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Old 11-23-2008, 11:45 AM   #601
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VANTASTIC....


Often there are prayer requests that really show the best of human spirit. Below is one such prayer request.

-------------------------------------------------------------

I moved to this area a year and a half ago for my health, but I've been unable to find a job, my savings are depleted, and I'm packing what little I have left to start living in my van.

I thank God that I have a van to live in and that I have a few dollars left for gas, but a job would be appreciated.

I have a dream of opening a bed and breakfast one day, and I'm trying to hold fast to my dream.

It's difficult to move halfway across the country and start again at 50 years old, but a woman's life expectancy is 80+ years, so I have a lot of time left to realize my dream.


-------------------------------------------------------------

She thanked God for her van.
She thanked God for a few dollars for gas.
She holds fast to her dream.
At 50 she doesn't focus on what's behind but on the great amount
of time that's ahead.

We all could learn a lot from this prayer request, spoken from the heart.
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Old 11-24-2008, 06:55 AM   #602
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Ice Cream For The Soul

Last week I took my children to a restaurant. My six-year-old son asked if he could say grace. As we bowed our heads he said, "God is good. God is great. Thank you for the food, and I would even thank you more if mom gets us ice cream for dessert. And Liberty and justice for all! Amen!"

Along with the laughter from the other customers nearby I heard a woman remark, "That's what's wrong with this country. Kids today don't even know how to pray. Asking God for ice-cream! Why, I never!"

Hearing this, my son burst into tears and asked me, "Did I do it wrong? Is God mad at me?"

As I held him and assured him that he had done a terrific job and God was certainly not mad at him, an elderly gentleman approached the table.

He winked at my son and said, "I happen to know that God thought that was a great prayer."

"Really?" my son asked.

"Cross my heart." Then in a theatrical whisper he added (indicating the woman whose remark had started this whole thing), "Too bad she never asks God for ice cream. A little ice cream is good for the soul sometimes."

Naturally, I bought my kids ice cream at the end of the meal. My son stared at his for a moment and then did something I will remember the rest of my life.

He picked up his sundae and without a word walked over and placed it in front of the woman.

With a big smile he told her, "Here, this is for you. Ice cream is good for the soul sometimes, and my soul is good already."

Author Unknown
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Old 11-24-2008, 07:32 AM   #603
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My Quote For The Day!

If you have great challenges, have greater faith.
- Leinani Kamaka
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Old 11-24-2008, 03:17 PM   #604
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If I am just rambling please understand. Prayers are needed for a family. I have worked in a school. One of the former students died today. She graduated from high school in June. This courageous girl has lost her fight with cancer. She had never let cancer get her down. She came to school carrying her pump. She always had a positive outlook. This family has now lost there second daughter. The students and staff are struggling to deal with this. I feel so sad. My son knew here very well. Please pray for healing!
J
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Old 11-24-2008, 03:45 PM   #605
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smileyj View Post
If I am just rambling please understand. Prayers are needed for a family. I have worked in a school. One of the former students died today. She graduated from high school in June. This courageous girl has lost her fight with cancer. She had never let cancer get her down. She came to school carrying her pump. She always had a positive outlook. This family has now lost there second daughter. The students and staff are struggling to deal with this. I feel so sad. My son knew here very well. Please pray for healing!
J
How very tragic for this poor family. Is there a way to minister to them with some cards? Please let us know.
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Old 11-25-2008, 06:11 AM   #606
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Thank You Power

Rachel Olsen

“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)

In my (part-time) job as a university teacher, I’m frequently reading research. I know, I know … it sounds as dry as an over-cooked turkey. Sometimes it is but often I find interesting stuff in that scientific prose. For example, this week I read about a study from the University of California that showed just how great it is to be grateful.

The researchers found that grateful people report higher levels of positive emotions, more satisfaction with life, and more vitality and optimism. All good qualities I want more of in my life. They also found grateful people show lower levels of depression and stress - two things I’d like to experience less in my life.

What’s more, they found that people who keep journals about gratitude on a weekly basis are healthier. They exercise more regularly, report fewer physical symptoms, and feel better in general than people who journal about neutral or negative life events. That sounds great, and I’ll take all the help I can get in the exercise department.

Finally, the research showed that people who daily count their blessings report higher levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, and energy. Wow, the benefits of being grateful are remarkable and many! I guess that shouldn’t surprise me after considering today’s key verse. The Bible urges us to give thanks … all the time … in every situation … because this practice is the will of God.

Let me be clear, there are terrible things that happen to us that may not be the will of God, but us praising God and giving thanks in spite of them certainly is the will of God. As Christians, we can always find reason to give thanks – thanks for the salvation of Christ, the nearness of God, and the counsel of His Spirit for starters. The psalmist declared, “I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High” (Psalm 7:17, NIV). We can do that too.

Christian poet John Milton once wrote about every gray cloud having a silver lining. Purposing to give thanks, no matter the weather, will train us to look for it. Continuing in this manner day after day ensures that gratefulness will become our normal mode of operation.

