The late Fr. Dela Costa, the first Filipino provincial superior of the Jesuits, delivered this homily at midnight Mass at the Ateneo Law School. This reflection piece was selected for CDN readers by columnist Juan L. Mercado

CHRISTMAS is when we celebrate the unexpected; it is the festival of surprise.

This is the night when shepherds wake to the song of angels; when the earth has a star for a satellite; when wise men go on a fool's errand, bringing gifts to a Prince they have not seen, in a country they do not know.

This is the night when one small donkey, bears on its back, the weight of the world's desire, and an ox plays host to the Lord of heaven. This is the night when we are told to seek our king, not in a palace, but in a stable.

Although we have stood here, year after year, as our fathers before us, the wonder! has not faded; nor will it ever fade; the wonder of that moment when we push open that little door, and enter, and entering find, a mother who is virgin, and a baby who is God.

Chesterton has said it for us all: the only way to view Christmas properly is to stand on one's head. Was there ever a home more topsy-turvy than Christmas, the cave where Christ was born? For here, suddenly, in the very heart of earth, is heaven; down is up, and up is down; the angels look down on the God who made them, and God looks up to the things he made.

There is no room in an Inn for Him who made room and to spare, for the Milky Way, and where God is homeless, all men are at home.

We were promised a savior, but we never dreamed God Himself would come and save us. We know that He loved us, but we never dared to think that he loved us so much as to become one of us.

But that is the way God gives! . His gifts are never quite what we expect, but always something better than we hoped for. We can only dream of things too good to be true; God has a habit of giving things too true to be false. That is why our faith is a faith of the unexpected, a religion of surprise.

Now, more than ever, living in times so troubled, facing a future so uncertain, we need such faith. We need it for ourselves, and we need to give it to others.

We must remind the world that if Christmas comes in the depths of winter, it is that there may be an Easter in the springtime.


Three years ago, a little boy and his grandmother came to see Santa at Mayfair Mall in Wisconsin. The child climbed up on his lap, holding a picture of a little girl.

"Who is this?" asked Santa, smiling. "Your friend? Your sister?"

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

Santa glanced over at the grandmother who was waiting nearby, and saw her dabbing her eyes with a tissue.

"She wanted to come with me to see you, oh, so very much, Santa!" the child exclaimed. "She misses you," he added softly.

Santa tried to be cheerful and encouraged a smile to the boy's face, asking him what he wanted Santa to bring him for Christmas.

When they finished their visit, the Grandmother came over to help the child off his lap, and started to say something to Santa, but halted.

"What is it?" Santa asked warmly.

"Well, I know it's really too much to ask you, Santa, but ..." the old woman began, shooing her grandson over to one of Santa's elves to collect the little gift which Santa gave all his young visitors.

"...The girl in the photograph .. My granddaughter . Well, you see ... She has leukemia and isn't expected to make it even through the holidays," she said through tear-filled eyes. "Is there any way, Santa . Any possible way that you could come see Sarah? That's all she's asked for, for Christmas, is to see Santa."

Santa blinked and swallowed hard and told the woman to leave information with his elves as to where Sarah was, and he would see what he could do.

Santa thought of little else the rest of that afternoon. He knew what he had to do.

"What if it were MY child lying in that hospital bed, dying," he thought with a sinking heart, "this is the least I can do."

When Santa finished visiting with all the boys and girls that evening, he retrieved from his helper the name of the hospital where Sarah was staying.

He asked the assistant location manager how to get to Children's Hospital.

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

Santa relayed to him the conversation with Sarah's grandmother earlier that day.

"C'mon .... I'll take you there," Rick said softly.

Rick drove them to the hospital and came inside with Santa. They found out which room Sarah was in. A pale Rick said he would wait out in the hall.

Santa quietly peeked into the room through the half-closed door and saw little Sarah on the bed.

The room was full of what appeared to be her family; there was the Grandmother and the girl's brother he had met earlier that day. A woman whom he guessed was Sarah's mother stood by the bed, gently pushing Sarah's thin hair off her forehead. And another woman who he discovered later was Sarah's aunt, sat in a chair near the bed with 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 ad 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 up to sit on his lap.

"Hi, Santa! Remember me?!"

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

"You came to see me in the hospital last year!"

Santa's jaw dropped. Tears immediately sprang in his eyes, and he grabbed this little miracle and held her to his chest.

"Sarah!" he exclaimed.

He scarcely recognized her, for her hair was long and silky and her cheeks were rosy - much different from the little girl he had visited just a year before.

He looked over and saw Sarah's mother and grandmother in the sidelines smiling and waving and wiping their eyes.

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

"Thank you, Father. 'Tis a very, Merry Christmas!"


Each year we ring in the holiday season by attending dozens of holiday meetings. This Christmas committee, that planning event. Then we still have to make the rounds to every store in the metro-plex. 'Tis the season for weeks of ulcer inducing meetings and shopping, then wrapping for about 72 straight hours. Christmas morning I find myself sitting around the tree with a glazed look and half a roll of tape stuck in my hair.

I stack three stories of gifts in front of each child. Within ten minutes we're up to our eyeballs in wrapping paper. I have five children. That's five three-story gift stacks and about 1200 yards of wrapping paper. Last year it took us three days to find the cat.

I was scanning for Christmas sales when I ran across an Internet ad: "100 FREE HOURS!" That's it! That's what I want for Christmas! Not the Internet service - just the hours. My holiday calendar could make grown men weep.

Even if we can't have a chestnut or two roasting on an open fire, it seems we should at least be able to find time for some popcorn popping in the microwave. Visions of sugarplums? I don't think so. There hasn't been a silent night around our place since the season began.

Maybe we're being sucked in to the idea that we need to "super size" the holidays the same way we're tempted to upgrade every fast food lunch. We convince ourselves that to have a socially complete Christmas, we need to super-size our schedules - adding more, spending more, eating more. I'm popping Tums just thinking about it.

But let's take a look at the big Christmas picture. Jesus didn't come into the world so that we could enjoy a nice story about a reindeer. He didn't come so that our kids could put on a cute play.

Christ was born so that through his sacrificial death, we could be reconciled to a holy God. Emmanuel, "God With Us," came to pay our sin debt. Christmas is not for making us overworked and overwhelmed, but for celebrating how we have been made overcomers.

The season becomes a real celebration when we learn to rest in the faithful hands of the One who has overcome the world. Guess what we find when we rest in him: Peace! Jesus said in John 16:33, " me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." The Lord has done the overcoming on our behalf. He's the one who gives peace. The only thing we truly need to work for is the resting ability.

If your holiday schedule is keeping you up nights and you'd like a little sleep in heavenly peace, maybe 'tis the season for saying some "no's" - for sanity's sake. As for that Internet ad, if someone could actually give me those extra 100 hours, what would I do with them? Would I cram them to the brim with more activities? The truth is that we have loads of time--24 hours every day. Focusing 24/7 on the God who provided Christmas is the way to find a fulfilling holiday season.

I've decided to take time to stop and smell the poinsettias - and find the cat.

Roses and Thorns - Author Unknown

A certain man planted a rose and watered it faithfully, and before it blossomed, he examined it. He saw the bud that would soon blossom and also the thorns. And he thought, "How can any beautiful flower come from a plant burdened with so many sharp thorns?" Saddened by this thought, he neglected to water the rose, and before it was ready to bloom, it died.

So it is with many people. Within every soul there is a rose. The God-like qualities planted in us at birth grow amid the thorns of our faults. Many of us look at ourselves and see only the thorns, the defects. We despair, thinking that nothing good can possibly come from us. We neglect to water the good within us, and eventually it dies. We never realize our potential.

Some people do not see the rose within themselves; someone else must show it to them.

One of the greatest gifts a person can possess is to be able to reach past the thorns and find the rose within others. This is the characteristic of love, to look at a person, and knowing his faults, recognize the nobility in his soul, and help him realize that he can overcome his faults. If we show him the rose, he will conquer the thorns.

