"Keep Your Fork"
There was a woman who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and had been given three months to live. So as she was getting her things "in order," she contacted her pastor and had him come to her house to discuss certain aspects of her final wishes. She told him which songs she wanted sung at the service, what scriptures she would like read, and what outfit she wanted to be buried in. The woman also requested to be buried with her favorite Bible. Everything was in order and the pastor was preparing to leave when the woman suddenly remembered something very important to her.
"There's one more thing," she said excitedly. "What's that?" came the pastor's reply. "This is very important," the woman continued. "I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand."
The pastor stood looking at the woman, not knowing quite what to say. "That surprises you, doesn't it?" the woman asked. "Well, to be honest, I'm puzzled by the request," said the pastor. The woman explained. "In all my years of attending church socials and potluck dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say, 'Keep your fork.' It was my favorite part because I knew that something better was coming like velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie. Something wonderful, and with substance! So, I just want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder "What's with the fork?'. Then I want you to tell them: "Keep your fork - the best is yet to come".
The pastor's eyes welled up with tears of joy as he hugged the woman good-bye. He knew this would be one of the last times he would see her before her death. But he also knew that the woman had a better grasp of heaven than he did. She KNEW that something better was coming. At the funeral people were walking by the woman's casket and they saw the pretty dress she was wearing and her favorite Bible and the fork placed in her right hand. Over and over, the pastor heard the question "What's with the fork?" And over and over he smiled. During his message, the pastor told the people of the conversation he had with the woman shortly before she died. He also told them about the fork and about what it symbolized to her. The pastor told the people how he could not stop thinking about the fork and told them that they probably would not be able to stop thinking about it either. He was right. So the next time you reach down for your fork, let it remind you, oh so gently, that the best is yet to come.
Friends are a very rare jewel, indeed. They make you smile and encourage you to succeed. They lend an ear, they share a word of praise, and they always want to open their hearts to us. Show your friends how much you care. Send this to everyone you consider a FRIEND even if it means sending back to the person who sent it to you.
Alvin Edlund, Jr. from Colorado, firstname.lastname@example.org , sent me this story that he had received from Jodi Miller.
An INTERVIEW with GOD
I dreamed I had an interview with God.
"Come in," God said to me, "So, you would like to interview Me?"
"If you have the time," I said.
God smiled and said: "My time is called eternity and is enough to
do everything; what questions do you have in mind to ask me?"
"None that are new to you. What's the one thing that surprises
you most about mankind?"
God answered: "That they get bored of being children, are in a
rush to grow up, and then long to be children again. That they lose their
health to make money and then lose their money to restore their health.
That by thinking anxiously about the future, they forget the present, such
that they live neither for the present nor the future.
That they live as if they will never die,
and they die as if they had never lived..."
God's hands took mine and we were silent.
After a long period, I said, "May I ask you another question?"
"As a Parent, what would you ask your children to do?"
God replied with a smile:
"To learn that they cannot make anyone love them.
What they can do is to let themselves be loved.
To learn that it takes years to build trust, and a few seconds to
To learn that what is most valuable is not what they have in their
lives, but who they have in their lives.
To learn that it is not good to compare themselves to others.
There will be others better or worse than they are.
To learn that a rich person is not one who has the most, but is
one who needs the least.
To learn that they should control their attitudes, otherwise their
attitudes will control them.
To learn that it only takes a few seconds to open profound
wounds in persons we love, and that it takes many years to heal them.
To learn to forgive by practicing forgiveness.
To learn that there are persons that love them dearly, but simply
do not know how to show their feelings.
To learn that money can buy everything but happiness.
To learn that while at times they may be entitled to be upset, that
does not give them the right to upset those around them.
To learn that great dreams do not require great wings, but a
landing gear to achieve.
To learn that true friends are scarce, he/she who has found one
has found a true treasure.
To learn that it is not always enough that they be forgiven by
others, but that they forgive themselves.
To learn that they are masters of what they keep to themselves
and slaves of what they say.
To learn that they shall reap what they plant; if they plant gossip
they will harvest intrigues, if they plant love they will harvest
To learn that true happiness is not to achieve their goals but to
learn to be satisfied with what they already achieved.
