A long time ago, education and religion went hand in hand, therefore many of the teachers were holy men. There once was one who was highly known and respected in his small. village. He had four students, but seemed prouder about one in particular. His other three students sensed this, and therefore one day, questioned him about his apparent show of favoritism. Being old and wise, the teacher decided to give them a test which would help them find their own answers to their question.
He called all four students together and he gave each one a chicken. He then told them that he wanted each one of them to take their chicken to a place where nobody could see them. Then kill the chicken, hide it, and return to the school. All four students grabbed their chickens and departed, each in a different direction.
“Well.” It did not take long for the three students who had questioned the teacher, to return. As the day began to drift away, they started to laugh and make fun of the student who had not returned. “They said he was dumb for not being able to complete such a simple task and return.”
Finally, around midnight, the fourth student returned to the school, still carrying his chicken. This really made the other students laugh, and they asked the teacher, “How can this possibly be your favorite and most obedient student?” The teacher turned to the fourth student and said “explain why you are still carrying the chicken.”
He replied......“forgive me teacher, but I could not find a place to do as you asked, because everywhere I went, “God” was there watching me!
The teacher smiled, and left for bed.
Author Unknown (Source:
A Quiet Voice and The Golden Crane
This little story reminds us to listen to that small quiet voice from within -- you never know where it will lead you.
As a teacher of origami (the ancient Japanese art of paper folding) at the LaFarge Lifelong Learning Institute in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Art Beaudry was asked to represent the school at an exhibit at a large mall in Milwaukee. He decided to take along a couple hundred folded paper cranes to pass out to people who stopped at his booth.
Before that day, something strange happened -- a voice told him to find a piece of gold foil paper and make a gold origami crane. The voice was so insistent that Art actually found himself rummaging through his collection of origami papers at home until he found one flat, shiny piece of gold foil.
"Why am I doing this?" he asked himself. Art had never worked with the shiny gold paper; it didn't fold as easily or neatly as the crisp multicolored papers. But that little voice kept nudging. Art tried to ignore the voice. "Why gold foil anyway? Paper is much easier to work with," he grumbled.
The voice continued. "Do it! And give it to a special person." By now Art was getting a little cranky. "What special person?" he asked the voice. "You'll know which one," the voice said.
That evening Art carefully folded and shaped the unforgiving gold foil until it became as graceful and delicate as a real crane about to take flight. He packed the exquisite crane in the box along with about 200 other colorful paper cranes he'd made over the previous few weeks.
The next day at the mall, dozens upon dozens of people stopped by Art's booth to ask questions about origami. He demonstrated the art. He folded, unfolded and refolded. He explained the intricate details, the need for sharp creases.
Then, suddenly, there was a woman standing in front of Art. Was this that special person? Art had never seen her before, and she hadn't said a word as she watched him carefully fold a pink piece of paper into a crane with pointed, graceful wings.
Art glanced up at her face, and before he realized it, he found himself reaching for the "gold-foil crane" he'd labored over the night before. Carefully he picked up the gold crane, and gently placed it in the woman's hand.
Art said: "I don't know why, but a voice told me to give you that golden crane. The crane is the ancient symbol of peace," Art said simply.
The woman didn't say a word as she slowly cupped her hand around the fragile bird as if it were alive. When Art looked at her face, he saw tears filling her eyes.
Finally, the woman took a deep breath and said, "My husband died three weeks ago. This is the first time I've been out. Today ...." She wiped her eyes with her free hand, still gently cradling the golden crane with the other. Then she said very quietly, as tears streamed down her face. "Today would have been our 'golden' wedding anniversary."
Then the lady said in a clear voice, "Thank you so much for this beautiful gift. Now I know that my husband is at peace.
Don't you see? The voice you heard, it was the voice of God, and this beautiful crane is a gift from Him. It's the most wonderful 50th wedding anniversary gift I could have received. Thank you for listening to Holly Spirit within your heart."
And that's how Art learned to listen very carefully, when the Holy Spirit speaks to him within, and tells him to do things he may not understand -- now or even later.