No wonder those researchers found that people regularly counting their blessings grow happier, healthier, and more optimistic. After all, that research wasn’t discovering anything new, but rather confirming the will and wisdom of God. God already knows how great it is for us to be grateful. Now “science” does too.

What can you give thanks for today?

Dear Lord, thank You for this day. Thank You for Your Son and Your Spirit, given to me. Thank You for the provision of shelter and food I have today. And Lord, thank You for this reminder to become more mindful of my blessings. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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Old 11-26-2008, 03:14 AM   #607
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The Stuffing!

I was about 11 when I remember the best part of Thanksgiving day.

The time was very early in the day. I called for my mother to come quickly to my bed and she lifted me into my wheelchair.

Mom had already started cooking the turkey and the wonderful smell lofted into my room. This smell reminded me that I was in charge of helping mom make the delicious stuffing.

She and I chopped up the nice green celery and the perfect onions. We then threw them into a hot pan with about two (maybe more!) sticks of melted butter. I could toss in some sage, parsley, salt, pepper and poultry seasoning.

Mother had to pull the turkey out of the oven, as she had to add some hot turkey juice to "our" stuffing. I stirred the vegetables with a big wooden spoon, until they were lightly brown. Then, she poured it all into a huge blue and white bowl that was filled to the top with flavored croutons. We guessed on how many eggs, maybe at least a dozen, were added. She mixed and stirred and mixed and stirred until the favorite time of the day arrived.

It was time to taste.

Mom gave me a spoon and took one for herself and we both dipped our spoons in. She always asked me, "What do you think it needs?" I would say it needs just a bit more sage, a tad more butter and a lot more turkey juice. Then, we would taste it again. A little more pepper. It went on and on until it tasted just perfect!

Mom would stuff the moist dressing into the gigantic bird. She would put what was leftover, into a real dainty casserole dish. Back into the oven went our turkey with of course, the dressing. An hour before dinner was to be served, she would place the stuffing casserole into the oven.

I couldn't wait to eat everything -- turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry relish -- and especially, the remarkable dressing. The dressing was the most delicious and luscious Probably, because I helped! I can still taste it today as my mouth waters.

Every year at Thanksgiving that was my job -- to help make the stuffing taste great! Even when I could no longer stir, crack the eggs, cut the celery and onions, etc., my mom would always give me a taste and ask me, "What does it need?"

It was a special time. Not only for Thanksgiving but a special time for my mom and me. I am thankful to her for allowing me to help make the stuffing.

It was a time I'll always remember. A time I will always hold dear to my heart.

~ Lori Andalee Hinderer ~

Lori says, "I'm 47 years 'young!' I have a rare form of muscular dystrophy since birth. I love to read books on tape, writing short stories, starting my book and writing in my journal. Writing I have found is rewarding. Due to the warm weather in Arizona, I moved here twelve years ago. I dedicate my story to my Mother." You can email Lori at: sliceoflife2 at cox.net.
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Old 11-26-2008, 03:29 AM   #608
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Heartwarming message, thank you. It's life's 'little' moments that stay in our hearts.
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Old 11-27-2008, 04:30 AM   #609
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HAVE A VERY BLESSED AND HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!


It is not what we say about our blessings but how we use them that is the true measure of our thanksgiving.
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Old 11-27-2008, 06:22 AM   #610
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HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO EVERYONE! Hope you have a fun, happy, safe, and blessings filled day today!

HUGS,
Sara
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Old 11-27-2008, 06:43 AM   #611
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Faristofthemall View Post
My quote for today is:

“Anyone can give up, it's the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that's true strength.”
Author Unknown
This is awesome! I love it!
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Old 11-27-2008, 07:34 AM   #612
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Welcome, dear friend, Karen
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Old 11-28-2008, 08:15 AM   #613
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Gravy Train

“I come from a family where gravy is considered a beverage.” – Erma Bombeck

I am truly grateful for gravy.

This is a much more profound statement than you realize. I am certainly thankful for the surface glories of good gravy, that warm, luscious sauce that coats my taste buds and then goes on to coat my hips. But I’ve come to realize lately that gravy is much more than that. Not being one to exaggerate, I don’t want to ladle it on too thick. So let me just suggest that gravy is actually a symbol for my life.

Sometimes my life flows along smoothly, a rich, flavorful stream of goodness. Other times, it turns into a lumpy, gelatinous mess in desperate need of a sanity strainer. Perhaps when my life gets lumpy, I should sift it in the same way my grandma used to strain her gravy. Perhaps then my life wouldn’t be as strained as this goofy metaphor I’m beating into the ground here. Perhaps you’re wondering what on earth I’m talking about. Perhaps I’ve said “perhaps” once too often.

Anyway, what got me thinking these deep thoughts about sauce is the advent of yet another holiday season. I know it’s supposed to be a time of peace on earth and good will toward men. And for the men, who’ve been ensconced on the couch since the beginning of football season, it works out just fine.

