Tag Archives: happiness

Thought For The Day 12/08/14

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The Rest Of The Story…

   Post 1365   

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Depiction of Saint Nicholas. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
Depiction of Saint Nicholas. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

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True Happiness comes from the joy of deeds well done, the zest of creating things new.

Antoine De Saint-Exupery

http://www.searchquotes.com/search/Saint_Nicholas/

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We have long come to associate St. Nicholas (or Santa Claus) with the pipe smoking, white bearded, rosy-cheeked man whose picture adorns nearly every place we look come the last couple of months of every year. But have you ever wanted to hear the rest of the story? Well, here it is!

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The real St. Nick wasn’t a fat, pale, and rosy-cheeked jolly fella. In fact, he was quite the opposite. You see, he was born almost 300 years after Christ, and he was a darker complected Greek holy man who became bishop of a small town called Myra (now present-day Turkey). Sure, he probably had jolly good days, but his reputation was of a more serious nature. He was described as a firebrand and staunch defender of Christian doctrine and spent years in prison for refusing to reject his faith during religious persecution.

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Portrayed as a bearded bishop in canonical robes, Saint Nicholas’s feast day is celebrated on the anniversary of his death, December 6th. His strong faith created a lasting legacy among the saints, and as such, two main stories  planted the seed that would, many centuries later, bring about the fat, bearded man in a red suit bearing gifts to young children. But just exactly what were those two stories that have driven home our modern-day characterization of Santa Claus? Well, the first tale reinforced Saint Nicholas’s reputation as protector of the poor. Legend has it that he saved three impoverished daughters from a life of prostitution by providing for their dowries. He offered three bags of gold for the young women, of which he tossed through an open window. The bags of gold landed into socks that were left near the chimney to dry. The second tale, which is rather morbid, reinforced his reputation as protector of children. Saint Nicholas walked into an Athens inn and discovered through his holy senses that the local inn keeper had robbed, murdered, and then pickled three young men in basement barrels. The Saint fervently prayed and resurrected their bodies back to life.

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Merry Old Santa Claus. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
Merry Old Santa Claus. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

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Despite various iterations handed down over the centuries, Dutch settlers brought the legend of Saint Nicholas, known to them as Sinter Klaas, to America towards the end of the 18th century. As their tradition goes, Sinter Klaas rode a white horse and left gifts in wooden shoes. This story merged with the British character Father Christmas, who dates back at least as far as the 17th century. Sinter Klaas was eventually Americanized to “Santa Claus.”

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The rituals and fantasy surrounding Santa Claus became fixed in the modern American imagination with the publication of the poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” by Clement Moore in 1823. Better known as “The Night Before Christmas,” the poem established Santa’s physical appearance (plump and jolly), his mode of transportation (a sleigh pulled by eight reindeer), and his method of toy delivery (down the chimney) for generations to come.

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So now that you know the rest of the story, will you alter, in any way, your approach to your celebrations this year? I doubt it! I’m not sure that I will, as a matter of fact…. except to remember to include a greater emphasis in giving to others rather than in focusing on what I will be getting! After all, is it not the blessings of giving which bring to man the sense of joy, peace and love, that seems to make our world just a little bit brighter every December?

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There is one who scatters, and yet increases all the more, and there is one who withholds what is justly due, and yet it results only in want. The generous man will be prosperous, and he who waters will himself be watered.

Proverbs 11: 24 NASB

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Mandy 2014

Copyright © 2011-2014 “MandysPath” Ministry

History of Saint Nicholas adapted from http://www.biography.com/news/st-nicholas-santa-claus-origin-story

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Thought For The Day 12/04/14

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 Rum Pum Pum Pum  

music_notes   Post 1363   music_notes

 

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little drummer boy

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=picture+of+a+little+drummer+boy&qpvt=picture+of+a+little+drummer+boy&FORM=IGRE#a

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Our Story Teller:

