Monday, December 29, 2008

You Are Special – Don't Ever Forget That


A well known speaker started off his seminar by holding up a $20 bill. In the room of 200, he asked. "Who would like this $20 bill?"
Hands started going up. He said, "I am going to give this $20 to one of you - but first, let me do this."
He proceeded to crumple the 20 dollar note up. He then asked. "Who still wants it?" Still the hands were up in the air.
"Well," he replied, "what if I do this?" He dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe. He picked it up, now crumpled and dirty. "Now, who still wants it?"
Still the hands went into the air.
"My friends, you have all learned a very valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth $20. Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way. We feel as though we are worthless. But no matter what happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value.
Lessons:
  • Dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, you are still priceless to those who love you.
  • The worth of our lives comes, not in what we do or who we know, but by who we are.
You are special – don't ever forget it."

Saturday, December 27, 2008

I'm Longing For Someone


... who loves me for who I am.
... who focuses on me in a crowd.
... who loves to laugh and can always make me laugh.
... who is family oriented.
... who always talks to me about our future.
... who always helps me with my chores.
... who I can hang out with and have a great time with.
... who is honest with me and I will do the same.
... who is just the right size to cuddle with on those cold nights.
... who is by my side the whole time to provide for each other's needs.
... who can share joy and sorrow together.
... who do provide space for one another.
... who always take more interest in me.
... who can make me so very happy.
... who has so many good qualities.
... who will stand by me always.
... who will never give me a dull moment when we are together.
... who is always ready with a smile on his face and who smiles to me a lot.
... who is full of kind words.
... who always make me look forward to another day God has let us.
... who has few friends, but has close family.
... who always make me feel the closeness together as the day goes on.
... who will give up everything just to make sure that I'm okay.
... who will pull out a handkerchief and hand it to me when I sneeze.
... who is my calm after a storm.
... who thinks of my preferences when making plans and accepting invites to things for us.
... who is genuine in everything says and does.

---Who love me the way I do. Amen.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Everyday In Our Life Is A Special Occasion


Never save something for a special occasion.
Every day in your life is a special occasion.

Those words changed my life. Now I live and breathe and have my being without worrying about anything. I spend more time with my family, and less at work. I understood that life is a source of experience to be lived up to, and not survived through. I no longer keep anything for a special occasion. I will wear new clothes to the supermarket. I will drive new car and own new house. I will use my special perfume whenever I want to. The words "someday..." and "one day..." are fading away from my dictionary. If it is worth seeing, listening or doing, I want to see, listen or do it now.

Franking speaking, I don't know what I would have done if I knew I wouldn't be around the next day.

I think I might have called all my friends and relatives to make peace over past quarrels and to share things that we don't usually speak. I would go out for my favorite food and visit some beautiful places. I would write letters or send e-mails to those that I promised to write "one of these days". I would say to my family members and my loved ones now, how much I love them.

I make it a rule not to delay, postpone or keep anything that could bring laughter, joy and happiness into our lives.



Now, every morning, I say to myself that this could be a special day.
Each day, each hour, each minute, is special to me...and especially for you.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

See What Your Dog Can Teach You


  • Eat with enthusiasm. Stop when you have had enough.
  • Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
  • On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.
  • On hot days, drink lots of water and lay under a shady tree.
  • Avoid biting, when a simple growl will do.
  • If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
  • When you are happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
  • When your loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
  • When someone is having a bad day, be silent and sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.
  • Be loyal. No matter how often you are scolded, run right back and make friends.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Happiness Is A Journey, Not A Destination


Many of us think that life will be much better after we get married and have babies. But then we are frustrated when the kids aren't old enough. After that, we are frustrated because we have teenagers to deal with. We hope that we will be happy when they are out of that stages.

Many of us tell ourselves that our life will be more beautiful when our spouse gets his or her act together, when we get a better house or car, when we are able to go on a nice vacation or when we retire.The fact is that all these are just dreams.

There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way.

Our life is constantly filled with challenges.

There is no better time to be happy than right now.

Let us treasure and share every moment of happiness.

Life is beautiful because it is filled with happiness, no matter what happens.

Remember, Happiness Is A Journey, Not A Destination.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Stand Tall Like The Wild Flowers


Sometimes we see wild flowers along the roadsides. They thrive under difficult conditions. Some actually had begun under big rocks and grown under and around them to reach the sun.

The flowers didn't let the difficult conditions stand in their ways of developing. We too have the capability of doing the same thing. Once our environment begins to see that we believe in ourselves like the wild flowers, we can attain the same nourishment and nurturing as well.

We need to believe in ourselves, knowing we have the capabilities in achieving our desires. Like the wild flowers, they knew they had the capability to overcome their obstacles because they trusted in the Universal Truth and had faith they would succeed.

Stand tall like the wild flowers and be proud of who and what you are and the environment will begin to support you. You will find a way to go under or around your big obstacle in order to reach your desires.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Sands of Forgiveness


Two friends were walking through the desert. During some point of the journey they had an argument, and one friend slapped the other one in the face.

The one who got slapped was hurt, but without saying anything, wrote in the sand:

Today My Best Friend Slapped Me In The Face.

They kept on walking until they found an oasis, where they decided to take a bath. The one who had been slapped got stuck in the mire and started drowning, but the friend saved him.

After he recovered from the near drowning, he wrote on a stone:

Today My Best Friend Saved My Life.

The friend who had slapped and saved his best friend asked him, "After I hurt you, you wrote in the sand and now, you write on a stone, why?"

The other friend replied "When someone hurts us, we should write it down in sand where winds of forgiveness can erase it away. But, when someone does something good for us, we must engrave it in stone where no wind can ever erase it."

Lesson: Learn to forgive and forget all your hurts but treasure and remember all your benefits.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

What Does Love Mean?


A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds, "What does love mean?" The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined.

"When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all even when his hands got arthritis, too. That's Love."
Rebecca - age 8

When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth."
Billy - age 4

"Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other."
Karl - age 5

"Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French Fries without making them give you any of theirs."
Chrissy - age 6

"Love is what makes you smile when you're tired."
Terri - age 4

"Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK."
Danny - age 7

"Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss."
Emily - age 8

"Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen."
Bobby - age 7

"If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate."
Nikka - age 6

"Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday."
Noelle - age 7

"Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well."
Tommy - age 6

"During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn't scared anymore."
Cindy - age 8

"My mommy loves me more than anybody. You don't see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night."
Clare - age 6

"Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken."
Elaine-age 5

"Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford."
Chris - age 7

"Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day."
Mary Ann - age 4

"I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones."
Lauren - age 4

"When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you"
Karen - age 7

"Love is when Mommy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn't think it's gross."
Mark - age 6

"You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget."
Jessica - age 8

The winner was a four year old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman's yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there. When his Mother asked him what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said, "Nothing, I just helped him cry."

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Seven Wonders of the World


A group of students were studying the Seven Wonders of the World. At the end of the lesson, the students were asked to list what they considered to be the Seven Wonders of the World. The following received the most votes:

  1. Egypt's Great Pyramids
  2. The Taj Mahal in India
  3. The Grand Canyon in Arizona
  4. The Panama Canal
  5. The Empire State Building
  6. St. Peter's Basilica
  7. China's Great Wall

While gathering the votes, the teacher noted that one student, a quiet girl, hadn't turned in her paper yet. So she asked the girl if she was having trouble with her list. The quiet girl replied, "Yes, a little. I couldn't quite make up my mind because there were so many." The teacher said, "Well, tell us what you have, and maybe we can help."

The girl hesitated, then read, "I think the Seven Wonders of the World are:

  1. to touch...
  2. to taste...
  3. to see...
  4. to hear...
  5. to feel...
  6. to laugh...
  7. and to love.

The room was so quiet, you could have heard a pin drop.
Lessons:

  • The things we overlook as simple and ordinary are often the most wonderful things in life.
  • We don't have to travel anywhere special to experience the Wonders of the World.
  • The wonders of the world is around you.
  • Never neglect the little things in life, like the dropping of the leaves and the breathing of the air.
  • Enjoy your gifts and share them with the people around.
  • Do something sociable and enjoyable every day.
  • Be a blessing to all, especially to the body of believers. Amen.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Take Time To Love


Once upon a time, there was an island where all the Feelings lived: Happiness, Sadness, Knowledge, and all of the others, including Love.

One day it was announced to the Feelings that the island would sink, so all constructed boats and left. Except for Love. Love was the only one who stayed. Love wanted to hold out until the last possible moment.

When the island had almost sunk, Love decided to ask for help.

Richness was passing by Love in a grand boat. Love said, "Richness, can you take me with you?

