Frederick Buechner tells a story about a boy of twelve or thirteen who, in a fit of anger and depression, got hold of a gun and fired it at his father, who died shortly afterwards. When the authorities asked the boy why he had done it, he said that it was because he hated his father who demanded too much of him. And then later on, after he had been placed in a house of detention, a guard was walking down the corridor late one night when he heard sounds from the boy's room, and he stopped to listen. The words that he heard the boy sobbing out in the dark were, "I want my father, I want my father."
Reading this story reminded me of how society has tried to kill off God, the Father. Faith in Him has become so meager as "enlightened" people contemplate the "fallacy" of God's existence. "Where is God?" we ask as the killings in Kosovo continue, as children are forced into drugs and prostitution at an early age, and as terrorists find nuclear toys to tinker with. The weeping of society does not abate and the media noisemakers darken the whereabouts of a God, saying we perhaps have outgrown Him.
And yet, within each of us, there is a deep longing to find fulfillment. We are given the freedom to find gratification in anything we desire, only to discover that only God satisfies our hunger. As Augustine aptly wrote: "Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee." Likewise, Blaise Pascal, the French philosopher wrote: "There is in each of us a God‑shaped vacuum that only God can fill."
A suggested prayer:
"God, my heart and mind are restless, ever racing against time and place. Where do I find satisfaction? How can faith in you relax me and give me hope and peace? God, I often think that I have outgrown you. Forgive my failures, my doubts and my meager faith in You. I ask you to take my vacuum, my void, my aching, and fill it with Your presence. Thank You for taking my burdens when You died on the cross and rose again. You knew my name already then! So You investigate my life and get all the facts straight. Let me be an open book to You for I am never out of Your sight. You know me inside and out and know every bone of my body. I thank You, Father, that You are not dead but let Your Son die to give me a future. Amen!"
Contributed by George Prins.
Happy Mother's Day !!
Why are your crying?" he asked his mom.
"Because I'm a mother" she told him.
"I don't understand," he said.
His mom just hugged him and said, "You never will."
Later the little boy asked his father
why Mother seemed to cry for no reason.
"All mothers cry for no reason"
was all his dad could say.
The little boy grew up and became a man,
still wondering why mothers cry.
So he finally put in a call to God
and when God got on the phone
the man said "God, why do mothers cry so easily."
God said, "You see son,
when I made mothers they had to be special.
I made their shoulders strong enough
to carry the weight of the world,
yet gentle enough to give comfort.
I gave them an inner strength
to endure childbirth
and the rejection that many times
comes from their children.
I gave them a hardiness
that allows them to keep going
when everyone else gives up,
and to take care of their families
through sickness and fatigue
I gave them the sensitivity
to love their children under all circumstances,
even when their child has hurt them very badly.
This same sensitivity helps them
to make a child's boo‑boo feel better
and helps them share
a teenager's anxieties and fears.
I gave them a tear to shed.
It's theirs exclusively
to use whenever it is needed.
It's their only weakness.
It's a tear for mankind."
Life in the 1500's: How those sayings got started.
Baths equalled a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children. Last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually loose someone in it. Hence the saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water".
Houses had thatched roofs. Thick straw, piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the pets...dogs, cats and other small animals, mice, rats, bugs lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof. Hence the saying, "It's raining cats and dogs,"
There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could really mess up your nice clean bed. So, they found if they made beds with big posts and hung a sheet over the top, it addressed that problem.
Hence those beautiful big 4 poster beds with canopies.
The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt, hence the saying "dirt poor". The wealthy had slate floors which would get slippery in the winter when wet. So they spread thresh on the floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on they kept adding more thresh until when you opened the door it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed at the entry way, hence a "thresh hold".
They cooked in the kithen in a big kettle that always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They mostly ate vegetables and didn't get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes the stew had food in it that had been in there for a month. Hence the rhyme: peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old."
Sometimes they could obtain pork and would feel really special when that happened. When company came over, they would bring out some bacon and hang it to show it off. It was a sign of wealth and that a man "could really bring home the bacon." They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and "chew the fat."
Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with a high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food. This happened most often with tomatoes, so they stopped eating tomatoes... for 400 years.
Most people didn't have pewter plates, but had trenchers ‑ a piece of wood with the middle scooped out like a bowl. Trencher were never washed and a lot of times worms got into the wood. After eating off wormy trenchers, they would get "trench mouth."
Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or the "upper crust".
Lead cups were used to drink ale or whiskey. The combination would sometimes knock them out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up. Hence the custom of holding a "wake".
