Old People Pride

>> Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Old People are easy to spot at sporting events: during the playing of the National Anthem, Old People remove their caps and stand at attention and sing without embarrassment. They know the words and believe in them.

Old People remember World War II, Pearl Harbor, Guadalcanal, Normandy and Hitler. They remember the Atomic Age, the Korean War, the Cold War, the Jet Age and the Moon Landing. They remember the 50 plus Peacekeeping Missions from 1945 to 2005, not to mention Viet Nam.

If you bump into an Old People on the sidewalk, they will apologize. If you pass an Old People on the street, he will nod or tip his cap to a lady. Old People trust strangers and are courtly to women.

Old People hold the door for the next person and always, when walking, make certain the lady is on the inside for protection.

Old People get embarrassed if someone curses in front of women and children and they don’t like any filth or dirty language on TV or in movies.

Old People have moral courage and personal integrity. They seldom brag unless it’s about their children or grandchildren.

It’s the Old People who know our great country is protected, not by politicians, but by the young men and women in the military serving their country.

This country needs Old People with their work ethic, sense of responsibility, pride in their country and decent values. We need them now more than ever. Thank God for Old People.

 Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the LORD.” Leviticus 19:32 (NIV)


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What's On the Other Side?

>> Saturday, June 25, 2011

A sick man turned to his doctor as he was preparing to leave the examination room.

“I’m afraid to die. Tell me what lies on the other side.”

Very quietly the doctor said, “I don’t know.”

“You don’t know? You’re a Christian and you don’t know what’s on the other side?

The doctor was holding the handle of the door. On the other side came a sound of scratching and whining. As he opened the door, a dog sprang into the room and leaped on him with an eager show of gladness.

Turning to the patient, the doctor said, “Did you notice my dog? He’s never been in this room before. He didn’t know what was inside. He knew nothing except that his master was here. And when the door opened, he sprang in without fear. I know little of what is on the other side of death. But I do know one thing.

My Master is there and that is enough.”

“There is plenty of room for you in my Father's home. If that weren't so, would I have told you that I'm on my way to get a room ready for you? And if I'm on my way to get your room ready, I'll come back and get you so you can live where I live.” John 14:2-3 (MSG)


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Oh to be a Monk

>> Friday, June 24, 2011

A man is driving down the road and breaks down near a monastery. He goes to the monastery, knocks on the door, and says, "My car broke down. Do you think I could stay the night?" The monks graciously accept him, feed him dinner, and even fix his car.  As the man tries to fall asleep, he hears a strange sound; a sound like no other that he has ever heard. The next morning, he asks the monks what the sound was, but they say, "We can't tell you because you're not a monk."

The man is disappointed but thanks them anyway and goes about his merry way. Some years later, the same man breaks down in front of the same monastery. The monks again accept him, feed him, and even fix his car.

That night, he hears the same strange mesmerizing sound that he had heard years earlier. The next morning, he asks what the sound was, but the monks reply, "We can't tell you because you're not a monk."

The man says, "All right, all right. I'm dying to know. If the only way I can find out what that sound was is to become a monk, how do I become a monk?" The monk’s reply, "You must travel the earth and tell us how many blades of grass there are and the exact number of sand pebbles. When you find these numbers, you will become a monk."

The man sets about his task. Some forty-five years later, he returns and knocks on the door of the monastery. He says, "I have travelled the earth and devoted my life to the task demanded and have found what you had asked for. There are 371,145,236,284,232 blades of grass and 231,281,219,999,129,382 sand pebbles on the earth.


 

The monks reply, "Congratulations, you are correct, and you are now considered a monk. We shall now show you the way to the sound." The monks lead the man to a wooden door, where the head monk says, the sound is behind that door. The man reaches for the knob, but the door is locked. He asks, "May I have the key?" The monks give him the key, and he opens the door.

Behind the wooden door is another door made of stone. The man requests the key to the stone door. The monks give him the key, and he opens it, only to find a door made of ruby. He demands another key from the monks, who provide it. Behind that door is another door, this one made of sapphire. And so it went on until the man had gone through doors of emerald, silver, topaz, and amethyst.

Finally, the monks say, "This is the key to the last door."

The man is relieved to be at the end. He unlocks the door, turns the knob, and behind that door he is astonished to find the source of that strange sound. It is truly an amazing and unbelievable sight . . . But I can't tell you what it is, because you're not a monk.

I’m still hunting for the idiot who started this!

