Shortarmguy's Emails That Made Me Think

On this page, I will post the most inspirational material I receive on any given day.  So email shortarmguy@aol.com the best stuff you get.  Life can be darn tough sometimes and every now and then you might need a little happiness booster.  I'm hoping this page may accomplish that.  After you read a few of these,  you can push back from your keyboard, throw your arms in the air, wave them back and forth and scream "I'm glad to be alive!"  If this happens to you, please send pictures and I'll post them here!

January 29, 2006

SHIPWRECK

 
A voyaging ship was wrecked during a storm at sea and only two of the men on it were able to swim to a small, desert-like island.
 
The two survivors, not knowing what else to do, agreed that they had no other recourse but to pray to God.
 
However, to find out whose prayer was more powerful, they agreed to divide the territory between them and stay on opposite sides of the island.
 
The first thing they prayed for was food. The next morning, the first man saw a fruit-bearing tree on his side of the land, and he was able to eat its fruit. The other man's parcel of land remained barren. After a week, the first man was lonely and he decided to pray for a wife. The next day, another ship was wrecked, and the only survivor was a woman who swam to his side of the land. On the other side of the island, there was nothing.
 
Soon the first man prayed for a house, clothes, more food. The next day, like magic, all of these were given to him. However, the second man still had nothing.
 
Finally, the first man prayed for a ship, so that he and his wife could leave the island. In the morning, he found a ship docked at his side of the island. The first man boarded the ship with his wife and decided to leave the second man on the island.
 
He considered the other man unworthy to receive God's blessings, since none of his prayers had been answered.
 
As the ship was about to leave, the first man heard a voice from heaven booming, "Why are you leaving your companion on the island?"
 
"My blessings are mine alone, since I was the one who prayed for them," the first man answered. "His prayers were all unanswered and so he does not deserve anything."
 
"You are mistaken!" the voice rebuked him. "He had only one prayer, which I answered. If not for that, you would not have received any of my blessings."
 
"Tell me," the first man asked the voice, "What did he pray for that I should owe him anything?"
 
"He prayed that all your prayers be answered."
 
For all we know, our blessings are not the fruits of our prayers alone, but those of another praying for us.

My prayer for you today is that all your prayers are answered.
 
Be blessed. Receive God's assurance into your heart and life.
 
"What you do for others is more important than what you do for yourself."

January 22, 2006

 

The Thread in Our Lives
                                          
A mouse looked through the crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife open a package.
                                          

"What food might this contain?", the mouse wondered - he was devastated to discover it was a mousetrap.
                                                                                                                    
Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed the warning, "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!"   
                                                         
The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said, "Mr. Mouse,  I can tell this is a grave concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me. I cannot be bothered by it." 
 
The mouse turned to the pig and told him, "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!"          
                                           
The pig sympathized, but said, "I am so very sorry, Mr. Mouse, but there is nothing I can do about it but pray. Be assured, you are in my prayers."   
                                                           
The mouse turned to the cow and said "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!"      
                                       
The cow said, "Wow, Mr. Mouse. I'm sorry for you, but it's no skin off my nose."                   
 
So, the mouse returned to the house, head down and dejected, to face the farmer's mousetrap alone.
 
That very night a sound was heard throughout the house -- like the sound of mousetrap catching its prey.
 
The farmer's wife rushed to see what was caught. In the darkness, she did not see it was a venomous snake whose tail the trap had caught.           
                                                    
The snake bit the farmer's wife. The farmer rushed her to the hospital, and she returned home with a fever. Everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken soup, so the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup's main ingredient.                                        
                                                     
But his wife's sickness continued, so friends and neighbors came to sit with the farmer around the clock. To feed them, the farmer butchered the pig.         
                                  
The farmer's wife did not get well; she died. So many people came for her funeral, the farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide enough meat for all of them.
                                                              
The mouse looked upon it all from his crack in the wall with great sadness.
 
So, the next time you hear someone is facing a problem and think it doesn't concern you, remember -- when one of us is threatened, we are all at risk.                                       
                                        
We are all involved in this journey called life. We must keep an eye out for one another and make an extra effort to encourage one another.  

