70. Red Marbles

RED MARBLES

I was at the corner grocery store buying some early potatoes. I noticed a small boy, delicate of bone and feature, ragged but clean, hungrily apprising a basket of freshly picked green peas. I paid for my potatoes but was also drawn to the display of fresh green peas. I am a pushover for creamed peas and new potatoes. Pondering the peas, I couldn't help overhearing the conversation between Mr. Miller (the store owner) and the ragged boy next to me.

"Hello Barry, how are you today?"

"H'lo, Mr. Miller. Fine, thank ya. Jus' admirin' them peas. They sure look good."

"They are good, Barry. How's your Ma?"

"Fine. Gittin' stronger alla' time."

"Good. Anything I can help you with?"

"No, Sir. Jus' admirin' them peas."

"Would you like to take some home?" asked Mr. Miller.

"No, Sir. Got nuthin' to pay for 'em with."

"Well, what have you to trade me for some of those peas?"

"All I got's my prize marble here."

"Is that right? Let me see it" said Miller.

"Here 'tis.. She's a dandy."

"I can see that. Hmmmmm, only thing is this one is blue and I sort of go for red. Do you have a red one like this at home?" the store owner asked.

"Not zackley but almost."

"Tell you what. Take this sack of peas home with you and next trip this way let me look at that red marble". Mr. Miller told the boy.

"Sure will.. Thanks Mr. Miller."

Mrs. Miller, who had been standing nearby, came over to help me. With a smile she said, "There are two other boys like him in our community, all three are in very poor circumstances. Jim just loves to bargain with them for peas, apples, tomatoes, or whatever. When they come back with their red marbles, and they always do, he decides he doesn't like red after all and he sends them home with a bag of produce for a green marble or an orange one, when they come on their next trip to the store."

I left the store smiling to myself, impressed with this man. A short time later I moved toColorado, but I never forgot the story of this man, the boys, and their bartering for marbles.

Several years went by, each more rapid than the previous one. Just recently I had occasion to visit some old friends in that Idaho community and while I was there learned that Mr. Miller had died. They were having his visitation that evening and knowing my friends wanted to go, I agreed to accompany them. Upon arrival at the mortuary we fell into line to meet the relatives of the deceased and to offer whatever words of comfort we could

Ahead of us in line were three young men. One was in an army uniform and the other two wore nice haircuts, dark suits and white shirts....all very professional looking. They approached Mrs. Miller, standing composed and smiling by her husband's casket. Each of the young men hugged her, kissed her on the cheek, spoke briefly with her and moved on to the casket.

Her misty light blue eyes followed them as, one by one, each young man stopped briefly and placed his own warm hand over the cold pale hand in the casket. Each left the mortuary awkwardly, wiping his eyes.

Our turn came to meet Mrs. Miller. I told her who I was and reminded her of the story from those many years ago and what she had told me about her husband's bartering for marbles. With her eyes glistening, she took my hand and led me to the casket.

"Those three young men who just left were the boys I told you about. They just told me how they appreciated the things Jim "traded" them. Now, at last, when Jim could not change his mind about color or size....they came to pay their debt."

"We've never had a great deal of the wealth of this world," she confided, "but right now, Jim would consider himself the richest man in Idaho ."

With loving gentleness she lifted the lifeless fingers of her deceased husband. Resting underneath were three exquisitely shined red marbles.

The Moral : We will not be remembered by our words, but by our kind deeds. Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath.

Today I wish you a day of ordinary miracles ~ A fresh pot of coffee you didn't make yourself. An unexpected phone call from an old friend. Green stoplights on your way to work. The fastest line at the grocery store. A good sing-along song on the radio. Your keys found right where you left them.

Send this to the people you'll never forget. I just Did...

If you don't send it to anyone, it means you are in way too much of a hurry to even notice the ordinary miracles when they occur.

IT'S NOT WHAT YOU GATHER, BUT WHAT YOU SCATTER THAT TELLS WHAT KIND OF LIFE YOU HAVE LIVED!

71. What is an American?

Written by an Australian Dentist....and too good to delete....

You probably missed it in the rush of news last week, but there was actually a report that someone in Pakistan had published in a newspaper an offer of a reward to anyone who killed an American, any American.

So an Australian dentist wrote an editorial the following day to let everyone know what an American is . So they would know when they found one. (Good one, mate!!!!)

"An American is English, or French, or Italian, Irish, German, Spanish, Polish, Russian or Greek. An American may also be Canadian, Mexican, African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Australian, Iranian, Asian, or Arab, or Pakistani or Afghan.

An American may also be a Comanche, Cherokee, Osage, Blackfoot, Navaho, Apache, Seminole or one of the many other tribes known as native Americans.

An American is Christian, or he could be Jewish, or Buddhist, or Muslim. In fact, there are more Muslims in America than in Afghanistan . The only difference is that in America they are free to worship as each of them chooses.

An American is also free to believe in no religion. For that he will answer only to God,! not to the government, or to armed thugs claiming to speak for the government and for God.

An American lives in the most prosperous land in the history of the world. The root of that prosperity can be found in the Declaration of Independence , which recognizes the God given right of each person to the pursuit of happiness.

An American is generous. Americans have helped out just about every other nation in the world in their time of need, never asking a thing in return.

When Afghanistan was over-run by the Soviet army 20 years ago, Americans came with arms and supplies to enable the people to win back their country!

As of the morning of September 11, Americans had given more than any other nation to the poor in Afghanistan . Americans welcome the best of everything...the best products, the best books, the best music, the best food, the best services. But they also welcome the least.

The national symbol of America , The Statue of Liberty , welcomes your tired and your poor, the wretched refuse of your teeming shores, the homeless, tempest tossed. These in fact are the people who builtAmerica

Some of them were working in the Twin Towers the morning of September 11, 2001 earning a better life for their families. It's been told that the World Trade Center victims were from at least 30 different countries, cultures, and first languages, including those that aided and abetted the terrorists.

So you can try to kill an American if you must. Hitler did. So did General Tojo, and Stalin, and Mao Tse-Tung, and other blood-thirsty tyrants in the world. But, in doing so you would just be killing yourself . Because Americans are not a particular people from a particular place. They are the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom. Everyone who holds to that spirit, everywhere, is an American.

69. For the 4th

[image: img][image: img] I PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE TO THE FLAG,

OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,

AND TO THE REPUBLIC, FOR WHICH IT STANDS,

ONE NATION UNDER GOD,

INDIVISIBLE, WITH LIBERTY

AND JUSTICE FOR ALL! KEEP IT LIT!![image: img] KEEP IT LIT!

