Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

THE SHARIAH THREAT TO AMERICA

July 16, 2011

THE SHARIAH THREAT
by Kathy Jessup

A judge refuses a protection order for a woman raped by her Muslim husband, ruling the man’s abuse is allowed under Shariah law.

A cartoonist is in hiding after a tongue-in-cheek “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” promotion earned her a fatwa death order for violating a Shariah edict banning drawing the Muslim prophet’s image.

A Shariah-compliant investment fund is camouflaged as a charity and funnels more than $12 million to finance Hamas suicide bombers.

Not exactly shocking in some Muslim countries where strict adherence to centuries-old rules, based on Islamic teachings, shines a spotlight on stonings and beheadings.

But these occurred recently in the United States.

Now “honor killings,” publicly funded accommodations for Islamic prayer and billions in Wall Street investments linked to potentially dangerous terror activities are raising political and constitutional questions in America.

Can or should Shariah law co-exist with the Judeo-Christian foundations of U.S. jurisprudence and the Constitution? Will imposition of Islamic-based edicts, enabled by so-called religious tolerance and political correctness, open the door to radical forms of the religion in Western democracies?

A growing number of states are drafting constitutional amendments to prohibit state judges from applying Islamic or international law in deciding cases. But even the 70 percent of voters who passed Oklahoma’s measure in November hasn’t settled the issue for Sooners.

When the director of the Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) challenged the amendment in court, a federal judge granted a preliminary injunction, ruling the amendment could be interpreted to single out Shariah law and discredit Islam, violating the First Amendment.

WHAT IS SHARIAH LAW?

Shariah (meaning “path” in Arabic) codifies the words, practices and teaching of Islam’s Prophet Mohammed, serving as a guide/law for everything from Muslims’ family and religious practices to financial transactions.

Several hundred years after the death of Mohammed, the prophet’s model living practices were assembled into the hadith, initially melding Islam and local customs. Various hadiths eventually developed into four schools of Sunni thought and one that guides Shiites. Each differs in the degree they draw from the Koran, Islamic thought and community practices.

Shariah identifies five hadd offenses, serious charges resolved by an Islamic judge. They are unlawful sexual intercourse (adultery or sex outside marriage), falsely accusing unlawful sexual intercourse, consuming wine (sometimes all alcohol), theft and highway robbery.

Punishments ordered for hadd crimes by conservative Shariah schools — stonings, executions, amputations and beatings — shock Western sensibilities. However, Ali Mazrui, of the Institute for Global Cultural Studies, says less severe penalties are more typically imposed.

Still, Islam has not uniformly banned so-called “honor killings,” genital mutilation, pre-teen marriages, polygamy, and divorce and inheritance rules that undercut the standing of women. Testimony from non-Muslims and even Muslim women is given less weight than that of Muslim men.

The size of a country’s Islamic population and its level of religious orthodoxy typically influence the degree to which Shariah law is inculcated in national legal codes.

Conservative Muslim countries including Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Yemen and Iran declare Islam the official religion and Shariah the source of law. In more secular Muslim countries where Islamists are the minority, Shariah has gradually gained legal legitimacy through local customs. Other countries, including Turkey and Azerbaijan, enforce separation of state and religion, sometimes resulting in political clashes.

Some countries operate a dual system where Shariah is applied to family law, while secular statutes govern criminal cases. For example, Britain introduced Shariah tribunals in 2008 that apply Islamic law to inheritance, marriage and divorce disputes where the parties all agree to the jurisdiction.

SHARIAH AND THE UNITED STATES

In 2009, Dalia Mogahed, an Obama administration adviser on Muslim affairs, told a British television audience that the West misunderstands Shariah law, calling its perceptions of Islamic tenants “oversimplified.”

But deaths, abuse and threats involving Muslim women in the United States and Canada have put a Western face on facets of Shariah that had been cloaked in long-standing Middle East practices.

Pakistani-born Muzzammil Hassan was convicted in February for beheading his wife inside the Buffalo, N.Y., television studio the couple had created to promote Islamic cultural understanding. Jurors didn’t buy Hassan’s story that he suffered spousal abuse and killed his wife in self-defense. Hassan had been served with divorce papers the week before, and his children testified he had been the abuser in the couple’s relationship.

In 2008, a New Jersey judge ruled Shariah permitted a Moroccan man to rape his Muslim wife, despite state law making it a crime. The New Jersey Appeals Court overturned that decision and remanded the case, finally allowing the woman to get a restraining order against her husband while she sought a divorce. The appeals court decision said neither Shariah law, giving a husband physical authority over his wife, nor Muslim beliefs on the role of women provided the man an exemption from criminal intent under U.S. statutes.

“[T]he [trial] judge determined to except defendant from the operation of the State’s statutes as a result of his religious beliefs,” the appeals judges wrote. “In doing so, the judge was mistaken.”
Irfan Aleem went to a Pakistani embassy and performed talaq in 2007, exercising Shariah provisions that he said allowed him to divorce his wife Farah by proclaiming his intention three times. Although married several decades earlier in Pakistan, the couple had lived in Maryland for 20 years. Irfan said Shariah allowed Farah no claim on a lucrative pension he would receive from his job with the World Bank.

Maryland judges didn’t agree, ruling the Shariah practices were “contrary to public policy of this state.” The decision set aside the divorce Irfan had quickly proclaimed and afforded Farah a right to claim marital property in a Maryland divorce.

The deaths of at least 10 women in the United States and Canada have been linked to so-called Islamic “honor killings” in the last seven years.

In 2004, a 14-year-old girl who had been raped in Newfoundland was strangled by her father and brother to “restore the family honor.” A 20-year-old daughter of Afghan parents was shot dead in 2006, allegedly because she had moved in with her fiancé before their wedding. The killer was her brother.

