Monthly Archives: June 2011

Thought For The Day 06/30/11

Standard

Two $1.00 Bills!

~ ~ ~


 ~ ~ ~

The other day I visited the LifeWay store, which is a wonderful Christian store with locations throughout the United States. And since this store is located at the south end of Myrtle Beach, adjacent to a large mall, I figured I’d “kill 2 birds with 1 stone” and stop in at Bed Bath & Beyond while I was there to pick up some K-cups for my Keurig Coffeemaker (since I quit smoking, my coffee has become a must for me). OK, move over Edith Bunker….to make a long story even longer….anyway, I was in my car leaving the mall when I realized that I had been overcharged for my purchase, and I had to turn around, park and go back inside to get my money back….which I did. It wasn’t much money, but I tossed the refund in my purse and left once again. My drive home took me through an intersection in an area of Myrtle Beach that is more run down than most areas, and as I was pulling to the traffic light I glanced out my window and saw a man holding the most extraordinary sign. I had actually passed him before the words really registered: “Homeless & Hungry. Even if you can’t help, God bless you!” My heart gave a lurch, I stopped, threw the car into reverse and backed up. I suddenly knew that the money refunded to me wasn’t really meant for me to keep……it was given to me so that I could give it to this man. It was not much but when I rolled down my window and handed it to him, he started crying and said over and over “God bless you”. I trusted that he would use it for its intended purpose and in my heart, I know he did! I also knew that I needed to do more.

~ ~ ~

Early today I visited Wal Mart. I went to the section where you can buy travel size items for personal care. I picked up small soaps, tooth brushes, tooth paste, combs, new wash cloths and I took them home and found clean towels I was going to donate anyway, and made care packages. I put these packages in a box in my car. Now I am not planning to go out and seek out those who are disenfranchised, but the next time I see someone I know is in need, I will give them one of these packages. The cost was minimal but the feeling of joy doing this will give me is beyond measure. It will be my way of giving back to my community and making a difference. Won’t you all join me and start your own special project for helping others?

~ ~ ~

The purpose of life is not to be happy – but to matter, to be productive, to be useful, to have it make some difference that you have lived at all. 

~Leo Rosten~

Thought For The Day 06/29/11

Standard

The Littlest Victims!

~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~

My husband is a Guardian Ad Litem. This means that he is a trained advocate and voice for children of South Carolina who are in the system. South Carolina does not allow minor children to speak openly in court during legal hearings so my husband speaks for them. These children may be in foster care or may have cases open with the Department of Social Services for a multitude of reasons. I wish there was no reason for people to have to do the job my husband does. Unfortunately the battle between good and evil wages on and children are often the innocent victims of that war. We as a society should be ashamed of ourselves for allowing the circumstances that we have control over to exist that creates an environment for children to become the victims that they do.

~ ~ ~

“60 Minutes” did an expose last Sunday about the new face of the homeless in Florida. Both Dan and I sat there agape at what we were witnessing on our television. Based on the government projections of unemployment, it is estimated that the poverty rate for kids in this country will soon hit 25 percent, and this generation of children will be the largest being raised in hard times since the Great Depression. Thousands and thousands of families lost their homes to foreclosure and now find themselves living out of cars and motel rooms, refusing shelters if at all possible because it is there that families are apt to be separated. This is a tragedy of epic proportions and I fear that the psychological damage suffered will follow these children into adulthood.  And while this “60 Minutes” story focused on Seminole County, Florida, all we have to do is look around our own communities. The homeless are not invisible….we have just become so complacent that we don’t even see these people as they walk along our highways, or sit in our parks, or camp in our woods. Shame on us for this!

~ ~ ~

I wrote an essay in 1972. My “Senior Thesis” was a requirement for my graduation from High School (and, interestingly, earned me a B+ in High School and an A+ when I re-used it in my Sociology class in college in 1973). The title of my essay is, unfortunately, as true today as it was back then: “Poverty is a culture, an institution, and a way of life in which self-defeating behaviors are inherited by each rising generation”. In 1972, I wanted to change the world. So did my generation. What happened to that idealism?

~ ~ ~

“We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless.

The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty.

We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.”

~ ~ Mother Theresa ~ ~

~ ~ ~

Please Visit The Hunger Site and The Child Health Site and “Click ” To Give!

The Hunger Site

The Child Health Site
~ ~ ~

Thought For The Day 06/28/11

Standard

Do You Believe In Life Beyond Our World?
~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~

Last night was crystal clear and the stars in the sky positively glistened. Their brightness, color, and number seemed somehow different than I remembered and the thought occurred to me that I could not remember the last time I had really searched the heavens at night. Each glistening speck, so like our own sun, and yet so different…..I could not help but wonder if some other world filled with life existed in the vastness of not only our own Milky Way but in the galaxies beyond. Perhaps, somewhere, billions and billions of light years away, some other life form was scanning the heavens too, and wondering exactly the same thing I was.

