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WITandWISDOM(tm) - July 12, 2002
ISSN 1538-8794

~~~~~~~ THOUGHTS:

Don't fear failure so much that you refuse to try new things. The saddest summary of a life contains three descriptions: could have, might have, and should have. - Louis E. Boone

Source: The Funnies, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/andychaps_the-funnies

Subjects: Failure, Risks


Nothing in the early life of James Cash Penney indicated that his name would one day become a household word in homes across the United States. Born in 1875, he grew up on a small farm in Kentucky. His father was a minister in the Primitive Baptist Church. Both parents were committed Christians who instilled a deep and abiding faith in their children.

While Penney was a teenager his minister father became the victim of church politics and was removed from his position. The ensuing financial hardship for the family meant that Penney had to leave school, taking a job to help support the family. He began to work as a clerk in a local store. Although he didn't realize it at the time, this modest start was providential and would propel him into an illustrious career as a retailer.

After working in various stores, Penney was able to purchase a one-third interest in a dry goods store in Kemmerer, Wyoming. The date was April 14, 1902. Kemmerer was a small mining town of less than 1,000 people. Penney and his wife lived in a tiny attic apartment above the store. Their furniture consisted of a large empty dry goods box for a table and smaller boxes for chairs. When their first child was born, Penney's young wife wrapped their infant in a blanket, allowing it to sleep under a counter while she stood beside it, working alongside her husband, serving their customers.

From that humble beginning J. C. Penney would eventually preside over 1,700 stores. He would lead the country's largest chain of department stores, each one bearing his name. The influence of Penney's godly parents became evident with the growth of his business, as he began to describe his chain as the Golden Rule Stores, based on the words of Jesus in Matthew 7:12: "Do for others what you would like them to do for you" (NLT).

Although his enterprise made him incredibly wealthy, Penney's life was not devoid of setbacks and troubles. In fact, beginning in 1929, events took place that nearly cost Penney his life.

When the Great Depression struck the country, it came at a time of great financial vulnerability for Penney. While his stores continued to do well, Penney had been adding outside interests, and these were proving to be extremely costly. In order to finance these interests, Penney borrowed heavily. In addition, Penney was becoming a major philanthropist, giving generously to organizations and individuals. The Depression prompted banks to request repayment of his loans sooner than anticipated. Suddenly cash flow was tight, and Penney was finding it difficult to meet payment schedules. Constant and unrelenting worry began to take a toll. "I was so harassed with worries that I couldn't sleep, and developed an extremely painful ailment," he said.

Concerned about his deteriorating health, Penney checked himself into the Kellogg sanitarium at Battle Creek, Michigan, the Mayo Clinic of its era. There, Dr. Elmer Eggleston, a staff physician, examined Penney, declaring that he was extremely ill. "A rigid treatment was prescribed, but nothing helped," Penney recalled. He was attacked by the twin demons of hopelessness and despair. His very will to live was rapidly eroding. "I got weaker day by day. I was broken nervously and physically, filled with despair, unable to see even a ray of hope. I had nothing to live for, I felt that I hadn't a friend left in the world, that even my family had turned against me."

Alarmed by his rapidly deteriorating condition, Dr. Eggleston gave Penney a sedative. However, the effect quickly wore off, and Penney awakened with the conviction that he was living the last night of his life. "Getting out of bed, I wrote farewell letters to my wife and to my son, saying that I did not expect to live to see the dawn."

Penney awakened the next morning, surprised to find himself alive. Making his way down the hallway of the hospital, he could hear singing coming from the little chapel where devotional exercises were held each morning. The words of the hymn he heard being sung spoke deeply to his condition. Going into the chapel, he listened with a weary heart to the singing, the reading of the Scripture lesson, and the prayer. "Suddenly something happened," he recalled. "I can't explain it. I can only call it a miracle. I felt as if I had been instantly lifted out of the darkness of a dungeon into a warm, brilliant sunlight. I felt as if I had been transported from hell to Paradise. I felt the power of God as I had never felt it before."

In a life-transforming instant Penney knew that God, with His love, was there to help. "From that day to this, my life has been free from worry," he declared. "The most dramatic and glorious 20 minutes of my life were those I spent in that chapel that morning." The words from the hymn that spoke so eloquently and miraculously to J. C. Penney were "God will take care of you."

The hymn God used to save J. C. Penney's life was written by Civilla Durfee Martin. Not much is known about the hymn writer. She lived between 1866 and 1948, writing the hymn in 1904. The inspiration for the words may have come from 1 Peter 5:7: "Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you" (NLT). The opening lines read:

Be not dismayed whate'er betide,
God will take care of you;
Beneath His wings of love abide,
God will take care of you.
God will take care of you,
Through every day, o'er all
the way;
He will take care of you,
God will take care of you.

By Victor M. Parachin, a minister and freelance writer who lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma

Source: Adventist Review, ISSN 0161-1119, (c) January 24, 2002, http://www.adventistreview.org/

Submitted by Nancy Simpson

Subjects: J C Penney, Depression, Music

~~~~~~~ THIS & THAT:

Basic Latin:

Veni, Vidi, Visa - I came, I saw, I went shopping.

Veni, Vidi, V8 - I came, I saw, I went very quickly.

Veni, Vidi, volley - I came, I saw, I played tennis.

Veni, Vidi, vamoose - I came, I saw, I left.

Veni, Vidi, VCR - I came, I saw, I rented a video.

Veni, Vidi, Vacuum - I came, I saw, I cleaned up.

Veni, Vidi, Vanish - I came, I saw, I disappeared.

Veni, Vidi Velcro - I came, I saw, I stuck around.

Veni, Vidi, Volvo - I came, I saw, I drove.

Veni, Vidi, Violin - I came, I saw, I made a horrible screeching noise.

Source: Smile a Day Newsletterę, http://www.net153.com/best.htm

Subjects: Language, Definitions


We started trying to set up a small anarchist community, but the people wouldn't obey the rules. - Alan Bennett

Source: Peter's Pearls, http://www.peterspearls.com.au

Subjects: Rules, Laws

~~~~~~~ TRIVIA:


Farmers in the southern Japanese town of Zentsuji have figured out how to grow their watermelons so they turn out square.

It's not a fad. The technique actually has practical applications. "The reason they're doing this in Japan is because of lack of space," said Samantha Winters of the National Watermelon Promotion Board in Orlando, Florida.

A fat, round watermelon can take up a lot of room in a refrigerator, and the usually round fruit often sits awkwardly on refrigerator shelves.

But clever Japanese farmers have solved this dilemma by forcing their watermelons to grow into a square shape. Farmers insert the melons into square, tempered glass cases while the fruit is still growing on the vine.

The square boxes are the exact dimensions of Japanese refrigerators, allowing full-grown watermelons to fit conveniently and precisely onto refrigerator shelves.

But cubic fruit comes with a caveat: Each square watermelon costs 10,000 yen, the equivalent of about $82. Regular watermelons in Japan cost from $15 to $25 each.

Source: http://www.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/asiapcf/east/06/15/square.watermel on/

Submitted by Kiri Christina Hyatt

Subjects: Watermelon, Japan

WITandWISDOM™ ISSN 1538-8794 - Copyright © 1998-2002 by Richard G. Wimer - All Rights Reserved
Any questions, comments or suggestions may be sent to Richard G. Wimer.