This Years Christmas Star – AMAZING!

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I know some have seen the post about The Christmas Star appearing this year on December 21st. A friend couldn’t help but really take a deeper look at how amazing that this occurrence would be happening in the year 2020. The following information about this rare event is not only fascinating…it is also very uplifting and encouraging!

In the year when Jesus was born, there was violence, chaos, political and social unrest. It was dark.

The Magi found him by way of the star, which was the “meeting” of 3 stars: Jupiter, Saturn and Mars. They followed the star until it rested on where he was and they began to worship him. In a time where is was dark, Light was brought in to our world. Jesus stepped in to the chaos and brought peace.

Fast forward to this year, 2020. It’s a time of violence, chaos, political and social unrest. It is dark. Winter Solstice, December 21st, being a time where the day is the shortest and night is the longest…it’s literally the “darkest day” and is the beginning of what most would say the cold, dark winter season.

But on the darkest day this year, Jupiter and Saturn meet, giving us the Christmas Star! How fitting…that in the moment of time during the Christmas season that we get to see this beautiful reminder…that even in the darkest of times…Light will, and has, stepped in. In our chaos He is there. In our darkest time, He is there. He brings Light, and makes all things new.

So as you look out on Dec 21st for the Christmas Star, may we be reminded of His power, and His Light that he brings for all mankind. He is perfect at stepping into chaos and bringing it into peace.

Love and Time

 

 

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Photo Credit: Martin Widenka via Unsplash

How valuable is your time and how much of it do you REALLY use to show your love towards others?

The following little story puts the importance of our time, love, and other unseen attributes of our life in perspective.

Once upon a time, there was an island where all the feelings lived: Happiness, Sadness, Knowledge, and all the others including Love.

One day it was announced to the feelings that the island would sink, so they all constructed boats and left…except for Love.

Love was the only one who stayed. Love wanted to hold out until the last possible moment. When the island had almost sunk, Love decided to ask for help.

Richness was passing by Love in a grand boat. Love said, “Richness, can you take me with you?” Richness answered, “No, I can’t. There is a lot of gold and silver in my boat. There is no place for you.

Love decided to ask Vanity who was also passing by in a beautiful vessel. “Vanity, please help me!” “I can’t help you Love. You are all wet and might damage my boat,” Vanity answered.

Sadness was close by so Love asked, “Sadness, let me go with you.” “oh…Love, I am so sad that I need to be by myself.”

Happiness passed by Love, too, but she was so happy that she didn’t even hear when Love called her.

Suddenly, there was a voice, “Come, Love, I will take you.” It was an elder. So blessed and overjoyed, Love even forgot to ask the elder where they were going. When they arrived at dry land, the elder went on her own way. Realizing how much she owed the elder, Love asked Knowledge, another elder, “Who helped me?” “It was Time,” Knowledge answered. “Time?” asked Love. “But why did Time help me?”

Knowledge smiled with deep wisdom and answered, “Because only Time is capable of understanding how valuable Love truly is.

 

**************

Go out and spend time with the people who are special to you and show them LOVE.

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Story Courtesy of Silent Child / Tumblir

 

 

Unconditional Friendship

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There is nothing more special and meaningful in a person’s life to have that one or two special friends that you hold the closest and dearest to your heart. It was once said that truly great friends are hard to find, difficult to leave, and impossible to forget. It is so true! True and genuine friendship is one that will last a lifetime.

The following story illustrates this level of friendship in a beautiful way…

There were two childhood buddies who went through kindergarten and all the way to college together.  When war broke, they joined the army together and asked to be assigned to the same unit.  One night while out on patrol, they were ambushed.   Bullets were flying everywhere.

Out of the darkness came a voice, “Harry, help me. Please, Harry, help me.”   Harry immediately recognized the voice of his childhood buddy, Bill. Harry asked the Captain for permission to go out and help his buddy.

The Captain said, “No, I can’t let you go.  I am already short-handed, and I cannot afford to lose one more person. Besides, the way Bill sounds he is not going to make it.

Harry kept quiet, but again Bill’s voice was heard in the darkness, “Harry, please come.  Please, Harry, come help me.”  Harry sat quietly because the Captain had ordered him to.  Again, and again Bill’s voice was heard on the battlefield.

