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INSPIRATIONAL - SPIRITUAL STORIES

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"Chocolate Sings"
One day I had a date for lunch with friends. Mae, a little old "blue hair" about 80 years old, came along with them---All in all, a pleasant bunch. When the menus were presented, we ordered salads, sandwiches, and soups, except for Mae who said, "Ice Cream, please. Two scoops, chocolate."
I wasn't sure my ears heard right, and the others were aghast. "Along with heated apple pie," Mae added, completely unabashed We tried to act quite nonchalant, as if people did this all the time. But when our orders were brought out, I didn't enjoy mine.. I couldn't take my eyes off Mae as her pie a-la-mode went down. The other ladies showed dismay. They ate their lunches silently and frowned.
The next time I went out to eat, I called and invited Mae. I lunched on white meat tuna. She ordered a parfait. I smiled. She asked if she amused me. I answered, "Yes, you do, but also you confuse me. How come you order rich desserts, while I feel I must be sensible?
She laughed and said, with wanton mirth, "I'm tasting all that's Possible. I try to eat the food I need, and do the things I should. But life's so short, my friend, I hate missing out on something good. This year I realized how old I was. (She grinned) I haven't been this old before."
"So, before I die, I've got to try those things that for years I had ignored. I haven't smelled all the flowers yet. There are too many books I haven't read. There's more fudge sundaes to wolf down and kites to be flown overhead. There are many malls I haven't shopped. I've not laughed at all the jokes. I've missed a lot of Broadway hits and potato chips and cokes.
I want to wade again in water and feel ocean spray on my face. I want to sit in a country church once more and thank God for His grace. I want peanut butter every day spread on my morning toast. I want UN-timed long distance calls to the folks I love the most. I haven't cried at all the movies yet, or walked in the morning rain. I need to feel wind in my hair I want to fall in love again. So, if I choose to have dessert, instead of having dinner, then should I die before night fall, I'd say I died a winner, because I missed out on nothing. I filled my heart's desire. I had that final chocolate mousse before my life expired."
With that, I called the waitress over.. "I've changed my mind," I said. "I want what she is having, only add some more whipped cream!"

Be mindful that happiness isn't based on possessions, power, or prestige, but on relationships with people we love and respect. And remember that while money talks, CHOCOLATE SINGS.

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WHY GOD MADE MOMS
"Why God made moms" answers given by elementary school age children to the following questions... and, a story at the end.....

Why did God make mothers?
1. She's the only one who knows where the scotch tape is.
2. Mostly to clean
3. To help us out of there when we were getting born.

How did God make mothers?
1. He used dirt, just like for the rest of us.
2. Magic plus super powers and a lot of stirring.
3. God made my Mom just the same like he made me. He just used bigger parts.

What ingredients are mothers made of?
1. God makes mothers out of clouds and angel hair and everything nice
 in the world and one dab of mean.
2. They had to get their start from men's bones. Then they mostly use string, I think.

Why did God give you your mother and not some other Mom?
1. We're related.
2 God knew she likes me a lot more than other people's moms like me.

What kind of little girl was your Mom?
1. My Mom has always been my Mom and none of that other stuff
2. I don't know because I wasn't there, but my guess would be pretty bossy.
3. They say she used to be nice.

What did Mom need to know about dad before she married him?
1. His last name.
2. She had to know his background. Like is he a crook? Does he get drunk on beer?
3. Does he make at least $800 a year? Did he say NO to drugs and YES to Chores?

Why did your Mom marry your dad?
1 My dad makes the best spaghetti in the world. And my Mom eats a lot.
2. She got too old to do anything else with him.
3. My grandma says that Mom didn't have her thinking cap on.

Who's the boss at your house?
1. Mom doesn't want to be boss, but she has to because dad's such a goof Ball.
2. Mom. You can tell by room inspection. She sees the stuff under the Bed.
3. I guess Mom is, but only because she has a lot more to do than dad.

What's the difference between moms and dads?
1. Moms work at work & work at home, & dads just go to work at work.
2. Moms know how to talk to teachers without scaring them.
3. Dads are taller & stronger, but moms have all the real power 'cause that's who you got to ask if you want to sleep over at your friend's.
4. Moms have magic, they make you feel better without medicine.