~ ~ ~

It is incomprehensible to me that God would ever create a universe so vast and then choose only one small, relatively insignificant planet to seed with life. In fact, in Hebrews 1:2, the Bible tells us that He made the worlds, implying that other planets exist and are capable of sustaining life. There are also some who believe that other beings in God’s heavenly kingdom are watching closely to see the outcome in the battle being waged here on Earth between God and Satan.

~ ~ ~

I am no philosopher nor am I an astronomer nor am I a great theologian. I am not privy to the mind of God nor His plans for planet Earth. The one thing I can state with certainty is that I am a witness to the ongoing battle between good and evil that faces all human beings in our world. But I am also a dreamer. I believe in God. I believe the greatness of His creations. And I am someone who will probably never look toward the night sky again without thinking about the possibility of other worlds formed by the hand of God and of other forms of life of His making!

~ ~ ~

God gives us dreams a size too big so that we can grow in them. 

~Author Unknown~

Thought For The Day 06/27/11

Standard

The Beauty That Is God’s Church

~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~

A friend of mine from high school traveled to NJ this past weekend to attend her sister’s wedding. Now this is a second marriage and it was a small, intimate affair for the immediate family only. And then my friend posted a picture entitled “Our Church”. The photo was a picture of lush green grass and beautiful blooms of every color. The picture showed a blue sky and fluffy, cottony, white clouds. And my first thought was, what an absolutely perfect place for exchanging the ever after kind of promises this couple would make to one another. And it also made me think of how the definition of a church and God’s house has changed over the years.

~ ~ ~

What exactly is a church today? I don’t think the definition has really changed all that much in 2000 years. Christ did not preach in a structure built by the hand of man, but rather, in the beauty created by the hand of God. He preached where His feet led Him. He preached where any would gather to hear and celebrate the message of God’s love. The people hearing Christ’s words were not dressed in their finery, but rather, wore the simple clothes of the masses. The people hearing His message were not perfumed but were dusty and dirty and carried the perfume of flocks of sheep and goats and chickens. The people hearing His words came hungry and thirsty for the sustenance those words would provide to their souls.

~ ~ ~

Today we see church attendance declining as people seek to practice their faith in a multitude of settings other than the traditional house of worship. And today’s minister is discovering more and more creative ways to spread the same message Jesus spread 2 millenia ago in an effort to keep up with the changes taking place in our world. But I think what we will be seeing is not fewer people of faith in the years ahead, but even more than ever before because we, as a people, need God even more today than ever before! And it just doesn’t matter where we worship him just as long as we show up!

~ ~ ~

Rainbows & Raindrops ~ A gift from God.  

Mountains & Valleys ~ A gift from God.   

Flora & Fauna ~ A gift from God.

Jesus & Love ~ A gift from God. 

   

 

Thought Fot The Day 06/26/11

Standard

A Sermon
~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~

I always promised those friends of mine who are following me on MandysPath that I would never pontificate about matters of faith but rather, write stories which, for the most part, lend themselves to nudge your conscience to apply a moral interpretation on an everyday issue or event. Then I actually looked up the definition of the word sermon, and, much to my surprise, every single daily thought I’ve written fits the criteria for what defines a sermon. And while my thoughts tend to fit the “long, tedious speech” definition they are also my attempt at serious “discourse about a moral issue”.

~ ~ ~

It seems to me that we spend an awful lot of time trying to convince God we deserve to go to Heaven when our earthly life is over. We do our best to atone for our sins in the belief that our “good” must outweigh our “bad”! This is often the context of the sermon we hear when we visit our church on Sunday morning. However, in reality, much as my thoughts every day focus on the simple view of the issue at hand, it seems to me as if God has already done all the hard work for us by sending His son, Jesus Christ to earth to die for our sins. All we need do is accept the gift Jesus gave us and accept Him into our hearts. And much like my daily thoughts, it is as simple, and as difficult as that.

~ ~ ~

 The difference between try and triumph is a little umph!
~ ~ Author Unknown ~ ~

~ ~ ~

Thought For The Day 06/25/11

Standard

Mandy’s Menagerie!

~ ~ ~

Peewee

Misty

Skittles

Salem

~ ~ ~

Along “MandysPath” you will find Mandy’s Menagerie! Stop in and visit sometime….and while you’re at it, feel free to bring a can of Alpo, Lil Friskies or some clumping litter. When you visit me, know ahead of time that my house is dusty, that my furniture is spotted, as are my rugs. Yes, I am a fairly clean person. I vacuum sometimes 2x a day, dust constantly and damp mop my floors regularly. And I have 4 legged children who live here. (In fact, they pretty much tolerate Dan and me because they don’t have thumbs to open the food cans.) This is their home as much as it is ours. And if the truth was known, I’d have more like them, if I could (though after this trip to NY, we probably won’t be asking Sabrina to critter sit again considering the text message I received one morning which summed things up pretty clearly…”I hate your animals”…after a particularly trying night with 1 sick dog!)