Harry couldn’t contain himself any longer and ran over to the Captain, “Captain, that’s my childhood buddy. I have to go and help.”  The Captain reluctantly agreed and let Harry go.  Harry crawled through the darkness, reached Bill and dragged Bill back into their camp.

When they arrived back at the camp Bill was dead.  Now the Captain was furious and shouted, “Didn’t I tell you he was not going to make it?  He is dead.  You could have been killed and I could have lost a hand.  It was a mistake for you to go out there.”

Harry replied, “No Captain, I did the right thing.  When I reached Bill, he was still alive and his last words to me were ‘Harry, I knew you would come.'”

 

Absolute…unconditional friendship!

Burnt Biscuits

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Photo by Jodie Morgan on Unsplash

Unconditional kindness and compassion for others should be our core focus every day of our lives. I recently came across the following story, written by an unknown author, which illustrates this lesson…one that we all should remember to do each day.

When I was a kid, my Mom liked to make breakfast food for dinner every now and then. I remember one night when she made breakfast after a long, hard day at work. On that evening so long ago, my Mom placed a plate of eggs, sausage, and a batch of extremely burnt biscuits on the table in front of my dad. I remember waiting to see if anyone noticed.

All my dad did was reach for his biscuit, smile at my Mom and ask me how my day at school has been. I don’t remember what I told him that night, but I do remember watching him smear butter and jelly on that ugly burned biscuit. He ate every bite of that thing…he never made a face nor uttered a word about it!

When I got up from the table that evening, I remember hearing my Mom apologize to my dad for burning the biscuits…and I will never forget what he said, “Honey, I love burned biscuits every now and then.”

Later that night, I went to say good night to my daddy, and I asked him if he REALLY liked his biscuits burnt. He wrapped me up in his arms and said lovingly, “Your Mom put in a hard day at work today and she is really tired…and besides, a little burnt biscuit never hurt anyone!”

As I have grown older, I’ve thought about that many times. Life is full of imperfect things and imperfect people. I’m not the best at hardly anything, and I forget birthdays and anniversaries just like anyone else. But what I have learned over the years is that learning to accept each other’s faults and choosing to celebrate each other’s differences is one of the most important keys to creating a healthy, growing, and lasting relationship.

And that’s my prayer for you today…that you will learn to take the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of your life and lay them at the feet of God. Because in the end, He’s the only One who will be able to give you a relationship where a burnt biscuit isn’t a deal-breaker!

We could extend this philosophy to any relationship. In fact, UNDERSTANDING is the base of any relationship, be it a husband-wife, parent-child, or friendship!

“Don’t put the key to your happiness in someone else’s pocket…keep it in your own.” So, please pass me a biscuit, and yes, the burned one will do just fine 😊

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Life without God is like an unsharpened pencil…it has no point.

The Story of the Christmas song, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”

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In March of 1863, 18-year-old Charles Appleton Longfellow walked out of his family’s house on Brattle Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and—unbeknownst to his family—boarded a train bound for Washington, D.C., traveling over 400 miles across the eastern seaboard in order to join President Lincoln’s Union army to fight in the Civil War.

Charles (b. June 9, 1844) was the oldest of six children born to Fannie Elizabeth Appleton and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the celebrated literary critic and poet. Charles had five younger siblings: a brother (aged 17) and three sisters (ages 13, 10, 8—another one had died as an infant).

Less than two years earlier, Charles’s mother Fannie had tragically died after her dress caught on fire. Her husband, awoken from a nap, tried to extinguish the flames as best he could, first with a rug and then his own body, but she had already suffered severe burns. She died the next morning (July 10, 1861), and Henry Longfellow’s facial burns were severe enough that he was unable even to attend his own wife’s funeral. He would grow a beard to hide his burned face and at times feared that he would be sent to an asylum on account of his grief.

When Charley (as he was called) arrived in Washington D.C., he sought to enlist as a private with the 1st Massachusetts Artillery. Captain W. H. McCartney, commander of Battery A, wrote to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow for written permission for Charley to become a soldier. HWL (as his son referred to him) granted the permission.