Our duty in this world is to help others by showing them their roses and not their thorns. Only then can we achieve the love we should feel for each other; only then can we bloom in our own garden.

Health Check-up By God - Author Unknown

I went to the Lord's Clinic to have my routine check-up and I confirmed I was ill.

When Jesus took my blood pressure, He saw I was low in tenderness.

When He read my temperature, the thermometer registered 40 degrees of anxiety.

He ran an electrocardiogram and found that I needed several "love bypasses" since my arteries were blocked with loneliness and could not provide for an empty heart.

I went to orthopedics, because I could not walk by my brother's side and I could not hug my friends, since I had fractured myself when tripping with envy.

He also found I was short-sighted, since I could not see beyond the shortcomings of my brothers and sisters.

When I complained about deafness, the diagnostic was that I had sopped listening to Jesus' voice talking to me on a daily basis.

For all of that, Jesus gave me a free consultation thanks to His mercifulness, so my pledge is to, once I leave this clinic, only take the natural remedies He prescribed through his words of truth:

* Every morning take a full glass of gratitude.
* When getting to work, take one spoon of peace.
* Every hour, take one pill of patience, one cup of brotherhood and one glass of humility
* When getting home, take one dose of love
* When getting to bed, take two caplets of clear conscience

Do not give in to sadness or desperation for what you are going through today.

God knows how you feel...

God knows exactly and with perfection what is being allowed to happen to you in your life at this precise moment.

God's purpose for you is simply perfect.

He wants to show you things that only you can understand by living what you are living, and by being in the place you are now.

May God give you...
* For every storm, a rainbow
* For every tear, a smile,
* For every care, a promise,
* And a blessing in each trial.

For every problem life sends, a faithful friend to share,
For ever sigh, a sweet song,
And an answer for each prayer.

Be Thankful


Be thankful that you don't already have everything you desire.
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?

Be thankful when you don't know something,
for it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.

Be thankful for your limitations,
because they give you opportunities for improvement.

Be thankful for each new challenge,
because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes.
They will teach you valuable lessons.

Be thankful when you're tired and weary,
because it means you've made a difference.

It's easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who
are also thankful for the setbacks.

Directions To His House - Author Unknown

Make a Right onto "Believeth Blvd."

Keep straight and go through the Green Light, which is Jesus Christ.

From there, you must turn onto the "Bridge of Faith," which is over
troubled water.

When you get off the bridge, make a Right turn and Keep Straight.

You are on the "King's Highway" - Heaven-bound.

Keep going for three miles: One for the Father, One for the Son, and
One for the Holy Ghost.

Then exit off onto "Grace Blvd."

From there, make a Right turn on "Gospel Lane."

Keep Straight and then make another Right on "Prayer Blvd."

As you go on your way, Yield Not to the traffic on "Temptation Ave."

Also, avoid SIN STREET because it is a DEAD END.

Pass up "Envy Drive," and "Have Avenue."

Also, pass "Hypocrisy Street," "Gossiping Lane" and "Backbiting Blvd."

But you have to go down "Long-suffering Lane", "Persecution Blvd.,"
and "Trials and Tribulations Ave."

But that's all right, because VICTORY Blvd. is straight ahead!

God Bless

What Makes a Dad - Author Unknown

God took the strength of a mountain,
The majesty of a tree,
The warmth of a summer sun,
The calm of a quiet sea,
The generous soul of nature,
The comforting arm of night,
The wisdom of the ages,
The power of the eagle's flight,
The joy of a morning in spring,
The faith of a mustard seed,
The patience of eternity,
The depth of a family need,
Then God combined these qualities,
When there was nothing more to add,
He knew His masterpiece was complete,
And so,

He called it ... Dad

The Cab Ride Author Unknown

Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living. It was a cowboy's life,
a life
for someone who wanted no boss. What I didn't realize was that it was
also a
ministry. Because I drove the night shift, my cab became a moving
confessional. Passengers climbed in, sat behind me in total anonymity,
told me about their lives. I encountered people whose lives amazed me,
ennobled me, made me laugh and weep. But none touched me more than a
woman I
picked up late one August night.

I responded to a call from a small brick fourplex in a quiet part of
I assumed I was being sent to pick up some partiers, or someone who
had just
had a fight with a lover, or a worker heading to an early shift at
factory in the industrial part of town. When I arrived at 2:30 a.m.,
building was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window.

Under these circumstances, many drivers would just honk once or twice,
a minute, then drive away. But I had seen too many impoverished people
depended on taxis as their only means of transportation. Unless a
smelled of danger, I always went to the door. This passenger might be
someone who needed my assistance, I reasoned to myself. So I walked to
door and knocked.

"Just a minute," answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear
being dragged across the floor. After a long pause, the door opened. A
woman in her 80s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a
pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940's
By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no
had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.
were no clocks on the walls, no knick-knacks or utensils on the
counters. In
the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

"Would you carry my bag out to the car?" she said.

I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman. She
my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb. She kept thanking me for

"It's nothing," I told her. "I just try to treat my passengers the way
would want my mother treated."

"Oh, you're such a good boy," she said.

When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, then asked, "Could you
through downtown?"

"It's not the shortest way," I answered quickly.

"Oh, I don't mind," she said. "I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a

I looked in the rearview mirror. Her eyes were glistening.

"I don't have any family left," she continued. "The doctor says I
don't have
very long."

I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

"What route would you like me to take?" I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the
building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove
the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were
newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that
once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl. Sometimes
ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would
staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said,
tired. Let's go now."

We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low
like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a
Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were
solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been
expecting her. I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the
The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

"How much do I owe you?" she asked, reaching into her purse.

"Nothing," I said.

"You have to make a living," she answered.

"There are other passengers," I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me

"You gave an old woman a little moment of joy," she said. "Thank you."

I squeezed her hand, then walked into the dim morning light. Behind
me, a
door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.

I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly,
lost in
thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that
had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift?
if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven
away? On a
quick review, I don't think that I have done very many more important
in my life.

We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great
moments. But
great moments often catch us unaware - beautifully wrapped in what
may consider small ones.

Tax Assessor Author Unknown

A tax assessor came one day to a poor pastor to determine the amount
of taxes the pastor would have to pay. The following conversation took

"What property do you possess?" asked the assessor.

"I am a very wealthy man," replied the minister.

"List your possessions, please," the assessor instructed.

"First, I have everlasting life (John 3:16).

"Second, I have a mansion in heaven (John 14:2).

"Third, I have peace that passeth understanding (Philippians 4:7).

"Fourth, I have joy unspeakable (1 Peter 1:8).

"Fifth, I have divine love which never faileth (1 Corinthians 13:8).

"Sixth, I have a faithful precious wife (Proverbs 31:10).

"Seventh, I have healthy, happy obedient children (Exodus 20:12).

"Eighth, I have true, loyal friend (Proverbs 18:24).

"Ninth, I have songs in the night (Psalms 42:8).

"Tenth, I have a crown of life (James 1:12)."

The tax assessor closed his book, and said, "Truly you are a very rich
man, but your wealth is not subject to taxation.

THEN WHY DON'T WE PRAY? Author Unknown

The highest privilege ever afforded to man is the power of prayer.

...then why don't we pray?

The right to talk to the highest potentate in all the universe...

...then why don't we pray?

The most powerful force accessible to man is the potential of

...then why don't we pray?

The greatest longing in the heart of God is to talk to His children...

...then why don't we pray?

Nothing is impossible to those who pray...

...then why don't we pray?

No man ever fainted or faltered who gave himself to prayer...

...then why don't we pray?

Every sin is forgiven, every stain is washed clean, all guilt
diminished to
the man who prays...

...then why don't we pray?

Hell moves farther away, satan flees from the man who prays...

...then why don't we pray?

