A mix collection of inspirational stories gathered from the internet and personal experiences.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Joke Time: What a Guy!!!!

When everybody on earth was dead and waiting to enter Paradise, God appeared and said, "I want the men to make two lines. One line for the men who were true heads of their household, and the other line for the men who were dominated by their women. I want all the women to report to St Peter."

Soon, the women were gone and there were two lines of men. The line of the men who were dominated by their wives was 100 miles long, and in the line of men who truly were heads of their household, there was only one man.

God said, "You men should be ashamed of yourselves. I created you to be the head of your household! You have been disobedient and not fulfilled your purpose! Of all of you, only one obeyed. Learn from him.

God turned to the one man, "How did you manage to be the only one in this line?"

The man replied, "I don't know. My wife told me to stand here."

From a forwarded e-mail

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Little Grape Stem

Once upon a time there was a little grape stem. This stem was so glad to be alive... She drank water and minerals from the soil and grew and grew. She was young and strong and could manage quite well... all by Herself -- or so she thought.

But then, the wind was cruel, the rain was harsh, the snow was not one bit understanding, and the little grape stem suffered. She drooped, weak and suffering.

It would be so easy to stop trying to grow, to stop trying to live. The grape stem became weak! The winter was long, and the stem was weary.

But then the little grape stem heard a voice. It was another grape stem calling out to her... "Here, reach out... hang on to me." But the stem hesitated. "What would this mean?" she thought, for you see, the little stem had always managed quite well... all by herself.

But then, every so cautiously, she reached out towards the other grape stem. "See, I can help you" it said. "Just wind your tendrils about me and I will help you lift your head." And the little stem trusted... and suddenly she could stand straight again.

The wind came, and the rain, and the snow, but when it came, the grape stem was clinging to many other stems. And although the stems were swayed by the wind, frozen by the snow, they stood strongly united to each other. And in their group supporting strength they could all smile and grow.

Then, one day the little stem looked down and saw a tiny stem, swaying, frightened. And 'our' grape stem said, "Here, hang on... I will help you." And the other little stem reached up to 'our' grape stem, and together all the stems grew... leaves budded... flowers bloomed... and finally, grapes formed... and all the grapes fed many.

From a forwarded mail

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Author unknown

I grew up in the 40s/50s with practical parents. A mother, God love her, who washed aluminum foil after She cooked in it, then reused it. She was the original recycle queen, before they had a Name for it... A father who was happier getting old shoes fixed than buying new ones.

Their marriage was good, their dreams focused. Their best friends lived barely a wave away. I can see them now, Dad in trousers, tee shirt and a hat and Mom in a house dress, lawn mower in one hand, dishtowel in the other. It was the time for fixing things. A curtain rod, the kitchen radio, screen door, the oven door, the hem in a dress. Things we keep.

It was a way of life, and sometimes it made me crazy. All that re-fixing, eating, renewing, I wanted just once to be wasteful. Waste meant affluence. Throwing things away meant you knew there'd always be more.

But then my mother died, and on that clear summer's night, in the warmth of the hospital room, I was struck with the pain of learning that sometimes there isn't any more.

Sometimes, what we care about most gets all used up and goes away...never to return. So...while we have it...it's best we love it.....and care for it... and fix it when it's broken.....and heal it when it's sick.

This is true. for marriage.....and old cars.....and children with bad report cards.....and dogs with bad hips.....and aging parents.....and grandparents. We keep them because they are worth it, because we are worth it. Some things we keep. Like a best friend that moved away, or a classmate we grew up with.

There are just some things that make life important, like people we know who are special.....and so, we keep them close!

I received this from someone who thinks I am a 'keeper,' so I've sent it to the people I think of in the same way. Now it's your turn to send this to those people that are "keepers" in your life.

Good friends are like stars....You don't always see them, but you Know they are always there.

Keep them close!


1...God won't ask what kind of car you drove. He'll ask how many people you drove who didn't have transportation.