In Ontario, a 16-year-old was stabbed to death in 2007 by her father while her mother held her down. The teenager had reportedly fought with her parents over wearing a hijib, a Muslim head covering. In another Canadian case, three teenage girls were drowned in their father’s car in 2009. Also found dead was their father’s first wife, who relatives say he never divorced. The father, his current wife and the girls’ 18-year-old brother were all charged with first-degree murder. Relatives told the media the killings were precipitated by one daughter’s dating decisions.

A Muslim father in Texas shot his two teenage daughters, Amina and Sarah Said, to death in January 2008. The murders allegedly were prompted by the girls having “unsanctioned boyfriends.” Later that year, a Pakistani man beat his 25-year-old daughter to death in Atlanta, reportedly because she opposed her arranged marriage.

Rifqa Bary, an Ohio teenager, made headlines in 2009 when she fled to Florida and foster care, saying she feared she would be the victim of a Muslim “honor killing” for her decision to convert to Christianity. She continued her religious choice a year later when she turned 18.

In a situation much like the 2008 Muslim assassination order against Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, Seattle cartoonist Molly Norris went into hiding at the FBI’s recommendation last spring after her “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” hit Facebook. A Seattle newspaper said Norris is “essentially wiping away her identity” in reaction to a fatwa urging her killing issued by Anwar al-Awlaki, the radical Muslim cleric connected to the Fort Hood killings, the attempted Christmas Day airline bombing over Detroit and the failed Times Square bombing.

And in February, radical Muslims announced plans to take their demand for American Shariah to the White House, calling for thousands of Islamists to rally on Pennsylvania Avenue March 3. But just hours before the rally was scheduled to begin, its organizer, British Muslim cleric Anjem Choudary, called it off, alleging the cause had been “distorted by the media.”

Choudary said the demonstration was merely “postponed until we gather even more Muslims;” no new rally date was announced.

In an online video statement, Choudary said Muslims are obligated to implement Shariah law “immediately, wherever we are in the world,” and he said America can reverse “poverty, child abuse, rape, robberies, theft, crime and anarchy-type scenarios” only after the United States embraces the Islamic code for living. In the meantime, Choudary predicted “the dollar will soon lose its status.”

“We believe the whole of the world must be under Shariah,” Choudary said. “America is not blessed by God. The American dream has become a nightmare.”

Other elements of America’s Shariah debate are more nuanced. Some, like CBSNews.com’s political reporter Brian Montopoli, believe Shariah fears are “overblown at best,” and Jeffry Goldberg, The Atlantic’s national correspondent, said, “A Martian takeover of New Jersey is more likely than the imposition of a caliphate, or of Muslim law, on America.”

Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for CAIR, says the enjoined Oklahoma amendment is “an indication of growing anti-Muslim sentiment.” Hooper said CAIR has “not found any conflict between what a Muslim needs to do to practice their faith and the Constitution or any other American laws. We are, in fact, relying on the Constitution as our last line of defense.”

But conservative Jewish blogger Pamela Geller delivers an aggressive “creeping Shariah” warning: “It’s a drip, drip, drip, drip, drip. [In] the mosqueing of the workplace where you’re imposing prayer times on union contracts, non-Muslim workers have to lengthen their day. It’s wrong.”

Consider the political reaction Americans would have seen if these Muslim accommodations had instead been made for Christians:

* The Christian Science Monitor reported a California elementary school made accommodations when it absorbed Muslim students from a shuttered charter school, including revising its instructional schedule to add a 15-minute “recess” after lunch to allow Muslim students to pray in a separate room. The school district’s attorney defended it, saying “the Muslim faith requires specificity of prayer obligations … that most other religions do not,” a claim questioned by even some Muslims. Pork also was removed from school-lunch menus, according to media reports.

* In Massachusetts, where a firehouse was ordered to take down a “Merry Christmas” greeting, public middle school students took a “cultural diversity” field trip to a local mosque, where the boys participated in Islamic prayers while girls were excluded.

These public school incidents are not isolated instances.

Try getting Christian prayer in any school and have the ACLU all over you….but nothing is said re; Muslim special privilege.

* Starting about two years ago, school attorneys have been asking more and more questions about accommodations for Muslim students,” said Lisa Soronen, senior staff attorney for the National School Boards Association.

* Four Christian evangelists attending a July Muslim cultural festival in Dearborn, Mich., were arrested for “disorderly conduct to ensure they did not provoke violence from others attending,” according to a Detroit media report. The four said they were attempting to engage in a dialogue about faith. Shariah law prohibits Christians from engaging Muslims about Christianity.

* The University of Michigan-Dearborn, where about 10 percent of students are Muslim, spent $25,000 to install two foot-washing stations on campus to accommodate ablutions before Islamic daily prayers. The university said it is one of about 18 U.S. higher education institutions providing the unusual facilities, calling its decision “a reflection of our values of respect, tolerance, and safe accommodation of student needs.”

The Michigan Civil Liberties Union mounted no challenge, saying the foot baths have “no [religious] symbolic value.”

“They’re in a regular restroom and could be just as useful to a janitor filling up buckets, or someone coming off the basketball court as to Muslim students,” said Kary Moss, MCLU director.

* Thomas More Law Center, a conservative, public-interest law firm headquartered in Michigan, is challenging the constitutionality of federal bailout money to investment firm AIG, claiming AIG’s involvement in Shariah-compliant financing violated the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause. A federal district judge in Michigan ruled that despite the fact the bailout gave the federal government an 80 percent ownership in AIG, there was no evidence the government’s money had funded “religious indoctrination.” And if there were evidence, the court said the $153 million of federal bailout money used to support Shariah compliance was an insignificant portion of the total $47.5 billion the government provided AIG.

