flaxen hair, which hung six inches below his shoulders.

It was the first time I had ever seen a boy with hair that long. I guess it was just coming into fashion then. I know in my mind that it isn’t what’s on your head but what’s in it that counts; but on that day I was unprepared and my emotions flipped.

I immediately filed Tommy under "S" for strange... very strange. Tommy turned out to be the "atheist in residence" in my Theology of Faith course. He constantly objected to, smirked at, or whined about the possibility of an unconditionally loving Father-God. We lived with each other in relative peace for one semester, although I admit he was for me at times a serious pain in the back pew.

When he came up at the end of the course to turn in his final exam, he asked in a slightly cynical tone: "Do you think I’ll ever find God?"

I decided instantly on a little shock therapy. "No!" I said very emphatically.

"Oh," he responded, "I thought that was the product you were pushing."

I let him get five steps from the classroom door and then called out: "Tommy! I don’t think you’ll ever find him, but I am absolutely certain that He will find you!" He shrugged a little and left my class and my life.

I felt slightly disappointed at the thought that he had missed my clever line: "He will find you!" At least I thought it was clever. Later I heard that Tommy had graduated and I was duly grateful.

Then a sad report, I heard that Tommy had terminal cancer. Before I could search him out, he came to see me. When he walked into my office, his body was very badly wasted, and the long hair had all fallen out as a result of chemotherapy. But his eyes were bright and his voice was firm, for the first time, I believe. "Tommy, I’ve thought about you so often. I hear you are sick!" I blurted out.

"Oh, yes, very sick. I have cancer in both lungs. It’s a matter of weeks."

"Can you talk about it, Tom?"

"Sure, what would you like to know?"

"What’s it like to be only twenty-four and dying?"

"Well, it could be worse."

"Like what?"

"Well, like being fifty and having no values or ideals, like being fifty and thinking that booze, seducing women, and making money are the real ‘biggies’ in life."

I began to look through my mental file cabinet under "S" where I had filed Tommy as strange. (It seems as though everybody I try to reject by classification God sends back into my life to educate me.)

"But what I really came to see you about," Tom said, " is something you said to me on the last day of class." (He remembered!) He continued, "I asked you if you thought I would ever find God and you said, ‘No!’ which surprised me. Then you said, ‘But he will find you.’ I thought about that a lot, even though my search for God was hardly intense at that time." (My "clever" line. He thought about that a lot!) "But when the doctors removed a lump from my groin and told me that it was malignant, then I got serious about locating God. And when the malignancy spread into my vital organs, I really began banging bloody fists against the bronze doors of heaven.

But God did not come out. In fact, nothing happened. Did you ever try anything for a long time with great effort and with no success? You get psychologically glutted, fed up with trying. And then you quit.

Well, one day I woke up, and instead of throwing a few more futile appeals over that high brick wall to a God who may be or may not be there, I just quit. I decided that I didn’t really care... about God, about an afterlife, or anything like that. I decided to spend what time I had left doing something more profitable. I thought about you and your class and I remembered something else you had said: ‘The essential sadness is to go through life without loving. But it would be almost equally sad to go through life and leave this world without ever telling those you loved that you had loved them.’ So I began with the hardest one: my Dad. He was reading the newspaper when I approached him.

"Dad"...

"Yes, what?" he asked without lowering the newspaper.

"Dad, I would like to talk with you."

"Well, talk."

"I mean... it’s really important."

The newspaper came down three slow inches. "What is it?"
"Dad, I love you. I just wanted you to know that." Tom smiled at me and said with obvious satisfaction, as though he felt a warm and secret joy flowing inside of him:

"The newspaper fluttered to the floor. Then my father did two things I could never remember him ever doing before. He cried and he hugged me.

And we talked all night, even though he had to go to work the next morning. It felt so good to be close to my father, to see his tears, to feel his hug, to hear him say that he loved me. It was easier with my mother and little brother. They cried with me, too, and we hugged each other, and started saying real nice things to each other. We shared the things we had been keeping secret for so many years. I was only sorry about one thing: that I had waited so long. Here I was just beginning to open up to all the people I had actually been close to.