2...God won't ask the square footage of your house, He'll ask how many people you welcomed into your home.

3...God won't ask about the clothes you had in your closet, He'll ask how many you helped to clothe

4...God won't ask what your highest salary was. He'll ask if you compromised your character to obtain it.

5...God won't ask what your job title was. He'll ask if you performed your job to the best of your ability.

6...God won't ask how many friends you had. He'll ask how many people to whom you were a friend.

7...God won't ask in what neighborhood you lived, He'll ask how you treated your neighbors.

8...God won't ask about the color of your skin, He'll ask about the content of your character.

9...God won't ask why it took you so long to seek Salvation. He'll lovingly take you to your mansion in heaven, and not to the gates of Hell.

10...God won't have to ask how many people you forwarded this to, He already knows whether or not you are ashamed to share this information with your friends


From a forwarded e-mail

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Friday, February 22, 2008

A Message shared to a Friend

His name was Fleming, and he was a poor Scottish farmer. One day, while trying to make a living for his family, he heard a cry for help coming from a nearby bog. He dropped his tools and ran to the bog.

There, mired to his waist in black muck, was a terrified boy, screaming and struggling to free himself. Farmer Fleming saved the lad from what could have been a slow and terrifying death.

The next day, a fancy carriage pulled up to the Scotsman's sparse surroundings An elegantly dressed nobleman stepped out and introduced himself as the father of the boy Farmer Fleming had saved.

'I want to repay you,' said the nobleman. 'You saved my son's life.'

'No, I can't accept payment for what I did,' the Scottish farmer replied waving off the offer. At that moment, the farmer's own son came to the door of the family hovel.

'Is that your son?' the nobleman asked.

'Yes,' the farmer replied proudly.

'I'll make you a deal. Let me provide him with the level of education my own son will enjoy. If the lad is anything like his father, he'll no doubt grow to be a man we both will be proud of.' And that he did.

Farmer Fleming's son attended the very best schools and in time, graduated from St. Mary's Hospital Medical School in London, and went on to become known throughout the world as the noted Sir Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of Penicillin.

Years afterward, the same nobleman's son who was saved from the bog was stricken with pneumonia.

What saved his life this time? Penicillin.

The name of the nobleman? Lord Randolph Churchill. His son's name?

Sir Winston Churchill.

Someone once said: What goes around comes around.

Work like you don't need the money.

Love like you've never been hurt.

Dance like nobody's watching.

Sing like nobody's listening.

Live like it's Heaven on Earth.

From a forwarded e-mail

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Sands of Forgiveness

by Author Unknown

A story tells that 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:


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:


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 other 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."


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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Strange 'Bible' Stories


The Sunday school teacher was carefully explaining the story of Elijah the Prophet and the false prophets of Baal. She explained how Elijah built the altar, put wood upon it, cut the steer in pieces, and laid it upon the altar. And then, Elijah commanded the people of God to fill four barrels of water and pour it over the altar. He had them do this four times 'Now, said the teacher, 'can anyone in the class tell me why the Lord would have Elijah pour water over the steer on the altar?' A little girl in the back of the room started waving her hand, 'I know! I know!' she said, 'To make the gravy!'


The Sunday School teacher was describing how Lot's wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt, when little Jason interrupted, 'My Mummy looked back once, while she was driving,' he announced triumphantly, 'and she turned into a telephone pole!'


A Sunday school teacher was telling her class the story of the Good Samaritan, in which a man was beaten, robbed and left for dead. She described the situation in vivid detail so her students would catch the drama. Then, she asked the class, 'If you saw a person lying on the roadside, all wounded and bleeding, what would you do?' A thoughtful little girl broke the hushed silence, 'I think I'd throw up.'


A Sunday school teacher asked, 'Johnny, do you think Noah did a lot of fishing when he was on the Ark ?'
'No,' replied David. 'How could he, with just two worms?'