"Richness answered, "No, I can't. There is a lot of gold and silver in my boat. There is no place here for you."

Love decided to ask Vanity who was also passing by in a beautiful vessel. "Vanity, please help me!"

"I can't help you, Love. You are all wet and might damage my boat," Vanity answered.

Sadness was close by. So Love asked, "Sadness, let me go with you." "Oh... Love, I am so sad that I need to be by myself!"

Happiness passed by Love, too, but she was so happy that she did not even hear when Love called her.

It takes time to love someone we care
Suddenly, there was a voice, "Come, Love, I will take you." It was an elder.

So blessed and overjoyed, Love even forgot to ask the elder where they were going.

When they arrived at dry land, the elder went her own way.

Realizing how much she owed the elder, Love asked Knowledge, another elder, "Who Helped me?"

"It was Time," Knowledge answered.

"Time?" asked Love. "But why did Time help me?"

Knowledge smiled with deep wisdom and answered, "Because only Time is capable of understanding how valuable Love is."

Lessons:
  • Of all Feelings, Love stays the longest.
  • Richness has no space for Love.
  • Vanity wouldn't take in Love.
  • Sadness rejects Love.
  • Happiness neglects Love.
  • All others just past by Love.
  • It takes Time to value Love.
  • It takes Knowledge to reveal Love.

Please don't hesitate to Love. You may not realize how much you have lost if you're too late.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Trouble Tree


The carpenter I hired to help me restore an old farmhouse had just finished a rough first day on the job. A flat tire made him lose an hour of work, his electric saw quit, and now his ancient pickup truck refused to start. While I drove him home, he sat in stony silence.

On arriving, he invited me in to meet his family. As we walked toward the front door, he paused briefly at a small tree, touching the tips of the branches with both hands. When opening the door he underwent an amazing transformation. His tanned face was wreathed in smiles and he hugged his two small children and gave his wife a kiss.

Afterward he walked me to the car. We passed the tree and my curiosity got the better of me. I asked him about what I had seen him do earlier.

"Oh, that's my trouble tree," he replied." I know I can't help having troubles on the job, but one thing's for sure, troubles don't belong in the house with my wife and the children. So I just hang them on the tree every night when I come home. Then in the morning I pick them up again."

He paused. "Funny thing is," he smiled, "when I come out in the morning to pick 'em up, there ain't nearly as many as I remember hanging up the night before."

Lessons

  • Everyone has a trouble tree.
  • We can't help having troubles on our job.
  • Troubles don't belong in the house with our families.
  • Don't bring troubles home.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Don't Stop Children From Growing Up


We always like to tell our children what or how they should think, feel or do. We remind them over and over again the things they must forgo and avoid. Like many others, we cannot resist measuring their progresses and achievements by our own yardsticks. But our guidance or assistance, and our overzealous and overpowering concerns do not seem to do much good. Family ties slowly deteriorate and weaken. This disrupts our relationship with one another. As time goes by, we suddenly realize that we become strangers.

We have learned important lessons from our past experiences. Sometimes, we have lived up to our expectations. Often we have fallen into great failures and depressions. Our past experiences make us what we are today. We are now of stronger character and able to stand strong. We expect our children to be like us and always listen to us. There goes a common saying that we eats more salt than the children eat rice.

It is hurting to behold our children fail in their endeavors. It is sad to watch them from afar struggling to match up to their race. But they refuse our assistance and our guidance because they want to act tough like their parents, not knowing that their parents were once as weak as them when they were young.

It is time to mend our relationships. Let us stop imposing our ways and values on our young ones. Let us rather stay beside them helping them to realize their vision, their interests and ambitions.

We take it for granted that what we have experienced have made us grow up. Most of us are conservative. Children must always respect and obey their elders. Failures to do so mean infidelity and rebellion.

We have done so much to discipline our young ones. We are scared that they may fall into similar troubles. But no matter how hard we try, we can never stop them from getting hurt and getting more scars both inside and outside.

Our life's scars remind us of our struggles, our victories and our failures. But they never stop us from facing the next life storm. If we are ready for any life storm, can't we rest assured that the Almighty God can carry our young ones through their next life storm?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Salty Coffee


He met her at a party.

She was so outstanding, many guys chasing after her while he was so ordinary, nobody paid attention to him.

At the end of the party, he invited her to have coffee with him, she was surprised, but being polite, she agreed.

They sat in a nice coffee shop, he was too nervous to say anything, she felt uncomfortable. She thought, please, let me go home.

Suddenly he asked the waiter, "would you please give me some salt? I'd like to put it in my coffee."

Everybody stared at him, so strange! His face turned red, but still he put the salt in his coffee and drank it.

She asked him curiously, "why do you have this fetish?"

He replied: "when I was a little boy, I lived near the sea, I liked playing in the sea, I could feel the taste of the sea, just like the taste of the salty coffee. Now every time I have the salty coffee, I always think of my childhood, think of my hometown. I miss my hometown so much. I miss my parents who still live there".

While saying that, tears filled his eyes. She was deeply touched. That's his true feeling, from the bottom of his heart.

A man who can speak out his homesickness, he must be a man who loves home, cares about home, and has responsibility of home.

Then she also started to speak, spoke about her far away home town, her childhood, and her family. They had a really nice talk and so also a beautiful beginning of their story.

They continued to date. She found out that he was the man who met all her demands; he had tolerance, he was kind-hearted, warm, and careful. He was such a good person and she almost missed him!

Thanks to his salty coffee! Their story was just like every other beautiful love story. The princess married to the prince, and they were having a happy life.

Now, every time she made coffee for him, she put some salt in the coffee, as she knew that's the way he liked it.

After 40 years, he passed away, leaving her a letter which said:
"My dearest,

Please forgive me. Forgive my lie. This was the only lie I said to you − the salty coffee.

Remember the first time we dated? I was so nervous at that time. Actually I wanted some sugar, but I said salt. It was hard for me to change. So I just went ahead. I never thought that could be the start of our communication!

I tried my best to tell you the truth many times in my life, but I was too afraid to do so, because I had promised myself not to lie to you anymore.

Now I'm dying, I'm not afraid of anything anymore. So I decide to tell you the truth: I don't like the salty coffee. What a strange bad taste. But I have had the salty coffee for my whole life!
Seasoned Love

Having you with me is my biggest happiness for my whole life. If I can live for the second time, I still want to know you and have you for the rest of my life, even though I have to drink the salty coffee again".

Her tears totally made the letter wet.

Someday, someone asked her: "what's the taste of salty coffee?"

"It's sweet." She replied.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sunday Morning Rain


Experiencing Love in the rain is so beautiful, feeling the water run down from your forehead to the tip of your toes, to have the rain drops passionately dried by the breath of a very special lover.

A spoil so deep that only he and I can touch, a spiritual connection that teaches us the true meaning of love, honesty and communication.

During the splendor of it all, we ran into a storm.

I praying that God will rekindle, renew, and restore all things.

Does A Person Like That Exist?



today i search for the person that's right for me again,
a person that will like me for who I am.
A person that will like me even if I can't make his dreams come true.
But does a person like that exist?
I would be nice if that person exists.
I would be nice if it were true.
Will that person really like me and only me?
Will that person really ask nothing of me?
If that person can't like me for who I am,
then that person isn't for me.

Then where?
Probably very close.
I'm sure the person I can like is in a place not too far away...

But
If that person doesn’t like me, what should I do?
What should I do if someone that’s not for me likes me?
People’s heart can’t be erased or added like that!
That’s why swaying people’s decision is difficult.
I already know that….
People’s hearts are easy to change, but there are some which you can’t change.
The emotion of liking someone can’t be changed easily.
Then what should I do?
Then I will have to choose.
I will have to choose and deal with it…
With me and my self…

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Why Not for Man?


Where we live, on the Eastern shore of Maryland, the gentle waters run in and out like fingers slimming at the tips. They curl into the smaller creeks and coves like tender palms.

The Canada geese know this place, as do the white swans and the ducks who ride an inch above the waves of Chesapeake Bay as they skim their way into harbor. In the autumn, by the thousands, they come home for the winter. The swans move toward the shores in a stately glide, their tall heads proud and unafraid. They lower their long necks deep into the water, where their strong beaks dig through the river bottoms for food. And there is, between the arrogant swans and the prolific geese, an indifference, almost a disdain.

Once or twice each year, snow and sleet move into the area. When this happens, if the river is at its narrowest, or the creek shallow, there is a freeze which hardens the water to ice.

It was on such a ! morning near Oxford, Maryland, that a friend of mine set the breakfast table beside the huge window, which overlooked the Tred Avon River. Across the river, beyond the dock, the snow laced the rim of the shore in white. For a moment she stood quietly, looking at what the night's storm had painted. Suddenly she leaned forward and peered close to the frosted window.

