Stories of Inspiration


#41

#42

#43

There are more words in the Oxford English Dictionary than any one individual could possibly know.

In the second edition of the 20-volume series, published in 1989, there are 171,476 words in current use and 41,156 obsolete words. With so many to choose from, could you select just three to live by? The three that come to mind when I pondered this question are faith, hope and love. To me, these are more than just words—they are powerful forces in life that fuel my spirit to live, survive and thrive. As water, oxygen and food are needed to fuel the body…faith, hope and love are needed to fuel the spirit.

Without faith, hope and love, it would be difficult to live a life full of meaning and purpose.

When life events shake our foundation, it is our faith that provides us with the courage to endure and overcome hardship. When fear gets the best of us, our hope for a better tomorrow keeps us moving forward. And as the Apostle Paul wrote, “There are three things that remain—faith, hope and love—and the greatest of these is love.”Love is a gift from God Himself; it allows us to overcome hate, evil, resentment and other destructive emotions. Our love for ourselves and for others defines what we want in life and the actions we take to achieve it.

In her memoir, The Choice: Embrace the Possible, author and holocaust survivor, Dr. Edith Eva Eger wrote, “At Auschwitz, at Mauthausen, on the Death March, I survived by drawing on my inner world. I found hope and faith in life within me, even when I was surrounded by starvation and torture and death.”

She survived because her hope and faith remained strong; she knew that she wanted to live so she never gave up. Her love for herself and life got her through this horrid time in history.

Our lives are enhanced when hope, love and faith are the essence of our existence. They help us to live each and every day with meaning and purpose.

Lord, let hope, faith and love infuse our being, living and thinking.

https://www.guideposts.org/inspirati…eaningful-life


#44

The Obstacle in our Path

In ancient times, a king had his men place a boulder on a roadway. He then hid in the bushes, and watched to see if anyone would move the boulder out of the way. Some of the king’s wealthiest merchants and courtiers passed by and simply walked around it.

Many people blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear, but none of them did anything about getting the stone removed.

One day, a peasant came along carrying vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to push the stone out of the way. After much pushing and straining, he finally managed.

After the peasant went back to pick up his vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the King explaining that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the road.

Moral of the story

Every obstacle that we come across gives us an opportunity to improve our circumstances, and while the lazy complain, others are creating opportunities through their kind hearts, generosity, and willingness to get things done.


#45

The Father Who Lost Two Sons

This is about what’s normally called The Parable of the Prodigal Son. That’s only one of the two sons in the parable, the younger boy. The older boy is the one—the other son—who is lost. And the point about changing the name of the parable is that the parables are almost always misnamed.

The Parable of the Lost Sheep is not about the lost sheep.

All the sheep ever did was get lost. The parable is about the passion of the shepherd who lost the sheep to find the sheep. His passion to find is what drives the parable; and consequently it isn’t the Prodigal’s lostness, wasting all his money on wine, women and song in the far country; and it isn’t the elder brother’s grousing and complaining and score keeping that stands against him.

What counts in the parable is the father’s unceasing desire to find the sons he lost—both of them—and to raise both of them up from the dead.

The story, of course, you know. The story begins with the father having two sons and the youngest son comes to the father and says, “Father, divide the inheritance between me and my brother.” What he’s in effect saying is, “Dear Dad, drop dead now, legally. Put your will into effect and just retire out of the whole business of being anything to anybody and let us have what is coming to us.”

So the youngest son gets the money and the older brother gets the farm. And off the younger brother goes. What he does, of course, is he spends it all—blows it all—on wild living. When he finally is in want and working, slopping hogs for a farmer and wishing that he could eat what he’s feeding the pigs, he can’t stand it. When he finally comes to himself he says, “You know, I’ve got to do something. How many hired servants of my father’s are there who have bread enough to spare and I’m perishing here with hunger? I know what I’m going to do.”

Continued below

https://www.facebook.com/notes/gregorio-a-glova/the-father-who-lost-two-sons-by-robert-farrar-capon/365567216836064/


#46

The following is one of the oldest sermon illustrations used in the Christian church.

It also tests one’s understanding of the Christian life.

There once lived an ugly, hunchback dwarf. No one ever invited him to a party. No one showed him love or even attention. He became disillusioned with life and decided to climb a mountain and throw himself from its peak into the abyss.

