The Value of Life

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Photo Credit: Tax Credits via CC Flickr

Photo Credit: Tax Credits via CC Flickr

All of us have a sense of value about our lives. We like to think that it has a lot of worth and significance for ourselves and towards others. But sometimes, because of difficult and challenging circumstances, we begin to doubt the usefulness of the life that we have been given. Well, today I would like to share the following short story that I found on Indianchild.com, that will help remind you that your life ALWAYS has value…no matter what life throws at you.

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A well known speaker started off his seminar by holding up a $20 bill. In the room of 200, he asked, “Who would like this $20 bill?”

Hands started going up.

He said, “I am going to give this $20 to one of you but first, let me do this.” He proceeded to crumple the dollar bill up.

He then asked, “Who still wants it?”

Still the hands were up in the air.

“Well,” he replied, “What if I do this?” And he dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe.

He picked it up, now all crumpled and dirty. “Now who still wants it?” Still the hands went into the air.

“My friends, you have all learned a very valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth $20.

Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way.

We feel as though we are worthless. But no matter what has happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value. You are special – Don’t ever forget it!

Historical Stories Behind Popular Phrases – First Edition

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Photo Credit: jppi via morguefile.com

Photo Credit: jppi via morguefile.com

This is a re-post of this blog that I posted a year or so ago with some revisions. I hope that you enjoy these fascinating facts as much as I did. I will be posting some more soon!

Have you ever wondered how certain popular phrases came into existence? For example, where did the phrase “the whole nine yards” originate? Well, today’s article will explain the historical backgrounds of some of these phrases. 

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Early aircrafts’ throttles had a ball on the end of it. In order to go full throttle the pilot had to push the throttle all the way forward into the wall of the instrument panel. Hence balls to the wall for going very fast. And now you know, the rest of the story.
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During WWII, U.S. airplanes were armed with belts of bullets which they would shoot during dogfights and on strafing runs. These belts were folded into the wing compartments that fed their machine guns. The belts measure 27 feet and contained hundreds of rounds of bullets. Often times, the pilots would return from their missions having expended all of their bullets on various targets. They would say, “I gave them the whole nine yards,” meaning they used up all of their ammunition.
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Did you know the saying “God willing and the creek don’t rise” was in reference to the Creek Indians and not a body of water? It was written by Benjamin Hawkins in the late 18th century. He was a politician and Indian diplomat. While in the south, Hawkins was requested by the President of the U.S. to return to Washington. In his response, he was said to write, “God willing and the Creek don’t rise.” Because he capitalized the word “Creek” it is deduced that he was referring to the Cree Indian tribe and not a body of water.
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In George Washington’s days, there were no cameras. One’s image was either sculpted or painted. Some paintings of George Washington showed him standing behind a desk with one arm behind his back while others showed both legs and both arms. Prices charged by painters were not based on how many people were to be painted, but by how many limbs were to be painted. Arms and legs are ‘limbs,’ therefore painting them would cost the buyer more. Hence the expression, ‘Okay, but it’ll cost you an arm and a leg.’ (Artists know hands and arms are more difficult to paint.)
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As incredible as it sounds, men and women took baths only twice a year (May and October). Women kept their hair covered, while men shaved their heads (because of lice and bugs) and wore wigs. Wealthy men could afford good wigs made from wool. They couldn’t wash the wigs, so to clean them they would carve out a loaf of bread, put the wig in the shell, and bake it for 30 minutes. The heat would make the wig big and fluffy, hence the term ‘big wig‘. Today we often use the term ‘here comes the Big Wig‘ because someone appears to be or is powerful and wealthy.
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In the late 1700’s, many houses consisted of a large room with only one chair. Commonly, a long wide board folded down from the wall, and was used for dining. The ‘head of the household’ always sat in the chair while everyone else ate sitting on the floor. Occasionally a guest, who was usually a man, would be invited to sit in this chair during a meal. To sit in the chair meant you were important and in charge. They called the one sitting in the chair the ‘chair man.’ Today in business, we use the expression or title ‘Chairman‘ or ‘Chairman of the Board.
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Personal hygiene left much room for improvement. As a result, many women and men had developed acne scars by adulthood. The women would spread bee’s wax over their facial skin to smooth out their complexions. When they were speaking to each other, if a woman began to stare at another woman’s face she was told, ‘mind your own bee’s wax.’ Should the woman smile, the wax would crack, hence the term ‘crack a smile’. In addition, when they sat too close to the fire, the wax would melt. Therefore, the expression ‘losing face‘.

