A Different way of looking at it

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Sub-titled “I am Thankful ….

…For the wife who says it’s hot dogs tonight, because she is home with me, not with someone else.

“Maybe you are thankful for” the husband who is on the sofa being a couch potato, because he is home with me, and not out at the bars.

“Maybe we are thankful for “the teenager who is complaining about doing dishes, because that means she (or he) is at home, not on the streets.

…For the taxes that we pay, because it means that we are employed.

…For the mess to clean after a party, because it means that we have been surrounded by friends.

…For the clothes that fit a little too snug, because it means we have enough to eat.

…For my shadow that watches me work, because it means we are out in the sunshine.

…For a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning, and gutters that need fixing, because it means we have a home.

…For all the complaining I hear about the government, because it means that we (still) have freedom of speech.

…For the parking spot I find at the far end of the parking lot, because it means we are capable of walking and that we have been blessed with transportation.

…For that huge heating bill, because it means we are warm.

…For the lady behind me in church that sings off key, because it means that we can hear.

…For the pile of laundry and ironing, because it means we have clothes to wear.

…For weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day, because it means we are capable of working hard.

…For the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours, because it means that we are alive.

Have you thanked God for all the good things in your life today? 

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CHRISTMAS LOVE

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*A story by Candy Chand sent in from Ruth M. from S. Dakota
Thanks Candy & Ruth!

‘Each December, I vowed to make Christmas a calm and peaceful experience. I had cut back on nonessential obligations – extensive card writing, endless baking, decorating, and even overspending. Yet still, I found myself exhausted, unable to appreciate the precious family moments, and of course, the true meaning of Christmas.

My son, Nicholas, was in kindergarten that year. It was an exciting season for a six year old. For weeks, he’d been memorizing songs for his school’s “Winter Pageant.” I didn’t have the heart to tell him I’d be working the night of the production. Unwilling to miss his shining moment, I spoke with his teacher. She assured me there’d be a dress rehearsal the morning of the presentation. All parents unable to attend that evening were welcome to come then. Fortunately, Nicholas seemed happy with the compromise.

So, the morning of the dress rehearsal, I filed in ten minutes early, found a spot on the cafeteria floor and sat down. Around the room, I saw several other parents quietly scampering to their seats. As I waited, the students were led into the room. Each class, accompanied by their teacher, sat cross-legged on the floor. Then, each group, one by one, rose to perform their song.

Because the public school system had long stopped referring to the holiday as “Christmas,” because schools are state-owned and have turned their back on Jesus publicly so I didn’t expect anything other than fun, commercial entertainment – songs of reindeer, Santa Claus, snowflakes and good cheer. When my son’s class rose to sing, “Christmas Love,” I was slightly surprised by its title. Nicholas was aglow, as were all of his classmates, adorned in fuzzy mittens, red sweaters, and bright snow-caps upon their heads. Those in the front row- center stage – held up large letters, one by one, to spell out the title of the song. As the class would sing “C is for Christmas,” a child would hold up the letter C. Then, “H is for Happy,” and on and on, until each child holding up his portion had presented the complete message, “Christmas Love.”

The performance was going smoothly, until suddenly, we noticed her; a small, quiet, girl in the front row holding the letter “M” upside down – totally unaware her letter “M” appeared as a “W”. The audience of 1st through 6th graders snickered at this little one’s mistake. But she had no idea they were laughing at her, so she stood tall, proudly holding her “W”. Although many teachers tried to shush the children, the laughter continued until the last letter was raised, and we all saw it together. A hush came over the audience and eyes began to widen.

In that instant, we understood the reason we were there, why we celebrated the holiday in the first place, why even in the chaos, there was a purpose for our festivities. For when the last letter was held high, the message read loud and clear: “CHRISTWAS LOVE” And, I believe, He still is.

