Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Eight Beatitudes

The eight beatitudes are the solemn blessings (beatitudines, benedictiones) which mark the opening of the Sermon on the Mount, the very first of Our Lord's sermons in the Gospel of St. Matthew (5:3-10). Four of them occur again in a slightly different form in the Gospel of St. Luke (6:22), likewise at the beginning of a sermon, and running parallel to Matthew, 5-7, and here they are illustrated by the opposition of the four curses (24-26). The fuller account and the more prominent place given the Beatitudes in St. Matthew are quite in accordance with the scope and the tendency of this Gospel, in which the spiritual character of the Messianic kingdom -- the paramount idea of the Beatitudes -- is consistently put forward, in sharp contrast with Jewish prejudices. The very peculiar form in which Our Lord proposed His blessings make them the only example of His sayings to be considered poetical -- the parallelism of thought and expression, which is the most striking feature of Biblical poetry.

The text of St. Matthew runs as follows:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

The First Beatitude
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
The meaning of the word "poor" in Greek means one who has nothing and is completely empty. Was Jesus saying the economically poor are blessed? No, for there is no spirituality in poverty. Poverty in itself is not blessed, because the poor can be as arrogant and as ungodly and as lost as the rich. So what does it mean to be poor in spirit? It means that the poor are those who realize that they can never achieve salvation on their own and instead put their complete faith and trust in Jesus Christ.
The poor in spirit are those who are not self-assertive, self-reliant, self-confident, self-centered, or self-sufficient. The poor in spirit are not baptized in the waters of self-esteem. They do not boast in their God given characteristics such as their birth, their family, their nationality, their education, their physical looks, their race, their wealth, or their culture. None of that matters. The poor in spirit are those who are conscious of their sins and know in their hearts that they are completely unworthy of the grace that a most holy and loving God pours down upon them. They realize that all their righteousness is, as Isaiah said, like filthy rags before a holy God.
In Luke 15 we see how the prodigal son became poor in spirit. In his pride and arrogance he left his father's house, wasted his inheritance and fell into great need in some far away country. During a severe famine, this son had no job and nothing to eat. At that point, the text says, he came to himself. He went back to his father and said, "I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son" (Luke 15:21). That is being poor in spirit.
We also see an example of being poor in spirit illustrated again in Luke 18 in the account of the Pharisee and the tax collector. "Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, 'O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity--greedy, dishonest, adulterous--or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.' But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, 'O God, be merciful to me a sinner.' I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted." (Luke 18:9-14). That is being poor in spirit. What was the result of the prayers of these men? The Pharisee went home condemned, while the tax collector went home justified.

The Second Beatitude
Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.
The person that mourns is the one who recognizes that he is a sinner before God. Such a person mourns over his various sins because he recognizes that not only do his sins greatly hurt our heavenly Father, he also realizes that he is empty of righteousness, and does not even begin to deserve salvation and the joys of heaven. This miserable, but repentant sinner, realizes that only through the grace of God does he have forgiveness and salvation. Jesus says such a person is blessed, and there is no greater blessing than to receive such divine approval. Those who are blessed in this way by God will see God and dwell with him forever.
No one mourns in this way unless the Holy Spirit convicts him of sin and reveals to him that he is a violator of the laws of God. We must also realize that as believers we all have violated God's law. As Christians, under the conviction of the Holy Spirit, we must realistically declare that not only are we spiritually bankrupt, but we are completely lost without Jesus Christ living in our lives. And only Christians will declare that they are by nature enemies of God, acknowledging that to sin means to set oneself against a holy God. The unbeliever on the other hand feels that this is nothing but foolishness, and he has no time for any of it. The wicked refuse to take down those barriers to God such as pride and arrogance. Psalm 10:4 "The wicked are too proud to seek God; God is in none of their thoughts."
Using the prodigal son once again as an example, it tells us in Luke 15 of this young man who became very dissatisfied at home, and looked to the world for answers. This man left his father's house to go to a far country to experiment and find pleasure with sin, but soon the fun was over. He became famished, lonely, brokenhearted, and rejected by all. But by God's grace this young man came to himself, became sober and began to think clearly and Godly.
In verse 20 of Luke 15 we see this young man going back home. He was now a poor, wretched, miserable, naked specimen of humanity, but he was going home to his father. He mourned and wept as he walked, and when he reached his father, he said, "Father, I have sinned against God and against you. I am not worthy to be called your son. Just make me a servant of yours at the lowest rank, for I need to be comforted. Save me, for I am lost."
How did the father react to his son? He cried out in joy and then comforted him. The father hugged and kissed him and gave him a fine garment to wear. He told the servants to put a ring on his finger and shoes on his feet. He ordered a great celebration with music and feasting. And when the other son questioned why the father was doing these things, the father said he had the greatest of all reasons: "This son of mine was dead but is now alive; he was lost but now is found" (Luke 15:24). What awesome comfort this son had received.

The Third Beatitude
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.
The Greek word for meek, praus, was used to refer to domesticated animals. The word does not refer to a wild, unruly animal; it refers to a strong and powerful horse or an ox that was trained and disciplined so that it could be controlled by a human. The word meek used in Matthew 5:5 refers to a strong person who is under control--a God controlled person. A meek person is a man or woman of God whose strength is controlled by God. He or she is controlled by God in thought, word, will, emotion, and action. The meek man is one who submits, not to his own will or to the will of the world, but to the great and gracious will of God.
A meek man is not a weak man. He is not wishy-washy, effeminate or timid. He is not someone who you can walk all over. A meek man is not passive and spineless. In fact the meek man is just the opposite. The one who has put his/her faith and his/her trust in Jesus Christ will be meek before God, but mighty and bold before the world and before satan. To the sinful world and to satan the meek person will be far stronger than they are.
What makes a person meek? They see God. And they see God in everything. No one becomes meek unless they can see this infinite, personal, almighty, all-wise, all-holy God, and when they see God they are immediately humbled. When we are able to see God by faith, then that is the time when the Holy Spirit allows us to become meek. Thus the meek person does not rely on himself, saying, I can do all things. I have confidence in myself. After all, I am strong and able. No, the meek person says, I see God, and he is able and willing to help me. I can do all things through Jesus Christ who strengthens me.
A meek man is patient. He has a long view of life, knowing in the end it is not the wicked who win, but the meek. How can he be sure of this? The meek person knows that in the end God wins, and if God wins then the meek win. God himself tells us that the meek, not the wicked, will inherit the land. The wicked may indeed possess the land for a short time today, but the Lord tells us that when he comes back, the meek will possess this land. Psalms 76:9 "Then God arose to judgment, To save all the humble of the earth".

The Fourth Beatitude
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for Righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
To help us understand this beatitude we first have to ask ourselves, what is meant by righteousness? And righteousness means being in complete accordance with what is just, honorable, and Godly. Righteousness are those things that are upright, virtuous, noble, morally right, and ethical. You could say that righteousness is a life style that is in complete conformity to the will of God. It is a lifestyle that Jesus not only finds pleasing, but one that he approves of.
Jesus Christ is the one leading the righteous person through life. It is Jesus who is making the decisions that the righteous person will follow. For the righteous believer, all his daily actions, everything that he thinks about, every decision that he makes, everything that he reads and looks at, will be done the same way that Our Lord would have done them. The true believer will know immediately whether something is right or wrong, just or unjust, godly or ungodly. How could the true believer not know that something is wrong when the Son of God is living within him?
Jesus Christ who is dwelling within the righteous person is communicating constantly with the person's heart, conscience, soul, and spirit. The Lord is not going to let the believer just wander into sin? Jesus Christ will be talking to the believer long before the sin is even thought about. And while this is going on the Holy Spirit will be hard at work doing his guiding and his warning. This is why when a righteous believer sins, it winds up being extremely painful, usually leaving the sinner with great sorrow. Sin for the righteous believer is never worth the pain and dishonor he knows that he has brought upon the Lord.
Hunger and thirst are appetites that return frequently and they require that they be met often during the day. Similarly the true believer calls for constant meals of righteousness to do his daily Godly work, just as the living body calls for its daily food. When a believer hungers and thirsts after righteousness he becomes a new man and this new man now bears the image of God. This new man greatly desires to do the will of God for he now has great interest in Christ and all that Christ said and promised.

