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Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
May 15, 1995

There is an episode on one of my son’s favorite TV shows, Jay Jay the Jet Plane where Herkie, the Helicopter has to perform a good deed in order to earn a Merit Badge. Herkie spends the entire show attempting to perform a remarkable, heroic deed, only to fail time and again.

Finally, Herkie gives up, sure he will never be good enough to win the badge. However, at the end of the show, he is surprised to find he has earned the award after all by doing a small act he had felt was so insignificant he hadn’t even considered it a good deed.

As my pregnancy has progressed, I’ve had more and more trouble sleeping, despite the fact that I’m dead tired most of the time. People have suggested I get a pregnancy pillow to help me find a comfortable position, but all of the pillows I saw were so expensive they didn’t seem worth it for a few months relief.

Finally, I spotted a pillow on the internet where the price was right – $10 even I was willing to try something for that!

When the pillow arrived, I was, frankly, underwhelmed. It looked exactly like a blue wedge of cheese, and it left me wondering how such an insignificant product could be any help at all.

But, far be it for me to waste $10, so I diligently took my slice of cheese to bed with me, jamming it under my belly as instructed on the box.

What a pleasant surprise! Just that small change made all the difference in the world to my sleep comfort. And, the Cheese’s (as I’ve taken to call it) small size proved to be an asset as well, as it easily fit into my suitcase on a recent trip.

I’m sure that by now you are wondering what Herkie the Helicopter and my Cheese have in common. Well, I’ll tell you! So often in my life, I’ve felt like Herkie, needing to perform a big awesome act in order to make a difference. And, since heroic acts are few and far between in this world, it is easy for me to start to feel pretty insignificant and useless.

In reality, we all have much more of an opportunity to be like the Cheese making a small difference here and there that we may not even notice, but others appreciate tremendously.

It’s easy to lose track of all that we can do to make a difference, because so much of it we do without thinking as part of our daily lives. But it is reassuring to remember that those little acts of kindness we do automatically really make a huge impact in the long run. As Sally Koch reminds us Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us every day.

So, today, I encourage you to celebrate all the little things you do every day and to remember that, in the long run, even Herkie learned that it’s better to  stop looking for the big things and to just be the Cheese instead.

 By Sue Dickinson
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Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
March 18, 1998

A little house with three bedrooms and one car on the street,
A mower that you had to push to make the grass look neat.

In the kitchen on the wall we only had one phone,
And no need for recording things, someone was always home.

We only had a living room where we would congregate,
Unless it was at mealtime in the kitchen where we ate.

We had no need for family rooms or extra rooms to dine,
When meeting as a family those two rooms would work out fine.

We only had one TV set, and channels maybe two,
But always there was one of them with something worth the view.

For snacks we had potato chips that tasted like a chip,
And if you wanted flavor there was Lipton’s onion dip.

Store-bought snacks were rare because my mother liked to cook,
And nothing can compare to snacks in Betty Crockery’s book.

The snacks were even healthy with the best ingredients,
No labels with a hundred things that make not a bit of sense.

Weekends were for family trips or staying home to play,
We all did things together — even go to church to pray.

When we did our weekend trips depending on the weather,
No one stayed at home because we liked to be together.

Sometimes we would separate to do things on our own,
But we knew where the others were without our own cell phone.

Then there were the movies with your favorite movie star,
And nothing can compare to watching movies in your car.

Then there were the picnics at the peak of summer season,
Pack a lunch and find some trees and never need a reason.

Get a baseball game together with all the friends you know,
Have real action playing ball — and no game video.

Remember when the doctor used to be the family friend,
And didn’t need insurance or a lawyer to defend?

The way that he took care of you or what he had to do,
Because he took an oath and strived to do the best for you.

Remember going to the store and shopping casually,
And when you went to pay for it you used your own money?

Nothing that you had to swipe or punch in some amount,
Remember when the cashier person had to really count?

Remember when we breathed the air; it smelled so fresh and clean,
And chemicals were not used on the grass to keep it green.

The milkman used to go from door to door,
And it was just a few cents more than going to the store.

There was a time when mailed letters came right to your door,
Without a lot of junk mail ads sent out by every store.

