Here you will find my collection of stories and poems sent to me by friends and family, as well as other sources along the way. There are those pieces that I have no idea who wrote them, and if you have any information about the authors, please e-mail me. I would love to give credit to the people who wrote such beautiful pieces! I claim none of the below items as my own.
A true story...
Last week I took my children to a restaurant. My six year old son asked if he could say grace. As we bowed our heads he said, "God is great and God is Good. Let us thank Him for the food, and I would even thank you more if Mom gets us ice cream for dessert. And Liberty and justice for all! Amen!"
Along with the laughter from the other customers nearby I heard a woman remark, "That's what's wrong with this country. Kids today don't even know how to pray. Asking God for ice cream! Why, I never!"
Hearing this, my son burst into tears and asked me, "Did I do it wrong? Is God mad at me?"
As I held him and assured him that he had done a terrific job and God was certainly not mad at him, an elderly gentleman approached the table. He winked at my son and said, "I happen to know that God thought that was a great prayer." "Really?" my son asked. "Cross my heart." Then in theatrical whisper he added (indicating the woman whose remark had started this whole thing), "Too bad she never asks God for ice cream. A little ice cream is good for the soul sometimes."
Naturally, I bought my kids ice cream at the end of the meal. My son stared at his for a moment and then did something I will remember the rest of my life. He picked up his sundae and without a word walked over and placed it in front of the woman. With a big smile he told her, "Here, this is for you. Ice cream is good for the soul sometimes and my soul is good already." -Author Unknown
Have you ever watched kids on a merry-go-round,
or listened to rain slapping the ground?
Ever followed a butterfly's erratic flight,
or gazed at the sun fading into the night?
You better slow down, don't dance so fast,
time is short, the music won't last.
Do you run through each day on the fly,
When you ask "How are you?" do you hear the reply?
When the day is done, do you lie in your bed,
with the next hundred chores running through your head?
You better slow down, don't dance so fast, time is short,
the music won't last.
Ever told your child, we'll do it tomorrow,
and in your haste not see his sorrow?
Ever lost touch, let a good friendship die,
'cause you never had time to call and say "hi"?
You better slow down, don't dance so fast,
time is short, the music won't last.
When you run so fast to get somewhere,
you miss half the fun of getting there.
When you worry and hurry through your day,
it's like an unopened gift thrown away.
Life is not a race, so take it slower,
hear the music before the song is over.
As children bring their broken toys
With tears for us to mend,
I brought my broken dreams to God
Because He was my friend.
But instead of leaving Him
In peace to work alone,
I hung around and tried to help
With ways that were my own.
At last I snatched them back and cried
"How can You be so slow!"
"My child," He said,
"What could I do? You never let them go."
The day before Thanksgiving I was down to my last delivery. I was tired, feeling distinctly un-Thanksgivingish. I groaned when I saw the address. It was 40 miles away via a narrow, curving canyon road. Why did I get "stuck" with this visit?
The form from social services said the family had no telephone, so I struck out, trying to follow sketchy directions. A local pointed me to a small, neat house. When I knocked, two women and a 12-year-old girl all came to the door. They appeared to be grieving - and certainly were not expecting a guest.
I introduced myself. "Did someone from social services get in touch with you?" I asked. When they said, "No," I explained what I was doing, "Would you be able to use a container of food donated by our hospital employees?"
The sisters embraced and sobbed, nodding their assent. I eyed the bare kitchen, remembering leftover groceries in my van. I hauled in a dozen bags of food. Eventually the women explained that their father had died the week before. He was their sole breadwinner, Now, they didn't know how they would survive. "How did you know to knock on our door?" they exclaimed, "The only food we have is two TV dinners we're saving for Thanksgiving Day. And now - this!" - Chaplain Ron Hyrchuk
Joan was in her dorm room eating an O'Henry bar, listening to the radio and having her quiet time. All at once the Lord spoke to her, out of respect she stopped chewing and turned the radio down, (a little).
"Joan", said God, "I want you to arise and go across the hall to Mininiver, the girl who lives in room 207, and I want you to be her friend."
Well, Joan giggled, then she laughed so hard that her fish-shaped earrings and cross necklace shook. "Come on God" she said, "don't kid me, I'm a busy person and you know perfectly well that I've got to study hard so I can go be a missionary for you at upper Tarsustand", she chuckled again.
"I'm not kidding," said God, not sounding terribly amused.
Joan closed her Bible, (five versions not counting the paraphrase) and frowned at the ceiling. "Lord," she said, "It's simply out of the question! Mininiver is the girl they call the whale and she must weigh three hundred pounds! If I were seen with her I'd be a social outcast!" She tossed her candy wrapper in the garbage, and that would just ruin my witness!!"
There was silence and Joan looked up at the ceiling again but just saw the light fixture and to her surprise God did not speak to her again. In fact, she did not hear a word from Him, not even a postcard for the next six months. Not that she worried about it too much because, you see, she was busy these days and before she knew it, she was ready to fly away to upper Tarsustand. So, she packed her suitcase full of missionary stuff and boarded a plane to a far away land.
