Monday, November 30, 2009

'Twas The Fight Before Christmas

'Twas The Fight Before Christmas
Author Unknown

'Twas the fight before Christmas when all through the house
Not a good deed was stirring, and Dad was a louse!
Their mother was angry and loaded with care,
'Cause the gift list was longer than ever this year!

The children were nagging for gifts worth a ton,
And Dad was convinced, "Christmas just isn't fun!"
With Mom's loud complaining, and Dad mad at all,
They loaded the car for the trip to the mall!

They stopped first at Sears to buy Grandma a platter,
At Wards Sis tried on jeans that confirmed she was fatter!
They stopped at the ATM for some more cash,
And saw their new neighbors with THEIR Christmas stash!

Hearts sank as they saw what their neighbors could spend,
"We've got to buy more!" Everybody chimed in!
When, what to their shopping red eyes should appear,
But a sign with the answer to their Christmas fear.
"Use credit, use VISA, use MasterCard,
Just run up their limits, it's not very hard!"

More rapid than eagles, the charges, they came
And they whistled and shouted and called them by name.
Now Nordstroms, now K-Mart, now Price Club and Kinneys,
To Broadway, to Target, we'll finish at Penney's!
To the top of the porch, to the top of the wall,
Their packages piled up; they'd OUT-BOUGHT THEM ALL!!

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle mount to the sky,
So flew away hope of a Christmas of joys,
Not a problem was changed by the gifts and the toys.
And then, in a twinkling, Dad knew without doubt,
They needed to know, "What is Christmas about?"

That night in a dream he saw Bethlehem town,
And a babe in a manger with thorns for a crown!
And then what Dad saw brought the tears like a flood,
Christ's back was all tarnished where lashes brought blood.

A rugged old cross was his tortuous rack,
As he shifted it's weight to his now bleeding back.
His eyes, filled with burdens, 'twas nothing there merry,
The thorns had no roses, the night became eerie.
His dry thirsty mouth was drawn thin like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was plucked out cruelly, and slow.

The cross from his back held him high in his shame,
And the soldiers encircled his death with a game.
He had a kind face, in his eyes none saw hate,
And he shook when they laughed at his horrible fate.
He was dying for me, took my sins on himself,
And I wept when I saw him, in spite of myself.

A look in his eye, and the twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know, I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work;
And he took all my sin, and then turned with a jerk.
"It is finished," he said. Death he willingly chose,
Then GLORY TO GOD, from the grave He arose!!!

Dad sprang from his bed, shouting what Christmas gives.
"It's not all the gifts, but that Jesus now LIVES!"
So you'll hear them exclaim, on their next Christmas night,
Happy Christmas to all, WHO WILL KEEP CHRISTMAS RIGHT!!!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Which Direction Will You Choose?

In thinking about Black Friday and the commercialism of the season, I thought the story below expressed a good thought to ponder.

Paid In Full
Author Unknown

A young man was getting ready to graduate from college. For many months he had admired a beautiful sports car in a dealer's showroom, and knowing his father could well afford it, he told him that was all he wanted. As Graduation Day approached, the young man awaited signs that his father had purchased the car.

Finally, on the morning of his graduation, his father called him into his private study. His father told him how proud he was to have such a fine son, and told him how much he loved him. He handed his son a beautifully wrapped gift box. Curious, and somewhat disappointed, the young man opened the box and found a lovely, leather-bound Bible, with the young man's name embossed in gold. Angry, he shouted at his father and said "with all your money, you give me a Bible?" and stormed out of the house.

Many years passed and the young man had become very successful in business. He had a beautiful home and wonderful family, but realized his father now was getting old, and thought perhaps he should go see him. He had not seen him since that graduation day.

Before he could make arrangements, he received a telegram telling him his father had passed away, and willed all of his possessions to his son. He needed to come home immediately and take care of things.

When he arrived at his father's house, sudden sadness and regret filled his heart. He began to search through his father's important papers and saw the still gift-wrapped Bible, just as he had left it years ago. With tears, he opened the Bible and began to turn the pages.

His father had carefully underlined a verse, Matt.7:11, "And if ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Heavenly Father which is in Heaven, give to those who ask Him?" As he read those words, a car key dropped from the back of the Bible. It had a tag with the dealer's name, the same dealer who had the sports car he had wanted. On the tag was the date of his graduation, and the words PAID IN FULL.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Have a Happy Healthy Holiday Season

I hope everyone had a Fantabulous Thanksgiving. I have been busy but really enjoying this past week with my daughter and family. Today on FOCUS Friday I present a column of mine which was originally published in The Henry County Times on November 25, 2009. I hope it inspires you to consider your health and the decisions you make this holiday season. Whatever the holidays you celebrate, I wish you happy and safe one and a Happy New Year.

