ATM Male and Female Procedures

>> Monday, January 31, 2011

A new sign in the Bank Lobby reads:
 
'Please note that this bank is installing new Drive-through ATM machines enabling customers to withdraw cash without leaving their vehicles. Customers using this new facility are requested to use the procedures outlined below when accessing their accounts. After months of careful research, male and female procedures have been developed. Please follow the appropriate steps for your gender.'
 
 MALE PROCEDURE:
 
1. Drive up to the cash machine.
2. Put down your car window.
3. Insert card into machine and enter PIN.
4. Enter amount of cash required and withdraw.
5. Retrieve card, cash and receipt.
6. Put window up.
7. Drive off.
 
FEMALE PROCEDURE:
 
1. Drive up to cash machine.
2. Reverse and back up the required amount to align car window with the machine.
3. Set parking brake, put the window down.
4. Find handbag, remove all contents on to passenger seat to locate card.
5. Tell person on cell phone you will call them back and hang up.
6. Attempt to insert card into machine.
7. Open car door to allow easier access to machine due to its excessive distance from the car.
8. Insert card.
9. Re-insert card the right way.
10. Dig through handbag stuff to find diary with your PIN written on the inside back page.
11. Enter PIN.
12. Press cancel and re-enter correct PIN.
13. Enter amount of cash required.
14. Check makeup in rear view mirror.
15. Retrieve cash and receipt and place all stuff in handbag.
16. Empty handbag again to locate wallet and place cash inside.
17. Write debit amount in check register and place receipt in back of checkbook.
18. Drive forward two feet.
19. Reverse back to cash machine.
20. Retrieve card.
21. Re-empty hand bag, locate card holder, and place card into the slot provided!
22. Give dirty look to irate male driver waiting behind you.
23. Restart stalled engine and pull off.
24. Redial person on cell phone..
25. Drive for two to three miles.
26. Release parking brake. 

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Turtle Religion

>> Sunday, January 30, 2011

Yesterday my husband and I took a walk … in the drizzle which turned to rain. So we dressed for the occasion with our waterproof jackets with hoods. Apparently my head isn’t big enough (surprise) for the hood. No matter how I fixed the strings and Velcro, the bill on the hood kept sliding down, making a roof over my glasses.

I couldn’t see very well.

All I could see was straight ahead. Only because I could hear him, could I tell my husband was walking beside me. Crossing streets was an issue. Like a turtle, I poked my head out (by pulling my hood back) to check for cars. Communication was difficult with my husband, as I was muffled by the hood.

And as I walked, I thought about some churches I’ve been in. That is exactly what they require of their members. Do not look around to see if someone might need to know about Jesus. They will contaminate you. There is only one focus … obeying the rules. It doesn’t really matter if another church member is walking beside you. They are supposed to have the same focus as you, so both of you are looking straight ahead. If you are both doing it correctly, communication will be difficult. There is no poking your head out.

Are you a turtle?

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Sisters

>> Saturday, January 29, 2011

In my birth family I didn't do so well in the "sister" area. Out of four sisters who survived to adulthood, only one cared about me ... and she died when I was 28. I am so grateful for the other women in my life who have come alongside and been there to love and encourage me. Thank you.

Time passes.
Life happens.
Distance separates.
Children grow up.
Jobs come and go.
Love waxes and wanes.
Men don't do what they're supposed to do.
Hearts break.
Parents die.
Colleagues forget favors.
Careers end.

BUT

Sisters are there, no matter how much time and how many miles are between you.
A girl friend is never farther away than needing her can reach.
When you have to walk that lonesome valley and you have to walk it by yourself, the 20 women in your life will be on the valley's rim, cheering you on, praying for you, pulling for you, intervening on your behalf, and waiting with open arms at the valley's end.

Sometimes, they will even break the rules and walk beside you ... or come in and carry you out.
Girlfriends, daughters, granddaughters, daughters-in-law, sisters, sisters-in-law, Mothers, Grandmothers, aunties, nieces, cousins, and extended family: all bless our life!