 

January 15, 2006

 
A Piece of My Heart
by Teresa Bell Kindred
 
I am the mother of five children. Each time one of them was born, I gave them a piece of my heart. How do I know? Because when they started school, started driving, started dating, and started college, my heart went with them.

Last night, I was sitting at probably my one zillionth basketball game beside my daughter, who was home visiting from college. Justin, who is a senior in high school, went in for a lay up and suddenly he was on the bottom of a pile of very large boys. I grabbed my daughter's hand and squeezed it tightly, while saying a prayer that he would be safe.

"Mom," she laughed, "he's okay. Why are you freaking out?"

I looked at her and smiled. She isn't a mother yet. She doesn't understand about giving away your heart.

Over the years, I realized that somewhere along life's journey part of my soul had become attached to each piece of my heart that I had given away. If my children were sad, so was I. When they hurt, I felt their pain. When they fell in love, I rejoiced with them. When their heart ached, so did mine. And then I became a grandmother! Guess what? I didn't think I had more heart to give, but I was wrong.

There is nothing it can't do.

My grandmother lived to be 89. She was blessed with many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. When she died, even though I know it was because her body finally failed her, my personal theory is she died because she'd finally given away all of her heart and all of her soul to her precious children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. God took her home to make her heart and soul whole again. One day, I know He will do the same for me.

The truly amazing thing about love is that you can't limit it. There is nothing it can't do. It's bigger than the ocean. It is higher than the sky. No matter how much you give away, there is always more to give.

I am especially humbled to think that as powerful as the love is that I have for my family, God's love is greater. He loved all of humanity so much that He gave His only son as a sacrifice for our sins. The story of His love and the life of Jesus are truly the greatest love story of all time. And isn't it amazing to think it all began with a tiny baby in a manger and a mother who gave her son a small piece of her heart.

But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. (Luke 2:19 NKJV)

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

 

January 8, 2006

The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him, and every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming.

 
Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect him from the elements, and to store his few possessions.
 
One day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, with smoke rolling up to the sky. The worst had happened, and everything was lost. He was stunned with disbelief, grief, and anger.
 
"God, how could you do this to me?" he cried.
 
Early the next day he was awakened by the sound of a ship that was approaching the island. It had come to rescue him.
 
"How did you know I was here?" He asked his rescuers. "We saw your smoke signal," they replied.
  
It's easy to get discouraged when things are going bad, but we shouldn't lose heart, because God is at work in our lives, even in the midst of pain, and suffering. Remember that, the next time your little hut seems to be burning to the ground. It just may be a smoke signal that summons the grace of God.
 
You May Want To Consider Passing This On, Because You Never Know Who Feels Like Their Hut Is On Fire Today...

December 31, 2005

A  sign in a storefront of a small Arizona town said it best...
  
  To Our Christian Friends...Merry Christmas!
  To Our Jewish Friends...Happy Hannukah!
  To Our Atheist Friends....Good Luck!

Brown Bag Christmas

When I asked our newlywed Sunday School class to share a favorite Christmas story, Carrie Fuller said, "Our family has one we call the 'brown bag Christmas." When she finished, I had to hear more. Two days later, I called a member of her family for more details.

 

It was the early 1930s during the Dust Bowl days of Kansas, in the heart of the Depression. The Canaday family---Mom, Dad, 7 children---were having a tough time existing, so there would be no luxuries at Christmas that year. Mom told the children to go outside and find a Christmas tree and decorate it.  After a lengthy search, they returned with a dead branch, the only thing they had been able to find. They stood it up in a bucket of sand and decorated it with pieces of paper tied with string. Little Judy, almost four, did not know how a Christmas tree was supposed to look, but somehow she knew it was not like that!

 

As Christmas approached, the Canaday children, like children everywhere, pestered Mom and Dad about what presents they might get under their "tree." Dad pointed out that the pantry was bare, that they did not have enough to live on, and there certainly would be no money for gifts. But Mom was a woman of faith and told her children, "Say your prayers. Ask God to send us what He wants us to have." Dad said, "Now, Mother, don't be getting the children's hopes up. You're just setting them up for a disappointment." Mom said, "Pray, children. Tell Jesus." And pray they did.

