Saturday, December 13, 2008

How The Angel Became the Tree Top Ornament

When four of Santa's elves got sick, the trainee elves did not produce toys as fast as the regular ones, and Santa began to feel the Pre-Christmas pressure.

Then Mrs Claus told Santa her Mother was coming to visit, which stressed Santa even more.

When he went to harness the reindeer, he found that three of them were about to give birth and two others had jumped the fence and were out, Heaven knows where.

Then when he began to load the sleigh, one of the floorboards cracked, the toy bag fell to the ground and all the toys were scattered.

Frustrated, Santa went in the house for a cup of apple cider and a shot of rum. When he went to the cupboard, he discovered the elves had drank all the cider and hidden the liquor. In his frustration, he accidentally dropped the cider jug, and it broke into hundreds of little glass pieces all over the kitchen floor.

He went to get the broom and found the mice had eaten all the straw off the end of the broom.

Just then the doorbell rang, and irritated Santa marched to the door, yanked it open, and there stood a little angel with a great big Christmas tree.

The angel said very cheerfully, 'Merry Christmas, Santa. Isn't this a lovely day? I have a beautiful tree for you. Where would you like me to stick it?'

And so began the tradition of the little angel on top of the Christmas tree.

Friends are God's way of taking care of us.

This was written by a Metro Denver Hospice Physician:

I was driving home from a meeting this evening about 5, stuck in traffic on Colorado Blvd., and the car started to choke and splutter and die - I barely managed to coast into a gas station, glad only that I would not be blocking traffic and would have a somewhat warm spot to wait for the tow truck. It wouldn't even turn over.

Before I could make the call, I saw a woman walking out of the "quickie mart" building, and it looked like she slipped on some ice and fell into a gas pump, so I got out to see if she was okay.

When I got there, it looked more like she had been overcome by sobs than that she had fallen; she was a young woman who looked really haggard with dark circles under her eyes. She dropped something as I helped her up, and I picked it up to give it to her. It was a nickel.

At that moment, everything came into focus for me: the crying woman, the ancient Suburban crammed full of stuff with 3 kids in the back (1 in a car seat), and the gas pump reading $4.95.

I asked her if she was okay and if she needed help, and she just kept saying "don't want my kids to see me crying", so we stood on the other side of the pump from her car. She said she was driving to California and that things were very hard for her right now. So I asked, "And you were praying?" That made her back away from me a little, but I assured her I was not a crazy person and said, "God heard you, and He sent me."

I took out my card and swiped it through the card reader on the pump so she could fill up her car completely, and while it was fueling, walked next door to McDonald's and bought 2 big bags of food, some gift certificates for more, and a big cup of coffee. She gave the food to the kids in the car, who attacked it like wolves, and we stood by the pump eating fries and talking a little.

She told me her name, and that she lived in Kansas City. Her boyfriend left 2 months ago and she had not been able to make ends meet. She knew she wouldn't have money to pay rent Jan 1, and finally in desperation had finally called her parents, with whom she had not spoken in about 5 years. They lived in California and said she could come live with them and try to get on her feet there.

So she packed up everything she owned in the car. She told the kids they were going to California for Christmas, but not that they were going to live there.

I gave her my gloves, a little hug and said a quick prayer with her for safety on the road. As I was walking over to my car, she said, "So, are you like an angel or something?"

This definitely made me cry. I said, "Sweetie, at this time of year angels are really busy, so sometimes God uses regular people."

It was so incredible to be a part of someone else's miracle. And of course, you guessed it, when I got in my car it started right away and got me home with no problem. I'll put it in the shop tomorrow to check, but I suspect the mechanic won't find anything wrong.

Sometimes the angels fly close enough to you that you can hear the flutter of their wings.

Psalms 55:22: Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee. He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.
A Puppy's 12 Days of Christmas
By Elise Lewis

On the first day of Christmas my puppy gave to me
The Santa topper from the Christmas tree.

On the second day of Christmas my puppy gave to me
Two leaking bubble lights
And the Santa topper from the Christmas tree.

Friday, December 12, 2008

“In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season: the Christians called it Christmas and went to church; the Jews called it Chanukah and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say ‘Merry Christmas!’ or ‘Happy Chanukah!’ or (to the atheists) ‘Look out for the wall!

- Dave Barry
A Puppy's 12 Days of Christmas
By Elise Lewis

On the first day of Christmas my puppy gave to me
The Santa topper from the Christmas tree.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Global average for 2008 should come in close to 14.3C, but cooler temperature is not evidence that global warming is slowing, say climate scientists
James Randerson, Friday December 5 2008 15.00 GMT

This year is set to be the coolest since 2000, according to a preliminary estimate of global average temperature that is due to be released next week by the Met Office. The global average for 2008 should come in close to 14.3C, which is 0.14C below the average temperature for 2001-07.

The relatively chilly temperatures compared with recent years are not evidence that global warming is slowing however, say climate scientists at the Met Office. "Absolutely not," said Dr Peter Stott, the manager of understanding and attributing climate change at the Met Office's Hadley Centre. "If we are going to understand climate change we need to look at long-term trends."

