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The world today is both an amazing and, sometimes, scary place – and those two things converge nowhere like with our children.

In bygone days, children were essentially left free to roam about with little concern for their safety. Everyone has an older relatively who would talk about the treacherous trek they’d have to make to go to school. Things like “crossing guards” didn’t exist for them.

The concept is one that makes perfect sense: a public safety officer stands guard at intersections children have to cross to make their way to school. It helps keep them safe from drivers distracted by their coffee, make-up, or the radio on their commute to work.

These guards also give kids a hopefully, friendly face to say “good morning” to each day. However, in North Carolina, winters can be cold, unforgiving, and leave people of all ages in no mood to chat.

A crossing guard for Trask Middle School, known to the kids as Ms. Minnie, is a trusted friend to the kids. She greets them warmly no matter the outside temperature and has done so for 19 years. In fact, she’s been there so long that she never expected that the adults driving by her daily post would pay attention to her.

Kayla Thomas, a teacher for a local high school, does pay attention to Ms. Minnie and was shocked to see her leading some of the kids to her car parked near the intersection she minds each morning. Stunned by what she saw, Kayla had to snap a picture.

In today’s suspicious world, seeing a crossing guard taking kids to her car might be a cause for concern, but if you look carefully you’ll see something amazing near the trunk of the car: a clothing rack full of winter coats.

As Kayla wrote on Facebook:

“Today I noticed that she had a rack of coats by her car, and signs saying “free coats” posted everywhere. It took every ounce of restraint in my body not to put the car in park and get out and hug this woman, to thank her for using her free time to keep our students safe and for giving coats to people who may not have them. There is still good in this world, despite what we see and hear everyday. People like her give the rest of us hope that we can all live in peace and focus on the things that really matter.”

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Ms. Minnie gives the coats to kids who need them, and asks for nothing in return. Her generosity is not just limited to the winter months either.

She is also known for handing out umbrellas to kids on rainy days. At the beginning of the school year, she passes out school supplies. While these gifts to the kids are surely important and wonderful, it’s her personality that truly serves them. Her positive attitude gives kids something to smile about, even those who dread going to school.

For Ms. Minnie, however, all this attention is not why she does it. No, she does what she can to make her community a better place. The kids of Wilmington are lucky to have a woman like her in their corner.

By - Joshua Patton 12/26/2017
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Capture

“So where do you think we will be going to church next month?” That became a common inquiry from my husband. We had moved to this mid-Atlantic hinterland and found ourselves in search of a new church. This mission was compounded by the fact that we knew no one. Weekly, we checked out a different church to find the perfect place to worship.

After months, we found the perfect place (or so we thought). It was close to home, had a great children’s program, and seemed to have an appropriate amount of young, growing families. I spoke with the greeter and found out who to call. The next day, Monday, I did just that.

“Hello, may I speak with Reverend Coleman?…Oh, well is there a better time to reach him? My family and I have been relocated to this area, and we really like your church and your congregation and would like the appropriate paperwork to formally join.”

The receptionist, who had been taking Reverend Coleman’s calls, told me that we could not join the church because too many families were enrolled. A new congregation was forming, however. “Perhaps you could speak with someone there,” she said. I was to call a man whom I did not know, at a place that did not exist, for a congregation that was only being formed…somewhere.

“Okay, we will go back to the church one more time, and maybe we can find out where this new group meets,” I told my husband and children. They were agreeable, mainly because we always went to breakfast after church. The draw was not the worship but the fellowship and the feast afterward. At the next Sunday mass, the homily was actually given by the new leader of the scattered flock of people. Thus, we now had a contact; her name was Mary Lou. I called her the next day.

“Oh, yes, yes, yes!” she said. “We would love to have you join our congregation. May I stop over and introduce myself and bring the paperwork for you and your family? We are still looking for a permanent place to have our weekly church gatherings, but we are delighted that you will be joining us.” Mary Lou chattered on for a while longer, and I knew we were going in the right direction, although I was not sure where.

“Mommy, I thought we were going to church,” Jay questioned the following Sunday as we pulled into the parking lot of a movie theater.

“We are, sweetheart,” I answered, as his daddy parked the car. Jason’s eyes lit up, and he was not about to let this drop, thinking one or both of his parents had lost their minds. “Why are we here if we are supposed to be going to church?”

“The church is not a church yet, and we do not have anywhere else to go, so we are going to the movie theater,” I explained. None of us really cared where we went after a few weeks, especially because on these days we began going to the movies after church, which took the place of breakfast. Pop and popcorn began to substitute for ham and eggs.

