W W W . S P I R I T P O R T A L . O R G


SPIRITUAL STORIES FOR INSPIRATION

There was a little boy visiting his grandparents on their farm. He was given a slingshot to play with out in the woods. He practiced in the woods, but he could never hit the target. Getting a little discouraged, he headed back for dinner. As he was walking back he saw Grandma's pet duck. Just out of  impulse, he let the slingshot fly, hit the duck square in the head, and killed it. He was shocked and grieved. In a panic, he hid the dead duck in the wood  pile, only to see his sister watching! Sally had seen it all, but she said  nothing. After lunch the next day Grandma said, "Sally, let's wash the dishes."  But Sally said, "Grandma, Johnny told me he wanted to help in the kitchen." Then she whispered to him, "Remember the duck?" So Johnny did the dishes. Later that day, Grandpa asked if the children wanted to go fishing and Grandma said, "I'm sorry but I need Sally to help make supper. " Sally just smiled and said," Well that's all right because Johnny told me he wanted to help." She whispered again, "Remember the duck?" So Sally went fishing and Johnny stayed to help. After several days of Johnny doing both his chores and Sally's, he finally couldn't stand it any longer. He came to Grandma and confessed that he had killed the duck. Grandma knelt down, gave him a hug, and said, "Sweetheart, I know. You see, I was standing at the window and I saw the whole thing, but because I love you,  I forgave you. I was just wondering how long you would let Sally make a slave of you."

Whatever is in your past, whatever you have done ... and the devil keeps throwing it up in your face (lying, cheating, debt, fear, bad habits, hatred, anger, bitterness, etc.) whatever it is. You need to know that God was standing at the window and He saw the whole thing. He has seen your whole life. He wants you to know that He loves you and that you are forgiven. He's just wondering how long you will let the devil make a slave of you. The great thing about God is that when you ask for forgiveness, He not only forgives you, but He forgets.

It is by God's grace and mercy that we are saved.

Go ahead and make the difference in someone's life today. Share this with a friend and always remember: * God is at the window.*
Author Unknown

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The Seven Wonders of the World
A group of students were asked to list what they thought were the Seven Wonders of the World. Thought there were some disagreements, the following received the most votes:
  1. Egypts Great Pyramids
  2. The Taj Mahal
  3. The Grand Canyon
  4. The Panama Canal
  5. The Empire State Building
  6. St Peters Basilica
  7. The Great Wall of China
While gathering the votes, she noticed that one student had not finished her pager yet, so she asked the girl if she was having trouble with her list.
The girl replied "Yes, a little. I couldn't quite make up my mind because there are so many."
The teacher said "well, tell us what you have, and maybe we can help you."
The girl hesitated, then read "I think the Seven Wonders of the World are...
  1. To See
  2. To Hear
  3. To Touch
  4. To Taste
  5. To Feel
  6. To Laugh
  7. To Love
The room was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. The things we overlook as simple and ordinary and that we take for granted are truly wonderous ! A gentle reminder - that the most precious things in life cannot be built by hand or bought by man. (and truly, are a gift from God).

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The Wooden Bowl
I guarantee you will remember the tale of the Wooden Bowl tomorrow, a week  from now, a month from now, a year from now.

A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and four-year old grandson. The old man's hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and  his step faltered.

The family ate together at the table. But the elderly grandfather's shaky hands and failing sight made eating difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon and onto the floor. When he grasped the glass milk spilled on the tablecloth. The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess. "We must do something about Grandfather", said the son. "I've had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating, and food on the floor." So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner. There, Grandfather ate alone  while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner.

Since Grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl. When the family glanced in Grandfather's direction, sometimes he had a tear in his eye as he sat alone. Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he had dropped a fork or spilled food. The four-year-old watched it all in silence.

One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor He asked the child curiously, "What are you making?" Sweetly, the boy responded, "Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and Mama to eat your food in when I grow up." The four-year-old smiled and went back to work

The words so struck the parents that they were speechless. Then tears started to stream down their cheeks. Though no word was spoken, both knew  what must be done. That evening, the husband took Grandfather's hand and gently led him back  to the family table. For the remainder of his days he ate every meal with  the family. And for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, when milk was spilled, or when the tablecloth was soiled.

On a positive note, I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I  usually make the right decision. I've learned that every day, you should reach out and touch someone.  People love that human touch -- holding hands, a warm hug, or just a  friendly pat on the back. I've learned that no matter what happens or how bad it seems today, life goes on, and it will be better tomorrow. I've learned that, regardless of
your relationship with your parents, you  will miss them when they are gone from your life.

