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Food for Thought: Leadership
  • "Real leaders are ordinary people with extraordinary determination."
  • "Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great." Mark Twain
  • "If you are thinking one year ahead, sow seed… If you are thinking ten years ahead, plant a tree… If you are thinking one hundred years ahead, educate the people." Chinese proverb
  • "Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm" Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • ""You can't stuff a great life into a small dream." H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
  • "Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way." Booker T. Washington
  • "The road to success is filled with many tempting parking places."
  • "How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world." Anne Frank
  • "Everyone can be great because everyone can serve…you only need a heart full of grace… a soul generated by love." Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • "Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn."

Submitted by Jess and Kim

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A Sunday School teacher asked her children if anyone could quote the entire 23rd Psalm.

A golden-haired, four-and-a-half-year-old girl was among those who raised their hands. A bit skeptical, the teacher asked if she could really quote the entire psalm.

The little girl came to the front of the room, faced the class, made a perky little bow, and said, "The Lord is my shepherd, that's all I want."

She bowed again and went and sat down.

That may well be the greatest interpretation of the 23rd Psalm ever heard.

Submitted by Pastor Brie, Taneytown, MD.

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Sometimes we wonder, "What did I do to deserve this?" ...

... or "Why did God have to do this to me?" Here is a wonderful explanation!

A daughter is telling her Mother how everything is going wrong, she's failing algebra, her boyfriend broke up with her and her best friend is moving away.

Meanwhile, her Mother is baking a cake and asks her daughter if she would like a snack, and the daughter says, "Absolutely Mom, I love your cake."

Here, have some cooking oil," her Mother offers. "Yuck" says her daughter.

"How about a couple raw eggs?"

"Gross, Mom!"

"Would you like some flour then? Or maybe baking soda?" "Mom, those are all yucky!"

To which the mother replies: "Yes, all those things seem bad all by themselves. But when they are put together in the right way, they make a wonderfully delicious cake!

God works the same way. Many times we wonder why He would let us go through such bad and difficult times. But God knows that when He puts these things all in His order, they always work for good! We just have to trust Him and, eventually, they will all make something wonderful!

Submitted by Andy, Gettysburg, PA.

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This is for all the mothers who have ...

Sat up all night with sick toddlers in their arms, wiping up barf laced with Kraft dinner and wieners, birthday cake, and cherry Kool-Aid saying, "It's OK honey, Mommy's here."

Who have walked around the house all night with their babies when they kept crying and wouldn't stop.

This is for all the mothers who have shown up at work with spit-up in their hair and milk stains on their blouses and diapers in their purse.

For all the mothers who have run carpools and made dozens of cookies for school teas and sewn Halloween costumes. And all the mothers who HAVEN'T because they're at work trying to keep on top of the bills.

This is for the mothers who gave birth to babies they'll never see. And the mothers who took those babies and gave them homes and all their love.

This is for all the mothers who have frozen their buns off on metal bleachers at hockey, baseball or soccer games any night of the week instead of watching from their cars, so that when their kids asked, "Did you see me?" they could say, "Of course, I wouldn't have missed it for the world," and meant it.

This is for all the mothers who have yelled at their kids in the grocery store and swatted them in despair when they stomped their feet like a tired 2-year old does, who wants ice cream before dinner, and then hated them- selves for "losing" it.

This is for all the mothers who sat down with their children and explained all about making babies. And for all the mothers who wanted to but just couldn't.

For all the mothers who read "Goodnight, Moon" twice a night for a year. And then read it again. "Just one more time."

This is for a ll the mothers who taught their children to tie their shoelaces before they started school. And for all the mothers who opted for Velcro instead.

This is for all the mothers who taught their sons to cook and sew and their daughters to be brave and strong (and sink a jump shot.)

This is for all mothers whose heads turn automatically when a little voice calls "Mom?" in a crowd, even though they know their own offspring are at home.

This is for all the mothers who sent their kids to school with stomach aches, assuring them they'd be just FINE once they got there, only to get calls from the school nurse an hour later asking them to please pick them up right away. And they do.

This is for mothers whose children have gone astray, and who can't find the words to reach them.

For all the mothers who bite their lips sometimes until they bleed when their 14 year olds dye their hair green.

What makes a good Mother anyway? Is it patience? Compassion? Broad hips? The ability to nurse a baby, cook dinner, and sew a button on a shirt, all at the same time?

Or is it the heart? Is it the ache you feel when you watch your son or daughter disappear down the street, walking to school alone for the very first time?