Are you listening, my friend? God may be speaking to you.
Author Unknown (Source:
Welcome to Holland
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability, to try to help people who haven't shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this...
When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip to Italy. You buy a bunch of guidebooks and make your wonderful plans..the Coliseum, the Michelangelo, gondolas. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.
After several months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says," Welcome to Holland."
"Holland?" you say. "What do you mean Holland? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."
But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay. The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place full of pestilence, famine, and disease. It's just a different pace.
So you go out and buy new guidebooks and you must learn a whole new language and you will meet a whole new group of people you would have never met. It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around. You begin to notice that Holland has windmills, Holland has tulips, and Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy, and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life you will say, "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned." And the pain of that experience will never, ever, ever go away. The loss of that dream is a very significant loss.
But if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things about Holland.
Emily Kingsley (Source:
You Know You're a Mom When....
1. Your feet stick to the kitchen floor.....and you don't care.
2. When the kids are fighting, you threaten to lock them in a room together and not let them out until someone's bleeding.
3. You can't find your cordless phone, so you ask a friend to call you, and you run around the house madly, following the sound until you locate the phone downstairs in the laundry basket.
4. You spend an entire week wearing sweats.
5. Your idea of a good day is making it through without a child leaking bodily fluids on you.
6. Popsicle become a food staple.
7. Your favorite television show is a cartoon.
8. Peanut butter and jelly is eaten at least in one meal a day.
9. You're willing to kiss your child's boo-boo, regardless of what body part it happens to be on.
10. Your baby's pacifier falls on the floor and you give it back to her after you suck the dirt off of it because you're too busy to wash it off.
11. Your kids make jokes about farting, burping, pooping, etc., and you think it's funny.
12. You're so desperate for adult conversation that you spill your guts to the telemarketer that calls and HE hangs up on YOU!
13. Spit is your number one cleaning agent.
14. You're up each night until 10 PM vacuuming, dusting, wiping, washing, drying, loading, unloading, shopping, cooking, driving, flushing, ironing, sweeping picking up, changing sheets, changing diapers, bathing, helping with homework, paying bills, budgeting, clipping coupons, folding clothes, putting to bed, dragging out of bed, brushing, chasing, buckling, feeding (them, Not you), PLUS swinging, playing baseball, bike riding, pushing trucks, cuddling dolls, rollerblading, basketball, football, catch, bubbles, sprinklers, slides, nature walks, coloring, crafts, jumping rope, PLUS raking, trimming, planting, edging, mowing, gardening, painting, and walking the dog. You get up at 5:30 AM and you have no time to eat, sleep, drink or go to the bathroom, and yet ... you still managed to gain 10 pounds.
15. In your bathroom there is toothpaste on the light fixtures, water all over the floor, a dog drinking out of the toilet and body hair forming a union to protest unsafe working conditions.
16. You buy cereal with marshmallows in it.
17. The closest you get to gourmet cooking is making Rice Krispie bars
18. You count the sprinkles on each kid's cupcake to make sure they 're equal.
19. You want to take out a contract on the kid who broke your child's favorite toy and made him/her cry.
20. You have time to shave only one leg at a time.
21. You hide in the bathroom to be alone.
22. You child throws up and you catch it.
23. Someone else's kid throws up at a party and you keep eating.
24. You consider finger paint to be a controlled substance
25. You mastered the art of placing food on a plate without anything touching.
26. Your child insists that you read "Once Upon a Potty" out loud in the lobby of the doctor office, and you do it.
27. You hire a sitter because you haven't been out with your husband ages, then spend half the night talking about and checking on the kids
28. You hope ketchup is a vegetable because it's the only one your child eats.
29. You can't bear the thought of your son's first girlfriend.
30. You hate the thought of his wife even more.
31. You find yourself cutting your husband's sandwiches into unusual shapes.
32. You fast-forward through the scene when the hunter shoots Bambi's mother.
33. You obsess when your child clings to you upon parting during his first month at school, then obsess when he skips in without looking back the second time.