I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and a late friend. I've learned that making a living is not the same thing as making a life.
I've learned that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you. But, if you  focus on your family, your friends, the needs of others, your work, and  doing the very best you can, happiness will find you. I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back. I've learned that I still have a lot to learn. I've learned that you should pass this on to everyone you care about. I just did

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The 10 Biggest Lies that Stop People from Getting What They Want
by Cynthia Kersey

They say that "everybody's a critic," and that never seems truer than when you're pursuing a dream. There will always be well-meaning people who want to "protect" you from your "unrealistic fantasies."  Critics tried to discourage the people profiled in Unstoppable.  Everyone ignored the negative input and achieved their goals.  Follow their lead and you, too, will be UNSTOPPABLE!

1. The timing is all wrong. In 1987, prior to accepting Paramount's offer to host a late-night talk show, Arsenio Hall was told by everyone: "It's too hard to crack into the late-night ratings. Television isn't ready for a black talk show host. This is America, and you can forget it."

2. Why don't you get a real job? Not understanding his desire to become Mr. Universe, Arnold Schwarzenegger's family pleaded with him, saying: "How long will you go on training all day in a gymnasium and living in a dream world?"

3. It'll never work, you'll lose everything. Weeks before she opened her first store, cosmetic tycoon Mary Kay Ash's attorney said: "Liquidate the business right now and recoup whatever cash you can. If you don't, you'll end up penniless."

4. Don't rock the boat . In response to Muriel Siebertís application to be the first woman to buy a seat on the New York Stock Exchange, officials responded: "The language on the floor is too rough and there's no ladies' room."  She bought a seat anyway and remained the only woman there for nine years

5. It's never been done before. Upon applying for a job after graduation from Columbia University, announcers for NBC Radio responded to Sally Jessy Raphael: "You have the perfect voice for broadcasting, but you should get a job as a secretary. We're not using women."

6. You don't have enough talent. Responding to his desire to become a recording artist, Ray Charles' teachers said: "You can't play the piano, and God knows you can't sing. You'd better learn how to weave chairs so you can support yourself."

7. Don't even try, you'll just be disappointed. When auditioning for a part in a high school musical, a teacher rejected Diana Ross saying: "You have a nice voice, but it's nothing special."

8. You don't fit the mold OR you're not the right "type." Trying to convince her she didn't have the right look, fashion photographer Richard Avedon told Cher: "You will never make the cover of Vogue because you don't have blond hair or blue eyes."  When she did make the cover, Vogue sold more copies than it had ever sold before.

9. Don't give up your day job. Commenting on the first manuscript of an unpublished author, a New York publisher told James Michener: "You're a good editor with a promising future in the business. Why would you want to throw it all away to try to be a writer? I read your book. Frankly, it's not really that good." Michener's first book, Tales of the South Pacific, later won a Pulitzer Prize and was adapted for stage and screen as South Pacific.

10. There's no market for it. When hearing his plans to launch Perrier in the United States, several consulting firms advised Gustave Leven: "You're foolish to try to sell sparkling water in the land of Coca-Cola drinkers."

The only opinion about your dream that really counts is yours. The negative comments of others merely reflect their limitations --- not yours. There is nothing unrealistic about a dream that aligns with your purpose, ignites your passion, and inspires you to plan and persevere until you attain it. On the contrary, it's unrealistic to expect a person with such drive and commitment not to succeed.

Choose to be unstoppable

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BELIEVE IN SANTA CLAUS
I remember my first Christmas adventure with Grandma. I was just a kid. I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her on the day my big sister dropped the bomb: "There is no SantaClaus," she jeered. "Even dummies know that!"

My Grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been. I fled to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me. I knew Grandma always told the truth, and I knew that the truth always went down a whole lot easier when swallowed with one of her "world-famous" cinnamon buns. I knew they were world-famous, because Grandma said so. It had to be true.

Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm. Between bites, I told her everything. She was ready for me. "No Santa Claus?" she snorted...."Ridiculous! Don't believe it. That rumor has been going around for years, and it makes me mad, plain mad!! Now, put on your coat, and let's go."

"Go? Go where, Grandma?" I asked. I hadn't even finished my second world-famous cinnamon bun. "Where" turned out to be Kerby's General Store, the one store in town that had a little bit of just about everything.

