It’s not the material things that matter 

To the three people who stole my daughter’s purse out of her car [last] Monday afternoon:

Janelle is a single mom who takes care of herself and her four-year-old daughter. You took all the money she had made last week to pay her rent. Money she worked hard for. You also took items that don’t have much value, except to her. Her favorite wallet that she found at a thrift store, a new lipstick I bought for her last week in her favorite color, a small souvenir from a trip she will never be able to take again.

What you don’t know is that she would have helped you willingly if you had asked. Janelle doesn’t have much, but her heart is kind. She would never steal from you, or anyone, for that matter.

You may have tricked her, but you have not tricked God. We may not know who you are, but God does. He saw you that day and he sees you now … and He loves you. No matter what you have done, no matter who you are. Jesus loves you and he died to forgive you for stealing Janelle’s purse.

You see, Janelle will get a new purse, I will buy her another lipstick, we will find her another wallet and get her rent paid. It’s not the material things here on earth that matter. It is what we do with the gift of eternal life that Jesus Christ offers to us. We are all born sinners into a sinful world, but God sent His only son, Jesus Christ to save us from our sins. He paid the price for all of our sins through His death on the cross and made the way, through His resurrection, to spend eternity in Heaven. Whether or not you choose to return what you stole, I pray you will confess your sins and choose to accept the forgiveness Christ offers and that you will give Him your heart and your life.

Laurie Jay — Franklin, N.C.

Love should come from the heart not the store 

It’s that time of year when everyone is thinking about love. That is no big surprise considering how much hype there is over Valentine’s Day. Retailers literally start stocking their shelves with Valentine merchandise right after Christmas. Television commercials start reminding us of all of the ways we can spend our hard earned cash to show that special someone just how much we love them. It’s practically a heart explosion, right before our eyes, that makes us feel like there is something wrong if we don’t dig down deep into our wallets to show our love.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with showing people that you love them. Quite to the contrary, I think we should show our loved ones just how much we do love and care for them every day not just once a year. Oh sure, it’s nice that we go out of our way on Valentine’s day, but in reality any day is a good day to show someone how you feel about them.

The one thing that I have learned is that the most important things in life really can not be purchased. We are so bombarded every day with commercialism that it is so easy to miss this point. When I was a kid, I made coupons for special chores for my parents and gave them to them as my way of showing love for them and I would be willing to bet that those coupons were probably remembered a lot longer than a box of chocolates ever would be. You see when you really love someone, some of those commercial things might be nice to show your appreciation, but the most meaningful things are those that require a little thought an come from heart. The things that really show that you care, listen and respect the person that you that you are trying to show your love to. The effort made in doing something really special for that person shows them that you absolutely do love them enough to put some of yourself in to doing something special for them.

So maybe it is a good idea to listen a little less to the retailers and a little more to the ones you actually love. Show your love for them in a very thoughtful meaningful way by doing something for them that actually comes from your heart and is just for them. Not some cookie cutter idea from a retailer of what should hit the spot. But a customized thoughtful gesture that is specifically for them and what they may appreciate any day of the year. Our love should come from the heart and touch that of the one’s we love. If you can find a way to touch someone’s heart, that is better than anything that money could ever buy.

Loralie Hurt — Franklin, N.C.

Can we stop this littering, please 

This past Monday, President’s Day, I found myself driving down the Gorge Road from Highlands to Franklin. The recent heavy rains had scoured the ditches on the west side of the road and had consolidated and exposed all kinds of litter, especially aluminum soda and beer cans.

I had no sooner commented to my wife on how much unsightly litter we were seeing,when we overtook a shiny new large black pickup truck. Almost immediately,we began seeing paper and a plastic shopping bag blowing around in the back of the truck.

It wasn’t long before the paper and the plastic bag were in the road and I remembered a fairly recent letter from Highlands Mayor Pat Taylor describing a similar experience. Now at the speed we were traveling, I don’t believe those aluminum soda cans we saw, blew out of any truck bed, I believe they were thrown from the passenger compartments of vehicles by uncaring trashy people.

I don’t like singling out any groups of people but when there’s a new home under construction in my subdivision, the amount of litter goes up sharply.

If I weren’t 81 years old and walking with a cane, I would go out there and pick up some of that trash. I’ve seen prisoners in other locations put to use picking up trash,why can’t we do that here in Macon County.

We live in one of the most beautiful places in the world but litter on all of our roads detracts greatly from that beauty. Come on neighbors and fellow travelers, let’s stop this littering, please.

Charles T. Wolf Jr. — Highlands, N.C.

Church means more than just a building 

Recently, a letter writer wrote in the Citizen-Times, “church is separate from state.” How can a person be so far off track in the modern world of education?