To learn that happiness is a decision. They decide to be happy
with what they are and have, or die from envy and jealousy of what
To learn that two people can look at the same thing and see
something totally different.
To learn that those who are honest with themselves without
considering the consequences go far in life.
To learn that even though they may think they have nothing to
give, when a friend cries with them, they find the strength to appease
To learn that by trying to hold on to loved ones, they very quickly
push them away; and by letting go of those they love, they will be side
by side forever.
To learn that even though the word "love" has many different
meanings, it loses its value when it is overstated.
I received this beautiful story from Chaplain Jim Elwell, USAF
READ THIS - LET IT REALLY SINK IN THEN
CHOOSE HOW YOU START YOUR DAY
Michael is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, "If I were any better, I would be twins!"
He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, Michael was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.
Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Michael and asked him, "I don't get it! You can't be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?"
Michael replied, "Each morning I wake up and say to myself, Mike, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood. I choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it."
"Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life."
"Yeah, right, it's not that easy," I protested.
"Yes, it is," Michael
said. "Life is all about choices. When you cut
away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react
to situations. You choose how people will affect your mood. You choose
to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It's your choice how
you live life."
I reflected on what Michael said. Soon thereafter, I left the Tower Industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.
Several years later, I heard that Michael was involved in a serious accident, falling some 60 feet from a communications tower. After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Michael was released from the hospital with rods placed in his back.
I saw Michael about six months after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he replied. "If I were any better, I'd be twins. Wanna see my scars?"
I declined to see his wounds, but did ask him what had gone through his mind as the accident took place.
"The first thing that went through my mind was the well-being of my soon to be born daughter," Michael replied. "Then, as I lay on the ground, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or I could choose to die. I chose to live."
"Weren't you scared? Did you lose consciousness?" I asked. Michael continued, "...the paramedics were great. They kept telling me I as going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read "he's a dead man." I knew I needed to take action."
"What did you do?" I asked.
"Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me," said Michael. "She asked if I was allergic to anything."
"Yes, I replied. The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, 'Gravity.' Over their laughter, I told them, 'I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead."
Michael lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude. I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully. Attitude, after all, is everything.
Trust in God and he will stand by you!
I received this mailing from Larry Whitcomb You may find it helpful.
Larry retired from the US Air
Force and is now the Music Director for a local church.
"Thank you, Jesus"
I hurried into the local department store to grab some last-minute Christmas gifts. I looked at all the people and grumbled to myself. I would be in here forever, and I just had so much to do. Christmas was beginning to become such a drag. I wished that I could just sleep through Christmas. But I hurried the best I could through all the people to the toy department. Once again, I kind of mumbled to myself at the prices of all these toys. And I wondered if the grandkids would even play with them. I found myself in the doll aisle. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a little boy, about 5 years old, holding a lovely doll. He kept touching her hair, and he held her so gently. I could not seem to help myself. I just kept looking over at the little boy and wondered who the doll was for.
I watched him turn to a woman; and he called his aunt by name and said, "Are you sure I don't have enough money?" She replied a bit impatiently, "You know that you don't have enough money for it." The aunt told the little boy not to go anywhere, that she had to go get some other things and would be back in a few minutes. And then she left the aisle.
The boy continued to hold the doll. After a bit, I asked the boy who the doll was for. He said, "It is the doll my sister wanted so badly for Christmas. She just knew that Santa would bring it." I told him that maybe Santa was going to bring it. He said, "No, Santa can't go where my sister is. I have to give the doll to my Mamma to take to her." I asked him where his sister was? He looked at me with the saddest eyes and said, "She has gone to be with Jesus." "My Daddy says that Mama is going to have to go be with her." My heart nearly stopped beating. Then the boy looked at me again and said, "I told my Daddy to tell Mama not to go yet. I told him to tell her to wait till I got back from the store."
