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MERRY CHRISTMAS - FTE !!!

 
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Old 12-11-2015, 09:11 AM
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MERRY CHRISTMAS - FTE !!!

Haven't been commenting much this year...seems every time I see a topic I can contribute too there have already been 10-12 good answers... But I check in every day just to see what's going on... kinda late on my Christmas epistle but here it is... ya'll all have the best Christmas ever...

begin epistle...

Wait ?? didn’t we just watch Alabama get the pretty glass football… Where did this year go ???… it's that time of year again….. my favorite time of year… Especially the gathering of friends and family… the good food and in most cases everyone's nice loving attitude. There is no way I'd ever think that I'm on this life journey alone and I especially reminded this time of year of all the people that have been through my life this past year and made a difference… some in a negative way… but the majority in a positive way. I truly do recognize just how blessed I am. I thank God for his outpouring of love, compassion and blessings every day. I see his grace everywhere. I have a friend on facebook… everyday he posts something good… he reminds me that God loves me…he tells me to share my good fortune with others.. he shows me how blessed I am… and he has no idea what an affect he has on me every day.

But sometimes, our good fortune is lost in the all the activities and the responsibilities of everyday life and we get so wrapped up in problems and negative influences we look up and another year has gone by. It’s easy to do. We need a reset sometimes and for me it’s Christmas. Christmas above all is about the ultimate blessing: the birth of Jesus. He is the one that who gave the most so we can have the best. It’s also about faith and hope. It’s about giving and sharing and laughing with the ones we love most. It’s about remembering how good our lives are and why.

And so, this time of year I try take a few minutes to reflect on the blessing I've received … whether deserved or not..

I haven’t worked this year. Except for a few days in November, I’ve been left to my own resources. Being around home so much has shown me some things that I was aware of, but not have appreciated to the degree I should have. My very first and bestest blessing is my sweet wife Peggy. I really had no idea how much work it took to keep me up ! Chores and errands keep her moving. I don’t want her job. She spends a lot of time doing for others and shames me for my lack of that.

We passed the 50 year anniversary this year and I still wonder how the heck I got so lucky. We’re both far from perfect, but we’ve shared good times and bad… hard times and the easy life. She’s stood beside me through it all and I hope I've been as supportive of her as she has with me.. I keep her quite busy and my guardian angel has to call in help a couple of times... I do test them.

Every time I see my son or daughter, I see one of God’s greatest blessings on me. I see what awesome individuals they are. There are smart and kind and loving and caring and I think a blessing to all of their friends. I wonder how they turned out so well, I take pride that I’ve had a small part in doing something right in my life. That and their mothers strong influence. They are both educators.. one on a post grad level and the other at elementary. At both ends of the spectrum they are working to mold minds and move young people in the right direction. Sadly I see more and more of this important responsibility shift from parents to educators who are already struggling to teach lessons hampered by financial and administrative problems; and now have the added duty to ‘raise’ many of these young people, teaching them how to be civil and human to one another. Teaching them about responsibility and respect and what it means to be an productive part of our society and not just a recipient of its bounty. If it weren’t for those in the field of education, we would be in a far worse situation.

I’m thankful for my health. Not everyone can say the same, but I’ve got two arms and two legs and I feel incredibly lucky for that. I'm vertical most mornings and if I do what my doctor suggests… should continue being that way. I’ve had two cataract surgeries this year and my view of life is much brighter now… Wow what a difference I see !!

I’m thankful for my country. The U.S.A. is far from perfect, but I still believe it’s the best place in the world. Even with all it's warts and scars there isn't a better show anywhere else. There are bad things happening in our country and those who should be leading are only interested in their own personal goals… Many things need to change soon. I pray every day for leaders to stand up and fight for our country.

I've had good luck this year and have found opportunities to share in my good fortune and help some folks that really needed it. That is one joy that means a lot to me. The best feeling you can have is being able to help someone in need and stay unknown to them.

This is the part I repeat each year… but I always mean every word….


I've thought about my goals for the coming year and they are much the same as last year with renewed enthusiasm.

First … take care… first is to take care of my family… both close and extended. They really are all you have you can claim …I need to treat them better. I hope you do the same.. if your relationships are broken or bent… Mend whatever fences are damaged.

