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Old 07-18-2008, 06:43 AM   #241
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Smile Already There

Already There

For a long time I saw happiness as a huge banner across the finish line of a long race. I felt that only when I accomplished certain things could I finally relax and be happy in my life. Most of the time I felt like the tortoise hoping that "slow and steady would win the race." At other times I would act like a crazed hare trying different side roads at breakneck speeds hoping to reach that banner a little faster. Gradually, though, I began to see that no matter how long I raced towards it the banner was never any closer. I finally decided one day to sit down and take a break. It was then that I saw my happiness sitting beside me. It had been with me all along.

It had been with me as I played basketball as a child. It had been with me as I learned in school. It had been with me as I worked minimum wage jobs mopping floors, doing dishes, and carrying lumber. It had been with me as I held each of my newborn children in my arms. It had been with me as I struggled with my sonsí autism and learned to love them for just who they are. It had been with me when I was sick. It had been with me when I didnít have a cent to my name. It had been with me as I raced towards that stupid banner. I just hadnít had the wisdom to see it.

There is an old Chinese proverb that says, "Tension is what you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are." Perhaps we all should stop our race towards the perfect life we think we should have and rejoice in the life we have now. Happiness will never be found under some banner far away. It will be found in your own heart, soul, and mind. It will be found when you realize that God loves you just as you are and that you can choose and share love and joy as well. Donít be a determined tortoise or a chaotic hare when it comes to your happiness. Be a playful puppy and carry your stick of joy with you everywhere you go. Take yourself out of the race and realize that when it comes to love and happiness you are already there.

~ Joseph J. Mazzella ~
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Old 07-19-2008, 09:41 AM   #242
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Anyway

People are unreasonable, illogical and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.
People really need help but may attack you if you help them.
Help people anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you've got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, It is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.

From "The Paradoxical Commandments" by Dr. Kent M. Keith
(Mother Teresa had this on the wall of her children's home in Calcutta, which may explain why some people have attributed this to her.)
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Old 07-19-2008, 01:23 PM   #243
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Sorry that I have not posted any comments, Caterina. I read all your posts and I'm afraid, I am not able to add to your wonderful words. However, I can say Thank You from my heart for all the wonderful inspirations you give us!
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Old 07-19-2008, 04:59 PM   #244
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Barb, you are always so very sweet and a blessing. Grateful that what you find posted here gives you some encouragement.
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Old 07-20-2008, 01:51 PM   #245
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Tony Snow's Testimony

This is an outstanding testimony from Tony Snow, President Bush's Press Secretary, and his fight with cancer. Commentator and broadcaster Tony Snow Announced that he had colon cancer in 2005.'
It needs little intro . . . It speaks for itself.


'Blessings arrive in unexpected packages, - in my case, cancer. Those of us with potentially fatal diseases - and there are millions in America today - Find ourselves in the odd position of coping with our mortality While trying to fathom God's will. Although it would be the height of presumption To declare with confidence 'What It All Means,' Scripture provides powerful hints and consolations.

The first is that we shouldn't spend too much time Trying to answer the 'why' questions: Why me? Why must people suffer? Why can't someone else get sick? We can't answer such things, And the questions themselves Often are designed more to express our anguish Than to solicit an answer.

I don't know why I have cancer, and I don't much care. It is what it is, a plain and indisputable fact. Yet even while staring into a mirror darkly, great and stunning truths began to take shape. Our maladies define a central feature of our existence: We are fallen. We are imperfect. Our bodies give out.

But, despite this, - or because of it, - God offers the possibility of salvation and grace. We don't know how the narrative of our lives will end, But we get to choose how to use the interval between now and the moment we meet our Creator face-to-face.

Second, we need to get past the anxiety. The mere thought of dying can send adrenaline flooding through your system. A dizzy, unfocused panic seizes you. Your heart thumps; your head swims. You think of nothingness and swoon. You fear partings; You worry about the impact on family and friends. You fidget and get nowhere.

