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“The Game of Life”

A young boy enters a barber shop and the barber whispers to his customer, “This is the dumbest kid in the world. Watch while I prove it to you.”

The barber puts a dollar bill in one hand and two quarters in the other, then calls the boy over and asks,

“Which do you want, son?”

The boy takes the two quarters and leaves.

“What did I tell you?” said the barber. “That kid never learns!”

After the customer leaves the barber shop, he sees the same young boy coming out of the ice cream store with his newly purchased ice cream cone.

“Hey, son! May I ask you a question? Why did you take the two quarters instead of the dollar bill?”

The boy licked his cone and replied,

“Because the day I take the dollar, the game’s over.”

~ Author Unknown ~

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“Thank You, Thank You”

Every Friday evening without fail when the sun resembles a giant orange and is starting to dip into the blue ocean. Old Ed comes strolling along the Florida beach to his favorite pier.

Clutched in his bony hand is a bucket of shrimp. Ed walks out to the end of the pier, where it seems he almost has the world to himself. Everybody’s gone, except for a few joggers on the beach. Standing out on the end of the pier, Ed is alone with his thoughts – and his bucket of shrimp.

Before long, however, he is no longer alone. Up in the sky a thousand white dots come screeching and squawking, winging their way toward that lanky frame standing there on the end of the pier. Before long, dozens of seagulls have enveloped him, their wings fluttering and flapping wildly. Ed stands there tossing shrimp to the hungry birds. As he does, if you listen closely, you can hear him say with a smile,

“Thank you. Thank you.”

When he finally turns around and begins to walk back toward the beach, a few of the birds hop along the pier with him until he gets to the stairs, and then they, too, fly away. And old Ed quietly makes his way down to the end of the beach and on home.

If you were sitting there on the pier with your fishing line in the water, Ed might seem like “a funny old duck,” as my dad used to say. Or, “a guy that’s a sandwich shy of a picnic,” as my kids might say. To onlookers, he’s just another old codger, lost in his own weird world, feeding the seagulls with a bucket full of shrimp.

That’s too bad. They’d do well to know him better.

His full name: Eddie Rickenbacker. He started Eastern Airlines and was a famous flying Ace back in World War I. On one of his flying missions across the Pacific, he and his seven-member crew went down. Miraculously, all of the men survived, crawled out of their plane, and climbed into a life raft.

Captain Rickenbacker and his crew floated for days on the rough waters of the Pacific. They fought the sun. They fought sharks. Most of all, they fought hunger. By the eighth day their rations ran out. No food. No water. They were hundreds of miles from land and no one knew where they were.

They needed a miracle.

That afternoon they had a simple devotional service and prayed for a miracle. They tried to nap. Eddie leaned back and pulled his military cap over his nose. Time dragged. All he could hear was the slap of the waves against the raft. Suddenly, Eddie felt something land on the top of his cap. It was a seagull!

Old Ed would later describe how he sat perfectly still, planning his next move. With a flash of his hand and a squawk from the gull, he managed to grab it and wring its neck. He tore the feathers off, and he and his starving crew made a meal of it – a very slight meal for eight men.

Then they used the intestines for bait. With it, they caught fish, which gave them food and more bait and the cycle continued. With that simple survival technique, they were able to endure the rigors of the sea until they were found and rescued after 24 days at sea.

Eddie Rickenbacker lived many years beyond that ordeal, but he never forgot the sacrifice of that first lifesaving seagull. And he never stopped saying,

“Thank you.”

That’s why almost every Friday night he would walk to the end of the pier with a bucket full of shrimp and a heart full of gratitude.

~ The author is Max Lucado and the above is an excerpt from page 221 of his book “The Eye of the Storm” ~

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“The Nails We Lie On”

A man went to visit a friend in the bayous of Louisiana. On the front porch, the man’s trusty old hound was moaning lowly. Puzzled, he asked if the dog were in pain. His friend replied that the dog was lying on a nail.

Confused he asked, “Why doesn’t he get off it?” In a slow southern drawl he said, “Well, I guess it doesn’t hurt that bad.”

This is known as “toleration.” These are little things that we can do something about but lack the motivation because they just don’t hurt bad enough. The papers on our desk, the additional five pounds, the extra effort at work that seems to always be put off until tomorrow or to next week.

We are tolerating more than we think. We put up with and are dragged down by other people’s unmet needs and problems as well as our own behavior and incompletions.

What nails are we lying on? Write down what we are putting up with. Not what we can’t change or have no control over, but things like that five pounds that don’t bug us enough to go to the gym or the pile of papers that has been sitting on the corner of our desk the last three weeks.

These tolerations little by little sap our energy. They nibble away at who we are. Write down one each morning and have it be gone by evening. Do this for one week. If it makes a difference in your life, each week you will become a stronger you.

~ This story was sent to me by Rick Schwartz who is a superb residential broker in Southern California RickismyRealtor@aol.com and is modeled after a similar one in Les Brown’s book “Live Your Dreams.”~

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Keep Them Close

I grew up with practical parents. A mother, God love her, who washed aluminum foil after she cooked in it, then reused it. She was the original recycle queen before they had a name for it. A father who was happier trying to fix or repair broken cars and things around the house or getting old shoes fixed rather than buying new ones.

I can see them now, Dad in trousers, tee shirt and a hat, a wrench in one hand and a paint brush in the other. Mom in a house dress, washing clothes, packing school lunches, cleaning house and cooking supper every day. It was the time for fixing things. A curtain rod, the kitchen radio, screen door, the oven door, the hem in a dress. Things we keep.

It was a way of life, and sometimes it made me crazy. All that re-fixing, eating leftovers, second hand clothes, used books, etc., I just wanted to have something new and just throw away all that old stuff. Throwing things away didn’t always mean that you could go out and simply get “new” stuff, but it gave a sense of knowing that there’d always be more.

But then my dad died suddenly and fixing things became a lot harder. Some years later, my mother died, and on that clear summer’s night, in the warmth of the hospital room, I was struck with the pain in learning that sometimes there isn’t any more.

Sometimes, what we care about most gets all used up and goes away…never to return.. So… While we have it….. it’s best we love it…. And care for it… And fix it when it’s broken…….. And heal it when it’s sick.

This is true. For marriage……. And old cars….. And children with bad report cards….. And dogs with bad hips… And aging parents…… And grandparents. We keep them because they are worth it, because we are worth it.

Some things we keep. Like a best friend that moved away or a classmate we grew up with.

There are just some things that make life important, like people we know who are special. Keep them close!

~ Author Unknown ~

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Lord, I Hate Buttermilk

A visiting Priest was attending a men’s breakfast in Ohio farm country. He asked one of the impressive older farmers in attendance to say grace that morning. After all were seated, the older farmer began …

“Lord, I hate buttermilk.”

The Priest opened one eye and wondered to himself where this was going.

Then the farmer loudly proclaimed, “Lord, I hate lard.”

Now the Priest was overly worried. However without missing a beat, the farmer prayed on,

“And Lord, you know I don’t care much for raw white flour.”

Just as the Priest was ready to stand and stop everything, the farmer continued,

“But Lord, when you mix ‘em all together and bake ‘em up, I do love fresh biscuits.”

“So Lord, when things come up we don’t like, when life gets hard, when we just don’t understand what you are sayin’ to us, we just need to relax and wait ‘till You are done mixin’, and probably it will be somethin’ even better than biscuits.”

Amen.

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