The word “church” means more than a handmade building to worship God. “With the church that is in their house” means I Cor. 16:19.

“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” I Cor. 16:19.

Floyd Cruse — Franklin, N.C.

 A person’s worth or a person’s value?  

Faith has been with us since the beginning, and man has always sensed there’s something beyond this human existence we all experience. We feel we owe something, but not sure how this is to be worked out. Some go to extremes of self denial and punishment, then some to the extreme of over indulgence and self destruction. We all have faith in something whether your faith is in God, the stars, new age, or a faith in self, or someone within a political system.

The human body is comprised of about 65 percent oxygen, 18 percent carbon, 10 percent hydrogen 3 percent nitrogen and about 56 other elements.  So we are basically a combination of earthly materials of little value, but where does self come from? As in the inner depths of our being, the place we keep our inner conversations, or where we wrestle with deep issues of life and why we have a concern of the good and evil that surrounds us. Why are we not like the rest of nature and satisfied with just gathering what is needed for the day. Why do we care about lasting relationships with our families and friends? Why do we look for the someone that will fulfill our loneliness in life? What draws us to search out life’s many questions? If we are just comprised of compounds and minerals, do these somehow have a way of making our inner being react this way, of our searching and discussions from deep within?  Is death  just a cruel joke as we return to the earthly elements we once came from? Or is there something more to the inner working of us as human beings? I believe there is.

Religions are mostly composed of man trying to connect with a god, or to show man’s worthiness of trust and faithfulness. This seems a life long quest for many of us, because we never seem to totally achieve this. It’s like running a race and someone keeps moving the finishing line, then we grow discouraged because few ever seem to win the game.

There is one exception which needs serious consideration. The ultimate life is one of enduring relationships, especially with the “One” who seeks us out for a relationship with Him, the one who placed the search within our depths in hopes of us finding Him. This is where I believe God has placed this imprint upon the soul that goes beyond whatever earthly makeup we are comprised of, and is placed in a different dimension, a dimension that He is part of and wants us to be part of this with Him, if we so choose.

The wrestling that comes from within, is looking for a peace, not only an outward peace, but an inward peace that only God can fulfill. This I believe is the finish line to be crossed, if we would allow the conversation that starts from within each of us. (Rev. 3:20)

Deni Shepard /

Our roads are Macon County’s dump 

Following up on the recent article in The Macon County News about garbage on our roadways, I would also like to make my point on the total disregard I have witnessed by citizens who use our roadways for a garbage dump. When I moved to this area back in 2006, I made comment to many friends out of state that I was so impressed with the cleanliness and look of the North Carolina roads. The rights of way were clean and the plantings, trees and flowering bushes especially the Burning Bush were, I thought, magnificent. Move forward to today, especially this past summer and look what we have how. I have never seen so much garbage on our roadways than any road I have ever travelled. I have actually witnessed pickup trucks travelling down the road with garbage bags and crap blowing out the back, stuff that should have been secured with either a tarp or ropes as is required by many other states and counties. While I traveled on Rabbit Creek Road I have actually seen a construction truck, a red crew cab with a ladder rack coming toward me and the passenger firing his Burger King garbage out his passenger window. I was tempted to turn around and follow these slobs and confront them but decided not to. Because of that experience I have installed a dash Cam in my vehicle and next time I see such an act, I will take my evidence to the authorities even though I really doubt that will have any effect. There are anti-refuse laws on the books, I just don’t think local authorities do anything about it. It’s one of those things like the locals’ habit of not using signal lights to change lanes or turning but that’s a total another problem that is evident to Macon County.

I just don’t understand how a person with any sanity can purposely dispose of their garbage out on public spaces. I wonder what their home and yard looks like. Last Wednesday, I travelled to Asheville and on the way there and back, I observed numerous workers cleaning the roadways in both Jackson and Haywood counties. When I got back to Macon County, garbage galore. I have noticed just a couple of glowing lights, just a few, I have observed a citizen driving a silver Chev pickup out picking up garbage along Rabbit Creek between the highway turnoff and the bridge on Rabbit Creek. I wanted to stop and thank him but a vehicle close behind made me continue on my way. Another bright spot is the gentleman with the red golf cart picking up garbage from the intersection of Rabbit Creek and Ferguson Road back down Ferguson for about a mile. Again, well done to the few that care.

Come on, people, let’s have a little pride in our county and do your share to keep our roads clean, cleaner anyway. And county, let’s not be the only county not caring about the cleanliness of our roadways. And please, DOT, let’s clean up the rights of way before you send the mowers out. It’s easier to pick up a few pieces rather than hundreds of shredded paper after going through the mower.

Gary Puckett — Franklin, N.C.