To regain footing, remember that we were born not into death, but into life - and that the journey continues after we have finished our days on this earth. We accept this on faith, But that faith is nourished by a conviction that stirs even within many non-believing hearts - an institution that the gift of life, once given, cannot be taken away. Those who have been stricken enjoy the special privilege of being able to fight with their might, main, and faith to live fully, richly, exuberantly - no matter how their days may be numbered.

Third, we can open our eyes and hearts. God relishes surprise. We want lives of simple, predictable ease, - smooth, even trails as far as the eye can see, - But God likes to go off-road. He provokes us with twists and turns. He places us in predicaments that seem to defy our endurance and comprehension - and yet don't. By His love and grace, we persevere. The challenges that make our hearts leap and stomachs churn invariably strengthen our faith and grant measures of wisdom and joy we would not experience otherwise.

'You Have Been Called'. Picture yourself in a hospital bed. The fog of anesthesia has begun to wear away. A doctor stands at your feet, a loved one holds your hand at the side. 'It's cancer,' the healer announces.

The natural reaction is to turn to God and ask him to serve as a cosmic santa. 'Dear God, make it all go away. Make everything simpler.' But another voice whispers: 'You have been called.' Your quandary has drawn you closer to God, closer to those you love, closer to the issues that matter, - and has dragged into insignificance The banal concerns that occupy our 'normal time.'

There's another kind of response, although usually short-lived, an inexplicable shudder of excitement as if a clarifying moment of calamity has swept away everything trivial and tiny, and placed before us the challenge of important questions.

The moment you enter the Valley of the Shadow of Death, things change. You discover that Christianity is not something doughy, passive, pious, and soft. Faith may be the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. But it also draws you into a world shorn of fearful caution. The life of belief teems with thrills, boldness, danger, shocks, reversals, triumphs, and epiphanies. Think of Paul, traipsing through the known world and contemplating trips to what must have seemed the antipodes (Spain), shaking the dust from his sandals, worrying not about the morrow, but only about the moment.

There's nothing wilder than a life of humble virtue, - for it is through selflessness and service that God wrings from our bodies and spirits the most we ever could give, the most we ever could offer, and the most we ever could do.

Finally, we can let love change everything. When Jesus was faced with the prospect of crucifixion, He grieved not for himself, but for us. He cried for Jerusalem before entering the Holy City. From the Cross, He took on the cumulative burden of human sin and weakness, and begged for forgiveness on our behalf.

We get repeated chances to learn that life is not about us, that we acquired purpose and satisfaction by sharing in God's love for others. Sickness gets us part way there. It reminds us of our limitations and dependence. But it also gives us a chance to serve the healthy. A minister friend of mine observes that people suffering grave afflictions often acquire the faith of two people, while loved ones accept the burden of two peoples' worries and fears.

'Learning How to Live'. Most of us have watched friends as they drifted toward God's arms, not with resignation, but with peace and hope. In so doing, they have taught us not how to die, but how to live. They have emulated Christ by transmitting the power and authority of live.

I sat by my best friend's bedside a few years ago as a wasting cancer took him away. He kept at his table a worn Bible and a 1928 edition of the Book of Common Prayer. A shattering grief disabled his family, many of his old friends, and at least one priest. Here was an humble and very good guy, someone who apologized when he winced with pain because he thought it made his guest uncomfortable. He restrained his equanimity and good humor literally until his last conscious moment. 'I'm going to try to beat [this cancer],' he told me several months before he died. 'But if I don't, I'll see you on the other side.'

His gift was to remind everyone around him that even though God doesn't promise us tomorrow, He does promise us eternity - filled with life and love we cannot comprehend, - and that one can, in the throes of sickness, point the rest of us toward timeless truths that will help us weather future storms.

Through such trials, God bids us to choose: Do we believe, or do we not? Will we be bold enough to love, daring enough to serve, humble enough to submit, and strong enough to acknowledge our limitations? Can we surrender our concern in things that don't matter so that we might devote our remaining days to things that do?

