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By Irene Budzynski
You've seen those beer cans and soda cans that are lying pell mell at the side of the road, the metal cylinders that litter every town's highways and byways, having been tossed by drivers who can't be bothered to find a garbage can. Well, next time you see one, say a prayer of thanks for the litterbug because that tossed can may change a life.
There was a time when my husband was out of work, a recession was in full swing, and we had two small boys to feed. We exhausted every possibility for job opportunities, cut expenses to the bare bone, and depleted all resources. Every day would dawn with hope that it would be that particular day which would bring a job and income. Day after day--nothing.
I knew where all the Goodwill stores were and developed an eagle eye for finding nearly-new jeans, shirts, and jackets for the boys. It was a gala event when Mommy brought home "new" clothes to replace the holey pants which little boys create. I felt like I had struck it rich on the days when the blue tickets were half price and what I had bought sported a blue tag. It was more precious than buying the trendiest, most expensive outfit in a designer showroom.
Rummaging through dented cans in the shopping basket in the back of the grocery store became a family sport--a far cry from a quick stop at McDonald's. Had we actually eaten out twice a week once upon a time? Did we waste all that money on greasy food just to get the must-have collectible toys? Canned beans never tasted so good.
Chances of finding a job were slim to none in the New England market in the early 1980s. Our high spirits disintegrated and we became panic-stricken. In desperation, I knew I had to keep going for the sake of our children. Despite my own promise that I would never ask for help, I held up my head and walked into a government office and applied for food stamps.
Sitting and waiting my turn, I wanted to bolt outside and never stop running. Embarrassment rolled into anger when the apathetic clerk looked over my application, snapped her gum, and stated in a singsong voice, "Oh, sorry. You DO qualify for food stamps, but you have to sell your car before you can receive them." Without missing a beat, she turned away and called on the next hapless applicant. Stunned, I explained that we needed our car to look for work. We didn't live near public transportation and there would be no possibility of obtaining employment without a vehicle. With no visual acknowledgment of any kind, the clerk muttered, "Sorry. Next?" With that, I was dismissed.
I stumbled into the bright sunlight and swore that I would never in a million years ever ask anyone for help. Never again would I be humiliated. But, the problem remained. How could I feed my family?
Knowing I needed to clear my head, I began to go for long walks. The fresh air felt good and I began to sort things out in my mind, looking at our situation from a different angle. Despair was futile and soon praying was substituted for complaining. I prayed for the blessings of being out of work, for having a husband who was trying to be a good provider, for people who had less than we, for healthy children. Some days I was pretty low and could only thank God for having a pulse, but I made the conscious effort to have gratitude every morning when I walked.
Trying to avoid traffic on our country roads, I edged over into the brush and noticed all the cans which were strewn on the ground. Living in a state which recycles meant that I could cash each container in for a nickel apiece. Picking them up in my hands resulted in shiny rolling cylinders spilling over onto the asphalt, so the remainder were hidden behind a bush to be retrieved the next time around. A plastic bag tucked into my pocket became a necessity and then two bags became the norm. Soon there were dozens of sticky, dripping cans rattling around to redeem for enough money to buy a gallon of milk! A few more days of collecting and a loaf of bread was my trophy.
My goal each day was to see how many nickels I could find in the guise of discarded cans. Every week there would be enough to buy a staple and eventually the supply dwindled, but, most important, my attitude improved, and being out of work wasn't the major disaster which I had initially perceived. I began to see the beauty around me which money couldn't buy: the Canadian geese honking their way across the sky and the skunk cabbage appearing in late winter -- signs of spring and hope and new beginnings.
That was 20 years ago. We've been given so many blessings, but we will never forget. Last week I saw a man rummaging around in the underbrush gathering up cans. He became beet-red when I shouted "Hello", and he began to make excuses as to why he was picking up the dirty containers. I waved away his explanations and said, "A nickel is a nickel," and I bent over to help him fill his bag.
Irene Budzynski is a registered nurse on the East Coast and is regular contributor to HeartTouchers.com. She has written for Heartwarmers and many other websites and, now that winter is settling in, dreams of someday attending the Maui Writers Conference.
Creation Q & A
Q: When a giraffe lowers its head toward the ground, wouldn't you expect the blood pressure to increase so much that its brain would explode?
A: It's true that the giraffe's blood pressure rises so much that it might cause its brain to explode. But, this doesn't happen because the giraffe has a series of incredible features. This includes reinforced artery walls, bypass valves, as well as pressure-sensing signals that all work together to maintain the proper blood pressure.
But then comes the real trick. As the giraffe raises its head, the same systems used to reduce the pressure when the head is lowered, also act to increase the pressure as the head is raised (so the giraffe doesn't pass out).
The problem for evolutionists is this. How many giraffes blew their brains to pieces when bending down--how many passed out as they lifted their heads, becoming food for the lions--until the special features somehow evolved?
It's obvious that the very first giraffes had to have these special features right from the beginning. If not, they wouldn't have survived to pass them on to their offspring! Of course, this is not at all surprising to those who believe in a Creator.
Click on the Bible above or visit the web site listed below!
This new addition to our web site will give you an article on the leading news in the Creation/Evolution controversy each day.
This section also includes a rotating Question and Answer feature and a weekly Creation Comic strip from the people at AnswersInGenesis.org.
Be sure to come back and visit each day for an informative article that will help you keep up to date on the latest news in this controversial area!
Thought For The Day___________________________________________
"The squeaky wheel doesn't always get greased; it often gets replaced." --John Peers
Verse for the Day
"Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." Colossians 4:6
Kid's Thought For The Day
"Even if your Dad tells you to be a big boy, sometimes you have to scream on the way down."
Parent's Thought For The Day
"Perhaps the greatest social service that can be rendered by anybody to the country and to mankind is to bring up a family." -- George Bernard Shaw
Coach's Thought For The Day
"The best inspiration is not to outdo others, but to outdo ourselves."
Writer's Thought For The Day
"Writing is rewriting. A writer must learn to deepen characters, trim writing, intensify scenes. To fall in love with the first draft to the point where one cannot change it is to greatly enhance the prospects of never publishing." --Richard North Patterson
Deep Thought For The Day
"How come the dove gets to be the peace symbol? How about the pillow? It has more feathers than the dove, and it doesn't have that dangerous beak."
Inspired Audio -- Inspirational Audio Message of the Week!
Inspired Audio is a brand new offshoot of HeartTouchers.com. Every week we will offer a different audio message that you can listen to right on your comput as you are surfing the net or just getting things done around the house. Be sure to come back and visit each week!
This Week: "Receing Jesus as Your King" by Jeff Williams
Over 110,000 people have listened to popular Chicken Soup Author Michael T. Powers' free inspirational message entitled: "Breathing Life into Others". If you aren't one of them just visit: http://www.HeartTouchers.com and click on the link to listen to the free streaming audio message.
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!"
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