Monthly Archives: December 2011

Thought For The Day 12/31/11

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LOVE!

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Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.

William Shakespeare,

Mid-Summer Night’s Dream, 1595

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LOVE! Such a tiny word but one that seeks to recreate itself within the mind and heart of each person who not only experiences its pleasure but also seeks to share it with another. And each time it’s emotion is experienced, it is felt in a very unique way. How many of us see someone in our every day life and look at them and wonder just how it would be possible for someone…..anyone…..to love them? They are people WE, you and I, may not even like very much! And yet, for someone else, the sun may rise and set upon the face of that one person!

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It is only when the joy of love is seen and shared with more than just the heart, that it becomes another kind of love; the kind that can withstand the  test of time! It is easy to see love in its early days…..when passions run hot and the frailties we all share as mortal men and women, have not yet come to the surface to be seen by the one we are with. And, for a moment, we think we are in love. And then, we show our weaknesses to the other and what we thought was love disappears from our life with a speed to rival a jet in flight. And it is then that we realize what we were feeling was not even a strong like! And yet, we seek it out again and again as we live our lives because for us not to do so, and risk living our lives alone, is an unthinkable alternative! And thus is man’s experience with human love. However, never forget the other kind of love that exists. It is, perhaps, the only one that DOES NOT seek to recreate itself. I am talking about Divine Love!

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Divine Love is the greatest gift in all the universe, transcending all else in our lives and guaranteeing our opportunity for eternal life and everlasting happiness in His Heavenly Kingdom. It is, after all, composed of not just His nature but His substance as well, and, when chosen by humans, with all sincerity, has the capacity to transform the soul with the very essence that is God!

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And so, tonight as you begin to make your plans for those many resolutions we all promise ourselves we will keep, each time a new year heralds its approach, remember all the things love, each and every kind we can experience, brings into our lives and vow to be the best parent, child, husband, wife and friend we, each of us, can be. And remember to allow God’s divine love the opportunity of washing over us, as well. If you do, I can virtually guarantee you will have a most joyous and happy New Year!

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Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and he who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God; for God is love.

1 John 4:7-8

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No man has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his own Spirit.

1 John 4:12-13

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There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and he who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.

1 John 4:18-20

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Copyright © 2011 “MandysPath” Ministry-ULC

Thought For The Day 12/30/11

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The Three Wishes

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Catherine selling Lemonade to raise money for Make-A-Wish

(National Lemonade Day 2011)

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There are four basic food groups: milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, and chocolate truffles.

Author Unknown

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I read the quote today with a bittersweet smile on my face….for a couple of reasons. The first is because of the story I am going to tell you about today is about the 3 wishes of a little girl. The second I will explain after I tell you Catherine’s story!

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Catherine is a little girl, 6 years old. Her 3 wishes are ones most of us wouldn’t even give a second thought to. The first is for dinner at El Rodeo, a Mexican restaurant near her home. The second is to have cotton candy, which she tasted only once in her life, during a trip to  Disney World. The third is for a cure for diabetes. You see, since she was 15 months old, she became ill with what MD’s thought was normal teething and then a virus. The real reason was much more insidious…. juvenile diabetes. She returned home with insulin and a Glucose monitor. She was so brittle (extreme fluctuations in the blood sugar levels), and because she was too young to tell her parents how she was feeling,  her parents had to test her sugar levels so often that, even as a toddler, as soon as she saw her mother get the meter, she toddled over to her, finger outstretched!

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Her parents were able to grant her first wish. The second will be granted by the Make-A-Wish foundation who, given the severity of her disease and the likely impact it will have on her growth and development, decided to accept the request her family made for a trip to Disney World! Her third wish we can only hope and pray will be found within her lifetime and it will be through research funded by our tax dollars as well as donations to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation as well as other diabetes research groups. Now, it is a common misconception that a child has to have a terminal illness to receive a wish from the Make-A-Wish Foundation.  The disease just has to be life threatening, and anyone who believes diabetes is not life threatening does not know the sobering statistics about the disease! Adults with diabetes have heart disease death rates about 2 to 4 times higher than adults without diabetes. Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults aged 20–74 years. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, accounting for 44% of new cases in 2008. And if those statistics aren’t sobering enough, perhaps the cost in $$$$$ will be!

