Monthly Archives: August 2014

univversity-of-maryland

THE SNEEZE

They walked in tandem, each of the ninety-two students filing into the already crowded auditorium. With their rich maroon gowns flowing … and the traditional caps, they looked almost as grown up as they felt.

Dads swallowed hard behind broad smiles, and Moms freely brushed away tears.

This class would NOT pray during the commencements – not by choice, but because of a recent court ruling prohibiting it.

The principal and several students were careful to stay within the guidelines allowed by the ruling. They gave inspirational and challenging speeches, but no one mentioned divine guidance and no one asked for blessings on the graduates or their families.

The speeches were nice, but they were routine … until the final speech received a standing ovation.

A solitary student walked proudly to the microphone. He stood still and silent for just a moment, and then, it happened.

All 92 students, every single one of them, suddenly SNEEZED!!!!

The student on stage simply looked at the audience and said, “GOD BLESS YOU, each and every one of you!” And he walked off stage …

The audience exploded into applause. This graduating class had found a unique way to invoke God’s blessing on their future with or without the court’s approval.

This is a true story; it happened at the University of Maryland.

Who says that our young are not smart?

(From Justine)

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piano

PIANO LESSONS

At the prodding of my friends, I am writing this story. My name is Mildred Hondorf. I am a former elementary school music teacher from Des Moines, Iowa.

I’ve always supplemented my income by teaching piano lessons, something I’ve done for over 30 years. Over the years I found that children have many levels of musical ability. I’ve never had the pleasure of having a protege though I have taught some talented students. However I’ve also had my share of what I call “musically challenged” pupils.

One such student was Robby. Robby was 11 years old when his mother (a single mom) dropped him off for his first piano lesson. I prefer that students (especially boys)! begin at an earlier age, which I explained to Robby. But Robby said that it had always been his mother’s dream to hear him play the piano.

So I took him as a student. Well, Robby began with his piano lessons and from the beginning I thought it was a hopeless endeavor. As much as Robby tried, he lacked the sense of tone and basic rhythm needed to excel. But he dutifully reviewed his scales and some elementary pieces that I require all my students to learn. Over the months he tried and tried while I listened and cringed and tried to encourage him. At the end of each weekly lesson he’d always say, “My mom’s going to hear me play someday.” But it seemed hopeless. He just did not have any inborn ability.

I only knew his mother from a distance as she dropped Robby off or waited in her aged car to pick him up. She always waved and smiled but never stopped in. Then one day Robby stopped coming to our lessons. I thought about calling him but assumed, because of his lack of ability, that he had decided to pursue something else. I also was glad that he stopped coming. He was a bad advertisement for my teaching!

Several weeks later I mailed to the student’s homes a flyer on the upcoming recital. To my surprise Robby (who received a flyer) asked me if he could be in the recital. I told him that the recital was for current pupils and because he had dropped out he really did not qualify. He said that his mom had been sick and unable to take him to piano lessons but he was still practicing. “Miss Hondorf … I’ve just got to play!” he insisted.

I don’t know what led me to allow him to play in the recital. Maybe it was his persistence or maybe it was something inside of me saying that it would be all right. The night for the recital came. The high school gymnasium was packed with parents, friends and relatives. I put Robby up last in the program before I was to come up and thank all the students and play a finishing piece. I thought that any damage he would do would come at the end of the program and I could always salvage his poor performance through my “curtain closer.”

Well, the recital went off without a hitch. The students had been practicing and it showed. Then Robby came up on stage. His clothes were wrinkled and his hair looked like he’d run an eggbeater through it. “Why didn’t he dress up like the other students?” I thought. “Why didn’t his mother at least make him comb his hair for this special night?” Robby pulled out the piano bench and he began. I was surprised when he announced that he had chosen Mozart’s Concerto #21 in C Major.

I was not prepared for what I heard next. His fingers were light on the keys, they even danced nimbly on the ivories. He went from pianissimo to fortissimo … from allegro to virtuoso. His suspended chords that Mozart demands were magnificent! Never had I heard Mozart played so well by people his age After six and a half minutes he ended in a grand crescendo and everyone was on their feet in wild applause.

Overcome and in tears I ran up on stage and put my arms around Robby in joy. “I’ve never heard you play like that Robby! How’d you do it?” Through the microphone Robby explained: “Well, Miss Hondorf … remember I told you my mom was sick? Well actually she had cancer and passed away this morning. And well … she was born deaf so tonight was the first time she ever heard me play. I wanted to make it special.” There wasn’t a dry eye in the house that evening.

