ALABASTER JARS

Life in Abundance


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A Romp With Sin

Photo: flickr.com/gagilas

Photo: flickr.com/gagilas

by Joy Henry (a pseudonym used to protect my loved ones from pain)

I was a young bride when it happened. The thrill of the honeymoon still brought smiles to my face in the middle of the day. Dreams of growing old with him grew grander with each rising sun. Everything was perfect until I saw him through the window of a coffee shop. There was something about the way he leaned towards her, something about the way their legs almost touched under the table.

He said he was sorry, but I couldn’t trust him again. I simply could not live with him after he cheated on me. With that my marriage ended even before I unwrapped my wedding gifts. Over time, I learned to forgive him. But I was always sure I made the right choice. Any way I looked at it, decision was justified.

Years went by and I finally allowed myself to trust again, to love again. And I met my husband, a wonderful Christian. This year we celebrated 10 years of a strong marriage and two wonderful little girls.

Everything was wonderful until a high school sweetheart found me on Facebook a few months ago. I hadn’t seen him in 30 years and we now lived on opposite sides of the world. What began as friendly emails got out of hand—I was making decisions that contradicted my principles, my beliefs and my life. I was even justifying every wrong turn I made. And eventually I created fake business trip to spend a week with him.

The week was simply bliss. I felt no regret or guilt. I did not think of my husband or my children. Instead, I began to dream of a new life—one more exciting than my stable home and loving family.

But when the week was over and it was time to go home, reality hit me. What had I done? How could I have forgotten the pain I felt standing outside the coffee shop? How could I inflict that same pain on my husband? Where was my sense of right and wrong? In the middle of the busy airport I sobbed uncontrollably. Filled with shame and regret, I prayed for forgiveness and courage to return home.

It’s been three months and I have not told my husband about that week—Not out of fear of losing him, but out of my desire never to cause him pain. Having walked out on my first husband when he cheated on me, I know I what I deserve. You may say my husband deserves to know the truth. But I ask you, Does he deserve to be hurt in the process?

I have taken this to God and feel His forgiveness. But forgiveness does not erase the memory of wrongdoing. I deal with the consequences of my choice every day. Every night I wonder if I should own up to my husband or keep that week just between God and me. I simply do not know.

You can find more devotions like this in the Alabaster Jars series. The first book has 53 readings and the second 99. Consider the books as a gift for yourself or someone else. Whether you buy the paperback or the Kindle version, you’ll be making a difference in a woman’s life–100% of the proceeds go towards teaching women how to read.
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Enslaved Servant in New York Mansion

There’s nothing inspirational about this story. It’s just so very sad when human beings lose respect for one another. (Source)

A wealthy New York woman is facing criminal charges after being accused of keeping an illegal immigrant as an indentured servant and forcing her to live in a closet for nearly six years.

Documents posted on the Smoking Gun allege that Annie George, 39, and her now-deceased husband, Mathai Kolath George, hired an illegal immigrant from the Indian state of Kerala. The immigrant, identified only as “V.M.,” was promised about $1,000 a month in wages to live in the family’s 34-room, 30,000-square-foot home, known as Llenroc mansion, which houses a helicopter pad, 15 fireplaces, marble flooring, 24-karat gold gilded ceilings and a glass elevator. V.M. was tasked with taking care of the Georges’ four young children, along with performing household duties in the mansion located about 20 miles north of Albany.

New York’s minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. Even if V.M. had been allowed to leave the residence at the end of a regular 40-hour workweek, she would have been entitled to a minimum, pretax income of $290 per week, or $1,160 per month.

Instead, the “forced labor situation” (as described in the court papers) was even worse than the already-below minimum wage offer of $1,000 month. V.M. received 85 cents an hour, working 17-hour days, seven days a week, over the 67 months she was kept inside the George residence.

All told, V.M. received only about $29,000 over the five and a half years she was forced to work for the George family.

[Read more on human trafficking]

The Smoking Gun reports that immigration agents received a tip from the National Human Trafficking Resource Center last year and removed V.M. from the George’s property. The U.S. Department of Labor conducted its own investigation and says V.M. is entitled to $206,000 in back wages. She was also allegedly denied health benefits, sick days or any personal time off from her labors.

Annie George, whose husband died in a plane crash in 2009, reportedly called V.M.’s son three times, suggesting he “tell his mother to tell authorities that she was a relative of George’s family and was only staying at George’s house as a guest.” However, V.M.’s son recorded the calls, which included a plea from Annie George, “If she says anything about working, it would become a big crime. They’ll start adding up all the taxes and everything, for all the time.”

According to the Smoking Gun documents, the George estate had been put up for sale for a reported $30 million.

Annie George appeared in court on Wednesday before a federal magistrate, facing charges of encouraging and inducing an illegal alien to reside in the U.S.


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Man Hibernates Like Bear, Survives Two Months in Snow

My husband found this amazing story on Yahoo News

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – A Swedish man was dug out alive after being snowed in to his car on a forest track for two months with no food, police and local media reported on Saturday.

The 45-year-old from southern Sweden was found on Friday, emaciated and too weak to utter more than a few words.

