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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 readers around the world by sending a blank e-mail to:

Visit our inspirational web site and read all the past stories in our archives at:

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

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It is with great pleasure that I share the following story with all of you from one of our favorite writers: Jennifer Oliver. May her story touch your heart like it touched mine... From my family to yours, Michael



by Jennifer Oliver

I observed the man from the comfort of my lawn chair as I sat with other parents in the shade.

"WAY TO GO!" he yelled, clapping and whistling. "GOOD

He was shirt-less and sitting at the kiddie pool where his little girl, a toddler, was happily splashing. It was the first day of swimming lessons, and this man was rooting for the kids, who were at the moment learning how to float on their backs in the main pool.

I looked around me. One man with sunglasses had a laptop -- in his lap, of course -- and was busy scrolling through screens. Three Mexican women conversed in their mother tongue. One pale woman stuck her white-gooed nose in a paperback. A string of other parents and grandparents rooted themselves at picnic tables under steel canopies on the far side of the pool. All of us were quietly watching from the sidelines as our children took instructions from two certified swimming instructors.

"YOU CAN DO IT!" the cheerleading man continued as the kids learned to dunk their heads underwater.

How in the world could this man be so loud? I thought. So obnoxious and pulling attention to himself? Why can't he be like the rest of us adults and just be quiet?

I would never dream of bringing attention to myself. Growing up, I've always had a death-like fear of people staring at me. It wasn't until my senior year in high school that I mustered the courage to overthrow my fears and take the lead as Daisy Mae. I remembered my Mom wearing a shirt that bragged, "I'm Daisy Mae's Mom."

But that was the last time I ever performed solo in front of an audience. Yet here I was at a swimming lesson with my boys, and I couldn't summon the courage to even cheer them on. I mean, what would the rest of these docile parents think of me? A raving lunatic like this man?

I thought of my husband who told me how much he dreaded the thought of turning into a grown-up, all staid, stiff, complacent, dull...well, pretty much like the ones squatting around the pool in the shade. Motionless and tight-lipped.

Just like me.

"WHOO-HOO!" the man yelled. A deep scar ran from his chest all the way down to disappear in shorts, displacing his belly button. Apparently the man cared little about what folks would think about the way he looked.

"Look at that guy," said the man with the laptop. "Who does that idiot think he is?"

Sighing, I leaned over and said, "That idiot? Well, that idiot happens to be my husband."

With that, I rose from my lawn chair, ambled over to the kiddie pool, plopped down next to my shirt-less hubby, stuck my lily-white legs into the cool water, and together we cheered on all the kids.

Jennifer Oliver
Copyright 2003 by Jennifer Oliver. All rights reserved.

Write Jennifer and let her know what you thought of her article!

Visit to read more about Jennifer and her family or to sign up for her weekly column "Stories of Heart."

Hailing from Killeen, Texas, HeartTouchers Featured Author, Jennifer Oliver, is wife to awesome househubby, Stephen, mother to four beautiful blessings, ages 2 to 8, and works as a government webmaster.  A legally deaf woman, she has learned to overcome lifelong obstacles with humor.  She delivers uplifting stories through her weekly e-zine "Stories of Heart" and has crafted stories for Chicken Soup, Heartwarmers, Stories for a Woman's Heart, Don't Sweat the Small Stuff, and Half Full.  Her collection of inspirational and humorous stories is wrapped up in "Four Ears:  Works of Heart" and can be delivered to your home via or


Note from Michael:

I wanted to share more about Jennifer's book with all of our readers!

"Four Ears:  Works of Heart," released by PublishAmerica (

"Four Ears" is a treasury of universal life lessons. Mostly biographical with a Christian flavor, each slice-of-life story  connects with the heart. One sees Jennifer's first-person account as a girl, coping with her hearing loss with grace and humor. She elicits stories from her husband, Stephen, through his eyes. They've given the world a homegrown cast of characters -- their four children -- who are pivotal in the way Jennifer and Stephen view life from the walls of their perennial fixer-upper.

Family love moments, life's bookmarks, and cherished vignettes from their lives round out this powerful collection, resonating in your heart long after you've finished it. It's possible to achieve the American dream, and this book holds the formula that has been tested time and again in the Oliver family. In fact, they encourage you to try it at home yourself.

At this time, the softcover book is available on the home page of for the pre-release price of $21.95 (it will retail for $24.95).  The publisher accepts Visa, MasterCard, and American Express.  S&H is $3.00 for the first copy and fifty-cents for additional copies.  Maryland residents need to add 5% state tax.  Make checks payable to PublishAmerica and mail to P.O. Box, Frederick, MD 21705.

- OR ?

For a limited time only, you can buy an autographed copy direct from Susan for $21.95, minus the shipping cost!  Make a check or money order out to Jennifer Oliver and mail it to:

Jennifer Oliver
683 Brenda Drive
Killeen, Texas  76542

Let her know for whom you wish to autograph the book.  Also, if you wish to have it gift-wrapped, that is free.  Allow two weeks for her to sign and deliver the love directly to your doorstep!


Thought For The Day:

"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." --Eleanor Roosevelt

Verse for the Day:

"For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future." --Jermiah 29:11

Kid's Thought For The Day:

"The colder you look when you come inside, the bigger the cup of hot chocolate you'll get."

Parent's Thought For The Day

"You know your children are growing up when they start asking questions that have answers." --John Plomb

Coach's Thought For The Day

"The road to success is always under construction."

Writer's Thought For The Day:

"It's an adrenaline surge rushing through your body. You have this spark of an idea that keeps threatening to burst into flames and you have to get the words out on paper to match this emotion or picture in your head. After this comes the work of cleaning up the mess that you made." ---- Janet West

Deep Thought For The Day:

"Why do light switches say on/off? When it's on you can see it's on, when it's off you can't see to read."



Hi Michael and Kristi,
Firstly, congratulations on your new addition!  I've only just started getting your emails again and I enjoy them so much.  I really missed reading them. I have a prayer request.  My boss where I've just recently started working has a little girl with some serious health problems that are now deteriorating.  She has only just turned 1.  My boss doesn't talk about it much because it's too upsetting.  I have 2 little girls under 3, and can only imagine what her family is going through.  She has had to announce her resignation so she can be with her daughter during the treatment.  This family is going through some tough times facing choices about treatment and their baby's health.  I know of the power of your reader's prayer, would you pass on this prayer request to them?  Please pray for this little girl and her family, and that God's will be done. Thank you, Sue in Rosewood, QLD, Australia



"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

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:


Would you like to see your story in Writer's guidelines can be found on our Web site here:

Do you feel as if life has no meaning for you?


The copyrights to the stories that appear in 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!


Reading Books, Changing Lives!

For those of you who would like to purchase the books from the 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!


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."
Transfer your photographs or old home videos over to DVD or MP4 files! Give the gift that will touch your family's heart and soul.

You can join the 15,000 followers on his Facebook Nature Photography by clicking on the link above!

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