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Truly This is Called Friendship

In my ladies Bible study here at DJs yesterday, I taught a lesson on friendship, using pertinent scriptures and some of my life experiences to press home the lesson. At that time I didn’t have such a good example as I found when reading on the internet this morning. The following story is exceptional: a Starbuck’s clerk will be donating a kidney to one of her regular customers.

TACOMA, Wash. — Annamarie Ausnes is known for holding up the line at her favorite Starbucks here, carefully counting out her coins to pay for her “short drip, double-cupped” daily jolt. Over the years, Sandie Andersen, a friendly barista behind the counter, might have rolled her eyes once or twice but she has also taken these morning moments to make conversation, to make friends.

Stuart Isett for The New York Times

Annamarie Ausnes, left, will receive a kidney from Sandie Andersen, who works at the Starbucks coffee shop that Ms. Ausnes frequents.

Grandchildren? A favorite topic. That tan Ms. Ausnes brought in one day? A vacation souvenir. And then there was the small talk that day last fall.

“She reached over the counter and said, ‘I’m a blood match,’ ” Ms. Ausnes said last week, recalling the conversation.

Ms. Andersen said, “We both stood there and bawled.”

The complete New York Times story is here.

I have great admiration for people such as Sandie Anderson who truly has a heart full of love, and whose generosity and true caring extends far beyond that of many people. I wish success in the surgeries and long life for both Sandie and Annamarie.

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My devotional blog is here.

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Gallopping Gratuities

Hey, are any of my friends from Texas reading this?

We’re leaving Lake Havasu before 5:00 tomorrow morning, driving to Las Vegas, then boarding a plane, changing in Albuquerque and winding up in Houston Hobby at 4:30 in the afternoon. Today, I’ve been straightening things around this cluttered motor home, repacking my luggage, watching Jerry deal with his and tucking my speaking notes safely into my computer case. A few minutes ago I sat down to take a short break, and one of the first news items I saw was this startling story: A waitress in TEXAS receives a horse for a tip!

A horse?

photos

“Galloping gratuities,” someone said.

Are they all over the place in Texas handing out horses? Will Jerry and I come home mounted on beautiful steeds, instead of flapping our wings on Southwest? Rather doubt it! Anyway, I thought you needed to hear this delightful story.

By Allan Turner of the Houston Chronicle:

Maybe it was his eyes — deep liquid pools of the inkiest black. Maybe it was his size — towering over his Lilliputian handlers with benign majesty. Maybe it was his breath — voluminous clouds of exhalation sweetly redolent of hay.

Whatever it was, Mailman Express had plenty of it. He was one hunk of horse, and A.D. Carrol loved him for it.

“He’s gorgeous,” Carrol, a diminutive 71-year-old Sugar Land woman, crooned into Mailman’s perked-up ear. Then, turning to her human companions, she added in an undertone, “I told him how beautiful he is. I think he remembers me.”

That was the touching scene Tuesday at the Houston Polo Club as Carrol, on her way to her waitress job at Ouisie’s Table, stopped by to say hello to the thoroughbred bay gelding she received as an eye-popping tip.

“All this started about a week and a half ago when I was waiting tables,” Carrol said. “There were two men drinking coffee and I had to ask them to move to make way for a larger group. One of the men just asked me if I wanted a horse. I said, ‘sure.’ Two days later he came back with the trainer’s phone number and Mailman was mine.”

A short video of the horse and the remainder of the article is here.

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My devotional blog is here.

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Wal-Mart Apologizes for Anti-Muslim Remark

In very little do I agree with the Muslim religion, and with much do I vehemently take issue. However, I fully defend the right of all persons to choose and practice his/her religious beliefs. It is astonishing that a Wal-Mart clerk would make derogatory remarks to a veiled Muslim who came through her check-out line. I applaud Wal-Mart for their public apology.

“Please, don’t stick me up,” a cashier told the shopper on Feb. 2, according to The Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Wal-Mart apologized Monday in a letter signed by Rolando Rodriquez, a vice president and regional general manager. It was released Tuesday by the council’s Nevada chapter.

“I can assure you that the associate in question was disciplined in accordance with our employment policies as a result of the situation,” Rodriguez said without disclosing details.