That ruling is being appealed.

THE POWER OF MONEY

Conservative author Dick Morris says airplanes may have taken down the Twin Towers, but he predicts Shariah-compliant investing of billions in Western financial markets has the potential to “hijack our institutions, our social policies and ultimately our values in the name of Islamic rule.”

Huge oil profits and unease with their own Middle Eastern financial institutions brought Islamic investors to Wall Street in the 1990s in search of special funds that would meet Shariah restrictions. But it was complicated turf for bankers who knew investing but not Shariah.

Enter Sheikh Muhammad Taqi Usmani, a former Pakistani Shariah Appellate Court justice, hired by Dow Jones in 1999 to help establish a process that could attract trillions of investment dollars, generating handsome commissions and agency earnings.

In just a decade, most major U.S. and European investment firms have retained Shariah advisors and paid them millions. Those advisors assure Muslim investors their gains are not connected to interest charges, pork farming, alcohol, pornography or Western defense industries — all activities prohibited by Shariah.

But are those adviser fees — paid to highly placed Muslims — or the billions of dollars in “donations” financial institutions must contribute to specified Islamic “charities” in exchange for an investment’s Shariah stamp of approval actually bankrolling deadly extremist activities? Morris followed the money in his 2009 book “Catastrophe,” reporting that the U.S. government shut down at least three of the largest charities for financing terrorism.

In a 2008 article titled “Jihad Comes to Wall Street,” Alex Alexiev, vice president for research at the Center for Security Policy, called Shariah-compliant investing “an essential part of radical Islam’s efforts to insinuate itself into Western societies in order to destroy them from within.”

It’s also been a bumpy road for some of those hired consultants. Dow Jones severed ties with Usmani after the Center for Security Policy detailed some of Usmani’s writings, including one that urged Muslims living in the West to “conduct violent Jihad against the infidels at every opportunity.”

The CSP identified another paid Shariah investment advisor, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, as a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.

According to Morris, Shariah-compliant funds must donate a small percentage of annual earnings to Islamic charities designated by the advisory boards. Those amounts are not inconsequential. For example, a typical 2.5 percent contribution can amount to billions of dollars.

And if a Shariah-compliant fund is found to have earnings from an outlawed investment activity, the advisors can “purify” those gains by donating more to the approved charities. Morris calls some of the charities “thinly veiled fronts for terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah.”

Is the lure of trillions of dollars from Muslim portfolios strong enough to open civil law to expanding Shariah influences?

Consider Great Britain where, just a few years ago, then-Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he wanted London to become the world’s Islamic-finance capital. Britain’s most senior judge subsequently proclaimed the country’s Muslims can use “Islamic legal principles” as long as the punishments and divorce rulings comply with English law.

According to Morris, that’s already made U.K. Muslims eligible for extra benefits if they have more than one wife, even though polygamy — allowed under Shariah law — is illegal in Britain.

TOLERANCE: AN ASSET OR A WEDGE?

Janet Levy, a prolific writer on Islam and national security, asks why Islam “is sacred, supreme and beyond reproach” in the United States, while other religions are “freely criticized, lampooned in cartoons and denigrated in artwork?” She concludes America is already embracing de facto Shariah law.

“Our uniquely American virtues of tolerance and freedom have worked against us to produce intolerance and oppression,” Levy says. “This has led to the stealthy introduction of Shariah law and a climate in which criticisms of Mohammed and Islam are no longer possible without serious repercussions.”

Are political correctness and moves to cool the osmosis of the American melting pot fundamentally changing us? Is the arena of ideas — where Americans have historically tested competing beliefs — being shut down so as not to offend?

Recall 1960 when Americans considered it fair game to question Democrat John F. Kennedy about whether he would look first to his Catholicism or to the Constitution in making presidential decisions. Former Massachusetts Republican Gov. Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith has come under scrutiny during his political campaigns, sans shouts of profiling.

European nations that have led the West’s embrace of Shariah law have recently begun to retreat from their policies of “multiculturalism,” suggesting failure to maintain a single national identity has actually cultivated Islamic extremism in countries like Britain.

In a February speech at the Munich Security Conference, British Prime Minister David Cameron argued European “multiculturalism has been a failure” that’s fostered Islamic extremism, adding that the West has been “cautious, frankly even fearful” of standing up to it.

“We have even tolerated these segregated communities behaving in ways that run completely counter to our values,” Cameron said. “This hands-off tolerance has only served to reinforce the sense that not enough is shared. … What we see — and what we see in so many European countries — is a process of radicalization.”

Something also gets jumbled in the translation when East/West cultures talk about democracy and its relationship with religion.

In 2008 polling conducted by the University of Maryland’s Program on International Policy Attitudes, 82 percent of Egyptians said a democratic political system should govern their nation. At the same time, 73 percent said they supported stronger application of Islamic law in Egypt.

Of those, 68 percent said Egypt’s government should apply Shariah law to regulate moral behavior; 64 percent supported using traditional punishments like stoning for adulterers; 62 percent want the government to police women’s dress; and 59 percent said Shariah rules should be used to provide for Egypt’s poor.

So what does this all mean for Shariah in America?

The U.S. Constitution does not assign superiority to a particular religion. However, the idea that liberty is man’s God-given — not government-granted — right is a Judeo-Christian principle. America is exceptional because the people — regardless of how or whether they embrace God — allow government limited power.

America does not vest all authority in a theocratic government, where law and even daily life is dictated by a single religious code. But that does not mean the United States is Islamophobic, says New Jersey blogger George Berkin.

“[S]upporting the [Oklahoma amendment] does not make one anti-Islamic. But not being anti-Islamic does not mean that we should not insist that American legal principles — not foreign ones — apply here.”