For all of our other military personnel, where ever they may be

And God Bless our Military who are protecting our Country for our freedom. Thanks to them, and their sacrifices we can celebrate the 4th of July

[image: img]

We must never forget who gets the credit for the freedoms we have, of which we should be eternally grateful.

[image: img][image: img][image: img][image: img] I watched the flag pass by one day, It fluttered in the breeze.

[image: img]

A young Marine saluted it, And then he stood at ease..

[image: img]

I looked at him in uniform So young, so tall, so proud, With hair cut square and eyes alert He'd stand out in any crowd.

[image: img]

I thought how many men like him Had fallen through the years. How many died on foreign soil How many mothers' tears?

[image: img]

How many pilots' planes shot down? How many died at sea How many foxholes were soldiers' graves? No, freedom isn't free.

I heard the sound of Taps one night, When everything was still, I listened to the bugler play And felt a sudden chill. I wondered just how many times That Taps had meant "Amen,"

[image: img]

When a flag had draped a coffin. Of a brother or a friend.

[image: img][image: img]

I thought of all the children, Of the mothers and the wives, Of fathers, sons and husbands With interrupted lives.

I thought about a graveyard At the bottom of the sea

[image: img]

Of unmarked graves in Arlington. No, freedom isn't free.

[image: img]

Enjoy Your Freedom &God Bless Our Troops Show Your Support Send This Page Along Today

When you receive this, please stop for a moment and Say a prayer for our servicemen. This can be very powerful.... Just send this to all the people in your address book. Do not stop the wheel, please... Of all the gifts you could give a US Soldier, Prayer is the very best one

68. It Don't Cost Nuthin To Be Nice

"It Don't Cost Nuthin' to be Nice".

At a TouchDown Club meeting many years before his death, Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant told the following story: I had just been named the new head coach at Alabama and was off in my old car down in South Alabama recruiting a prospect who was supposed to have been a pretty good th player and I was havin' trouble finding the place. Getting hungry I spied an old cinder block building with a small sign out front that simply said "Restaurant". I pull up, go in and every head in the place turns to stare at me. Seems I'm the only white fella' in the place. But the food smelled good, so I skip a table and go up to a cement bar and sit. A big ole man in a tee shirt and cap comes over and says, "What do you need?" I told him I needed lunch, and what did they have today? He says, "You probably won't like it here, today we're having chitlins, collard greens and black eyed peas with cornbread. I'll bet you don't even know what chitlins [small intestines of hogs prepared as food in the deep South] are, do you?" I looked him square in the eye and said, "I'm from Arkansas , I've probably eaten a mile of them. Sounds like I'm in the right place." They all smiled as he left to serve me up a big plate. When he comes back he says, "You ain't from around here then?" I explain I'm the new football coach up in Tuscaloosa at the University, and I'm here to find whatever that boy's name was and he says, "yeah I've heard of him, he's supposed to be pretty good" . And he gives me directions to the school so I can meet him and his coach. As I'm paying up to leave, I remember my manners and leave a tip, not too big to be flashy, but a good one and he told me lunch was on him, but I told him for a lunch that good, I felt I should pay. The big man asked me if I had a photograph or something he could hang up to show I'd been there. I was so new that I didn't have any yet. It really wasn't that big a thing back then to be asked for, but I took a napkin and wrote his name and address on it and told him I'd get him one. I met the kid I was lookin' for later that afternoon and I don't remember his name, but do remember I didn't think much of him when I met him. I had wasted a day, or so I thought. When I got back to Tuscaloosa late that night, I took that napkin from my shirt pocket and put it under my keys so I wouldn't forget it. Back then I was excited that anybody would want a picture of me. The next day we found a picture and I wrote on it, "Thanks for the best lunch I've ever had." Now let's go a whole buncha' years down the road. Now we have black players at Alabama and I'm back down in that part of the country scouting an offensive lineman we sure needed. I forget the name, but it's not important to the story. Well anyway, he's got two friends going to Auburn and he tells me he's got his heart set on Auburn too, so I leave empty handed and go on see some others while I'm down there. Two days later, I'm in my office in Tuscaloosa and the phone rings and it's this kid who just turned me down, and he says, "Coach, do you still want me at Alabama ?" And I said, "Yes I sure do." And he says, "OK, he'll come". And I say, "Well son, what changed your mind?" And he said, "When my grandpa found out that I had a chance to play for you and said no, he pitched a fit and told me I wasn't going nowhere but Alabama, and wasn't playing for nobody but you. He thinks a lot of you and has ever since y'all met." Well, I didn't know his granddad from Adam's housecat so I asked him who his granddaddy was and he said, "You probably don't remember him, but you ate in his restaurant your first year at Alabama and you sent him a picture that he's had hung in that place ever since. That picture's his pride and joy and he still tells everybody about the day that Bear Bryant came in and had chitlins with him. My grandpa said that when you left there, he never expected you to remember him or to send him that picture, but you kept your word to him, and to Grandpa, that's everything. He said you could teach me more than football and I had to play for a man like you, so I guess I'm going to. I was floored. But I learned that the lessons my mama taught me were always right. It don't cost nuthin' to be nice. It don't cost nuthin' to do the right thing most of the time, and it costs a lot to lose your good name by breakin' your word to someone. When I went back to sign that boy, I looked up his Grandpa and he's still running that place, but it looks a lot better now. He didn't have chitlins that day, but he had some ribs that woulda' made Dreamland proud and I made sure I posed for a lot of pictures, and don't think I didn't leave some new ones for him, too, along with a signed football. I made it clear to all my assistants to keep this story and these lessons in mind when they're out on the road. If you remember nothing else from me, remember this: " It really doesn't cost anything to be nice, and the rewards can be unimaginable". ~ Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant ~ Editor's Note: Coach Bryant was in the presence of these few gentlemen for only minutes, and he defined himself for life. Regardless of our profession, we do define ourselves by how we treat others, and how we behave in the presence of others, and most of the time, we have only minutes or seconds to leave a lasting impression. We can be rude, crude, arrogant, cantankerous, or we can be nice. Nice is always a better choice. I like what Stephen Grellet, French/American religious leader (1773-1855) said, "I expect to pass through the world but once. Any good therefore, that I can do, or any kindness I can show to any creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer it, for I shall not pass this way again.

67. Laus Deo!

Laus Deo! LAUS DEO! SOME MAY HAVE KNOWN OR SEEN THIS. I FOUND IT INTERESTING. I thought that you and others may like to see this.