Rodriguez said employees at the Riverdale store would undergo “sensitivity training,” specifically in the Islamic faith and Muslim culture.

At Wal-Mart headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., spokesman Phillip Keene confirmed the letter and declined further comment.

“We applaud Wal-Mart for taking appropriate action to resolve this incident,” said Yasser Moten, executive director of the council’s Nevada chapter. The group doesn’t have an office in Utah.

In private, in one’s home, and in classroom and forum settings it is appropriate to discuss the pros and cons of different religions and of other belief systems. In public, though, to point out dissimilarities, and to cast aspersions on others is highly offensive and rude.

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My devotional blog is here.

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Deliberate Plunge Into Poverty–And Out

Those who with any regularity read my columns know of my disdain for the actions of able-bodied persons who refuse to work, or who are quick to whine about there being no jobs available, or who live with the mantra; “The pay is so little at any job I can find, I am better off living through government programs.” Equally–no to a greater extent–do I admire those who despite challenges of every description–from ill-health, little privilege, severe disabilities, poor job market, inferior education, and racial prejudice–despite these hindrances, they scratch and claw their way into a job which supports them and their families, and that spins them on an upward trajectory.

From the Christian Science Monitor and picked up by ABC News is a splendid story by Adam Shepard who, as an experiment, left the “good life,” and took to the wrong side of the tracks. In this fascinating article, he chronicles his ascent from poverty into success. I’ve printed some of the writing here with a link to the entire article.

Alone on a dark gritty street, Adam Shepard searched for a homeless shelter. He had a gym bag, $25, and little else. A former college athlete with a bachelor’s degree, Mr. Shepard had left a comfortable life with supportive parents in Raleigh, N.C. Now he was an outsider on the wrong side of the tracks in Charleston, S.C.

homeless

(Photodisc)

But Shepard’s descent into poverty in the summer of 2006 was no accident. Shortly after graduating from Merrimack College in North Andover, Mass., he intentionally left his parents’ home to test the vivacity of the American Dream. His goal: to have a furnished apartment, a car, and $2,500 in savings within a year.To make his quest even more challenging, he decided not to use any of his previous contacts or mention his education.During his first 70 days in Charleston, Shepard lived in a shelter and received food stamps. He also made new friends, finding work as a day laborer, which led to a steady job with a moving company.Ten months into the experiment, he decided to quit after learning of an illness in his family. But by then he had moved into an apartment, bought a pickup truck, and had saved close to $5,000.The effort, he says, was inspired after reading “Nickel and Dimed,” in which author Barbara Ehrenreich takes on a series of low-paying jobs. Unlike Ms. Ehrenreich, who chronicled the difficulty of advancing beyond the ranks of the working poor, Shepard found he was able to successfully climb out of his self-imposed poverty.

He tells his story in “Scratch Beginnings: Me, $25, and the Search for the American Dream.” The book, he says, is a testament to what ordinary Americans can achieve. On a recent trip to the Boston, he spoke about his experience.

The entire interview is here:

I’m interested in hearing your opinions on this subject. Should every healthy person in America be able to climb out of poverty? Or, are there families who have lived so long with a “welfare mentality” that it is virtually impossible for them to think differently, and thus they are all but unable to pull themselves upward?

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My devotional blog is here.

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Church Life Workplace

Prayer for Rev. Gary Weems

He was on the third floor in the elevator at his church in Terrell, Texas, when just a few hours ago, the cable snapped, and the car plunged to the ground. He is in desperate need of prayer, as both of his feet are shattered. Early medical releases say every bone in both feet is broken.

Please join with me in prayer for this pastor, for his family and for his church congregation.

Update here. 

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Cell Phone “Magic”

I’m not much into sending and receiving cute little email messages, but this one came this morning from Michael, and it seems so helpful, I am passing it on. There is good information here.

