Friday, April 18, 2014

P.U.S.H.

Photo Credit: Al Cooper via CC Flickr
This is an encouraging illustration for obedience, perseverance, faith and long-suffering. It will demonstrate to you the importance of maintaining your faith and patience with adversities that may come into your life.

A man was sleeping at night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light, and God appeared. The Lord told the man he had work for him to do, and showed him a large rock in front of his cabin. The Lord explained that the man was to push against the rock with all his might.

So, this the man did, day after day.

For many years he toiled from sun up to sun down, his shoulders set squarely against the cold, massive surface of the unmoving rock, pushing with all of his might. Each night the man returned to his cabin sore and worn out, feeling that his whole day had been spent in vain.

Since the man was showing discouragement, the Adversary (Satan) decided to enter the picture by placing thoughts into the weary mind: “You have been pushing against that rock for a long time, and it hasn’t moved.”

Thus, he gave the man the impression that the task was impossible and that he was a failure. These thoughts discouraged and disheartened the man.

Satan said, “Why kill yourself over this? Just put in your time, giving just the minimum effort; and that will be good enough.”

That’s what the weary man planned to do, but decided to make it a matter of prayer and to take his troubled thoughts to the Lord. “Lord,” he said, “I have labored long and hard in your service, putting all my strength to do that which you have asked. Yet, after all this time, I have not even budged that rock by half a millimeter. What is wrong? Why am I failing?”

The Lord responded compassionately, “My friend, when I asked you to serve Me and you accepted, I told you that your task was to push against the rock with all of your strength, which you have done. Never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. Your task was to push.

And now you come to Me with your strength spent, thinking that you have failed. But, is that really so? Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscled, your back sinewy and brown; your hands are callused from constant pressure, your legs have become massive and hard. Through opposition you have grown much, and your abilities now surpass that which you used to have. True, you haven’t moved the rock. But your calling was to be obedient and to push and to exercise your faith and trust in My wisdom. That you have done. Now I, my friend, will move the rock.”

At times, when we hear a word from God, we tend to use our own intellect to decipher what He wants, when actually what God wants is just a simple obedience and faith in Him. By all means, exercise the faith that moves mountains, but know that it is still God who moves mountains.

When everything seems to go wrong . just P.U.S.H.!

When the job gets you down … just P.U.S.H.!

When people don’t react the way you think they should … just P.U.S.H!

When your money is “gone” and the bills are due…just P.U.S.H!

When people just don’t understand you, just P.U.S.H.
P= Pray
U= Until
S= Something
H= Happens
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Source: gatewaytojesus.com

What I learned from the Easter Bunny…

Ethan Hickerson via CC Flickr
Throughout my life, I have been blessed to listen to many inspiring, motivational, and heartwarming speakers. I have met a lot of famous people and rubbed elbows with the “rich and famous.” But of all the people that I have ever met and listened to, none of them were more inspirational  than one of the most well known entities of all-time…that’s right…the Easter Bunny,

It is my hope that these great words of wisdom will touch your heart as much as they do mine :)
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What I learned from the Easter Bunny……

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

Everyone needs a friend who is all ears.

There’s no such thing as too much candy.

All work and no play can make you a basket case.

A cute tail attracts a lot of attention.

Everyone is entitled to a bad hare day.

Let happy thoughts multiply like rabbits.

Some body parts should be floppy.

Keep your paws off of other people’s jelly beans.

Good things come in small, sugar coated packages.

The grass is always greener in someone else’s basket.

To show your true colors, you have to come out of the shell.

The best things in life are still sweet and gooey.

May the joy of the season fill your heart.
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Remember: “A true friend is someone who thinks you are a good egg
even though they know you are slightly cracked.” :)

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Story of the Carrots, Eggs, and Coffee

Photo Credits: (All via Flickr):
Coffee: Nate Steiner
Carrots: John Morgan
Eggs: Alisha Vargas
Adversity in our lives affects everyone in different ways. While some people may act a certain way in a situation, another individual may react to the same situation. Through these times of trials and hardships, people can either grown and become stronger or they can become depressed and fall into a pit of despair.

The short story in today’s blog gives us a great illustration of the kinds of people that not only deal with life’s difficulties and hardships, but also, of what they can become.

A certain daughter complained to her father about her life and how things have been so hard for her. She did not how she was going to make it and she wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed that just as one problem was solved another arose.

Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen, filled three pots with water and placed the fire on high. Soon the three pots came to a boil. In one he placed carrots, in the other he placed eggs, and the last he placed ground coffee beans. He let them sit and boil, without saying a word. The daughter sucked her teeth and impatiently wondered what he was trying to do. She had problems, and he was making this strange concoction.

A half hour later he walked over to the oven and turned down the fire. He pulled the carrots out and placed them in the bowl. He pulled the eggs out and placed them in the bowl. Then he ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her he asked. “Darling what do you see?”
Smartly, she replied. “Carrots, eggs, and coffee.”

He brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. He then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. Her face frowned from the strength of the coffee. Humbly, she asked. “What does it mean Father?”

He explained. Each of them faced the same adversity, 212 degrees of boiling water. However each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. But after going through boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg was fragile. A thin outer shell protected a liquid center. But after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The coffee beans are unique however. After they were in the boiling water, it became stronger and richer.