What does your Mom do in her spare time?
1. Mothers don't do spare time.
2. To hear her tell it, she pays bills all day long.

What would it take to make your Mom perfect?
1. On the inside she's already perfect. Outside, I think some kind of Plastic surgery.
2. Diet. You know, her hair. I'd diet, maybe blue.

If you could change one thing about your Mom, what would it be?
1. She has this weird thing about me keeping my room clean. I'd get rid of that.
2. I'd make my Mom smarter. Then she would know it was my sister who did it and not me.
3. I would like for her to get rid of those invisible eyes on her back.

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THE MOMMY TEST
 I was out walking with my 4 year old daughter. She picked up something off the ground and started to put it in her mouth. I took the item away from her and I asked her not to do that.
   "Why?" my daughter asked.
   "Because it's been lying outside, you don't know where it's been, it's dirty and probably has germs" I replied.
   At this point, my daughter looked at me with total admiration and asked "WOW, how do you know this stuff ?"  "Uh," ...I was thinking quickly, "All moms know this stuff. It's on the Mommy Test. You have to know it, or they don't let you be a Mommy."
  We walked along in silence for 2 or 3 minutes, but she was evidently pondering this new information.
  "OH...I get it!" she beamed, "So if you don't pass the test you have to be the daddy."
    "Exactly" I replied back with a big smile on my face and joy in my Heart.

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An Amazing Feat National Geographic several years ago provided an interesting picture of God's wings.  After a forest fire in Yellowstone National Park, forest rangers began their trek up a mountain to assess the inferno's damage. One ranger found a bird literally petrified in ashes, perched statuesquely on the ground at the base of a tree. Somewhat sickened by the eerie sight, he knocked over the bird with a stick. When he gently struck it, three tiny chicks scurried from under their dead mother's wings. The loving mother, keenly aware of impending disaster, had carried her offspring to the base of the tree and had gathered them under her wings, instinctively knowing that the toxic smoke would rise. She could have flown to safety but had refused to abandon her babies. Then the blaze had arrived and the heat had scorched her small body, the mother had remained steadfast. Because she had been willing to die, so those under the cover of her wings would live.

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge." (Psalm 91:4)

 Being loved this much should make a difference in your life. Remember the One who loves you, and then be different because of it. Time waits for no one. Treasure every moment you have.

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TWO QUESTIONS

Question 1:
If you knew a woman who was pregnant, who had 8 kids already, three who were deaf, two who were blind, one mentally retarded, and she had syphilis, would you recommend that she have an abortion?

Question 2:
It is time to elect a new world leader, and only your vote counts.
Here are the facts about the three candidates. Who would you vote for?

Candidate A.
Associates with crooked politicians, and consults with astrologist
He's had two mistresses. He also chain smokes and drinks 8 to 10 martinis a day.

Candidate B.
He was kicked out of office twice, sleeps until noon, used opium in
college and drinks a quart of whiskey every evening.

Candidate C
He is a decorated war hero. He's a vegetarian, doesn't smoke, drinks an
occasional beer and never cheated on his wife.

Which of these candidates would be your choice?

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Candidate A is Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Candidate B is Winston Churchill.
Candidate C is Adolph Hitler.

And, by the way, on your answer to the abortion question:
If you said YES, you just killed Beethoven.
Pretty interesting isn't it? Makes a person think before judging someone.

Never be afraid to try something new.
Remember:
Amateurs...built the ark.
Professionals...built the Titanic

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The following is the philosophy of Charles Schultz, the creator of the "Peanuts" comic strip. You don't have to actually answer the questions. Just read straight through, and you'll get the point.

1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.

2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.

3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America.

4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.

5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winner for best actor and actress

6. Name the last decade's worth of World Series winners.

How did you do?

The  point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are no  second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the applause  dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates  are buried with their owners.

Here's another  quiz. See how you do on this one:

1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.

2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.

3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.

4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.

5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.

Easier?