Then he asked me if I wanted to see his picture. I told him I would love to. He pulled out some pictures he had taken at the front of the store. He said, "I want my Mamma to take this with her so she don't ever forget me. I love my Mama so very much, and I wish she did not have to leave me. But Daddy says she will need to be with my sister." I saw that the little boy had lowered his head and had grown so very quiet. While he was not looking, I reached into my purse and pulled out a handful of bills. I asked the little boy, "Shall we count that money one more time". He grew excited and said, "Yes, I just know it has to be enough." So I slipped my money in with his, and we began to count it. Of course, it was plenty for the doll. He softly said, "Thank you, Jesus, for giving me enough money." Then the boy said, "I just asked Jesus to give me enough money to buy this doll so Mama can take it with her to give to my sister. And He heard my prayer. I wanted to ask Him for enough to buy my Mamma a white rose, but I didn't ask Him; but He gave me enough to buy the doll and a rose for my Mama. She loves white roses so very, very much."
In a few minutes the aunt came back, and I wheeled my cart away. I could not keep from thinking about the little boy as I finished my shopping in a totally different spirit than when I had started. And I kept remembering a story I had seen in the newspaper several days earlier about a drunk driver hitting a car and killing a little girl, and the Mother was in serious condition. The family was deciding on whether to remove the life support. Now surely this little boy did not belong with that story. Two days later, I read in the paper where the family had disconnected the life support; and the young woman had died. I could not forget the little boy and just kept wondering if the two were somehow connected. Later that day, I could not help myself; and I went out and bought some white roses and took them to the funeral home where the young woman was. And there she was, holding a lovely white rose, the beautiful doll, and the picture of the little boy in the store. I left the funeral parlor in tears ... my life changed forever. The love that little boy had for his little sister and his mother was overwhelming.
Anonymous, sent by Larry Whitcomb < email@example.com >
The Power of Prayer
Does God Still Speak To Us?
A young man had been to Wednesday night Bible Study. The Pastor had shared about listening to God and obeying the Lord's voice.
The young man couldn't help but wonder, "Does God still speak to people?"
After service he went out with some friends for coffee and pie and they discussed the message. Several different ones talked about how God had led them in different ways. It was about ten o'clock when the young man started driving home. Sitting in his car, he just began to pray, "God, If you still speak to people, speak to me. I will listen. I will do my best to obey."
As he drove down the main street of his town, he had the strangest thought, to stop and buy a gallon of milk. He shook his head and said out loud, "God is that you?" He didn't get a reply and started on toward home. But again, the thought, buy a gallon of milk.
The young man thought about Samuel and how he didn't recognize the voice of God, and how little Samuel ran to Eli. "Okay, God, in case that is you, I will buy the milk." It didn't seem like too hard a test of obedience. He could always use the milk.
He stopped and purchased the gallon of milk and started off toward home. As he passed Seventh Street, he again felt the urge, "Turn down that street." "This is crazy," he thought and drove on past the intersection. Again, he felt that he should turn down Seventh Street. At the next intersection, he turned back and headed down Seventh. Half jokingly, he said out loud, "Okay, God, I will."
He drove several blocks, when suddenly, he felt like he should stop. He pulled over to the curb and looked around. He was in semi-commercial area of town. It wasn't the best, but it wasn't the worst of neighborhoods either.
The businesses were closed and most of the houses looked dark like the people were already in bed.
Again, he sensed something, "Go and give the milk to the people in the house across the street." The young man looked at the house. It was dark and it looked like the people were either gone or they were already asleep. He started to open the door and then sat back in the car seat. "Lord, this is insane. Those people are asleep and if I wake them up, they are going to be mad and I will look stupid."
Again, he felt like he should go and give the milk. Finally, he opened the door, "Okay God, if this is you, I will go to the door and I will give them the milk. If you want me to look like a crazy person, okay. I want to be obedient. I guess that will count for something but if they don't answer right away, I am out of here."
He walked across the street and rang the bell. He could hear some noise inside. A man's voice yelled out, "Who is it? What do you want?"
Then the door opened before the young man could get away. The man was standing there in his jeans and T-shirt. He looked like he just got out of bed. He had a strange look on his face and he didn't seem too happy to have some stranger standing on his doorstep. "What is it?"
The young man thrust out the gallon of milk, "Here, I brought this to you."