When our faith flags, He throws reminders in our way. Think of the prayer warriors in our midst. They change things, and those of us who have been on the receiving end of their petitions and intercessions know it. It is hard to describe, but there are times when suddenly the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, and you feel a surge of the Spirit. Somehow you just know: Others have chosen, when talking to the Author of all creation, to lift us up, - to speak of us!

This is love of a very special order. But so is the ability to sit back and appreciate the wonder of every created thing. The mere thought of death somehow makes every blessing vivid, every happiness more luminous and intense. We may not know how our contest with sickness will end, but we have felt the ineluctable touch of God.

What is man that Thou are mindful of him? We don't know much, but we know this: No matter where we are, no matter what we do, no matter how bleak or frightening our prospects, each and every one of us who believe each and every day, lies in the same safe and impregnable place, in the hollow of God's hand.'

~ T. Snow ~
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Old 07-20-2008, 04:29 PM   #246
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I had not read this before, thank you for sharing Tony Snow's words. I have admired his strength and courage in his candid disclosure about his cancer while serving as Presidential Press Secretary. He always conducted himself with dignity even after he resigned and became a public speaker never showing how much his illness was taking it's toll on him.
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Old 07-21-2008, 10:56 AM   #247
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Smile A little chuckle for the pet lovers

Pet Place
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways . . . .

I love thee agreeably - enough to let your stinky dog hide on the bed after a run through damp leaves, mud and slug infested gardens.

I love thee steadfastly - enough to devote a year to raising you from a wobbly speck into a strong healthy adult (who promptly attempts to seize control).

I love thee passionately - despite your repeated efforts to probe my ears, eyes and mouth with the same tongue you use for various other atrocities.

I love thee well - despite the amazing odors you produce.

I love thee deeply - though you use me as a napkin at every opportunity.

I love thee madly - despite the various bodily functions you have performed at inappropriate moments - in inappropriate places.

I love thee constantly - despite the dog "bladder curfew" I have lived by for many years.

I love thee truly - despite the "doggie land mines" hidden in the grass.

I love thee absolutely - because you never (well, hardly ever) hog the remote control.

I love thee gratefully - because you stay by my side (or on my side).

I love thee devotedly - more than clean carpeting, clothing, furniture, floors or walls.

I love thee bravely - enough to battle the indomitable flea on your behalf.

I love thee monetarily - enough to put the vet's children through college.

I love thee openly - I will bear any embarrassment for your furry sake.

I love thee totally - more than free time, excess cash or a predictable life.
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Old 07-21-2008, 11:29 AM   #248
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Very cute! I passed it on to my friend with two beautiful
Cocker Spaniels and she has often said she is paying for her vet's kids college funds!
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Old 07-21-2008, 01:32 PM   #249
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Caterina ... thanks for sharing the Tony Snow article. After his recent death, Fox News broadcast several programs honoring him and you could see that Tony had a profound impact on all those who knew him. I was so glad to learn from this article that he had a strong faith in God and had full assurance that he was going to spend eternity with his Lord and Savior.

-----------
Rita
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Old 07-21-2008, 02:12 PM   #250
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I, too, Rita was was happy to know he is with the Lord. Praying that knowing this will bring some comfort to his wife and children who have suffered a tragic loss. Tony Snow was an exceptionally nice guy.
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Old 07-22-2008, 06:59 AM   #251
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Good morning everyone, hope you all have a blessed day.

The Shipwreck


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

Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect him from the elements and to store his few possessions. But then one day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, the smoke rolling up to the sky.

The worst had happened; everything was lost. He was stunned with grief and anger. "God, how could you do this to me!" he cried. Early the next day, however, he was awakened by the sound of a ship that was approaching the island. It had come to rescue him. "How did you know I was here?" asked the weary man of his rescuers. "We saw your smoke signal," they replied.

