A mix collection of inspirational stories gathered from the internet and personal experiences.

Friday, December 28, 2007

A Path to Happiness

If you observe a really happy man you will find him building a boat, writing a symphony, educating his son, growing double dahlias in his garden. He will not be searching for happiness as if it were a collar button that has rolled under the radiator.

W. Beran Wolfe

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Strand I Could Not Fix

By Janet Perez Eckles

Like fog in the morning, the spirit of Christmas had vanished. Still, I shuffled in the garage. One by one, I retrieved the bins I'd stored the previous Christmas. While the aroma of sugar cookies wafted through the air and Silent Night played in the background, I began the decorating.

Placing the nativity scene as the focal point of our family room, I spread the rest of the decorations around the house: red and green candles, musical boxes with winter scenes, and bright red poinsettias framed with green garland adorned with burgundy, velvet bows. They all transformed our home into a lively winterland.

Next, I retrieved three stockings to fill the marked places above the fireplace; each embroidered with our sons' names: Jason, Jeff, and Joe. Once Jason and Jeff's were hung, with tears burning my eyes, I clutched Joe's against my chest.

The empty stocking sears my heart. It's been five years since the Lord called Joe home. Five years that Joe's absence left an emptiness we can almost touch. And five years that God's grace wiped away portions of the grief that flogged our hearts. But often, it's the scorching pain that opens our eyes to a bigger picture.

Years ago, when our three sons, including Joe, were still young, I focused on providing a perfect Christmas; a perfect tree to wrap a perfect celebration. As a result, little things tended to roil in me such as a light strand that refused to shine because of a burned bulb. Annoyed at the glitch, I promptly set off to resolve it -I fussed, I rearranged, plugged and unplugged until frustration grew hot in me.

How foolish and silly. I focused on that one bulb, dismissing the glow of the star atop the Christmas tree. I'd done the same with light bulbs that burned in my life-from broken relationships to shattered plans. Exerting tons of energy trying to fix them, I missed the star-- the one that gave significance to my life.

When that void in our heart aches to be filled, it's the star of comfort that makes it whole. When bitter sorrow robs the spirit of Christmas, it's the star of His genuine love that whispers joy. When a health diagnosis shakes our world, it's the star of reassurance that shines the certainty of new tomorrow's. It's the same star that never loses the brilliance of hope, incomprehensible hope, one we can only embrace when all strands of life burn out.

With eyes focused on the star, I hang Joe's stocking along with his brothers'; not empty anymore-but filled with sweet memories--his wit, laughter, his hugs and kisses.

For that reason, God called it His "Morning Star" to dispel our darkness, dry our tears and repair strands we cannot fix.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Janet Perez Eckles is an author and national speaker. She loves to host visitors to her site, and imparts bits of inspiration in her blog. www.janetperezeckles.com

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Do Something!

You only lose energy when life becomes dull in your mind.
Your mind gets bored and therefore tired of doing nothing.
Get interested in something!
Get absolutely enthralled in something!
Get out of yourself!
Be somebody!
Do something.
The more you lose yourself in something bigger than yourself,
the more energy you will have.

Norman Vincent Peale

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Mental Feng Shui

ONE. Give people more than they expect and do it
cheerfully.

TWO. Marry a man/woman you love to talk to. As you get
older, their conversational skills will be as
important as any other.

THREE. Don't believe all you hear, spend all you have
or sleep all you want.

FOUR. When you say, 'I love you,' mean it.

FIVE. When you say, 'I'm sorry,' look the person in
the eye.

SIX. Be engaged at least six months before you get
married.

SEVEN. Believe in love at first sight.

EIGHT. Never laugh at anyone's dreams. People who
don't have dreams don't have much.

NINE. Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt
but it's the only way to live life completely.

TEN.. In disagreements, fight fairly. No name calling.

ELEVEN. Don't judge people by their relatives.

TWELVE. Talk slowly but think quickly.

THIRTEEN! .. When someone asks you a question you
don't want to answer, smile and ask, 'Why do you want
to know?'

FOURTEEN. Remember that great love and great
achievements involve great risk.

FIFTEEN. Say 'bless you' when you hear someone sneeze.

SIXTEEN. When you lose, don't lose the lesson.

SEVENTEEN. Remember the three R's: Respect for self;
Respect for others; and Responsibility for all your
actions.

EIGHTEEN. Don't let a little dispute injure a great
friendship.

NINETEEN. When you realize you've made a mistake, take
immediate steps to correct it.

