Thursday, February 24, 2011

Using the clear button

People are getting really desperate due to the constantly rising gas prices. A friend just told me about something that happened to one of his coworkers. She used her credit/debit card to purchase gas at the pump (like most of us do). She received her receipt like normal. However, when she checked her statement, there were 2 $50. charges added in addition to her purchase. Upon investigation, she found out that because she did not press the 'clear' button on the pump, the employee inside the store was able to use her card to purchase his/her own gas!
To keep this from happening, after you get your receipt, you must press the 'CLEAR' button or your information will be stored until the next customer inserts their card.
I did not know about the clear button, but I will be pushing the clear button before I swipe my gas or debit card and after just to be safe. Be sure to tell all your friends/family so that this doesn't happen to them. I had never noticed the clear button but I got gas the other day and sure enough it is there. I shall be using it from now on.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Wrong E-Mail Address

A Minneapolis couple decided to go to Florida to thaw out during a particularly icy winter. They planned to stay at the same hotel where they spent their honeymoon 20 years earlier. Because of hectic schedules, it was difficult to coordinate their travel schedules. So, the husband left Minnesota and flew to Florida on Thursday, with his wife flying down the following day.
The husband checked into the hotel. There was a computer in his room, so he decided to send an email to his wife. However, he accidentally left out one letter in her email address, and without realizing his error, sent the e-mail. Meanwhile, somewhere in Houston , a widow had just returned home from her husband's funeral. He was a minister who was called home to glory following a heart attack. The widow decided to check her e-mail expecting messages from relatives and friends. After reading the first message, she screamed and fainted. The widow's son rushed into the room, found his mother on the floor, and saw the computer screen which read:

To: My Loving Wife
Subject: I've Arrived
Date: December 16, 2010

I know you're surprised to hear from me. They have computers here now and you are allowed to send emails to your loved ones. I've just arrived and have been checked in.

I've seen that everything has been prepared for your arrival tomorrow. Looking forward to seeing you then! Hope your journey is as uneventful as mine was.

P. S. Sure is freaking hot down here!!!!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Number of baptized Catholics in the world grows by 15 million

Number of baptized Catholics in the world grows by 15 million

Vatican City, Feb 19, 2011 / 01:38 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Catholics in the world continue to increase in number by the millions, according to the latest official statistics from the Catholic Church. Although the number of baptized Catholics in on the rise, Church officials say that with the exception of Asia and Africa, the "crisis remains" in vocations to the religious life throughout the globe.

The 2011 Pontifical Yearbook was presented to Pope Benedict XVI on the morning of Feb. 19 by a delegation led by his "number two," secretary of state Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone and members of the Central Office of Church Statistics.

The book contains information on all Church jurisdictions and organizations, religious and cultural institutes and structures worldwide. Some information was released about novelties in dioceses and other church jurisdictions created in 2010 yet the main focus is on statistics from 2008-2009.

The standout figure of the new yearbook is the jump in the number of newly baptized Catholics over the two-year period.

In the 2,956 church jurisdictions in the world, the number jumped by 15 million from 2008. The total number of living baptized Catholics on the globe in 2009 reached 1,181,000,000.

North and South America account for a fraction under half of this number. European Catholics amount to 24 percent, Africa rings in at 15 percent and Asia at just over 10 percent. The remaining number, totaling less than one percentage point, live in Oceania.

Growth figures for all continents were not provided for the individual continents in the Vatican statement.

The yearbook also showed that the number of bishops and priests grew in direct proportion to the number of Catholics worldwide. For the 1.3 percent more Catholics in the world, there were 1.3 percent more of both bishops and priests in the period from 2008 - 2009. In 2009, there were 5,065 bishops and 410,593 priests.

The numbers also show a net increase of priests on every continent except Europe, where both religious and diocesan numbers decreased over the two-year period examined.

This increase was perhaps overshadowed, however, by what Church officials called a troubling statistic. Consecrated religious numbers decreased worldwide by nearly 10,000 to 729,371.

"So the crisis remains, notwithstanding Africa and Asia where they increased," read the Vatican statement.

Numbers also show that deacons worldwide increased by more than 1,000 men to a total of 38,155 and seminarians are on the increase led by significantly higher numbers again in Africa and Asia. Decreases were registered in Europe and in the combined total of North and South American dioceses.

The 2011 Yearbook has not yet been released by the Vatican Publishing House to the public, but it will be due out soon.

The Pope traditionally receives the first three copies of the volume bound in white cloth. It is made available to the public with a red-colored binding, which has led to its common name - the "red book of the Church."