But the Lord sent three skyjackers upon her flight and half way across the Atlantic Ocean they pulled out their guns and hand grenades and everyone was so afraid. Everyone, that is, EXCEPT Joan. She was sound asleep in her seat next to a nervous hardware salesman from Trenton, New Jersey. "WAKE UP!!", cried the salesman, shaking Joan. "How can you sleep through this? We're being skyjacked!"
Joan opened her eyes, "What, what?" She mumbled.
"I noticed you wear a cross", the salesman said frenetically. "Maybe if you pray, we'll get out of this mess!"
Joan brightened, "I'm glad you suggested that", she said whipping out her New Testament. "Let me witness to you", and she proceeded to read thirty-four verses to the hardware salesman, as well as the Lady Senator, two Army Generals, a Baseball player, and several ministers and before long she had read her verses to nearly everyone on the plane.
Suddenly, one of the skyjackers burst into the cabin, "All right," he yells, "I want one hostage to keep with us and we're going to let the rest of you go!" The passengers cheered and jointly pointed to Joan, "Take her, take her!!" they cried in unison and a sigh of relief echoed up and down the aisles as she was led away. And so the plane landed and the passengers were set free. But Joan was tied up in the cargo hold and Joan was in the belly of that plane for three days and three nights.
Then Joan prayed to the Lord in the belly of the plane, saying, "Okay God, I get the picture. IF you get me out of here, I'll go back and I'll witness to the whale, I mean I"ll witness to Min."
"HOLD IT!" said God. "Who said anything about witnessing? I said to be her friend!"
"Gotcha!" Exclaimed Joan, and the Lord spoke to the skyjackers and they kicked Joan out upon the landing strip. So Joan returned to her dorm room and in a few months she was Mininiver's friend. It took a lot of work but low and behold after almost a year, Joan introduced Min to her friend God and the thee of them became better friends than ever before!
And one day the word of the Lord came to Joan a second time saying, "Joan, Arise!"
"Oh no!" , said Joan, "where to this time?"
And God said, "Why to upper Tarsustand of course!" -Author Unknown
When Tony Campolo was in Chattanooga last week to speak at the annual "Gathering of Men" breakfast, the noted sociologist told a story that begs to be repeated, especially on this day. It seems that there was a lady named Jean Thompson and when she stood in front of her fifth-grade class on the very first day of school in the fall, she told the children a lie. Like most teachers, she looked at her pupils and said that she loved them all the same, that she would treat them all alike. And that was impossible because there in front of her, slumped in his seat on the third row, was a boy named Teddy Stoddard. Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed he didn't play well with the other children, that his clothes were unkept and that he constantly needed a bath. Add to it the fact Teddy was unpleasant.
It got to the point during the first few months that she would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold 'X's and then marking the 'F' at the top of the paper biggest of all.
Because Teddy was a sullen little boy, nobody else seemed to enjoy him, either. Now at the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child's records and because of things, put Teddy's off until the last. But, when she opened his file, she was in for a surprise.
His first-grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is a bright, inquisitive child with a ready laugh. He does work neatly and has good manners...he is a joy to be around."
His second-grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is an excellent student and is well-liked by his classmates -- but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle."
His third-grade teacher wrote, "Teddy continues to work hard but his mother's death has been hard on him. He tries to do his best but his father doesn't show much interest and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren't taken."
Teddy's fourth-grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is withdrawn and doesn't show much interest in school. He doesn't have many friends and sometimes sleeps in class. He is tardy and could become a problem."
By now Mrs. Thompson realized the problem but Christmas was coming fast. It was all she could do, with the school play and all, until the day before the holidays began and she was suddenly forced to focus on Teddy Stoddard on that last day before the vacation would begin. Her children brought her presents, all in gay ribbon and bright paper, except for Teddy's, which was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper of a scissored grocery bag.
Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents and some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet, with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one-quarter full of cologne. She stifled the laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and she dabbed some of the perfume behind the other wrist.
At the end of the day, as the other children joyously raced from the room, Teddy Stoddard stayed behind, just long enough to say, "Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my mom used to." As soon as Teddy left, Mrs. Thompson knelt at her desk and there, after the last day of school before Christmas, she cried for at least an hour. On that very day, she quit teaching reading and writing and speaking. Instead, she began to teach children. And Jean Thompson paid particular attention to one they all called "Teddy".
As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded and, on days that there would be an important test, Mrs. Thompson would remember that cologne. By the end of the year he had become one of the smartest children in the class and...well, he had also become the "pet" of the teacher who had once vowed to love all of her children exactly the same.
A year later she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that of all the teachers he'd had in elementary school, she was his favorite.
Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. And then he wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still his favorite teacher of all time.
Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, that he'd stayed in school, had stuck with it, and would graduate from college with the highest of honors. He assured Mrs.Thompson she was still his favorite teacher.
Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor's degree, he decided to go a little further. The letter explained that she was still his favorite teacher but that now his name was a little longer. And the letter was signed, "Theodore F. Stoddard, M.D."
The story doesn't end there. You see, there was yet another letter that Spring. Teddy said that...well, that he'd met this girl and was to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering...well, if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit in the pew usually reserved for the mother of the groom.
You'll have to decide yourself whether or not she wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing. But, I bet on that special day, Jean Thompson smelled just like... well, just like she smelled many years before on the last day of school before the Christmas Holidays began.