Anointing will come, mountains will be moved, valleys made smooth,
rivers made crossable, the inaccessible made accessible, the
impossible made possible, dreams come through to the man who prays...

...then why don't we pray?

Jesus said that men ought always to pray...

...then why don't we pray?

Paul encouraged prayer without ceasing...

...then why don't we pray?

The riches of heaven are open to those who pray in His name...

...then why don't we pray?

Everyone can pray, the young, the old, the rich, the poor, the strong,
the weak, the child, the aged, the sinner, the prisoner, in any
nation, in any language, all can pray...

...then why don't we pray?

The Awakening Author Unknown

A time comes in your life when you finally get it...when, in the midst
all your fears and insanity, you stop dead in your tracks and
somewhere the
voice inside your head cries out - ENOUGH!

Enough fighting and crying or struggling to hold on. And, like a child
quieting down after a blind tantrum, your sobs begin to subside, you
once or twice, you blink back your tears and begin to look at the
through new eyes.

This is your awakening.

You realize it's time to stop hoping and waiting for something to
change...or for happiness, safety and security to come galloping over
next horizon.

You come to terms with the fact that neither of you is Prince Charming
Cinderella and that in the real world there aren't always fairy tale
(or beginnings for that matter) and that any guarantee of "happily
after" must begin with you...and in the process a sense of serenity is
of acceptance.

You awaken to the fact that you are not perfect and that not everyone
always love, appreciate or approve of who or what you are ... and
that's OK.

They are entitled to their own views and opinions.

And you learn the importance of loving and championing yourself...and
in the
process a sense of new found confidence is born of self-approval.

You stop complaining and blaming other people for the things they did
to you
(or didn't do for you) and you learn that the only thing you can
count on is the unexpected.

You learn that people don't always say what they mean or mean what
they say
and that not everyone will always be there for you and that it's not
about you.

So, you learn to stand on your own and to take care of yourself...and
in the
process a sense of safety and security is born of self-reliance.

You stop judging and pointing fingers and you begin to accept people
as they
are and to overlook their shortcomings and human frailties..and in the
process a sense of peace and contentment is born of forgiveness.

You realize that much of the way you view yourself, and the world
you, is as a result of all the messages and opinions that have been
ingrained into your psyche.

And you begin to sift through all the junk you've been fed about how
should behave, how you should look, how much you should weigh, what
should wear, what you should do for a living, how much money you
make, what you should drive, how and where you should live, who you
marry, the importance of having and raising children, and what you owe
parents, family, and friends.

You learn to open up to new worlds and different points of view.

And you begin reassessing and redefining who you are and what you
stand for.

You learn the difference between wanting and needing and you begin to
discard the doctrines and values you've outgrown, or should never have
bought into to begin with ... and in the process you learn to go with

You learn that it is truly in giving that we receive.

And that there is power and glory in creating and contributing and you
maneuvering through life merely as a "consumer" looking for your next

You learn that principles such as honesty and integrity are not the
ideals of a bygone era but the mortar that holds together the
upon which you must build a life.

You learn that you don't know everything, it's not your job to save
world and that you can't teach a pig to sing.

You learn to distinguish between guilt and responsibility and the
of setting boundaries and learning to say NO.

You learn that the only cross to bear is the one you choose to carry
that martyrs get burned at the stake.

Then you learn about love.

How to love, how much to give in love, when to stop giving and when to

You learn to look at relationships as they really are and not as you
have them be.

You stop trying to control people, situations and outcomes.

And you learn that alone does not mean lonely.

You also stop working so hard at putting your feelings aside,
things over and ignoring your needs.

You learn that feelings of entitlement are perfectly OK....and that it
your right to want things and to ask for the things you want ... and
sometimes it is necessary to make demands.

You come to the realization that you deserve to be treated with love,
kindness, sensitivity and respect and you won't settle for less.

And you learn that your body really is your temple.

And you begin to care for it and treat it with respect.

You begin to eat a balanced diet, drink more water, and take more time

You learn that being tired fuels doubt, fear, and uncertainty and so
take more time to rest.

And, just as food fuels the body, laughter fuels our soul.

So you take more time to laugh and to play.

You learn that, for the most part, you get in life what you believe
deserve...and that much of life truly is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

You learn that anything worth achieving is worth working for and that
wishing for something to happen is different than working toward
making it

More importantly, you learn that in order to achieve success you need
direction, discipline and perseverance.

You also learn that no one can do it all alone...and that it's OK to
asking for help.

You learn the only thing you must truly fear is the greatest robber
baron of
all: FEAR itself.

You learn to step right into and through your fears because you know
whatever happens you can handle it and to give in to fear is to give
the right to live life on your own terms.

And you learn to fight for your life and not to squander it living
under a
cloud of impending doom.

You learn that life isn't always fair, you don't always get what you
you deserve and that sometimes bad things happen to unsuspecting, good

On these occasions you learn not to personalize things.

You learn that God isn't punishing you or failing to answer your

It's just life happening.

And you learn to deal with evil in its most primal state - the ego.

You learn that negative feelings such as anger, envy and resentment
must be
understood and redirected or they will suffocate the life out of you
poison the universe that surrounds you.

You learn to admit when you are wrong and to build bridges instead of

You learn to be thankful and to take comfort in many of the simple
things we
take for granted, things that millions of people upon the earth can
dream about: a full refrigerator, clean running water, a soft warm
bed, a
long hot shower.

Slowly, you begin to take responsibility for yourself by yourself and
make yourself a promise to never betray yourself and to never, ever
for less than your heart's desire.

And you hang a wind chime outside your window so you can listen to the

And you make it a point to keep smiling, to keep trusting, and to stay
to every wonderful possibility.

Finally, with courage in your heart and God by your side you take a
you take a deep breath, and you begin to design the life you want to
live as
best you can.


The Turtle, The Frogs & The Pretty Lady
Author Unknown

We learn a lot through our experiences in life. The following 3
examples of TURTLES, FROGS and THE PRETTY LADY teach us some lesson.

Enjoy reading the same and do ponder over them.


The Turtles
A turtle family decided to go on a picnic. The turtles, being
naturally slow about things, took seven years to prepare for their
outing. Finally the turtle family left home looking for a suitable
place. During the second year of their journey they found a place
ideal for them at last!

For about six months they cleaned the area, unpacked the picnic
basket, and completed the arrangements. Then they discovered they had
forgotten the salt. A picnic without salt would be a disaster, they
all agreed. After a lengthy discussion, the youngest turtle was chosen
to retrieve the salt from home. Although he was the fastest of the
slow moving turtles, the little turtle whined, cried, and wobbled in
his shell. He agreed to go on one condition: that no one would eat
until he returned. The family consented and the little turtle left.

Three years passed and the little turtle had not returned. Five
years...six years... then on the seventh year of his absence, the
oldest turtle could no longer contain his hunger. He announced that he
was going to eat and begun to unwrap a sandwich. At that point the
little turtle suddenly popped out from behind a tree shouting, 'See! I
knew you wouldn't wait. Now I am not going to go get the salt.'

[Some of us waste our time waiting for people to live up to our
expectations. We are so concerned about what others are doing that we
do not do anything ourselves.]


The Frogs

A farmer came into town and asked the owner of a restaurant if he
could use a million frog legs. The restaurant owner was shocked and
asked the man where he could get so many frog legs! The farmer
replied, 'There is a pond near my house that is full of frogs -
millions of them. They all croak all night long and they are about to
make me crazy!' So the restaurant owner and the farmer made an
agreement that the farmer would deliver frogs to the restaurant, five
hundred at a time for the next several weeks.

The first week, the farmer returned to the restaurant looking rather
sheepish, with two scrawny little frogs. The restaurant owner said,
'Well... where are all the frogs?' The farmer said, 'I was mistaken.
There were only these two frogs in the pond. But they sure were making
a lot of noise!'

