Tag Archives: brave

A Texas Angel

 

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A Texas Angel

Date: Week before Christmas, 2004
Place: Central Texas

Sergeant Brian Horn in AfghanistanAll I really wanted for Christmas was to do something to support our troops. I prayed on this goal daily until I thought I had received an answer, about how to help the troops. I started searching and found a great list of troops requesting things and current addresses from the website:www.anysoldier.com

My Christmas Wish started as a yearly donation drive in which my school gathers and donates items to the military. The drive took two months to complete and the community was very willing to help us in our efforts.

This year, we gathered enough for many troops and started wondering how much it would cost to send all of it overseas. Very expensive, as it turned out.

As I lugged all the heavy packages to the Postal Annex with my three year old son in tow, I ran out of hands. There was an older gentleman who held the door for me. He was a tall, slender man with wavy silver grey hair, warm, brown eyes, and a deep, richly toned, melodic voice. (If the description seems silly, allow me to explain. I am a singer, music teacher and voice teacher, so I pay particular attention to how someone sounds when they speak, their diction, any accent, and even any inflection I detect in their voice.)

He asked many questions about where the packages were going, did I have family in the military, why I had decided to do this project in the first place. I laid out the complete story to him and explained the compelling feeling that The Lord was calling me to task. Although I did not currently have family in the military, many in my family on both sides had served proudly over the years. I related the information about the website: www.anysoldier.com.

He then asked what could he do to help. I explained that it would be expensive and a couple of dollars to help pay for postage would be very much appreciated. I was caught off guard when he said he would.

We talked about life, our soldiers, family, my work, and religion while each care package was carefully weighed and sealed with all the proper customs forms. He was an adept listener and good conversationalist. It was a cold, crisp, December evening and the day turned quickly to evening so I offered to get us all coffee next door at the Starbucks. When I returned, he was still there. By now, there was a small crowd of people entering into the Postal Annex with the same questions. I answered them as they came and went, busily running after the next errand on their list. With less than a week before Christmas, most people just flew by. Not this man, he waited patiently, drank his coffee, and just took the time to speak with me like he had all the time in the world. It turned out, he happened to be a veteran. He, Charles, had also served our country proudly some years ago. Charles said he never received any packages. The packages were finally ready to be mailed off. When the total came up, it was $170.00!! My mind reeled! I didn’t have that kind of money and was lost in my train of thought that the packages would have to wait until I could get more money.

Without so much as a word, Charles quickly paid for the entire mailing!!

I was too stunned to speak, but stumbled to find the words as I realized what had happened.

I said, “no, I can’t accept this kind of gift.”

I was concerned that he might not also have this kind of money and it would put his family at a hardship.

Then, one lady told me plainly that:”I was being foolish not to accept this man’s generosity and such an attempt would ruin his blessing.”

I finally relented. I was so overcome with a grateful, thankful heart. My eyes welled up with tears. Everyone in the room suddenly got quiet. This complete stranger had fulfilled my Christmas Wish! As I pondered this fact and how the day was shaping up, I remember thanking him repeatedly, not finding just the right words to express my deepest gratitude.

After chasing my three-year-old around, I was yet offered up another blessing from another complete stranger. This man removed a necklace with a gold cross and offered it to my son.

“Such amazing gifts, did I really deserve this”, I silently wondered.

I said we ,”just couldn’t take his necklace”, but relented when others told me it would interfere with his blessing. I didn’t know what to say. We put the necklace around my son’s neck. One lady told me it was “her father’s way” and “that was that.”

The overwhelming evidence of love, compassion, and willingness to help and give left me speechless. Others in the room were overcome as well. Tears welled in their eyes and the air was suddenly transformed and thick with emotions. None of us, it seemed, had experienced the good side of the human spirit in quite some time.

Charles then handed me an envelope. I just shook my head in disbelief.

“Whatever is in this envelope, I can’t accept”, I said.

“Oh yes you can”, Charles began, “because you deserve it. Do something for yourself and spread some Christmas cheer.”

