You make the choice. Don't look for a punch line; there isn't one. Read it anyway.
My question to all of you is: Would you have made the same choice?
At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves learning disabled children, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended.
After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question.
"When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does is done with perfection. Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the natural order of things in my son?"
The audience was stilled by the query.
The father continued. "I believe, that when a child like Shay comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes, in the way other people treat that child."
Then he told the following story: Shay and his father had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball.
Shay asked, "Do you think they'll let me play?"
Shay's father knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but the father also understood that if his son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging. Shay's father approached one of the boys on the field and asked if Shay could play.
The boy looked around for guidance and, getting none, he took matters into his own hands and said, "We're losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning."
In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three.
In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the outfield.
Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as his father waved to him from the stands.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay's team scored again. Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base, and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat.
At this juncture, let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game?
Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible 'cause Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball.
However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least be able to make contact.
The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay.
As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher.
The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game.
Instead, the pitcher took the ball and turned and threw the ball on a high arc to right field, far beyond the reach of the first baseman.
Everyone started yelling, "Shay, run to first! Run to first!"
Never in his life had Shay ever made it to first base. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled.
Everyone yelled, "Run to second, run to second!"
By the time Shay rounded first base, the right fielder had the ball.
He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher's intentions and intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman's head.
Shay ran toward second base as the runners ahead of him deliriously circled the bases toward home.
Shay reached second base, the opposing shortstop ran to him, turned him in the direction of third base, and shouted, "Run to third!"
As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams were screaming, "Shay, run home!"
Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the "grand slam" and won the game for his team.
"That day," said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, "the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world."
AND, NOW A LITTLE FOOTNOTE TO THIS STORY: We all send thousands of jokes through the e-mail without a second thought, but when it comes to sending messages about life choices, people think twice about sharing.
The crude, vulgar, and often obscene pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion about decency is too often suppressed in our schools and workplaces.
If you're thinking about forwarding this message, chances are that you're probably sorting out the people on your address list that aren't the "appropriate" ones to receive this type of message.
Well, the person who sent you this believes that we all can make a difference. We all have thousands of opportunities every single day to help realize the "natural order of things."
So many seemingly trivial interactions between two people present us with a choice:
Do we pass along a little spark of love and humanity or do we pass up that opportunity, and leave the world a little bit colder in the process?
You now have two choices:
1. Delete this.
2. Forward it to the people you care about.
You already know the choice I opted for.
Friends are quiet angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
You make the choice. Don't look for a punch line; there isn't one. Read it anyway.
Friday, November 11, 2005
After reading these 9 crucial tips, forward them to someone you care about. It never hurts to be careful in this crazy world we live in.
1. Tip from Tae Kwon Do: The elbow is the strongest point on your body. If you are close enough to use it, do!
2. Learned this from a tourist guide in New Orleans. If a robber asks for your wallet and/or purse, DO NOT HAND IT TO HIM. Toss it away from you....chances are that he is more interested in your wallet and/or purse than you, and he will go for the wallet/purse. RUN LIKE MAD IN THE OTHER DIRECTION!
3. If you are ever thrown into the trunk of a car, kick out the back tail lights and stick your arm out the hole and start waving like crazy. The driver won't see you, but everybody else will. This has saved lives.
4. People have a tendency to get into their cars after shopping, eating, working, etc., and just sit (doing their checkbook, or making a list, etc. DON'T D O THIS!) The predator will be watching you, and this is the perfect opportunity for him to get in on the passenger side, put a gun to your head, and tell you where to go. AS SOON AS YOU GET INTO YOUR CAR, LOCK THE DOORS AND LEAVE.
a. If someone is in the car with a gun to your head DO NOT DRIVE OFF, repeat: DO NOT DRIVE OFF! Instead gun the engine and speed into anything, wrecking the car. Your Air Bag will save you. If the person is in the back
seat they will get the worst of it. As soon as the car crashes bail out and run. It is better than having them find your body in a remote location.
5. A few notes about getting into your car in a parking lot, or parking garage:
A.) Be aware: look around you, look into your car, at the passenger side floor, and in the back seat.
B.) If you are parked next to a big van, enter your car from the passengerdoor. Most serial killers attack their victims by pulling them into their vans while the women are attempting to get into their cars.