Longfellow later wrote to his friends Charles Sumner (senator from Massachusetts), John Andrew (governor of Massachusetts), and Edward Dalton (medical inspector of the Sixth Army Corps) to lobby for his son to become an officer. But Charley had already impressed his fellow soldiers and superiors with his skills, and on March 27, 1863, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the 1st Massachusetts Cavalry, assigned to Company “G.”

After participating on the fringe of the Battle of Chancellorsville in Virginia (April 30-May 6, 1863), Charley fell ill with typhoid fever and was sent home to recover. He rejoined his unit on August 15, 1863, having missed the Battle of Gettysburg (July 1-3, 1863).

While dining at home on December 1, 1863, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow received a telegram that his son had been severely wounded four days earlier. On November 27, 1863, while involved in a skirmish during a battle of the Mine Run Campaign, Charley was shot through the left shoulder, with the bullet exiting under his right shoulder blade. It had traveled across his back and skimmed his spine. Charley avoided being paralyzed by less than an inch.

He was carried into New Hope Church (Orange County, Virginia) and then transported to the Rapidan River. Charley’s father and younger brother, Ernest, immediately set out for Washington, D.C., arriving on December 3. Charley arrived by train on December 5. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was alarmed when informed by the army surgeon that his son’s wound “was very serious” and that “paralysis might ensue.” Three surgeons gave a more favorable report that evening, suggesting a recovery that would require him to be “long in healing,” at least six months.

On Christmas day, 1863, Longfellow—a 57-year-old widowed father of six children, the oldest of which had been nearly paralyzed as his country fought a war against itself—wrote a poem seeking to capture the dynamic and dissonance in his own heart and the world he observes around him. He heard the Christmas bells that December day and the singing of “peace on earth” (Luke 2:14), but he observed the world of injustice and violence that seemed to mock the truthfulness of this optimistic outlook. The theme of listening recurred throughout the poem, eventually leading to a settledness of confident hope even in the midst of bleak despair.

You can hear the song HERE or You can read the whole poem/song below…

“I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
and wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men.”

Article Credit: Justin Taylor, “The Christian Coalition”

Remembering Our Loved Ones

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All of us have relatives or other people that we know who are advancing in years and who are people that we might consider, “getting old.” As they progress in their age, we sometimes lose our patience with them and become mad or angry. We forget the times when we were younger, that they were kind, caring, and tolerant of our persistent questions and inquiries about so many things.

It is important for all of us to remember our aged loved ones and the love they once openly demonstrated for us.

The following story is a great example of this idea…

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An 80-year-old man was sitting on the sofa in his house along with his 45 years old highly educated son when suddenly a crow perched on their window.

The father asked his son, “What is this?” The son replied, “It is a crow”. After a few minutes, the father asked his son the 2nd time, “What is this?” The son said “Father, I have just now told you “It’s a crow”. After a little while, the old Father again asked his Son the 3rd time, “What is this?”

At this time some expression of irritation was felt in the son’s tone when he said to his Father with a rebuff. “It’s a crow, a crow”. A little after, the father again asked his son the 4th time, “What is this?”

This time the son shouted at his father, “Why do you keep asking me the same question again and again, although I have told you so many times ‘IT IS A CROW’. Are you not able to understand this?”

A little later the father went to his room and came back with an old tattered diary, which he had maintained since his son was born. On opening a page, he asked his son to read that page. When the son read it, the following words were written in the diary.

“Today my little son aged three was sitting with me on the sofa when a crow was sitting on the window. My son asked me 23 times what it was, and I replied to him all 23 times that it was a Crow. I hugged him lovingly each time he asked me the same question again and again for 23 times. I did not at all feel irritated, I rather felt affection for my innocent child”.

While the little child asked him 23 times “What is this”, the father had felt no irritation in replying to the same question all 23 times and when today the father asked his son the same question just 4 times, the son felt irritated and annoyed.

So…

If your parents attain old age, do not repulse them or look at them as a burden, but speak to them a gracious word, be cool, obedient, humble and kind to them. Be considerate to your parents. You should remind and tell yourself every day, “I want to see my parents happy forever. They have cared for me ever since I was a little child. They have always showered their selfless love for me. I will serve my old parents in the BEST way I can. I will always try to say good and kind words to them, no matter how they behave.”