The world wouldn't be the same without women, and neither would I.
When we began this adventure called womanhood, we had no idea of the incredible joys or sorrows that lay ahead.
Nor did we know how much we would need each other.

Every day, we need each other still.
(Author Unknown)

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Paid in Full by One Glass of Milk

>> Friday, January 28, 2011

One day, a poor boy who was selling goods from door to door to pay his way through school, found he had only one thin dime left, and he was hungry.

He decided he would ask for a meal at the next house. However, he lost his nerve when a lovely young woman opened the door. Instead of a meal he asked for a drink of water. She thought he looked hungry so brought him a large glass of milk. He drank it slowly, and then asked, "How much do I owe you?" "You don't owe me anything," she replied. "Mother has taught us never to accept pay for a kindness." He said ..... "Then I thank you from my heart."

As Howard Kelly left that house, he not only felt stronger physically, but his faith in God and man was strong also. He had been ready to give up and quit.

Year's later that young woman became critically ill. The local doctors were baffled. They finally sent her to the big city, where they called in specialists to study her rare disease. Dr. Howard Kelly was called in for the consultation. When he heard the name of the town she came from, a strange light filled his eyes. Immediately he rose and went down the hall of the hospital to the room. Dressed in his doctor's gown he went in to see her. He recognized her at once. He went back to the consultation room determined to do his best to save her life. From that day he gave special attention to the case. After a long struggle, the battle was won.

Dr. Kelly requested the business office pass the final bill to him for approval. He looked at it, then wrote something on the edge and the bill was sent to her room. She feared to open it, for she was sure it would take the rest of her life to pay for it all. Finally she looked, and something caught her attention on the side of the bill. She read these words..... "Paid in full with one glass of milk"  Signed Dr. Howard Kelly.

Our thanks to Andrew Harrison, the Processing Archivist and Fine Arts Coordinator for the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, for help with this story.

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Ever Wonder?

>> Thursday, January 27, 2011

Why do supermarkets make the sick walk all the way to the back of the store to get their prescriptions while healthy people can buy cigarettes at the front?

Why do people order double cheeseburgers, large fries, and a diet Coke?

Why do banks leave vault doors open and then chain the pens to the counters?

Why do we leave cars worth thousands of dollars in our driveways and put our useless junk in the garage?

Why the sun lightens our hair, but darkens our skin?

Why don't you ever see the headline 'Psychic Wins Lottery'?

Why is 'abbreviated' such a long word?

Why is lemon juice made with artificial flavoring, and dishwashing liquid made with real lemons?

Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker?

Why is the time of day with the slowest traffic called rush hour?

Why do they sterilize the needle for lethal injections?

You know that indestructible black box that is used on airplanes? Why don't they make the whole plane out of that stuff?!

Why don't sheep shrink when it rains?

Why are they called apartments when they are all stuck together?

If flying is so safe, why do they call the airport the terminal?

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Two Tests

>> Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Until yesterday I had never heard of a medical test called Bravo. I thought that word meant expressing approval of something. I now have an expanded understanding. Bravo means I am going to be sedated, a gel-cap size piece of equipment is going to be attached to the inside of my esophagus … and then I wear a monitor that receives information from my insides.

As I ponder this, I realize I am facing two tests. One medical … one spiritual. On the medical side, there is always a possibility something can go wrong. I read the warnings and precautions. And just for kicks and giggles, the anesthesia that will be used is the same one found in Michael Jackson’s room. Yeah! But I must trust my doctor … that he knows what he is doing and it is for my good.

On the spiritual side, there are no warnings and precautions. I totally trust God knows what He is doing … and that it is for my good. And so I place me in God’s hands.

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Holding Hands

>> Monday, January 24, 2011

My husband, John, and I had been on our Friday night date … getting a bite to eat and going to a movie. We hold hands a lot. As we were leaving the movie, he was in front of me … squished in with all the other people headed toward the exit. I saw his hand reaching back to take mine. But a man had come between us.

