Story Corner

Michael

Michael is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, "If I were any better, I would be twins!" He was a natural motivater. If an employee was having a bad day, Michael was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation. Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Michael and asked him, "I don't get it! You can't be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?"

Michael replied, "Each morning I wake up and say to myself, Mike, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood. I choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life.

"Yeah, right, it's not that easy," I protested. "Yes, it is," Michael said. Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people will affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It's your choice how you live life." I reflected on what Michael said.

Soon thereafter, I left the Tower Industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it. Several years later, I heard that Michael was involved in a serious accident, falling some 60 feet from a communications tower. After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Michael was released from the hospital with rods placed in his back.

I saw Michael about six months after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he replied. "If I were any better, I'd be twins. Wanna see my scars?" I declined to see his wounds, but did ask him what had gone through his mind as the accident took place. "The first thing that went through my mind was the well-being of my soon to be born daughter," Michael replied. "Then, as I lay on the ground, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or I could choose to die. I chose to live."

"Weren't you scared? Did you lose consciousness?" I asked. Michael continued, "...the paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read 'he's a dead man.' I knew I needed to take action." "What did you do?" I asked. "Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me," said Michael. "She asked if I was allergic to anything. 'Yes, I replied." The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, "Gravity." Over their laughter, I told them, I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead.'"

Michael lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude. I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully. Attitude, after all, is everything.

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African King

The 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 them 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."

Situations may not always seem pleasant while we are in them, but the promise of God is clear. If we love Him and live our lives according to His will, even that which seems to be bleak and hopeless will be turned by God for His glory and our benefit. Hold on, God is faithful!

May God bless you this week as you seek His will in every situation.

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Inspirational Stories

A four-year-old was at the pediatrician for a check up. As the doctor looked in her ears and asked, "Do you think I'll find Big Bird in here?" The little girl stayed silent. Next, the doctor took a tongue depressor and looked down her throat. He asked, "Do you think I'll find the Cookie Monster down there?" Again, the little girl was silent. Then the doctor put a stethoscope to her chest. As he listened to her heart beat, he asked, "Do you think I'll hear Barney in there?" "Oh, no!" the little girl replied. "Jesus is in my heart. Barney's on my underpants."

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The Most Caring Child Author and lecturer Leo Buscaglia once talked about a contest he had been asked to judge. The purpose of the contest was to find the most caring child. The winner was a four-year-old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman's yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there. When his mother asked him what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said, "Nothing, I just helped him cry."

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What It Means to Be Adopted: Teacher Debbie Moon's first graders were discussing a picture of a family. One little boy in the picture had a different color hair than the other family members. One child suggested that he was adopted and a little girl named Jocelynn Jay said, "I know all about adoptions because I was adopted." "What does it mean to be adopted?" asked another child. "It means," said Jocelynn, "that you grew in your mommy's heart instead of her tummy."

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As I was driving home from work one day, I stopped to watch a local little League baseball game that was being played in a park near my home. As I sat down behind the bench on the first-baseline, I asked one of the boys what the score was. "We're behind 14 to nothing," he answered with a smile. "Really," I said. "I have to say you don't look very discouraged." "Discouraged," the boy asked with a puzzled look on his face, "why should we be discouraged? We haven't been up to bat yet."

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Whenever I'm disappointed with my spot in my life, I stop and think about little Jamie Scott. Jamie was trying out for a part in a school play. His mother told me that he'd set his heart on being in it, though she feared he would not be chosen. On the day the parts were awarded, I went with her to collect him after school. Jamie rushed up to her, eyes shining with pride and excitement. "Guess what Mom," he shouted, and then said those words that will remain a lesson to me: "I've been chosen to clap and cheer."

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A Lesson In Heart: A lesson in "heart" is my little, 10-year-old daughter, Sarah, who was born with a muscle missing in her foot and wears a brace all the time. She came home one beautiful spring day to tell me she had competed in "field day" - that's where they have lots of races and other competitive events. Because of her leg support, my mind raced as I tried to think of encouragement for my Sarah, things I could say to her about not letting this get her down-but before I could say anything, she said, "Daddy, I won two of the races!" I couldn't believe it! And then Sarah said, "I had an advantage." I knew it. I thought she must have been given a head start...some kind of physical advantage. But again, before I could say anything, she said, "Daddy, I didn't get a head start...my advantage was I had to try harder!"

Dr.Stanley R. Frager

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An Eye Witness Account from New York City, on a cold day in December...(Hopefully, this is the kind of thing that happens, frequently, everywhere...) A little boy about 10 years old was standing before a shoe store on roadway, barefoot, peering through the window, and shivering with cold. A lady approached the boy and said, "My little fellow, why are you looking so earnestly in that window?" "I was asking God to give me a pair of shoes," was the boys reply. The lady took him by the hand and went into the store, and asked the clerk to get half a dozen pairs of socks for the boy. She then asked if he could give her a basin of water and a towel, which he quickly brought to her. She took the little fellow to the back part of the store and, removing her gloves, knelt down, washed his little feet and dried them with a towel. By this time the clerk had returned with the socks. Placing a pair upon the boy's feet, she also purchased him a pair of shoes. After tying up the remaining pairs of socks, she gave them to him. She patted him on the head and said, "No doubt, my little fellow, you feel more comfortable now?" As she turned to go, the astonished lad caught her by the hand, and looking up in her face, with tears in his eyes, answered the question with these words: "Are you God's wife?"

Hopefully these stories restore a little of your faith in human kindness and innocence of youth.

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Is your living in vain?

It was a cold winter's day that Sunday. The parking lot to the church was filling up quickly. I noticed as I got out of my car that fellow church members were whispering among themselves as they walked to the church. As I got closer I saw a man leaned up against the wall outside the church. He was almost laying down as if he was asleep.

He had on a long trench coat that was almost in shreds and a hat topped his head, pulled down so you could not see his face. He wore shoes that looked 30 years old, too small for his feet with holes all over them, his toes stuck out. I assumed this man was homeless, and asleep, so I walked on by through the doors of the church. We all fellowshipped for a few minutes, and someone brought up the man laying outside. People snickered and gossiped but no one bothered to ask him to come in, including me.

A few moments later church began. We all waited for the Preacher to take his place and to give us the Word, when the doors to the church opened. In came the homeless man walking down the aisle with his head down. People gasped and whispered and made faces. He made his way down the aisle and up onto the pulpit he took off his hat and coat.

My heart sank. There stood our preacher...he was the "homeless man." No one said a word. The preacher took his Bible and laid it on the stand. "Folks, I don't think I have to tell you what I am preaching about today." Then he started singing the words to this song. "If I can help somebody as I pass along. If I can cheer somebody with a word or song. If I can show somebody that he's traveling wrong. Then my living shall not be in vain."

"IS YOUR LIVING IN VAIN?"

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If I Had My Life To Live Over

I would have talked less and listened more.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained, or the sofa faded.

I would have eaten the popcorn in the 'good' living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.

I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more while watching life.

I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for the day.

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn't show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I'd have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, "Later, now go get washed up for dinner."

There would have been more "I love you's".. more "I'm sorry's"but mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute...look at it and really see it - live it... and never give it back.

Stop sweating the small stuff. Don't worry about who doesn't like you, who has more, or who's doing what.

Instead, let's cherish the relationships we have with those who Do love us. Let's think about what God HAS blessed us with.

And what we are doing each day to promote ourselves mentally, physically, emotionally, as well as spiritually.

Life is too short to let it pass you by.

We only have one shot at this and then it's gone.

I hope you all have a blessed day.

In memory of Erma Bombeck who lost her fight with cancer. Here is an angel sent to watch over you... Pass this on to the people you want watched over.

by Erma Bombeck

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Here's one for many ages !

I've learned.....

I've learned that I like my teacher because she cries when we sing "Silent Night"....... Age 6

I've learned that our dog doesn't want to eat my broccoli either. Age 7

I've learned that when I wave to people in the country, they stop what they are doing and wave back. Age 9

I've learned that just when I get my room the way I like it, Mom makes me clean it up again. Age 12

I've learned that if you want to cheer yourself up, you should try cheering someone else up. Age 14

I've learned that although it's hard to admit it, I'm secretly glad my parents are strict with me. Age 15

I've learned that silent company is often more healing than words of advice. Age 24

I've learned that brushing my child's hair is one of life's great pleasures. Age 26

I've learned that wherever I go, the world's worst drivers have followed me there. Age 29

I've learned that if someone says something unkind about me, I must live so that no one will believe it. Age 39

I've learned that there are people who love you dearly but just don't know how to show it. Age 42

I've learned that you can make some one's day by simply sending them a little note. Age 44

I've learned that the greater a person's sense of guilt, the greater his or her need to cast blame on others. Age 46

I've learned that children and grandparents are natural allies. Age 47

I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. Age 48

I've learned that singing "Amazing Grace" can lift my spirits for hours. Age 49

I've learned that motel mattresses are better on the side away from the phone. Age 50

I've learned that you can tell a lot about a man by the way he handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. Age 52

I've learned that keeping a vegetable garden is worth a medicine cabinet full of pills. Age 52

I've learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you miss them terribly after they die. Age 53

I've learned that making a living is not the same thing as making a life. Age 58

I've learned that if you want to do something positive for your children, work to improve your marriage. Age 61

I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. Age 62

I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catchers mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back. Age 64

I've learned that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you. But if you focus on your family, the needs of others, your work, meeting new people, and doing the very best you can, happiness will find you. Age 65

I've learned that whenever I decide something with kindness, I usually make the right decision. Age 66

I've learned that everyone can use a prayer. Age 72

I've learned that it pays to believe in miracles. And to tell the truth, I've seen several. Age 75

I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one. Age 82

I've learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love that human touch - holding hands, a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. Age 85

I've learned that I still have a lot to learn. Age 92

I've learned that you should pass this on to someone you care about. Sometimes they just need a little something to make them smile. Ageless.

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Natural Highs

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A Positive Twist

This really helps put a positive twist on everyday circumstances!

Pass this on to others. You'll never know the number of people who'll live a life of thanksgiving thereafter with this message.

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I Dare...

I dare to LOVE in each moment - even if I am afraid of being hurt.

I dare to live in TRUST that all is well - even if I feel fear with mounting prophecies to the contrary.

I dare to let go of GUILT for whatever reason - even if it has provided me with a safe haven in which to limit myself.

I dare to let go of SHAME for whatever reason - even if I feel others blame me.

I dare to feel WORTHY - Under all conditions and circumstances.

I dare to SPEAK TRUTH in each moment - even if it may cause temporary chaos.

I dare to be BRILLIANT - even if I am afraid that I might make others jealous.

I dare to be POWERFUL - Even if I am afraid I might misuse this power.

I dare to be OUTRAGEOUS, AUDACIOUS and OUTSPOKEN - even if I am afraid that it may intimate.

I dare to be UNIQUELY ME - Even if I am afraid that I might not be accepted.

I dare to have MATERIAL WEALTH - even if I am afraid that I might lose it and/or others believe it is not spiritual to be rich.

I dare to be a FAITHFUL SERVANT - even if I am afraid that no one will take care of me.

I dare to do SPIRIT'S CALLING - Even if others may threaten me to stop.

I dare to enter the NEXT WORLD joyously - even if I am afraid of the vast void in front of me.

Most of all .....

I dare to GIVE MYSELF back to GOD - Even if I am afraid I might lose myself.

Because losing myself to God makes all the other things I think I need to DO or BE..... obsolete.

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Have We Been Working Too Hard, Too Much ... ?

The American businessman was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellow fin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The Mexican replied only a little while.

The American then asked why didn't he stay out longer and catch more fish?

The Mexican said he had enough to support his family's immediate needs.

The American then asked, but what do you do with the rest of your time?

The Mexican fisherman said, "I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos, I have a full and busy life, senor."

The American scoffed, "I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds buy a bigger boat with the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually NYC where you will run your expanding enterprise."

The Mexican fisherman asked, "But senor, how long will this all take?"

To which the American replied, "15-20 years."

"But what then, senor?"

The American laughed and said that's the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions.

"Millions, senor? Then what?"

The American said, "Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos."

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Angel Story

Barefoot and dirty, the little girl just sat in the park and watched people go by. She never tried to speak, she never said a word. Many people passed, but not one person glanced her way, no one stopped, including me.

The next day I decided to go back to the park, curious if the little girl would still be there. Right in the very spot she was yesterday, she sat perched on high, with the saddest look in her eyes. But today I could not just walk away, concerned only with my affairs. Instead I found myself walking over to the little girl. For as we all know, a park full of strange people is not a place for young children to play alone.

As I began walking towards her, I could see the back of the little girl's dress indicated a deformity. I figured that was the reason the people just passed by and made no effort to care. As I got closer, the little girl slightly lowered her eyes to avoid my intent stare. I could see the shape of her back more clearly. It was grotesquely shaped in a humped over form I smiled to let her know it was okay, I was there to help, to talk.

I sat down beside her and opened with a simple "hello". The little girl acted shocked and stammered a "hi" after a long stare into my eyes. I smiled and she shyly smiled back. We talked 'til darkness fell and the park was completely empty. Everyone was gone and we were alone.

I asked the girl why she was so sad. The little girl looked at me and said, "Because I am different."

I immediately said "That you are!" and smiled.

The little girl acted even sadder, she said, "I know."

"Little girl", I said "you remind me of an angel, sweet and innocent."

She looked at me and smiled slowly, she stood to her feet and said, "Really?"

Yes, dear, you're like a little guardian angel sent to watch over all those people walking by."

She nodded her head 'yes' and smiled, and with that she spread her wings and said, "I am. I'm your guardian angel." with a twinkle in her eye.

I was speechless, sure I was seeing things. She said, "And when you began thinking of someone other than yourself, my job here was done."