34. You can't bear to give away baby clothes--it's so final.
35. You hear your mother's voice coming out of your mouth when you say, "Not in your good clothes."
36. You stop criticizing the way your mother raised you.
37. You read that the average five-year-old asks 437 questions a day and feel proud that your kid is "above average."
38. You say at least once a day, "I'm not cut out for this job," but you know you wouldn't trade it for anything.
Author Unknown (Source:
Jesus in the House
Once there was a very wealthy young man. He lived in a great, elaborate house with dozens of rooms. Each room was more comfortable and more beautiful than the one before it. There were paintings and sculptures. Crystal chandeliers, golden, ornate railings on the stairs. More beauty than most have ever seen.
One day he decided to invite the Lord to come home and stay with him. When the Lord arrived, this young man offered him the very best room in the house. The room was upstairs and at the end of the hall.
"This room is yours,Jesus! Stay as long as you like and you can do whatever you want to in this room, remember Jesus, its all yours."
"Thank you" the Lord replied, and with that the man shut the door and went about his daily business.
That evening after he had retired for the night there came a loud knocking at the front door. The young man pulled on his robe and made his way downstairs. When he opened the door he found that the devil had sent three of his demons to attack the man. He quickly tried to close the door but one of the demons kept sticking his foot in. Sometime later, after a great struggle, he managed to slam the door shut and returned to his room totally exhausted.
Can you believe that! The man thought. Jesus is upstairs in my very best room sleeping while I am down here battling demons. Oh, well, maybe he just didn't hear. He slept fitfully that night.
The next day things went along as normal and, being tired as he was, the young man retired early that evening. Along about midnight, there came such a terrible ruckus at the front door that the young man was sure that whatever it was would tear the door down. He stumbled down the stairs once again and opened the door to find that there were dozens of demons now trying to get into his beautiful home.
For more than three hours he fought and struggled against the demons from hell and finally overtook them enough to shut the door against their attack.
All energy seemed to fail him. He really didn't understand this at all. Why won't the Lord come to my rescue? Why does he allow me to fight all by myself? I feel so alone. Troubled, he found his way to the sofa and fell into a restless sleep.
The next morning he decided to inquire of the Lord about the happenings of the last two evenings. Quietly he made his way to the elegant bedroom where he had left Jesus. "Jesus," he called as he tapped at the door. "Lord, I don't understand what is happening. For the last two nights I have had to fight the demons away from my door while you laid up here sleeping. Don't you care about me? Did I not give you the very best room in the house?
He could see the tears building in Jesus' eyes but continued on, "I just don't understand. I really thought that once I invited you in to live with me that you would take care of me and I gave you the best room in my house and everything. What more can I do?"
"My precious child," Jesus spoke so softly. "I do love and care for you. I protect all that you have released into my care. But when you invited me to come here and stay, you brought me to this lovely room and you shut the door to the rest of your house. I am Lord of this room but I am not Master of this house. I have protected this room and no demon may enter here."
"Oh, Lord, please forgive me. Take all of my house - it is yours. I am so sorry that I never offered you all to begin with. I want you to have control of everything." With this he flung open the bedroom door and knelt at Jesus' feet. "Please forgive me Lord for being so selfish." Jesus smiled and told him that He had already forgiven him and that He would take care of things from now on.
That night as the young man prepared for bed he thought, "I wonder if those demons will return. I am so tired of fighting them each and every night." But he knew that Jesus said that he would take care of things from now on.
Along about midnight the banging on the door was frightening. The young man slipped out of his room in time to see Jesus going down the stairs. He watched in awe as Jesus swung open the door, no need to be afraid. Satan stood at the door this time demanding to be let in. "What do you want, Satan?" the Lord asked. The devil bowed low in the presence of the Lord, "So sorry, I seem to have gotten the wrong address." And with that, he and the demons all ran away.
There is a moral to this tale. Jesus wants all of you, not just a part. He will take all that you give Him but nothing more. How much of your heart have you given to the Lord? Are you keeping a portion of it away from Him?