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Ladies wore corsets, which would lace up in the front. A proper and dignified woman, as in ‘straight laced‘ wore a tightly tied lace.

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Common entertainment included playing cards. However, there was a tax levied when purchasing playing cards but only applicable to the ‘Ace of Spades.’ To avoid paying the tax, people would purchase 51 cards instead. Yet, since most games require 52 cards, these people were thought to be stupid or dumb because they weren’t ‘playing with a full deck.’


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Early politicians required feedback from the public to determine what the people considered important. Since there were no telephones, TV’s or radios, the politicians sent their assistants to local taverns, pubs, and bars. They were told to ‘go sip some ale and listen to people’s conversations and political concerns. Many assistants were dispatched at different times. ‘You go sip here’ and ‘You go sip there.’ The two words ‘go sip’ were eventually combined when referring to the local opinion and, thus we have the term ‘gossip.’

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At local taverns, pubs, and bars, people drank from pint and quart-sized containers. A bar maid’s job was to keep an eye on the customers and keep the drinks coming. She had to pay close attention and remember who was drinking in ‘pints’ and who was drinking in ‘quarts,’ hence the phrase ‘minding your ‘P’s and Q’s‘.
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One more: bet you didn’t know this! In the heyday of sailing ships, all war ships and many freighters carried iron cannons. Those cannons fired round iron cannon balls. It was necessary to keep a good supply near the cannon. However, how to prevent them from rolling about the deck? The best storage method devised was a square-based pyramid with one ball on top, resting on four resting on nine, which rested on sixteen. Thus, a supply of 30 cannon balls could be stacked in a small area right next to the cannon. There was only one problem….how to prevent the bottom layer from sliding or rolling from under the others. The solution was a metal plate called a ‘Monkey’ with 16 round indentations. However, if this plate were made of iron, the iron balls would quickly rust to it. The solution to the rusting problem was to make ‘Brass Monkeys.’ Few landlubbers realize that brass contracts much more and much faster than iron when chilled. Consequently, when the temperature dropped too far, the brass indentations would shrink so much that the iron cannonballs would come right off the monkey; Thus, it was quite literally, ‘Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey.’ (All this time, you thought that was an improper expression, didn’t you.)

***Special Note***

I’m afraid the “Brass monkey” one is urban legend. Cannon balls were never stored in neat little pyramids on deck, they were stored securely in shot garlands, essentially planks of wood with holes in that the ball would rest in.

This story has been totally “blown out of the water by the Royal Navy, the US Navy and numerous Naval historians; even using period paintings to prove the point.

It really is as cheeky a phrase as you think it is.

In the UK at least Biddy Baxter who produced a TV show for kids called “Blue Peter” is to blame. I don’t know how many times I heard this story repeated over the years, every time to a new generation to the point they think it’s true. That and the whole Maria Antoinette “Let them eat cake” story.

Thanks Rob for letting us all know!!

Historical Stories Behind Popular Phrases – Second Edition

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Photo Credit: Rich Grundy via CC Flickr

Photo Credit: Rich Grundy via CC Flickr

As I promised in an earlier publication, here are some more stories behind common phrases….

“Good Night. Sleep Tight”

In Shakespeare’s time, mattresses were secured on bed frames by ropes. When you pulled on the ropes, the mattress tightened, making the bed firmer to sleep on. Hence the phrase…’Goodnight , sleep tight’ 

“Honeymoon”

It was the accepted practice in Babylon 4,000 years ago that for a month after the wedding, the bride’s father would supply his new son-in-law with all the mead he could drink. Mead is a honey beer and because their calendar was lunar based, this period was called the honey month, which we know today as the honeymoon.

“Wet Your Whistle”

Many years ago in England , pub frequenters had a whistle baked into the rim, or handle, of their ceramiccups. When they needed a refill, they used the whistle to get some service.