Kathy Jessup is an award-winning, veteran journalist in Michigan whose writing career has focused on government, politics and criminal justice.

This article appeared March 24th, 2011 in Townhall Magazine,
http://www.israelunitycoalition.org/news/?p=6533

The Story of Edith Burns – an inspirational story

April 24, 2011

Edith Burns was a wonderful Christian who lived in San Antonio, Texas.

She was the patient of a doctor by the name of Will Phillips. Dr. Phillips was a gentle doctor who saw patients as people. His favorite patient was Edith Burns.

One morning he went to his office with a heavy heart and it was because of Edith Burns.

When he walked into that waiting room, there sat Edith with her big black Bible in her lap earnestly talking to a young mother sitting beside her.

Edith Burns had a habit of introducing herself in this way: “Hello, my name is Edith Burns. Do you believe in Easter?” Then she would explain the meaning of Easter, and many times people would be saved.

Dr. Phillips walked into that office and there he saw the head nurse, Beverly. Beverly had first met Edith when she was taking her blood pressure Edith began by saying, “My name is Edith Burns. Do you believe in Easter?

Beverly said, “Why yes I do.”

Edith said, “Well, what do you believe about Easter?”

Beverly said, “Well, it’s all about egg hunts, going to church, and dressing up…” Edith kept pressing her about the real meaning of Easter, and finally led her to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Dr. Phillips said, “Beverly, don’t call Edith into the office quite yet. I believe there is another delivery taking place in the waiting room.

After being called back in the doctor’s office, Edith sat down and when she took a look at the doctor she said, “Dr. Will, why are you so sad? Are you reading your Bible? Are you praying?”

Dr. Phillips said gently, “Edith, I’m the doctor and you’re the patient.” With a heavy heart he said, “Your lab report came back and it says you have cancer, and Edith, you’re not going to live very long.”

Edith said, “Why Will Phillips, shame on you. Why are you so sad? Do you think God makes mistakes? You have just told me I’m going to see my precious Lord Jesus, my husband, and my friends. You have just told me that I am going to celebrate Easter forever, and here you are having difficulty giving me my ticket!”

Dr. Phillips thought to himself, “What a magnificent woman this Edith Burns is!”

Edith continued coming to Dr. Phillips. Christmas came and the office was closed through January 3rd.

On the day the office opened, Edith did not show up.

Later that afternoon, Edith called Dr. Phillips and said she would have to be moving her story to the hospital and said, “Will, I’m very near home, so would you make sure that they put women in here next to me in my room who need to know about Easter.”

Well, they did just that and women began to come in and share that room with Edith. Many women were saved. Everybody on that floor from staff to patients were so excited about Edith, that they started calling her Edith Easter; that is everyone except Phyllis Cross, the head nurse.

Phyllis made it plain that she wanted nothing to do with Edith because she was a “religious nut”. She had been a nurse in an army hospital. She had seen it all and heard it all. She was the original G.I. Jane. She had been married three times, she was hard, cold, and did everything by the book.

One morning the two nurses who were to attend to Edith were sick.

Edith had the flu and Phyllis Cross had to go in and give her a shot. When she walked in, Edith had a big smile on her face and said, “Phyllis, God loves you and I love you, and I have been praying for you.”

Phyllis Cross said, “Well, you can quit praying for me, it won’t work. I’m not interested.”

Edith said, “Well, I will pray and I have asked God not to let me go home until you come into the family.”

Phyllis Cross said, “Then you will never die because that will never happen, and curtly walked out of the room.

Every day Phyllis Cross would walk into the room and Edith would say, “God loves you Phyllis and I love you, and I’m praying for you.”

One day Phyllis Cross said she was literally drawn to Edith’s room like a magnet would draw iron. She sat down on the bed and Edith said, “I’m so glad you have come, because God told me that today is your special day”

Phyllis Cross said, “Edith, you have asked everybody here the question, “Do you believe in Easter but you have never asked me.”

Edith said, “Phyllis, I wanted to many times, but God told me to wait until you asked, and now that you have asked.” Edith Burns took her Bible and shared with Phyllis Cross the Easter Story of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Edith said, “Phyllis, do you believe in Easter? Do you believe that Jesus Christ is alive and that He wants to live in your heart?”

Phyllis Cross said, “Oh I want to believe that with all of my heart, and I do want Jesus in my life

“Right there, Phyllis Cross prayed and invited Jesus Christ into her heart. For the first time Phyllis Cross did not walk out of a hospital room, she was carried out on the wings of angels.

Two days later, Phyllis Cross came in and Edith said, “Do you know what day it is?”

Phyllis Cross said, “Why Edith, it’s Good Friday.”

Edith said, “Oh, no, for you every day is Easter. Happy Easter Phyllis!”

Two days later, on Easter Sunday, Phyllis Cross came into work, did some of her duties and then went down to the flower shop and got some Easter lilies because she wanted to go up to see Edith and give her some Easter lilies and wish her a Happy Easter.

When she walked into Edith’s room, Edith was in bed. That big black Bible was on her lap. Her hands were in that Bible. There was a sweet smile on her face. When Phyllis Cross went to pick up Edith’s hand, she realized Edith was dead. Her left hand was on John 14: “In my Father’s house are many mansions. I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” Her right hand was on Revelation 21:4, “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes, there shall be no more death nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

Phyllis Cross took one look at that dead body, and then lifted her face toward heaven, and with tears streaming down her cheeks, said, “Happy Easter, Edith – Happy Easter!”

Phyllis Cross left Edith’s body, walked out of the room, and over to a table where two student nurses were sitting. She said, “My name is Phyllis Cross… Do you believe in Easter?”