Aaron’s heart was filled with joy and love. And he knew at last that the hate he had carried there was wrong. As ALL hatred will ever be wrong. For more powerful, more beautiful by far than all the eons of sadness and cruelty and desolation which had come before, was that one tiny, crystalline second of laughter. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

http://www.great-quotes.com/quotes/movie/The+Little+Drummer+Boy

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I like the idea of posting things light and fun and informative at this time of the year. It’s the all the little intangibles that create the wonderful magic of the Christmas holiday for me and everyone in my family. The idea for this post came from watching Landon grab his toy drum when he was but 20 months old, and he at once began banging on it and singing his very own words to the song that was being created in that one magical moment. Yes, I remember looking at him and thinking “The Little Drummer Boy”! And since I really did not know the history of the creation of what was originally known as “Carol of the Drum”, I thought that this would be the perfect forum to find out and then share it with you!

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This popular song was written by a classical music composer and teacher by the name of Katherine Kennicott Davis. She wrote it in 1941, but did you know that “The Little Drummer Boy” was recorded by the Trapp Family Singers? Yes, the “Sound of Music” Trapp Family! Since the composer was a teacher interested in composing music to be sung by a chorale or choir, she adapted a traditional Czech carol, adding the wonderful harmonies which blended so well with the rhythmic drum beat and melody! It was this combination that became so compelling to Maria and the rest of the Trapp family, and although the rendition that achieved the most success was recorded by the Harry Simeon Chorale, the Trapps also recorded several versions. The final one became their swan song, recorded in 1955 shortly before they retired from public performance.

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The lyrics tell the fictional story of a poor young boy who spies the star in the sky that shone over the place where the Christ child lay and follows the brilliant light all the way to Bethlehem. Reaching the stable at the same time the Magi do, they encourage the little boy to come forward and join them as they present their offerings of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Hesitant at first because he has no gift to share with the child, he looks to Mary for her approval, and as she nods to him, he begins to play his drum for the baby. Even as he “… played my best for Him”, this tiny baby seemed to understand, and in gratitude, “He smiled at me”.

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It is a story of kindness and generosity of spirit and reminds us all that during this magical time of the year, there is worth and value in all people, whether big or small…rich or poor. It is a story that reminds us that there is no greater gift that one can share with another than the gift of a loving heart! We know that there is nothing more pleasing to God than that! Acts 20:35 NIV, “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”

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 “Carol of the Drum”

 

Come they told me, pa rum pum pum pum
A new born King to see, pa rum pum pum pum
Our finest gifts we bring, pa rum pum pum pum
To lay before the King, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

So to honor Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
When we come.

Little Baby, pa rum pum pum pum
I am a poor boy too, pa rum pum pum pum
I have no gift to bring, pa rum pum pum pum
That’s fit to give the King, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Shall I play for you, pa rum pum pum pum,
On my drum?

Mary nodded, pa rum pum pum pum
The ox and lamb kept time, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my drum for Him, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my best for Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Then He smiled at me, pa rum pum pum pum
Me and my drum.

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Scenes from the original TV Classic The Little Drummer Boy.
Song performed by John Denver from his “Christmas In Concert” CD

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Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

 2 Corinthians 9:7 ESV

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Mandy 2014

Copyright © 2011-2014 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 12/03/14

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Sharing The News With Children 

Post 1362

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advent_wreath

http://blog.newbyrealty.com/2011/12/history-of-christmas-wreath-dates-back.html

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“Advent is concerned with that very connection between memory and hope which is so necessary to man. Advent’s intention is to awaken the most profound and basic emotional memory within us, namely, the memory of the God who became a child. This is a healing memory; it brings hope. The purpose of the Church’s year is continually to rehearse her great history of memories, to awaken the heart’s memory so that it can discern the star of hope.…

It is the beautiful task of Advent to awaken in all of us memories of goodness and thus to open doors of hope.”

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

Seek That Which Is Above

1986

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This past Sunday was the first Sunday of Advent and as I am often a “day late and a dollar short”, although I addressed it in terms of the way I address my Sunday Thought these days, I really did not address this very special day from my own perspective, as I should have. But since Advent is truly a magical time of the year, it deserves a more personal touch!

