Friday, December 21, 2012

Santa & Sarah

Three years ago, a little boy and his grandmother came to see Santa at the 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 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 -- 9 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 Mark 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 u p 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!"

Friday Fill-Ins

I'm going to give you a choice of fill-ins OR a different kind of fill-in (or both). A friend emailed the Friday Fill-In Blogger a list where you have to identify Christmas songs by the initials of the first words of the first line of each song. If you'd like to play along, great! if you just want to do the regular Fill-Ins, that's perfectly fine, too! we go!

There are no right or wrong answers. Don't limit yourself to one word responses; just say whatever that pops into your head! Replace my bold words with YOUR words!
  1. Ahhhh, I love the smell of fresh brewed coffee!
  2. Mentally preparing for the new year fast approaching!
  3. Creating a safe environment.
  4. REST and relaxation.
  5. Kick start your morning with reading God's Word.
  6. Mayans predictions of the end of the world FAILED.
  7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to visiting friends, tomorrow my plans include just a little housework and Sunday, I want to chillax!!



You can get your "Friday Fill-In" by clicking on the title above or using the button in the left ... წஜღFAVORITE SITES ... column.

*or re-post in a comment below!*

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Friday Fill-Ins

There are no right or wrong answers. Don't limit yourself to one word responses; just say whatever that pops into your head! Replace my bold words with YOUR words!

  1. Oh, my aching back.

  2. Better sooner, rather than later!

  3. Buy one, get one FREE.

  4. ABSOLUTELY positively!

  5. Soon, I'm going to bed.

  6. Wha? There's shooting stars?

  7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to Bunco, tomorrow my plans include just a little housework and Sunday, I want to chillax!!

You can get your "Friday Fill-In" by clicking on the title above or using the button in the left ... წஜღFAVORITE SITES ... column.
*or re-post in a comment below!*

Brie & Cherry Pastry Cups

This is a recipe my daughter, Jennifer, found in a magazine. Between her now mother-in-law, Nancy, and myself, we made the bulk of appetizers for her wedding. This was the most popular one that everyone wished there were MORE of! Simple to make, elegant looking AND they taste GOOD! Here's the recipe:

PREP TIME: 30-min - TOTAL TIME: 55-min - SERVINGS: 36

1 - sheet frozen puff pastry (from 17.3-ounce package), thawed
1/3 to 1/2 cup red cherry preserves (Albertsons store brand ROCKS!)
4 ounces - Brie cheese, cut into 1/2x1/2-inch pieces (36 pieces)
1/4 cup - chopped pecans
2 tablespoons - chopped fresh chives

STEP 1: Heat oven to 375°
Spray miniature muffin cup sheet pan with cooking spray. Cut pastry into 36 (1 1/2-inch) squares. Slightly press 24 squares into muffin cups; press center with finger/wooden tool.

Bake 10 minutes. Press center with handle of wooden tool/spoon. Bake 6 to 8 minutes longer or until golden brown. Immediately press again in center. Fill each with about 1/2 teaspoon preserves. Top with cheese piece, pecans and chives.
*repeat steps 1 & 2 with remaining pastry & fillings

Bake 3 to 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve warm.

I hope that if you DO make this recipe, you'll share your thoughts and results!

**If you like spicy foods, try substituting red or green jalapeño jelly for the cherry preserves. It's a delicious touch of sweet and spice!


1 Serving (1 Appetizer)
Calories 60 (Calories from Fat 35), Total Fat 4g (Saturated Fat 1g,), Cholesterol 10mg; Sodium 35mg; Total Carbohydrate 5g (Dietary Fiber 0g, Protein 1g;

Percent Daily Value*:
Exchanges: 0 Starch; 0 Fruit; 1/2 Other Carbohydrate; 0 Skim Milk;
0 Low-Fat Milk; 0 Milk; 0 Vegetable; 0 Very Lean Meat;
0 Lean Meat; 0 High-Fat Meat; 1/2 Fat; Carbohydrate Choices:0;
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Chanukkah: The Feast of Lights

**Celebrating the Miracle of the Oil**

Also known as "Feast of Lights," this 8-day celebration is not actually discussed in the Old Testament. However, it is a celebration worthy of notice, because it is another example of how God can work miracles in people's lives.

The attribution of this celebration to the victory of the Jews over Antiochus IV's rule is incorrect. Chanukkah is a celebration of God's miracle of the oil, not of the military victory as many people believe. Jews do not celebrate war or the spilling of blood.

Alternative Spellings:
There are a number of proper spellings of this holiday. Much of the differences come from varying translation of the hebrew, but all of these spellings are considered correct:

Hanukkah (most common in the U.S. )


During the reign of Alexander the Great, the Jews were allowed (like many of the people that Alexander conquered) to continue practicing their religion and live with relative autonomy. However, a successor to Alexander, Antiochus IV, was not so benevolent. He oppressed and massacred the Jews. He desecrated the Temple by placing a Hellenistic priest in it and allowing the sacrificing of non-kosher animals on the altar.

Two groups opposed Antiochus. There was the group led by Mattathius the Hasmonean and Judah Maccabee, his son. There was also a group then known as the Chasidism, which eventually became the Pharisees. Together they formed a revolt against the assimilation of the jews and oppression by the government. They succeeded and regained control of the Temple.