It is easy to get discouraged when things are going badly. But we shouldn't lose heart, because God is at work in our lives, even in the midst of pain and suffering. Remember, next time your little hut is burning to the ground--it just may be a smoke signal that summons The
Grace of God.
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Old 07-22-2008, 08:03 AM   #252
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I wish everyone a 'good morning' also! Wonderful thoughts to ponder, Caterina. Yesterday, I came across a booklet that someone had given my mother for encouragement and thoughts. I will have to look through it to see if there are any thoughts and poems to show on this thread. Hugs to all!
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Old 07-22-2008, 09:22 AM   #253
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Look forward to seeing your posts, Barb.
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Old 07-23-2008, 02:49 AM   #254
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Some touching lyrics from the group Casting Crowns.

Every Man

I'm the man with all I've ever wanted
All the toys and playing games
I am the one who pours your coffee, corner booth each Saturday
I am your daughter's favorite teacher
I am the leader of the band
I sit behind you in the bleachers
I am every man

I'm the coach of every winning team and still a loser in my mind
I am the soldier in the airport facing giants one more time
I am the woman shamed and haunted by the cry of unborn life
I'm every broken man, nervous child, lonely wife

Is there hope for every man
A solid place where we can stand
In this dry and weary land
Is there hope for every man
Is there love that never dies
Is there peace in troubled times
Someone help me understand
Is there hope for every man

Seems there's just so many roads to travel, it's hard to tell where they will lead
My life is scarred and my dreams unraveled
Now I'm scared to take the leap
If I could find someone to follow who knows my pain and feels the weight
The uncertainty of my tomorrow, the guilt and pain of yesterday

There is hope for every man
A solid place where we can stand
In this dry and weary land
There is hope for every man
There is Love that never dies
There is peace in troubled times
Will we help them understand?
Jesus is hope for every man
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Old 07-23-2008, 08:00 AM   #255
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My Flickering Mind
Jill Carattini

Gallery statistics report that the average time a person spends looking at a particular work of art is three seconds. To those who spend their lives caring for the great art museums of the world, I imagine this is a disheartening sight to behold day after day. It would have been interesting to hear the thoughts of the St. Petersburg curators who watched as Henri Nouwen sat before Rembrandt's Return of the Prodigal Son for more than four hours.

I wonder how often I am more like the three-second viewer than a captivated Nouwen, moving through my days with my eyes barely open. How often am I surrounded by the presence of God, but unaware and unseeing--missing, in my absence, the bigger picture? One of my favorite poems begins with the lines, "Lord, not you, it is I who am absent."(1)

The parable of the prodigal son is typically understood as a story that speaks to us when we have wandered away from God in belief or obedience. It is a story we often apply to a specific time in our lives--a momentous return to faith, a homecoming back to the church, a particular event that caused us to remember God's grace personally and powerfully. It is a parable that at one time or another describes many of us. Perhaps it is also a parable that describes us daily. In the daily struggle to see, the constant battle to be present and conscious of the presence of God in this place, we come and go like prodigals.

The parable tells us that the wayward child had a plan for returning to his father's house: he would confess his sin against heaven and against his father, and then he would ask to be treated as one of the hired servants. He would work his way back into his father's life. But the father doesn't even give him a chance to fully present the offer. Upon seeing his son, he says to his slaves, "'Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.' And they began to celebrate" (Luke 15:22-25). With every symbol of restoration, the father who was waiting embraces the son who was lost.

Gripped by the intensity of the massive painting before him, Henri Nouwen found himself becoming "more and more part of the story that Jesus once told and Rembrandt once painted." Yet in Rembrandt's painting we do not find the father eagerly rushing out to greet his wayward son as it is described in the Gospel of Luke. Rather, we find stillness; we find the parable's characters at rest. Rembrandt slows our flickering minds to the scene that captures a thousand words for our daily walk in faith: "Lord, not you, it is I who am absent." In this scene, the son has returned, and he is kneeling before his father in his ragged shoes and torn clothes exactly as he is: the one who insisted upon defining himself apart from his father, the one who was absent. In pursuit of life beyond his father, the child lost sight of life itself.