Perhaps the attacks are coming more and more each day. Why not let the Lord fight the battles for you? He is always victorious. I have found that God made man simple, all of man's complexities are of his own devising.
Author Unknown (Source:
Who Is Jesus?
In Genesis Jesus is the Ram at Abraham's altar.
In Exodus He's the Passover Lamb.
In Leviticus He's the High Priest.
In Numbers He's the Cloud by day and Pillar of Fire by night.
In Deuteronomy He's the City of our refuge.
In Joshua He's the Scarlet Thread out Rahab's window.
In Judges He is our Judge.
In Ruth He is our Kinsman redeemer.
In 1st and 2nd Samuel He's our Trusted Prophet.
And in Kings and Chronicles He's our Reigning King.
In Ezra He is our Faithful Scribe.
In Nehemiah He's the Rebuilder of everything that is broken.
And in Esther He is the Mordecai sitting faithful at the gate.
In Job He's our redeemer that ever liveth.
In Psalms He is my Shepherd and I shall not want.
In Proverbs and Ecclesiastes He's our Wisdom.
And in the Song of Solomon He's the Beautiful Bridegroom.
In Isaiah He's the Suffering Servant.
In Jeremiah and Lamentations it is Jesus that is the Weeping Prophet.
In Ezekiel He's the Wonderful Four-Faced Man.
And in Daniel He is the Fourth Man in the midst of a fiery furnace.
In Hosea He is my Love that is forever faithful.
In Joel He baptizes us with the Holy Spirit.
In Amos He's our Burden Bearer.
In Obadiah our Savior.
And in Jonah He is the Great Foreign Missionary that takes the Word of God into all of the world.
You go on and you see in Micah He is the Messenger with beautiful feet.
In Nahum He is the Avenger.
In Habakkuk He is the Watchman that is ever praying for revival.
In Zephaniah He is the Lord mighty to save.
In Haggai He is the Restorer of our lost heritage.
In Zechariah He is our Fountain.
And in Malachi He is the Son of Righteousness with healing in His wings.
In Matthew Thou art the Christ the Son of the Living God.
In Mark He is the Miracle Worker.
In Luke He's the Son of Man.
And in John He is the Door by which everyone of us must enter.
In Acts He is the Shining Light that appears to Saul on the road to Damascus.
In Romans He is our Justifier.
In 1st Corinthians our Resurrection.
In 2nd Corinthians our Sin Bearer.
In Galatians He redeems us from the law.
In Ephesians He is our Unsearchable Riches.
In Philippians He supplies our every need.
And in Colossians He's the Fullness of the Godhead Bodily.
In 1st and 2nd Thessalonians He is our Soon Coming King.
In 1st and 2nd Timothy He is the Mediator between God and man.
In Titus He is our Blessed Hope.
In Philemon He is a Friend that sticks closer than a brother.
And in Hebrews He's the Blood of the everlasting covenant.
In James it is the Lord that heals the sick.
In 1st and 2nd Peter He is the Chief Shepherd.
In 1st, 2nd and 3rd John it is Jesus who has the tenderness of love.
In Jude He is the Lord coming with 10,000 saints.
And in Revelation.....
Lift up your eyes, Church, for your redemption draweth nigh.
He is King of kings and Lord of lords.
Author Unknown (Source:
The True Hero of the Titanic
John Harper was born to a pair of solid Christian parents on May 29th, 1872. It was on the last Sunday of March 1886, when he was thirteen years old that he received Jesus as the Lord of his life. He never knew what it was to "sow his wild oats." He began to preach about four years later at the ripe old age of 17 years old by going down to the streets of his village and pouring out his soul in earnest entreaty for men to be reconciled to God.
As John Harper's life unfolded, one thing was apparent...he was consumed by the word of God. When asked by various ministers what his doctrine consisted of, he was known to reply "The Word of God!" After five or six years of toiling on street corners preaching the gospel and working in the mill during the day, Harper was taken in by Rev. E. A. Carter of Baptist Pioneer Mission in London, England. This set Harper free to devote his whole time of energy to the work so dear to his heart. Soon, John Harper started his own church in September of 1896. (Now known as the Harper Memorial Church.) This church which John Harper had started with just 25 members, had grown to over 500 members when he left 13 years later. During this time he had gotten married, but was shortly thereafter widowed. However brief the marriage, God did bless John Harper with a beautiful little girl named Nana.