John kept trying to hold this guy’s hand … and the guy kept swatting him away. I, of course, was doubled over laughing. When the crowd dispersed, John asked, “Why wouldn’t you take my hand?” Due to my laughter, it took awhile to tell.

There is Someone who is trying to take your hand. Do you keep swatting Him away? Maybe you’ve been told He is mean … does bad things to you … makes you go to Africa and live in a jungle. Maybe you’ve never really understood who He is. You are afraid.

Take His hand. It’s safe. He loves you … wants to go on a lot of dates with you … more than just Friday nights.

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Time for a Smile

>> Sunday, January 23, 2011

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45 Life Lessons

>> Saturday, January 22, 2011

Written by a 90 year old
1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.
16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will this matter?'
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time, time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.
35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood.
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.
41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
42. The best is yet to come...
43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
44. Yield.
45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.

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Jerry Jenkins’ Trilogy – Soon, Silenced, and Shadowed

These books take place after World War III. If you read his Left Behind series, the writing is very similar. Instead of the United States of America, there are only seven states … and we are called USSA … United Seven States of America. All references to Christ, Jesus, God and religions have been banned. For instance, Christmas has become Wintermas. The books follow both sides of the equation … the hunters and the hunted. The central figure is a man named Paul … who switches sides after being blinded and then healed. They are a fascinating read … and caused me to wonder how much they are describing our future.

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Time Elapsed or Time Remaining

>> Friday, January 21, 2011

This morning, Larry Winget posted on Facebook, “The machines at the gym have "Time Elapsed" and "Time Remaining" choices. I am a "Time Remaining" guy. In all things I want to know how much time I have left to enjoy or endure. Which kind of person are you?”

Good question.

I Googled the average life span of an American female … 79.1 years. That means 86% of my life has already elapsed … leaving me 14% remaining.

Back to Larry’s question, and the way he phrased it … “I want to know how much time I have left to enjoy or endure.” I, too, am a time remaining person. It’s his word endure I am discarding.

In my remaining 14%, I plan to enjoy.

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More Church Bulletin Bloopers

>> Thursday, January 20, 2011

Due to the Rector's illness, Wednesday's healing services will be discontinued until further notice.
******************
The Rev. Merriwether spoke briefly, much to the delight of the audience.
******************
On a church bulletin during the minister's illness: GOD IS GOOD; Dr. Hargreaves is better.
******************
Applications are now being accepted for 2 year-old nursery workers.
******************
If you would like to make a donation, fill out a form, enclose a check, and drip in the collection basket.
******************
Sermon Outline:
I. Delineate your fear
II. Disown your fear
III. Displace your rear
******************
Next Sunday Mrs. Vinson will be soloist for the morning service. The pastor will then speak on "It's a Terrible Experience."
******************
Don't miss this Saturday's exhibit by Christian Martian Arts.
******************
We are grateful for the help of those who cleaned up the grounds around the church building and the rector.
******************
A worm welcome to all who have come today.
******************
During the absence of our pastor, we enjoyed the rare privilege of hearing a good sermon when J.F. Stubbs supplied our pulpit.
******************
The ushers will come forward and take our ties and offerings.
******************
The rosebud on the altar this morning is to announce the birth of David Alan Belzer, the sin of Reverend and Mrs. Julius Belzer.
******************
Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person(s) you want remembered.
******************

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Red Marbles

>> Wednesday, January 19, 2011

During the waning years of the depression in a small Idaho community, I used to stop by Mr. Miller's roadside stand for farm fresh produce as the season made it available. Food and money were still extremely scarce and bartering was used extensively. One day Mr. Miller was bagging some early potatoes for me. I noticed a small boy, delicate of bone and feature, ragged but clean, hungrily appraising a basket of freshly picked green peas.