But for the women, at least those in my family, there has not been a lot of holiday harmony since gravy came into the picture. See, I come from a Southern family in which gravy has assumed Holy Grail status. In my family, the quality of a girl’s gravy runs parallel to the quality of her character. A girl whose gravy lacks gravitas (which we all know is just a fancy Latin word for gravy with a kick) can find herself the object of ridicule for generations to come.

And this is what has happened to me. I am a gravy failure, never quite getting the hang of it. To make matters worse, I’m the daughter of a gravy grand master. People come from miles around to sample my mother’s gravy. People won’t even bother asking someone to pass the gravy boat when it’s carrying mine.

Oh, my mother has pretended to try to teach me her gravy secrets. But she’s obviously leaving out a crucial ingredient because mine never turns out like hers. Not even the mother-daughter bond, it seems, can overcome her greed for gravy glory.

I used to get very upset about this flaw in my mom’s character. When I was less mature than I am now (last year), I even got so annoyed by my sorry sauce that I flicked some of it at my mother with a spoon on Thanksgiving Day, coating her carefully coiffured hair with my gooey gravy. She was not amused.

This year, I’ve decided to embrace my gravy deficiency as an opportunity to develop my own character. I am not going to be grumpy about my gravy. I’m going to be thankful for all the things I take for granted. I’m going to remember that my life, even when lumpy, is pretty darn sweet. In fact, most of the time, I am definitely on the gravy train. I hope you are, too. Happy Thanksgiving.


~ © Jackie Papandrew 2008 ~

Jackie Papandrew is an award-winning writer, syndicated humor columnist, coffee addict and mom to a motley crew of children and pets who provide a steady stream of column ideas and dirt. She's also wife to a very patient man who had no idea, years ago when he still had time to escape, what he was getting himself into. Visit her website at: JackiePapandrew.com
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Old 11-29-2008, 05:30 AM   #614
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The Valleys of Life

I’ve viewed the world from lofty heights
I’ve flown just like a dove
I’ve perched upon the highest crest
On mountaintops above.

I’ve seen the towering snow-capped peaks
Where eagles dare to fly
I’ve touched the moon, the universe
I’ve soared across the sky.

From up above to valleys deep
I’ve lived so brave and bold
But now I’m slowing down a bit
I know I’m growing old.

Just like the blazing sun that sets
The years have slipped away
I stop beside a peaceful stream
And close my eyes to pray.

No longer do I rise above
The mountaintops on high
But down below, I quietly go
Where sheep and cattle lie.

I stroll across a field of grain
Such beauty spilling over
A prairie filled with grass so green
A meadow full of clover.

I venture to the woodlands
Where a cricket can be heard
The sights and sounds are so profound
The chirping of a bird.

Walking down a faded path
I relish in delight
The countryside has come to life
Like fireflies in the night.

Thinking back on younger years
I always soared up high
I’m living in the valley now
My time on earth is nigh.

In valleys there is blessed peace
I never feel alone
I’ll walk in fertile pastures
Till my Saviour calls me home.

~ Marilyn Ferguson ~
November 15, 2008
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Old 11-30-2008, 04:26 AM   #615
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If God be our God, He will give us peace in trouble. When there
is a storm without, He will make peace within. The world can
create trouble in peace, but God can create peace in trouble.

-- Thomas Watson
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Old 11-30-2008, 04:51 AM   #616
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Good morning everyone! Hugs and blessings to all!
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Old 12-01-2008, 06:34 AM   #617
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Joy to the World

Katherine R. Cottle, She Speaks Graduate

Uh-oh, my son had begun the dreaded potty dance. He had gotten so engrossed in the beautiful, giant, Christmas ornaments suspended from the shopping mall ceiling that he totally ignored his almost 4 year-old bladder. It was warning him to get to the potty. We were only seconds away from an accident, without a change of clothes.

Doctors had recently given my little son a great big label: Pervasive Developmentally Delayed. Simple translation: he learns differently than most and things that “typically developing” children are able to do easily, he finds challenging. For example, being able to recognize that his body needs to go to the potty and communicating his need to me. I had 20 other things to accomplish in the mall and I was not prepared for this.

Thanks to a mother’s ability to quickly maneuver through crowds and leap tall mounds of Christmas presents in a single bound, we made it to the restroom just in time.

Frustration began to overwhelm my heart. I wasn’t just overwhelmed by the pressure of the things I had on my to-do list, but also by my son’s struggle with being able to recognize and verbally acknowledge his needs. Lord, will he ever be able to tell me what is going on in his head? How are we going to reach him?

As we were washing our hands, he suddenly began to sing with all his heart, “Joy to the world, the Lord has come, let earth receive her King.” Where was this coming from? I wondered. Quieting my frustrated mind, I slowed down to listen. The song was playing over the intercom. I had totally tuned it out.

My beautiful little boy with his great big label had heard what I had not. Women coming out of their stalls smiled and sang with him. I think the angels would have included us in their choir that day.