Or the terror in your heart at 1 AM when your teenager with the new driver's license is an hour late getting home.

The jolt that takes you from sleep to dread, from bed to crib at 2 A.M. to put your hand on the back of a sleeping baby? Or to feel the dull ache as you look in on your sleeping daughter or son the night before they leave for a college in another city.

The need to flee from wherever you are and hug your child when you hear news of a fire, a car accident, a child dying?

For all the mothers of the victims of all the school shootings, and the mothers of those who did the shooting. For the mothers of the survivors, and the mothers who sat in front of their TVs in horror, hugging their child who just came home from school, safely.

This is for mothers who have tearfully placed flowers and teddy bears on their children's graves. Whose children have died from illness, accidents and the worst of all and hardest to comprehend, suicides.

This is for young mothers stumbling through diaper changes and sleep deprivation.  And mature mothers who have learned and are still learning, to let go. For working mothers and stay-at-home mothers. Single mothers and married mothers. Grandmothers whose wisdom and love remains a constant for their grown children and their children's children. For Mothers with money, and Mothers without.

This is for you all. So hang in there.

Submitted by Debbie, Middletown, Md.

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In a rush to get things done, I ran across this story and thought you might appreciate reading it.

It certainly gave me something to ponder!

There's a story of a fisherman who was sitting on the dock one early afternoon with a few fish in his possession.

A rich business man--a visitor from out of town--said "Why aren't you out there fishing this afternoon?"

The fisherman said, "I've caught all I need for today... and I'm just sitting back here, smoking my pipe and enjoying the beautiful day."

"But", the businessman objected, "if you were to use your time fishing, you could catch more fish and then sell what you don't need and make some extra money."

"And then what?" replied the fisherman.

"Well," replied the business man, "after saving enough money from your sales, you could buy a new and bigger boat that would take you out further into sea and you could catch bigger fish and make even more money."

"And then what?" said the fisherman.

"Well, then you could buy a whole fleet of boats and catch thousands of fish and make thousands of dollars in one day and become rich like me."

"And then what?" asked the fisherman.

"Well," then you could sit back and enjoy life like I do" said the rich man.

"Well," said the fisherman, "Isn't that what I'm doing already?"

Submitted by Linn, Hagerstown, Md.

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One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.

He said, "My son, the battle is between two wolves. One is Evil. It is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf wins?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

Submitted by Linn, Hagerstown, Md.

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A group of students were asked to list what they thought were the present "Seven Wonders of the World." 

Though there were some disagreements, the following received the most votes:

  1. Egypt's Great Pyramids
  2. Taj Mahal
  3. Grand Canyon
  4. Panama Canal
  5. Empire State Building
  6. St. Peter's Basilica
  7. China's Great Wall

While gathering the votes, the teacher noted that one student had not finished her paper yet. So she asked the girl if she was having trouble with her list. The girl replied, "Yes, a little. I couldn't quite make up my mind because there were so many."

The teacher said, "Well, tell us what you have, and maybe we can help." The girl hesitated, then read, "I think the 'Seven Wonders of the World' are:

  1. to see
  2. to hear
  3. to touch
  4. to taste
  5. to feel
  6. to laugh
  7. and to love."

The room was so quiet you could have heard a pin drop. The things we overlook as simple and ordinary and that we take for granted are truly wondrous!

A gentle reminder -- that the most precious things in life cannot be built by hand or bought by man.

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This Ragged Flag - In memory of Johnny Cash ...

I walked through a county courthouse square
On a park bench an old man was sitting there.
I said "Your old courthouse is kinda run down."
He said "Naw, it'll do for our little town."

I said "Your flagpole has leaned a little bit,
And that's a Ragged Old Flag you got hanging on it.
He said, "Have a seat", and I sat down.
"Is this the first time you've been to our little town?"
I said, "I think it is." He said, "I don't like to brag,
But we're kinda proud of that Ragged Old Flag.

You see, we got a little hole in that flag their
When Washington took it across the Delaware.
And it got powder-burned the night Francis Scott Key
Sat watching it writing 'Oh Say Can You See'.

And it got a bad rip in New Orleans
With Packingham and Jackson tuggin' at its seams.
And it almost fell at the Alamo
Beside the Texas flag, but she waved on through.
She got cut with a sword at Chancellorsville
And she got cut again at Shiloh Hill.
There was Robert E. Lee, Beauregard, and Bragg,
And the south wind blew hard on that Ragged Old Flag.

