"Daddy", he said, his eyes full of tears,
"will you talk to me and quiet my fears?
Those bad boys at school are spreading a lie
'bout the impossibility of reindeer that fly.
There's no Santa Claus, they say with a grin
there's not one now, and there never has been.
How can one man take all of those toys
to thousands of girls and boys?
But I told them Daddy, that they were not right,
that I would come home and find out tonight.
Mamma said wait until you come home.
Please tell me now that I was not wrong."
His Daddy looked at his questioning face
and puffed his pipe while his frantic mind raced.
He had put this off as long as he could,
he had to think fast and it better be good.
Whispering a prayer, he began with a smile,
"well climb on my lap, dear, let's talk awhile."
"Remember at church how we learned to pray,
asking God to take care of us each day?
And you know how we say grace before each meal?
To this same God whom we know to be real.
Though we never see him, we know he is there
watching his children with such loving care."
"God started Christmas a long time ago
when he gave us His son to love and to know.
A spirit of giving came with that birth,
and God's generosity filled the whole earth.
Man had to name this spirit of giving
just as he names all things that are living."
"The name Santa Claus came to someone's mind
probably the best name of any to find.
There is, you can see, and I think quite clear
Truly a Santa who visits each year.
A spirit like God, whom we never see,
he enters the hearts of your mother and me."
"Each year at Christmas for one special night
we become him and make everything right.
But the real spirit of Christmas is in you and in me
and I hope you are old enough now to see
that as we believe and continue to give,
our friend Santa Claus will continue to live."
According to our sources, the following letter was found in the 'Letters to Santa' box at the Post Office in Thompson Falls, Montana.
What do I ask this year? I have perused each ad in my mailbox, pored over the colorful ads in the newspaper. So many lovely things, and yet I need nothing.
I realize this as I walk up the hill on my strong legs. I can hear the air fill my lungs. I feel the cold on my cheeks. I smell the smoke of the fire that warms my home. I see the snow-capped mountains and the slate gray river peppered with fat geese.
I need nothing: there are people who love me. There are people who forgive my sometimes wretched temper and who touch me with loving hands. There are neighbors who smile in the store. There are shopkeepers who are tolerant when I don’t have enough money. There are kind faces in public places.
There is a fat pregnant cat who sneaks into my garage. Dogs and other cats share my hearth; I love to feel their fur with my feet. There are hawks that teach their young of flight, right there behind my house. There are deer that tiptoe into my yard and savor the fat apples in the snow.
Rows of glassed vegetables; green beans, tomatoes, peas and carrots color my pantry. And a rusty bucket of hand tools and neatly dried seeds promises next year’s riches.
I need nothing! Christmas promises already fulfilled redeem my foolish life, and occasionally I glimpse the feast that awaits me when this earthly one is done.
Today I discovered a hole in my jeans. I felt the December air slither down my leg. How mighty is the hand that sweeps the wind along the mountains. Santa, dear old soul, just give me another day like this one in my life.
This is a true story. It took place on December 6, 1998.
It happened at a local Service Merchandise store outside of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Last week we received a frantic call from a dear friend, Karen. Karen is the mother of five children -- four 1-1/2 year old quadruplets and one delightful three-year old "big sister" named Amanda.
It seems that Amanda has been a good girl all year and all she wanted for Christmas was the "Barney Banjo." Her mother had called all the stores in their area, but no luck. Her mother had also visited dozens of internet sites in search of the magic banjo, but still, no luck. Karen then began asking all her friends to help in the search.
A local department store flyer was advertising them, so we bypassed Bible study on Sunday, and headed for the store. We stood in line in summer like weather outside of the store.
After we entered the store, I looked up and down the toy aisles, and although the Barney Banjo had been advertised in the flyer, I could not find any.
Then, this clerk came walking around the corner holding a Barney Banjo and presented it directly to me without saying a word. I said thank you, but she remained silent. I noticed her name tag said, "Karen" which kind of surprised me.
My fiancé Susan and I went up to the register to purchase it and all the clerks looked at us with awe and disbelief, asking us where we found the Barney Banjo. They said the store had been sold out of them for days.
Then things became very mysterious. Not only did the clerks claim they had run out of the product, but they also looked puzzled when we mentioned "Karen," the clerk in the back, who gave me the Banjo. No one knew her.
Moreover, Susan never saw Karen, the clerk, but explained how she had seen a flash of light go by her as she walked up and down the aisles on the other side of the store while she was looking for the banjo.