However, during the rededication of the Temple there was a shortage of undefiled oil. In the Temple, the menorah was to burn through the night. It would be eight days before fresh oil could be prepared, and there was only oil for one night. Miraculously, the oil lasted for eight days.**

Significance of the Holiday

While a majority of the world knows about Chanukkah, it is actually a minor holiday in comparison to other Jewish holidays like Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, or Passover. The minor significance may be due to the fact that the story is not related in Jewish scripture, but instead in the book of Maccabbees, which Jews do not accept as scripture.

Celebrating the Holiday

The Jews commemorate the holiday by lighting candles on a candelabrum known as a menorah. The menorah has space for nine total candles. There is one candle for each night and one "servant" candle known as the shammus.

On the first night of Chanukkah one candle is placed in the first holder on the right. The shammus is lit, and and three blessings are recited. The shammus is then used to light the first candle. Then the shammus is placed in its own holder, and the candles are to burn out on their own (but they must remain lit for at least 30 minutes). Every night one candle is added to the number of candles on the menorah. So the second night there would be two candles placed from right to left. By the last night, eight candles are being lit.

Other Chanukkah Traditions

While lighting candles is the primary tradition of the holiday, other activities have been added over the centuries. Some families play dreidel, a gambling game played with a square top market with hebrew letters.

There is also a tradition of eating fried foods. The most common food includes latkes, which many non-jews know as potato pancakes. It is also common for children to receive chocolate coins that are referred to as "gelt." Traditionally "gelt" was the only gift of the holiday, and it was actually small amounts of money. Today many parents give their children gifts to celebrate the holiday.

Are There Lessons for Christians in Chanukkah?

When God works in people's lives there are always lessons. God is a provider of miracles, and even though this celebration is not included in the Bible most Christians use, it should not be overlooked as "just a Jewish holiday." Christians around the world are being persecuted for their faith, and Christianity is being placed in a box in many other areas of the world. Yet God has a way of offering people strength. When the Jews faced a lack of useful oil for the Temple, it did not mean that God was not there to provide. God has the capabilities to provide whatever His people need. Chanukkah reminds us that, with a faith the size of a mustard seed, anything is possible with God.

Matthew 17:20 - "He replied, "Because you have so little faith, I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." (NIV)

Matthew 19:26 - "Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." (NIV)

By Kelli Mahoney

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Twas The Month Before ...

T'was the month before Christmas, When all through our land,
Not a Christian was praying, Nor taking a stand.

WHY the "PC" Police had taken away
The reason for Christmas - no one could say.
The children were told by their schools not to sing
About Shepherds and Wise Men and Angels and things.
"It might hurt people's feelings," the teachers would say
December 25th is just a ' Holiday.'

Yet the shoppers were ready with cash, checks and credit
Pushing folks down on the floor just to get it!
CDs from Madonna, an X BOX, an I-Pod --
Something was changing, something quite odd!

Retailers promoted Ramadan and Kwanzaa
In hopes to sell books by Franken & Fonda
As Targets were hanging their trees upside down,
And at Lowe's the word Christmas - was not to be found.
At K-Mart and Staples and Penny's and Sears
You won't hear the word Christmas; it won't touch your ears.

Now Daschle, Now Darden, Now Sharpton, Wolf Blitzen
On Boxer, on Rather, on Kerry, on Clinton!
At the top of the Senate, there arose such a clatter
To eliminate Jesus, in all public matter.
And we spoke not a word, as they took away faith,
Forbidden to speak of salvation and grace.

The true Gift of Christmas was exchanged and discarded
The reason for the season, stopped before it was started.
So as you celebrate 'Winter Break' under your 'Dream Tree'
Sipping Starbucks: Listen to me.

Choose your words carefully, choose what you say --
SHOUT "MERRY CHRISTMAS" not Happy Holiday!

MERRY CHRISTMAS! KEEP Christ in Christ-mas!
Jesus Is The 'Reason' for the Season!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Friday Fill-In

So it's been awhile since I've done this and I really want to so ...
here we go! Replace my bold words with YOUR words!

  1. Oh, I am so out of the loop!

  2. Turkey with gravy was my favorite part of the big meal yesterday.

  3. Where does the time go!?

  4. The evening sky was filled with bright stars.

  5. This weather has been crazy!

  6. Health, happiness, prosperity; these are some of the things I wish for my loved ones.

  7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to staying up late, tomorrow my plans include reading a good book and Sunday, I want to chillax!!

You can get your "Friday Fill-In" by clicking on the title above or using the button in the left ... წஜღFAVORITE SITES ... column.
*or re-post in a comment below!*

Saturday, November 3, 2012

It's his BIRTHDAY Nov. 4th!

This is a fairly recent photo of my oldest son, Charles Anthony Walden, known to me as 'Tony', his wife Susan (yes, that's her he's got his head resting on) and others all know him as Charlie or CDub. Tomorrow is his birthday. He will be 40-yrs. young. I don't like using the word 'old' as it makes me FEEL like we ARE aging! It's also something I used to hear Paul Harvey say on his radio programs. He always referred people as being 20, 30, 60, something or other 'young'. So, I adopted that from him.

40-yrs. ... I recently shared on facebook in the group 'I Grew Up In Atascadero' a lil blurb about my labor in stopping at Beno's on my way to the hospital, Paso Robles War Memorial, to have him. I didn't know if I was having a boy or a girl. I had names picked for either or. I'm so glad it turned out to be him that I had. This mother could not be any more proud of a son than I am of him! I adore him and his family and look forward to spending more time with them once my hubby Bill retires.