As we walked through its doors, Grandma handed me ten dollars. That was a bundle in those days. "Take this money," she said, "and buy something for someone who needs it. I'll wait for you in the car." Then she turned and walked out of Kerby's.

I was only eight years old. I'd often gone shopping with my mother, but never had I shopped for anything all by myself. The store seemed big and crowded, full of people scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping. For a few moments I just stood there, confused, clutching that ten-dollar  bill, wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy it for.

I thought of everybody I knew: my family, my friends, my neighbors, the kids at school, the people who went to my church. I was just about thought out, when I suddenly thought of Bobby Decker. He was a kid with bad breath and messy hair, and he sat right behind me in Mrs. Pollock's grade-two class.

Bobby Decker didn't have a coat. I knew that because he never  went out to recess during the winter. His mother always wrote a note, telling the teacher that he had a cough, but all we kids knew that Bobby Decker didn't have a cough; he didn't have a good coat. I fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing excitement. I would buy Bobby Decker a coat! I settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood to it. It looked real warm, and he would like that.

"Is this a Christmas present for someone?" the lady behind the counter asked kindly, as I laid my ten dollars down. "Yes, ma'am," I replied shyly. "It's for Bobby."

The nice lady smiled at me, as I told her about how Bobby really needed a good winter coat. I didn't get any change, but she put the coat in a bag, smiled again, and wished me a Merry Christmas.

That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat (a little tag fell out of the coat, and Grandma tucked it in her Bible) in Christmas paper and ribbons and wrote, "To Bobby, From Santa Claus" on it.

Grandma said that Santa always insisted on secrecy. Then she drove me over to Bobby Decker's house, explaining as we went that I was now and forever officially, one of Santa's helpers.

Grandma parked down the street from Bobby's house, and she and I crept noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front walk. Then Grandma gave me a nudge. "All right, Santa Claus," she whispered, "get going."

I took a deep breath, dashed for his front door, threw the present down on his step, pounded his door and flew back to the safety of the bushes and Grandma.

Together we waited breathlessly in the darkness for the front door to open. Finally it did, and there stood Bobby.

Fifty years haven't dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering, beside my Grandma, in Bobby Decker's bushes. That night, I realized that those awful rumors about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were -- ridiculous. Santa was alive and well, and we were on his
team.
I still have the Bible, with the coat tag tucked inside: $19.95.

May you always have LOVE to share, HEALTH to spare and FRIENDS that
care...
And may you always believe in the magic of Santa Claus!

Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might
as well dance.

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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.
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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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.
 
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.
  
EACH OF US IS A VITAL THREAD IN ANOTHER PERSON'S TAPESTRY; OUR LIVES ARE WOVEN TOGETHER FOR A REASON SEND THIS TO EVERYONE WHO HAS EVER HELPED YOU OUT AND LET THEM KNOW HOW IMPORTANT THEY ARE.

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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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Subject: this is a great once upon a time story

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, theneighbor, 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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The Box
The story goes that some time ago a mother punished her 5 year-old daughter for wasting a roll of expensive gold wrapping paper. Money was tight and she became even more upset when the child used the gold paper to decorate a box to put under the Christmas tree.

Nevertheless, the little girl brought the gift box to her mother the next morning and said, "This is for you, Momma."  The mother was embarrassed by her earlier over reaction, but her anger flared again when she opened the box and found it was empty.

She spoke to her daughter in a harsh manner. "Don't you know, young lady, when you give someone a present there's supposed to be something inside the package?"

She had tears in her eyes and said, "Oh, Momma, it's not empty! I blew kisses into it until it was full."

The mother was crushed. She fell on her knees and put her arms around her little girl, and she begged her forgiveness for her thoughtless anger.

An accident took the life of the child only a short time later, and it is told that the mother kept that gold box by her bed for all the years of her life. Whenever she was discouraged or faced difficult problems she would open the box and take out an imaginary kiss and remember the love of the child who had put it there.

In a very real sense, each of us, as human beings, have been given a Golden box filled with unconditional love and kisses from our children, family, friends and God. There is no more precious possession anyone could hold. 

Friends are like angels who lift us to our feet, when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly. 

"Never let your successes go to your HEAD and never let your failures go to your HEART."

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NAIL IN THE FENCE

There once was a little boy who had a bad  temper. His Father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.
   Finally the day came when the boy didn't lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper.
   The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, "You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger,   they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won't matter how many times you say I'm sorry, the wound is still there. " A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one.
   Friends are very rare jewels, indeed. They make you smile and encourage you to succeed. They lend an ear, they share words of praise and they always want to open their hearts to us.
Please forgive me if I have ever left a hole.