We excitedly called our friend Karen and told her the good news so that she would not have to tell her daughter that Santa could not get her a banjo this year. Karen was so happy. We could feel her smile through the phone lines. That was when we told her the story about the clerk named Karen that no one else saw and she started to cry. A mother's love knows no distance.
We believe it very well may have been a Christmas angel.
The year our youngest daughter, Shelly, was four, she received an unusual Christmas present from "Santa."
She was the perfect age for Christmas, able to understand the true meaning of the season, but still completely enchanted by the magic of it. Her innocent joyfulness was compelling and catching -- a great gift to parents, reminding us of what Christmas should represent no matter how old we are.
The most highly prized gift Shelly received that Christmas Eve was a giant bubble-maker, a simple device of plastic and cloth the inventor promised would create huge billowing bubbles, large enough to swallow a wide-eyed four-year-old. Both Shelly and I were excited about trying it out, but it was after dark so we'd have to wait until the next day.
Later that night I read the instruction booklet while Shelly played with some of her other new toys. The inventor of the bubble-maker had tried all types of soaps for formulating bubbles and found that Joy dishwashing detergent created the best giant bubbles. I'd have to buy some.
The next morning, I was awakened very early by small stirrings in the house. Shelly was up. I knew in my sleepy mind that Christmas Day festivities would soon begin, so I arose and made my way toward the kitchen to start the coffee. In the hallway, I met my daughter, already wide awake, the bubble-maker clutched in her chubby little hand, the magic of Christmas morning embraced in her four-year-old heart. Her eyes were shining with excitement, and she asked, "Daddy, can we make bubbles now?"
I sighed heavily and rubbed my eyes. I looked toward the window, where the sky was only beginning to lighten with the dawn. I looked toward the kitchen, where the coffeepot had yet to start dripping its aromatic reward for early-rising Christmas dads.
"Shelly," I said, my voice almost pleading and perhaps a little annoyed, "it's too early. I haven't even had my coffee yet."
Her smile fell away. Immediately I felt a father's remorse for bursting her bright Christmas bubble with what I suddenly realized was my own selfish problem, and my heart broke a little.
But I was a grown-up. I could fix this. In a flash of adult inspiration, I unshouldered the responsibility. Recalling the inventor's recommendation of a particular brand of bubble-making detergent -- which I knew we did not have in the house -- I laid the blame squarely on him, pointing out gently, "Besides, you have to have Joy."
I watched her eyes light back up as she realized, in less than an instant, that she could neutralize this small problem with the great and wonderful truth she was about to reveal.
"Oh, Daddy," she promised, with all the honesty and enthusiasm and Christmas excitement she could possibly communicate, "Oh, Daddy, I do."
I broke records getting to the store, and in no time at all we were out on the front lawn creating gigantic, billowing, gossamer orbs--each one filled with Joy and sent forth shimmering into the Christmas sun.
No Santa? by Leanne Petty,posted Dec 16 2011 8:31AM
Author Unknown, thanks to Ellen for submitting
I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit my Grandma on the day my big sister dropped the bomb: "There is no Santa Claus," she jeered. "Even dummies know that!"
My Grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been. I fled to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me. I knew Grandma always told the truth, and I knew that the truth always went down a whole lot easier when swallowed with one of her world-famous cinnamon buns. Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm. Between bites, I told her everything. She was ready for me. "No Santa Claus!" she snorted. "Ridiculous! Don't believe it. That rumor has been going around for years, and it makes me mad, plain mad. Now, put on your coat, and let's go." "Go? Go where, Grandma?" I asked.
"Where" turned out to be Kerby's General Store, the one store in town that had a little bit of just about everything. As we walked through it doors, Grandma handed me ten dollars. That was a bundle in those days. "Take this money and buy something for someone who needs it. I'll wait for you in the car." Then she turned and walked out of Kerby's. I was only eight years old. I'd often gone shopping with my mother, but never had I shopped for anything all by myself. The store seemed big and crowded, full of people scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping. For a few moments I just stood there, wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy it for. Suddenly I thought of Bobbie Decker. He sat right behind me in Mrs. Pollock's grade-two class. Bobbie Decker didn't have a coat. I knew that because he never went out for recess during the winter. I fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing excitement. I would buy Bobbie Decker a coat. I settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood to it. It looked real warm, and he would like that.