Words alone cannot convey the love I hold in my heart for YOU!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Unconscious Mutterings

"Unconscious Mutterings Link"

"Rules are, there are no rules." There are no right or wrong answers. Don't limit yourself to one word responses; just say everything that pops into your head. AND you don't have to have your words up on Sunday. Take all week if you want!

Sunday, September 23, 2012 Week 504 - 4 days ago

I say ... and you think ... ?

  1. Familiar :: Same-o, Same-o.
  2. Style :: Dress up dresses.
  3. More than :: I can handle...
  4. Glistening :: Sunset on the oceans horizon
  5. Obstruction :: Ack! Somethings in MY EYE!
  6. Orifice :: A cyclops gaping mouth
  7. Hugely :: A big success.
  8. Tempest :: Unruly ocean or an angry redhead!
  9. Sauce :: I say toe-may-toe, you say toe-ma-toe.
  10. Herbs :: AND spices!

Now it's YOUR turn! Do in a comment here, or post on facebook.♥

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Photo of Diane Aldrich

I just HAD to post this someplace besides facebook!
I think the colors are stunning!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Recycling, the old fashioned kind.

Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman, that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren't good for the environment.

The woman apologized and explained, "We didn't have this green thing back in my earlier days." The young clerk responded, "That's our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations."

She was right, our generation didn't have the green thing in its day. Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled.

But we didn't have the green thing back in our day.

Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags, that we reused for numerous things, most memorable besides household garbage bags, was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our schoolbooks. This was to ensure that public property, (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribblings. Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown paper bags.

But too bad we didn't do the green thing back then.

We walked up stairs, because we didn't have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.

But she was right. We didn't have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby's diapers because we didn't have the throwaway kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts -- wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.

But that young lady is right; we didn't have the green thing back in our day.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house -- not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn't have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn't fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she's right; we didn't have the green thing back then.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

But we didn't have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn't need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint.

But isn't it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn't have the green thing back then?

Please forward this on to another selfish old person who needs a lesson in conservation from a smart a** young person ...

Saturday, May 12, 2012

A Mother's Hands

"Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13:13 (NLT)

She held out the soft white blanket scalloped in pink ribbon. "I'm not sure I want to give it to her," my mom said. The stitches were a bit looser than my mother's past handiwork, but I could see love in every crocheted inch.

I held her hands in my own. Her once slender fingers were bent and swollen at the joints. I imagined her holding the crochet needles and weaving the yarn in and out for hours and days, until the blanket was complete. It is an heirloom for her first great-grandchild, one created with pain and love.

I think I take my mother's hands for granted. They have caressed my cheek. They have made me wear a coat (even when I protested that I was a mother of three grown children). They have dialed the cell phone she loves, and hates, so she could talk to "her Suzie." Her hands have penned cards that showed up in my mailbox saying "I love you."

An old 70s song says, "Time keeps on slipping, slipping, into the future." There is truth in those lyrics. I see the passage of time in my mother's hands. I also see it as moments pass into hours and then into days in a whirl.

Life is always busy, like this month when the white board on the refrigerator lists church events, dentist visits, showers and weddings and graduations, as well as other details like pay the bills, mow the lawn, clean the house.

Recently I realized that my mother was moving further down on that list. A week passed. A month flew by. The phone calls came. "Hey, Suz, just calling to say I miss you."

One day I received an email from a friend. Her mom was sick. For the next few weeks I prayed, reading every update. One night I read the email from my beautiful friend that expressed her love for her ailing mom, and prayer for strength to say goodbye.

Suddenly it hit me how little time I actually devoted to my mother. I held the email and wept. The next day I made a date with my mom. She was like a girl; she laughed on the phone as we made plans.

My mom and I had the best time at lunch and I was inspired to make a point to love on her more frequently. So I came up with "Love Points" which include a few things I try to do each week.

Write. Leave a note in an unexpected place.

Give. Spend time with no strings attached (help work in the garden, go to lunch, sit and chat).

Touch. Especially if your loved one is older or widowed and they are not touched in positive ways any more. (Massage their hands. Hold their hand. Touch their face or hair.)

Affirm. Tell them one encouraging thing that you believe about them.

I pray I stay committed to showing my mom love. And that I have many more opportunities to hang out with her. But more than that I pray I don't take her for granted.

Life most likely won't slow down. But as I devote time to worthwhile endeavors, I don't want to forget that in the grand scheme of things, holding my mother's hands is one of the most priceless investments I'll ever make.

Dear Lord, thank You for my loved ones. Life gets so hectic, and sometimes it's hard to slow down long enough to show them how much I care. Please help me to slow down and recognize what is of little value so that I can invest in people with immense value. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

I copied the above from the author in the link in the title. It just made me think of how I miss my Mom. There's so many things I would like to have told her. She did her best, for what she knew how to. I miss her singing, such a beautiful voice and her laugh! That loud crazy laugh! Six more days will mark her being gone 13-yrs... then, on the 27th, my Dad's passing 22-yrs ago. Sometimes my heart just aches for them ...

☆ ⊱♡⊰ ☆ ⊱♡⊰ ☆ ⊱♡⊰ ☆ ⊱♡⊰ ☆ ⊱♡⊰ ☆ ⊱♡⊰ ☆ ⊱♡⊰ ☆ ⊱♡⊰ ☆

Friday, April 27, 2012

When Your Mess Turns Into Your Message

"Heal me, O Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise." Jeremiah 17:14 (NIV)

My brother is a recovered addict. For twenty years, he was absent from our family due to addiction issues. Countless times we thought he was dead, and according to statistics, he should have been.