A Sunday school teacher said to her children, ' We have been learning how powerful kings and queens were in Bible times. But, there is a higher power. Can anybody tell me what it is?' One child blurted out, 'Aces!'


Nine-year-old Joey, was asked by his mother what he had learned in Sunday school. 'Well, Mom, our teacher told us how God sent Moses behind enemy lines on a rescue mission to lead the Israelites out of Egypt When he got to the Red Sea , he had his army build a pontoon bridge and all the people walked across safely. Then, he radioed headquarters for reinforcements. They sent bombers to blow up the bridge and all the Israelites were saved.' 'Now, Joey, is that really what your teacher taught you?' his mother asked. 'Well, no, Mom. But, if I told it the way the teacher did, you'd never believe it!'


A Sunday School teacher decided to have her young class memorize one of the most quoted passages in the Bible; Psalm 23. She gave the youngsters a month to learn the verse. Little Rick was excited about the task -- but, he just couldn't remember the Psalm. After much practice, he could barely get past the first line. On the day that the kids were scheduled to recite Psalm 23 in front of the congregation, Ricky was so nervous.

When it was his turn, he stepped up to the microphone and said proudly, 'The Lord is my Shepherd, and that's all I need to know.'

Church Smiles

There was a very gracious lady who was mailing an old family Bible to her brother in another part of the country. 'Is there anything breakable in here?'asked the postal clerk.
'Only the Ten Commandments,' answered the lady.

While driving in Pennsylvania , a family caught up to an Amish carriage. The owner of the carriage obviously had a sense of humor, because attached to the back of the carriage was a hand printed sign...
'Energy efficient vehicle: Runs on oats and grass.

Caution: Do not step in exhaust.''

Sunday after church, a Mom asked her very young daughter what the lesson was about. The daughter answered, 'Don't be scared, you'll get your quilt.' Needless to say, the Mom was perplexed. Later in the day, the pastor stopped by for tea and the Mom asked him what that morning's Sunday school lesson was about. He said 'Be not afraid, thy comforter is coming.'

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

One Paragraph Says It All

Arthur Ashe, the legendary Wimbledon player was dying of AIDS which he got due to infected blood he received during a heart surgery in 1983.

From world over, he received letters from his fans, one of which conveyed: "Why does GOD have to select you for such a bad disease"?

To this Arthur Ashe replied:

" The world over -- 50 million children start playing tennis, 5 million learn to play tennis,

500,000 learn professional tennis, 50,000 come to the circuit, 5000 reach the grand slam,

50 reach Wimbledon, 4 to semi final, 2 to the finals,

when I was holding a cup I never asked GOD 'Why me?'.

And today in pain I should not be asking GOD 'Why me?' "

Happiness keeps you Sweet,

Trials keep you Strong,

Sorrow keeps you Human,

Failure keeps you humble and Success keeps you glowing,
but only Faith & Attitude keeps you going....

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Monday, February 18, 2008

An interesting reflection: Slow Down Culture

It's been 18 years since I joined Volvo, a Swedish company. Working for them has proven to be an interesting experience. Any project here takes 2 years to be finalized, even if the idea is simple and brilliant. It's a rule.

Globalized processes have caused in us (all over the world) a general sense of searching for immediate results. Therefore, we have come to possess a need to see immediate results. This contrasts greatly with the slow movements of the Swedish. They, on the other hand, debate, debate, debate, hold x quantity of meetings and work with a slowdown scheme. At the end, this always yields better results.

Said in another words:
1. Sweden is about the size of San Pablo, a state in Brazil.
2. Sweden has 9 million inhabitants.
3. Stockholm has 500,000 people.
4. Volvo, Escania, Ericsson, Electrolux, Nokia are some of its owned companies. Volvo supplies the NASA.

