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Good afternoon HeartTouchers readers!
It my pleasure to share an incredibly touching story with you today by a writer who is new to HeartTouchers! As is our custom, please email her and give her a warm and encouraging welcome if her story touches your heart in some way... From my family to yours, Michael
Cal-Con Corner (Stories about our two little boys!)
Parents of young kids know that as soon as they get into the car, the Raffi tape, or some other kid's song collection, has to be played. Sometimes it is fun to sing along with my kids, and sometimes it can become a great big headache!
One day, while making a 25 minute trip to a nearbye town, I found myself singing along with one of Caleb's tapes: "Down on Grandpa's farm there is a big brown cow. The cow she makes a sound like this: MOOOOOOO, the cow she makes a sound like this: MOOOOOOO. Oh, we're on the way, we're on the way, on the way to grandpa's farm!"
I sang and "mooed" for twenty-five straight minutes. As I pulled into the parking lot at the high school and turned off the engine, I realized that my two young boys were safe at home with Kristi, and that I had sung Raffi songs the whole trip for no reason other than the tape started playing when I started the car and I was used to doing it!
Long Live Raffi!
A Hidden Message
by Milly Geisler
Eleanor's home, humble as it might have seemed to others, was her sanctuary, her heaven on earth. Rev. Billy Graham could have been describing Eleanor's home when he wrote, "The home should be a shelter of security, a kind of school where life's basic lessons are taught, a kind of church where God is honored, and a place where wholesome recreation and simple pleasures are enjoyed."
Even though she had resided for some time in a care facility, which was as near like home as any abode could be, Eleanor always dreamed of returning to the home she loved on Hazel Dell road. Her heart and head were filled with longing; her desire was even deeper than longing -- it was an intense yearning to go home.
Now that home had been destroyed by fire. My heart ached for her as I stood, tearfully scanning the smoldering ruins, disconnected thoughts crowding my thinking.
Selfishly, my first thoughts raced backward to the time, when I was only six years old and my own home had gone up in flames. I envisioned myself, a first grader, attempting to sneak through the smoky front door, to grab my new Reader from the table in the hallway. Three times I was pulled back by the tail of my flannel gown out of danger's way. Next returned to memory, the touching story of the prized Victrola phonograph which, aside from being a beautiful piece of furniture, was our main source of musical entertainment. Neighbors had carried it from the burning building onto the front lawn, along with other pieces of furniture they salvaged. The next morning as they began to move the items to storage, one man suggested, "Let's see what's on this music machine." A somber hush fell over the crowd as they listened to the familiar words of "Home, Sweet Home, Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home."
Most of us have had to face hardships of one kind or another during our lifetime. My friend, Eleanor, was no exception. I often thought she had faced more than her share of trials and troubles. I also wondered where she found the courage and strength to carry on. Each visit answered that wondering question. She had a deep and solid faith in the Lord and she spent her many quiet hours talking with Him.
She once said to me, "There are reasons we can't see behind what we can't understand."
We agreed, together, that what we view as a tragedy today may have a hidden message and actually be a blessing from God. One has to have abiding faith to believe that. She continued, "When life becomes too much for me and I feel lost and helpless, it's as if a voice speaks to my troubled soul. I think it's God's voice I hear and he is saying, 'Be still, and know that I am God, and you have nothing to fear'."
When we are touched by the pain of a close friend, something within us is called forth to respond to that loss. I knew my heart would know no rest until I had paid her a visit. Perhaps some of the thoughts that had come to my mind, through prayer and contemplation would be of some consolation to her.
"I'm so sorry about the fire," I offered, as a way to approach what I thought would be a touchy subject."
"Oh, I hated to hear that," she mused. "We had lived in that house for over sixty years. But you know, no one was there, and no one got hurt. We can be thankful for that. Janet and I had been out there overnight not long ago and it could have happened then. We could have lost our lives."
Wanting to console her, but also to point out in some meaningful way, that maybe something good would come of it, I told her some of the many thoughts that had been racing through my mind since the fire...
