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{HeartTouchers.com} *Another Mother's Son*

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If you enjoy this free email service, I encourage you to spread the word to family and friends that we may bring inspiration into the lives of many! If you are not on the list and this has been passed along to you, join the thousands of HeartTouchers.com readers around the world by sending a blank e-mail to:

HeartTouchers-subscribe@myinjesus.com

Visit our inspirational web site and read all the past stories in our archives at:
http://www.HeartTouchers.com/Archives

Be sure to check out our brand new inspirational list just for teenagers!

Heart4Teens.com

To subscribe, send a blank e-mail to: Heart4Teens-subscribe@myinjesus.com or visit:
http://www.Heart4Teens.com


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Good morning HeartTouchers readers!

I received this story from my friend Tom Lagana today and wanted to share it with all of you. If there was ever a story about forgiveness it is this one...

Hope all of you had a wonderful holiday season!

From my family to yours,
Michael
P.S. Tom is offering a huge discount on his book: "Serving Time, Serving Others" from which today's story comes from for our HeartTouchers subscribers. Be sure to take advantage of it and visit Tom and his wife Laura's websites. They truly are two people who are touching people's lives, one story at a time!



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In 2001, Michael Powers posted a story, titled "The Gift of Forgiveness" in his HeartTouchers e-zine. The story by Kim Book was about her forgiving the man who stabbed her only child to death. The story appeared in our newly published book "Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul." Anyone who is familiar with HeartTouchers knows that Michael encourages his readers to give feedback to the authors of the stories. Until you have experienced the wonderful feedback yourself, it's difficult to truly appreciate all the kindness and love that HeartTouchers' readers shower you with. For weeks after the posting, Kim Book received wonderful feedback, and she forwarded each one to me. Although all the e-mails were great, one in particular, from Mary Lodge, stood out, and I wrote to ask her to participate in a possible future book. In July 2003, my wife, Laura and I decided it was time for a new prison-related book of stories to touch the hearts, and we began working on "Serving Time, Serving Others: Acts of Kindness by Inmates, Prison Staff, Victims, and Volunteers." Laura worked with Mary to develop that e-mail from years before into the following story to touch your HeartTouchers' hearts. Enjoy it ... and thanks for your inspiration.

Tom Lagana - Tom@TomLagana.com
Co-author "Chicken Soup for the Volunteer's Soul," "Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul" and "Serving Time, Serving Others" (302) 475-4825 -- PO Box 7816, Wilmington, DE 19803
http://www.TomLagana.com

Note from Michael: If you would like to read Kim Book's story "The Gift of Forgiveness" you can click on the following link that will take you to her story in the HeartTouchers archives:
http://www.storiesfrommyheart.com/040201/

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Another Mother's Son

by Mary G. Lodge
as told to Laura Lagana

When my beloved 18-year-old son was murdered in 1996, I thought my life was over. When it finally sunk in that this vivacious child of mine was dead, I felt as if I were having a heart attack from head to toe. I was numb. In order to survive this twisted nightmare, l moved to a different level of consciousness.

During the trial, I wasn't allowed to speak to Robbie's murderer. On the day of the hearing, I got my first glimpse of Shawn. He stared at the floor as they led him into the dimly lit courtroom. Shadows masked his face, distorting his features, giving him a grotesque fiendish appearance. Although it was my decision not to take the stand, I made it clear to the judge that I wanted to speak with this evil perpetrator after his sentencing.

At the conclusion of the arduous proceedings, the judge summoned me to his chambers. Filled with rage and hatred, I followed the bailiff into a small, paneled office. My heart beat faster with each step as I prepared to meet the young man who took my son's life. Shawn stood in the corner, head down, crying like a baby. His hands and feet shackled; this trembling, pitiful 20-year-old wore little more than baggy orange prison garb. As I watched this boy, so forlorn-no parents, no friends and no support-all I saw was another mother's son.

Suddenly I found myself asking, "Can I give you a hug, Shawn?" He looked up, revealing a childlike face stained with tears and nodded his consent. The bailiff motioned me toward the prisoner. I walked over and put my arms around him. "I forgive you for this horrible thing you've done. I will pray for you every day that you're in prison. I would rather my Robbie be where he is than where you're going." Our eyes connected for a few moments, and then the bailiff escorted me from the room.

Shawn received a 20-to-40-year sentence. How do you compare that to the life of my son? No sentence could bring Robbie back. I still wonder what made Shawn commit this crime. He has given me several explanations, but I still don't have an answer. He has been in prison for five years now, and, so far, I'm his only visitor. Shawn's sentencing has given me no satisfaction, but I believe the compassion I felt in the judge's chamber that day was a gift from God.

Because of the abrupt changes in my life, I'm now part of a prison ministry. I know I could not heal the deep, dark places of hatred and revenge, imbedded within my heart and soul, had I not forgiven my son's murderer. Forgiveness has set me free.

Hatred and revenge won't bring back my beloved son, Robbie, but Shawn is someone's son too. The hatred has to stop somewhere. What better place to begin than with me?

Mary G. Lodge
lodgedoor@aol.com

Laura Lagana
Laura@LauraLagana.com

Write to Mary and Laura and let them know your thoughts on their story!


Another Mother's Son. Reprinted by permission of Mary G. Lodge and Laura Lagana. 2003 Mary G. Lodge and Laura Lagana.

Mary G. Lodge is a mother to five children, eleven grandchildren and four great-children. She enjoys crafts, painting and writing. She is a Stephan Minister in her church and enjoys speaking on the subject of forgiveness. She may be contacted at e-mail: lodgedoor@aol.com.