"It really is," she cried out loud, "there is a goose out there."

She reached to the bookcase and pulled out a pair of binoculars. Into their sights came the figure of a large Canada goose, very still, its wings folded tight to its sides, its feet frozen to the ice.

Then from the dark skies, she saw a line of swans. They moved in their own singular formation, graceful, intrepid, and free. They crossed from the west of the broad creek high above the house, moving steadily to the east.

As my friend watched, the leader swung to the right, then the white string of birds became a white circle. It floated from the top of the sky downward. At last, as easy as feathers coming to earth, the circle landed on the ice. My friend was on her feet now, with one unbelieving hand against her mouth. As the swans surrounded the frozen goose, she feared what life he still had might be pecked out by those great swan bills.

Instead, amazingly instead, those bills began to work on the ice. The long necks were lifted and curved down, again and again. It went on for a long time. At last, the goose was rimmed by a narrow margin of ice instead of the entire creek. The swans rose again, following the leader, and hovered in that circle, awaiting the results of their labors.

The goose's head lifted. Its body pulled. Then the goose was free and standing on the ice. He was moving his big webbed feet slowly. And the swans stood in the air watching. Then, as if he had cried, "I cannot fly," four of the swans came down around him. Their powerful beaks scraped the goose's wings from top to bottom, scuttled under its wings and rode up its body, chipping off and melting the ice held in the feathers. Slowly, as if testing, the goose spread its wings as far as they would go, brought them together, accordion-like, and spread again.

When at last the wings reached their fullest, the four swans took off and joined the hovering group. They resumed their eastward journey, in perfect formation, to their secret destination.

Behind them, rising with incredible speed and joy, the goose moved into the sky. He followed them, flapping double time, until he caught up, until he joined the last end of the line, like a small child at the end of a crack-the-whip of older boys.

My friend watched them until they disappeared over the tips of the farthest trees. Only then, in the dusk, which was suddenly deep, did she realize that tears were running down her cheeks and had been — for how long she didn't know.

This is a true story. It happened. I do not try to interpret it. I just think of it in the bad moments, and from it comes only one hopeful question: "If so for birds, why not for man?

Who Packed Your Parachute


Charles Plumb was a US Navy jet pilot in Vietnam. After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands. He was captured and spent 6 years in a communist Vietnamese prison. He survived the ordeal and now lectures on lessons learned from that experience!

One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said, "You're Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!"

"How in the world did you know that?" asked Plumb.

"I packed your parachute," the man replied. Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude. The man pumped his hand and said, "I guess it worked!" Plumb assured him, "It sure did. If your chute hadn't worked, I wouldn't be here today."

Plumb couldn't sleep that night, thinking about that man. Plumb says, "I kept wondering what he had looked like in a Navy uniform: a white hat; a bib in the back; and bell-bottom trousers. I wonder how many times I might have seen him and not even said 'Good morning, how are you?' or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot and he was just a sailor." Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent at a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, holding in his hands each time the fate of someone he didn't know.

Now, Plumb asks his audience, "Who's packing your parachute?" Everyone has someone who provides what they need to make it through the day. He also points out that he needed many kinds of parachutes when his plane was shot down over enemy territory - he needed his physical parachute, his mental parachute, his emotional parachute, and his spiritual parachute. He called on all these supports before reaching safety.

Sometimes in the daily challenges that life gives us, we miss what is really important. We may fail to say hello, please, or thank you, congratulate someone on something wonderful that has happened to them, give a compliment, or just do something nice for no reason. As you go through this week, this month, this year, recognize people who pack your parachutes.

What My Father Left Behind


At 13 years of age, my parents and I visited an ophthalmologist. As I sat in the examining chair, my face firmly on the chin rest and pupils dilated, the doctor looked into my eyes, shining a bright light.

"She did inherit it," he said with coldness. "You need to be prepared. There is no cure for this retinal disease."

My father carried the Retinitis Pigmentosa gene causing a deterioration of the retina which, in most cases, results in blindness. Although my brother's retinas seemed to be fine, I'd inherited the gene.

Fifteen years after my initial diagnosis, my father began to lose his eyesight and so did I. He was 55 years old, but I was only 28. In a matter of two years, we had both lost our sight completely.

I focused on the effects of my own darkness. My world crumbled as the black curtain fell, destroying the dreams my husband and I had for us and for our three little boys. But when I turned to God for hope and strength, He responded by opening my eyes to a new revelation.

My father had given me not just the RP gene, but the example of determination and tenacity as well. We were all living in Bolivia in 1964 when he defied the family's opposition to move to America. He and Mom worked tirelessly to satisfy the requirements imposed by the U.S. Immigration Department to enter the country and establish residency.

Once in the states, he overcame humiliation, intense loneliness, helplessness and uncertainty. He endured ridicule due to his lack of fluency in English, but he pressed on. And he managed to gather enough money for the basics - rent a small apartment, buy modest furniture from thrift stores and put a down payment on a car. Nine months later, he sent airline tickets for my mom, my brother and me.

Decades later, as an American citizen, I look back at what he'd shown me. He taught me the determination to move forward when facing adversity. He set an example proving that humility is crucial to success. He demonstrated the commitment to family and the importance of setting priorities.

His journey taught me valuable lessons for my own path in the darkness. Much like a baby takes its first steps holding tight to his father's hand, my dad held onto God as he stepped from the comfort of our hometown in Bolivia to the unknown in a foreign land.

I did the same as I stepped into the unfamiliarity of a sightless world. Holding onto God's hand, I gained confidence and learned the language of gratitude. With profound appreciation for my father's example, I learned how he had applied a powerful blend of faith and tenacity; the same blend I used to fulfill my own role as a wife, mom, Sunday school teacher, Spanish court interpreter, inspirational speaker and writer.

What I inherited from my father helped me to see my life with a more radiant and meaningful glow.

To Have It All


My journey of self-discovery continued, and I was expanding my sense of myself and my own identity. In many ways, I thought that I was finally starting to feel successful and happy.

I had a growing sense of well-being and satisfaction, and I adored being a mother and taking care of my son. I was enjoying my life as a single woman and investing plenty of quality time in my relationship with my son Michel. In addition, I bought a lovely, beautifully decorated four bedroom home in a wonderful neighborhood. I was making a good living, earning more and more each year. I sensed that I was on the path to my destiny of helping others.

I was feeling optimistic about life and more secure than ever as I consciously worked on developing a sense of worthiness. I was bravely facing my difficult negative emotions, learning what I could from them and actively choosing to replace them with more positive feelings.

However, there was still something missing. As much as I was making progress, I knew that I had the power within me to create so much more.

Financial worries, and fears that I might not find love again, gnawed at me. I didn't know why I was so restless and was experiencing a sense of lack. It didn't occur to me that my emotions were causing me to feel vaguely dissatisfied because they were so subtle that I often didn't recognize them. My positive feelings were there, but it was as if many of them were barely audible and I had to strain to hear them.

I felt that if I tried harder, I could "force" success and take my life to a whole new level, but I quickly found that I wasn't getting where I wanted to go, no matter how hard I worked.Consequently, I held tightly to everything that I achieved while still being consumed by negative thoughts and feelings about what I didn't have. The success I enjoyed led me to want more - I believed that if I just made additional money, I'd be less anxious and more at peace. But the harder I worked to keep what I had and grab for more, the greater the fear I felt.

Then my income began to drop, and I frantically tried to figure out what I was doing wrong professionally. I took some necessary risks to boost business, but what I didn't realize was that by focusing on what I didn't want to experience (namely, fear, anxiety, and lack), I was holding myself back from achieving what I did want - contentment, calm, and abundance. I tried to believe the spiritual teachers and self-help experts who said that prosperity would be mine if only I'd accept it, but it felt as if I had no control over making more money. I was terrified of losing my business and my home, and I was getting sucked into a whirlpool of negativity. I questioned my self-worth and wondered how I could have the nerve to teach others about being successful. I was dangerously close to losing everything that I'd worked so hard to achieve.

Fortunately, that led me to my fourth epiphany:
"To have it all, you have to be willing to give it all up."I needed to let go of the fear that I would lose myself if I lost my "things." I realized that if I did so, I'd truly be able to stop being so afraid. But did I have the courage to surrender it all?

The truth is that I didn't necessarily have to give up everything I had (I didn't have to relinquish my house, for example), but I understood that I had to be willing to give it all up. I had to be prepared to detach from what I owned, because by being attached to situations, I was creating powerful negative feelings. I didn't have faith that no matter what happened around me - regardless of what I might lose - I had the power to control my anxiety and fear and create happiness for myself. I was afraid that if I lost what I had, my destructive emotions would take charge of my life.