If you believe in Easter, forward this on. God works in wonderful ways, and to believe in his power is to truly be free. If Jesus had e-mail, he’d do the same for you. (Actually, maybe He just did)

“Father, bless this person in whatever it is that You know he or she may be needing this day”

A boy named Teddy – an inspirational story

January 31, 2011

As she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the very first day of school, she told the children an untruth.  Like most teachers, she looked at her students and said that she loved them all the same.  However, that was impossible, because there in the front row, slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard.

Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he did not play well with the other children, that his clothes were messy and that he constantly needed a bath… In addition, Teddy could be unpleasant.   It got to the point where Mrs. Thompson would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X’s and then putting a big ‘F’ at the top of his papers.

At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child’s past records and she put Teddy’s off until last.  However, when she reviewed his file, she was in for a surprise.

Teddy’s first grade teacher wrote, ‘Teddy is a bright child with a ready laugh.   He does his work neatly and has good manners…he is a joy to be around.

His second grade teacher wrote, ‘Teddy is an excellent student, well liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle.’

His third grade teacher wrote, ‘His mother’s death has been hard on him. He tries to do his best, but his father doesn’t show much interest, and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren’t taken.’

Teddy’s fourth grade teacher wrote, ‘Teddy is withdrawn and doesn’t show much interest in school.  He doesn’t have many friends and he sometimes sleeps in class.’

By now, Mrs. Thompson realized the problem and she was ashamed of herself.  She felt even worse when her students brought her Christmas presents, wrapped in beautiful ribbons and bright paper, except for Teddy’s.  His present was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper that he got from a grocery bag.   Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents.   Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one-quarter full of perfume.  But she stifled the children’s laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume on her wrist.  Teddy Stoddard stayed after school that day just long enough to say, ‘Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my Mom used to.’

After the children left, she cried for at least an hour.  On that very day, she quit teaching reading, writing and arithmetic.  Instead, she began to teach children.  Mrs. Thompson paid particular attention to Teddy.   As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive.  The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded.  By the end of the year, Teddy had become one of the smartest children in the class and, despite her lie that she would love all the children the same, Teddy became one of her ‘teacher’s pets…’

A year later, she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that she was the best teacher he ever had in his whole life.

Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy.  He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still the best teacher he ever had in life.

Four years after that, she got another  letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he’d stayed in  school, had stuck with it, and would soon graduate from college with the  highest of honors.  He assured Mrs. Thompson that she was still the best and favorite teacher he had ever had in his whole life.

Then four more years passed and yet another letter came.  This time he explained that after he got his bachelor’s degree, he decided to go a little further.  The letter explained that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had.  But now his name was a little longer.  The letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, MD.

The story does not end there.  You see, there was yet another letter that spring.   Teddy said he had met this girl and was going to be married.  He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit at the wedding in the place that was usually reserved for the mother of the groom.  Of course, Mrs. Thompson did.  And guess what?  She wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing.  Moreover, she made sure she was wearing the perfume that Teddy remembered his mother wearing on their last Christmas  together.

They hugged each other, and Dr. Stoddard whispered in Mrs. Thompson’s ear, ‘Thank you Mrs. Thompson for believing in me.  Thank you so much for making me feel important and showing me that I could make a difference.’

Mrs. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back.  She said, ‘Teddy, you have it all wrong.  You were the one who taught me that I could make a difference.  I didn’t know how to teach until I met you.’

(For you that don’t know, Teddy Stoddard is the Dr. at Iowa Methodist in Des Moines that has the Stoddard Cancer Wing.)

Warm someone’s heart today. . . pass this along.  I love this story so very much, I cry every time I read it.  Just try to make a difference in someone’s life today…  Just ‘do it’.

Believe in Angels, then return the favor. Random acts of kindness, I think they call it!

The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.

Take my Son… – an inspirational story

January 14, 2011

A wealthy man and his son loved to collect rare works of art. They had everything in their collection, from Picasso to Raphael. They would often sit together and admire the great works of art…

When the Vietnam conflict broke out, the son went to war. He was very courageous and died in battle while rescuing another soldier. The father was notified and grieved deeply for his only son.

About a month later, just before Christmas, there was a knock at the door. A young man stood at the door with a large package in his hands…

He said, ‘Sir, you don’t know me, but I am the soldier for whom your son gave his life. He saved many lives that day, and he was carrying me to safety when a bullet struck him in the heart and he died instantly… He often talked about you, and your love for art.’ The young man held out this package. ‘I know this isn’t much. I’m not really a great artist, but I think your son would have wanted you to have this.’

The father opened the package. It was a portrait of his son, painted by the young man. He stared in awe at the way the soldier had captured the personality of his son in the painting. The father was so drawn to the eyes that his own eyes welled up with tears. He thanked the young man and offered to pay him for the picture… ‘Oh, no sir, I could never repay what your son did for me. It’s a gift.’

The father hung the portrait over his mantle. Every time visitors came to his home he took them to see the portrait of his son before he showed them any of the other great works he had collected.

The man died a few months later. There was to be a great auction of his paintings. Many influential people gathered, excited over seeing the great paintings and having an opportunity to purchase one for their collection.

On the platform sat the painting of the son. The auctioneer pounded his gavel. ‘We will start the bidding with this picture of the son. Who will bid for this picture?’

There was silence… Then a voice in the back of the room shouted, ‘We want to see the famous paintings. Skip this one.’

But the auctioneer persisted. ‘Will somebody bid for this painting? Who will start the bidding? $100, $200?’

Another voice angrily said, ‘We didn’t come to see this painting. We came to see the Van Gogh’s, the Rembrandts. Get on with the Real bids!’

But still the auctioneer continued, ‘The son! The son! Who’ll take the son?’

