A group of students was asked to list what they thought were the present Seven Wonders of the World. Though there was some disagreement, the following got the most votes:

  1. Egypt’s Great Pyramids
  2. Taj Mahal
  3. Grand Canyon
  4. Panama Canal
  5. Empire State Building
  6. St. Peter’s Basilica
  7. China’s Great Wall

While gathering the votes, the teacher noted that one quiet student hadn’t turned in her paper yet. So she asked the girl if she was having trouble with her list.

The girl replied, “Yes, a little. I couldn’t quite make up my mind because there were so many.”

The teacher said, “Well, tell us what you have, and maybe we can help.”

The girl hesitated, then read, “I think the Seven Wonders of the World are:

  1. to touch
  2. to taste
  3. to see
  4. to hear

She hesitated a little, and then added

  1. to feel
  2. to laugh!
  3. and to love

The room was so full of silence you could have heard a pin drop. Those things we overlook as simple and “ordinary” are truly wondrous.

A gentle reminder that the most precious things are before you:  your family, your faith, your love, your good health and your friends.

 

One day a farmer’s donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally he decided the animal was old and the well needed to be covered up anyway, it just wasn’t worth it to retrieve the donkey. He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well.

At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone’s amazement, he quieted down. A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well and was astonished at what he saw. With every shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up. As the farmer’s neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up.

A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well and was astonished at what he saw. With every shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up. As the farmer’s neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up.

Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and trotted off!

Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a stepping stone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up!

A long time ago, there was a small village. In that village lived a serving man. His job was to fetch the water.

Every day, he would carry two empty buckets down the long path to the river, fill the buckets, and carry the full buckets back to his master’s house.

One of the buckets was perfect and would carry all the water it held all the way back to the master’s house. Naturally, it was very proud of its daily accomplishments.

The other bucket was imperfect. It had a crack. And every day, the serving man would fill it to the top with water, and every day, the bucket would slowly leak on the way back up the path and would arrive at the master’s house only half full.

This went on for two years. Finally, the bucket with the crack in it couldn’t take it any more. When the serving man reached the river, the bucket said to him, “I want to apologize to you.”

The serving man was surprised. “Why would you want to apologize to me?”

“Because,” said the bucket. “Every day you have to walk all the way down to the river to fetch the water and walk all the way back, and every day, I am only able to bring half the water you put in me back to the master’s house. I am ashamed.”

The serving man felt sorry for the bucket. He said, “I’ll tell you what. As we make our way back up the long path to the master’s house, look around you. There are beautiful wild flowers growing along the path that will cheer you up.”

The bucket agreed; and as they walked back up the long path to the master’s house, he did look around and the beautiful wild flowers did cheer him up. But when they reached the master’s house, the bucket still only had half of the water it began with.

“I was still only able to do half the work,” said the bucket. “I still failed. I am sorry!”

The serving man smiled, and said, “Did you notice that the beautiful wild flowers were only growing on your side of the path? I knew about your crack all along, and I took advantage of it. Two years ago, I dropped flower seeds along the path, and for two years, you have been watering those flowers. It’s thanks to you and your leak that those flowers were able to grow and make the path to the river more beautiful, making everyone’s work more pleasant.”

The end.

The moral of the story?

Do not judge yourself too harshly; do not confuse your strength for a weakness.

We all have a divine purpose to fulfill on our way back to the Master’s House – but I think sometimes we get it in our heads what we think our divine purpose should be, and we are unable to see what our divine purpose is. And then we get all self-judgy and miserable, because we think our job is to carry a full load of water and feel like a failure when we just can’t, and we ignore the little flowers that so desperately need us to be exactly what we are.

That’s all. carry on.

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There was a young woman who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and had been given three months to live. So as she was getting her things “in order”, she contacted her Rabbi and had him come to her house to discuss certain aspects of her final wishes. She told him which songs she wanted sung at the service, what scriptures she would like read, and what outfit she wanted to be buried in. Everything was in order and the Rabbi was preparing to leave when the young woman suddenly remembered something very important to her.

“There’s one more thing,” she said excitedly.

“What’s that?” came the Rabbi’s reply.

“This is very important,” the young woman continued. “I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand.”

The Rabbi stood looking at the young woman, not knowing quite what to say.

“That surprises you, doesn’t it?” the young woman asked. “Well, to be honest, I’m puzzled by the request,” said the Rabbi.

The young woman explained. “My grandmother once told me this story, and from there on out, I have always done so. I have also, always tried to pass along its message to those I love and those who are in need of encouragement. In all my years of attending socials and dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say, ‘Keep your fork.’ It was my favorite part because I knew that something better was coming…like velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie.

Something wonderful, and with substance!’ So, I just want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder “What’s with the fork?” Then I want you to tell them: “Keep your fork…the best is yet to come.”