“Which are you?” he asked his daughter.

When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?

Are you the carrot that seems hard, but with the smallest amount of pain, adversity or heat, you wilt and become soft with no strength.

Are you the egg, which starts off with a malleable heart? A fluid spirit.
But after a , a breakup, a divorce, a layoff you became hardened and stiff. Your shell looks the same, but you are so bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and heart, internally.

Or are you like the coffee bean? The bean does not get its peak flavor and robust until it reaches 212 degrees Fahrenheit. When the water gets the hottest, it just tastes better.

When things are at their worst, you get better. . . When people talk the most, your praises increase. . . When the hour is the darkest, trials are there greatest, your worship elevates to another level.

How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?

Friday, December 13, 2013

A Christmas Story: The Man Who Hated Christmas

Pitsk via Flickr
The short, inspirational Christmas story below was originally published in the December 14, 1982 issue of Woman’s Day magazine. This moving story inspired the creation of The White Envelope Project, a caring nonprofit organization dedicated to developing the next generation of givers, civic leaders, and philanthropists. May this inspirational story remind us all of the true meaning of Christmas and giving during the holidays and throughout the year. The story was written by Nancy W. Gavin.

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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 ten years.

It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas. Oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it – overspending and 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 on the wrestling team at the school he attended. Shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church. 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. 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. He so enjoyed coaching 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 a small, white envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done, and that this was his gift from me.
Mike’s smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year. And that same bright smile lit up 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 white 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 small, white envelope never lost its allure.

The story doesn’t end there. You see, we lost Mike last year due to dreaded cancer. 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 the next morning, I found it was magically joined by three more. Unbeknownst to the others, each of our three children had for the first time placed a white envelope on the tree for their dad. The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing to take down that special envelope.

Mike’s spirit, like the Christmas spirit will always be with us.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Great Debate: No God or Know God?


Alroyfonseca via Wikimedia
There has been a question that millions of people have asked down through the ages…is there a God? Or is there no God? Was the earth, living creatures, the planets, stars and universe created by God or did everything just evolve and come into existence by chance? I just read an interesting story on “Best Real Stories” that will give you “food for thought” regarding this great debate.  I am not going to sit here and preach to you…after reading this story, you can decide.
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An atheist professor of philosophy was speaking to his class on the problem Science has with God, The Almighty.
He asked one of his new students to stand and the following conversation began…..

Professor: So you believe in God?

Student: Absolutely, sir.

Professor: Is God good?

Student: Sure.

Professor: Is God all-powerful?

Student: Yes.

Professor: My brother died of cancer even though he prayed to God to heal him. Most of us would attempt to help others who are ill. But God didn’t. How is this God good then? Hmm?

(Student is silent.)

Professor: You can’t answer, can you? Let’s start again, young fellow. Is God good?

Student: Yes.

Professor: Is Satan good ?

Student: No.

Professor: Where does Satan come from?

Student: From…God

Professor: That’s right. Tell me son, is there evil in this world?

Student: Yes.

Professor: Evil is everywhere, isn’t it? And God did make everything. Correct?

Student: Yes.

Professor: So who created evil?

(Student does not answer. )

Professor: Is there sickness? Immorality?  Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things exist in the world, don’t they?

Student: Yes, sir.

Professor: So, who created them?

( Student has no answer.)

Professor: Science says you have 5 senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Tell me, son…Have you ever seen God?

Student: No, sir.

Professor: Tell us if you have ever heard your God?

Student: No, sir.

Professor: Have you ever felt your God, tasted your God, smelt your God? Have you ever had any sensory perception of God for that matter?

Student: No, sir. I’m afraid I haven’t.

Professor: Yet you still believe in Him ?

Student: Yes.

Professor: According to empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science says your GOD doesn’t exist. What do you say to that, son?

Student: Nothing. I only have my faith.

Professor: Yes. Faith. And that is the problem science has.

Student: Professor, is there such a thing as heat?

Professor: Yes.

Student: And is there such a thing as cold?

Professor: Yes.

Student: No sir. There isn’t.

(The lecture theater becomes very quiet with this turn of events .)

Student: Sir, you can have lots of heat, even more heat, superheat, mega heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat. But we don’t have anything called cold. We can hit 458 degrees below zero which is no heat,
but we can’t go any further after that. There is no such thing as cold. Cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold. Heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it.

(There is pin-drop silence in the lecture theater.)

Student: What about darkness, Professor? Is there such a thing as darkness?

Professor: Yes. What is night if there isn’t darkness?

Student: You’re wrong again, sir. Darkness is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light…but if you have no light constantly, you have nothing and it is called darkness, isn’t it? In reality, darkness isn’t. If it were, you would be able to make darkness darker, wouldn’t you?

Professor: So what is the point you are making, young man?

Student: Sir, my point is your philosophical premise is flawed.

Professor: Flawed? Can you explain how?

Student: Sir, you are working on the premise of duality. You argue there is life and then there is death, a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, science can’t even explain a thought. It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one.
To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of life: just the absence of it. Now tell me, Professor. Do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?

Professor: If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, yes, of course, I do.

Student: Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?

(The Professor shakes his head with a smile, beginning to realize where the argument is going.)

Student: Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor, are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you not a scientist but a preacher?