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A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds,
"What does love mean?"
The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined. See what you think:
  • "When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love." Rebecca - age 8
  • When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You know that your name is safe in their mouth." Billy - age 4
  • "Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other." Karl - age 5
  • "Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs." Chrissy - age 6
  • "Love is what makes you smile when you're tired." Terri - age 4
  • Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK." Danny - age 7
  • "Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. But they look gross when they kiss" Emily - age 8
  • "Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen," Bobby - age 7 (Wow!)
  • "If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate." Nikka - age 6 "Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday." Noelle - age 7
  • "Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well." Tommy - age 6
  • "During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn't scared anymore" Cindy - age 8
  • "My mommy loves me more than anybody. You don't see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night." Clare - age 6
  • "Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken." Elaine-age 5
  • "Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford." Chris - age 7
  • "Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day." Mary Ann - age 4
  • "I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones." Lauren - age 4
  • "When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you." Karen - age 7
  • "Love is when Mommy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn't think it's gross." Mark - age 6
  • "You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget." Jessica - age 8
  • And the final one-Author and lecturer Leo Buscaglia once talked about a contest he was asked to judge. The purpose of the contest was to find the most caring child. The winner was a four-year old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry the little boy went into the old gentleman's yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there. When his Mother asked him what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said, "Nothing, I just helped him cry."

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Subject: The Positive Side of Life
  • Living on Earth is expensive, but it does include a free trip around the sun every year.
  • How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door You're on.
  • Birthdays are good for you; the more you have, the longer you live.
  • Happiness comes through doors you didn't even know you left open.
  • Ever notice that the people who are late are often much jollier than the people who have to wait for them?
  • Most of us go to our grave with our music still inside of us.
  • If Wal-Mart is lowering prices every day, how come nothing is free yet?
  • You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.
  • Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once.
  • Don't cry because it's over; smile because it happened.
  • We could learn a lot from crayons: some are sharp, some are pretty, some are dull, some have weird names, and all are different colors....but they all exist very nicely in the same box.
  • A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.
  • Have an awesome day, and know that someone who thinks you're great has thought about you today!.. "And that person was me.".....

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YOU Pack My Parachute
Charles Plumb was a U.S. Navy jet pilot in Vietnam. After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands. He was captured and spent 6 years in a communist Vietnamese prison. He survived the ordeal and now lectures on lessons learned from that experience.
One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said, "You're Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!"
"How in the world did you know that?" asked Plumb.
"I packed your parachute," the man replied.
Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude. The man pumped his hand and said, "I guess it worked!"
Plumb assured him, "It sure did. If your chute hadn't worked, I wouldn't be here today."
Plumb couldn't sleep that night, thinking about that man. Plumb says, "I kept wondering what he had looked like in a Navy uniform: a white hat, a bib in the back, and bell-bottom trousers. I wonder how many times I might have seen him and not even said 'Good morning, how are you?' or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot and he was just a sailor."
Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent at a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, holding in his hands each time the fate of someone he didn't know.
Now, Plumb asks his audience, "Who's packing your parachute?" Everyone has someone who provides what they need to make it through the day. He also points out that he needed many kinds of parachutes when his plane was shot down over enemy territory - he needed his physical parachute, his mental parachute, his emotional parachute, and his spiritual parachute. He called on all these supports before reaching safety.
Sometimes in the daily challenges that life gives us, we miss what is really important. We may fail to say hello, please, or thank you, congratulate someone on something wonderful that has happened to them, give a compliment, or just do something nice for no reason. As you go through this week, this month, this year, recognize people who pack your parachutes.
I am sending you this as my way of thanking you for your part in packing my parachute! And I hope you will send it on to those who have helped pack yours!

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When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the coffee.

The Mayonnaise Jar and the Coffee
A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front on him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed it was.
So then the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full.
They agreed it was. The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar and of course the sand filled up everything else up. He asked once more if the jar was full.
The students responded with an unanimous "yes." The professor then produced two coffee cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.
"Now," said the professor, as the laughter subsided. "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things - your family, your children, your health, your friends, and your favorite passions - things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, and your car. The sand is everything else - the small stuff. If you put the sand in the jar first, he continued, "There is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls.
The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your spouse to dinner. Spend time with your parents for you won't always have them in your life. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first, the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represents? The professor smiled. "I am glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there is always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend."