England is old and small and they started running out of places to bury people. So, they would dig up coffins and would take their bones to a house and re‑use the grave. In reopening these coffins, one out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. So they thought they would tie a string on their wrist and lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night to listen for the bell. Hence on the "graveyard shift" they would know that someone was "saved by the bell" or he was a "dead ringer".
This is for all the mothers who DIDN'T win Mother of the Year in 1999.
All the runners‑up and all the wannabes. The mothers too tired to enter or too busy to care.
This is for all the mothers who froze their buns off on metal bleachers at soccer games Friday night instead of watching from cars, so that when their kids asked, "Did you see my goal?" they could say "Of course, I wouldn't have missed it for the world," and mean it.
This is for all the mothers who have sat up all night with sick toddlers in their arms, wiping up barf laced with Oscar Mayer wieners and cherry Kool‑Aid saying, "It's OK honey, Mommy's here."
This is for all the mothers of Kosovo who fled in the night and can't find their children.
This is for the mothers who gave birth to babies they'll never see. And the mothers who took those babies and made them homes.
For all the mothers who run carpools and make cookies and sew Halloween costumes. And all the mothers who DON'T.
What makes a good mother anyway? Is it patience? Compassion? Broad hips?
The ability to nurse a baby, fry a chicken, and sew a button on a shirt, all at the same time?
Or is it heart?
Is it the ache you feel when you watch your son disappear down the street, walking to school alone for the very first time?
The jolt that takes you from sleep to dread, from bed to crib at 2 a.m. to put your hand on the back of a sleeping baby?
The need to flee from wherever you are and hug your child when you hear news of a school shooting, a fire, a car accident, a baby dying?
I think so.
So this is for all the mothers who sat down with their children and explained all about making babies. And for all the mothers who wanted to but just couldn't.
This is for reading "Goodnight, Moon" twice a night for a year. And then reading it again. "Just one more time."
This is for all the mothers who mess up. Who yell at their kids in the grocery store and swat them in despair and stomp their feet like a tired 2 year old who wants ice cream before dinner.
This is for all the mothers who taught their daughters to tie their shoelaces before they started school.
And for all the mothers who opted for Velcro instead.
For all the mothers who bite their lips ‑‑ sometimes until they bleed‑‑when their 14 year olds dye their hair green. Who lock themselves in the bathroom when babies keep crying and won't stop.
This is for the mothers who show up at work with spit‑up in their hair and milk stains on their blouses and diapers in their purse.
This is for all the mothers who teach their sons to cook and their daughters to sink a jump shot.
This is for all the mothers whose heads turn automatically when a little voice calls "Mom?" in a crowd, even though they know their own offspring are at home.
This is for mothers who put pinwheels and teddy bears on their children's graves.
This is for mothers whose children have gone astray, who can't find the words to reach them.
This is for all the mothers who sent their sons to school with stomachaches, assuring them they'd be just FINE once they got there, only to get calls from the school nurse an hour later asking them to please pick them up. Right away.
This is for young mothers stumbling through diaper changes and sleep deprivation. And mature mothers learning to let go. For working mothers and stay‑at‑ home mothers. Single mothers and married mothers.
For all mothers of teenagers who stay up all night waiting for them.
Mothers with money, mothers without.
This is for you all. So hang in there. Better luck next year, I'll be rooting for you.
Opening Prayer at the Kansas Senate. When Pastor Joe Wright was asked to open the new session of the Kansas Senate, everyone was expecting the usual politically correct generalities.
But, what they heard instead was a stirring prayer, passionately calling our country to repentance and righteousness. The response was immediate and a number of legislators walked out during the prayer. In six short weeks, The Central Christian Church had logged more than 5,000 phone calls, with only 47 of those calls responding negatively. Commentator Paul Harvey aired the prayer on the radio and received a larger response to this program than any other program he has ever aired. The Central Christian Church is now receiving international requests for copies of this prayer from India, Africa, and Korea.
Pastor Joe's prayer is reprinted here as an encouragement and challenge for each of us.
"Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask Your forgiveness and seek Your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, 'Woe on those who call evil good,' but that's exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and inverted our values. We confess that:
* We have ridiculed the absolute truth of Your Word and called it pluralism.
* We have worshipped other gods and called it multiculturalism.
* We have endorsed perversion and called it an alternative lifestyle.
* We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery.
* We have neglected the needy and called it self‑preservation.
* We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.
* We have killed our unborn children and called it choice.
* We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable.
* We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self‑esteem.