“Kicking the Bucket”*

One of the more bizarre metaphors in the English language likens death to a bucket understandably confuses even the most eloquent and learned speakers. Probably the most likely explanation refers to a now-obsolete method of slaughtering animals for food. A “bucket” consisted of a wooden frame, from which the pigs or sheep or other livestock were hung, and the “kicking” element comes in when the expected neurological struggles ensue after death.

“Back to Square One”*

Several different possible histories of this curious idiom exist, though only one from 1952 seems the most likely. Snakes and Ladders, known as Chutes and Ladders in the United States, may not have sent unlucky players straight to the first square. But this did not stop an Economic Journalarticle from wielding it as a metaphor for having to start over from the very beginning.

“Heard Through the Grapevine”*

The wires utilized in America’s first telegraph stations oftentimes swooped and draped in twisted, random patterns. Professionals and onlookers alike believed the tangled masses resembled grapevines somewhat, eventually birthing a common idiom still used today.

“Riding Shotgun”*

Back when stagecoaches existed as the pinnacle of transport, the seat immediately next to the driver was reserved for individuals holding (of course) a shotgun. Such a strategic spot allowed the protectors to better ward off any bandits attempting to loot passengers. As engineering marched on into motor vehicles, the vernacular designation for the coveted spot stayed the same.

“Bottoms Up”**

You’ve probably kicked off a round or two with this salute, but do you know the story behind it? According to Jack, it actually has nothing to do with raising the bottom of a glass as you drain your beverage. He writes that during the 18th and 19th centuries, English Navy recruiters tried to persuade London pub-goers to join the armed forces by getting them to accept payment in the form of a King’s shilling. Dishonest recruiters would drop a shilling into the pint of a drunken man who wouldn’t notice until he finished his beverage. They would then consider this proof of his agreement to join the Navy and drag him out to sea the very next day. Once drinkers and pubs figured out the scam, they introduced glasses with transparent bases “and customers would be reminded to lift the pint up and check the bottom for illicit shillings before they began drinking.

“More Than You Could Shake A Stick At”**

Farmers with more sheep than they could control with their wooden staffs are believed to have inspired this phrase, which means you have more of something than you need. But according to Jack, there’s a second possible origin. “After George Washington was once seen waving a generals began to use the expression to justify themselves when they had not been quite as successful as the great man himself was in battle. ‘We had more men to fight than you could wave a stick at’ was apparently a common excuse for failure on the battlefield.”

“Cat Got Your Tongue?”**

There are two possible sources of this phrase, which refers to when a normally chatty person is at a loss for words, often for suspicious reasons. The first refers to when victims of the cat-o’-nine-tails––a whip the English Navy used for flogging––were left speechless from the pain inflicted upon them. The second, which is equally morbid, traces back to medieval times, when punishment “for liars and blasphemers [was to] have their tongues cut out and then fed to the cats.” Ancient Egyptian cats were considered to be gods (and would eat just about anything), so giving them the tongue of a liar was “seen as a human offering to the gods.”

“Turn A Blind Eye”**

The 1801 Battle of Copenhagen is at the root of this saying, which means to pretend you don’t know what’s happening, Jack explains. During the battle, Admiral Sir Hyde Parker, commander of the British fleet, attempted to stop Horatio Nelson from launching an attack on the enemy. “When Nelson’s officers pointed out the order, he famously raised a telescope to his blind eye and replied: ‘Order, what order? I see no ships.'”

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Sources:

*denotes – bachelorsdegree.org

**denotes – womansday.com

How to Cook A Fabulous Thanksgiving Turkey!

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Photo credit: Ruocaled via CC Flickr

Photo credit: Ruocaled via CC Flickr

Step 1: Buy a turkey

Step 2: Have a glass of wine

Step 3: Stuff Turkey

Step 4: Have a glass of wine

Step 5: Put turkey in the oven

Step 6: Relax and have a glass of wine

Step 7: Turk the bastey

Step 8: A glass of wine another get

Step 9: Hunt for meat thermometer

Step 10: Glass yourself another pour of wine

Step 11: Bake the wine for 4 hours

Step 12: Take the oven out of the turkey

Step 13: Tet the sable

Step 14: Grab another wottle of bine

Step 15: Turk the carvey

Have a smile…a chuckle…and an awesome day!