 

On Christmas Eve, the children watched out the window for visitors, but no one came.

 

"Blow out the lamp and go to bed", Dad said. "Nobody is going to come. No one even knows we're out here."

 

The children turned out the lamp and got in bed, but they were too excited to sleep. Was this not Christmas? Had they not asked God to send them the presents He wanted them to have? Did Mom not say God answers prayer?

 

Late that night, when one of the children spotted headlights coming down the dirt road, everyone jumped out of bed and ran to the window. The commotion woke up Mom and Dad.

 

"Don't get excited, children," Dad said. "They're probably not coming here. It's just someone who got lost."

 

The children kept hoping and the car kept coming. Then, Dad lit a lamp. They all wanted to rush to the door at the same time, but Mr. Canaday said, "Stay back. I'll go."

 

Someone got out of the car and called, "I was wondering if someone here can help me unload these bags."

 

The children dashed out the door to lend a hand. Mom said to her youngest,

 

"Stay here, Judy, and help Mom open the bags and put up the gifts."

 

A deacon from the church in town had gone to bed that Christmas Eve, and lay there tossing and turning, unable to get the Canaday family off his mind. Later, he said, "I didn't know what kind of shape you folks were in, but I knew you had all those kids." He had gotten up and dressed and went around town, rousing people from their sleep to ask for a contribution for the Canaday family. He filled his car with bags of groceries, canned goods, toys, and clothing. Little Judy got a rag doll which remained her favorite for years.

 

With so much food, Dad wanted to have a Christmas feast, to spread it all out and eat as they had never eaten before.

 

Mom, ever the caretaker, said, "No, we need to make this last." And it did last, for weeks.

 

The next Sunday, Mrs. Canaday stood in church and told what the members---and one deacon in particular---had done for her family. There was not a dry eye in the house.

 

Years later, the oldest sister Eva wrote up this story about her family for a school project. Eva said, "We were so thrilled by all the wonderful things in the bags, for a while we lost sight of the most special gift. The best gift that Christmas was not in brown bags at all. It was Mom's faith, as she taught her children to bring their needs to Jesus and trust Him to meet them. And a Dad's love that wanted only to protect his children from hurt and disappointment."

December 25, 2005

Always believe in MIRACLES!!

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

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

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

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

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

Santa tried to be cheerful and encouraged a smile to the boy's face, asking him what he wanted Santa to bring him for Christmas. When they finished their visit, the Grandmother came over to help the child off his lap, and started to say something to Santa, but halted.

"What is it?" Santa asked warmly.

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

Santa blinked and swallowed hard and told the woman to leave information with his elves as to where Sarah was, and he would see what he could do.  Santa thought of little else the rest of that afternoon. He knew what he had to do.

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

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

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

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

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

Rick drove them to the hospital and came inside with Santa. They found out which room Sarah was in. A pale Rick said he would wait out in the hall. Santa quietly peeked into the room through the half-closed door and saw little Sarah on the bed. The room was full of what appeared to be her family; there was the Grandmother and the girl's brother he had met earlier that day A woman whom he guessed was Sarah's mother stood by the bed, gently pushing Sarah's thin hair off her forehead. And another woman who he discovered later was Sarah's aunt, sat in a chair near the bed with 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 in tact.

Santa rushed to her side and gave her a warm hug. A child the tender age of his own son -- 9 years old -- gazed up at him with wonder and excitement. Her skin was pale and her short tresses bore telltale bald patches from the effects of chemotherapy. But all he saw when he looked at her was a pair of huge, blue eyes. His heart melted, and he had to force himself to choke back tears. Though his eyes were riveted upon Sarah's face, he could hear the gasps and quiet sobbing of the women in the room. As he and Sarah began talking, the family crept quietly to the bedside one by one, squeezing Santa's shoulder or his hand gratefully, whispering "thank you" as they gazed sincerely at him with shining eyes.  Santa and Sarah talked and talked, and she told him excitedly all the toys she wanted for
Christmas, assuring him she'd been a very good girl that year. As their time together dwindled, Santa felt led in his spirit to pray for Sarah, and asked for permission from the girl's mother. She nodded in agreement and the entire family circled around Sarah's bed, holding hands. Santa looked intensely at Sarah and asked her if she believed in angels.