As the people from Social Services led Robby from the stage to be placed into foster care, I noticed that even their eyes were red and puffy and I thought to myself how much richer my life had been for taking Robby as my pupil. No, I’ve never had a protege but that night I became a protege … of Robby’s. He was the teacher and I was the pupil. For it is he that taught me the meaning of perseverance and love and believing in yourself and maybe even taking a chance in someone and you don’t know why.

This is especially meaningful to me since after serving in Desert Storm, Robby was killed in the senseless bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in April of 1995, where he was reportedly … playing the piano.

We all have thousands of opportunities a day to help realize God’s plan. So many seemingly trivial interactions between two people present us with a choice: Do we pass along a spark of the Divine? Or do we pass up that opportunity, and leave the world a bit colder in the process?

The choice is easy … What Would Jesus Do? …

– A true story by, Mildred Hondorf.

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The Cab Ride

Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living. It was a cowboy’s life, a life for someone who wanted no boss. What I didn’t realize was that it was also a ministry. Because I drove the night shift, my cab became a moving confessional. Passengers climbed in, sat behind me in total anonymity, and told me about their lives. I encountered people whose lives amazed me, ennobled me, made me laugh and weep.

But none touched me more than a woman I picked up late one August night.

I was responding to a call from a small brick fourplex in a quiet part of town. I assumed I was being sent to pick up some partiers,or someone who had just had a fight with a lover, or a worker heading to an early shift at some factory for the industrial part of town.

When I arrived at 2:30 a.m., the building was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window. Under these circumstances, many drivers would just honk once or twice, wait a minute, then drive away. But I had seen too many impoverished people who depended on taxis as their only means of transportation. Unless a situation smelled of danger, I always went to the door. This passenger might be someone who needs my assistance, I reasoned to myself. So I walked to the door and knocked.

“Just a minute,” answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor. After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 80s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940s movie. By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

“Would you carry my bag out to the car?” she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman. She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb. She kept thanking me for my kindness. “It’s nothing”, I told her. “I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated”. “Oh, you’re such a good boy”, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me and address, then asked, “Could you drive through downtown?” “It’s not the shortest way,” I answered quickly. “Oh, I don’t mind,” she said. “I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice”.

I looked in the rearview mirror. Her eyes were glistening. “I don’t have any family left,” she continued. “The doctor says I don’t have very long.”

I quietly reached over and shut off the meter. “What route would you like me to take?” I asked.

Old_checker_cab

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl. Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, “I’m tired. Let’s go now.”

We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair. “How much do I owe you?” she asked, reaching into her purse.”Nothing,” I said. “You have to make a living,” she answered. “There are other passengers,” I responded. Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly. “You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,” she said. “Thank you.” I squeezed her hand, then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.

I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly, lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away? On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life. We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware–beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

PEOPLE MAY NOT REMEMBER EXACTLY WHAT YOU DID, OR WHAT YOU SAID, BUT THEY WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER HOW YOU MADE THEM FEEL.

– Kent Nerburn

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laughitoff_image

Laugh It Off.....

Q. What kind of man was Boaz before he married?
A.Ruthless.

Q. What do they call pastors in Germany?

A. German Shepherds.

Q. Who was the greatest financier in the Bible?

A. Noah. He was floating his stock while everyone else was in liquidation.

Q. What kind of motor vehicles are in the Bible?

A. Jehovah drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden in a Fury. David’s Triumph was heard throughout the land. Also, probably a Honda, because the apostles were all in one Accord.

Q. Who was the greatest comedian in the Bible?

A. Samson. He brought the house down.

Q. Which servant of God was the most flagrant lawbreaker in the Bible?

A. Moses. He broke all 10 commandments at once.

Q. Which area of Palestine was especially wealthy?

A. The area around Jordan. The banks were always overflowing.

Q. Who is the greatest baby sitter mentioned in the Bible?

A. David. He rocked Goliath to a very deep sleep.

Q. Which Bible character had no parents?

A. Joshua, son of Nun.

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fawn

Just A Few Drops

It was one of the hottest days of the dry season. We had not seen rain in almost a month. The crops were dying. Cows had stopped giving milk. The creeks and streams were long gone – back into the earth. It was a dry season that would bankrupt several farmers before it was through. Every day, my husband and his brothers would go about the arduous process of trying to get water to the fields. Lately this process had involved taking a truck to the local water rendering plant and filling it up with water. But severe rationing had cut everyone off. If we didn’t see some rain soon… we would lose everything.