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When I was a child, Advent was magical time in the church where I worshipped, and it was just as special in the church where I raised my children and where I helped to direct the worship segment for our children’s Sunday School. There were very special advent lessons I would share with the children every year. Even little ones too young to fully understand the true meaning of the season somehow instinctively knew that these four weeks that lead up to Christmas were special and I don’t for one minute believe it was because they knew that gifts would magically appear come Christmas morning!

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Now our children would begin the celebration by lighting  our very own Advent Wreath that they helped to make. Of course, we used the battery operated variety of candles which I painted the colors of purple and pink and white. We would ask the children to bring in greenery and pine cones the week before and we would create the most beautiful wreath as each child would reverently bring their gift to the front where a circle sat on an altar covered with a linen and lace cloth. The candles would be waiting and each child delicately added the treasure of nature they had brought and as they would lay it on the form upon the altar, they would say one thing they were thankful for!

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During week number one, we walked around the church sanctuary and the Sunday School classrooms and asked the children to see what was different. Their answers were wonderfully innocent as some said the room was clean while others said that there were some new colors and decorations. The idea was to make sure they knew that this time was a special time. Then we would return to the gathering room and we would light the first candle…. a purple one…. and we would talk about what was so special about the coming of the new baby Jesus. We would talk about the very special gifts we share with each other and then we would remember the greatest gift of all….. God’s special gift….. by singing some special songs of the season.  And we would talk about the signs that were given that would foretell the world of His birth! And we would talk about John the Baptist, reading the our first holiday passage of the season from the gospel of Luke as we think about the signs that would herald His birth!

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In the time of Herod, King of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.

Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.

Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”

The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”

Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple. When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak.

When his time of service was completed, he returned home. After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”

Luke 1:5-25 NIV

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Make sure you share with your children and your grandchildren what makes these days so very special. And while we want to embrace the true innocence of our children by including the secular components that remain so endearing to the season, make sure that the true reason for giving and gifting to those we love is given its proper place of importance in the days ahead. You see, “… 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…” *1) He exists because of the beauty given to us all by the Father in heaven, whose love and generosity and devotion was so great, He gave to us the greatest gift of all time!

*1) http://classiclit.about.com/od/christmasliteratur1/a/aa_yessanta.htm

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Mandy 2014

Copyright © 2011-2014 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 10/17/14

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Turn That Frown Upside Down!

Thought 1315

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neill patrick harris

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=picture+of+turn+that+frown+upside+down&qpvt=picture+of+turn+that+frown+upside+down&FORM=IGRE#a

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A smile costs nothing but gives much. It enriches those who receive without making poorer those who give. It takes but a moment, but the memory of it sometimes lasts forever. None is so rich or mighty that he cannot get along without it and none is so poor that he cannot be made rich by it. Yet a smile cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen, for it is something that is of no value to anyone until it is given away. Some people are too tired to give you a smile. Give them one of yours, as none needs a smile so much as he who has no more to give.

Author Unknown

http://www.turnbacktogod.com/a-smile-costs-nothing-but-gives-much/

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One of my favorite things to do is people watch. And in doing that, I have come to notice something that can’t possibly be a coincidence. I notice that when people are shopping alone, they tend to be more serious and often have a somber expression on their face. Their steps are often faster and more purposeful, but they seem to hold no joy in their hearts for what it is that they are doing. However just look at shoppers who are there in a group of 2 or more. Their steps seem more casual and they seem to browse, all the time chatting and laughing with each other. It is as if their sole purpose for being there is for the sharing of companionship with another, despite the fact that they may well have a shopping list in hand.

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I bet that everyone reading this has heard the expression “it takes more muscles to make a frown than it does to make a smile”! But did you know that this is not true? In reality, it takes 11 muscles to frown and 12 muscles to smile. But there’s something very interesting about the smile versus frown issue. Did you know that it takes less effort to smile that it does to frown?