In that moment I felt the Lord assure me that He had created my son and knew his needs and exactly how to reach him. After all, this is what Christmas is all about. Our loving Father, knowing our need of the gift of salvation, reached the world through Jesus Christ.

Joy to the world, the Lord has come. Let us receive our King!
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Old 12-01-2008, 11:26 AM   #618
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Lovely story!
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Old 12-02-2008, 07:16 AM   #619
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Waiting Expectantly
Margaret Manning

Waiting is never easy. In our day of high speed internet, instant messaging, and fast food, waiting for anything seems like an eternity. I remember the days as a child, when the season turned the corner towards Christmas day, how difficult it was for me and my siblings to wait to open our presents. We had such a hard time waiting that we would often coax our parents into allowing us to open some, or all of our presents on Christmas Eve. We couldn’t wait any longer, and our parents couldn’t abide another day of our whining and begging.

The season of Advent begins a season of waiting. It marks the beginning of the liturgical church year and asks us to wait expectantly for the coming of Christ, the King. Each new Advent season stirs our expectations as we wait. Will we see the return of the Lord in this Advent season? But, it also leads us to a time of reflection concerning how we wait because waiting, by its very nature, is demanding and difficult for all of us. Like children clamoring to open their presents early because they cannot wait any longer, we often wait impatiently, rather than with expectant hope.

Waiting for God is difficult enough; but, waiting in the wilderness can make the most staid soul waver. The whole history of Israel is a history of waiting, waiting in the wilderness to enter the Promised Land, waiting for a king, waiting in exile for return to the land of Israel, and waiting for God to deliver them from all their oppressors. The psalmists cry is their cry, and our cry: “How long, O Lord? Will you hide yourself forever?” (Psalm 89:46)

Imagine, then, how their hearts stirred with expectation when a glimmer of promise arose. We can feel the hope rise as the prophet Isaiah cries out: “Clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness; make smooth in the desert a highway for our God. Let every valley be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low...Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all flesh will see it together” (Isaiah 40:3-5). Yet, generations came and went and the years ebbed and flowed with no sign of the promised one. Israel went into exile, and the voice of the prophets became silent. Would there be a way in the wilderness, and a smooth path cut through the desert? Or would God leave his people as exiles in the wastelands?

For over two-thousand years, we have seen Advent season come and go, each year igniting our hopes and expectations for Christ’s return. Unfortunately, as happens to so many, we lose hope and heart in waiting. We grow tired and weary, and we, like the false prophets of old ask, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation” (2 Peter 3:4). Our temptation in the exile of waiting is to lose hope, to grow weary and faint. Our temptation is to give up rather than hold on. Rather than fill us with expectation, waiting can dull our hope and desiccate our yearning for God. Yet the Advent season calls us back to watch and to wait in anxious expectation for the return of our Lord.

Indeed, those who wait upon the Lord “shall gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary” (Isaiah 40:31). May our Advent waiting fill us with hope, renew us with strength, and raise us up with hope in our coming King
.

Margaret Manning is a member of the speaking and writing team at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.
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Old 12-02-2008, 03:13 PM   #620
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A friend just sent this to me. She doesn't even know what is going on with my DH and DS. She must have sensed that I need this.

When Your Little Hut Is On Fire

The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited
island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him. Every day he
scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming. Exhausted,
he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect
him from the elements, and to store his few possessions.

One day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little
hut in flames, with smoke rolling up to the sky. He felt the worst had
happened, and everything was lost. He was stunned with disbelief, grief,
and anger. He cried out, 'God! How could you do this to me?'

Early the next day, he was awakened by the sound of a ship approaching
the island! It had come to rescue him!

'How did you know I was here?' asked the weary man of his rescuers.

'We saw your smoke signal,' they replied.

The Moral of This Story: It's easy to get discouraged when things are
going bad, but we shouldn't lose heart, because God is at work in our
lives, even in the midst of our pain and suffering. Remember that the
next time your little hut seems to be burning to the ground...it just
may be a smoke signal that summons the Grace of God.


P.S. Consider passing this on, because you never know who feels as if
their hut is on fire today.
Hope this story helps someone else a bit.
Hugs
Joan
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Old 12-03-2008, 12:06 AM   #621
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Old 12-03-2008, 07:47 AM   #622
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Signs You Have a Cheap HMO Plan

* Directions to the doctor's office include, "Take a left when you enter the trailer park."

* When you enter the office, you see a dispenser with the sign "PLEASE TAKE A NUMBER."

* Tongue depressors taste faintly of Fudgesicles.

* The only psychiatrist in the plan is nicknamed "Joe the bartender."

* The only item listed under Preventive Care feature of coverage is, "An apple a day."

* Your "primary care physician" is wearing pants you gave to Goodwill last month.

* "Patient responsible for 200% of out-of-network charges" is not a misprint.

* The only expense covered 100% is embalming.

* Your pills come in different colors with "M" on them.

And the number one sign you've joined a cheap HMO....

* Your prescription for anti-depressant medication: A coupon for a double espresso at Starbucks.


