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Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
April 24, 2004

I grew up on a farm in the mountains of northwest Arkansas. As children, my brother and I roamed every inch of the little mountain facing my parents’ house. We knew where every giant boulder and animal burrow was on that little piece of mountain bordering my dad’s farm.

One day, my grandpa came to visit from his home several miles away. We sat on the front porch swing looking at the mountain, and he began to tell me a story. It was a delightful tale about him and me living in a little cabin on the mountain.

 “Can you see it?” he asked. “It’s right there by that big acorn tree. See it?”

Of course I saw it. What eight-year-old child wouldn’t see what her imagination wanted her to see?

 “We’re gonna live in that cabin. We’ll catch a wild cow for our milk and pick wild strawberries for our supper,” Grandpa continued. “I bet the squirrels will bring us nuts to eat. We’ll search the bushes for wild chickens and turkeys. The chickens will give us eggs, and we’ll cook us a turkey over the big ol’ fireplace. Yep, we’ll do that some day.”

From that day on, every time I saw my grandpa, I asked when we would go to live in that little log cabin on the mountain. Then he’d once more spin the story of how the two of us would live in the cabin with the wildflowers and wild animals around us.

Time raced on; I grew into my teens and gradually forgot Grandpa’s story. After graduating high school, I still saw Grandpa and loved him dearly, but not like that little girl did. I grew out of the fantasy of the log cabin and wild cows.

Before long, I married and set up my own house. One day, the phone rang. When I heard my daddy’s sorrowful voice, I knew my grandpa had left us. He had been in his garden behind his house and died there, his heart forever stopped.

I grieved alongside my mother for my dear grandpa, remembering his promises of the cabin in the woods with all its animals and flowers. It seemed I could once again hear his voice telling me the fantasy we shared. I felt my childhood memories being buried with him.

Less than a year later, I went to visit my parents’ farm. Mama and I sat on the front porch admiring the green foliage of the mountain. It had been ten months since Grandpa had passed away, but the longing to hear his voice one more time was still fresh in my soul.

I told Mama about the story Grandpa had always told me, of the cabin in the woods, the wild cow, the chickens and turkey. “Mama,” I said after I had finished my story, “would you mind if I went for a walk by myself?”

“Of course not,” was her reply.

 I changed into old jeans and put on my walking shoes. Mama cautioned me to be careful and went on with her chores.

The walk was invigorating. Spring had come to the country, and everything was getting green. Little Johnny-jump-ups were springing up all over the pastures. New calves were following their mamas begging for milk. At the foot of the mountain, I stopped. Where did Grandpa say that acorn tree was?

“Straight up from the house,” I thought I heard him say.

I began my journey up the little mountain. It was steeper than I remembered, and I was out of shape. I trudged on, determined to find that tree.

Suddenly the ground leveled out. I was amazed to see what was before me. Soft green moss covered a small, flat clearing. Dogwood trees, smothered in pastel blooms, surrounded it. Off to the side stood a tall oak tree — Grandpa’s acorn tree! Scattered among the tufts of moss were vibrant colors of wild wood violets. Green rock ferns and pearly snowdrops were scattered about as well. I could hardly catch my breath.

I don’t know how long I stood there — several minutes, I suppose. Finally I came to my senses and sat down on the moss. In all my childhood wanderings on the mountain, I had never seen this magically beautiful place. Was this what Grandpa meant when he pointed out our special spot on the mountainside all those years ago? Did he know this was here?

A squirrel darted in front of me. He had a nut in his mouth. I watched as he scampered up the oak tree. No, I didn’t see a wild cow or chickens. But in my heart, I knew they were there somewhere.

I decided to go tell Mama what I had found. She would want to see it, too. Before I left I took one more look. It was the most beautiful place I could have ever imagined.

It didn’t take me as long to get back to the house. I burst into the kitchen babbling about the clearing on the side of the mountain. Mama calmed me down enough so she could understand what I was talking about. Daddy heard the conversation and tried to convince me there was no such place up there. He knew the mountain and had never seen anything like that.