Immediately I stood to my feet and said, "Wait, so why did no one else stop to help an angel?" She looked at me and smiled, "You're the only one who could see me", and she was gone.

With that my life was changed dramatically. So when you think you're all you have - remember, your angel is always watching over you. Mine was....

Pass this on to everyone that means anything at all to you and make sure you send it back to the person who sent it to you, to let them know you are glad they cared about you...like the story says, we all need someone. For every one of your friends is an angel in his or her own way.

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Fort Worth Killings

What God Is Doing at Our Church

By now almost everyone has heard of the tragedy that took place on Sept.15, when a gunman entered Wedgwood Baptist Church and killed 7 people and injured 7 others before taking his own life. That morning had been the day of "See You at the Pole," when students gather around their flagpole in the morning to pray for their school and nation. What the media hasn't reported, however, is how God has been so evident, both during and after the shooting. He has done amazing works!

Before The Shooting:

Evidence of God's Control During The Shooting:

Or, what God has done since the shooting:

These are just a few of the miracles that are happening. God's grace is almost overwhelming. Every time the gunman fired a bullet, he intended to take a life. Yet God turned that around and saved several lives for each bullet fired. The faith of those who died has been multiplied many times over.

"I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world.." Romans 1:8 _________

Are you not amazed?

May I point out a few things we should glean from this?

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Mr. Miller's Vegetable Stand

During the waning years of the Depression in a small southeastern 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 particular day Mr. Miller was bagging some early potatoes for me. I noticed a small boy, delicate of bone and feature, ragged but clean, hungrily apprising 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 aggie-best taw around here."

"Is that right? Let me see it."

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

"I can see that. Hmmmm, 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 like it.....but, almost."

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

"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 Utah but I never forgot the story of this man, the boys and their bartering.

Several years went by, each more rapid than the previous one. Just recently I had occasion to visit some old friends in that Idaho community and while I was there I 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 our 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 short haircuts, dark suits and white shirts obviously potential or returned missionaries.

They approached Mrs. Miller, standing smiling and composed, 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. Eyes glistening she took my hand and led me to the casket. "This is an amazing coincidence," she said. "Those three young men, that 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, magnificently shiny, red marbles.

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Please Be My Mother

The big blue eyes of the new little boy, Albert, held all the misery of an outcast spaniel. His reddish-blond hair needed cutting, and his thin, freckled arms hugged his bony knees as he sat huddled there in the office doorway.

"Why, son," the superintendent's wife said as she came through the doorway, nearly stumbling over the boy, "I've told you, you can't come inhere! You must stay in your own dormitory with the other boys."

She stooped to help him to his feet, but he turned and hugged her knees convulsively. "Can't you see, kind lady?" He began to cry. "I got no mommy. I got nobody but Laura Mae. We hafta have a mommy--they put ours in a deephole.

"Mrs. Chitwood's eyes grew moist with compassion. She pulled the little boy over to a rocker, sat down, and held him in her arms. "You'll be all right in just a little while, Albert," she said consolingly. "There are so many nice boys and girls here to play with. There are all those nice swings in the playground." She kept on murmuring comfortingly, as is the way of mothers, as dusk crept in over the Children's Home.

The little boy was only four years old, and the records showed that both his parents were dead. His little sister Laura Mae, who was only three, had come with him to the Tipton Home. Evidently she was too young to understand. She hadn't given way to tears as Albert was doing. She had stayed in her dormitory with the other little girls of her age. But Albert had come back to the office where he had first seen the "kind lady" he was now so fond of.

Soon, as Mrs. Chitwood rocked and crooned softly to Albert, his eyes closed and he slept. His long lashes curled on his tear-streaked cheeks. The two big freckles on his small snub nose made him look all the more vulnerable. Holding him tenderly in her arms, Mrs. Chitwood got up, carried him down the long corridor to his dormitory, and put him in his own small bed. She pressed a light switch, and instantly dim stars bloomed in the ceiling, which stretched like a blue sky over the rows of small beds where other little boys were sleeping. She stooped and took off Albert's shoes, pushed the hair out of his eyes, and kissed his tear-stained little face.

"Bless you, honey," she said softly. "I wish I could be your mother." She blinked back tears and tiptoed from the room. Somehow Albert tore at her heart.

In those years the superintendent and his wife lived in an apartment on the second floor of the administration building. They also ate in the big dining room with the children.

Early the next morning Mrs. Chitwood opened the door of her apartment, and again she almost stumbled over the small boy huddled in the doorway. "Why, Albert!" she exclaimed. "Kind lady," he smiled, "I'm a big boy now. I'm not gonna cry today. I gotta take care of Laura Mae like I told my mom--" His voice wavered, but he swallowed and went on. "My mommy told me not to cry, and to be sure to take good care of my little sister. ""Of course, Albert." Mrs. Chitwood smiled as she took his hand and they started walking toward the big dining room. "I knew last night you'd be a big, strong boy this morning. There are a lot of boys and girls here. You'll like them all, and you'll be happy, I know.

""That's right--'cause I got you. You're my new mother." Confident and serene, he looked up into her face. "No, dear," she said gently. "There are two hundred other little boys and girls here. I love them all. I can't have any special little boy who's just my own, but I'll love you, and everybody else will love you, too. "Albert shook his head and insisted that she was to be his mother.

"Can't you 'dopt me? The boys said people 'dopt boys, and the ladies are just like real mothers. "Mrs. Chitwood smiled. "No, dear, I can't adopt you. But I can love you and take care of you, and you'll soon feel that this is your home and that all the other boys and girls are your brothers and sisters."

They were entering the dining room. As Mrs. Chitwood led Albert to the small table where he was to sit with other boys of his age, he whispered, "I'll 'dopt you then, kind lady--you're my 'dopted mother. ""Sh!" She smiled as they both bowed their heads for grace to be said.

This was just the beginning. Again and again throughout the day Albert ran into the office to ask questions. Could he go play on the girls' side of the play area with Laura Mae? Could he climb the apple tree and eat as many apples as he could hold in his hands or maybe tie in his shirt? He asked a dozen questions that could have been answered by his own housemother.

Each time the superintendent would scold Albert and end him out of the office. "Albert," he said finally, "this is a busy place, and the children aren't allowed in here. You've got to stay way.

"Albert's face feel for a moment, then he flashed that warm smile. "But my 'dopted mother works here. I had to ask her something. "Mrs. Chitwood's heart reached out in love to the lonely little boy who so obviously adored her.

He was everything any mother could ever have dreamed of, and he needed her. He showed his love in so many wonderful ways--the wild flowers he gathered and held out to her in his pudgy hands, the blue eggs from the robin's nest. Openly and with all his childish heart he had transferred his need for love to Mrs. Chitwood.: I know we can't treat him any differently from the other children, "she'd reason with her husband. "No, of course not, dear," he said. "You must make him understand he can't be sitting on our doorstep every morning. ""I know that. His housemother is frantic when she find him out of his bed every morning. "She tried hard to make Albert understand these things, but she got nowhere. Whenever she began to scold him, he threw his arms around her neck and, "I love You. You're the nicest mother any boy could ever 'dopt!

"This went on for about two years. By that time, Albert had become a part of the Chitwoods' hearts. They couldn't fight it. He really had adopted them.

Then came the happy day that the Home management was able to build the superintendent and his wife a nice home adjoining the campus. Albert was desolate because they couldn't allow him to move into the new house with them. "What will the kids think?" he asked the Chitwoods. "I've told them I've 'dopted you. They'll think it's not so!" His mouth quivered, and his big eyes pleaded, but the Chitwoods stood firm.

And then one day Albert was seriously injured when he feel out of an apple tree. He was put in an ambulance and rushed to the big city hospital. Mrs. Chitwood didn't question the rightness of what she did this time. She rode in the ambulance with Albert. She held his small, trusting hand in hers before he was operated on, and she sat at his bedside every day while he recuperated.

These were days when love really healed. Albert would take her hand and put it over his eyes, then let it slip down so his lips could kiss it. His tender looks bathed her in the pure love that only a child has for its mother, and she stopped resisting.

"He's my little boy, God-sent," she told her husband, tears in her eyes. "I'm going to take him home where he belongs. "Albert never lived in the dormitory again. He had his own room in the house of his adopted mother and Dad Chitwood. He was their own son, given all the love and advantages real parents give their children. He grew into young manhood, making them proud that he wanted to call them Mother and Dad. He had a keen mind, a well-developed personality, and an eagerness for life.

At the outbreak of World War II he enlisted as a tail gunner. That was the last time Albert ever was in the Tipton Home--that is, until the day they brought his flag-draped casket home. For Albert, bright-eyed Albert, had love the Tipton Home. He had loved his adopted parents, but he loved his country more--enough to die for it!

By Vera Holding in a book "Because Somebody Cares"

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A Prayer

May there be peace within you today.

May you trust your highest power that you are exactly where you are meant to be.

May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.

May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.

May you be content knowing you are a child of God.

Let this presence settle into your bones,and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, and to bask in the sun, it is there for each and every one of you.

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The Power of Prayer

Louise Redden, a poorly dressed lady with a look of defeat on her face, walked into a grocery store. She approached the owner of the store in a most humble manner and asked if he would let her charge a few groceries. She softly explained that her husband was very ill and unable to work, they had seven children and they needed food. John Longhouse, the grocer, scoffed at her and requested that she leave his store.

Visualizing the family needs, she said: "Please, sir! I will bring you the money just as soon as I can."

John told her he could not give her credit, as she did not have a charge account at his store. Standing beside the counter was a customer who overheard the conversation between the two. The customer walked forward and told the grocerman that he would stand good for whatever she needed for her family.

The grocerman said in a very reluctant voice, "Do you have a grocery list?" Louise replied, "Yes sir."

"O.K." he said, "put your grocery list on the scales and whatever your grocery list weighs, I will give you that amount in groceries."

Louise, hesitated a moment with a bowed head, then she reached into her purse and took out a piece of paper and scribbled something on it. She then laid the piece of paper on the scale carefully with her head still bowed. The eyes of the grocerman and the customer showed amazement when the scales went down and stayed down.

The grocerman staring at thescales, turned slowly to the customer and said begrudgingly, "I can't believe it."

The customer smiled and the grocerman started putting the groceries on the other side of the scales. The scale did not balance so he continued to put more and more groceries on them until the scales would hold no more. The grocerman stood there in utter disgust. Finally, he grabbed the piece of paper from the scales and looked at it with gazed amazement. It was not a grocery list, it was a prayer which said:

"Dear Lord, you know my needs and I am leaving this in your hands."

The grocerman gave her the groceries that he had gathered and placed on the scales and stood in stunned silence. Louise thanked him and left the store.

The customer handed a fifty-dollar bill to John as he said, "It was worth every penny of it." It was sometime later that John Longhouse discovered the scales were broken; therefore, only God knows how much a prayer weighs.

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The First Gregorian Year to Begin with a "2"

As we start the first Gregorian year to begin with a "2",

May you keep all your New Year's resolutions.

May the best day of your past be the worst day of your future.

May you never lie, cheat, or drink. But if you must lie, lie in each other's arms. If you must cheat, cheat death. And if you must drink, drink with all of us because we love you.

May misfortune follow you the rest of your life, but never catch up.

May your home always be too small to hold all your friends.

May we all achieve things beyond our wildest dreams.

May we live life to the fullest.

And may we all be here again next year, as the new millennium finally begins!

Happy New Year!

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Exerpts from "A Course in Life" ~ Joan Gattuso

Faith - If life isn't working well, choose to create it in another way.

Divine Purpose - We have all been created for a mighty purpose.

Consciousness - Clear your consciousness.

Vision - Set things right in your world through spiritual vision.

Joy - Make joy a constant in your life.

Power - Untap the awesome power within you.

Love - You are love, experience it.

Wisdom - Hear your inner direction, put it to use in your life.

Non-Attachment - Ask and accept the help that is always at hand.

Abundance - Become the master of giving and receiving.

Forgiveness - Eliminate what doesn't work in your life by forgiving it and clear the way for the good that will fill the vacuum.

Divine Life - Live a life that reflects the divinity you are uncovering within yourself.

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Gold and Ivory Lace Tablecloth

At Christmas time, men and women everywhere gather in their churches to wonder anew at the greatest miracle the world has ever known. But the story I like best to recall was not a huge miracle -- not exactly.

It happened to a pastor who was very young. His church was very old. Once, long ago, it had flourished. Famous men had preached from its pulpit, prayed before its altar. Rich and poor alike had worshipped there and built it beautifully. Now, the good days had passed from the section of town where it stood. But the pastor and his young wife believed in their run-down church. They felt that with hard work and lots of faith they could get it in shape. Together they went to work.

But, late in December, a severe storm whipped through the river valley, and the worst blow fell on the church -- a huge chunk of rain-soaked plaster fell out of the inside wall just behind the altar. Sorrowfully the pastor and his wife swept away the mess, but they couldn't hide the ragged hole.

The pastor looked at it and had to remind himself quickly, "Thy will be done!" But his wife wept, "Christmas is only two days away!"

That afternoon the dispirited couple attended the auction held for the benefit of a youth group. The auctioneer opened a box and shook out of its folds a gloriously beautiful, very ornately sewn, gold and ivory lace tablecloth.

It was a magnificent item, nearly 15 feet long. But it, too, dated from a long vanished era. Who, today, had any use for such a thing? There were a few halfhearted bids. Then the pastor was seized with what he thought was a great idea.

He bid it in for $6.50.

He carried the glorious gold and ivory lace cloth back to the church and very carefully put it up on the wall behind the altar. It completely hid the hole! And the extraordinary beauty of its shimmering handwork cast a fine, holiday glow over the chancel. It was a great triumph. Happily he went back to preparing his Christmas sermon.