(The class is in uproar.)

Student: Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the Professor’s brain?

(The class breaks out into laughter.)

Student: Is there anyone here who has ever heard the Professor’s brain, felt it, touched or smelt it? No one appears to have done so. So, according to the established rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol, science says that you have no brain, sir. With all due respect, sir, how do we then trust your lectures, sir?

(The room is silent. The professor stares at the student, his face unfathomable. )

Professor: I guess you’ll have to take them on faith, son.

Student: That is it sir… The link between man and God is FAITH. That is all that keeps things moving & alive…
——————–
Food for thought!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Words of Thanksgiving from My WordPress and Personal Friends

Photo Credit: tengirl via Flickr
The Thanksgiving season is here and there is much to be thankful for. I decided to do something different this year. I put out a question to my Word Press and personal friends of mine, and asked them to share with us something that they are thankful for in either a few words or a sentence or two. The following quotes are from the dear people that decided to share their thoughts with everyone. It is my hope and prayer that some of these quotes (whether it be one, some or all of them) will be an encouragement to your heart.

I am so thankful for my two handsome sons, a beautiful wife, and the wonderful life that the good Lord has blessed with. ~ Me, Coach Muller
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One thing? I have at least two. I’m thankful for a support and everything my parents did for me and doing..and for patience of my husband….as I’m not a sweetie all the time J  ~ Anastasiias ~ Blog:
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I am thankful for his guiding me out of a depression and placing many new friends on my life’s path, as well as old friends, to help him with that. I call them my earth angels. I am also thankful that He protects my family from serious injuries or worse. ~ Elaine ~ Blog: Elaine’s Random Thoughts
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I am thankful for all of the sacrifices that my mom and dad made to make my life easier (paid for my BA/MA–and gave me the tools to pay for my next degree). I am thankful for all of the furrbabies I have known that have given comfort to my soul: Samantha my childhood horse (we had her for 30 years), Gypsy, Fred, Lady, Aubrey, Charlie, Dulce, Hannah, and even crazy Chloe–who was not long for our world. And all of the rescues in between. They have all touched me in powerful ways and made me a better person. ~ Sandra ~ Blog: A Promise to Dad
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I am thankful for being born into this life, with all its craziness and challenges! ~ Julianne Victoria ~ Blog: Through the Peacock’s Eyes
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I am thankful for the life I have been given, the values my parents taught me, the random acts of kindness that happen when we least expect them, and most particularly for my wife of 51 years that showed me how smart I was by letting me marry her. ~ Oldmainer ~ Blog: Oldmainer
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I am thankful for my blog: sounds weird perhaps, but it has opened up a whole new world to me. ~ Uncle Spike ~ Blog: Uncle Spike’s Adventures
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I am thankful for Skip, my husband… hero… best friend, and for our 3 Pups. They are all I have left in this big, old world as my son, Tommy… died 3 years ago. Thank-you for letting me ‘tell the world’ how thankful I am. ~ Gloria aka Granny Gee ~ Blog: Grannyscolorful
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I am thankful for life ~ Kiwiskan ~ Blog: Kiwissoar
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I am thankful to all the women who suffered through breast cancer before me, which helped create a seamless treatment programs – without them, the system would not work the way it does today! For the “headaches” I didn’t have to live through, I am thankful for them. ~ Tkmorin ~ Blog: Bite Size Canada
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I have been blessed, although I have recently lost my job, I am thankful for all my friends, family, badminton Girls… I am thankful that I still have a place to live in and food to eat, clean clothes to wear… There are so many things I am grateful for I could go on and on and on. ~ Claudette ~ Blog:
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I am both thankful and grateful that we can walk by faith trusting Romans 8-28, And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose and that God loves us in spite of our things and stuff. ~ Ann “afriend4ever54” Friend ~ Blog: AfriendofJESUS2013Blog
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I am thankful for the relationship I have with The Lord and for His love for me. Those two things help me to be thankful for everything else. ~ Skye ~ Blog: The Sanctuary of My Heart
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There are many things that I am thankful for, but there’s only one thing that I can’t live without – God’s unconditional love, grace and forgiveness. In this messed up world, what a comfort it is to know that there is one we can all trust as our Father, Savior, and of course – as a friend. ~ Teri4sure ~ Blog: A Change-N-Me
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I thank Jesus Christ, the Shepherd of my soul. “I once was lost but now am found. ~ Especially Me ~ Blog: Especially Me
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The Peace in my heart and health ~ Ted E. ~ Personal Friend
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Jesus! Eternal life and family & dear friends. ~ Cathy T. ~ Personal Friend
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For today. ~ Elizabeth C. ~ Personal Friend
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I am grateful for the purring of my cat. The best sound ever. ~ Franhunne4u ~ Blog: Inhannover
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the ever-present “ability” we have to (no matter our age) to go back to school, learn new skills, and make a positive change not only for ourselves, but for others…God is GOOD! ~ Karen R. ~ Personal Friend
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My salvation & that the Lord saves all my tears. He understands my heartache. ~ Jana J. ~ Personal Friend
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I’m thankful that this is only my “temporary home”. ~ Nancy T. ~ Personal Friend
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I am thankful for my husband, kids, friends, and especially old schools friends who always make me laugh! ~ Cynthia M. ~ Personal Friend
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I am thankful that my son and I have reconnected after almost 10 years of troubled times. This second chance for both of us is a precious gift. ~ Jenna Dee ~ Blog: Jenna Dee
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I am thankful for my husband and children and grandchildren – couldn’t ask for more. ~ Cate B. ~ Blog: Let’s Have Another Piece of Pie
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I am thankful that God never changes. He stays the same and is there each day we breath, read, think, and enjoy. Even when we breathe our last breath on earth, He is with us and accepts us to be with Him forevermore. ~ Mark S. ~ Blog: This Day With God
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Love ~ Earthbeone ~ Blog: The Book of Everyday Life…
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Have a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving my friends!! If you have anything that you are thankful for and want to share it here, please feel free to do so!