When he ascended the mountain, he met a beautiful girl. He talked to her and discovered that she was climbing the mountain for the same purpose. Her suffering was at the other extreme. She had everyone’s attention and love, but the one she loved had forsaken her for another girl, one with riches.

She felt life had no meaning for her any longer, so they decided to make the ascent together.

While they climbed, they met a man who introduced himself as a police officer in search of a very dangerous bandit who had robbed and murdered many people. The king had promised a large reward to the person who captured him.

The police officer was very confident: “I will catch him because I know he has a feature by which he can be recognized. He has six fingers on his right hand. The police have been looking for him for years. For the last two or three, nothing has been heard from him, but he must pay for a multitude of past crimes.”

The three climbed the mountain. Near its peak was a monastery.

Its abbot, although he had become a monk only recently, had quickly attained great renown for saintliness. When they entered the monastery, he came to meet them. You could see the glory of God in his face

As the girl bowed to kiss his right hand, she saw he had six fingers. With this, the story ends.

Those who hear this story are perplexed. It can’t finish like this! What happened to the dwarf, the girl, the policeman? Was the criminal caught?

The story’s beauty is that it does finish here.

Something beautiful has happened: A criminal hunted because of his many robberies and murders has become a great saint, renowned for his godly life. All the rest is of no further interest. The great miracle has been performed. Christ has been born in the heart of a man of very low character.


#47

If you think you can’t

If you think you are beaten, you are.
If you think you dare not, you don’t.
If you’d like to win but you think you can’t, it’s almost a cinch you wont.
For out in the world you’ll find success begins with a persons will.
It’s all in the state of Mind.

Think big, and your deeds will grow;
Think small and you fall behind.
Think that you can, and you will.
It’s all in your state of mind.

If you think you are outclassed, you are.
You’ve got to think high to rise.
You’ve got to be sure of yourself before you can ever win a prize.
Life’s battle doesn’t always go to the stronger or faster one;
But sooner or later, the one who wins is the person who thinks they can.

-Author Unknown-

"If you think you can do a thing, or you think you can’t do a thing, you’re always right." -Henry Ford


#48

Be Thankful

Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire … if you did, what would there be to look forward to?

Be thankful when you don’t know something … for it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times … during those times you grow.

Be thankful for your limitations … they give you opportunities for improvement.

Be thankful for each new challenge… which will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes … they will teach you valuable lessons.

Be thankful when you’re tired and weary … because it means you’ve given your all.

It’s easy to be thankful for the ‘good’ things … yet, a life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are thankful for the setbacks.

Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive … find a way to be thankful for your troubles and they can become your blessings.

-Author Unknown-


#49

Gracefully Broken!

I was in Dollar Tree last night and there was a lady and two kids behind me in the LONG line. One was a big kid, one was a toddler. The bigger one had a pack of glow sticks and the baby was screaming for them so the Mom opened the pack and gave him one, which stopped his tears.

He walked around with it smiling, but then the bigger boy took it and the baby started screaming again.

Just as the Mom was about to fuss at the older child, he bent the glow sticks and handed it back to the baby.

As we walked outside at the same time, the baby noticed that the stick was now glowing and his brother said “I had to break it so you could get the full effect from it.”

I almost ran because l could hear God saying to me, “I had to break you to show you why I created you. You had to go through it so you could fulfill your purpose.”

That little baby was happy just swinging that “unbroken” glow stick around in the air because he didn’t understand what it was created to do which was “glow”.

There are some people who will be content just “being” but some of us that God has chosen, we have to be “broken”.

We have to get sick. We have to lose a job. We go through divorce. We have to bury our spouse, parents, best friend, or our child because, in those moments of desperation, God is breaking us but when the breaking is done, then we will be able to see the reason for which we were created… so when you see us glowing just know that we have been broken but healed by his Grace and Mercy!!!

-Drema B.-


#50

Children’s Prayers

A mother was teaching her 3-year-old the Lord’s prayer. For several evenings at bedtime she repeated it after her mother. One night she said she was ready to solo. The mother listened with pride as she carefully enunciated each word, right up to the end of the prayer. “Lead us not into temptation,” she prayed, “but deliver us some e-mail, Amen.”

A woman invited some people over for dinner. At the table she turned to her six-year-old daughter and said, “Would you like to say the blessing?” The girl replied, “I wouldn’t know what to say.” “Just say what you heard Mommy say,” the mother answered. The daughter bowed her head and said, "Lord, why on earth did I invite all these people to dinner?