The Fifth Beatitude
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Mercy is love toward those that are miserable, those that are wretched, and those that need some type of help or assistance. The merciful are those that are tender hearted and who truly feel in the deepest parts of their beings the pain and the suffering of those who need mercy. But most importantly is the fact that the merciful are those special individuals who go out of their way and make the effort to help. Having compassion on those that are in any way hurting is only the first part of having mercy. Doing something about it, is the all important second part.
We as believers must show mercy to all men and we do this by both sympathizing with them and by taking care and tending to their needs. And we do this with readiness and gladness, with affection and tenderness, always ready to give and to forgive. Our Lord instructs us to show the same type of mercy to others that he shows to each of us. St. Paul talked much about showing mercy and a good example is 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God".
Therefore, to be merciful as a Christian does not mean to perform isolated, occasional acts of charity. A Christian is to be habitually merciful, and all acts of mercy should be done in a thankful and cheerful manner. Just imagine how absolutely wonderful God would feel if in the act of being merciful he heard you say, "Praise be to you God for this opportunity that you have given me to help someone else in need. Thank you Father for letting me be of some assistance to another human being." So doing an act of mercy in a thankful and loving manner has to make God our Father just beam with joy.
This beatitude is also very concerned with mercy through the act of daily forgiveness. Of forgiving offenses that have been inflicted upon you, and in which you show mercy towards everyone who wrongs you regardless of the reasons and regardless of the circumstances. Our Lord demands that we forgive one another just as he is constantly forgiving you. Matthew 6: 14-15 points this out so very clearly. "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses".
Many ask why should Christians be merciful? Because God does, not when we are good, but when we are miserable, helpless, wicked, ungodly, and powerless. He shows us mercy when we are his enemies and we are disobedient, unrighteous, dead in trespasses and sins, foolish, ignorant, suffering, and miserable due to the consequences of our sin. Yet God looks upon our misery and wretchedness and truly feels our pain and is very happy to extend his mercy to each of us. So instead of pouring out his just wrath upon us, he is compassionate toward us. He freely justifies us, forgives our sins, extends his mercy upon us, and fills us with his own righteousness. And that is why we ought to be merciful every day to the miserable, the helpless, the wretched, and the needy.

The Sixth Beatitude
Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.
Psalms 119:9 " How can the young walk without fault? Only by keeping Your words ".
Out of the hearts of men come all kinds of evil things. Everything from evil thoughts and greed, to slander and arrogance. All these evil things come from the inside of man, from his heart, and this evil from the heart is what makes man unclean. Mark 7:20-23 "From within people, from their hearts, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly. All these evils come from within and they defile." Jeremiah 17:9 "More tortuous than all else is the human heart, beyond remedy; who can understand it?"
Therefore, one of the most important questions that we can ask is how can we be truly clean in our hearts and remove the filth and sin? How can we be clean in our imaginations, in our thoughts, in our words, in our decision making, and in our desires? How can we think what God thinks, will what God wills, desire what God desires, hate what God hates, and love what God loves? In other words how can our hearts be clean hearts, free from sins like pride and envy, free from evil thoughts and evil deeds?
The path to a clean heart begins with the realization that we have impure hearts. The entire Bible revolves around the central theme that the Lord looks at the heart of the person and not at their external appearance, their behavior, or their achievements. The Lord does not acclaim education, intellect, business success, or social position, as the world does.
God must clean us. God alone is able to make rotten people clean in their imaginations, thoughts, words, deeds, and desires. The clean of heart are those who are free from evil desires and evil purposes. So if God is the only one who can cleanse us, then how does he do it? Well the Bible tells us that God has a plan to deal with the problem of sin infected hearts. God has a plan to save us and make us holy in thought, word and deed. And the plan is found in many places such as in Romans 8:29. Here God tells us that he wants "to conform us to the image and likeness of His Son". Thus God's plan is to make us like his own Son, like Jesus Christ. His purpose is nothing less than that we are clean of heart just like Jesus Christ is.
How does God clean and purify us? First of all, when we completely surrender ourselves to Jesus Christ and put our entire faith and trust in him, God will supernaturally regenerate us and give us a brand new nature, a new self. We become a brand new creation. He tells us what he is going to do to us in Ezekiel 36:26-27. "Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you".

The Seventh Beatitude
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
The peacemakers are those children of God who not only have great love for God, but also have love for all of mankind and they attempt to do everything possible for the advancement of peace everywhere. The term "peacemakers" includes all who make peace between men, whether as individuals or as communities. It includes even those who endeavor to make peace even though they fail.
The peacemakers are those who have a peaceful disposition because to make peace is to have a strong and hearty affection for peace. It is to love, desire, and delight in peace. The peacemakers also want to preserve the peace and when the peace is broken, then the peacemakers have a great desire to recover it as quickly as possible. The peace that God bestows upon his believers is in turn shared by the believers with the rest of mankind, so that the peace-receivers are transformed into peace-givers. Romans 14:19 tells us, " Let us then pursue what leads to peace and to building up one another".
One would imagine a person of this amiable temper and behavior and who strives for peace would be the darling of mankind. But our Lord well knew it would not be so, as long as satan is the prince of this world. We must realize that not only is satan a troublemaker, but all those who follow him are troublemakers. They all are enemies of God, opposing God in their thoughts, their wills, and their actions. The devil and his followers can be considered the true enemies of peace.
However peacemaking does not mean seeking peace at any cost, for the peacemaker realizes that peace at any price will usually end up in complete and total destruction. So a peacemaker is not an appeaser. He's not one who smiles a lot and doesn't take a position on anything. He is not one who has an easygoing personality and who is nice and flabby and can easily be shoved around. He's not a doormat. A peacemaker is one who through strength and Godly knowledge endeavors to establish a right relationship between estranged parties based on truth and righteousness.
The peacemakers realize that there is only one way that this world can have peace, and that is by turning to Jesus Christ. What Jesus did on the cross was bring peace between not only God and man, but also between man and man. Christ's death tore the barrier of the veil at the entrance of the Holy of Holies from top to bottom and opened a way for us to have access to God, so that we can now come into the very presence of God and have peace with our Father. And when we are at peace with God, we will be at peace with all men.

The Eighth Beatitude
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
In this beatitude Christ pronounces a blessing on those who are being persecuted. But the persecution that they are suffering is not for misdeeds or evil acts, their persecution is for doing righteousness.
The righteous, through Godly conversation and Godly actions, bring upon them the hatred and enmity of the men of the world. For by living righteously the believers separate themselves from the world and profess themselves not to belong to the world. The Godly life of true believers places a brand upon them that distinguishes them from the rest of the world.
There is much evidence that proves that more Christians around the world have been martyred for their faith in this century alone, than in the combined previous nineteen centuries of the church's history. In many countries today it is a crime to be a Christian. If you live in the United States, you may think that the idea of persecution of Christians is not very relevant today. We are not experiencing any real persecution here in this country. But as you look around in this country, you can't help but see many great evil inroads that have been made into destroying anything having to do with Jesus Christ, the Bible, or the laws of God. The greatest assault against Christianity has been the many laws that have been passed recently, all with the idea of suppressing Christianity in all areas of society.
There are the verbal assaults, via the tongue, usually in the form of cruel mocking and reproachful language. And there is the confiscation of goods, banishment from a group, or even in the workplace where one may be fired, demoted, or spoken against because of one's Christian faith.
If you doubt this then tell a group of your friends what the Word of God says about the homosexual lifestyle, and that God says that it is horribly wrong, and then tell them what the Bible says is going to happen to those who engage in it. Or tell a few of your fellow workers what the Bible says about murdering unborn children and that God considers it nothing less than murder. Then observe the response from these friends and fellow workers. I think you will see most of the time the seeds of verbal persecution beginning to form.
But why is there such persecution in the world, and why is God so offensive to so many? Because the Word of God is a stumbling block to ungodly people. The unbelievers that don't know Jesus enjoy sinning, in fact they revel in it. They enjoy partaking in as many sins as possible. Sinning is what gives them pleasure. To sin is to enjoy life. The reason why ungodly men persecute Godly men, is because of the spirit that the creator has placed within each one of us. When the unbeliever sins, the Holy Spirit is convicting the spirit of that sinner and this causes the sinner to know that he is doing wrong and that his actions are against the laws of God.
Of course this is all foolishness to the non-believing unrepentant sinner, but still the unbelieving sinner feels guilty and doesn't like that feeling, so it is rather easy for him to lash out at the believers of God, blaming them for making him feel bad. That is why the things of God and the beliefs of God are constantly being ridiculed and made fun of. The unbelievers are constantly attempting to destroy anything that has to do with God in a desperate attempt to do away with the source of their feeling bad. Throughout human history blaming someone else for their troubles has always been a very easy way out for a great many groups. Jesus told us in John 3:20 that, "Everyone who does evil hates the light," and in John 7:7 he declared, "The world hates me because I testify that what it does is evil." This can all be summed up by another verse in the Book of John. John 15:20 "If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you."
Even though persecution usually isn't pleasant, it does have a great many rewarding advantages, for when persecution comes into our lives then we can conclude the following:

That we have put our complete faith and trust in Jesus Christ.
That we can truly call ourselves Christians.
That we belong to the kingdom of God.
That we are righteous.
That we have been chosen by the Father and the Son.
That ours is the kingdom of God now and in the future.
That Jesus is truly our Lord and that is why we are being persecuted.
That our salvation is sure and certain.
That we are not false prophets.
That we are not worldly for the people of the world are not persecuted.
That we are in the very good company with many other Christians.
That eternal life is ours.