TWO BABIES IN A MANGER

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In 1994, two Americans answered an invitation from the Russian Department of Education to teach morals and ethics (based on Biblical principles) in the public schools. They were invited to teach at prisons, businesses, the fire and police departments and a large orphanage. About 100 boys and girls who had been abandoned, abused, and left in the care of a government-run program were in the orphanage. They relate the following story in their own words:

It was nearing the holiday season, 1994, time for our orphans to hear, for the first time, the traditional story of Christmas. We told them about Mary and Joseph arriving in Bethlehem. Finding no room in the inn, the couple went to a stable, where the baby Jesus was born and placed in a manger. Throughout the story, the children and orphanage staff sat in amazement as they listened. Some sat on the edges of their stools, trying to grasp every word.

Completing the story, we gave the children three small pieces of cardboard to make a crude manger. Each child was given a small paper square, cut from yellow napkins I had brought with me. No colored paper was available in the city. Following instructions, the children tore the paper and carefully laid strips in the manger for straw. Small squares of flannel (cut from a worn-out nightgown an American lady was throwing away as she left Russia ), were used for the baby’s blanket. A doll-like baby was cut from tan felt we had brought from the United States.

The orphans were busy assembling their manger as I walked among them to see if they needed any help. All went well until I got to one table where little Misha sat. He looked to be about 6-years-old and had finished his project. As I looked at the little boy’s manger, I was startled to see not one, but two babies in the manger.

Quickly, I called for the translator to ask the lad why there were two babies in the manger. Crossing his arms in front of him and looking at this completed manger scene, the child began to repeat the story very seriously. For such a young boy, who had only heard the Christmas story once, he related the happenings accurately — until he came to the part where Mary put the baby Jesus in the manger. Then Misha started to ad-lib.

He made up his own ending to the story as he said,

And when Mary laid the baby in the manger, Jesus looked at me and asked me if I had a place to stay. I told him I have no mamma and I have no papa, so I don’t have any place to stay. Then Jesus told me I could stay with Him. But I told him I couldn’t, because I didn’t have a gift to give Him like everybody else did. But I wanted to stay with Jesus so much, so I thought about what I had that maybe I could use for a gift.

I thought maybe if I kept Him warm, that would be a good gift.” So I asked Jesus, ‘If I keep You warm, will that be a good enough gift?’ And Jesus told me, ‘If you keep Me warm, that will be the best gift anybody ever gave Me.’ So I got into the manger, and then Jesus looked at me and He told me I could stay with Him — for always.”

As little Misha finished his story, his eyes brimmed full of tears that splashed down his little cheeks. Putting his hand over his face, his head dropped to the table and his shoulders shook as he sobbed and sobbed. The little orphan had found someone who would never abandon nor abuse him, someone who would stay with him — for always.

And the Americans? They had learned the lesson they had come there to teach — that it is not what you have in your life, but Who you have in your life that really counts. We all should give thanks for the people that “keep us”- in life – and for all of God’s many blessings to us: freedom from want, life, love, togetherness, and for the enduring love of Jesus Christ, the one person who keeps us warm and safe for always.

PS, and you thought Russian’s had no Christmas spirit…Russia “does-up” for lighted Christmas better than some U.S. cities! Have a look below …..

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Related LINK 

 

Following Directions of Life

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1. The best way to get even is to forget.

2. Feed your faith and your doubts will starve to death.

3. God wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts.

4. Some folks wear their halos much too tight.

5. Some marriages are made in Heaven…
but they ALL have to be maintained on earth.

6. Unless you can create the WHOLE universe in 6 days…
then perhaps giving “advice” to God, isn’t such a good idea!

7. Sorrow looks back, worry looks around, and faith looks up.

8. Standing in the middle of the road is dangerous…
You will get knocked down by the traffic from both ways.

9. Words are windows to the heart.

10. A skeptic is a person who…
when he sees the handwriting on the wall claims it’s a forgery.

11. It isn’t difficult to make a mountain out of a molehill; just add a little dirt.

12. A successful marriage isn’t finding the right person …
It’s BEING the right person.

13. The mighty oak tree was once a little nut that held its ground.

14. Too many people offer God prayers, with claw marks all over them.

15. The tongue must be heavy indeed, because so few people can hold it.

16. To forgive is to set the prisoner free…
and then discover the prisoner was you.

17. You have to wonder about humans…
they think God is dead and Elvis is alive!

18. It’s all right to sit on your pity pot every now and again…
Just be sure to flush when you are done.

19. You’ll notice that a turtle only makes progress when it sticks out it’s neck.

20. If the grass is greener on the other side of the fence…
you can bet the water bill is higher.

The Good ol’ Days

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“Life as mama knew it”

‘My children often asked me
If I saw Abe Lincoln shot.
If I rode in horse and buggy,
And I’d say “that old I’m not!”