The Rabbi’s eyes welled up with tears of joy as he hugged the young woman good-bye. He knew this would be one of the last times he would see her before her death. But he also knew that the young woman had a better grasp of heaven than he did. She had a better grasp of what heaven would be like than many people twice her age, with twice as much experience and knowledge.

She KNEW that something better was coming.

At the funeral people were walking by the young woman’s casket and they saw the cloak she was wearing and the fork placed in her right hand. Over and over, the Rabbi heard the question “What’s with the fork?” And over and over he smiled.

During his message, the Rabbi told the people of the conversation he had with the young woman shortly before she died. He also told them about the fork and about what it symbolized to her. The Rabbi told the people how he could not stop thinking about the fork and told them that they probably would not be able to stop thinking about it either.

He was right. So the next time you reach down for your fork, let it remind you ever so gently, that the best is yet to come. Friends are a very rare jewel, indeed. They make you smile and encourage you to succeed. They lend an ear, they share a word of praise, and they always want to open their hearts to us. Show your friends how much you care. Remember to always be there for them, even when you need them more. For you never know when it may be their time to “Keep your fork.” Cherish the time you have, and the memories you share… being friends with someone is not an opportunity but a sweet responsibility.

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A woman came out of her house and saw 3 old men with long white beards sitting in her front yard. She did not recognize them. She said “I don’t think I know you, but you must be hungry. Please come in and have something to eat.”

“Is the man of the house home?” they asked.

“No”, she replied. “He’s out.”

“Then we cannot come in”, they replied.

In the evening when her husband came home, she told him what had happened.

“Go tell them I am home and invite them in!”

The woman went out and invited the men in”

“We do not go into a House together,” they replied.

“Why is that?” she asked.

One of the old men explained: “His name is Wealth,” he said pointing to one of his friends, and said pointing to another one, “He is Success, and I am Love.” Then he added, “Now go in and discuss with your husband which one of us you want in your home.”

The woman went in and told her husband what was said. Her husband was overjoyed. “How nice!!” he said. “Since that is the case, let us invite Wealth. Let him come and fill our home with wealth!”

His wife disagreed. “My dear, why don’t we invite Success?”

Their daughter-in-law was listening from the other corner of the house. She jumped in with her own suggestion: “Would it not be better to invite Love? Our home will then be filled with love!”

“Let us heed our daughter-in-law’s advice,” said the husband to his wife.

“Go out and invite Love to be our guest.”

The woman went out and asked the 3 old men, “Which one of you is Love? Please come in and be our guest.”

Love got up and started walking toward the house. The other 2 also got up and followed him. Surprised, the lady asked Wealth and Success: “I only invited Love, Why are you coming in?”

The old men replied together: “If you had invited Wealth or Success, the other two of us would’ve stayed out, but since you invited Love, wherever He goes, we go with him. Wherever there is Love, there is also Wealth and Success.”

MY WISH FOR YOU…

  • Where there is pain, I wish you peace and mercy.
  • Where there is self-doubting, I wish you a renewed confidence in your ability to work through it.
  • Where there is tiredness, or exhaustion, I wish you understanding, patience, and renewed strength.
  • Where there is fear, I wish you love, and courage.

A little girl had been shopping with her Granddaddy in Walmart. She must have been 6 years old, this beautiful blonde hair, an image of innocence. It was pouring outside. The kind of rain that gushes over the top of rain gutters, so much in a hurry to hit the earth it has no time to flow down the spout. We all stood there under the awning and just inside the door of the Walmart.

We waited, some patiently, others irritated because nature messed up their hurried day. I am always mesmerized by rainfall. I got lost in the sound and sight of the heavens washing away the dirt and dust of the world. Memories of running, splashing so carefree as a child come pouring in as a welcome reprieve from the worries of my day.

The little voice was so sweet as it broke the hypnotic trance we were all caught in “Granddaddy, let’s run through the rain,” she said.

“What?” Granddaddy asked.

“Let’s run through the rain!” She repeated.

“No, honey. We’ll wait until it slows down a bit,” Granddaddy replied.

This young child waited about another minute and repeated: “Granddaddy, let’s run through the rain.”

“We’ll get soaked if we do,” Granddaddy said.

“No, we won’t, Granddaddy. That’s not what you said this morning,” the young girl said as she tugged at her Granddaddy’s arm.

This morning? When did I say we could run through the rain and not get wet?

“Don’t you remember? When you were talking to Grandma about her cancer, you said, ‘If God can get us through this, he can get us through anything!”

The entire crowd stopped dead silent. I swear you couldn’t hear anything but the rain. We all stood silently. No one came or left in the next few minutes.

Granddaddy paused and thought for a moment about what he would say. Now some would laugh it off and scold him for being silly. Some might even ignore what was said. But this was a moment of affirmation in a young child’s life. A time when innocent trust can be nurtured so that it will bloom into faith.