One detail that is not mentioned, in DC, there can never be a building of greater height than the Washington Monument. With all the uproar about removing the ten commandments, etc... This is worth a moment or two of your time.

I was not aware of this historical information. On the aluminum cap, atop the Washington Monument in Washington DC, are displayed two words: Laus Deo. No one can see these words. In fact, most visitors to the monument are totally unaware they are even there and for that matter, probably couldn't care less. Once you know Laus Deo's history, you will want to share this with everyone you know. But these words have been there for many years; they are 555 feet, 5.125 inches high, perched atop the monument, facing skyward to the Father of our nation, overlooking the 69 square miles which comprise the District of Columbia, capital of the United States of America.

Laus Deo! Two seemingly insignificant, unnoticed words. Out of sight and, one might think, out of mind, but very meaningfully placed at the highest point over what is the most powerful city in the most successful nation in the world. So, what do those two words, in Latin, composed of just four syllables and only seven letters, possibly mean? Very simply, they say "Praise be to God!" Though construction of this giant obelisk began in 1848, when James Polk was President of the United States, it was not until 1888 that the monument was inaugurated and opened to the public. It took twenty five years to finally cap the memorial with a tribute to the Father of our nation, Laus Deo ..... Praise be to God!" From atop this magnificent granite and marble structure, visitors may take in the beautiful panoramic view of the city with it's division into four major segments. From that vantage point, one can also easily see the original plan of the designer, Pierre Charles l'Enfant...a perfect cross imposed upon the landscape, with the White House to the north. The Jefferson Memorial is to the south, the Capitol to the east and the Lincoln Memorial to the west.

A cross you ask ? Why a cross? What about separation of church and state? Yes, a cross; separation of church and state was not, is not, in the Constitution. So, read on . How interesting and, no doubt, intended to carry a profound meaning for those who bother to notice. Praise be to God! Within the monument itself are 898 steps and 50 landings. As one climbs the steps and pauses at the landings the memorial stones share a message. On the 12th Landing is a prayer offered by the City of Baltimore; on the 20th is a memorial presented by some Chinese Christians; on the 24th a presentation made by Sunday School children from New York and Philadelphia quoting Proverbs 10:7, Luke 18:16 and Proverbs 22:6. Praise be to God!

When the cornerstone of the Washington Monument was laid on July 4th, 1848, deposited within it were many items including the Holy Bible presented by the Bible Society. Praise be to God! Such was the discipline, the moral direction, and the spiritual mood given by the founder and first President of our unique democracy "One Nation, Under God." I am awed by Washington's prayer for America. Have you never read it? Well, now is your unique opportunity, so read on!

"Almighty God; We make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy holy protection; that Thou wilt incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government; and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow citizens of the United states at large." And finally that Thou wilt most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without a humble imitation of whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation. Grant our supplication, we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

Laus Deo! When one stops to observe the inscriptions found in public places all over our nation's capitol, he or she will easily find the signature of God, as it is unmistakably inscribed everywhere you look. You may forget the width and height of "Laus Deo", it's location, or the architects but no one who reads this will be able to forget it's meaning, or these words: "Unless the Lord builds the house its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain." (Psalm 127: 1) It is hoped you will send this to every child you know; to every sister, brother, father, mother or friend. They will not find offense, because you have given them a lesson in history that they probably never learned in school.

65. Five Rules to Being Happy

Five Lessons to Being Happy

WA 92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud man, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o'clock, with his hair fashionably coifed and shaved perfectly, even though he is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today.

His wife of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary. After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, he smiled sweetly when told his room was ready.

As he maneuvered his walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of his tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on his window.

"I love it," he stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.

"Mr. Jones, you haven't seen the room; just wait."

" That doesn't have anything to do with it," he replied.

"Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn't depend on how the furniture is arranged .. it's how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it. "It's a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do. Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open, I'll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I've stored away. Just for this time in my life.

Old age is like a bank account. You withdraw from what you've put in.

So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories! Thank you for your part in filling my Memory bank. I am still depositing." Remember the five simple rules to be happy:

  1. Free your heart from hatred .
  2. Free your mind from worries.
  3. Live simply.
  4. Give more.
  5. Expect less.

64. Father's Love Letter.

Father's Love Letter My Child ~ You may not know me, but I know everything about you ~ Psalm 139:1 I know when you sit down and when you rise up ~ Psalm 139:2 I am familiar with all your ways ~ Psalm 139:3 Even the very hairs on your head are numbered ~ Matthew 10:29-31 For you were made in my image ~ Genesis 1:27 In me you live and move and have your being ~ Acts 17:28 For you are my offspring ~ Acts 17:28 I knew you even before you were conceived ~ Jeremiah 1:4-5 I chose you when I planned creation ~ Ephesians 1:11-12 You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book ~ Psalm 139:15-16 I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live ~ Acts 17:26 You are fearfully and wonderfully made ~ Psalm 139:14 I knit you together in your mother's womb ~ Psalm 139:13 And brought you forth on the day you were born ~ Psalm 71:6 I have been misrepresented by those who don't know me ~ John 8:41-44 I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love ~ 1 John 4:16 And it is my desire to lavish my love on you ~ 1 John 3:1 Simply because you are my child and I am your father ~ 1 John 3:1 I offer you more than your earthly father ever could ~ Matthew 7:11 For I am the perfect father ~ Matthew 5:48 Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand ~ James 1:17 For I am your provider and I meet all your needs ~ Matthew 6:31-33 My plan for your future has always been filled with hope ~ Jeremiah 29:11 Because I love you with an everlasting love ~ Jeremiah 31:3 My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore ~ Psalm 139:17-18 And I rejoice over you with singing ~ Zephaniah 3:17 I will never stop doing good to you ~ Jeremiah 32:40 For you are my treasured possession ~ Exodus 19:5 I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul ~ Jeremiah 32:41 And I want to show you great and marvelous things ~ Jeremiah 33:3 If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me ~ Deuteronomy 4:29 Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart ~ Psalm 37:4 For it is I who gave you those desires ~ Philippians 2:13 I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine ~ Ephesians 3:20 For I am your greatest encourager ~ 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles ~ 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you ~ Psalm 34:18 As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart ~ Isaiah 40:11 One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes ~ Revelation 21:3-4 And I'll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth ~ Revelation 21:3-4 I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus ~ John 17:23 For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed ~ John 17:26 He is the exact representation of my being ~ Hebrews 1:3 He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you ~ Romans 8:31 And to tell you that I am not counting your sins ~ 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled ~ 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you ~ 1 John 4:10 I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love ~ Romans 8:31-32 If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me ~ 1 John 2:23 And nothing will ever separate you from my love again ~ Romans 8:38-39 Come home and I'll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen ~ Luke 15:7 I have always been Father, and will always be Father ~ Ephesians 3:14-15 My question is ~ Will you be my child? ~ John 1:12-13 I am waiting for you ~ Luke 15:11-32

                           Love, Your Dad, Almighty God

If your computer is having trouble with the video, click here http://www.habeeb.com/fathers.love.letter/fathers.love.letter.english.audio.html for a "sound-only" version (no video) A Father's Love Letter is owned and copyrighted by Barry Adams. Copyright 2001 by FathersLoveLetter All rights reserved. No Reprint Without Permission Narration: Roy Lamont Music: Robert Critchley

63. Wow, What a Wakeup!

Wow, What a Wakeup!