On Flanders Field in World War I
She got a big hole from a Bertha gun.
She turned blood red in World War II
She hung limp and low by the time it was through.

She was in Korea and Vietnam.
She went where she was sent by her Uncle Sam.
She waved from our ships upon the briny foam,
And now they've about quit waving her back here at home.

In her own good land she's been abused ...
She's been burned, dishonored, denied and refused.
And the government for which she stands
Is scandalized throughout the land.

And she's getting thread-bare and wearing thin,
But she's in good shape for the shape she's in.
'Cause she's been through the fire before
And I believe she can take a whole lot more.

So we raise her up every morning,
Take her down every night.
We don't let her touch the ground
And we fold her up right.

On second thought I DO like to brag,
'Cause I'm mighty proud of that Ragged Old F

Written by Johnny Cash

And I am mighty proud to have served under her!

Submitted by Dick, Williamsport Md.

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There are moments in life when you miss someone so much ...

... that you just want to pick them from your dreams and hug them for real! When the door of happiness closes, another opens; but often times we look so long at the closed door that we don't see the one which has been opened for us. Don't go for looks; they can deceive. Don't go for wealth; even that fades away. Go for someone who makes you smile, because it takes only a smile to make a dark day seem bright. Find the one that makes your heart smile. Dream what you want to dream; go where you want to go; be what you want to be, because you have only one life and one chance to do all the things you want to do. May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you humble, enough hope to make you happy.

The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way. The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can't go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches. When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling. Live your life so at the end, you're the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying. You may wish to send this to those who mean something to you; to those who have touched your life in one way or another; to those who make you smile when you really need it; to those who make you see the brighter side of things when you are really down, and to those whose friendship you appreciate; And if you don't, don't worry, nothing bad will happen to you; you will just miss out on the opportunity to brighten someone's day with this message.

Stay in touch with your dreams. They will always write back.

Submitted by Dolly, Myersville, MD

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Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room.

... One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs.

His bed was next to the room's only window. The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back. The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation. Every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window.

The man in the other bed began to live for those one-hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside. The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance.

As the man by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene.

One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade passing by. Although the other man couldn't hear the band - he could see it. In his mind's eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words. Days and weeks passed.

One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find his lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep. She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away.

As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone. Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the real world outside. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed. It faced a blank wall.

The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window. The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall. She said, "Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you."

Epilogue: There is tremendous happiness in making others happy, despite our own situations. Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared, is doubled. If you want to feel rich, just count all the things you have that money can't buy.

"Today is a gift, that's why it is called the present."

People will forget what you said... People will forget what you did... But people will never forget how you made them feel...

Submitted by Dave, Bolder, Co.

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Since the Pledge of Allegiance & The Lord's Prayer are not allowed in most public schools ...

... anymore because the word "God" is mentioned ....  a kid in Arizona wrote the attached NEW School prayer.

Now I sit me down in school
 Where praying is against the rule
 For this great nation under
 God Finds mention of Him very odd.

If Scripture now the class recites,
It violates the Bill of Rights.
 And anytime my head I bow
Becomes a Federal matter now.

Our hair can be purple, orange or green,
That's no offense; it's a freedom scene.
The law is specific, the law is precise.
Prayers spoken aloud are a serious vice.

For praying in a public hall
Might offend someone with no faith at all.
In silence alone we must meditate,
God's name is prohibited by the state.

We're allowed to cuss and dress like freaks,
And pierce our noses, tongues and cheeks.
They've outlawed guns, but FIRST the Bible.
To quote the Good Book makes me liable.

We can elect a pregnant Senior Queen,
And the 'unwed daddy,' our Senior King.
It's "inappropriate" to teach right from wrong,
We're taught that such "judgments" do not belong.

We can get our condoms and birth controls,
Study witchcraft, vampires and totem poles.
But the Ten Commandments are not allowed,
No word of God must reach this crowd.

It's scary here I must confess,
When chaos reigns the school's a mess.
So, Lord, this silent plea I make:
Should I be shot; My soul please take!


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One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a well.

The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway, it just wasn't worth it to retrieve the donkey.

He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They each grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone's amazement, he quieted down. A few shovel loads later, the farmer looked down the well, and was astonished at what he saw.

As every shovel of dirt hit his back, the donkey did something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up. As the farmer's neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed, as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and trotted off!

The Moral... Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of a hole is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a stepping stone. We can get out of the deepest holes just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up!

Submitted by Dick, Williamsport, Md.

Go to page 10 of Inspirational Stories 

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