  • $174 billion: Total costs of diagnosed diabetes in the United States in 2007
  • $116 billion for direct medical costs
  • $58 billion for indirect costs (disability, work loss, premature mortality)

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My husband and I lost a friend almost 20 years ago who succumbed to complications of Diabetes in his 40’s. And today, we are a household dealing with the illness as both Dan and my father are diabetics. My daughter’s best friend was just released from the hospital following being diagnosed as an insulin resistant diabetic. She is not yet my age!

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As we enter a brand new year in a few days, I ask you all to be vigilant regarding your own health. If you have not been checked recently, ask your doctor to perform a simple finger stick test. The earlier Diabetes is caught and managed, the more likely it is that you will lead a long and complication free life. And then I hope you will consider doing your part to help researchers find a cure. Perhaps you can consider making a donation to the American Diabetes Association in honor of someone you know with the disease. And if you see a young person fundraising for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, support them. It might just be you whose $$$$ are the ones that find that cure! We are, after all, our brother’s keeper!

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For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Galatians 5:13-14

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Copyright © 2011 “MandysPath” Ministry-ULC

Thought For The Day 12/29/11

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A Story of Faith

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Ben Breedlove
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Because I could not stop for Death, He kindly stopped for me.

The Carriage held but just ourselves

And Immortality.

Emily Dickinson

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The following story is not mine in that I did not write it nor did I know of this young man until his life force had been extinguished. But I know a mother’s heart and as such, I know the feeling this young man’s tribute left within the heart of the woman who bore him. This is, indeed, a love story unlike most and serves to prove to us all the miracle and the power that is the faith one can hold in the heart and the soul. Please view both videos. I promise you that witnessing the words of this extraordinary young man may change forever, the fear some of you may feel, about the finality death brings to us when it knocks at our door!
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Austin teen’s parting message inspires untold numbers online

By Mary Ann Roser

maroser@statesman.com

AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF

Austin teenager Ben Breedlove died on Christmas but not before leaving his  loved ones a cherished gift that quickly became an Internet sensation.

Breedlove, who was 18 when he succumbed to a lifelong heart condition, loved  making funny videos and had his own  channel on YouTube in which he gave girls advice about boys. True to  form, his  final message is a video .

His loved ones found it hours after he had an apparent cardiac arrest at home.  In it, Breedlove talks about cheating death three times and describes a vision that he had when his heart stopped earlier this month and his desire to stay in that peaceful place.

Watching the two-part video Breedlove made days before he died, “I can’t  tell you the kind of joy” it brought, said his mother, Deanne  Breedlove. “It was a gift to us, and for him to be so confident and  unafraid of death and to share it with other people was so touching.”

Breedlove is shown holding up written note cards rather than speaking about  his close calls with death. The video was featured Tuesday on a variety of  websites, including the Huffington Post, and on Facebook and Twitter. Many  wrote they were tearful and inspired.

“I am going to achieve my dreams for you, Ben. I will,” one  commenter wrote.

“And I’m not going to fear anything or let fear get in the way of  anything now.”

A follower on his YouTube channel, “OurAdvice4You,” thanked him for  his help: “Ben, I never personally met you but I watched your videos  and … remember … thinking, ‘Whoever ends up with him will be the  luckiest girl on Earth.'”

In his last video, Breedlove recounts the vision he had previously described  to his family and friends when he “cheated death the third time,”  on Dec. 6. He had a cardiac arrest at Westlake High School, where he was a  senior.

While he was being revived, he saw himself with his favorite rapper, Kid Cudi,  and the two were wearing suits.