Dear God, Why didn't you save the school children at ?. .

Moses Lake , Washington 2/2/96 Bethel , Alaska 2/19/97 Pearl , Mississippi 10/1/97 West Paducah , Kentucky 12/1/97 Stamp, Arkansas 12/15/97 Jonesboro , Arkansas 3/24/98 Edinboro , Pennsylvania 4/24/98 Fayetteville , Tennessee 5/19/98 Springfield , Oregon 5/21/98 Richmond , Virginia 6/15/98 Littleton , Colorado 4/20/99 Taber , Alberta , Canada 5/28/99 Conyers , Georgia 5/20/99 Deming , New Mexico 11/19/99 Fort Gibson , Oklahoma 12/6/99 Santee , California 3/ 5/01 El Cajon , California 3/22/01 and

Blacksburg, VA 4/16/07 ?

Sincerely,

Concerned Student

Reply:

Dear Concerned Student: Sorry,

I am not allowed in schools.

Sincerely,

God

How did this get started?...

Let's see, I think it started when Madeline Murray O'Hare complained She didn't want any prayer in our schools.

And we said, OK.

Then, someone said you better not:

Read the Bible in school; the Bible that says "thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, And love your neighbors as yourself,"

And we said, OK...

Dr. Benjamin Spock said We shouldn't spank our children When they misbehaved Because their little personalities Would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem.

And we said, An expert should know what he's talking about So we won't spank them anymore..

Then someone said Teachers and principals better not Discipline our children when they misbehave. And the school administrators said No faculty member in this school Better touch a student when they misbehave Because we don't want any bad publicity, And we surely don't want to be sued.

And we accepted their reasoning...

Then someone said, let's let our daughters have abortions if they want, And they won't even have to tell their parents.

And we said, that's a grand idea.

Then some wise school board member said, Since boys will be boys And they're going to do it anyway, let's give our sons all the condoms they want, So they can have all the fun they desire, And we won't have to tell their parents they got them at school.

And we said, that's another great idea...

Then some of our top elected officials said It doesn't matter what we do in private as long as we do our jobs.

And we said, It doesn't matter what anybody, including the President, Does in private as long as we have jobs and the economy is good....

And someone else took that appreciation a step further And published pictures of nude children And then stepped further still by Making them available on the Internet.

And we said, everyone's entitled to free speech....

And the entertainment industry said, let's make TV shows and movies that promote Profanity, violence and illicit sex... And let's record music that encourages Rape, drugs, murder, suicide, and satanic themes...

And we said, it's just entertainment And it has no adverse effect And nobody takes it seriously anyway, So go right ahead.

Now we're asking ourselves Why our children have no conscience, Why they don't know right from wrong, And why it doesn't bother them to Kill strangers, classmates or even themselves.

Undoubtedly, If we thought about it long and hard enough, We could figure it out. I'm sure it has a great deal to do with...

"WE REAP WHAT WE SOW"

Why is it our children can not read a Bible in school, but can in Prison.

62. Sand and Stone

Sand and Stone TWO FRIENDS WERE WALKING THROUGH THE DESERT. DURING SOME POINT OF THE JOURNEY, THEY HAD AN ARGUMENT; AND ONE FRIEND SLAPPED THE OTHER ONE IN THE FACE.

THE ONE WHO GOT SLAPPED WAS HURT, BUT WITHOUT SAYING ANYTHING, WROTE IN THE SAND:

TODAY MY BEST FRIEND SLAPPED ME IN THE FACE.

THEY KEPT ON WALKING, UNTIL THEY FOUND AN OASIS, WHERE THEY DECIDED TO TAKE A BATH THE ONE WHO HAD BEEN SLAPPED GOT STUCK IN THE MIRE AND STARTED DROWNING, BUT THE FRIEND SAVED HIM.

AFTER HE RECOVERED FROM THE NEAR DROWNING, HE WROTE ON A STONE:

"TODAY MY BEST FRIEND SAVED MY LIFE ".

THE FRIEND WHO HAD SLAPPED AND SAVED HIS BEST FRIEND ASKED HIM, "AFTER I HURT YOU, YOU WROTE IN THE SAND AND NOW, YOU WRITE ON A STONE, WHY?"

THE FRIEND REPLIED "WHEN SOMEONE HURTS US WE SHOULD WRITE IT DOWN IN SAND, WHERE WINDS OF FORGIVENESS CAN ERASE IT AWAY. BUT, WHEN SOMEONE DOES SOMETHING GOOD FOR US, WE MUST ENGRAVE IT IN STONE WHERE NO WIND CAN EVER ERASE IT."

LEARN TO WRITE YOUR HURTS IN THE SAND AND TO CARVE YOUR BENEFITS IN STONE.

THEY SAY IT TAKES A MINUTE TO FIND A SPECIAL PERSON, AN HOUR TO APPRECIATE THEM, A DAY TO LOVE THEM, BUT THEN AN ENTIRE LIFE TO FORGET THEM.

61. What a Way To Teach An Important Lesson

WHAT A WAY TO TEACH THAT VERY IMPORTANT LESSON -

Back in September of 2005, on the first day of school, Martha Cothren, a social studies school teacher at Robinson High School in Little Rock, did something not to be forgotten.

On the first day of school, with permission of the school superintendent, the principal and the building supervisor, she took all of the desks out of the classroom.

The kids came into first period, they walked in, there were no desks. They obviously looked around and said, "Ms. Cothren, where's our desk? " And she said, "You can't have a desk until you tell me how you earn them. "

They thought, "Well, maybe it's our grades."

"No," she said.

"Maybe it's our behavior."

And she told them, "No, it's not even your behavior."

And so they came and went in the first period, still no desks in the classroom.