I paid for my potatoes but was also drawn to the display of fresh green peas. I am a pushover for creamed peas and new potatoes. Pondering the peas, I couldn't help overhearing the conversation between Mr. Miller and the ragged boy next to me.

“Hello Barry, how are you today?"

"H'lo, Mr. Miller. Fine, thank ya. Jus' admirin' them peas ... sure look good."

"They are good, Barry. How's your Ma?"

"Fine. Gittin' stronger alla' time."

"Good. Anything I can help you with?"

"No, Sir. Jus' admirin' them peas."

"Would you like to take some home?"

"No, Sir. Got nuthin' to pay for 'em with."

"Well, what have you to trade me for some of those peas?"

"All I got's my prize marble here."

"Is that right? Let me see it."

"Here 'tis. She's a dandy."

"I can see that. Hmmmmm, only thing is this one is blue and I sort of go for red. Do you have a red one like this at home?"

"Not zackley ... but almost."

"Tell you what. Take this sack of peas home with you and next trip this way let me look at that red marble."

"Sure will. Thanks Mr. Miller."

Mrs. Miller, who had been standing nearby, came over to help me. With a smile she said, "There are two other boys like him in our community, all three are in very poor circumstances. Jim just loves to bargain with them for peas, apples, tomatoes, or whatever. When they come back with their red marbles, and they always do, he decides he doesn't like red after all and he sends them home with a bag of produce for a green marble or an orange one, perhaps."

I left the stand smiling to myself, impressed with this man. A short time later I moved to Colorado but I never forgot the story of this man, the boys, and their bartering.

Several years went by, each more rapid that the previous one. Just recently I had occasion to visit some old friends in that Idaho community and while I was there learned that Mr. Miller had died. They were having his viewing that evening and knowing my friends wanted to go, I agreed to accompany them. Upon arrival at the mortuary we fell into line to meet the relatives of the deceased and to offer whatever words of comfort we could.

Ahead of us in line were three young men. One was in an army uniform and the other two wore nice haircuts, dark suits and white shirts ... all very professional looking. They approached Mrs. Miller, standing composed and smiling by her husband's casket. Each of the young men hugged her, kissed her on the cheek, spoke briefly with her and moved on to the casket.

Her misty light blue eyes followed them as, one by one, each young man stopped briefly and placed his own warm hand over the cold pale hand in the casket. Each left the mortuary awkwardly, wiping his eyes.

Our turn came to meet Mrs. Miller. I told her who I was and mentioned the story she had told me about the marbles. With her eyes glistening, she took my hand and led me to the casket.

"Those three young men who just left were the boys I told you about. They just told me how they appreciated the things Jim "traded" them.  Now, at last, when Jim could not change his mind about color or size ... they came to pay their debt."

"We've never had a great deal of the wealth of this world," she confided, "but right now, Jim would consider himself the richest man in Idaho."

With loving gentleness she lifted the lifeless fingers of her deceased husband. Resting underneath were three exquisitely shined red marbles. 
(Author Unknown)

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Dressed for Work

>> Tuesday, January 18, 2011

As I sat at the computer at 7:00, I thought of how I was dressed. The store did not open until 8:00. It was my day off. But due to absences of others, I felt I could help out by dropping by and doing the morning bookkeeping duties.

The software program did not care I was dressed in my exercise clothes and wore a baseball cap. All it needed was for me to push the right buttons on the keyboard.

I’ve been to churches where how you dressed was the criteria for being a “Christian”. If you weren’t dressed the part, God could not use you.

God looks on the inside. All He asks is that we “push” the right keys. Love others. Help feed, clothe and shelter them. Be His hands. Listen to them. Let Him be the judge.

Are you dressed for work? Or are you a living extension of Him?

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A Place to 'Be'

>> Monday, January 17, 2011

Our daughter visited this weekend. We had a wonderful, relaxing time. And then she said some words that resonated within me.

“This is a place where you can just ‘be’.”

