Monday, May 21, 2007


I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger. Then it hit me.

Police were called to a daycare where a three-year-old was resisting a rest.

Did you hear about the guy whose whole left side was cut off? He's all right now.

The roundest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference.

To write with a broken pencil is pointless.

When fish are in schools they sometimes take debate.

A thief who stole a calendar got twelve months.

A thief fell and broke his leg in wet cement. He became a hardened criminal.

Thieves who steal corn from a garden could be charged with stalking.

We'll never run out of math teachers because they always multiply.

When the smog lifts in Los Angeles, U C L A.

The math professor went crazy with the blackboard. He did a number on it.

The professor discovered that her theory of earthquakes was on shaky ground.

The dead batteries were given out free of charge.

If you take a laptop computer for a run you could jog your memory.

A dentist and a manicurist fought tooth and nail.

A bicycle can't stand alone; it is two tired.

The optometrist fell into his lens grinder and made a spectacle of himself.

Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like an orange.

[forwarded by Craig Woods]


In His name,
Chaplain Sam Houchins

Friday, May 18, 2007

This Man Can Move Anything (Single-handed)

How did the ancients build Stonehenge? This man demonstrates a possible solution.

(if you don't see a movie above)

In His name,
Chaplain Sam Houchins

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Rest of Our Weekend

Last Friday, after all of the activities related to our daughter's graduation, we went to sister Trudy and brother-in-law Dick's home.  They are gracious enough to let us use their spare bedroom when we are in the area.  It was about 11:00 PM when we got to bed.

We both slept until 11:00 AM Saturday morning!  The past few weeks has been stressful and we finally ran out of steam and slept twelve hours.  Trudy fixed us brunch and we visited with her for a few hours.  Dick was out of town with his tour bus driving job.

Daughter Sheri called in the afternoon and said that her son, our grandson, Jonathan's Junior Prom was tonight and he had requested a special dinner for he and his date, Jacklyn.  The catch was that Sheri and her husband were going to be at a friend's wedding and she couldn't fix or serve the meal.  She did have all of the ingredients on hand.  Of course, Margaret agreed to take care of the dinner.  Margaret borrowed a table cloth and two special glasses from Trudy and we drove to Sheri's house to do the dinner.

Table is Set

The roses were a graduation gift from us to Sheri.  They fit right in with the occasion.

Prom Dinner 3

Jacklyn and Jonathan (It's sparkling cider in the glasses)

Prom Dinner 5

The waitress looks familiar

Tory the Hunter 1

While the kids were having dinner, Tory the cat was trying to figure out how to get into the gerbil's home
(more pictures)

Margaret cleaned up after dinner and we went back to Trudy's house.  Dick was home by then and the four of us went to dinner at a Mexican restaurant they like.

Mexican Dinner

l to r: Dick, Trudy, Margaret and me

Sunday morning we attended church with Sheri and then she took us out to lunch for Mother's day.  After lunch we drove home, unloaded the car, repacked for one night and went to the chapel.  We stayed at the chapel Sunday night because of an 8:00 AM Monday meeting at the chapel plus errands we had to do in the Elkton area.  Monday evening we finally got back home and were able to sleep in our own bed (which we hadn't done since leaving home for the chapel last Wednesday morning).

In His name,
Chaplain Sam Houchins

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Daughter Sheri's Graduation

Our daughter Sheri graduated from the local community college yesterday with a two year degree in Business Administration.  She graduated with honors.

That is quite an achievement when you figure: she is a mom of two boys, the youngest she homeschools; she is a wife; she and her husband, Patrick, run an excavation business from their home.  With all of that, she took her courses at night and via the Internet.  We are sooooo proud of her.  Congratulations Sheri!!!

Her goal now is to continue her education toward a degree in accounting and become a CPA.

Graduation 5

Sheri, second from the left, at the start of the commencement.  There were over 500 graduates.  The ceremony was held in a tent on the college grounds.

Graduation 7

The diploma was presented by the college president.

Graduation 8

Mom was in tears while Sheri was on the platform.  On Margaret's right: her sister, Trudy; grandson Jonathan and his date, Jacklyn.

Graduation 12

l to r: Margaret, son-in-law Patrick, daughter Sheri, grandsons Patrick Sean and Jonathan; John - Sheri's dad

(more pictures)

A special thanks to the two families who covered our costs to travel to Virginia and attend the ceremony.

In His name,
Chaplain Sam Houchins

Thursday, May 10, 2007

5,000 Churches Create Social Network

 Interacting with the computer generation:

More than 5,000 churches have created online communities to enhance their weekly services on the new social networking site, Pastors and parishioners meet online to write blogs, share pictures, and stay connected throughout the week in an effort to extend church between Sundays...