5 THINGS YOU NEVER KNEW YOUR CELL PHONE COULD DO
(From: PC Magazine’s 2007 editors choice for best web mail award-winning Windows Live Hotmail)

There are a few things that can be done in times of grave emergencies. Your mobile phone can actually be a life saver or an emergency tool for survival. Check out the things that you can do with it:

FIRST ———— Emergency —- The Emergency Number worldwide for Mobile is 112. If you find yourself out of the coverage area of your mobile; network and there is an emergency, dial 112 and the mobile will search any existing network to establish the emergency number for you, and interestingly this number 112 can be dialed even if the keypad is locked. Try it out.

SECOND ———– Have you locked your keys in the car? —- Does your car have remote keyless entry? This may come in handy someday! . Good reason to own a cell phone: If you lock your keys in the car and the spare keys are at home, call someone at home on their cell phone from your cell phone. Hold your cell phone about a foot from your car door and have the person at your home press the unlock button, holding it near the mobile phone on their end. Your car will unlock. Saves someone from having to drive your keys to you. Distance is no object. You could be hundreds of miles away, and if you can reach someone who has the other ‘remote’ for your car, you can unlock the doors (or the trunk).

Editor’s Note: It works fine! We tried it out and it unlocked our car over a cell phone!’

THIRD———- Hidden Battery Power —- Imagine your cell battery is very low. To activate, press the keys *3370# Your cell will restart with this reserve and the instrument will show a 50% increase in battery. This reserve will get charged when you charge your cell next time.

FOURTH ——- How to disable a STOLEN mobile phone? —- To check your Mobile phone’s serial number, key in the following digits on your phone: * # 0 6 # A 15 digit code will appear on the screen. This number is unique to your handset. Write it down andÃÂ keep it somewhere safe. When! your phone get stolen, you can phone your service provider and give them this code. They will then be able to block your handset so even if the thief changes the SIM card, your phone will be totally useless. You probably won’t get your phone back, but at least you know that whoever stole it can’t use/sell it either. If everybody does this, there would be no point in people stealing mobile phones.

And Finally….

FIFTH ————- Free Directory Service for Cells —- Cell phone companies are charging us $1.00 to $1.75 or more for 411 information calls when they don’t have to. Most of us do not carry a telephone directory in our vehicle, which makes this situation even more of a problem. When you need to use the 411 information option, simply dial: (800) FREE 411, or (800) 373-3411 without incurring any charge at all. Program this into your cell phone now.

Neat tips, wouldn’t you say?

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My devotional blog is here.

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Paper Airplane To Be Launched From Space Station


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Tipping Tales

“We hate waiting on Christians, for they tip so poorly.”

It was last Saturday as I sat in a restaurant where the meal for several of us had been paid by someone else, that I had asked about the tip, and that the ensuing conversation had included the retelling of that sad comment.

“Was the tip included for our meals?” I asked as we finished eating.

No one seemed to know immediately, but after they asked around the message was returned, “No, the tip was not included. We need to leave some.”

We had occupied a fairly large area in the restaurant, some of the others had already left, and my friend and I were concerned that perhaps many people thought the tip had been included, when indeed it hadn’t. We came up with more money from our wallets until we felt sure adequate money had been left for our group.

” We feel really strongly about tipping well,” one of the women said. “We teach in our church that one should always leave 15 percent regardless of the quality of the service. We think of our testimony in the town, and what our generosity–or lack of–says about our church and about Christians in general.”

She went on to tell of an occasion where her husband had left a $45.00 tip for a modest bill. On accepting the money the waitress had begun to cry, saying, “Thank you. Thank you. I didn’t have money to buy milk for my baby tonight.”

Someone else told of a waitress who said, “We hate waiting on Christians, for they tip so poorly.”

While reading around this morning, I came across this story of a waitress receiving a very large tip. You will probably want to watch this moving video as she tells of her reaction to this exciting unexpected gesture.

Jerry had an interesting experience the other day when we went into the new Golden Corral here in Lake Havasu, and the cashier asked as he paid his bill prior to having eaten, “Would you like me to add 15% for the waitress?” (The Golden Corral is a buffet style restaurant, where you get your own food. The waitress does refill drinks, and takes hot rolls to the tables.)

How do you feel about tipping? Do we tip enough? Does it continue to be an added amount of money given because of good service, or is it just an expected gesture, regardless of the attentiveness of the waitress?What about tipping in hotel rooms? How much do you usually leave?