The first time I was in Sweden, one of my colleagues picked me up at the hotel every morning. It was September, bit cold and snowy. We would arrive early at the company and he would park far away from the entrance (2000 employees drive their car to work). The first day, I didn't say anything, either on the second or third. One morning I asked, "Do you have a fixed parking space? I've noticed we park far from the entrance even when there are no other cars in the lot." To which he replied, "Since we're here early we'll have time to walk, and whoever gets in late will be late and need a place closer to the door, don't you think? Imagine my face.

Nowadays, there's a movement in Europe name Slow Food. This movement establishes that people should eat and drink slowly, with enough time to taste their food, spend time with the family, friends, without rushing. Slow Food! is against its counterpart: the spirit of Fast Food and what it stands for as a lifestyle. Slow Food is the basis for a bigger movement called Slow Europe, as mentioned by Business Week.

Basically, the movement questions the sense of "hurry" and "craziness" generated by globalization, fueled by the desire of "having in quantity" (life status) versus "having with quality", "life quality" or the "quality of being". French people, even though they work 35 hours per week, are more productive than Americans or British. Germans have established 28.8 hour workweeks and have seen their productivity driven up by 20%. This slow attitude has brought forth the US's attention, pupils of the fast and the "do it now!"

This no-rush attitude doesn't represent doing less or having a lower productivity. It means working and doing things with greater quality, productivity, perfection, with attention to detail and less stress. It means reestablishing family values, friends, free and leisure time. Taking the "now", present and concrete, versus the "global", undefined and anonymous. It means taking humans' essential values, the simplicity of living.

It stands for a less coercive work environment, more happy, lighter and more productive where humans enjoy doing what they know best how to do. It's time to stop and think on how companies need to develop serious quality with no-rush that will increase productivity and the quality of products and services, without losing the essence of spirit.

In the movie, Scent of a Woman, there's a scene where Al Pacino asks a girl to dance and she replies, "I can't, my boyfriend will be here any minute now". To which Al responds, "A life is lived in an instant". Then they dance to a tango.

Many of us live our lives running behind time, but we only reach it when we die of a heart attack or in a car accident rushing to be on time. Others are so anxious of living the future that they forget to live the present, which is the only time that truly exists. We all have equal time throughout the world. No one has more or less. The difference lies in how each one of us does with our time. We need to live each moment. As John Lennon said, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans".

Congratulations for reading till the end of this message. There are many who will have stopped in the middle so as not to waste time in this globalized world.

From a forwarded email

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Friday, February 15, 2008

Read Each One Carefully and Think About It a Second or Two

1. I love you not because of who you are, but because of who I
am when I am with you..

2. No man or woman is worth your tears, and the one who is,
won't make you cry.

3. Just because someone doesn't love you the way you want them
to, doesn't mean they don't love you with all they have.

4.. A true friend is someone who reaches for your hand and
touches your heart.

5. The worst way to miss someone is to be sitting right beside
them knowing you can't have them.

6. Never frown, even when you are sad, because you never know
who is falling in love with your smile.

7. To the world you may be one person, but to one person you
may be the world.

8. Don't waste your time on a man/woman, who isn't willing to
waste their time on you.

9. Maybe God wants us to meet a few wrong people before meeting
the right one, so that when we finally meet theperson, we will
know how to be grateful.

10. Don't cry because it is over, smile because it happened.

11. There's always going to be people that hurt you so what you
have to do is keep on trusting and just be more careful about
who you trust next time around.

12. Make yourself a better person and know who you are before
you try and know someone else and expect them to know you.

13. Don't try so hard, the best things come when you least
expect them to.


From a forwarded email

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Thursday, February 14, 2008


by Roy Croft

I love you not only for what you are,
but for what I am when I am with you.
I love you not only for what you have made
of yourself, but for what you are making of me.
I love you for the part of me that you bring out
I love you for putting your hand
into my heaped up heart and for passing over
all of the foolish things you can't
help dimly seeing there,
and for drawing out into the light
all of the beautiful belongings
that no one else has looked quite
far enough to find.
I love you because you have
done more than any creed
could have done to make me good
and more than any fate could
have done to make me happy.
You have done it without a touch,
without a word, without a sign.
You have done it by being yourself -
Perhaps that is what being a friend means, after all.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

"Red Rover, Red Rover...!"

