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Sunday, August 27, 2006

carl's garden

here is something I received from one of my a friend that I have read many times and it has always touched me and I hope that it will touch you in a special way.
Carl was a quiet man. He didn't talk much. He would always greet you with
a big smile and a firm handshake.

Even after living in our neighborhood for over 50 years, no one could
really say they knew him very well.

Before his retirement, he took the bus to work each morning. The lone
sight of him walking down the street often worried us.

He had a slight limp from a bullet wound received in W.W.II.

Watching him, we worried that although he had survived W.W.II, he may not
make it through our changing uptown neighborhood with its ever-increasing
random violence, gangs, and drug activity.

When he saw the flyer at our local church asking for volunteers for caring
for the gardens behind the minister's residence, he responded in his
characteristically unassuming manner. Without fanfare, he just signed up.

He was well into his 87th year when the very thing we had always feared
finally happened.

He was just finishing his watering for the day when three gang members
approached him. Ignoring their attempt to intimidate him, he simply asked,
"Would you like a drink from the hose?"

The tallest and toughest-looking of the three said, "Yeah, sure," with a
malevolent little smile.

As Carl offered the hose to him, the other two grabbed Carl's arm,
throwing him down. As the hose snaked crazily over the ground, dousing
everything in its way, Carl's assailants stole his retirement watch and his
wallet, and then fled.

Carl tried to get himself up, but he had been thrown down on his bad leg.
He lay there trying to gather himself as the minister came running to help

Although the minister had witnessed the attack from his window, he
couldn't get there fast enough to stop it. "Carl, are you okay? Are you
hurt?" the minister kept asking as he helped Carl to his feet.

Carl just passed a hand over his brow and sighed, shaking his head.

"Just some punk kids. I hope they'll wise-up someday." His wet clothes
clung to his slight frame as he bent to pick up the hose. He adjusted the
nozzle again and started to water.

Confused and a little concerned, the minister asked, "Carl, what are you

"I've got to finish my watering. It's been very dry lately," came the calm

Satisfying himself that Carl really was all right, the minister could only
marvel. Carl was a man from a different time and place.

A few weeks later the three returned. Just as before their threat was
unchallenged. Carl again offered them a drink from his hose.

This time they didn't rob him. They wrenched the hose from his hand and
drenched him head to foot in the icy water.

Whe n they had finished their humiliation of him, they sauntered off down
the street, throwing catcalls and curses, falling over one another laughing
at the hilarity of what they had just done.

Carl just watched them. Then he turned toward the warmth giving sun,
picked up his hose, and went on with his watering.

The summer was quickly fading into fall Carl was doing some tilling when
he was startled by the sudden approach of someone behind him. He stumbled
and fell into some evergreen branches.

As he struggled to regain his footing, he turned to see the tall leader of
his summer tormentors reaching down for him. He braced himself for the
expected attack.

"Don't worry old man, I'm not gonna hurt you this time." The young man
spoke softly, still offering the tattooed and scarred hand to Carl. As he
helped Carl get up, the man pulled a crumpled bag from his pocket and handed
it to Carl.

"What's this?" Carl asked.

"It's your stuff," the man explained. "It's your stuff back. Even the
money in your wallet." "I don't understand," Carl said. "Why would you help
me now?"

The man shifted his feet, seeming embarrassed and ill at ease. "I learned
something from you," he said. "I ran with that gang and hurt people like
you. We picked you because you were old and we knew we could do it. But
every time we came and did something to you, instead of yelling and fighting
back, you tried to give us a drink. You didn't hate us for hating you. You
kept showing love against our hate." He stopped for a moment.

"I couldn't sleep after we stole your stuff, so here it is back." He
paused for another awkward moment, not knowing what more there was to say.
"That bag's my way of saying thanks for straightening me out, I guess." And
with that, he walked off down the street.

Carl looked down at the sack in his hands and gingerly opened it. He took
out his retirement watch and put it back on his wrist. Opening his wallet,
he checked for his wedding photo. He gazed for a moment at the young bride
that still smiled back at him from all those years ago.

He died one cold day after Christmas that winter. Many people attended his
funeral in spite of the weather.

In particular the minister noticed a tall young man that he didn't know
sitting quietly in a distant corner of the church.