That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat in Christmas paper and ribbons, and write, "To Bobbie, From Santa Claus" on it - Grandma said that Santa always insisted on secrecy. Then she drove me over to Bobbie Decker's house, explaining as we went that I was now and forever officially one of Santa's helpers. Grandma parked down the street from Bobbie's house, and she and I crept noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front walk. Then Grandma gave me a nudge. "All right, Santa Claus," she whispered, "get going." I took a deep breath, dashed for his front door, threw the present down on his step, pounded his doorbell and flew back to the safety of the bushes and Grandma. From there we watched Bobbie come to the door and pick up his present from "Santa."
Forty years haven't dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering, beside my grandma, in Bobbie Decker's bushes. That night, I realized that those awful rumors about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were: ridiculous. Santa was alive and well, and we were on his team."
Merry Christmas everyone.....The spirit is in you......Remember that!
I am flat broke from overspending at Christmas time. But I need to go shopping again soon because I am completely out of self-respect. I've said things I wish I could take back and I am not feeling too good about myself.
I also want to exchange a carton of self righteousness for an equal amount of humility. I hear that it is less expensive and wears well, and while I'm at it I'm going to check on tolerance and see if there is any available in my size.
I must remember to try to match my patience with the little I have left. My neighbor is loaded with it and it looks awfully good on her. I was told the same department has a repair shop for mending integrity. Mine has become frayed around the edges from too much compromising. If I don't get it refurbished soon, there won't be any left.
I almost forgot the most important thing of all -- compassion. If I see some -- no matter what the color, size or shape -- I'm going to stock up heavily regardless of the price. I have run out of it so many times and I always feel ashamed when it happens.
I don't know why it has taken me so long to get around to shopping for these items. They don't cost nearly as much as some of the frivolous things I bought at Christmas time. And I'll get a lot more satisfaction from them.
Yes, I'm going shopping today and I can leave my checkbook and credit cards at home! The things I'm looking for have no price-tags. What a joy!
Christmas is for love. It is for joy, for giving and sharing, for laughter, for reuniting with family and friends, for tinsel and brightly decorated packages. But mostly, Christmas is for love. I had not believed this until a small elf-like student with wide, innocent eyes and soft rosy cheeks gave me a wondrous gift one Christmas.
Mark was an 11 year old orphan who lived with his aunt, a bitter middle aged woman greatly annoyed with the burden of caring for her dead sister's son. She never failed to remind young Mark, if it hadn't been for her generosity, he would be a vagrant, homeless waif. Still, with all the scolding and chilliness at home, he was a sweet and gentle child.
I had not noticed Mark particularly until he began staying after class each day (at the risk of arousing his aunt's anger, I later found) to help me straighten up the room. We did this quietly and comfortably, not speaking much, but enjoying the solitude of that hour of the day. When we did talk, Mark spoke mostly of his mother. Though he was quite small when she died, he remembered a kind, gentle, loving woman, who always spent much time with him.
As Christmas drew near however, Mark failed to stay after school each day. I looked forward to his coming, and when the days passed and he continued to scamper hurriedly from the room after class, I stopped him one afternoon and asked why he no longer helped me in the room. I told him how I had missed him, and his large gray eyes lit up eagerly as he replied, "Did you really miss me?"
I explained how he had been my best helper. "I was making you a surprise," he whispered confidentially. "It's for Christmas." With that, he became embarrassed and dashed from the room. He didn't stay after school any more after that.
Finally came the last school day before Christmas. Mark crept slowly into the room late that afternoon with his hands concealing something behind his back. "I have your present," he said timidly when I looked up. "I hope you like it." He held out his hands, and there lying in his small palms was a tiny wooden box.
"It’s beautiful, Mark. Is there something in it?" I asked, opening the top to look inside.
"Oh, you can't see what's in it," he replied, "and you can't touch it, or taste it or feel it, but Mother always said it makes you feel good all the time, warm on cold nights, and safe when you're all alone."
I gazed into the empty box. "What is it Mark," I asked gently, "that will make me feel so good?" "It's love," he whispered softly, "and Mother always said it's best when you give it away." And he turned and quietly left the room.
So now I keep a small box crudely made of scraps of wood on the piano in my living room and only smile as inquiring friends raise quizzical eyebrows when I explain to them that there is love in it.
Yes, Christmas is for gaiety, mirth and song, for good and wondrous gifts. But mostly, Christmas is for love.
I recently relocated, bought a house and moved in the first weekend of July.
