Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas at the Gas Station

This is a few days late, but still a great story!! Might need some tissues before you start reading…


Christmas at the Gas Station


The old man sat in his gas station on a cold Christmas Eve. He hadn't been anywhere in years since his wife had passed away. It was just another day to him. He didn't hate Christmas, just couldn't find a reason to celebrate. He was sitting there looking at the snow that had been falling for the last hour and wondering what it was all about when the door opened and a homeless man stepped through. 
Instead of throwing the man out, Old George as he was known by his customers, told the man to come and sit by the heater and warm up. "Thank you, but I don't mean to intrude," said the stranger. "I see you're busy, I'll just go." 
"Not without something hot in your belly." George said. 
He turned and opened a wide mouth Thermos and handed it to the stranger. "It ain't much, but it's hot and tasty. Stew ... Made it myself. When you're done, there's coffee and it's fresh." 
Just at that moment he heard the "ding" of the driveway bell. "Excuse me, be right back," George said. There in the driveway was an old '53 Chevy. Steam was rolling out of the front.. The driver was panicked. "Mister can you help me!" said the driver, with a deep Spanish accent. "My wife is with child and my car is broken." George opened the hood. It was bad. The block looked cracked from the cold, the car was dead. 
"You ain't going in this thing," George said as he turned away. 
"But Mister, please help ..." The door of the office closed behind George as he went inside. He went to the office wall and got the keys to his old truck, and went back outside. He walked around the building, opened the garage, started the truck and drove it around to where the couple was waiting. "Here, take my truck," he said. "She ain't the best thing you ever looked at, but she runs real good." 
George helped put the woman in the truck and watched as it sped off into the night. He turned and walked back inside the office. "Glad I gave 'em the truck, their tires were shot too. That 'ole truck has brand new ." George thought he was talking to the stranger, but the man had gone. The Thermos was on the desk, empty, with a used coffee cup beside it. "Well, at least he got something in his belly," George thought. 
George went back outside to see if the old Chevy would start. It cranked slowly, but it started. He pulled it into the garage where the truck had been. He thought he would tinker with it for something to do. Christmas Eve meant no customers. He discovered the the block hadn't cracked, it was just the bottom hose on the radiator. "Well, shoot, I can fix this," he said to himself. So he put a new one on. 
"Those tires ain't gonna get 'em through the winter either." He took the snow treads off of his wife's old Lincoln. They were like new and he wasn't going to drive the car anyway. 
As he was working, he heard shots being fired. He ran outside and beside a police car an officer lay on the cold ground. Bleeding from the left shoulder, the officer moaned, "Please help me." 
George helped the officer inside as he remembered the training he had received in the Army as a medic. He knew the wound needed attention. "Pressure to stop the bleeding," he thought. The uniform company had been there that morning and had left clean shop towels. He used those and duct tape to bind the wound. "Hey, they say duct tape can fix anythin'," he said, trying to make the policeman feel at ease. 
"Something for pain," George thought. All he had was the pills he used for his back. "These ought to work." He put some water in a cup and gave the policeman the pills. "You hang in there, I'm going to get you an ambulance." 
The phone was dead. "Maybe I can get one of your buddies on that there talk box out in your car." He went out only to find that a bullet had gone into the dashboard destroying the two way radio. 
He went back in to find the policeman sitting up. "Thanks," said the officer. "You could have left me there. The guy that shot me is still in the area." 
George sat down beside him, "I would never leave an injured man in the Army and I ain't gonna leave you." George pulled back the bandage to check for bleeding. "Looks worse than what it is. Bullet passed right through 'ya. Good thing it missed the important stuff though. I think with time your gonna be right as rain." 
George got up and poured a cup of coffee. "How do you take it?" he asked. 
"None for me," said the officer.. 
"Oh, yer gonna drink this.  Best in the city. Too bad I ain't got no donuts." The officer laughed and winced at the same time. 
The front door of the office flew open. In burst a young man with a gun. "Give me all your cash! Do it now!" the young man yelled. His hand was shaking and George could tell that he had never done anything like this before. 
"That's the guy that shot me!" exclaimed the officer. 
"Son, why are you doing this?" asked George, "You need to put the cannon away. Somebody else might get hurt." 