Have a Happy Healthy Holiday Season

As the holiday season rolls in earlier and earlier each year with our lives being bombarded with decorations and advertisements from all directions and our friends and family putting numerous demands on our time, it is easy to feel frustrated, stressed and apathetic about our health. In our efforts to achieve a happier and healthier lifestyle it is important for us to plan for our success.

During the holiday season the average person gains 7 to 10 pounds, but this can easily be avoided if we plan our meals correctly and remember the turkey gets stuffed, not us. It is not necessary and unhealthy to stuff our bellies full when we sit down for our Thanksgiving meal. I know it is easy to do but consider making the meal itself healthier. We can easily fill up on healthier foods and limit the amount of high-calorie, high-fat foods we consume.

In order to achieve this we must first make the decision we are going to concentrate on our health. Why wait until New Years Day to begin taking care of ourselves? Most New Year’s resolutions fall by the wayside and are forgotten. There are numerous excuses we can make for ourselves but the truth is we are the ones in control. It takes looking into the mirror and deciding we are going to change our habits. If we don’t, we will find ourselves gorging on holiday treats and buffets and then feeling guilty because we made the decision to fail.

Sure the red velvet cake tastes great at the time but is it really worth the guilt and torture you put yourself through 20 minutes later when you feel bloated and are asking yourself why you over indulged? Not in my opinion, however, if we decide to fill up on healthy vegetables and fruits before diving into the stuffing and piling on the gravy, we will feel better about ourselves and can avoid the need to make New Year’s resolutions we have no intention of keeping in the first place. A good plan is to fill half of your plate with veggies, one-quarter with a lean meat and the other quarter with your starch.

There are many other things we can do during this holiday season in order to keep from gaining weight. When going to a party, begin the day with a healthy breakfast rich in fiber and protein and be mindful of your calorie intake throughout the day. We need to realize appetizers are not meals! Nibble on the healthy snacks like nuts, wheat crackers, veggies, and fruits. Stay away from the buffet table and walk around and mingle. Don’t feel you have to say yes to everything someone offers you to eat. Remember, drinks contain calories too, especially if you plan to consume alcohol.

But our weight gain should not be our only concern for our health. There are many stressful situations we will deal with during this holiday season which can leave us feeling achy, irritated, and depressed. One of the easiest things we can do to relieve stress and also help us avoid gaining weight is exercise. This is especially important if you have a lot of traveling to do. In an airplane or a car we can do knee hugs lifting our knees toward our chest, twist our necks rotating them around, and shrug our shoulders up and down to stretch out the kinks of our travel.

To avoid the irritating situations of shopping, gift wrapping, long lines, cooking, and the numerous other events going on in our lives, we must have a plan. Staying on top of all of these events can be achieved through following Santa’s advice by making lists and checking them twice. However, even the most organized person can feel over extended during the holiday season. Things which have helped me overcome the aggravation are taking deep breaths, shopping online or at local merchants to avoid crowds, and going for a leisurely stroll just to unwind and relax. You must make time for you!

Also, loneliness and depression are common feelings among many people during the holiday season. There are a few things you can do to overcome these feelings. You can spend time outside in the sunlight, get up and dance around, have sex, watch a funny movie or exercise to increase those feel-good endorphins. Pick up the phone and call a friend; this may raise your levels of progesterone, a mood-boosting, stress relieving hormone. If you are experiencing extreme depression please seek the advice of a health professional.

Although we are quite busy this season, catering to the soul is necessary. Make the time to take care of yourself. Take time to volunteer and help the less fortunate. This can easily redeem a sense of joy and thanksgiving in all of us. By taking this time to supply another’s needs, one’s heart will feel complete. Take care of yourself this holiday season and have a safe and joyous Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Gratitude, Abundance, and Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

This video will get you in touch with your feelings of Gratitude and Abundance. Gratitude is a powerful, healing energy. "Gratitude" evolved from a popular poem by Sara Dawn, inspirational author and visionary. Learn more about Sara by visiting

Please stop by Oldman's Poetry Corner to read my newest poem, Thanksgiving Reflection.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Two Quotes for Tuesday 24 Nov 09

Worship and Thanksgiving

God is spirit,
and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.

John 4:24

They sang, praising and giving thanks to the LORD, saying,
"For He is good,
for His loving kindness is upon Israel forever."
And all the people shouted with a great shout
when they praised the LORD because
the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid.