Ironically, John Harper almost drowned several times during his life. When he was two and a half years of age, he almost drowned when he fell into a well but was resuscitated by his mother. At the age of Twenty-six, he was swept out to sea by a reverse current and barely survived, and at thirty-two he faced death on a leaking ship in the Mediterranean. Perhaps, God used these experiences to prepare this servant for what he faced next.......
It was the night of April 14, 1912. The RMS Titanic sailed swiftly on the bitterly cold ocean waters heading unknowingly into the pages of history. On board this luxurious ocean liner were many rich and famous people. At the time of the ship's launch, it was the world's largest man-made moveable object. At 11:40 p.m. on that fateful night, an iceberg scraped the ship's starboard side, showering the decks with ice and ripping open six watertight compartments. The sea poured in.
On board the ship that night was John Harper and his much-beloved six-year-old daughter Nana. According to documented reports, as soon as it was apparent that the ship was going to sink, John Harper immediately took his daughter to a lifeboat. It is reasonable to assume that this widowed preacher could have easily gotten on board this boat to safety; however, it never seems to have crossed his mind. He bent down and kissed his precious little girl; looking into her eyes he told her that she would see him again someday. The flares going off in the dark sky above reflected the tears on his face as he turned and headed towards the crowd of desperate humanity on the sinking ocean liner. As the rear of the huge ship began to lurch upwards, it was reported that Harper was seen making his way up the deck yelling "Women, children and unsaved into the lifeboats!" It was only minutes later that the Titanic began to rumble deep within. Most people thought it was an explosion; actually the gargantuan ship was literally breaking in half. At this point, many people jumped off the decks and into the icy, dark waters below. John Harper was one of these people.
That night 1528 people went into the frigid waters. John Harper was seen swimming frantically to people in the water leading them to Jesus before the hypothermia became fatal. Mr. Harper swam up to one young Man who had climbed up on a piece of debris. Rev. Harper asked him between breaths, "Are you saved?" The young man replied that he was not.
Harper then tried to lead him to Christ only to have the young man who was near shock, reply no. John Harper then took off his life jacket and threw it to the man and said "Here then, you need this more than I do..." and swam away to other people. A few minutes later Harper swam back to the young man and succeeded in leading him to salvation. Of the 1528 people that went into the water that night, six were rescued by the lifeboats. One of them was this young man on the debris. Four years later, at a survivors meeting, this young man stood up and in tears recounted how that after John Harper had led him to Christ. Mr. Harper had tried to swim back to help other people, yet because of the intense cold, had grown too weak to swim. His last words before going under in the frigid waters were "Believe on the Name of the Lord Jesus and you will be saved."
Does Hollywood remember this man? No. Oh well, no matter. This servant of God did what he had to do. While other people were trying to buy their way onto the lifeboats and selfishly trying to save their own lives, John Harper gave up his life so that others could be saved.
"Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends..." John Harper was truly the hero of the Titanic!
Sources for this article: "The Titanic's Last Hero" by Moody Press 1997, Scriptures are quoted from the King James Bible.
Author Unknown (Source:
Moody Press 1997)
TABLE FOR TWO
He sits by himself at a table for two.
The uniformed waiter returns to his side and asks, “Would you like to go ahead and order, sir?” The man has, after all, been waiting since seven o´clock -- almost half an hour.
“No, thank you,” the man smiles. “I´ll wait for her a while longer. How about some more coffee?”
The man sits, his clear blue eyes gazing straight through the flowered centerpiece. He fingers his napkin, allowing the sounds of light chatter, tinkling silverware, and mellow music to fill his mind. He is dressed in a sports coat and tie. His dark brown hair is neatly combed, but one stray lock insists on dropping to his forehead. The scent of his cologne adds to his clean cut image. He is dressed up enough to make a companion feel important, respected, loved. Yet he is not so formal as to make on uncomfortable. It seems that he has taken every precaution to make others feel at ease with him.