It was on this day that I learned the true lesson of sharing and witnessed the only miracle I have seen with my own eyes. I was in the kitchen making lunch for my husband and his brothers when I saw my six-year old son, Billy, walking toward the woods. He wasn’t walking with the usual carefree abandon of a youth but with a serious purpose. I could only see his back. He was obviously walking with a great effort…trying to be as still as possible.

Minutes after he disappeared into the woods, he came running out again, toward the house. I went back to making sandwiches, thinking that whatever task he had been doing was completed. Moments later, however, he was once again walking in that slow purposeful stride toward the woods. This activity went on for an hour. He would walk carefully to the woods, run back to the house. Finally I couldn’t take it any longer and I crept out of the house and followed him on his journey (being very careful not to be seen…as he was obviously doing some important work and didn’t need his Mommy checking on him).

He was cupping both hands in front of him as he walked, being very careful not to spill the water he held in them…maybe two or three tablespoons were held in his tiny hands. I sneaked close as he went into the woods. Branches and thorns slapped his little face but he did not try to avoid them. He had a much higher purpose. As I leaned in to spy on him, I saw the most amazing site. Several large deer loomed in front of him. Billy walked right up to them. I almost screamed for him to get away. A huge buck with elaborate antlers was dangerously close. But the buck did not threaten him…he didn’t even move as Billy knelt down. And I saw a tiny fawn laying on the ground, obviously suffering from dehydration and heat exhaustion, lift its head with great effort to lap up the water cupped in my beautiful boy’s hand.

When the water was gone, Billy jumped up to run back to the house and I hid behind a tree. I followed him back to the house, to a spigot that we had shut off the water to. Billy opened it all the way up and a small trickle began to creep out. He knelt there, letting the drip, drip slowly fill up his makeshift “cup,” as the sun beat down on his little back. And it became clear to me. He remembered the trouble that he had gotten into for playing with the hose the week before. The lecture that he had received about the importance of not wasting water. That was the reason he didn’t ask me to help him.

It took almost twenty minutes for the drops to fill his hands. When he stood up and began the trek back, I was there in front of him. His little eyes just filled with tears. “I’m not wasting,” was all he said.

As he began his walk, I joined him…with a small pot of water from the kitchen. I let him tend to the fawn. I stayed away. It was his job.

I stood on the edge of the woods watching the most beautiful heart I have ever known working so hard to save another life. As the tears that rolled down my face began to hit the ground, they were suddenly joined by other drops…and more drops…and more. I looked up at the sky. It was as if God, himself, was weeping with pride.

Some will probably say that this was all just a huge coincidence. That miracles don’t really exist. That it was bound to rain sometime. And I can’t argue with that…I’m not going to try. All I can say is that the rain that came that day saved our farm…just like the actions of one little boy saved another.

– Author Unknown

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miracles-happen

Miracles Happen

It was the end of a great day! My wife and I were on our way home. It was about midnight. We were both relaxed and enjoying the ride on a clear autumn night. I was driving our 1999 Mazda 626 down the highway and was preparing to exit onto a major 4 lane road.

Sarah and I frequently pray as we travel, especially at night. We were both in a reflective mood and decided to pray about half way home. I had already finished praying to God. Sarah was still talking to Him as we started up the long exit ramp. She was asking Him for His protection on all her family who were also traveling home that evening. Little did she know we were about to become the recipients of that very protection.

We both were watching the traffic light as we got about half way up the ramp. It was solid green. There were no vehicles in front of us so we simply rolled into the intersection at about 30 MPH, to make the sweeping left turn onto the other road.

As we entered the intersection we saw a flash of light to our left and instantly heard a loud crash and felt a jarring impact. Our bodies were thrown to the right, then whipped back immediately to an upright position. I felt a sharp blow to my lower side and back as our car stopped dead in the intersection. It felt like somebody had hit me full force with a baseball bat. I just sat there, dazed and moaning. I could not believe what had just happened.

I heard my wife asking me if I was OK. I told her my back hurt but otherwise I seemed to be alright. I asked if she was injured, expecting an answer involving neck pain. Praise God she was completely unhurt! I then realized that I did not have any neck trauma either. In spite of being violently slammed sideways we had no obvious injuries to our necks.

The paramedics checked me over in the car then helped me out the passenger side because the drivers side was crushed shut. They checked me out in the ambulance and said I was OK except for some possible bruised ribs where the side impact door beam hit me in the back. I didn’t even have to go to the hospital.