I realized that there was no reason to be possessive when it came to my material wealth if I could just have faith that everything in my life could be created again, because I'd created it in the first place. If you have the power to build, you have the power to rebuild. In my head, I trusted that money is just an outward manifestation of the abundance and wealth that's experienced within, but I had to be convinced of that in my heart. I finally understood that laboring to create the things I wanted for myself wasn't nearly as effective as focusing on creating my desired emotions. I didn't have to work or think harder; I needed to forge the positive feelings that were associated with my goals.

If I wanted to be confident, I had to create the feeling of confidence, and the universe would respond by helping me succeed. If I hoped to be wealthy, I needed to create a feeling of richness and abundance, and the universe would bring me prosperity. I understood that what I co-created might not come in the form I expected. (For instance, maybe I'd draw in new clients, but it would be through an unexpected avenue - or I'd get the money I was seeking not by acquiring additional business, but through another source.) Of course, I had to work to make the most of the opportunities that the universe presented to me, but I now knew that I didn't have to continue to frantically struggle to achieve my goals. I could attract the situations that mirrored my feelings of happiness, abundance, and confidence.When I began to genuinely believe that I'm more than what I have - that I'm not defined by what I've achieved, and I don't have to point to material goods as evidence of my worthiness - my life started to change dramatically. I created the emotions that I wanted to feel, and the newfound power within me allowed me to grow and prosper as I'd never done before in my life.

The Teacup


There was a couple who used to go to England to shop in the beautiful stores. This was their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. They both liked antiques and pottery and especially teacups.

One day in this beautiful shop they saw a beautiful teacup. They said "May we see that? We've never seen one quite so beautiful." As the lady handed it to them, suddenly the teacup spoke.

"You don't understand," it said. "I haven't always been a teacup.

There was a time when I was red and I was clay. My master took me and rolled me and patted me over and over and I yelled out, let me alone,' but he only smiled, 'Not yet'.

"Then I was placed on a spinning wheel," the teacup said, "and suddenly I was spun around and around and around. 'Stop it! I'm getting dizzy!' I screamed. But the master only nodded and said, 'Not yet.'

Then he put me in the oven. I never felt such heat. I wondered why he wanted to burn me, and I yelled, and I knocked at the door. I could see him through the opening and I could read his lips as he shook his head, 'Not yet.'

"Finally the door opened, he put me on the shelf, and I began to cool. 'There, that's better,' I said. And he brushed and painted me all over. The fumes were horrible. I thought I would gag. 'Stop it, stop it!' I cried. He only nodded, 'Not yet.'

"Then suddenly he put me back into the oven, not like the first one. This was twice as hot and I knew I would suffocate. I begged. I pleaded. I screamed. I cried. All the time I could see him through the opening nodding his head, saying, 'Not yet.'

"Then I knew there wasn't any hope. I would never make it. I was ready to give up. But the door opened and he took me out and placed me on the shelf. One hour later he handed me a mirror and said, 'Look at yourself.' And I did. I said, 'That's not me; that couldn't be me. It's beautiful. I'm beautiful.'

'I want you to remember, then,' he said, 'I know it hurt to be rolled and patted, but if I just left you, you'd have dried up. I know it made you dizzy to spin around on the wheel, but if I had stopped, you would have crumbled. I know it hurt and it was hot and disagreeable in the oven, but if I hadn't put you there, you would have cracked. I know the fumes were bad when I brushed and painted you all over, but if I hadn't done that, you never would have hardened. You would not have had any color in your life, and if I hadn't put you back in that second oven, you wouldn't survive for very long because the hardness would not have held. Now you are a finished product. You are what I had in mind when I first began with you.'

The House of 1000 Mirrors


Long ago in a small, far away village, there was a place known as the House of 1000 Mirrors. A small, happy little dog learned of this place and decided to visit. When he arrived, he bounced happily up the stairs to the doorway of the house. He looked through the doorway with his ears lifted high and his tail wagging as fast as it could. To his great surprise, he found himself staring at 1000 other happy little dogs with their tails wagging just as fast as his. He smiled a great smile, and was answered with 1000 great smiles just as warm and friendly. As he left the house, he thought to himself, "This is a wonderful place. I will come back and visit it often."

In this same village, another little dog, who was not quite as happy as the first one, decided to visit the house. He slowly climbed the stairs and hung his head low as he looked into the door. When he saw the 1000 unfriendly looking dogs staring back at him, he growled at them and was horrified to see 1000 little dogs growling back at him. As he left, he thought to himself, "That is a horrible place, and I will never go back there again."

All the faces in the world are mirrors. What kind of reflections do you see in the faces of the people you meet?

The Girl in Pink Dress


There was this little girl sitting by herself in the park. Everyone passed by her and never stopped to see why she looked so sad. Dressed in a worn pink dress, barefoot and dirty, the girl just sat and watched the people go by. She never tried to speak. She never said a word. Many people passed by her, but no one would stop.

The next day I decided to go back to the park in curiosity to see if the little girl would still be there. Yes, she was there, right in the very spot where she was yesterday, and still with the same sad look in her eyes.

Today I was to make my own move and walk over to the little girl. For as we all know, a park full of strange people is not a place for young children to play alone. As I got closer I could see the back of the little girl's dress was grotesquely shaped. I figured that was the reason people just passed by and made no effort to speak to her.

As I got closer, the little girl lowered her eyes slightly to avoid my intent stare. As I approached her, I could see the shape of her back more clearly. She was grotesquely shaped in a humped-over form.

I smiled to let her know it was OK; I was there to help, to talk. I sat down beside her and opened with a simple, "Hello." The little girl acted shocked, and stammered a "hi," after a long stare into my eyes. I smiled and she shyly smiled back.

We talked until darkness fell and the park was completely empty. I asked the girl why she was so sad. The little girl looked at me with a sad face said, "Because I'm different." I immediately said, "That you are!" and smiled. The little girl acted even sadder and said, "I know."

"Little girl," I said, "you remind me of an angel, sweet and innocent." She looked at me and smiled, then slowly she got to her feet and said, "Really?"

"Yes, you're like a little Guardian Angel sent to watch over all those people walking by." She nodded her head yes, and smiled. With that she opened the back of her pink dress and allowed her wings to spread, then she said "I am. I'm your Guardian Angel," with a twinkle in her eye. I was speechless -- sure I was seeing things.

She said, "For once you thought of someone other than yourself. My job here is done."

I got to my feet and said, "Wait, why did no one stop to help an angel?" She looked at me, smiled, and said, "You are the only one that could see me," and then she was gone. And with that, my life was changed dramatically. So, when you think you're all you have, remember, your angel is always watching over you.

The Butterfly's Struggle


What do butterflies have in common with the human spirit? Meet Maggie, a middle aged wife and mother who was about to find out.

Maggie wasn’t rich like a millionaire or poor in a manner of being homeless. She was living an average comfortable life. It was made even better when a beautiful baby girl came her way. She and her husband made sure their daughter had her needs met and they were still able to take a yearly vacation by the beach.

Maggie was a partner in her husband’s business. They both had a different set of duties which kept everything in balance. One day a devastating blow came to her husband’s business, and over a three year period the business dropped out of site. Her husband had to totally reinvent himself and was yearning to fulfill a dream with a new vocation. She was happy for him and supported him fully, but still the money was not coming in.

Maggie began to feel guilty that she wasn’t contributing with any kind of income. It had been a long time since she had worked outside the home and had to work for someone else. Needless to say she was scared but still had faith that everything would be okay. She began job hunting and found filling out applications somewhat difficult, especially the part asking for job references. Keep in mind that she was self-employed with her husband for almost 20 years. It felt as though that didn’t count for anything as she was never called for an interview.

At the time she was job hunting her mom became more ill than she had been and ended up in the hospital for a week. Once Maggie’s mom returned home she became her mom’s helper one day a week. She did the shopping, changed sheets, vacuumed and did other things that her mother was not able to do anymore. Of course her mom would pay her for her time and labor but she still felt she needed to find another source of income.

One of the first applications she had filled out finally came through. She passed the interview with flying colors and was told she was “exactly” what they were looking for. Although it was only part time it was exactly what she wanted. It was important for her to be home when her daughter arrived home from school. She was told they would be in touch when the schedule was ready. Knowing she had the job made her feel contented and productive again.

Within a few weeks though, she received an e-mail saying that the company had changed the job into a full time position and she was not qualified. Maggie was devastated. She felt betrayed and felt she had been lied to. That evening she was alone as her husband and daughter had gone out for the night. She welcomed the aloneness and wanted to drown her sorrows in a hot tub of bubbles.