He was found not far from the city of Umea in the north of Sweden by snowmobilers who thought they had come across a car wreck until they dug their way to a window and saw movement inside.

The man, who was laying in the back seat in a sleeping bag, said he had been in the car since December 19.

“Just incredible that he’s alive considering that he had no food, but also since it’s been really cold for some time after Christmas,” a rescue team member told regional daily Vasterbottens-Kuriren, which broke the news.

Ebbe Nyberg, duty officer at the Umea police, said police saw no reason to doubt that the man had been stuck in the car for a very long time.

“We would not make something like this up. The rescue services were on site too and saw the same as us,” he told Vasterbottens-Kuriren.

Umea University Hospital, where the man is recovering after being rescued by police and a rescue team, said in a statement he was doing well considering the circumstances.

Doctors at the hospital said humans would normally be able to survive for about four weeks without food. Besides eating snow, the man probably survived by going into a dormant-like state, physician Stefan Branth told Vasterbottens-Kuriren.

“A bit like a bear that hibernates. Humans can do that,” he said. “He probably had a body temperature of around 31 degrees (Celsius) which the body adjusted to. Due to the low temperature, not much energy was used up.”

Why the man ended up under the snow in the forest remains unknown, police said.


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Mom Induces Labor so Dying Dad Can See His Baby

It sounds like the plot of a Hollywood tear-jerker, but the story is all too true for a Dallas-area family. Mark Aulger, 52, was hospitalized with complications from colon cancer. His wife, Diane, 31, was two weeks away from delivering their fifth child. When the doctors told the Aulgers that Mark had only five or six days to live, “Mark said, ‘I’d like to see the baby,'” Diane told the Associated Press. So the doctors induced pregnancy. Here’s their story:

Was the baby born in time?
Yes. The hospital modified a large labor and delivery room so that Mark could be there for the birth, with the couple in side-by-side hospital beds. Savannah Aulger was born Jan. 18, and Mark was the first one to hold her. He was having a relatively good day, health-wise, and he cradled his baby daughter for 45 minutes. He “cried, and he just looked very sad,” says Diane. Mark slipped into a coma Jan. 21. He died two days later.

Click here to read more about Diane, Mark and the baby.


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A Lei of Protection

a lei of protection

Nepal’s culture and history are drenched with folklore and festivals. For every event, there’s a story. One of my favorites is the story behind Bhai Tika (Brother’s Day).

King Bali Hang was very ill. His sister, Jamuna, watched over him day and night, praying he would be well again. But he only got worse. One day Yamaraj, the God of Death, came knocking on their door to claim the soul of King Bali Hang. Jamuna pled and bargained for her brother’s soul, but Yamaraj would not budge. Finally she begged for just a little more time with her brother. She had just completed the traditional Bhai Tika puja to honor her brother–She had smeared his forehead with some tikka, sprinkled his face with water, and adorned his neck with a garland of  the round bright magenta flowers, Supadi Phool. She tearfully told Yamaraj he could have her brother after three things happens: the tikka fades, the water dries and the flowers wilt.

It seemed like a fair deal to Yamaraj. So he waited. Soon enough, the tikka faded and the water dried. But the flowers would not wilt. Tired of waiting. he left. Over the next year, every now and then Yamaraj sent someone to check on the Supadi Phool. The flowers simply refused to wilt. When the next Bhai Tika arrived, Yamaraj came knocking again. But this time, it was to honor Jumuna’s love for her brother and to grant King Bali Hang a very long and healthy life.

Bhai Tika continues to be a major festival today with plenty of color and flamboyance. Sisters present brothers with fruit, gifts and a lei of flowers that represent their prayers for protection over and a long life for their brothers. (Check out the pictures on Google.)

(Photo source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ramakrishnan/2893703839/)


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A Dove Called Noah

Submitted by Cynthia Ward (Source unknown)

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Five little bunnies,  about 6 days old, were attacked by a dog and orphaned. Two out of the litter of five did not survive. The remaining three were not doing very  well. 

Noah is a non-releasable, one-legged homing pigeon/rock dove that is in the rehab centre. Noah kept going over to the bunny cage and looking in . . . even sleeping in front of the door to the cage. Then,  suddenly, there were only two bunnies in the  cage. But when Noah moved a bit from the front of the cage to everyone’s surprise…there was the tiny bunny … under Noah’s wing … sound asleep!

That little bunny rabbit had crawled through the cage, preferring a featherbed, no doubt, to snuggling up with its litter mates!

Now, they are all together and the bunnies are doing GREAT! When the bunnies scoot underneath Noah’s feathers, he carefully extends his wings out to surround them and then they snuggle.When one of them moves and they start sticking out here and there, he gently pushes them back under him with his beak!

It is beautiful and amazing to see. Now, Noah helps out with many rescue babies here at the ranch… How wonderful it is to have a full-time soft-feathered nurturer here at the rescue ranch! He cuddles with all the babies as they snuggle under his warm feathers…and he “coos” as if singing them to sleep with a lullaby.

He will cover you with His feathers and under His wings you will find refuge. Psalm  91:4