Second….Help…I’ve had more blessings from others than I deserve. And I can never repay those so I'm always looking for opportunities to help friends (and strangers) when needed. Today more than ever there are far too many people really suffering and pride keeps them from asking for help. Illnesses and Job losses… financial problems and emotional stresses and it seems just a general depression have fallen on so many good people… I hope God shows them to me. We've all said ‘let me know if I can help” but never gave it another thought. But this year when I say it, I'll make sure they know my offer is sincere and follow through. One of the hardest things I’ve had to learn is to accept help. Pride is my enemy here. I’ve learned your real friends want to help when you need it and it’s a blessing to them if you let them. This is something every one of us can do… even in small ways, help one another.

Third… Pray. (and that really should be #1 ) There are so many sad or tragic or insane things happening in this world and it seems those in a position to fix them are only adding to the problems and enabling the very ones that are trying to do us harm or bring down our country. I can’t make major changes in policy or protect our country like it should be. There aren’t many things on old dude can do… but I can pray. I'm trying to pray more and for more people… both friend and stranger. My pastor points out often that the need for prayer is greater than ever. I’ve seen what miracles come from prayer, both in my family and others. One of them calls me “Granddaddy”. Sadly today, hardship is a way of life for many people now. I know I can’t always help them physically or financially but I can pray like crazy for them. The oldtimers on FTE will tell you that prayers work… They did a heck of a job on my grandson !

Fourth… Be Positive… I watch the news every morning and sometimes try to count the good things that are reported… that number is smaller than ever. There is so much gloom and doom and depressing news that it is sometimes overwhelming. One of my biggest challenges is trying to keep a positive attitude… this is difficult sometimes. There is no way around it… sometimes life just dumps a bucket full of ..it on you… it happens to everyone and when that happens to me I tend to get in a negative state of mind and it reflects in what I’m doing (or not doing) poorly ! … But…I've tried to find something positive to concentrate on and pretty soon that bucket full doesn't smell unbearably and it truly makes me feel better physically and mentally.

Fifth… Be responsible for yourself…. In the last year there seems to be a lot of ‘victim’ mentality. Everyone is offended or the subject of discrimination. We’re afraid of offending someone or some thing !! We’re disrespecting the rights of shrimp when we eat at Red Lobster… My feelings are being hurt because someone said a word I didn’t like. People… stop whining !!! I do it too over some perceived wrong done to me or mine… Well…Pull up your big girl/boy pants, get a life and live it. Take some responsibility for yourself and stop depending on someone or some group to take care of you or to validate you. You are an individual who should be responsible for yourself. Think how great everything would be if everyone contributed to the common cause and lived by the Golden rule. Wow ! wouldn’t that be amazing. Your momma told you a hundred times … do right ! Start today! (I started a long time ago, but had to start over a few times ) I’m trying to do right to everyone and everything around me… although this one is sometimes a major challenge.

Sixth… Smile…This is an easy one. Hell, it ain’t hard and it helps. Oh you can say… I’ve got it hard and you just don’t know… Well, maybe you do and maybe I don’t but God created you so that it takes less effort to smile than to frown. And you can do that even if you do have it hard and I just don’t know…It will improve how you feel, even if it’s hard and it can help other people too when they see YOU smile on a crappy day. AND a extra benefit of it….. it will drive the people that are trying to get to you crazy. I’m smiling more.

Seventh… Take care of you. Those that love me and some that don't have convinced to I need to take better care of myself physically. My campaign against my addiction to junk food is ongoing and don’t give enough thought to diet and exercise. I need to change that if I plan on living long enough to finish my truck ! That’s my incentive ! I fuss at family and friends about smoking or drinking but don’t fuss at myself enough… time to change. I’ll bet there are things you could change that wouldn’t kill you… literally.

Last one… Love ‘em…..This is an important one Make those people that mean the most to me know they mean the most to me. Not by buying them big gifts but by loving them beyond measure and making sure that they know that you do…

That’s about it… but it’s really a lot and I need a lot of work on some areas… maybe you do too ??

Every year I end my epistle with the same thing… a request for my friends

I want each of you to do something for me this year.

Enjoy your Christmas completely.
Gather together with family and friends and have an excellent time.
YOUR TASK IS TO MAKE IT AN EXCELLENT TIME.
Do something foolish or funny, act like a kid… do you even remember how ???
Kiss an ugly cousin and tell them you love them and how great they are looking. Hug every child in your family and tell them you love them.
Walk up to a total stranger and say Merry Christmas.
Do everything you can possibly do to make this Christmas special…for your family and everyone around you.
BE the spirit of Christmas this year . You can never know the one person who really needed to hear you say those words or needed that hug. It happens… it happened to me more than once and I had no idea.

Hopefully, you’ll be totally exhausted from it. You won’t regret being tired.. it will give you the best Christmas ever. I promise.