Just before noon on the day of Christmas Eve, as the pastor was opening the church, he noticed a woman standing in the cold at the bus stop. "The bus won't be here for 40 minutes!" he called, and invited her into the church to get warm.

She told him that she had come from the city that morning to be interviewed for a job as governess to the children of one of the wealthy families in town but she had been turned down. A Jewish war refugee, her English was imperfect.

The woman sat down in a pew and chafed her hands and rested. After a while she dropped her head and prayed. She looked up and saw the great gold and ivory cloth. She rose suddenly and walked up the steps of the chancel.

She looked at the beautiful tablecloth with remembering eyes.

The pastor smiled and started to tell her about the storm damage, but she didn't seem to listen. She took up a fold of the cloth and lovingly rubbed it between her fingers, tears welled in her kind eyes. But they were happy tears of recognition.

"It is mine!" she said. "It is my banquet cloth!" She lifted up a corner and showed the surprised pastor that there were initials monogrammed on it. "My husband had the cloth made especially for me in Brussels! There could not be another like it."

For the next few minutes the woman and the pastor talked excitedly together. She explained that she was Viennese; that being Jews, she and her husband wanted to flee from the Nazis. They were advised to go separately. Her husband put her on a train for Switzerland. They planned that he would join her as soon as he could arrange to ship their household goods across the border. She never saw him again. Later she heard that he had died in a concentration camp.

"I have always felt that it was my fault -- to leave without him," she said. "Perhaps these years of wandering have been my punishment!" The pastor tried to comfort her and urged her to take the beautiful cloth with her. But she refused saying, "no, no, the cloth has found it's way to you. You need it. It has a purpose here. I want you to have it. I am happy knowing you have it."

She gazed lovingly up at the magnificent gold and ivory lace cloth, then quietly went away.

As the church began to fill on Christmas Eve, it was clear that the magnificent cloth was going to be a great success. It had been skillfully designed to look its best by candlelight.

The glorious gold and ivory lace cloth actually glowed in the candlelight! It cast lovely fine designs on the walls and ceiling of the church. Everyone looked around in wonderment, and a tranquil ambiance was cast over all.

After the service, the pastor stood at the doorway. Many people told him that the church looked more beautiful than ever before.

From the generous donations that were given, a few days later the pastor had the local jeweler who was also the clock-and-watch repairman come to repair the church chimes.

The repairman's gentle middle-aged face drew into a look of great astonishment! As if in a trance he walked right up to the beautiful cloth and looked intently!

"It is strange," he said in his soft accent. "Many years ago my wife - God rest her -- and I owned such a cloth. My wife put it on the table" -- and here he gave a big smiled -- "for holidays and when the Rabbi came to dinner."

The pastor suddenly became very excited. He told the jeweler about the woman who had been in church to get warm, saw the cloth, and recognized it to be hers! The startled jeweler clutched the pastor's arm. "Can it be?" he said through desperate tears.

Together the two got in touch with the family who had interviewed the women for the governess position, got her address, then they both drove to the city.

The jeweler knocked on the heavy, weathered, door. As it opened, there stood his beloved wife. The many years of separation were immediately washed away by their blissfully tears, as they held each other in loving embraces, never to be parted again. True love seems to find a way.

To all who hear this story, the joyful purpose of the storm was to knocked a hole in the wall of the church.

So Dear Ones, the next time something knocks a hole in your dreams, your goals - Just remember to have enough faith, enough belief in those dreams and goals, to lovingly and creatively hang your own brilliant lace cloth over the temporary mar. Then watch the miracles come.

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A True Christmas Story

It's just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past 10 years or so.

It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas. Oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of overspending, the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma, the gifts given in desperation because you couldn't think of anything else. Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike.

The inspiration came in an unusual way. Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was wrestling at the junior level at the school he attended; and shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church, mostly black. These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes. As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect wrestler's ears. It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford. Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. And as each of their boys got up from the mat, he swaggered around in his tatters with false bravado, a kind of street pride that couldn't acknowledge defeat. Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, I wish just one of them could have won, he said. They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them. Mike loved kids -all kids- and he knew them, having coached little league football, baseball and lacrosse. That's when the idea for his present came.

That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church. On Christmas Eve, I placed the envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done and that this was his gift from me. His smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year and in succeeding years.

For each Christmas, I followed the tradition - one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on. The envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning and our children, ignoring their new toys, would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents.

As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents but the envelope never lost its allure. The story doesn't end there. You see, we lost Mike last year due to dreaded cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree, and in the morning, it was joined by three more. Each of our children, unbeknownst to the others, had placed an envelope on the tree for their dad.

The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing around the tree with side-eyed anticipation watching as their fathers take down the envelope. Mike's spirit, like the Christmas spirit, will always be with us. May we all remember Christ, who is the reason for the season, and the true Christmas spirit this year and always.

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The KOGI Story - The Children of the Next 1000 Years

The story you are about to read is true, but it is also unusual. So much so, that if you do not have an open mind, it will seem impossible. And if you don't have an open heart, it will not be understood so that the meaning can be lived.

Over the last few years I have been to the Yucatan several times working with the Mayan shaman Hunbatz Men. He has been performing the ceremonies of the ancient Mayan priests in modern day times to bring in and stabilize the new energies of our sun, energies that have never before entered into the Earth and altering the way we perceive life. His work is very important to the unfoldment of the new world on Earth, and to the birthing of our new consciousness.

A few months ago a man named Ellis, who used to work closely with Hunbatz Men came to me and began to tell me this story. He said that in Columbia there was an aboriginal tribe deep in the Amazon jungle called the Kogi. They had no language and "spoke" only telepathically to each other. In truth they made little sounds, but these sounds were not logically arranged into any pattern such as an alphabet. They were just sounds, but these sounds came from the heart not the mind and created images inside your head, and you could "see" what the other person was communicating.

Ellis said that they were able to "travel" out of body clearly and knew everything that was happening around the world, though they had never physically left their homeland. They had never even tried to communicate with the outside world, except to a very fortunate few. The Kogi do not see us as "sleeping" as many of the Hindu and Oriental religions perceive us. The Kogi see us as "dead". We are not alive, but only shadows of the energy we could be. We do not have enough life force energy and consciousness to be classified by them as real people. And the Kogi believed, with the use of their psychic abilities, they could see the future clearly. And what they saw was similar to what many other tribes around the world saw, a world that was about to be destroyed by the misuse of consciousness. So sometime ago they traveled over the whole world in their light bodies searching for anyone who is alive. And in the whole world they could only find one other tribe who were Mayan that lived far in the jungles of Guatemala. They were so happy to find someone else who was alive. But the Kogi belief, their prophesy, was that with the coming of the Eclipse on August 11th of 1999, all the world would stop and only the Kogi and this one other Mayan tribe would survive to inhabit the Earth. This is why they were so happy to find someone else other than themselves who understood.

Then when the eclipse slowly revealed its face on the 11th of August, it became apparent to the Kogi that something had happened since the time they had searched the world for life. Something that they could not understand for the "great change" had happened, and we, the "dead" ones were still here. We should have dissolved back into the Dream. Not that they wanted us to, that was not their nature. It simply should have happened.

So the Kogi set out to find out why the "dead ones" were still on Earth, and as they searched the living vibrating records of this Reality, they found exactly where and why it had happened. Some of the "dead ones" had become alive, and had created a dream with enough life force to "save the world" as we know it. In our terms, some of us had created a "parallel world" where life could continue to grow, a world where the "dead" could become alive. The Kogi were so specific to locate exactly who these people were that were creating this change that had altered the world's destiny. The Kogi saw these people with living bodies of light around them. People who had activated their "Light Bodies" or in the ancient terms, their "Mer-Ka-Ba".

Since I was one of the teachers of this information, the Kogi sent a messenger to Ellis and from Ellis to me. They sent me a small amount of tobacco wrapped in a bright red piece of cotton, and simply said "Thank you". A couple months later, the Kogi sent Ellis another gift to give to me with a message. The gift was a small ball of dark and sticky tree sap about the size of a plum. It smelled of the jungle. There was an energy around this gift of sap that I could feel deep inside me. I felt the connection in my heart. The message was that they were going to send someone to me to teach me how to speak without words so that we could communicate. They then said that once connection and communication had taken place, they would ask that I enter into the Colombian jungle and visit their tribe. And that if I would visit their world, they would visit mine. They would then be prepared to come out of the jungle, for the first time in the history of their tribe, and go on world television, no less, and talk to us. Whatever "talk" means since they have no language that we know, I am not sure. And what it is that they have to say, I also do not know. But through this little piece of tree sap, I am beginning to feel.

After Ellis left on this second visit, I sat and thought about this whole event. Was it true that the Kogi could see this clearly into the Reality? Were they really going to send someone to me to teach me how to speak without words? What was this really all about? I meditated with the angles, but they only approved what was happening, but would not give me information or assist. Then last month in November, I gave an Earth/Sky workshop in Mexico and about 100 people came from all over Mexico, Central and South America, and one of the countries that many people came from was Columbia. And from this group, there was this young lady whose name I will keep quite to protect her. She was different than any of the other Colombians. Whenever we entered into sacred space and could feel the presence of God, she would begin to seemingly go crazy with ecstasy. Not that that was really unusual, but it was extreme. This woman would become primal. Her whole body would begin to shake and a different person would emerge out of her with a different feeling to her words and different body language. I watched her, looking for the reason why she had come to this work and looking for a way to help her. Then on the last day of the workshop it happened. The group had formed one great circle, and we were singing to God. This lady broke away from the circle and began to dance primitively and unashamed within the center of the circle. She abandoned herself and seemed to lose control. I went over to her and took her hand to comfort her, and she grasped my hand and looked deep into my eyes and made a soft and longing sound. The sound went straight to my heart and vibrated inside my very center, and I could "see" what she was saying. I had never experienced anything quite like this before.

I didn't understand at that moment what was really happening - my heart simply reacted. I took her outside the circle and sat down facing her. Then she made another "sound", and my body responded with another similar "sound" that had never come from me before. Instantly, we were speaking in a new and profound manner that was so beautiful, so complete. It made all the languages of the world seem inadequate and obsolete. For two hours we communicated in images of full color and depth with all the sensory completeness of real life. I learned so much. I learned about life, and I learned about this woman within a woman. She showed me with her sounds where she had come from, a small village next to the Kogi tribe. She showed me her husband and her three children. I know them like they were my family. She showed me around her village where I met two other older men who were from the Kogi. She showed me how her tribe had asked her to enter this woman's body and to come and see me. She was instructed to teach me how to speak without words. She was told that once she had done this one thing, then she could leave this woman's body and come back home and be back with her family. She missed her husband and children very much. I could "see" how when this lady returned home she would leave her body. I could see her own body lying in a pile of grass inside a grass hut waiting for this moment.

When I returned home, I saw my wife Claudette, who I love so much, in a new light. I loved her in a way that was different, because I could hear the sounds coming from her heart. I could see her pain, and I could see her joy. I was so happy for this experience with the Kogi, but I still didn't know what was happening to me. It seemed to just bring a great anticipation of something to come.

Then two weeks ago I gave an Earth/Sky workshop in Maryland. While I was setting up and preparing for the workshop, I told this story to a woman named Diane who was facilitating the workshop. She asked if I would demonstrate these sound. And I agree to do so. We sat facing each other, and I asked her to close her eyes. Then a sound came from my heart and at the same moment an image appeared within my mind. It was a full image of a large cat, a puma, walking along the edge of the Amazon near the water. Then it jumped up onto a tree and began to walk along the edge of a long and heavy branch that slowly sloped down to the ground. It jumped back to the ground and continued to walk along the edge of the water. I opened my eyes. All of this took only about one minute. I asked her what she saw, and she began to tell me exactly what I had seen. She described it perfectly. A joy emerged from my heart. I then asked her to again close her eyes. Another slow and strange sound came from my heart, and instantly another image. I not only "saw" but experienced what seemed like myself, floating out of the woman's body from Colombia and rising high up into the air. Then I felt myself begin to fly very fast over the jungle. I could see the trees moving rapidly under me. Quickly I approached a village, and I felt myself getting lower to the ground and heading for a specific grass hut. In the next instant I was inside the body of this tribal woman looking out of her eyes. She knew I was there. She did not mind, it was suppose to happen. Her husband quickly took hold of her/me and was obviously happy that she/I had returned. He knew also that I was there, and was also very happy. Then all three of her children ran up and began to hug her and love her. The youngest one reached in and began to suck on her breast. It was a very moving experience to meet this family that I didn't know and yet I did.

Then I opened my eyes. I waited a moment to center from this experience, and then asked Diane that she saw. She began by saying that she experienced herself as a "bug" coming out of this woman's body. And then she lifted up into the sky and began to fly over the trees of a jungle. She watched as we went down to the grass hut and met the "family". She saw perfectly. I sat quite for a long time. I could feel this was a gift of unparalleled value. But what did it mean to me or the world? All of this was such an unusual experience that I still do not know what this means. When I returned home from the Maryland workshop, every night for the first seven or eight days, I would find myself dreaming that I was "home" in this village. The dream would last all night long with a complete memory of the dream the next morning. I would dream that I was doing my chores in the village, and living my life. Taking care of my children and husband. Many, many men from both tribes would come up to me and ask questions with sounds that made images. These people were beautiful and yes "alive". I understood why they saw us as "dead". I could "feel with the sight of my heart" what they meant. I knew they meant to help if they could. They were amazed that I was there. So was I.

Now, it is only the beginning. The Kogi are excited about the way we are growing. They want to come to us. God willing, they will. They have asked me now to give you a message in your language if you can accept it. You who have discovered your light bodies and are changing the world by your lives. "You are changing the world into light. Be not afraid of your innocence and your child nature, it is close to God. Let your imagination soar into a Dream where love surrounds all events, then "see" it as real. Let the sounds of your hearts talk to those who are not alive. You have shown them the way by your example, now "show" them the way from within. Listen, and your heart will speak. We are with you now. We will help you.". May the next 1000 years be golden, and may the innocent children lead the way.