C.) Look at the car parked on the driver's side of your vehicle, and the passenger side. If a male is sitting alone in the seat nearest your
car, you may want to walk back into the mall, or work, and get a guard/policeman to walk you back out. IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY. (And better paranoid than dead.)
6. ALWAYS take the elevator instead of the stairs. (Stairwells are horrible places to be alone and the perfect crime spot. This is especially true at NIGHT!)
7. If the predator has a gun and you are not under his control, ALWAYS RUN! The predator will only hit you (a running target) 4 in 100 times; And even then, it mo st likely WILL NOT be a vital organ. RUN, Preferably in a zig -zag pattern!
8. As women, we are always trying to be sympathetic: STOP. It may get you raped, or killed. Ted Bundy, the serial killer, was a good-looking, well educated man, who ALWAYS played on the sympathies of unsuspecting women.
He walked with a cane, or a limp, and often asked "for help" into his vehicle or with his vehicle, which is when he abducted his next victim.
9. Another Safety Point: Someone just told me that her friend heard a crying baby on her porch the night before last, and she called the police because it was late and she thought it was weird. The police told her "Whatever you do, DO NOT open the door." The lady then said that it sounded like the baby had crawled near a window, and she was worried that it would crawl to the street and get run over. The policeman said, "We already have a unit on the way, whatever you do, DO NOT open the door." He told her that they think a serial killer has a baby's cry recorded and uses it to coax women out of their homes thinking that someone dropped off a baby. He said they have not
verified it, but have had several calls by women saying that they hear baby's cries outside their doors when they're home alone at night.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Anne Rice turns to Jesus
'Vampire Chronicles' author returns to faith, writes new book
Her innovative new novel "Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt" (Knopf) depicts Jesus as a 7-year-old lad, speaking in his own words as the holy family moves from Egyptian exile to Nazareth.
"What did it feel like to be God and man as a child?" Rice asked herself. Oddly, the question carries an echo of her first supernatural thriller three decades ago, which explored a vampire's first-person perspective.
Rice said in a telephone interview that she has no regrets about writing her Gothic novels, which include "Interview with the Vampire," later a movie, and "The Vampire Lestat," theme of an upcoming Elton John musical.
"I see this as a journey," she said. "They were written with complete commitment."
But that's all behind her now, she stressed; her 2003 vampire novel, "Blood Canticle," was her last. Why give it all up?
"I wanted to write only for Jesus Christ," she replied, noting that the current novel is intended as part of a series.
"My hope is to live long enough to finish the life of Christ," the 64-year-old author said. "God is interesting again."
'The desire was tremendous'
Rice's new burst of creativity stems from her return to Roman Catholicism -- though she seems a most unlikely recruit. Leaving aside those past novels (the more erotic ones appeared under pseudonyms), she quit church as a teen and never looked back for decades. Her late husband was a convinced atheist; her son is a gay activist.
But some critics thought her vampires' angst reflected the author's spiritual restlessness.
As Rice describes matters, there was "a yearning, a nostalgia, a grief" toward Catholicism but "I had this idea lodged in my head, I could never go back ... the longing was tremendous. The desire was tremendous."
"I gradually realized I could return, that I believed again."
After years of pondering, the climax occurred in 1998 at her home in New Orleans. Rice asked part-time assistant Amy Troxler, a parochial school religion teacher, to recommend a priest. Troxler immediately took Rice to the Rev. Dennis Hayes of Arabi, Louisiana, who became her spiritual director.
The move wasn't easy because "I was tortured by questions I couldn't resolve." She told Hayes: "I'll do my best on the unresolved questions." Among these are her church's ban on women priests and opposition to gay sex. She's convinced both will vanish eventually.
Though some popular preachers claim faith produces good fortune, Rice has faced serious problems since rejoining the church: the death of her husband, a diabetic coma and burst appendix (both life-threatening), gastric bypass surgery to counter a dangerous weight gain and surgery for an intestinal blockage.
Didn't that shake her newfound faith? "God is as much with the person who drowns in the flood as with the person who's rescued," she asserted. "It has never occurred to me to blame him for anything. Things happen. People are always getting sick and dying."
An "author's note" at the end of the novel tells of Rice's religious turn, years of research and hostility toward liberal academics' doubts about the New Testament. "Absurd conclusions were reached on the basis of little or no data," she complains.
