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Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
November 27, 2012

This is a two cup story and you may need a Kleenex
  Kenny  T  :-)

Cup one
Lisa sat on the floor of her old room, staring at the box that lay in front of her. It was an old shoe box that she had decorated to become a memory box many years before. Stickers and penciled flowers covered the top and sides. Its edges were worn, the corners of the lid taped so as to keep their shape. It had been three years since Lisa last opened the box. A sudden move to Boston had kept her from packing it. But now that she was back home, she took the time to look again at the memories. Fingering the corners of the box and stroking its cover, Lisa pictured in her mind what was inside. There was a photo of the family trip to the Grand Canyon, a note from her friend telling her that Nick Bicotti liked her, and the Indian arrowhead she had found while on her senior class trip. One by one, she remembered the items in the box, lingering over the sweetest, until she came to the last and only painful memory. She knew what it looked like–a single sheet of paper upon which lines had been drawn to form boxes, 490 of them to be exact. And each box contained a check mark, one for each time.

“How many times must I forgive my brother?”
the disciple Peter had asked Jesus.
“Seven times?”
Lisa’s Sunday school teacher had read Jesus’ surprise answer to the class.
“Seventy times seven.”
Lisa had leaned over to her brother Brent as the teacher continued reading.
“How many times is that?” She whispered.
Brent, though two years younger, was smarter than she was.
“Four hundred and ninety,” Brent wrote on the corner of his Sunday school paper.

Lisa saw the message, nodded, and sat back in her chair. She watched her brother as the lesson continued. He was small for his age, with narrow shoulders and short arms. His glasses were too large for his face, and his hair always matted in swirls. He bordered on being a nerd, but his incredible skills at everything, especially music, made him popular with his classmates. Brent had learned to play the piano at age four, the clarinet at age seven, and had just begun to play the oboe. His music teachers said he’d be a famous musician someday. There was only one thing at which Lisa was better than Brent–basketball. They played it almost every afternoon after school. Brent could have refused to play, but he knew that it was Lisa’s only joy in the midst of her struggles to get C’s and D’s at school.

Lisa’s attention came back to her Sunday school teacher as the woman finished the lesson and closed with prayer. That same Sunday afternoon found brother and sister playing basketball in the driveway. It was then that the counting had begun. Brent was guarding Lisa as she dribbled toward the basket. He had tried to bat the ball away, got his face near her elbow, and took a shot on the chin.
“Ow!” he cried out and turned away.
Lisa saw her opening and drove to the basket, making an easy lay-up. She gloated over her success but stopped when she saw Brent.
“You okay?” she asked.
Brent shrugged his shoulders.
“Sorry,” Lisa said.
“Really. It was a cheap shot.”
“It’s all right. I forgive you,” he said.
A thin smile then formed on his face.
“Just 489 more times though.”
“Whaddaya mean?” Lisa asked.

“You know . . . what we learned in Sunday school today. You’re supposed to forgive someone 490 times. I just forgave you, so now you have 489 left,” he kidded.
The two of them laughed at the thought of keeping track of every time Lisa had done something to Brent. They were sure she had gone past 490 long ago. The rain interrupted their game, and the two moved indoors.

“Wanna play Battleship?” Lisa asked.
Brent agreed, and they were soon on the floor of the living room with their game boards in front of them. Each took turns calling out a letter and number combination, hoping to hit each other’s ships. Lisa knew she was in trouble as the game went on. Brent had only lost one ship out of five. Lisa had lost three. Desperate to win, she found herself leaning over the edge of Brent’s barrier ever so slightly. She was thus able to see where Brent had placed two of his ships. She quickly evened the score.

Pleased, Lisa searched once more for the location of the last two ships. She peered over the barrier again, but this time Brent caught her in the act.
“Hey, you’re cheating!” He stared at her in disbelief. Lisa’s face turned red.
Her lips quivered. “I’m sorry,” she said, staring at the carpet.
There was not much Brent could say. He knew Lisa sometimes did things like this. He felt sorry that Lisa found so few things she could do well. It was wrong for her to cheat, but he knew the temptation was hard for her.