A 5 year old boy was sitting down to eat when his mother asked him to pray for his meal. He replied, “Mom we don’t have to. We prayed over this last night.” His mother had prepared leftovers from the day before.

A 4-year-old boy who was asked to return thanks before Christmas dinner. The family members bowed their heads in expectation. He began his prayer, thanking God for all his friends, naming them one by one. Then he thanked God for Mommy, Daddy, brother, sister, Grandma, Grandpa, and all his aunts and uncles. Then he began to thank God for the food. He gave thanks for the turkey, the dressing, the fruit salad, the cranberry sauce, the pies, the cakes, even the Cool Whip. Then he paused, and everyone waited–and waited. After a long silence, the young fellow looked up at his mother and asked, “If I thank God for the broccoli, won’t he know that I’m lying?”

A daddy was listening to his child say his prayer “Dear Harold,” At this, dad interrupted and said, "Wait a minute, "How come you called God, Harold? The little boy looked up and said, "That’s what they call Him in church. You know the prayer we say, “Our Father, who art in Heaven, Harold be Thy name.”

One night Mike’s parents overheard this prayer. "Now I lay me down to rest, and hope to pass tomorrow’s test, if I should die before I wake, that’s one less test I have to take."

A five-year-old said grace at family dinner one night. “Dear God, thank you for these pancakes.” When he concluded, his parents asked him why he thanked God for pancakes when they were having chicken. He smiled and said, “I thought I’d see if He was paying attention tonight.”

A little boy’s prayer: “Dear God, please take care of my daddy and my mommy and my sister and my brother and my doggy and me. Oh, please take care of yourself, God. If anything happens to you, we’re gonna be in a big mess.”

Johnny had been misbehaving and was sent to his room. After a while he emerged and informed his mother that he had thought it over and then said a prayer. “Fine,” said the pleased mother. “If you ask God to help you not misbehave, He will help you.” “Oh, I didn’t ask Him to help me not misbehave,” said Johnny. I asked Him to help you put up with me."

A little boy was overheard praying: “Lord, if You can’t make me a better boy, don’t worry about it. I’m having a real good time like I am!”

A little boy was saying his bedtime prayers with his mother: “Lord, bless Mommy and Daddy, and God, GIVE ME A NEW BICYCLE!!!” Mom: “God’s not deaf, son.” Boy: "I know, Mom, but Grandma’s in the next room, and she’s hard of hearing!

Little Johnny was softly saying his night prayers kneeling down, and his mother was beside him. “Say your prayers louder, darling, I can’t hear you,” Said Little Johnny’s mother. “But I’m not talking to you” was the instant reply.

One Sunday in a Midwest city a young child was “acting up” during the morning worship hour. The parents did their best to maintain some sense of order in the pew but were losing the battle. Finally the father picked the little fellow up and walked sternly up the aisle on his way out. Just before reaching the safety of the foyer the little one called loudly to the congregation, “Pray for me! Pray for me!”

And this particular four-year-old prayed: “And forgive us our trash baskets as we forgive those who put trash in our baskets.”


#51

Most Important Question

During my second month of nursing school, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions, until I read the last one:

'What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?"

Surely this was some kind of joke.

I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would I know her name?

I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank.

Before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade.

Absolutely, said the professor.

“In your careers you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say hello”.

I’ve never forgotten that lesson.

I also learned her name was Dorothy.


#52

Something For Stevie

I try not to be biased, but I had my doubts about hiring Stevie. His placement counselor assured me that he would be a good, reliable busboy. But I had never had a mentally handicapped employee and wasn’t sure I wanted one. I wasn’t sure how my customers would react to Stevie.

He was short, a little dumpy with the smooth facial features and thick-tongued speech of Down syndrome. I wasn’t worried about most of my trucker customers because truckers don’t generally care who buses tables as long as the meatloaf platter is good and the pies are homemade.

The four-wheeler drivers were the ones who concerned me; the mouthy college kids traveling to school; the yuppie snobs who secretly polish their silverware with their napkins for fear of catching some dreaded “truckstop germ;” the pairs of white shirted business men on expense accounts who think every truckstop waitress wants to be flirted with.

I knew those people would be uncomfortable around Stevie so I closely watched him for the first few weeks.

I shouldn’t have worried. After the first week, Stevie had my staff wrapped around his stubby little finger, and within a month my truck regulars had adopted him as their official truckstop mascot.

After that, I really didn’t care what the rest of the customers thought of him.