Second period, same thing, third period. By early afternoon television news crews had gathered in Ms. Cothren's class to find out about this crazy teacher who had taken all the desks out of the classroom.

The last period of the day, Martha Cothren gathered her class. They were at this time sitting on the floor around the sides of the room. And she says, "Throughout the day no one has really understood how you earn the desks that sit in this classroom ordinarily. "

She said, "Now I'm going to tell you."

Martha Cothren went over to the door of her classroom and opened it, and as she did 27 U.S. veterans, wearing their uniforms, walked into that classroom, each one carrying a school desk. And they placed those school desks in rows, and then they stood along the wall. And by the time they had finished placing those desks, those kids for the first time I think perhaps in their lives understood how they earned those desks.

Martha said, "You don't have to earn those desks. These guys did it for you. They put them out there for you, but it's up to you to sit here responsibly to learn, to be good students and good citizens, because they paid a price for you to have that desk, and don't ever forget it. "

My friend, I think sometimes we forget that the freedoms that we have are freedoms not because of celebrities. The freedoms are because of ordinary people who did extraordinary things, who loved this country more than life itself, and who not only earned a school desk for a kid at the Robinson High School in Little Rock, but who earned a seat for you and me to enjoy this great land we call home, this wonderful nation that we better love enough to protect and preserve with the kind of conservative, solid values and principles that made us a great nation.

"We live in the Land of the Free because of the brave"

60. Robby's Night

Robby's Night a true story

At the prodding of my friends, I am writing this story . My name is Mildred Honor. I am a former elementary school music teacher from Des Moines , Iowa . I've always supplemented my income by teaching piano lessons-something I've done for over 30 years. Over the years I found that children have many levels of musical ability. I've never had the pleasure of having a prodigy though I have taught some talented students.

However I've also had my share of what I call "musically challenged" pupils. One such student was Robby. Robby was 11 years old when his mother (a single Mom) dropped him off for his first piano lesson. I prefer that students (especially boys!) begin at an earlier age, which I explained to Robby.

But Robby said that it had always been his mother's dream to hear him play the piano. So I took him as a student. Well, Robby began with his piano lessons and from the beg inning I thought it was a hopeless endeavor. As much as Robby tried, he lacked the sense of tone and basic rhythm needed to excel. But he dutifully reviewed his scales and some elementary pieces that I require all my students to learn.

Over the months he tried and tried while I listened and cringed and tried to encourage him. At the end of each weekly lesson he'd always say, "My mom's going to hear me play someday." But it seemed hopeless. He just did not have any inborn ability. I only knew his mother from a distance as she dropped Robby off or waited in her aged car to pick him up. She always waved and smiled but never stopped in.

Then one day Robby stopped coming to our lessons.

I thought about calling him but assumed because of his lack of ability, that he had decided to pursue something else. I also was glad that he stopped coming. He was a bad advertisement for my teaching!

Several weeks later I mailed to the student's homes a flyer on the up coming recital. To my surprise Robby (who received a flyer) asked me if he could be in the recital. I told him that the recital was for current pupils and because he had dropped out he really did not qualify. He said that his mother had been sick and unable to take him to piano lessons but he was still practicing "Miss Honor, I've just got to play!" he insisted.

I don't know what led me to allow him to play in the recital. Maybe it was his persistence or maybe it was something inside of me saying that it would be all right. The night for the recital came. The high school gymnasium was packed with parents, friends and relatives. I put Robby up last in the program before I was to come up and thank all the students and play a finishing piece. I thought that any damage he would do would come at the end of the program and I could always salvage his poor performance through my "curtain closer."

Well, the recital went off without a hitch. The students had been practicing and it showed. Then Robby came up on stage. His clothes were wrinkled and his hair looked like he'd run an eggbeater through it. "Why didn't he dress up like the other students?" I thought. "Why didn't his mother at least make him comb his hair for this special night?"

Robby pulled out the piano bench and he began. I was surprised when he announced that he had chosen Mozart's Concerto #21 in CO Major. I was not prepared for what I heard next. His fingers were light on the keys, they even danced nimbly on the ivories. He went from pianissimo to fortissimo. From allegro to virtuoso. His suspended chords that Mozart demands were magnificent! Never had I heard Mozart played so well by people his age. After six and a half minutes he ended in a grand crescendo and everyone was on their feet in wild applause. Overcome and in tears I ran up on stage and put my arms around Robby in joy. "I've never heard you play like that Robby! How'd you do it? " Through the microphone Robby explained: "Well Miss Honor . . Remember I told you my Mom was sick? Well, actually she had cancer and passed away this morning. And, well . . . She was born deaf so tonight was the first time she ever heard me play. I wanted to make it special."

There wasn't a dry eye in the house that evening. As the people from Social Services led Robby from the stage to be placed into foster care, I noticed that even their eyes were red and puffy and I thought to myself how much richer my life had been for taking Robby as my pupil.

No, I've never had a prodigy but that night I became a prodigy. . . Of Robby's. He was the teacher and I was the pupil for it is he that taught me the meaning of perseverance and love and believing in yourself and maybe even taking a chance in someone and you don't know why.

Robby was killed in the senseless bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in April of 1995.

59. The Holy Alphabet

The Holy Alphabet Although things are not perfect Because of trial or pain Continue in thanksgiving Do not begin to blame Even when the times are hard Fierce winds are bound to blow God is forever able Hold on to what you know Imagine life without His love Joy would cease to be Keep thanking Him for all the things Love imparts to thee Move out of "Camp Complaining" No weapon that is known On earth can yield the power Praise can do alone Quit looking at the future Redeem the time at hand Start every day with worship To "thank" is a command Until we see Him coming Victorious in the sky We'll run the race with gratitude X alting God most high Y es, there'll be good times and yes some will be bad, but... Z ion waits in glory...where none are ever sad!

58. Now That's God

Now That's God It was one of the hottest days of the dry season. We had not seen rain in almost a month. The crops were dying. Cows had stopped giving milk. The creeks and streams were long gone back into the earth. It was a dry season that would bankrupt several farmers before it was through.

Every day, my husband and his brothers would go about the arduous process of trying to get water to the fields. Lately this process had involved taking a truck to the local water rendering plant and filling it up with water. But severe rationing had cut everyone off. If we

Didn’t see some rain soon...we would lose everything. It was on this day that I learned the true lesson of sharing and witnessed the only miracle I have seen with my own eyes. I was in the kitchen making lunch for my husband and his brothers when I saw my

Six-year-old son, Billy, walking toward the woods. He wasn't walking with the usual carefree abandon of a youth but with a serious purpose. I could only see his back. He was obviously walking with a great effort ... trying to be as still as possible. Minutes after he disappeared into the woods, he came running out again, toward the house. I went back to making sandwiches; thinking that whatever task he had been doing was completed. Moments later, however, he was once again walking in that slow purposeful stride toward the woods. This activity went on for an hour: walking carefully to the woods, running back to the house.