As she knew she would, she began to cry, softly at first just from the sheer pain of being rejected. Three long years of struggle had finally caught up with her. Then she became angry; angry at everything from the circumstances that got her there, to God himself. She cried harder and yelled, “What do you want me to do?” She really felt that God had abandoned her.

When she was able to cry no more, she became exhausted and gave up. It was at that moment that a silent idea came to her to offer other elderly people home care assistance.

Using another talent for computers she printed off some flyers and cards and distributed them to her church, grocery stores and even placed a small ad in the newspaper. Within a week she had procured two new clients.

Now, even though she’s not a CEO of a major company or a power player she feels happy and productive again. So, had God really abandoned her? Let’s look at nature for the lessons and the answer.

Before a butterfly can emerge out of it’s chrysalis it has to go through a lot of struggling. Yes, struggling. Each time it lunges out to escape, acids are being removed from its wings. If someone were to come along and break the chrysalis open for it then the butterfly would die from those acids. In essence the struggle is necessary for the butterfly to survive. Then in the stillness, when the struggle is over, the butterfly can come out and share its beauty with the world.

We as humans are not any different. There are times that we need to struggle, to rid ourselves of the acids that make up sadness, fear, and anger. It is only at this time when we are exhausted and still that we begin to hear the Universe whisper to us.

The Best Time Of My Life


It was June 15, and in two days I would be turning thirty. I was insecure about entering a new decade of my life and feared that my best years were now behind me.

My daily routine included going to the gym for a workout before going to work. Every morning I would see my friend Nicholas at the gym. He was seventy-nine years old and in terrific shape. As I greeted Nicholas on this particular day, he noticed I wasn't full of my usual vitality and asked if there was anything wrong. I told him I was feeling anxious about turning thirty. I wondered how I would look back on my life once I reached Nicholas's age, so I asked him, "What was the best time of your life?"

Without hesitation, Nicholas replied, "Well, Joe, this is my philosophical answer to your philosophical question:

"When I was a child in Austria and everything was taken care of for me and I was nurtured by my parents, that was the best time of my life.

"When I was going to school and learning the things I know today, that was the best time of my life.

"When I got my first job and had responsibilities and got paid for my efforts, that was the best time of my life.

"When I met my wife and fell in love, that was the best time of my life.

"The Second World War came, and my wife and I had to flee Austria to save our lives. When we were together and safe on a ship bound for North America, that was the best time of my life.

"When we came to Canada and started a family, that was the best time of my life.

"When I was a young father, watching my children grow up, that was the best time of my life.

"And now, Joe, I am seventy-nine years old. I have my health, I feel good and I am in love with my wife just as I was when we first met. This is the best time of my life."

The Art of Intuitive Action


About 10 years ago my daughter was about 2500 kilometers from Newcastle, and rang me one day sobbing because of an emotional trauma she was facing. She was about 20, and in a town known as Ayrlie Beach in Northern Queensland. I asked her what it was that she needed most in that moment, and she replied that she needed support, and my arms around her would be the best thing that she could hope for! Because I couldn't do that in that exact moment, I asked her to describe her surroundings to me (I have absolutely no idea 'why', at the time), and said that if she hadn't heard from me in about 30 minutes to ring me back. I asked her to stay exactly where she was. I had no idea how I was going to ring her back, by the way, as she was calling from a public phone booth (one of three), near a little park, surrounded by a few shops in the main street of Ayrlie Beach.

OK then, after hanging up the phone, I just sat for a few seconds. After only a very short time a phone number 'jumped into my head', and even though I recognized it, it wasn't a commonly used number of mine. I rang the number and it was a woman who had bought a house from me about 18 months previously, when I was working in Real Estate. My exact words to her were these, "Oh, it's you Liz, I have no idea why I'm calling you in particular, but my daughter is stranded in Ayrlie Beach, and I just got the thought to ring you and tell you that. Have you any idea why?"

"It could be because my Son lives there," says Liz.

"Oh really, that's got to be it," I said. "Do you mind giving me his phone number Liz?"

"Of course not, and I can only hope that he can be of some help!"

Liz gave me his mobile number and I rang straight away (only about 5 minutes have passed since telling my daughter that somehow I'd get her help). Fortunately, he answered immediately, and I told him the story of who I was, and why I'd rung.

I gave him the description of my daughter; where she was standing; and that she needed emotional support if he could find it in his heart to help out so unexpectedly like this. "Oh yes, I can see her," he said..."she's right across the street from where I'm standing!" He walked across the street and told my daughter that her Dad had sent him!

Imagine that...she almost fainted: only about 10 minutes had passed since she had rung me! I believe that she said something like this, "Wow, Dad's getting pretty good at this stuff!" She was taken to a safe house; nurtured and supported; given food and a bed for a couple nights; and also given money to get herself to where she needed to be.

That's intuition at it's best!

It may save a life or two if people can embrace the use of intuition, and learn to trust in it.

Remember: "What others do or say is their stuff; how we react, or not, is our stuff!"

Serenity


Calmness of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom. It is the result of long and patient effort in self-control. Its presence is an indication of ripened experience, and of a more than ordinary knowledge of the laws and operations of thought.

A person becomes calm in the measure that one understands themselves as a thought evolved being, for such knowledge necessitates the understanding of others as the result of thought, and as one develops a right understanding, and sees more and more clearly the internal relations of things by the action of cause and effect, one ceases to fuss and fume and worry and grieve, and remains poised, steadfast, serene.

The calm person, having learned how to govern themselves, knows how to adapt themselves to others; and they, in turn, reverence their spiritual strength, and feel that they can learn of them and rely upon them. The more tranquil a person becomes, the greater is their success, their influence, their power for good. Even the ordinary trader will find their business prosperity increase as one develops a greater self control and equanimity, for people will always prefer to deal with a person whose demeanor is strongly equable.

The strong, calm person is always loved and revered. They are like a shade-giving tree in a thirsty land, or a sheltering rock in a storm. Who does not love a tranquil heart, a sweet-tempered, balanced life? It does not matter whether it rains or shines, or what changes come to those possessing these blessings, for they are always sweet, serene, and calm. That exquisite poise of character which we call serenity is the last lesson of culture; it is the flowering of life, the fruitage of the soul. It is precious as wisdom, more to be desired than gold, than even fine gold. How insignificant mere money seeking looks in comparison with a serene life — a life that dwells in the ocean of truth, beneath the waves, beyond the reach of tempests, in the eternal calm!

How many people we know who sour their lives, who ruin all that is sweet and beautiful by explosive tempers, who destroy their poise of character, and make bad blood! It is a question whether the great majority of people do not ruin their lives and mar their happiness by lack of self-control flow few people we meet in life who are well-balanced, who have that exquisite poise which is characteristic of the finished character!

Yes, humanity surges with uncontrolled passion, is tumultuous with ungoverned grief, is blown about by anxiety and doubt. Only the wise man, only he whose thoughts are controlled and purified, makes the winds and the storms of the soul obey him.

Tempest-tossed souls, wherever you may be, under whatever conditions you may live, know this: In the ocean of life the isles of blessedness are smiling and the sunny shore of your ideal awaits your coming. Keep your hands firmly upon the helm of thought. In the core of your soul reclines the commanding Master; He does but sleep; wake Him. Self-control is strength. Right thought is mastery. Calmness is power. Say unto your heart, "Peace. Be still."

James Allen
1864-1912, Author

Rain Washed


A little girl had been shopping with her Mom in Target. She must have been 6 years old, this beautiful red haired, freckle faced image of innocence. It was pouring outside. The kind of rain that gushes over the top of rain gutters, so much in a hurry to hit the earth it has no time to flow down the spout. We all stood there under the awning and just inside the door of the Target.

We waited, some patiently, others irritated because nature messed up their hurried day. I am always mesmerized by rainfall. I got lost in the sound and sight of the heavens washing away the dirt and dust of the world. Memories of running, splashing so carefree as a child came pouring in as a welcome reprieve from the worries of my day.

The little voice was so sweet as it broke the hypnotic trance we were all caught in, "Mom, let's run through the rain," she said. "What?" Mom asked.

"Let's run through the rain!" She repeated.

"No, honey. We'll wait until it slows down a bit," Mom replied.

This young child waited about another minute and repeated, "Mom, let's run through the rain."

"We'll get soaked if we do," Mom said.

"No, we won't, Mom. That's not what you said this morning," the young girl said as she tugged at her Mom's arm.

"This morning? When did I say we could run through the rain and not get wet?"