I agree.  I find time to just ‘be’ in my home. And others have mentioned the peace they feel here.

Isn’t that how we are supposed to feel as a Christian? Doesn’t Jesus want us to just ‘be’ in His presence? Yes, there is time for ‘doing’ … just as we took time to go to church, cook, eat, and take a walk.

As a Christian, we need to be ‘doing’ … but first comes the ‘being’.

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Judge Not

>> Sunday, January 16, 2011

I was shocked, confused, bewildered
as I entered Heaven’s door,
not by the beauty of it all,
nor the lights nor its décor.

But it was the folks in Heaven
who made me sputter and gasp …
the thieves, the liars, the sinners,
the alcoholics and the trash.

There stood the kid from seventh grade
who swiped my lunch money twice.
Next to him was my old neighbor
who never said anything nice.

Bob, who I always thought
was rotting away in hell,
was sitting pretty on cloud nine,
looking incredibly well.

I nudged Jesus, “What’s the deal?
I would love to hear Your take.
How’d all these sinners get up here?
God must’ve made a mistake.

And why is everyone so quiet,
so somber – give me a clue.”
“Hush, child,” He said,
“they’re all in shock.
No one thought they’d be seeing you.”

(Author Unknown)

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An Appointment at 9:00

>> Saturday, January 15, 2011

It was a busy morning, about 8:30, when an elderly gentleman in his 80's arrived to have stitches removed from his thumb. He said he was in a hurry as he had an appointment at 9:00 am. I took his vital signs and had him take a seat, knowing it could be over an hour before someone would to able to see him.

I saw him looking at his watch and decided, since I was not busy with another patient, I would evaluate his wound. On exam, it was well healed, so I talked to one of the doctors, got the needed supplies to remove his sutures and redress his wound. While taking care of his wound, I asked him if he had another doctor's appointment this morning, as he was in such a hurry.

The gentleman told me no, that he needed to go to the nursing home to eat breakfast
with his wife. I inquired as to her health. He told me that she had been there for a while and that she was a victim of Alzheimer's disease.

I asked if she would be upset if he was a bit late. He replied that she no longer knew who he was, that she had not recognized him in five years now. I was surprised, and asked him, 'And you still go every morning, even though she doesn't know who you are?'

He smiled as he patted my hand and said,
'She doesn't know me, but I still know who she is.'  (Author Unknown)

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It's Time for a Laugh

>> Thursday, January 13, 2011

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My Part and God's Part

>> Wednesday, January 12, 2011

For several years I’ve had issues with too much acid and my esophagus. So I’ve been given a list of foods to avoid. (Chocolate is in the list) 

In September we took two trips … one to the ocean and one to Boise. It’s hard to eat correctly while traveling. October included two more trips … this time for business … to San Diego and then Tulalip (that’s in Washington).

Then came Thanksgiving, my birthday, Christmas … etc. The list was pushed to the back of my mind.

Well, in the past few days, the list moved to front and center. I’ve been in pain. Yesterday morning, as I drove to work my conversation with God went something like this.

“God, I ask that you touch me. I know you are able to do that.”

He gently reminded me that I had eaten badly … repeatedly.

“So how do I pray? How do I ask you to touch me when the distress is my own fault?”

He was still there … listening.

“Ok, I get it. If I do my part, then I’ll leave the rest up to you. Please help me do my part.”

Today I’m better. I have chocolate covered almonds (a birthday present) sitting on my desk at work. Yesterday I just looked at them. A co-worker went to McDonald’s for lunch and McDonald’s made an error and gave him two orders of French fries. McDonald’s fries are my favorite. I said “no” when offered the other order.

I’m struggling to do my part and leave the rest to God.

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Are You Listening?

>> Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A man sat at a Metro station in Washington, D.C., playing the violin. It was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousands of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.
Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried on to meet his schedule.
A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping, continued to walk.
A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.
The one who paid the most attention was a three-year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.
In the 45 minutes the musician played, only six people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.
No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars.
Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston and the seats averaged $100.
This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the Metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour … do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?
One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be, if we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?