Then, one day I turned around and God was there. He didn’t come to me when I pleaded with him. I guess I was like an animal trainer holding out a hoop, ‘C’mon, jump through. C’mon, I’ll give you three days... three weeks.’ Apparently God does things in his own way and at his own hour. But the important thing is that he was there. He found me.

You were right. He found me even after I stopped looking for him."

"Tommy," I practically gasped, "I think you are saying something very important and much more universal than you realize. To me, at least, you are saying that the surest way to find God is not to make him a private possession, a problem solver, or an instant consolation in time of need, but rather by opening to love. You know, the Apostle John said that. He said, 'God is love, and anyone who lives in love is living with God and God is living in him.’ Tom, could I ask you a favor? You know, when I had you in class you were a real pain. But you can make it all up to me now. Would you come into my present Theology of Faith course and tell them what you have just told me? If I told them the same thing, it wouldn’t be half as effective as if you were to tell them."

"Oooh... I was ready for you, but I don’t know if I’m ready for your class."

"Tom, think about it. If and when you are ready, give me a call." In a few days Tommy called, said he was ready for the class, that he wanted to do that for God and for me. So we scheduled a date. However, he never made it.

He had another appointment, far more important than the one with me and my class. Of course, his life was not really ended by his death, only changed.

He made the great step from faith into vision. He found a life far more beautiful than the eye of man has ever seen or the ear of man has ever heard or the mind of man has ever imagined.

Before he died, we talked one last time. "I’m not going to make it to your class," he said.

"I know, Tom."

"Will you tell them for me? Will you... tell the whole world for me?"

"I will, Tom.  I’ll tell them.  I’ll do my best."

So, to all of you who have been kind enough to hear this simple statement about love, thank you for listening. And to you, Tommy, somewhere in the sunlit, verdant hills of heaven:  I told them, Tommy... as best I could.

Did you know ?
  • A leech is a worm that feeds on blood. It will pierce its victim's skin, fill itself with three to four times its own body weight in blood, and will not feed again for months. Leeches were once used by doctors to drain "bad blood" from sick patients.  
  • A lions roar can be heard from five miles away.  
  • A lump of pure gold the size of a matchbox can be flattened into a sheet the size of a tennis court.
  • A Horse has 18 more bones than a Human.  
  • A jellyfish is 95 percent water, and humans around 70% 
  • A jumbo jet uses 4,000 gallons of fuel to take off.  
  • A kangaroo can jump up to 3 meters high and leap up to 8 meters. 
  • A kangaroo can't jump unless it's tail is touching the ground.  
  • A large swarm of locusts can eat 80,000 tons of corn a day.  

Just for laughs

Better Than Einstein

At the conclusion of the sermon, the worshipers filed out of the sanctuary to greet the minister. As one of them left, he shook the minister's hand, thanked him for the sermon and said, "Thanks for the message, Reverend. You know, you must be smarter than Einstein." Beaming with pride, the minister said, "Why, thank you, brother!" 

As the week went by, the minister began to think about the man's compliment. The more he thought, the more he became baffled as to why anyone would deem him smarter than Einstein. So he decided to ask the man the following Sunday. 

The next Sunday he asked the parishioner if he remembered the previous Sunday's comment about the sermon. The parishioner replied that he did. The minister asked: "Exactly what did you mean that I must be smarter than Einstein?" 

The man replied, "Well, Reverend, they say that Einstein was so smart that only ten people in the entire world could understand him. But Reverend, no one can understand you." 

Life After Death

Do you believe in life after death?" the boss asked one of his employees. "Yes, Sir." the new recruit replied. 

"Oh, well that's okay then!" said the boss. "Because after you left early yesterday to go to your grandmother's funeral, she stopped in to see you!" 

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