"Don't you remember? When you were talking to Daddy about his cancer, you said, 'If God can get us through this, he can get us through anything!'"

The entire crowd stopped dead silent. I swear you couldn't hear anything but the rain. We all stood silently. No one came or left in the next few minutes. Mom paused and thought for a moment about what she would say. Now some would laugh it off and scold her for being silly. Some might even ignore what was said. But this was a moment of affirmation in a young child's life. A time when innocent trust can be nurtured so that it will bloom into faith.

"Honey, you are absolutely right. Let's run through the rain. If God let's us get wet, well maybe we just needed washing," Mom said.

Then off they ran. We all stood watching, smiling and laughing as they darted past the cars and yes, through the puddles. They held their shopping bags over their heads just in case. They got soaked. But they were followed by a few who screamed and laughed like children all the way to their cars.

And yes, I did. I ran. I got wet. I needed washing.

Circumstances or people can take away your material possessions, they can take away your money, and they can take away your health. But no one can ever take away your precious memories... So, don't forget to make time and take opportunities to make memories everyday. To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven.

I hope you still take the time to run through the rain.

My Resignation


I am hereby officially tendering my resignation as an adult. I have decided I would like to accept the responsibilities of an eight-year-old again.

I want to go to McDonald's and think that it's a four-star restaurant.

I want to sail sticks across a fresh mud puddle and make a sidewalk with rocks.

I want to think M&Ms are better than money because you can eat them.

I want to run a lemonade stand with my friends on a hot summer's day.

I want to return to a time when life was simple, when all you knew were colors, multiplication tables and nursery rhymes, but that didn't bother you because you didn't know what you didn't know and you didn't care.

All you knew was to be happy, because you were blissfully unaware of all the things that should make you worried or upset.

I want to think the world is fair. That everyone is honest and good.

I want to believe that anything is possible. I want to be oblivious to the complexities of life and be overly excited by the little things again.

I want to live simply again. I don't want my day to consist of computer crashes, mountains of paperwork, depressing news, how to survive when there are more days in the month than there is money in the bank, doctor bills, gossip, illness and loss of loved ones.

I want to believe in the power of smiles, hugs, a kind word, truth, justice, peace, dreams, mankind and making angels in the snow.

I want to play with my pets and my days of imagination to last forever.

So here are my checkbook and my car keys, my credit card bills and my 401(k) statements. I am officially resigning from adulthood.

And if you want to discuss this further, you'll have to catch me first because,"Tag! You're it!"

Kindness


One day a woman was walking down the street when she spied a beggar sitting on the corner. The man was elderly, unshaven, and ragged. As he sat there, pedestrians walked by him giving him dirty looks. They clearly wanted nothing to do with him because of who he was — a dirty, homeless man. But when she saw him, the woman was moved to compassion.

It was very cold that day and the man had his tattered coat wrapped around him. She stopped and looked down. "Sir?" she asked. "Are you all right?"

The man slowly looked up. This was a woman clearly accustomed to the finer things of life. Her coat was new. She looked like she had never missed a meal in her life. His first thought was that she wanted to make fun of him, like so many others had done before. "Leave me alone," he growled.

To his amazement, the woman continued standing. She was smiling — her even white teeth displayed in dazzling rows. "Are you hungry?" she asked.

"No," he answered sarcastically. "I've just come from dining with the president. Now go away."

The woman's smile became even broader. Suddenly the man felt a gentle hand under his arm. "What are you doing, lady?" the man asked angrily. "I said to leave me alone."

Just then a policeman came up. "Is there any problem, ma'am?" he asked.

"No problem here, officer," the woman answered. "I'm just trying to get this man to his feet. Will you help me?"

The officer scratched his head. "That's old Jack. He's been a fixture around here for a couple of years. What do you want with him?"

"See that cafeteria over there?" she asked. "I'm going to get him something to eat and get him out of the cold for awhile."

"Are you crazy, lady?" the homeless man resisted. "I don't want to go in there!" Then he felt strong hands grab his other arm and lift him up. "Let me go, officer. I didn't do anything."

"This is a good deal for you, Jack," the officer answered. "Don't blow it."

Finally, and with some difficulty, the woman and the police officer got Jack into the cafeteria and sat him at a table in a remote corner. It was the middle of the morning, so most of the breakfast crowd had already left and the lunch bunch had not yet arrived. The manager strode across the cafeteria and stood by the table. "What's going on here, officer?" he asked. "What is all this. Is this man in trouble?"

"This lady brought this man in here to be fed," the policeman answered.

"Not in here!" the manager replied angrily. "Having a person like that here is bad for business."

Old Jack smiled a toothless grin. "See, lady. I told you so. Now if you'll let me go. I didn't want to come here in the first place."

The woman turned to the cafeteria manager and smiled. "Sir, are you familiar with Eddy and Associates, the banking firm down the street?"

"Of course I am," the manager answered impatiently. "They hold their weekly meetings in one of my banquet rooms."

"And do you make a good profit from providing food at the weekly meetings?"

"What business is that of yours?"

"I, sir, am Penelope Eddy, president and CEO of the company."

"Oh."

The woman smiled again. "I thought that might make a difference." She glanced at the cop who was busy stifling a giggle. "Would you like to join us in a cup of coffee and a meal, officer?"

"No thanks, ma'am," the officer replied. "I'm on duty."

Then, perhaps, a cup of coffee to go?"

"Yes, ma'am. That would be very nice."

The cafeteria manager turned on his heel. "I'll get your coffee for you right away, officer."

The officer watched him walk away. "You certainly put him in his place," he said.

"That was not my intent. Believe it or not, I have a reason for all this." She sat down at the table across from her amazed dinner guest. She stared at him intently. "Jack, do you remember me?"

Old Jack searched her face with his old, rheumy eyes "I think so – I mean you do look familiar."

"I'm a little older perhaps," she said. "Maybe I've even filled out more than in my younger days when you worked here, and I came through that very door, cold and hungry."

"Ma'am?" the officer said questioningly. He couldn't believe that such a magnificently turned out woman could ever have been hungry.

"I was just out of college," the woman began. "I had come to the city looking for a job, but I couldn't find anything. Finally I was down to my last few cents and had been kicked out of my apartment. I walked the streets for days. It was February and I was cold and nearly starving. I saw this place and walked in on the off chance that I could get something to eat."

Jack lit up with a smile. "Now I remember," he said. "I was behind the serving counter. You came up and asked me if you could work for something to eat. I said that it was against company policy."

"I know," the woman continued. "Then you made me the biggest roast beef sandwich that I had ever seen, gave me a cup of coffee, and told me to go over to a corner table and enjoy it. I was afraid that you would get into trouble. Then, when I looked over, I saw you put the price of my food in the cash register. I knew then that everything would be all right."

"So you started your own business?" Old Jack said.

"I got a job that very afternoon. I worked my way up. Eventually I started my own business that, with the help of God, prospered." She opened her purse and pulled out a business card. "When you are finished here, I want you to pay a visit to a Mr. Lyons. He's the personnel director of my company. I'll go talk to him now and I'm certain he'll find something for you to do around the office." She smiled. "I think he might even find the funds to give you a little advance so that you can buy some clothes and get a place to live until you get on your feet. And if you ever need anything, my door is always opened to you."

There were tears in the old man's eyes. "How can I ever thank you," he said.

"Don't thank me," the woman answered. "To God goes the glory. Thank Jesus. He led me to you."

Outside the cafeteria, the officer and the woman paused at the entrance before going their separate ways. "Thank you for all your help, officer," she said.

"On the contrary, Ms. Eddy," he answered. "Thank you. I saw a miracle today, something that I will never forget. And... And thank you for the coffee."

She frowned. "I forgot to ask you whether you used cream or sugar. That's black."

The officer looked at the steaming cup of coffee in his hand. "Yes, I do take cream and sugar – perhaps more sugar than is good for me." He patted his ample stomach.

"I'm sorry," she said.

"I don't need it now," he replied smiling. "I've got the feeling that this coffee you bought me is going to taste as sweet as sugar."

It Takes Courage


It takes strength to be firm,
It takes courage to be gentle.

It takes strength to conquer,
It takes courage to surrender.

It takes strength to be certain,
It takes courage to have doubt.

It takes strength to fit in,
It takes courage to stand out.

It takes strength to feel a friend's pain,
It takes courage to feel your own pain.

It takes strength to endure abuse,
It takes courage to stop it.

It takes strength to stand alone,
It takes courage to lean on another.

It takes strength to love,
It takes courage to be loved.

It takes strength to survive,
It takes courage to live.

I Would Pick More Daisies


When the late Nadine Stair of Louisville, Kentucky, was 85 years old, she was asked what she would do if she had her life to live over again.