Pictures That Speak Volumes #50

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Photo Credit: Natasha Sadovskaya

Photo Credit: Natasha Sadovskaya

Sometimes a simple picture can give you the “willies” and make you palms sweat!

The Power of 86,400

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Photo Credit: Alex Rubin via CC Flickr

Photo Credit: Alex Rubin via CC Flickr

Every once in a while I come across an article that makes me stop and think. In this case, I read an article on dobhran.com which made me ponder…exactly what do I do with the time that is given to me each day? After reading the following essay, I trust that it will allow you to step back and contemplate what you are doing with your gift of time.

Imagine there is a bank that credits your account each morning with $86,400. It carries over no balance from day to day. Every evening deletes whatever part of the balance you failed to use during the day. What would you do? Draw out every cent, of course!

Each of us has such a bank. Its name is TIME. Every morning credits you with 86,400 seconds. Every night it writes off, as lost, whatever of this you have failed to invest to good purpose. It carries over no balance. It allows no overdraft. Each day it opens a new account for you. Each night it burns the remains of the day.

If you fail to use the day’s deposits, the loss is yours. There is no going back. There is no drawing against the “tomorrow”. You must live in the present on today’s deposits. Invest it so as to get from it the utmost in health, happiness, and success! The clock is running. Make the most of today.

To realize the value of ONE YEAR,
ask a student who failed a grade.

To realize the value of ONE MONTH,
ask a mother who gave birth to a premature baby.

To realize the value of ONE WEEK,
ask the editor of a weekly newspaper.

To realize the value of ONE HOUR,
ask the lovers who are waiting to meet.

To realize the value of ONE MINUTE,
ask a person who missed the train.

To realize the value of ONE SECOND,
ask a person who just avoided an accident.

To realize the value of ONE MILLISECOND,
ask the person who won a medal in the Olympics.

Treasure every moment that you have! And treasure it more because you shared it with someone special, special enough to spend your time. And remember that time waits for no one.

Treasure your friends.
Treasure your family.
Treasure God.
Treasure all the love in your life every minute of every day.
This life will be over before you know it!

Like Two Peas in A Pod….

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There is nothing better in the whole world as a nice friend to snuggle with!

Finding Strength in Difficult Times

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There are times throughout our lives when things or circumstances can get so difficult…that our dreams or goals seems totally unreachable. But, the difference between an extraordinary person and an ordinary person…is that little EXTRA! 

There are also times that we need that one special person to help us “pull through” the tough situation that we may experiencing and encourage us to “fight on” and overcome our diversity.

It is my hope, that this incredible video will touch your heart, soul, and mind and encourage you to stay strong when you feel your weakest.

Overcoming Your Fears

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Photo Credit: Vic via CC Flickr

Photo Credit: Vic via CC Flickr

First of all, I want to say that not all fears are bad. The feeling of fear and fright can actually be good and are “built-in” mechanisms in our bodies. For example, if you were walking and suddenly saw a big, ole bear coming your way, you would experience a level of alarm and handle it accordingly. That would be a normal reaction. Animals, such as lions, use fear, to their advantage. Sometimes they can scare their prey so much, that they can “freeze” in terror.

The most important key to handling and facing fear is how you decide to deal with it and how much to choose to let it control your mind.

 There are many times throughout our lives that we can become fearful of something. It has once been said that 70% of things that people worry or are fearful of never happen. In other words, the fear that they have of the thing that might occur either 1) never happen or 2) won’t be as bad as they think.

There are a couple of stories that I would like to share with you today which demonstrates some examples of how fear affected the lives of these people….

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A man who hid for 32 years fearing punishment of pro-Nazi wartime activity says he used to cry when he heard happy voices outside, but dared not show himself even at his mother’s funeral. Janez Rus was a young shoemaker when he went into hiding at his sister’s farmhouse in June, 1945. He was found years later after she bought a large supply of bread in the nearby village of Zalna. “If I had not been discovered, I would have remained in hiding. So I am happy that this happened,” Rus told a reporter. Throughout those years he did nothing. He never left the house, and could only look down at the village in the valley.