However, God happens to be in the restoration business. He is willing to restore and heal all who come to Him. It doesn't matter who you are, what you've done, or what has been done to you. God is willing and able to turn any tragedy into triumph. My brother is living proof.

After entering many programs with hopes of success and end results of failure, my brother finally found the answer: Jesus. It wasn't until my brother met the Lord that healing and true change occurred. Suddenly, all things became new.

What's most exciting is anyone can experience this kind of freedom!

The truth is, we don't have the strength, will power, or ability to free ourselves from bondage no matter what the bondage is—drugs, lust, gluttony, pride, anger, or fear. Until we renounce our sickness and surrender to Christ, we will never experience freedom. On the other hand, when we are willing to give King Jesus our mess, He turns it into our message.

Not a day goes by that my brother doesn't look for opportunities to brag on God and share His message of hope.

Take a few summers ago, for example. One evening, our families gathered for dinner at Red Lobster. His treat! Twenty-six year old Tiffany was our server. Right away, we noticed two things about Tiffany. She was a natural with people, and she was very pregnant. While we enjoyed her kind service, we had no idea that God would turn the tables and call us to serve her in a unique way.

It started when my sister refused to allow my brother to buy her dinner. While my sister loves to give to others, she's not so good on the receiving end. I, on the other hand, understood that it gave my brother great pleasure to pick up the check. The Lord knows I didn't want to deny him his blessing!

Poor Tiffany found herself caught in the middle of the argument. Eager to win, my brother said to our server, "You see, I was a drug addict for years. During that time, my sisters did a lot for me. Now, I just want to bless them as they have blessed me."

Tiffany's eyes widen. "You were a drug addict?" she inquired. "I would have never guessed."

"Yes. I was," my brother replied. "But Jesus changed all that." From there he told Tiffany his life-changing story.

"I went from being lost to being found; from being homeless to being a homeowner; from being an employee to owning my own business; from being bound by drugs to being set free in Christ."

Tears filled Tiffany's eyes as we shared God's love with her. That's not all. Later that week, we confirmed God's love to her by presenting her with a baby gift.

Oh, friends, when you and I—like my brother—allow God to turn our mess into our message, He not only changes our lives, but He changes the lives of others too.

Dear Lord, Your mercy astounds me. Your goodness overwhelms me as I cry out "heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me and I will be saved." God, give me opportunities to speak of Your hope so that others may know Your goodness and salvation. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Trials of Friendship

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother in born for adversity.” Proverbs 17:17 (NIV)

When I asked “Paula” if she could get together Thursday evening she declined. She and her mother already had plans.

A little while later I called “Dana” to see if she could hang out Thursday. You can imagine my shock when she said, “Sorry, I’m going to a dinner party at Paula’s. You’re not invited?”

Ouch! I couldn’t help but wonder why Paula felt she could not be honest with me. Dana said the party was small and Paula probably didn’t want to hurt my feelings. I understood, but being left out and lied to really hurt.

An uncomfortable knot sat in my stomach as I struggled with whether I should approach Paula or not.

We’d come to a crossroads in our friendship. I wanted to tell her, “It’s okay you didn’t invite me to your party but you didn’t have to lie to me. And I forgive you, because ‘a friend loves at all times.’” But I was too afraid.

At times like this, I follow my mom’s advice. “When you don’t know what to do, that’s your cue to pray.” God reminded me that when a “friend loves at all times” it means we believe the best about each other and work through problems.

Despite both my mom’s and God’s wisdom, I’m sad to say I decided to just let it go; I was too fearful to caringly confront my friend.

Paula called me a few weeks later. She felt bad for lying to me, apologized and explained the dinner party. I also apologized for not confronting her. I should have known our friendship was stronger than my fears.

We ended up laughing about our insecurities, and ourselves, because we knew we loved each other and wouldn’t intentionally hurt one another. She should have been honest and I should’ve been brave enough to ask her about it.

Lying isn’t supposed to be a part of friendship, but neither is fear. Every relationship will have its share of trials and mishaps. But it should also have its share of believing the best in each other and forgiveness.

When obstacles that aren’t dealt with come between two people, they can eat at our hearts, little by little. When we allow it to build up over time, our enemy will use it to divide us.

Perhaps the Lord is prompting you to tell the truth to a friend you’ve not been honest with. Or maybe you’re the one who’s been told a lie. Scripture tells us, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18 NIV 1984). Whether telling the truth, or confronting a lie, it rests upon us to do whatever possible to reconcile with our friend.

You may be on the other end of a confession or confrontation that was not well received. I’m so sorry. I know it’s painful to lose a friend. But we can rest assured, that once we’ve done our part, the Lord will continue to do His and heal the wound left.

If you’re at a crossroads now, wondering if you should confess or caringly confront, may I encourage you to pray and take the next step? I am so glad Paula called me. What we have is too good to allow hurt feelings and misunderstandings to ruin it.

God’s Word tells us “a friend loves at all times.” That may not always be easy, but in the end, it’s worth it. In fact, I can honestly say our friendship is now even stronger than it was before.

Dear Lord, we can make life so much more complicated than it needs to be. Help us to be honest, be brave, and to love and forgive each other the way You do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Saturday, March 17, 2012


1) The bandage was wound around the wound.

2) The farm was used to produce produce.

3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.

4) We must polish the Polish furniture..

5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.

6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.

7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to
present the present.

8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.

9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.