* We have abused power and called it political savvy.
* We have coveted our neighbor's possessions and called it ambition.
* We have polluted our air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression.
* We have ridiculed the time‑honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.
Search us, O God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin and set us free. Guide and bless these men and women who have been sent to govern this great state. Grant them the wisdom to rule, and may their decisions direct us to the center of Your will. I ask it in the name of Your Son, the Living Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen."
I try not to be biased, but I had my doubts about hiring Stevie. His placement counselor assured me that he would be a good, reliable busboy. But I had never had a mentally handicapped employee and wasn't sure I wanted one. I wasn't sure how my customers would react to Stevie.
He was short, a little dumpy, with the smooth facial features and thick‑tongued speech of Down syndrome. I wasn't worried about most of my trucker customers, because truckers don't generally care who buses tables as long as the meatloaf platter is good and the pies are homemade.
The four‑wheeler drivers were the ones who concerned me; the mouthy College kids traveling to school; the yuppie snobs who secretly polish their silverware with their napkins for fear of catching some dreaded "truckstop germ"; the pairs of white shirted business men on expense accounts who think every truckstop waitress wants to be flirted with.
I knew those people would be uncomfortable around Stevie, so I closely watched him for the first few weeks.
I shouldn't have worried. After the first week, Stevie had my staff wrapped around his stubby little finger, and within a month my truck regulars had adopted him as their official truckstop mascot.
After that I really didn't care what the rest of the customers thought of him. He was like a 21‑year‑old in blue jeans and Nikes, eager to laugh and eager to please, but fierce in his attention to his duties. Every salt and pepper shaker was exactly in its place, not a bread crumb or coffee spill was visible, when Stevie got done with the table. Our only problem was convincing him to wait to clean a table until after the customers were finished. He would hover in the background, shifting his weight from one foot to the other, scanning the dining room until a table was empty. Then he would scurry to the empty table and carefully bus the dishes and glasses onto cart and meticulously wipe the table up with a practiced flourish of his rag. If he thought a customer was watching, his brow would pucker with added concentration. He took pride in doing his job exactly right, and you had to love how hard he tried to please each and every person he met.
Over time, we learned that he lived with his mother, a widow who was disabled after repeated surgeries for cancer. They lived on their Social Security benefits in public housing two miles from the truckstop. Their social worker, which stopped to check on him every so often, admitted they had fallen between the cracks. Money was tight, and what I paid him was probably the difference between them being able to live together and Stevie being sent to a group home.
That's why the restaurant was a gloomy place that morning last August, the first morning in three years that Stevie missed work. He was at Mayo Clinic in Rochester getting a new valve or something put in his heart. His social worker said that people with Down syndrome often had heart problems at an early age, so this wasn't unexpected, and there was a good chance he would come through the surgery in good shape and be back at work in a few months. A ripple of excitement ran through the staff later that morning when word came that he was out of surgery, in recovery and doing fine.
Frannie, my head waitress, let out a war hoop and did a little dance in the aisle when she heard the good news. Belle Ringer, one of our regular trucker customers, stared at the sight of the 50 year old Grandmother of four doing a victory shimmy beside his table. Frannie blushed, smoothed her apron and shot Belle Ringer a withering look. He grinned.
"OK, Frannie, what was that all about?" he asked.
"We just got word that Stevie is out of surgery and going to be okay"
"I was wondering where he was. I had a new joke to tell him. What was the surgery about?"
Frannie quickly told Belle Ringer and the other two drivers sitting at his booth about Stevie's surgery, then sighed. "Yeah, I'm glad he is going to be ok, " she said, " but I don't know how he and his mom are going to handle all the bills. From what I hear, they are barely getting by as it is.
Belle Ringer nodded thoughtfully, and Frannie hurried off to wait on the rest of her tables. Since I hadn't had time to round up a busboy to replace Stevie, and really didn't want to replace him, the girls were busing their own tables that day until we decided what to do.
After the rush, Frannie walked into my office. She had a couple of paper napkins in her hand a funny look on her face.
"What's up?" I asked.
"I didn't get that table where Belle Ringer and his friends were sitting cleared off after they left, and Pony Pete and Tony Tipper were sitting there when I got back to clean it off, " she said, "This was folded and tucked under a coffee cup."
She handed the napkin to me, and three $20 fell onto my desk when I opened it. On the outside, in big, bold letters, was printed "Something For Stevie"
"Pony Pete asked me what that was all about," she said, "so I told him about Stevie and his mom and everything, and Pete looked at Tony and Tony looked at Pete, and they ended up giving me this."