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Old 12-03-2008, 02:01 PM   #623
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That's a good one, thanks for the chuckle!
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Old 12-04-2008, 10:12 AM   #624
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The Best Gift

The stores are going to be crowded the next few weeks. It is that time of the year between Thanksgiving and Christmas when people go shopping for special gifts for those they love. As I started to think back on the gifts I have been given over the years, however, it wasn’t the ones that came wrapped up under a tree that moved me the most. The gifts that most touched my soul are the ones that came from the hearts of those around me.

Those special hugs my Grandma gave me as a boy that squeezed the air out of my lungs and warmed my heart at the same time are a gift I will always cherish. The gift of my Mom’s loving and joyous smile still lives on in my heart and soul today. I always felt happier when I saw it. Those boyhood touch football games my brothers and I had in the sunshine, rain, and even the snow are a gift of fun that still makes me laugh. The countless repairs my Dad made on my tired, old cars over the years is a gift I can never repay. His help kept me driving and his love kept me going during some of the toughest points in my life. Those phone calls from my Aunt that keep me smiling for half the day are another priceless gift I still enjoy. They always lift my spirits as high as Heaven. The hugs, smiles, laughter and kind words that are shared with my children, my friends and my neighbors are daily gifts that I wouldn’t trade for all the presents in the world. The letters and cards I get from my wonderful online friends also have a special place under the Christmas tree in my heart. They have made my soul rich beyond compare.

All of these gifts remind me too that Love is the greatest gift of all The love that God has for us and the love that we share with each other is what life is all about. Love gives meaning to our days, joy to our hearts, and wealth to our souls. It makes us brighter, the world better, and brings God closer.

May you always have the time of your life then giving the best gift of all.

~ Joseph J. Mazzella ~
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Old 12-04-2008, 11:30 AM   #625
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Lovely thoughts, thank you once again, Caterina.
Hugs,
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Old 12-04-2008, 05:59 PM   #626
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A Christmas Story

It's just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past 10 years or so.

It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas---oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it... overspending...the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma---the gifts given in desperation because you couldn't think of anything else. Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike.

The inspiration came in an unusual way. Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was wrestling at the junior level at the school he attended; and shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church, mostly black. These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes. As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler's ears. It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford. Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. And as each of their boys got up from the mat, he swaggered around in his tatters with false bravado, a kind of street pride that couldn't acknowledge defeat. Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, "I wish just one of them could have won," he said. "They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them."

Mike loved kids-all kids-and he knew them, having coached little league football, baseball and lacrosse. That's when the idea for his present came. That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church. On Christmas Eve, I placed the envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done and that this was his gift from me. His smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year and in succeeding years. For each Christmas, I followed the tradition---one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on. The envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning and our children, ignoring their new toys, would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents. As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the envelope never lost its allure. The story doesn't end there.

You see, we lost Mike last year. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree, and in the morning, it was joined by three more. Each of our children, unbeknownst to the others, had placed an envelope on the tree for their dad. The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing around the tree with wide-eyed anticipation watching as their fathers take down the envelope. Mike's spirit, like the Christmas spirit, will always be with us.

May we all remember Christ, and "give" in a Christ-like manner. After all, he is the reason for the season, and the true "Christmas spirit" this year and always.

God bless


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Old 12-05-2008, 02:26 AM   #627
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Wonderful message, Sara! Thank you for sharing it with us.
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Old 12-05-2008, 07:15 AM   #628
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A Christmas Poem

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,

I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.

My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,

My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.

Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,

Transforming the yard to a winter delight.

The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,

Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.

My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,

Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.

In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,

So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,

But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.

Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know, Then the

sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.

My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,

And I crept to the door just to see who was near.

Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,

A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.

A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,

Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.

Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,

Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

"What are you doing?" I asked without fear,

"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!

Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,

You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"

For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,

Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts…

To the window that danced with a warm fire's light

Then he sighed and he said, "Its really all right,

I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night.

"It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,

That separates you from the darkest of times.

No one had to ask or beg or implore me,

I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.

My Gramps died at ' Pearl on a day in December,"

Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers."

My dad stood his watch in the jungles of ' Nam ',

And now it is my turn and so, here I am.

I've not seen my own son in more than a while,

But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile.”

Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,

The red, white, and blue... an American flag.

“I can live through the cold and the being alone,

Away from my family, my house and my home.

I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,

I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.

I can carry the weight of killing another,

Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..

Who stand at the front against any and all,

To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall."

"So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright,

Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."

"But isn't there something I can do, at the least,

"Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?

It seems all too little for all that you've done,

For being away from your wife and your son."

Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,

"Just tell us you love us, and never forget.

To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,

To stand your own watch, no matter how long.

For when we come home, either standing or dead,

To know you remember we fought and we bled.

Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,

That we mattered to you as you mattered to us."
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Old 12-06-2008, 04:51 AM   #629
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My Favorate Christmas Song I want to share with all of you in case someone has never heard it before. Be prepared to CRY!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VNsvE33pRSw
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Old 12-06-2008, 08:18 AM   #630
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A Wonderful Winter's Day

The first snowfall quietly came,
This morning with God s rising sun;
He left a blanket clean and white,
So we might have some winter fun.