Still, he sits alone.
The waiter returns to fill the man's coffee cup. “Is there anything else I can get for you, sir?”
“No, thank you.”
The waiter remains standing at the table. Something tugs at his curiosity. “I don´t mean to pry, but...” His voice trails off. This line of conversation could jeopardize his tip.
“Go ahead,” the man encourages. He is strong, yet sensitive, inviting conversation.
“Why do you bother waiting for her?” the waiter finally blurts out. This man has been at the restaurant other evenings, always patiently alone.
Says the man quietly, “Because she needs me.”
“Are you sure?”
“Well, sir, no offense, but assuming that she needs you, she sure isn´t acting much like it. She´s stood you up three times just this week.”
The man winces, and looks down at the table. “Yes, I know.”
“Then why do you still come here and wait?”
“Cassie said that she would be here.”
“She´s said that before,” the waiter protests. “I wouldn´t put up with it. Why do you?”
Now the man looks up, smiles at the waiter, and says simply, “Because I love her.”
The waiter walks away, wondering how one could love a girl who stands him up three times a week. The man must be crazy, he decides. Across the room, he turns to look at the man again. The man slowly pours cream into his coffee. He twirls his spoon between his fingers a few times before stirring sweetener into his cup. After staring for a moment into the liquid, the man brings the cup to his mouth and sips, silently watching those around him. He doesn´t look crazy, the waiter admits. Maybe the girl has some qualities that I don´t know about. Or maybe the man´s love is stronger than most. The waiter shakes himself out of his musings to take an order from a party of five.
The man watches the waiter, wonders if he´s ever been stood up. The man has, many times. But he still can´t get used to it. Each time, it hurts. He´s looked forward to this evening all day. He has many things, exciting things to tell Cassie. But, more importantly, he wants to hear Cassie´s voice. He wants her to tell him all about her day, her triumphs, her defeats...anything, really. He has tried so many times to show Cassie how much he loves her.
He´d just like to know that she cares for him, too. He sips sporadically at the coffee, and loses himself in though, knowing that Cassie is late, but still hoping that she will arrive.
The clock says nine-thirty when the waiter returns to the man´s table. “Is there anything I can get for you?”
The still empty chair stabs at the man. “No, I think that will be all for tonight. May I have the check please?”
When the waiter leaves, the man picks up the check. He pulls out his wallet and sighs. He has enough money to have given Cassie a feast. But he takes out only enough to pay for his five cups of coffee and the tip. Why do you do this, Cassie, his mind cries as he gets up from the table.
“Good-bye,” the waiter says, as the man walks towards the door.
“Good-night. Thank you for your service.”
“You´re welcome, sir,” says the waiter softly, for he sees the pain in the man´s eyes that his smile doesn´t hide.
The man passes a laughing young couple on his way out, and his eyes glisten as he thinks of the good time he and Cassie could have had. He stops at the front and makes reservations for tomorrow. Maybe Cassie will be able to make it, he thinks.
“Seven o´clock tomorrow for party of two?” the hostess confirms.
“That´s right,” the man replies.
“Do you think she´ll come?” asks the hostess. She doesn´t mean to be rude, but she has watched the man many times alone at his table for two.
“Someday, yes. And I will be waiting for her.” The man buttons his overcoat and walks out of the restaurant, alone. His shoulders are hunched, but through the windows the hostess can only guess whether they are hunched against the wind or against the man´s hurt.
As the man turns toward home, Cassie turns into bed. She is tired after an evening out with friends. As she reaches toward her night stand to set the alarm, she sees the note that she scribbled to herself last night. ‘7:00,´ it says. ‘Spend some time in prayer.´ Darn, she thinks. She forgot again. She feels a twinge of guilt, but quickly pushes it aside. She needed that time with her friends. And now she needs her sleep. She can pray tomorrow night.
Jesus will forgive her.
And she´s sure he doesn´t mind.