Since I have been in my new neighborhood, I have had the pleasure of meeting a few of my neighbors who seem to be extremely nice people. For Christmas, I thought I would do something nice for each of the neighbors that I know. I sat down and counted. There were nine neighbors whom I knew by name or spoke with often when I was out in my yard. I also knew which houses they lived in.
I decided to add one more person to my list for a total of ten. This lady that I decided to add lives down the street from me. I meet her every morning walking to work as I drive down the street. She always manages a contagious smile and a hearty wave. I had no idea what her name was and not even sure which house she lived in.
My gift idea was to make small fruit baskets and leave them on each of my neighbor's front porches or door steps the night of Christmas Eve for them to find, either that night or the next morning. I signed the cards: "Happy Holidays from 5104 Northumberland Road."
I saved the friendly lady for last, since I was still not exactly sure where she lived. I finally decided upon a house down about where I met her each morning and felt relatively sure that it was hers.
My neighbors really appreciated the baskets and would tell me as they saw me in the yard or they would call, and a couple even came by to thank me.
This morning on my way to work, I placed my mail in the mailbox and noticed a small note inside. It was addressed simply -- Resident, 5104 Northumberland Road.
I opened the envelope and took out a Thank You card. I opened the card and read the message which really caught me by surprise.
The card said. "Thank you for the lovely fruit basket you left on the porch of Richard Kelly. It was very thoughtful. Richard Kelly passed away on January 19th. He never stopped talking about how nice it was that someone remembered him in his time of illness. He really appreciated it."
I was sincerely stunned. I had no idea who Richard Kelly was or that he had been gravely ill. I had left that nice lady's basket on Mr. Kelly's porch by accident. I wanted to say by mistake, but that would be wrong. I believe that Richard Kelly was meant to have that basket and the Lord knew that he only had less than a month to live. I hate that the nice lady did not get to receive a fruit basket from me this Christmas, but I believe that if she knew what happened, she would have had the outcome no other way.
I feel blessed to have helped Richard Kelly's last days be more cheerful. This just further reinforces my belief that there are never any mistakes in life -- just detours, shortcuts, and small excursions along the way.
"I was wondering God, if when I die, just after my earthly body gives into your call, instead of going to Heaven could you let me be a cloud?"
"Hmmm," God said. "Why would you ever want to be a cloud? They block the sun. They rain on picnics and parades."
"Forgive me, God. I don't mean that kind of cloud. I want to be one of those big, puffy clouds. You know the kind of cloud that makes people stop and point. The kind of cloud that takes your breath away when you first see it."
"Oh, I see," replied God.
"I want to begin somewhere and travel as far as I can. I want to bring comfort to those who need protection. I want to dance across the horizon at the very edge of a young couples view of the ocean. I want make them smile.
I want to be a part of an artist's view of the world. I want to be captured in a photograph and when viewed I want people to long for such a moment in their lives, too.
I want to reflect the sunlight at dawn and light up with the hues of autumn on a crisp cold day."
"I see," God said softly.
"Please, God, don't let this life be the end of it all. I want to finally know that people will look up to me."
"The end? I suggest that you don't wait until the end. Why not live your life so that you accomplish all of that while you are alive?" said God.
"Begin right where you are. Travel as far as your mind can imagine. Bring comfort to those who need it. Dance along the shore to the music of the ocean. Make memories so that in the autumn of your life you will be a reflection of a life well lived to warm your heart on the coldest of days," said God.
And so I have lived that way for as long as I can remember. I am a cloud on the way to Heaven. What do you want to be?
As I tossed the extra quarter
Into the kettle brightly painted
Snowflakes danced about my head
A good deed had been done.
"May He bless you," said the soldier
In between another shiver...
"May our Lord in Heaven bless you."
And I smiled, walking on.
"What on Earth possesses you!"
The scream came from behind me
"To be so mighty generous
With that quarter so darned thin?"
"You must be drunk!" I heard him shout,
Unsure of his location;
"You must be drunk with Christmas
I've seen it time and time again."
"Who speaks to me?" I hollered back
Searching for my heckler
"Of what concern am I to you
A stranger not once met?"
"Oh, but yes," the voice assured
"Excuse my loud intrusion;
We've met on several instances
You've chosen to forget."
"Pardon me, I don't remember
Ever making your acquaintance
Could it be the Holidays
Have made my memory shorter?
And what on earth has prompted you
To make such accusations,
Why the indignation
At my giving of a quarter?"
"The quarter is irrelevant,"
His haunting voice replied.