TWENTY. Smile when picking up the phone. The caller
will hear it in your voice.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

SECRET SANTA

©2007 Kathleene S. Baker


The man had just filled his car with gas; he was cold, wet, and ready to head for home. He opened his car door and bent down to climb inside.

"Sir, sir."

He glanced in the direction of the frail voice to find a well-dressed, elderly lady attempting to get his attention.

He closed the car door and walked towards her. "Can I help you, ma'am?"

The older woman explained that the gas pump was not working properly, and asked if he knew what she was doing wrong.

"These are new pumps and very touchy-even for me. I've found the easiest thing to do is forget locking them while I fill; they keep shutting off for some reason."

"Oh my! I can't keep pressure on that handle until my tank is full. My hands don't have much strength in them anymore." She cast her blue eyes to the ground in frustration.

"I'd be honored to fill your tank for you!" The man's Texas accent was gentle and he gave her a little wink. "By the way, I love your British accent."

"Yes, a British accent in Texas.people always notice!" She smiled. "We just came to the States a few years ago. That's my husband in the car." She paused for a moment, "He has Alzheimer's now."

"I'm so very sorry.for both of you." After a slight lull the gentleman continued. "Why don't you get back in the car while I do this; the snow is picking up and you're going to get wet."

She was a lovely woman with snowy-white hair; her attire was prim and proper as one would expect from a Brit. "I'd rather visit if you don't mind. Our son is out of town for Christmas; he's with his wife's family this year and I'm feeling a bit blue."

A knot formed in the Texan's throat and he hoped to change the subject. "Just what are the two of you doing out in this weather? I hope your drive home is a short one. You know these Texas drivers aren't the best when it comes to snow and sleet," he teased.

"We're on our way home from a Christmas party. The medical center has one each year for the Alzheimer patients. They are rather like children's parties-and they have Santa visit. Oftentimes patients will have moments they recall things from their past. Some sing along to Christmas carols when they haven't carried on an actual conversation in quite a long while."

"Did anyone recognize Santa today?"

"Oh, yes, my husband recognized Santa and tried to steal his hat! He even said, 'Ho, ho, ho-Merry Christmas.' His recollection was rather brief but it was the highlight of my day." She grinned.

The gas pump clicked off, the woman swiped her credit card to make payment, and turned to thank the man who had been willing to help her. The two were saying their farewells when the squeal of brakes, a thud, and breaking glass at the intersection caught their attention.

"Oh, my!" The lady whimpered with a distressed expression. "It's getting so slick. I've got to hurry and get home."

"Ma'am, I'd be honored to follow you in case you have problems."

She hesitated momentarily and then appeared relieved, "Oh, I'd be so grateful. I can't thank you enough. And by the way, my name is Margaret." She reached out to shake hands with her new friend.

"Margaret, I'm pleased to make your acquaintance. My name is Ray." He patted her hand gently before they released their grasp. "You just drive slowly; I'll be right behind you."

When Margaret pulled into her garage Ray stopped curbside. "I just want to be sure you get inside safely," he shouted.

Margaret waved and asked him to wait for a moment-then nodded and spoke to her neighbor hanging Christmas lights. She guided John into the house, quickly reappeared in the garage, and motioned for Ray to pull into the driveway.

She thanked Ray again and soon mentioned this being the first Christmas she and her husband had ever spent alone. Ray, always a soft touch for older folks, was happy to listen. She spoke fondly of traditions her family adhered to when she was a child in England and revealed an interesting glimpse into her past.plus a taste of her cherished memories from across the pond.

"You know mistletoe is very traditional in England. My first "real" kiss was under the mistletoe when I was a teenager. Oh, what memories I have." For a split second, Margaret looked like a young girl again.

Several minutes passed before Margaret began to shiver and they were forced to say farewell.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Christmas morn found Margaret peeking out her front door just as the sun crested the horizon. She stepped outside, instantly clasped her hands like a small child, and peered up and down the street. With not a soul in sight she began to examine the items discovered on her porch.each one dredged up memories of years gone by in Merry Old England.

Just above her head hung an arrangement of mistletoe adorned with elegant lace; she touched it gently. Bedecked with Victorian ornaments, a small, lighted Christmas tree sat in the corner-beneath it a homemade mincemeat pie wrapped securely and tied with golden ribbon. The card attached said only, "From: Santa." Hanging from the doorknob a brilliant red Santa Claus hat with tag, "To: John."