By Druvalo Melchidezek

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3 Wise Men

A woman came out of her house and saw 3 old men with long white beards 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 said. "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 wanted to know. 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 nice!!", 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-in-law 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-in-law's advice," said the husband to his wife. "We shall 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, the 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!!!!!!"

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Do It Anyway

By Mother Teresa

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New Year Shift

I'd like to share this message Douglas Van Staveren wrote:

Good morning. I hope everyones shift into the new year is a smooth one.

The Dalai Lama has asked that the following practice be shared with as many people as possible. A group recently spent days visiting with the Dalai Lama focusing upon what they believe are the five most important questions to be considered as we move into the new millennium. The five questions were:

The Dalai Lama said all five questions fall under the last one. If we have true compassion in our hearts, our children will be educated wisely, we will care for the earth, those who "have not" will be cared for. The group asked the Dalai Lama, "Do you think love on the planet is increasing or staying the same?" His response: "My experience leads me to believe that love IS increasing." He shared a simple practice that will increase love and compassion in the world. He asked everyone in the group to share it with as many people as they can.

The Practice:

1. Spend 5 minutes at the beginning of each day remembering we all want the same things (to be happy and to be loved) and we are all connected to one another.

2. Spend 5 minutes -- breathing in -- cherishing yourself; and, breathing out cherishing others. If you think about people you have difficulty cherishing, extend your cherishing to them anyway.

3. During the day extend that attitude to everyone you meet. Practice cherishing the "simplest" person (clerks, attendants, etc.), as well as the "important" people in your life; cherish the people you love and the people you dislike.

4. Continue this practice no matter what happens or what anyone does to you. These thoughts are very simple, inspiring and helpful. The practice of cherishing can be taken very deep if done wordlessly, allowing yourself to feel the love and appreciation that already exists in your heart. Will you commit to creating Peace in yourself and thereby "On Earth" by spending 10 minutes a day with this simple meditation?

Peace on Earth, Good Will To All...

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Baby Erik and the Old Man

We were the only family with children in the restaurant. I sat Erik in a high chair and noticed everyone was quietly eating and talking. Suddenly, Erik squealed with glee and said, "Hi there." He pounded his fat baby hands on the high-chair tray. His eyes were wide with excitement and his mouth was bared in a toothless grin. He wriggled and giggled with merriment.

I looked around and saw the source of his merriment. It was a man with a tattered rag of a coat; dirty, greasy and worn. His pants were baggy with a zipper at half-mast and his toes poked out of would-be shoes. His shirt was dirty and his hair was uncombed and unwashed. His whiskers were too short to be called a beard and his nose was so varicose it looked like a road map. We were too far from him to smell, but I was sure he smelled.

His hands waved and flapped on loose wrists. "Hi there, baby; hi there, big boy. I see ya, buster," the man said to Erik.

My husband and I exchanged looks, "What do we do?"

Erik continued to laugh and answer, "Hi, hi there." Everyone in the restaurant noticed and looked at us and then at the man. The old geezer was creating a nuisance with my beautiful baby. Our meal came and the man began shouting from across the room, "Do ya know patty cake? Do you know peek-a-boo? Hey, look, he knows peek-a-boo." Nobody thought the old man was cute. He was obviously drunk.

My husband and I were embarrassed. We ate in silence; all except for Erik, who was running through his repertoire for the admiring skid-row bum, who in turn, reciprocated with his cute comments. We finally got through the meal and headed for the door. My husband went to pay the check and told me to meet him in the parking lot. The old man sat poised between me and the door. "Lord, just let me out of here before he speaks to me or Erik," I prayed.

As I drew closer to the man, I turned my back trying to side-step him and avoid any air he might be breathing. As I did, Erik leaned over my arm, reaching with both arms in a baby's "pick-me-up" position. Before I could stop him, Erik had propelled himself from my arms to the man's. Suddenly a very old smelly man and a very young baby consummated their love relationship. Erik in an act of total trust, love, and submission laid his tiny head upon the man's ragged shoulder. The man's eyes closed, and I saw tears hover beneath his lashes. His aged hands full of grime, pain, and hard labor-gently, so gently, cradled my baby's bottom and stroked his back. No two beings have ever loved so deeply for so short a time.

I stood awestruck. The old man rocked and cradled Erik in his arms for a moment, and then his eyes opened and set squarely on mine. He said in a firm commanding voice, "You take care of this baby." Somehow I managed, "I will," from a throat that contained a stone. He pried Erik from his chest-unwillingly, longingly, as though he were in pain. I received my baby, and the man said, "God bless you, ma'am, you've given me my Christmas gift." I said nothing more than a muttered thanks.

With Erik in my arms, I ran for the car. My husband was wondering why I was crying and holding Erik so tightly, and why I was saying, "My God, my God, forgive me." I had just witnessed Christ's love shown through the innocence of a tiny child who saw no sin, who made no judgment; a child who saw a soul, and a mother who saw a suit of clothes. I was a Christian who was blind, holding a child who was not.

I felt it was God asking- "Are you willing to share your son for a moment?" -- when He shared His for all eternity. The ragged old man, unwittingly, had reminded me, "To enter the Kingdom of God, we must become as little children."

If this has blessed you, please bless others by sending it on...

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A Nepalese Good Luck Mantra

Some guidelines for the new millennium ....take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.

Good fortune to all.... and to all a good night....

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Archangel Michael Speaks

"Turning The Faucet Of Your Life In A New Direction"

I am the energy that you know as Michael. I am the one that has come to lead you down a pathway, a portal, a destiny of truths, and of understandings, that have never entered your heart, entered your mind, or entered your countenance.

I AM HE that stands at the threshold of a new era. I AM HE that guards the rabbit hole of choice. I AM HE that stands between the paws of the Sphinx waiting as the Halls of Records rise to the occasion of celebration, rise to the occasion of humanities highest truth, and rise to the occasion of finally being seen by the human eyes. I AM HE that dwells in the Constellation of Regulas. I AM HE that stands on the day of coronation for each and every one of you as a guardian of what is to come, as a guardian of choice, and as a guardian of your future.

I am Michael and I cut away what binds you and keeps you lesser than. I cut away and release you from what has burdened you for far too long. And I now cut the ribbon of the Millennium to allow you to enter walking upon the red velvet carpet of royalty, of new beginnings, and of celebration. As the doorway opens to the year 2000, there will be in actuality A DOORWAY that opens within the cellular content of your body. There will be an unveiling in parts of your brain that have been hidden from the probings of the microscopes and of the x-rays of your scientists. There will be an unveiling of what you have forgotten. Of what was placed on the very top shelf, in the very far corner of your humanness.

You have always sensed a treasure buried deep within you. Some of you miss-interpreted what that treasure would be, what that treasure would hold. You oft times thought it would be a winning of great millions. You thought it would be a family inheritance. You thought it would be a bag of money along side the road or a doorway of opportunity that you humanly did not truly earn. You have all felt the treasure within your heart, within your being. As you walk into the next 2000 years, you will find the red ribbon wrapped around the grandest of treasures -- which is you. You have come to a point of decision. Every particle of you stands in line to be knighted, to be given a title, to be given a certificate of becoming Divine, of being beautiful, of becoming wise and rich beyond any values of earth.

There are corridors deep within you, as there are corridors within all sacred places of earth that have never been accessed. As the next 2000 years are birthed, a regeneration will happen within your system of humanness. At the time, the date, the minute, the hour of the first doorway of the year 2000, an alarm will go off in your bodies. The alarm says it is time to wake up. It is time to remember. It is time to become all that one has been promised in the scriptures, in the texts, in the stars, in the cave drawings, and so you shall. There has been a time lock on you for over 2000 years. It was a fail-safe mechanism so that all would wake up together somewhat as the story of sleeping beauty. It was only after she was kissed by her prince that all of the kingdom woke up to celebrate and enjoy. That very story is a symbolic story of the year 2000 for all of earth. The prince finally comes to earth, he kisses the sleeping beauty which is Mother Earth, and all of the Kingdom shall awaken. In the beginning of the story, there were great trials and tribulations that the prince had to overcome. The princess, the Sleeping Beauty, was deliberately placed in a format of amnesia and sleepfulness. The prince had to cut through great thorns and obstacles to get through to her, was the case of the denseness and quagmires of planet Earth.

Be assured the Prince does come and he does kiss and awaken the Sleeping Beauty of Earth and within each of you, and all the Kingdom shall awaken and celebrate. As the part of your brain that has remained dormant and hidden, opens up to be exposed and activated other parts of your brain -- that have been false - will be shut down. You have been running on programs that were non-truths for so long - you do not remember the beginningness of them. You have been allowing -- as a population -- others to cut you short of your destination in every part of your lives. And now as the Prince comes to Earth to awaken her with a kiss through each one of you (who represents the Lips of God) all of you shall lift the veil and see for yourself who you really are. Each of you have allowed all of the trials and tribulations of your earthly experience to own you. You have each allowed everything outside of you to govern your actions and your re-actions, to govern your state of mind, your state of heart, your state of health, and your state of body.

In the system of your Earth, there has been deliberate action to break down your immune systems, to break down the mind, to break down the human body, and to break down the heart as it falls in hopelessness and sadness. There has been deliberation to keep you lesser than by giving to you the ingredients of sugar. The very essence of sugar itself immobilizes your immune system for 4 hours per serving of sugar. All of the chemicals that are given to you in replacement of sugar - immobilize the immune system for up to 2 days at a time. The chemicals that are deliberately placed in your water are given to you to decrease the memory, to decrease the Divinity of your being as far as your mind-ly concepts are concerned. There has been for almost 80 years of your existence - a de-liberation to keep you from becoming who you are in this shortness of day and time as you enter the millennium.

What is being re-activated within your biological system as you enter the year 2000, is a fail safe mechanism that catalyzes the natural detoxification system within your body. In other words, your biological system will wake up to the fact that there is a purification mechanism that is part of its heritage. It is not an organ as you know it - but an etheric/energetic system that will begin to detox all of the chemicals that you at this time are forced to live upon, forced to ingest, and forced to drink. It does not matter if you are of pure vegetarian nature or if you digest the meats of animals and fowl and fish. These energies have run rampant within the earth's biological system. The children that enter Earth will not be able to digest these toxins. And that is why deliberate action (I-act-on) by the people of Earth will expose industries that purposefully poison what comes into your refrigerator, into your body, and into your lungs.

Within you, the Divinity that you are will spin at such a faster molecular content, that the human body will be able to dispose of anything that is not of a high vibration, this is part of the fail-safe mechanism. As you enter the millennium you will birth new ideas and concepts about Healing. It is important that you understand that as you progress into the next 2000 years, that you cannot focus one iota of awareness upon anything that if of a dense, negative, or failed value. (And this goes for what was just said to you) You can not focus upon the toxins in the foods, body, Earth etc; for you will amplify them. You must focus on the purification of everything that you place into your biological system. You cannot focus upon the diseases in your body, or the soreness, or the bruise, or the broken-ness emotionally, physically, or mentally. But you must focus on the rest, the high percentage of you that is perfected, that is Divine, that is vibrating at a higher energy.

No longer will you -- as Creators -- be allowed to announce what you do not want to experience, what you do not want to come into manifestation. You will have to change your thinking -- for your thinking says "I must heal what hurts. I must look at it. I must send energy to it. I must send light to it. I must dissolve it." But as the millennium enters - all thoughts and energies that are directed accordingly - will be amplified. You cannot focus on the one black sheep. You must focus on all of the white ones and amplify that white energy into multitudes. You cannot focus on what you do not have - it will amplify. You must focus on what you do have as far as substance, as far as love, as far as beauty, as far as youth, as far as income and finances. By focusing on the glass half full - it will empty. Focus upon the full-ness of all things - not upon what you do not have, not upon what you do not want to experience.

Remember your awareness has a power. Your awareness has a specific laser beam type energy. Everything that you put your awareness upon is amplified. This is where I, Michael, ask you to turn your thinking. around and walk into the doorway of true empowerment. Where as once you opened a faucet by turning left - now you will open the faucet by turning right. This is another one of the adjustments that will be happening within the biological system and the energetic systems of the body. Your brain cannot understand this at this moment in time because it is illogical to it. But understand - there will be an unveiling of the sculpture of the new type of thinking. And it is in this new thinking that you will live. The old paradigm is collapsing. It cannot serve you. You can keep dialing the same number - but as you all are aware - you must add more to it now. The old no longer serves you. What you did for the last 20 years will not hold up. It will not work. The faucet of your life will not turn on in the same way it has before.

Listen to what works. Play with these truths I give you. Try them on. Eventually they will fit you.

At this time, I take your leave. I AM Michael and I bow to your Light. PlanetVisions - Update January 2000 - by Mark Krueger

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Very Interesting Piece of History

Here's a little part of US history, which makes you go h-m-m-m-m.

Abraham Lincoln was elected to Congress in 1846.
John F. Kennedy was elected to Congress in 1946.

Abraham Lincoln was elected President in 1860.
John F. Kennedy was elected President in 1960.

The names Lincoln and Kennedy each contain seven letters.
Both were particularly concerned with civil rights.
Both wives lost their children while living in the White
House.

Both Presidents were shot on a Friday.
Both Presidents were shot in the head.

Lincoln's secretary was named Kennedy.
Kennedy's secretary was named Lincoln.

Both were assassinated by Southerners.
Both were succeeded by Southerners.
Both successors were named Johnson.