Our car had to be towed away, (it had almost $10,000 damage), but we walked away! Amazingly, the 3 teenagers in the Blazer that hit us were also completely unharmed. The speed limit was 45 MPH on that road and the driver said she had a green light, so she would not have been slowing down before she hit us broadside in the intersection. There is no reasonable explanation for the lack of serious injuries for all of us, unless we believe in miracles! We do!

There are a lot of things that don’t make any sense about this whole thing. Looking back on the accident, and observing the damage to the vehicles, there are many things that I simply don’t understand. This all should have been much worse!

What I do know is this. Jesus saves…..in more ways than one! Jesus heard my wife’s prayer for protection. He put an angel between the two vehicles to absorb the majority of the energy that would have sent some of us to the hospital with major injuries. His intervention saved lives that night. I walked away from an accident that other people, at other times, never did. Why? I can’t answer that question.

I don’t know the mind of God and why He chooses to save one and not another at any given time. What I do know is that God is good all the time….and all the time God is good! His goodness and love never changes. He allows nothing bad to happen that is not ultimately for some good. He has a purpose for each and every one of us, and maybe we don’t always understand it, but there is a reason for all things, good and bad, in our lives.

I don’t know why He chose to spare me and my wife this time, but we are very thankful that He did. He also extended His mercy to the 3 teens that we didn’t even know and spared them too. I don’t claim to know all the answers. All I can testify to is the fact that at the time of impact my wife was talking to God and asking for His protection, and we all walked away from this wreck with no serious injuries. The facts speak for themselves! What more can I say?

– Tony.K

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man-praying

This is Jesus just checking in today

A minister passing through his church in the middle of the day, decided to pause by the altar and see who had come to pray.Just then the back door opened, a man came down the aisle.The minister frowned as he saw the man hadn’t shaved in a while.His shirt was kinda shabby and his coat was worn and frayed.

The man knelt, he bowed his head, then rose and walked away.In the days that followed, each noon time came this chap.Each time he knelt just for a moment, a lunch pail in his lap.Well, the minister’s suspicions grew, with robbery a main fear.

He decided to stop the man and ask him,”What are you doing here?”
The old man said, he worked down the road. Lunch was half an hour.
Lunchtime was his prayer time, for finding strength and power.”I stay only moments, see, because the factory is so far away;As I kneel here talking to the Lord, this is kinda what I say:

“I JUST CAME AGAIN TO TELL YOU, LORD, HOW HAPPY I’VE BEEN, SINCE WE FOUND EACH OTHER’S FRIENDSHIP AND YOU TOOK AWAY MY SIN.DON’T KNOW MUCH OF HOW TO PRAY,BUT I THINK ABOUT YOU EVERYDAY.SO,JESUS, THIS IS JIM CHECKING IN TODAY.”

The minister feeling foolish, told Jim, that was fine.He told the man he was welcome to come and pray just anytime.Time to go, Jim smiled and said “Thanks.” He hurried to the door.The minister knelt at the altar, he’d never done it before.

His cold heart melted, warmed with love, and met with Jesus there.As the tears flowed, in his heart, he repeated old Jim’s prayer:

“I JUST CAME AGAIN TO TELL YOU,LORD,HOW HAPPY I’VE BEEN,SINCE WE FOUND EACH OTHER’S FRIENDSHIP AND YOU TOOK AWAY MY SIN.I DON’T KNOW MUCH OF HOW TO PRAY,BUT I THINK ABOUT YOU EVERYDAY.SO,JESUS, THIS IS ME CHECKING IN TODAY.”

Past noon one day, the minister noticed that old Jim hadn’t come.
As more days passed without Jim, he began to worry.At the factory, he asked about him, learning he was ill.The hospital staff was worried, but Jim had given them a thrill.

The week that Jim was with them, brought changes in the ward.
His smiles, a joy contagious. Changed people, were his reward.
The head nurse couldn’t understand why Jim was so glad, when no flowers, calls or cards came, not a visitor he had.

The minister stayed by his bed, he voiced the nurse’s concern:
No friends came to show they cared. He had nowhere to turn.

Looking surprised, old Jim spoke up and with a winsome smile; “the nurse is wrong, she couldn’t know, that in here all the while everyday at noon He’s here, a dear friend of mine, you see, He sits right down, takes my hand, leans over and says to me:

“I JUST CAME AGAIN TO TELL YOU, JIM, HOW HAPPY I HAVE BEEN, SINCE WE FOUND THIS FRIENDSHIP, AND I TOOK AWAY YOUR SIN.ALWAYS LOVE TO HEAR YOU PRAY, I THINK ABOUT YOU EACH DAY,AND SO JIM, THIS IS JESUS CHECKING IN TODAY.”

– Author Unknown

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