Source: View Press Release

In His name,
Chaplain Sam Houchins

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Why God Made Moms

Brilliant answers given by 2nd grade school children to the following questions:

Why did God make mothers?

1. She's the only one who knows where the scotch tape is.
2. Mostly to clean the house.
3. To help us out of there when we were getting born.

How did God make mothers?

1. He used dirt, just like for the rest of us.
2. Magic plus super powers and a lot of stirring
3. God made my mom just the same like he made me. He just used bigger parts.

What ingredients are mothers made of?

1. God makes mothers out of clouds and angel hair and everything nice in the world and one dab of mean.
2. They had to get their start from men's bones. Then they mostly use string, I think.

Why did God give you your mother and not some other mom?

1. We're related
2. God knew she likes me a lot more than other people's moms like me.

What kind of little girl was your mom?

1. My mom has always been my mom and none of that other stuff.
2. I don't know because I wasn't there, but my guess would be pretty bossy.
3. They say she used to be nice.

What did Mom need to know about Dad before she married him?

1. His last name.
2. She had to know his background. Like is he a crook? Does he get drunk on beer?
3. Does he make at least $800 a year? Did he say NO to drugs and YES to chores?

Why did your mom marry your dad?

1. My dad makes the best spaghetti in the world. And my mom eats a lot.
2. She got too old to do anything else with him.
3. My grandma says that mom didn't have her thinking cap on.

Who's the boss at your house?

1. Mom doesn't want to be boss, but she has to because dad's such a goof ball.
2. Mom. You can tell by room inspection. She sees the stuff under the bed.
3. I guess Mom is, but only because she has a lot more to do than Dad.

What's the difference between moms & dads?

1. Moms works at work and works at home & dads just go to work at work.
2. Moms know how to talk to teachers without scaring them.
3. Dads are taller & stronger, but moms have all the real power 'cause that's who you got to ask if you want to sleep over at your friend's.
4. Moms have magic; they make you feel better without medicine.

What does your mom do in her spare time?

1. My mom says she don't do spare time.
2. Nothing. She pays bills all day long.

What would it take to make your mom perfect?

1. On the inside she's already perfect. Outside, I think some kind of plastic surgery.
2. Diet. You know her hair. I'd diet, maybe blue.

If you could change one thing about your Mom, what would it be?

1. She has this weird thing about me keeping my room clean. I'd get rid of that.
2. I'd make my Mom smarter. Then she would know it was my sister who did it and not me.
3. I would like for her to get rid of those invisible eyes on the back of her head.

[forwarded by Adon Brownell]


Children are natural mimics - they act like us in spite of all our attempts to teach them good manners.


Source: Mickey's Funnies

In His name,
Chaplain Sam Houchins

Monday, May 07, 2007

Snow in May

Driver/Volunteer Chaplain Rich sent me these two cell phone pictures that he took last week while driving in New Mexico.  He thought he was done with driving in snow for this season!


He said that his defroster could barely keep up.


In His name,
Chaplain Sam Houchins

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Folded Napkin - A Truckers Story

I try not to be biased, but I had my doubts about hiring Stevie. His placement counselor assured me that he would be a good, reliable busboy. But I had never had a mentally handicapped employee and wasn't sure I wanted one. I wasn't sure how my customers would react to Stevie. He was short, a little dumpy with the smooth facial features and thick-tongued speech of Downs Syndrome.

I wasn't worried about most of my trucker customers because truckers don't generally care who buses tables as long as the meatloaf platter is good and the pies are homemade. The four-wheeler drivers were the ones who concerned me; the mouthy college kids traveling to school; the yuppie snobs who secretly polish their silverware with their napkins for fear of catching some dreaded "truck stop germ" the pairs of white-shirted business men on expense accounts who think every truck stop waitress wants to be flirted with

I knew those people would be uncomfortable around Stevie so I closely watched him for the first few weeks. I shouldn't have worried. After the first week, Stevie had my staff wrapped around his stubby little finger, and within a month my truck regulars had adopted him as their official truck stop mascot.

After that, I really didn't care what the rest of the customers thought of him He was like a 21-year-old in blue jeans and Nikes, eager to laugh and eager to please, but fierce in his attention to his duties. Every salt and pepper shaker was exactly in its place, not a bread crumb or coffee spill was visible when Stevie got done with the table.

Our only problem was persuading him to wait to clean a table until after the customers were finished. He would hover in the background, shifting his weight from one foot to the other, scanning the dining room until a table was empty. Then he would scurry to the empty table and carefully bus dishes and glasses onto his cart and meticulously wipe the table up with a practiced flourish of his rag.  If he thought a customer was watching, his brow would pucker with added concentration.  He took pride in doing his job exactly right, and you had to love how hard he tried to please each and every person he met

Over time, we learned that he lived with his mother, a widow who was disabled after repeated surgeries for cancer. They lived on their Social Security benefits in public housing two miles from the truck stop. Their social worker, who stopped to check on him every so often, admitted they had fallen between the cracks. Money was tight, and what I paid him was probably the difference between them being able to live together and Stevie being sent to a group home.