The young man was confused. "Shut up old man, or I'll shoot you, too. Now give me the cash!" 
The cop was reaching for his gun. "Put that thing away," George said to the cop, "we got one too many in here now." 
He turned his attention to the young man. "Son, it's Christmas Eve. If you need money, well then, here. It ain't much but it's all I got. Now put that pea shooter away." 
George pulled $150 out of his pocket and handed it to the young man, reaching for the barrel of the gun at the same time. The young man released his grip on the gun, fell to his knees and began to cry. "I'm not very good at this am I? All I wanted was to buy something for my wife and son," he went on. "I've lost my job, my rent is due, my car got repossessed last week." 
George handed the gun to the cop. "Son, we all get in a bit of squeeze now and then. The road gets hard sometimes, but we make it through the best we can." 
He got the young man to his feet, and sat him down on a chair across from the cop. "Sometimes we do stupid things." George handed the young man a cup of coffee. "Bein' stupid is one of the things that makes us human. Comin' in here with a gun ain't the answer. Now sit there and get warm and we'll sort this thing out." 
The young man had stopped crying. He looked over to the cop. "Sorry I shot you. It just went off. I'm sorry officer." 
"Shut up and drink your coffee " the cop said. 
George could hear the sounds of sirens outside. A police car and an ambulance skidded to a halt. Two cops came through the door, guns drawn. "Chuck! You ok?" one of the cops asked the wounded officer. 
"Not bad for a guy who took a bullet. How did you find me?" 
"GPS locator in the car. Best thing since sliced bread. Who did this?" the other cop asked as he approached the young man. 
Chuck answered him, "I don't know. The guy ran off into the dark. Just dropped his gun and ran." 
George and the young man both looked puzzled at each other. 
"That guy work here?" the wounded cop continued. 
"Yep,"  George said, "just hired him this morning. Boy lost his job." 
The paramedics came in and loaded Chuck onto the stretcher. The young man leaned over the wounded cop and whispered, "Why?" 
Chuck just said, "Merry Christmas boy ... and you too, George, and thanks for everything." 
"Well, looks like you got one doozy of a break there. That ought to solve some of your problems." 
George went into the back room and came out with a box. He pulled out a ring box. "Here you go, something for the little woman. I don't think Martha would mind. She said it would come in handy some day." 
The young man looked inside to see the biggest diamond ring he ever saw. "I can't take this," said the young man. "It means something to you." 
"And now it means something to you," replied George. "I got my memories. That's all I need." 
George reached into the box again. An airplane, a car and a truck appeared next. They were toys that the oil company had left for him to sell. "Here's something for that little man of yours." 
The young man began to cry again as he handed back the $150 that the old man had handed him earlier. 
"And what are you supposed to buy Christmas dinner with? You keep that too," George said. "Now git home to your family." 
The young man turned with tears streaming down his face. "I'll be here in the morning for work, if that job offer is still good." 
"Nope. I'm closed Christmas day," George said. "See ya the day after." 
George turned around to find that the stranger had returned. "Where'd you come from? I thought you left?" 
"I have been here. I have always been here," said the stranger. "You say you don't celebrate Christmas. Why?" 
"Well, after my wife passed away, I just couldn't see what all the bother was. Puttin' up a tree and all seemed a waste of a good pine tree. Bakin' cookies like I used to with Martha just wasn't the same by myself and besides I was gettin' a little chubby." 
The stranger put his hand on George's shoulder. "But you do celebrate the holiday, George. You gave me food and drink and warmed me when I was cold and hungry. The woman with child will bear a son and he will become a great doctor. 
The policeman you helped will go on to save 19 people from being killed by terrorists. The young man who tried to rob you will make you a rich man and not take any for himself. "That is the spirit of the season and you keep it as good as any man." 
George was taken aback by all this stranger had said. "And how do you know all this?" asked the old man. 
"Trust me, George. I have the inside track on this sort of thing. And when your days are done you will be with Martha again." 
The stranger moved toward the door. "If you will excuse me, George, I have to go now. I have to go home where there is a big celebration planned." 
George watched as the old leather jacket and the torn pants that the stranger was wearing turned into a white robe. A golden light began to fill the room. 
"You see, George ... it's My birthday. Merry Christmas." 
George fell to his knees and replied, "Happy Birthday, Lord Jesus" 