The lesson:   The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the  most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that  care.

"Don't worry about  the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in  Australia."  Charles Schultz

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A mouse looked through the crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife open a package. 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."
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 She 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 a 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 her 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.
 
Each of us is a vital thread in another person's tapestry; Our lives are woven together for a reason.  So the next time you hear someone is facing a problem and think it doesn't concern you, remember that when one of us is threatened, we are all at risk.

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Reflect on the Simple Things
Several years ago, a friend of mine and her husband were invited to spend the weekend at the husband's employer's home. My friend, Arlene, was nervous about the weekend. The boss was very wealthy, with a fine home on the waterway, and cars costing more than her house. The first day and evening went well, and Arlene was delighted to have this rare glimpse into how the very wealthy live.
The husband's employer was quite generous as a host, and took them to the finest restaurants. Arlene knew she would never have the opportunity to indulge in this kind of extravagance again, so was enjoying herself immensely. As the three of them were about to enter an exclusive restaurant that evening, the boss was walking slightly ahead of Arlene and her husband. He stopped suddenly, looking down on the pavement for a long, silent moment. Arlene wondered if she was supposed to pass him. There was nothing on the ground except a single darkened penny that someone had dropped, and a few cigarette butts. Still silent, the man reached down and picked up the penny.  He held it up and smiled, then put it in his pocket as if he had found a great treasure.
How absurd! What need did this man have for a single penny? Why would he even take the time to stop and pick it up? Throughout dinner, the entire scene nagged at her.  Finally, she could stand it no longer. She causally mentioned that her daughter once had a coin collection, and asked if the penny he had found had been of some value.A smile crept across the man's face as he reached into his pocket for the penny and held it out for her to see. She had seen many pennies before!  What was the point of this? "Look at it." He said. "Read what it says."
She read the words "United States of America."
"No, not that; read further."
"One cent?" "No, keep reading."
"In God we Trust?"
"Yes!"
"And?"
 "And if I trust in God, the name of God is holy, even on a coin. Whenever I find a coin I see that inscription. It is written on every single United States coin, but we never seem to notice it! God drops a message right in front of me telling me to trust Him. Who am I to pass it by?
When I see a coin, I pray, I stop to see if my trust IS in God at that moment. I pick the coin up as a response to God; that I do trust in Him. For a short time, at least, I cherish it as if it were gold. I think it is God's way of starting a conversation with me. Lucky for me, God is patient and pennies are plentiful!

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Two Brothers
Once upon a time, two brothers who lived on adjoining farms fell into conflict.
It was the first serious rift in 40 years of farming side-by-side, sharing machinery, and trading labor and goods as needed, without a hitch.

Then the long collaboration fell apart.
It began with a small misunderstanding, and it grew into a major difference, and finally, it exploded into an exchange of bitter words, followed by weeks of silence.
One morning, there was a knock on John's door. He opened it to find a man with a carpenter's toolbox. "I'm looking for a few days work." he said.

"Perhaps you would have a few small jobs here And there I could help with? Could I help you?" he added.
"Yes," said the older brother. I do have a job for you. Look across the creek at that farm. That's my neighbor. In fact, it's my younger brother.

Last week, there was a meadow between us. He recently took his bulldozer to the river levee, and now there is a creek between us. Well, he may have done this to spite me, but I'll do him one better.

See that pile of lumber by the barn? I want you to build me a fence. An 8-foot fence so I won't need to see his place, or his face anymore."
The carpenter said, "I think I understand the situation. Show me the nails, and the post-hole digger, and I'll be able to do a job that pleases you."
The older brother had to go to town, so he helped the carpenter get the materials ready and then he was off for the day. The carpenter worked hard all that day-measuring, sawing, and nailing. About sunset, when the farmer returned, the carpenter had just finished his job.
The farmer's eyes opened wide, his jaw dropped. There was no fence there at all. It was a bridge... a bridge that stretched from one side of the creek to the other! A fine piece of work, with handrails, and all!

