February 15th 2012 9:03 pm
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When you've trusted Jesus and walked his way
When you've felt his hand lead you day by day
But your steps now take you another way,
When you've made your plans and they've gone awry
When you've tried your best and there's no more try
When you've failed yourself and you don't know why,
When you've told your friends what you plan to do
When you've trusted them and they didn't come through
And now you're all alone and it's up to you,
When you've failed your kids and they're grown and gone
When you've done your best but it's turned out wrong
And now your grandchildren have come along,
When you've prayed to God so you'll know his will
When you've prayed and prayed and you don't know still
When you want to stop cause you've had your fill,
When you think you're finished and want to quit
When you've bottomed out in life's deepest pit
When you've tried and tried to get out of it,
When the year has been long and successes few
When December comes and you're feeling blue
God gives a January just for you,
Starting over means "Victories Won"
Starting over means "A Race Well Run"
Starting over means "The Lords' Will Done"
We need not just sit there ... START OVER.
February 14th 2012 8:36 am
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Meet Cupid's Helpers, Truly Angels on Earth.
The outgoing coordinator for Loveland's valentine re-mailing program shares the history of this romantic endeavor.
By Duane Kaye, Loveland, Colorado
Hopeless romantic. That’s me all right. And who wouldn’t be, with a wife like mine? I guess Jeanette and I truly do belong in the romance capital of the world, Loveland, Colorado. When we moved here 22 years ago, we didn’t know much about this beautiful little town nestled in the mountains, where folks smiled and said hello when you passed them on the street.
I landed a postal worker position and got to know my new neighbors by name. But I had a surprise in store. I was working as a window clerk my first February on the job, and I’d just weighed a stack of letters when I heard laughter coming from the back room. A party? I wondered. On my break I checked it out. There in the back I found a small army of senior citizens. They sat on either side of a long folding table and appeared to be opening and stamping mail. “What’s going on?” I asked.
“We’re valentine volunteers,” one of the men explained. He held up an envelope. It was a valentine card from Seattle going to an address in Wisconsin. “We get cards from all over the world—more than a hundred countries,” the man said. “People send them here so we can hand-stamp them with a valentine message from right here in Sweetheart City.”
A lady beside him held up a pink envelope she’d just stamped. “Wouldn’t you want to get a valentine with our official postmark?” she said. The bright blue stamp included a four-line love poem.
Another lady at the end of the table had a stack of cards she was addressing with a calligraphy pen. “These envelopes arrived damaged,” she said. “So I’m replacing them!”
I stared at the stack of red, pink and white envelopes currently being sorted by a man in red heart suspenders. I’d never seen such an operation. “How many of these do you send out every year?” I asked.
“Over two hundred thousand,” the woman said proudly. “Not bad for only fifty volunteers doing two weeks’ work, huh?”
Not bad? Santa’s elves didn’t work so hard for Christmas!
“Does your special someone deserve a valentine this year?” one of the volunteers asked with a wink.
On Valentine’s Day Jeanette received a big pink envelope in the mail with our special stamp. Funny thing was, so did I! “How did you manage to send this without me seeing it at the post office?” I said.
“I have my ways,” said Jeanette.
I looked forward to the valentine program every year. When I heard the re-mailing coordinator was retiring I jumped at the chance to take the job myself.
“It’s not just fun and romance for two weeks,” he explained. “We hold a contest to pick the design for the official valentine, and the poem that goes on the stamp has to be approved by the Feds. The process begins in November.”
It was a lot of extra work, but I enjoyed every minute. Artists from across the nation submitted designs for the postmark and cachet. One morning as I left for work Jeanette presented me with a piece of paper. It was a computer generated drawing of two swans facing each other. Their necks created a heart. “It’s my entry to the contest,” she said shyly. “Don’t worry, I know you don’t get to pick the winner.”
With so many brilliant entries coming in I was relieved not to have a say in the outcome. The committee chairman came to the office to show me which one they’d picked: Jeanette’s swans!
I thought I was a hopeless romantic before. Now I felt like Cupid’s personal assistant, or like an angel delivering these messages of love. “Make sure this card reaches my fiancée on February fourteenth,” read a note with one 2.3 foot envelope. “I’m asking her to marry me on Valen-tine’s Day. The proposal is inside!”