“I can’t…”, I said.

Charles looked into my eyes and calmly said,” Everything is going to be okay.”

“Open it after I leave”, I was instructed.

We again spoke for a few minutes. “Thank you…for everything Charles”, I said. Walking out the door, he said, “Have a Merry Christmas” and then he quickly disappeared into the night.

By this time, most people had left and it was near closing time. I went to the bathroom as we were leaving and then remembered the envelope.

I opened it and nearly fainted!! Inside was $500.00 dollars!Based on the previous mailings, it was about the amount I needed to mail the remaining care packages I had left at the house.

I was more than stunned and began to cry. I came out and told the employees the contents. We were all in awe in light of the recent events. I explained to them if they saw Charles, to please report to him that I was spending the money on the postage to send the packages and some Christmas Cheer. They said they would.

The next day, I went back and happily mailed most of the remaining packages, 50 or more, so it is a large task. I also spread some Christmas cheer by buying cake slices for some children and others nearby.

Charles, wherever you are, I think you would be pleased to know that because of you, hundreds of American troops will receive just what they wanted this holiday season. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I experienced the very unexpected, most amazing Christmas gifts I have ever received or ever would receive.

Everyday Heroes

Charles and men like him are everyday heroes, angels on earth in a sense.

The man who offered his necklace to my son. People who do extraordinary things for complete strangers to save a life, lend a hand, or extend to them a helpful gesture. I’m so glad there are EVERYDAY HEROES. From the agencies which comprise of Homeland Security, police, firefighters, special agents, coastguard, soldiers, army, navy, air force, marines, and all the people left in this world like Charles.

Please share this story about the power of prayer and everyday heroes.

Sincerely,
Laura Estes
Music & Voice Teacher, Proud Supporter of our soldiers

From: Inspire21.com

Blind Courage

 

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Blind courage

Submitted by Gus about 19 hours ago.

I went to Indonesia (Jakarta to be more specific) for a 2 week-vacation when I was a Sophomore to visit my relatives.

We stopped on a red light, and as always, there was a plethora of activity outside of the cars near the intersection. Men walking in between the cars selling newspaper, water, dried tofu, and a number of kids looking for a bit of charity from the car owners. As sad as it sounds, it’s a familiar scene in Indonesia (or perhaps in most other developing countries)

While we were waiting for the red light to turn green, I noticed a man outside a couple of cars in front of ours trying to sell bottles of water. It’s nothing unusual at first. He was a man in his 40s with relatively ragged clothes. But he walked around in an odd-looking way. He kind of “felt” his way around the spaces. He was blind.

Carrying a couple of water bottles on one hand, he eventually got to the outside of our car. Out of charity, my mum decided to buy 1 water bottle. As my mum gave this man the money, the light turned green. Cue the horns and hustle of cars trying to get ahead of traffic. Seeing this, my mum kindly told the man to keep the change. This man was having none of that. Presumably with his superior sense of touch, he quickly went through his shirt pocket and threw a bundle of money at my mum’s lap. It was the exact change. The horns of the cars behind us were really getting out of control, so we decided to go on our way and keep the change. The man safely proceeded to the sidewalk.

I cried when I got home. I mean, come on. Here’s a blind man, presumably born in poverty, trying to sell water bottles on the intersection to make ends meet. He didn’t want our sympathy. He didn’t need our sympathy. Life hasn’t been kind to him, yet he’s evidently giving it his best shot. Ultimately, I think that is what courage is all about, facing life head on.

I wish this man all the best in life.

From: www.values.com

The Old Man and The Dog

 

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  • The Old Man and the Dog 

By Catherine Moore

“Watch out! You nearly broad sided that car!” My father yelled at me.   “Can’t you do anything right?”

Those words hurt worse than blows. I turned my head toward the elderly man in the seat beside me, daring me to challenge him. A lump rose in my throat as I averted my eyes. I wasn’t prepared for another battle.