“Okay, I forgive you,” Brent said.
Then he added with a small laugh, “I guess it’s down to 488 now, huh?”
“Yeah, I guess so.”
She returned his kindness with a weak smile and added, “Thanks for being my brother, Brent.”

Brent’s forgiving spirit gripped Lisa, and she wanted him to know how sorry she was. It was that evening that she made the chart with the 490 boxes. She showed it to him before he went to bed.
“We can keep track of every time I mess up and you forgive me,” she said.
“See, I’ll put a check in each box – like this.”
She placed two marks in the upper left-hand boxes.
“These are for today.”
Brent raised his hands to protest. “You don’t need to keep -”
“Yes I do!” Lisa interrupted.
“You’re always forgiving me, and I want to keep track. Just let me do this!”
She went back to her room and tacked the chart to her bulletin board.

Cup Two
There were many opportunities to fill in the chart in the years that followed. She once told the kids at school that Brent talked in his sleep and called out Rhonda Hill’s name, even though it wasn’t true. The teasing caused Brent days and days of misery. When she realized how cruel she had been, Lisa apologized sincerely. That night she marked box number 96. Forgiveness number 211 came in the tenth grade when Lisa failed to bring home Brent’s English book. Brent had stayed home sick that day and had asked her to bring it so he could study for a quiz. She forgot and he got a C. Number 393 was for lost keys…. 418 for the extra bleach she put in the washer which ruined his favorite polo shirt… 449, the dent she put in his car when she had borrowed it. There was a small ceremony when Lisa checked number 490. She used a gold pen for the check mark, had Brent sign the chart, and then placed it in her memory box.

“I guess that’s the end,” Lisa said.
“No more screw-ups from me anymore!” Brent just laughed.
“Yeah, right.”
Number 491 was just another one of Lisa’s careless mistakes, but its hurt lasted a lifetime. Brent had become all that his music teachers said he would. Few could play the oboe better than he could. In his fourth year at the best music school in the United States, he received the opportunity of a lifetime – a chance to try out for New York City’s great orchestra.

The tryout would be held sometime during the following two weeks. It would have been the fulfillment of Brent’s young dreams. But he never got the chance to tryout. Brent had been out when the call about the tryout came to the house. Lisa was the only one home and on her way out the door, eager to get to work on time when the call came.

“Two-thirty on the tenth,” the secretary said on the phone.
Lisa did not have a pen, but she told herself that she could remember it.
“Got it. Thanks.” I can remember that, she thought. But she did not.

It was a week later at the dinner table when Lisa realized her mistake.
“So, Brent,” his mom asked him, “When do you try out?”
“Don’t know yet. They’re supposed to call.”
Lisa froze in her seat.
“Oh, no!” She blurted out loud. “What’s today’s date? Quick!”
“It’s the twelfth,” her dad answered. “Why?”

A terrible pain ripped through Lisa’s heart. She buried her face in her hands, crying.
“Lisa, what’s the matter?” Her mother asked.
Through sobs Lisa explained what had happened.
“It was two days ago… the tryout… two-thirty… the call came…. last week.”
Brent sat back in his chair, not believing Lisa.
“Is this one of your jokes, sis?” he asked, though he could tell her misery was real.
She shook her head, still unable to look at him.
“Then I really missed it?” She nodded.
Brent ran out of the kitchen without a word. He did not come out of his room the rest of the evening. Lisa tried once to knock on the door, but she could not face him. She went to her room where she cried bitterly. Suddenly she knew what she had to do. She had ruined Brent’s life. He could never forgive her for that. She had failed her family, and there was nothing to do but to leave home. Lisa packed her pickup truck in the middle of the night and left a note behind, telling her folks she’d be all right. She began writing a note to Brent, but her words sounded empty to her.
“Nothing I say could make a difference anyway,” she thought.