Rain, sleet or snow...you can believe we delivered that card on Valentine’s Day! If she didn’t say yes, well, the young man can’t hold Loveland Post Office responsible.
Sometimes the folks sending letters became pen pals. Like the woman in Italy who stamped her card for her husband with beautiful Italian stamps. “Your stamps of the Italian countryside are breathtaking,” I wrote to her. “Unfortunately they are not valid in the US.” A few days later the woman wrote me back, enclosing Italian stamps just for me.
Another lady sent a shoebox filled with 50 knitted hearts—one for every volunteer. Eleanor in
Florida sent a brown paper package of flavored coffee, creamers and chocolates.
The whole town in Loveland gets into the romantic spirit. Local restaurants treat the volunteers to free lunch. Jeanette baked us valentine cakes with white drizzled frosting. There’s a community dance, sweetheart night at the library, the crowning of Miss Valentine. Personal messages on oversized hearts decorate the town. The one in front of the post office always reads the same: DUANE LOVES JEANETTE.
This year I plan to retire from the post office. Jeanette and I are going to take a second honeymoon, traveling around the country. But as much as I look forward to spending time with my sweetheart, I’ll miss delivering all those messages of love. I’m already planning to volunteer next year. Once you’ve worked as an angel, it’s hard to stop.
* * * * *
Loveland, Colorado, “Sweetheart City,” started its valentine re-mailing program in 1947. To receive the Loveland valentine cachet, enclose pre-addressed cards affixed with the proper postage in a larger envelope and mail first class to: Postmaster, Valentine Re-mailing, 446 East 29th Street, Loveland, Colorado, 80538. Cards for destinations in Colorado should be in Loveland by February 11. For US destinations outside Colorado, February 7. For international destinations, February 3.
February 2nd 2012 9:27 am
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Why Not You?
Today, many will awaken with a fresh sense of inspiration. Why not you?
Today, many will open their eyes to the beauty that surrounds them. Why not you?
Today, many will choose to leave the ghost of yesterday behind and seize the immeasurable power of today. Why not you?
Today, many will break through the barriers of the past by looking at the blessings of the present. Why not you?
Today, for many, the burden of self doubt and insecurity will be lifted by the security and confidence of empowerment. Why not you?
Today, many will rise above their believed limitations and make contact with their powerful innate strength. Why not you?
Today, many will choose to live in such a manner that they will be a positive role model for their children. Why not you?
Today, many will choose to free themselves from the personal imprisonment of their bad habits. Why not you?
Today, many will choose to live free of conditions and rules governing their own happiness. Why not you?
Today, many will find abundance in simplicity. Why not you?
Today, many will be confronted by difficult moral choices and they will choose to do what is right instead of what is beneficial. Why not you?
Today, many will decide to no longer sit back with a victim mentality, but to take charge of their lives and make positive changes. Why not you?
Today, many will take the action necessary to make a difference. Why not you?
Today, many will make the commitment to be a better mother, father, son, daughter, student, teacher, worker, boss, brother, sister, & so much more. Why not you?
Today is a new day!
Many will seize this day.
Many will live it to the fullest.
Why not you?
January 27th 2012 11:52 am
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A beautiful reminder about just how generous and loving God is :)
If God gave us only one day of life, it would have been generous.
If God gave us only one springtime or fall, one summer or winter, it would have been generous.
If God gave us only one day of laughter, it would have been generous.
If God gave us only one beautiful meal, beautifully served in a secure home, it would have been generous.
If God gave us only one friend to share the journey of time, it would have been generous.
If God gave us only one child, sound in mind and body, it would have been generous.
If God gave us only one storm that left us unharmed, it would have been generous.
If God gave us only one day for a good time with friends, it would have been generous.
If God gave us only one talent for creating beauty, it would have been generous.
If God let us laugh only once in the face of calamity, it would have been generous.
If God gave us only one moment's pride in the success of those we love, it would have been generous.
But God has given us life and time, joy and sorrow,
sunshine and storms, laughter and tears,
gifts to share and days to remember.
