The Best Short Christmas Story I’ve Ever Read (The Gold Wrapping Paper)

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 (Photo and Story by: Fred Burks for PEERS and WantToKnow.info )

 

I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New year. I pray you all have a safe holiday, while spending time with loved ones. Speaking of loved ones, here’s a story I’m sure will make you appreciate those you love even more. A word of warning: get some Kleenex; you’re going to need it.

 

 The Gold Wrapping Paper – An Inspirational Short Christmas Story

Once upon a time, there was a man who worked very hard just to keep food on the table for his family. This particular year a few days before Christmas, he punished his little five-year-old daughter after learning that she had used up the family’s only roll of expensive gold wrapping paper.

As money was tight, he became even more upset when on Christmas Eve he saw that the child had used all of the expensive gold paper to decorate one shoebox she had put under the Christmas tree. He also was concerned about where she had gotten money to buy what was in the shoebox.

Nevertheless, the next morning the little girl, filled with excitement, brought the gift box to her father and said, “This is for you, Daddy!”

As he opened the box, the father was embarrassed by his earlier overreaction, now regretting how he had punished her.

But when he opened the shoebox, he found it was empty and again his anger flared. “Don’t you know, young lady,” he said harshly, “when you give someone a present, there’s supposed to be something inside the package!”

The little girl looked up at him with sad tears rolling from her eyes and whispered: “Daddy, it’s not empty. I blew kisses into it until it was all full.”

The father was crushed. He fell on his knees and put his arms around his precious little girl. He begged her to forgive him for his unnecessary anger.

An accident took the life of the child only a short time later. It is told that the father kept this little gold box by his bed for all the years of his life. Whenever he was discouraged or faced difficult problems, he would open the box, take out an imaginary kiss, and remember the love of this beautiful child who had put it there.


In a very real sense, each of us has been given an invisible golden box filled with unconditional love and kisses from our children, family, friends and God. There is no more precious possession anyone could hold.

Whew. Gotcha, didn’t it? Leave a comment letting me know what you think about this wonderful, heartfelt story.

HANDS OFF

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I just have to say it – I appreciate every reader that finds his or her way to our blog. Thank you – you are the best, hands down.

Speaking of hands, do you like yours? I like mine’s. I wash my hands a lot, even when they are clean.

Have you ever thought how different your life would be without hands?  Let’s write a fifty words or less story living without hands. Write with abandonment. It’s your story, and I’m interested in reading your piece of flash fiction. Here’s my fifty words or less story from the soon to be released book, “BLOWN AWAY.” Afterwards, leave your fifty words or less story in the comment box, along with a good hand-slapping high five.

HANDS OFF

 My family, except my mother, woke one morning and found our hands missing. My father lost his job as a pianist; my sister lost her hand modeling job, and me, my life as a pro bowler, gone.

     Frustrated, we blamed Mom.

    “Hey!” She screamed, “Don’t go pointing fingers at me.”

If you loved this story, make sure to check out the soon-to-be-released book, “Blown Away.” And by the way, check out this funny video, A Short Story About Hands, by Casey Donahue. It’s the best…hands down.

TO THY OWN SELF BE TRUE

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(Photo credit: http://www.underwatersculpture.com)

Has anyone ever told you to be authentic? Have you ever asked yourself, “Am I real?”

Well, are you? Do you prefer your connections – be it a friendship, a significant other, or even a family member – to be as deep as they can be?

Or do you like living on the surface? Smiles, small talk, nothing ever too close. Friends are really acquaintances and family members are distant people who happen to live under the same roof.

But what does it mean to live on the surface?

Well, one, it’s safe. Two, it’s lifeless. And three, it lacks meaning.

Case in point: the people you know and trust…how many of the deep things about yourself have you shared with them? How much have you encouraged them to go deep with you?