In the parable of the prodigal son, Jesus bids us to slow down and be present, to taste and see, to be still and know: the Father is near. He is here, though we are absent. He waits, though we put off Him off. He grieves over our wandering hearts and minds, moving in grace to embrace those who long to see. He is the God who runs to greet his wavering child, and it is a sight to behold.


Jill Carattini is senior associate writer at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.
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Old 07-23-2008, 08:52 AM   #256
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Thank you for the words to ponder, Caterina. I look forward to your messages each day. May Peace be with you.
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Old 07-24-2008, 06:14 AM   #257
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This is the beginning of a new day. You have been given this day to use as you will. You can waste it or use it for good. What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever; in its place is something that you have left behind... let it be something good.

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Old 07-24-2008, 06:33 AM   #258
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caterinafmig View Post
This is the beginning of a new day. You have been given this day to use as you will. You can waste it or use it for good. What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever; in its place is something that you have left behind... let it be something good.

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Good words to start every day with! Thanks again!
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Old 07-25-2008, 06:31 AM   #259
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What Is Love?
==============

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.

"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 just 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. 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)

"If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a
friend whom you hate." (Nikka - age
6)

"Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, and 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 to melt anybody's heart: 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."


~Authors Unknown~
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Old 07-25-2008, 03:29 PM   #260
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So cute! Some made me laugh, some made my heart warm and some touched me deeply! Hugs!
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Old 07-26-2008, 10:51 AM   #261
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Peace

A teenager gave me the peace sign the other day. I waved to him as I was walking past his home and he held up the two fingered salute made famous in the 1960's. I hadnít realized that it had survived the last 40 years to find its way into the hearts of a new generation. The last time I saw it widely used was when I was a young boy. Seeing those two fingers did make me smile, though, because they reminded me of the two truths that can bring peace to us all. I only pray that one day we all can welcome them into our hearts, souls, minds, and lives.

The first of these simple truths is that God loves us. God loves us when we do good and He loves us even when we mess up. God loves us enough to forgive us, guide us, and help us through all the mistakes me make, choices we face, and difficulties we must overcome. God loves us from the second of our birth to our very last breath. His love is eternal like our souls not temporary like these bodies that carry them around. He loves us all through this life and His love carries us into the next.

The second truth I know that fills my life with peace is the fact that we all can choose and share love as well. We may not always be able to love each other as God loves us, but we can have the time of our lives trying. There is nothing that brings you more happiness, greater joy, and more peace of heart than sharing your love with everyone. Love is the hardest thing in the world to give away, though, because it keeps coming back to you as well. Loving others is what we are meant for. It is the Way of Life that Jesus showed us all. It is the only thing that matters.

The next time you feel troubled then hold up those two fingers and remind yourself of what can truly bring you peace. God loves you and is with you always. Take peace in His love and then go out and share your own love, joy, and peace with the world.

~ Joseph J. Mazzella ~
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Old 07-26-2008, 11:33 AM   #262
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Caterina, thank you so much for the "what is love" piece. It warmed my heart and made me laugh at the same time. I just wanted you to know I so appreciate you and all you do in the thread.
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Old 07-26-2008, 01:23 PM   #263
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kheila Kirwan View Post
Caterina, thank you so much for the "what is love" piece. It warmed my heart and made me laugh at the same time. I just wanted you to know I so appreciate you and all you do in the thread.
You are so very welcome - happy to know it blesses your heart.
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Old 07-27-2008, 11:28 AM   #264
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A very happy Sunday to everyone.