(are you linking arms?)

By Carrie Wilkerson

In my business...myjob -- I work primarily with women. As a matter of fact, my husband is the only "non-chic" on staff or in the client base. (lucky guy :) And while I love working at home and being "in charge" of my income and my schedule (scary as that seems) - it can sometimes be lonesome and overwhelming!

It took me awhile to realize that I did not have to be in business BY myself! I could join forces with other women and make some great friends(men and women) that were like-minded!

(Don't tell anyone...but I'm even very close friends with many women who are in direct competition with my company.) GASP!!!

And...hang onto your chair -- I will also admit that I even MENTOR many of them in business so that they will be more successful! (EEK!)

I have even had gals work FOR me that then left my company to start something similar and I helped them get started.

WHY? Why would I do such a thing? That is SOOOOO un-business-like!

Well...what I have found is that we are stronger and more powerful when we hold onto each other. Have you ever heard that "two heads are better than one?"

And what about Mary Kay Ash's famous philosophy that "if you have an idea and I have an idea - then we EACH have JUST ONE idea...but if you share your idea with me and I do the same...we EACH have TWO ideas!"

Brilliant! And in a spiritual sphere, I've also heard it said that each of us are angels with just one wing...and we can only fly by embracing one another...)

This reminds me of the playground game from elementary school...the game where you have two lines facing each other and someone from the "other" team tries to break through your team's line.

RED ROVER -- remember that one??

You can stand beside each other, not touching...you can hold hands or you can link arms with each other. Which do you think makes the strongest bond?

You're right! Linking arms makes us a powerful force...personally and professionally!

Look around you today - who can you link arms with?

Maybe it's time you linked arms with your spouse and kids for a stronger family!

Maybe you should link arms with your co-workers?

What about other members of your congregation or neighborhood?

What about other men and women in business or building a business!

I know you will be thrilled with the results when you begin proactively "linking arms" this week!

Be Beautiful! Be Positive! Be Blessed! Carrie Wilkerson is an author, International speaker and The Barefoot Executive! (www.theBossMovie.com ) She is a wife, mother and business woman and enjoys singing with a group of friends in her spare time.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Robby's Night

True Story -- Worth Reading !!!

At the prodding of my friends, I am writing this story. My name is Mildred Hondorf. 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 beginning 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 upcoming 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 Hondorf 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 C 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 Hondorf . .. .. 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, 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. And now, a footnote to the story.

From a forwarded mail

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Beautiful Explanation of Death

A sick man turned to his doctor as he was preparing to
leave the examination room and said,

"Doctor, I am afraid to die.

Tell me what lies on the other side."

Very quietly, the doctor said, "I don't know."

"You don't know? You, a Christian man,

Do not know what is on the other side?"

The doctor was holding the handle of the door;

On the other side came a sound of scratching and whining,

And as he opened the door, a dog sprang into the room

And leaped on him with an eager show of gladness.

Turning to the patient, the doctor said,

"Did you notice my dog?

He's never been in this room before.

He didn't know what was inside.

He knew nothing except that his master was here,

And when the door opened, he sprang in without fear.

I know little of what is on the other side of death,

But I do know one thing...

I know my Master is there and that is enough."

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Friday, February 8, 2008


by Erma Bombeck
(Written after she found out she was dying from cancer)

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for the day.

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.
I would have talked less and listened more.
I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained, or the sofa faded.
I would have eaten the popcorn in the 'good' living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.
I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.
I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have sat on the lawn! With my grass stains!!
I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more while watching life.
I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn't show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I'd have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, 'Later. Now go get washed up for dinner' There would have been more 'I love you's'; more 'I'm sorry's.'

But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute...look at it and really see it. Live it and never give it back.

Don't worry about who doesn't like you, who has more, or who's doing what! Instead let's cherish the relationships we have with those who do love us.