According to the statement from the Holy See's Press Office, the Pope thanked the delegation and all contributors for the volume and showed "great interest" in the data it contains.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Children Are Quick

TEACHER: Maria, go to the map and find North America .
MARIA: Here it is.
TEACHER: Correct. Now class, who discovered America ?
CLASS: Maria.

TEACHER: John, why are you doing your math multiplication on the floor?
JOHN: You told me to do it without using tables.

TEACHER: Glenn, how do you spell 'crocodile?'
TEACHER: No, that's wrong
GLENN: Maybe it is wrong, but you asked me how I spell it.

TEACHER: Donald, what is the chemical formula for water?
TEACHER: What are you talking about?
DONALD: Yesterday you said it's H to O.

TEACHER: Winnie, name one important thing we have today that we didn't have ten years ago.

TEACHER: Glen, why do you always get so dirty?
GLEN: Well, I'm a lot closer to the ground than you are.

TEACHER: Millie, give me a sentence starting with ' I. '
MILLIE: I is..
TEACHER: No, Millie..... Always say, 'I am.'
MILLIE: All right... 'I am the ninth letter of the alphabet.'

TEACHER: George Washington not only chopped down his father's cherry tree, but also admitted it.
Now, Louie, do you know why his father didn't punish him?
LOUIS: Because George still had the axe in his hand....

TEACHER: Now, Simon , tell me frankly, do you say prayers before eating?
SIMON: No sir, I don't have to, my Mom is a good cook.

TEACHER: Clyde , your composition on 'My Dog' is exactly the same as your brother's.. Did you copy his?
CLYDE : No, sir. It's the same dog.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Church Ladies With typewriters

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.

They're Back! Those wonderful Church Bulletins! Thank God for church ladies with typewriters. These sentences (with all the BLOOPERS) actually appeared in church bulletins or were announced in church services.

E-Mail Tracker Programs

Advice from

1) Any time you see an email that says "forward this on to '10' (or however many) of your friends", "sign this petition", or "you'll get bad luck" or "you'll get good luck" or "you'll see something funny on your screen after you send it" or whatever --- it almost always has an email tracker program attached that tracks the cookies and emails of those folks you forward to. The host sender is getting a copy each time it gets forwarded and then is able to get lists of 'active' email addresses to use in SPAM emails or sell to other spammers. Even when you get emails that demand you send the email on if you're not ashamed of God/Jesus --- that is email tracking, and they are playing on our conscience. These people don't care how they get your email addresses - just as long as they get them. Also, emails that talk about a missing child or a child with an incurable disease "how would you feel if that was your child" --- email tracking. Ignore them and don't participate!

2) Almost all emails that ask you to add your name and forward on to others are similar to that mass letter years ago that asked people to send business cards to the little kid in Florida who wanted to break the Guinness Book of Records for the most cards. All it was, and all any of this type of email is, is a way to get names and 'cookie' tracking information for telemarketers and spammers -- to validate active email accounts for their own profitable purposes.

You can do your Friends and Family members a GREAT favor by sending this information to them. You will be providing a service to your friends. And you will be rewarded by not getting thousands of spam emails in the future! Do yourself a favor and STOP adding your name(s) to those types of listing regardless how inviting they might sound! Or make you feel guilty if you don't! It's all about getting email addresses and nothing more. You may think you are supporting a GREAT cause, but you are NOT! Instead, you will be getting tons of junk mail later and very possibly a virus attached! Plus, we are helping the spammers get rich! Let's not make it easy for them!

Finally: Email petitions are NOT acceptable to Congress of any other organization - i.e. social security, etc. To be acceptable, petitions must have a "signed signature" and full address of the person signing the petition, so this is a waste of time and you are just helping the email trackers.

One thing I do is copy the contents of an e-mail and paste it into a Word document; completely reformat it and then paste it into a new e-mail I want to send to others. This avoids any possibility of continuing these practices.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Cave & St. Francis

There is a story about St. Francis of Assisi and his experience in the darkness of a cave. Francis used to go to a little cave in a hill near his home. Resting there, he tried to think through his problems and find a direction for his future. He went to the cave every day until it became a kind of home for him, the only place in which he felt comfortable.
Speaking into the dark cave’s ear, Francis experienced the joy of release. The protective shield of darkness made it easier to whisper hushed secrets into the emptiness, or to scream his pain at the cold damp walls. It was in the cave that Francis met God, and met his own self for the first time. Until then his voices and dreams always seemed to come from without, from a great distance. But during the agonizing hours in the cave, he began to hear a voice inside himself, a deeper, clearer voice that was like discovering a part of himself he didn’t know was there. The more he prayed and turned to God for inspiration, the deeper he moved toward some inner force that gave him strength and peace.
At first, Francis’ inner search was a painful and terrifying look at himself, at his weakness and sinfulness; and the journey was a downward dive that made him feel like he was drowning in a vast, bottomless lake. But as he persevered, he came at last to something like a great, silent waterproof cavern in which the sound of his own voice seemed mellow and deep; and there, at that depth within, God spoke softly to him and made his heart burn with love, for himself and for others—both humans and animals.
For a whole year Francis went to the cave and plumbed his own depths trying to hold onto that inner cave-peace when he was in the world of light. In the end, he sensed that the search for the dark place would be his daily journey for the rest of his life; that if he was to be at peace, he would have to delve deeply into himself every day.