Fire can destroy a home, the building itself, but it cannot touch the building of character in the children who grew up in that home. Flames cannot corrode or damage the values instilled in their hearts. Those traits and values will trickle down through the generations. Some day a granddaughter may declare, "I heard Grandma Koch say, 'It's wonderful to have the Lord to count on in time of trouble'." Or a grandson may remember, "I learned that from my Grandma Koch."
Fire gutted the kitchen and all its contents, but fire can't undo the homemaking skills learned in that kitchen, taught by your tender example and gentle training. The qualities of determination, courage and loyalty can't be extinguished by fire. The belief that family comes first and we stick together didn't go up in smoke.
Fire can cover the china dishes and plates with smoke. But it can't undo the kindness in your heart when one of those dishes, filled with delicious pineapple salad or a beautiful German Chocolate cake, found its way to an untold number of funeral dinners. Nor can it remove the gratitude in the hearts of those families who received the gifts of food.
Fire can't erase the recipes, some in your own beautiful handwriting, filed in the recipe boxes of the many friends with whom you have shared them. Nor can it wipe out the hundreds of get-well, sympathy, Christmas cards and personal letters you mailed out over the years. I was blessed with one of those letters written in November of 1982. It is a precious keepsake and I read it often.
Fire can blacken the walls of the home, but it cannot discolor the memories of the intimate family moments and occasions shared in that home. The happy times, the birthday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas celebrations that took place over all those years in that home are preserved in memories. Snapshots captured on camera may be lost, but the mind and heart are master photographers of the lives we have lived. Images imprinted on the memory of the mind are priceless keepsakes of the heart.
Fire can smudge the Hummel collection, but it cannot erase the history of Sister Maria Hummel's life and why she designed the figurines. Her devotion and love of God shone through each piece of art, be it a sacred picture or a statuette from childhood recollections. Nor can the fire take away the memories of the grottos and shrines you and Cletus visited where you, no doubt, picked up some of the figurines and religious items for your collections.
Fire can't unravel the stitches you quilted in the many quilts that were raffled as fundraisers for your beloved Holy Family Church or St. Mary School which means so much to you.
Once again the fingers of fate rearranged the landscape of Eleanor's life. The hidden message has been revealed to her. Her deep faith, even though tested, settled back softly to create a new landscape in her soul. The intense yearning, the restlessness, is no longer apparent. It has been smothered by a calm serenity, a quiet contentedness. She truly is a living expression of the eleventh verse in the fourth chapter of the Book of Philippians: "I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therein to be content."
The familiar phrase, "What we weave during our lifetime on earth we wear into eternity," came to my mind. I believe Eleanor will wear a cloak of caring, kindness and compassion into eternity.
Write Milly and let her know your thoughts on her story!
I was just today introduced to the Heart Touchers web site and was very impressed with some of the stories I read. I decided to submit this recent story I wrote. I am seventy-seven years old, a retired farm wife who along with my husband, who is eighty-seven, raised three sons and a daughter. We have nine grandchildren. We live in a small town in Illinois and our youngest son and his family live on the farm, so we are still connected with country life. I belong to a small writer's group which keeps me inspired to write.
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!
Thought For The Day:
"No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of anyone else." --Charles Dickens
Verse for the Day:
"Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to his edification." --Romans 15:1,2
Kid's Thought For The day:
"You have to eat a lot of cereal before you find the free toy."
Parent's Thought For The Day
"Children are taught not to talk to strangers. Parents should not become strangers."
Coach's Thought For The Day
"A vital team characteristic is the ability to overcome adversity. Any team acquires experience and endurance as it learns to fight back. This in turn builds the kind of character which seldom crumbles at a time of crisis or testing." --Tom Landry
Writer's Thought For The Day:
"There are two kinds of writers: those who make you think, and those who make you wonder." --Brian Aldiss
Deep Thought For The Day:
I love boxing. Where else do two grown men prance around in satin underwear fighting over a belt? The one who wins gets a purse. They do it in gloves. It's the accessory connection I love. -- John McGover
MICHAEL T. POWERS
"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
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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