He was like a 21-year-old in blue jeans and Nikes, eager to laugh and eager to please, but fierce in his attention to his duties. Every salt and pepper shaker was exactly in its place, not a bread crumb or coffee spill was visible when Stevie got done with the table.

Our only problem was convincing him to wait to clean a table until after the customers were finished. He would hover in the background, shifting his weight from one foot to the other, scanning the dining room until a table was empty. Then he would scurry to the empty table and carefully bus the dishes and glasses onto cart and meticulously wipe the table up with a practiced flourish of his rag. If he thought a customer was watching, his brow would pucker with added concentration.

He took pride in doing his job exactly right, and you had to love how hard he tried to please each and every person he met.

Over time, we learned that he lived with his mother, a widow who was disabled after repeated surgeries for cancer. They lived on their Social Security benefits in public housing two miles from the truckstop. Their social worker, which stopped to check on him every so often, admitted they had fallen between the cracks. Money was tight, and what I paid him was the probably the difference between them being able to live together and Stevie being sent to a group home.

That’s why the restaurant was a gloomy place that morning last August, the first morning in three years that Stevie missed work.

He was at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester getting a new valve or something put in his heart. His social worker said that people with Down syndrome often had heart problems at a early age so this wasn’t unexpected, and there was a good chance he would come through the surgery in good shape and be back at work in a few months.

A ripple of excitement ran through the staff later that morning when word came that he was out of surgery, in recovery and doing fine. Frannie, my head waitress, let out a war hoop and did a little dance in the aisle when she heard the good news. Belle Ringer, one of our regular trucker customers, stared at the sight of the 50-year-old grandmother of four doing a victory shimmy beside his table.

Frannie blushed, smoothed her apron and shot Belle Ringer a withering look.

He grinned. “OK, Frannie, what was that all about?” he asked. “We just got word that Stevie is out of surgery and going to be okay.” “I was wondering where he was. I had a new joke to tell him. What was the surgery about?” Frannie quickly told Belle Ringer and the other two drivers sitting at his booth about Stevie’s surgery, then sighed. “Yeah, I’m glad he is going to be OK,” she said, “but I don’t know how he and his mom are going to handle all the bills. From what I hear, they’re barely getting by as it is.” Belle Ringer nodded thoughtfully, and Frannie hurried off to wait on the rest of her tables.

Since I hadn’t had time to round up a busboy to replace Stevie and really didn’t want to replace him, the girls were busing their own tables that day until we decided what to do. After the morning rush, Frannie walked into my office. She had a couple of paper napkins in her hand a funny look on her face.

“What’s up?” I asked. “I didn’t get that table where Belle Ringer and his friends were sitting cleared off after they left, and Pony Pete and Tony Tipper were sitting there when I got back to clean it off,” she said, “This was folded and tucked under a coffee cup.”

She handed the napkin to me, and three $20 fell onto my desk when I opened it. On the outside, in big, bold letters, was printed

“Something For Stevie”.

“Pony Pete asked me what that was all about,” she said, “so I told him about Stevie and his mom and everything, and Pete looked at Tony and Tony looked at Pete, and they ended up giving me this.” She handed me another paper napkin that had “Something For Stevie” scrawled on its outside. Two $50 bills were tucked within its folds.

Frannie looked at me with wet, shiny eyes, shook her head and said simply “truckers.”

That was three months ago. Today is Thanksgiving, the first day Stevie is supposed to be back to work. His placement worker said he’s been counting the days until the doctor said he could work, and it didn’t matter at all that it was a holiday. He called 10 times in the past week, making sure we knew he was coming, fearful that we had forgotten him or that his job was in jeopardy. I arranged to have his mother bring him to work, met them in the parking lot and invited them both to celebrate his day back.

Stevie was thinner and paler, but couldn’t stop grinning as he pushed through the doors and headed for the back room where his apron and busing cart were waiting.

“Hold up there, Stevie, not so fast,” I said. I took him and his mother by their arms. “Work can wait for a minute. To celebrate you coming back, breakfast for you and your mother is on me.”

I led them toward a large corner booth at the rear of the room. I could feel and hear the rest of the staff following behind as we marched through the dining room. Glancing over my shoulder, I saw booth after booth of grinning truckers empty and join the procession.

We stopped in front of the big table. Its surface was covered with coffee cups, saucers and dinner plates, all sitting slightly crooked on dozens of folded paper napkins.