“The first thing I thought was, Damn, we look good!'” he recounted. “I  then looked at myself in the mirror. I was proud of myself, of my entire  life, of everything I have done. It was the best feeling. I didn’t want to  leave that place.”

The rap artist wrote on his blog Monday that he was in tears after seeing the  video.

Best friend Grant Hamill said he didn’t know of the video until after his  friend had died. Breedlove had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a thickening of  the heart muscle that makes it work harder.

“It was rough seeing him and what he was thinking about,” Hamill  said. “He hated the hospital and being constrained. We didn’t talk  about it. He wanted me to be just his friend.”

Breedlove enjoyed wakeboarding, playing guitar and drumming. He hunted with an  adult family friend, Mark Kohler, who called him funny, smart and “an  old soul.”

He used YouTube to influence his peers, said Kohler’s wife, Pam. “Obviously,  he knew what he was doing when he left this message,” she said.

Breedlove’s mother said she was grateful for the goodness it had inspired. “Ben  himself was full of joy,” she said, “and to be his parent was a  huge blessing.”

He also is survived by his father, Shawn; a sister, Ally; and a brother, Jake.

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http://youtu.be/tmlTHfVaU9o

Part 1

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http://youtu.be/a4LSEXsvRAI

Part 2

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“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.”

John 14:1-4

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Thought For The Day 12/28/11

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Teamwork

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Sure there’s no “I” in “team,” but there is a “ME”!

Author Unknown

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I wish I knew who wrote the above quote I got from a wonderful website where I get nearly all the quotes I begin my blogs with, The Quote Garden (http://www.quotegarden.com/). Contained on this site are thousands upon thousands of quotes on every topic conceivable. Some are attributed to people of note and many more are of unknown origin but all of them are meaningful and impactful and all have certainly given “tooth” to the words I post in my blog. And yet, not until today, have I ever written a blog solely inspired by a quote I read, usually writing my post first then adding the quote as a lead in to the words I am putting to paper. That changed today with the above quote.

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Having written hundreds of posts over the last 9 months, sometimes I think carrying and delivering a baby, which also takes 9 months, would be easier than it sometimes is for me to come up with an original idea that will spark a flame, not just within me but you all as well, and which, when put to paper….so to speak….will leave you thinking and hungering for more. And today, having written the words for my radio show for New Year’s Eve, my head was empty and I felt lost as to what to write as my thought. And then, nudged by that hand in the small of my back that seems to keep guiding me in the right direction I am destined to travel along my path of faith, I decided to look at quotes first. And the first one I read was the one above. And the lightening bolt struck!

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How often do we sit alone and wonder just exactly what it is that we are bringing to others in our lives and the world around us! I know I often wonder that very thing, and I suspect most of us do….more often than we realize. (All except my husband who has been blessed with an extraordinary mindset that allows him to view life in the broadest sense. He laughingly observed that he is “…a big picture guy” once, when he went an entire week not realizing that I had changed my hair color to an entirely different shade. It, after all, really didn’t change the picture he carries in his mind of me, which seems to be the young 18-year-old I once was, with waist length blonde hair, and wearing a halter top and jeans! It was the ’70’s after all!)

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Anyway, that is the most extraordinary thing about a group of people, or even a couple, who, when joined or are united together, comprise that miraculous thing referred to as a team. It is, after all, so much easier to accomplish things in our lives when we approach them in the company of another, rather than alone! We have known that since the earliest days of man, when the need to survive necessitated joining one with the other, to hunt for food, and most certainly, for companionship and to procreate. And it seems that most people find they simply feel better when they are bonded together with another as a couple to share life’s journey with!

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And so, I ask each of you to be aware of those in your circle of friends or neighbors who may not have another to share their journey through life with. Offer them the hand of friendship and encouragement and let them know that you are there to help if they but ask. I guarantee that you have effected, by that single act, a miracle that has the capacity to change not just one life, but the world, as well!

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Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.