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Researchers have found that since people tend to smile more, the muscles in the face which allow us to smile, have much better tone. And just like sit ups tone the abdominal’s resulting in a better physique, smiling can give us a better visage and it certainly does a lot for our mental well-being. Studies show that when people were directed to adopt a facial expression of anger or pain, that the body followed suit raising the blood pressure, body temperature and pulse rate. And similarly, people who were directed to smile reported an increased sense of happiness and well-being. Even though they knew they were simply acting, their body did not!

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So…………………

take a smile
Take a SMILE from here…

Put it on your face… 

Wear it everyday… 

And then SHARE it with someone else!!!

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 “Light is shed upon the righteous and joy on the upright in heart. Rejoice in the LORD, you who are righteous, and praise his holy name.”

Psalm 97:11-12 NIV 

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“You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”

Isaiah 55:12 NIV

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And if these words aren’t enough, remember this…..

smile_god_loves_you

 

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Mandy 2014

Copyright © 2011-2014 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 08/13/14

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The Perfect Pastor, etc.

Thought 1248

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http://www.wfa.org/newsletter/archive/2006/0620_060519/perfect-pastor.gif

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Mirth is God’s medicine.  Everybody ought to bathe in it. 

Henry Ward Beecher

http://quotegarden.com/laughter.html

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Did you know that if you enter the phrase “Jokes you can tell in church” into the search engine of your computer, you will be instantly connected with hundreds of pages (and I only say hundreds…. it may be thousands…. because that is as far as I got before my fingers became tired from pressing the forward arrow key). Which goes far to support something I have held in my heart my entire life…. laughter is to the soul as Aloe is to a sunburn. Laughter cools the sting of a hurt, eases the pain of heartache, lifts us when we can not travel another step, and simply makes us feel so darned good inside. It decrease in stress hormone levels, relaxes muscles, reduces pain, lowers blood pressure and strengthens the immune system. And while I know that the times Christ carried His message with his Disciples were not always easy days for any of them, I am sure that, at the end of the day, the time they used as fellowship together under God’s canopy of stars in the company and communion of one another, must have included times of laughter interspersed with the times of lessons and meditation!  At least I like to think they spent time in laughter! There certainly are more than just a few Bible verses that talk of the benefits laughter gifts us with. One website alone lists 45 verses about humor and laughter (http://www.openbible.info/topics/humor_and_laughter).

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The problem with so much that passes for humor these days is that the things that are told as jokes are things many of us are not always comfortable with hearing, never mind sharing with another. I am a tad bawdy and I do appreciate most jokes…. up to a point. I do not like humor that hurts or demeans or singles the little guy out, such as ethnic jokes sometimes do. That, I have difficulty finding the humor in. But I do find that I truly appreciate having a place (or website) I can turn when I want to laugh that is not going to have me curling my toes. That is especially true today as it is going to be a somewhat difficult day for me, since I am nursing a twisted ankle which happened when a shotgun blast which, while not close, was picked up by the acute hearing of my dog who decided to make a bee-line back to the house…. with me flying behind. So for today, I am resting, but resting with a smile plastered to my face and I hope you will laugh right along with me. (And I wouldn’t mind a prayer or two, if you’ve a mind to share them!)

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THE PERFECT PASTOR

(From what I’ve seen in many churches, these church jokes is only a slight exaggeration!)

The Perfect Pastor preaches exactly 10 minutes.  He condemns sin roundly, but never hurts anyone’s feelings.  He works from 8 a.m. until midnight, and is also the church janitor.

The Perfect Pastor makes $40 a week, wears good clothes, drives a good car, buys good books, and donates $30 a week to the church.  He is 29 years old and has 40 years’ worth of experience.  Above all, he is handsome.

The Perfect Pastor has a burning desire to work with teenagers, and he spends most of his time with the senior citizens.  He smiles all the time with a straight face because he has a sense of humor that keeps him seriously dedicated to his church. He makes 15 home visits a day and is always in his office to be handy when needed.