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

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

When the song ended, Santa sat on the side of the bed again and held Sarah's frail, small hands in his own.

"Now, Sarah, "he said authoritatively, "you have a job to do, and that is to concentrate on getting well. I want you to have fun playing with your friends this summer, and I expect to see you at my house at Mayfair Mall this time next year!"

He knew it was risky proclaiming that, to this little girl who had terminal cancer, but he "had" to. He had to give her the greatest gift he could -- not dolls or games or toys -- but the gift of HOPE.

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

He leaned down and kissed her on the forehead and left the room. Out in the hall, the minute Santa's eyes met Rick's, a look passed between them and they wept unashamed. Sarah's mother and grandmother slipped out of the room quickly and rushed to Santa's side to thank him. 

"My only child is the same age as Sarah," he explained quietly. "This is the least I could do." They nodded with understanding and hugged him. 

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

"Hi, Santa!  Remember me?!"

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

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

Tears immediately sprang in his eyes, and he grabbed this little miracle and held her to his chest.

"Sarah!" he exclaimed. He scarcely recognized her, for her hair was long and silky and her cheeks were rosy -- much different from the little girl he had visited just a year before He looked over and saw Sarah's mother and grandmother in the sidelines smiling and waving and wiping their eyes.  That was the best Christmas ever for Santa Claus. He had witnessed --and been blessed to be instrumental in bringing about -- this miracle of hope. This precious little child was healed. Cancer-free. Alive and
well. He silently looked up to Heaven and humbly whispered,

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

If you believe in miracles you will pass this on...I did!

December 18, 2005

 

Jack took a long look at his speedometer before slowing down: 73 in a 55 zone. Fourth time in as many months. How could a guy get caught so often?

When his car had slowed to 10 miles an hour, Jack pulled over, but only partially. Let the cop worry about the potential traffic hazard. Maybe some other car will tweak his backside with a mirror. The cop was stepping out of his car, the big pad in hand.

Bob? Bob from Church? Jack sunk farther into his trench coat. This was worse than the coming ticket. A cop catching a guy from his own church. A guy who happened to be a little eager to get home after a long day at the office. A guy he was about to play golf with tomorrow.

Jumping out of the car, he approached a man he saw every Sunday, a man he'd never seen in uniform.

"Hi, Bob. Fancy meeting you like this."

"Hello, Jack."  
"Guess you caught me red-handed in a rush to see my wife and kids."
"Yeah, I guess." Bob seemed uncertain. Good.
"I've seen some long days at the office lately. I'm afraid I bent the rules a bit -just this once."

Jack toed at a pebble on the pavement. "Diane said something about roast beef and potatoes tonight. Know what I mean?"

"I know what you mean. I also know that you have a reputation in our precinct ."

Ouch. This was not going in the right direction. Time to change tactics.

"What'd you clock me at?"
"Seventy. Would you sit back in your car please?"
"Now wait a minute here, Bob. I checked as soon as saw you. I was barely nudging 65." The lie seemed to come easier with every ticket.
"Please, Jack, in the car"
Flustered, Jack hunched himself through the still-open door. Slamming it shut, he stared at the dashboard. He was in no rush to open the window.
The minutes ticked by. Bob scribbled away on the pad.
Why hadn't he asked for a driver's license?
Whatever the reason, it would be a month of Sundays before Jack ever sat near this cop again. A tap on the door jerked his head to the left. There was Bob, a folded paper in hand Jack rolled down the window a mere two inches, just enough room for Bob to pass him the slip.
"Thanks." Jack could not quite keep the sneer out of his voice.
Bob returned to his police car without a word. Jack watched his retreat in the mirror. Jack unfolded the sheet of paper. How much was this one going to cost?
Wait a minute. What was this? Some kind of joke?
Certainly not a ticket. Jack began to read:
"Dear Jack, Once upon a time I had a daughter. She was six when killed by a car. You guessed it- a speeding driver. A fine and three months in jail, and the man was free. Free to hug his daughters, all three of them. I only had one, and I'm going to have to wait until Heaven before I can ever hug her again.
A thousand times I've tried to forgive that man. A thousand times I thought I had. Maybe I did, but I need to do it again. Even now. Pray for me. And be careful, Jack, my son is all I have left."
 "Bob"
Jack turned around in time to see Bob's car pull away and head down the road. Jack watched until it disappeared. A full 15 minutes later, he too, pulled away and drove slowly home, praying for forgiveness and hugging a surprised wife and kids when he arrived.
Life is precious. Handle with care. This is an important message; please pass it along to your friends. Drive safely and carefully. Remember, cars are not the only things recalled by their maker.
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."