As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust and hostility to evaporate. Albert Schweitzer
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Old 07-27-2008, 05:42 PM   #265
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I hope that everyone feels refreshed and at peace today and all through the coming week. Blessings to all of you, my friends.
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Old 07-28-2008, 07:14 AM   #266
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JUDGE ME BY THE FOOTPRINTS I LEAVE BEHIND

A story is told about a soldier who was finally coming home after having fought in Vietnam.

He called his parents from San Francisco.

"Mom and Dad, I'm coming home, but I've got a favor to ask. I have a friend I'd like to bring with me."

"Sure," they replied, "we'd love to meet him."

"There's something you should know the son continued, "he was hurt pretty badly in the fighting. He stepped on a land mined and lost an arm and a leg. He has nowhere else to go, and I want him to come live with us."

"I'm sorry to hear that, son. Maybe we can help him find somewhere to live."

"No, Mom and Dad, I want him to live with us."

"Son," said the father, "you don't know what you're asking. Someone with such a handicap would be a terrible burden on us. We have our own lives to live, and we can't let something like this interfere with our lives. I think you should just come home and forget about this guy. He'll find a way to live on his own."

At that point, the son hung up the phone. The parents heard nothing more from him.

A few days later, however, they received a call from the San Francisco police. Their son had died after falling from a building, they were told. The police believed it was suicide. The grief-stricken parents flew to San Francisco and were taken to the city morgue to identify the body of their son. They recognized him, but to their horror they also discovered something they didn't know, their son had only one arm and one leg.

The parents in this story are like many of us. We find it easy to love those who are good-looking or fun to have around, but we don't like people who inconvenience us or make us feel uncomfortable. We would rather stay away from people who aren't as healthy, beautiful, or smart as we are.

Thankfully, there's someone who won't treat us that way. Someone who loves us with an unconditional love that welcomes us into the forever family, regardless of how messed up we are.

Tonight, before you tuck yourself in for the night, say a little prayer that God will give you the strength you need to accept people as they are, and to help us all be more understanding of those who are different from us!!!

There's a miracle called -Friendship- that dwells in the heart. You don't know how it happens or when it gets started. But you know the special lift It always brings and you realize that Friendship Is God's most precious gift!

Friends are a very rare jewel, indeed. They make you smile and encourage you to succeed. They lend an ear, they share a word of praise, and they always want to open their hearts to us.

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Old 07-28-2008, 02:48 PM   #267
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This brought tears to my eyes and an ache to my heart!
Here on SCS we have talked to each other, made friends, cried, laughed, prayed and rejoiced....not having a clue what our physical bodies look like. Isn't that wonderful! We just see the 'heart' not the outside appearance.
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Old 07-28-2008, 04:13 PM   #268
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How true Barb - it reminds me of Stevie Wonder who said he considered his blindness a blessing. This is because he cannot see how someone looks, thus he has to get to know the real person who lives inside.
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Old 07-29-2008, 06:34 AM   #269
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Default THANKS FOR THAT GREAT STORY, CATERINA!

Caterina ... when I was about half way through the story of the Vietnam veteran and realized how that story was going to end, I Gasp!! What an incredible lesson that story gives us!!

And Barb when you commented that ....

~~ Here on SCS we have talked to each other, made friends, cried, laughed, prayed and rejoiced....not having a clue what our physical bodies look like. Isn't that wonderful! We just see the 'heart' not the outside appearance. ~~

I thought how true that is, and it provides a special place of friendship and acceptance for all of us!

Sending a BIG (( H-U-G )) to all of you!
________

Rita
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Old 07-29-2008, 08:16 AM   #270
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Hello, Rita, the story does pack a wallop and must admit I was even a bit hesitant to post it; but thought it had a worthwhile message.
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Old 07-29-2008, 08:27 AM   #271
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A bit of light fare for today.

The Hairy Truth

When I reach the Pearly Gates, and I am allowed to ask one question, I already know what itís going to be. Why, Oh Lord, did you give me my dadís hair?

This may seem to you like a ridiculously shallow question to be asking at such a moment, but thatís because you have not had to spend more than four decades attached to a stringy substance that has resisted my attempts to mold it into something attractive. You, my friend, have not had to live with my fatherís follicles.