"My concern is for a world
That money cannot buy.
My concern is for the soul
Of children in the street,
Suffering from human need
A quarter cannot meet."
"My concern is for the man
Who lacks a friend to care,
Living in material want
Losing faith in prayer...
And when this so-called charity
Allows us to neglect
The soul of our society
Someone must object.
I'd hope you would object."
The stranger's voice then disappeared
Swallowed by the sky.
And we would never speak again
Reality and I.
But since that conversation
On a sidewalk in the snow
I often hear his whispers
As the seasons come and go.
This poem was written in 1988, while Ron was a
student at Eastern Washington University. It was
first published in the campus newspaper that same
I watched as two pelicans were gliding just above the water out where the waves begin to break. There were only two, not the more typical five or six. Why only two? I have a theory.
Perhaps there were two because this was a training flight. The lead pelican was the older, wiser, more experienced pelican. The second one was being trained in the fine art of pelicaning. I imagined the instructions going something like this: "Okay, Junior, you stick with me and I’ll show you how to do it," said the older pelican. In seconds they were airborne. "First, flap your wings like this. Not so fast. Slower. Smoother. Now, stop flapping and glide. Be sure to make it look effortless. That guy on the beach is taking notes. Now, here’s how you hover. Good! Now flap! Stop flapping! Flap! Stop flapping! Remember, smooth and leisurely. Excellent! Now let’s glide right down over the water where we can almost touch it, but not quite. Those humans go nuts when we do this. They wish they could do it. You’re doing great kid, but we’re not finished. This is our big moment. Ready? Stop! Drop! Splash! Up! We’re outta here! You’re doing great! Just keep doing what I do and you’ll be fine."
Those two pelicans have gone on down the coast, but I see similar scenes everyday. There is the mother who sits with her daughter sharing her years of experience as a wife, a mother, and a lady. There’s the father showing his son how to hold a baseball bat and how to stand at the plate. An older mechanic patiently explains the strange noise under the hood to the new guy. An experienced teacher illustrates her technique of classroom discipline to the recent graduate. The long-time student of the Word explains a text to his disciple. Jesus when he asked Peter, "Do you love me?" People taking time to share their wisdom, explain their success, and reveal their failures. Both benefit from the experience. Many others will reap the fruit of their time together.
A little later I saw the two pelicans on their way back down the coastline (I’m not absolutely sure it was the same two pelicans, but they looked like them.) This time they have switched places. I heard the older one say, "Okay, son. Your turn to lead. Take off!" Look around you. See any young pelicans wanting to learn to fly. There may be someone who needs the wisdom and experience you have. The new guy on the job, the new couple at church, that young mother who seems to have her hands full, or the young man who has just begun his walk with the Lord. You have the knowledge, you have the wisdom, and you have the gift they need. Don’t waste the opportunity! Take time and teach someone to fly!
The pastor of the church I attended as a young man was a distinguished, dignified and always impeccably dressed man who also happened to have a warm and compassionate heart. He was so formal and well-groomed that newcomers would expect this tall, handsome man with a PhD from an Ivy League school serving a large, affluent suburban church to be cold and distant. But he wasn’t; he was warm and sincere.
Then I had one lesson in how he remained that way.
I signed on to serve as Scripture reader, and on the first Sunday sat on a chair behind the pastor’s podium. It was rather large, semi-circular pulpit with a chair directly behind it. The pastor entered and sat down. He was, as always, impeccably dressed: blue pinstriped business suit, silk tie carefully knotted, starched white shirt with cufflinks, and on his feet, black shoes polished like mirrors. This was not a man who wore a Rolex or drove a Porsche. But he was always careful to dress well, from his pocket handkerchief to his tiepin.
Then, just before the sermon, I watched the pastor reach down and untie both of his expensive leather dress shoes. He slid his feet out of them, and then reached under the cuffs of his tailored suit. He pulled off his black dress socks as well. I was completely bewildered. He then pushed both shoes and socks to the side and stood up for his sermon. No one else knew it, but our dignified, dapper, classy pastor preached his sermon barefoot, in his tailored suit and silk tie.
When the sermon was over, he unobtrusively pulled on both shoes and socks, and left the podium.
I said nothing and just assumed he had reasons of his own. Perhaps his feet hurt? I forgot about it, especially as it did not happen again for the next few Sundays.