Let s break out our boots and our sleds,
Find a steep hill to slide on down;
We ll play til we can t feel our toes,
Then pass the hot chocolate around.

We'll light a fire in the clearing,
Just big enough to warm our hands;
Then call all the children around,
Tell them about God's winter plans.

How God provides the snow for us,
Simply one of His many gifts;
Along with the ice on the lake,
In His way, our spirits He lifts.

We'll cut a hole in the ice and fish,
Atop of the ice we can skate;
There is so much to see and do,
On this, God s wonderful winter day.

It's all in how we look at it,
Blessings from God or nature's wrath?
It depends on what is in our hearts,
The answer is as simple as that.


~ Paul D. Berube ~
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Old 12-06-2008, 08:46 AM   #631
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all these poems and stories are great. I needed to have a positive lift today. Faristofthemall, this song has special meaning for me. My mother passed away right before Christmas 10 yrs ago. She suffered long enough. She was almost 85. And after having 15 children, she deserved a rest. Thanks for all the great feelings you have all given me.
Hugs to all
Joan
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Old 12-06-2008, 09:24 AM   #632
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Lovely message of God's beauty, thank you again, Caterina! I love the beauty of the snow, just don't like shoveling it, it's so hard on my back and arthritis.
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Old 12-06-2008, 11:55 AM   #633
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bsgstamps4fun View Post
Lovely message of God's beauty, thank you again, Caterina! I love the beauty of the snow, just don't like shoveling it, it's so hard on my back and arthritis.
Amen, Barb.
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Old 12-06-2008, 12:13 PM   #634
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smileyj View Post
all these poems and stories are great. I needed to have a positive lift today. Faristofthemall, this song has special meaning for me. My mother passed away right before Christmas 10 yrs ago. She suffered long enough. She was almost 85. And after having 15 children, she deserved a rest. Thanks for all the great feelings you have all given me.
Hugs to all
Joan
Joan,
Im so sorry to hear about your mom. May she rest in peace. This song has special meaning to me as well. Although my dad was not sick prior to his death, he died a week before xmas in 1997. He was killed in a car wreck a year just after my daughter passed away. Glad it could help bring back the meaning for xmas a little bit for you!

HUGS,
Sara
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Old 12-07-2008, 06:48 AM   #635
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Always believe in MIRACLES!!

Three years ago, a little boy and his grandmother came to see Santa at Mayfair Mall in Wisconsin. The child climbed up on his lap, holding a picture of a little girl. "Who is this?" asked Santa, smiling, "Your friend? Your sister?"

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

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

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

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

"What is it?" Santa asked warmly.

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

Santa blinked and swallowed hard and told the woman to leave information with his elves as to where Sarah was, and he would see what he could do. Santa thought of little else the rest of that afternoon. He knew what he had to do. "What if it were MY child lying in that hospital bed, dying," he thought with a sinking heart, "this is the least I can do."

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

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

Santa relayed to him the conversation with Sarah's grandmother earlier that day. "C'mon.... I'll take you there," Rick said softly.

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

Santa quietly peeked into the room through the half-closed door and saw little Sarah on the bed. The room was full of what appeared to be her family; there was the Grandmother and the girl's brother he had met earlier that day. A woman whom he guessed was Sarah's mother stood by the bed, gently pushing Sarah's thin hair off her forehead. And another woman who he discovered later was Sarah's aunt, sat in a chair near the bed with a weary, sad look on her face. They were talking quietly, and Santa could sense the warmth and closeness of the family, and their love and concern for Sarah. Taking a deep breath, and forcing a smile on his face, Santa entered the room, bellowing a hearty, "Ho, ho, ho!"

"Santa!" shrieked little Sarah weakly, as she tried to escape her bed to run to him, IVtubes intact. Santa rushed to her side and gave her a warm hug. A child the tender age of his own son -- 4 years old -- gazed up at him with wonder and excitement. Her skin was pale and her short tresses bore telltale bald patches from the effects of chemotherapy. But all he saw when he looked at her was a pair of huge, blue eyes. His heart melted, and he had to force himself to choke back tears. Though his eyes were riveted upon Sarah's face, he could hear the gasps and quiet sobbing of the women in the room.

As he and Sarah began talking, the family crept quietly to the bedside one by one, squeezing Santa's shoulder or his hand gratefully, whispering "thank you" as they gazed sincerely at him with shining eyes. Santa and Sarah talked and talked, and she told him excitedly all the toys she wanted for Christmas, assuring him she'd been a very good girl that year. As their time together dwindled, Santa felt led in his spirit to pray for Sarah, and asked for permission from the girl's mother. She nodded in agreement and the entire family circled around Sarah's bed, holding hands. Santa looked intensely at Sarah and asked her if she believed in angels.