Let's think about what God HAS blessed us with, and what we are doing each day to promote ourselves mentally, physically, and emotionally. I hope you have a blessed day.

From a forwarded email

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Thursday, February 7, 2008



I never gave it a thought. Who would have?

Have you ever noticed girls who sit their handbags on public toilet floors - then go directly to their dining tables and set it on the table? Happens a lot! It's not always the restaurant food that causes stomach distress.

Sometimes what you don't know will hurt you!

Read on... A mother got so upset when guests came in the door and plopped their handbags down on the counter where she was cooking or setting up food. She always said that handbags are really dirty because of where they have been. Smart Mom!!!

It's something just about every woman carries with them. While we may know what's inside our handbags, do you have any idea what's on the outside?

Shauna Lake puts handbags to the test for bacteria - with surprising results. You may think twice about where you put your handbag.

Women carry handbags everywhere; from the office to public toilets to the floor of the car. Most women won't be caught without their handbags, but did you ever stop to think about where your handbag goes during the day?

"I drive a school bus, so my handbag has been on the floor of the bus a lot;" "on the floor of my car and in toilets." says one woman. "I put my handbag in grocery shopping carts, on the floor of the toilet while changing a nappy," says another woman" and of course in my home which should be clean."

We decided to find out if handbags harbor a lot of bacteria. We learned how to test them at Nelson Laboratories in Salt Lake and then we set out to test the average woman's handbag. Most women told us they didn't stop to think about what was on the bottom of their handbag. Most said that at home, they usually set their handbags on top of kitchen tables and counters where food is prepared. Most of the ladies we talked to told us they wouldn't be surprised if their handbags were at least a little bit dirty. It turns out that handbags are so surprisingly dirty; even the microbiologist who tested them was shocked. Microbiologist, Amy Karen of Nelson Labs says nearly all of the handbags tested were not only high in bacteria, but high in harmful kinds of bacteria. Pseudomonas can cause eye infections, staphylococcus aurous can cause serious skin infections and salmonella and e.coli found on the handbags could make people very sick.

In one sampling, four of five handbags tested positive for salmonella and that's not the worst of it. "There is fecal contamination on the handbags," says Amy. Leather or vinyl handbags tended to be cleaner than cloth handbags and lifestyle seemed to play a role. People with kids tended to have dirtier handbags than those without, with one exception. The handbag of one single woman who frequented nightclubs had one of the worst contaminations of all. "Some type of feces or possibly vomit" says Amy. So the moral of this story - your handbag won't kill you, but it does have the potential to make you very sick if you keep it on places where you eat.

Use hooks to hang your handbag at home and in toilets and don't put it on your desk, a restaurant table or on your kitchen counter top. Experts say you should think of your handbag the same way you would a pair of shoes. "If you think about putting a pair of shoes onto your counter tops, that's the same thing you're doing when you put your handbag on the counter tops" - your handbag has gone where individuals before you have sneezed, coughed, spat, urinated, emptied bowels, etc! Do you really want to bring that home with you?

The microbiologists at Nelson also said, cleaning a handbag will help. Wash cloth handbags and use leather cleaner to clean the bottom of leather handbags.

From a Forwarded Mail

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Friday, February 1, 2008


by Barbara Elliott Carpenter

Of all the negative emotions we can experience, fear may be the most paralyzing. It can cause us to hesitate when action is imperative, or it can make us react too quickly in a situation that needs careful consideration. Fear of the unknown may keep us from something truly wonderful. On the other hand, fear of letting something "too good to be true" slip away can be disastrous.

For seven years, I postponed a surgical procedure that had the potential to make my life five hundred percent better than it was. I lived in constant, often excruciating, pain. General anesthesia had come close to ending my life three times. The alternative, a spinal block, scared me to death!

When the pain I felt daily was worse than my fear of death, I decided that it was time to at least talk to a surgeon about a knee replacement. I took my courage in both hands and went to see the doctor recommended by several of my friends, both men and women, who were all ecstatic with their new joints.