A Heartwarming Thanksgiving Story


A blind boy sat on the steps of a building with a hat by his feet.  He held up a sign which said: “I am blind, please help.” There were only a few coins in the hat.

A man was walking by. He took a few coins from his pocket and dropped them into the hat.  He then took the sign, turned it around, and wrote some words. He put the sign back so that everyone who walked by would see the new words.

Soon the hat began to fill up. A lot more people were giving money to the blind boy.  That afternoon the man who had changed the sign came to see how things were.

The boy recognized his footsteps and asked, “Were you the one who changed my sign this morning?  What did you write?”

The man said, “I only wrote the truth.  I said what you said but in a different way.” I wrote: “Today is a beautiful day but I cannot see it.”

Both signs told people that the boy was blind. But the first sign simply said the boy was blind. The second sign told people that they were so lucky that they were not blind. Should we be surprised that the second sign was more effective?

Moral of the Story: Be thankful for what you have. Be creative. Be innovative. Think differently and positively. When life gives you a 100 reasons to cry, show life that you have 1000 reasons to smile. Face your past without regret. Handle your present with confidence. Prepare for the future without fear. Keep the faith and drop the fear.

The most beautiful thing is to see a person smiling. And even more beautiful, is knowing that you are the reason behind it!

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Regrets of the Dying

Photo Credit: pedrojperez via morguefile.com
My father passed away two weeks before Christmas last year and my mother passed away a week before Christmas 11 years ago. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of them and remember the good times that we used to share. The smiles, hugs, kisses, laughs and other special times that we would have together are gone, but my memories of them will always be with me.

A few days ago, I came across the following article that really made me think about people and what they are thinking when they are in their last days. Generally speaking, both of my parents told me that they had no real, big regrets about their life. But sad to say, there are many people who have MANY regrets when their life is coming to a close.

It is my hope that the following story which I read on inspirationandchai.com, will touch your heart the same way it touched mine.
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For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.
People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learnt never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.

When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.
It is very important to try and honor at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.
By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.
We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.
It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.

When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.

Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.
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Based on this article, Bronnie has now released a full length book titled The Top Five Regrets of the Dying – A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing. It is a memoir of her own life and how it was transformed through the regrets of the dying people she cared for. This inspiring book is available internationally through Hay House.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Praying for Pappy: Remembering Our Veterans

Photo Credit: George Hodan via publicdomainpictures.net
This is a story that took place in the south and involved a little boy and his mom. It shows us the sad side of war and reactions that a family endured at the loss of their loved one. Get a box of tissues ready as you read this story of a little boys love of rhis mom and dad.

Tommy’s Maw Maw and Pappy used to take Tommy to church every Sunday before his Pappy left to go to war. Tommy had learned early in life all about God and how to pray. Every night Tommy would kneel by his bed and pray before going to sleep.

Today is the day the soldiers are to come home. Tommy and his Maw Maw dressed and went and stood at the dock waiting for his Pappy to arrive. They would wait and wait… Until the last boat left the dock but Tommy’s Pappy would not be arriving this day.

When they got home Tommy was too tired to care about eating. He kissed his grand mother goodnight and went straight to his room. He changed into his pajamas and knelt by his bed.

Lord,
It’s Tommy.
We stood at the dock all day. Every one walked away and we just stood there. Pappy must have missed the boat so we waited for the next one then the next one until all the boats were gone and the tall man in the uniform said all the soldiers had gotten off but he is wrong ’cause Lord, Pappy didn’t get off none of those boats. I hate it when maw maw cries Lord. Please send Pappy home so she will stop crying.
Thank you.

All week long Tommy listened as his Maw Maw cried. He heard her on the phone several times asking about why his Pappy didn’t come home like the rest of the soldiers. On the seventh night he knelt by his bed and prayed.

Lord ,
It’s Tommy .
It has been a long week. Maw Maw just sits and stares out the window when she ain’t cooking and cleaning or on the phone asking where Pappy is and why they didn’t send him home.. She hasn’t hardly spoke in days other than when she is on the phone.

Mrs. Nelly Baker from down the road came by to see if Pappy had come home yet but he hasn’t and Maw Maw began to cry again as Mrs. Nelly Baker talked to her. I heard her say You might have Pappy with you Lord. If you do , could you please tell him it is time to come home ’cause Maw Maw and me miss him and Maw Maw cries at night and calls for him. I’d sure ‘preciate it if you would.