 

December 11, 2005

By Debbie Daniel

I'm on a "Merry Christmas" mission and I'm in full throttle. My little yellow VW Beetle has turned into a Christmas billboard with Merry Christmas written across the back window. Yes, I've decided to trek off to work everyday on the public highways with a message that seems to offend people.


At stop lights, I even turn my music up a little louder, and to top it off, I sing along with it. Don't I know that stopping at a red light to roll my windows down only to share the joy of Christmas carols on public streets is a No-No? Don't I fear the Christmas Gestapo and those who would have me remove the written message from my car?

I'm sorry folks, but the only person I'm concerned about "offending" during this Christmas season is the Lord himself. LEAVE THAT MANGER ALONE! We've allowed the Baby Jesus to be kicked out of His lowly manger, and those offended by Christmas are still not happy.

I refuse to let this happen. I'm going to do my part to make sure "Merry Christmas" doesn't become extinct. Because like it or not, if the believers in Christmas don't take a stand now, it's gone forever.

Listen folks, the Christian community has been underestimated before; we will have to show ourselves agai! n.

I walked into a Wendy's Restaurant the other day and was rather exuberant with my "Merry Christmas" greeting to the manager. He didn't have much of a response and I said, "Where's your Christmas spirit?" He said, "We're not allowed to use the words "Merry Christmas" when greeting customers. We can only say "Happy Holiday."

This morning I grabbed a quick breakfast at a Whataburger Restaurant. I noticed there wasn't a single decoration in the store. I asked the manager why they weren't decorated for Christmas. He told me the corporate headquarters decided not to send any decorations to any of their stores, and he didn't know why.

After I heard about all the Macy's and Federated Stores taking down their Merry Christmas signs, the Target stores not allowing the Salvation Army to "Ring the Christmas bells," and the many incidents of children, choirs, and bands not allowed to play or sing Christmas carols, I realized it was happening r! ight here in my own little Texas town.

How can this be? Not Texas!

We do, however, have a store, Hobby Lobby, that plays nothing but Christmas carols during the season. On Christmas Day they run a full page ad in our local newspaper. That ad is not to promote the store, but uses the entire page to tell the story of Jesus' birth. Now that's taking a stand. We need to thank them.


When I saw a news report the other evening of children being taught new words to a song we've sung for years - "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" - I was saddened to hear "We Wish You a Splendid Holiday."

I know now that it's just a matter of time that the "Merry Christmas" greetings will be gone. Look around your town. Notice the "Holiday" greetings and not "Christmas." It's happening right before our very eyes.

Start singing the songs; go down the streets of America singing to your heart's content. Get some of those wash-off markers that these kids us! e to write on their car windows when they're rooting for their hometown football team. It's easy to do, and if a torrential rain washes it off, write it on there again.

We've got to get this message out. "Go Tell It On the Mountain . . . that Jesus Christ is Born." Sing it, speak it, be a billboard for our Lord.


The story of this "Baby Jesus" alone has brought about more goodwill at this time of year than any other day we celebrate. How can we sit back and allow Him to be snuffed out of our lives?