As the summer wore into autumn, and the leaves began to drop from the trees, the congregation continued to grow and the accommodations in the movie theater became too small. It was time to move on again, and the new location was, again, due to the generosity of a community member. This time we were shuffled to an old, gray barn. It was not much to look at, but it served the purpose — and our active, hard-working, and still-growing community gathered at this rustic spot, now filled with folding chairs.

It took a long time to get wiring into this dimly lit structure to supply us with light, heat, and a microphone. Reverend Appleby fortunately had a sense of humor and a booming voice. However, as October transitioned into November, and Thanksgiving ushered in Advent, our necessity for heavy coats during church became more apparent.

“Jim, make sure the kids have their gloves this morning,” I said. “It is really cold. I know we should expect December weather, but the wind seems brutal today.”

“Check. We have gloves and hats, and I grabbed a blanket, just in case we need it. We can wrap these little monkeys up; they’ll stay warm for the hour.”

The cold weather brought preparation but still no permanent church. December wore on and Christmas Eve appeared in a flash.

Again, we had the checklist before church. “Honey, let’s keep the kids extra warm. It may snow tonight. Can you help me get Katie’s boots on?”

Robby, our second child, mumbled, “Mommy, do we have to go? It’s too cold.”

“Yes, honey, we do. It is Christmas Eve, and if we have time to wait for Santa, we have time to go to church and remember Jesus’ birthday.”

So we packed up the children and drove to the barn. “This is an exceptionally blustery night,” I remarked. “It is a good thing that Daddy remembered the blanket, isn’t it?”

“Yes!” the three children yelled in unison. Dusk slipped into darkness as we parked along the old country road and trudged along to the barn, children in tow, wrapped up so much that they could barely walk. We entered our familiar “church.”

The old, gray barn was no longer just an old, gray barn. It had been transformed into a nativity scene — a real one, with a real manger and real sheep and a cow and a donkey. Hay was everywhere. The eyes of the children were filled with sheer wonder. Amid the animals were people. The woman wore a blue robe, and the man was in old, brown sackcloth tied with a rope. He held a staff, and she held an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes. They were not just people; they were the Holy Family. They were surrounded by shepherds tending the flock. I don’t remember what the music was, if there was any. Nor do I remember what the homily was, if one was given. I don’t even know if we stayed warm enough. I do remember being in the presence of the true spirit of Christmas. It was magnificent.

That Christmas Eve celebration could have lasted forever. We finally left the barn to find that snow was lightly falling and the stars were announcing the birth of Jesus. We all felt a silent joy at the miraculous event we had been witness to. Eventually, we did find a church to call our own. But nothing ever came close to that Christmas Eve of wonder, with Jesus in the old, gray barn.

By Elizabeth Toole

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Once upon a time there was a leafy tree in a field. Leaves grew densely on the tall branches. The roots were deeply into the ground. The tree was the most remarkable among the rest.

The tree then became the home for some birds. They built their nests and they lived on his branches. The birds made holes on him, and they hatched their eggs within the greatness of the tree. The tree felt so delighted because he was accompanied as he walked through his long lasting days.

People were grateful for the presence of the tree. They often came over and sheltered under him. Under his branches, they sat down and opened their picnic baskets. “This tree is very useful,” that’s what the people said everytime they went home from shelter. The tree was very proud hearing those compliments.

However, time went on. The tree was beginning to be sick. His leaves and twigs were falling, then his body became thin and pale. The greatness he used to have was fading away. Birds felt reluctant to build their nests there. No one would come to sit under the tree to shelter anymore.

The tree wept, “Oh God, why is it so hard for me? I need friends. Now no one would come close to me. Why do you take all the glory I used to have?” The tree cried loudly, so it echoed throughout the forest. “Why wouldn’t you cut me down, so I don’t have to bear this suffering?” The tree kept on crying, and his tears were running down his dry body.

Seasons came and went, but his condition had not changed. The tree was still feeling lonely. His branches became drier and drier. Every night the tree wept and cried, until the morning broke.

“Cheep…chirp….cheep” Ah, what was that noise? Oh, it’s a little baby bird who has just pipped from the egg. The old tree woke up from his daydream.

“Cheep…chirp…cheep”, the noise became louder and louder. There was another baby bird. Not long after that, the tree became noisy because of the birth of new baby birds. One…two…three…and four baby birds have been born to this world. “Ah, He has answered my prayers,” exclaimed the old tree.