“First thing you have to do, Stevie, is clean up this mess,” I said. I tried to sound stern.

Stevie looked at me, and then at his mother, then pulled out one of the napkins. It had “Something for Stevie” printed on the outside. As he picked it up, two $10 bills fell onto the table. Stevie stared at the money, then at all the napkins peeking from beneath the tableware, each with his name printed or scrawled on it.

I turned to his mother. “There’s more than $10,000 in cash and checks on that table, all from truckers and trucking companies that heard about your problems. Happy Thanksgiving.”

Well, it got real noisy about that time, with everybody hollering and shouting, and there were a few tears, as well. But you know what’s funny? While everybody else was busy shaking hands and hugging each other, Stevie, with a big, big smile on his face, was busy clearing all the cups and dishes from the table.

Best worker I ever hired.

-Author Unknown-


#53

Mommy Bird

An article in National Geographic several years ago provided a penetrating picture of God’s wings.

After a forest fire in Yellowstone National Park, forest rangers began their trek up a mountain to assess the inferno’s damage.

One ranger found a bird literally petrified in ashes, perched statuesquely on the ground at the base of a tree.

Somewhat sickened by the eerie sight, he knocked over the bird with a stick.

When he struck it, three tiny chicks scurried from under their mother’s wings.

The loving mother, keenly aware of impending disaster, had carried her offspring to the base of the tree and gathered them under her wings, instinctively knowing that toxic smoke would rise.

She could have flown to safety, but had refused to abandon her babies. When the blaze had arrived and the heat singed her small body, the mother remained steadfast. Because she had been willing to die, those under the cover of her wings continued to live.

“He shall cover thee with His feathers and under His wings shall thou trust” (Ps 91:4).

Learn to experience the warmth and protection of life beneath the wings of the Almighty.


#54

Attitude Is Everything

Jerry was the kind of guy you love to hate. He was always in a good mood and always had something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, “If I were any better, I would be twins!” He was a unique manager because he had several waiters who had followed him around from restaurant to restaurant.

The reason the waiters followed Jerry was because of his attitude. He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, Jerry was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.

Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Jerry and asked him, “I don’t get it! You can’t be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?”

Jerry replied, "Each morning I wake up and say to myself, Jerry, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood.

I choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life."

“Yeah, right, it’s not that easy,” I protested. “Yes it is,” Jerry said. "Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations.

You choose how people will affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It’s your choice how you live life."

I reflected on what Jerry said. Soon thereafter, I left the restaurant industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.

Several years later, I heard that Jerry did something you are never supposed to do in a restaurant business: he left the back door open one morning and was held up at gunpoint by three armed robbers.

While trying to open the safe, his hand, shaking from nervousness, slipped off the combination. The robbers panicked and shot him. Luckily, Jerry was found relatively quickly and rushed to the local trauma center.

After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Jerry was released from the hospital with fragments of the bullets still in his body. I saw Jerry about six months after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he replied, “If I were any better, I’d be twins. Wanna see my scars?”

I declined to see his wounds, but did ask him what had gone through his mind as the robbery took place. “The first thing that went through my mind was that I should have locked the back door,” Jerry replied. "Then, as I lay on the floor, I remembered that I had two choices:

I could choose to live, or I could choose to die. I chose to live."

“Weren’t you scared? Did you lose consciousness?” I asked. Jerry continued, "The paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the emergency room and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared.

I read, ‘He’s a dead man.’ I knew I needed to take action." “What did you do?” I asked. “Well, there was a big, burly nurse shouting questions at me,” said Jerry. “She asked if I was allergic to anything.” “Yes,” I replied.

The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled,“Bullets!”

Over their laughter, I told them, “I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead.”

Jerry lived thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude. I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully.

Attitude, after all, is everything.

-Francie Baltazar-Schwartz-


#55

Angel At Presbyterian Hospital

A couple of Wednesdays ago, I got an evening phone call from the pediatric ICU at Presbyterian Hospital, in Charlotte, NC, where I work as a child life specialist. Usually when they call at night, it means something bad has happened. This, however, was different. My coworker told me that the most amazing thing had just happened and she just had to call to tell me.

We had a patient who has really grown up in and out of the hospital. All the staff knows her and her family. She had been in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) for about a month, and had been intubated - on life support. She was not doing well. The doctors had approached mom about taking her off life support the Saturday before. Mom was okay with it, and said that she’d been through so much and if was her time to go she wanted to honor that. So they had taken her off.