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A Special Occasion

>> Monday, January 10, 2011

A friend of mine opened his wife's underwear drawer and picked up a silk paper wrapped package.

'This isn't any ordinary package.”

He unwrapped the box and stared at both the silk paper and the box.

“She got this the first time we went to New York , eight or nine years ago … and she’s never put it on … saving it for a special occasion. Well, I guess this is it.”

He walked to the bed and placed the gift box next to the other clothing he was taking to the funeral home. His wife had just died.

He turned to me and said, “Never save something for a special occasion. Every day in your life is a special occasion.”

Those words changed my life. Now I read more and clean less. I sit on the porch without worrying about anything. I spend more time with my family, and less at work. I understand that life should be a source of experiences to be lived … not just survived.

I use crystal glasses every day. I wear new clothes to go to the supermarket, if I feel like it. I don't save my special perfume for special occasions … I use it whenever I want.

The words “someday” and “one day” are fading from my vocabulary. If it's worth seeing, listening or doing, I want to see, listen or do it … now. It's these small things that I would regret not doing, if I knew my time had come. 

Tomorrow is promised to no one.
(Author Unknown)

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The Goal

>> Sunday, January 9, 2011

Yesterday the Seattle Seahawks played the New Orleans Saints. Everyone knew the Saints were going to win. But people watched the game anyway. The Saints scored and heads were nodded. Yep. That’s how it was going to be.

My husband and I went to Costco. Folks were talking about the game. The Seahawks were ahead. Huh?

When we got home, we turned on the television … just in time to see Marshawn Lynch (someone I had never heard of) run 67 yards for a touchdown. The clip of that run was played and re-played. Lynch fought off seven tackles before crossing the goal line.

The Seahawks won the game.

The sermon at church this morning began with that illustration. Lynch was focused on one thing … the goal line.

As a Christian, I want to be that focused on one thing … being Christlike. But daily I get tackled by impatience, pride, being judgmental … etc. I watched the re-play as Lynch twisted, jumped and pushed his way past those tackles. He was in great physical condition and could handle them.

To be able to handle my reactions to life that tackle me, I need to be in great spiritual shape. Reading the Bible, praying, listening to biblical teaching … these are ways that enable me to stay focused on the goal … being Christlike.

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" A f r i c a n Elephant "

>> Saturday, January 8, 2011

From the diary of a Pre-School Teacher

My five-year old students are learning to read.
Yesterday one of them pointed at a picture in a zoo book and said,
"Look at this! It's a frickin' elephant!"

I took a deep breath, then asked..."What did you call it?"

"It's a frickin' elephant! It says so on the picture!"

And so it does...  

" A f r i c a n Elephant "
Hooked on phonics! Ain't it wonderful?

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First Mammogram (sorry guys)

>> Friday, January 7, 2011

The first mammogram is the worst … especially when the machine catches on fire.

That's what happened to me. The technician, Gail, positioned me exactly as she wanted me (think a really complicated game of Twister – right hand on the blue, left shoulder on the yellow, right breast as far away as humanly possible from the rest of your body). Then she clamped the machine down so tight, I think my breast actually turned inside out. I'm pretty sure Victoria's Secret doesn't have a bra for that.

Suddenly, there was a loud popping noise. I looked down at my right breast to make sure it hadn't exploded. Nope, it was still flat as a pancake and attached to my body.

"Oh no!" Gail said loudly. These are, perhaps, the words you least want to hear from any health professional. Suddenly, she ran past me, her lab coat whipping behind her, on her way out the door. She yelled over her shoulder, "The machine is on fire. I'm going to get help!"

OK, I was wrong, the machine is on fire, are the worst words you can hear from a health professional. Especially if you're all alone and semi-permanently attached to A MACHINE and don't know if it's THE MACHINE in question.