"I'd make more mistakes next time," she said. "I'd relax. I would limber up. I would be sillier than I have been on this trip. I would take fewer things seriously. I would take more chances. I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers. I would eat more ice cream and less beans. I would perhaps have more actual troubles, but I'd have fewer imaginary ones.

"You see, I'm one of those people who live sensibly and sanely hour after hour, day after day. Oh, I've had my moments, and if I had to do it over again, I'd have more of them. In fact, I'd try to have nothing else. Just moments, one after another, instead of living so many years ahead of each day. I've been one of those persons who never goes anywhere without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, and a raincoat. If I had to do it over again, I would travel lighter than I have.

"If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I would go to more dances. I would ride more merry-go-rounds and I would pick more daisies."

Homecomings


Working in Detroit...Rain, Rain, and more Rain...

I dashed to the rental car drop off, to the shuttle, and to the airport only to find out from an airline ticket representative that my return flight was one hour late.

As I cleared security, the progress of my flight went from one hour, then two hours, then three hours, then four hours late departing. I learned about these delays from the announcements given by a weary airline gate agent.

It became clear that I was going to miss my connecting flight home.

After minute-by-minute travel rearrangements, and knowing that I had to deliver a web-based training the next morning back home, Jim decided to drive the three hours to the hub airport, fetch me, and drive me back.

Jim and I arrived home at 4:30 am. Funny what dreams you have when your Starbucks frequent drinker card gets punched all the way through in 24 hours. I napped a couple of hours, made coffee, logged on to the internet conference site for my training, and waited and waited and waited.

It is lonely at a web-based live meeting training when no one logs in. Do you know why they didn't log in? Because I had actually scheduled the training for the next day, not this day that we had raced home to await. I had a brain freeze and remembered the last weekday I worked with this group and that just stuck.

I worried about telling Jim that he had held off sleep, driven through a storm to raise Noah's ark, and road construction to get me home 24 hours early for a training. But the phone eventually rang as he called from work and it was time to own up.

What do you think he said?

What would you have said?

Would you have scolded? Yelled? Teased? Berated? Would you call all of your friends and let them know? I might say nothing but put the incident in a mental "debit" column, ready to trot out the offense at the next opportune time.

Well, Jim's response to finding out that he had driven almost 400 miles round trip in the rain, construction, and fatigue-time of the night in order to get me home eight hours early was a slight chuckle and this comment, "The important thing is you are home."

...the important thing is your are home...

Today, remind someone how vital it is that they are at home with you. If they live away, tell them how important it is that they have a home in your heart.

Death Is Not The End


Her name was Bonnie. She was 57 years old the day she died. It was her birthday. She was a hard worker who loved gardening in her sprawling country yard. She was a beloved elementary school teacher and volunteer in her community. She loved her family and her baby grandson.

She was a woman of faith and honor. She was the kind of person you could always count on to be there if you needed anything. I know...she was my neighbor.

As a testament to the impact she had on the lives of those she met, the line at the funeral home wound back and forth in serpentine fashion through the room in which she lay, into the reception area, out the door and down the long parking lot. She was loved by countless many.

The verse on her memorial card was a profound expression of the inextricable mix of her love of the beauty in nature and her faith in the afterlife. May we all find hope and comfort in these exquisite words by Juanita DeLong:

My Hereafter

Do not come when I am dead
To sit beside a low green mound,
Or bring the first gay daffodils
Because I love them so,
For I shall not be there.
You cannot find me there.
I will look at you from the eyes of little children;
I will bend to meet you in the swaying boughs of bud-thrilled trees,
And caress you with the passionate sweep of storm-filled winds;
I will give you strength in your upward tread of everlasting hills;
I will cool your body in the flow of the limpid river;
I will warm your work-glorified hands through the glow of the winter fire;
I will soothe you into forgetfulness to the drop,
drop of the rain on the roof;
I will speak to you out of the rhymes of the Masters;
I will dance with you in the lilt of the violin,
And make your heart leap with the bursting cadence of the organ;
I will flood your soul with the flaming radiance of the sunrise;
And bring you peace in the tender rose and gold of the after-sunset.
All these have made me happy,
They are a part of me;
I shall become a part of them.

by Juanita DeLong


-----------------------------------------------------------

She will live on.

Chicken Man


I utilized my time wisely while I was in the Navy, and earned both my B.S. and M.A degrees in my spare time while serving on active duty. It was never my career goal to retire from the Navy and wind up frying chicken and making subs in a supermarket deli...

After a 5 year stint as a human resource manager, the market dried up for experienced HR professionals, so I tried a back door approach to stay in human resources. I took a menial position in a supermarket deli frying chicken and making submarine sandwiches hoping to transfer to the corporate HR Department. Mentally, I never resigned myself to being a minimum wage employee. This was just an avenue to get a transfer into my dream position...

Because I approached my job with a different mind set, I was a "breath of fresh air" in the deli. Abraham Maslow would call this Self-Actualization; the joy is not in the compensation, but in performing the job itself. Every day, I practiced two personal philosophies: "Treat every customer like they are your next employer," and, "Treat every customer like family and treat every employee like customers."

In two years time, regretfully, the store didn't realize the gem they had, and I decided to move on. My two year experience taught me several things. I learned being nice is a choice, and why not choose to be nice? My working conditions were not enviable, but I went out of my way to be the bright spot in my customer's day. I knew many by first names and many shopped our deli exclusively because they enjoyed being treated as special. Not only did being nice make my shift enjoyable and rewarding, but I could see in the faces of my customers, that niceness equates to the intangible joy experienced when one receives a beautiful bouquet of flowers for no special reason from a loved one or a friend. This is exactly the same message conveyed by Peggy McColl in an article entitled, "Something of Value," appearing on 11/30/07 in, 'Insight of the Day' by Michael Angier/SuccessNet.org.

A world without niceness makes for a sea of disgruntled customers and a very dismal planet. Spread cheers over sneers!

Because I Was Told I Can


About 6 months ago, I joined a gym. Every morning, there is one personal trainer there that works out at the same time that my little group does our workout. He does his "routine" with such a quiet determination that he makes it all look very easy; although I know all too well how hard he is working. When I am tempted to whine and quit, I watch him push himself to his own limits, and I find myself motivated to work as hard and without complaint.

A couple of weeks ago, I was watching him do chin ups. He made them look effortless. I broke away from my group and asked him if I could try a chin up. I had never tried before, but he just made it look so easy. He eagerly stepped aside and encouraged me to step up to the bar. I pulled myself up without thinking...once...then twice. That was all I had in me, I had no strength left. I told him that was all I had, so he stepped up behind me and pushed me up for a third and fourth "pull." It felt so good. I felt strong and I smiled from ear to ear.

The next day when I was done my workout, I asked him to spot me again. Again, I did two. Again on day three and so on. I thought it was pathetic that I could only do two, but when I came to the gym at the end of the week, he was standing there just shaking his head. When I asked him what was up, he said he was impressed with my chin ups. He told me that when they are training firefighters, the men are required to do 5 chin ups, and women are required to do 1 or 2. He explained that most people can't do them at all, and that he was impressed that I could. He further told me that if I practiced every day, I would be doing 5 or 6 in no time. At this point I should probably add that I am 50 years old...and female.

The moral of this story...because I didn't know any better, because he told me I could, I saw no reason to doubt. I just jumped in and gave it a try - and I did it! I didn't see it as a great accomplishment, because I didn't realize that it was difficult and it became my goal to get stronger. No one told me I couldn't do it, in fact, I was encouraged to try. Had he told me initially how difficult it was, I more than likely would not have tried at all. Or I might have tried, but given it only half an effort, because failure would have been the expectation. I applaud him for letting me believe that for me, it was not only a possibility, but that success was a realistic expectation.

How many times have we decided not to try at all because we were told that we couldn't, that we shouldn't, that we had expectations that were too ambitious? How many times have we told our children, our friends and our co-workers that they couldn't do something; that their ideas were impossible or beyond reach? How many times have we told ourselves that we would fail before we even started?

I started to ponder examples that I had witnessed and this came to mind...I recalled a conversation a friend of mine had with his daughter just prior to her heading off to university. He spoke to her (with good intentions) of how hard she would have to work in order to succeed. University wasn't like High School - this was the real world and now she would have to grow up. This child quit after two years. Another friend spoke to her daughter of the adventure she was embarking on and how proud she was. I remember how we laughed because the mother already had her outfit picked out for convocation day! This child just graduated with her degree in physiology. Looking back, neither daughter was more intelligent than the other. Was it the silent expectations (or lack thereof) that predicted the outcome?