10) I did not object to the object.

11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.

12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.

13) They were too close to the door to close it.

14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.

15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.

16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.

17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.

18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.

19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

Let's face it - English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France . Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices? Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

PS. - Why doesn't 'Buick' rhyme with 'quick'?

You lovers of the English language might enjoy this;

There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that is 'UP.'

It's easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP ?
At a meeting, why does a topic come UP?
Why do we speak UP and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report?
We call UP our friends.
And we use it to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver; we warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen.
We lock UP the house and some guys fix UP the old car.

At other times the little word has real special meaning;
People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses.
To be dressed is one thing, but to be dressed UP is special.
A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP.
We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night.
We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP!

To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP, look the word UP in the dictionary. In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4th of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions.
If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used. It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don't give UP, you may wind UP with a hundred or more.

When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP.
When the sun comes out we say it is clearing UP.
When it rains, it wets the earth and often messes things UP.
When it doesn't rain for awhile, things dry UP.

One could go on and on, but I'll wrap it UP,
for now my time is UP, is time to shut UP!

Monday, February 6, 2012

What Happened In My Birth Year, 1953?

February 6, 1953 ... my Birthday.
In 1953, the world was a different place.

There was no Google yet. Or Yahoo. Or, for that matter.

In 1953, the year of your birth, the top selling movie was Peter Pan. People buying the popcorn in the cinema lobby had glazing eyes when looking at the poster.

Remember, that was before there were DVDs. Heck, even before there was VHS. People were indeed watching movies in the cinema, and not downloading them online. Imagine the packed seats, the laughter, the excitement, the novelty. And mostly all of that without 3D computer effects.

In the year 1953, the time when you arrived on this planet, books were still popularly read on paper, not on digital devices. Trees were felled to get the word out. The number one US bestseller of the time was The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas. Oh, that's many years ago. Have you read that book? Have you heard of it?

In 1953... Nikita Khruschev is selected First Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party. Marshal Josip Broz Tito is chosen President of Yugoslavia. The Crucible, a drama by Arthur Miller, opens on Broadway. Walt Disney's 14th animated film, Peter Pan, premieres at the Roxy Theatre, New York City. Ian Fleming publishes his first James Bond novel, Casino Royale in the United Kingdom. Austria and the Soviet Union form diplomatic relations. The U.S. executes Julius and Ethel Rosenberg for spying for the USSR. The CIA helps to overthrow the government of Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran, and retain Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi on the throne. The discovery of REM sleep is first published by researchers Eugene Aserinsky and Nathaniel Kleitman.

That was the world you were born into. Since then, you and others have changed it.

The Nobel prize for Literature that year went to Winston Churchill. The Nobel Peace prize went to George Catlett Marshall. The Nobel prize for physics went to Frits Zernike from Netherlands for his demonstration of the phase contrast method, especially for his invention of the phase contrast microscope. The sensation this created was big. But it didn't stop the planets from spinning, on and on, year by year. Years in which you would grow bigger, older, smarter, and, if you were lucky, sometimes wiser. Years in which you also lost some things. Possessions got misplaced. Memories faded. Friends parted ways. The best friends, you tried to hold on. This is what counts in life, isn't it?

The 1950s were indeed a special decade. The American economy is on the upswing. The cold war betwen the US and the Soviet Union is playing out throughout the whole decade. Anti-communism prevails in the United States and leads to the Red Scare and accompanying Congressional hearings. Africa begins to become decolonized. The Korean war takes place. The Vietnam War starts. The Suez Crisis war is fought on Egyptian territory. Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and others overthrow authorities to create a communist government on Cuba. Funded by the US, reconstructions in Japan continue. In Japan, film maker Akira Kurosawa creates the movies Rashomon and Seven Samurai. The FIFA World Cups are won by Uruguay, then West Germany, then Brazil.

Do you remember the movie that was all the rage when you were 15? Planet of the Apes. Do you still remember the songs playing on the radio when you were 15? Maybe it was Hello, Goodbye by The Beatles. Were you in love? Who were you in love with, do you remember?

In 1953, 15 years earlier, a long time ago, the year when you were born, the song Rags to Riches by Tony Bennett topped the US charts. Do you know the lyrics? Do you know the tune? Sing along.

I know I'd go from rags to riches
If you would only say you care
And though my pocket may be empty
I'd be a millionaire

There's a kid outside, shouting, playing. It doesn't care about time. It doesn't know about time. It shouts and it plays and thinks time is forever. You were once that kid.

When you were 9, the movie The Magic Sword was playing.

6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1... it's 1953. There's TV noise coming from the second floor. Someone turned up the volume way too high. The sun is burning from above. These were different times. The show playing on TV is Author Meets the Critics. The sun goes down. Someone switches channels. There's I Love Lucy on now. That's the world you were born in.

Progress, year after year. Do you wonder where the world is heading towards? The technology available today would have blown your mind in 1953. Do you know what was invented in the year you were born? The MASER. Medical Ultrasonography.

One, two
Where were you back in 1953?
Too young to remember, but old enough to say
That war lied

That's from the song Burnt Alive by Rocket From The Crypt.

In 1953, a new character entered the world of comic books: Chilly Willy. Bang! Boom! But that's just fiction, right? In the real world, in 1953, John Edwards was born. And Paul Allen. Pierce Brosnan, too. And you, of course. Everyone an individual. Everyone special. Everyone taking a different path through life.
It's 2012.

The world is a different place.

What path have you taken?