I struggled for a few seconds trying to get free, but even Houdini couldn't have escaped. I decided to go to plan B: yelling at the top of my lung (the one that was still working).

I hadn't seen anything on fire, so my panic hadn't quite reached epic proportions. But then I started to smell smoke coming from behind the partition. "This is ridiculous. I can't die like this. What would they put in my obituary? Cause of death: breast entrapment?”

Gail returned with a fire extinguisher and put out the fire. She gave me a big smile and released me from the machine. "Sorry! That's the first time that's ever happened. Why don't you take a few minutes to relax before we finish up?"

I think that's what she said. I was running across the parking lot in my backless paper gown at the time. After I'd relaxed for a few years, I figured I might go back. But I was bringing my own fire extinguisher.  (Author Unknown)

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Gem in the Junk

>> Thursday, January 6, 2011

Do you love to go to yard sales and dig through someone else’s junk? What are you looking for? Something that would be a treasure for you? Or how about the people who use metal detectors? You see them walking around in the park, moving their machine over the ground. Are they looking for junk? Or do they hope to find some kind of gem?

Every year, my husband and I have a tradition of awaking on a Saturday morning, going to Starbucks and then traveling to Richland to stroll through the annual “Arts in the Park”. We’ve gone enough years to know that the good stuff is usually on the north end of the park (by the food of course) and as you travel south, you see the less desirable booths.

One year, as we headed south across the street separating the two sections of the park, my husband asked if I really wanted to look around down there. He said, “It’s usually just junk.”

I said, “You never know what you might find in the junk.” Instantly, I had a mental picture of my life. It wasn’t pretty.

FOR YEARS, I WAS A GEM HIDDEN IN THE JUNK. I just didn’t know it.

Junk comes in all shapes and sizes. For some, it’s alcohol or drugs. Others get lost in the junk of greed. I was covered with the junk of religious oppression. The junk is not the issue. It’s the gem that matters.

Are you covered with junk? God made you to be a gem.

It is painful to be made into a gem. There is grinding involved and cutting off of unnecessary attachments. Some of it is done by God. Parts of it, He expects us to do ourselves. It can be very scary. As God has done His work on me, there have been many times I just wanted to give up. But if we want to be a jewel worthy of shining for God, we must go through the refining process.

Do you know you are a gem? Or are you still hidden in some junk?

Just as you dig through the tables piled with other people’s junk when you go to a yard sale, God is digging through the junk that is covering you … trying to reach you … to let you know you are a brilliantly shining gem He wants to use.

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Give It Up ... Let It Go ... Throw It Down

>> Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Ken Medema was born almost blind. He began playing the piano when he was five and three years later began taking lessons in classical music through Braille music, playing by ear and improvising in different styles. His lyrics generally provide social commentary on themes such as justice, hunger, poverty, homelessness, and Christianity.

This is not exactly my style of music, but the words are powerful … especially at the end.

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Don't Stink it Up

>> Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Who takes out the garbage at your house? Do you wait until the can is overflowing? Do you stick your foot in and smash it down so more garbage can fit in? If left too long, and with certain kinds of garbage, it will begin to stink up the house.

Do you have some personal garbage you need to take out … or have you been smashing it down … pretending it’s not there? 2011 is a fresh year. Don’t stink it up with leftover garbage.

There can be many kinds of garbage in our bag … holding on to resentment … unforgiveness … wanting revenge for a wrong done. You get the picture.

How heavy is the garbage bag that you are carrying?

If you fail to break free of these barriers of the past, your new year will be just like the last … still going in circles. For instance, in the Bible when God led the Hebrew people out of Egypt, they headed straight for the Promised Land. That was an eleven day journey.

IT TOOK THEM 40 YEARS!!!!!!

Instead of moving forward with an attitude of faith, expecting good things, they went in circles, focusing on their problems, always complaining, and fretting about the obstacles standing between them and their destiny. They had to let go of past hurts, pains or failures before they could move on.