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Four Wives
In ancient times, there was a rich merchant who had four wives. He loved the fourth wife the most and adorned her with rich robes and treated her to delicacies. He took great care of her and gave her nothing but the best. He also loved his third wife very much. He was very proud of her and always wanted to show her off to his friends. However, the merchant was always in great fear that she might run away with some other men.

He too, loved his second wife. She was a very considerate person, always patient and in fact is the merchant's confidante. Whenever the merchant faced some problems, he always turned to his second wife and she would always help him out and help him through difficult times. Now, the merchant's first wife was a very loyal partner and had made great contributions in maintaining his wealth and business as well as taking care of the household. However, the merchant did not love the first wife and although she loved him deeply, he hardly took notice of her.

One day, the merchant fell ill. Before long, he knew that he was going to die soon. He thought of his luxurious life and told himself, "Now I have four wives with me. But when I die, I'll be alone. How lonely I'll be!"

Thus, he asked the fourth wife, "I loved you most, endowed you with the finest clothing and showered great care over you. Now that I'm dying, will you follow me and keep me company?" "No way!" replied the fourth wife and she walked away without another word. Similar responses came from the third and second wives.

Then a voice called out: "I'll leave with you. I'll follow you no matter where you go." The merchant looked up and there was his first wife. Greatly grieved, the merchant said, "I should have taken much better care of you while I could have!"

Actually, we each have four wives in our lives
4. The fourth wife is our body. No matter how much time and effort we lavish in making it look good, it'll leave us when we die.
3. Our third wife represents our possessions, status and wealth. When we die, they all go to others.
2. The second wife is our family and friends. No matter how close they had been there for us when we're alive, the furthest they can stay by us is up to the grave.
1. The first wife is, in fact, our soul, often neglected in our pursuit of material, wealth and sensual pleasure. – but in truth our real self.

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Friendship
His name was Fleming, and he was a poor Scottish farmer. One day, while trying to make a living for his family, he heard a cry for help coming from a nearby bog. He dropped his tools and ran to the bog. There, mired to his waist in black muck, was a terrified boy, screaming and struggling to free himself. Farmer Fleming saved the lad from what could have been a slow and terrifying death.
The next day, a fancy carriage pulled up to the Scotsman's sparse surroundings. An elegantly dressed nobleman stepped out and introduced himself as the father of the boy Farmer Fleming had saved. "I want to repay you," said the nobleman. "You saved my son's life."No, I can't accept payment for what I did," the Scottish farmer replied, waving off the offer.
At that moment, the farmer's own son came to the door of the family hovel.
"Is that your son?" the nobleman asked."Yes" the farmer replied proudly.
"I'll make you a deal. Let me provide him with the level of education my own son will enjoy. If the lad is anything like his father, he'll no doubt grow to be a man we both will be proud of." And that he did. Farmer Fleming's son attended the very best schools and in time, he graduated from St. Mary's Hospital Medical School in London, and went on to become known throughout the world as the noted Sir Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of Penicillin.
Years afterward, the same nobleman's son who was saved from the bog was stricken with pneumonia. What saved his life this time? Penicillin. The name of the nobleman? Lord Randolph Churchill. His son's name? Sir Winston Churchill.