The mailman knew each house by name and knew where it was sent;
There were not loads of mail addressed to “present occupant.”

Remember when the words “I do” meant that you really did,
And not just temporarily “til someone blows their lid.”

T’was no such thing as “no one’s fault; we just made a mistake,”
There was a time when married life was built on give and take.

There was a time when just one glance was all that it would take,
And you would know the kind of car, the model and the make.

They didn’t look like turtles trying to squeeze out every mile;
They were streamlined, white walls, fins, and really had some style.

One time the music that you played whenever you would jive,
Was from a vinyl, big-holed record called a forty-five.

The record player had a post to keep them all in line,
And then the records would drop down and play one at a time.

Oh sure, we had our problems then, just like we do today,
And always we were striving, trying for a better way.

And every year that passed us by brought new and greater things,
We now can even program phones with music or with rings.

Oh, the simple life we lived still seems like so much fun,
How can you explain a game, just kick the can and run?

And why would boys put baseball cards between bicycle spokes,
And for a nickel red machines had little bottled Cokes?

This life seemed so much easier and slower in some ways,
I love the new technology but I sure miss those days.

So, time moves on and so do we, and nothing stays the same,
But I sure love to reminisce and walk down memory lane.

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

Vintage Dilbert
December 20, 1995

There have been many stories of the origins of the Christmas carol “Silent Night, Holy Night.” In fact, the carol goes back further than when Christmas cards began. One of the most popularly told one is as follows:

In the winter of 1818 at St. Nicholas’ Church at Obendorf, a village near Salzburg, Austria, Joseph Mohr, the assistant to the priest, faced a dilemma. It was just days before Christmas, and the church organ which was so important to providing music for the Christmas services was broken. Since the organ repairman was not a local of the village it would actually be months before the repair could be made, and Christmas would be long past.

His solution to the problem of the broken organ resulted in one of the most popular Christmas carols of all time. In 1816 Mohr had written a simple poem that the villagers could understand expressing the wonder of the birth of Jesus. He asked his friend Franz Gruber who was the organist at St. Nicholas to write music to accompany his poem so that they could sing it together using a guitar to accompany their singing.

They first performed their newly composed Christmas carol at the Christmas Eve midnight service on December 24, 1818. It did not instantly receive the worldwide recognition it has come to know, however. It was not until years later in 1825 when Carl Mauracher was rebuilding the organ at St. Nicholas that a handwritten copy of the words and music was found in the organ loft.

Mauracher was from an area in the mountains of Tyrol which had many traveling folk choirs who performed throughout Europe. He carried the carol back home, and it became a popular song with the choirs as they traveled and spread its popularity wherever they went.

In some versions of the story it is told that mice had eaten the bellows of the organ. Others say that Gruber himself had broken the organ. It is believed that there was frequent flooding of the area that caused rust and mildew to affect the condition of the church organ often making it unplayable. It is actually not known however if the organ was truly broken at Christmastime of 1818. Some say that Mohr simply wanted a new carol for the service and was fond of the guitar as an instrument. Some stories tell that both the poem and the music were hastily written that Christmas Eve. A manuscript for “Silent Night” in Mohr’s hand was discovered in 1995 which is dated 1816. In the manuscript Mohr credits the melody used for the carol to Franz Gruber.

Whatever the details of the circumstances, Joseph Mohr’s and Franz Gruber’s contribution of Christmas music for their village’s Christmas Eve midnight mass gave us all the beautiful “Silent Night, Holy Night.”

Author Unknown - Please comment if you know the author
 so credit can be given

dilbert

As I warmed up my car on a cold Buffalo morning, I readied myself for a drive to Rich Stadium where I was to start my first NFL playoff game. This particular day, January 3, 1993, we were playing the Houston Oilers in an AFC wildcard game.

As the windows of my car were defrosting, I listened to a song I had heard at least 100 times that week. The song was “In Christ Alone,” performed by Michael English, lyrics by Shawn Craig, and music by Don Koch. I sat and listened again to the words and music which had so inspired me all week long. With the song ending and the windows fully defrosted, I was ready for my short drive to Rich Stadium. But, instead of heading for the game, I sat and listened to the song again and again.