Don’t let your past determine your future.

No matter what you’ve gone through, no matter how many setbacks you’ve suffered or who or what has tried to thwart your progress … you have a new year before you. Don’t stink it up. Only you can know the garbage you are carrying around … and only you can let it go.

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Atheist and the Marine

>> Sunday, January 2, 2011

A college professor, an avowed Atheist, was teaching his class. He shocked several of his students when he flatly stated he was going to prove there was no God. Addressing the ceiling he shouted: 'God, if you are real, then I want you to knock me off this platform. I'll give you 15 minutes!'

The lecture room fell silent. You could have heard a pin fall. Ten minutes went by. Again he taunted God, saying, 'Here I am, God. I'm still waiting.'

His count-down got down to the last couple of minutes when a Marine - just released from active duty and newly registered in the class - walked up to the professor, hit him full force in the face, and sent him tumbling from his lofty platform. The professor was out cold! At first, the students were shocked and babbled in confusion. The young Marine took a seat in the front row and sat silent. The class fell silent...waiting.

Eventually, the professor came to, shaken. He looked at the young Marine in the front row. When the professor regained his senses and could speak he asked: 'What's the matter with you? Why did you do that?' 

'God was busy. He sent me.'

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Church Bulletin Bloopers Continued

At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be "What Is Hell?" Come early and listen to our choir practice.

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Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.

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Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.

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Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person you want remembered.

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Attend and you will hear an excellent speaker and heave a healthy lunch.

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The church will host an evening of fine dining, super entertainment and gracious hostility.

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Potluck supper Sunday at 5:00 PM - prayer and medication to follow.

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This evening at 7 PM there will be a hymn singing in the park across from the Church. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.

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Ladies Bible Study will be held Thursday morning at 10AM. All ladies are invited to lunch in the Fellowship Hall after the B. S. is done.

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The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday.

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Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7PM. Please use the back door.

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The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare's Hamlet in the Church basement Friday at 7 PM. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.

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Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church.  Please use large double door at the side entrance.

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The Associate Minister unveiled the church's new tithing campaign slogan last Sunday: "I Upped My Pledge - Up Yours

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The Blank Contract

>> Saturday, January 1, 2011

Did you ever have an “Etch a Sketch”? Or maybe your children did. You could draw a picture and if it didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to, you just turned some knobs that cleared the screen and you could start all over.

LIFE IS NOT LIKE THAT!!!!

2011 is a blank screen … but there are no knobs to clear it and start over. When 2011 is through, the picture of what happened during each of those days is permanent.

When you think of next year, are you optimistic? Or do you dread what might happen? Do you think you are in control? Have you given up on having any input in what happens and you are just going along with the flow?

IS GOD IN CHARGE OF YOUR FUTURE?

In Genesis 12, there is a story of a man named Abram. He had comfort and security and was 75 years old. And God said, “Leave your country, your relatives, and your father’s house, and go to the land that I will show you.”

In Hebrews 8 it says, “He went without knowing where he was going.” The Message Bible says, “When he left, he had no idea where he was going.” I can’t imagine what it was like to be asked to leave it all behind … to pack up and go … “not knowing where he was going.”

Talk about a blank contract.

That’s like loading up the U-Haul and heading down the highway … trusting God to tell you which highway to take next … and then what town to stop in and buy a house.

Is God trying to lead you to a place of greater service and usefulness for Him?

When you sign a contract, what do you do first? You read it. You know exactly what it says. And if the terms are acceptable … then you sign. When God called Abram, He basically told Abram to sign the bottom line and trust Him to fill in the details. What do you think Abram had to weigh in  his mind before signing that blank contract? How long do you think it took him? How long would it take you or me?

When God calls us to give our lives to Him, He seldom fills in the contract up front. Part of faith is to sign on the bottom line and trust God to do the best for us in the contract. What do you and I have to weigh as we face 2011?

Are we willing to sign at the bottom of God’s blank contract?   

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