Andrew Johnson, who succeeded Lincoln, was born in 1808.
Lyndon Johnson, who succeeded Kennedy, was born in 1908.

John Wilkes Booth, who assassinated Lincoln, was born in 1839.
Lee Harvey Oswald, who assassinated Kennedy, was born in 1939.

Both assassins were known by their three names.
Both names are comprised of fifteen letters.

Lincoln was shot at the theater named 'Kennedy.'
Kennedy was shot in a car called 'Lincoln.'

Booth ran from the theater and was caught in a warehouse. Oswald ran
From a warehouse and was caught in a theater.

Booth and Oswald were assassinated before their trials.

And here's the kicker...

A week before Lincoln was shot, he was in Monroe, Maryland.
A week before Kennedy was shot, he was in Marilyn Monroe.

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My wish for you…

We tried so hard to make things better for our kids that we made them worse. For my grandchildren, I'd like better. I'd really like for them to know about hand-me down clothes and homemade ice cream and leftover meatloaf sandwiches. I really would.

My cherished grandson, I hope you learn humility by being humiliated, and that you learn honesty by being cheated. I hope you learn to make your bed and mow the lawn and wash the car. And I really hope nobody gives you a brand new car when you are sixteen. I hope you have a job by then.

It will be good if at least one time you can see a baby calf born and your old dog put to sleep. I hope you get a black eye fighting for something you believe in. I hope you have to share a bedroom with your younger brother. And it's all right if you have to draw a line down the middle of the room, but when he wants to crawl under the covers with you because he's scared, I hope you let him.

When you want to see a Disney movie and your little brother wants to tag along, I hope you'll let him. I hope you have to walk uphill to school with your friends and that you live in a town where you can do it safely. On rainy days when you have to catch a ride I hope your driver doesn't have to drop you two blocks away so you won't be seen riding with someone as uncool as your mom.

If you want a slingshot, I hope your dad teaches you how to make one instead of buying one. I hope you learn to dig in the dirt and read books. When you learn to use those newfangled computers, I hope you also learn to add and subtract in your head. I hope you get razzed by your friends when you have your first crush on a girl, and when you talk back to your mother, that you learn what Ivory soap tastes like.

May you skin your knee climbing a mountain, burn your hand on the stove and stick your tongue on a frozen flagpole. I hope you get sick when someone blows cigar smoke in your face. I don't care if you try beer once, but I hope you don't like it. And if a friend offers you dope or a joint, I hope you realize he is not your friend.

I sure hope you make time to sit on a porch with your grandpa and go fishing with your uncle. May you feel sorrow at a funeral and the joy of holidays. I hope your mother punishes you when you throw a baseball through a neighbor's window and that she hugs you and kisses you at Christmas time when you give her a plaster of Paris mold of your hand.

These things I wish for you - tough times and disappointment, hard work and happiness. Are we friends or are we not? You told me once but I forgot. So tell me now and tell me true. So I can say....... "I'm here for you." Of all the friends I've ever met, you're the one I won't forget. And if I die before you do, I'll go to heaven and wait for you.

Send this to all of your friends that mean the most to you and let them know that they are your good friend!

"We secure our friends not by accepting favors but by doing them." By Paul Harvey

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I Am Thankful For...

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Portrait of a Son

A wealthy man and his son loved to collect rare works of art. They had everything in their collection from Rembrandt's to Van Gogh's. They would often sit together and admire the great works of art. When the Vietnam War broke out, the son went to war. He was very courageous and died while saving the life of another soldier. The father was notified and grieved deeply for his only son.

About a month later, around Christmas, there was a knock at the door. A young man stood at the door with a large package in his hands. He said, "Sir, you don't know me, but I am the soldier for whom your son gave his life. He saved the lives of many men that day, and he was carrying me to safety when a bullet struck him in the heart and he was killed instantly. He often talked about you and your love for art."

The young man held out his package. "I know this isn't much, and I'm not really a great artist, but I think your son would've wanted you to have this." The father opened the package. It was a portrait of his son painted by the young man. He stared in awe at the way the soldier had captured the personality of his son. The father was drawn to the eyes that his own eyes welled up with tears. He thanked the young man and offered to pay him for it. "Oh, no sir, I could never repay what your son did for me, its a gift."

The father hung the portrait over his mantle. Every time a visitor came, he directed them to the painting of his son, recounting the story, before taking them to see any other works of art.

The man died a few months later. There was to be a great auction of all his paintings. Many influential people gathered, excited to see the vast collections of Picassos and Raphaels the man had amassed and having the oppurtunity to bid on the collection. On the platform sat the painting of the son. The auctioneer pounded his gavel. "Who will start the bidding on the picture of the son? Who will bid for the son?"

There was silence. Then a voice from the back of the room said, "We want to see the famous paintings. Skip this one."

But the auctioneer persisted. "Who will start the bidding, $100, $200?"

Another voice shouted angrily. "We didn't come to see this painting. We came to see the Rembrandts and Van Gogh's. Get on with the real bids!"

But still the auctioneer continued. "The son, the son! Who will take the son?"

Finally, a voice came from the back of the room. It was the longtime gardener of the man. "I'll give $10 for the picture."

Being a poor man, it was all he could afford. "We have $10, who'll give $20?"

"Give it to him for $10. Let's see the masters!"

"$10 is the bid, won't someone bid $20?" The crowd was becoming angry. They didn't want the picture of the son They wanted the more worthy investments for their collections. The auctioneer pounded his gavel.

"Going once, going twice, sold for $10" A man on the front row shouted "Now lets get on with the collection"

The auctioneer laid down his gavel. "I'm sorry, the auction is over."

"What about the paintings?"

"I am sorry. When I was called to conduct this auction, I was told of a secret stipulation in the will. I was not allowed to reveal that stipulation until this time. Only the painting of the son would be auctioned. Whoever bought that painting would inherit the entire estate, including the valuable paintings. The man who took the son gets everything."

God gave his Son 2,000 years ago to die on a cruel cross. Much like the auctioneer, his message is, "The Son, the Son, who'll take the Son?" because, you see, whoever takes the Son, gets everything!

Author unknown

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Friendship & Love

I walked into the grocery store not particularly interested in buying groceries. I wasn't hungry. The pain of losing my husband of 37 years was still too raw. And this grocery store held so many sweet memories. Rudy often came with me - almost every time he'd pretend to go off and look for something special.

I knew what he was up to. I'd always spot him walking down the aisle with the three yellow roses in his hands. Rudy knew I loved yellow roses. With a heart filled with grief, I only wanted to buy my few items and leave, but even grocery shopping was different since Rudy had passed on. Shopping for one took time, a little more thought than it had for two. Standing by the meat, I searched for the perfect small steak and remembered how Rudy had loved his steak.

Suddenly a woman came beside me. She was blond, slim and lovely in a soft green pantsuit. I watched as she picked up a large pack of T-bones, dropped them in her basket, hesitated, and then put them back. She turned to go and once again reached for the pack of steaks. She saw me watching her and she smiled. "My husband loves T-bones, but honestly, at these prices, I don't know." I swallowed the emotion down my throat and met her pale blue eyes. My husband passed away eight days ago," I told her. Glancing at the package in her hands, I fought to control the tremble in my voice. "Buy him the steaks. And cherish every moment you have together." She shook her head and I saw the emotion in her eyes as she placed the package in her basket and wheeled away.

I turned and pushed my cart across the length of the store to the dairy products. There I stood, trying to decide which size milk I should buy. A quart, I finally decided and moved on to the ice cream section near the front of the store. If nothing else I could always fix myself an ice cream cone. I placed the ice cream in my cart and looked down the aisle toward the front. I saw first the green suit, then recognized the pretty lady coming towards me. In her arms she carried a package. On her face was the brightest smile I had ever seen. I would swear a soft halo encircled her blond hair as she kept walking toward me, her eyes holding mine. As she came closer, I saw what she held and tears began misting in my eyes. "These are for you," she said and placed three beautiful long stemmed yellow roses in my arms. "When you go through the line, they will know these are paid for." She leaned over and placed a gentle kiss on, my cheek, then smiled again.

I wanted to tell her what she'd done, what the roses meant, but still unable to speak, I watched as she walked away as tears clouded my vision. I looked down at the beautiful roses nestled in the green tissue wrapping and found it almost unreal. How did she know? Suddenly the answer seemed so clear. I wasn't alone. "Oh, Rudy, you haven't forgotten me, have you?" I whispered, with tears in my eyes. He was still with me, and she was his angel.

Everyday be thankful for what you have and who you are. This is a simple request. If you appreciate life, send this to your friends, including the person that sent it to you! Pass this on to the friends you know, it might help a bit to make this world a better place to live, right?

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Who You are Makes a Difference!

A teacher in New York decided to honor each of her seniors in high school by telling them the difference they each made.

She called each student to the front of the class, one at a time. First she told each of them how they had made a difference to her and the class. Then she presented each of them with a blue ribbon imprinted with gold letters, which read, "Who I Am Makes a Difference." Afterwards the teacher decided to do a class project to see what kind of impact recognition would have on a community.

She gave each of the students three more ribbons and instructed them to go out and spread this acknowledgment ceremony. Then they were to follow up on the results, see who honored whom and report back to the class in about a week.

One of the boys in the class went to a junior executive in a nearby company and honored him for helping him with his career planning. He gave him a blue ribbon and put it on his shirt. Then he gave him two extra ribbons and said, "We're doing a class project on recognition and we'd like you to go out, find somebody to honor, give them a blue ribbon, then give them the extra blue ribbon so they can acknowledge a third person to keep this acknowledgment ceremony going. Then please report back to me and tell me what happened.

Later that day the junior executive went in to see his boss, who had been noted, by the way, as being kind of a grouchy fellow. He sat his boss down and he told him that he deeply admired him for being a creative genius. The boss seemed very surprised. The junior executive asked him if he would accept the gift of the blue ribbon and would he give him permission to put it on him. His surprised boss said, "Well, sure." The junior executive took the blue ribbon and placed it right on his boss's jacket above his heart. As he gave him the last extra ribbon, he said, "Would you do me a favor? Would you take this extra ribbon and pass it on by honoring somebody else? The young boy who first gave me the ribbons is doing a project in school and we want to keep this recognition ceremony going and find out how it affects people.

That night the boss came home to his 14-year-old son and sat him down. He said, "The most incredible thing happened to me today. I was in my office and one of the junior executives came in and told me he admired me and gave me a blue ribbon for being a creative genius. Imagine. He thinks I'm a creative genius. Then he put this blue ribbon that says 'Who I Am Makes A Difference' on my jacket above my heart. He gave me an extra ribbon and asked me to find somebody else to honor. As I was driving home tonight, I started thinking about whom I would honor with this ribbon and I thought about you. I want to honor you. My days are really hectic and when I come home I don't pay a lot of attention to you. Sometimes I scream at you for not getting good enough grades in school and for your bedroom being a mess, but somehow tonight, I just wanted to sit here and, well, just let you know that you do make a difference to me. Besides your mother, you are the most important person in my life. You're a great kid and I love you!"

The startled boy started to sob and sob, and he couldn't stop crying. His whole body shook. He looked up at his father and said through his tears, "I was planning on committing suicide tomorrow, Dad, because I didn't think you loved me. Now, I know you care. This is the happiest day I've known."

The boss went back to work a changed man. He was no longer a grouch but made sure to let all his employees know that they made a difference. The junior executive helped several other young people with career planning and never forgot to let them know that they made a difference it his life...one being the bosses son. And the young boy and his classmates learned a valuable lesson. Who you are DOES make a difference.

You are under no obligation to send this on to anyone...not to two people or to two hundred. As far as I am concerned, you can delete it and move on to the next message. But if you have anyone who means a lot to you, I encourage you to send them this message and let them know. You never know what kind of difference a little encouragement can make to a person. Send it to all of the people who mean anything important to you, or send it to the one, two, or three people who mean the most. Or just smile and know that someone thinks that you are important, or you wouldn't have received this in the first place.

Remember that!

I give you a blue ribbon. Who you are makes a difference, and I wanted you to know that.

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Tommy

John Powell, a Professor at Loyola University in Chicago wrote the following about a student in his Theology of Faith class named Tommy.

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 first 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 lightly 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 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. I was 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 loves is living with God and God is living in him.' Tom, could I ask you a a favor? You know, when I had you in class you were a real pain. But (laughingly) 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 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."

hearts

Everyday is Special!

I ran into a stranger as he passed by.

"Oh, excuse me please" was my reply.

He said, "Please excuse me too;

wasn't even watching for you."

We were very polite, this stranger and I.

 

We went on our way and we said good-bye

But at home a different story is told,

How we treat our loved ones, young and old.

Later that day, cooking the evening meal,

My daughter stood beside me very still.

When I turned, I nearly knocked her down.

"Move out of the way," I said with a frown.

She walked away, her little heart broken.

I didn't realize how harshly I'd spoken.

 

While I lay awake in bed,

God's still small voice came to me and said,

"While dealing with a stranger

...common courtesy you use,

But the children you love, you seem to abuse.

Look on the kitchen floor,

You'll find some flowers there by the door.

Those are the flowers she brought for you.

She picked them herself, pink, yellow and blue.

She stood quietly not to spoil the surprise,

And you never saw the tears in her eyes."

 

By this time, I felt very small

And now my tears began to fall.

I quietly went and knelt by her bed;

"Wake up, little girl, wake up," I said.

"Are these the flowers you picked for me?"

She smiled, "I found 'em, out by the tree.

I picked 'em because they're pretty like you.

I knew you'd like 'em, especially the blue."

 

I said, "Daughter, I'm sorry for the way

I acted today;

I shouldn't have yelled at you that way."

She said, "Oh, Mom, that's okay. I love you anyway."

I said, "Daughter, I love you too,

and I do like the flowers, especially the blue."