(Author Unknown)



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Tested by a Quarter

>> Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Several years ago, a preacher accepted a call to a church in Houston, Texas. Some weeks after he arrived, he had an occasion to ride the bus from his home to the downtown area. When he sat down, he discovered that the driver had accidentally given him a quarter too much in change. As he considered what to do, he thought, you’d better give the quarter back. It would be wrong to keep it.
Then he thought, oh, forget it. It’s only a quarter. Who would worry about this little amount? Anyway the bus company gets too much fare. They will never miss it. Accept it as a gift from God and just keep quiet.

When his stop came, he paused momentarily at the door, and then he handed the quarter to the driver. “Here, you gave me too much change.”

The driver, with a smile, replied, “Aren’t you the new preacher in town?”

“Yes.”

“Well, I have been thinking a lot lately about going somewhere to worship. I just wanted to see what you would do if I gave you too much change. I’ll see you at church on Sunday.”

When the preacher stepped off the bus, he literally grabbed the nearest light pole, held on, and said, “Oh God, I almost sold your Son for a quarter.”

(Author Unknown)

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” Luke 16:10 (NIV)


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Lot 31, Block 24

>> Sunday, June 19, 2011

The sign on the door of the little cottage said Caretaker. The grounds belonged to Angwin Mortuary. My father was buried in Lot 31, Block 24. My husband, John, and I were here to ask for directions. We stepped through the doorway. The man behind the desk was heavy set, with absolutely no chin. His big folds of skin went from cheek to shoulder. No neck. “May I help you?” he asked.

“I’m looking for my father’s grave. My instructions say Lot 31, Block 24. The stone says Vail on one side and Oldham on the other.”

“Oh, that’s easy”, he said as he shuffled some papers in his hand. Using no computer, no ledger, just the map of his city that he had in his head, he pointed out the window and said, “Go past that first intersection and park by the very next tree. The first name is Cain and then the next one is what you are looking for."

We followed his instructions. As I climbed from the car, I noticed a metal plaque on the ground that said “24”. My heart came up to my throat. There in front of me was a tall stone that said “VAIL”. My eyes hurriedly scanned the flat stones on the ground until they found what they were seeking.

“G. VIRGIL VAIL – Born July 25, 1891 – Died December 6, 1942” … one day after my birth. Seeing that date was what did it. My body fought hard to breathe. 60 years later I stood at my father’s grave.

Thoughts collided in my head. How would my life have been different had he lived? Why hadn’t mother ever talked to me about him?

My father had never seen me … and I had never touched anything that belonged to him. I had seen few pictures and wouldn’t recognize him if I met him on the street. There had never been a connection. I hadn’t celebrated my birthday, just the anniversary of his death.

He had left me to fend for myself against mother. Would it have been better … or worse … had he lived?

I had never heard his voice … never called anyone “daddy” … and it had never really bothered me. I couldn’t miss what I never had.

But now I did.

I stood and looked at the stone in the ground. I knelt down and touched the slab … and the dam broke. With John’s arms around me, I grieved for what had never been. A giant piece of my life seemed missing.

“I hadn’t realized visiting his grave would affect me this way,” my muffled voice said into John’s shirt as he held me in his arms.

He just patted me and said, “I knew it would.” Then he said, “Why don’t you leave something of yours here. Something precious to you. Dig down and put it under the stone.”

Once again my mind whirled. What could I leave here?
Another piece of my mind was saying, “You don’t even believe in going to graves. You and John are going to be cremated. The spirits aren’t in the body after death. Where is all this coming from?”

I didn’t know and it didn’t matter. What could I leave?

Then I knew. I went to the car and took out my business card holder. I removed one card. As I handed it to John I said, “This is what I want to leave. It tells him who I am … how I turned out.

“You need to do this by yourself. Go tell him about your journeys that brought you to this place.”

I knelt at the cold slab. Time passed. I shared of the blessings of my life … my children … my wonderful husband. The discoveries I had made within me … my strength and creativeness. The trips I had taken … and the friendships I had developed. As tears made rivulets down my cheeks, I had a talk with my dad.

Digging down at the edge of the stone, I stuck my business card down in the slot I made. It would disintegrate and be there forever with my dad. I felt connected at last. With my head held high, I turned and reached for John’s hand. Together we walked away from Lot 31, Block 24.

“Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12 (NLT)

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Daddy's Day at School

>> Saturday, June 18, 2011

Her hair was up in a ponytail
Her favorite dress tied with a bow.
Today was Daddy's Day at school,
And she couldn't wait to go.

But her mommy tried to tell her,
That she probably should stay home.
Why the kids might not understand,
If she went to school alone.

But she was not afraid;
She knew just what to say.
What to tell her classmates
Of why he wasn't there today.

But still her mother worried,
For her to face this day alone.
And that was why once again,
She tried to keep her daughter home.

But the little girl went to school,
Eager to tell them all.
About a dad she never sees
A dad who never calls.

There were daddies along the wall in back,
For everyone to meet.
Children squirming impatiently,
Anxious in their seats.

One by one the teacher called,
A student from the class.
To introduce their daddy,
As seconds slowly passed.

At last the teacher called her name,
Every child turned to stare.
Each of them was searching,
For a man who wasn't there.

"Where's her daddy at?"
She heard a boy call out.
"She probably doesn't have one,"
Another student dared to shout.

And from somewhere near the back,
She heard a daddy say,
"Looks like another deadbeat dad,
Too busy to waste his day."

The words did not offend her,
As she smiled up at her Mom.
And looked back at her teacher,
Who told her to go on.

And with hands behind her back,
Slowly she began to speak.
And out from the mouth of a child,
Came words incredibly unique.

"My Daddy couldn't be here,
Because he lives so far away.
But I know he wishes he could be,
Since this is such a special day.

And though you cannot meet him,
I wanted you to know.
All about my daddy,
And how much he loves me so.

He loved to tell me stories
He taught me to ride my bike.
He surprised me with pink roses,
And taught me to fly a kite.

We used to share fudge sundaes,
And ice cream in a cone.
And though you cannot see him,
I'm not standing here alone.

Cause my daddy's always with me,
Even though we are apart
I know because he told me,
“He'll forever be in my heart"

With that, her little hand reached up,
And lay across her chest.
Feeling her own heartbeat,
Beneath her favorite dress.

And from somewhere in the crowd of dads,
Her mother stood in tears.
Proudly watching her daughter,
Who was wise beyond her years.

For she stood up for the love
Of a man not in her life.
Doing what was best for her,
Doing what was right.

And when she dropped her hand back down,
Staring straight into the crowd.
She finished with a voice so soft,
But its message clear and loud.

"I love my daddy very much,
He's my shining star.
And if he could, he'd be here,
But heaven's just too far.

You see he was a fireman
And died just this past year
When airplanes hit the towers
And taught Americans to fear.

But sometimes when I close my eyes,
It's like he never went away."
And then she closed her eyes,
And saw him there that day.

And to her mother's amazement,
She witnessed with surprise.
A room full of daddies and children,
All starting to close their eyes.

Who knows what they saw before them,
Who knows what they felt inside.
Perhaps for merely a second,
They saw him at her side.

"I know you're with me Daddy,"
To the silence she called out.
And what happened next made believers,
Of those once filled with doubt.

Not one in that room could explain it,
For each of their eyes had been closed.
But there on the desk beside her,
Was a fragrant long-stemmed pink rose.

And a child was blessed, if only for a moment,
By the love of her shining bright star.
And given the gift of believing,
That heaven is never too far

(Author Unknown)

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Cash for Clunkers

>> Friday, June 17, 2011

If my body were a car … this is the time I would be thinking about trading it in for a newer model.

I've got bumps and dents and scratches in my finish, and my paint job is getting a little dull.

But that's not the worst of it. My headlights are out of focus, and it's especially hard to see things up close.

My traction is not as graceful as it once was. I slip and slide and skid and bump into things even in the best of weather.

My whitewalls are stained with varicose veins. It takes me hours to reach my maximum speed. My fuel rate burns inefficiently.

But here's the worst of it … almost every time I sneeze, cough or laugh, either my radiator leaks or my exhaust backfires.

(Author Unknown)

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A Father's Talk

>> Thursday, June 16, 2011

At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves learning-disabled children, the father of one of the school's students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all that attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question.

"Everything God does is done with perfection. Yet, my son Shay cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is God's plan reflected in my son?"

The audience was stilled by the query. The father continued. "I believe," the father answered, "that when God brings a child like Shay into the world, an opportunity to realize the Divine Plan presents itself and it comes in the way people treat that child."

Then he told the following story.

