Thinking of You ~ Wishing You Well ~ and many more!

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Have you received a card or note that has been handwritten? If so, I hope you felt the love that went into it. Every year since we have been married my hubby gets a birthday card with a handwritten message in it from his grandmother. They almost all start the same way: “I remember the night you were born …” These cards have been a treasure for my hubby and for me also. Through the years I learned family tales and stories and traditions were passed on.

A few years ago I did what almost every one I know does on a daily basis. I walked out to my mailbox and picked up the mail. Every day I would get excited anticipating something addressed to me. Maybe I would get an announcement from my favorite nail salon, or a great coupon for a local restaurant, or a postcard from a family member, or a “Thinking of You” card from a friend or maybe … just maybe …a hand-written multi-page letter from a friend!!!

What I found was the same old thing.There was a couple of free magazines, a few odd advertisements addressed to “Postal Customer”, and bills! The only thing that even remotely looked like a personal letter was …

(To read the rest of this entry and enter to win 1 of 2 prize packages, go to the new website at this link address:


Is There a Santa Claus?

Dear Editor,
I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say that there is no Santa Claus. Papa says “If you see it in the Sun, it is so.”
Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus? 

Virginia O’Hanlon
115 West Ninety-Fifth Street


Your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except what they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds.

All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to our life its highest beauty and joy.

Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus? You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your Papa to hire men to watch all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did Continue reading

Praise for the Efforts Around the World of the Methodist Church

Methodist endorse poverty focus

Thursday, 15th December, 2011

The Methodist Church has welcomed the Ministerial Committee on Poverty to be set up under the Relationship Accord between the Maori Party and the National Party.

Turning the World upside down for Christ!

Church president John Roberts has described the pay gap as the moral issue of our time, and says the church is in favour of redistributing wealth to ensure that people can participate and meet their basic needs.

The church says the Maori Party has ensured with 22 percent of New Zealanders living in poverty, including a high proportion of Maori and Pasifika families are included in government responsibilities.

 ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

‘Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. ~ John 3:16-17

Brakwa Methodist raises funds for new mission house

The Brakwa Society of the Methodist Church of Ghana has raised GH ¢ 8,770 in an annual harvest to help facilitate some of its on-going projects.

Speaking to the GNA at Breman Brakwa in the Central Region, shortly after the harvest, the Superintendent Minister of the Brakwa Society of the Winneba Diocese, the Very Reverend (Major Retired), D. O. Afriyie-Manso, said the amount realized would let the society complete its new project on time.

He said plans were far advanced to construct a new chapel, to provide the congregation with a spacious and conducive environment for worship.

Very Rev Afriyie-Manso told the congregation that until the Lord comes they had an unfinished task to persist in propagating the word of God.

He urged them to be of the best behavior in order not to bring the name of the Lord, the church and the nation into disrepute.

He appealed to the congregation to co-operate with each other and help weed out the bad nuts Continue reading

A Parable for Christmas

The old man sat in his gas station on a cold Christmas Eve. He hadn’t been anywhere on Christmas Eve in years, since his wife had passed away. It and Christmas day were just like any day to him. He didn’t hate Christmas; he just couldn’t find a reason to celebrate. He was sitting there looking at the snow that had been falling for the last hour and wondering what it was all about when the door opened and a homeless man stepped through.

Instead of throwing the man out, Old George as he was known by his customers, told the man to come and sit by the heater and warm up. “Thank you, but I don’t mean to intrude,” said the stranger “If you’re busy, I’ll just go.” “Not without something hot in your belly.” George said. He turned and opened a wide mouth Thermos and handed it to the stranger. “It ain’t fancy, but it’s hot and tasty. Stew … made it myself. When you’re done, there’s coffee and it’s fresh.”

Just at that moment he heard the “ding” of the driveway bell. “Excuse me, be right back,” George said. There in the driveway was an old ’53 Chevy. Steam was rolling out of the front. The driver was panicked. “Mister can you help me!” said the driver, with a deep Spanish accent. “My car quit and my wife is having baby any minute.”
George opened the hood. It was bad. The block looked cracked from the cold, the car was dead. “You ain’t going anywhere in this thing. Wait here.” George said as he turned away.