Finally I couldn't take it any longer and I crept out of the house and followed him on his journey (being very careful not to be seen...as he was obviously doing important work and didn't need his Mommy checking up on him). He was cupping both hands in front of him as he walked, being very careful not to spill the water he held in them ... maybe two or three tablespoons were held in his tiny hands. I sneaked close as he went into the woods. Branches and thorns slapped his little face, but he did not try to avoid them. He had a much higher purpose. As I leaned in to spy on him, I saw the most amazing site.

Several large deer loomed in front of him. Billy walked right up to them. I almost screamed for him to get away. A huge buck with elaborate antlers was dangerously close. But the buck did not threaten him...he didn't even move as Billy knelt down. And I saw a tiny fawn lying on the ground; obviously suffering from dehydration and heat exhaustion, lift its head with great effort to lap up the water cupped in my beautiful boy's hand. When the water was gone, Billy jumped up to run back to the house and I hid behind a tree.

I followed him back to the house to a spigot to which we had shut off the water. Billy opened it all the way up and a small trickle began to creep out. He knelt there, letting the drip, drip slowly fill up his makeshift "cup," as the sun beat down on his little back. And it came clear to me: The trouble he had gotten into for playing with the hose the week before. The lecture he had received about the importance of not wasting water. The reason he didn't ask me to help him. It took almost twenty minutes for the drops to fill his hands. When he stood up and began the trek back, I was there in front of him.

His little eyes just filled with tears. "I'm not wasting," was all he said. As he began his walk, I joined him...with a small pot of water from the kitchen. I let him tend to the fawn. I stayed away. It was his job. I stood on the edge of the woods watching the most beautiful heart I have ever known working so hard to save another life. As the tears that rolled down my face began to hit the ground, other drops...and more drops...and more suddenly joined them. I looked up at the sky. It was as if God, himself, was weeping with pride.

Some will probably say that this was all just a huge coincidence. Those miracles don't really exist. That it was bound to rain sometime. And I can't argue with that... I'm not going to try. All I can say is that the rain that came that day saved our farm...just like the actions of one little boy saved another.

I don't know if anyone will read this...but I had to send it out. To honor the memory of my beautiful Billy, who was taken from me much too soon... But not before showing me the true face of God, in a little, sunburned body.

~THAT'S GOD ~

Have you ever been just sitting there and all of a sudden you feel like doing something nice for someone you care for?

THAT'S GOD! He speaks to you through the Holy Spirit

Have you ever been down and out and nobody seems to be around for you to Talk to?

THAT'S GOD! He wants you to speak to Him.

Have you ever been thinking about somebody that you haven't seen in a long time and then next thing you know you see them or receive a phone call from them?

THAT'S GOD! There's no such thing as coincidence.

Have you ever received something wonderful that you didn't even ask for, like money in the mail, a debt that had mysteriously been cleared, or a coupon to a department store where you had just seen something you wanted, but couldn't afford.

THAT'S GOD. . He knows the desires of your heart. .

Have you ever been in a situation and you had no clue how it is going to get better, but now you look back on it?

THAT'S GOD! He passes us through tribulation to see a brighter day.

NOW THAT'S GOD!!!!!!!!

Don't tell GOD how Big your storm is. Tell the storm how Big your GOD is!

plucked from the internet by Homer S. Sewel III

56. Today is Yesterday's Tomorrow

Today is the Tomorrow You Worried About Yesterday

John is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, "If I were any better, I would be twins!"

He was a natural motivator.

If an employee was having a bad day, John was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.

Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up and asked him, "I don't get it!

You can't be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?"

He replied, "Each morning I wake up and say to myself, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or ... you can choose to be in a bad mood.

I choose to be in a good mood."

Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or...I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it.

Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or... I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life.

"Yeah, right, it's not that easy," I protested.

"Yes, it is," he said. "Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people affect your mood.

You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It's your choice how you live your life."

I reflected on what he said. Soon hereafter, I left the Tower Industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.

Several years later, I heard that he was involved in a serious accident, falling some 60 feet from a communications tower.

After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, he was released from the hospital with rods placed in his back.

I saw him about six months after the accident.

When I asked him how he was, he replied, "If I were any better, I'd be twins...Wanna see my scars?"

I declined to see his wounds, but I did ask him what had gone through his mind as the accident took place.

"The first thing that went through my mind was the well-being of my soon-to-be born daughter," he replied. "Then, as I lay on the ground, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or...I could choose to die. I chose to live."

"Weren't you scared? Did you lose consciousness?" I asked.

He continued, "..the paramedics were great.

They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read 'he's a dead man'. I knew I needed to take action."

"What did you do?" I asked.

"Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me," said John. "She asked if I was allergic to anything. 'Yes, I replied.' The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, 'Gravity'."

Over their laughter, I told them, "I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead."

He lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude... I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully.

Attitude, after all, is everything .

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:34.

After all today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.

55. Our National Anthem.

Our National Anthem

*An Introductory Note. Unless you're already well acquainted with our "national anthem," this interesting piece by the late Isaac Asimov will be an eye-opener. It was for me. It's especially appropriate at a time when there is much talk of tossing out this difficult-to-sing and difficult-to-comprehend old song in favor of something that better suits Ray Charles' voice. You'll understand the song much better after you read Mr. Asimov's explanation. -- by Hardly Waite, Gazette Senior Editor.*

I have a weakness--I am crazy, absolutely nuts, about our national anthem. The words are difficult and the tune is almost impossible, but frequently when I'm taking a shower I sing it with as much power and emotion as I can. It shakes me up every time.

I was once asked to speak at a luncheon. Taking my life in my hands, I announced I was going to sing our national anthem--all four stanzas.

This was greeted with loud groans. One man closed the door to the kitchen, where the noise of dishes and cutlery was loud and distracting. "Thanks, Herb," I said. "That's all right," he said, "It was at the request of the kitchen staff."

I explained the background of the anthem and then sang all four stanzas. Let me tell you, those people had never heard it before--or had never really listened. I got a standing ovation. But it was not me; it was the anthem.

More recently, while conducting a seminar, I told my students the story of the anthem and sang all four stanzas. Again there was a wild ovation and prolonged applause. And again, it was the anthem and not me.