It was Wednesday and she was still alive. Amazing. The doctors approached mom about taking off her oxygen mask. Mom was supportive, and began praying over her daughter. The mother of another young patient who was in the bed next to her began praying with her.

The nurse practitioner went to the nurses’ station to chart that she had taken off the oxygen mask. While doing so, she looked up at the security monitor that videotapes the double doors leading into the PICU. It records anyone who may be waiting outside the doors to get in since it is a secure unit. She saw a man standing there, and it looked a little funny to her, so she decided to walk down the hall to open the double doors personally. When she opened them, no one was standing there.

She walked back down to the nurses station to finish charting, assuming he had walked away, but saw him still standing there on the monitor. So she opened the doors with a button near the nurses’ station and leaned over to see him walk in, but no one was standing there.

She pulled over another nurse and both stood staring at this man on the monitor and opening the doors to find no one there. The nurse practitioner leaned in closely to look at the man on the monitor and said, ‘Oh my gosh. That’s an angel. You can see his wings!’

They said that the sun starting shining so brightly and the whole PICU was strangely filled with light. They said he was a tall man and you could see wings behind him.

They pulled over all the staff of the PICU and the two praying mothers and everyone was staring at this man on the monitor and opening the doors to find no one there. Crying, everyone pulled out their camera phones to take pictures, but no one could get it to show up on their camera. The mother of the girl pulled out her camera phone and finally got a picture of the angel who was guarding the doors to the PICU. He turned out as a man of light. I have attached the picture from her phone.

The girl was later discharged from the hospital to go home.

A Miracle.


#56

I think I’ll add this, to my own story of inspiration. And the lesson, is to do a bit of research first. Well, I had a leak in my power steering. It’s an older car. And a couple of different mechanical “experts”, gave me quotes of $1500 - $2000 - to fix it. The big part was the rack and pinion assembly and corresponding labor - about 5 - 6 hours. Well, I did a bit of research. And mixed Valvoline max life, power steering fluid - with stop leak…with one quarter of Lucas, power steering stop leak. The last product guarantees 100%, to stop the leak. And also to recondition the rack and pinion assembly seals. Well, guess what? For a total investment of $35, it appears to have solved the problem. And if I needed mechanical repair, then I would get three estimates. This way, I can see if anyone - is too high or low.

P.S.The Lucas fuel injector deep clean…added to the gas every 3 - 4 K miles, is also great.

And here’s a quote from me. “The person with the $2K solution, won’t tell you about the $35 solution.”


#57

Shay: God’s Plan

At a fund-raising dinner for a school that serves learning-disabled children, the father of one of the school’s students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question.

“Everything God does is done with perfection. Yet, my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is God’s plan reflected in my son?”

The audience was stilled by the query. The father continued. “I believe,” the father answered, “that when God brings a child like Shay into the world, an opportunity to realize the Divine Plan presents itself. And it comes in the way people treat that child.”

Then, he told the following story: Shay and his father had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball.

Shay asked, “Do you think they will let me play?” Shay’s father knew that most boys would not want him on their team. But the father understood that if his son were allowed to play it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging. Shay’s father approached one of the boys on the field and asked if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance from his teammates. Getting none, he took matters into his own hands and said, “We are losing by six runs, and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and I’ll try to put him up to bat in the ninth inning.”

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay’s team scored a few runs but was still behind by three. At the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the outfield. Although no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be on the field, grinning from ear to ear as his father waved to him from the stands. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay’s team scored again.

Now, with two outs and bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base.

Shay was scheduled to be the next at-bat. Would the team actually let Shay bat at this juncture and give away their chance to win the game? Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that this was all but impossible because Shay didn’t even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball.

However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher moved a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least be able to make contact. The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly toward Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball to the pitcher. The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could easily have thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have ended the game.

Instead, the pitcher took the ball and threw it on a high arc to right field, far beyond reach of the first baseman. Everyone started yelling, “Shay, run to first. Run to first.” Never in his life had Shay ever made it to first base. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled. Everyone yelled “Run to second, run to second!”

By the time Shay was rounding first base, the right fielder had the ball. He could have thrown the ball to the second baseman for a tag. But the right fielder understood what the pitcher’s intentions had been, so he threw the ball high and far over the third baseman’s head. Shay ran towards second base as the runners ahead of him deliriously circled the bases towards home.