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My devotional blog is here.

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The Ubiquitous MoonPie

“We’d like something about this big,” the man said, lifting his arms to the sky, and framing the moon within the circle of his hands. Thus was laid design for the ubiquitous MoonPie.

Is there anyone reading here today who has been denied the sheer pleasure of freshly tearing away the cellophane wrapper around a fat chocolate sphere, then biting into the gooey marshmallow stuffing between the two cookies? Have you reached over for the bottle, upended the cold glass cylinder and chugged down a draft of RC Cola to wash down the sweet morsels?

In his book, “The Great American MoonPie Handbook”, Mr. Dickson had written of the MoonPie’s® lost history. Not long after his book was published, he received a telephone call from Earl Mitchell, Jr., identifying his deceased father, Earl Mitchell, Sr., as the person responsible for the invention of the MoonPie®.

Mr. Mitchell’s story goes like this … Early in the 1900s, while servicing his territory of Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia, Mr. Mitchell was visiting a company store that catered to the coal miners. He asked them what they might enjoy as a snack. The miners said they wanted something for their lunch pails. It had to be solid and filling. “About how big?,!” Mr. Mitchell asked. Well about that time the moon was rising, so a miner held out his big hands, framing the moon and said, “About that big!” So, with that in mind, Mr. Mitchell headed back to the bakery with an idea. Upon his return he noticed some of the workers dipping graham cookies into marshmallow and laying them on the window sill to harden. So they added another cookie and a generous coating of chocolate and sent them back for the workers to try. In fact, they sent MoonPie® samples around with their other salespeople, too. The response they got back was so enormous that the MoonPie® became a regular item for the bakery.

The phrase “RC Cola and a MoonPie®” became well known around the South, as many people enjoyed this delicious, bargain-priced combination.

I ate MoonPies as a child, and although I was familiar with RC Colas (it was my mom’s favorite soft drink), I don’t recall particularly drinking RC as I ate my fat cookie, although I understand many people did. I believe I lost contact with MoonPies for many years, for I don’t remember buying them as Jerry and I were rearing our children. Probably, this was because our homes have been in California, and the MoonPie was born and proliferated in the South and drifted to the Midwest. I’ve noticed in recent years, however, that the MoonPie has made its way westward, and a time or two, I feel to confess, I have taken a box from a WalMart shelf and handily transferred the treasure to my shopping cart. At home–not with an RC Cola–but with an icy glass of milk I have indulged.

Have you?

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My devotional blog is here.


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Stand Up Lest You Become Fat

overweight

I warn you right now this is not good news for us who sit for long sessions at the computer. Woe is me!

 

 

Need to lose weight? Try standing up! (Picture courtesy of Photodisc)

 

Scientists have found intriguing evidence that one major reason so many people are overweight these days may be as close as the seat of their pants. Literally. According to the researchers, most of us sit too much.

“It was hard to believe at first,” said Marc Hamilton, associate professor of biomedical sciences at the University of Missouri-Columbia and leader of the research team. He said the team didn’t expect to find a strong signal when they began researching what happens to fat when we remain seated. But the effect, both in laboratory animals and humans, turned out to be huge.

The solution, Hamilton said, is to stand up and “putter.”

Mr. Hamilton does not want to see us stop our routine exercising, but is suggesting that we pay attention to our habits when we’re not in exercise mode. He is convinced that when we sit down, our “body’s ability to dispose of fat virtually shuts down.”

Using both laboratory animals and human volunteers, he tested the physiological effects of sitting.

The animals were injected with a small amount of fat that contained a radioactive tracer so the researchers could determine what happened to the fat.

“What’s the fate of that fat?” Hamilton asked during a telephone interview. “Is it burned up by the muscle?”

The radioactive tracer revealed that when the animals were sitting down, the fat did not remain in the blood vessels that pass through the muscles, where it could be burned. Instead, it was captured by the adipose tissue, a type of connective tissue where globules of fat are stored.

You can follow the intriguing study here–which tells us in a little different way what we already know–we need to eat less and move around more. Too much sitting here in the Buxton motorhome, I confess.

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My devotional blog is here.