[ Next time you hear somebody criticizing or making fun of you,
remember, it's probably just a couple of noisy frogs. Also remember
that problems always seem bigger in the dark. Have you ever laid in
your bed at night worrying about things which seem almost overwhelming
like a million frogs croaking? Chances are pretty good that when the
morning comes, and you take a closer look, you'll wonder what all the
fuss was about.]


The Pretty Lady

Once upon a time a big monk and a little monk were traveling together.
They came to the bank of a river and found the bridge was damaged.
They had to wade across the river. There was a pretty lady who was
stuck at the damaged bridge and couldn't cross the river.

The big monk offered to carry her across the river on his back. The
lady accepted. The little monk was shocked by the move of the big
monk. 'How can big brother carry a lady when we are supposed to avoid
all intimacy with females?' thought the little monk. But he kept
quiet.. The big monk carried the lady across the river and the small
monk followed unhappily.

When they crossed the river, the big monk let the lady down and they
parted ways with her.

All along the way for several miles, the little monk was very unhappy
with the act of the big monk. He was making up all kinds of
accusations about big monk in his head. This got him madder and
madder. But he still kept quiet. And the big monk had no inclination
to explain his situation.

Finally, at a rest point many hours later, the little monk could not
stand it any further, he burst out angrily at the big monk. 'How can
you claim yourself a devout monk, when you seize the first opportunity
to touch a female, especially when she is very pretty? All your
teachings to me make
you a big hypocrite

The big monk looked surprised and said, 'I had put down the pretty
lady at the river bank many hours ago, how come you are still carrying
her along?'

[This very old story reflects the thinking of many people today. We
encounter many unpleasant things in our life, they irritate us and
they make us angry. Sometimes, they cause us a lot of hurt, sometimes
they cause us to be bitter or jealous .. But like the little monk, we
are not willing to let them go away.We keep on carrying the baggage of the 'pretty lady' with us. We let them keep on coming back to hurt us, make us angry, make us
bitter and cause us a lot of agony.Why? Simply because we are not
willing to put down or let go of the baggage of the 'pretty lady'. We
should let go of the pretty lady immediately after crossing the river.
This will immediately remove all our agonies.There is no need to be
further hurt by the unpleasant event after it is over.]

THINK POSITIVE Contributed by Melanie Schurr

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that
they may have life, and have it to the full." -John 10:10

There have been some disturbing things in my life lately. Nothing
serious or life-threatening, mind you, but more like little
annoyances, to which, when combined, have the ability to affect one's

Maybe you can relate to how bits of negative gossip that find their
way to your ear can be hurtful? Or, how one can feel frustrated over a
strained relationship? Maybe your own situation is different, and what
is affecting you is worry, stress or fear?

After a few weeks of feeling not at my best, it finally sunk in to my
brain that, in life, there will always exist joy-zappers, (whether
they be people or events), but it is up to us to decide if we are
going to allow such situations or individuals to so intensely affect
our life that we are no longer as happy and at peace as we can be.

As the above Bible verse reveals, Jesus Christ came that we may not
only have life, but have it to the full! However, it is not the Son of
who attempts to steal away and rob us of the abundant and glorious
life He desires for His children.

If we chose to dwell on negativity, every aspect of our life will
reflect this. But, if we lay all that is bothering us in God's capable
hands, and tell Him the desires of our heart, our heavenly Father
" able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think
according to the power that works in us." (Ephesians 3:20)


My husband and I enjoy dining out, but he does so only under one
condition.  When I suggest a new restaurant to try, he says, “do they
take reservations?” He absolutely hates to wait in line for a place to
eat dinner!

There are other times we make reservations - renting cars, purchasing
air line tickets or making hotel plans.  We can do these for
ourselves, or we can ask or travel agent to do so.  Having
reservations is a nice option; our plans are secure in the
accommodations we are seeking.

Isn’t is reassuring to know that Jesus made a reservation for each of
us in heaven?  He told is in the bible that he would go to prepare a
place for us ( John 14:2,3), and I know he has! We won’t have to wait
in line or be unsure of the security of our plans.

Our life eternal will be spent with Jesus, in the mansions of heaven,
once we ask Him to be our travel agent.  He will make those
reservations with a happy heart, knowing more of His children are
coming home... you, me, and all who invite Jesus to be their Lord and

ALPHABET Author Unknown

A lthough things are not perfect

B ecause of trial or pain

C ontinue in thanksgiving

D o not begin to blame

E ven when the times are hard

F ierce winds are bound to blow

G od is forever able

H old on to what you know

I magine life without His love

J oy would cease to be

K eep thanking Him for all the things

L ove imparts to thee

M ove out of "Camp Complaining"

N o weapon that is known

O n earth can yield the power

P raise can do alone

Q uit looking at the future

R edeem the time at hand

S tart every day with worship

T o "thank" is a command

U ntil we see Him coming

V ictorious in the sky

W e'll run the race with gratitude

X alting God most high

Y es, there'll be good times and yes some will be bad, but...

Z ion waits in glory...where none are ever sad!

"I AM Too blessed to be stressed!"

The shortest distance between a problem and a solution is the distance between your knees and the floor.

The one who kneels to the Lord can stand up to anything.

A SECOND TOUCH By Sally I. Kennedy

Then...he.. began to see everything clearly.  Mark 8:25

In younger days, it didn’t matter if I got all the “face paint” on
before heading out. Make-up just wasn’t a priority. I was ok with, or
without it. Nowadays, however…..well that’s another story.

This morning I was hurrying to finish getting ready.  We were leaving
for the weekend, and there would be no time later in the day to re-do
the make-up.  I kept messing it up while rushing.

“If the light were just a little brighter”,  I mused, as I turned up
the rheostat high as it would go. That helped a little.

As I put the finishing touches on my makeup, I thought of the story in
the eighth chapter of Mark, that talks about seeing, but not clearly.
I love that story.  It’s the one about a second touch from the Lord.

As believers in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, we are “in the
light”.  Sometimes, though, we need a second touch from the Holy
to help us see more clearly.  Or a third, or fourth, or

The Lord is willing to do that at any time.  We just have to ask.

Mark 8:22-25  And they came to Bethsaida And they brought a blind man
to Jesus and implored Him to touch him. Taking the blind man by the
hand, He brought him out of the village; and after spitting on his
eyes and laying His hands on him, He asked him, "Do you see anything?"
And he looked up and said, "I see men, for I see them like trees,
walking around.” Then again He laid His hands on his eyes; and he
looked intently and was restored, and began to see everything clearly.

ATTITUDE Author Unknown

The 92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud lady, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o'clock, with her hair fashionably coifed and makeup perfectly applied, even though she is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today. Her husband of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary.

After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, she smiled sweetly when told her room was ready.

As she maneuvered her walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of her tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on her window. "I love it," she stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.

"Mrs. Jones, you haven't seen the room .... just wait." "That doesn't have anything to do with it," she replied. "Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn't depend on how the furniture is arranged ... it's how I arrange my mind.

I already decided to love it ... "It's a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do. Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open I'll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I've stored away ... just for this time in my life.

Old age is like a bank account ... you withdraw from what you've put in .. So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories

Thank you for your part in filling my Memory bank. I am still depositing.
____________ _________ _________ _________ _

Remember the five simple rules to be happy:

1. Free your heart from hatred.
2. Free your mind from worries.
3. Live simply.
4. Give more.
5. Expect less.

No one can go back and make a brand new start.
Anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.

God didn't promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow, sun without rain, but He did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears, and light for the way.

Disappointments are like road bumps, they slow you down a bit but you enjoy the smooth road afterwards.

Don't stay on the bumps too long. Move on!

When you feel down because you didn't get what you want, just sit tight and be happy, because God has thought of something better to give you.

When something happens to you, good or bad, consider what it means. There's a purpose to life's events, to teach you how to laugh more or not to cry too hard.

You can't make someone love you, all you can do is be someone who can be loved, the rest is up to the person to realize your worth.