Is it Jesus, or is it His followers that the "offended" don't like? What kind of revulsion galvanizes one to campaign so vehemently against the mere mention of His name, the mere singing of a carol, or the mere visual of a sign that says "Merry Christmas?"

I can listen to my own boss at work use some of the vilest words and follow up with, "Excuse my French." I may cringe inside at his damning of God's name, but I tolerate it. So if ! you don't like me wishing you a "Merry Christmas," I'll say, "Excuse my joy." You may cringe that I celebrate the birth of Jesus, but just tolerate it.

I cannot be concerned that "Merry Christmas" offends you. If I'm not careful, the day will come when saying I'm a Christian will offend you.

I'm offended that you're offended. How about that?

When we get to a point that we can no longer take part in a tradition we hold dear, we have no choice; we either defend that tradition or we give it up to those who say NO. That's it . . . period. So, which will it be?

I'm not giving up my "Merry Christmas" joy to anyone. If I know of someone that celebrates another holiday during this time of year, I will be glad to wish them whatever holiday they want. Just tell me what it is and I'll shout it to the world and wish you a grand celebration.

Just give me Christmas. To you merchants: Stop being so hypocritical and "filling ! your tills" on the back of Jesus! Who do you think is the symbol of giving at this time of year? It was the wise men bringing gifts to the newborn Christ-child.

You want your coffers full, but have ordered your employees to take down all the Merry Christmas signs. If that's the case, I'll buy gifts at a place that understands my joy.

If you're worried about offending someone, you just did. The most recent Newsweek survey shows that 82% of Americans believe that Jesus is the Son of God. So, in trying not to offend a few, you've offended many.

It's okay to jump into the "Merry Christmas" spirit when it fills your cash register, but let's call it something else . . . and don't stop giving . . . and don't stop buying. . . we'll just change the name and you'll never know the difference.

I know the difference and I'm feeling it greatly. It's hard not to be aware that townships across our country have actually banned the singi! ng of Christmas carols because it might offend someone. And it's not just the religious songs; it's the secular ones too. No more "Jingle Bells" or "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" because they're associated with Christmas. Boy, aren't we getting sensitive?

If we're not celebrating Christmas for the hope it gives with the birth of our Savior . . . there is no hope!

I noticed a few years ago that we changed the name of Abraham Lincoln's and George Washington's birthday so as to be all inclusive regarding the Presidents. Hark, if we should recognize anyone as exceptional. Now it's called Presidents' Day.

Well, if we're going to be so all inclusive, next month I'll have to refer to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as Civil Rights Leaders' Day. We don't want to exclude great Americans like Rosa Parks or Cesar Chavez, do we? And to think that Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton might be left out.

We might need to change Mother's Day, Father's Day, and Grandparents' Day to All Parents' Day. Just lump them all together.

It sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? So what's the difference?

My freedom to celebrate Christmas in the tradition of the Christian religion is as much my right as it is your right to be offended by it. So what are we going to do? Did anyone hear me . . . what are we going to do?

Do we defend a person's right to go forward with a time tested tradition (how about 2000 years?), or do we defend a person's right to end it all because they're offended? As long as we live in this great land and have the freedom to express ourselves and what we believe in, we will always offend someone.

If we try to make everything right for everyone, we won't have anything for anyone.

May you always have Christmas in your heart!

December 4, 2005

Twelve Rules of Spiritual Wisdom Author Unknown

1. God wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts. 

2.  There is no key to happiness. The door is always open. 

3.  Silence is often misinterpreted, but never misquoted 

4.  Dear God, I have a problem, it's me.

5.  Laugh every day, it's like inner jogging. 

6.  Blessed are the flexible for they shall not be bent out of shape. 

7.  THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS IN YOUR HOME ARE THE PEOPLE. 

8.  As a child of God, prayer is kind of like calling home everyday. 

9.  He who dies with the most toys is still dead. 

10. It's all right to sit on your pity pot every now and again. Just be sure to flush when you are done.

11. Surviving and living your life successfully requires courage. The goals and dreams you're seeking require courage and risk taking. Learn from the turtle, it only makes progress when it sticks out it's neck.

12. Be more concerned with your character than with your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.

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