'Maybe people are hungry'
Rice's "Lord" is perhaps the unexpected development at a time when spiritual themes are hot in popular entertainment -- from TV to best-selling novels to Mel Gibson's box-office smash "The Passion of the Christ" to Disney's upcoming film adaptation of C.S. Lewis' Christian allegory "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe."
By coincidence, Rice's book also appears simultaneously with the artful "Jesus: A Novel" (Zondervan) by National Book Award winner Walter Wangerin Jr.
"Maybe this is inevitable after years of popular atheism dominating our culture. Maybe people are hungry," Rice mused.
Rice says her Jesus novel didn't result from commercial calculations but her return to faith. In fact, she expressed anxiety about how her fans, accustomed to darker themes, will react.
"I have received no resistance from believers. The only skeptics about this book are skeptics," she said. Her prose is devoutly awe-struck toward its lead character and orthodox in theology.
There are odd notes, however, as "Lord" opens. Jesus denounces a neighborhood bully who then dies, after which Jesus resurrects him. Also, Jesus' brother recalls how he magically fashioned clay birds that became alive.
The strange tales didn't come from Rice. Rather they originate with the "Infancy Gospel of Thomas," a late apocryphal book the early church rejected. (The bird incident reappears in Islam's Quran.) Bart Ehrman, religion chair at the University of North Carolina, says "nobody takes this seriously as history" but it shows how some ancient Christians speculated about Jesus' childhood.
John Wilson, editor of the evangelical journal Books & Culture, said the conjunction of the Jesus novels by Rice and Wangerin isn't surprising -- writers have continually produced fiction about Jesus. Among them: Sholem Asch, Anthony Burgess, Robert Graves, Nikos Kazantzakis, D. H. Lawrence, Norman Mailer, Jose Saramago and Gore Vidal.
It's a difficult challenge. None of these novels are masterpieces and "often they just seem absurd," Wilson said. "You don't know whether to laugh or to cry, both with the pious variety and the debunkers."
As for Rice, he thinks she simply "had taken this flirtation with evil as far as it would go and returned to the good."
Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Friday, November 04, 2005
Thursday, November 03, 2005
|Your Inner Child Is Scared|
Like a kid, you tend to shy away from new experiences.
You prefer what's tried and true - novelty is scary!
New foods, new places, and new friends are difficult for you to deal with.
Some say you're predictable, but you enjoy being comfortable.
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
A Thousand Marbles
The older I get, the more I enjoy Saturday mornings. Perhaps it's the quiet solitude that comes with being the first to rise, or maybe it's the unbounded joy of not having to be at work. Either way, the first few hours of a Saturday morning are most enjoyable.
A few weeks ago, I was shuffling toward the basement ham-shack with a steaming cup of coffee in one hand and the morning paper in the other. What began as a typical Saturday morning turned into one of those lessons that life seems to hand you from time to ! time. Let me tell you about it. I turned the dial up into the phone portion of the band on my ham radio in order to listen to a Saturday morning swap net.
Along the way, I came across an older sounding chap, with a tremendous signal and a golden voice. You know the kind; he sounded like he should be in the broadcasting business. He was telling whomever he was talking with something about "a thousand marbles." I was intrigued and stopped to listen to what he had to say.
"Well, Tom, it sure sounds like you're busy with your job. I'm sure they pay you well but it's a shame you have to be away from home and your family so much. Hard to believe a young fellow should have to work sixty or seventy hours a week to make ends meet. Too bad you missed your daughter's dance recital" he continued. "Let me tell you something that has helped me keep a good perspective on my own priorities."
And that's when he began to explain his theory of a "thousand marbles."
"You see! , I sat down one day and did a little arithmetic. The average person lives about seventy-five years. I know, some live more and some live less, but on average, folks live about seventy-five years. "Now then, I multiplied 75 times 52 and I came up with 3900, which is the number of Saturdays that the average person has in their entire lifetime. Now, stick with me, Tom, I'm getting to the important part.
It took me until I was fifty-five years old to think about all this in any detail", he went on, "and by that time I had lived through over twenty-eight hundred Saturdays." "I got to thinking that if I lived to be seventy-five, I only had about a thousand of them left to enjoy. So I went to a toy store and bought every single marble they had. I ended up having to visit three toy stores to round up 1000 marbles. I took them home and put them inside a large, clear plastic container right here in the shack next to my gear."