Then, two months later, I noticed the pastor sliding his feet out of a pair of spit-polished tasseled loafers, followed again by the socks. I was again confused and slightly amused by the contrast between the fancy business suit and the soles of his bare feet which appeared when he leaned forward with enthusiasm.
After the service ended, I went up to the still barefoot minister and respectfully asked why he did this.
The pastor looked slightly embarrassed, picked up the shoes and socks and told me a story from his student years:
"My seminary professor told me I was a fine preacher, but that I had one fault. I was too arrogant. Too proud. I remembered that. And I remember my roots, too."
He then told me that he had grown up as a janitor’s son and took his shoes off when he visited his Dad. Those were his roots. In the years since, he had earned several degrees and his gifts had brought him to this church. He was successful and praised, but he never wanted to forget where he came from.
"Whenever I start getting too proud and smug, I look down at my shiny Brooks Brothers shoes and fancy socks and realize it’s time to take off my "successful well-dressed suit-and-tie pastor" feet and put on the feet of a janitor’s boy. It keeps me humble. It’s hard to be smug when I’m barefoot."
And with that the pastor grinned, put on his Italian tasseled shoes and socks and left the pulpit.
The other day a friend asked me if I was sick of hearing Christmas music on the radio. It didn't take me long to answer. On the contrary, I keep the radio tuned to the station that plays only the merry melodies that fill the air at this time of year.
Who can get tired of the songs of the season when they keep you in a perpetual spirit of wonder and glee?
We've been listening to the same songs for decades and the feelings they bring never lose their emotion, in fact those old songs multiply their meaning as life goes on.
Babies first Christmas was made oh so special the year my nephew Ryan was born. Being the first grandchild in the family we fawned over the tiniest new addition.
That year the song I loved the most was Jolly Old Saint Nicholas. I didn't know all the stanzas but I crooned what I knew and hummed the rest as Ryan and I rocked away many a cold winter's night.
I am now a grandma of three and sing the words I've learned by heart to this younger generation, but the memory of Ryan as the babe in my arms still comes to mind even though it has been three decades and counting.
Jingle Bell Rock I remember hearing often on that very first Christmas that Bill and I shared together. Our love was as fresh and delicate as new fallen snow back then. The years have accumulated into a blizzard of family life follies. When I hear the sounds of Jingle Bell Rock I'm reminded of what a rocking good life we have shared all these many years.
The day after we've stuffed ourselves with Thanksgiving turkey and all the trimmings, the totes containing all our holiday hoopla are stacked in the family room. At first sight it looks like a daunting task, especially since each year my collection of decorations grows. With the help of Christmas classics streaming from the radio my home is transformed in all its seasonal splendor in no time at all.
It's a fa-la-la-la good time when music mingles with the melody of feelings that only surface at this special time of year.
I never get tired of hearing the sentimental lyrics of songs that can, in an instant, transport me back to yesteryear which causes me to belt out notes of nostalgia as grand kids wonder why grandma is acting goofy.
No, I'm not hitting the spiked egg nog -- I'm just indulging in the joy of this most wonderful time of the year.
The music, like the memories they invoke, never gets old to me. They are the link to Christmases past and present.
A chorus of carols will continue to be savored and enjoyed, for time goes by in the blink of an eye as we hum the memories of Christmases gone by.
Once you have smiled at someone you can't take it back.
Once you have held the tiny hand of a newborn child and the frail, weak hand of an elderly soul with his one last breath, you cannot possibly justify wasting another moment of your own life. Life is not just a beginning and an end; it is how you live it in between.
Once you have stood on the edge of mentally spent, physically exhausted, and financially drained you have every right to say, "I quit!" But follow that by shouting, "Now, you take over, God!" Then watch what He can do with spent, exhausted and drained.
Once you have seen a sunrise and a sunset, you know that God has kept His promise and has every day of your life. Have you kept yours?
Once you have said "I will" then you must follow through. "I will" is your word, not a "maybe."
Once you have more, you must give more to those who have less.
Once you have anything, you must give thanks.
Once you have nothing, you must give thanks, too. It's not just in having that we should be grateful. Just being alive is a gift, too.
Once you have stood in awe looking at the stars, you realize how incredibly special you must be. For in all the universe there is only one "you." But realize that the universe is looking back in awe at you, too. All of God's creation is "Awe-some!"
Once you have heard the old man tell the story for what seems like the "hundredth" time, be happy if he lives to tell it to you a hundred more times. One day you will wish he were there to tell it again.
Once you have faith, you can never give into the power of doubt. Faith builds, doubt destroys.