Ecclesiastes 4:9–12

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Copyright © 2011 “MandysPath” Ministry-ULC

Thought For The Day 12/27/11

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A Gift of Love – A Miracle of Life

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Don’t think of organ donations as giving up part of yourself to keep a total stranger alive. It’s really a total stranger giving up almost all of themselves to keep part of you alive.

Author Unknown

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Yesterday I read a love story that has impacted the lives of 6 families ….. 12 people ….. so far. And I suspect that if we had the skills of Sherlock Holmes and had capacity to follow this story through the weeks and months to come, we would be given a glimpse of a true miracle ….. and all because one woman dared to make a sacrifice to a total stranger. And the meaning of this special gift is even more meaningful to me as I know first hand, the effects end stage renal disease can have on an entire family. I watched my mother-in-law suffer through the tortuous years of kidney dialysis 3 times a week  because she developed kidney failure, most probably the result of years of trying to bear a child. You see, she conceived and lost multiple infants because her body developed severe high blood pressure as a result of these pregnancies! You will understand the connection, when I tell you about this love story, called “George’s Chain of Life“!

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A woman from Florida, Deb, lost her son, George, as the result of a car accident. Her son had agreed to be an organ donor, signing an agreement when he got his driver’s license, but his organs were not able to be harvested because he had succumbed to a massive infection as a result of his injuries. In an attempt to give his loss purpose, Deb agreed to donate one of her healthy kidneys to someone in need. A woman named Rosa, got it. Rosa’s daughter, so grateful for this gift, donated one of her healthy kidneys to Daniel. Daniel’s wife, so grateful, donated one of her healthy kidneys to Carolyn. Carolyn’s husband donated his kidney to Samir. Samir’s sister donated her kidney to Alan. Alan’s wife donated her kidney to Linda. Each person did not know the recipient of their gift until after the transplant, and all of the donors registered their willingness to give this gift via the “Alliance For Paired Donation” (http://www.paireddonation.org/), all in thanks to the stranger who gave their loved one this gift of life!

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My mother-in-law was not a candidate for transplantation because of her advanced age, and I, for one, am not a candidate to become a donor because my medical history precludes me from eligibility. However, were my circumstances different, I would be the first one contacting this group, to become a living donor. I do have an organ donor sticker affixed to my driver’s license because I hope that some part of me could benefit someone else should I die unexpectedly and my family is aware of my wishes. As a matter of fact, I am the recipient of another’s generous gift because I require blood and iron infusions periodically because my body can not absorb iron from foods and medicines because of mal-absorption issues. I have a friend who received a bone marrow transplant because of cancer. And I’m betting that nearly every one of us knows of or has heard of someone who needs donations of blood or marrow or organs.

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There is a wonderful poem by a man, Robert N. Test, that addresses this and it’s something I want to share with you in hopes you might give some thought to becoming an organ donor or, perhaps, even a living donor!

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To Remember Me

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The day will come when my body will lie upon a white sheet neatly tucked under four corners of a mattress located in a hospital; busily occupied with the living and the dying. At a certain moment a doctor will determine that my brain has ceased to function and that, for all intents and purposes, my life has stopped. When that happens, do not attempt to instill artificial life into my body by the use of a machine. And don’t call this my deathbed. Let it be called the bed of life, and let my body be taken from it to help others lead fuller lives.

Give my sight to the man who has never seen a sunrise, a baby’s face, or love in the eyes of a woman.

Give my heart to a person whose own heart has caused nothing but endless days of pain.

Give my blood to the teenager who was pulled from the wreckage of his car, so that he might live to see his grandchildren play.

Give my kidneys to one who depends on a machine to exist from week to week.

Take my bones, every muscle, every fiber and nerve in my body and find a way to make a crippled child walk.

If you must bury something, let it be my faults, my weaknesses, and all prejudice against my fellow man.

Give my sins to the devil.

Give my soul to God.

If, by chance, you wish to remember me, do it with a kind deed or word to someone who needs you. If you do all I have asked, I will live forever.

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Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to.