Slowly the days passed by, then weeks. Every day was more of the same. Tommy was worried about his Pappy and his Maw Maw. It had been a little over a month now and Pappy still hadn’t come home. He walked in the living room and there his Maw Maw sat staring out the window until a knock came upon the door. A man in a uniform stood at the door. He backed up and Maw Maw walked outside. His Grand Mother screamed falling to the ground. Then the women in the neighborhood came running.
Tommy was confused. Why was his Maw Maw screaming and crying Pappy was coming home finally. He felt heavy hearted, So he went and knelt by his bed and prayed.

Lord,
It’s Tommy.
It’s been a month and three days since Maw Maw and I went to meet Pappy at the dock. Some man in a uniform just showed up at Maw Maw’s door and made her scream. He ‘pologized for making her scream and cry before he left. Mrs. Nelly Baker and some other women came running . I guess they heard Maw Maw screaming before she fell to the ground.
I don’t understand Lord. Why is she so upset ? The man said Pappy would be coming home tomorrow with something in a pine box. Don’t know why he needs a box. I guess he lost his suitcase. I thank Lord for sending Pappy home.

Tommy didn’t know his Maw Maw stood silently by the door. She listened as the little boy of ten prayed through sobs.

Lord,
It’s Tommy .
I un’ stand now. My Pappy came home today. I know all about the pine box now. I guess I forgot to ask for you to send him back to Maw Maw alive. I hope she will forgive me. I thought You knew what I meant when I asked you to bring my Pappy home. But you did do what I asked. I made a mess of things. Now my Maw Maw will never be happy again. Lord, the next time I ask for something make sure I ask the right way please and tell Pappy I am sorry I got him dead I didn’t mean to. It’s all my fault Maw Maw is sad. I am so sorry.

Tommy opened his tear stained eyes to see his Maw Maw standing in his doorway , tears streaming down her face. ” Dear child, it is not your fault.” She said through sobs and held her arms out to him. ” If it had not been for your prayers, your Pappy may never had come home at all.”
———————–
Source: friendburst.com

Veterans Day: Soldiers Reflections

Photo Credit: kconnors via morguefile.com
The following is a collection of stories, accumulated and written by Judith Blakely a Yahoo Contributor. It gives us glimpse of the sacrifice and courage that our soldiers gave our nation. Let’s take time today to thank the Veterans that we know for fighting to give us the freedom that we all deserve.

Veterans Day is here. Our hearts go out to the families of our soldiers serving at war. Our thoughts are drawn to the sacrifices of our young men and women overseas. Our memories flash to the past, of the stories of our fathers and grandfathers
Within these next stories, our grandfathers tell of a time of action, adrenaline, death, grief, triumph, pride, humor, and duty.

“Are you sure this is my son?”
Samuel Boynton began his tour in Korea by making the Inchon Landing on September 18, 1950 as part of the F Company 32nd Infantry Regiment 7th Division (better known as the Hourglass). He was immediately involved in the fighting. Boynton recalls: “After making the Inchon Landing, we made an attack on South Mountain. The North Koreans hit us resulting in twelve dead and twelve wounded. We crossed the 18th Parallel about seven times back and forth. The 7th Division was the most traveled division of the Korean War from 1950-1951.”

Upon returning from Korea in November 1951, Boynton was assigned to Escort Detachment at Brooklyn Army Base, Brooklyn, New York. He escorted remains of K.I.A. (Killed In Action), east of the Mississippi. Prior to his first assignment, Boynton attended a two week class on what his duties would become. His job was to meet the N.O.K (Next Of Kin) and the Funeral Director; fold the flag; and arrange for the firing squads with Military and American Legion Guards.

“Everyday I had to read the bulletin board at least two or three times. The names would be posted that many times a day.” On the day of Escort, Boynton would wear his Class “A” uniform with a black armband. “I would go down the stairs to the shipping dock, check the name of the soldier, rank and service number,” says Boynton. The remains would be placed in a Military Ambulance and taken to Grand Central Station to be escorted home. “That’s when the hard part began,” recalls Boynton.

“I remember the first time I escorted a soldier home. It was my hometown of Fall River, Mass.” Upon reaching the soldiers town, Boynton would first meet with the Funeral Director and deliver a copy of the orders. Then, together, they would meet with the N.O.K., “The mother and father, sometimes it was only the mother,” says Boynton. “It didn’t matter where it was: Kentucky, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan or Ohio. It never got any easier. The look and those words will always be with me,
“Are you sure this is my son?”

“I considered it an honor and privilege to escort these War Heroes into the loving hands of their parents.”
Years later, Sam Boynton found himself serving in a similar capacity during Vietnam. On September 18, 1965, he was sent to Vietnam and assigned to the First Air Calvary Division located in the “Tea Plantation.” Boynton recalls, “Our medical tent and grave registration was set up. When the choppers came in, we unloaded the wounded, then the K.I.A. Sometimes we had to go on a search and recover mission, looking for missing G.I.’s. With four on a team, our helicopters would fly into the jungle. Most of these missions brought more remains into the grave registration.” All remains were processed through Saigon, where identification through medical records could be made. Then they would be shipped home to their families, where someone else would answer the question, “Are you sure this is my son?”
Sam Boynton left Vietnam after four tours in March 1969 and retired from active duty a month later.