On my insistence, he and Mama decided to go see the amazing place I was raving about. Once again I climbed the mountain straight up from the house. Before I knew it, we were at the top.

“We must have missed it,” I told my dad.

He just nodded and we retraced our steps. We searched for over an hour for that little place on the mountain. We never found it. I was devastated.

On the way back home, Mama put her arms around my shoulders.

“Sissy,” she said, “you know what you saw, don’t you?”

“Yeah, I know what I saw and I know it’s there somewhere. We just missed it.”

“No, sweetie, it’s not there anymore. You saw God’s garden. Only special people can see that. Your grandpa loved you so much, and he knew you were grieving inside. Hold that memory in your heart.”

I’m fifty-two years old now. Every time I go back to Mama’s house and sit on the porch, I remember the secret garden Grandpa told me about. But I no longer go out and look for it. No, I know just where it is.

By Bertha M. Sutliff    From Chicken Soup for the Soul: 
Stories of Faith Changing Lives One Story At A Time

 

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Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
April 4, 1999

If you ask most people what is their one major objective in life, they would probably give you a vague answer, such as, “I want to be successful, be happy, make a good living,” and that is it. They are all wishes and none of them are clear goals.

Goals must be SMART:

S   “Specific” For example, “I want to lose weight.” This is wishful thinking. It becomes a goal when I pin myself down to “I will lose 10 pounds in 90 days.”

M   Must be “Measurable”.  If we cannot measure it, we cannot accomplish it. Measurement is a way of monitoring our progress.

A   Must be “Achievable”.  Achievable means that it should be out of reach enough to be challenging but it should not be out of sight, otherwise it becomes disheartening.

R   “Realistic”  A person who wants to lose 50 pounds in~30 days is being unrealistic.

T  “Time-bound”  There should be a starting date and a finishing date.

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Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
February 10, 2010

A few minutes before the church services started, the townspeople were sitting in their pews and talking. Suddenly, Satan appeared at the front of the church. Everyone started screaming and running for the front entrance, trampling each other in a frantic effort to get away from evil incarnate. Soon everyone had exited the church except for one elderly gentleman who sat calmly in his pew without moving, seeming oblivious to the fact that God’s ultimate enemy was in his presence. So Satan walked up to the old man and said, “Don’t you know who I am?”

The man replied, “Yep, sure do.”

“Aren’t you afraid of me?” Satan asked.

“Nope, sure ain’t.” said the man.

“Don’t you realize I can kill you with a word?” asked Satan.

“Don’t doubt it for a minute,” returned the old man, in an even tone.

“Did you know that I could cause you profound, horrifying, physical AGONY for all eternity?” persisted Satan.

“Yep,” was the calm reply.

“And you’re still not afraid?” asked Satan.

“Nope.”

More than a little perturbed, Satan asked, “Well, why aren’t you afraid of me?”

The man calmly replied, “Been married to your sister for over 48 years.”

 

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MS&D

Vintage Dilbert
January 16, 2015

The ninth week of SEAL training is referred to as Hell Week. It is six days of no sleep, constant physical and mental harassment and one special day at the Mud Flats. The Mud Flats are an area between San Diego and Tijuana where the water runs off and creates the Tijuana slues—a swampy patch of terrain where the mud will engulf you.

It is on Wednesday of Hell Week that you paddle down to the mud flats and spend the next 15 hours trying to survive the freezing-cold mud, the howling wind and the incessant pressure from the instructors to quit. As the sun began to set that Wednesday evening, my training class, having committed some “egregious infraction of the rules” was ordered into the mud. The mud consumed each man till there was nothing visible but our heads. The instructors told us we could leave the mud if only five men would quit—just five men and we could get out of the oppressive cold.

Looking around the mud flat, it was apparent that some students were about to give up. It was still over eight hours till the sun came up—eight more hours of bone-chilling cold. The chattering teeth and shivering moans of the trainees were so loud it was hard to hear anything. And then, one voice began to echo through the night—one voice raised in song. The song was terribly out of tune, but sung with great enthusiasm. One voice became two, and two became three, and before long everyone in the class was singing. We knew that if one man could rise above the misery then others could as well. The instructors threatened us with more time in the mud if we kept up the singing—but the singing persisted. And somehow, the mud seemed a little warmer, the wind a little tamer and the dawn not so far away.