Today in the Word, October 17, 1993.

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Black Bart was a professional thief whose very name struck fear as he terrorized the Wells Fargo stage line. From San Francisco to New York, his name became synonymous with the danger of the frontier. Between 1875 and 1883 he robbed 29 different stagecoach crews. Amazingly, Bart did it all without firing a shot. Because a hood hid his face, no victim ever saw his face. He never took a hostage and was never trailed by a sheriff. Instead, Black Bart used fear to paralyze his victims. His sinister presence was enough to overwhelm the toughest stagecoach guard.

Today in the Word, August 8, 1992.

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Louis Pasteur is reported to have had such an irrational fear of dirt and infection he refused to shake hands. President and Mrs. Benjamin Harrison were so intimidated by the newfangled electricity installed in the White House they didn’t dare touch the switches. If there were no servants around to turn off the lights when the Harrisons went to bed, they slept with them on.

Jane Goodsell, Not a Good Word About Anybody, Ballantine.

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As you can see by these powerful short stories, many people…even famous and well-known individuals lie in fear…mostly in fear of the unknown or things that they don’t know the truth about or understand.

I could very easily talk or write about how to face fears, what causes it, etc. but the reason for this short article is to ENCOURAGE you to face your fears and change your thinking when fear begins to enter your life.

Here are a few great quotes that I hope will help soothe your soul and mind the next time you come face to face with a fear. It might be a good idea to memorize some of them…

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“Saw a little girl touch a big bug and shout, “I conquered my fear! YES!” and calmly walk away. I was inspired.”  ~ Nathan Fillian

“I have to face the fear. I have to take control of the situation and find a way to make it less frightening.”  ~ Veronica Roth, Divergent

“If you are in a prison of fear … break out!”  ~ Stephen Richards

“If we let fear control our decision making we always make the wrong decision.”  ~ Butch Bellah, The 10 Essential Habits of Sales Superstars: Plugging into the Power of Ten

“All great men had to endure hard times and overcome challenging circumstances.”  ~ Lailah Gifty Akita

“The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.” ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt

“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.” ~ Rosa Parks

“Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live.” ~ Dorothy Thompson

“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.” ~ Salvador Dali
“Our heavenly Father understands our disappointment, suffering, pain, fear, and doubt. He is always there to encourage our hearts and help us understand that He’s sufficient for all of our needs. When I accepted this as an absolute truth in my life, I found that my worrying stopped.”  ~ Charles Stanley

“Fear can be good when you’re walking past an alley at night or when you need to check the locks on your doors before you go to bed, but it’s not good when you have a goal and you’re fearful of obstacles. We often get trapped by our fears, but anyone who has had success has failed before.” ~ Queen Latifah

Start to take a courageous step TODAY to begin your journey to defeating the fears that hold you down…and live the life that you were made to enjoy!

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Sources:

Brainyquotes.com

Goodreads.com

Sermonillustrations.com

The ABC’s of Friendship

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Photo Credit: Cleo Morgause

Photo Credit: Cleo Morgause

Here is a nice little list that I recently found that demonstrates the important points of a good friend in a fun way.

(A)ccepts you as you are
(B)elieves in “you”
(C)alls you just to say “HI”
(D)oesn’t give up on you
(E)nvisions the whole of you (even the unfinished parts)
(F)orgives your mistakes
(G)ives unconditionally
(H)elps you
(I)nvites you over
(J)ust “be” with you
(K)eeps you close at heart
(L)oves you for who you are
(M)akes a difference in your life
(N)ever Judges
(O)ffers support
(P)icks you up
(Q)uiets your fears
(R)aises your spirits
(S)ays nice things about you
(T)ells you the truth when you need to hear it
(U)nderstands you
(V)alues you
(W)alks beside you
(X)-plains thing you don’t understand
(Y)ells when you won’t listen and
(Z)aps you back to reality

There is nothing on this earth to be prized more than friendship.                         ~ St. Thomas Aquinas

One Of The Most Precious Things….

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How often do we take the simplest things in life for granted? This short video shows the joy and beauty of hearing.