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Forgiveness
One day a while back, a man, his heart heavy with grief, was walking in the woods.  As he thought about his life this day, he knew many things were not right.  He thought about those who had lied about him back when he had a job. His thoughts turned to those who had stolen his things and cheated him.  He remembered family that had passed on. His mind turned to the illness he had, that no one could cure.  His very soul was filled with anger, resentment, and frustration. Standing there this day, searching for answers he could not find, knowing all else had failed him, he knelt at the base of an old oak tree to seek the one he knew would always be there. And so with tears in his eyes, he prayed:
 "Lord ~ You have done wonderful things for me in this life.  You have told me to do many things for you, and I happily obeyed. Today, you have told me to forgive. I am sad, Lord, because I cannot, I don't know how.  It is not fair Lord, I didn't deserve these wrongs that were done against me and I shouldn't have to forgive.  As perfect as your way is Lord, this one thing I cannot do, for I don't know how to forgive.  My anger is so deep Lord, I fear I may not hear you, but I pray you teach me to do the one thing I cannot do:  Teach me to forgive ."
As he knelt there in the quiet shade of that old oak tree, he felt something fall onto his shoulder.  He opened his eyes. Out of the corner of one eye, he saw something red on his shirt.  He could not turn to see what it was because where the oak tree had been was a large square piece of wood in the ground.  He raised his head and saw two feet held to the wood with a large spike through them.
He raised his head more, and tears came to his eyes as he saw Jesus hanging on a cross. He saw spikes in His hands, a gash in His side, a torn and battered body, deep thorns sunk into His head.  Finally he saw the suffering and pain on His precious face. As their eyes met, the man's tears turned to sobbing, and Jesus began to speak. "Have you ever told a lie?"  He asked?
The man answered - "Yes, Lord."
"Have you ever been given too much change and kept it?"
The man answered - "Yes. Lord."  And the man sobbed more and more.
"Have you ever taken something from work that wasn't yours?" Jesus asked?
And the man answered, "Yes, Lord."
"Have you ever sworn, using my Father's name in vain?"
The man, crying now, answered - "Yes, Lord."
As Jesus asked many more times, "Have you ever"?  The man' s crying became uncontrollable, for he could only answer - "Yes, Lord".
Then Jesus turned His head from one side to the other, and the man felt something fall on his other shoulder. He looked and saw that it was the blood of Jesus. When he looked back up, his eyes met those of Jesus, and there was a look of love the man had never seen or felt before.
Jesus said, "I didn't deserve this either, but I forgive you."

It may be hard to see how you're going to get through something, but when you look back in life, you realize how true this statement is.
"If God brings you to it - He will bring you through it."

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SAND & STONE
TWO FRIENDS WERE WALKING THROUGH THE DESERT.
DURING SOME POINT OF THE JOURNEY, THEY HAD AN ARGUMENT AND ONE FRIEND SLAPPED THE OTHER ONE IN THE FACE.
THE ONE WHO GOT SLAPPED WAS HURT, BUT WITHOUT SAYING ANYTHING, WROTE IN THE SAND:
TODAY MY BEST FRIEND SLAPPED ME IN THE FACE.
THEY KEPT ON WALKING, UNTIL THEY FOUND AN OASIS, WHERE THEY DECIDED TO TAKE A BATH. THE ONE WHO HAD BEEN SLAPPED GOT STUCK IN THE MIRE AND STARTED DROWNING, BUT THE FRIEND SAVED HIM.
AFTER HE RECOVERED FROM THE NEAR DROWNING, HE WROTE ON A STONE:
"TODAY MY BEST FRIEND SAVED MY LIFE ".
THE FRIEND WHO HAD SLAPPED AND SAVED HIS BEST FRIEND ASKED HIM, "AFTER I HURT YOU, YOU WROTE IN THE SAND AND NOW, YOU WRITE ON A STONE, WHY?"
THE FRIEND REPLIED "WHEN SOMEONE HURTS US WE SHOULD WRITE IT DOWN IN SAND, WHERE WINDS OF FORGIVENESS CAN ERASE IT AWAY. BUT, WHEN SOMEONE DOES SOMETHING GOOD FOR US, WE MUST ENGRAVE IT IN STONE WHERE NO WIND CAN EVER ERASE IT."
LEARN TO WRITE YOUR HURTS IN THE SAND AND TO CARVE YOUR BENEFITS IN STONE.
THEY SAY IT TAKES A MINUTE TO FIND A SPECIALPERSON, AN HOUR TO APPRECIATE THEM, A DAY TO LOVE THEM, BUT THEN AN ENTIRE LIFE TO FORGET THEM.
TAKE THE TIME TO LIVE!
DO NOT VALUE THE MATERIAL THINGS YOU HAVE IN YOUR LIFE, BUT VALUE THE PEOPLE YOU HAVE IN YOUR LIFE!