The Perfect Pastor always has time for church meetings and all of its committees, never missing the meeting of any church organization.  And he is always busy evangelizing the unchurched.

The Perfect Pastor is always in the next town over!

If your pastor does not measure up, simply send this notice to six other churches that are tired of their pastor too. Then bundle up your pastor and send him to the church at the top of your list. 

If everyone cooperates, in one week you will receive 1, 643 pastors.  One of them should be perfect. 

Have faith in this letter.  One church broke the chain and got its’ old pastor back in less than three months.

http://www.my-pastor.com/church-jokes.html

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WHO DOES WHAT  

A man and his wife were having an argument about who should brew the coffee each morning.

The wife said, “You should do it, because you get up first, and then we don’t have to wait as long to get our coffee.”

The husband said, ” You are in charge of cooking around here and you should do it, because that is your job, and I can just wait for my coffee.”

Wife replies, “No, you should do it, and besides, it is in the Bible that the man should do the coffee.”

Husband replies, “I can’t believe that, show me.”

So she fetched the Bible, and opened the New Testament and showed him at the top of several pages, that it indeed says……….

“HEBREWS”

(shamelessly purloined from the social media page of a friend)

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He will yet fill your mouth with laughter, and your lips with shouting.

Job 8: 21 ESV

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Mandy 2014

Copyright © 2011-2014 “MandysPath”

Thought For The Day 06/04/14

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Where Does Kindness Begin?

Post 1179

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Kindness-Begins-With-Me

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If you’re alone, I’ll be your shadow.  If you want to cry, I’ll be your shoulder.  If you want a hug, I’ll be your pillow.  If you need to be happy, I’ll be your smile.  But anytime you need a friend, I’ll just be me. 

Author Unknown

http://www.quotegarden.com/best-friends.html

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I have been recently reminded of the value of true friends. You know the people I mean. They are the ones that know you so well that they already know the answers as to what secrets lie in the recesses of your heart. They already know the content of your character. They already know your strengths as well as your weaknesses. They know when it is enough to be silent and they know when to say the hard things that we do not want to hear! They lift us up when we are down and they temper our hyper moments with the soothing that only true friends know how to speak. When we are lucky enough to be joined by the promises of forever love to this best friend, we count ourselves blessed indeed. But when we have this best friend in our life because they choose to walk beside us, we are sharing something very rare. And yet, never for a single moment forget that to have this type of relationship with someone else, we must first be a true friend to the others in our lives!

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We live in times that challenge even the most noble and stalwart of individuals. Every temptation meant to weaken our fortitude is close at hand. It seems that Satan is drawing an increasing level of power from the hatred, bitterness and cruelty that seems to be so pervasive in today’s society. And then he delights in throwing all of this negativity in the path that we travel in hopes that we will somehow succumb to the temptation and trip and fall. The thing that Satan forgets is that most of us have 2 huge forces that we carry within as we travel along our way in life.

  1. Most people who live by right have an already existing, deep-seated, abiding faith in their hearts that is not likely to fall victim to Satan’s temptations.
  2. People seldom travel their pathway in life alone and on the off-chance that the journey begins alone, it is the friendships made along the way that make that journey so special and rewarding and increases the chances that it will be completed successfully, free and clear of the obstacles Satan places along the way!

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Yes, life’s journey is not easy. It was not meant to be because we seldom appreciate the specialness of things that come to us too easily. But never forget that we have already been given a roadmap for the journey we are to travel. God’s Holy Bible provides us with a compass, warnings and encouragement for planning the route we will take. And yet we also have the choice to make decisions on our own about how we navigate life’s detours all along the way.

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We will also encounter intersections as we travel and we will need to choose the turn we will make once we reach that crossroad.  It is the faith that we hold within our hearts that will help us to choose wisely. It will also be the wisdom we used in choosing those companions we want to join with us as we journey along the way. Choosing well increases the chance that we will arrive at our destination not just successfully, but whole, complete and fulfilled, as well. I know that so far I have chosen my friends wisely. But as I choose them, they also choose me! I can but hope and pray that I will be the same kind of friend to others that I ask for them to be for me.