It's better to lose your pride to the one you love, than to lose the one you love because of pride.

We spend too much time looking for the right person to love or finding fault with those we already love, when instead we should be perfecting the love we give.

Never abandon an old friend. You will never find one who can take his place.
Friendship is like wine, it gets better as it grows older.

May today there be peace within you. May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be. "I believe that friends are quiet angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly."


An Angel says, "Never borrow from the future. If you worry about what may happen tomorrow and it doesn't happen, you have worried in vain. Even if it does happen, you have to worry twice."

1. Pray
2. Go to bed on time.
3. Get up on time so you can start the day unrushed.
4. Say No to projects that won't fit into your time schedule, or that will compromise your mental health.
5. Delegate tasks to capable others.
6. Simplify and unclutter your life.
7. Less is more. (Although one is often not enough, two are often too many.)
8. Allow extra time to do things and to get to places.
9. Pace yourself. Spread out big changes and difficult projects over time; don't lump the hard things all together.
10. Take one day at a time.
11. Separate worries from concerns . If a situation is a concern, find out what God would have you do and let go of the anxiety. If you can't do anything about a situation, forget it.
12. Live within your budget; don't use credit cards for ordinary purchases.
13. Have backups; an extra car key in your wallet, an extra house key buried in the garden, extra stamps, etc.
14. K.M.S. (Keep Mouth Shut). This single piece of advice can prevent an enormous amount of trouble.
15. Do something for the Kid in You everyday.
16. Carry a Bible with you to read while waiting in line.
17. Get enough rest.
18. Eat right.
19. Get organized so everything has its place.
20. Listen to a tape while driving that can help improve your quality of life.
21. Write down thoughts and inspirations.
22. Every day, find time to be alone.
23. Having problems? Talk to God on the spot. Try to nip small problems in the bud. Don't wait until it's time to go to bed to try and pray.
24. Make friends with Godly people.
25. Keep a folder of favorite scriptures on hand.
26. Remember that the shortest bridge between despair and hope is often a good "Thank you Jesus ."
27. Laugh.
28. Laugh some more!
29. Take your work seriously, but not yourself at all.
30. Develop a forgiving attitude (most people are doing the best they can).
31. Be kind to unkind people (they probably need it the most).
32. Sit on your ego.
33 Talk less; listen more.
34. Slow down.
35. Remind yourself that you are not the general manager of the universe.
36 . Every night before bed, think of one thing you're grateful for that you've never been grateful for before. GOD HAS A WAY OF TURNING THINGS AROUND FOR YOU.

"If God is for us, who can be against us?"

(Romans 8:31)


Once upon a time the colors of the world started to quarrel. All
claimed that they were the best. The most important. The most useful.
The favorite.

Green said:
"Clearly I am the most important. I am the sign of life and of hope. I
was chosen for grass, trees and leaves. Without me, all animals would
die. Look over the countryside and you will see that I am in the

Blue interrupted:
"You only think about the earth, but consider the sky and the sea. It
is the water that is the basis of life and drawn up by the clouds from
the deep sea. The sky gives space and peace and serenity. Without my
peace, you would
all be nothing."

Yellow chuckled:
"You are all so serious. I bring laughter, gaiety, and warmth into the
world. The sun is yellow, the moon is yellow, the stars are yellow.
Every time you look at a sunflower, the whole world starts to smile.
Without me there would be no fun."

Orange started next to blow her trumpet:
"I am the color of health and strength. I may be scarce, but I am
precious for I serve the needs of human life. I carry the most
important vitamins. Think of carrots, pumpkins, oranges, mangoes, and
papayas. I don't hang
around all the time, but when I fill the sky at sunrise or sunset, my
beauty is so striking that no one gives another thought to any of

Red could stand it no longer he shouted out:
"I am the ruler of all of you. I am blood - life's blood! I am the
color of danger and of bravery. I am willing to fight for a cause. I
bring fire into the blood. Without me, the earth would be as empty as
the moon. I am the color of passion and of love, the red rose, the
poinsettia and the poppy."

Purple rose up to his full height:
He was very tall and spoke with great pomp: "I am the color of royalty
and power. Kings, chiefs, and bishops have always chosen me for I am
the sign of authority and wisdom. People do not question me! They
listen and obey."

Finally Indigo spoke, much more quietly than all the others, but with
just as much determination:
"Think of me. I am the color of silence. You hardly notice me, but
without me you all become superficial. I represent thought and
reflection, twilight and deep water. You need me for balance and
contrast, for prayer and inner peace."

And so the colors went on boasting, each convinced of his or her own
superiority. Their quarreling became louder and louder. Suddenly there
was a startling flash of bright lightening thunder rolled and boomed.
Rain started to pour down relentlessly. The colors crouched down in fear, drawing
close to one another for comfort.

In the midst of the clamor, God began to speak:
"You foolish colors, fighting amongst yourselves, each trying to
dominate the rest. Don't you know that you were each made for a
special purpose,unique and different? Join hands with one another and
come to me."

Doing as they were told, the colors united and joined hands.

God continued:
"From now on, when it rains, each of you will stretch across the sky
in a great bow of color as a reminder that you can all live in peace.
The Rainbow is a sign of hope for tomorrow." And so, whenever a good
rain washes the world, and a Rainbow appears in the sky, let us remember to appreciate
one another.


These are precious!!!

Alas, where has all our innocence gone?

              While I sat in the reception area
                of my doctor's office, a woman rolled  an elderly man
                in a wheelchair into the room.  As she went
                to the receptionist's desk, the man sat there, alone
                and silent.  Just as I was thinking I should make
                small talk with him, a little boy slipped off
                his mother's lap and  walked over to
                the wheelchair.  Placing his hand on the
                man's, he said, 'I know how you feel.  My
                mom makes me ride in the stroller too.'


                As I was nursing
                my baby, my cousin's six-year-old
                daughter, Krissy, came into the room.
                Never having seen anyone breast feed
                before, she was intrigued and full of all
                kinds of questions about what I was doing.
                After mulling over my answers, she remarked, 'My mom
                has some of those, but I don't think she knows
                how to use them.'


                Out bicycling
                one day with my eight-year-old
                granddaughter, Carolyn, I got a  little
                wistful.  'In ten years,' I said, 'you'll want
                to  be with your friends and you won't go
                walking, biking, and  swimming with me like you do
                now.  Carolyn shrugged.  'In ten years you'll be
                too old to do all those things  anyway.'


                Working as a pediatric
                nurse, I had the difficult assignment
                of giving immunization shots to  children.
                One day, I entered the examining room to give
                four-year-old Lizzie her needle. 'No, no, no!' she
                screamed.  'Lizzie,' scolded her mother, 'that's
                not polite behavior.'  With that, the girl
                yelled even  louder, 'No, thank you!  No, thank


                On the way back from a Cub
                Scout meeting, my grandson innocently said to my son,
                'Dad, I know babies come from mommies' tummies, but
                how do they get there in the first place?'  After my
                son hemmed and hawed awhile,  my grandson finally
                spoke up in disgust, 'You don't have to make
                up something, Dad.  It's okay if you don't
                know the answer.'

                Just before I
                was deployed to Iraq , I  sat my eight-year-old
                son down and broke the news to  him.  'I'm
                going to be away for a long time,' I told
                him.  'I'm going to Iraq.'  'Why?' he
                asked.  'Don't you know there's a war going
                on  over there?'

                Paul Newman
                founded the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp for
                children stricken with cancer, AIDS, and blood
                diseases.  One afternoon, he and is wife,
                Joanne Woodward, stopped by to have lunch with
                the kids.  A counselor at a nearby
                table, suspecting the young patients
                wouldn't know Newman was a famous movie star,
                explained, 'That's the man who made this camp
                possible  Maybe you've seen his picture on
                his salad dressing bottle?'  Blank
                stares.  'Well, you've probably seen his face on
                his lemonade carton.'  An eight-year-old girl
                perked  up.  'How long was he missing?'