Deuteronomy 15:10

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http://mandyspathministry-ulc.webs.com

Copyright © 2011 “MandysPath” Ministry-ULC

Thought For The Day 12/26/11

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In The Blink Of An Eye, It’s Over!

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The message of Christmas is that the visible material world is bound to the invisible spiritual world.

Author Unknown

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We spend months saving! We spend weeks shopping! We spend days preparing! We spend hours enjoying and then it’s over! Except for the memories it planted in our hearts! Except for the joy it painted in our minds! Except for the love it reaffirmed within our souls! Christmas is just that special gift we all need at the end of every year to give up hope for the hours, days, weeks, and months to come in the New Year! And all because God deemed to send a tiny being into the world…..a perfect gift for mankind…..the bridge we all will need to guarantee our place with him for all eternity, if we accept and believe! And I believe! Yes, indeed, I believe!

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I also believe in Santa Clause, as well, for some very specific reasons, many of which I saw through the eyes of my grandson, Landon, as he first caught sight of his presents under the tree yesterday. Now there would be some out there who might be tempted to damn me to hell for admitting such a thing in a public forum. However, in my opinion the magic that is Christmas day can not be easily divided between the spiritual and the secular side of the celebration. For it is through the inter-twining of the two that we are all given this perfect day every year. And no better example exists of this very fact than a letter written many years ago by a little girl  to the editor of THE SUN, a local New York City newspaper of the day. And though I know you all must know to what I am referring, for those who may not, I want to share with you both the letter she wrote and the response that was published!

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“DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.

“Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. “Papa says, ‘If you see it in THE SUN it’s so.’ “Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?

“VIRGINIA O’HANLON. “115 WEST NINETY-FIFTH STREET.”

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VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of children.

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Francis Pharcellus Church, Editor

THE SUN

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Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.

1 John 4:7

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http://mandyspathministry-ulc.webs.com

Copyright © 2011 “MandysPath” Ministry-ULC

Thought For The Day 12/25/11

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Merry Christmas

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At Christmas, all roads lead home.

Marjorie Holmes

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I have a friend who is a tremendously talented singer-songwriter. He performed in an 80’s band and is a talented actor who is still waiting for that acting break that seems to elude so many talented people. But the world’s loss in my gain as he has recorded a series of Christmas videos that you can find on YouTube if you put michaelf12 in the search box. And so, today, my gift to you is the link to all his wonderful Christmas videos. Please feel free to share them as well on your social media sites or via email! And when you do, say a little prayer of thanks to the Almighty for my friend, Michael Fawcett!

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To view Michael’s videos, click the link below!

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http://www.youtube.com/user/michaelf12?blend=1&ob=video-mustangbase

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Merry Christmas to you all!

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http://mandyspathministry-ulc.webs.com

Copyright © 2011 “MandysPath” Ministry-ULC

Thought For The Day 12/24/11

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The Most Beautiful Story Ever Told!

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I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.

Charles Dickens

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I wanted to do a post today of the true Christmas story and while doing my research I discovered something that astounded me, though perhaps not you all. Did you know that the story of the Nativity is not consistent through the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John? As a matter of fact, neither Mark nor John even reference the Nativity Story at all! And the true story seems to have been woven between the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke…as if some finely woven tapestry of faith! And while the version from Matthew is essentially the same, it is, in fact, “The Nativity Story” that we read in Luke that, to me, is not just the most complete, but beautifully written, as well!

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And so today, Christmas Eve, I want you all to take a journey with me to a time long, long ago ….2011 years, in fact, and to a country far, far away ….across a great ocean, many, many thousands of miles away, as I read to you the most beautiful story ever told! In fact, one of the most beautiful love stories ever told, as well!

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Luke 1:26-38

The Birth of Jesus Foretold

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[a] the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”

38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

 

Luke 2:1-20

The Birth of Jesus

1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.

4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

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And so to you all, our loved ones, whether we are near or far, we want to wish to you, from our house to yours …..