Finally, a voice came from the very back of the room. It was the longtime gardener of the man and his son. ‘I’ll give $10 for the painting…’ Being a poor man, it was all he could afford.

‘We have $10, who will bid $20?’

‘Give it to him for $10. Let’s see the masters.’ The crowd was becoming angry. They didn’t want the picture of the son.

They wanted the more worthy investments for their collections. The auctioneer pounded the gavel… ‘Going once, twice, SOLD for $10!’

A man sitting on the second row shouted, ‘Now let’s get on with the collection!’

The auctioneer laid down his gavel. ‘I’m sorry, the auction is over.’

‘I am sorry. When I was called to conduct this auction, I was told of a secret stipulation in the will… I was not allowed to reveal that stipulation until this time. Only the painting of the son would be auctioned. Whoever bought that painting would inherit the entire estate, including the paintings. The man who took the son gets everything!’

God gave His son 2,000 years ago to die on the cross. Much like the auctioneer, His message today is: ‘The son, the son, who’ll take the son?’ Because, you see, whoever takes the Son gets everything.

FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, WHO SO EVER BELIEVETH, SHALL HAVE ETERNAL LIFE. THAT’S LOVE!

Christmas on the Ranch – an inspirational story

December 24, 2010

‘Twas the night before Christmas and out on the ranch
The pond was froze over and so was the branch.
The snow was piled up belly-deep to a mule.
The kids were all home on vacation from school,

And happier young folks you never did see-
Just all sprawled around a-watchin’ TV.
Then suddenly, some time around 8 o’clock,
There came a surprise that gave them a shock!

The power went off, the TV went dead!
When Grandpa came in from out in the shed
With an armload of wood, the house was all dark.
”Just what I expected,” they heard him remark.

”Them power line wires must be down from the snow.
Seems sorter like times on the ranch long ago.”
I’ll hunt up some candles,” said Mom. “With their light,
And the fireplace, I reckon we’ll make out all right.”

The teen-agers all seemed enveloped in gloom.
Then Grandpa came back from a trip to his room,
Uncased his old fiddle and started to play
That old Christmas song about bells on a sleigh.

Mom started to sing, and 1st thing they knew
Both Pop and the kids were all singing it, too.
They sang Christmas carols, they sang “Holy Night,”
Their eyes all a-shine in the ruddy firelight.

They played some charades Mom recalled from her youth,
And Pop read a passage from God’s Book of Truth.
They stayed up till midnight-and, would you believe,
The youngsters agreed ‘twas a fine Christmas Eve.

Grandpa rose early, some time before dawn;
And when the kids wakened, the power was on…
”The power company sure got the line repaired quick,”
Said Grandpa – and no one suspected his trick.
Last night, for the sake of some old-fashioned fun,
He had pulled the main switch – the old Son-of-a-Gun!

-Anonymous

Merry Christmas!

BLESSED ARE THE CRACKED, FOR THEY LET IN THE LIGHT!

The True Story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

December 24, 2010

A man named Bob May, depressed and brokenhearted, stared out his drafty apartment window into the chilling December night.

His 4-year-old daughter Barbara sat on his lap quietly sobbing. Bob’s wife, Evelyn, was dying of cancer Little Barbara couldn’t understand why her mommy could never come home. Barbara looked up into her dad’s eyes and asked, “Why isn’t Mommy just like everybody else’s Mommy?” Bob’s jaw tightened and his eyes welled with tears. Her question brought waves of grief, but also of anger. It had been the story of Bob’s life. Life always had to be different for Bob.

Small when he was a kid, Bob was often bullied by other boys. He was too little at the time to compete in sports. He was often called names he’d rather not remember. From childhood, Bob was different and never seemed to fit in. Bob did complete college, married his loving wife and was grateful to get his job as a copywriter at Montgomery Ward during the Great Depression. Then he was blessed with his little girl. But it was all short-lived. Evelyn’s bout with cancer stripped them of all their savings and now Bob and his daughter were forced to live in a two-room apartment in the Chicago slums. Evelyn died just days before Christmas in 1938.

Bob struggled to give hope to his child, for whom he couldn’t even afford to buy a Christmas gift. But if he couldn’t buy a gift, he was determined to make one – a storybook! Bob had created an animal character in his own mind and told the animal’s story to little Barbara to give her comfort and hope. Again and again Bob told the story, embellishing it more with each telling. Who was the character? What was the story all about? The story Bob May created was his own autobiography in fable form. The character he created was a misfit outcast like he was. The name of the character? A little reindeer named Rudolph, with a big shiny nose. Bob finished the book just in time to give it to his little girl on Christmas Day. But the story doesn’t end there.

The general manager of Montgomery Ward caught wind of the little storybook and offered Bob May a nominal fee to purchase the rights to print the book. Wards went on to print, Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer and distribute it to children visiting Santa Claus in their stores. By 1946 Wards had printed and distributed more than six million copies of Rudolph. That same year, a major publisher wanted to purchase the rights from Wards to print an updated version of the book.

In an unprecedented gesture of kindness, the CEO of Wards returned all rights back to Bob May. The book became a best seller. Many toy and marketing deals followed and Bob May, now remarried with a growing family, became wealthy from the story he created to comfort his grieving daughter. But the story doesn’t end there either.

Bob’s brother-in-law, Johnny Marks, made a song adaptation to Rudolph. Though the song was turned down by such popular vocalists as Bing Crosby and Dinah Shore, it was recorded by the singing cowboy, Gene Autry.  “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” was released in 1949 and became a phenomenal success, selling more records than any other Christmas song, with the exception of “White Christmas.”

The gift of love that Bob May created for his daughter so long ago kept on returning back to bless him again and again. And Bob May learned the lesson, just like his dear friend Rudolph, that being different isn’t so bad. In fact, being different can be a blessing.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

So, Let’s Recap “2009”….what a year!