                God's  Problem Now.

                His wife's graveside
                service was just barely finished, when  there was
                a massive clap of thunder, followed by a tremendous
                bolt of lightning, accompanied by even more thunder
                rumbling in the distance.  The little, old man
                looked at the  pastor and calmly said,
                'Well, she's there.


                May happiness smile on your world and in your heart.


1.. When we do not love Him as we once did.

2.. When earthly interests and occupations are more important to us than eternal ones.

3.. When we would rather watch TV and read secular books and magazines than read the Bible and pray.

4.. When we have little or no desire for prayer.

5.. When we would rather make money than give money.

6.. When our Christianity is joyless and passionless.

7.. When we know truth in our heads that we are not practicing in our lives.

8.. When we make little effort to witness to the lost.

9.. When we have time for sports, recreation, and entertainment, but not for Bible study and prayer.

10.. When we do not tremble at the Word of God.

11.. When we seldom think thoughts of eternity.

12.. When we are more concerned about our jobs and careers than about the Kingdom of Christ and the salvation of the lost.

13.. When Christian husbands and wives are not praying together.

14.. When our children are growing up to adopt worldly values, secular philosophies and ungodly lifestyles.

15.. When we watch things on TV and movies that we would not show in church.

16.. When our prayers lack fervency.

17.. When our hearts are cold and our eyes are dry.

18.. When our singing is half-hearted and our worship lifeless.

19.. When we aren't seeing regular evidence of the supernatural power of God.

20.. When we are bored with worship.

21.. When we are more concerned about what others think about us than what God thinks about us.

22.. When we are making little or no difference in the secular world around us.

23.. When we are unmoved by the thought of our neighbors, business associates and acquaintances going to hell.

24.. When we have ceased to weep and mourn and grieve over our sin.

25.. When we aren't exercising faith and believing God for the impossible.

26.. When the fire has gone out in our hearts, our marriages and our church.

27.. When we are blind to the extent of our need and don't think we need revival.


I say something rude
to someone who's lost,
And I've ruinded my witness,
But they will pay the cost.
--So I nail in the nails.

Can anyone see the Lord through me,
Or do they simply see my sins?
Am I living the life Christ wants me to,
Am I living the life of man?
--So I plunge in the spear.

And when I fail to pray,
and my conversations with Him fade,
Does He patiently wait for my call,
Though it causes Him pain?
--And I place the thorns upon His brow.

I lead a life of double standards,
One day good, the next one bad.
Can He quietly stand by
When He sees all I could have had?
--And I ridicule my Lord once again.

For you see,
Each time we turn our backs,
and return to the world of sin,
It is then that you and I,
We crucify Him again.

-- Brandy Cambell (12th grade)


John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only
Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have
everlasting life.

I looked out the hotel window and observed a circular air vent across
the way. Many sparrows were flying in and out of it. I noticed one
pathetic little bird who tried to get in the vent, but all his
attempts were in vain.

In Biblical times, there was a watchman at the gate of each city, and
there, in San Antonio, Texas, there seemed to be a watch bird of the
vent! This bird guarded the nesting area , and was the “keeper of the
vent ”, so to speak. The watch bird denied my little feathered friend
admittance to the nesting area, and it made me sad. Why, I wondered,
did he not belong? What had he done or where had he been hatched, or
what was his physical deformity that kept him as “the outsider”? He
seemed determined to gain admittance, flying from one side to the
other, trying to make his swoop in to the area. Finally, however, he
gave up his valiant effort and just flew away.

In God’s house there is no watchman at the gate to deny our
admittance. There is no station of birth, no bad deed we have done,
nor any deformity that will keep us barred from the house of the Lord.
As a matter of fact, God sent His only son to give us an individual
invitation into God’s presence. What a wonderful invitation that
is...and such a personal one, too. What a wonderful God we have! He
knows each one of us personally and He invites us to know and live
with him forever, through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.



When I write my stories I try to inspire. This one won't inspire you, it will bring you to your knees.

If you want to put your own challenges in life in proper perspective, tell people that you will pray for them.

That's what I did in my last message.

Reading them told me "My life is now perfect." Or at least so much better than I thought.

Here's what I heard:

My marriage is failing.

I am suffering from panic, anxiety and depression.

I need money $2,690 for my rent.

I work in a children's hospital...they need prayer

We are living in our car.

A young boy fell down 14 steps.

I have Crohns disease.

My husband needs a miracle.

I've lost contact with my son...he has challenges.

I am seriously over weight and need the will power.

I am caring for my grandmother (Parkinson's) and we have
nowhere to take her for care. My husband may lose his job.

I had a girlfriend I never appreciated, now separated by miles
and regret not seeing her as "the one" when we were together.

I have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

Pray with me regarding my marriage.

An arson fire forced us to another place we don't feel is "home."

Friends suffering with health issues, spouse and I are not connected,
elderly mother dying, children away,
hard to see grandchildren. ..

Pray that two masses are removed from my lung.

My son's return to Christian faith.

I have cancer today is my first treatment.

My children's health issues and my husband leaving.

I am blind and need a part time job...employers are "afraid to hire

i want to love and be loved after all that is what gives
meaning to life......i have nothing and so my life has no meaning.
simple written request...Please pray for me.

My siblings need financial help and I cannot help this time.


Anxiety and panic disorder.

and more.

Does that put your life in perspective? Please join me in prayer.
"I wish you enough!"

Bob Perks

I encourage you to share my stories but
I do ask that you keep my name and contact
information with my work.

If you would like to receive Bob's Inspirational
stories, please visit http://www.IWishYou
and submit your email address.
"I Wish You enough!"

2001 Bob Perks
I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear
much bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish you enough "Hello's" to get you through the final "Goodbye."


A long time ago, a young, wealthy girl was getting ready for bed. She
was saying her prayers when she heard a muffled crying coming through
her window. A little frightened, she went over to the window and
leaned out.

Another girl, who seemed to be about her age and homeless was standing
in the alley by the rich girl's house. Her heart went out to the
homeless girl, for it was the dead of winter, and the girl had no
blanket, only old newspapers someone had thrown out.

The rich girl was suddenly struck with a brilliant idea. She called to
the other girl and said, "You there, come to my front door, please."

The homeless girl was so startled she could only manage to nod.

As quick as her legs could take her, the young girl ran down the hall
to her mothers closet, and picked out an old quilt and a beat up
pillow. She had to walk slower down to the front door as to not trip
over the quilt which was hanging down, but she made it eventually.
Dropping both the articles, she opened the door. Standing there was
the homeless girl, looking quite scared.

The rich girl smiled warmly and handed both articles to the other
girl. Her smile grew wider as she watched the true amazement and
happiness alight upon the other girl's face. She went to bed
incredibly satisfied.

In mid-morning the next day a knock came to the door. The rich girl
flew to the door hoping that it was the other little girl there. She
opened the large door and looked outside. It was the other little
girl. Her face looked happy, and she smiled. "I suppose you want these

The rich little girl opened her mouth to say that she could keep them
when another idea popped into her head. "No, I want them back."

The homeless girl's face fell. This was obviously not the answer she
had hoped for. She reluctantly laid down the beat up things, and
turned to leave when the rich girl yelled, "Wait! Stay right there."

She turned in time to see the rich girl running up the stairs and down
a long corridor. Deciding whatever the rich little girl was doing
wasn't worth waiting for she started to turn around and walk away. As
her foot hit the first step, she felt someone tap her on the shoulder,
turning she saw the rich little girl, thrusting a new blanket and pillow at her. "Have these." she said quietly.

These were her own personal belonging made of silk and down feathers.

As the two grew older they didn't see each other much, but they were
never far from each other's minds. One day, the Rich girl, who was now
a Rich woman got a telephone call from someone. A lawyer, saying that
she was requested to see him.