~ ~ ~

All of my “wee furry bairns” are rescued. I am constantly amazed at people who can see an animal as without feelings and abuse them, starve them or abandon them to the elements. It makes me wonder just exactly how these same people treat other human beings in their lives. Are they kind and thoughtful to people just because they walk upright or are their hearts just as black towards humans as they are towards innocent creatures?

~ ~ ~

Misty Cat, a short-haired Tabby, is the grande dame of our home at 14, rescued from some abusive kids who were giving her liquor as a tiny kitten;  Peewee Dog is about 8, a long-haired Chihuahua, adopted from the Humane Society; Skittles Dog is 4, a Mutt, the product of an elopement from the yard by her mama; and Salem Cat, a Mackerel Tabby, is about 18 months, rescued in our development, 1/2 starved but definitely not feral. Every one is different but each is special to us. When they look into my eyes I see the love they feel for me and I get that warm, fuzzy feeling every parent recognizes….when their child wraps their arms around your neck and squeezes tight! Are they work? You bet! All responsible pet owners care for their pets….they have their pets neutered, shots given and yearly exams performed. Unfortunately, not all owners are responsible which is exactly why I have a menagerie of my own!

~ ~ ~

Today I’m asking you all to support your local animal welfare group. If you can, pick up a bag of food the next time you go shopping and deliver it to the shelter. Drop off a roll of paper towels, some bleach or old towels you are looking to throw out. They need all of these things and more. And if you can’t do any of this, just remember “Your Daily Click” to the “The Animal Rescue Site” http://www.theanimalrescuesite.com/clickToGive/home.faces?siteId=3. Every click you make provides food for a shelter animal! Such a little thing….1 click….but with such impact! Do it today! And while you’re at it, if you are able, bring some love into your house and adopt one of God’s innocents!

~ ~ ~

“These birds and animals and fish cannot speak, but they can suffer, and our God who created them, knows their sufferings, and will hold him who causes them to suffer unnecessarily to answer for it. It is a sin against their Creator.”

~ ~George Q. Cannon~ ~

 (Animal Activist)

Thought For The Day 06/24/11

Standard

Bye Bye Block!

~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~

I knew my writer’s block would be a thing of the past the moment I saw something that tugged at my heart-strings. And while I feel that way EVERY time I see my husband or my family, I read an article in the paper that evoked such a strong reaction within me that I can barely speak today. And for those who know me really well, you know I am seldom at a loss for words!

~ ~ ~

A Gastonia, NC man, my age, had always lived a righteous life. This man was a veteran and a hard-working man who had contributed to society all his life. His only problem? Failing health plagued him and when he exhausted his savings, he could no longer afford the medical care he so desperately needed. So, what did he do? He sold all of his belongings, paid his rent, sat down and wrote a note to the local newspaper telling them of his plans, wrote a second note and headed to the bank. He handed the teller his note which demanded $1.00 (yes a single dollar bill) and then he sat down and waited for the police to arrive. You see, he knew that people in jail receive health care, medicine and food…..something he lacked. He did not want anyone hurt and did not take a weapon with him.

~ ~ ~

Now a good man sits in a jail cell. He refuses bail because he was right. He has been getting health care. He has been getting shelter. He has been getting food. And he has been getting something he may or may not have wanted…..publicity about his plight. Certainly, there can be no one who hears his story who doesn’t find himself without words, and probably more than a few are also saying to themselves, there but by the grace of God!!! And they would be right, for almost none of us are more than a 1 to 2 month paycheck away from being homeless.

~ ~ ~

I wish I had an answer  for Mr James Verone. The Christian in me wants to go to him, and tell him he’s never alone….no one who has God and family is ever alone. And yet I understand. I do not want to be a burden on anyone in my family when I get older. It’s hard enough now to ask for help if I need it. I think that’s because we all have this inner need to prove to the world that we can do it….we can all be independent and successful. And yet, all too often, we find ourselves squeezed just a tad…..not enough that we drown but just enough that we need to reach out to others for that life-preserver. And for me, that is something my faith brings to my life……that life-preserver to grab a hold of to keep me floating just long enough to get close enough to shore where I can regain my footing. And yes, I think about Mr Verone and I also utter those words…..there but by the grace of God!

~ ~ ~

There Is No Place Like Home!

 ~ ~ ~

Home is where the heart is.  Lose heart… and lose home.

We feel the truth of these words

For home and heart are bound together.

The state of one reflects the state of the other.

For who has not lost his home

Without feeling like the heart has been cut out of him?

And whose heart has not healed faster by being in the right home?

~ ~Unknown~ ~

~ ~ ~