Now, those faulty follicles have not been a problem for my father. Thatís because he is a man and, on top of that, heís a HIM (hair-indifferent man). A HIM does not care about his hair. A HIM spends even less time thinking about his hair than he spends wondering if his jeans make his butt look big. If you have problem hair that just lies slouched across your scalp as sluggish as a teenager in the summertime, being a HIM is a real blessing.

Being the daughter of a hair-challenged HIM, however, can be a curse if Ė like me -- you are unfortunate enough to have inherited his calamitous coif. And if -- like me -- you have a mother with thick, beautiful, bouncy hair who dropped the genetic ball, so to speak, at your conception and allowed your fatherís lackluster gene to beat her healthy-hair gene to the punch, you may have enough Oedipal issues to keep any therapist happy (and wealthy). Personally, I plan on skipping the shrinkís couch, though, and eventually just taking the matter up with the Creator himself.

In the meantime, I have to confess I understand why all those wealthy divorcees demand thousands monthly in alimony for personal upkeep. If I could, Iíd spend that much on my hair alone -- perms, cuts and coloring, along with expensive styling products with French names that will surely make my hair look better just by virtue of being French. Of course, given my follicular disability, I would also need a full-time stylist to fix my ďdoĒ every day.

The hairy truth is that stylists know things we mortals just donít know. Whenever I have my hair done at a salon, and my normally limp locks are temporarily looking good, I feel like Iíve beaten the genetic odds. Strangers on the street treat me with more respect. My co-workers ask if Iíve had a face lift or maybe some liposuction.

ďNo,Ē I say. ďItís just that my hair looks decent for once.Ē

So decent, in fact, that after my last salon visit, people were still talking about my hair a week later, even after Iíd gone back to my familiar flat-as-a-pancake look. That should have made me happy, but instead I was melancholy. It was like getting a glimpse of the Promised Land and then having to go back into the wilderness. Iíd tasted life as one of the hair fortunate. It was a bitter pill indeed to return to my helmet-hair existence.

ďCanít you learn to make it look good yourself?Ē my HIM husband asked.

I patiently tried to explain that hairdressers are like golf players. What they do doesnít look hard, and yet, try it yourself and see what happens. Even using the same products and appliances, I simply cannot get my hair to look the way it does when my stylist does it. The only solution is to get a divorce and spend every penny of my alimony to keep a hair dresser at my beck and call.

Iím kidding, of course. Really, dear, Iím just kidding. I should have been born a HIM. Thanks a lot, Mom.

~ Jackie Papandrew ~
© 2008, All Rights Reserved

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 07-30-2008, 07:52 AM   #272
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Beatitudes for the Home

BLESSED are the husband and wife who continue to be affectionate and considerate, loving after the wedding bells have ceased ringing.

BLESSED are the husband and wife who are as polite and courteous to one another as they are to their friends.

BLESSED are they who have a sense of humor, for this attribute will be a handy shock absorber.

BLESSED are they who love their mates more than any other person in the world and who joyfully fulfill their marriage vows of lifetime of fidelity and mutual helpfulness to one another.

BLESSED are they who attain parenthood, for children are a heritage of the Lord.

BLESSED are they who remember to thank God for their food before they partake of it, and who set apart some time each day for the reading of the Bible and for prayer.

BLESSED are those mates who never speak loudly to one another and who make their home a place where "seldom is heard a discouraging word".

BLESSED are the husband and wife who faithfully attend the worship service of the church and who work together in the church for the advancement of Christ's Kingdom.

BLESSED are the husband and wife who can work out problems of adjustments without interference from relatives.

BLESSED is the couple who has a complete understanding about financial matters and who has worked out a perfect partnership with all money under the control of both.

BLESSED are the husband and wife who humbly dedicate their lives and their home to Christ and who practice the teachings of Christ in the home by being unselfish, loyal, and loving.