“Honey, you are absolutely right. Let’s run through the rain. If GOD let’s us get wet, well maybe we just needed washing,” Granddaddy said.
Then off they ran. We all stood watching, smiling and laughing as they darted past the cars and yes, through the puddles. They held their shopping bags over their heads just in case. They got soaked. But they were followed by a few who screamed and laughed like children all the way to their cars. And yes, I did. I ran. I got wet. I needed washing.

Circumstances or people can take away your material possessions, they can take away your money, and they can take away your health. But no one can ever take away your precious memories… So, don’t forget to make time and take the opportunities to make memories everyday. To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven.

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A young man was getting ready to graduate from college. For many months he had admired a beautiful sports car in a dealer’s showroom, and knowing his father could well afford it, he told him that was all he wanted. As Graduation Day approached, the young man awaited signs that his father had purchased the car.

Finally, on the morning of his graduation his father called him into his private study. His father told him how proud he was to have such a fine son, and told him how much he loved him. He handed his son a beautifully wrapped gift box. Curious, but somewhat disappointed the young man opened the box and found a lovely, leather-bound Bible. Angrily, he raised his voice at his father and said, “With all your money, you give me a Bible?” and stormed out of the house, leaving the holy book.

Many years passed and the young man was very successful in business. He had a beautiful home and wonderful family, but realized his father was very old, and thought perhaps he should go to him. He had not seen him since that graduation day. Before he could make arrangements, he received a telegram telling him his father had passed away, and willed all of his possessions to his son. He needed to come home immediately and take care of things. When he arrived at his father’s house, sudden sadness and regret filled his heart. He began to search his father’s important papers and saw the still new Bible, just as he had left it years ago. With tears, he opened the Bible, and began to turn the pages. As he read those words, a car key dropped from an envelope taped behind the Bible. It had a tag with the dealer’s name, the same dealer who had the sports car he had desired. On the tag was the date of his graduation, and the words
”PAID IN FULL”.

How many times do we miss God’s blessings because they are not packaged as we expected?

Tess was a precocious eight year old when she heard her Mom and Dad talking about her little brother, Andrew. All she knew was that he was very sick and they were completely out of money. They were moving to an apartment complex next month because Daddy didn’t have the money for the doctor’s bills and our house. Only a very costly surgery could save him now and it was looking like there was no-one to loan them the money. She heard Daddy say to her tearful Mother with “Only a miracle can save him now.”

Tess went to her bedroom and pulled a glass jelly jar from its hiding place in the closet. She poured all the change out on the floor and counted it carefully. Three times, even. The total had to be exactly perfect. No chance here for mistakes. Carefully placing the coins back in the jar and twisting on the cap, she slipped out the back door and made her way 6 blocks to Rexall’s Drug Store with the big red Indian Chief sign above the door. She waited patiently for the pharmacist to give her some attention but he was too busy at this moment. Tess twisted her feet to make a scuffing noise. Nothing. She cleared her throat with the most disgusting sound she could muster.  Finally, she took a quarter from her jar and banged it on the glass counter. That did it!

“And what do you want?” the pharmacist asked in an annoyed tone of voice. “I’m talking to my brother from Chicago whom I haven’t seen in ages,” he said, without waiting for a reply to his question.

“Well, I want to talk to you about my brother,” Tess answered back in the same annoyed tone. “He’s really, really sick… and I want to buy a miracle.”

“I beg your pardon?” said the pharmacist.

“His name is Andrew and he has something bad growing inside his head and my

Daddy says only a miracle can save him now. So how much does a miracle cost?”

“We don’t sell miracles here, little girl. I’m sorry but I can’t help you, “the pharmacist said, softening a little.

“Listen, I have the money to pay for it. If it isn’t enough, I will get the rest. Just tell me how much it costs.”

The pharmacist’s brother was a well-dressed man. He stooped down and asked the little girl, “What kind of a miracle does you brother need?”

“I don’t know,” Tess replied with her eyes welling up. “I just know he’s really sick and Mommy says he needs an operation. But my Daddy can’t pay for it, so I want to use my money”.

“How much do you have?” asked the man from  Chicago.

“One dollar and eleven cents,” Tess answered barely audibly. And it’s all the money I have, but I can get some more if I need to.”

“Well, what a coincidence,” smiled the man. “A dollar and eleven cents-the exact price of a miracle for little brothers.” He took her money in one hand and with the other hand he grasped her mitten and said “Take me to where you live. I want to see your brother and meet your parents. Let’s see if I have the kind of miracle you need.”

That well-dressed man was Dr. Carlton Armstrong, a surgeon, specializing in neuro-surgery. The operation was completed without charge and it wasn’t long until Andrew was home again and doing well.

Mom and Dad were happily talking about the chain of events that had led them to this place.

“That surgery,” her Mom whispered. “was a real miracle. I wonder how much it would have cost?”

Tess smiled. She knew exactly how much a miracle cost… one dollar and eleven cents …… plus the faith of a little child.

A miracle is not the suspension of natural law, but the operation of a higher
law…… (A TRUE STORY)

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