Ezra 3:11

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thank You, GOD

Thank You, GOD
by Helen Steiner Rice

Thank You, GOD for everything

I've experienced here on earth--

Thank You for protecting me

from the moment of my birth--

And Thank You for the beauty

around me everywhere,

The gentle rain and glistening dew,

the sunshine and the air,

The joyous gift of "feeling"

the soul's soft, whispering voice

That speaks to me from deep within

and makes my heart rejoice--

Oh, GOD, no words are great enough

to thank You for just living,

And that is why every day

is a day for real THANKSGIVING.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

We Choose the Path to Our Future

Don't Hope... Decide!
Author Unknown

While waiting to pick up a friend at the airport in Portland, Oregon, I had one of those life-changing experiences that you hear other people talk about -the kind that sneaks up on you unexpectedly. This one occurred a mere two feet away from me. Straining to locate my friend among the passengers deplaning through the jetway, I noticed a man coming toward me carrying two light bags.

He stopped right next to me to greet his family. First he motioned to his youngest son (maybe six years old) as he laid down his bags. They gave each other a long, loving hug. As they separated enough to look in each other's face, I heard the father say, "It's so good to see you, son. I missed you so much!" His son smiled somewhat shyly, averted his eyes and replied softly, "Me, too, Dad!"

Then the man stood up, gazed in the eyes of his oldest son (maybe nine or ten) and while cupping his son's face in his hands said, "You're already quite the young man. I love you very much, Zach!" They too hugged a most loving, tender hug.

While this was happening, a baby girl (perhaps one or one-and-a-half) was squirming excitedly in her mother's arms, never once taking her little eyes off the wonderful sight of her returning father.

The man said, "Hi, baby girl!" as he gently took the child from her mother. He quickly kissed her face all over and then held her close to his chest while rocking her from side to side. The little girl instantly relaxed and simply laid her head on his shoulder, motionless in pure contentment.

After several moments, he handed his daughter to his oldest son and declared, "I've saved the best for last!" and proceeded to give his wife the longest, most passionate kiss I ever remember seeing.

He gazed into her eyes for several seconds and then silently mouthed. "I love you so much!" They stared at each other's eyes, beaming big smiles at one another, while holding both hands. For an instant they reminded me of newlyweds, but I knew by the age of their kids that they couldn't possibly be.

I puzzled about it for a moment then realized how totally engrossed I was in the wonderful display of unconditional love not more than an arm's length away from me.

I suddenly felt uncomfortable, as if I was invading something sacred, but was amazed to hear my own voice nervously ask, "Wow! How long have you two been married?" "Been together fourteen years total, married twelve of those." he replied, without breaking his gaze from his lovely wife's face. "Well then, how long have you been away?" I asked the man finally turned and looked at me, still beaming his joyous smile."Two whole days!"

Two days? I was stunned. By the intensity of the greeting, I had assumed he'd been gone for at least several weeks - if not months. I know my expression betrayed me, I said almost offhandedly, hoping to end my intrusion with some semblance of grace (and to get back to searching for my friend), "I hope my marriage is still that passionate after twelve years!"

The man suddenly stopped smiling. He looked me straight in the eye, and with forcefulness that burned right into my soul, he told me something that left me a different person. He told me, "Don't hope, friend... decide!" Then he flashed me his wonderful smile again, shook my hand and said, "God bless!" With that, he and his family turned and strode away together.

I was still watching that exceptional man and his special family walk just out of sight when my friend came up to me and asked, "What'cha looking at?" Without hesitating, and with a curious sense of certainty, I replied, "My future!"

Friday, November 20, 2009

Meditation & Prayer

Today on FOCUS Friday I would like to welcome Michael Najarian from Personal Growth Productions as my guest writer. I have enjoyed the writings on his blog and website for awhile now and always find his articles inspirational and interesting. Please take the time to visit him. Also, please let me take this opportunity to introduce his wife, Susan. She is an incredible artist and posts her glorious artwork at Blackbirds and Bumblebees. I really enjoyed Michael's article below reprinted with his permission from the Personal Growth section of his website. I am sure you will find it inspirational as well.

Meditation & Prayer

Close your eyes. Take a couple of deep breaths. Listen. If your experience is anything like mine, you are now hearing a lot of noise. Like the chatter of teletype, we process one thought after another in a continuous flow. With this much incessant activity, it is unlikely we will ever hear something as soft-spoken as intuition while our attention is diverted by the louder voices of what I don’t want and have yet to achieve. As the multitudes shout, I am a worthless sinner, it is hard to hear the more melodic sounds of, I am a magnificent expression of God’s love.