Or, consider this scenario: you have this great popular friend just about everyone loves. But you, for the life of it, can’t understand why. Sure, they’re fun – sometimes. But is it really possible to be happy all the time? Always friendly, always bright, always ready to meet new people and do new things? A surface friend would ignore what they’re feeling, instead of letting some real soul searching uncover why a possible spirit of jealousy has crept in.

On the other hand, a subterraneous person will go to any depth to discover why they have let or are letting jealousy creep into their hearts. And if left to fester, they know that spirit can destroy a good friendship, and possibly a great one.

So, on our new journey to get more “deep” with ourselves, here’s an exercise that may help you become more of a subterraneous person, and consequently, a better friend, spouse, child, (even writer), who avoids the life of a surface surfer – the people who do just enough to be accepted by others.

Get a pen and pad. Go to a mirror. Without speaking, stare into your eyes for a few seconds. In your mind, ask yourself: “Self,” at your deepest level, what kind of person are you?”

Quickly, write the first three words that came to mind. Got them? Good.

So let me ask: When you were thinking about your three words, did another word that caused you some discomfort keep surfacing? Don’t ignore that word. That’s your real word. It could be a word of insecurity, negativity, positivity, something everyone’s always told you about yourself, or something else, something much deeper. You should ask yourself what led you to that word. That unanswered question is preventing you from going deep in your life. Remember, nothing thrives on the surface unless it’s deeply rooted.

When I looked into the mirror, these words came to mind: caring, nurturer, and loving. However, I kept trying to throw out one word from my mind – fear.

It’s a common word – everyone has it. But for me, I had to understand why I had it. Ultimately, it’s because I worry. I worry that I won’t be able to provide for my love ones, thereby, not being able to be the caring, nurturing, loving husband and father. Crazy, huh? But that’s how fear works.

Coming to grips with your word, and how to let go – or, if your word was positive, how to hold onto it – are amazing steps to becoming a more authentic you.

I have learned over the years that understanding what was keeping me from being the real me lead me to a deeper realization of myself. A deeper realization of yourself may help you to go deeper in your relationships, so you can navigate at greater levels in every walk of your life.

Just like in the above image, we would have never had the chance to see this breathtaking image, if someone hadn’t went down deep below the surface.

There’s another world beneath the watery surface, a beautiful world. There’s also a more beautiful you below the surface. Go deep and uncover the real you, the world is waiting.

What was your word? Feel free to share: honesty breeds connection. And thank you for sharing.

This is How You Update a Book Cover

It was time for a transformation.

Along with our general sprucing up around the ole’ Packed House Publications corner, we’ve decided to update one of our most special books with a spanking-new book cover.

Dusty Remains is an awesome collection of 300 words or less stories, but unfortunately, a year ago, with the innocence of new kids on the block, we unintentionally gave Dusty Remains a textbook-looking book cover.

dusty remainsYeah, we can do better than this…

And….

BAM! Here it is! Our new book cover!

Dusty Remains

Looks nice, doesn’t it? We wanted something to reflect the stories of Dusty Remains, which are snapshots of some very intriguing characters, navigating their own complex lives.

So, how did we do? Leave a comment below on what you think of the new cover!

And, as a complimentary gift for our guests, here is the first story from “Dusty Remains.”

Ponytail

She stands there alone, by the gate, with her usual big smile. She smiles even more when he approaches. There by the gate they talk. She shyly tilts her head downward. He knows she’s reluctant, but even so he holds out his hand.

      She steps around him, he cuts off her exit. Like a game she’s played so many times, she tries to dart around him, unable to do so, she shrugs her shoulders in defeat.

     Once again he holds out his hand – she lets her soft hand fall into the cradle of his majestic one.

     They walk away, the sun on their backs, the gate disappearing with each step.

     She pauses, so does he. He looks at her, then nods his head. “It’s okay.” His gentle tone, so reassuring.

     A few steps from the corner, she pauses once more. Now he wipes the tears from her eyes.