"Every Saturday since then, I have taken one! marble out and thrown it away. I found that by watching the marbles diminish, I focused more on the really important things in life. There is nothing like watching your time here on this earth run out to help get your priorities straight. "Now let me tell you one last thing before I sign-off with you and take my lovely wife out for breakfast. This morning, I took the very last marble out of the container. I figure that if I make it until next Saturday then I have been given a little extra time. And the one thing we can all use is a little more time."
"It was nice to meet you Tom, I hope you spend more time with your family, and I hope to meet you again here on the band. This is a 75 Year old Man, K9NZQ, clear and going QRT, good morning!"
You could have heard a pin drop on the band when this fellow signed off. I guess he gave us all a lot to think about. I had planned to work on the antenna that morning, and then I was going to meet up with a few hams to work! on the next club newsletter. Instead, I went upstairs and woke my wife
up with a kiss.
"C'mon honey, I'm taking you and the kids to breakfast."
"What brought this on?" she asked with a smile.
Oh, nothing special, it's just been a long time since we spent a Saturday together with the kids. And hey, can we stop at a toy store while we're out? I need to buy some marbles... A friend sent this to me, so I to you, my friend.
And so, as one smart bear once said...
"If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day, so I never have to live without you." - Winnie the Pooh.
1. What time did you get up this morning? 7:30
2. Diamonds or pearls? diamonds
3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? In the theater??? I seriously have no clue!!!
4. What are your favorite TV shows? Survivor, Grey's Anatomy, Biggest Loser, Amazing Race
5. What did you have for breakfast? Hot Chocolate
6. What is your middle name? Ellen
7 What is your favorite cuisine? Lobster
8. What foods do you dislike? Mayo, Mustard, Tomatoes, Sour Cream, Cottage Cheese, Guacomole,
9. Your favorite Potato chip? Dorito's
10. What is your favorite CD at the moment? Mark Schultz
11. What kind of car do you drive? 2002 Dodge Grand Caravan Sport
12. Favorite sandwich? Ham and Swiss
13. What characteristics do you despise? Dishonest
14. Favorite item of clothing? Thong Sandals
15. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go? Australia
16. What color is your bathroom? Blue
17. Favorite brand of clothing? Umm no clue!
18. Where would you want to retire to? Where ever my son is!
19. Favorite time of day? Early Morning
20. Where were you born? Nashua, NH
21. Favorite sport to watch? Football
22. What laundry detergent do you use? Tide
23. Coke or Pepsi? Cherry Pepsi
24. Are you a morning person or night owl? Morning
25. What size shoe do you wear? 7 1/2
26. Do you have pets? 1 dog 1 cat
27. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share with everyone? Umm I got a new car
28. What did you want to be when you were little? An Olympic Gymnast
29. Favorite Candy Bar? Snickers
30. What is your best childhood memory? Going to Gymnastics camp with the "team"
31. What are the different jobs you have had in your life? Apartment Manager, Lifeguard, Swimming Instructor, Camp Director, Preschool teacher, Jewlery Sales, Maid,
32. What color underwear are you wearing? Red
33. Nicknames: Sunshine
34. Piercing? My ears
35. Eye color? Blue
36. Ever been to Africa? No
37. Ever been toilet papering? No
38. Love someone so much it made you cry? Yes
39. Been in a car accident? Yes
40. Croutons or bacon bits? Croutons
41. Favorite day of the week? Friday
42. Favorite restaurant? Hmmm none at the moment
43. Favorite flower? Purple Roses
44. Favorite ice cream? Peanut Butter Cup
45. Disney or Warner Bros? Disney
46. Favorite fast food restaurant? Taco Bell
47. What color is your bedroom carpet? brown multi colored
48. How many times did you fail your driver's test? 0
49. Before this one, from whom did you get your last e-mail? Theresa
50. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card? Any Furniture Store
51. What do you do most often when you are bored? Web Surf
52. Bedtime? 10pm
53. Last person(s) you went to dinner with? Alex and Rick
54. What are you listening to right now? The Disney Channel
55. What is your favorite color? Purple
56. How many tattoos do you have? none
57. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Chicken
58. What time did you finish this? 1:22pm