The History Of The Advent Wreath

The Advent wreath is part of our long-standing Catholic tradition. However, the actual origins are uncertain. There is evidence of pre-Christian Germanic peoples using wreathes with lit candles during the cold and dark December days as a sign of hope in the future warm and extended-sunlight days of Spring. In Scandinavia during winter, lighted candles were placed around a wheel, and prayers were offered to the god of light to turn “the wheel of the earth” back toward the sun to lengthen the days and restore warmth.
By the Middle Ages, the Christians adapted this tradition and used Advent wreathes as part of their spiritual preparation for Christmas. After all, Christ is “the Light that came into the world” to dispel the darkness of sin and to radiate the truth and love of God (cf. John 3:19-21). By 1600, both Catholics and Lutherans had more formal practices surrounding the Advent wreath.
The symbolism of the Advent wreath is beautiful. The wreath is made of various evergreens, signifying continuous life. Even these evergreens have a traditional meaning which can be adapted to our faith: The laurel signifies victory over persecution and suffering; pine, holly, and yew, immortality; and cedar, strength and healing. Holly also has a special Christian symbolism:
The prickly leaves remind us of the crown of thorns, and one English legend tells of how the cross was made of holly.
The circle of the wreath, which has no beginning or end, symbolizes the eternity of God, the immortality of the soul, and the everlasting life found in Christ. Any pine cones, nuts, or seedpods used to decorate the wreath also symbolize life and resurrection.
All together, the wreath of evergreens depicts the immortality of our soul and the new, everlasting life promised to us through Christ, the eternal Word of the Father, who entered our world becoming true man and who was victorious over sin and death through His own passion, death, and resurrection.
The four candles represent the four weeks of Advent. A tradition is that each week represents one thousand years, to sum to the 4,000 years from Adam and Eve until the Birth of the Savior. Three candles are purple and one is rose.
The purple candles in particular symbolize the prayer, penance, and preparatory sacrifices and goods works undertaken at this time.
The rose candle is lit on the third Sunday, Gaudete Sunday, when the priest also wears rose vestments at Mass; Gaudete Sunday is the Sunday of rejoicing, because the faithful have arrived at the midpoint of Advent, when their preparation is now half over and they are close to Christmas.
The progressive lighting of the candles symbolizes the expectation and hope surrounding our Lord’s first coming into the world and the anticipation of His second coming to judge the living and the dead.
The light signifies Christ, the Light of the world. Some modern day adoptions include a white candle placed in the middle of the wreath, which represents Christ and is lit on Christmas Eve. Another tradition is to replace the three purple and one rose candles with four white candles, which will be lit throughout Christmas season.
In family practice, the Advent wreath is most appropriately lit at dinner time after the blessing of the food. A traditional prayer service using the Advent wreath proceeds as follows:

First Sunday of Advent
O God, by whose Word all things are sanctified,
pour forth Your blessing upon this wreath,
grant that we who use it may prepare
our hearts for the coming of Christ
and receive Your abundant graces.
We ask this in the Name of Jesus our Lord,
Who lives and reigns forever. Amen.

Continue for each of the days of Advent:
O Lord, stir up Your might,
we beg You, and come,
that by Your protection we may deserve to be rescued
from the threatening dangers of our sins
and be saved by Your deliverance.
We ask this in the Name of Jesus our Lord,
Who lives and reigns forever. Amen.
The youngest child then lights one purple candle.

Second Week Of Advent
O Lord, stir up our hearts
prepare us for Your only begotten Son,
that through His coming we may be
made worthy to serve You with pure hearts.
We ask this in the Name of Jesus our Lord,
Who lives and reigns forever. Amen.
The oldest child then lights the purple candle.

Third Week Of Advent
O Lord, we beg You,
incline Your ear to our prayers
and enlighten the darkness of our minds
by the grace of Your visitation.
We ask this in the Name of Jesus our Lord,
Who lives and reigns forever. Amen.
The mother then lights the rose candle.

Fourth Week Of Advent
O Lord, stir up Your power, we pray You, and come.
With Your great might help us.
May Your merciful forgiveness hasten
to forgive our sins.
We ask this in the Name of Jesus our Lord,
Who lives and reigns forever. Amen.
The father then lights all of the candles of the wreath.

By Fr. William Saunders

Comments made in the year 1955

"I'll tell you one thing, if things keep going the way they are, it's going to be impossible to buy a week's groceries for $20."

"Have you seen the new cars coming out next year? It won't be long before $2000 will only buy a used one."

"If cigarettes keep going up in price, I'm going to quit. A quarter a pack is ridiculous."

"Did you hear the post office is thinking about charging a dime just to mail a letter?"

"If they raise the minimum wage to $1, nobody will be able to hire outside help at the store."

"When I first started driving, who would have thought gas would someday cost 29 cents a gallon. Guess we'd be better off leaving the car in the garage."

"Kids today are impossible. Those duck tail hair cuts make it impossible to stay groomed. Next thing you know, boys will be wearing their hair as long as the girls." "I'm afraid to send my kids to the movies any more. Ever since they let Clark Gable get by with saying 'damn' in 'Gone With The Wind,' it seems every new movie has either "hell" or "damn" in it.

"I read the other day where some scientist thinks it's possible to put a man on the moon by the end of the century. They even have some fellows they call astronauts preparing for it down in Texas."

"Did you see where some baseball player just signed a contract for $75,000 a year just to play ball? It wouldn't surprise me if someday they'll be making more than the president."

"I never thought I'd see the day all our kitchen appliances would be electric. They are even making electric typewriters now." "It's too bad things are so tough nowadays. I see where a few married women are having to work to make ends meet."

"It won't be long before young couples are going to have to hire someone to watch their kids so they can both work."

"Marriage doesn't mean a thing any more; those Hollywood stars seem to be getting divorced at the drop of a hat."

"I'm just afraid the Volkswagen car is going to open the door to a whole lot of foreign business." "Thank goodness I won't live to see the day when the Government takes half our income in taxes. I sometimes wonder if we are electing the best people to congress."

"The drive-in restaurant is convenient in nice weather, but I seriously doubt they will ever catch on."

"There is no sense going to Lincoln or Omaha anymore for a weekend. It costs nearly $15 a night to stay in a hotel." "No one can afford to be sick any more; $35 a day in the hospital is too rich for my blood."

"If they think I'll pay 50 cents for a hair cut, forget it."


When you occasionally have a really bad day, and you just need to take it out on someone, don't take it out on someone you know, take it out on someone you don't know.

I was sitting at my desk when I remembered a phone call I'd forgotten to make. I found the number and dialed it. A man answered, saying "Hello." I politely said, "This is Chris. Could I please speak with Robyn Carter?"

Suddenly a manic voice yelled out in my ear "Get the right *^%$#@ number!" and the phone was slammed down on me. I couldn't believe that anyone could be so rude. When I tracked down Robyn's correct number to call her, I found that I had really transposed the last two digits. After hanging up with her, I decided to call the 'wrong' number again.

When the same guy answered the phone, I yelled "You're a jerk!" and hung up. I wrote his number down with the word 'jerk' next to it, and put it in my desk drawer. Every couple of weeks, when I was paying bills or had a really bad day, I'd call him up and say, "You're a jerk", and hang up before he could respond, and laugh to myself. It always cheered me up.

When Caller ID was introduced, I thought my scheduled 'jerk' calling would have to stop. So, I called his number and said, "Hi, this is John Smith from the telephone company. I'm calling to see if you're familiar with our Caller ID Program?" He yelled "NO!" and slammed down the phone. I quickly called him back and said, "That's because you're a jerk" and hung up.

One day I was at the store, getting ready to pull into a parking spot. Some guy in a black BMW cut me off and pulled into the spot I had patiently waited for. I hit the horn and yelled that I'd been waiting for that spot, but the idiot ignored me. I noticed a "For Sale" sign in his back window, so I wrote down his number.

A couple of days later, right after calling the first jerk (I had his number on speed dial,) I thought that I'd better call the BMW jerk, too. I said, "Is this the man with the black BMW for sale?" He said, "Yes, it is." I asked, "Can you tell me where I can see it?" He said, "Yes, I live at 34 Oak Tree Blvd. It's a yellow Rambler, and the car's parked right out in front." I asked, "What's your name?" He said, "My name is Don Hansen," I asked, "When's a good time to catch you, Don?" He said, "I'm home every evening after five." I said, "Listen, Don, can I tell you something?" He said, "Yes?" I said, "Don, you're a jerk" Then I hung up, and added his number to my speed dial, too. Now, when I had a problem, I had two jerks to call.

One day, I had had an EXTREMELY frustrating day. I came up with an idea. This was gonna be good.......

I called Jerk #1. He said, "Hello." I said, "You're a jerk" (But I didn't hang up.) He asked, "Are you still there?" I said, "Yeah," He screamed, "Stop calling me," I said, "Make me," He asked, "Who are you?" I said, "My name is Don Hansen." He said, "Yeah? Where do you live?" I said, "Jerk, I live at 34 Oak Tree Blvd, with a yellow rambler, and I have a black BMW parked in front." He said, "I'm coming over right now, Don. And you had better start saying your prayers." I said, "Yeah, like I'm really scared, jerk," and hung up.

Then I called Jerk #2. He said, "Hello?" I said, "Hello, jerk," He yelled, "If I ever find out who you are..." I said, "You'll what?" He exclaimed, "I'll kick your (well, let's not get into what all he was going to kick)," I answered, "Well, jerk, here's your chance. I'm coming over right now."

