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~~~~~~~ WITandWISDOM™ - June 24, 1999
I've learned that you shouldn't be so eager to find out a secret. It could change your life forever.
~~~~~~~ SPECIAL THOUGHTS:
Once there was an emperor in the Far East who was growing old and knew it was coming time to choose his successor. Instead of choosing one of his assistants or one of his own children, he decided to do something different.
He called all the young people in the kingdom together one day. He said, "It has come time for me to step down and to choose the next emperor. I have decided to choose one of you." The kids were shocked! But the emperor continued. "I am going to give each one of you a seed today. One seed. It is a very special seed. I want you to go home, plant the seed, water it and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from this one seed. I will then judge the plants that you bring to me, and the one I choose will be the next emperor of the kingdom!"
There was one boy named Ling who was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly told his mother the whole story. She helped him get a pot and some planting soil, and he planted the seed and watered it carefully. Every day he would water it and watch to see if it had grown.
After about three weeks, some of the other youths began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow. Ling kept going home and checking his seed, but nothing ever grew. Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by. Still nothing.
By now others were talking about their plants but Ling didn't have a plant, and he felt like a failure. Six months went by, still nothing in Ling's pot. He just knew he had killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing. Ling didn't say anything to his friends, however. He just kept waiting for his seed to grow.
A year finally went by and all the youths of the kingdom brought their plants to the emperor for inspection. Ling told his mother that he wasn't going to take an empty pot. But she encouraged him to go, and to take his pot, and to be honest about what happened. Ling felt sick to his stomach, but he knew his mother was right. He took his empty pot to the palace.
When Ling arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by all the other youths. They were beautiful, in all shapes and sizes. Ling put his empty pot on the floor and many of the other kinds laughed at him. A few felt sorry for him and just said, "Hey nice try."
When the emperor arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted the young people. Ling just tried to hide in the back. "My, what great plants, trees and flowers you have grown," said the emperor. "Today, one of you will be appointed the next emperor!"
All of a sudden, the emperor spotted Ling at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered his guards to bring him to the front.
Ling was terrified. "The emperor knows I'm a failure! Maybe he will have me killed!"
When Ling got to the front, the Emperor asked his name. "My name is Ling," he replied. All the kids were laughing and making fun of him. The emperor asked everyone to quiet down. He looked at Ling, and then announced to the crowd, "Behold your new emperor! His name is Ling!"
Ling couldn't believe it. Ling couldn't even grow his seed. How could he be the new emperor?
Then the emperor said, "One year ago today, I gave everyone here a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds which would not grow. All of you, except Ling, have brought me trees and plants and flowers. When you found that the seed would not grown, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Ling was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the new emperor!"
- From "In The Garden With Jesus", by Tiziana Ruff
(Debbie Lynne via Tidbits DAILY Devotional
~~~~~~~ THIS & THAT:
The Iams Pet Professionals, a team of 30 trained customer service representatives at The Iams Company, handle more than 300,000 inquiries a year from pet owners across the country. Although the majority of calls to the toll-free number are straightforward pet care and nutrition questions, some can be quite unconventional. Here are some of the team's favorite calls this year:
"My cat just came in from the garage and I was wondering. . . how many calories are in a mouse?"
"I have a neutered male cat. How old should he be before I can breed him?"
"Does your dog food help with emancipation?"
"What should I feed a borderline collie?"
"What size litter box do I need to keep my cat comfy?"
"Is it normal for a dog to shed?"
"How can I keep my cat from stealing my husband's toothbrush?"
"My cat passed a stool on the indoor rug and it's stuck in the vacuum cleaner. Any suggestions?"
"How can I get the secret recipe for your Iams® Chunks dog food?"
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"Your food turned my dog into a stud. Now what do I do?"
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"I have three cats. Is it true that Eukanuba® Cat Food makes the poop smell better?"
"Will chewing pop cans remove enamel from my puppy's teeth?"
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(E-zine: THE FUNNY LIST http://www.egroups.com/list/thefunnylist)
~~~~~~~ KEEP SMILING:
I will bet that everyone of you has either been told by your parents or told a similar story to your very own children. I'm sure this will be familiar:
CHILDHOOD OF THE ANCIENTS
Hard? You don't know what hard is, boy:
When I was your age we got up in pitch dark,
and walked five miles to school and ten miles back,
uphill both ways, and all we had for lunch
was a cold sweet potato and dry cornbread.
And when we got back home your grandma made us
chop cotton, slop the hogs, then milk chickens
before supper, and all we had to eat
was chicken-fried pine straw and redeye gravy.
Maybe some turnip greens, Maybe some collards.
But what do you know? Shoot, you've always had
hot food plopped in front of you, like magic.
for you, it's all ice cream and soda pop.
(E-zine: DAILY BITS http://www.DailyBits.com)
The US Census Bureau has put together a great website making it easy to search through the mountains of demographic data from the last census. Need to know how many people over the age of 40 live in your county? If you need to develop a report on your customer base, you will want to bookmark this site! http://factfinder.census.gov
(E-zine: PREMIUM LINKS Mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org?subject=text)