The minister spoke of Carl's garden as a lesson in life. In a voice made
thick with unshed tears, he said, "Do your best and make your garden as
beautiful as you can. We will never forget Carl and his garden."

The following spring another flyer went up. It read: "Person needed to
care for Carl's garden."

The flyer went unnoticed by the busy parishioners until one day when a
knock was heard at the minister's office door.

Opening the door, the minister saw a pair of scarred and tattooed hands
holding the flyer. "I believe this is my job, if you'll have me," the young
man said.

The minister recognized him as the same young man who had returned the
stolen watch and wallet to Carl.

He knew that Carl's kindness had turned this man's life around.

As the minister handed him the keys to the garden shed, he said, "Yes, go
take care of Carl's garden and honor him."

The man went to work and, over the next several years, he tended the
flowers and vegetables just as Carl had done.

In that time, he went to college, got married, and became a prominent
member of the community. But he never forgot his promise to Carl's memory
and kept the garden as beautiful as he thought Carl would have kept it.

One day he approached the new minister and told him that he couldn' t care
for the garden any longer. He explained with a shy and happy smile, "My wife
just had a baby boy last night, and she's bringing him home on Saturday."

"Well, congratulations!" said the minister, as he was handed the garden
shed keys. "That's wonderful! What's the baby's name?" "Carl," he replied.

That's the whole gospel message simply stated.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

true beauty

-- Author Unknown

The park bench was deserted as I sat down to read
Beneath the long, straggly branches of an old willow tree
Disillusioned by life with good reason to frown
For the world was intent on dragging me down

And if that weren't enough to ruin my day
A young boy out of breath approached me, all tired from play
He stood right before me with his head tilted down
And said with great excitement, "Look what I found"

In his hand was a flower, and what a pitiful sight
With its petals all worn - not enough rain, or too little light
Wanting him to take his dead flower and go off to play
I faked a small smile and then shifted away

But instead of retreating he sat next to my side
And placed the flower to his nose
And declared with overacted surprise
"It sure smells pretty and it's beautiful, too"
"That's why I picked it; here, it's for you"

The weed before me was dying or dead
Not vibrant of colors: orange, yellow or red
But I knew I must take it, or he might never leave
So I reached for the flower, and replied, "Just what I need"

But instead of him placing the flower in my hand
He held it mid-air without reason or plan
It was then that I noticed for the very first time
That weed-toting boy could not see: he was blind

I heard my voice quiver; tears shone in the sun
As I thanked him for picking the very best one
"You're welcome," he smiled, and then ran off to play
Unaware of the impact he'd had on my day.

I sat there and wondered how he managed to see
A self-pitying woman beneath an old willow tree
How did he know of my self-indulged plight
Perhaps from his heart, he'd been blessed with true sight

Through the eyes of a blind child, at last I could see
The problem was not with the world; the problem was me
And for all of those times I myself had been blind
I vowed to see the beauty in life
And appreciate every second that's mine

And then I held that wilted flower up to my nose
And breathed in the fragrance of a beautiful rose
And smiled as I watched that young boy
Another weed in his hand
About to change the life of an unsuspecting old man

I got this from a list I am on and thought it worhty of [posting here. it was awesome in my eyes! so here it goes.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

enjoy the coffee

below is a email I received in one of my groups on yahoo. I found it pretty awesome and a real treat to read.
Enjoy the Coffee
Enjoy The Coffee (This is such a good one)

A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university

Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life. Offering his guests
coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups - porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal,
some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite - telling them to help themselves to the coffee.

All the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said: "If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups were taken up, leaving
behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is but normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress.
Be assured that the cup itself, adds no quality to the coffee in most cases, just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink.

What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups... and then began eyeing each other's cups.

Now consider this: Life is the coffee, and the jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain Life,
and the type of cup we have does not define, nor change the quality of Life we live. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy
the coffee God has provided us."

God brews the coffee, not the cups..........enjoy your coffee

celia hogan


About Me

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wyoming, michigan, United States
I am a man of God who loves to speak on a variety of issues. I love to speak to motivate, inspire or just inform. As you can see from my photo I am a single father and I do want to remarry one day provided the right lady comes along. If you need a speaker to motivate your employees, gtroup or to speak at an event. I am willing ready and able. Let me know time and place and we can work out the details