If I have learned anything in my time traveling the world, it is the power of hope. The power of one person—Washington, Lincoln, King, Mandela and even a young girl from Pakistan named Malala—can change the world by giving people hope.

So, if you want to change the world, start singing when you’re up to your neck in mud.

Source: The commencement address by Admiral William H. McRaven, 
ninth commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, at the 
University of Texas at Austin on 17 May 2014 
Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
December 4, 2014

I recently chose a new primary care physician. After two visits and exhaustive lab tests, he said I was doing ‘fairly well’ for my age. A little concerned about that comment, I couldn’t resist asking him, ‘Do you think I’ll live to be 80?’

He asked, ‘Do you smoke tobacco or drink alcoholic beverages?’

‘No,’ I replied. ‘I don’t do drugs, either. ‘

Then he asked, ‘Do you eat rib-eye steaks and barbecued ribs?’

I said, ‘No, my other doctor said that all red meat is unhealthy’

Do you go to Las Vegas or Atlantic City?

‘Do you spend a lot of time in the sun, like playing golf, boating, fishing or relaxing on the beach?’

‘No, I don’t,’ I said. He asked, ‘Do you gamble, drive fast cars, or have a lot of sex?’

‘No,’ I said. ‘I don’t do any of those things.’

Then he looked at me and asked, ‘Then why do you care?

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Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
August 5, 2005

A grandmother and her young granddaughter are walking down a busy city street. They pass by a homeless man. He is sitting against the cold granite wall of a high rise building. The man doesn’t have a sign, or a cup for begging; He is busily making roses from palm leaves. There are three roses beside him.

The grandmother stops and asks if she could buy one of the beautiful handmade roses. The homeless man smiles and says, “For you kind Lady, it is free.” The grandmother takes out her purse and gives the homeless man $5.

As they walk away, the young girl asks her grandmother, “Why did you give him money? He will probably just buy beer and cigarettes.”

The grandmother replies, “Dear one, it may be his nature to take the money and buy beer and cigarettes, but it is my nature to help a man in need.”

GIVE without expectations or without conditions. Give because it is your nature, not because you want or expect something in return.

Laura Barrette Shannon
Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
March 18, 2014

O HAPPY DAY, THAT FIXED MY CHOICE

O happy day, that fixed my choice
On Thee, my Savior and my God!
Well may this glowing heart rejoice,
And tell its raptures all abroad.

Happy day, happy day, when Jesus washed my sins away!
He taught me how to watch and pray, and live rejoicing every day
Happy day, happy day, when Jesus washed my sins away.

O happy bond, that seals my vows
To Him Who merits all my love!
Let cheerful anthems fill His house,
While to that sacred shrine I move.

Happy day, happy day, when Jesus washed my sins away!
He taught me how to watch and pray, and live rejoicing every day
Happy day, happy day, when Jesus washed my sins away.

’Tis done: the great transaction’s done!
I am the Lord’s and He is mine;
He drew me, and I followed on;
Charmed to confess the voice divine.

Happy day, happy day, when Jesus washed my sins away!
He taught me how to watch and pray, and live rejoicing every day
Happy day, happy day, when Jesus washed my sins away.

Now rest, my long divided heart,
Fixed on this blissful center, rest.
Here have I found a nobler part;
Here heavenly pleasures fill my breast.

Happy day, happy day, when Jesus washed my sins away!
He taught me how to watch and pray, and live rejoicing every day
Happy day, happy day, when Jesus washed my sins away.

High heaven, that heard the solemn vow,
That vow renewed shall daily hear,
Till in life’s latest hour I bow
And bless in death a bond so dear.

Happy day, happy day, when Jesus washed my sins away!
He taught me how to watch and pray, and live rejoicing every day
Happy day, happy day, when Jesus washed my sins away.

By - Philip Doddridge
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