And, the neighbor, his younger brother, was coming toward them, his hand outstretched... "You are quite a fellow to build this bridge, after all I've said and done."
The two brothers stood at each end of the bridge, and then they met in the middle, taking each other's hand. They turned to see the carpenter hoist his toolbox onto his shoulder. "No, wait! Stay a few days. I've a lot of other projects for you," said the older brother.
I'd love to stay on," the carpenter said, but I have many more bridges to build. Just remember this...

  • God won't ask what kind of car you drove,
    but He'll ask how many people you helped get where they needed to go.
  • God won't ask the square footage of your house,
    but He'll ask how many people you welcomed into your home.
  • God won't ask about the clothes you had in your closet,
    but He'll ask how many you helped to clothe.
  • God won't ask how many friends you had,
    but He'll ask how many people to whom you were a friend.
  • God won't ask in what neighborhood you lived,
    but He'll ask how you treated your neighbors.
  • God won't ask about the color of your skin,
    but He'll ask about the content of your character.
  • God won't ask why it took you so long to seek Salvation,
    but He'll lovingly take you to your mansion in heaven, and not to the gates of Hell.
  • God won't ask how many people you forwarded this to,
    but He'll ask why you hesitated to pass it on to your friends

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    A Sweet Grandpa-Dog Story
    "Watch out! You nearly broad sided that car!"  My father yelled at me. "Can't you do anything right?"
    Those words hurt worse than blows. I turned toward the elderly man in the seat beside me, daring me to challenge him. A lump rose in my throat as I averted my eyes. I wasn't prepared for another battle.
    "I saw the car, Dad. Please don't yell at me when I'm driving."
    My voice was measured and steady, sounding far calmer than I really felt. Dad glared at me, then turned away and settled back. At home I left Dad in front of the television and went outside to collect my thoughts, dark, heavy clouds hung in the air with a promise of rain. The rumble of distant thunder seemed to echo my inner turmoil.  What could I do about him?
    Dad had been a lumber jack in Washington and Oregon. He had enjoyed being outdoors and had reveled in pitting his strength against the forces of nature.  He had entered grueling lumberjack competitions, and had placed often. The shelves in his house were filled with trophies that attested to his prowess.
    The years marched on relentlessly. The first time he couldn't lift a heavy log, he joked about it; but later that same day I saw him outside alone, straining to lift it. He became irritable whenever anyone teased him about his advancing age, or when he couldn't do something he had done as a younger man.
    Four days after his sixty-seventh birthday, he had a heart attack. An ambulance sped him to the hospital while a paramedic administered CPR to keep blood and oxygen flowing.
    At the hospital, Dad was rushed into an operating room. He was lucky; he survived. But something inside Dad died. His zest for life was gone.  He obstinately refused to follow doctor's orders. Suggestions and offers of help were turned aside with sarcasm and insults. The number of visitors thinned then finally stopped altogether. Dad was left alone.
    My husband, Dick, and I asked Dad to come live with us on our small farm. We hoped the fresh air and rustic atmosphere would help him adjust. Within a week after he moved in, I regretted the invitation. It seemed nothing was satisfactory. He criticized everything I did. I became frustrated and moody. Soon I was taking my pent-up anger out on Dick. We began to bicker and argue.
    Alarmed, Dick sought out our pastor and explained the situation.  The clergyman set up weekly counseling appointments for us.  At the close of each session he prayed, asking God to soothe Dad's troubled mind.
    But the months wore on and God was silent. Something had to be done and it was up to me to do it. The next day I sat down with the phone book and methodically called each of the mental health clinics listed in the Yellow Pages. I explained my problem to each of the sympathetic voices that answered in vain.  Just when I was giving up hope, one of the voices suddenly exclaimed, "I just read something that might help you!  Let me go get the article."  I listened as she read. The article described a remarkable study done at a nursing home. All of the patients were under treatment for chronic depression.  Yet their attitudes had improved dramatically when they were given responsibility for a dog.