As Shay reached second base, the opposing shortstop ran to him, turned him in the direction of third base, and shouted, “Run to third!” As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams were screaming, “Shay! Run home.” Shay ran home, stepped on home plate and was cheered as the hero, for hitting a “grand slam” and winning the game for his team.

“That day,” said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face," the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of the Divine Plan into this world."


#58

Why would God want ME?

I’m not perfect. I have all kinds of problems. I have no ability. I have no gifts. I’m just not worthy. Why would God want me?

Well, did you know that

Moses stuttered.

David’s armor didn’t fit.

John Mark deserted Paul.

Timothy had ulcers.

Hosea’s wife was a prostitute.

Amos’ only training was in the school of fig-tree pruning.

Jacob was a liar.

David had an affair.

Solomon was too rich.

Jesus was too poor.

Abraham was too old.

David was too young.

Peter was afraid of death.

Lazarus was dead.

John was self-righteous.

Naomi was a widow.

Paul was a persecutor of the church.

Moses was a murderer.

Jonah ran from God’s will.

Miriam was a gossip.

Gideon and Thomas both doubted.

Jeremiah was depressed and suicidal.

Elijah was burned out.

John the Baptist was a loudmouth.

Martha was a worry-wart.

Noah got drunk.

Did I mention that Moses had a short fuse?

So did Peter, Paul - well, lots of folks did.

But God doesn’t require a job interview for salvation. He’s our Heavenly Father. He doesn’t look at financial gain or loss. He’s not prejudiced or partial, not judging, grudging, sassy, or brassy, not deaf to our cry, not blind to our need. He know who we are and what we are and loves us in spite of ourselves.


#59

Angels Came To My Rescue

My name is Bruce Van Natta, and I love to work on trucks.

I’m a self-employed diesel mechanic; also a Christian family man living out my power truck dreams and providing for my wife and four children. I never gave a second thought to the danger of working on engines that weigh thousands of pounds, until November 16, 2006.

I was working on a Peterbilt logging truck about an hour from our home. The guy I was working with, who drives the truck, asked me if I would look at one more leak before I left.

So, if you could picture one of these great big Peterbilt trucks, I slid under the front big bumper feet first. The front axle was jacked up and the right front wheel removed.

I said to him, “You jump up inside and see what the temperature of the engine is.” The axle is right across my chest at this point, maybe an inch or two above me.

The 20-ton capacity jack holding up the truck, shot out from its position. This 10,000 to 12,000 pounds of weight that’s on this axle, came down across my mid-section like a blunt guillotine, and nearly crushed me in half.

I tasted the blood in my throat when it fell on me. I looked down and could see there was less than three inches of space between the bottom of the axle and the cement.

I knew the thickest part of my body was maybe two inches thick.

I begged the man that jacked up the truck to get me out from under it. He didn’t want to because he could tell that I might have a broken back and I did.

The vertebrae in my spine were cracked the width of the axle.

I tried to pull myself out from under the truck. It was the most incredible pain you can think of. I got myself to where my head was sticking out from under the front bumper.

The next thing I did was to call out, “Lord, help me.”

I called it out again. “Lord, please help me!”

I felt strange and the pain left my body.

At that point, I was unconscious. My spirit left my body and floated to the ceiling, and was looking down at the accident scene. The man I had been working with was on his knees next to my body. I could faintly hear him saying, ‘I’m sorry. I’m sorry.’

But on each side of him, also on their knees were angels. They might have been about eight feet tall. They didn’t have wings, just very broad shoulders.

There was a bright light shining around each one of them. They didn’t move, and I never heard them say anything. They just had their arms under the truck, not holding the truck up; but had their arms angled in toward my body. There was no pain, just peace. I can’t describe the peace I felt in the garage.

I knew I had a serious choice to make.

I was definitely on the edge of life and death. There were two thoughts in my head. One was, ‘Shut your eyes and give up and die. You are just going to go to heaven anyway.’ The other voice in my head was much quieter and not much more than a whisper, ‘If you want to live, you’re going to have to fight, and you are going to have to fight hard.’

The next thing I knew, my spirit went back down into my body.

I was conscious while I was flown on a life flight to the hospital. Doctors there doubted I would survive the next few hours. My ribs were broken, my pancreas and spleen crushed, and several major arteries had been severed.

We found out from doctors later, I had five places that major arteries were completely severed. I found out from the doctors there was a medical study done in 2001. According to that study, by the University of South California, they used my case and compared it against that study. They can’t find anyone else in the world that has lived with five major arteries being severed.