February 6, 1953 ... my Birthday.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Roasted Smashed Potatoes

This recipe is designed to work with potatoes 1½ to 2 inches in diameter; do not use potatoes any larger. It is important to thoroughly cook the potatoes so that they will smash easily. Remove the potatoes from the baking sheet as soon as they are done browning—they will toughen if left too long. A potato masher can also be used to “smash” the potatoes.

  1. 2 pounds small Red Bliss potatoes (about 18), scrubbed
  2. 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  3. 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  4. Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  1. Adjust oven racks to top and bottom positions and heat oven to 500 degrees. Arrange potatoes on rimmed baking sheet, pour ¾ cup water into baking sheet, and wrap tightly with aluminum foil. Cook on bottom rack until paring knife or skewer slips in and out of potatoes easily (poke through foil to test), 25 to 30 minutes. Remove foil and cool 10 minutes. If any water remains on baking sheet, blot dry with paper towel.

  2. Drizzle 3 tablespoons oil over potatoes and roll to coat. Space potatoes evenly on baking sheet and place second baking sheet on top; press down firmly on baking sheet, flattening potatoes until 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick. Sprinkle with thyme leaves and season generously with salt and pepper; drizzle evenly with remaining 3 tablespoons oil. Roast potatoes on top rack 15 minutes. Transfer potatoes to bottom rack and continue to roast until well browned, 20 to 30 minutes longer. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6

Thursday, January 19, 2012

True Story!

More than 24 years ago, Pam and her husband Bob were serving as missionaries to the Philippines and praying for a fifth child. Pam contracted amoebic dysentery, an infection of the intestine caused by a parasite found in contaminated food or drink. She went into a coma and was treated with strong antibiotics before they discovered she was pregnant.

Doctors urged her to abort the baby for her own safety and told her that the medicines had caused irreversible damage to her baby. She refused the abortion and cited her Christian faith as the reason for her hope that her son would be born without the devastating disabilities physicians predicted. Pam said the doctors didn't think of it as a life, they thought of it as a mass of fetal tissue.

While pregnant, Pam nearly lost their baby four times but refused to consider abortion. She recalled making a pledge to God with her husband: If you will give us a son, we’ll name him Timothy and we’ll make him a preacher. Pam ultimately spent the last two months of her pregnancy in bed and eventually gave birth to a healthy baby boy August 14, 1987. Pam’s youngest son is indeed a preacher. He preaches in prisons, makes hospital visits, and serves with his father’s ministry in the Philippines .

He also plays football. Pam’s son is Tim Tebow.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Hover Over My Name: New Hoax Spin Added to Viral Facebook Status

I thought I'd repost this article from a fellow named Jon Loomer. I saw several different blogs that had written about the 'Hover Over My Name' scam. He puts it quite simply. He's on facebook and I am now a 'fan' of his. So, here it is:

Just when I think this one will die, it comes back even stronger…

Back on September 23 (yes, more than three months ago), I first wrote a post called Facebook Scare: Uncheck Comments and Likes about a viral Facebook status that was circulating. Long story short, it’s when friends ask you to hover over their name and uncheck comments and likes. They believed this would help your privacy or some other complete nonsense (see the blog post).

Today, I am again seeing spikes to that blog post. I ran a Facebook search of “hover over my name” and it is absolutely out of hand. When I run the search, there are 15 public posts over a six minute span. That’s public posts only.

Originally, this seemed to be simply a well-intentioned (though ill-informed) attempt to help friends and right a wrong. But as it’s evolved, it has taken on the flavor of a hoax. The new copy and paste is as follows:

With the new ‘FB timeline’ on its way this week for EVERYONE…please do both of us a favour: Hover over my name above. In a few seconds you’ll see a box that says “Subscribed.” Hover over that, then go to “Comments and Likes” and unclick it. That will stop my posts and yours to me from showing up on the side bar for everyone to see, but MOST IMPORTANTLY it LIMITS HACKERS from invading our profiles. If you re-post this I will do the same for you. You’ll know I’ve acknowledged you because if you tell me that you’ve done it I’ll ‘like’ it. Thanks!

A couple of the tell-tale signs of a hoax (as I outline in this post) are now evident:

  • Attempt to scare you with completely untrue statement about protecting you from hackers

  • Of course … Asking you to re-post

  • Let’s be clear about what happens when I hover over your name and uncheck comments and likes. I no longer see your comments and likes. Period.

    What doesn’t it do? It does not stop my posts (comments and likes) from showing in your newsfeed, though this status promises that. I have no idea how they think it would limit hackers from invading your profile. It is completely individual. It only stops one person from seeing the comments and likes of one person. That’s it.

    And this brings us back to the absurdity of the post. If you are worried about people you don’t care about seeing your comments and likes, who is going to respond to this and hide that content? Maybe a handful. And what kinds of friends will they be? Your closest friends. The ones who actually care about your comments and likes (and the ones you wouldn’t mind seeing them).

    But maybe your closest friends are hackers. In that case, carry on. You did well.

    Tuesday, January 3, 2012

    Wacky In Waco

    I rec'vd an email that made me want to look up it's validity when I found this:

    I recently received an email going around the www written by a 21 year old female "who gets it".

    I will leave it intact, but with modifications that reflect the reality of life, not the views of the GOP rhetoric that it is filled with. I am a senior citizen with many more years of experience under my belt than this 21 year old, and with a better grasp of reality and hopefully with a little more common sense, and ability to look at life with a broader perspective. Although a few of these ideas are quite thought provoking they need to reflect the real world. So here goes.