 

Are you aware that: If we die tomorrow,

The company that we are working for

could easily replace us in a matter of days.

But the family we left behind

will feel the loss for the rest of their lives.

 

And come to think of it,

we pour ourselves more into work

than to our family -

an unwise investment indeed.

So what is behind the story?

You know what is the full word of family?

FAMILY = (F)ATHER (A)ND (M)OTHER, (I) (L)OVE (Y)OU ?

hearts

If I Had My Life To Live Over

(Written after she found out she had cancer.)

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for the day.

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.

I would have talked less and listened more.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained, or the sofa faded.

I would have eaten the popcorn in the 'good' living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television-and more while watching life.

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn't show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I'd have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, "Later. Now go get washed up for dinner."

There would have been more "I love you's." More "I'm sorry's"

But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute...look at it and really see it ... live it ... and never give it back.

Stop sweating the small stuff.

Don't worry about who doesn't like you, who has more, or who's doing what. Instead, let's cherish the relationships we have with those who do love us.

Let's think about what God HAS blessed us with. And what we are doing each day to promote ourselves mentally, physically, emotionally, as well as spiritually.

by Erma Bombeck

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Erma's Angel

I would have talked less and listened more.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded.

I would have eaten the popcorn in the "GOOD" living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.

I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more while watching life.

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for the day.

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn't show soil or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I'd have cherished every moment realizing that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, "Later. Now go get washed up for dinner."

There would have been more "I love you's" and more "I'm sorry's"

....but mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute.....look at it and really see it ... live it ... and never give it back.

In memory of Erma Bombeck who lost her fight with cancer.

Here is an angel sent to watch over you ...

 

*** (\ *** /) ***

*** ( \(_)/ ) ***

***  (_/ \_) ***

**** /___\ ****

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The Smell of Rain

A cold March wind danced around the dead of night in Dallas as the Doctor walked into the small hospital room of Diana Blessing. Still groggy from surgery, her husband David held her hand as they braced themselves for the latest news.

That afternoon of March 10, 1991, complications had forced Diana, only 24-weeks pregnant, to undergo an emergency cesarean to deliver the couple's new daughter, Danae Lu Blessing. At 12 inches long and weighing only one pound and nine ounces, they already knew she was perilously premature. Still, the doctor's soft words dropped like bombs. 'I don't think she's going to make it', he said, as kindly as he could. "There's only a 10-percent chance she will live through the night, and even then, if by some slim chance she does make it, her future could be a very cruel one".

Numb with disbelief, David and Diana listened as the doctor described the devastating problems Danae would likely face if she survived. She would never walk, she would never talk, she would probably be blind, and she would certainly be prone to other castrophic conditions from cerebral palsy to complete mental retardation, and on and on. "No! No!" was all Diana could say. She and David, with their 6 year-old son Dustin, had long dreamed of the day they would have a daughter to become a family of four. Now, within a matter of hours, that dream was slipping away.

Through the dark hours of morning as Danae held onto life by the thinnest thread, Diana slipped in and out of sleep, growing more and more determined that their tiny daughter would live-and live to be a healthy, happy young girl. But David, fully awake and listening to additional dire details of their daughter's chances of ever leaving the hospital alive, much less healthy, knew he must confront his wife with the inevitable. David walked in and said that we needed to talk about making funeral arrangements. Diana remembers 'I felt so bad for him because he was doing everything, trying to include me in what was going on, but I just wouldn't listen, I couldn't listen.' I said, "No, that is not going to happen, no way! I don't care what the doctors say; Danae is not going to die! One day she will be just fine, and she will be coming home with us!" As if willed to live by Diana's determination, Danae clung to life hour after hour, with the help of every medical machine and marvel her miniature body could endure. But as those first days passed, a new agony set in for David and Diana.

Because Danae's under developed nervous system was essentially 'raw,' the lightest kiss or caress only intensified her discomfort, so they couldn't even cradle their tiny baby girl against their chests to offer the strength of their love. All they could do, as Danae struggled alone beneath the ultraviolet light in the tangle of tubes and wires, was to pray that God would stay close to their precious little girl. There was never a moment when Danae suddenly grew stronger. But as the weeks went by, she did slowly gain an ounce of weight here and an ounce of strength there. At last, when Danae turned two months old, her parents were able to hold her in their arms for every first time. And two months later, though doctors continued to gently but grimly warn that her chances of surviving, much less living any kind of normal life, were next to zero. Danae went home from the hospital, just as her mother had predicted.

Today, five years later, Danae is a petite but feisty young girl with glittering gray eyes and an unquenchable zest for life. She shows no signs, what so ever, of mental or physical impairment. Simply, she is everything a little girl can be and more-but that happy ending is far from the end of her story.

One blistering afternoon in the summer of 1996 near her home in Irving, Texas, Danae was sitting in her mother's lap in the bleachers of a local ballpark where her brother Dustin's baseball team was practicing. As always, Danae was chattering non-stop with her mother and several other adults sitting nearby when she suddenly fell silent. Hugging her arms across her chest, Danae asked, "Do you smell that?" Smelling the air and detecting the approach of a thunder storm, Diana replied, "Yes, it smells like rain." Danae closed her eyes and again asked, "Do you smell that?" Once again, her mother replied, "Yes, I think we're about to get wet, it smells like rain. Still caught in the moment, Danae shook her head, patted her thin shoulders with her small hands and loudly announced, "No, it smells like Him. It smells like God when you lay your head on His chest." Tears blurred Diana's eyes as Danae then happily hopped down to play with the other children. Before the rains came, her daughter's words confirmed what Diana and all the members of the extended Blessing family had known, at least in their hearts, all along. During those long days and nights of her first two months of her life, when her nerves were too sensitive for them to touch her, God was holding Danae on His chest and it is His loving scent that she remembers so well.

hearts

A Must Read ...

I am sending this as important information. Many of you may already be enlightened, others might wish to share this with loved ones, and some are in positions of working within human services and/or teaching that might find it helpful to pass on. I received this from a dear friend.

Dear friends and family, I am creating this message for those people in my life who I love and care for, and I hope you all take it very seriously. Last night I attended a personal safety workshop, and it jolted me. It was given by an amazing man, Pat Malone, who has been a bodyguard for famous figures like Farrah Fawcett and Sylvester Stallone. He works for the FBI, and teaches police officers and Navy SEALS hand to hand combat. This man has seen it all, and knows a lot. He focused his teachings to us on HOW TO AVOID BEING THE VICTIM OF A VIOLENT CRIME.

He gave us some statistics about how much the occurances of random violence have escalated over the recent years, and it's terrible. Something like 99% of us will be exposed/a victim of a violent crime. Here are some of the most important points that I got out of his presentation:

The three reasons women are easy targets for random acts of violence are:

Women have a tendency to get into their cars after shopping, eating, working, etc, and just sit (doing their checkbook, or making a list, etc). DON'T DO THIS! The predator will be watching you, and this is the perfect opportunity for him to get in the passenger side, put a gun to your head, and tell you where to go. AS SOON AS YOU GET INTO YOUR CAR, LOCK THE DOORS AND LEAVE.

A few notes about getting into your car in a parking lot, or parking garage:

Always take the elevator instead of the stairs. (Stairwells are horrible places to be alone.)

As women, we are always trying to be sympathetic: STOP IT, it may get you raped, or killed.

Tips to saving your life, if you have gotten into a violent situation:

Always keep your distance when walking past strangers on the street or in dark areas.

GET A CELL PHONE.

BREAK DOWNS: (avoid this by ALWAYS keeping your car in good working order)

Physical defenses that we can use against the violent predator:

If you are walking alone in the dark (which you shouldn't be) and you find him following/chasing you

1. Scream "FIRE!", and not "help". People don't want to get involved when people yell "help", but "fire" draws attention because people are nosy.

2. RUN!

3. Find an obstacle, such as a parked car, and run around it, like ring around the rosie.

Never let yourself or anyone that you know be a "closer" in any type of business (bar, store, restaurant, gas station) * Pat knew Danielle, who was the girl from Chesterland that just died from being shot point-blank by some kids while she was closing at the local gas station. He talked with her the night before she died, and asked whether it ever scared her to close alone. She said yes, but said "I'll be alright, Pat. I'll be alright." She wasn't. I didn't mean to scare you with any of this, but honestly, I hope it did. It should.

Our world is not as safe as we pretend that it is, and living in our fantasy worlds WILL get us in trouble, sooner or later. "It won't happen to me" doesn't cut it, and is a bogus expectation anyway. Pat Malone said again and again that the women who die EVERY MINUTE from violent crimes expected to go to bed tonight, and get up tomorrow, and do it all over again, and again, and again. No one expects it, but we must be prepared and aware so that we HAVE A PLAN. I would encourage you to pass this on to all women, not just your friends and family, but everybody. We all need to hear it.

hearts

Funny or Not?

In Brooklyn, New York, Chush is a school that caters to learning disabled children. Some children remain in Chush for their entire school career, while others can be mainstreamed into conventional schools. At a Chush fund-raising dinner, the father of a Chush child delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended.

After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he cried out, "Where is the perfection in my son Shaya? Everything God does is done with perfection. But my child cannot understand things as other children do. My child cannot remember facts and figures as other children do.

Where is God's perfection?"

The audience was shocked by the question, pained by the father's anguish and stilled by the piercing query. "I believe," the father answered, that when God brings a child like this into the world, the perfection that he seeks is in the way people react to this child." He then told the following story about his son Shaya:

One afternoon Shaya and his father walked past a park where some boys Shaya knew were playing baseball. Shaya asked, "Do you think they will let me play?" Shaya's father knew that his son was not at all athletic and that most boys would not want him on their team. But Shaya's father understood that if his son was chosen to play it would give him a comfortable sense of belonging. Shaya's father approached one of the boys in the field and asked if Shaya could play. The boy looked around for guidance from his team-mates. 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."

Shaya's father was ecstatic as Shaya smiled broadly. Shaya was told to put on a glove and go out to play short center field. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shaya's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shaya's team scored again and now with two outs and the bases loaded with the potential winning run on base, Shaya was scheduled to be up. Would the team actually let Shaya bat at this juncture and give away their chance to win the game? Surprisingly, Shaya was given the bat. Everyone knew that it was all but impossible because Shaya didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, let alone hit with it. However as Shaya stepped up to the plate, the pitcher moved a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shaya should at least be able to make contact. The first pitch came in and Shaya swung clumsily and missed.

One of Shaya's team-mates came up to Shaya and together the held the bat and faced the pitcher waiting for the next pitch. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly toward Shaya. As the pitch came in, Shaya and his team-mate swung at the bat and together they 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. Shaya 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, "Shaya, run to first. Run to first." Never in his life had Shaya run to first. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled. By the time he reached first base, the right fielder had the ball. He could have thrown the ball to the second baseman who would tag out Shaya, who was still running. But the right fielder understood what the pitcher's intentions were, so he threw the ball high and far over the third baseman's head. Everyone yelled, "Run to second, run to second." Shaya ran towards second base as the runners ahead of him deliriously circled the bases towards home. As Shaya reached second base, the opposing short stop ran to him, turned him in the direction of third base and shouted, "Run to third." As Shaya rounded third, the boys from both teams ran behind him screaming, "Shaya run for home." Shaya ran home, stepped on home plate and all 18 boys lifted him on their shoulders and made him the hero, as he had just hit a "grand slam" and won the game for his team.

"That day," said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, "those 18 boys reached their level of God's perfection."

Funny how this is so true and shame on us! Funny how you can send a thousand 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding something good, people think twice about sharing. Funny how the lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene pass freely through cyberspace, but when you go to forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it to them. Funny how one can be more worried about what other people think of them than what God thinks of them.

Funny isn't it?!

hearts

Something to think about...

It was one of the hottest days of the dry season,

We had not seen rain in almost a month. The crops were dying. Cows had stopped giving milk. The creeks and streams were long gone back into the earth. It was a dry season that would bankrupt several farmers before it was through.

Every day, my husband and his brothers would go about the arduous process of trying to get water to the fields. But severe rationing had cut everyone off, and if we didn't see some rain soon...we would lose everything.

I was in the kitchen making lunch for my husband and his brothers when I saw my six-year old son, Billy, walking toward the woods. He wasn't walking with the usual carefree abandon of a youth but with a serious purpose. I could only see his back. He was obviously walking with a great effort...trying to be as still as possible. Minutes after he disappeared into the woods, he came running out again, toward the house.

I went back to making sandwiches; thinking that whatever task he had been doing was completed. Then a few minutes later, I spotted him walking in that slow purposeful stride toward the woods again. Then, he ran back towards the house After his sixth or seventh trip (I actually lost count), I couldn't take it any longer. I crept out of the house and followed him on his journey being very careful not to be seen...as he was obviously doing important work and didn't need his Mommy checking up on him.

He was cupping both hands in front of him as he walked; being very careful not to spill the water he held in them...maybe two or three tablespoons were held in his tiny hands. I sneaked close as he went into the woods. Branches and thorns slapped his little face but he did not try to avoid them. He had a much higher purpose. As I leaned in to spy on him, I saw the most amazing site. Several large deer loomed in front of him. Billy walked right up to them. I almost screamed for him to get away. A huge buck with elaborate antlers was dangerously close. But the buck did not threaten him...he didn't even move as Billy knelt down. And I saw a tiny fawn laying on the ground, obviously suffering from dehydration and heat exhaustion, lift its head with great effort to lap up the water cupped in my beautiful boy's hand. When the water was gone, Billy jumped up to run back to the house and I hid behind a tree.

I followed him back to the house, to a spigot that we we had shut off weeks ago. Billy opened it all the way up and a small trickle began to creep out. He knelt there, letting the drip drip slowly fill up his makeshift "cup", as the sun beat down on his little back. It took almost five minutes for the drops to fill his hands. When he stood up and began the trek back, I was there in front of him.