This story is better than any greeting card.

Now clear the lump from your throat, blow your nose, and send this along to a friend of yours or someone who may need a reminder as to why we celebrate Christmas.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Quotes for Women By Women

"Some people change us whether we want them to or not. They come into our lives, enter our hearts and we are touched forever. We are never the same after all of the special moments we've shared--from the pool parties to the picnics, from sledding in the parks to the trips to the beach in the summer, and from dinner on Friday nights to the movies on Saturday afternoons. And the moments that mean the most are the priceless ones shared during those outings when we've realized that none of us could have ever truly lived without the other." (me)

"People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within." Elizabeth K├╝bler-Ross

"Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead." —Louisa May Alcott

"Cautious, careful people always casting about to preserve their reputation or social standards never can bring about reform. Those who are really in earnest are willing to be anything or nothing in the world's estimation, and publicly and privately, in season and out, avow their sympathies with despised ideas and their advocates, and bear the consequences." —Susan B. Anthony

"The day will come when man will recognize woman as his peer, not only at the fireside, but in councils of the nation. Then, and not until then, will there be the perfect comradeship, the ideal union between the sexes that shall result in the highest development of the race." —Susan B. Anthony

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Day 2011

This year is different in so many ways. The simplest way to explain the differences is that time has changed my perspective. Our lives change & subtly, so do the major holidays. We’re each making choices to live our lives and spend our holidays differently than we used to. As nice as it’d be to have everyone together again, I think we’re all happier with the way it is – with each of us doing what we enjoy and what is possible at this stage in our lives.

I’m thankful to have my family and friends – the ones I know who truly care about me are the ones who’ve been there for me through good times and bad.  You actually tell me or show me that you care about me, unlike other people who just claim we’re friends but then never do anything about it. The holidays are a time to show the ones you love just how much you love them – not by the number of gifts, but by the quality of time you spend with them.  If you can’t spend the holidays with certain people, a few simple words will definitely go a long way and can make all the difference to someone. It’s not just during the holidays though that a few simple nice gestures will make a difference. A few kind words always make a positive difference especially when it’s least expected.

The "W" in Christmas - Anonymous

Each December, I vowed to make Christmas a calm and peaceful experience.

I had cut back on nonessential obligations - extensive card writing, endless baking, decorating, and even overspending.

Yet still, I found myself exhausted, unable to appreciate the
precious family moments, and of course, the true meaning of Christmas.

My son, Nicholas, was in kindergarten that year. It was an exciting season for a six year old.

For weeks, he'd been memorizing songs for his school's "Winter Pageant."

I didn't have the heart to tell him I'd be working the night of the production. Unwilling to miss his shining moment, I spoke with his teacher. She assured me there'd be a dress rehearsal the morning of the presentation.

All parents unable to attend that evening were welcome to come then.

Fortunately, Nicholas seemed happy with the compromise.

So, the morning of the dress rehearsal, I filed in ten minute early, found a spot on the cafeteria floor and sat down. Around the room, I saw several other parents quietly scampering to their seats.

As I waited, the students were led into the room. Each class, accompanied by their teacher, sat cross-legged on the floor. Then, each group, one by one, rose to perform their song.

Because the public school system had long stopped referring to the holiday as "Christmas," I didn't expect anything other than fun, commercial entertainment songs of reindeer, Santa Claus, snowflakes and good cheer.

So, when my son's class rose to sing, "Christmas Love," I was slightly taken aback by its bold title.

Nicholas was aglow, as were all of his classmates, adorned in fuzzy mittens, red sweaters, and bright snowcaps upon their heads.

Those in the front row- center stage - held up large letters, one by one, to spell out the title of the song.

As the class would sing "C is for Christmas," a child would hold up the letter C. Then, "H is for Happy," and on and on, until each child holding up his portion had presented the complete message, "Christmas Love."

The performance was going smoothly, until suddenly, we noticed her; a small, quiet, girl in the front row holding the letter "M" upside down - totally unaware her letter "M" appeared as a "W".

The audience of 1st through 6th graders snickered at this little one's mistake. But she had no idea they were laughing at her, so she stood tall, proudly holding her "W".

Although many teachers tried to shush the children, the laughter continued until the last letter was raised, and we all saw it together.

A hush came over the audience and eyes began to widen.

In that instant, we understood the reason we were there, why we celebrated the holiday in the first place, why even in the chaos, there was a purpose for our festivities.

For when the last letter was held high, the message read loud and clear:

"C H R I S T W A S L O V E"

And, I believe, He still is.

Amazed in His presence……humbled by His love.



Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Poem: Habitat for Humanity: Spring Break Collegiate Challenge 2007

One week shared
on a mission under God’s eye
We are his hands in helping others
coming together to change a life
and we change each other’s too
Friendships made—for a lifetime?
Only time will tell,
or maybe just a brief passing
who came to us for a reason
to prove we have a strong connection
we didn’t know existed at first.
We were almost strangers
who chose to spend a week
doing something for a good cause
and we’ve come out with such a
great satisfaction and brand new friendships
                -maybe for a lifetime?
We walk away with so much positive energy
I smile wide, I nod
and I am so genuinely happy
All so happy with being accepted 
Maybe this time…
maybe this time I can take this beautiful chance
this opportunity to run
and begin a new life
Thank you for the inspiration…

Poem: Time Marches On

taken back so many years, so long ago
memory fails us as humans
how must I remember?
how must I still feel that?
confusion rages my heart, mind, and soul
as it all turns to words on a page
pen to paper
mind to matter
and memory fades
as the clock ticks on to the future

time marches on
time marches on

and we see how life changes overall
and people continue to wait for it
                for the second coming
some say that some revelation is at hand
but as we wait, the winds blow on
the river still runs and the rain still falls
sunshine will return again tomorrow
as the moon holds her own tonight
                amongst the bright sparkling stars
shining through the everlasting clouds

time marches on
time marches on

and things seem to fall apart
shall things further fall
or shall a second coming satisfy those who’ve long awaited?
must humanity suffer for many more millennia
must we fight and kill
over who is right and who is wrong?
we all get judged in the end
so what does it matter who judges now?
why are we so different?
you’re right, I’m right
just different, not wrong
or maybe we are more similar than we realize?
some understand
                some accept
                                some overcome
yet some will fight and kill

time marches on
time marches on

some force beliefs on others
some turn the other cheek
so different, yet so similar that we conflict over those minute differences
                big deal? Yes.

illusions are apparent; arise again and again
experiences define who we are
we interpret it all so differently
sometimes pain. always hurt..
the memory still exists of all who’re lost
                can the heartache ever be eased?
in time it will be forgotten
and only then will the sun and moon remain

Time marches on
Time marches on

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Quote of the Day: Here's to You

"When you're trying to motivate yourself, appreciate the fact that you're even thinking about making a change. And as you move forward, allow yourself to be good enough." Alice Domar

This quote reminds me of a friend who's been going through a hard time. This sums up everything I've been trying to them. Maybe, just maybe, someone else's words will have a greater impact on their thoughts than mine ever will. You know how as a parent your words are just lost on your children but they'll believe the same advice from a friend? Yea, that's how I feel right now with this friendship. It doesn't matter what I say or do, there's always an excuse involved and it's frustrating, so frustrating.

Please, do whatever you need to do to get to the point of applying the above quote to your life. Change your mentality and outlook on life. You'll be amazed at the progress you make in life, one day at a time.

Give yourself permission to be frustrated, down on your luck, depressed, upset, not in a good place. Recognize that it's okay to not be okay, that's okay to not be in the best place in your life right now.

The important thing is to then give yourself the same permission to be good enough. Allow yourself to accept that this stage, this experience, and who you are at this moment and every moment is good enough. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Poetry Posts


listen to the music
listen to the heartbeat of the pouring rain
listen to the birds chirping on a summer's day
listen to the children laughing in the background
look for the musician, for he has a song
look for the rainbow, for it has a pot of gold
look for the shining sun, for it has a story to tell
look for the girl with the misty eyes
ask her if she wants to stay and share her story,
for if you listen,
she'll be loved.
©14 November 2004

Time Will Never Change…

somehow, since you've been gone,
this time around,
I can breathe again
I can dream again of other things
And understand, without too much pain,
that time will change
and just because we want it to be
doesn't necessarily mean we'll be together forever.
I’ve learned that
time has changed us, and always will
it's inevitable
And we can’t control time or love
though time will never change my love for you
©5 March 2005

Friday, December 2, 2011

Quote of The Week

"Sometimes you have to distance yourself from people, not because you don't care, but because you need to move forward with your life."

When you get to a point in a relationship when all you feel is pain, you know it's time to move forward with your own life.  Sometimes you have to realize that you need to protect yourself & in order to do that, to stop putting yourself in situations that are hurting you.  For some reason, it's easier said than done.  It's harder to pick up and walk away knowing how much time & effort you've put into the relationship.  Because it's not just the other person you're leaving behind.  You're also leaving behind a piece of your heart.  You're not distancing yourself to hurt the other person, you're doing it to protect yourself, to live your own life, make your own decisions - to move forward with your own life.