Then I hung up and immediately called the police, saying that I was on my way to 34 Oak Tree Blvd and that I was going to kill the guy who married my ex-girlfriend. Then I called Channel 5 News about the gang war going down on Oak Tree Blvd.

I quickly got into my car and headed over to 34 Oak Tree Blvd. I got there just in time to watch two Jerks beating the tar out of each other in front of six cop cars, an overhead news helicopter and surrounded by a news crew.

NOW I feel much better. Anger management really does work.

Thoughts on Aging

--- Just before the funeral services, the undertaker came up to the
very elderly widow and asked, "How old was your husband?" "98,"
she replied. "Two years older than me." "So you're 96," the
undertaker commented. She responded, "Hardly worth going home,
is it?

--- Reporters interviewing a 104-year-old woman: "And what do you
think is the best thing about being 104?" the reporter asked.
She simply replied, "No peer pressure."

--- The nice thing about being senile is you can hide your own
Easter eggs

--- I've sure gotten old! I've had two bypass surgeries, a hip
replacement, new knees. Fought prostate cancer and diabetes. I'm
half blind, can't hear anything quieter than a jet engine, take
40 different medications that make me dizzy, winded, and subject
to blackouts. Have bouts with dementia. Have poor circulation;
hardly feel my hands and feet anymore. Can't remember if I'm 85
or 92. Have lost all my friends. But, thank God, I still have my
driver's license.

--- I feel like my body has gotten totally out of shape, so I got
my doctor's permission to join a fitness club and start
exercising. I decided to take an aerobics class for seniors. I
bent, twisted, gyrated, jumped up and down, and perspired for an
hour. But, by the time I got my leotards on, the class was over.

--- An elderly woman decided to prepare her will and told her
preacher she had two final requests. First, she wanted to be
cremated, and second, she wanted her ashes scattered over
Wal-Mart. "Wal-Mart?" the preacher exclaimed. "Why Wal-Mart?" "Then
I'll be sure my daughters visit me twice a week "

--- My memory's not as sharp as it used to be. Also, my memory's not
as sharp as it used to be.

--- I've still got it, but nobody wants to see it.

--- I'm getting into swing dancing. Not on purpose. Some parts of
my body are just prone to swinging.

--- It's scary when you start making the same noises as your

--- These days about half the stuff in my shopping cart says, "For
fast relief."

--- Don't think of it as getting hot Flashes. Think of it as your
inner child playing with matches.

--- Don't let aging get you down. It's too hard to get back up!

--- Remember: You don't stop laughing because you grow old, You
grow old because you stop laughing.

Grant me the senility to
Forget the people I never liked anyway,
The good fortune to run into the ones I do,
And the eyesight to tell the difference.


Dr. Phil scored 55; he did this test on Oprah - she got a 38. Some folks pay a lot of money to find this stuff out!

Read on, this is very interesting!

Don't be overly sensitive! The following is pretty accurate and it only takes 2 minutes.
Answers are for who you are now --- not who you were in the past.

This is a real test given by the Human Relations Dept. at many of the major corporations today. It helps them get better insight concerning their employees and prospective employees. It's only 10 Simple questions! , so grab a pencil and paper, keeping track of your letter answers to each question.



1. When do you feel your best?

a) in the morning
b) during the afternoon &and early evening
c) late at night

2. You usually walk...

a) fairly fast, with long steps
b) fairly fast, with little steps
c) less fast head up, looking the world in the face
d) less fast, head down
e) very slowly

3. When talking to people you. ..

a) stand with your arms folded
b) have your hands clasped
c) have one or both your hands on your hips
d) touch or push the person to whom you are talking
e) play with your ear, touch your chin, or smooth your hair

4. When relaxing, you sit with. .

a) your knees bent with your legs neatly side by side
b) your legs crossed
c) your! legs stretched out or straight
d) one leg curled under you

5. When something really amuses you, you react wit h...

a) big appreciated laugh
b) a laugh, but not a loud one
c) a quiet chuckle
d) a sheepish smile

6. When you go to a party or social gathering you ...

a) make a loud entrance so everyone notices you
b) make a quiet entrance, looking around for someone you know
c) make the quietest entrance, trying to stay unnoticed

7. You're working very hard, concentrating hard, and you're interrupted. ..

a) welcome the break
b) feel extremely irritated
c) vary between these two extremes

8. Which of the following colors do you like most?

a) Red or orange
b) black
c) yellow or light blue
d) green
e) dark blue or purple
f) white
g) brown or gray

9. W hen you are in bed at night, in those last few moments before going to sleep you are. .

a) stretched out on your back
b) stretched out face down on your stomach
c) on your side, slightly curled
d) with your head on one arm
e) with your head under the covers

10. You often dream that you are...

a) falling
b) fighting or struggling
c) searching for something or somebody
d) flying or floating
e) you usually have dreamless sleep
f) your dreams are always pleasant


1. (a) 2 (b) 4 (c) 6
2. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 7 (d) 2 (e) 1
3. (a) 4 (b) 2 &nbs p;(c) 5 (d) 7 (e) 6
4. (a) 4 (b) 6 (c) 2 (d) 1
5. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 3 (d) 5 (e) 2
6. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 2
7 (a) 6 (b) 2 (c) 4
8. (a) 6 (b) 7 (c) 5 (d) 4 (e) 3 (f) 2 (g) 1
9. (a) 7 (b) 6 (c) 4 (d) 2 (e) 1
10. (a) 4 (b) 2 ( c) 3 (d) 5 (e) 6 (f) 1
Now add up the total number of points.

OVER 60 POINTS : Others see you as someone they should "handle with care." You're seen as vain, self-centered, and who is extremely dominant. Others may admire you, wishing they could be more like you, but don't always trust you, hesitating to become too deeply involved with you.

51 TO 60 POINTS : Others see you as an exciting, highly volatile, rather impulsive personality; a natural leader, who's quick to make decisions, though not always the right ones. They see you as bold and adventuresome, someo ne who will try anything once; someone who takes chances and enjoys an adventure. They enjoy being in your company because of the excitement you radiate.

41 TO 50 POINTS : Others see you as fresh, lively, charming, amusing, practical, and always interesting; someone who's constantly in the center of attention, but sufficiently well-balanced not to let it go to their head. They also see you as kind, considerate, and understanding; someone who'll always cheer them up and help them out.

31 TO 40 POINTS : Others see you as sensible, cautious, careful & practical. They see you as clever, gifted, or talented, but modest. Not a person who makes friends too quickly or easily, but someone who's extremely loyal to friends you do make and who expect the same loyalty in return. Those who really get to know you realize it takes a lot to shake your trust in your friends, but equally that it takes you a long time to get over if that trust is ever broken.

21 TO 30 POINTS: Your friends see you as painstaking and fussy. They see you as very cautious, extremely careful, a slow and steady plodder. It would really surprise them if you ever did something impulsively or on the spur of the moment, expecting you to examine everything carefully from every angle and then , usually decide against it. They think this reaction is caused partly by your careful nature.

UNDER 21 POINTS: People think you are shy, nervous, and indecisive, someone who needs looking after, who always wants someone else to make the decisions & who doesn't want to get involved with anyone or anything! They see you as a worrier who always sees problems that don't exist. Some peopl e think you' re boring. Only those who know you well know that you aren't.


If you don't read the newspaper
you are uninformed, if you do read the
newspaper you are misinformed. -Mark Twain

Suppose you were an idiot.
And suppose you were a member of Congress.....
But then I repeat myself. -Mark Twain

I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity
is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself
up by the handle. -Winston Churchill

A government which robs Peter to pay Paul
can always depend on the support of Paul. - George Bernard Shaw

A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man,
which debt he proposes to pay off with your money.
-G Gordon Liddy

Democracy must be something more than two wolves and
a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.
-James Bovard, Civil Libertarian (1994)

Foreign aid might be defined as a transfer of money
from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor
-Douglas Casey, Classmate of Bill Clinton at Georgetown University

Giving money and power to government is
like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.
-P.J. O'Rourke, Civil Libertarian

Government is the great fiction,
through which everybody endeavors to live
at the expense of everybody else.
-Frederic Bastiat, French Economist (1801-1850)

Government's view of the economy could be summed up
in a few short phrases:
If it moves, tax it.
If it keeps moving, regulate it.
And if it stops moving, subsidize it.. -Ronald Reagan (1986)

I don't make jokes.
I just watch the government and report the facts. -Will Rogers

If you think health care is expensive now,
wait until you see what it costs when it's free! -P.J. O'Rourke

In general, the art of government consists of taking as much money
as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other.
-Voltaire (1764)

Just because you do not take an interest in politics
doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you!
-Pericles (430 B.C.)