That's why the restaurant was a gloomy place that morning last August, the first morning in three years that Stevie missed work. He was at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester getting a new valve or something put in his heart. His social worker said that people with Downs Syndrome often have heart problems at an early age so this wasn't unexpected, and there was a good chance he would come through the surgery in good shape and be back at work in a few months.

A ripple of excitement ran through the staff later that morning when word came that he was out of surgery, in recovery, and doing fine. Frannie, the head waitress, let out a war whoop and did a little dance in the aisle when she heard the good news.

Belle Ringer, one of our regular trucker customers, stared at the sight of this 50-year-old grandmother of four doing a victory shimmy beside his table. Frannie blushed, smoothed her apron and shot Belle Ringer a withering look. He grinned. "OK, Frannie, what was that all about?" he asked. "We just got word that Stevie is out of surgery and going to be okay."

"I was wondering where he was. I had a new joke to tell him. What was the surgery about?"

Frannie quickly told Belle Ringer and the other two drivers sitting at his booth about Stevie's surgery, then sighed: "Yeah, I'm glad he is going to be OK," she said. "But I don't know how he and his Mom are going to handle all the bills.  From what I hear, they're barely getting by as it is."

Belle Ringer nodded thoughtfully, and Frannie hurried off to wait on the rest of her tables. Since I hadn't had time to round up a busboy to replace Stevie and really didn't want to replace him, the girls were busing their own tables that day until we decided what to do.

After the morning rush, Frannie walked into my office. She had a couple of paper napkins in her hand and a funny look on her face.

"What's up?" I asked.

"I didn't get that table where Belle Ringer and his friends were sitting cleared off after they left, and Pony Pete and Tony Tipper were sitting there when I got back to clean it off," she said. "This was folded and tucked under a coffee cup." She handed the napkin to me, and three $20 bills fell onto my desk when I opened it. On the outside, in big, bold letters, was printed "Something For Stevie".

"Pony Pete asked me what that was all about," she said, "so I told him about Stevie and his Mom and everything, and Pete looked at Tony and Tony looked at Pete, and they ended up giving me this." She handed me another paper napkin that had "Something For Stevie" scrawled on its outside. Two $50 bills were tucked within its folds. Frannie looked at me with wet, shiny eyes, shook her head and said simply: "truckers."

That was three months ago. Today is Thanksgiving, the first day Stevie is supposed to be back to work. His placement worker said he's been counting the days until the doctor said he could work, and it didn't matter at all that it was a holiday. He called 10 times in the past week, making sure we knew he was coming, fearful that we had forgotten him or that his job was in jeopardy. I arranged to have his mother bring him to work. I then met them in the parking lot and invited them both to celebrate his day back.

Stevie was thinner and paler, but couldn't stop grinning as he pushed through the doors and headed for the back room where his apron and busing cart were waiting.

"Hold up there, Stevie, not so fast," I said. I took him and his mother by their arms. "Work can wait for a minute. To celebrate you coming back, breakfast for you and your mother is on me!" I led them toward a large corner booth at the rear of the room  I could feel and hear the rest of the staff following behind as we marched through the dining room. Glancing over my shoulder, I saw booth after booth of grinning truckers empty and join the procession.

We stopped in front of the big table. Its surface was covered with coffee cups, saucers and dinner plates, all sitting slightly crooked on dozens of folded paper napkins. "First thing you have to do, Stevie, is clean up this mess," I said. I tried to sound stern.

Stevie looked at me, and then at his mother, then pulled out one of the napkins. It had "Something for Stevie" printed on the outside. As he picked it up, two $10 bills fell onto the table. Stevie stared at the money, then at all the napkins peeking from beneath the tableware, each with his name printed or scrawled on it.

I turned to his mother. "There's more than $10,000 in cash and checks on that table, all from truckers and trucking companies that heard about your problems. "Happy Thanksgiving,".

Well, it got real noisy about that time, with everybody hollering and shouting, and there were a few tears, as well. But you know what's funny? While everybody else was busy shaking hands and hugging each other, Stevie, with a big, big smile on his face, was busy clearing all the cups and dishes from the table. Best worker I ever hired.

Plant a seed and watch it grow.

Thanks to Bill H. for sharing!

In His name,
Chaplain Sam Houchins

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Hells Best Kept Secret

Some startling statistics about modern evangelism: 

80-90% of those who are making decisions for Christ are now falling away from the faith. Modern Evangelism is producing 80-90 backsliders for every 100 decisions for Christ...

Source: BlogMinistry

In His name,
Chaplain Sam Houchins