“I saw the car, Dad. Please don’t yell at me when I’m driving.”

My voice was measured and steady, sounding far calmer than I really felt.

Dad glared at me, then turned away and settled back. At home I left Dad in front of the television and went outside to collect my thoughts. Dark, heavy clouds hung in the air with a promise of rain. The rumble of distant thunder seemed to echo my inner turmoil. What could I do about him?

Dad had been a lumberjack in Washington  and  Oregon  He had enjoyed being outdoors and had reveled in pitting his strength against the forces of nature. He had entered grueling lumberjack competitions, and had placed often.

The shelves in his house were filled with trophies that attested to his powers.

The years marched on relentlessly. The first time he couldn’t lift a heavy log, he joked about it; but later that same day I saw him outside alone, straining to lift it. He became irritable whenever anyone teased him about his advancing age, or when he couldn’t do something he had done as a younger man.

Four days after his sixty-seventh birthday, he had a heart attack. An ambulance sped him to the hospital while a paramedic administered CPR to keep blood and oxygen flowing.

At the hospital, Dad was rushed into an operating room. He was lucky; he survived… But something inside Dad died. His zest for life was gone He obstinately refused to follow doctor’s orders. Suggestions and offers of help were turned aside with sarcasm and insults. The number of visitors thinned, then finally stopped altogether. Dad was left alone.

My husband, Dick, and I asked Dad to come live with us on our small farm. We hoped the fresh air and rustic atmosphere would help him adjust.

Within a week after he moved in, I regretted the invitation. It seemed nothing was satisfactory. He criticized everything I did. I became frustrated and moody. Soon I was taking my pent-up anger out on Dick. We began to bicker and argue..

Alarmed, Dick sought out our pastor and explained the situation. The clergyman set up weekly counseling appointments for us. At the close of each session he prayed, asking God to soothe Dad’s
troubled mind.

But the months wore on and God was silent. Something had to be done and it was up to me to do it.

The next day I sat down with the phone book and methodically called each of the mental health clinics listed in the Yellow Pages. I explained my problem to each of the sympathetic voices that answered in vain.

Just when I was giving up hope, one of the voices suddenly exclaimed, “I just read something that might help you! Let me go get the article.”

I listened as she read.. The article described a remarkable study done at a nursing home. All of the patients were under treatment for chronic depression. Yet their attitudes had improved dramatically when they were given responsibility for a dog.

I drove to the animal shelter that afternoon. After I filled out a questionnaire, a uniformed officer led me to the kennels. The odor of disinfectant stung my nostrils as I moved down the row of pens. Each contained five to seven dogs. Long-haired dogs, curly-haired dogs, black dogs, spotted dogs all jumped up, trying to reach me. I studied each one but rejected one after the other for various reasons too big, too small, too much hair. As I neared the last pen a dog  in the shadows of the far corner struggled to his feet, walked to the front of the run and sat down. It was a pointer, one of the dog world’s aristocrats. But this was a caricature of the breed..

Years had etched his face and muzzle with shades of gray. His hipbones jutted out in lopsided triangles. But it was his eyes that caught and held my attention.. Calm and clear, they beheld me unwaveringly.

I pointed to the dog “Can you tell me about him?”

The officer looked, then shook his head in puzzlement. “He’s a funny one. Appeared out of nowhere and sat in front of the gate. We brought him in, figuring someone would be right down to claim him. That was two weeks ago and we’ve heard nothing. His time is up tomorrow..” He gestured helplessly.

As the words sank in I turned to the man in horror. “You mean you’re going to kill him?”

“Ma’am,” he said gently, “that’s our policy. We don’t have room for every unclaimed dog.”

I looked at the pointer again. The calm brown eyes awaited my decision. “I’ll take him,” I said..

I drove home with the dog on the front seat beside me. When I reached the house I honked the horn twice. I was helping my prize out of the car when Dad shuffled onto the front porch. “Ta-da! Look what I got for you, Dad!” I said excitedly.