Margaret called to John; he slowly made his way and stepped outside. Nothing on the porch sparked his interest until Margaret placed the Santa hat in his hands. After staring at it and stroking the velvety softness, he plopped it onto his head. It sat askew but John's face beamed as his voice rang out across the neighborhood, "Ho, ho, ho! Ho, ho, ho!"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Parked several houses away, a Secret Texas Santa sniffed and wiped at a lone tear. a happy tear. "Merry Christmas and God Bless." He smiled and drove towards home.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kathy was born and raised in the small town of Augusta, Kansas, a few miles outside of Wichita. She married a native Texan, Jerry, in 1977 and was soon transplanted to Dallas. A large city offers many things, but she misses the slower pace of small town America. Kathy has two stepchildren and four grandchildren. Pets have always played a huge part in her life. In fact, they were her inspiration to begin writing. Kathy's website can be viewed at: YELLOW ROSE (www.txyellowrose.com) or she can be contacted at Lnstrlady@aol.com

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Letter from Jesus

Ruth went to her mail box and there was only one letter.

She picked it up and looked at it before opening, but
then she looked at the envelope again.

There was no stamp, no postmark, only her name and
address.

She read the letter:

Dear Ruth:

I`m going to be in your neighborhood Saturday
afternoon and I'd like to stop by for a visit.

Love Always,

Jesus


Her hands were shaking as she placed the letter on
the table.

"Why would the Lord want to visit me?

I'm nobody special.

I don't have anything to offer."

With that thought, Ruth remembered her empty
kitchen cabinets.

"Oh my goodness, I really don't have anything to
offer.

I'll have to run down to the store and buy something
for dinner."

She reached for her purse and counted out its
contents. Five dollars and forty cents.

Well, I can get some bread and cold cuts, at least."

She threw on her coat and hurried out the door.

A loaf of French bread, a half-pound of sliced
turkey, and a carton of milk...leaving Ruth with grand
total twelve cents to last her until Monday.

Nonetheless, she felt good as she headed home, her
meager offerings tucked under her arm.

"Hey lady, can you help us,lady?"

Ruth had been so absorbed in her dinner plans, she
hadn't even noticed two figures huddled in the
alleyway.

A man and a woman, both of them dressed in
little more than rags.

"Look lady, I ain't got a job, ya know, and my wife
and I have been living out here on the street, and,
well, now it's getting cold and we're getting kinda
hungry and, well, if you could help us. Lady, we'd
really appreciate it."

Ruth looked at them both.

They were dirty, they smelled bad and frankly, she
was certain that they could get some kind of work if
they really wanted to.

"Sir, I'd like to help you, but I'm a poor woman
myself.

All I have is a few cold cuts and some bread, and I'm
having an important guest for dinner tonight and I was
planning on serving that to Him."

"Yeah, well, okay lady, I understand. Thanks anyway."

The man put his arm around the woman's shoulders,
turned and headed back into the alley.

As she watched them leave, Ruth felt a familiar
twinge in her heart.

"Sir, wait!"

The couple stopped and turned as she ran down
the alley after them.

"Look, why don't you take this food. I'll figure
out something else to serve my guest."

She handed the man her grocery bag.

"Thank you lady. Thank you very much!"

"Yes, thank you!" It was the man's wife, and Ruth
could see now that she was shivering.

"You know, I've got another coat at home.
Here, why don't you take this one."

Ruth unbuttoned her jacket and slipped it over the
woman's shoulders.

Then smiling, she turned and walked back to the
street...without her coat and with nothing to serve
her guest.

"Thank you lady! Thank you very much!"

Ruth was chilled by the time she reached her front
door, and worried too.

The Lord was coming to visit and she didn't have
anything to offer Him.

She fumbled through her purse for the door key. But
as she did, she noticed another envelope in her
mailbox.

"That's odd. The mailman doesn't usually come twice
in one day."

Dear Ruth:

It was so good to see you again.
Thank you for the lovely meal.

And thank you, too, for the beautiful coat.

Love Always,

Jesus

The air was still cold, but even without her coat,
Ruth no longer noticed.

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Monday, December 17, 2007

SPECIAL GROCERY LIST

Louise Redden, a poorly dressed lady with a look of defeat on her face, walked into a grocery store.

She approached the owner of the store in a most humble manner and asked if he would let her charge a few groceries.

She softly explained that her husband was very ill and unable to work, they had seven children and they needed food.

John Longhouse, the grocer, scoffed at her and requested that she leave his store at once.

Visualizing the family needs, she said: "Please, sir! I will bring you the money just as soon as I can."