They crossed all mountains and valleys without seeing the storm and heat to make me a person presentable in the society today”.

———————–

“Sometimes you will never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”

A Special Bonus Video!

Unconditional Friendship

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There is nothing more special and meaningful in a person’s life to have that one or two special friends that you hold the closest and dearest to your heart. It was once said that truly great friends are hard to find, difficult to leave, and impossible to forget. It is so true! True and genuine friendship is one that will last a lifetime.

The following story illustrates this level of friendship in a beautiful way…

There were two childhood buddies who went through kindergarten and all the way to college together.  When war broke, they joined the army together and asked to be assigned to the same unit.  One night while out on patrol, they were ambushed.   Bullets were flying everywhere.

Out of the darkness came a voice, “Harry, help me. Please, Harry, help me.”   Harry immediately recognized the voice of his childhood buddy, Bill. Harry asked the Captain for permission to go out and help his buddy.

The Captain said, “No, I can’t let you go.  I am already short-handed, and I cannot afford to lose one more person. Besides, the way Bill sounds he is not going to make it.

Harry kept quiet, but again Bill’s voice was heard in the darkness, “Harry, please come.  Please, Harry, come help me.”  Harry sat quietly because the Captain had ordered him to.  Again, and again Bill’s voice was heard on the battlefield.

Harry couldn’t contain himself any longer and ran over to the Captain, “Captain, that’s my childhood buddy. I have to go and help.”  The Captain reluctantly agreed and let Harry go.  Harry crawled through the darkness, reached Bill and dragged Bill back into their camp.

When they arrived back at the camp Bill was dead.  Now the Captain was furious and shouted, “Didn’t I tell you he was not going to make it?  He is dead.  You could have been killed and I could have lost a hand.  It was a mistake for you to go out there.”

Harry replied, “No Captain, I did the right thing.  When I reached Bill, he was still alive and his last words to me were ‘Harry, I knew you would come.'”

Absolute…unconditional friendship!

 

The Compassion of a Stranger

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A lady walked down a city street one day, she spotted a beggar. The man looked old, he smelled, was unshaven and dressed in worn-out clothes. Everyone who passed by looked at him with contempt; they didn’t have anything against him but didn’t like him merely because of who he was…a filthy beggar.

But then, a particular woman saw him, she was filled with compassion.

The beggar was improperly dressed for the weather and it was so cold. He was wrapped up in what looked like a coat from a very old and not-so-warm suit. She asked the man with a kind voice, “Sir? Are you all right?”

The man looked at the woman, who, based on her appearance, was an example of what people from a wealthy background looked like. The old beggar thought that she, like every other person, was mocking him. He just shook his head and growled, “Leave me alone.”

But the women did not move. Instead, to his surprise, she smiled at him and gently asked if he was hungry.

“No, I’ve just come from having dinner with the president. Now go away,” the beggar replied with a notable sarcasm. The woman’s smile did not fade. She placed her hands under the beggar’s arm and tried to pick him up.

“Woman, what do you think you are doing?” the beggar said annoyed.

“Is there a problem ma’am?” a policeman shouted, walking towards the lady and the beggar.

“Not at all officer. I’m just trying to get this man to his feet. Will, you help me?” the women replied

The policeman looked at her with surprise, “that man is old Jack and has been here for years. What have you got to do with him anyway?”

“I am going to take him to a cafeteria to get something to eat and get him out of the cold for a while,” the women answered.

“Are you crazy, lady?” the homeless man asked. “I don’t want to go in there!” Then he felt strong hands grab his other arm and lift him up. “Let me go, officer. I didn’t do anything.”

“Here’s a good chance to feed yourself, Jack. Don’t blow it,” the officer advised.

After much difficulty and effort, the woman and the officer managed to bring Jack into the cafeteria. It was past breakfast time and too early for lunch. The manager strode towards the table and asked “What’s going on here officer?” he asked. “Is this man in trouble?”

“She brought old Jack in here to be fed and get a good wholesome meal,” the policeman answered.