Thomas Huntsberry, Teenage Warrior

Thomas was born in Baltimore County, Maryland, on March 13, 1932. He was the youngest of thirteen children. His family held a history of military service, and he was not going to miss his opportunity to follow in his brothers’ footsteps.

“Three of my brothers served during World War II, one in the Army, one in the Marines, and one in the Navy,” says Huntsberry. He attempted to enlist at the tender age of fourteen, but was fifteen before he succeeded.

Thomas says that he had to convince his parents to go with him to a notary public to sign an affidavit stating that he was 17 years old. “In 1948, the Army was taking anybody that was breathing, so with the affidavit, I didn’t have any problem enlisting,” tells Huntsberry.

Sworn into the Army on January 1, 1948, Thomas was sent to Fort Jackson, South Carolina, for basic training. He was assigned to Company H, 3rd battalion, 11th Infantry Division. “I applied for paratroop training during basic. The sergeant looked at me and said, ‘No way are yougoing to be a paratrooper. You are under-age, and I know it, and you know it!’ Then he asked, ‘Do you want to stay in the service?’ I replied, ‘I certainly do!’” Huntsberry fondly remembers.

After basic, he was sent to the Panama Canal Zone, where he remembers that Panama was undergoing unrest due to an election. He says that during guard duty, his friend was nearly shot. “It was a dark night, and the light was out in the guard shack. My friend lit a cigarette, then sat down immediately. Just as he sat down, a 30 caliber round struck the door frame where he had been standing. We were so scared that we never bothered to shoot back. It was a good thing the lights were out because they would have shot us for sure,” relays Huntsberry.

After returning home for emergency leave, Thomas was stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky until he was discharged on January 1, 1950.

“I returned to Baltimore and joined the 445th Combat Engineer Battalion, U.S. Army Reserves. In October 1951, we were activated into the Army. Two other reserves and I were sent to Fort Lewis, Washington, as guards for a plane load of fourty-four prisoners who were being sent to Korea. These men had been in the stockade for desertion and for being chronically AWOL. Our orders were to deliver them to front-line units in Korea.”

In 1953, Huntsberry was preparing for an invasion of North Korea, when he learned that an armistice had been signed.

Shortly thereafter, he returned to the States with an honorable discharge. Not wishing to let go of the family feel of the Army, he became an integral part of his local Honor Guard.

Wild Boar Hunting

Towards the end of WWII, Vincent Chinchello, Jr. found himself at Fort Shafter, Territory of Hawaii, as part of the 972nd Signal Service Batallion in the U.S. Army Signal Corp. Underground, the Signal Corp was responsible for maintaining all the Army communications on the island, maintaining all the Army signal equipment throughout the Pacfic Theatre of Operations, and served as the main link between the Pacific and the Mainland. As there were no infantry troops on the island, a provisional regiment was formed in case of an emergency which never arose. “I was one of the lucky ones,” says Chinchello.

Besides learning how to climb coconut trees (barefooted), he recalls the time the guys went wild boar hunting on the island of Maui. “I fired all eight rounds at him and the guy behind me was laughing!” The boar finally fell ten feet in front of Chinchello. When teased as to the fact that he killed the boar with the first few rounds, Chinchello responded, “I knew it and you knew it, but HE didn’t know it!” The boar was wrapped in palm leaves, buried in a pit of coals, and left to cook the rest of the day. Chinchello says, “I would have never guessed how tender and delicious it would be.”

Note: Vince J. Chinchello, Jr. served in the Regular Army from 1946-1948 and again 1956-1960

Two Tours in Vietnam
On November 16, 1966, Kenneth Wheat joined the United States Army. He went from Fort Ord, California to Fort Gordon, Georgia (for infantry training) to Fort Benning, Georgia (for Airborne training) to Vietnam, all in less than six months.

Assigned to the 9th Infantry Division in the Me Kong Delta, he was a part of the Moblie Riverine Force. In the army just over one year, Wheat was wounded by an enemy force of Viet Cong. The date was December 4, 1967. For that mission, he received The Silver Star for Galantry in Action. After being treated for his wounds at Camp Zama, Japan, Wheat returned to the same unit in Vietnam.

When his first tour in Vietnam was completed, he returned to the United States and became a Military Policeman in Fort Ritchie. After getting married in 1969, Wheat was sent to Germany for one year and then re-enlisted for Vietnam. His second tour of duty was with the 18th Engineer Brigade. Two years later, he returned to Fort Knox, Kentucky.

His assignments included Arlington, Virginia; Korea; and two tours in Hawaii. Retiring on January 1, 1987, he went to work at the Martinsburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center, where he works to this day.
Note: In addition to The Silver Star and a Purple Heart, Kenneth Wheat has been awarded over fifteen medals for his service to this country.

A Purple Heart

“I was shot on March 1, 1970 in the town of Tay-Ninh, Vietnam.” It was April, 1970, and as William Czyzewski lay in his hospital bed at Walter Reed Medical Center, Washington, D.C., he learned the whys and the whats of the day he was shot. “We were cleaning out the area, just before the Americans made a push into Cambodia.” The day is still vivid in his memory.