So I took them to the places
Where I used to run and play,
And I told them many stories
Of how things were in my day.

The many homes we lived in
With the outhouse right behind.
Sleeping three in one full bed
For our winters were unkind.

The old pot bellied stove
Where ten children gathered close,
To warm their little bodies
Before dressing in their clothes.

Most all clothes were from relief
Or hand me downs from others.
Our shoes were lined with cardboard,
As were our dad’s and mother’s.

No butter on the toast we had…
Lard, with sugar on the top.
Canmilk coffee was for breakfast.
Always two to one full cup.

Hauling wood in winter snow
With a wheelbarrow twice our size.
Getting chased by neighbors horses
Trudging homeward with our prize.

There was a truck eleven
And another seventeen.
We grouped them both together
And called them leventeen.

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When we’d hear that number called
We’d know that we’d been found,
Taking wood from off the pile
Instead of off the ground.

Old Joe’s pigs would free themselves.
They were big and fast and mean.
Thank heaven we were faster
And the pigs a bit more lean.

No screens upon the windows.
No garbage pick up then, and
The flies outdid the locusts
In the plague sent down from heaven.

Before we had our mealtime
We were all called from play.
To swing our towels above our heads
And chase those flies away.

Then we’d all sit down to supper
To a platter piled up high
With sliced fried green tomatoes,
Which we’d eat until we’d sigh.

Dangerous fun we all would have
Taking jumps on cardboard sleds.
Made for some skinned up faces
When we jumped into our beds.

Curling up into a tire,
Rolling down a great steep hill.
Jumping railings with a five foot drop,
Made our mom and dad feel ill.

On Saturday our mom would tie
A diaper on her head.
Then fire up the old wood range
To bake our daily bread.

With the kitchen warm and cozy
She would fill the old wash tub,
Then the youngest to the oldest
Would get there weekly scrub.

Picking beans from Barne’s garden
Just a penny for a pound,
Caused aching backs and dirty knees
From kneeling on the ground.

Picking berries in the summer
Was another job of ours,
We’d set out in the morning
And pick for many hours.

We’d stop at noon to eat
Wherever there was shade…
A peanut butter sandwich and
Warm iced tea mom made.

We would stomp cans in the center
To wear upon our feet,
To go clanking down the sidewalk
Or any pavement street.

Third powder was our swimming hole
With a mine shaft in the middle.
A dangerous place to swim,
Especially when your little.

We’d save paper, iron and rags
To help out during the war.
Victory gardens were aplenty
To help out even more.

The paper, iron and rags were
Put upon the scale to weigh.
So many pounds of each
Would let us see a matinee.

We’d laugh when mom was asked
If she had rags to spare?
She’d answer, if I give you mine
I won’t have clothes to wear.

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I remember one fine day
When we all went to the fair..
They stopped to get some ice cream,
And they found I wasn’t there.

They found me sitting on a bench
I was very little then.
I said, “I knew you’d come and get me,”
But in my heart I didn’t know when.

Another time they moved
While I was staying somewhere.
Was I surprised when I got home,
And found they were not there.

We used to laugh and say,
“They would count as we came in,
Seven, eight, nine and ten.
They all made it home again.”

Those were the good old days,
As I look back now with pride.
They made us strong and hardy,
But it’s a wonder we survived!’

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Credit: Carol Bouche’ Ottlinger

More from Carol:

“There was so much more I wanted to write, about picking cat tails and getting bogged in the swamp, tipping toilets on Halloween, with someone in them. Arlene falling in the hole, raiding gardens, picking flowers in the cemetery for mama. The old Hupmobile that ran on creosote during the war. Kids chanting “Bouches chariot, pick it up and carry it. For two cents I’d take it out and bury it.