“Not in my cafeteria! People like him are bad for business,” the manager angrily retorted.

“Now you know why I didn’t want to come in here!” Jack said to the lady, “now let me go. I never wanted to be here in the first place!”

The woman turned to the cafeteria manager and smiled. “Sir, I reckon you know Eddy and Associates, the banking firm down the street?”

“Of course I do, ” the manager answered impatiently. “They hold their weekly meetings in one of my banquet rooms.”

“And I guess you make a good amount of money through those meetings.”

“I certainly do! Why does it concern you anyway?”

“Because I am the CEO of the company” the women replied, showing no sign of pride in her statement. The restaurant owner stood there in stunned silence. “Ohhh.” was all that the manager managed to say.

She looked at the officer, “Would you like to join us in a cup of coffee and a meal, officer?”

“No thanks, ma’am,” the officer replied. “I’m on duty.”

“Then, perhaps, a cup of coffee to go?”

“Yes, ma’am. That would be very nice.”

“I’ll get your coffee for you right away, officer,” the manager immediately replied.

“You served him right,” he said.

“Oh, believe me, officer, that was not what I intended. I have a reason behind all this.” She stared at Jack intently, and asked, “Jack, do you remember me?”

Old Jack examined her face, “well you do look familiar,” he added thoughtfully.

“Do you remember a cold and hungry girl who frequently visited this place when you worked here?” the women asked, “she has perhaps grown old…hasn’t she?”

The officer looked surprised. He couldn’t imagine this fine looking woman as a poor and hungry woman.

“I had just graduated and had come to the city looking for a job. I didn’t find one for a really long time. I was running out of cash and had been asked to vacate my apartment too.  I lived on these streets for days. It was the cold month of February, I still remember how cold, miserable, and hungry I was. And that’s when I found this place and walked in hoping to find something to eat and what my little budget could afford.”

Jack’s face suddenly lit up, “now I remember you. I used to be at the counter. You came up and asked me if you could work for something to eat. I said that it was against company policy.”

“I know,” the woman said. “Then you offered me the biggest roast beef sandwich, a cup of coffee, and a table for me to sit and enjoy the meal. I saw you put the price of my food in the cash register”

“So you started your own business?” Old Jack asked.

“No, not exactly. That very afternoon I got a job. I worked my way up. Then, I started my own business.” She opened her purse and pulled out a business card. “Please pay a visit to the personnel director of my company. I’ll go talk to him now. I am sure there is something in my office for which we can use your help. We can even pay you a certain amount of your salary in advance.”

Fighting back the tears, Jack asked, “How can I ever repay your kindness?”

“You don’t have to” the woman answered. “Thank Jesus. He led me to you.”

“Thank you for all your help, officer,” she said to him as they both walked out the door.

“On the contrary, Ms. Eddy, thank you. I saw a miracle today. And of course, thank you for the coffee”

She frowned. “I forgot to ask you whether you used cream or sugar. That’s black.”

“I do use cream and more sugar than what is good for my health,” he replied.

“I’m sorry,” she said.

“Please don’t be. I have a feeling that this coffee is going to taste as sweet as sugar,” he replied with a smile as he walked away.

Question: What act of kindness did YOU show someone today?

Praying for Pappy

Praying for Pappy

Photo Credit: George Hodan via publicdomainpictures.net
Photo Credit: George Hodan via publicdomainpictures.net

This is a story that took place in the south and involved a little boy and his mom. It shows us the sad side of war and reactions that a family endured at the loss of their loved one. Get a box of tissues ready as you read this story of a little boys love of this mom and dad.

Tommy’s Maw Maw and Pappy used to take Tommy to church every Sunday before his Pappy left to go to war.

Tommy had learned early in life all about God and how to pray. Every night Tommy would kneel by his bed and pray before going to sleep.

Today is the day the soldiers are to come home. Tommy and his Maw Maw dressed and went and stood at the dock waiting for his Pappy to arrive. They would wait and wait… Until the last boat left the dock but Tommy’s Pappy would not be arriving this day.

When they got home Tommy was too tired to care about eating. He kissed his grand mother goodnight and went straight to his room. He changed into his pajamas and knelt by his bed.