His little eyes just filled with tears. "I'm not wasting", was all he said. As he began his walk, I joined him...with a small pot of water from the kitchen. I let him tend to the fawn. I stayed away. It was his job. I stood on the edge of the woods watching the most beautiful heart I have ever known working so hard to save another life. As the tears that rolled down my face began to hit the ground, they were suddenly joined by other drops...and more drops...and more. I looked up at the sky. It was as if God, himself, was weeping with pride.

God's Work on this planet is accomplished by those who have the vision to look beyond just their own wants and see the "needs of others." God's blessings go to those who have the courage to contribute to those needs, without judgment or attachment, and know that having been chosen for this opportunity, is the Greatest Gift of All.

By Jack Schafer

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Inspired

Inspired this morning while reading from Sarah Ban Breathnach's new book, SIMPLE ABUNDANCE COMPANION:

Perfectionism is a disease of low self-esteem. Perfectionism is a version of self-loathing. On the seventh day, God did not say, "And it is perfect." He declared, "It is very good." Perfection does not exist in the physical plane.

When we were young, nothing we ever did was good enough, so we just kept on doing until doing was all we could do. When doing more and more didn't make a difference, we wondered if perhaps doing our work perfectly would make the mark. When we got all A's, suddenly voices other than our own sang our praises and for one minute we rested. But when the praise stopped we committed to setting in motion a cycle of self-destruction instigated by the silence of others.

When have you worked and worked on something purely for the praise it brought you from others? How did that feel? How can you change your behavior to reflect self-congratulation and pride instead of focusing on and needing the admiration of others?

How can you reject the perfect and find happiness in flashes of the attainable? Life becomes joyful when we see reality perfected, not perfection.

When you discover who your really are, you realize that being your glorious self is better than being good enough. Breaking the perfectionist habit one never becomes cured, one is always recovering. How much of your life is frittered away by the neurotic insistence on perfection? Learning to let go means leaving space in our life, work, attitude, and expectation for the subtle nuances of Spirit.

hearts

I've learned....

I've learned.... that the best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.

I've learned.... that when you're in love, it shows.

I've learned.... that just one person saying to me, "You've made my day!" makes my day.

I've learned.... that having a child fall asleep in your arms is one of the most peaceful feelings in the world.

I've learned.... that being kind is more important than being right.

I've learned.... that you should never say no to a gift from a child.

I've learned.... that I can always pray for someone when I don't have the strength to help him in some other way.

I've learned.... that no matter how serious your life requires you to be, everyone needs a friend to act goofy with.

I've learned.... that sometimes all a person needs is a hand to hold and a heart to understand.

I've learned.... that life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.

I've learned.... that we should be glad we don't get everything we ask for.

I've learned.... that money doesn't buy class.

I've learned.... that it's those small daily happenings that make life so spectacular.

I've learned.... that under everyone's hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved.

I've learned.... that the Lord didn't do it all in one day. What makes me think I can?

I've learned.... that to ignore the facts does not change the facts.

I've learned.... that when you plan to get even with someone, you are only letting that person continue to hurt you.

I've learned.... that love, not time, heals all wounds.

I've learned.... that the easiest way for me to grow as a person is to surround myself with people smarter than I am.

I've learned.... that everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile.

I've learned.... that no one is perfect until you fall

I've learned.... that life is tough, but I'm tougher.

I've learned.... that opportunities are never lost; someone will take the ones you miss.

I've learned.... that when you harbor bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere.

I've learned.... that one should keep his words both soft and tender, because tomorrow he may have to eat them.

I've learned.... that a smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.

I've learned.... that I can't choose how I feel, but I can choose what I do about it.

I've learned.... that when your newly born grandchild holds your little finger in his little fist, that you're hooked for life.

I've learned.... that everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you're climbing it.

I have also learned.... that I have a wealth of good friends... and my life would be a terrible place to live without them.

hearts

Prayer in the Classroom

A pastor read a letter from an elementary school teacher who attended East Hill Church. The gist of the letter was as follows:

Last school year, her classroom was made up of little third graders, every one of which came from either a single parent family, or a dysfunctional family, was undernourished and/or uncared for, lived in an abusive home and was either beaten, bruised, or raped by other family members; one little girl's dad died of aids, and the list goes on. Her heart bled for these kids.

Before the '99-2000 school year started, she and her husband went to her classroom and prayed over each desk in the room. They prayed that God would place an angel behind each and every child throughout the coming year to watch over them and protect them.

A month or so after the year had started, she gave the kids an assignment to write about what they would like to be when they grew up. Everybody was busy with his or her assignment, when Andrew raised his hand. When she asked him what he needed, he asked how to spell "mighty." After telling him how to spell mighty, she asked him why he needed to know. Andrew said it was because when he grew up he wanted to be a "mighty man of God."

When he said this, little Mark sitting next to him asked, "So, what's a mighty man of God?" The teacher, swallowing back her tears, and knowing she could not say anything in the classroom, told Andrew to go ahead and tell Mark what it was.

So Andrew says, "It's a man who puts on the armor of God and is a soldier for God." After observing some conversation between Andrew and Mark, the teacher, with a lump in her throat, started to walk away when Andrew motioned with his little forefinger for her to come closer. He whispered to her, asking if she believed in angels. She told him yes, she did. Then he asked her if she thought people could see angels, and she said she thought some people probably could. Andrew said that he did, and he could see an angel standing behind each kid in the room …

I don't think there was a dry eye in the church that night! We need to remember to pray for all of the teachers, that although there is no prayer in school, that they are dedicated enough to pray for the protection of God's angels over the lives of their students. Maybe it wouldn't hurt, even at work.

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Don’t Miss Out

I have a new delightful friend,

I'm almost in awe of her;

When we first met I was impressed,

By her bizarre behavior.

That day I had a date with friends,

We met to have some lunch;

Mae had come along with them,

All in all ... a pleasant bunch.

When the menus were presented,

We ordered salads, sandwiches, and soups;

Except for Mae who circumvented,

And said, "Ice-cream, please. Two scoops."

I was not sure my ears heard right,

And the others were aghast;

"Along with heated apple pie,"

Mae smiled, completely unabashed.

We tried to act quite nonchalant,

As if people did this all the time;

But when our orders were brought out,

I did not enjoy mine.

I could not take my eyes off Mae,

As her pie ala-mode went down;

The other ladies showed dismay,

They ate their lunches, and they frowned.

Well, the next time I went out to eat,

I called and invited Mae;

My lunch contained white tuna meat,

She ordered a parfait.

I smiled when her dish I viewed,

She asked if she amused me;

I answered, "Yes, you do,

And you also do confuse me."

"How come you order rich desserts

When I feel I must be sensible?"

She laughed and said, with wanton mirth,

"I am tasting all that's possible."

"I try to eat the food I need,

And do the things I should;

But life's so short, my friend, indeed,

I hate missing out on something good."

"This year I realized I was old,"

She grinned, "I've not been this old before;

So, before I die, I've got to try,

Those things for years I have ignored.

"I've not smelled all the flowers yet,

And too many books I have not read;

There's more fudge sundaes to woof down,

And kites to be flown overhead."

"There's many malls I have not shopped,

I've not laughed at all the jokes;

I've missed a lot of Broadway Hits,

And potato chips and cokes."

"I want to wade again in water,

And feel ocean spray upon my face;

Sit in a country church once more,

And thank God for His grace."

"I want peanut butter every day,

Spread on my morning toast;

I want un-timed long-distance calls,

To the folks I love the most."

"I've not cried at all the movies yet,

Nor walked in the morning rain;

I need to feel wind in my hair,

I want to fall in love again."

"So, if I choose to have dessert,

Instead of having dinner;

If I should die before nightfall,

You'd have to say I died a winner."

"That I missed out on nothing,

That I had my heart's desire;

That I had that final chocolate mousse,

Before my life expired."

With that, I called the waitress over,

"I've changed my mind, it seems;"

I said, "I want what she is having,

Only add some more whipped-cream!"

hearts

Dance Like Nobody's Watching

My brother-in-law opened the bottom drawer of my sister's bureau and lifted out a tissue- wrapped package. "This," he said, "is not a slip. This is lingerie." He discarded the tissue and handed me the slip. It was exquisite; silk, handmade and trimmed with a cobweb of lace. The price tag with an astronomical figure on it was still attached. "Jan bought this the first time we went to New York, at least 8 or 9 years ago. She never wore it. She was saving it for a special occasion. Well, I guess this is the occasion." He took the slip from me and put it on the bed with the other clothes we were taking to the mortician.

His hands lingered on the soft material for a moment, then he slammed the drawer shut and turned to me. "Don't ever save anything for a special occasion. Every day you're alive is a special occasion.

I remembered those words through the funeral and the days that followed when I helped him and my niece attend to all the sad chores that follow an unexpected death. I thought about them on the plane returning to California from the Midwestern town where my sister's family lives. I thought about all the things that she hadn't seen or heard or done. I thought about the things that she had done without realizing that they were special.

I'm still thinking about his words, and they've changed my life. I'm reading more and dusting less. I'm sitting on the deck and admiring the view without fussing about the weeds in the garden. I'm spending more time with my family and friends and less time in committee meetings.

Whenever possible, life should be a pattern of experience to savor, not endure. I'm trying to recognize these moments now and cherish them. I'm not "saving" anything; we use our good china and crystal for every special event-such as losing a pound, getting the sink unstopped, the first camellia blossom. I wear my good blazer to the market if I like it. My theory is if I look prosperous, I can shell out $28.49 for one small bag of groceries without wincing. I'm not saving clerks in hardware stores and tellers in banks have noses that function as well as my party-going friends. "Someday" and "one of these days" are losing their grip on my vocabulary. If it's worth seeing or hearing or doing, I want to see and hear and do it now.

I'm not sure what my sister would've done had she known that she wouldn't be here for the tomorrow we all take for granted. I think she would have called family members and a few close friends. She might have called a few former friends to apologize and mend fences for past squabbles. I like to think she would have gone out for a Chinese dinner, her favorite food. I'm guessing -I'll never know.

It's those little things left undone that would make me angry if I knew that my hours were limited. Angry because I put off seeing good friends whom I was going to get in touch with someday. Angry because I hadn't written certain letters that I intended to write - one of these days. Angry and sorry that I didn't tell my husband often enough how much I truly love him. I'm trying very hard not to put off, hold back, or save anything that would add laughter and luster to our lives. And every morning when I open my eyes, I tell myself that it is special. Every day, every minute, every breath truly is a gift from God.

You've got to dance like nobody's watching, and love like it's never going to hurt.... "People say true friends must always hold hands, but true friends don't need to hold hands because they know the other hand will always be there."

Enjoy the moment!

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Guardian Angel

A sensitive Norwegian poet, Rolf Jacobsen, wrote this beautiful poem - it deserves to be read slowly and lovingly...

I am the bird that knocks at your window in the morning and your companion, whom you cannot know, the blossoms that light up for the blind.

I am the glacier's crest above the forests, the dazzling one and the brass voices from the cathedral towers. The thought that suddenly comes over you at mid-day and fills you with singular happiness.

I am one you have loved long ago, I walked alongside you by day and look intently at you and put my mouth on your heart but you don't know it.

I am your third arm and your second shadow, the white one, whom you don't have the heart for and who cannot ever forget you.

We all have our own connection to that invisible part of us. There is much more to life than simply living out our days as form, and then disappearing into an abyss of infinite nothingness. Our thoughts are a magic part of us, and they can carry us to places that have no boundaries and no limitations. In that dimensionless world of thought everything is possible.

It demands nothing of you, this awakened life, only that you fill yourself with the life energy that makes the dynamic work, and that you celebrate the invisible part of you as well as the visible. Let these ideas in and simply see where they lead you.

As you do:

Remember, you do not have to struggle... You do not have to fight... You do not have to win... You only have to Know.

NAMASTE: I celebrate the place IN you where we are all one.

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A Baby's Hug

We were the only family with children in the restaurant. I sat Erik in a high chair and noticed everyone was quietly sitting and talking.

Suddenly, Erik squealed with glee and said, "Hi." He pounded his fat baby hands on the high chair tray. His eyes were crinkled in laughter and his mouth was bared in a toothless grin, as he wriggled and giggled with merriment.

I looked around and saw the source of his merriment. It was a man whose pants were baggy with a zipper at half-mast and his toes poked out of would-be shoes. His shirt was dirty and his hair was uncombed and unwashed. His whiskers were too short to be called a beard and his nose was so varicose it looked like a road map. We were too far from him to smell, but I was sure he smelled. His hands waved and flapped on loose wrists.

"Hi there, baby Hi there, big boy. I see ya, buster," the man said to Erik.

My husband and I exchanged looks, "What do we do?"

Erik continued to laugh and answer, "Hi"

Everyone in the restaurant noticed and looked at us and then at the man. The old geezer was creating a nuisance with my beautiful baby.

Our meal came and the man began shouting from across the room, "Do ya patty cake? Do you know peek-a-boo? Hey, look, he knows peek-a-boo."

Nobody thought the old man was cute. He was obviously drunk.

My husband and I were embarrassed. We ate in silence; all except for Erik, who was running through his repertoire for the admiring skidrow bum, who in turn, reciprocated with his cute comments. We finally got through the meal and headed for the door.

My husband went to pay the check and told me to meet him in the parking lot.

The old man sat poised between me and the door. "Lord, just let me out of here before he speaks to me or Erik," I prayed. As I drew closer to the man, I turned my back trying to sidestep him and avoid any air he might be breathing. As I did, Erik leaned over my arm, reaching with both arms in a baby's "pick-me-up" position. Before I could stop him, Erik had propelled himself from my arms to the man's.