The day after, there were many birds flying to the old tree. They were going to build new nests. The dry branches have turned out to attract their attention to nest there. The birds felt warmer to stay inside the dry branches instead of their place before. The number of birds was increasing and there were more kinds of them. “Wow, now my days are brighter with their presence here”, murmured the old tree gladly.

The old tree was back to cheer again. And when he looked down, his heart was flowing with joy. There was a new little tree growing near his roots. The new tree seemed to smile at him. The tears of the old tree has grown a little tree who would continue his devotion to nature.

by: Author Unknown, Source Unknown

Vintage Dilbert February 16 1996

Vintage Dilbert    –   February 16 1996

They lie on the table, side by side The Holy Bible and the TV Guide.

One is well worn, but cherished with pride (Not the Bible, but the TV Guide)

One is used daily to help folks decide. (Not the Bible: it’s the TV Guide.)

As the pages are turned, what shall they see Oh, what does it matter?…turn on the TV.

Then confusion reigns, they can’t all agree on what they shall watch on the old TV.

So they open the book in which they confide (No, not the Bible…..it’s the TV Guide.)

The Word of God is seldom read. Maybe a verse e’er they fall into bed.

Exhausted and sleepy and tired as can be… not from reading the Bible-from watching TV.

So then back to the table, side by side, lay the Holy Bible and the TV Guide.

No time for prayer….no time for the Word. The plan of salvation is seldom heard.

But forgiveness of sin so full and free is found in the Bible…..NOT on TV!

I hope you enjoyed this story as much as I have.....  
Comment if it touched your heart and share if you liked it... 
Take Care and God Bless  :-)  Kenny T
Author Unknown - Please comment if you know the author
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Vintage Dilbert  February 15, 1995

One day a very wealthy father took his son on a trip to the country for the sole purpose of showing his son how it was to be poor. They spent a few days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family.

After their return from the trip, the father asked his son how he liked the trip. “It was great, Dad,” the son replied. “Did you see how poor people can be?” the father asked. “Oh Yeah,” said the son.

“So what did you learn from the trip?” asked the father. The son answered, “I saw that we have one dog and they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon.

We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight. We have servants who serve us, but they serve others.

We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them.” The boy’s father was speechless. Then his son added, “It showed me just how poor we really are.”
Sometimes it takes the perspective of a child to remind us what’s important.

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

Vintage Dilbert
February 17, 2015

In 1900, fathers prayed their children would learn English.
Today, fathers pray their children will speak English.

In 1900, if a father put a roof over his family’s head, he was a success.
Today, it takes a roof, deck, pool, and 4-car garage. And that’s just the vacation home.

In 1900, a father waited for the doctor to tell him when the baby arrived.
Today, a father must wear a smock, know how to breathe, and make sure a new tape is in the video camera.

In 1900, fathers passed on clothing to their sons.
Today, kids wouldn’t touch Dad’s clothes if they were sliding naked down an icicle.

In 1900, fathers could count on children to join the family business.
Today, fathers pray their kids will soon come home from college long enough to teach them how to work the computer and set the VCR.

In 1900, fathers shook their children gently and whispered, “Wake up, it’s time for school.”
Today, kids shake their fathers violently at 4 a.m., shouting: “Wake up, it’s time for hockey practice!”

In 1900, a father gave a pencil box for Christmas, and the child was all smiles.
Today, a father spends $800 at Toys ‘R’ Us, and the kid says, “But I wanted an X-box!”

In 1900, a father came home from work to find his wife and children at the supper table.
Today, a father comes home to a note: “Jimmy’s at baseball, Cindy’s at gymnastics, I’m at gym, Pizza in the fridge.”

 --  By  John J. Plomp
Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
May 6, 2013

There may be days when you get up in the morning and things aren’t the way you had hoped they would be.

That’s when you have to tell yourself that things will get better. There are times when people disappoint you and let you down.

But those are the times when you must remind yourself to trust your own judgments and opinions, to keep your life focused on believing in yourself.

There will be challenges to face and changes to make in your life, and it is up to you to accept them.

Constantly keep yourself headed in the right direction for you. It may not be easy at times, but in those times of struggle you will find a stronger sense of who you are.

So when the days come that are filled with frustration and unexpected responsibilities, remember to believe in yourself and all you want your life to be.

Because the challenges and changes will only help you to find the goals that you know are meant to come true for you.

Author Unknown - Please comment if you know the author
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