“But Mister, please help …” The door of the office closed behind George as he went inside. He went to the office wall and got the keys to his old truck, and went back outside. He walked around the building, opened the garage, started the truck and drove it around to where the couple was waiting. “Here, take my truck,” he said. “She ain’t the best thing you ever looked at, but she runs real good.”

George helped put the woman in the truck and watched as it sped off into the night. He turned and walked back inside the office. “Glad I gave ‘em the truck, their tires were shot too. That ‘ol truck has brand new . . .” George thought he was talking to the stranger, but the man was gone. The thermos was on the desk, empty, with a used coffee cup beside it. Well, at least he got something hot in his belly, George thought.

George went back outside to see if the old Chevy would start. It cranked slowly, but it started. He pulled it into the garage where the truck had been. He thought he would tinker with it for something to do. Christmas Eve meant no customers. He discovered that the block hadn’t cracked; it was just the bottom hose on the radiator. “Well, shoot, I can fix this,” he said to himself. So he put a new hose on.

Those tires ain’t gonna get ‘em through the winter either. He took the snow treads off of his wife’s old Lincoln. They were like new and he wasn’t going to drive the car anyway.

As he was working, he heard shots being fired. He ran outside and beside a police car an officer lay on the cold ground. Bleeding from the left shoulder, the officer moaned, “Please help me.”

George helped the officer inside as he remembered the training he had received in the Army as a medic. He knew the wound needed attention. Pressure to stop the bleeding, he thought. The uniform company had been there that morning and had left clean shop towels. He used those and duct tape to bind the wound. “Hey, they say duct tape can fix anything,” he said, trying to make the policeman feel at ease.

An Advent Lesson ~ Hope

This is the way I remember one particular Christmas as a child. My memories are colored by time, distance and the perspective of a child but they remain in my heart and are still able to keep me focused on the hope of things to come.

My family lived in New York, in a very rural part of Long Island. Jobs were scarce at that time and my father worked for a gas company driving a truck and delivering bottled gas to people for cooking and heating purposes. Dad was fairly young, about thirty-two years of age, and the father of four. My dad was also a volunteer fireman.

At some point, after working a full day in the cold and snow delivering the gas to his customers, dad was called out to help respond to a large fire involving a local community business. My mother bundled all of the children, as usual, and we all followed down to the firehouse so my mother could help the other women prepare hot coffee and food for the men as they took breaks and rested throughout the night. We children were made a bed of blankets in the mess hall and slept under the converted pool tables.

Towards the early morning a fellow fireman and his wife took my mother aside to talk to her. What I found out later was that my father had been inside the burning building when the roof collapsed. Although he was going to be okay, he was at the hospital receiving oxygen and would be released later.

Several days after my dad came home my parents talked to us children and told us that Santa might not be able to visit us that year, but we would still have the decorations and visits with family. There were medical bills and those days off of work made things really tight.

These circumstances certainly made an impact on my view of Christmas and the Continue reading

Be the Church ~ Love, Act, Walk

Has the church left the building? Are you following Christ into all the world?

Check out these opportunities to Be the Church!

Renters in your community may benefit from this workshop. The Fulton County Office of Housing and Community Development will host a workshop to educate tenants on their rights and responsibilities, Wednesday, November 9. The workshop will be held from 1until 2 p.m. at the Bethlehem Neighborhood Center located at 87 Thayer Street SE in Atlanta. The workshop will provide information on understanding your lease, security deposits, importance of timely remittance of rent, reporting repair needs, and the eviction process. For more information, contact Audra Pender at 404-612-3024.

National free webinar, Strengthening Families Impacted by Incarceration, November 9, Wednesday evening at 7, sponsored by Annie E. Casey Foundation, Evangelism Today Christian Church, Forever Family, Christian Association of Prison Aftercare, and Healing Communities USA. This webinar is for churches and para-church organizations that support families dealing with incarceration and for those impacted by the incarceration of family members or loved ones. Get details and register  

“Dream the impossible dream” with the Saint Mark Drama Ministry as they present Man of La Mancha in November.  Performances are Nov 11-13 and 17-19. Find tickets at tickets.