Only after the drop-dead-gorgeous surgeon had explained the procedure to me did I mention my problem with general anesthesia. "We'll do a spinal block," the six-foot-seven, blond-turning-to-silver Dr. Adonis told me. I blinked several times and swallowed hard before I replied.

"Uh.isn't that painful?" I asked. The doctor leaned back in his swivel chair and smiled.

"Some say it's no worse than a bee sting," he said. "Others seem to have more of a problem with it. It's really not bad. We'll keep you lightly sedated during the whole surgical procedure, and you will be fine."

I blinked some more. It was on the tip of my tongue to ask how many spinals he had received in his lifetime. Before I could retort, he continued.

"When would you like to schedule the knee replacement?" Since it was mid-October, January seemed far enough away to give me pondering time, just in case I needed to re-think the situation.

"Maybe mid-January?" I asked.

"Fine. How about January seventeenth?" I swallowed hard again and agreed.

January came awfully fast. No matter how many people I talked to about the spinal block, I couldn't get a positive consensus that there would be little pain. It was the part of the whole procedure that I dreaded the most. Just the thought of baring my vulnerable backbone to a needle of monstrous size (according to several witnesses) gave me cold chills. I took the most sensible approach: I stuck my head in the sand (snow is more appropriate) and tried not to think about it, which was a miserable failure.

At six a.m. on the morning of January seventeenth, 2006, I allowed a blue-swathed nurse to wheel me into the pre-op cubicle. Another lady in blue proceeded to paint and scrub my entire right leg with a sudsy iodine-y substance, which she did for several minutes.

"Does a spinal block really hurt?" I blurted out my fear. The woman nodded.

"It can," she said, "but usually no more than a hornet's sting." A hornet's sting? I remembered how badly honeybee and bumblebee stings hurt when I was a child. I considered hobbling away from the gurney, but I had already come this far. I couldn't let my children and grandchildren think that I was a total wimp.

After two failed attempts to puncture a vein my left hand, the anesthetist attacked my right. He finally found a vein, but his finesse was less than wonderful. I frowned. "I bet that spinal is going to hurt a lot worse, isn't it?" I asked.

"It might," he replied. I was not reassured.

After what seemed like a very short time, someone said, "Let's get this show on the road." I knew a moment of total, absolute terror.

"Don't I need a spinal?" I asked. General laughter greeted my remark.

"Sweetie, you've already had it."

"Oh." Duh, as my granddaughter would have said. I wondered why I couldn't remember getting the spinal block. Oh well, I wasn't about to argue with them.

During the surgery I seemed to be totally aware of everything that was done, but I'm sure that I drifted in and out of consciousness. I heard the conversation, even took part in it occasionally; and I could see the tall surgeon's masked face above the blue screen that was draped across my chest to block the arena of action from my vision.

I heard the sound of the instrument that prepared the bones for the prosthesis, and the whine of the drill that screwed four, three-inch screws into my lower leg. Even when the hammering began, I thought: Hmmmm.that's interesting. They must be pounding on my leg, but I can't feel a thing.

Intermittent sedation made the whole process seem very short. In about three hours I was wheeled into the room that would become mine for the next three days. My family waited to commiserate. "Piece of cake!" I announced. That, of course, was before sensation came back into my leg. Still, even though the pain of the surgery did get really nasty, and the therapy was sometimes more than I thought I could bear, it was worth it.

Close to five months after the fact, I walked without pain. I could go up and down stairs without moans and groans at each step. I could cross my legs, as I had not been able to do for years. Still, there is one thing that bothers me.

If my experience with the spinal block was bad enough that the anesthetist gave me something to make me forget the entire procedure, HOW BAD WAS IT? DID I MAKE A COMPLETE FOOL OF MYSELF WITH HYSTERICS?