Finally, I pulled a tablet from my playbook and wrote down the words to that incredible song. I sensed God telling me that somehow He wanted me to share that song with someone that day. Perhaps it would be with a teammate, friend, or even a stranger. But right there in my car, I promised God I would obey.

Well, little did I realize what God had planned.

We won our game against Houston 41-38 in overtime. A game in which we were losing 35-3 midway through the 3rd quarter. A game now known as the greatest comeback in NFL history.

As I stood behind the podium before the mass of media at the post-game press conference, it was very clear to me just how God intended me to share that powerful song. To start the press conference, I read these words…

In Christ alone will I glory,
Though I could pride myself in battle won.
For I have been blessed beyond measure,
And by His strength alone I overcome.
Oh, I could stop and count successes,
Like diamonds in my hand.
But those trophies could not equal, to the grace by which I stand.

In Christ alone,
I place my trust,
And find my glory in the power of the cross.
In every victory, let it be said of me,
My source of strength, my source of hope,
Is Christ alone.

In Christ alone will I glory,
For only by His grace, I am redeemed
And only His tender mercy, could reach
Beyond my weakness to my need.
Now, I seek no greater honor than just to know Him more
And to count my gains but losses, and to the Glory of my Lord.

Listen to Michael English perform “In Christ Alone,” in the video below:

Behind all the hoopla surrounding the greatest comeback in NFL history, you could hear the question being asked, was God on the Bills’ side for that game? The answer, of course, was yes! But let me also say, God was on the Houston Oilers’ side as well. You might say, well how could that be since the Bills won? Let me use this illustration. As the father of two girls (Lia and Aviry), I love them both very much. When they play a game together, as their father, I am not concerned with who wins and who loses. What is most important is that they learn the lessons they are to be taught from playing the game. Many times, I will even help determine the outcome of their game. This helps to get a point across to one or both girls.

In the same way, God looks at us as His children. He doesn’t care who wins or loses a football game, but only that we learn from each contest and draw closer to Him as a result of what we have learned.

The song, “In Christ Alone,” has been special to me in many ways. It definitely encouraged me to have the strength and the courage to come back against the Oilers. But as I would learn almost a month later, the song had a much deeper message for me to learn. You see, after our crushing 52-17 loss to the Cowboys in SuperBowl XXVII, I was devastated. The devastation was compounded by the fact that I had played more than half of the game. I couldn’t understand how God could allow us to get beat like that, especially after the Houston miracle. I was flying home from Pasadena when I realized the answer. For the first two hours of the trip, I was going crazy trying to figure out why the SuperBowl went the way it did.

Finally, I could take it no longer. I realized I could be asking the same questions the rest of my life. I needed some peace of mind. The only thing I could think to do was to put on my headset and listen to “In Christ Alone.” I sought comfort from the song which gave me peace during the stressful week prior to the Houston game. The message I was now hearing was that we can experience victory in all our circumstances through Jesus Christ. He gives us the strength and hope to overcome all odds.

Looking back on both the Houston game and the Super Bowl, I realize the circumstances I had to overcome were nothing compared to what so many hurting people face on a daily basis. That is why when I think of the song, “In Christ Alone,” I think of how it inspired me and worked miracles in my life. I get even more excited about how it can encourage and inspire others whose trials are much more difficult than those I’ve written about.

My hope and prayer is that people everywhere will find Jesus as their source of strength and their source of hope.

If you would like to know more about Jesus and what He can do for you, just click this link to change your life.

———-

Frank Reich was a 14-year NFL veteran quarterback. He was a D3-85 draft choice (57th overall) by Buffalo, where he played from 1985-94, before signing with Carolina in 1995. Reich spent 1996 with the New York Jets and 1997-98 with Detroit.

Reich is now the quarterbacks coach of the Indianapolis Colts, starting in 2008. He previously served as offensive coaching staff assistant with the Colts in 2008 and was a coaching intern from 2006-07. Reich was born December 4, 1961 in Freeport, N.Y. He resides with his wife, Linda, and their three children in Indianapolis.

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