No man's life, liberty, or property
is safe while the legislature is in session.. -Mark Twain

Talk is cheap...
except when Congress does it. -Unknown

The inherent vice of capitalism
is the unequal sharing of the blessings.
The inherent blessing of socialism
is the equal sharing of misery. -Winston Churchill

The only difference between a tax man and
a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin.
-Mark Twain

The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly
is to fill the world with fools.
-Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)

There is no distinctly Native American criminal class Congress. -Mark Twain

What this country needs are more unemployed politicians.
-Edward Langley, Artist (1928 - 1995)

A government big enough to give you everything you want,
is strong enough to take everything you have. -Thomas Jefferson

Catholic Characteristics

1. The belief in the physical incarnation of God as Jesus Christ.
2. A shared history and common traditions.
3. A hierarchical governing structure with obedience to the pope regarding matters of faith.
4. The use of sacraments and a strong commitment to Holy Communion
5. The belief in Mary, the mother of God, as intercessor.
6. A well developed reverence for the saints.
7. A rich tradition of spirituality and contemplative prayer, monasticism, and religious order.
8. The use of statues, pictures, and other religious and artistic symbols and a shared tradition of music.
9. A deep appreciation for faith as a set of beliefs that are not approached through pure reason.
10. The use of reason as a means of faith.
11. An emphasis on community as an essential ingredient of the faith journey.
12. A social doctrine based on the dignity of the human person.
13. A sense of responsibility for social justice and outreach.
14. An emphasis on the Church as the People of God.
15. Scripture as the foundation of Catholicism.
16. Lively participation in the services and ceremonies.
17. Embracing the whole world: its people, their beliefs, culture, social and economic concerns.
18. An emphasis on world peace.
19. Cooperation with other religions and respect for the validity of their beliefs.
20. A call for the end of anti-Semitism and a true respect for Judaism.
21. Valuing the role of the individual Catholic layperson as an emissary of Catholic values in society.
22. An end to discrimination of all kinds.
23. Recognition of the innate dignity of all people and all creation.
24. Upholding the individual conscience as the norm for morality.

A Thanksgiving Prayer

Heavenly Father,
This is the day we set aside to give You thanks.
Thanks for Your surpassing goodness and bountiful offering at this table.
Thank You for the warm home and fellowship we will share together.
Help us to remember those less fortunate than us
who are suffering, lonely
and in dire need of basic necessitates.
May we assist them this coming year
so we all maybe even more
grateful next Thanksgiving.

Things you need to know to care for Baby

Forget sugar and spice and everything nice. Your little one is a lot more complicated than that. USA WEEKEND wants to make sure you have a recipe for success, so each year we sift through the most recent scientific studies and research to compile this list of the 15 most important findings you need to know. From getting Baby to love her green beans to avoiding tooth decay, we've got you covered so your child can be the focus.

1 Help kids eat veggies. "Ignore the faces Baby makes when you introduce new foods," says Julie Mennella, one of the authors of a study published in Pediatrics that found repeated exposure to veggies increased babies' consumption. "We gave babies a taste of green beans for several days, and after about eight days, they were more willing to eat it. They learn to like their veggies."

2 Lower Baby's allergy risk. Breast-feeding for four to six months may protect against food allergies, says a newly published policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). "If you can't breast-feed and you have a history of allergies, choose a low-allergen formula that's not the regular milk or soy-based formulas," says Scott Sicherer, M.D., author of Understanding and Managing Your Child's Food Allergies. "Also, hold off on solid food until your baby is about 4 to 6 months."

3 Try honey. In January, the Food and Drug Administration advised that children under age 2 should not be given over-the-counter cough and cold medicines because of potential side effects that include rapid heart rates, convulsions and death. Instead, soothe your child's cough with a teaspoon of honey. A study done by researchers at Penn State Children's Hospital in Hershey, Pa., compared a teaspoon of buckwheat honey, honey-flavored cough suppressant and no treatment in 105 children with an upper respiratory tract infection and found that honey worked best at calming coughs. However, do not give honey to babies under the age of 1, as there are rare but severe side effects, including infantile botulism. Instead, when Baby gets a cough or cold, treat symptoms with non-aspirin pain reliever and saline nose drops.

4 Quit smoking. Researchers at Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia found that if Mom smoked before breast-feeding, her baby's sleep was disrupted, and Baby slept for a shorter period of time. "Ideally, Mom will quit smoking," says Mennella, who co-authored the study. "But if she doesn't quit, she can time the breast-feeding so that Baby is minimally exposed to the nicotine in the milk. It gets into the milk within a half-hour of smoking and takes two to three hours to leave the body."

5 Take a test. Well-child visits take about 15 to 30 minutes and cover many issues, including vaccination schedules, so it's no surprise that when pediatricians are trying to cover so much territory, they fail to identify up to 80% of developmental delays in kids. In a Pediatrics study, researchers found that when parents completed a screening test in which they answered questions about their baby's development, referral rates for continued evaluation increased by 224%. "Push your doctor to use a standardized developmental tool," says Hollie Hix-Small, one of the study's authors. She suggests completing the Ages & Stages questionnaire at "It gives parents a better understanding of where their child should be."

6 Watch Baby's mouth. Decay in baby teeth is on the rise among 2- to 5-year-olds, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Keith Morley, D.M.D., president of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, offers these tips to keep Baby's teeth in tip-top shape:

Take Baby to the dentist at age 1.
The dentist can walk parents through a series of things to do with their little one.
Brush Baby's teeth as soon as they come into his mouth.
Use a fluoride-free toothpaste until he can spit.
Do not let Baby take a bottle to bed if he has teeth.
The sugars in the milk or formula contribute to decay.

7 Go skin to skin. In a review of studies, researchers at Vanderbilt University found that babies who were placed on their mother's chest with just a blanket over their back were more successful with the initial latching on to Mom's breast and breast-fed longer. "If possible, hold your newborn there after the first [ever] breast-feeding for about two hours," says Elizabeth Moore, one of the review's authors.

8 Skip the bumper. Bumper pads on cribs and bassinets are meant to prevent Baby from hurting herself, but a study by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that the risk of accidental death or injury outweighs their possible benefit. The researchers found that over 20 years, there were 27 accidental deaths and 25 non-fatal injuries of children between 1 month and 2 years of age that were attributed to the bumper pads.

9 Turn off the TV. Parents are ignoring the AAP recommendation that children under age 2 not watch TV. According to a study done by researchers at the University of Washington, 40% of babies are regular viewers by the age of 3 months, and 90% of 2-year-olds are regular viewers. Studies have shown that early TV viewing is associated with a variety of long-term problems, such as slower development of reading and math skills. Toymakers also are introducing tech devices with screens, like children's computers, for younger and younger kids. "I don't see a reason to introduce those products to kids under 2," says Frederick Zimmerman, the author of the TV study. "Interaction with other people, like parents and older siblings, is far better."

10 Avoid unnecessary medication. "Every infant under 3 months of age is going to have reflux," says Vikram Khoshoo, M.D. Khoshoo and researchers from West Jefferson Medical Center near New Orleans measured the reflux, or regurgitation of acid from the stomach into the esophagus, of 44 infants. They found that 42 of the babies were on anti-reflux medication, but only eight should have been. "If your child is gaining weight properly, not having recurrent respiratory problems, not excessively irritable, feeding well and not vomiting blood or bile, they do not need to be on medicine," Khoshoo says. To help alleviate reflux, give Baby a smaller volume of milk and thicken it with rice cereal, and recline Baby at an angle of about 45 degrees during and after mealtimes. "If that does not help, the child needs to be evaluated," Khoshoo says. "It's not good to take unnecessary medications because we are still learning all of the effects."

11 Check Baby's head. Since parents have been told to put Baby to sleep on her back to avoid sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), the incidence of positional plagiocephaly has increased fivefold. Positional plagiocephaly occurs when Baby's head becomes slightly misshapen because her skull is soft, and she's primarily sleeping on one side. Within a year or two, "as the baby starts moving around, they take care of the problem on their own," says Monica Wehby, M.D., a spokesperson for the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. She suggests rolling up a blanket and angling it under Baby's shoulder and hip to alleviate pressure on the head. "Don't prop the head or you'll risk them suffocating themselves. If you're concerned or it gets worse, mention it to your pediatrician."
12 Know the signs. It's estimated that one in 150 kids are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), a group of disorders that affect social behavior and communication skills. Most parents become concerned when Baby is between 15 and 18 months. Although how the disorder presents itself varies, you may want to talk to your doctor if Baby ignores your efforts to draw her attention, seldom makes eye contact and hasn't begun babbling after 9 months. If Baby has ASD, she may play differently, too. Kids with ASD often lack creativity, engage in repetitive play and develop attachments to common objects, like string, sticks and rocks, rather than store-bought toys.

13 Follow safe swim rules. After age 1, the primary cause of death for kids is injury. In the past five years, there were, on average, 2,200 children younger than 5 years old treated in emergency rooms for swimming pool-related injuries. "The No. 1 rule is that you never leave a child unattended around a swimming pool," says Larry Baraff, M.D., professor of pediatrics and emergency medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. "You have to be paying attention. You can't be having an intense conversation."