So now let me tell you how it came to be written.

In 1812, the United States went to war with Great Britain, primarily over freedom of the seas. We were in the right. For two years, we held off the British, even though we were still a rather weak country. Great Britain was in a life and death struggle with Napoleon. In fact, just as the United States declared war, Napoleon marched off to invade Russia. If he won, as everyone expected, he would control Europe, and Great Britain would be isolated. It was no time for her to be involved in an American war.

At first, our seamen proved better than the British. After we won a battle on Lake Erie in 1813, the American commander, Oliver Hazard Perry, sent the message "We have met the enemy and they are ours." However, the weight of the British navy beat down our ships eventually. New England, hard-hit by a tightening blockade, threatened secession. Meanwhile, Napoleon was beaten in Russia and in 1814 was forced to abdicate. Great Britain now turned its attention to the United States, launching a three-pronged attack. The northern prong was to come down Lake Champlain toward New York and seize parts of New England. The southern prong was to go up the Mississippi, take New Orleans and paralyze the west. The central prong was to head for the mid-Atlantic states and then attack Baltimore, the greatest port south of New York. If Baltimore was taken, the nation, which still hugged the Atlantic coast, could be split in two. The fate of the United States, then, rested to a large extent on the success or failure of the central prong. The British reached the American coast, and on August 24, 1814, took Washington, D. C. Then they moved up the Chesapeake Bay toward Baltimore. On September 12, they arrived and found 1000 men in Fort McHenry, whose guns controlled the harbor. If the British wished to take Baltimore, they would have to take the fort. On one of the British ships was an aged physician, William Beanes, who had been arrested in Maryland and brought along as a prisoner. Francis Scott Key, a lawyer and friend of the physician, had come to the ship to negotiate his release. The British captain was willing, but the two Americans would have to wait. It was now the night of September 13, and the bombardment of Fort McHenry was about to start. As twilight deepened, Key and Beanes saw the American flag flying over Fort McHenry. Through the night, they heard bombs bursting and saw the red glare of rockets. They knew the fort was resisting and the American flag was still flying. But toward morning the bombardment ceased, and a dread silence fell. Either Fort McHenry had surrendered and the British flag flew above it, or the bombardment had failed and the American flag still flew. As dawn began to brighten the eastern sky, Key and Beanes stared out at the fort, tyring to see which flag flew over it. He and the physician must have asked each other over and over, "Can you see the flag?" After it was all finished, Key wrote a four stanza poem telling the events of the night. Called "The Defence of Fort McHenry," it was published in newspapers and swept the nation. Someone noted that the words fit an old English tune called "To Anacreon in Heaven" --a difficult melody with an uncomfortably large vocal range. For obvious reasons, Key's work became known as "The Star Spangled Banner," and in 1931 Congress declared it the official anthem of the United States. Now that you know the story, here are the words. Presumably, the old doctor is speaking. This is what he asks Key;

Oh! say, can you see, by the dawn's early light, What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming? Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight, O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming? And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there. Oh! say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave? O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

"Ramparts," in case you don't know, are the protective walls or other elevations that surround a fort. The first stanza asks a question. The second gives an answer.

On the shore, dimly seen thro' the mist of the deep, Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes, What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep. As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses? Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam, In full glory reflected, now shines on the stream, 'Tis the star-spangled banner. Oh! long may it wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

"The towering steep" is again, the ramparts. The bombardment has failed, and the British can do nothing more but sail away, their mission a failure.

In the third stanza, I feel Key allows himself to gloat over the American triumph. In the aftermath of the bombardment, Key probably was in no mood to act otherwise. During World War II, when the British were our staunchest allies, this third stanza was not sung. However, I know it, so here it is;

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion A home and a country should leave us no more? Their blood has washed out their foul footstep's pollution. No refuge could save the hireling and slave From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave, And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

The fourth stanza, a pious hope for the future, should be sung more slowly than the other three and with even deeper feeling.

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand Between their loved homes and the war's desolation, Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the Heav'n - rescued land, Praise the Pow'r that hath made and preserved us a nation.Then conquer we must, for our cause is just, And this be our motto--"In God is our trust." And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

I hope you will look at the national anthem with new eyes. Listen to it, the next time you have a chance, with new ears. And don't let them ever take it away. --Isaac Asimov, March 1991

54. A Sweet Reminder of Abe Lincoln

A Sweet Reminder of Abe Lincoln

I have a sweet spot for Abe Lincoln, and it's not just because I was born and raised in Illinois. It's also not because I learned at an early age that he read his schoolbooks by candlelight, walked miles to return a few cents, and did all those other admirable feats that fuel our Lincoln lore.

I'm sweet on Abe because he split a lot of logs and because Mrs. Seibold's Bake Shop, a venerable bakery in my hometown of East Alton, Ill., didn't let that pass unnoticed. Every year around Abe's birthday, Feb. 12, the bakery produced a popular edible tribute to our state's most famous son: Lincoln logs.

It would be hard to mix history and sugar more happily. Lincoln logs, announced in the display case with a placard, were little cylindrically shaped cakes filled with chocolate cream and covered with thick chocolate frosting piped on so that it looked - with a little imagination - like the bark of a tree. A tiny cardboard ax was embedded in the goo in case customers needed an additional clue.

No other president, and no other person for that matter, merited such honor at the bake shop. George Washington had his pies, of course, but they were cherry, not chocolate. Lincoln had edible Lincoln logs. Here, to my young mind, was greatness.

I had plenty of other opportunities to be impressed with Lincoln. My father, whose schooling ended in eighth grade, put my sister and me in the car one day and drove us to the site of the Lincoln-Douglas debate in neighboring Alton, where he managed to convey to us the importance of the place. The first train I ever rode was on a school trip to Lincoln's home in Springfield, Ill. My grandmother always carried a Lincoln penny. My great-grandfather, I was told, had seen Lincoln: This fact, stated so solemnly, seemed to connect me to something profound.

As I grew up, additional knowledge deepened my regard for Lincoln from childish hero worship to respect. I studied his vision, his wisdom, his wit, and compassion, and I came to believe what I had been taught: He was one of the finest leaders this country has ever had.

But when I was a little girl, what I liked most about the 16th president was less presidential than delectable. I can still remember the once-a-year fun, buying two luscious Lincoln logs, one for me and one for my sister. That was one of the many ways we Illinoisans remembered, sweetly, a great man.

52. Taps

Taps

We in the United States have all heard the haunting song, "Taps". It's the song that gives us that lump in our throats and usually tears in our eyes.