“Lord,
It’s Tommy.
We stood at the dock all day. Every one walked away and we just stood there. Pappy must have missed the boat so we waited for the next one then the next one until all the boats were gone and the tall man in the uniform said all the soldiers had gotten off but he is wrong ’cause Lord, Pappy didn’t get off none of those boats. I hate it when maw maw cries Lord. Please send Pappy home so she will stop crying.
Thank you.”

 

All week long Tommy listened as his Maw Maw cried. He heard her on the phone several times asking about why his Pappy didn’t come home like the rest of the soldiers. On the seventh night he knelt by his bed and prayed.

 

“Lord ,
It’s Tommy .
It has been a long week. Maw Maw just sits and stares out the window when she ain’t cooking and cleaning or on the phone asking where Pappy is and why they didn’t send him home.. She hasn’t hardly spoke in days other than when she is on the phone.
Mrs. Nelly Baker from down the road came by to see if Pappy had come home yet but he hasn’t and Maw Maw began to cry again as Mrs. Nelly Baker talked to her. I heard her say You might have Pappy with you Lord. If you do , could you please tell him it is time to come home ’cause Maw Maw and me miss him and Maw Maw cries at night and calls for him. I’d sure ‘preciate it if you would.”

 

Slowly the days passed by, then weeks. Every day was more of the same. Tommy was worried about his Pappy and his Maw Maw. It had been a little over a month now and Pappy still hadn’t come home. He walked in the living room and there his Maw Maw sat staring out the window until a knock came upon the door. A man in a uniform stood at the door. He backed up and Maw Maw walked outside. His Grand Mother screamed falling to the ground. Then the women in the neighborhood came running.
Tommy was confused. Why was his Maw Maw screaming and crying Pappy was coming home finally. He felt heavy hearted, So he went and knelt by his bed and prayed.

 

“Lord,
It’s Tommy.
It’s been a month and three days since Maw Maw and I went to meet Pappy at the dock. Some man in a uniform just showed up at Maw Maw’s door and made her scream. He ‘pologized for making her scream and cry before he left. Mrs. Nelly Baker and some other women came running . I guess they heard Maw Maw screaming before she fell to the ground.
I don’t understand Lord. Why is she so upset ? The man said Pappy would be coming home tomorrow with something in a pine box. Don’t know why he needs a box. I guess he lost his suitcase. I thank Lord for sending Pappy home.”

 

Tommy didn’t know his Maw Maw stood silently by the door. She listened as the little boy of ten prayed through sobs.

 

“Lord,
It’s Tommy.
I un’ stand now. My Pappy came home today. I know all about the pine box now. I guess I forgot to ask for you to send him back to Maw Maw alive. I hope she will forgive me. I thought You knew what I meant when I asked you to bring my Pappy home. But you did do what I asked. I made a mess of things. Now my Maw Maw will never be happy again. Lord, the next time I ask for something make sure I ask the right way please and tell Pappy I am sorry I got him dead I didn’t mean to. It’s all my fault Maw Maw is sad. I am so sorry.”

 

Tommy opened his tear stained eyes to see his Maw Maw standing in his doorway , tears streaming down her face. ” Dear child, it is not your fault.” She said through sobs and held her arms out to him. ” If it had not been for your prayers, your Pappy may never had come home at all.”

———————–

Source: friendburst.com

The Grateful Whale

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If you read the front page story of the San Francisco Chronicle on Thursday, December 15, 2005, you would have read about a female humpback whale who had become entangled in a spider web of crab traps and lines.

The fifty-foot whale was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to struggle to stay afloat. She also had hundreds of yards of line rope wrapped around her tail, her torso and a line tugging in her mouth.

A fisherman spotted her just east of the Farallon Islands (outside the Golden Gate) and radioed an environmental group for help. Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was so bad off, the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her – a very dangerous proposition. One slap of the tail could kill a rescuer.

They worked for hours with curved knives and eventually freed her. When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles. She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, and nudged them, pushed them gently around – she thanked them. Some said it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives.

The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth says her eye was following him the whole time, and he will never be the same.

May you, and all those you love, be so blessed and fortunate today – to be surrounded by people who will help you get untangled from the things that are binding you.