14 Check your home. More than 90% of injury-related deaths in children under 1 happen at home, according to the CDC. A study published in Pediatrics found that moms reported a greater use of home safety practices than were actually in use. For example, smoke detectors were found in 97% of participants' homes, but only about half were working. The AAP recommends the following tips to keep your home safe for Baby:

Make sure drapery and blind cords are out of Baby's reach.
Be certain the smoke detectors work and that there is one in or near Baby's bedroom.
Place plug protectors in any unused electrical outlets.
Keep all medicines, vitamins, toiletries and any other potentially poisonous substances in cabinets with child-resistant safety latches.

15 Get Baby vaccinated. The AAP issued new vaccination recommendations in 2007. The changes include giving Baby a hepatitis A vaccine at 1 year of age as a two-dose regimen. Each dose should be given at least six months apart. The AAP also recommends two doses of the varicella vaccine (for chickenpox) -- the first given to children between 12 and 15 months and the second between 4 and 6 years.

By Kelly DiNardo

Some Words of Wisdom

Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.
A sharp tongue can cut your own throat.
If you want your dreams to come true, you mustn't oversleep.
Of all the things you wear, your expression is the most important.
The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.
The heaviest thing you can carry is a grudge.
One thing you can give and still your word.
You lie the loudest when you lie to yourself.
If you lack the courage to start, you have already finished.
One thing you can't recycle is wasted time.
Ideas won't work unless you do.
Your mind is like a parachute, it functions only when open.
The 10 commandments are not multiple choice.
The pursuit of happiness is the chase of a lifetime!
It is never too late to become what you might have been.
Life is too short to wake up with regrets.
Believe everything happens for a reason.
If you get a second chance, grab it with both hands. If it changes your life, let it.
Nobody said life would be easy; they just promised it would be worth it.
The best vitamin for making friends, B1.
Love the people who treat you right.
Friends are like balloons; once you let them go, you might not get them back.
Sometimes we just don't realize what real friendship means until it is too late.
Sometimes we get so busy with our own lives and problems that we may not even notice that we've let them fly away.

Sometimes we are so caught up in who's right and who's wrong that we forget what's right and wrong.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Story of the Befana

The legend of the Befana has had an important role in the imagination of all children of the world. Those who wish to relive the magic of the first wonders of infancy and understand the meaning and origins of this extraordinary figure, should be prepared to undertake a long voyage that will carry them back in time, to the origins of human's history. We'll discover what makes this personage so mysterious and arcane, because this little old lady so dear to children has continued to fascinate them for centuries, and they still await her arrival on the night of her holiday.
It's possible to demonstrate historically through archeological and anthropological statistics how archaic traces of civilization were conserved in the traditions of the Mediterranean world and survive through the form of images and symbols regarding mythic figures, such as that of the Befana. Some images connected to the figure of the Befana are revealed in an archaic agricultural context when the homes became stable and the cult of domestic folklore was established. In Neolithic culture, the houses of villages in Anatolia (Catal Huyuk) and other places had neither windows nor doors; the only entrance was through the wide, horizontal roof. The house was entered by a ladder which was then withdrawn in a defensive action. The Befana arrived in the homes through the chimney, an act that in the myths throughout the world is attributed to mythic figures as, for example, the spirits of the Montagnais Indians in North America, and above all the Nitu Natmate, ancestral spirits of the Papua-Melanesians, as well as other figures who bring gifts during the Christmas holidays.
Once the link between the figure of the Befana and the ancestral spirits is established, the Befana presents herself during the big holiday as a mythical ancestress who returns yearly. Her principal function is that of reaffirming the bond between the family and the ancestors through an exchange of gifts. The children receive gifts symbolizing archaic civilizations where they were considered the representatives of the ancestors to whom the offerings were destined. Sometimes the Befana receives offers of food. In the popular dramatization in Tuscany, Italy (and elsewhere), the Befana is a masked figure who guides the cortege of postulants and receives offers from families who, in kind, receive from her the gift of prosperity.
The Befana rewards or punishes, and has an important role in the child's development. This Big Grandmother presided over the various phases of the life of the child, and of initiation rites which took place during the festivities of the New Year.
Regarding the stocking hung up on the chimney, she is not only the container of gifts or of offerings of food but is herself a gift. The stockings may also have evocative functions.
In the mythical tradition, the Befana arrives flying on a broom, or even on a donkey. This testifies to her association with plants and animals which in antiquity had sacred values as representatives of totem-line ancestors, as well as divinities. In mythology, the branch is home to the spirit of the ancestors, which is why it has assumed the magical function of flight. These actions were conceived as a voyage, a flight from a far-away kingdom.
Besides the link with the cult of the hearth, the Befana personifies a close link to fire itself, whether astral (brought from the stars, appearing as a meteor) or earthly (for example on the eve of the Befana holiday, bonfires are lit to burn her figure). This action is meant to re-accompany the spirit of the ancestors to the kingdom beyond the tomb through the symbolism of the ascending fire.
The Epiphany holiday includes purifying rites, and benedictions with water. The water prepared on the eve of Epiphany has a sacred and warding-off-evil-spirits value and is used in critical moments of family life.
The figure of the Kings (Magi), in the historical tradition, were priests of the sacred fire. They were a privileged caste who, in the Zoroastrian Persia, waited until the fire expired. The Magi symbolized the three worlds: earthy gold, celestial incense, and myrrh from beyond the grave. These three substances can be linked to each of the three sacred fires of Vedica, India, and Avestica, Persia. Therefore, it is possible, through fire and gifts, to establish a connection between the Magi and the figure of the Befana in the expectation of the holiday of January 6.

Unemployed Graduate

An unemployed graduate woke up one morning and checked his pocket. All he had left was $10. He decided to use it to buy food and then wait for death as he was too proud to go begging. He was frustrated as he could find no job, and nobody was ready to help him.
He bought food and as he sat down to eat; an old man and two little children came along and asked him to help them with food as they had not eaten for almost a week. He looked at them. They were so lean that he could see their bones coming out. Their eyes had gone into the socket. With the last bit of compassion he had, he gave them the food. The old man and children prayed that God would bless and prosper him and then gave him a very old coin. The young graduate said to them 'you need the prayer more than I do'.
With no money, no job, no food, the young graduate went under the bridge to rest and wait for death. As he was about to sleep, he saw an old newspaper on the ground. He picked it up, and suddenly he saw an advertisement for people with old coins to come to a certain address.
He decided to go there with the old coin the old man gave him. On getting to the place, he gave the proprietor the coin. The proprietor screamed, brought out a big book and showed the young graduate a photograph. This same old coin was worth 3 million dollars. The young graduate was overjoyed as the proprietor gave him a bank draft for 3 million dollars within an hour. He collected the Bank Draft and went in search of the old man and little children.
By the time he got to where he left them eating, they had gone. He asked the owner of the canteen if he knew them. He said no but they left a note for you. He quickly opened the note thinking it would lead him to find them.
This is what the note said: 'You gave us your all and we have rewarded you back with the coin,' signed God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.*

Let us pray:
• Heavenly Father, most Gracious and Loving God, I pray to you that you abundantly bless my family and me.
• I know that You recognize, that a family is more than just a mother, father, sister, brother, husband and wife, but all Who believe and trust in you.
• Father, I send up this prayer request for a financial blessing for me and all that I have.
• And that the power of prayer by those who believe and trust in you is more powerful than anything.
• Father God, deliver us from debt and debt burdens. Release your Godly wisdom that I may be a good steward over all that You have given me Father, for I know how wonderful and mighty You are.
• Remind me daily to obey You and walk in Your Word and have the faith of a Mustard seed that You will plant this day.
• I thank You Lord for the blessings I have received and for the blessings yet to come.
• I know You are not done with me yet.
• In Jesus name, I pray, Amen
*1 Kings 17:10-16; Matthew 11:28-30

Shay – A Day to Remember

At a fund raising dinner for a school that serves children with learning disabilities, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he said the following:
'I believe that when a child like Shay, who was mentally and physically disabled comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other people treat that child.'
Shay and I had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, 'Do you think they'll let me play?' I knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but as a father I also understood that if my son were allowed to p lay, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps. I approached one of the boys on the field and asked (not expecting much) if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance and said, 'We're losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning.'
Shay struggled over to the team's bench and, with a broad smile, put on a team shirt. I watched with a small tear in my eye and warmth in my heart. The boys saw my joy at my son being accepted. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three. In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as I waved to him from the stands. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay's team scored again.
Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat. At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game?
Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball. However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing that the other team was putting winning aside for this moment in Shay's life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least make contact. The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher. The game would now be over.
The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman. A Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game. Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the first baseman's head, out of reach of all team mates. Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, 'Shay, run to first! Run to first!' Never in his life had Shay ever run that far, but he made it to first base. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled.
Everyone yelled, 'Run to second, run to second!' Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and struggling to make it to the base.
By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball. The smallest guy on their team who now had his first chance to be the hero for his team. He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher's intentions so he, too, intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman's head. Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home. All were screaming, 'Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way Shay’
Shay reached third base because the opposing shortstop ran to help him by turning him in the direction of third base, and shouted, 'Run to third! Shay, run to third!' As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams, and the spectators, were on their feet screaming, 'Shay, run home! Run home!' Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the grand slam and won the game for his team.
'That day', said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, ‘the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world’. Shay didn't make it to another summer. He died that winter, having never forgotten being the hero and making me so happy and coming home and seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!