The man took the milk and rushed down a hallway speaking loudly in Spanish. Then from down the hall came a woman carrying the milk toward the kitchen. The man was following her holding a baby. The baby was crying. The man had tears streaming down his face. The man began speaking and half-crying, "We were just praying. We had some big bills this month and we ran out of money. We didn't have any milk for our baby. I was just praying and asking God to show me how to get some milk." His wife in the kitchen yelled out, "I ask him to send an Angel with some. Are you an Angel?"
The young man reached into his wallet and pulled out all the money he had on him and put it in the man's hand. He turned and walked back toward his car and the tears were streaming down his face. He knew that God still answers prayers.
Anonymous, sent by Roland Berg < RolandBerg@aol.com >
The BIG ROCKS
One day, an expert in time management was speaking to a group of business students. To drive home a point, he used an illustration those students will never forget. As he stood in front of the group of high powered overachievers he said, "Okay, it is time for a quiz." Then he pulled out a one-gallon, wide-mouthed Mason jar and set it on the table in front of him. Then he produced about a dozen fist-sized rocks and carefully placed them, one at a time, into the jar. When the jar was filled to the top and no more rocks would fit inside, he asked, "Is this jar full?"
Everyone in the class said, "Yes." The management expert asked, "Really?" He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. Then he dumped some gravel in and shook the jar causing pieces of gravel to work themselves down into the space between the big rocks. Then he asked the group once more, "Is the jar full?" By this time the class was on to him. "Probably not," one of them answered. "Good!" he replied. He reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand. He started dumping the sand in the jar and it went into all of the spaces left between the rocks and the gravel. Once more he asked the question, "Is this jar full?" No!" the class shouted. Once again he said, "Good." Then he grabbed a pitcher of water and began to pour it in until the jar was filled to the brim.
At this point he looked at the class and asked, "What is the point of this illustration?"
One eager beaver raised his hand and said, "The point is, no matter how full your schedule is, if you try really hard you can always fit some more things in it!"
"No," the speaker replied, "that's not the point. The truth this illustration teaches us is: If you don't put the big rocks in first, you'll never get them in at all."
What are the 'big rocks' in your life? Your children; Your loved ones; Your education; Your dreams; A worthy cause; Teaching or mentoring others; Doing things that you love; Time or yourself; Your health; Your significant other. Remember to put these BIG ROCKS in first or you'll never get them in at all. If you sweat the little stuff (the gravel, the sand) then you'll fill your life with little things you worry about that don't really matter, and you'll never have the real quality time you need to spend on the big, important stuff (the big rocks). So, tonight, or in the morning, when you are reflecting on this short story, ask yourself this question: What are the 'big rocks' in my life? Then, put those in your jar first. Don't forget God!
From: Larry Whitcomb, firstname.lastname@example.org
I walked into the grocery store not particularly interested in buying groceries. I wasn't hungry. The pain of losing my husband of 37 years was still too raw. And this grocery store held so many sweet memories. Rudy often came with me and almost every time he'd pretend to go off and look for something special. I knew what he was up to. I'd always spot him walking down the aisle with the three yellow roses in his hands. Rudy knew I loved yellow roses. With a heart filled with grief, I only wanted to buy my few items and leave, but even grocery shopping was different since Rudy had passed on.
Standing by the meat, I searched for the perfect small steak and remembered how Rudy had loved his steak. Suddenly a woman came beside me. She was blond, slim and lovely in a soft green pantsuit. I watched as she picked up a large pack of T-bones, dropped them in her basket, hesitated, and then put them back. She turned to go and once again reached for the pack of steaks. She saw me watching her and she smiled. "My husband loves T-bones, but honestly, at these prices, I don't know." I swallowed the emotion down my throat and met her pale blue eyes. "My husband passed away eight days ago," I told her. Glancing at the package in her hands, I fought to control the tremble in my voice. "Buy him the steaks. And cherish every moment you have together." She shook her head and I saw the emotion in her eyes as she placed the package in her basket and wheeled away.