    (My responses and clarifications will be in parenthesis, in italics, and underscored when applicable)

    This was in the Waco Tribune Herald, Waco, TX., Nov. 18, 2010:

    This was written by a 21 yr old female who gets it. It's her future she is worried about and this is how she feels about the social welfare big government state that she is being forced to live in! These solutions are just common sense in her opinion.

    > Put me in charge . . .
    > Put me in charge of food stamps. I'd get rid of Lone Star cards; no cash for Ding Dongs or Ho Ho's, just money for 50-pound bags of rice and beans, blocks of cheese and all the powdered milk you can haul away. If you want steak and frozen pizza, then get a job.

    (This has some merit. The use of food stamps should require some discretion on what they are used for. Although the meaning is well intended, there are folks on food stamps that are unable to work, unable to cook, or even unable to store such quantities above what can be used in a reasonable period of time. It should be explicit about: not for the purchase of junk foods, alcohol, tobacco, lottery tickets, stamps, etc... but food choices are based on the individuals tastes, likes, and needs; as some people cannot digest certain foods or may be allergic to others.).

    > Put me in charge of Medicaid. The first thing I'd do is to get women Norplant birth control implants or tubal ligation's. Then, we'll test recipients for drugs, alcohol, and nicotine and document all tattoos and piercings. If you want to reproduce or use drugs, alcohol, smoke or get tats and piercings, then get a job.

    (Here her knowledge of medicaid is not quite accurate, logical, or adult. Medicaid is mainly for the use of the elderly, or those who are disabled. The government cannot legally require the disabled or the elderly to have tubal ligation's or birth control implants. The use of prescription, or over the counter drugs, or the use of alcohol, cannot be dictated by the government, and has nothing to do with medicaid. Even the use of cigarettes cannot be taken away from anyone when they are legally sold over the counter. So this portion about medicaid is inappropriate for anyone to suggest. The abuse of medicaid or medicare is NOT by the recipients of it, but by those providers who put in bogus claims, and pad their bills with the intent to defraud the government who provides no oversight to stop those false claims.)

    > Put me in charge of government housing. Ever live in a military barracks?
    > You will maintain our property in a clean and good state of repair. Your "home" will be subject to inspections anytime and possessions will be inventoried. If you want a plasma TV or Xbox 360, then get a job and your own place.

    (Actually has some merit with this one. There are no current restrictions regarding upkeep, or maintenance, etc... Anything procured prior to moving into Government housing cannot be taken away from those who are in need, simply because someone thinks they do not deserve to have them. There should be some restrictions, however, on the purchase of new and "expensive" items. Televisions sets, computers, phones, and other "conveniences" are basic necessities in our current life style, and are often required in looking for work, raising children and providing basic needs.)

    > In addition, you will either present a check stub from a job each week or you will report to a "government" job. It may be cleaning the roadways of trash, painting and repairing public housing, whatever we find for you. We will sell your 22 inch rims and low profile tires and your blasting stereo and speakers and put that money toward the âcommon good.

    (I am assuming that this paragraph is a continuation of "living in government housing"? People who live in government housing are either unable to work (due to mental or physical impairment), or work in jobs that pay minimum wages or less, or have small children they must care for and using sarcasm regarding selling high end properties while living in government housing is silly, demeaning, and uncalled for).

    > Before you write that I've violated someone's rights, realize that all of the above is voluntary. If you want our money, accept our rules.. Before you say that this would be "demeaning" and ruin their "self esteem," consider that it wasn't that long ago that taking someone else's money for doing absolutely nothing was demeaning and lowered self esteem.

    (I am not quite sure what this paragraph references, but it sounds to me like the remarks about "taking someone else's money for doing absolutely nothing was demeaning and lowered self esteem" is being misdirected toward the poor and needy when in reality it is certainly the descriptive narrative for big business executives.)?

    > If we are expected to pay for other people's mistakes we should at least attempt to make them learn from their bad choices. The current system rewards them for continuing to make bad choices.

    (This paragraph above is totally unjustified, insulting and just plain ludicrous. Making assumptions that the poor, or the infirm, are products of their own choices is stereotyping at its worst. The majority of the poor and homeless are not there by their own volition, but are victims of circumstances beyond their control, victims of crimes, sexually, physically, or emotionally abused and left on the streets to fend for themselves. When we start turning our back on those less fortunate than ourselves, or blaming the victims, we have lost our compassion, our humanity, and our decency.

    This seems to be the new wave of thought from the Republican (and the new tea party) government, the wealthy, and those who became self reliant by stepping on the poor and middle class.) *(This kind of generalized statement that reflects the mistakes of drug/alcohol addicts is also inappropriate when describing those unfortunate people who require assistance just to be able to afford basic essentials.)

    > AND While you are on Gov't subsistence, you no longer can VOTE! Yes that is correct. For you to vote would be a conflict of interest. You will voluntarily remove yourself from voting while you are receiving a Government welfare check. If you want to vote, then get a job.

    (This is unconstitutional and serves no purpose. You can not remove a person's right to vote, or any other basic human rights just because you disapprove of people who have less than you do. This is the current mentality of the GOP to remove basic voting rights of those who are less fortunate, for fear that they might just be voting for simple democracy, equality, justice and a better way of life for themselves and others in their situations.) *(i.e.,the current GOP drive to suppress votes of the poor, elderly, and college students, in the next election, that we see daily on the news programs on T.V. )

    > Now, if you have the guts - PASS IT ON...