Now here I am, new knee, new life, new outlook; and the thought of a spinal block still makes me cringe with fear. If I weren't so busy with my new abilities, I could drive myself crazy with dread of the possibility of another spinal block somewhere down the road. How asinine is that? To quote a wonderful source of wisdom: "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."

How moronic is unreasonable fear? I don't know. I just know that when it comes to the thought of a spinal block, I must be an absolute moron. I guess I'll have to keep in mind that the things we sometimes fear the most never come to pass. In my case, even if someday I must repeat the spinal block thing without benefit of the amnesia-inducing drug, I can get through it. To paraphrase a quote from our own President Franklin D. Roosevelt: "We have nothing to fear but fear, itself."


Exactly six months to the day after the knee replacement, I underwent emergency gall bladder surgery. Three days earlier, I had awakened to such pain in my abdomen and back that I literally bent, stooped and stretched into every position I could attain to ease it. Unable to convince myself that "it's just a belly-ache," I agreed to let my husband take me to the hospital.

When the ER physician lowered the cubicle table, I held up my hands. "Don't move me!" I commanded. "The pain has stopped." The doctor stood frozen for a moment before he grinned and replied.

"Ma'am, I have to examine you."

"Okay, just don't move me!" The moment he touched my upper right abdomen, I yelped. He ordered an ultra-sound, which showed a diseased gallbladder encased in fluid, infected and containing a stone the size of a small walnut. I was admitted to the hospital, and for three days I took in only fluids and massive IV doses of antibiotics.

My family and I met with the anesthetist and expressed our fears and concerns about the general anesthetic and my previous experiences with it. In my case, I was more afraid that the pain would return before they could take out the offensive bladder! For that reason, I actually had no fear at all of the surgery.

I chattered all the way to the operating room, making what I thought were brilliant one-liner jokes, a result of the pre-op happy shot. In the operating arena, I looked at the shiny fixtures and lights; and I remarked that there was no place for my arms on the table. "How's this?" asked a masked attendant, as he took my right arm and strapped it to an extension.

"That'll work," I quipped. "I'm not going to remember any of this, am I?"

"Probably not," was the reply..

"Mrs. Carpenter, I'm going to call your husband. You're doing fine." I opened my eyes a slit, just enough to see that I was in a large room with other patients in various stages of recovery. Well, well, I thought. Looks like I made it. "Mr. Carpenter, your wife is waking up and is doing well," the attendant spoke into the phone.

"May I talk to him?" I asked.

"Of course." She put the receiver to my ear.

"Hey," I said, "piece a'cake."

The next evening my husband took me home, and recovery was quick and relatively painless. I took no pain medication at all after the surgery, simply because I didn't need it. Although there had been no time to indulge my usual fear and dread of a surgical procedure, I think my experience with the knee replacement and my nearly paralyzing fear of the spinal block had prepared me. I was able to figuratively "put my money where my mouth was" and respond to a need, instead of reacting in fear.

However, the contemplated surgery to "unfreeze" a frozen shoulder is on hold. Two major surgeries in six months are enough for this old gal! Well, maybe next year..

The third novel by Barbara Elliott Carpenter was released in November, 2007. Starlight, Starbright., Wish I May, Wish I Might., and The Wish I Wish Tonight comprise the trilogy, a family saga beginning post World War II and ending in present day. Enthusiastic readers have compared the first book to To Kill a Mockingbird and go on to state that each succeeding book is better than the previous ones. Carpenter's work appears in Chicken Soup For the Soul books and various national magazines. She is currently working on the biography of a former Cuban physician who escaped from Castro's dictatorship in 1961. The book, tentatively titled "Without a Quarter in my Pocket," is slated for release in late 2008. Carpenter enjoys painting with oils and acrylics, loves to travel and spend time with her son, daughter and four grandchildren. She and her husband reside in a home they recently built beside a small lake in Central Illinois. She welcomes comments and questions and can be reached at bjlogger2@aol.com. Her web site is www.barbaraelliottcarpenter.com.

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