We learn much about ourselves in our darkness, in our depths. As most of you know I am a person who lives with depression. (With my new attitude and mellowness I’m deliberately avoiding the expression "suffers from depression.") I live with depression and sometimes that depression takes me into a place of darkness. Now, when I find myself in that place, I try to ask myself,
"What is this place of darkness like?"
"What can I learn or experience here?"
I am learning not to try to flee from that darkness, desperately searching for light. In those dark times I have learned more about who I am. I have learned that I am accepted for who I am, not for what I do. I have found a pace of life that works for me – a pace that is much, much slower than before. I have learned to be grateful for the little things that happen each day, and not to hunger for big, important things that might happen to me someday, if only I work hard enough.

Karl Jung, the great Swiss psychiatrist, encourages us to learn from the dark. He was a strong advocate of paying attention to and interpreting our dreams. When do we dream? In the dark. He introduces us to the concept of the shadow:
• Our shadow side is made up of parts of ourselves that are present in our psyche;
• Parts of ourselves we either aren’t aware of or refuse to acknowledge.
• Those hidden parts of us, those characteristics or memories or personality traits, are powerful determinants of what we do and how we do it.
• Because they are hidden, even to us, we are sometimes not aware of why we do the things we do.
Jung said, "It is not by looking into the light that we become luminous, but by plunging into the darkness. However, this is often unpleasant work, and therefore is not very popular."

Jim Cotter offers a prayer which helps with this kind of soul searching.

Oh give me a candle of the Spirit
as I descend to the deep places of my being.

Show me the hidden things,
the creatures of my dreams,
the storehouse of forgotten memories and hurts.
And take me down to the source of my being,
and tell me my nature and my name.

Then give me freedom to grow anew,
so that I may become that self,
that seed of which you planted in me at my making.
For out of these depths I cry to you, O Lord.

We can learn so much from being in darkness. I am thinking of the Greek myth about Demeter and Persephone. Demeter and her beloved daughter Persephone were out in the fields and woods one day, enjoying the sunshine and the breeze and the plants and flowers. Suddenly, out of the ground, came the fearful chariot of the God of the Underworld, Haides. He kidnapped Persephone and took her back to the dark place under the earth to become his wife. Demeter was consumed by grief and wandered the earth, searching for Persephone. Now Demeter was the Goddess of Grain and of all plants that were used for food by humans. Because of her inconsolable grief, all those plants died and there was nothing to eat. There was no bread for the people or for the Gods. After a few months of this, the King of the Gods, Zeus, commanded Haides to return Persephone to her mother. But before she returned, Persephone ate a seed of the pomegranate, the food of the underword. Eating that seed guaranteed her return to the underworld for part of each year.

In this story we hear about Demeter’s terrible grief and its consequences for the world. We don’t usually hear about Persephone’s experiences in the dark and what she learned there.
• It was a catalytic time for her, a time of deep internal change and maturing.
• She lived independent of her mother.
• She learned to be in relationship with another. Perhaps she met and got to know some of the souls of the dead.
• She returned a woman, rather than a girl.

And what about Demeter during that dark time in her life?
• She found a power she didn’t know she had.
• Power to keep the green from growing.
• Power to force Zeus and Haides to do something about injustice.

This winter, more than any other time in my life, I am learning about the dark.
• Learning to be aware of dark, to explore it and to trust it.
• Learning to accept myself in the dark.
• Instead of being a cold and fearful place, the dark is beginning to make me think of the feel of black velvet, of smooth red wine, and of rich double fudge cake.
• I am beginning to resonate with Joyce Rupp’s poem: Winter’s Cloak.

This year I do not want the dark to leave me.
I need its wrap of silent stillness,
its cloak of long lasting embrace.
For too much light has pulled me away
from the chamber of gestation.

And let the dawns come late,
let the sunsets arrive early,
let the evenings extend themselves
while I lean into the abyss of my being.

So let me lie in the cave of my soul,
for too much light blinds me,
steals the source of revelation.

And let me seek solace in the empty places
of winter’s passage, those vast dark nights
never fail to shelter me.

By Joyce Rupp -