When she arrived at the office, he told her what had happened. Forty
years ago, when she was nine years old, she had helped a little girl
in need. That grew into a middle-class woman with a husband and two
children. She had recently died and left something for her in her
will. "Though," the lawyer said, "it's the most peculiar thing. She
left you a pillow and a blanket."


I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to bewith you forever - the Spirit of truth. John 14:16-17

The small potty chair traveled everywhere my young grandson went.
His mom was potty-training him. So the day they came over for a swim,
they arrived with the minipotty in tow. Ryan had on swim diapers,
however the little potty was handy at the side of the pool. My
daughter would haul it around; it was never very far away from
wherever her toddler was.

We are in training, too. Faith training; the journey of our faith
walk. No last chapter on that, not in this lifetime.

Fortunately we have someone who is with us everywhere we go: a guide,
teacher, helper. The Holy Spirit is our constant traveling companion.

That is good news. Thank you, Jesus.


“An ounce of Mother is worth a pound of clergy.” It reminds us of what
we so easily forget, that our parents especially our mothers, are the
arch teachers of our religious values. We value and appreciate mother
love because it is the best and most persistent example we have of how
God loves us, which is unconditional.

There is another proverb that says, “God could not be everywhere; that
is why he made mothers.” This is one of the reasons that the Mother of
Jesus has been so consistently honored throughout history of
Christianity. If we ever feel that God is far away, cold and distant,
Mary comes to us and reminds us of how close God is and how much He
loves us.

Abraham Lincoln once said, “No one is poor who had a good mother.”
American author Washington Irving states, “A father may turn his back
on a child, brothers and sisters may become inveterate enemies,
husbands may desert their wives and wives their husbands, but a
mother’s love never fails.”

No matter what her children do, a mother stays faithful to them. She
remembers the infant smiles that filled her heart with rupture. She
recalls the laughter and shouts of her children. She never forgets the
opening promise of youth. No one can ever convince her that her
children are unworthy of love and forgiveness. What else is Raphael’s
Madonna but the outline of a mother’s love, fixed forever on a
splendid canvas?

Former opera star Beverly Sills addressed a national meeting of
Educators in New York. She had one of the most beautiful voices in the
world. One of her children is deaf and the other is severely mentally
handicapped. One child cannot hear her voice, and the other cannot
appreciate its beauty. Said Sills, “I love my two children with all my
heart. Should someone offer me a thousand other children, I would
never trade my two for them.”

Said one mother, “Moms love in many different ways. Someday when my
children are old enough to understand the logic that motivates a
mother, I will tell them:

I loved you enough to ask you about where you are going, with whom and
what time you would get home.

I loved you enough to make you return a Milky Way with a bite out of
it to a drugstore and confess, “I stole this”.

I loved you enough to stand over you for two hours while you cleaned
your room, a job that would have taken me fifteen minutes.

I loved you enough to let you see anger, disappointment. Disgust and
tears in my eyes.

I loved you enough to admit I was wrong and ask for your forgiveness.
Loved you enough to let you stumble, fall and get hurt. But most of
all, I loved you enough to say no when you hated me for it. That’s the
hardest part of all.

THE PLAYGROUND By Sally I. Kennedy

May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you
sent me and have loved them. John 17:23

Our ten year old granddaughter had challenged me to a game of
slapjack. She was beating me. Badly, I might add. The rules seemed to
be different than I remembered. It s been a long time, but slapjack is
pretty basic, I thought.

A few of our other grandchildren were outside playing with a ball,
arguing. One of them had been accused of making up the rules. Before
long, I heard, You re cheating. No fair! The retort, I m

On the playground of life, it s good to learn how to give and take and
share. It s also good to not give up playing together, taking your
marbles and going home if things aren t going your way.

Over time, we have created many faith denominations. We have learned
to do things a little differently. It is worthwhile, however, to find
a way to play together, be bruidge builders.

Unity is good. That doesn t mean our basic beliefs have to be
compromised. Each one of us, and each group, has something unique to
offer. It s kind of like potluck dinners. What a great invention. You
take one food item, like a casserole, salad, or cake. Then you have
your choice of all kinds of food for your dinner. Our plates would be
much less balanced if we only ate from our own dishes, plus a possible
deficiency in healthy nutrition by not covering a little from each
food group. We all have something to offer, and none of it is quite
the same. Even if we start with the same recipe.

No man is an island. We need each other so we can share our varied
strengths. And unity is a big deal to God. The foot of the cross is a
place we can all meet. Our Father planned for all us kids to try and
get along; it s good to keep coming to the playground.

Sally I. Kennedy is the author of Irish Thursdays , "Words from the
Heart , and 52 Little Parables from Ireland" . She lives in south
Florida, with her husband Ben. You can email Sally at and visit her website at

FRAYED By Sally I. Kennedy

..that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that
you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together
with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is
the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—
that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:17-19

Cottony white, puffy clouds were dotting the azure backdrop of sky. I
watched from the porch a few minutes, pausing to take in the peace and
the beauty.

Suddenly those beautiful solid looking clouds that appeared so compact
began to fray at the edges. The appearance was as if something were
tugging at the outsides, pulling at the edges. The main parts of the
clouds, the core, stayed intact.

Frayed. What has happened to me when I appear to ‘have it all
together’; while looking ‘solid’ the edges begin to visibly fray.
That’s when it’s definitely time for me to get back to basics, take
some time to check priorities and take an inventory, a spiritual re-

I may become frayed from time to time, yet I won’t unravel all the way
with Christ at the core. Circumstances and people may pull on the
edges, but frayed won’t turn into a terminal condition.

That’s good news.



The Pencil Maker took the pencil aside, just before putting him into the box. There are 5 things you need to know, he told the pencil, before I send you out into the world. Always remember them and never forget, and you will become the best pencil you can be.

One: You will be able to do many great things, but only if you allow yourself to be held in Someone's hand.

Two: You will experience a painful sharpening from time to time, but you'll need it to become a better pencil.

Three: You will be able to correct mistakes you will make.

Four: The most important part of you will always be what's inside.

And Five: On every surface you are used on, you must leave your mark. No matter what the condition, you must continue to write.

The pencil understood and promised to remember, and went into the box with purpose in its heart.

Now replacing the place of the pencil with you; always remember them and never forget, and you will become the best person you can be.

One: You will be able to do many great things, but only if you allow yourself to be held in God's hand. And allow other human beings to access you for the many gifts you possess.

Two: You will experience a painful sharpening from time to time, by going through various problems, but you'll need it to become a stronger person.

Three: You will be able to correct mistakes you might make or grow through them.

Four: The most important part of you will always be what's on the inside.

And Five: On every surface you walk, you must leave your mark. No matter what the situation, you must continue to serve God in everything.

By understanding and remembering, let us proceed with our life on this earth having a meaningful purpose in our heart and a relationship with God daily.


“That is one ugly birdhouse, “ I thought, as I took my early morning walk on a new route. “Wonder why the people who own that property don’t do something to spruce the drab birdhouse up? They could sand and paint it, or decoupage a scene on it…something, for goodness sake!” Just as I was mulling over all these constructive critical thoughts in my mind(!), a beautiful bluebird flew out of the above mentioned birdhouse. He soared off into the air, with the beauty of his open wings in full display.

The unattractive appearance of the birdhouse made no difference to that little bird. He saw an appealing place to make his home - to build his nest- and he entered it and did so. Inside the wooden house, the nest is intricately woven and is made of twigs, leaves and a variety of other materials from nature.

Do you know God wants to build His nest of love inside our hearts? The exterior appearance doesn’t matter to Him- whether we are spruced up and beautiful or dried out and weather beaten. When God looks at you, or me, or any of His children, He sees a wonderful place to make His home. He wants to bring us all His attributes, and will build a tightly woven nest of love in our hearts. He will take twigs
of compassion, love, joy, patience, , peace, gentleness, kindness, goodness and self control, and weave them into a wonderful love nest for our hearts to dwell in. The best component of God’s love is forgiveness. He weaves that twig of forgiveness throughout the entire nest, holding it together. He is ready to forgive all our sins, and this forgiveness we receive allows us to soar to the heights of a
personal relationship with Him.