Dad looked, then wrinkled his face in disgust. “If I had wanted a dog I would have gotten one. And I would have picked out a better specimen than that bag of bones. Keep it! I don’t want it” Dad waved his arm scornfully and turned back toward the house.

Anger rose inside me It squeezed together my throat muscles and pounded into my temples. “You’d better get used to him, Dad. He’s staying!”

Dad ignored me. “Did you hear me, Dad?” I screamed.

At those words Dad whirled angrily, his hands clenched at his sides, his eyes narrowed and blazing with hate.

We stood glaring at each other like duelists, when suddenly the pointer pulled free from my grasp. He wobbled toward my dad and sat down in front of him. Then slowly, carefully, he raised his paw.

Dad’s lower jaw trembled as he stared at the uplifted paw. Confusion replaced the anger in his eyes. The pointer waited patiently. Then Dad was on his knees hugging the animal.

It was the beginning of a warm and intimate friendship. Dad named the pointer Cheyenne.  Together he and Cheyenne  explored the community. They spent long hours walking down dusty lanes. They spent reflective moments on the banks of streams, angling for tasty trout. They even started to attend Sunday services together, Dad sitting in a pew and  Cheyenne lying quietly at his feet.

Dad and  Cheyenne were inseparable throughout the next three years. Dad’s bitterness faded, and he and Cheyenne  made many friends. Then late one night I was startled to feel  Cheyenne’s cold nose burrowing through our bed covers. He had never before come into our bedroom at night. I woke Dick, put on my robe and ran into my father’s room. Dad lay in his bed, his face serene. But his spirit had left quietly sometime during the night.

Two days later my shock and grief deepened when I discovered Cheyenne lying dead beside Dad’s bed.. I wrapped his still form in the rag rug he had slept on. As Dick and I buried him near a favorite fishing hole, I silently thanked the dog for the help he had given me in restoring Dad’s peace of mind.

The morning of Dad’s funeral dawned overcast and dreary. This day looks like the way I feel, I thought, as I walked down the aisle to the pews reserved for family. I was surprised to see the many friends Dad and Cheyenne had made filling the church. The pastor began his eulogy. It was a tribute to both Dad and the dog who had changed his life. And then the pastor turned to Hebrews 13:2. “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.”

“I’ve often thanked God for sending that angel,” he said.

For me, the past dropped into place, completing a puzzle that I had not seen before: the sympathetic voice that had just read the right article….

Cheyenne ‘s unexpected appearance at the animal shelter. .. ..his calm acceptance and complete devotion to my father. . and the proximity of their deaths. And suddenly I understood. I knew that God had answered my prayers after all.

The Old Man and The Dog, By: Catherine Moore.

Cherokee Legend

 

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cherokee legend

 — Author unknown

Do you know the legend of the Cherokee Indian youth’s rite of Passage?

His father takes him into the forest, blindfolds him and leaves him alone.

He is required to sit on a stump the whole night and not remove the blindfold until the rays of the morning sun shine through it.

He cannot cry out for help to anyone.

Once he survives the night, he is a MAN.
He cannot tell the other boys of this experience, because each lad must come into manhood on his own.

The boy is naturally terrified. He can hear all kinds of noises. Wild beasts must surely be all around him. Maybe even some human might do him harm.

The wind blew the grass and earth, and shook his stump, but he sat stoically, never removing the blindfold. It would be the only way he could become a man!

Finally, after a horrific night the sun appeared and he removed his blindfold. It was then that he discovered his father sitting on the stump next to him. He had been at watch the entire night, protecting his son from harm.

We, too, are never alone. Even when we don’t know it, God is watching over us, sitting on the stump beside us. When trouble comes, all we have to do is reach out to Him.

Moral of the story:
Just because you can’t  see God, doesn’t mean He is not there.
‘For we walk by faith, not by sight.’

If you liked this story, please share it with others.
If not, you took off your blindfold before dawn.

Cherokee boy