Sitting out on the roof at night, waiting for our drunken neighbor to crawl up her drive way cursing us. Having hobos come to our house and mom feeding them. Then they would put a mark on the fence so others would know they could get food here. Catching fireflies in a jar, and Christmas!

Well I don’t think anyone, rich or poor, had a better one. Life wasn’t a bowl of cherries, but we weren’t in the pits. We followed the ice truck and ate chips off the ground. We even chewed road tar. When anyone was lucky to get a piece of gum and left it on the metal painted bed, they had better get up early or someone else would be chewing it.

No lead poison ever got us. We washed our hair in Fels Naptha soap, and when we got lice we were all doused with kerosene. Children’s diseases? We were always quarantined. They would tack a big white sign on our door, but we had a ladder outside our upstairs window and the neighbor kids would crawl up and sleep with us.

We shared everything we got. I guess you’ll have to wait until the book comes out.. Till then I love you and I wouldn’t trade my life for any of the kids today. We were poor but we had a childhood like no other, and we had fun!!!!”

THANKS CAROL!!!!

A CHRISTIAN ALPHABET

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Although things are not perfect
Because of trial or pain
Continue in thanksgiving
Do not begin to blame
Even when the times are hard
Fierce winds are bound to blow
God is forever able
Hold on to what you know
Imagine life without His love
Joy would cease to be
Keep thanking Him for all the things
Love imparts to thee
Move out of “Camp Complaining”
No weapon that is known
On earth can yield the power
Praise can do alone
Quit looking at the future
Redeem the time at hand
Start every day with worship
To “thank God” is a command
Until we see Him coming
Victorious in the sky
We’ll run the race with gratitude
Xalting God most high
Yes, there’ll be good times and yes some will be bad, but…
Zion waits in glory…where none are ever sad!

Thanks Cindy B.

Thanks Lord, nothing good would be good, look good, smell good, taste good, feel good or taste so well. Praise God!!!  Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! – Moraldiplomat

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Thanksgiving Facts

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The traditional cornucopia was a curved goat’s horn filled to brim with fruits and grains. According to Greek legend, Amalthea (a goat) broke one of her horns and offered it to Greek false god Zeus as a sign of reverence. As a sign of gratitude, Zeus later set the goat’s image in the sky also known as constellation Capricorn.

Cornucopia is the most common symbol of a harvest festival. A Horn shaped container, it is filled with abundance of the Earth’s harvest. It is also known as the ‘horn of plenty’. For Christians; It symbolizes God’s generous bounty to His creation-us!

It was not until 1941, that congress declared Thanksgiving as a national holiday. It was declared to be the fourth Thursday in November.

The first known thanksgiving feast or festival in North America was celebrated by Francisco Vásquez de Coronado and the people he called “Tejas” (members of the Hasinai group of Caddo-speaking Native Americans).

Here’s one of those funny Thanksgiving facts:

Turkeys have heart attacks. When the Air Force was conducting test runs and breaking the sound barrier, fields of turkeys would drop dead.

Turducken, a turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken, is becoming more popular in Thanksgiving (originated in Louisiana). A turducken is a de-boned turkey stuffed with a de-boned duck, which itself is stuffed with a small de-boned chicken. The cavity of the chicken and the rest of the gaps are filled with, at the very least, a highly seasoned breadcrumb mixture (although some versions have a different stuffing for each bird).

Fossil evidence shows that turkeys roamed the Americas around 7000 years ago.

91% of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving Day.
There are regional differences as to the “stuffing” (or “dressing”) traditionally served with the turkey. Southerners generally make theirs from cornbread, while in other parts of the country white bread is the base. One or several of the following may be added: oysters, apples, chestnuts, raisins, celery and/or other vegetables, sausage or the turkey’s giblets.

Thomas Jefferson thought the concept of Thanksgiving was “the most ridiculous idea I’ve ever heard.”

Every President since Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving Day. But in 1939, 1940, and 1941 Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed Thanksgiving the third Thursday in November to lengthen the holiday shopping season. This upset people.

The North American holiday season (generally the Christmas shopping season in the U.S.) traditionally begins when Thanksgiving ends, on “Black Friday” (the day after Thanksgiving); this tradition has held forth since at least the 1930s.