But, do you know the story behind the song? If not, I think you will be interested to find out about its humble beginnings.

Reportedly, it all began in 1862 during the Civil War, when Union Army Captain Robert Ellicombe was with his men near Harrison 's Landing in Virginia . The Confederate Army was on the other side of the narrow strip of land.

During the night, Captain Ellicombe heard the moans of a soldier who lay severely wounded on the field. Not knowing if it was a Union or Confederate soldier, the Captain decided to risk his life and bring the stricken man back for medical attention. Crawling on his stomach through the gunfire, the Captain reached the stricken soldier and began pulling him toward his encampment.

When the Captain finally reached his own lines, he discovered it was actually a Confederate soldier, but the soldier was dead.

The Captain lit a lantern and suddenly caught his breath and went numb with shock. In the dim light, he saw the face of the soldier. It was his own son. The boy had been studying music in the South when the war broke out. Without telling his father, the boy enlisted in the Confederate Army.

The following morning, heartbroken, the father asked permission of his superiors to give his son a full military burial, despite his enemy status. His request was only partially granted.

The Captain had asked if he could have a group of Army band members play a funeral dirge for his son at the funeral.

The request was turned down since the soldier was a Confederate.

But, out of respect for the father, they did say they could give him only one musician.

The Captain chose a bugler. He asked the bugler to play a series of musical notes he had found on a piece of paper in the pocket of the dead youth's uniform.

This wish was granted.

The haunting melody, we now know as "Taps" ... used at military funerals was born.

The words are : Day is done... Gone the sun. From the lakes. From the hills. From the sky. All is well. Safely rest. God is nigh.

Fading light. Dims the sight. And a star. Gems the sky. Gleaming bright. From afar. Drawing nigh. Falls the night. Thanks and praise. For ourdays. Neath the sun. Neath the stars. Neath the sky. As we go. This we know. God is nigh.

I too have felt the chills while listening to "Taps" but I have never seen all the words to the song until now. I didn't even know there was more than one verse. I also never knew the story behind the song and I didn't know if you had either so I thought I'd pass it along.

I now have an even deeper respect for the song than I did before.

Remember Those Lost and Harmed While Serving Their Country.

And also those presently serving in the Armed Forces.

53. The Flag

I Am the Flag of the United States Of America

I am the flag of the United States of America. My name is Old Glory. I fly atop the world's tallest buildings. I stand watch in America's halls of justice. I fly majestically over institutions of learning. I stand guard with power in the world. Look up and see me.

I stand for peace, honor, truth and justice. I stand for freedom. I am confident. I am arrogant. I am proud. When I am flown with my fellow banners, My head is a little higher, My colors a little truer. I bow to no one! I am recognized all over the world. I am worshipped - I am saluted. I am loved - I am revered. I am respected - and I am feared. I have fought in every battle of every war for more then 200 years.I was flown at Valley Forge, Gettysburg, Shiloh and Appomattox. I was there at San Juan Hill, the trenches of France, in the Argonne Forest, Anzio, Rome and the beaches of Normandy. Guam, Okinawa, Korea and KheSan, Saigon, Vietnam know me. I'm presently in the mountains of Afganistan and the hot and dusty deserts of Iraq and wherever freedom is needed. I led my troops, I was dirty, battleworn and tired, But my soldiers cheered me and I was proud. I have been burned, torn and trampled on the streets of countries I have helped set free. It does not hurt for I am invincible. I have been soiled upon, burned, torn and trampled in the streets of my country. And when it's done by those Whom I've served in battle - it hurts. But I shall overcome - for I am strong. I have slipped the bonds of Earth and stood watch over the uncharted frontiers of space from my vantage point on the moon. I have borne silent witness to all of America's finest hours. But my finest hours are yet to come. When I am torn into strips and used as bandages for my wounded comrades on the battlefield, When I am flown at half-mast to honor my soldier, Or when I lie in the trembling arms of a grieving parent at the grave of their fallen son or daughter,

I am proud.

51. Five lessons

Five (5) lessons to make you think about the way we treat people.

1 - First Important Lesson - Cleaning Lady. During my second month of college, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions until I read the last one: "What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?" Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade. "Absolutely," said the professor. "In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say "hello." I've never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.

    • Second Important Lesson - Pickup in the Rain One night, at 11:30 P.M., an older African American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rainstorm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride. Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car. A young white man stopped to help her, generally ! unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960s. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxicab. She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his address and thanked him. Seven days went by and a knock came on the man's door. To his surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered to his home. A special note was attached.. It read: "Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes, but also my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband's bedside just before he passed away... God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others." Sincerely, Mrs. Nat King Cole.

3 - Third Important Lesson - Always remember those who serve. In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10-year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him. "How much is an ice cream sundae?" he asked. "Fifty cents," replied the waitress. The little boy pulled is hand out of his pocket and studied the coins in it. "Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?" he inquired. By now more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient. "Thirty-five cents," she brusquely replied. The little boy again counted his coins. "I'll have the plain ice cream," he said. The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and left. When the waitress came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the table. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies.. You see, he couldn't have the sundae, because he had to have enough left to leave her a tip.

4 - Fourth Important Lesson. - The obstacle in Our Path. In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king's wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way. Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the King indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many of us never understand! Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition.

5 - Fifth Important Lesson - Giving When it Counts... Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare & serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, "Yes I'll do it if it will save her." As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the color returning to her cheek. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded. He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, "Will I start to die right away". Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her.

50. The sounds of February

The Sounds of February

Listen to the sounds of February - the sounds of Liberty itself Sounds of Lincoln and his backwoods wisdom Let his words and thoughts of honesty and integrity soar past present questions Remember them as they resound through the halls of Congress and USA itself Going forth until they reach the ears of pondering peoples and musing minds Remember him as yesterday moves on towards tomorrow Let modern minds hold fast to strengths of earlier times Times of war and peace, of masterful speeches and gentle humor Walk with "Honest Abe" though cobblestone streets of Springfield and D.C. Ride circuit horses and covered carriages with this gentle giant Deliver mail and paper wrapped packages to gentle farm folk Watch solid timbers give birth to rugged rails Listen as hastily written words melt into cherished, hallowed wonders As "Four Score and Seven Years ago" becomes now and ever And malice fades away and charity becomes reality Look at the calendar that brings us back and sends us forward Listen to the sounds of Lincoln and Liberty They sing the sound of Freedom As the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" continueson and on May it forever ring in the hearts of countymen In the hearts of all

© Susan Gordon Copyright Feb 2006

Happy 197th Birthday, Mr President Wrote this for you today... :)