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

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

"Now, Sarah, "he said authoritatively, "you have a job to do, and that is to concentrate on getting well. I want you to have fun playing with your friends this summer, and I expect to see you at my house at Mayfair Mall this time next year!" He knew it was risky proclaiming that, to this little girl who had terminal cancer, but he "had" to. He had to give her the greatest gift he could -- not dolls or games or toys -- but the gift of HOPE.

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

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

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

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

"Of course, I do," Santa proclaimed (as he always does), smiling down at her.

After all, the secret to being a "good" Santa is to always make each child feel as if they are the "only" child in the world at that moment.

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

Tears immediately sprang in his eyes, and he grabbed this little miracle and held her to his chest. "Sarah!" he exclaimed. He scarcely recognized her, for her hair was long and silky and her cheeks were rosy -- much different from the little girl he had visited just a year before. He looked over and saw Sarah's mother and grandmother in the sidelines smiling and waving and wiping their eyes.

That was the best Christmas ever for Santa Claus. He had witnessed --and been blessed to be instrumental in bringing about -- this miracle of hope.

This precious little child was healed. Cancer-free. Alive and well. He silently looked up to Heaven and humbly whispered, "Thank you, Father. 'Tis a very, Merry Christmas!


The highest courage is to dare to be yourself in the face of adversity. Choosing right over wrong, ethics over convenience, and truth over popularity... These are the choices that measure your life. Travel the path of integrity without looking back, for there is never a wrong time to do the right thing.
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Old 12-07-2008, 08:45 AM   #636
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Caterina, this deeply touched my heart and tears to my eyes. This is a message of hope that should be read by everyone. Thank you for blessing my day.
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Old 12-07-2008, 11:59 AM   #637
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Barb, it is a touching story and now that I am involved with the Cole Foundation ministering to children with cancer, it means so much more than ever.
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Old 12-08-2008, 10:54 AM   #638
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Message From A Mom To Her Child....

* I gave you life, but cannot live it for you.

* I can give you directions, but I cannot be there to lead you.

* I can take you to church, but I cannot make you believe.

* I can buy you beautiful clothes,but I cannot make you beautiful inside.

* I can give you love, but I cannot force it upon you.

* I can teach you to share, but I cannot make you unselfish.

* I can teach you respect, but I cannot force you to show honor.

* I can advise you about friends, but cannot choose them for you.

* I can advise you about sex, but I cannot keep you pure.

* I can tell you about alcohol & drugs,but I cannot say "no" for you.

* I can tell you about lofty goals, but I cannot achieve them for you.

* I can teach you about kindness, but I cannot force you to be gracious.

* I can pray for you, but I cannot make you walk with God.

* I can tell you how to live, but I cannot give you eternal life.

* I can love you with unconditional love all of my life.... and I will.
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Old 12-09-2008, 01:40 PM   #639
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Shoveling Snow

I woke up the other day to find that 10 inches of freshly fallen snow was waiting for me outside my door. The flakes were still falling heavily too. I didn’t want my little dogs drowning in it, so I reluctantly pulled on my heavy coat and grabbed the snow shovel to make a path. I had only gotten a bit done, however, when the handle of my old snow shovel broke with a "snap." Laughing and shaking my head I decided then and there to wait out the storm for awhile.

It was late in the afternoon when the snow finally stopped and I trudged over to my Dad’s house to borrow his shovel and try again. By then the 10 inches of snow had turned into a foot and a half. I started out slow setting a steady pace and stopping to rest whenever my back started to ache. After a while, though, the clouds finally broke and the sun peeked out to cheer me on. The work seemed a lot easier then even though it was warmer. I even sang a few Christmas carols and smiled up at God while I cleared out the drives, cleaned off the cars, and shoveled out the paths. After an hour of hard work the job was finally done. Laughing, I let the child that still lives inside of me fall back into the snow and make a snow angel for the angels in Heaven to see. It felt good walking back to my house after a job well done. It felt even better looking around at this wonderful world of white. But it felt best of all knowing that God and His angels were watching over me with a love that passes all understanding.

I don’t know why life sometimes gives us Spring days and sometimes dumps a ton of snow on us. I do know, however, that we can pray, laugh, love, and choose joy through it all. God loves us always. He comforts our souls and warms our hearts on the coldest Winter days. He laughs with us when our snow shovels break and smiles down on us when we make a snow angel. He is with us forever and that is the greatest Christmas present of all.

~ Joseph J. Mazzella ~
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Old 12-10-2008, 07:10 AM   #640
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"The Littlest Angel" by Charles Tazewell

ONCE UPON A TIME - many years ago as time is calculated by men But only yesterday in the Celestial calendar of heaven there was in Paradise a most miserable thoroughly unhappy and utterly dejected cherub who was known throughout heaven as "The Littlest Angel".

He was exactly four years, six months, five days, seven hours and forty-two minutes of age when he presented himself to the venerable Gatekeeper for admittance to the Glorious Kingdom of God.