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JUST A NICE CHRISTMAS STORY
The man slowly looked up. This was a woman clearly accustomed to the finer things of life. Her coat was new. She looked like that she had never missed a meal in her life. His first thought was that she wanted to make fun of  him, like so many others had done before.
"Leave me alone," he growled.
To his amazement, the woman continued standing. She was smiling -- her even white teeth displayed in dazzling rows. "Are you hungry?" she asked.
"No," he answered sarcastically. "I've just come from dining with the president. Now go away." The woman's smile became even broader. Suddenly the man felt a gentle hand under his arm.
"What are you doing, lady?" the man asked angrily. "I said to leave me alone.
Just then a policeman came up. "Is there any problem, ma'am?" he asked.
"No problem here, officer," the woman answered. "I'm just trying to get this man to his feet. Will you help me?"
The officer scratched his head. "That's old Jack. He's been a fixture around here for a couple of years. What do you want with him?"
"See that cafeteria over there?" she asked. "I'm going to get him something to eat and get him out of the cold for awhile."
"Are you crazy, lady?" the homeless man resisted. "I don't want to go in there!"
Then he felt strong hands grab his other arm and lift him up.
"Let me go, officer. I didn't do anything."
"This is a good deal for you, Jack," the officer answered. "Don't blow  it.."
Finally, and with some difficulty, the woman and the police officer got  Jack into the cafeteria and sat him at a table in a remote corner. It was the middle of the morning, so most of the breakfast crowd had already left and the lunch bunch had not yet arrived. The manager strode across the cafeteria and stood by his table.
"What's going on here, officer?" he asked. "What is all this. Is this man in trouble?"
"This lady brought this man in here to be fed," the policeman answered
"Not in here!" the manager replied angrily. "Having a person like that here is bad for business."
Old Jack smiled a toothless grin. "See, lady. I told you so. Now if  you'll let me go. I didn't want to come here in the first place."
The woman turned to the cafeteria manager and smiled. "Sir, are you familiar with Eddy and Associates, the banking firm down the street?"
"Of course I am," the manager answered impatiently. "They hold their  weekly meetings in one of my banquet rooms."
"And do you make a goodly amount of money providing food at these weekly meetings?"
"What business is that of yours?"
"I, sir, am Penelope Eddy, president and CEO of the company."
"Oh."
The woman smiled again. "I thought that might make a difference." She glanced at the cop who was busy stifling a giggle. "Would you like to join us in a cup of coffee and a meal, officer?"
"No thanks, ma'am," the officer replied. "I'm on duty."
"Then, perhaps, a cup of coffee to go?"
"Yes, ma'am. That would be very nice."
The cafeteria manager turned on his heel "I'll get your coffee for you right away, officer."
The officer watched him walk away. "You certainly put him in his place," he said.
"That was not my intent. Believe it or not, I have a reason for all this."
She sat down at the table across from her amazed dinner guest She stared at him intently. "Jack, do you remember me?"
Old Jack searched her face with his old, rheumy eyes "I think so -- I  mean you do look familiar."
"I'm a little older perhaps," she said. "Maybe I've even filled out more than in my younger days when you worked here, and I came through that very door, cold and hungry."
"Ma'am?" the officer said questioningly. He couldn't believe that such a magnificently turned out woman could ever have been hungry.
"I was just out of college," the woman began. "I had come to the city looking for a job, but I couldn't find anything. Finally I was down to my last few cents and had been kicked out of my apartment. I walked the streets for days. It was February and I was cold and nearly starving. I saw this place and walked in on the off chance that I could get something to eat."
Jack lit up with a smile. "Now I remember," he said. "I was behind the serving counter. You came up and asked me if you could work for something to eat.
I said that it was against company policy."
"I know," the woman continued. "Then you made me the biggest roast beef  sandwich that I had ever seen, gave me a cup of coffee, and told me to go over to a corner table and enjoy it. I was afraid that you would get into trouble. Then, when I looked over, I saw you put the price of my food in the cash register I knew then that everything would be all right."
"So you started your own business?" Old Jack said.
"I got a job that very afternoon. I worked my way up. Eventually I started my own business, that, with the help of God, prospered." She opened her purse and pulled out a business card. "When you are finished here, I want you to pay a visit to a Mr. Lyons. He's the personnel director of my company. I'll go talk to him now and I'm certain he'll find something for you to do around the office." She smiled. "I think he might even find the funds to give you a little advance so that you can buy some clothes and get a place to live until you get on your feet. If you ever need anything, my door is always opened to you."
There were tears in the old man's eyes. "How can I ever thank you? " he said.
"Don't thank me," the woman answered. "To God goes the glory. Thank Jesus.. He led me to you."
Outside the cafeteria, the officer and the woman paused at the entrance before going their separate ways. "Thank you for all your help, officer," she said.
"On the contrary, Ms. Eddy," he answered. "Thank you. I saw a miracle today, something that I will never forget. And...And thank you for the coffee."

Have a Wonderful Day. May God Bless You Always. And don't forget that when you "cast your bread upon the waters," you never know how it will be returned to you.

God is so big He can cover the whole world with his Love and so small He can curl up inside your heart.

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Unbelievable -- What Are the Odds of This Happening?