Laura Lagana is a professional speaker, author, registered nurse and volunteer. She is co-author of Chicken Soup for the Volunteer's Soul, Serving Time, Serving Others and author/editor of Touched by Angels of Mercy, and a frequent contributor to the best-selling Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Contact her at P.O. Box 7816, Wilmington, DE 19803; e-mail: Laura@LauraLagana.com; Web site:
http://www.LauraLagana.com.

In appreciation, we offer HeartTouchers readers a $5 discount on our new book, "Serving Time, Serving Others." It is normally $18, including shipping in the US. Check payable to "Success Solutions" and mail to: Serving Time, Serving Others PO Box 7816 Wilmington DE 19803
http://www.TomLagana.com/servingtimeservingothers.html For those ministering to inmates, ask about receiving a free box of books with the purchase of a box of 36 "Serving Time, Serving Others" at our quantity discount. E-mail: Tom@TomLagana.com


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Cal-Con Corner (Stories about our two little boys!)

One day when Caleb was three, he looked up at me and said in his long and drawn out fashion, "Daddddy, when I grooowww up, I want to be a girrrlll, so I can play BASKETBALL!!"

I had to explain to him that boys play basketball, too, but I guess three years of coming to the girls' practices at Clinton High School have made an impression on him.

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Thought For The Day:

"Love sees through a telescope, not a microscope."


Verse for the Day:

"Love endures long and is patient and kind...it takes no account of the evil done to it (it pays no attention to a suffered wrong)."1 Corinthians 13:4,5 (AMP)


Kid's Thought For The Day:

"If it tastes good it probably isn't good for you."


Parent's Thought For The Day

"It's not easy being a mother. If it were easy, fathers would do it." -Dorothy on The Golden Girls


Coach's Thought For The Day

"When you help someone up a hill, you'll find yourself close to the top, too."


Writer's Thought For The Day:

"I am always interested in why young people become writers, and from talking with many I have concluded that most do not want to be writers working 8 and 10 hours a day and accomplishing little; they want to have been writers, garnering the rewards of having completed a bestseller. They aspire to the rewards of writing but not to the travail." --James A. Michener


Deep Thought For The Day:

"My next house will have no kitchen -- just vending machines."


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Have you been to the HeartTouchers.com website lately? If you like what you see and would like to have your own professional looking website, visit the link below. Bizstudio has been a wonderful service for HeartTouchers.com and with 290,000 visitors in the past three years, the website has been a tremendous tool in helping us to "Touch Lives, One Email at a Time." Although I had no prior experience building a website, I was able to create and build the HeartTouchers.com site easily utilizing Bizstudio's online editor. It includes an Online Site Editor, Unlimited Updates, Unlimited Pages, Professional Themes, Pre-Programmed Features, E-mail Accounts, and free Search Engine Submission. If I could do it with no prior experience you can too! Check it out at this link:

http://www.bizstudio.com/main/home.htm?bpn=A16435


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MICHAEL T. POWERS
www.HeartTouchers.com

"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." Galatians 2:20
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Video Imagery --Michael's Video Production Business

Dear Michael,

I just wanted to take a minute to thank you for the beautiful video you made for me! It was so special to see both of my parents in tears as they watched their children grow up in pictures before their eyes! I loved the way you made Estania's part set aside from the rest--that was the part that really got them! The music was beautiful. My mom kept blubbering, "What song is that?" I don't know how you did such a beautiful job with the video in such a short time. I really appreciate your doing it so quickly. You have a wonderful gift, and I thank God that you are using it to create such sentimental memories. I hope that I can find my niche like that in an area that I love. Your video gave us one of our most lasting Christmas memories! I hope yours was filled with moments to be treasured forever! Love, Trisha Silverhill, AL

Let me make you a video from your photos! Check out my video production business by visiting:
http://www.hearttouchers.com/video_imagery


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Would you like to see your story in HeartTouchers.com? Writer's guidelines can be found on our Web site here:
http://www.HeartTouchers.com/guidelines/
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Do you feel as if life has no meaning for you?
http://www.greatcom.org/english/four.htm


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The copyrights to the stories that appear in HeartTouchers.com are owned by the authors and are used with their permission. We refuse to run stories without the author's permission and contact info listed after the story. We also refuse to publish stories listed as "author unknown." (All of which violates Copyright Law and the rights of the authors.) This e-mail may be forwarded in its entirety, but please do not cut and paste the stories to be used elsewhere unless you have contacted and been given permission by the individual writer. Thank you so much for honoring the rights of those writers who graciously share their stories with us!

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Reading Books, Changing Lives!

For those of you who would like to purchase the books from the HeartTouchers.com bookstore via your credit card, you can now do so!

You can now order a number of different autographed best-selling inspirational books for the same price you would get them in the store, the shipping to you is paid for, and you are helping change the lives of teenagers and those they come in contact with! And best of all, every penny from the book sales are going to youth ministry!

http://www.HeartTouchers.com/books


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A number of people have written to us asking what an EBook is, since our book is being offered in both print and EBook versions. An EBook is a book that can be downloaded and read right on your computer. The advantage of ordering the EBook is that is costs less, $8.95 (No other charges), as compared to $14.95 + shipping and handling for the print book. Plus you can download the EBook and begin reading the stories in a few minutes! EBooks are read via Acrobat Reader, which is software that most of you already have on your computer. And if for some reason you don't, it can be downloaded free of charge at the web site. So for those of you who don't want to wait for the print book to be delivered, check out this web site to order the EBook version of Straight From the Heart "A Celebration of Life."

http://www.booklocker.com/bookpages/michaeltpowers01.html
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