“I was supposed to go in R&R that day, but I got bumped. We were busting jungle, looking for the enemy. In tanks. We came across a bunker complex. It was the Hilton of bunker complexes. Cement tops. The Captain said, ‘ One man off each tank get down and check out the bunker complex.’ I had an M16. I looked to the right of me, there was a man. There was a man to the left of me. I looked down and there was a beaten path. I couldn’t go anywhere, so I walked down the path.”

“My basic training came back to me, I knew you don’t go down a beaten path, but I couldn’t go anywhere. I had guys to the right and left of me. I started down some steps. I looked down to the left and saw chickens in a pen and smoke from a fire. Just as I turned my eyes in front of me, I saw the muzzle flash.”

“A guy was in the bush. They left a sniper. Just as I saw the flash, I was hit high in the left leg. I went down hard. I heard my mother’s voice telling me to lay there and be still, real still. I was bleeding hard. I laid there until all the fighting was over, then I hollered out that I was hit. A guy from another tank picked me up like a sack of potatoes and threw me over his shoulder and took me out of the jungle. I heard he got a Silver Star for doing that.”

“Next thing I remember, I was laying on a stretcher. Looking up in the sky, I could see the medical helicopter. I heard him on the radio saying that he was getting shot at with 51 caliber fire. I heard the Captain say, ‘ I don’t care, you come down and get this guy or we’ll shoot at you!’ He came down and the guys put me in the chopper. The guys put my booney hat and my pillow, I always had my pillow, they put them in the chopper with me. This guy patted my shoulder and pointed, I lifted up and looked out and saw the mountain and he pushed me back down. My hat and my pillow fell out of the chopper when he did that. I lost them both. They’re somewhere in Vietnam to this day.”

After being unconscious for 48 hours, he woke up in Long-Binh, a Vietnam hospital. He was transferred to a hospital in Japan before finally ending up in Walter Reed. William Czyzewski was medically discharged in February 1971.

After six years, Czyzewski’s leg had to be amputated. He says he’s had his sense of humor through it all and that being on the Honor Guard is his way of repaying the veterans for what they have done for him.

Thank a veteran today!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sandpipers


Photo Credit: Dan Pancamo

This is a true story sent out by Robert Peterson. It serves as a reminder to all of us that we need to take time to enjoy life, living, and each other.

"The price of hating other human beings is loving oneself less." Life is so complicated. The hustle and bustle of everyday traumas can make us lose focus about what is truly important and what is only a momentary setback or crisis. Today, tomorrow, be sure to give your loved ones an extra hug, and by all means, take a moment....even if it is only ten seconds, to stop and smell the roses.

She was six years old when I first met her on the beach near where I live. I drive to this beach, a distance of three or four miles, whenever the world begins to close in on me. She was building a sand castle or something and looked up, her eyes as blue as the sea.

"Hello," she said. I answered with a nod, not really in the mood to bother with a small child.

"I'm building," she said.

"I see that. What is it?" I asked, not really caring.

"Oh, I don't know, I just like the feel of sand."

That sounds good, I thought, and slipped off my shoes. A sandpiper glided by.

"That's a joy," the child said.

"It's a what?" I asked.

"It's a joy, my mama says sandpipers come to bring us joy." The bird went gliding down the beach.
"Good-bye joy," I muttered to myself, "hello pain," and turned to walk on. I was depressed; my life seemed completely out of balance.

"What's your name?" She wouldn't give up.

"Robert," I answered. "I'm Robert Peterson."

"Mine's Wendy....I'm six."

"Hi, Wendy."

She giggled. "You're funny," she said. In spite of my gloom, I laughed too and walked on. Her musical giggle followed me.

"Come again, Mr. P," she called. "We'll have another happy day."

The days and weeks that followed belonged to others; a group of unruly Boy Scouts, PTA meetings, and an ailing mother.

The sun was shining one morning as I took my hands out of the dishwater. "I need a sandpiper," I said to myself, gathering up my coat. The ever-changing balm of the seashore awaited me. The breeze was chilly, but I strode along, trying to recapture the serenity I needed. I had forgotten the child and was startled when she appeared.

"Hello, Mr. P," she said. "Do you want to play?"

"What did you have in mind?" I asked, with a twinge of annoyance.

"I don't know, you say."

"How about charades?" I asked sarcastically.

Her tinkling laughter burst forth again. "I don't know what that is."

"Then let's just walk," I said. Looking at her, I noticed the delicate fairness of her face. "Where do you live?" I asked.

"Over there." She pointed toward a row of summer cottages. Strange, I thought, in winter.

"Where do you go to school?"

"I don't go to school. Mommy says we're on vacation." She chattered little girl talk as we strolled up the beach, but my mind was on other things.

When I left for home, Wendy said it had been a happy day. Feeling surprisingly better, I smiled at her and agreed.

Three weeks later, I rushed to the beach in a state of near panic. I was in no mood to even greet Wendy. I thought I saw her mother on the porch and felt like demanding she keep her child at home.

"Look, if you don't mind," I said crossly when Wendy caught up with me, "I'd rather be alone today."

She seemed unusually pale and out of breath. "Why?" she asked.

I turned to her and shouted, "Because my mother died!" and thought, "My God, why was I saying this to a little child?"

"Oh," she said quietly, "then this is a bad day."

"Yes," I said, "and yesterday and the day before and - oh, go away!"