John told her he could not give her credit, since she did not have a charge account at his store.

Standing beside the counter was a customer who overheard the conversation between the two. The customer walked forward and told the grocer that he would stand good for whatever she needed for her family.

The grocer said in a very reluctant voice, "Do you have a grocery list?"

Louise replied, "Yes sir." "O.K" he said, "put your grocery list on the scales and whatever your grocery list weighs, I will give you that amount in groceries."

Louise, hesitated a moment with a bowed head, then she reached into her purse and took out a piece of paper and scribbled something on it. She then laid the piece of paper on the scale carefully with her head still bowed.

The eyes of the grocer and the customer showed amazement when the scales went down and stayed down.

The grocer, staring at the scales, turned slowly to the customer and said begrudgingly, "I can't believe it."

The customer smiled and the grocer started putting the groceries on the other side of the scales. The scale did not balance so he continued to put more and more groceries on them until the scales would hold no more.

The grocer stood there in utter disgust. Finally, he grabbed the piece of paper from the scales and looked at it with greater amazement.

It was not a grocery list, it was a prayer, which said:

"Dear Lord, you know my needs and I am leaving this in your hands."

The grocer gave her the groceries that he had gathered and stood in stunned silence.

Louise thanked him and left the store.
The other customer handed a fifty-dollar bill to the grocer and said;

"It was worth every penny of it. Only God Knows how much a prayer weighs."

Thursday, December 13, 2007

For the Man Who Hated Christmas

The story that inspired the White Envelope Project

This story was originally published in the December 14, 1982 issue of Woman's Day magazine. It was the first place winner out of thousands of entries in the magazine's "My Most Moving Holiday Tradition" contest in which readers were asked to share their favorite holiday tradition and the story behind it. Woman's Day continues to support this tradition and The White Envelope Project today.

For the Man Who Hated Christmas
by Nancy W. Gavin


It's just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past ten years or so.

It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas--oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it--overspending... the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma---the gifts given in desperation because you couldn't think of anything else.

Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way.

Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was wrestling at the junior level at the school he attended; and shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church. These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes. As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler's ears.

It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford. Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. And as each of their boys got up from the mat, he swaggered around in his tatters with false bravado, a kind of street pride that couldn't acknowledge defeat.

Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, "I wish just one of them could have won," he said. "They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them." Mike loved kids - all kids - and he knew them, having coached little league football, baseball and lacrosse. That's when the idea for his present came. That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church. On Christmas Eve, I placed the envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done and that this was his gift from me. His smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year and in succeeding years. For each Christmas, I followed the tradition--one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on.

The envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning and our children, ignoring their new toys, would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents.

As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the envelope never lost its allure. The story doesn't end there.
You see, we lost Mike last year due to dreaded cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree, and in the morning, it was joined by three more.

Each of our children, unbeknownst to the others, had placed an envelope on the tree for their dad. The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing to take down the envelope.

Mike's spirit, like the Christmas spirit will always be with us.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
This story is indeed a true story and inspired four siblings from Atlanta, GA to start The White Envelope Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting this tradition and charitable giving. The White Envelope Project founders are regularly in touch with the family in the article and are thrilled to have their support. Sadly, Nancy Gavin (the author) died less than two years after her husband - also of "the dreaded cancer." Her legacy lives on as the Gavin family and now thousands of others continue to celebrate the "white envelope" tradition each year. For more information about The White Envelope Project or to honor a loved one through a "white envelope" gift this year, please visit their website www.WhiteEnvelopeProject.org.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Whale

If you read the front page story of the SF Chronicle, you would have read
about a female humpback whale who had become entangled in a spider
web of crab traps and lines.

She was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to
struggle to stay afloat. She also had hundreds of yards of line rope wrapped
around her body, her tail, her torso, a line tugging in her mouth.

A fisherman spotted her just east of the Farralone Islands (outside the
Golden Gate ) and radioed an environmental group for help.

Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was
so bad off, the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her ..



a very dangerous proposition. One slap of the tail could kill a rescuer. They
worked for hours with curved knives and eventually freed her.

When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles.
She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, and nudged them,
pushed gently around --- she thanked them. Some said it was the most incredibly
beautiful experience of their lives.



The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth says her eye was following him the
whole time, and he will never be the same.

May you, and all those you love, be so blessed and fortunate .. to be surrounded
by people who will help you get untangled from the things that are binding you.

And, may you always know the joy of giving and receiving gratitude.