On the West Coast of the US, Dungeness crab is common as an alternate main dish instead of turkey, as crab season starts in early November.

Corn is one of the popular symbols of thanksgiving. It came in many varieties and colors – red, white, yellow and blue. Some Americans considered blue and white corn sacred. The oldest corns date 7000 years back and were grown in Mexico.

Benjamin Franklin wanted the national bird to be a turkey.

A spooked turkey can run at speeds up to 20 miles per hour. They can also burst into flight approaching speeds between 50-55 mph in a matter of seconds.

The first Thanksgiving was not a feast, but rather a time when Native Americans helped Pilgrims by bringing them food and helping them build up the land.

More than 40 million green bean casseroles are served on Thanksgiving.

Turkey is the traditional dish for the Thanksgiving feast. In the US, about 280 million turkeys are sold for the Thanksgiving celebrations. There is no official reason or declaration for the use of turkey. They just happened to be the most plentiful meat available at the time of the first Thanksgiving in 1621, starting the tradition.

Turkeys are first documented over two thousand years ago in Central America and Mexico.

Twenty percent of cranberries eaten are eaten on Thanksgiving.

The preliminary estimate of the number of turkeys raised in the United States in 2005 is 256 million. That’s down 3 percent from 2004. The turkeys produced in 2004 weighed 7.3 billion pounds altogether and were valued at $3.1 billion.

Fifty percent of Americans put the stuffing inside the Turkey.

In October of 1777 all 13 colonies celebrated Thanksgiving for the first time; however it was a one-time affair commemorating a victory over the British at Saratoga.

Turkeys were one of the first animals in the Americas to be domesticated.

Columbus thought that the land he discovered was connected to India, where peacocks are found in considerable number. And he believed turkeys were a type of peacock (they’re actually a type of pheasant). So he named them “tuka”, which is “peacock” in the Tamil language of India.

There are three places in the United States named after the holiday’s traditional main course — Turkey, Texas; Turkey Creek, La.; and Turkey, N.C. There are also nine townships around the country named “Turkey,” with three in Kansas.

The ‘wishbone’ of the turkey is used in a good luck ritual on Thanksgiving Day.

The cranberry is a symbol and a modern diet staple of thanksgiving. Originally called crane berry, it derived its name from its pink blossoms and drooping head, which reminded the Pilgrims of a crane.

The Plymouth Pilgrims dined with the Wampanoag Indians for the First Thanksgiving.

Sarah Josepha Hale, a magazine editor, campaigned to make Thanksgiving a National Holiday in 1827 and succeeded.

The different nicknames for Thanksgiving Day:

“Turkey Day” (after the traditional Thanksgiving dinner), “T-Day” (an abbreviation of either “Thanksgiving Day” or “Turkey Day”), “Macy’s Day (this is exclusive to New York City – it is a reference to the Macy’s Day Parade), “Yanksgiving” (Canadians sometimes call the Thanksgiving in the US as “Yanksgiving” to distinguish it from the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday.)

Several people wanted to have an official day of thanksgiving, including George Washington, who proclaimed a National Day of Thanksgiving in 1789. Several people did not want it including President Thomas Jefferson.

The First Thanksgiving lasted for three days.

Wild turkeys, while technically the same species as domesticated turkeys, have a very different taste from farm-raised turkeys. Almost all of the meat is “dark” (even the breasts) with a more intense turkey flavor. Older heritage breeds also differ in flavor.

Here’s one of the most unbelievable Thanksgiving facts:

The Guinness Book of Records states that the greatest dressed weight recorded for a turkey is 39.09 kg (86 lbs), at the annual “heaviest turkey” competition held in London, England on December 12, 1989.

Contrary to popular belief, Native Americans did not eat cranberries. They did, however, find them extremely useful for dying fabric and decorating pottery.

oh and by the way, the Native Americans wore deerskin and fur, not blankets as depicted in many artistic pictures, paintings and movies.

For more on Thanksgiving facts, CLICK HERE 

HOPE YOU AND YOURS HAVE A PEACEFUL AND LOVING THANKSGIVING‘- Moraldiplomat