    (And lastly, I do have the guts to PASS THIS ON, not because you, the writer, or you, the reader who agrees with this writer, is correct, but because you are part of the problems of society instead of part of the solutions. Criticizing and demeaning the less fortunate, seems to be the order of the day for the new political environment, while making compassion, caring, social welfare needs, and helping out the less fortunate seem like something perverse or evil.)

    (I can only say just how disappointing it is to see, and hear, this younger generation coming up without any sense of empathy, compassion or understanding of what being a victim of the system is truly like. We are NOT always the cause of our own misfortunes.

    Perhaps one day those who find fault with the less fortunate among us will find themselves in those very shoes.)

    by d.william 12/10/2011

    For what it's worth ... I tend to concur with Mr. William.

    Monday, January 2, 2012

    Well wha'da ya know!

    Living in this house that I grew up in holds SO many memories! As a kid, every year we would take a vacation "up home". Since my Mother was born in Sonora, CA. and my Dad in Knights Ferry, CA., and since my Dad was one of nine kids, we'd always end up 'visitin' folks' during that trip "up home".

    Our mainstay was at one of his sister's, Dorothy Hall, in Manteca, hence when either Mom or Dad would say, "We're goin' "up home" here next week.", that would mean start getting things together to pack cuz we were going to Aunt Dorothy's!

    It was generally seven days that we'd be gone. We'd take a day to drive around visiting an aunt & cousins, plus an uncle who all lived in Lathrop. We'd leave early on another day and to over to Sonora but stop in Oakdale to Aunt Nervie's (cookies or fresh made bread 'n jam to eat!) and go see Aunt Vadna & Uncle Bill (they had a farm with chickens, cows & cats. LOT'S of cats! Counted 40 something once!) who lived near a Hershey's plant. Driving past that place smelled SO good but you'd have to time that big inhale just right or you'd smell nothing but cow manure since there were cattle pens all around! Next we'd head over to see Uncle Leslie in Knights Ferry (he had a turkey ranch!) and we'd usually have lunch, get a bunch of turkey eggs, then go off to Aunt Helen's in Sonora to spend the night or two. (that's a whole n'other set of stories!)

    The best part of going to see Uncle Leslie tho was getting to go over the bridge that spanned the river. My Dad told us how he & his brothers would kick loose a couple boards on the sides and jump into the river below! I would picture my Dad beating his chest hollerin Johnny Weissmuller's Tarzan yell as he fell to the water! One time we got to spend a whole day there and all the family came to a picnic at a park next to the river. All us kids got to play in the water and we could see the bridge not too far from where we were & we saw a couple fellows jump ... then came sirens and the police were trying to find who it was. My Dad laughed 'n laughed!

    When we'd stay at Aunt Helen's, she'd take us out to dinner to some 'fancy' place. Once we went early in the afternoon and we went into Columbia National Park and got to ride a real stagecoach where, of course, we'd gotten held up by outlaws. I cried 'n cried when my Mom handed over her watch. She didn't want to spoil it for the other kids so I wasn't very happy until after we'd gotten back and she got her watch back plus we were introduced to the robbers. I remember they sure laughed as I stood behind my Momma's skirt! That place sure was fun tho with the park they had & all the old time stores and horses everywhere. I loved the ride home when the car windows would be down and the clean crisp smell of the pine trees would just engulf my senses.

    Those smells and memories were all jogged by seeing these photo's. I was simply amazed and I also felt a sort of a sense of pride of knowing exactly where that tree came from!

    Sunday, January 1, 2012

    Everything God does is perfect!

    A king who did not believe in the goodness of God, had a slave who, in all circumstances would say: My king, do not be discouraged, because everything God does is perfect, no mistakes!

    One day they went hunting and along the way a wild animal attacked the king. His slave managed to kill the animal, but could not prevent his majesty from losing a finger.

    Furious and without showing his gratitude for being saved, the king said "Is God good? If He was good, I would not have been attacked and lost my finger."

    The slave replied only "My king, despite all these things, I can only tell you that God is good, and he knows the "why" of all these things.What God does is perfect. He is never wrong!"

    Outraged by the response, the king ordered the arrest of his slave.

    Later, the king left for another hunt and was captured by savages who made human sacrifices.

    While on the altar, ready to sacrifice the noble, the savages found that the victim had a missing finger and so he was released. According to them: he was not so complete to be offered to the gods.

    Upon his return to the palace, the king authorized the release of his slave to whom he said very affectionately:

    - My dear, God was really good to me! I was almost killed by the wild men, but for lack of a single finger, I was let go! But I have a question: If God is so good, why did he allow me to put you in jail?

    - My King, if I had gone with you in this hunt, I would have been
    sacrificed for you, because I have no missing finger.

    Therefore, remember: everything God does is perfect. HE is never wrong .

    Often we complain about life and the negative things that happen to us, forgetting that nothing is random and that everything has a purpose.

    Every morning, offer your day to God.

    Ask God to inspire your thoughts, guide your actions, to ease your
    feelings. And do not be afraid. God is never wrong!

    You know why this message was sent to you? I do not know, but God knows, because he never makes mistakes.......

    The path of God and his word is perfect, without impurities. It is the way of all those who trust in him, as he says in 2Samuel 22:31

    Surely this message arrived at the right moment. May God put in your heart the desire to send it to someone. Do not be ashamed to send it to the right person. God knows, He knows why.

    God is never wrong!