I should have bled to death in a few minutes. So my thought is, the angels were there to somehow hold me together. I stayed in the hospital for over two months and survived five major surgeries. I still had overwhelming obstacles to overcome. Almost 75 percent of my small intestine was crushed in the accident and had to be removed. An adult has 18-20 feet of small intestine. I was down to less than 100 cm of small intestine.

Someone came in and told us that he didn’t expect me to live much more than a year, that I was going to starve to death.

I was losing weight very rapidly: and they were feeding me intravenously. My once 180 lb. frame dropped to 126 lbs. My family was praying and my community rallied around me. I also received an unexpected visitor in my hospital room one day.

The Lord woke up a man in New York two days in a row. This was someone that I met one time on vacation. He came and prayed for me in the hospital. He put his palm on my forehead, and he prayed the way Jesus taught us to pray. He spoke to the mountain, in this case my small intestine, ‘I command you to grow back in the name of Jesus Christ.’ I felt like 220 volts come out of his palm and into my forehead. I could feel my intestines moving around and up and down.

After nine long months of surgeries and hospital stays, I was finally able to feed myself and gained weight, back up to 170 lbs.

When I returned for testing, radiology reports and doctors confirmed that I had almost nine feet of small intestine. They said the small intestines the Lord gave back to me were twice as good as normal. They work just as if I had all of it; absorb the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients I take into my body.

Over and over, the Lord kept confounding the doctors from the point of saying I shouldn’t live. I should have bled to death. My intestines miraculously were growing back. God was showing us that miracles were happening. My pancreas rejuvenated by itself. My spleen rejuvenated by itself.

Miracle after miracle, God was just showing up. He is a miracle worker.

-Bruce Van Natta -


#60

Butch O’Hare

During the course of World War II, many people gained fame in one way or another. One man was Butch O’Hare. He was a fighter pilot assigned to an aircraft carrier in the Pacific. One time his entire squadron was assigned to fly a particular mission. After he was airborne, he looked at his fuel gauge and realized that someone had forgotten to top off his fuel tank. Because of this, he would not have enough fuel to complete his mission and get back to his ship. His flight leader told him to leave formation and return. As he was returning to the mother ship, he could see a squadron of Japanese Zeroes heading toward the fleet to attack. And with all the fighter planes gone, the fleet was almost defenseless. His was the only opportunity to distract and divert them. Single-handedly, he dove into the formation of Japanese planes and attacked them. The American fighter planes were rigged with cameras, so that as they flew and fought, pictures were taken so pilots could learn more about the terrain, enemy maneuvers, etc. Butch dove at them and shot until all his ammunition was gone, then he would dive and try to clip off a wing or tail or anything that would make the enemy planes unfit to fly. He did anything he could to keep them from reaching the American ships. Finally, the Japanese squadron took off in another direction, and Butch O’ Hare and his fighter, both badly shot up, limped back to the carrier. He told his story, but not until the film from the camera on his plane was developed, did they realize the extent he really went to, to protect his fleet. He was recognized as a hero and given one of the nation’s highest military honors. And as you may know, O’Hare Airport was named after him.

Prior to this time in Chicago, there was a man called Easy Eddie.

He was working for a man you’ve all heard about, Al Capone. Al Capone wasn’t famous for anything heroic, but he was notorious for the murders he’d committed and the illegal thing’s he’d done. Easy Eddie was Al Capone’s lawyer and he was very good. In fact, because of his skill, he was able to keep Al Capone out of jail. To show his appreciation, Al Capone paid him very well. He not only earned big money, he would get extra things, like a residence that filled an entire Chicago city block. The house was fenced, and he had live-in help and all of the conveniences of the day. Easy Eddie had a son. He loved his son and gave him all the best things while he was growing up; clothes, cars, and a good education. And, because he loved his son he tried to teach him right from wrong. But one thing he couldn’t give his son was a good name, and a good example.

Easy Eddie decided that this was much more important than all the riches he had given him. So, he went to the authorities in order to rectify the wrong he had done. In order to tell the truth, it meant he must testify against Al Capone, and he knew that Al Capone would do his best to have him killed. But he wanted most of all to try to be an example and to do the best he could to give back to his son, a good name. So he testified. Within the year, he was shot and killed on a lonely street in Chicago. These sound like two unrelated stories, but Butch O’Hare was Easy.