Prof Myles Allen at Oxford University who runs the website, said he feared climate sceptics would overinterpret the figure. "You can bet your life there will be a lot of fuss about what a cold year it is. Actually no, its not been that cold a year, but the human memory is not very long, we are used to warm years," he said, "Even in the 80s [this year] would have felt like a warm year."

And 2008 would have been a scorcher in Charles Dickens's time - without human-induced warming there would have been a one in a hundred chance of getting a year this hot. "For Dickens this would have been an extremely warm year," he said. On the flip side, in the current climate there is a roughly one in 10chance of having a year this cool.

The Met Office predicted at the beginning of the year that 2008 would be cooler than recent years because of a La Niña event - characterised by unusually cold ocean temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. It is the mirror image of the El Niño climate cycle. The Met Office had forecast an annual global average of 14.37C.

Allen was presenting the data on this year's global average temperature at the Appleton Space Conference at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, near Didcot yesterday. The 14.3C figure is based on data from January to October. When the Met Office makes its formal announcement next week they will incorporate data from November. "[The figure] will differ from it, but it won't differ massively," said Stott, "We would expect the number to go up rather than down because the early parts of the year were still under the La Niña conditions."

Assuming the final figure is close to 14.3C then 2008 will be the tenth hottest year on record. The hottest was 1998 - which included a very strong El Niño event - followed by 2005, 2003 and 2002. The data are a combination of measurements from satellites, ground weather stations and buoys which are compiled jointly by the Hadley Centre and the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia.

In March, a team of climate scientists at Kiel University predicted that natural variation would mask the 0.3C warming predicted by the Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change over the next decade. They said that global temperatures would remain constant until 2015 but would then begin to accelerate. © Guardian News and Media Limited 2008


I've long wondered whether the global warming issue was fact or fiction. I have come to believe that there is some truth, and a lot of Henny Penny reaction to it. I don't believe that the world will end in my lifetime, barring some lunatic with a nuclear device or a meteor hitting us dead center. I can't personally do anything about either of those scenarios, so I leave the worry about what to do to others. I think that there are some who decided that they needed to have a forum on which to make their legacy and are making more of the problem than there really is. Of course, there are people who have their heads in the sand and refuse to admit there are problems. Those people are part of the problem. No one on the extreme edges do the issue any good. 

Mankind may be responsible for some climate change, but I don't believe we are responsible for all of it. I believe that there are cycles in nature, and warming and cooling cycles are part of it. It's part of nature and we have to figure out what we can fix and what to leave alone.

We as a species have left our mark on Earth - whether good or bad. I'm not smart enough to know what is a permanent problem and what needs a fix. Again, something I leave to others. I believe that mankind has an obligation to be kind to the environment and we should take steps to be as green as practical. We need to understand that it's all too easy to harm our environment. I do believe that we need to take to heart part of the physician's code: First, do no harm.

However, when we do realize that we've hurt our environment,  I believe that we must do what we can to correct the problem. We should be looking toward alternative forms of energy.  I hope that the people who have influence in this world are also looking in this direction.

The only problem is, when you are talking a new form of anything, it's usually more expensive that what you currently have. Take for example cars. I'd love to see more hybrids on the road, but they are new and tend to be beyond the budget of the very people who need them. Smaller cars that get great mpg's tend to be not as safe as larger vehicles. And truth to tell, I'm at an age where I'm looking for some creature comforts, which don't usually appear in the smaller, more efficient vehicles.

I'm looking to the automotive industry to bring out vehicles that Americans want, instead of what the industry thinks we want. Why can't we have larger, safer vehicles that are also fuel efficient? And at a cost more people can afford? Not everyone will be able to buy a new car every time they are looking to replace the current model in their driveway or garage. We are slowly replacing the old, inefficient gas guzzlers, but are they at a price the average wage earner can afford? The people in my circle are driving newer vehicles, but most are purchased used, not new, and certainly not as carbon footprint friendly as the PC police would have us drive.

It ought to be telling to the automotive industry that foreign cars are not in the financial situation that the American industry is suffering from. The Big Three should be looking to their foreign competitors to see what they are doing that The Big three could bring to their plants.

Maybe then the American automotive industry will the the leaders in making vehicles that will do no harm to the environment and that will be environmentally and bank account friendly.

A large chess tournament was held in New York City. The matches were held in a conference room in a hotel. The chess buffs arrived early at the hotel each day. They would gather in the entry way and talk with fellow chess fans. Mostly, they would talk about how well they played the previous day. Or they would try to intimidate their opponents by mentioning secret moves.

A few days into the tournament, the hotel manager shooed all of the chess players away. He said he had had enough of chess nuts boasting in an open foyer.
Christmas is forever, not for just one day,
for loving, sharing, giving, are not to put away
like bells and lights and tinsel, in some box upon a shelf.
The good you do for others is good you do yourself.
~Norman Wesley Brooks, "Let Every Day Be Christmas," 1976

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop
opening presents and listen.
~Author unknown, attributed to a 7-year-old named Bobby