Babe Ruth in Color!!

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I am a baseball junkie…in fact I LOVE the great American pastime. One of my favorite things to do is to go back and “visit” the “good ole days” of baseball. I get so intrigued looking at photos of all of the baseball immortals, the old stadiums, uniforms, etc.

So, you can imagine my joy and sense of excitement when I saw this video clip of a popular baseball documentary, Ken Burns, “Baseball” of the famous Babe Ruth picture..in color!!

I hope that you enjoy this video as much as I do!

Buying A Miracle For One Dollar and Eleven Cents

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Photo Credit: Orin Zebest via CC Flickr

Photo Credit: Orin Zebest via CC Flickr

Every once in a while, I come across a story that renews my faith in miracles. The following true story is an example of how miracles just “don’t happen” but come from a higher being.

Tess was a precocious eight year old when she heard her Mom and Dad talking about her little brother, Andrew. All she knew was that he was very sick and they were completely out of money. They were moving to an apartment complex next month because Daddy didn’t have the money for the doctor bills and their house.

Only a very costly surgery could save him now and it was looking like there was no one to loan them the money. She heard Daddy say to her tearful Mother with whispered desperation,

“Only a miracle can save him now.”

Tess went to her bedroom and pulled a glass jelly jar from its hiding place in the closet. She poured all the change out on the floor and counted it carefully.

Three times, even. The total had to be exactly perfect. No chance here for mistakes. Carefully placing the coins back in the jar and twisting on the cap, she slipped out the back door and made her way 6 blocks to Rexall’s Drug Store with the Big Red Indian Chief sign above the door.

She waited patiently for the pharmacist to give her some attention but he was too busy at this moment. Tess twisted her feet to make a scuffing noise.

Nothing.

She cleared her throat with the most disgusting sound she could muster.

No good.

Finally she took a quarter from her jar and banged it on the glass counter.

That did it!

“And what do you want?” the pharmacist asked in an annoyed tone of voice.

“I’m talking to my brother from Chicago whom I haven’t seen in ages,” he said without waiting for a reply to his question.

“Well, I want to talk to you about my brother,” Tess answered back in the same annoyed tone.

“He’s really, really sick… and I want to buy a miracle.”

“I beg your pardon?” said the pharmacist.

“His name is Andrew and he has something bad growing inside his head and my Daddy says only a miracle can save him now. So how much does a miracle

cost?”

“We don’t sell miracles here, little girl. I’m sorry but I can’t help you, “the pharmacist said, softening a little.

“Listen, I have the money to pay for it. If it isn’t enough, I will get the rest. Just tell me how much it costs.”

The pharmacist’s brother was a well-dressed man. He stooped down and asked the little girl, “What kind of a miracle does your brother need?”

“I don’t know,” Tess replied with her eyes welling up. “I just know he’s really sick and Mommy says he needs an operation. But my Daddy can’t pay for it, so I want to use my money.

“How much do you have?” asked the man from Chicago.

“One dollar and eleven cents,” Tess answered barely audibly. “And it’s all the money I have, but I can get some more if I need to.

“Well, what a coincidence,” smiled the man. “A dollar and eleven cents—the exact price of a miracle for little brothers.” He took her money in one hand and with the other hand he grasped her mitten and said “Take me to where you live. I want to see your brother and meet your parents. Let’s see if I have the kind of miracle you need.”

That well dressed man was Dr. Carlton Armstrong, a surgeon, specializing in neuro-surgery. The operation was completed without charge and it wasn’t long until Andrew was home again and doing well.

Tess’s Mom and Dad were happily talking about the chain of events that had led them to this place. “That surgery, “her Mom whispered.”was a real miracle. I wonder how much it would have cost?”

Tess smiled. She knew exactly how much a miracle cost… one dollar and eleven cents …… plus the faith of a little child.

A miracle is not the suspension of natural law, but the operation of a higher law!

The Cats in the Hats

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Heres Looking to You

Have You Ever Had the Feeling That You Were Being Watched?

Hats off to you!!

Have a great day!

Pictures That Speak Volumes #49

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Reading With A Friend

Sometimes…a picture truly is worth a thousand words.

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