I turned and pushed my cart across the length of the store to the dairy products. There I stood, trying to decide which size milk I should buy. A quart, I finally decided and moved on to the ice cream section near the, front of the store. If nothing else, I could always fix myself an ice cream cone. I placed the ice cream in my cart and looked down the aisle toward the front. I saw first the green suit, then recognized the pretty lady coming towards me. In her arms she carried a package. On her face was the brightest smile I had ever seen. I would swear a soft halo encircled her blond hair as she kept walking toward me, her eyes holding mine.
As she came closer, I saw what she held and tears began misting in my eyes. "These are for you," she said and placed three beautiful long stemmed yellow roses in my arms. "When you go through the line, they will know these are paid for." She leaned over and placed a gentle kiss on my cheek, then smiled again.
I wanted to tell her what she'd done, what the roses meant, but still unable to speak, I watched as she walked away as tears clouded my vision. I looked down at the beautiful roses nestled in the green tissue wrapping and found it almost unreal. How did she know? Suddenly the answer seemed so clear. I wasn't alone. "Oh, Rudy, you haven't forgotten me, have you?" I whispered, with tears in my eyes. He was still with me, and she was his angel.
Everyday, be thankful for what you have and who you are. Even though I clutch my blanket and growl when the alarm rings, thank you, Lord, that I can hear. There are many who are deaf. Even though I keep my eyes closed against the morning light as long as possible, thank you, Lord, that I can see. Many are blind. Even though I huddle in my bed and put off rising, thank you, Lord, that I have the strength to rise. There are many who are bedridden. Even though the first hour of my day is hectic, when socks are lost, toast is burned and tempers are short, my children are so loud, thank you, Lord, for my family. There are many who are lonely. Even though our breakfast table never looks like the pictures in magazines and the menu is at times unbalanced, thank you, Lord, for the food we have. There are many who are hungry. Even though the routine of my job often is monotonous, thank you, Lord, for the opportunity to work. There are many who have no job. Even though I grumble and bemoan my fate from day to day and wish my circumstances were not so modest, thank you, Lord, for life!
God bless, LisaPederson
A voyaging ship was wrecked during a storm at sea. Only two of the men on it were able to swim to a small, desert island. The two survivors, not knowing what else to do, agreed that they had no other recourse but to pray to God. To find out whose prayer was more powerful, they agreed to divide the territory between them and stay on opposite sides of the island.
The first thing they prayed for was food. The next morning, the first man saw a fruit-bearing tree on his side of the land, and he was able to eat its fruit. The other man's parcel of land remained barren. After a week, the first man was lonely and he decided to pray for a wife. The next day, another ship was wrecked, and the only survivor was a woman who swam to his side of the land. On the other side of the island, there was nothing.
Soon the first man prayed for a house, clothes, more food. The next day, like magic, all of these were given to him. However, the second man still had nothing. Finally, the first man prayed for a ship, so that he and his wife could leave the island. In the morning, he found a ship docked at his side of the island. The first man boarded the ship with his wife and decided to leave the second man on the island. He considered the other man unworthy to receive God's blessings, since none of his prayers had been answered.
As the ship was about to leave, the first man heard a voice from heaven booming,
"Why are you leaving your companion on the island?"
"My blessings are mine alone, since I was the one who prayed for them," the first man answered. "His prayers were all unanswered and so he does not deserve anything."
"You are mistaken!" the voice rebuked him. "He had only one prayer, which I answered. If not for that, you would not have received any of my blessings."
"Tell me," the first man asked the voice, "what did he pray for that I should owe him anything?"
"He prayed that all your prayers be answered."
For all we know, our blessings are not the fruits of our prayers alone, but those of others praying for us.
Thoughts to think about.
We can pray for all the worldly goods and God may give them to us. Let us read from Ecclesiastes Chapter 5:
"Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong."
"As a man comes, so he departs, and what does he gain, since he toils for the wind?"
"Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil." (Chapter 12:13-14)
Life is meaningless and empty without God
O God; listen to my
From the ends of the earth I call to you; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe.
I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.
For you have heard my vows, O God;
You have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.
I sing praise to your name and fulfill my vows day after day. Amen.
I like to thank everyone for writing me and sharing his or her thoughts. May God use you as His tool to help others. God Bless You. Wulf
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