Uniquely Me

What makes me unique? Everything about me I share with humanity. There is no feeling, experience, desire, craving, anger, and indifference I express that no one else doesn’t. I have no physical features I don’t share with the rest of the population. And I possess nothing that others don’t have. My job, my home, my family and my God are not unique to me alone. So what makes me unique? Why my very presence. When I am recognized I am affirmed that I am unique. No matter what my strengths and weaknesses might be, as long as you recognize me I am unique. Thus I am unique in relation to you and to others, I am unique to my God; and He alone provides for my uniqueness. I know that I am not anything else but me. And I live, love and share because of it. I am sometimes loud, I am sometimes quiet; but I am always unique underneath.
And so I share my uniqueness with you. But I am apprehensive. I am not sure you want to welcome my uniqueness. You have met others like me who have frightened you, or angered you; and you don’t want to be reminded of that, so you shun me. You withhold your uniqueness from me while you put me at arms length. Avoiding at all costs, the recognition I need to be unique. My uniqueness is diminished and I suffer. I am not the person who frightened you, and I certainly didn’t make you angry; in fact, I am not! I have become the they you fear and the they you hate and exist only within the prejudice you bear them. My uniqueness cannot welcome you. It cannot invite you in. And it cannot interact with your life in any way. I am no longer me. My I becomes the impersonal they that makes you frightened or angry.
So I recoil in ignorance. I do not understand why I cannot be unique. I do not understand why our two I’s cannot become we. Do matter how I try to announce my uniqueness, it cannot break down the barrier you have erected. And ultimately I give up. I walk away in utter despair. My defeat stifles my uniqueness and I no longer wish to share it. I feel ashamed and upset that you refuse to recognize it and I withdraw to lick my wounds.
“When you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.” (Matt 5:23-24) Only then will I regain my uniqueness.

God Said NO

I asked God to take away my habit. God said, No. It is not for me to take away, but for you to give up.

I asked God to make my handicapped child whole. God said, No. His spirit is whole, his body is only temporary.

I asked God to grant me patience. God said, No. Patience is a by-product of tribulations; it isn't granted, it is learned.

I asked God to give me happiness. God said, No. I give you blessings;
Happiness is up to you.

I asked God to spare me pain. God said, No. Suffering draws you apart from worldly cares and brings you closer to Me.

I asked God to make my spirit grow. God said, No. You must grow on your own, but I will prune you to make you fruitful.

I asked God for all things that I might enjoy life. God said, No. I will give you life, so that you may enjoy all things.

I asked God to help me LOVE others, as much as He loves me. God said. Ahhhh, finally you get the idea.

16 healthy tips for feeling better

One of the most painful experiences for a physician is to tell patients they brought their medical problems upon themselves. As they roll toward the operating room, I always see a mixture of terror and regret as they contemplate those walks they should have taken, those burgers they shouldn't have eaten. Those regrets compelled me to create books, a radio program and, recently, "The Dr. Oz Show," to convince Americans that their fate is, in fact, in their own hands.
During my decades of clinical practice and thousands of open-heart surgeries, I've learned that people change behaviors not because of what they know, but because of how they feel. So don't struggle with all of our recommendations if some of them seem unnatural. Focus on the ones you easily can program into your life. When you don't even realize that you're on a new lifestyle program, we have succeeded.
Let's take advantage of the new year by highlighting the top habits that could make us all healthier in 2010. Dr. Oz *

Don't skip meals. A morning meal rich in fiber or protein slows the passage of food through the small intestine. As a result, you feel satisfied longer and don't start foraging for candy or soda a few hours later. Not surprisingly, those who have successfully lost weight and kept it off report consistently eating breakfast. But don't take this as carte blanche to gorge on junk food. Doughnuts or syrupy pancakes are definitely worse than nothing at all.

Ditch extreme diets. People almost always fail to lose weight because they try diets that are too radical to stick with. For a lifestyle change to succeed, it must be sustainable. So instead of eliminating all foods that fit into a certain category or counting every calorie, try making changes that are less noticeable but no less significant. If you can eliminate just 100 calories from your daily intake, for example, you will lose about a pound per month. How hard is that?

Savor every bite. So many of us agonize over what to eat, then don't spend any time actually enjoying our meal. We wolf it down so quickly that our stomach doesn't have a chance to tell us it's full. In fact, new research shows that eating a meal quickly stops the release of hormones that induce feelings of fullness. So eat with awareness. Turn off the TV and put the computer to sleep. Sit down across from a friend or your spouse, have a leisurely chat, and chew at least 20 times before swallowing. Not only will you savor and appreciate each bite, but you'll also eat a lot less.

Become a pill popper. I wish we all could get 15 minutes of daily sun exposure and have high levels of vitamin D. But most of us spend our days indoors, and if you live north of Atlanta, the winter sun isn't strong enough for your body to make D anyway. Instead, take 1,000 international units (IU) of vitamin D daily, like I do. If you don't, you could become vitamin-D deficient, increasing your risk of heart disease, cancer, multiple sclerosis and immune disorders. Omega-3 fats are also critical; we need them to stay sharp because they're a major component of our brains. Take 400mg daily. If you want to take both of these crucial supplements at once, chug a tablespoon of lemon-flavored cod liver oil every morning -- before you brush your teeth!

Eat well, then eat what you like. Many people know what they shouldn't eat, but what about the daily foods that are essential? Check nutrition labels and make sure your daily dose meets my suggested criteria below. Then you can add proteins such as chicken or beef. After that, you can eat whatever you want -- well, almost. Your waist still should be less than half of your height.

Throw out your scale. As a nation, we're obsessed with weight. But our waist circumference is actually a more informative measurement than the number of pounds on the scale. The size of your waist indicates how much dangerous "omental" fat you have -- that's the fatty layer of tissue beneath your belly muscles that pumps inflammatory chemicals throughout your body, driving up blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. Measure your waist at the belly button (go ahead and suck in!). That number should be less than half of your height. For the average woman, that's 32 inches; for men, it's 35 inches.

Go for a walk. Get a pedometer and stick it in your pocket. If, by the end of the day, the number of steps is under 10,000, walk around the block until you reach that goal. This simple challenge will significantly improve your health. Walking strengthens your core muscles, promotes endurance and blasts fat. It also explains why the Amish (who don't use automobiles) have an obesity rate of less than 10%. If you must drive, park in the spot farthest away from the building, then walk to your destination.

Take control of your health. Chronic diseases afflict hundreds of millions, but staggering numbers of people are completely unaware that they're even affected. Forty percent of diabetics, for example, are walking around undiagnosed. In many people with heart disease, the first sign is sudden death. You can't fight a problem if you don't know you have it. No matter how old you are or how well you feel, see your doctor about screening for heart disease, high cholesterol and diabetes. Not knowing your numbers won't make them go away, but getting tested puts your fate in your own hands.

Skip a shampoo. Many of us agonize over the prospect of losing our hair, but we slather it every morning with shampoos containing chemicals that put wear and tear on the follicles. Unless you spend most of your day working under a car, you probably don't need to wash your hair each morning. So give your scalp a break and leave it alone -- just rinse with water every other day.

Pump some iron. Building muscle is an investment that pays off all day long: Muscle burns significantly more calories than fat, and the difference is still great even when we're at rest. So if you've only been jogging, start lifting weights. You can even use your own body weight as resistance. In fact, pull-ups are the most valuable muscle-building exercise you can do. Get a simple door-frame setup on the cheap, then resolve to do as many pull-ups as you can twice a day. It takes only minutes, and you'll be amazed by how many you can do as the weeks go on. As you age and testosterone levels decline, causing muscle tissue loss and possible muscle atrophy, these strength-building moves become even more important.

Stop rushing to work. If you're not early, you're late, and you lose your feeling of control. Starting this year, arrive early at every appointment. You'll regain control of the agenda and feel less disheveled and more confident. And because you'll be getting up a bit earlier, add my yoga routine (search for "beginner yoga" at or meditate (hide in the bathroom, where no one would dare bother you) to get centered for the day. Are you already thinking that you won't have enough time to do this? Well, consider this: Are you willing to admit your life is so out of control that you can't spare seven minutes to improve it?

Get your ZZZs. Your ability to sleep is a barometer of how well you're coping with life. In the long term, inadequate sleep increases the chance of heart disease and diabetes, and in the short term, it can lead to accidents and interfere with work performance. Make it a priority to get at least 7.5 hours of shut-eye a night to reboot your brain and feel younger. Just a few simple changes can help many insomnia sufferers. For example, dim your lights 20 minutes before bedtime, wear loose clothing to bed, and keep the room cool and quiet. If you're at risk for sleep apnea (for instance, if you smoke, are overweight or have high blood pressure, among other factors), get diagnosed and treated.