Listen to your thoughts and notice how they are all, apparently, connected. What’s next? Why did that happen? Where am I going? Where have I been? What does this all mean? During an interview with Deepak Chopra many years ago, he reminded me that although this flow of thought appears constant, in between each thought no matter how “infinitesimally small,” there resides a space, a “gap,” to use his precise description. I have found, within this gap, the silence, the peace, the rest we need to nourish and replenish the body and mind. For some, entry into this space is also an opportunity to glimpse and touch the unseen self…the soul.

Chopra continued to explain the practice of meditation allows us to gently slip into this gap, if even for a passing moment. With continued practice, we are able to expand the space between thoughts, increasing the silence and giving additional dimension to the gap. As the gap grows, we are better able to sink into this space, soothed by the peace as we connect with our inner being.

Through the ages, we have been given many maps to the gap; directions for returning to our source. While the precise methods may vary, every path shares the common element of reducing thought activity by stemming the tide of constant noise. Give focus to a single thought, it is suggested by using a mantra, our breath, the flame of a candle or prayer. By contracting our divided attention, we quiet the distractions and can more easily slip into the elusive space between our thoughts and peacefully rest within the gap.

Residing in the gap is tricky as this is a place without thought. After years of noise, finding yourself in this peaceful state is cause for celebration, “Wow…this feels great!” And, with this thought you have already made a hasty retreat from the bliss you were just about to experience. Darn! As the Buddhists say, Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. Learning to move with grace asks for our patience, understanding and forgiveness and all of these qualities must be turned inward before we can make use of them with others. In the silence we grow as we meet our highest self.

As we become better acquainted with who we are, light begins to illuminate our path. The answers we seek are all within, the path obscured by the noise, the distractions we will now learn to set aside. You cannot ignore the snow storm for as soon as you say to yourself, don’t think about the storm, you have just given the snow your full attention. The most you can do is gently set aside distracting thoughts as any struggle gives them counterproductive power. What you resist persists.

There is a multitude of research on the benefits of quieting the mind and I encourage you to seek out this information if it is unfamiliar or as a reminder or update. Most appropriate for this discussion, I ask you to reflect on vast amount and variety of historical references to the value and practice of seeking the silence I describe. In the west, we have Biblical accounts from Old Testament to New Testament citing the value of prayer. We have contemporary demonstrations of success with hypnosis. Yogananda and other western teachers of eastern thought have all carried messages of meditation rooted in Buddhism and other old world religious and spiritual practices. The Mayans, the Incas, the American Indian and groups representing diverse civilizations and geographic locations through time all present ritual that honors silence. Further, this silence is a vehicle to self-realization that is commonly achieved by a reverent practice of paring down diverse thought to single thought and then to no thought or a silence referenced to as bliss.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Two Quotes for Tuesday 17 Nov 09

Lessons of Adversity

If your every human plan and calculation has miscarried,
if, one by one, human props have been knocked out, take heart.
God is trying to get a message through to you,
and the message is:
"Stop depending on inadequate human resources.
Let me handle the matter."

Catherine Marshall

He heals the brokenhearted
And binds up their wounds.

Psalm 147:3

Monday, November 16, 2009

Checkin' In

Checkin' In
Author Unknown

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, "Watcha' doin' 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, 'cause the factory is so far away;
As I kneel here talking' to the Lord, this is kinda' what I say:"


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." As he hurried to the door.
The minister knelt at the altar, he'd never done it before.
His cold heart melted, warmed with love, met with Jesus there.
As the tears flowed, in his heart, he repeated old Jim's prayer:


Past noon one day, the minister noticed that old Jim hadn't come.
As more days passed without Jim, he began to worry some.

At the factory, he asked about him, learning Jim was ill.
The hospital staff was worried, but he'd 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.
A 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:


And you shall love the LORD YOUR GOD with all your heart,
and with all your soul,
and with all your mind,
and with all your strength.
Mark 12:30

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Psalm 55:22

This was reported as being written by a Metro Denver Hospice Physician:

I was driving home from a meeting this evening about 5, stuck in traffic on Colorado Blvd., and the car started to choke and splutter and die - I barely managed to coast into a gas station, glad only that I would not be blocking traffic and would have a somewhat warm spot to wait for the tow truck. It wouldn't even turn over. Before I could make the call, I saw a woman walking out of the quickie mart building, and it looked like she slipped on some ice and fell into a gas pump, so I got out to see if she was okay

When I got there, it looked more like she had been overcome by sobs than that she had fallen; she was a young woman who looked really haggard with dark circles under her eyes. She dropped something as I helped her up, and I picked it up to give it to her. It was a nickel.

At that moment, everything came into focus for me: the crying woman, the ancient Suburban crammed full of stuff with 3 kids in the back (1 in a car seat), and the gas pump reading $4.95.