She handed me another paper napkin that had "Something For Stevie" scrawled on it's outside. Two $50 bills were tucked within its folds.
Frannie looked at me with wet, shiny eyes, shook her head and said simply truckers."
That was three months ago. Today is Thanksgiving, the first day Stevie is supposed to be back to work. His placement worker said he's been counting the days until the doctor said he could work, and it didn't matter at all that it was a holiday. He called 10 times in the past week, making sure we knew he was coming, fearful that we had forgotten him or that his job was in jeopardy.
I arranged to have his mother bring him to work, met them in the parking lot and invited them both to celebrate his day back. Stevie was thinner and paler, but couldn't stop grinning as he pushed through the doors and headed for the back room where his apron and busing cart were waiting.
"Hold up there, Stevie, not so fast, "I said. I took him and his mother by their arms. "Work can wait for a minute. To celebrate you coming back, breakfast for you and your mother is on me."
I led them toward a large corner booth at the rear of the room. I could feel and hear the rest of the staff following behind as we marched through the dining room. Glancing over my shoulder, I saw booth after booth of grinning truckers empty and join the possession.
We stopped in front of the big table. Its surface was covered with coffee cups, saucers and dinner plates, all sitting slightly crooked on dozens of folded paper napkins.
"First thing you have to do, Stevie, is clean up this mess," I said. I tried to sound stern.
Stevie looked at me, and then at his mother, then pulled out one of the napkins. It had "Something for Stevie printed on the outside. As he picked it up, two $10 bills fell onto the table. Stevie stared at the money, then at all the napkins peeking from beneath the tableware, each with his name printed or scrawled on it.
I turned to his mother. "There's more than $10,000 in cash and checks on that table, all from truckers and trucking companies that heard about your problems. Happy Thanksgiving."
Well, it got real noisy about that time, with everybody hollering and shouting, and there were a few tears, as well. But you know what's funny? While everybody else was busy shaking hands and hugging each other, Stevie, with a big, big smile on his face, was busy clearing all the cups and dishes from the table. . .
Best worker I ever hired.
National Friendship Week
From: Alberto, Rommel
To realize the value of ONE YEAR, ask a student who failed a grade.
To realize the value of ONE MONTH, ask a mother who gave birth to a premature baby.
To realize the value of ONE WEEK, ask the editor of a weekly newspaper.
To realize the value of ONE HOUR, ask the lovers who are waiting to meet.
To realize the value of ONE MINUTE, ask a person who missed the train.
To realize the value of ONE SECOND, ask a person who just avoided an accident.
To realize the value of ONE MILLISECOND, ask the person who won a silver medal in the Olympics.
Treasure every moment that you have! And treasure it more because you shared it with someone special, special enough to spend your time. And remember that time waits for no one. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is mystery. Today is a gift, that's why it's called the present.
It's National Friendship Week, friends are very rare jewels indeed. They make you smile, encourage you to succeed. They lend an ear, they share a word of praise, and they always open their heart to us. Show your friends how much you care... Send this to everyone you consider a FRIEND. If it comes back to you from someone else, then you'll know you have a CIRCLE OF FRIENDS.
* The kindergarten class had a homework assignment to find out about something exciting and relate it to the class the next day. When the time came for the little kids to give their reports, the teacher was calling on them one at a time. She was reluctant to call upon little Johnnie, knowing that he sometimes could be a bit crude. But eventually his turn came. Little Johnnie walked up to the front of the class, and with a piece of chalk, made a small white dot on the blackboard, then sat back down. Well, the teacher couldn't figure out what Johnnie had in mind for his report on something exciting, so she asked him just what that was. "It's a period" reported Johnnie. "Well I can see that" she said. "but what is so exciting about a period." "Damned if I know" said Johnnie, "but this morning my sister said she missed one. Then Daddy had a heart attack, Mommy fainted and the man next door shot himself."
* Ol' Fred & The Priest Ol' Fred had been a faithful Christian and was in the hospital, near death. The family called their preacher to stand with them. As the preacher stood next to the bed, Ol' Fred's condition appeared to deteriorate and he motioned frantically for something to write on. The pastor lovingly handed him a pen and a piece of paper, and Ol' Fred used his last bit of energy to scribble a note, then he died. The preacher thought it best not to look at the note at that time, so he placed it in his jacket pocket. At the funeral, as he was finishing the message, he realized that he was wearing the same jacket that he was wearing when Ol' Fred died. He said, "You know, Ol' Fred handed me a note just before he died. I haven't looked at it, but knowing Fred, I'm sure there's a word of inspiration there for us all." He opened the note, and read, "Hey, you're standing on my oxygen tube!"