Mission and the Bible -Rev. W. Harrison Daniel, associate professor in the practice of history and mission at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology, will explore how biblical texts inform our understanding of mission and how mission informs our reading of the Bible, Nov. 12, 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Candler in Room 102. Daniel has taught at seminaries in Liberia and Austria, is a former commissioned missionary of the General Board of Global Ministries, and has served pastorates in South Georgia, Scotland, and Austria.  This Mallard Lay Theology Institute Disciple Scholars event includes continental breakfast and lunch. The cost is $30 per person with an additional $10 fee for CEU credit. For more information and to register, go to 

Board & Friends Celebration of the Children’s Peace Center at Turner Chapel AME, November 15, 6-7 p.m. PEACE mobile will be open to view and play from 7-9 p.m. Turner Chapel AM, 492 N. Marietta Parkway, Marietta 30060.  Everyone is invited!

RRISA will host an extraordinary benefit concert and internationally-themed reception on Thursday, Nov. 17, at 7 p.m. Proceeds from the concert will support RRISA’s humanitarian programs serving refugees in Atlanta.  Renowned local children’s book author Carmen Deedy and multiple Grammy nominee John McCutcheon have generously offered to entertain a crowd of up to 250. The Episcopal Church of the Epiphany, at 2089 Ponce de Leon Avenue in the East Lake area, has offered their venue for the event. John and Carmen will also sign books and CDs for concert-goers after the show. Many Atlanta-area restaurants have graciously agreed to participate in the benefit and are providing a variety of traditional ethnic foods from many of the international populations RRISA resettles and serves inAtlanta. Tickets are available online at and also at Finders Keepers Furnishings, 2753 East College Avenue, Decatur, 30030. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 the night of the show. Learn more about RRISA at

The Work of Our Hands Artists’ Market will celebrate its 9th anniversary from November 17 – 20 at the Cathedral of St. Philip located at 2744 Peachtree Rd. in Buckhead.  This show features nearly 75 local and regional artists offering fine art, folk art, and crafts, including paintings, glass, fabric and wood art, pottery, jewelry, sculptures and many other handmade and original gifts in a variety of price ranges. An opening night reception will be held on Thursday, November 17 6:00- 8:00.  Tickets are $15 per person at the door.  Admission to the market on Friday, November 18 – Sunday, November 20 is free and open to the public.  Hours are Friday and Saturday 9:00-5:00 and Sunday 8:30-1:30.  Please read all about this organization and the programs that benefit from this show at  our website For more information on the event contact Carter Hoyt at

The Georgia Teen Institute would like to get out this information of help and interest to those who work with teens or who are pursuing credentials for that work. Click on the underlined names for information.
Fundamentals of Prevention – November 16 and 17, Lawrenceville ;  
Governor’s Office for Children & Families Educators’ Conference – November 30 – December 2, Atlanta ; 
Cultural Competency for the Prevention Professional – December 13, Lawrenceville.

The Messiah In Disguise

“Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Peter answered, “God’s Messiah.” ~ Luke 9: 18-20

High in the mountains was a monastery that had once been known throughout the world. Its monks were pious, its students were enthusiastic. The chants from the monastery’s chapel deeply touched the hearts of people who came there to pray and meditate.

But, something had changed. Fewer and fewer young men came to study there; fewer and fewer people came for spiritual nourishment. The monks who remained became disheartened and sad.

Deeply worried, the abbot of the monastery went off in search of an answer. Why had his monastery fallen on such hard times?

The abbot came to a guru, and he asked the master, “Is it because of some sin of ours that the monastery is no longer full of vitality?”

“Yes,” replied the master, “it is the sin of ignorance.”

“The sin of ignorance?” questioned the abbot. “Of what are we ignorant?”

The guru looked at the abbot for a long, long time, and then he said, “One of you is the messiah in disguise. But, you are all ignorant of this.” Then, the guru closed his eyes, and he was silent.

“The messiah?” thought the abbot. “The messiah is one of us? Who could it be? Could it be Brother Cook? Could it be Brother Treasurer? Could it be Brother Bell-Ringer? Could it be Brother Vegetable Grower?

“Which one? Which one? Every one of us has faults, failings, human defects. Isn’t the messiah supposed to be Continue reading