    I drove to the animal shelter that afternoon.. After I filled out a questionnaire, a uniformed officer led me to the kennels. The odor of disinfectant stung my nostrils as I moved down the row of pens. Each contained five to seven dogs. Long-haired dogs, curly-haired dogs, black dogs, spotted dogs all jumped up, trying to reach me.
    I studied each one but rejected one after the other for various reasons too big, too small, too much hair. As I neared the last pen a dog in the shadows of the far corner struggled to his feet, walked to the front of the run and sat down. It was a pointer, one of the dog world's aristocrats. But this was a caricature of the breed.
    Years had etched his face and muzzle with shades of gray. His hip bones jutted out in lopsided triangles. But it was his eyes that caught and held my attention. Calm and clear, they beheld me unwaveringly.
    I pointed to the dog. "Can you tell me about him?"  The officer looked, then shook his head in puzzlement. "He's a funny one. Appeared out of nowhere and sat in front of the gate. We brought him in, figuring someone would be right down to claim him. That was two weeks ago and we've heard nothing.  His time is up tomorrow." He gestured helplessly. As the words sank in I turned to the man in horror. "You mean you're going to kill him?" "Ma'am," he said gently, "that's our policy. We don't have room for every unclaimed dog." I looked at the pointer again. The calm brown eyes awaited my decision.  "I'll take him," I said.
    I drove home with the dog on the front seat beside me. When I reached the house I honked the horn twice. I was helping my prize out of the car when Dad shuffled onto the front porch. "Ta-da!  Look what I got for you, Dad!" I said excitedly.
    Dad looked, then wrinkled his face in disgust. "If I had wanted a dog I would have gotten one. And I would have picked out a better specimen than that bag of bones. Keep it! I don't want it" Dad waved his arm scornfully and turned back toward the house.
    Anger rose inside me. It squeezed together my throat muscles and pounded into my temples. "You'd better get used to him Dad, he's staying!"
    Dad ignored me. "Did you hear me, Dad!" I screamed. At those words Dad whirled angrily, his hands clenched at his sides, his eyes narrowed and blazing with hate. We stood glaring at each other like duelists, when suddenly the pointer pulled free from my grasp. He wobbled toward my dad and sat down in front of him. Then slowly, carefully, he raised his paw.
    Dad's lower jaw trembled as he stared at the uplifted paw. Confusion replaced the anger in his eyes. The pointer waited patiently. Then Dad was on his knees hugging the animal. It was the beginning of a warm and intimate friendship.
    Dad named the pointer Cheyenne. Together he and Cheyenne explored the community. They spent long hours walking down dusty lanes. They spent reflective moments on the banks of streams, angling for tasty trout. They even started to attend Sunday services together, Dad sitting in a pew and Cheyenne lying quietly at is feet.
    Dad and Cheyenne were inseparable throughout the next three years. Dad's bitterness faded, and he and Cheyenne made many friends. Then late one night I was startled to feel Cheyenne 's cold nose burrowing through our bedcovers. He had never before come into our bedroom at night.
    I woke Dick, put on my robe and ran into my father's room. Dad lay in his bed, his face serene. But his spirit had left quietly sometime during the night.
    Two days later my shock and grief deepened when I discovered Cheyenne lying dead beside Dad's bed. I wrapped his still form in the rag rug he had slept on. As Dick and I buried him near a favorite fishing hole, I silently thanked the dog for the help he had given me in restoring Dad's peace of mind.
    The morning of Dad's funeral dawned overcast and dreary. This day looks like the way I feel, I thought, as I walked down the aisle to the pews reserved for family. I was surprised to see the many friends Dad and Cheyenne had made filling the church. The pastor began his eulogy. It was a tribute to both Dad and the dog who had changed his life. And then the pastor turned to Hebrews 13:2. "Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it." "I've often thanked God for sending that angel," he said. For me, the past dropped into place, completing a puzzle that I had not seen before: the sympathetic voice that had just read the right article... Cheyenne 's unexpected appearance at the animal shelter...his calm acceptance and complete devotion to my father...and the proximity of their deaths. And suddenly I understood.  I knew that God had answered my prayers after all.
    Life is too short for drama or petty things, so laugh hard, love truly and forgive quickly. Live While You Are Alive. Forgive now those who made you cry. You might not get a second time. .
    God answers our prayers in His time........not ours.
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