Shay and his father had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, “Do you think they will let me play?" Shay's father knew that the boys would not want him on their team. But the father understood that if his son were allowed to play it would give him much-needed sense of belonging.

Shay's father approached one of the boys on the field and asked if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance from his teammates. Getting none, he took matters into his own hands and said, "We are losing by six runs, and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him up to bat in the ninth inning."

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three. At the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the outfield. Although no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be on the field, grinning from ear to ear as his father waved to him from the stands. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay's team scored again. Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base. Shay was scheduled to be the next at bat.

Would the team actually let Shay bat at this juncture and give away their chance to win the game?  Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball. However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher moved a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least be able to make contact.

The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly toward Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball to the pitcher. The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could easily have thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have ended the game. Instead, the pitcher took the ball and threw it on a high arc to right field, far beyond reach of the first baseman.

Everyone started yelling, "Shay, run to first, run to first." Never in his life had Shay ever made it to first base. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled. Everyone yelled, "Run to second, run to second!" By the time Shay was rounding first base, the right fielder had the ball. He could have thrown the ball to the second baseman for a tag. But the right fielder understood what the pitcher's intentions had been, so he threw the ball high and far over the third baseman's head. Shay ran towards second base as the runners ahead of him deliriously circled the bases towards home.

As Shay reached second base, the opposing shortstop ran to him, turned him in the direction of third base, and shouted, "Run to third!" As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams were screaming, "Shay, run home!" Shay ran home, stepped on home plate and was cheered as the hero for hitting and winning the game for his team.

"That day," said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, "the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of the Divine Plan into this world."
(Author Unknown)

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40 (NIV)


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What Goes Around Comes Around

>> Monday, June 13, 2011

One day a man saw an old lady stranded on the side of the road, but even in the dim light of day, he could see she needed help. So he pulled up in front of her Mercedes and got out. His Pontiac was still sputtering when he approached her. Even with the smile on his face, she was worried. No one had stopped to help for the last hour or so. Was he going to hurt her? He didn't look safe; he looked poor and hungry. He could see that she was frightened, standing out there in the cold. He knew how she felt. It was that chill which only fear can put in you.

 
He said, 'I'm here to help you, ma'am. Why don't you wait in the car where it's warm? By the way, my name is Bryan Anderson.'

All she had was a flat tire, but for an old lady that was bad enough. Bryan crawled under the car looking for a place to put the jack, skinning his knuckles a time or two. Soon he was able to change the tire. But he had to get dirty and his hands hurt. As he was tightening up the lug nuts, she rolled down the window and began to talk to him. She told him that she was from St. Louis and was only just passing through. She couldn't thank him
enough for coming to her aid.
Bryan just smiled as he closed her trunk. The lady asked how much she owed him. Any amount would have been all right with her. She already imagined all the awful things that could have happened had he not stopped. Bryan never thought twice about being paid. This was not a job to him. This was helping someone in need, and God knows there were plenty who had given him a hand in the past. He had lived his whole life that way, and it never occurred to him to act any other way.

He told her that if she really wanted to pay him back, the next time she saw someone who needed help, she could give that person the assistance they needed and, Bryan added, 'Think of me.'

He waited until she started her car and drove off. It had been a cold and depressing day, but he felt good as he headed for home, disappearing into the twilight.

A few miles down the road the lady saw a small cafe. She went in to grab a bite to eat and take the chill off before she made the last leg of her trip home. It was a dingy looking restaurant. Outside were two old gas pumps. The waitress came over and brought a clean towel to wipe her wet hair. She had a sweet smile, one that even being on her feet for the whole day couldn't erase. The lady noticed the waitress was nearly eight months pregnant, but she never let the strain and aches change her attitude. The old lady wondered how someone who had so little could be so giving to a stranger. Then she remembered Bryan.

After the lady finished her meal, she paid with a hundred dollar bill. The waitress quickly went to get change for her hundred dollar bill, but the old lady had slipped right out the door. She was gone by the time the waitress came back. The waitress wondered where the lady could be. Then she noticed something written on the napkin.

There were tears in her eyes when she read what the lady had written: 'You don't owe me anything. I have been there too. Somebody once helped me out, the way I'm helping you. If you really want to pay me back, here is what you do: Do not let this chain of love end with you.'

Under the napkin were four more $100 bills.

Well, there were tables to clear, sugar bowls to fill, and people to serve, but the waitress made it through another day. That night when she got home from work and climbed into bed, she was thinking about the money and what the lady had written. How could the lady have known how much she and her husband needed it? With the baby due next month, it was going to be hard.