Brush and floss daily. Inflammation causes more health problems than you'd imagine. In fact, your body becomes dangerous when it's inflamed. Inflammation causes rusting of the body -- it's like an apple turning brown 20 minutes after being cut. Gingivitis is a leading cause of an immune civil war that stimulates inflammation, a major cause of heart attacks. Brush for two full minutes (that's right -- two minutes) every morning and night to reduce your risk of heart disease. And floss to clean the 40% of tooth surfaces that you otherwise would miss if you only brush.

Kick up your feet. After a long day running around the set of "The Dr. Oz Show," I like to soak my feet in a tub of hot water with Epsom salts. The magnesium helps to relax sore muscles. For massage, I use unscented, pure vegetable or seed oil mixed with some essential oils, such as lavender, rose or wintergreen, for an added aromatherapy benefit.

Help someone else. For life to be truly fulfilling, it has to be about more than ourselves. If you've picked up something -- an activity, a hobby, maybe a philosophy -- that has improved your life, then share it with others. Dedicate at least a few hours every week to helping those who need it. The dividends on your investment will be tremendous.

Be fearless. The new year allows you to challenge the invisible assumptions that can stall progress and meaningful change in your life. Remember, the goldfish doesn't know that there's a world beyond the bowl until he is lifted out. Similarly, you can't appreciate the limitations of your current life until you have challenged and moved past them.
No matter when you start making changes, remind yourself that New Year's resolutions are not wind sprints -- they are marathons. Be persistent and keep going. Are you ready to take the first step? There's no better time than now.

* Mehmet Oz, M.D., is a professor of surgery at Columbia University, the host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and the co-author of "You: The Owner's Manual" and other books.

For those who thought they knew everything

1. The liquid inside young coconuts can be used as a substitute for Blood Plasma.
2. No piece of paper can be folded in half more than seven (7) times. So go ahead...I'll wait...
3. Donkeys kill more people annually than plane crashes or shark attacks. (So, watch your Ass)
4. You burn more calories sleeping than you do watching television.
5. Oak trees do not produce acorns until they are fifty (50) years of age or older.
6. The first product to have a bar code was Wrigley's gum.
7. American Airlines saved $40,000 in 1987 by eliminating one olive from each salad served in first-class.
8. Venus is the only planet that rotates clockwise. (Since Venus is normally associated with women, what does this tell you? Women are going the 'right' direction?)
9. Apples, not caffeine, are more efficient at waking you up in the morning.
10. Most dust particles in your house are made from dead skin!
11. The first owner of the Marlboro Company died of lung cancer. So did the first 'Marlboro Man'.
12. Walt Disney was afraid of mice!
13. Pearls melt in vinegar!
14. The three most valuable brand names on earth: Marlboro, Coca Cola, and Budweiser, in that order.
15. It is possible to lead a cow upstairs; but, not downstairs.
16. A duck's quack doesn't echo, and no one knows why.
17. Dentists have recommended that a toothbrush be kept at least six (6) feet away from a toilet to avoid airborne particles resulting from the flush.
18. Turtles can breathe through their butts. (I know some people like that, don't you?)
19. Remember, knowledge is everything, so pass it on, and go move your toothbrush!!!

10 Ways to Protect Yourself

1. Tip from Tae Kwon Do : The elbow is the strongest point on your body. If you are close enough to use it, do!

2.. Learned this from a tourist guide. If a robber asks for your wallet and/or purse, DO NOT HAND IT TO HIM. Toss it away from you.... Chances are that he is more interested in your wallet and/or purse than you, and he will go for the wallet/purse. RUN LIKE MAD IN THE OTHER DIRECTION!

3. If you are ever thrown into the trunk of a car, kick out the back tail lights and stick your arm out the hole and start waving like crazy.. The driver won't see you, but everybody else will. This has saved lives.

4. Women have a tendency to get into their cars after shopping, eating, working, etc., and just sit (doing their chequebook, or making a list, etc. DON'T DO THIS! The predator will be watching you, and this is the perfect opportunity for him to get in on the passenger side, put a gun to your head, and tell you where to go. AS SOON AS YOU GET INTO YOUR CAR , LOCK THE DOORS AND LEAVE..

If someone is in the car with a gun to your head DO NOT DRIVE OFF, Repeat: DO NOT DRIVE OFF! Instead gun the engine and speed into anything, wrecking the car. Your Air Bag will save you. If the person is in the back seat they will get the worst of it . As soon as the car crashes bail out and run. It is better than having them find your body in a remote location.

5. A few notes about getting into your car in a parking lot, or parking garage:

A.) Be aware: look around you, look into your car, at the passenger side floor , and in the back seat

B.) If you are parked next to a big van, enter your car from the passenger door. Most serial killers attack their victims by pulling them into their vans while the women are attempting to get into their cars.

C.) Look at the car parked on the driver's side of your vehicle, and the passenger side... If a male is sitting alone in the seat nearest your car, you may want to walk back into the mall, or work, and get a guard/policeman to walk you back out. IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY. (And better paranoid than dead.)

6. ALWAYS take the elevator instead of the stairs. Stairwells are horrible places to be alone and the perfect crime spot. This is especially true at NIGHT!)

7. If the predator has a gun and you are not under his control, ALWAYS RUN! The predator will only hit you (a running target) 4 in 100 times; and even then, it most likely WILL NOT be a vital organ. RUN, Preferably in a zig -zag pattern!

8. As women, we are always trying to be sympathetic: STOP It may get you raped, or killed. Ted Bundy, the serial killer, was a good-looking, well educated man, who ALWAYS played on the sympathies of unsuspecting women. He walked with a cane, or a limp, and often asked 'for help' into his vehicle or with his vehicle, which is when he abducted his next victim.

9. Another Safety Point:

Someone just told me that her friend heard

a crying baby on her porch the night before last,

and she called the police because it was late

and she thought it was weird.. The police told her

'Whatever you do, DO NOT

open the door..'

The lady then said that it sounded like the baby

had crawled near a window, and she was worried

that it would crawl to the street and get run over.

The policeman said, 'We already have a unit on the way,

whatever you do, DO NOT open the door.'

He told her that they think a serial killer

has a baby's cry recorded and uses it to coax

women out of their homes thinking that someone

dropped off a baby. He said they have not verified it,

but have had several calls by women saying that

they hear baby's cries outside their doors

when they're home alone at night.

10. Water scam!

If you wake up in the middle
of the night to hear all your taps outside running or what you think is a
burst pipe, DO NOT GO OUT TO INVESTIGATE! These people turn on all your
outside taps full ball so that you will go out to investigate and
then attack.

Stay alert, keep safe, and look out for your neighbours!

Church Bulletin Bloopers

1. The Fasting & Prayer Conference includes meals.
2. The sermon this morning: 'Jesus Walks on the Water.' The sermon tonight: 'Searching for Jesus.'
3. Ladies, don't forget the rummage sale. It's a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.
4. Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our community. Smile at someone who is hard to love. Say 'Hell' to someone who doesn't care much about you.
5. Don't let worry kill you off - let the Church help.
6. Miss Charlene Mason sang 'I will not pass this way again,' giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.

7. For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.
8. Next Thursday there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get.
9. Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days.
10. A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow.
11. At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be 'What Is Hell?' Come early and listen to our choir practice.
12. Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.

13. Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.
14. Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person you want remembered.
15. The church will host an evening of fine dining, super entertainment and gracious hostility.
16. Potluck supper Sunday at 5:00 PM - prayer and medication to follow.
17. The ladies of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind. They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon.
18. This evening at 7 PM there will be a hymn singing in the park across from the Church. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.

19. Ladies Bible Study will be held Thursday morning at 10 AM. All ladies are invited to lunch in the Fellowship Hall after the B. S. Is done.
20. The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the Congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday.
21. Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM. Please use the back door.
22. The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare's Hamlet in the Church basement Friday at 7 PM. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.
23. Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use large double door at the side entrance.
24. The Associate Minister unveiled the church's new campaign slogan last Sunday: 'I Upped My Pledge - Up Yours'.


On their wedding night, the young bride approached her new husband and asked for $20.00 for their first lovemaking encounter. In his highly aroused state, her husband readily agreed.

This scenario was repeated each time they made Love, for more than 30 years, with him thinking that it was a cute way for her to afford new clothes and other incidentals that she needed.

Arriving home around noon one day, she was surprised to find her husband in a very drunken state. During the next few minutes, he explained that his employer was going through a process of corporate downsizing, and he had been let go.

It was unlikely that, at the age of 59, he'd be able to find another position that paid anywhere near what he'd been earning, and therefore, they were financially ruined.

Calmly, his wife handed him a bank book which showed more than thirty years of steady deposits and interest totaling nearly $1 million. Then she showed him certificates of deposits issued by the bank which were worth over $2 million, and informed him that they were one of the largest depositors in the bank.

She explained that for more than three decades she had 'charged' him for sex, these holdings had multiplied and these were the results of her savings and investments.

Faced with evidence of cash and investments worth over $3 million, her husband was so astounded he could barely speak, but finally he found his voice and blurted out, 'If I'd had any idea what you were doing, I would have given you all my business!'

That's when she shot him.

You know, sometimes, men just don't know when to keep their mouths shut.