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Monday, December 10, 2007

To All Married Couples and Singles Who Intend To Get Married

When I got home that night as my wife served dinner, I held her hand
and said, I've got something to tell you. She sat down and ate quietly.
Again I observed the hurt in her eyes. Suddenly I didn't know how to
open my mouth. But I had to let her know what I was thinking. I want a
divorce. I raised the topic calmly.

She didn't seem to be annoyed by my words, instead she asked me softly,
why? I avoided her question. This made her angry. She threw away the
chopsticks and shouted at me, you are not a man! That night, we
didn't talk to each other. She was weeping. I knew she wanted to find
out what had happened to our marriage. But I could hardly give her a
satisfactory answer; she had lost my heart to a lovely girl called Dew.
I didn’t love her anymore. I just pitied her!

With a deep sense of guilt, I drafted a divorce agreement which stated
that she could own our house, our car, and 30% stake of my company.
She glanced at it and then tore it into pieces. The woman who had
spent ten years of her life with me had become a stranger. I felt
sorry for her wasted time, resources and energy but I could not take
back what I had said for I loved Dew so dearly. Finally she cried
loudly in front of me, which was what I had expected to see. To me her
cry was actually a kind of release. The idea of divorce which had
obsessed me for several weeks seemed to be firmer and clearer now.

The next day, I came back home very late and found her writing
something at the table. I did'nt have supper but went straight to sleep
and fell asleep very fast because I was tired after an eventful day
with Dew.

When I woke up, she was still there at the table writing. I just did
not care so I turned over and was asleep again.

In the morning she presented her divorce conditions:
she didn't want anything from me, but needed a month's notice before
the divorce. She requested that in that one month we both struggle to
live as normal a life as possible. Her reasons were simple: our son had
his exams in a month’s time and she didn’t want to disrupt him with our
broken marriage.

This was agreeable to me. But she had something more, she asked me to
recall how I had carried her into out bridal room on our wedding day.
She requested that everyday for the month's duration I carry her out of
our bedroom to the front door ever morning. I thought she was going
crazy. Just to make our last days together bearable I accepted her odd
request.

I told Dew about my wife s divorce conditions. She laughed loudly and
thought it was absurd. No matter what tricks she applies, she has to
face the divorce, she said scornfully.

My wife and I hadn't had any body contact since my divorce intention
was explicitly expressed. So when I carried her out on the first day,
we both appeared clumsy. Our son clapped behind us, daddy is holding
mummy in his arms. His words brought me a sense of pain. From the
bedroom to the sitting room, then to the door, I walked over ten meters
with her in my arms. She closed her eyes and said softly; don't tell
our son about the divorce. I nodded, feeling somewhat upset. I put her
down outside the door. She went to wait for the bus to work. I drove
alone to the office.

On the second day, both of us acted much more easily.
She leaned on my chest. I could smell the fragrance of her blouse. I
realized that I hadn't looked at this woman carefully for a long time.
I realized she was not young any more. There were fine wrinkles on her
face, her hair was graying! Our marriage had taken its toll on her.
For a minute I wondered what I had done to her.

On the fourth day, when I lifted her up, I felt a sense of intimacy
returning. This was the woman who
had given ten years of her life to me. On the fifth
and sixth day, I realized that our sense of intimacy
was growing again. I didn't tell Dew about this. It
became easier to carry her as the month slipped by.
Perhaps the everyday workout made me stronger.

She was choosing what to wear one morning. She tried on quite a few
dresses but could not find a suitable one. Then she sighed, all my
dresses have grown bigger. I suddenly realized that she had grown so
thin, that was the reason why I could carry her more easily.
Suddenly it hit me. She had buried so much pain and bitterness in her
heart.

Subconsciously I reached out and touched her head.

Our son came in at the moment and said, Dad, it's time
to carry mum out. To him, seeing his father carrying
his mother out had become an essential part of his life. My wife
gestured to our son to come closer and hugged him tightly. I turned my
face away because I was afraid I might change my mind at this last
minute.

I then held her in my arms, walking from the bedroom, through the
sitting room, to the hallway. Her hand surrounded my neck softly and
naturally. I held her body tightly; it was just like our wedding day.
But her much lighter weight made me sad. On the last
day, when I held her in my arms I could hardly move a step. Our son had
gone to school.

I held her tightly and said, I hadn’t noticed that our life lacked
intimacy.

I drove to office... jumped out of the car swiftly without locking the
door. I was afraid any delay would make me change my mind... I walked
upstairs. Dew opened the door and I said to her, Sorry, Dew, I do not
want the divorce anymore.