God has given us friends and lovers, children and parents,
you and me, and Himself as well.
It is God who gives us life,
who tells us ever after to choose life,
God who is our resurrection and our hope,
who dwells within our hearts as the spirit of life,
the vanquisher of death,
and the comforter of the afflicted.
January 26th 2012 6:12 am
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Open the Rose
A beautiful story/poem with a meaning we should all listen to...
A young, new preacher was walking with an older, more seasoned preacher in the garden one day and feeling a bit insecure about what God had for him to do, he was inquiring of the older preacher. The older preacher walked up to a rosebush and handed the young preacher a rosebud and told him to open it without tearing off any petals.
The young preacher looked in disbelief at the older preacher and was trying to figure out what a rosebud could possibly have to do with his wanting to know the WILL OF GOD for his life and for his ministry. Because of his high respect for the older preacher, he proceeded to TRY to unfold the rose, while keeping every petal intact...It wasn't long before he realized how it was impossible to do so.
Noticing the younger preacher's inability to unfold the rosebud while keeping it intact, the older preacher began to tell the following poem...
It is only a tiny rosebud,
A flower of GOD's design;
But I cannot unfold the petals
With these clumsy hands of mine.
The secret of unfolding flowers
Is not known to such as I.
GOD opens this flower so sweetly,
When in my hands they fade and die.
If I cannot unfold a rosebud,
This flower of GOD's design,
Then how can I think I have wisdom
To unfold this life of mine?
So I'll trust in Him for His leading
Each moment of every day.
I will look to Him for His guidance
Each step of the pilgrim way.
The pathway that lies before me,
Only my heavenly Father knows.
I'll trust Him to unfold the moments,
Just as He unfolds the rose.
January 25th 2012 3:21 pm
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God couldn't take the time to Bless us today because
we could not take the time to thank Him yesterday...
God decided to stop leading us tomorrow
Because we didn't follow Him today...
God didn't walk with us today because we failed to
recognize it as His day...
We never saw another flower bloom because
we grumbled when God sent the rain...
God stopped loving and caring for us because
we failed to love and care for others...
God took away the Bible tomorrow, because
we would not read it today...
God took away his message because
we failed to listen to His messenger...
God didn't send His only begotten Son because
He wanted us to prepared to pay the price of sin...
The door to the church was closed because
we did not open the door of our hearts...
God would not hear us today because
we would not listen to Him yesterday...
God answered our prayers the way we answer
His call to service...
God met our needs the way we give
Him our lives...
We failed to pass this message on...
January 21st 2012 3:40 pm
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Some things are beyond planning.
And life doesn't always turn out as planned.
You don't plan for a broken heart.
You don't plan for a failed business venture.
You don't plan for an adulterous husband
or a wife who wants you out of her life.
You don't plan for an autistic child.
You don't plan for spinsterhood.
You don't plan for a lump in your breast.
You plan to be young forever.
You plan to climb the corporate ladder.
You plan to be rich and powerful.
You plan to be acclaimed and successful.
You plan to conquer the universe.
You plan to fall in love - and be loved forever.
You don't plan to be sad.
You don't plan to be hurt.
You don't plan to be broke.
You don't plan to be betrayed.
You don't plan to be alone in this world.
You plan to be happy. You don't plan to be shattered.
Sometimes if you work hard enough, you can get what you want.
But MOST times, what you want and what you get
are two different things.
We, mortals, plan. But so does God in the heavens.
Sometimes, it is difficult to understand God's plans especially
when His plans are not in consonance with ours.
Often, when God sends us crisis, we turn to Him in anger.
True, we cannot choose the cross that God wishes us to carry,
but we can carry that cross with courage knowing that God will
never abandon us nor send something we cannot cope with.
Sometimes, God breaks our spirit to save our soul.
Sometimes, He breaks our heart to make us whole.
Sometimes, God allows pain so we can be stronger.
Sometimes, God sends us failure so we can be humble.
Sometimes, God allows illness so we can take better care of
ourselves. Sometimes, God takes everything away from us
so we can learn the value of everything He gave us.
Make plans, but understand that we live by God's grace.
January 17th 2012 5:40 am
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Never Be Ashamed
Never be ashamed of the scars that life has left you with.