Two days later she got a job as a waitress in Boston. She found an apartment not too far from the restaurant. Her parents tried many times to reach her, but Lisa ignored their letters.
“It’s too late,” she wrote them once, “I’ve ruined Brent’s life, and I’m not coming back.”
Lisa did not think she would ever see home again. But one day in the restaurant where she worked she saw a face she knew.
“Lisa!” said Mrs. Nelson, looking up from her plate.
“What a surprise.” The woman was a friend of Lisa’s family from back home.
“I was so sorry to hear about your brother,” Mrs. Nelson said softly.
“Such a terrible accident. But we can be thankful that he died quickly. He didn’t suffer.” Lisa stared at the woman in shock.
“Wh-hat?” she finally stammered.
It couldn’t be! Her brother? Dead? The woman quickly saw that Lisa did not know about the accident. She told the girl the sad story of the speeding car, the rush to the hospital, the doctors working over Brent. But all they could do was not enough to save him. Lisa returned home that afternoon.

Now she found herself in her room thinking about her brother as she held the small box that containing some of her memories of him. Sadly, she opened the box and peered inside. It was as she remembered, except for one item – Brent’s chart. It was not there. In its place, at the bottom of the box, was an envelope. Her hands shook as she tore it open and removed a letter.

The first page read:
Dear Lisa,
It was you who kept count, not me. But if you’re stubborn enough to keep count, use the new chart I’ve made for you.

Love,
Brent

Lisa turned to the second page where she found a chart just like the one she had made as a child, but on this one the lines were drawn with perfect precision. And unlike the chart she had kept, there was but one check-mark in the upper left-hand corner. Written in red felt tip pen over the entire page were the words: “Number 491. Forgiven, forever.

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Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
November 26, 1992

Once upon a time the Colors of the world started to quarrel that they were: all the best, the most important, the most useful, the favorite.

GREEN said: “Clearly I am the most important. I am the sign of life and of hope. I was chosen for grass, trees, leaves – without me, all animals would die. Look over the countryside and you will see that I am in the majority.”

BLUE interrupted: “You only think about the earth, but consider the sky and the sea. It is the water that is the basis of life and drawn up by the clouds from the deep sea. The sky gives space and peace and serenity. Without my peace, you would all be nothing.”

YELLOW chuckled: “You are all so serious. I bring laughter, gaiety, and warmth into the world. The sun is yellow, the moon is yellow, the stars are yellow. Every time you look at a sunflower, the whole world starts to smile. Without me there would be no fun.”

ORANGE started next to blow her trumpet: “I am the color of health and strength. I may be scarce, but I am precious for I serve the needs of human life. I carry the most important vitamins. Think of carrots, pumpkins, oranges, mangoes, and pawpaws. I don’t hang around all the time,but when I fill sky at sunrise or sunset, my beauty is so striking that no one gives another thought to any of you.”

RED could stand it no longer. He shouted out: “I am the ruler of all of you- I am blood – life’s blood! I am the color of danger and of bravery. I am willing to fight for a cause. I bring fire into the blood. Without me, the earth would be as empty as the moon. I am the color of passion and of love, the red rose, the poinsettia and the poppy.”

PURPLE rose up to his full height. He was very tall and spoke with great pomp: “I am the color of royalty and power. Kings, chiefs, and bishops have always chosen me for I am the sign of authority and wisdom. People do not question me – they listen and obey.”

Finally, INDIGO spoke, much more quietly than all the others, but with just as much determination: “Think of me. I am the color of silence. You hardly notice me, but without me you all become superficial. I represent thought and reflection, twilight and deep water. You need me for balance and contrast, for prayer and inner peace.”

And so the colors went on boasting, each convinced of his or her own superiority. Their quarreling became louder and louder. Suddenly there was a startling flash of bright lightening – thunder rolled and boomed. Rain started to pour down relentlessly The colors crouched down in fear, drawing close to one another for comfort.