And, may you always know the joy of giving and receiving gratitude!!!

Source: Unknown

The Incredible Power of Music

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Music. Its power and effect on people are unmistakable. It can soothe and comfort the soul, it can create an air of nostalgia, make that special moment more romantic, make you mad, make you sad, the list goes on an on.

It’s funny how sometimes the small things in life can make such a huge impact on other people’s lives and we don’t even know it.

We all are aware of how our actions can affect an individual’s well being, etc. but what about other things that we may use every day? Music can affect people’s lives in many ways… take watching a movie as an example. Imagine if you were watching a sad movie and the background music was a fast-moving pop song. Or imagine viewing a scary movie and ballet music was playing in the background? The music would not fit into the movie and you wouldn’t enjoy the film…..but used correctly, music has a huge impact on the total movie-watching experience.

Another example of music’s effect is how well music “can soothe the soul” or how athletes sometimes use loud music to get “pumped up” for a game.

Music can be used in many ways and affect every person differently.

In today’s story (it’s actually a video), watch how the power of music totally transformed this old man’s state of wellness. It’s inspiring, beautiful, and heartwarming. The power of music…AMAZING!

Kafka and the Doll

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Death, grief, despair: these scorns of life are devastating. Death is arguably the most sorrowful time an individual can experience in life. Most unfortunate is when people encounter death within a family, a friendship, or an acquaintance. Sometimes, the loss can hurt so bad that it may seem like the pain and suffering will never go away.

Bill, a dear friend of mine, lost his wife to cancer at age 60 and a brother to murder at age 42. He uses faith, philosophy, family, and friends to mitigate his loss.

I would like to share the following story/essay that he wrote a while ago while thinking of these unfortunate events. It is our hope that this story will help ease the pain and sadness of others who may be struggling with the loss of a loved one.

Here is Bill’s story/essay.

As part of the human race, we all suffer loss. Loss is not a one-time occurrence, it happens to us and then it happens again. Loss is always difficult to accept. On the loss of a loved one, we wish to hold open the door into the next world and pull the deceased out. We wish to kiss those vanished lips, to hear that silenced voice; but it doesn’t work that way.

There is an instructive story on grief titled, “Kafka and the Doll.” In the story, Franz Kafka encountered a little girl in the park where he and his friend Dora walked daily. The little girl was disconsolate and weeping as if her heart would break. When Kafka inquired about her tears, the girl said she had lost her doll. Kafka told the girl that he knew for a fact the doll was fine. How he could be so certain, the little girl asked? Why just that morning, Kafka told the girl, he had received a letter from the doll.

Kafka arranged to meet the little girl the next day at the same spot in the park. That night he composed a letter from the doll and read it to the little girl when they met. “Please do not mourn me, I have gone on a trip to see the world. I will write to you about my adventures.”

The meetings and the letters from the beloved doll continued. The little girl was comforted. When the meetings came to an end, Kafka presented her with a new doll. The doll obviously looked different from the original doll. An attached letter explained: “Do not be surprised at my appearance, my travels and adventures have changed me.”

Many years later, the now-grown girl found a letter stuffed into a deep fold in the cherished replacement doll. Kafka had written, “Everything you love, you will eventually lose, but in the end, love will return in a different form.”

Grief and loss are ubiquitous and an inescapable part of being human. Holding the perspective of the universality of loss, helps us deal with our loneliness and regret in times of grief, for if grief is omnipresent, we are less alone, less regretful. Holding the conviction that “love will return” is the path towards healing. As with the little girl in the story, following our loss and a period of grief, our job is to recognize love when it returns in its new form.

Those loved ones for whom we mourn would not want us to be in tears and sadness. They want us to remember them with laughter and with smiles, and to find love in all its new forms.

 

*Editor’s Note: Bill is simply a wonderful, charming, and outgoing man. After the loss of his wife, he continued teaching until he retired a few years ago.  Since then, he has traveled across America, hiked great mountains of the world, explored various countries and cultures, and has see and discovered the many beautiful things in this world. His warm personality and sense of humor have brought encouragement and happiness to all that have met him.

“The song may have ended but the melody lingers on.” ~ Irving Berlin