I have a new approach now. I have experienced first hand how good it feels to rush in so innocently. To believe that we CAN do it and go on to accomplish exactly what we set out to do, because no one told us we couldn't. I've learned how important it is to support others (and ourselves) in our endeavors and to let them know that we believe they can do it rather than telling them we think that they can't.

I personally want to be like my trainer; standing there behind the people that I love, encouraging them, believing in them and being ready to catch them when they get tired. I will be the one that is there on the second and third day making sure they try again, because I know they CAN.

What a powerful lesson this has been for me. I'll be doing "5" in no time at all. Because I was told I CAN.

A Glass of Milk


One day, a poor boy who was selling goods from door to door to pay his way through school, found he had only one thin dime left, and he was hungry. He decided he would ask for a meal at the next house. However, he lost his nerve when a lovely young woman opened the door. Instead of a meal he asked for a drink of water.

She thought he looked hungry so brought him a large glass of milk. He drank it slowly, and then asked, "How much do I owe you?"

"You don't owe me anything," she replied. "Mother has taught us never to accept pay for a kindness."

He said..... "Then I thank you from my heart." As Howard Kelly left that house, he not only felt stronger physically, but his faith in God and man was strong also. He had been ready to give up and quit.

Year's later that young woman became critically ill. The local doctors were baffled. They finally sent her to the big city, where they called in specialists to study her rare disease. Dr. Howard Kelly was called in for the consultation. When he heard the name of the town she came from, a strange light filled his eyes. Immediately he rose and went down the hall of the hospital to her room.

Dressed in his doctor's gown he went in to see her. He recognized her at once. He went back to the consultation room determined to do his best to save her life. From that day he gave special attention to the case.

After a long struggle, the battle was won. Dr. Kelly requested the business office to pass the final bill to him for approval.

He looked at it, then wrote something on the edge and the bill was sent to her room. She feared to open it, for she was sure it would take the rest of her life to pay for it all. Finally she looked, and something caught her attention on the side of the bill.

She read these words.....

"Paid in full with one glass of milk"

(Signed)
Dr. Howard Kelly

Tears of joy flooded her eyes as her happy heart prayed: "Thank You, God, that Your love has spread abroad through human hearts and hands."

A Box of Kisses


The story goes that some time ago, a man punished his 3-year-old daughter for wasting a roll of gold wrapping paper. Money was tight and he became infuriated when the child tried to decorate a box to put under the Christmas tree.

Nevertheless, the little girl brought the gift to her father the next morning and said, "This is for you, Daddy." He was embarrassed by his earlier overreaction, but his anger flared again when he found the box was empty.

He yelled at her, "Don't you know that when you give someone a present, there's supposed to be something inside it?"

The little girl looked up at him with tears in her eyes and said,"Oh, Daddy, it is not empty. I blew kisses into the box. All for you, Daddy."

The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little girl, and he begged for her forgiveness.
It is told that the man kept that gold box by his bed for years and whenever he was discouraged, he would take out an imaginary kiss and remember the love of the child who had put it there.

In a very real sense, each of us as humans have been given a gold container filled with unconditional love and kisses from our children, friends, family and God. There is no more precious possession anyone could hold.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Follow Your Heart


We all have different hearts.
Be of good heart.

Billy loved Katie with all his heart. But he never told a single soul. Katie secretly loved him too. But she thought she would never have a chance with him. Billy asked his friends what they think of her and his friends thought she was gay. They didn't like her at all. So Billy just went along with them. They all made fun of her and made her feel really bad. Katie was so upset.

One day they followed her home from school making fun of her the whole way home. Once she got inside her house she dropped to the floor cringe. She had a crush on Billy since 3rd grade. She didn't know what to do. When Billy got home he felt real bad about what he had done. So he decided to go to Katie's house to tell her he was sorry and that he really loves her.

When he got there he knocked on the door no one answered.

The door was open so he walked in. He walked into the living room and found Katie lying dead on the floor. She had slit her wrists. Billy was so upset . He knew it was his fault she killed herself. And now he could never tell her how he really felt.

Don't wait until the last minute to tell someone how you really feel. Because it just might be too late. And don't always go by what your friends say, follow your heart.

A Diary From A Guy


January 2

Do you still remember the first time we met? It was the first day in school. I was hurriedly entering the school gate when I bumped into you as you stepped out of a luxurious Volvo. The books you were holding fell all over the ground. I quickly picked up the books and returned them to you along with words of apology, but all you showed me was your intimidating look. My first impression of you was that you were a wilful girl born with a golden sthingy in the mouth. I had rejected you completely and had hoped not to meet you again, but surprisingly you turned out to be my classmate.

March 22

I started to know more about you as days passed and my opinion of you changed for the better on each passing day. I realised that you were from a wealthy family but definitely not a wilful girl. You were nice and friendly. You got angry that day we first met because I had left a footprint marking on the poetry collection you loved dearly. We met often during lunch break and I found something in you that was different from the rest of the girls — your passion for Chinese poetry. Often you would mumble something to yourself. Initially, I thought that you were humming a pop song but later I realised that you had been reciting Chinese poems from great poets. You were so knowledgeable that you knew every poet and which poems they composed. I was very impressed indeed.

April 5

I met you again in the study area. That day you were reading the Chinese classics "Romance of the 3 kingdom". Your ability to appreciate Chinese classics left me with admiration. You were indeed unique in many ways.

May 5

From then on, we would often meet in the study area to discuss about the good and bad things of the character in these Chinese classics. Do you still remember the time when we almost broke off because we could not agree on whether Jia BaoYu hurt Lin Dai Yu? Our argument was so fierce that we never talked for that week. But when Friday came, we still met in the study area and laughed over the incident. After which, another argument started.

Aug 7
I could not deny it. It was a feeling I could not identify accurately. Whenever you laughed over a joke with other guys, that emotion filled my senses. It took me a while before identified it. I was in love; the feeling was jealousy. I felt the need to express it. But, I was afraid...that you would dismiss my feeling, that you and I would be stuck in an embarrassing situation, that our long nurtured friendship would crumble...therefore, I kept quiet.


Oct 1

The news came as a shock to me. I was so worried when I learnt that you had fainted in the canteen. I was struggling to keep my worried face in control as I looked at the ambulance that carried you away.

Oct 2

It was drizzling that day. Our form teacher sadly announced that you had got cancer. As she finished her last sentence, outside the classroom, it seemed to me that the drizzle had turned into a downpour. I could only hear the sound of the rain, nothing more. I rushed to NUH ICU to see you immediately after lesson. Your face was whitish in colour, showing no trace of red. I learnt that you had just undergone an operation. The life-support system was just beside you with tubes piercing mercilessly into your left wrist. "I am all right, it is just a serious case of anemia. Believe me, my parents told me that". you said convincingly. I knew fully well what you were thinking, you did not want me to be worried. "Are you comforting yourself or comforting the fears and hopelessness that was written all over my face?", I thought to myself. I was not strong enough to disagree with you and I nodded my head with a forced smile. You responded with a smile too — with great effort.

Oct 5

It was a ordinary day but to me, it was an important day. I felt an impulse to express my love. I walked over to the side of your bed, holding your hand. I told you the story of how an ordinary guy fell in love with a girl who likes poetry and Chinese classics. As I told my story, my eyes started to flood with water, and uncontrollably my voice started to choke, and finally I broke into tear. But you held my head against your body and with watery eyes, said: "I understand such a love, so did the girl." I returned my eyes to her and at that moment, her tears dropped, and for the first time, I saw some redness on her lips.

Oct 26

It was the last day of examination and I rushed to NUH. When I reached there, I only saw the nurse arranging the bed you once slept on. When I asked about you, the nurse told me expressionlessly that you had passed away. It was a bolt from the blue for me. I stood motionless for a long time. I hated myself for spending the last few days preparing for the last examination paper. I hated myself for not staying longer the last time I visited you. I hated myself so much...but you were gone...... I can't remember how I got home that day. When I woke up, I was already in my room. The pillow I slept on was wet. The next day, I went for the funeral. I heard from your father that on the day you passed away, you were still reading the Poetry collection I gave you as a gift for your birthday. Standing in front of Your portrait, I had no tears, they were used up on the day of your death. All I knew was sadness, my heart was like shattered into pieces and died.

Jan 2

A new girl has taken over your seat. She does not like poetry, but she likes to hum pop songs. When I asked her if she knows Jia Bao Yu, she replied: "What talking you." Yes, you were gone. But to me, the seat is still unoccupied, and maybe no one will ever occupy it......

Treasure your love ones coz they might not be always around. Share this story to those you cherish most and let them feel their "presence" are important as they are part of our lives too!!