February 20, 2010

1. The American people inaugurate a half-Arab president with a total of 142 days experience as a US Senator from the most politically corrupt state (city) in America whose governors have been ousted from office.

The President’s first official act is to order the close of Gitmo and make sure terrorist’s civil rights are not violated. (Honest mistake?)

2. The U.S. Congress rushes to confirm a black Attorney General, Eric Holder, whose law firm we later find out represents seventeen Gitmo Terrorists. (An honest mistake?!) [Can you say “Conflict of Interest?]

3. The CIA Boss appointee, Leon Panetta, has absolutely no experience, has a daughter Linda, we find out, who is a true radical anti-American activist and a supporter of all the Anti-American regimes in the western hemisphere. (There were socio-economic factors involved!)

4. We got the second most corrupt American woman (Pelosi is #1) as Secretary of State; bought and paid for. (You can put lipstick on a pig, but it still stinks!)

5. We got a Tax Cheat for Treasury Secretary who did not properly file his own taxes for 12 years. (He misspoke!)

6. A Commerce Secretary nominee who withdrew due to corruption charges.
(Another honest mistake???)

7. A Tax cheat nominee for Chief Performance Officer who withdrew under charges.
(Hmmm… another screw-up?)

8. A Labor Secretary nominee who withdrew under charges of unethical conduct.
(Ok, maybe this person was just plain stupid.)

9. A Secretary HHS nominee (Daschle) who withdrew under charges of cheating on his taxes. (I’m running out of excuses for these idiots!!)

10. Multiple appointments of former lobbyists after an absolute campaign statement that no lobbyists would be appointed. (Dear God, I am getting a headache!)

All this occurred just during the first three weeks… but who’s counting?

America is being run by the modern-day Three Stooges; Barry, Nancy and Harry and they are still trying to define stimulus…”it’s spending!!!”

The congress passes the $800,000,000,000 (that’s $800 billion) pork-loaded spending bill where the government gives you a smidgen of your tax dollars ($13 per week), making you feel so good about yourself [stimulated], that you want to run out to Wal-Mart and buy a new Chinese-made HDTV and go home and watch Telemundo!

Only with the Liberals…

Pray for our country.

Here’s the good news though – Obama took Air Force One to Denver to sign the stimulus package, wasting as much as 10,000 gallons of fuel OR 24 JOBS FOR ONE YEAR.

Don’t you just love hypocrites?

Obama went to the International Olympic Committee to have them choose Chicago for a host city, he failed.
Obama went to Copenhagen to lecture them on global warming, he failed.
Obama went to New Jersey to promote the Democratic candidate for governor, he failed.
Obama went to Virginia to promote the Democratic candidate for governor, he failed.
Obama went to Massachusetts to promote the Democratic candidate for senator, he failed.

Speaking of praying, Obama has now been president for a full year and yet he & wife (first lady) Michelle, the Christian family they claim to be, have not attended church since the inauguration.

Obama is the 1st president in history who did not attend any Christmas religious observance. He must miss Reverend Wright!

And finally, he is the 1st president to remain on vacation after a terrorist attack.

In these times ‘I’ll keep my God, my freedom, my gun and my money.

Anyone that supports this insanity can keep “THE CHANGE”.

Because of Love – A True Story

January 23, 2010

A brother and sister had made their usual hurried, obligatory pre-Christmas visit to the little farm where their elderly parents dwelt with their small herd of horses. The farm was where they had grown up and had been named Lone Pine Farm because of the huge pine, which topped the hill behind the farm. Through the years the tree had become a talisman to the old man and his wife, and a landmark in the countryside. The young siblings had fond memories of their childhood here, but the city hustle and bustle added more excitement to their lives, and called them away to a different life.

The old folks no longer showed their horses, for the years had taken their toll, and getting out to the barn on those frosty mornings was getting harder, but it gave them a reason to get up in the mornings and a reason to live. They sold a few foals each year, and the horses were their reason for joy in the morning and contentment at day’s end.

Angry, as they prepared to leave, the young couple confronted the old folks “Why do you not at least dispose of The Old One.” She is no longer of use to you. It’s been years since you’ve had foals from her. You should cut corners and save so you can have more for yourselves. How can this old worn out horse bring you anything but expense and work? Why do you keep her anyway?”

The old man looked down at his worn boots, holes in the toes, scuffed at the barn floor and replied, “Yes, I could use a pair of new boots. His arm slid defensively about the Old One’s neck as he drew her near with gentle caressing he rubbed her softly behind her ears. He replied softly, “We keep her because of love. Nothing else, just love.”

Baffled and irritated, the young folks wished the old man and his wife a Merry Christmas and headed back toward the city as darkness stole through the valley. The old couple shook their heads in sorrow that it had not been a happy visit. A tear fell upon their cheeks. How is it that these young folks do not understand the peace of the love that filled their hearts?

So it was, that because of the unhappy leave-taking, no one noticed the insulation smoldering on the frayed wires in the old barn. None saw the first spark fall. None but the “Old One”.

In a matter of minutes, the whole barn was ablaze and the hungry flames were licking at the loft full of hay. With a cry of horror and despair, the old man shouted to his wife to call for help as he raced to the barn to save their beloved horses. But the flames were roaring now, and the blazing heat drove him back. He sank sobbing to the ground, helpless before the fire’s fury. His wife back from calling for help cradled him in her arms, clinging to each other, they wept at their loss.

By the time the fire department arrived, only smoking, glowing ruins were left, and the old man and his wife, exhausted from their grief, huddled together before the barn. They were speechless as they rose from the cold snow covered ground. They nodded thanks to the firemen as there was nothing anyone could do now. The old man turned to his wife, resting her white head upon his shoulders as his shaking old hands clumsily dried her tears with a frayed red bandana.