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

Mandy & Dan Bruscella

Sabrina & Henry Hilliard & Landon

Danny & Melissa Bruscella

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http://mandyspathministry-ulc.webs.com

Copyright © 2011 “MandysPath” Ministry-ULC

Thought For The Day 12/23/11

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The Sacrifice!

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Although no sculptured marble should rise to their memory, nor engraved stone bear record of their deeds, yet will their remembrance be as lasting as the land they honored.

Daniel Webster

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Today I read a story that broke my heart. But I am very certain it is a story that is more “the norm” than “the exception”! It is a story of a true American hero who, now home on leave, is struggling, just like millions of us are these days! He is also a man who, determined to give his children as happy a Christmas as he can, has chosen to part with an honor bestowed upon him by a grateful nation!

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The person making this sacrifice has asked that his privacy be respected and it has been. His name has not been released by the person to whom he went to for financial help. Although the story is now known, and he has been offered the opportunity of being interviewed to provide his side as well as his opinion on the plight of returning service members, he has declined despite the possibility that to accept might just have proven financially lucrative. Honor and self-respect such as this is not as common a commodity today as one might believe, which just might explain the very reason he had the opportunity of parting with the item I am about to reveal to you all.

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In November, a serviceman on leave went to the A-Z Outlet in Holland, Michigan, a pawn shop owned by Bryan VandenBosch, and sold one of his two Purple Hearts. (The Purple Heart award was established in 1932 and is awarded by the President to anyone wounded or killed while serving in the armed forces.) He earned them after he was wounded while serving in Afghanistan. He told the same story to the shop owner that most tell when entering this particular business…..that he was falling on hard times! And, despite their service to our country, veterans struggle more than most. The veteran unemployment rate in Michigan, where this story takes place, is almost 30 percent, triple the state’s overall unemployment rate and higher than that of any other state.

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Our military heroes give so much to us all and get so little in return. I know. My nephew and niece are both Marines and their commitment to service for their country has caused them months apart as a family, felt more acutely now that they have a child of their own. I admire the commitment and courage they show in the face of adversity such as this and I want you all to know how much I love them and how proud I am of them. And because they are my heroes, I am going to ask something of you all, in their honor.

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For

 Cpl George Murphy, USMC

 &

Cpl Brittnye Hurt, USMC

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Most of us know someone who is serving or has served at one time in our Armed Forces. So I am asking that each of you reach out to these people and thank them for what they have given to us all. And if you are able, I want you to do something special for them. Perhaps you can try writing a letter of thanks. Or perhaps you can give a token gift, such as a book. Or, perhaps, you might invite them to dinner one night. The size of the gift is of little consequence. The point is to let them know you are grateful and that you care! And I think that is a gift all of us can afford this Christmas!

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“And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.””

Mark 9:1 ESV

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Copyright © 2011 “MandysPath” Ministry-ULC

Thought For The Day 12/22/11

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A Spiritual Rebirth

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A day is Eternity’s seed, and we are its Gardeners.

Erika Harris

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Did you know it was possible to be reborn? I’m not talking about our original birth….the one which we celebrate yearly as we complete another revolution around the sun. I’m talking about spiritual rebirth!

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 We enter this world an innocent and live and grow into the purpose we are given for our lives at the time we emerge from our mother’s bodies! But that is not the only nor the final purpose we are afforded in the course of that yearly solar revolution that we make.

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We are given the opportunity of spiritual rebirth if we choose to take within us and forever hold close in our hearts, a belief in God the Father. This does not free us from the part of us that keeps us fixed as part of our birth families. But rather, it extends to us a new family to hold close. A family that is bonded by a love greater than the mortal love that we know as sons, daughters, sisters and brothers. For we are reborn into the arms and into the love one can only feel and know as a child of God! And that is the greatest love story there can ever be!

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“Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

John 3:3-8

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http://mandyspathministry-ulc.webs.com

Copyright © 2011 “MandysPath” Ministry-ULC