Standing defiantly with his short legs wide apart, The Littlest Angel tried to pretend that he wasn't at all impressed by such Unearthly Splendor, and that he wasn't at all afraid. But his lower lip trembled and a tear disgraced him by making a new furrow down his already tear-streaked face - coming to a precipitous halt at the very tip of his small freckled nose.

But that wasn't all, while the kindly Gatekeeper was entering his name in the great Book, the littlest angel having left home as usual without a handkerchief endeavored to hide the tears by snuffing - a most unangelic sound which so unnerved the Gatekeeper that he did something he had never done before in all eternity. He blotted the page.

From that moment on the Heavenly Peace was never quite the same, and the Littlest Angel soon became the despair of all the Heavenly Host. His shrill ear-splitting whistle resounded at all hours through the Golden Streets. It startled the patriarch prophets and disturbed their meditation. On top of that, he vociferously sang off-key at the singing practice of the Heavenly Choir spoiling it's ethereal effect. And being so small that it seemed to take him twice as long as anyone else to get to nightly prayers, the Littlest Angel always arrived late and always knocked everyone's wings askew as he darted into his place.

Although these flaws and behaviors might have been overlooked, the appearance of the Littlest Angel was even most disreputable than his deportment. It was first whispered among the Seraphim and Cherubim, and then said aloud among the Angels and Archangels that he didn't even look like an angel!

And they were all correct, he didn't. His halo was tarnished where held on to it with one hot chubby hand when he ran and he was always
running. Furthermore, even when he stood very still, it never behaved like a halo should. It was always slipping down over his eye or else, just for pure meanness, slipping off the back of his head and rolling away down some Golden Street - just so he would have to chase after it!

Yes, and it must be recorded that his wings were neither useful nor ornamental. All Paradise held it's breath when the Littlest Angel perched himself like an unhappy fledgling sparrow on the very edge of a gilded cloud and prepared to take off. He would teeter this way and that way - but, after much coaxing and a few false starts, he would shut both eyes, hold his freckled nose, count up to three hundred and three, and then hurl himself slowly into space!

However, owing to the regrettable fact that he always forgot to move his wings, the Littlest Angel always fell head over halo.

Now, anyone can easily understand why the Littlest Angel would, sooner or later have to be disciplined. And so, on an Eternal day, on an Eternal month, in the year Eternal he was directed to present his small self before an Angel of the Peace. The Littlest Angel combed his hair, dusted his wings and scrambled into an almost a clean robe, and then, with heavy heart trudged his way to the place of judgment. He tried to postpone the dreaded ordeal by loitering along the Street of the Guardian Angels, pausing a few timeless moments to study the long list of new arrivals although all Heaven knew he couldn't read a word. And he idled more than several immortal moments to examine a display of aureate harps, although everyone in the Celestial City knew he couldn't tell a crotchet from a semiquaver.

But at last he slowly approached a doorway which was surmounted by a pair of golden scales, signifying that Heavenly Justice was dispensed within. To the Littlest Angel's great surprise, he heard a merry voice, singing!

The Littlest Angel removed his halo and breathed upon it heavily, then polished it upon his robe, a procedure which added nothing to that garment's already untidy appearance, and then tiptoed in!

The Singer who was known as the Understanding Angel looked down at the small culprit, and the Littlest Angel instantly tried to make himself invisible by the ingenious process of withdrawing his head into the collar of his robe, very much like a snapping turtle.

At that, the Singer laughed, a jolly, heart-warming sound, and said, "Oh, so you're the one whose been making Heaven so unheavenly! Come here, cherub, and tell me all about it!"

The Littlest Angel looked furtively from beneath his robe. First one eye. And then the other eye.

Suddenly, almost before he knew it, he was perched on the lap of the Understanding Angel, and was explaining how very difficult it was for a boy who suddenly finds himself transformed into an angel. Yes, and no matter what the Archangel said, he's only swung once. Well, twice. Oh, alright, then, he'd swung three times on the Golden Gate. But that was just for something to do!

That was the whole trouble. There wasn't anything for a small angel to do. And he was very homesick. Oh, not that Paradise wasn't beautiful! But the Earth was beautiful, too! Wasn't it created by God Himself? Why, there were trees to climb, and brooks to fish, and caves to play at pirate chief, the swimming hole, and sun, and rain, and dark, and dawn, and thick brown dust, so soft and warm beneath your feet!

The Understanding Angel smiled, and in his eyes was a long forgotten memory of another small boy in a long ago. Then he asked the Littlest Angel what would make him most happy in Paradise. The Cherub thought for a moment, then whispered in his ear.

"There's a small box I left under my bed back home. If only I could have that!"

The Understanding Angel nodded. "You shall have it," he promised. And a fleet-winged Heavenly messenger was instantly dispatched to bring the box to Paradise.

And then, in all those timeless days that followed, everyone wondered at the great change in the Littlest Angel, for among all the cherubs in God's Kingdom, he was the most happy. His conduct was above reproach. His appearance was all that the most fastidious could wish for. And on excursions to the Elysian Fields, it could be truly said that he flew like an angel!


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