     “How did you know my birthday was today?” Her faint voice is strained under the weight of her tears.

     “I know everything about you, Sara. I’m a magician.” His eyes lock on hers.

      “Is that how you found out I like ponies?”

      “Yes.”

      “And you will keep your promise to let me ride my pony every day?”

      “Of course.”

      “And my mom won’t stop you?”

      “Your mom won’t stop me, I promise.”

      “What’s my pony’s name?”

      “Whatever you want it to be.”

      “Is my pony a boy or a girl?”

      “Why, it’s a girl, just like I promised you yesterday.”

      “Where is she?”

      “Right around this corner.”

      Sara’s face lights up. She skips with delight and anticipation.

SARA! SARA! WHERE ARE YOU! SARA, SARA!

      “Ma’am, we’ll find her, trust me.” Nancy’s eyes drown in tears.

      A stiff wind blew through the window. Yooooooooo! Out went the five candles.

Get “Dusty Remains” here today, at Barnes & Noble.
Thank you.

Confessing Jesus

Hey, come on in. How you been? Great, glad to hear everything’s going well. Come, cop a squat, there’s something I like to share with you.

I want you to imagine you live in a place where you will lose your life if you confess your faith in Jesus. How would you be able to preach the word of God in such an environment? Would you boldly obey Jesus’s command in Mark 16:15? “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Would the fear of losing your life tie your tongue? Or would you confess your love and faith in Jesus? Unfortunately, many of us today, all over the world, including yours truly, are not fully heeding the grand commission that Jesus commands his followers to obey.

It appears, for many, that it is best not to stand too firm for Christ, just blend in – don’t make waves. Oh, we preach, but mostly to other known Christians. Most of us don’t take God’s word out to the unsaved masses that need it most. We are so happy being in our personal, “Holy Huddles,” to bother with Jesus’s great commission. Why are we so negligent when it comes to confessing our faith to the world? Why are we afraid? If we love Jesus, then we should want to tell the whole world about Him. Telling everyone we meet we love Him and put our undying faith in Him. In Matthew 10:32-33, Jesus says, “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.”

How can any of us be willing to lose our life for Christ, when we are not willing to tell the world about Him? I like for you to check out the following video: see a woman willing to lose her life for standing up for God’s word. Please pray for her. Please let her example, and many others like hers, compel each of us to confess our faith in the only savior mankind has. You know His name, our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ.

Almost Everything You Need to Know about Christianity…On a T-Shirt

As a follow up to our recently reblogged “The Tithe is a Lie” post, we wanted to share these T-shirts with you. (We sell them here, at SnaggyTees.com). We at Cop-A-Squat are not about destroying or ridiculing Christianity, but rather, we want everyone to see the truth of what Christianity really is: the love of Jesus, and the fellowship we should share because of Him. Yes, we’re flawed – look at how we twist and misread God’s Word – but God never leaves us, and He is truly awesome. That’s the message we wish to share at Cop-A-Squat, and we want you to share it with others.

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Check out these tees. We serve a wonderful God – now share it with the world (and leave a comment if you wish).

 

The Tithe Is a Lie: The Untold Truth

Originally posted on Cop A Squat:


 

The above clip is humorous, for obvious reasons. However, the untold truth that is preached to the masses is not.

Tithing, according to the Bible, is not a requirement in our day and thus a lie being imposed on the church for the profit of those in spiritual power.

For you to truly understand this misrepresentation, first, let’s examine tithing and its purpose.

Tithe

1. What was the tithe?  Tithing means a tenth and was established as an offering to God where the Israelites were required to give the first tenth or 10% of their fruit, grain, herd or flock to God. Leviticus 27:30-33 explains this requirement in detail.

2. What was the tithe’s purpose? The tithes was to support the Levitical priests and their families.  When God divided the “Promised Land” for the children of Israel, the tribe of Levi received no allotment. The Levite priests were established…

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