file0001464319280God speaks to us from some interesting places. Take this scene from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol for example:

‘Oh! captive, bound, and double-ironed,’ cried the phantom, ‘not to know, that ages of incessant labour by immortal creatures, for this earth must pass into eternity before the good of which it is susceptible is all developed! Not to know that any Christian spirit working kindly in its little sphere, whatever it may be, will find its mortal life too short for its vast means of usefulness! Not to know that no space of regret can make amends for one life’s opportunity misused! Yet such was I! Oh! such was I!’

‘But you were always a good man of business, Jacob,’ faltered Scrooge, who now began to apply this to himself.

‘Business!’ cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. ‘Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!’

It held up its chain at arm’s length, as if that were the cause of all its unavailing grief, and flung it heavily upon the ground again.

‘At this time of the rolling year,’ the spectre said, ‘I suffer most. Why did I walk through crowds of fellow-beings with my eyes turned down, and never raise them to that blessed Star which led the Wise Men to a poor abode? Were there no poor homes to which its light would have conducted me?’

And as Tiny Tim observes every year, “God bless us, everyone.”

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40 Ways to be Happy

I recently overheard a conversation about the apparent sorry state of the world.  According to one lunch counter philosopher life is unfair, there is nothing good on TV, every politician in the local/state/national government is a greasy palmed crook, and people in general are just no %#$@! good.

You know the kind of conversation I mean.

Fortunately, I don’t buy all that.  Granted, I gripe about politics, though I know some very sincere politicians.  Sometimes there doesn’t seem to be anything I particularly want to watch on TV, but I know where the ON/OFF switch is, and I can read.

In other words, short of living in the wild west at the turn of the century (OK, I’m a romantic) I wouldn’t trade my life for anyone else’s, even in these days (whatever “these days” means).  And I think I may have a cure for those folks who really want a more positive outlook on life.  I call it:

FORTY SURE FIRE WAYS TO BE HAPPY

1. Splash in a mud puddle.

2. Learn to play a harmonica.

3. Run over an accordion with a truck.

4. Send your husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend flowers for no reason at all.

5. Sing – and sing loud – whether you can carry a tune or not.

6. Take a class in something you are interested in, just because you want to.

7. Rent a copy of you child’s (or your) favorite cartoon DVD, pop some popcorn, and have a ball.

8. Take some time for yourself and just listen to some good music.  (Good = whatever you like).

9. Walk in the rain.  (Goes great with #1).

10. Watch a Marx Brothers movie.

11. Call a friend you haven’t talked to in a long time just to say hello. (E-mail doesn’t count).

12. Pick some wildflowers for yourself.

13. Run over a set of bagpipes with a truck.

14. Write a love letter to that “someone special.” (If you’re married, your spouse would be an excellent choice)

15. Spend some time with the folks you love; do something they would like to do.

16. Leave the toilet seat down.

17. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

18. Remember: next to nuclear war and Jesus coming back, it’s all small stuff.

19. Read a romance, adventure, action, thriller, spooky, or science fiction book just for the fun of it.

20. Color in a coloring book.

21. Leave the toilet seat up.

22. Go to the library.

23. Watch a group of children at play.

24. Scratch a puppy behind the ears.

25. Buy a goldfish.

26. Join a club.

27. Find something to believe in.

28. Hug somebody every day.

29. Fingerpaint.

30. Watch a sunrise.

31. Watch a sunset.

32. Make a batch of cookies for a neighbor.

33. Close the door, put on your favorite record/CD/MP3, and dance like a maniac.

34. Count your blessings and thank God for them.

35. Order a peanut butter and jelly pizza just to see what happens.

36. Pay for a stranger’s meal at a restaurant and make sure they don’t know who did it. Have the waiter/waitress write “someone you’ve never met just wanted to do something nice for you. Have a nice day” on the check.

37. Blow some bubbles.

38. Skip rocks down at the local pond or lake.

39. Buy a paddle ball (you know … one of those balls attached to a paddle with a rubber band) and try to get to one hundred whacks without missing or putting your eye out.

40. Tape the postage paid reply card from a piece of junk to a brick and send it back to the company. You won’t be on the mailing list very long.