-Author Unknown
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Old 07-30-2008, 08:53 AM   #273
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Wow! I am ashamed to admit that I have a lot to work on from your 'Beatitudes for the Home'. I have been working on several of them for years, maybe one day I'll accomplish this goal. Of course, that will only be possible with the Lord's help!
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Old 07-30-2008, 02:58 PM   #274
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Quote:
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Wow! I am ashamed to admit that I have a lot to work on from your 'Beatitudes for the Home'. I have been working on several of them for years, maybe one day I'll accomplish this goal. Of course, that will only be possible with the Lord's help!
Barb, don't we all but isn't it nice to know that the Lord somehow in someway gets us to the place we need to be in spite of ourselves.
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Old 07-31-2008, 06:52 AM   #275
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I asked God to bless you
As I prayed for you today
To guide you and protect you
As you go along your way....
His love is always with you
His promises are true,
And when we give Him all our cares
You know He will see us through
So when the road you're travelling on
Seems difficult at best
Just remember I'm here praying
And God will do the rest.


by B.J.Morbitzer, 1995
Used with Permission
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Old 07-31-2008, 08:15 AM   #276
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What a lovely poem, thank you, Caterina! Since it says "used with permission", can I keep it and use it to send in cards?
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Old 07-31-2008, 08:17 AM   #277
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I don't see why not as long as credit is given.
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Old 07-31-2008, 08:22 AM   #278
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Thanks. I love the thoughts and it is so appropriate to so many cards that will be sent. Thanks again!
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Old 08-01-2008, 05:16 AM   #279
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caterinafmig View Post

I asked God to bless you
As I prayed for you today
To guide you and protect you
As you go along your way....
His love is always with you
His promises are true,
And when we give Him all our cares
You know He will see us through
So when the road you're travelling on
Seems difficult at best
Just remember I'm here praying
And God will do the rest.

by B.J.Morbitzer, 1995
Used with Permission

I also love this poem and had the same thought as Barb about using it inside my cards.

Thanks for sharing it, Caterina.

Have a blessed day,

Rita
............
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Old 08-01-2008, 06:42 AM   #280
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Feast For The Soul

A few weeks ago I bought an old record player at a yard sale. It felt good to be able to dig out all my old records again, place the needle down on them and feel the music flow from the speakers and the memories flow from my mind. Today I pulled out my old Christmas collection and started to listen to the carols play. It didnít bother me a bit either that it was the middle of Summer. The sound was just as sweet with the flowers blooming and the fans blowing as it would be if the ground was covered with snow. Every song from "Joy to the World" to the "Hallelujah Chorus" nourished my spirit and warmed my heart. It was a true feast for the soul.

Most of us myself included donít feed our souls nearly enough these days. Our bodies get all the food they need and then some, but our souls hunger daily and are ignored. It is so easy to feed them too. The food for them is everywhere and you canít overeat. Best of all the meal tastes even better when you share it with others.

Take the time to nourish your soul then. God loves you and wants you to join in the feast He has prepared here. Listen to beautiful music and sing along yourself. Read inspiring works and share your thoughts as well. Watch children playing in the sun and donít forget to join in. Help those in need and thank those who help you too. Take a nature walk, but take the time to sit still and watch the sunset. Play fetch with a dog until your arm feels tired but your heart feels light. Laugh loud and long even when your face hurts and you have tears in your eyes.

Wake up saying "Good morning God!" and throw in a "Thank you for my life!" as well. Pray all day long. Pray when things are going bad and when things are going great. Pray to always grow in love, joy, and oneness with God because that is what the feeding your soul is all about. This world is a never ending banquet of loving, sharing, giving, and living.

Pull up a chair and enjoy the feast.

~ Joseph J. Mazzella ~
__________________
Caterina www.colesfoundation.org www.colespages.com www.kidsunitetofight.com
Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.
America will only be the land of the free so long as it is the home of the Brave
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