Sometimes I find "gems" too good not to share, IMHO. These are some of them.
When he had gone about three blocks, he met an old woman. She was sitting in the park just staring at some pigeons. The boy sat down next to her and opened his suitcase. He was about to take a drink from his root beer when he noticed that the old lady looked hungry, so he offered her a Twinkie.
She gratefully accepted it and smiled at him. Her smile was so pretty that the boy wanted to see it again, so he offered her a root beer. Once again she smiled at him. The boy was delighted!
They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling, but they never said a word.
As it grew dark, the boy realized how tired he was, and he got up to leave; but before he had gone more than a few steps, he turned around, ran back to the old woman and gave her a hug. She gave him her biggest smile ever.
When the boy opened the door to his own house a short time later, his mother was surprised by the look of joy on his face.
She asked him, "What did you do today that made you so happy?"
He replied, "I had lunch with God." But, before his mother could respond, he added, "You know what? She's got the most beautiful smile I've ever seen!"
Meanwhile, the old woman, also radiant with joy, returned to her home. Her son was stunned by the look of peace on her face; and he asked, "Mother, what did you do today that made you so happy?"
She replied, "I ate Twinkies in the park with God." But, before her son responded, she added, "You know, he's much younger than I expected."
"A million years is but a second to me," the Lord explains.
"And a million dollars?"
"A penny," the Lord replies.
The man feels bold and now proceeds to ask, "Lord, would You give me one of Your pennies?"
"Sure," the Lord replies. "Just a second."
Swallowing hard, the man opened the box to find nothing inside and again reprimanded the child by telling her that, when you give a present, there is supposed to be something inside.
With tears in her eyes she said, "Daddy, the box isn't empty...I blew kisses into it for you."
The father hugged his child and begged for her forgiveness. He kept the box by his bed for years; and whenever he felt overwhelmed by life, he would open the box and take one of the precious gifts that his daughter had given him years before.
In this time of giving or at any time, let us remember that it truly isn't the gift, but the intent that matters most.
They set themselves before their computers and begin. They type furiously - lines and lines of code steaming up the screen. They keep at it for several hours straight. Just seconds before the end of the competition, a huge bolt of lightning strikes - wiping out all the electricity.
Moments later, the power is restored; and God the Father announces that the contest is over. He asks Satan to show what he has come up with.
Satan is visibly upset and cries, "I have nothing. I lost it all when the power went out."
"Very well, then," says God the Father, "let us see if Jesus fared any better."
Jesus enters a command, and his screen comes to full life in a beautiful, vivid display. Just then, the voices of an angelic choir begin to pour forth from the speakers.
Satan is totally astonished. He stutters in disbelief, "B-b-but how?! I lost everything, yet Jesus's program is intact! How did he do it?"
God the Father chuckles, "Everybody knows....Jesus Saves."
At 12 inches long and weighing only one pound and nine ounces, they already knew she was perilously premature. Still, the doctor's soft words dropped like bombs. "I don't think she's going to make it," he said as kindly as he could. "There's only a 10-percent chance she will live through the night, and even then, if by some slim chance she does make it, her future could be a very cruel one."
Numb with disbelief, David and Diana listened as the doctor described the devastating problems Danae would likely face if she survived. She would never walk; she would never talk; she would probably be blind; she would certainly be prone to other catastrophic conditions from cerebral palsy to complete mental retardation; and on and on.
"No! No!" was all Diana could say. She and David, with their 5-year-old son Dustin, had long dreamed of the day they would have a daughter to become a family of four. Now, within a matter of hours, that dream was slipping away.
Through the dark hours of morning as Danae held onto life by the thinnest thread, Diana slipped in and out of drugged sleep, growing more and more determined that their tiny daughter would live -- and live to be a healthy, happy, young girl. But David, fully awake and listening to additional dire details of their daughter's chances of ever leaving the hospital alive, much less healthy, knew he must confront his wife with the inevitable.
David walked in and said that we needed to talk about making funeral arrangements, Diana remembers. "I felt so bad for him because he was doing everything, trying to include me in what was going on; but I just wouldn't listen. I couldn't listen. I said, 'No, that is not going to happen, no way! I don't care what the doctors say Danae is not going to die! One day she will be just fine,and she will be coming home with us!'"
As if willed to live by Diana's determination, Danae clung to life hour after hour, with the help of every medical machine and marvel her miniature body could endure; but, as those first days passed, a new agony set in for David and Diana. Because Danae's underdeveloped nervous system was essentially 'raw,' the lightest kiss or caress only intensified her discomfort -- so, they couldn't even cradle their tiny baby girl against their chests to offer the strength of their love. All they could do, as Danae struggled alone beneath the ultra-violet light in the tangle of tubes and wires, was to pray that God would stay close to their precious little girl.
There was never a moment when Danae suddenly grew stronger. But as the weeks went by, she did slowly gain an ounce of weight here and an ounce of strength there. At last, when Danae turned two months old, her parents were able to hold her in their arms for the very first time.
And, two months later -- though doctors continued to gently but grimly warn that her chances of surviving, much less living any kind of normal life, were next to zero -- Danae went home from the hospital, just as her mother had predicted.
Five years later, Danae was a petite but feisty young girl with glittering gray eyes and an unquenchable zest for life. There are no signs, whatsoever, of any mental or physical impairments. Simply, she is everything a little girl can be and more -- but that happy ending is far from the end of her story.
One blistering afternoon in the summer of 1996 near her home in Irving, Texas, Danae was sitting in her mother's lap in the bleachers of a local ball park where her brother Dustin's baseball team was practicing.
As always, Danae was chattering non-stop with her mother and several other adults sitting nearby when she suddenly fell silent. Hugging her arms across her chest, Danae asked, "Do you smell that?"
Smelling the air and detecting the approach of a thunderstorm, Diana replied, "Yes, it smells like rain."
Danae closed her eyes and again asked, "Do you smell that?"
Once again, her mother replied, "Yes, I think we're about to get wet; it smells like rain."
Still caught in the moment, Danae shook her head, patted her thin shoulders with her small hands, and loudly announced, "No, it smells like Him. It smells like God when you lay your head on His chest."
Tears blurred Diana's eyes as Danae then happily hopped down to play with the other children. Before the rains came, her daughter's words confirmed what Diana and all the members of the extended Blessing family had known, at least in their hearts, all along.
During those long days and nights of the first two months of her life, when her nerves were too sensitive for them to touch her, God was holding Danae on His chest -- and it is His loving scent that she remembers so well.