I am so glad God chooses His dwelling place in the hearts of all…. Not just those with polished exterior appearances. For outward appearances and beauty will fade, but the love the Lord has for us never will.

THE WINNER Author Unknown

I was watching some little kids play soccer. These kids were only five
or six years old, but they were playing a real game - - a serious game
_ two teams, complete with coaches, uniforms, and parents. I didn't
know any of them, so I was able to enjoy the game without the
distraction of
being anxious about winning or losing - I wished the parents and
coaches could have done the same.

The teams were pretty evenly matched. I will just call them Team One
and Team Two. Nobody scored in the first period. The kids were
hilarious. They were clumsy and terribly inefficient. They fell over
their own feet, they stumbled over the ball, they kicked at the ball
and missed it but they didn't seem to care. They were having fun.

In the second quarter, the Team One coach pulled out what must have
been his first team and put in the scrubs, except for his best player
who now guarded the goal.

The game took a dramatic turn. I guess winning is important even when
you're five years old -- because the Team Two coach left his best
players in, and the Team One scrubs were no match for them. Team Two
swarmed around the little guy who was now the Team One goalie. He was
outstanding athlete, but he was no match for three or four who were
also very good. Team Two began to score. The lone goalie gave it
everything he had, recklessly throwing his body in front of incoming
balls, trying valiantly to stop them.

Team Two scored two goals in quick succession. It infuriated the young
boy. He became a raging maniac -- shouting, running, diving. With all
the stamina he could muster, he covered the boy who now had the ball,
but that boy kicked it to another boy twenty feet away, and by the
time he repositioned himself, it was too late -- they scored a third

I soon learned who the goalie's parents were. They were nice, decent-
looking people. I could tell that his dad had just come from the
office -- he still had his suit and tie on. They yelled encouragement
to their son. I became totally absorbed, watching the boy on the field
his parents on the sidelines. After the third goal, the little kid
changed. He could see it was no use; he couldn't stop them.

He didn't quit, but he became quietly desperate futility was written
all over him. His father changed too. He had been urging his son to
try harder - yelling advice and encouragement. But then he changed. He
became anxious. He tried to say that it was okay - to hang in there.
grieved for the pain his son was feeling.

After the fourth goal, I knew what was going to happen. I've seen it
before. The little boy needed help so badly, and there was no help to
be had. He retrieved the ball from the net and handed to the referee -
and then he cried. He just stood there while huge tears rolled down
both cheeks. He went to his knees and put his fists to his eyes - and
he cried the tears of the helpless and brokenhearted.

When the boy went to his knees, I saw the father start onto the field.
His wife clutched his arm and said, "Jim, don't. You'll embarrass
him." But he tore loose from her and ran onto the field. He wasn't
supposed to - the game was still in progress. Suit, tie, dress shoes,
and all - he charged onto the field, and he picked up his son so
everybody would know that this was his boy, and he hugged him and held
him and cried with him. I've never been so proud of a man in my life.

He carried him off the field, and when he got close to the sidelines I
heard him say, "Scotty, I'm so proud of you. You were great out there.
I want everybody to know that you are my son." "Daddy," the boy
sobbed, "I couldn't stop them. I tried, Daddy, I tried and tried, and
they scored on me." "Scotty, it doesn't matter how many times they
scored on you. You're my son, and I'm proud of you. I want you to go
back out there and finish the game. I know you want to quit, but you
can't. And, son, you're going to get scored on again, but it doesn't
matter. Go on, now." It made a difference - I could tell it did.

When you're all alone, and you're getting scored on - and you can't
stop them - it means a lot to know that it doesn't matter to those who
love you. The little guy ran back on to the field - and they scored
two more times - but it was okay. I get scored on every day. I try so
hard. I recklessly throw my body in every direction. I fume and rage.
I struggle with temptation and sin with every ounce of my being - and
Satan laughs. And he scores again, and the tears come, and I go to my
knees - sinful, convicted, helpless.

And my Father - my Father rushes right out on the field - right in
front of the whole crowd - the whole jeering, laughing world - and he
picks me up, and he hugs me and he says, "I'm so proud of you. You
were great out there. I want everybody to know that you are my son,
and because I control the outcome of this game, I declare you -- The Winner."

BIRDS AND WINGS Author Unknown

An old legend says that God first created birds without wings.
Sometime later, God made wings and said to the birds, "Come, take up
these burdens and bear them." The birds hesitated at first, but soon
obeyed. They tried picking up the wings in their beaks, but found them
too heavy. Then they tried picking them up wit their claws, but found
them too large. Finally one of the birds managed to get the wings
hoisted onto its shoulders where it was possible to carry them.

To the amazement of the birds, before long the wings began to grow and
they soon had attached themselves to the bodies of the birds. One of
the birds began to flap his wings and others followed his example.
Shortly afterwards, one of the birds took off and began to soar in the
air above. What had once been a heavy burden now became the very thing
that enabled the birds to go where they could never go before...and at
the same time, truly fulfill the destiny of their creation. The duties
and responsibilities you count as burdens today may be part of God's
destiny for your life, the means by which your soul is lifted up and
prepared for eternity.

Don't be afraid of pressure. Remember that pressure is what turns a
lump of coal into a diamond.

You know the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance
must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not
lacking anything. James 1:3,4

- taken from the book "God's Little Devotional Book for Everyone"


In the darkest days of the Cold War, it stood. A silent sentry, ready
in rain or shine to embark on its mission at a moment's notice. It was
truly one of the eeriest sights I ever saw: the alert bomber.

One of the tenets of U.S. defense policy during the Cold War was to
ensure that no enemy could strike the U.S. without retaliation. So at
bases like Dyess Air Force Base in Texas, there was always one bomber
that was different. While the other bombers were parked together in a
neat line near the hangers, this one stood alone, at the end of the
runway, with its hatch open and waiting. Surrounded by barbed-wire,
this bomber sat fully loaded, fully fueled, 24 hours a day. While we
often saw bombers taking off and landing, we knew that whenever we
looked at the alert
bomber, we were seeing a plane fully fueled, and loaded with enough
nuclear weapons to destroy several cities.

Here is how it would work. If the U.S. was attacked, a bell would ring
inside a building next to the alert bomber. Inside this building,
pilots and crewmen lived 24 hours a day, less than 50 yards from the
plane. In less than a minute, these crewmen would race out the door
and across the
tarmac to their plane. The hatch was open and waiting, and by pressing
a button on the hatch, the pilot would start the engines and bring the
plane to life. Within moments of strapping himself into his ejection
seat, the pilot was rolling, and less than 5 minutes after the alarm
bell rang, the huge bomber would be airborn, headed across the world
on its mission of destruction.

We often joked that if we ever drove by the base and the alert bomber
was gone, it was time to start praying really hard.

That plane was an insurance policy of sorts for America. That plane
said to our enemies, "You might destroy every other bomber at this
base, but the cost to you will be several cities of your own, because
you will never strike fast enough to destroy the alert
don't even think about it." Defense strategists called it "Mutual
Assured Destruction" , or MAD, and it was the ultimate game of
chicken. But it let us sleep at night in an uncertain and unstable

They say we won the cold war, and that the world is safer today. But
who provides your SPIRITUAL protection? Who do you depend on for your
SPIRITUAL safety? Your minister?
Your spouse? Your own strength? If so, prepare to be obliterated.

There is only one defender you can trust. David knew him well: "The
Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in
whom I take refuge. He is my stronghold.
I call to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my
enemies. (Psalm 18)

In spiritual warfare, the best defense is NOT a good offense. The best
defense is knowing the best defender.

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