Suddenly a very old smelly man and a very young baby consummated their love and kinship. Erik in an act of total trust, love, and submission laid his tiny head upon the man's ragged shoulder. The man's eyes closed, and I saw tears hover beneath his lashes. His aged hands full of grime, pain, and hard labor, cradled my baby's bottom and stroked his back.

No two beings have ever loved so deeply for so short a time. I stood awestruck. The old man rocked and cradled Erik in his arms and his eyes opened and set squarely on mine. He said in a firm commanding voice, "You take care of this baby."

Somehow I managed, "I will," from a throat that contained a stone.

He pried Erik from his chest, lovingly and longingly, as though he were in pain I received my baby, and the man said, "God bless you, ma'am, you've given me my Christmas gift." I said nothing more than a muttered thanks.

With Erik in my arms, I ran for the car. My husband was wondering why I was crying and holding Erik so tightly, and why I was saying, "My God, my God, forgive me."

I had just witnessed Christ's love shown through the innocence of a tiny child who saw no sin, who made no judgment; a child who saw a soul, and a mother who saw a suit of clothes. I was a Christian who was blind, holding a child who was not.

I felt it was God asking, "Are you willing to share your son for a moment?" when He shared His for all eternity. The ragged old man, unwittingly, had reminded me, "To enter the Kingdom of God , we must become as little children."

(Author Unknown)

If you know the author, please let us know - so, that we can give proper credit.

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THE FAIRY'S NEW YEAR GIFT

Two little boys were at play one day when a Fairy suddenly appeared before them and said: "I have been sent to give you New Year presents." She handed to each child a package, and in an instant was gone.

Carl and Philip opened the packages and found in them two beautiful books, with pages as pure and white as the snow when it first falls. Many months passed and the Fairy came again to the boys. "I have brought you each another book?" said she, "and will take the first ones back to Father Time who sent them to you."

"May I not keep mine a little longer?" asked Philip. "I have hardly thought about it lately. I 'd like to paint something on the last leaf that lies open."

"No," said the Fairy; "I must take it just as it is." "I wish that I could look through mine just once," said Carl; "I have only seen one page at a time, for when the leaf turns over it sticks fast, and I can never open the book at more than one place each day." "You shall look at your book," said the Fairy, "and Philip, at his." And she lit for them two little silver lamps, by the light of which they saw the pages as she turned them.

The boys looked in wonder. Could it be that these were the same fair books she had given them a year ago? Where were the clean, white pages, as pure and beautiful as the snow when it first falls? Here was a page with ugly, black spots and scratches upon it; while the very next page showed a lovely little picture. Some pages were decorated with gold and silver and gorgeous colors, others with beautiful flowers, and still others with a rainbow of softest, most delicate brightness. Yet even on the most beautiful of the pages there were ugly blots and scratches.

Carl and Philip looked up at the Fairy at last. " Who did this?" they asked. "Every page was white and fair as we opened to it; yet now there is not a single blank place in the whole book!"

"Shall I explain some of the pictures to you?" said the Fairy, smiling at the two little boys.

"See, Philip, the spray of roses blossomed on this page when you let the baby have your playthings; and this pretty bird, that looks as if it were singing with all its might, would never have been on this page if you had not tried to be kind and pleasant the other day, instead of quarreling."

"But what makes this blot?" asked Philip.

"That," said the Fairy sadly; "that came when you told an untruth one day, and this when you did not mind mamma. All these blots and scratches that look so ugly, both in your book and in Carl's, were made when you were naughty. Each pretty thing in your books came on its page when you were good."

"Oh, if we could only have the books again!" said Carl and Philip.

"That cannot be," said the Fairy. "See! they are dated for this year, and they must now go back into Father Time's bookcase, but I have brought you each a new one. Perhaps you can make these more beautiful than the others."

So saying, she vanished, and the boys were left alone, but each held in his hand a new book open at the first page.

And on the back of this book was written in letters of gold, "For the New Year."

Author Unknown - if you know the name of the author, please let us know so we can give proper credit

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Why I am a Professional Santa

Always believe in MIRACLES!!

Three years ago, a little boy and his grandmother came to see Santa at Mayfair Mall in Wisconsin. The child climbed up on his lap, holding a picture of a little girl. "Who is this?"  asked Santa, smiling, "Your friend? Your sister?"

"Yes, Santa," he replied. "My sister, Sarah, who is very sick," he said sadly.

Santa glanced over at the grandmother who was waiting nearby, and saw her dabbing her eyes with a tissue.  "She wanted to come with me to see you, oh, so very much, Santa!" the child exclaimed. "She misses you," he added softly.  Santa tried to be cheerful and encouraged a smile to the boy's face, asking him what he wanted Santa to bring him for Christmas. When they finished their visit, the Grandmother came over to help the child off his lap, and started to say something to Santa, but halted. "What is it?" Santa asked warmly.

"Well, I know it's really too much to ask you, Santa, but ." the old woman began, shooing her grandson over to one of Santa's elves to collect the little gift which Santa gave all his young visitors. "The girl in the photograph... my granddaughter well, you see ... she has leukemia and isn't expected to make it even through the holidays," she said through tear-filled eyes. "Is there any way, Santa . any possible way that you could come see Sarah? That's all she's asked for, for Christmas, is to see Santa."

Santa blinked and swallowed hard and told the woman to leave information with his elves as to where Sarah was, and he would see what he could do.  Santa thought of little else the rest of that afternoon. He knew what he had to do. "What if it were MY child lying in that hospital bed, dying," he thought with a sinking heart, "this is the least I can do."

When Santa finished visiting with all the boys and girls that evening, he retrieved from his helper the name of the hospital where Sarah was staying.  He asked the assistant location manager how to get to Children's Hospital.

"Why?" Rick asked, with a puzzled look on his face.

Santa relayed to him the conversation with Sarah's grandmother earlier that day. "C'mon.... I'll take you there," Rick said softly.  Rick drove them to the hospital and came inside with Santa. They found out which room Sarah was in. A pale Rick said he would wait out in the hall.

Santa quietly peeked into the room through the half-closed door and saw little Sarah on the bed. The room was full of what appeared to be her family; there was the Grandmother and the girl's brother he had met earlier that day. A woman whom he guessed was Sarah's mother stood by the bed, gently pushing Sarah's thin hair off her forehead. And another woman who he discovered later was Sarah's aunt, sat in a chair near the bed with a weary, sad look on her face. They were talking quietly, and Santa could sense the warmth and closeness of the family, and their love and concern for Sarah.

Taking a deep breath, and forcing a smile on his face, Santa entered the room, bellowing a hearty, "Ho, ho, ho!"

"Santa!" shrieked little Sarah weakly, as she tried to escape her bed to run to him, IV tubes intact. Santa rushed to her side and gave her a warm hug.  A child the tender age of his own son -- 4 years old -- gazed up at him with wonder and excitement. Her skin was pale and her short tresses bore telltale bald patches from the effects of chemotherapy. But all he saw when he looked at her was a pair of huge, blue eyes. His heart melted, and he had to force himself to choke back tears. Though his eyes were riveted upon Sarah's face, he could hear the gasps and quiet sobbing of the women in the room.

As he and Sarah began talking, the family crept quietly to the bedside one by one, squeezing Santa's shoulder or his hand gratefully, whispering "thank you" as they gazed sincerely at him with shining eyes. Santa and Sarah talked and talked, and she told him excitedly all the toys she wanted for Christmas, assuring him she'd been a very good girl that year. As their time together dwindled, Santa felt led in his spirit to pray for Sarah, and asked for permission from the girl's mother. She nodded in agreement and the entire family circled around Sarah's bed, holding hands. Santa looked intensely at Sarah and asked her if she believed in angels.

"Oh, yes, Santa... I do!" she exclaimed.

"Well, I'm going to ask that angels watch over you, "he said. Laying one hand on the child's head, Santa closed his eyes and prayed. He asked that God touch little Sarah, and heal her body from this disease. He asked that angels minister to her, watch and keep her. And when he finished praying, still with eyes closed, he started singing softly, "Silent Night, Holy Night.... all is calm, all is bright." The family joined in, still holding hands, smiling at Sarah, and crying tears of hope, tears of joy for this moment, as Sarah beamed at them all. When the song ended, Santa sat on the side of the bed again and held Sarah's frail, small hands in his own.

"Now, Sarah, "he said authoritatively, "you have a job to do, and that is to concentrate on getting well. I want you to have fun playing with your friends this summer, and I expect to see you at my house at Mayfair Mall this time next year!" He knew it was risky proclaiming that, to this little girl who had terminal cancer, but he "had" to. He had to give her the greatest gift he could -- not dolls or games or toys -- but the gift of HOPE.

"Yes, Santa! "Sarah exclaimed, her eyes bright.

He leaned down and kissed her on the forehead and left the room. Out in the hall, the minute Santa's eyes met Rick's, a look passed between them and they wept unashamed. Sarah's mother and grandmother slipped out of the room quickly and rushed to Santa's side to thank him.  "My only child is the same age as Sarah," he explained quietly. "This is the least I could do." They nodded with understanding and hugged him.

One year later, Santa was again back on the set in Milwaukee for his six-week, seasonal job which he so loves to do. Several weeks went by and then one day a child came up to sit on his lap. "Hi, Santa! Remember me?!"

"Of course, I do," Santa proclaimed (as he always does), smiling down at her.  After all, the secret to being a "good" Santa is to always make each child feel as if they are the "only" child in the world at that moment.

"You came to see me in the hospital last year!" Santa's jaw dropped.

Tears immediately sprang in his eyes, and he grabbed this little miracle and held her to his chest. "Sarah!" he exclaimed. He scarcely recognized her, for her hair was long and silky and her cheeks were rosy -- much different from the little girl he had visited just a year before. He looked over and saw Sarah's mother and grandmother in the sidelines smiling and waving and wiping their eyes.

That was the best Christmas ever for Santa Claus. He had witnessed --and been blessed to be instrumental in bringing about -- this miracle of hope.  This precious little child was healed. Cancer-free. Alive and well. He silently looked up to Heaven and humbly whispered, "Thank you, Father. 'Tis a very, Merry Christmas!

If you believe in miracles you will pass this on...I did!  The highest courage is to dare to be yourself in the face of adversity. Choosing right over wrong, ethics over convenience, and truth over popularity... These are the choices that measure your life. Travel the path of integrity without looking back, for there is never a wrong time to do the right thing.

by Dave Downing - A professional Santa

hearts

Pork Chops

Pork Chops

In a zoo in California , a mother tiger gave birth to a rare set of triplet tiger cubs. Unfortunately, due to complications in the pregnancy, the cubs were born prematurely and due to their tiny size, they died shortly after birth. The mother tiger after recovering from the delivery, suddenly started to decline in health, although physically she was fine. The veterinarians felt that the loss of her litter had caused the tigress to fall into a depression. The doctors decided that if the tigress could surrogate another mother's cubs, perhaps she would improve. After checking with many other zoos across the country, the depressing news was that there were no tiger cubs of the right age to introduce to the mourning mother. The veterinarians decided to try something that had never been tried in a zoo environment. Sometime s a mother of one species will take on the care of a different species. The only 'orphans' that could be found quickly, were a litter of weanling pigs. The zoo keepers and vets wrapped the piglets in tiger skin and placed t he babies around the mother tiger. Would they become cubs or pork chops? Take a look...

Pork Chops

Pork Chops

Pork Chops

Now, please tell me one more time . . .?   Why can't the rest of the world get along?

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Tiny Deer

This tiny deer was delivered by Caesarean section at a wildlife hospital after his mother was killed by a car. Little Rupert, who is so small he can fit in an adult¢s hand, was born after vets failed in their battle to save his mother.

baby deer

At just six inches tall and weighing just over a pound, he is now in an incubator in the intensive care unit at Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital in Buckinghamshire. He has only recently opened his eyes. Les Stocker, founder of Tiggywinkles, said: Rupert's mother had very severe injuries. We brought him out and got him breathing and then he went into an incubator on oxygen. He is now being fed by a tube.

baby deer

baby deer

Tucked up: Rupert in an incubator

baby deer

Rupert pulls a striking pose for the camera Staff are optimistic Rupert, now five days old, will make a full recovery.

Deer are very, very tricky but this one has spirit. He's an extremely feisty little guy and quite pushy, Mr Stocker said.

baby deer

Asleep: Rupert takes 40 winks

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3 Grandma's

three grandmas

Three mischievous Grandmas were sitting on a bench outside a nursing home when a Grandpa walked by. And one of the Grandmas yelled out saying, "We bet we can tell exactly how old you are."

Three Grandmas

The old man said, "There is no way you can guess it, you old fools." One of the Grandmas said, "Sure we can! Just drop your pants and under shorts and we can tell your exact age." Embarrassed just a little, but anxious to prove they couldn't do it,he dropped his drawers. The Grandmas asked him to first turn around a couple of times and to jump up and down several times. Then they all piped up and said, "You're 87 years old!"

Standing with his pants down around his ankles, the old gent asked, "How in the world did you guess?" Slapping their knees and grinning from ear to ear, the three old ladies happily yelled in unison - - "We were at your birthday party yesterday!"

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Amazing & Exceptional Photographs

Amazing & Exceptional Photographs

Amazing & Exceptional Photographs

Amazing & Exceptional Photographs

Amazing & Exceptional Photographs

Amazing & Exceptional Photographs

Amazing & Exceptional Photographs

Amazing & Exceptional Photographs

Amazing & Exceptional Photographs

Amazing & Exceptional Photographs

Amazing & Exceptional Photographs

Amazing & Exceptional Photographs

Amazing & Exceptional Photographs

Amazing & Exceptional Photographs

Amazing & Exceptional Photographs

Amazing & Exceptional Photographs

Amazing & Exceptional Photographs



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