She knew how worried her husband was, and as he lay sleeping next to her, she gave him a soft kiss and whispered soft and low, 'Everything's going to be all right. I love you, Bryan Anderson.'

(Author Unknown)

"Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them.” Matthew 7:12 (MSG)


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For Our Own Good

>> Sunday, June 12, 2011

According to today's regulators and bureaucrats, those of us who were kids in the 40's, 50's, 60's, 70's or even the early 80's, probably shouldn't have survived.

Our baby cribs were covered with bright colored lead-based paint.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets, and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets. Not to mention the risks we took hitchhiking.

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.

Riding in the back of a pickup truck on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle. Horrors!

We ate cupcakes, bread and butter, and drank soda pop with sugar in it, but we were never overweight because we were always outside playing.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle, and no one actually died from this.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then rode down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the street lights came on. No one was able to reach us all day. No cell phones. Unthinkable!
Tests were not adjusted for any reason or any persons. Our actions were our own. Consequences were expected.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo 64, X-Boxes, no video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, video tape movies, surround sound, personal cell phones, personal computers, or Internet chat rooms. We had friends! We went outside and found them.

We played dodge ball, and sometimes, the ball would really hurt.

We fell out of trees, got cut and broke bones and teeth, and there were no lawsuits from these accidents. They were accidents. No one was to blame but us. Remember accidents?

We had fights and punched each other and got black and blue and learned to get over it. No guns, no knives.We made up games with sticks and tennis balls and ate worms, and although we were told it would happen we did not put out very many eyes, nor did the worms live inside us forever.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's home and knocked on the door, or rang the bell or just walked in and talked to them.

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. No lawsuits.

Some students weren't as smart as others, so they failed a grade and were held back to repeat the same grade. Horrors!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke a law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law. Imagine that!

This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers and problem solvers and inventors, ever. The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.

(Author Unknown)

“Pay close attention, friend, to what your father tells you; never forget what you learned at your mother's knee. Wear their counsel like flowers in your hair, like rings on your fingers.” Proverbs 1:8-9 (MSG)


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Adjustments

>> Saturday, June 11, 2011

It seemed simple enough. But it became so complicated.

I left the hair salon with the thought in mind that I would stop by the cleaners on the way home … to get that errand out of the way. But there was nothing at the cleaners for me to pick up.

I adjusted.

Heading down the street toward home, I could see the dreaded orange “road work” signs. As I got closer I read “traffic revision ahead.” Not wanting to deal with that, I turned right to go over to the next street that would take me home. After a few blocks I turned left to head home. Guess what? Road work signs ahead.

I adjusted again.


But now I was passing by the gas station, so I might as well buy my gas and mark another thing off my “to do” list. Traffic cones blocked the pumps that would allow me to have the gas tank on the correct side.

More adjusting.

I had to drive all the way around the Sun Mart to come at the pumps from the other direction. I opened my gas tank, slid the credit card in the slot, lifted the gas hose from the holder and placed it in the tank. The screen said, “begin fueling” but when I squeezed on the handle, no gas was flowing. After repeatedly attempting to achieve fueling, I had to ask for help.

Again with the adjustments.

As the man was explaining to me that someone had inadvertently turned off my pump while they were working on the pumps next to it, a car pulled up behind me and the lady was motioning to me. I walked to where I could hear what she was saying.

“I’m running out of gas. Could you please hurry?”

Actually, I couldn’t. A panel was removed from the backside of the pump, mysterious movements were seen, and then my knight in shining armor arrived. The whole process had to be repeated with the credit card and lifting the handle, but this time it worked. I pulled my car forward as quickly as I could. The car behind me still had enough gas to pull up to the tank and begin fueling.

As I drove home, I re-lived the last few minutes. That’s exactly how life is.

Maybe you had plans to go to college, but then your mom lost her job … and you had some adjustments to make. Or perhaps that marriage made in heaven didn’t work out after all. That certainly calls for traffic revisions ahead. And then there is the issue of squeezing the handle for the purpose of getting gas. Sometimes we can squeeze all we want, but the desired result just doesn’t happen.

As a child, life seems so simple. But as you grow older, it becomes complicated. How good are you at adjustments?


“A miserable heart means a miserable life; a cheerful heart fills the day with song.” Proverbs 15:15 (MSG)

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