Life can sometimes produce fascinating, extraordinary coincidences. Here are a few of the most amazing ones:

* In 1975, a man riding a moped in Bermuda was accidentally struck and killed by a taxi. One year later, the man’s brother, riding the very same moped, was killed in the very same way by the very same taxi driven by the very same driver -- and carrying the very same passenger.

* Twin brothers Jim Lewis and Jim Springer were separated at birth and adopted by different families. Unknown to each other, both were named James, both owned a dog named Toy, both married women named Linda, both had a son they names James Alan, and both eventually divorced and got remarried to a woman named Betty.

* Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, and John Adams helped to edit and hone it. The Continental Congress approved the document on July 4, 1776. Both Jefferson and Adams died on July 4, 1826 -- exactly 50 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

* A German mother who photographed her infant son in 1914 left the film to be developed at a store in Strasbourg, but was unable to collect the film picture when World War I broke out. Two years later she bought a film plate in Frankfurt, over 100 miles away, and took a picture of her newborn daughter -- only to find, when developed, the picture of her daughter superimposed on the earlier picture of her son. The original film, never developed, had been mistakenly labeled as unused and resold.

* In 1858, Robert Fallon was shot dead by fellow poker players who accused him of cheating to win a $600 pot. None of the other players were willing to take the now unlucky $600, so they found a new player to take Fallon’s place, who turned the $600 into $2,200 in winnings. At that point, the police arrived and demanded that the original $600 be given to Fallon’s next of kin -- only to discover that the new player was Fallon’s son, who had not seen his father in seven years.

* In the 19th century, the famous horror writer Egdar Allan Poe wrote a book called ‘The narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym.’ It was about four survivors of a shipwreck who were in an open boat for many days before they decided to kill and eat the cabin boy whose name was Richard Parker. Some years later, in 1884, the yawl, Mignonette, foundered, with only four survivors, who were in an open boat for many days. Eventually the three senior members of the crew killed and ate the cabin boy. The name of the cabin boy was Richard Parker.

* In 1930s Detroit, a man named Joseph Figlock was to become an amazing figure in a young (and, apparently, incredibly careless) mother’s life. As Figlock was walking down the street, the mother’s baby fell from a high window onto Figlock. The baby’s fall was broken and Figlock and the baby were unharmed. A year later, the same baby fell from the same window, again falling onto Mr. Figlock as he was passing beneath. Once again, both of them survived the event.

* In 1973, actor Anthony Hopkins agreed to appear in “The Girl From Petrovka”, based on a novel by George Feifer. Unable to find a copy of the book anywhere in London, Hopkins was surprised to discover one lying on a bench in a train station. It turned out to be George Feifer’s own annotated (personal) copy, which Feifer had lent to a friend, and which had been stolen from his friend’s car.

* In Monza, Italy, King Umberto I went to a small restaurant for dinner, accompanied by his aide-de-camp, General Emilio Ponzia-Vaglia. When the owner took King Umberto’s order, the King noticed that he and the restaurant owner were virtual doubles, in face and in build. Both men began discussing the striking resemblance between each other and found many more similarities.

1. Both men were born on the same day, of the same year (March 14, 1844).
2. Both men had been born in the same town.
3. Both men married a woman with same name, Margherita.
4. The restaurateur opened his restaurant on the same day that King Umberto was crowned King of Italy.
5. On the 29th July 1900, King Umberto was informed that the restaurateur had died that day in a mysterious shooting accident, and as he expressed his regret, an anarchist in the crowd then assassinated him.

* While American novelist Anne Parrish was browsing bookstores in Paris in the 1920s, she came upon a book that was one of her childhood favorites -- Jack Frost and Other Stories. She picked up the old book and showed it to her husband, telling him of the book she fondly remembered as a child. Her husband took the book, opened it, and on the flyleaf found the inscription: “Anne Parrish, 209 N. Weber Street, Colorado Springs.” It was Anne’s very own book.

Are these instances merely coincidence, or are they something more? It all depends on how you look at it.

As the famous words of Albert Einstein sum up quite nicely: “There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

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Someone once said:

What goes around comes around.

Work like you don't need the money.

Love like you've never been hurt.

Dance like nobody's watching.

Sing like nobody's listening.

Live like it's Heaven on Earth.

˜

AN IRISH FRIENDSHIP WISH

  May there always be work for your hands to do;

May your purse always hold a coin or two;

May the sun always shine on your windowpane;

May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain;

May the hand of a friend always be near you;

May God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.

˜

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