"Did it hurt?" she inquired

"Did what hurt?" I was exasperated with her, with myself.

"When she died?" she asked.

"Of course it hurt!" I snapped, misunderstand, wrapped up in myself. I strode off.

A month or so after that, when I next went to the beach, she wasn't there. Feeling guilty, ashamed and admitting to myself I missed her, I went up to the cottage after my walk and knocked at the door. A drawn looking young woman with honey-colored hair opened the door.

"Hello," I said. "I'm Robert Peterson. I missed your little girl today and wondered where she was."

"Oh, yes, Mr. Peterson, please come in. Wendy spoke of you so much. I'm afraid I allowed her to bother you. If she was a nuisance, please, accept my apologies."

"Not at all-she's a delightful child," I said, suddenly realizing that I meant what I had just said.

"Wendy died last week, Mr. Peterson. She had leukemia. Maybe she didn't tell you."

Struck dumb, I groped for a chair. I had to catch my breath.

"She loved this beach; so when she asked to come, we couldn't say no. She seemed so much better here and had a lot of what she called "happy days. But the last few weeks, she declined rapidly..." Her voice faltered.

"She left something for you...if only I can find it. Could you wait a moment while I look?" I nodded stupidly, my mind racing for something to say to this lovely young woman.

She handed me a smeared envelope with "Mr. P" printed in bold, childish letters. Inside was a drawing in bright crayon hues - a yellow beach, a blue sea, and a brown bird. Underneath was carefully printed: A SANDPIPER TO BRING YOU JOY.

Tears welled up in my eyes and a heart that had almost forgotten how to love opened wide. I took Wendy's mother in my arms. "I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry." I muttered over and over, and we wept together.

The precious little picture is framed now and hangs in my study. Six words - one for each year of her life - that speak to me of harmony, courage, and undemanding love. A gift from a child with sea-blue eyes and hair the color of sand - who taught me the gift of love.

Source: lifeofhope.com

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Smile!

Photo Credit: Lovin’ Scoopful via Flckr
Smiles and happiness are SO good for the heart and soul. It is great medicine a person. The following thoughts are are fabulous reminders as to why a smile is so important.


A smile costs nothing, but gives much.

It enriches those who receive, without making poorer those who give.

It takes but a moment, but the memory of it sometimes lasts forever.

None is so rich or mighty that he can get along without it, and none is so poor, but that he can be made rich by it.

A Smile creates happiness in the home, fosters good will in business, and is the countersign of friendship.

It brings rest to the weary, cheer to the discouraged, sunshine to the sad, and it is nature’s best antidote for trouble.

Yet it cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen, for it is something that is of no value to anyone, until it is given away.

Some people are too tired to give you a smile;

Give them one of yours, as none needs a smile so much as he who has no more to give.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

A Soldier and His Deck of Cards


Photo Credit: clarita via morguefile.com

During the North American Campaign, a bunch of soldier boys had been on a long hike, and arrived in a little town called Kasinok. The next morning being a Sunday, several of the boys went to church. A sergeant commanded the boys in church, and after the Chaplain had read the prayer, the text was taken up next. Those of the boys who had prayer books took them out, but this one boy had only a deck of cards, and so he spread them out. The sergeant saw the cards, and said "Soldier, put away those cards."

After the services were over, the soldier was taken prisoner and brought before the provost marshal.

The marshal said, "Sergeant, why have you brought this man here!"

"For playing cards in church, sir."

"And what have you to say for yourself, boy?"

"Much, sir," replied the soldier.

The marshal replied "I hope so, for if not, I will punish you more severely than any man has ever been punished."

The soldier said, "Sir, I have been on march for about six days, and I have neither Bible, nor prayer book; but I hope to satisfy you, sir, with the purity of my intentions."

And with that, the boy started his story.

"You see, sir, When I look at the ace, it reminds me that there is but one God. And the deuce, it reminds me that the Bible is divided into two parts, the Old and the New Testaments. And when I look at the trey, I think of the Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit.

"When I see the four, I think of the four evangelists who preached the Gospel: there were Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. And when I see the five, it reminds me of the five virgins who trimmed their lamps. There were ten of them: five who trimmed their lamps, five were foolish and were shut out.

"And when I see the six, it reminds me that in six days God made this great Heaven and Earth. When I see the seven, it reminds me that on the seventh day, God rested from His great work. And when I see the eight, I think of the eight righteous persons that God saved when He destroyed this earth. There was Noah, his wife, and their sons and their wives.

"And when I see the nine, I think of the lepers our Savior cleaned, because it was nine out of ten who didn't even thank Him. When I see the ten, I think of the Ten Commandments that God handed down to Moses on a table of stone.

"When I see the king, it reminds me that there is but one King of Heaven - God Almighty. And when I see the queen... I think of Mary, the mother of Jesus. And when I see the jack of knaves, it is the devil.

"When I count the number of spots on a deck of cards, I find 365, the number of days in a year. There are 52 cards, the number of weeks in a year. There are four suits, the number of weeks in a month. There are 12 picture cards, the number of months in a year. There are 13 tricks, the number of weeks in a quarter.

"So you see, sir, my pack of cards serves me as a Bible, almanac and prayer book."

With a tear, the marshal just waved the soldier away.