In the midst of the clamor, rain began to speak: “You foolish colors, fighting amongst yourselves, each trying to dominate the rest. Don’t you know that you were each made for a special purpose, unique and different? Join hands with one another and come to me.” Doing as they were told, the colors united and joined hands. The rain continued: “From now on, when it rains, each of you will stretch across the sky in a great bow of color as a reminder that you can all live in peace. The rainbow is a sign of hope for tomorrow.” And so, whenever a good rain washes the world, and a rainbow appears in the sky, let us remember to appreciate one another.

 

Author unknown - Please comment if you know the author
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Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
November 25, 2011

A man found a cocoon of a butterfly, and he brought it home. One day, a small opening appeared in the cocoon.

The man sat and watched the cocoon for several hours as the butterfly struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making progress. It appeared as if the butterfly had gotten as far as it could, and it could go no farther.

The man decided to help the butterfly in its struggle. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon…

and the butterfly emerged easily.

As the butterfly emerged, the man was surprised. It had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. He continued to watch the butterfly expecting that, at any moment, the wings would dry out, enlarge, and expand to support the swollen body. He knew that in time the body would contract, and the butterfly would be able to fly…

but neither happened!

In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings.

What the man, in his kindness and haste, did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle were required for the butterfly to be able to fly.

The butterfly must push its way through the tiny opening to force the fluid from its body and wings. Only by struggling through the opening can the butterfly’s wings be ready for flight once it emerges from the cocoon.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If our Higher Power allowed us to go through life without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as what we could have been… and we could never fly!

Author Unknown -  Please comment if you know the author
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"Working for Christ"

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:33-34, NIV)

worrying

Our jobs, homes, cars, bank accounts and investments, among other “things” deceive us into believing that we have security and freedom from worry. In truth, they are exactly the things that cause anxiety and worry. When we put our hope and faith in “earthly goods” we receive with them with a burden – more worry. When we worry, we think we need to obtain more earthly goods so we can feel more secure. Unfortunately, all we receive is more worry. We try to secure our lives with earthly goods; we expect these things to make us worry-free, but the truth is just the opposite. The things…

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Kay Dee Speaks

MountainClimberSilhouette

Let me preface this by saying I am not familiar with  fantasy or sci-fi fiction, nor thrillers because they’re not my fiction of choice. Nor am I familiar the author who is featured in this piece.  However, I can say, that it was my pleasure to glean from this interview that I listened to featuring him and two of his biggest fans.  It really touched my heart.

Compassion, Love and Survival by K.D.

I was listening to a link that a friend posted yesterday on Facebook (thanks Chi-Chi) and the true story that was told of a 15-year-old boy who ran away to meet his idol. This teen was something of an outcast in school, the product of a divorced home, his mom was remarried and his step-dad was not the best person. So, he read fantasy/sci-fi/thriller type books to escape his reality.  One particular author (Piers Anthony) was his…

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Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
November 22, 1997

The carpenter I hired to help me restore an old farmhouse had just finished a rough day on the job. A flat tire made him lose an hour of work. His electric saw quit, and now his ancient pickup truck refused to start.

He sat in stony silence while I drove him home.

On arriving, he invited me in to meet his family. As we walked towards the front door, he paused briefly at a tall tree, touching the tips of the branches with both hands. Upon opening the door, he underwent an amazing transformation. His tanned face was wreathed with smiles as he hugged his two small children and gave his wife a kiss.

He walked me to the car after introducing his family to me. We passed the tree and my curiosity got the better of me. I asked him about what I had seen him do earlier.

“Oh, that’s my trouble tree.” He replied.
“I know that I can’t help having troubles on the job but there’s one thing for sure. Troubles don’t belong in the house with my wife and children. Hence, I just hang them up on the tree every night when I get home. I pick them up again in the morning. Funny thing is…” he said with a smile,
“…when I come out in the morning to pick them up, there are not nearly as many as I remember hanging up the night before.”

Author Unknown - Please comment if you know the author
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