A scar means the hurt is over, the wound is closed, you endured
the pain and God has healed you.
January 16th 2012 5:58 am
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The Importance of Accepting Others
A story is told about a soldier who was finally coming home after having fought in Vietnam.
He called his parents from San Francisco.
"Mom and Dad, I'm coming home, but I've got a favor to ask. I have a friend I'd like to bring with me."
"Sure," they replied, "we'd love to meet him."
"There's something you should know the son continued, "he was hurt pretty badly in the fighting. He stepped on a land mined and lost an arm and a leg. He has nowhere else to go, and I want him to come live with us."
"I'm sorry to hear that, son. Maybe we can help him find somewhere to live."
"No, Mom and Dad, I want him to live with us."
"Son," said the father, "you don't know what you're asking. Someone with such a handicap would be a terrible burden on us. We have our own lives to live, and we can't let something like this interfere with our lives. I think you should just come home and forget about this guy. He'll find a way to live on his own."
At that point, the son hung up the phone. The parents heard nothing more from him.
A few days later, however, they received a call from the San Francisco police. Their son had died after falling from a building, they were told. The police believed it was suicide. The grief-stricken parents flew to San Francisco and were taken to the city morgue to identify the body of their son. They recognized him, but to their horror they also discovered something they didn't know, their son had only one arm and one leg.
The parents in this story are like many of us. We find it easy to love those who are good-looking or fun to have around, but we don't like people who inconvenience us or make us feel uncomfortable. We would rather stay away from people who aren't as healthy, beautiful, or smart as we are.
Thankfully, there's someone who won't treat us that way. Someone who loves us with an unconditional love that welcomes us into the forever family, regardless of how messed up we are.
Tonight, before you tuck yourself in for the night, say a little prayer that God will give you the strength you need to accept people as they are, and to help us all be more understanding of those who are different from us!!!
There's a miracle called -Friendship- that dwells in the heart. You don't know how it happens or when it gets started. But you know the special lift It always brings and you realize that Friendship Is God's most precious gift!
Friends are a very rare jewel, indeed. They make you smile and encourage you to succeed. They lend an ear, they share a word of praise, and they always want to open their hearts to us.
January 12th 2012 7:47 am
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Thank You For Our Messy Home
Thank you for this sink of dirty dishes; we have plenty of food to eat.
Thank you for this pile of dirty, stinky laundry; we have plenty of nice clothes to wear.
And I would like to thank you, Lord, for those unmade beds; they were so warm and comfortable last night. I know that many have no bed.
My thanks to you, Lord, for this bathroom, complete with all the splattered mess, soggy, grimy towels and the dirty lavatory; they are all so convenient.
Thank you for this finger-smudged refrigerator that needs defrosting so badly; it has served us faithfully for many years. It is full of cold drinks and enough leftovers for two or three meals.
Thank you, Lord, for this oven that absolutely must be cleaned today; it has baked so many things over the years.
The whole family is grateful for that tall grass that needs mowing and lawn that needs raking; we all enjoy the yard.
Thank you, Lord, even for that slamming screen door. My kids are healthy and able to run and play. Many children cannot.
Lord, the presence of all these chores awaiting me says You have richly blessed my family. I shall do them cheerfully and I shall do them gratefully.
Even though I clutch my blanket and growl when the alarm rings... Thank you, Lord, that I can hear. There are many who are deaf.
Even though I keep my eyes closed against the morning light as long as possible...Thank you, Lord, that I can see. Many are blind.
Even though I huddle in my bed and put off rising...Thank you, Lord, that I have the strength to rise. There are many who are bedridden.
Even though the first hour of my day is hectic with socks that are lost, toast that is burned, tempers that are short, and my children that are so loud...Thank you, Lord, for my family. There are many who are lonely.
Even though our breakfast table never looks like the pictures in magazines and the menu is at times not balanced...Thank you, Lord, for the food we have. There are many who are hungry.
Even though the routine of my job is often monotonous...Thank you, Lord, for the opportunity to work. There are many who are jobless.
Even though I grumble and bemoan my fate from day to day and wish my circumstances were not so modest...Thank you, Lord, for life.
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