Kirsten Burgess (Source:
Don't hope, ... decide!
While waiting to pick up a friend at the airport in Portland, Oregon, I had one of those life-changing experiences that you hear other people talk about -the kind that sneaks up on you unexpectedly. This one occurred a mere two feet away from me.
Straining to locate my friend among the passengers deplaning through the jetway, I noticed a man coming toward me carrying two light bags. He stopped right next to me to greet his family.
First he motioned to his youngest son (maybe six years old) as he laid down his bags. They gave each other a long, loving hug. As they separated enough to look in each other's face, I heard the father say, "It's so good to see you, son. I missed you so much!" His son smiled somewhat shyly, averted his eyes and replied softly, "Me, too, Dad!"
Then the man stood up, gazed in the eyes of his oldest son (maybe nine or ten) and while cupping his son's face in his hands said, "You're already quite the young man. I love you very much, Zach!" They too hugged a most loving, tender hug.
While this was happening, a baby girl (perhaps one or one-and-a-half) was squirming excitedly in her mother's arms, never once taking her little eyes off the wonderful sight of her returning father. The man said, "Hi, baby girl!" as he gently took the child from her mother. He quickly kissed her face all over and then held her close to his chest while rocking her from side to side. The little girl instantly relaxed and simply laid her head on his shoulder, motionless in pure contentment.
After several moments, he handed his daughter to his oldest son and declared, "I've saved the best for last!" and proceeded to give his wife the longest, most passionate kiss I ever remember seeing. He gazed into her eyes for several seconds and then silently mouthed. "I love you so much!" They stared at each other's eyes, beaming big smiles at one another, while holding both hands.
For an instant they reminded me of newlyweds, but I knew by the age of their kids that they couldn't possibly be. I puzzled about it for a moment then realized how totally engrossed I was in the wonderful display of unconditional love not more than an arm's length away from me.
I suddenly felt uncomfortable, as if I was invading something sacred, but was amazed to hear my own voice nervously ask, "Wow! How long have you two been married?" "Been together fourteen years total, married twelve of those." he replied, without breaking his gaze from his lovely wife's face. "Well then, how long have you been away?" I asked the man finally turned and looked at me, still beaming his joyous smile."Two whole days!" Two days? I was stunned.
By the intensity of the greeting, I had assumed he'd been gone for at least several weeks - if not months. I know my expression betrayed me, I said almost offhandedly, hoping to end my intrusion with some semblance of grace (and to get back to searching for my friend), "I hope my marriage is still that passionate after twelve years!" The man suddenly stopped smiling.
He looked me straight in the eye, and with forcefulness that burned right into my soul, he told me something that left me a different person. He told me, "Don't hope, friend... decide!" Then he flashed me his wonderful smile again, shook my hand and said, "God bless!"
With that, he and his family turned and strode away together. I was still watching that exceptional man and his special family walk just out of sight when my friend came up to me and asked, "What'cha looking at?" Without hesitating, and with a curious sense of certainty, I replied, "My future!"
Author Unknown (Source:
Seventeenth Century Nun's Prayer
Lord, You know better than I know myself that I am growing older and will someday be old. Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking I must say something on every subject and on every occassion. Release me from the craving to straighten out everybody's affairs. Make me thoughtful, but not moody. Helpful, but not bossy. With my vast store of wisdom, it seems a pity not to use it all, but You know, Lord, I want a few friends at the end.
Keep my mind free from the endless recital of details; give me wings to get to the point. Seal my lips on my aches and pains. They are increasing, and love of rehearsing them is becoming sweeter as the years go by. I dare not ask for grace enough to enjoy the tales of others' pains, but help me to endure them with patience.
I dare not ask for improved memory, but for a growing humility and a lessening cocksureness when my memory seems to clash with the memories of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occassionally, I may be mistaken.
Keep me reasonably sweet. I do not want to be a saint - some of them are so hard to live with. But a sour old person is one of the crowning works of the devil. Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected places, and talents in unexpected people. And give me, Lord, the grace to tell them so.
Author Unknown (Source: