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Vintage Dilbert August 23, 1993

Vintage Dilbert
August 23, 1993

One day I stopped to think about growing apples. I was munching a delicious, juicy apple and took a big bite. As a result I got an apple seed into my mouth. I spat it out into my hand, with the intention of throwing it away. But instead I looked at the apple seed. Really looked. It was dark brown, almost black. It’s shape reminded me of a candle flame. A little dark brown candle flame…

I realized I was holding an apple tree in the palm of my hand. A little seed with the potential to become a beautiful big tree; a tree that could grow thousands of apples in its lifetime. Thousands of apples, each containing several seeds, each capable of growing a new tree which again could produce thousands of apples. Why then the world wasn’t filled with apple trees?

It is a rule of nature that only a few of these seeds grow. Most never do or are destroyed early on in their growth.

And it came to my mind, it’s quite often so with people’s dreams. Wonderful ideas come to our minds but they die too soon – we don’t tend to the little saplings, we don’t protect them as we should. And then one day we wonder what happened to our dreams, why did they never come true?

I put the apple seed on the table and bent down to see how the light was reflected from it, this nature’s tiny wonder. I wondered when someone was seriously growing apples, how many times they had to try to get a seed to germinate? How much work did it require?

Maybe it was like with our dreams: the seeds of your dreams did not automatically grow. Like planting an apple tree. It might take many trys; like a hundred job applications to get that good job. You might send your manuscript out two hundred times before it was accepted. You might meet dozens of people until you meet the true friend.

But if you kept on sowing the seeds of your dream, one day you would succeed. And after that others would comment on how you were lucky to be successful – when in fact you probably failed more often than you would like to count. But you were good at failing – you learned, you adapted, and then with your new knowlegde you tried again. And again. And again. And one day success was yours.

I picked up the apple seed again – but instead of throwing it away I took an empty flower pot, poured some earth into it and planted the seed. Maybe one day it would grown into a proud tree. I’d never know if I didn’t try.

Some people think their best time in life is when they are young. Once they’ve hit the 40-mark, they begin to tell how it is of no use any more to start achieving new things.

I refuse to believe that. There are plenty of examples out there that prove you can achieve amazing things even in your mature years.

I love the little story of a woman who decided she wanted to go and study when she was in her forties. Her husband asked her. “Do you realize that if you start your studies now, you will be fifty when you graduate?” To which this admirable lady replied “Darling – I shall be fifty in any case.”

So go ahead and follow your dreams. Start today. No matter what they are, no matter what your age, and no matter what others think of it. It’s your life after all.

 

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Vintage Dilbert March 25, 2016

Vintage Dilbert
March 25, 2016

Jeremy was born with a twisted body, a slow mind and a chronic, terminal illness that had been slowly killing him all his young life. Still, his parents had tried to give him as normal a life as possible and had sent him to St. Theresa’s Elementary School.

At the age of 12, Jeremy was only in second grade, seemingly unable to learn. His teacher, Doris Miller, often became exasperated with him. He would squirm in his seat, drool and make grunting noises. At other times, he spoke clearly and distinctly, as if a spot of light had penetrated the darkness of his brain. Most of the time, however, Jeremy irritated his teacher. One day, she called his parents and asked them to come to St. Teresa’s for a consultation.

As the Forresters sat quietly in the empty classroom, Doris said to them, “Jeremy really belongs in a special school. It isn’t fair to him to be with younger children who don’t have learning problems. Why, there is a five-year gap between his age and that of the other students!”

Mrs. Forrester cried softly into a tissue while her husband spoke. “Miss Miller,” he said, “there is no school of that kind nearby. It would be a terrible shock for Jeremy if we had to take him out of this school. We know he really likes it here.”

Doris sat for a long time after they left, staring at the snow outside the window. Its coldness seemed to seep into her soul. She wanted to sympathize with the Forresters. After all, their only child had a terminal illness. But it wasn’t fair to keep him in her class. She had 18 other youngsters to teach and Jeremy was a distraction. Furthermore, he would never learn to read or write. Why waste any more time trying?

As she pondered the situation, guilt washed over her. “Oh God,” she said aloud, “here I am complaining when my problems are nothing compared with that poor family! Please help me to be more patient with Jeremy.”

From that day on, she tried hard to ignore Jeremy’s noises and his blank stares. Then one day he limped to her desk, dragging his bad leg behind him. “I love you, Miss Miller,” he exclaimed, loudly enough for the whole class to hear. The other children snickered, and Doris’ face turned red. She stammered, “Wh-Why, that’s very nice, Jeremy. Now please take your seat.”

Spring came, and the children talked excitedly about the coming of Easter. Doris told them the story of Jesus, and then to emphasize the idea of new life springing forth, she gave each of the children a large plastic egg. “Now,” she said to them, “I want you to take this home and bring it back tomorrow with something inside that shows new life. Do you understand?”

Yes, Miss Miller!” the children responded enthusiastically – all except for Jeremy. He just listened intently, his eyes never left her face. He did not even make his usual noises. Had he understood what she had said about Jesus’ death and resurrection? Did he understand the assignment? Perhaps she should call his parents and explain the project to them. That evening, Doris’ kitchen sink stopped up. She called the landlord and waited an hour for him to come by and unclog it. After that, she still had to shop for groceries, iron a blouse and prepare a vocabulary test for the next day. She completely forgot about phoning Jeremy’s parents.

The next morning, 19 children came to school, laughing and talking as they placed their eggs in the large wicker basket on Miss Miller’s desk. After they completed their Math lesson, it was time to open the eggs. In the first egg, Doris found a flower. “Oh yes, a flower is certainly a sign of new life,” she said. “When plants peek through the ground we know that spring is here.” A small girl in the first row waved her arms. “That’s my egg, Miss Miller,” she called out.

The next egg contained a plastic butterfly, which looked very real. Doris held it up. “We all know that a caterpillar changes and grows into a beautiful butterfly. Yes, that is new life, too” Little Judy smiled proudly and said, “Miss Miller, that one is mine.”

Next Doris found a rock with moss on it. She explained that the moss, too, showed life. Billy spoke up from the back of the classroom. “My Daddy helped me!” he beamed.

Then Doris opened the fourth egg. She gasped. The egg was empty! Surely it must be Jeremy’s, she thought, and, of course, he did not understand her instructions. If only she had not forgotten to phone his parents. Because she did not want to embarrass him, she quietly set the egg aside and reached for another.

Suddenly Jeremy spoke up. “Miss Miller, aren’t you going to talk about my egg?” Flustered, Doris replied, “but Jeremy – your egg is empty!” He looked into her eyes and said softly, “Yes, but Jesus’ tomb was empty too!”

Time stopped. When she could speak again. Doris asked him, ” Do you know why the tomb was empty?”

“Oh yes!” Jeremy exclaimed. “Jesus was killed and put in there. Then his Father raised him up!”

The recess bell rang. While the children excitedly ran out to the school yard, Doris cried. The cold inside her melted completely away.

Three months later Jeremy died. Those who paid their respects at the mortuary were surprised to see 19 eggs on top of his casket, all of them empty.

Author - Ida Mae Kemp
Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
October 16, 2015

Man: God, can I ask You a question?

God: Sure

Man: Promise You won’t get mad …

God: I promise

Man: Why did You let so much stuff happen to me today?

God: What do u mean?

Man: Well, I woke up late

God: Yes

Man: My car took forever to start

God: Okay

Man: at lunch they made my sandwich wrong & I had to wait

God: Hmm

Man: On the way home, my phone went DEAD, just as I picked up a call

God: All right

Man: And on top of it all, when I got home I just wanted to soak my
feet in my new foot massager & relax. BUT it wouldn’t work!!! Nothing
went right today! Why did You do that?

God: Let me see, the death angel was at your bed this morning & I had
to send one of My Angels to battle him for your life. I let you sleep
through that .

Man (humbled): OH

GOD: I didn’t let your car start because there was a drunk driver on
your route that would have hit you if you were on the road.

Man: (ashamed)

God: The first person who made your sandwich today was sick & I didn’t
want you to catch what they have, I knew you couldn’t afford to miss
work.

Man (embarrassed): Okay

God: Your phone went dead because the person that was calling was
going to give false witness about what you said on that call, I didn’t
even let you talk to them so you would be covered.

Man (softly): I see God

God: Oh and that foot mas-sager, it had a shortage that was going to
throw out all of the power in your house tonight. I didn’t think you
wanted to be in the dark.

Man: I’m Sorry God

God: Don’t be sorry,  just learn to Trust Me…. in All things , the Good
& the bad.

Man: I will trust You.

God: And don’t doubt that My plan for your day is Always Better than your plan.

Man: I won’t God. And let me just tell you God, Thank You for Everything today.

God: You’re welcome child. It was just another day being your God and
looking after My Children…

Author unknown - Please comment if you know the author
 so credit can be given
Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
October 3, 2015

The pastor of the church I attended as a young man was a distinguished, dignified and always impeccably dressed man who also happened to have a warm and compassionate heart. He was so formal and well-groomed that newcomers would expect this tall, handsome man with a PhD from an Ivy League school serving a large, affluent suburban church to be cold and distant. But he wasn’t; he was warm and sincere.

Then I had one lesson in how he remained that way.

I signed on to serve as Scripture reader, and on the first Sunday sat on a chair behind the pastor’s podium. It was rather large, semi-circular pulpit with a chair directly behind it. The pastor entered and sat down. He was, as always, impeccably dressed: blue pinstriped business suit, silk tie carefully knotted, starched white shirt with cufflinks, and on his feet, black shoes polished like mirrors. This was not a man who wore a Rolex or drove a Porsche. But he was always careful to dress well, from his pocket handkerchief to his tiepin.

Then, just before the sermon, I watched the pastor reach down and untie both of his expensive leather dress shoes. He slid his feet out of them, and then reached under the cuffs of his tailored suit. He pulled off his black dress socks as well. I was completely bewildered. He then pushed both shoes and socks to the side and stood up for his sermon. No one else knew it, but our dignified, dapper, classy pastor preached his sermon barefoot, in his tailored suit and silk tie.

When the sermon was over, he unobtrusively pulled on both shoes and socks, and left the podium.

I said nothing and just assumed he had reasons of his own. Perhaps his feet hurt? I forgot about it, especially as it did not happen again for the next few Sundays.

Then, two months later, I noticed the pastor sliding his feet out of a pair of spit-polished tasseled loafers, followed again by the socks. I was again confused and slightly amused by the contrast between the fancy business suit and the soles of his bare feet which appeared when he leaned forward with enthusiasm.

After the service ended, I went up to the still barefoot minister and respectfully asked why he did this.

The pastor looked slightly embarrassed, picked up the shoes and socks and told me a story from his student years:

“My seminary professor told me I was a fine preacher, but that I had one fault. I was too arrogant. Too proud. I remembered that. And I remember my roots, too.”

He then told me that he had grown up as a janitor’s son and took his shoes off when he visited his Dad. Those were his roots. In the years since, he had earned several degrees and his gifts had brought him to this church. He was successful and praised, but he never wanted to forget where he came from.

“Whenever I start getting too proud and smug, I look down at my shiny Brooks Brothers shoes and fancy socks and realize it’s time to take off my “successful well-dressed suit-and-tie pastor” feet and put on the feet of a janitor’s boy. It keeps me humble. It’s hard to be smug when I’m barefoot.”

And with that the pastor grinned, put on his Italian tasseled shoes and socks and left the pulpit.

by: Ken Wells © 2004
Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
September 3, 2003

Christmas is officially over. Today I dragged the tree with its fifteen remaining needles out to the curb, tied the Christmas lights into one great big ball like I found them, and dumped the odd remains of two ham-a-ramas and a jalapeño cheese log into the cat’s dish, which caused him to immediately jump up onto the telephone stand and look up the address for the Humane Society’s self-admittance wing.

But it’s done. Kaput. Finé. The yuletide has ebbed. And not a moment too soon, because now it’s time for . . . Valentine’s Day. Not to worry though, because this year I’m ready.

Last February I was fooled by the pact my wife and I made that we weren’t going to bother with Valentine’s Day. What I thought she meant was that she didn’t expect a gift. What she really meant was that only a chump would think it was okay not to get his wife (who was put on this earth for no greater reason than to serve her husband’s every need, although said husband could count on serving certain needs himself until further notice) a gift.

And even though it was quite a bonding experience camping out in my backyard in February with my brother-in-law, who had wondered why everyone was buying flowers on Washington’s birthday, I think I’d rather spend the rainy season inside this year.

So I grabbed the garbage bag full of Christmas cards and wrapping paper to drop off at the local landfill and headed off to the Hallmark store, that magical place full of those beautiful poetic musings that women love.

I settled on a card with a romantic, soft-focus photograph of a young couple laughing and hugging in a wooded glen, taken no doubt just seconds before they realized they were standing waist deep in poison oak. Then I headed across the mall to the lingerie store.

The place was mobbed with guys all holding intimate apparel, trying to picture their wives in them. One guy was holding his selection upside down wondering, I suspect, why the thing had snaps at the neck.

I was about to explain when a saleslady approached wearing a button that said “All Our Bras Are Half Off.” She looked frazzled. Her hair was mussed. Her makeup was smeared, and she had bags under her eyes. “Let me guess,” she said. “Gift for the wife?” Before I could compliment her on such a quick assessment of the situation, she moved me to one side and yelled over my shoulder. “Please don’t mix the satin panties up with the silk ones.” Two guys, who were each holding a dozen pair of panties, smiled sheepishly, like they just got caught during a midnight raid at the female dorms.

“I hate Valentine’s Day,” she muttered. Then with a forced smile she asked, “So, what did you have in mind?” “I dunno. Something sexy, I guess.” “Novel idea. What’s her favorite color?” “Uhh . . . brown?” “Brown? Brown’s her favorite color?” “Green?” “You don’t know, do you?” “Well, our cat is gray and white and she likes him a lot.”

I thought briefly about the cat and wondered if he’d still be there when I got home. Meanwhile, the saleslady moved me to one side again. “Sir. Siiirrrr.” A large, bald man in a three-piece suit glanced up. “It’s Velcro,” she said. “As you have no doubt observed, it will make that same sound over and over.”

She shook her head, turned her attention back to me and was about to speak when a tall, thin guy approached us wearing a teddy over his T-shirt and boxer shorts. “Whaddya think?” he asked. I thought the red was a little too bright for his complexion and was about to say so when the saleslady jumped up onto a clearance counter and addressed the entire store.

“Okay. Here’s what we are going to do. I want every one of you to take out the amount of money you want to spend and step up to the counter. I will hand you an item that costs that amount of money. Do not worry about the color or size. Your wives will be in here to exchange your gifts tomorrow. Now, who’s first?” We all hesitated.

She held up her watch. “The mall closes in fifteen minutes, gentlemen, and they are predicting a particularly cold February this year.” I thought I caught a whiff of damp tent. Then I quickly took out my wallet and got in line.

Ernie Witham (c) 1996
From Chicken Soup for the Romantic Soul
Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
August 19, 1999

When I arrived at 6 a.m. in the large hospital kitchen, Rose was already checking name tags on the trays against the patient roster. Stainless steel shelves held rows of breakfast trays, which we would soon be serving.

“Hi, I’m Janet.” I tried to sound cheerful, although I already knew Rose’s reputation for being impossible to work with. “I’m scheduled to work with you this week.”

Rose, a middle-aged woman with graying hair, stopped what she was doing and peered over her reading glasses. I could tell from her expression she wasn’t pleased to see a student worker.

“What do you want me to do? Start the coffee?” I asked.

Rose sullenly nodded and went back to checking name tags.

I filled the 40-cup pot with cold water and began making the coffee when Rose gruffly snapped, “That’s not the way to make coffee.” She stepped in and took over.

“I was just doing it the way our supervisor showed us to do it,” I said in astonishment.

“The patients like the coffee better the way I do it,” she replied curtly.

Nothing I did pleased her. All morning, her eagle eyes missed nothing and her sharp words stung. She literally trailed me around the kitchen.

Later, after breakfast had been served and the dishes had been washed, I set up my share of trays for the next meal. Then I busied myself cleaning the sink. Certainly Rose couldn’t criticize the way I did that.

When I turned around, there stood Rose, rearranging all of the trays I had just set up!

Totally exhausted, I trudged the six blocks home from the University of Minnesota Hospital late that June afternoon. As a third year university student working my way through school, I had never before encountered anyone like Rose.

Fighting back tears, I wrestled with my dilemma alone in my room. “Lord, what do you want me to do? I can’t take much more of Rose.”

I turned the possibilities over in my mind. Should I see if my supervisor would switch me to work with someone else? Scheduling was fairly flexible. On the other hand, I didn’t want to be a quitter. I knew my older co-workers were watching to see if my actions matched my words.

The answer to my prayer caught me completely by surprise. I needed to love Rose.

Love her? No way! Tolerate, maybe.. but loving her seemed impossible.

“Lord, I can’t love Rose. You’ll have to do it through me.”

Working with Rose the next morning, I ignored the barbs thrown in my direction and did things Rose’s way as much as possible to avoid friction. As I worked, I silently began to surround Rose with a warm blanket of prayers. “Lord, help me love Rose. Lord, bless Rose.” “Father, come to her rescue.”

Over the next few days, an amazing thing began to happen. As I prayed for this irritating woman, my focus shifted from what she was doing to me and I started seeing Rose as the hurting person she was. Then, slowly, her icy tension began to melt away.

Throughout the rest of the summer, we had numerous opportunities to work together. Each time, she seemed genuinely happy to see me. Her bitterness gave way as she started opening up. As I worked with this lonely woman, I listened to her, something no one else had done.

I learned that she was burdened by elderly parents who needed her care, her own health problems and an alcoholic husband she was thinking of leaving. I silently interceded for her day by day before the Throne of Grace.

The days slipped by quickly as I finished the last several weeks of my summer job. Leaves were starting to turn yellow and red and there was a cool crispness in the air. I soon would be returning as a full-time university student.

One day, while I was working alone in one of the hospital kitchens, Rose entered the room. Instead of her blue uniform, she was wearing street clothes.

I looked at her in surprise. “Aren’t you working today?”

“I got another job and won’t be working here any more,” she said as she walked over and gave me a quick hug. “I just came to say goodbye. You are the one person I will truly miss. You are the one person I wish I could take with me.” Then she turned abruptly and walked out the door. [She did take me with her. I still pray for her today.]

Although I never saw Rose again, I still remember her vividly. That summer, I learned a lesson I’ve never forgotten. The world is full of people like Rose: irritating, demanding, unlovable on the outside, yet hurting inside. I’ve found that love and prayer is the best way to turn an enemy into a friend. Try it; it works.

A Lesson of a Lifetime by Janet Seever
Chickensoup For The Soul
http://www.chickensoup.com/   Changing Lives One Story At A Time
Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
August 8, 2015

She was three. Just released from a far-away hospital after life threatening brain surgery, ready to take on the world again. I was happy just to have her back. My little “Mr. Clean” (shaven head and hoop earrings) and I were driving to our local mall for “Daddy’s Day”. I cherished our time together. For a while, I thought I lost her.

I loved my little bundle of energy so much. I was going to protect her from the world. I was going to make life as easy as possible for her. She had already been through so much. I could feel a little of  how a mother must feel as a single father raising a daughter that had started life with two strikes against her. I was determined to be her sunshine coming out of a dark night. But sometimes God has different plans than we do. Her dark night had just begun.

My beautiful little girl would soon embark on a long road of seizures, surgeries, special schools, medications and end up partially paralyzed on her right side. She never learned to ride a bike.

Today, she is almost seventeen. She cannot use her right hand and walks with a noticeable limp. She has had to overcome one obstacle after another. She has always had to struggle in school, both socially and academically. But through it, she has developed a radiance and a charisma with a tenacity that has a combining effect of a Venus fly trap. Spend a moment with her and you are captivated for life.

At first glance, she is a cripple. At second glance, one notices beauty and charm. At third glance, one is left almost stunned at the wit, deep wisdom and determination of one so young.

She is planning a career in early childhood education. With one year still remaining in high school, she and I, one night not too long ago, mapped out all the courses she would need to take in community college to enter the University. She invited me to participate, so “dad” could have a part. But the planning was hers. She volunteers weekly at a local hospital, on the children’s floor. She baby-sits a neighbor’s children five days a week. On her own this year, she stood outside in line for four hours on a cold Canadian January afternoon and enrolled herself, with her own babysitting money, in two courses she felt she would need for a foundation to develop her career.

At first, one would be tempted to shake their fist at God. Plans in raising a little girl that never panned out, a life of struggle; but as I look at what He gave me instead, I fall on my face in one big tear. Just watching her, I can see the difference between a good architect and a great one. I think I would have been a good architect. I would have given my daughter a good life. But the one God gave her… and me is priceless.

Dedicated to my daughter...And I love you so.
 (c)1999 Rick Beneteau
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