I’ve said this in the past and it suits me to say it again…there are lots of new folks that haven’t been subjected to my blather yet.

My Christmas and New Years wish for all of my FTE family…

I hope that you and your families are in good health and spirits.
I hope that you are close to all of them and share good times often.
I hope if that isn’t the case and it's your fault that you fix it …. Soon. And even if it's not your fault… fix it…. SOON.
I hope that you can't begin to count all your friends. Not just your facebook friends… real people !
I hope that you have a God that you believe in and TALK TO.
I hope he listens to you and answers your questions and prayers.
I hope you thank your friends for being your friend and tell them how much it means to you just to have them in your life.
I hope you'll share these Christmas wishes and thoughts with every one you encounter, both friend and foe, loved one and stranger.
Be politically incorrect and wish EVERYONE Merry Christmas!!

Remember who’s birthday it is !!!!!

I hope you'll drop a dollar or two in the Salvation Army Bucket… make that bell ringer feel useful AND stick a couple of bucks in their pocket or a Starbucks gift card to get themselves a couple of hot chocolate on you.
Perform random acts of kindness to strangers… tip big occasionally… take a dozen donuts to the firehall…stop and shake a policeman’s hand and say thank you sincerely.
I hope you'll send a Christmas Card with a check in it to the local mission or to Toys for Tots, or pick up a gift for an Angel Tree child. My favorite charity is St. Judes Childrens Research Hospital… they do good things with your money.

I hope you’ll pray for our service men and women who won’t be home this Christmas.

I hope everyone here at FTE has a wonderful Christmas week. Be safe in your travels, be sincere in your expression of friendship and abundant in your love for those around you… especially the little ones. Show them the way to celebrate these special days. Teach them it ain't about the x-box or the I-phone…and prove it by how you act.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all my friends and family at Ford Truck Enthusiasts.

john
 
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Old 12-11-2015, 09:32 AM
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Thank you John. Have a Merry Christmas.
 
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Old 12-11-2015, 09:35 AM
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Merry Christmas John.
 
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Old 12-11-2015, 09:47 AM
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Merry Christmas to you John. Your presence on this forum has always been positive for all who read your posts. I've read a few of these epistles over the years. A lot of good advice in there. I try to focus on the true blessings I have, and not on what I don't have. I enjoy having "things" as much as the next guy, but there is a whole lot more to a truly full life than that.
 
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Old 12-11-2015, 12:51 PM
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Merry Christmas John reading this this morning really made my day. I wish everyone would think this way. I do a lot more reading than posting on here what a great site. Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas.
Jim
 
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Old 12-11-2015, 01:19 PM
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Its not truly Christmas time until we hear from John, Thank you, Merry Christmas to Us all!
 
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Old 12-11-2015, 01:43 PM
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Thank you John for the wonderful words of wisdom, faith, advice and good common sense. You words have touched me, and made me think, about things I thought I was already doing, but was shown that there is more that I could be doing. Thanks again and may God bless.
 
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Old 12-11-2015, 02:24 PM
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Thanks again John. I do enjoy your epistle every year.

Merry Christmas.
 
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Old 12-11-2015, 02:39 PM
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Amen, John. Well said, well done. I can especially relate to your comments about the state of education today. I am glad I was able to retire from teaching when I was, as public education is getting more bogged down with testing. Teachers, as you said, are more responsible for raising kids as more parents are not parenting their children. But teachers may not give Christian advice.
 
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Old 12-11-2015, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by fatfenders View Post
I try to focus on the true blessings I have, and not on what I don't have.
That right there is one of the secrets to a happy life.

Merry Xmas all....
 
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Old 12-11-2015, 09:36 PM
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John Old Friend,


From the bottom of my heart, I thank you. Your annual epistle is a highlight that I look forward to every year. Your thoughts and words do wonders for me. I thank you for the reminder to take care of the little things in life that are too easy to overlook. I think I'm doing well and then I read your encouraging words and realize that I could (and should) be doing a lot better.
I will take your advice, I will work harder to be a better person for myself and for those around me.


Thank you my good man. I raise a toast to you and yours.


Merry Christmas!
Bobby
 
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Old 12-12-2015, 06:27 AM
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John, well said. Merry Christmas to you and all FTE members!
 
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Old 12-12-2015, 07:43 PM
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Very good read, thank you and Merry Christmas!
 
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Old 12-12-2015, 08:30 PM
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The best of season to you John and everyone on here, Merry Christmas.
 
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Old 12-13-2015, 12:59 AM
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Well said.... Can't emphasize "Prayer" enough in these times.
Ephesians 6:12-13.

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