Brokenly he whispered, “We have lost much, but God has spared our home on this eve of Christmas. Let us gather strength and climb the hill to the old pine where we have sought comfort in times of despair. We will look down upon our home and give thanks to God that it has been spared and pray for our beloved most precious gifts that have been taken from us.

And so, he took her by the hand and slowly helped her up the snowy hill as he brushed aside his own tears with the back of his old and withered hand.

The journey up the hill was hard for their old bodies in the steep snow. As they stepped over the little knoll at the crest of the hill, they paused to rest; looking up to the top of the hill the old couple gasped and fell to their knees in amazement at the incredible beauty before them.

Seemingly, every glorious, brilliant star in the heavens was caught up in the glittering, snow-frosted branches of their beloved pine, and it was aglow with heavenly candles. And poised on its top-most bough, a crystal crescent moon glistened like spun glass. Never had a mere mortal created a Christmas tree such as this. They were breathless as the old man held his wife tighter in his arms.

Suddenly, the old man gave a cry of wonder and incredible joy.  Amazed and mystified, he took his wife by the hand and pulled her forward. There, beneath the tree, in resplendent glory, a mist hovering over and glowing in the darkness was their Christmas gift. Shadows glistening in the night light.

Bedded down about the “Old One” close to the trunk of the tree, was the entire herd, safe.

At the first hint of smoke, she had pushed the door ajar with her muzzle and had led the horses through it. Slowly and with great dignity, never looking back, she had led them up the hill, stepping cautiously through the snow. The foals were frightened and dashed about. The skittish yearlings looked back at the crackling, hungry flames, and tucked their tails under them as they licked their lips and hopped like rabbits. The mares that were in foal with a new year’s crop of babies, pressed uneasily against the “Old One” as she moved calmly up the hill and to safety beneath the pine. And now, she lay among them and gazed at the faces of the old man and his wife. Those she loved she had not disappointed. Her body was brittle with years, tired from the climb, but the golden eyes were filled with devotion as she offered her gift—

Because of love. Only because of love.

Tears flowed as the old couple shouted their praise and joy… And again the peace of love filled their hearts.

This is a true story.

Willy Eagle

This is an inspirational message sent to a small group of people. My hope is that it will make your day just a little bit better.

Tiger Woods Holiday Poem (humor)

January 17, 2010

‘Twas the night of Thanksgiving and out of the house
Tiger Woods came a flyin’, chased by his spouse.

She wielded a nine iron and wasn’t too merry,                                                              Cause a bimbo’s phone number was in his Blackberry.

He’d been cheatin’ on Elin, and the story progressed.                                                Woman after woman stepped up and confessed.

He’d been cheatin’ with Holly, and Jaimee, and Cori,                                                With Joselyn, and Kalika. The world had the story.

From the top of the Tour to the basement of blues,
Tiger’s sad sordid tale was all over the news.

With hostesses, waitresses, he had lots of sex,
When not in their pants, he was sendin’ them texts.

Despite all his cryin’ and beggin’ and pleadin’,
Tiger’s wife went investin’ — a new home in Sweden.

And I heard her exclaim from her white Escalade,
“If you’re gettin’ laid then I’m gettin’ paid.”

She’s not pouting, in fact, she is of jolly good cheer,
Her pre-nup made Christmas come early this year.

Barbie’s letter to Santa – humor

January 5, 2010

Dear Santa,

Listen you fat little troll, I’ve been helping you out every year, playing at being the perfect Christmas present, wearing skimpy bathing suits in frigid weather, and drowning in fake tea from one too many tea parties,  and I hate to break it to ya Santa, but IT’S DEFINITELY PAYBACK TIME! There had better be some changes around here this Christmas, or I’m gonna call for a nationwide meltdown (and trust me, you won’t wanna be around to smell it).

So, here’s my holiday wish list, Santa:

1. A nice, comfy pair of sweat pants and a frumpy, oversized sweatshirt.  I’m sick of looking like a hooker. How much smaller are these bathing suits gonna get? Do you have any idea what it feels like to have nylon and Velcro crawling up your butt?

2. Real underwear that can be pulled on and off. Preferably white. What bonehead at Mattel decided to cheap out and MOLD imitation underwear to my skin? (It looks like cellulite)

3. A REAL man…maybe GI Joe. Hell, I’d take Tickle-Me Elmo over that wimped-out excuse for a boyfriend Ken. And what’s with that earring anyway? If I’m gonna have to suffer with him, at least make him (and me) anatomically correct.

4. Arms that actually bend so I can push the aforementioned Ken-wimp away once he is anatomically correct.

5. Breast reduction surgery. I don’t care whose arm you have to twist, just get it done;

6. A sports bra…to wear until I get the surgery.

7. A new career. Pet doctor and school teacher just don’t cut it. How about a systems analyst? Or better yet, an advertising account exec or even a hooker….for goodness sake!

8. A new, more 2009 persona. Maybe “PMS Barbie”, complete with a miniature container of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream and a bag of chips; “Animal Rights Barbie”, with my very own paint gun, outfitted with a fake fur coat and handcuffs; or “Stop Smoking Barbie”, sporting a removable Nicotine patch and equipped with several packs of gum;

9. No more McDonald’s endorsements. The grease is wrecking my vinyl;

10. Mattel stock options. It’s been 42 years–I think I deserve it; Ok, Santa, that’s it. Considering my valuable contribution to society, I don’t think these requests are out of line. If you disagree, then you can find yourself a new bimbo doll for next Christmas. It’s that simple.

Up yours truly,
Barbie


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