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"Being Thankful - But to Who?"
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"This is what the Lord says: "Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, and ask where the good way is, and walk in it. You will find rest for your soul."
Jeremiah 6:16 NIV

"Somewhere Over the Rainbow"

imagesozBy Jerry Stewart - Vision Productions   Frank was a dreamer. So, perhaps armed with the idea to help get Frank's head out of the clouds, at age 12 his father sent him to military school. Frank was so miserable there that he became a sickly child and he was eventually allowed to return back home. But one thing Frank loved so much was taking his dreams and writing stories. So his father bought him a printing press, and by age 17 and he was publishing journals - but with little financial success. Then he tried the theater, and he was immediately duped into a scam which drove him to near bankruptcy.

Well, from their Frank Baum tried a little bit of everything. He tried acting, composing, but by age 30 he still had not found any successful way to support his family. In 1888 he opened his own retail store, but his habit of giving away goods on credit led to the stores bankruptcy and Frank failed again.

Then he became a newspaper reporter, but his passion was writing – Frank loved to invent stories, and he loved to tell them to the children. And children flocked to him - no matter where he went, they pleaded with him to stop and tell them another story.

So this became his life, writing stories, and eventually, finally, one was published - it’s name was “Father Goose - the Book”. It was a collection of children's poetry and perhaps you've never even read it. But in 1902, after years of writing and developing characters based on his years and experiences, he wrote and published one book we all know – “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”.

Yes, Frank Baum, the sickly child whose dreams would not allow him to get his head out of the clouds, this boy who ended up in a military school to help prepare him for a more serious look at life, Frank Baum gave us “The Wizard of Oz”, the book that became perhaps the most successful movie in the history of all film-making, a film which Baum never even saw because the movie, starring Judy Garland, was not produced by MGM Studios until 20 years after Frank Baum had passed way.

But one last footnote to this story for us all to ponder - for a number of years after Frank Baum’s book, “The Wizard of Oz”, was written, it was banned from the shelves of so many libraries across America. Why? Because librarians felt that it did not qualify as an important piece of literature. It was highly controversial and criticized for its simple language and themes, even though it was purposefully written that way so that even a young child could comprehend it.

And the simple and powerful message of Frank Baum's “Wizard of Oz”; that good will triumph over evil, that a kind word or deed can crack through even the hardest, coldest heart, and if you strive enough, work hard enough, believe enough, even when all others have given, you can truly find your dreams somewhere over the rainbow.