* New Pastor Visiting His Parishioners A new pastor moved into town and went out one Saturday to visit his parishioners. All went well until he came to one house. It was obvious that someone was home, but no one came to the door even after he had knocked several times. Finally, he took out his card, wrote on the back "Revelation 3:20" and stuck it on the door. Revelation 3:20 reads: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. The next day, as he was counting the offering he found his card in the collection plate. Below his message was notation "Genesis 3:10" Genesis 3:10 reads: "And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked."
Things people ACTUALLY said in court, word for word.
Q: What is your date of birth?
A: July fifteenth.
Q: What year?
A: Every year.
Q: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
A: Gucci, sweats and Reeboks.
Q: This myasthenia gravis‑does it affect your memory at all?
Q: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
A: I forget.
Q: You forget. Can you give us an example of something that you've forgotten?
Q: How old is your son‑the one living with you.
A: Thirty‑eight or thirty‑five, I can't remember which.
Q: How long has he lived with you?
A: Forty‑five years.
Q: What was the first thing your husband said to you when he woke that morning?
A: He said, "Where am I, Cathy?"
Q: And why did that upset you?
A: My name is Susan.
Q: And where was the location of the accident?
A: Approximately milepost 499.
Q: And where is milepost 499?
A: Probably between milepost 498 and 500.
Q: Sir, what is your IQ?
A: Well, I can see pretty well, I think.
Q: Did you blow your horn or anything?
A: After the accident?
Q: Before the accident.
A: Sure, I played for ten years. I even went to school for it.
Q: Trooper, when you stopped the defendant, were your red and blue lights flashing?
Q: Did the defendant say anything when she got out of her car?
A: Yes sir.
Q: What did she say?
A: What disco am I at?
Recently reported in the Massachusetts Bar Association Lawyers journal, the following are questions actually asked of witnesses by attorneys during trials and, in certain cases, the responses given by insightful witnesses:
Q: Now doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn't know about it until the next morning?
Q: The youngest son, the twenty‑year old, how old is he?
Q: Were you present when your picture was taken?
Q: Was it you or your younger brother who was killed in the war?
Q: Did he kill you?
Q: How far apart were the vehicles at the time of the collision?
Q: You were there until the time you left, is that true?
Q: How many times have you committed suicide?
Q: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?
Q: And what were you doing at that time?
Q: She had three children, right?
Q: How many were boys?
Q: Were there any girls?
Q: You say the stairs went down to the basement?
Q: And these stairs, did they go up also?
Q: Mr. Slatery, you went on a rather elaborate honeymoon, didn't you?
A: I went to Europe, Sir.
Q: How was your first marriage terminated?
A: By death.
Q: And by whose death was it terminated?
Q: Can you describe the individual?
A: He was about medium height and had a beard.
Q: Was this a male, or a female?
Q: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney?
A: No, this is how I dress when I go to work.
Q: Doctor, how many autopsies have you performed on dead people?
A: All my autopsies are performed on dead people.
Q: All your responses must be oral, OK? What school did you go to?
Q: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
A: The autopsy started around 8:30 p.m.
Q: And Mr. Dennington was dead at the time?
A: No, he was sitting on the table wondering why I was doing an autopsy.
Q: Are you qualified to give a urine sample?
Q: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
Q: Did you check for blood pressure?
Q: Did you check for breathing?
Q: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
Q: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
A: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
Q: But could the patient have still been alive nevertheless?
A: It is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law somewhere.
There once was a King who offered a prize to the artist who would paint the best picture of peace. Many artists tried.
The King looked at all the pictures, but there were only two he really liked and he had to choose between them. One picture was of a calm lake. The lake was a perfect mirror for peaceful towering mountains were all around it. Overhead was a blue sky with fluffy white clouds. All who saw this picture thought that it was a perfect picture of peace.
The other picture had mountains too. But these were rugged and bare. Above was an angry sky from which rain fell, in which lightning played. Down the side of the mountain tumbled a foaming waterfall. This did not look peaceful at all.
But when the King looked, he saw behind the waterfall a tiny bush growing in a crack in the rock. In the bush a mother bird had built her nest. There, in the midst of the rush of angry water, sat the mother bird on her nest... perfect peace.
Which picture do you think won the prize? The King chose the second picture. Do you know why?
"Because," explained the King, "peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart. That is the real meaning of peace.