I asked her if she was okay and if she needed help, and she just kept saying 'I don't want my kids to see me crying,' so we stood on the other side of the pump from her car. She said she was driving to California and that things were very hard for her right now. So I asked, 'And you were praying?' That made her back away from me a little, but I assured her I was not a crazy person and said, 'He heard you, and He sent me.'

I took out my card and swiped it through the card reader on the pump so she could fill up her car completely, and while it was fueling, walked to the next door McDonald's and bought 2 big bags of food, some gift certificates for more, and a big cup of coffee. She gave the food to the kids in the
car, who attacked it like wolves, and we stood by the pump eating fries and talking a little.

She told me her name, and that she lived in Kansas City Her boyfriend left 2 months ago and she had not been able to make ends meet. She knew she wouldn't have money to pay rent Jan. 1, and finally in desperation had finally called her parents, with whom she had not spoken in about 5 years. They lived in California and said she could come live with them and try to get on her feet there.

So she packed up everything she owned in the car. She told the kids they were going to California for Christmas, but not that they were going to live there.
I gave her my gloves, a little hug and said a quick prayer with her for safety on the road. As I was walking over to my car, she said, 'So, are you like an angel or something?'

This definitely made me cry. I said, 'Sweetie, at this time of year angels are really busy, so sometimes God uses regular people.'

It was so incredible to be a part of someone else's miracle. And of course, you guessed it, when I got in my car it started right away and got me home with no problem. I'll put it in the shop tomorrow to check, but I suspect the mechanic won't find anything wrong.

Sometimes the angels fly close enough to you that you can hear the flutter of their wings...

Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you;
He will never allow the righteous to be shaken. Psalm 55:22

'Father, I ask You to bless my friends, relatives and all who are reading this right now. Show them a new revelation of your love and power. Holy Spirit, I ask You to minister to their spirit this very moment. Where there is pain, give them Your peace and mercy. Where there is self doubt, release a renewed confidence through Your grace, In Jesus' precious name. Amen.'

The above story was sent to me in an email by a friend. I am not sure if it is true and Snopes lists it as Undetermined. They do offer a warning because sometimes people will pretend to be in need in order to scam others. However, it is my belief to leave the judgement to the Lord. We should all try to help others who are in need. You can read the Snopes report here.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Keep a Little Faith

Today's article on FOCUS Friday was sent to me by Perry from the Caribbean Islands. He has not launched a blog as of yet but is considering sharing his Caribbean way of life with the world sometime in the future. Please encourage him in your comments so we can enjoy a little flavor from the islands. He was kind enough to share this story with us.

Keep a Little Faith

This is 'Faith' This dog was born on Christmas Eve in the year 2002. He was born with 3 legs -2 healthy hind legs and 1 abnormal front leg which had to be amputated. He of course could not walk when he was born. Even his mother did not want him…

His first owner also did not think that he could survive and he was thinking of 'putting him to sleep'. But then, his present owner, Jude Stringfellow, met him and wanted to take care of him. She became determined to teach and train this little dog to walk by himself.
She named him 'Faith'.

In the beginning, she put Faith on a surfboard to let him feel the movement. Later she used peanut butter on a spoon as a lure and to reward him for standing up and jumping around.
Even the other dog at home encouraged him to walk. Amazingly, after only 6 months, Faith learned to balance on his hind legs and jump to move forwards. After further training in the snow, he could walk like a human being.

Faith loves to walk around now. No matter where he goes, he attracts people to him. He is fast becoming famous on the international scene and has appeared on various newspapers and TV shows. There is now a book entitled 'With a Little Faith' being published about him. He was even considered to appear in one of Harry Potter movies…

His present owner Jude Stringfellew has given up her teaching post and plans to take him around the world to preach that even without a perfect body, one can have a perfect soul'.

In life there are always undesirable things, so in order to feel better you just need to look at life from another direction. I hope this message will bring fresh new ways of thinking to everyone and that everyone will appreciate and be thankful for each beautiful day. Faith is the continual demonstration of the strength and wonder of life.

For more information, photos and updates visit Faith the Dog's Official Website.

Are you a Writer? A Blogger? An Author? A Poet? A Photographer? Submit your article today and be featured on the Next FOCUS Friday. Click here for complete details and to learn how you can receive 2 Free eBooks.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Today on Oldman's Thursday Theater enjoy this short video to brighten your day.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesday ~ Veteran's Day

These photos were taken by a friend of mine at Heritage Park Henry County, Georgia this past Labor Day weekend after we enjoyed our healthy picnic.
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