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If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were raising  himself against me, I could hide from him. But it is you, a man like myself, my  companion, my close friend, with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship as we  walked with the throng at the house of God.

Psalm 55:12-14 NIV

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Mandy 2014

Copyright © 2011-2014 “MandysPath”

Thought For The day 04/21/14

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Somewhere…. Over The Rainbow….

Post 1135

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my-hearts-desire

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Often people attempt to live their lives backwards; they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want, so they will be happier.  The way it actually works is the reverse.  You must first be who you really are, then do what you need to do, in order to have what you want. 

Margaret Young

http://quotegarden.com/happiness.html

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Does the title of today’s post sound familiar to you at all? It might! You see, I borrowed the idea from the movie version of a beloved tale written many years ago! And while scholars today believe that “The Wizard of Oz” was penned by someone looking to describe metaphorically, the politics and even some people who lived in the 1890’s, (although this was always denied by the author, L. Frank Baum, who published his tale in 1900), I choose to believe that Baum’s purpose was less insidious. I believe he meant to teach us all a moral lesson that is one that we should cling to even today…. that searching and searching for what you think is happiness might only find you mired in the quicksand that IS life!

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I believe we all carve out our happiness by the way we think and behave toward others. We….. ALL OF US….. search and search and search for something that is better than what we have. However, in the end, our true happiness is usually found in what we have rather than in what we don’t! And it is this thought that brings to mind another story I once had read to me in Sunday School. It was many years ago….. decades, in fact….. but the message was so powerful, I never forgot it!

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Once upon a time, long, long ago, there lived a simple stone cutter. He was a very unhappy man who felt that life owed him a much happier existence. Well, one day, he saw from the street the beautiful house of a merchant who made much money importing goods.

Through the open window he saw that the home was beautifully appointed with many fine things! And he wished to himself to be the merchant…..and poof…..he suddenly found himself inside this house. He thought now I am happy because I have what I wished for.

Then one day as he was conducting business, he looked outside and saw a member of the royal family being carried by litter bearers on a velvet chaise through the streets. And the man thought, how wonderful it would be to live such a luxurious existence and so he made another wish…..and poof…..he became royalty!

Soon he found himself being carried under the blazing sun, and he became uncomfortably hot. Thinking to himself about the sun blazing far above and unaffected by any human on earth, he made another wish…..and poof…..he became the sun! And he blazed brightly over the land, withering crops and drying streams.

Suddenly a huge, black, storm cloud passed below, between him and the earth, blocking his rays. Seeing that the cloud was so powerful that it could block out the sun, he wished another wish!

Suddenly, as the cloud, he let loose torrents of rain flooding homes and businesses. And then the cloud stopped moving and began to be pushed in the opposite direction by the wind. And now the man knew what he must become and so he wished once more!

Now the wind blew and blew and blew everything away that lay in its path, when suddenly, it encountered an object it could not move. A huge granite boulder stood firmly, refusing to budge. Suddenly the man knew there was something even more powerful than wind! Once more he took a deep breath and wished his wish, and poof…..suddenly there he stood, tall and proud and heavier than anything else around! And the man believed all his dreams had come true!

Suddenly he heard a sound. The staccato resonated over and over, and suddenly the granite felt himself changing and transforming and he wondered what could possibly be strong enough to alter granite. He looked down below and saw what it was! It was a stone cutter!

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Our happiness seldom lies in the realm of the unknown, which is why before you find yourself hopelessly overwhelmed in a pity party of your own making, look, listen and think about the life that presents itself to you everyday. Look at the little things that bring a smile to your face and a lightness to your step. And then offer a prayer of Thanksgiving for those little things because happiness is not defined by what we have. It is defined by who we are and by what we are able to do for others!

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“I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live;”

Ecclesiastes 3:12 ESV

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