She looked at me, astonished. Then touched my forehead. Do you have a
fever? She said. I moved her hand off my head. Sorry, Dew, I said, I
won't divorce. My marriage life was boring probably because she and I
didn't value the details of our lives, not because we didn't love each
other any more. Now I realize that since I carried her into my home on
our wedding day I am supposed to hold her until death do us apart. Dew
seemed to suddenly wake up. She gave me a loud slap and then slammed
the door and burst into tears. I walked downstairs and drove away.

At the floral shop on the way, I ordered a bouquet of flowers for my
wife. The salesgirl asked me what to write on the card. I smiled and
wrote, I'll carry you out every morning until death do us apart.
The small details of your lives are what really matter in a
relationship. It is not the mansion, the car, property , the money in
the bank, blah..blah.. blah.

These create an environment conducive for happiness but cannot give
happiness in themselves. So find time to be your spouse's friend and
do those little things for each other that build intimacy.

Do have a real happy marriage!

Note: This story is from a forwarded e-mail


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Friday, December 7, 2007

What really matters



click on the picture if you cannot read the text

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Wednesday, December 5, 2007

D E S I D E R A T A

Max Ehrmann early 20th Century American poet

GO Placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they, too, have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself to others, you may become vain and bitter;for there will always better as well as worse than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.But do not let this blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideas; and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of aridity and disenchantment it perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But go not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars, you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

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Monday, December 3, 2007

The Ivory and Gold Tablecloth

By Howard C. Schade

At Christmas time, men and women everywhere gather in their churches to wonder anew at the greatest miracle the world has ever known. But the story I like best to recall was not a huge miracle -- not exactly.

It happened to a pastor who was very young. His church was very old. Once, long ago, it had flourished. Famous men had preached from its pulpit, prayed before its altar. Rich and poor alike had worshipped there and built it beautifully. Now, the good days had passed from the section of town where it stood. But the pastor and his young wife believed in their run-down church. They felt that with hard work and lots of faith they could get it in shape. Together they went to work.

But, late in December, a severe storm whipped through the river valley, and the worst blow fell on the church -- a huge chunk of rain-soaked plaster fell out of the inside wall just behind the altar. Sorrowfully the pastor and his wife swept away the mess, but they couldn't hide the ragged hole.

The pastor looked at it and had to remind himself quickly, "Thy will be done!" But his wife wept, "Christmas is only two days away!"

That afternoon the dispirited couple attended the auction held for the benefit of a youth group. The auctioneer opened a box and shook out of its folds a gloriously beautiful, very ornately sewn, gold and ivory lace tablecloth.

It was a magnificent item, nearly 15 feet long. But it, too, dated from a long vanished era. Who, today, had any use for such a thing? There were a few halfhearted bids. Then the pastor was seized with what he thought was a great idea.

He bid it in for $6.50.

He carried the glorious gold and ivory lace cloth back to the church and very carefully put it up on the wall behind the altar. It completely hid the hole! And the extraordinary beauty of its shimmering handwork cast a fine, holiday glow over the chancel. It was a great triumph. Happily he went back to preparing his Christmas sermon.

Just before noon on the day of Christmas Eve, as the pastor was opening the church, he noticed a woman standing in the cold at the bus stop. "The bus won't be here for 40 minutes!" he called, and invited her into the church to get warm.

She told him that she had come from the city that morning to be interviewed for a job as governess to the children of one of the wealthy families in town but she had been turned down. A Jewish war refugee, her English was imperfect.

The woman sat down in a pew and chafed her hands and rested. After a while she dropped her head and prayed. She looked up and saw the great gold and ivory cloth. She rose suddenly and walked up the steps of the chancel.

She looked at the beautiful tablecloth with remembering eyes.

The pastor smiled and started to tell her about the storm damage, but she didn't seem to listen. She took up a fold of the cloth and lovingly rubbed it between her fingers, tears welled in her kind eyes. But they were happy tears of recognition.

"It is mine!" she said. "It is my banquet cloth!" She lifted up a corner and showed the surprised pastor that there were initials monogrammed on it. "My husband had the cloth made especially for me in Brussels! There could not be another like it."

For the next few minutes the woman and the pastor talked excitedly together. She explained that she was Viennese; that being Jews, she and her husband wanted to flee from the Nazis. They were advised to go separately. Her husband put her on a train for Switzerland. They planned that he would join her as soon as he could arrange to ship their household goods across the border. She never saw him again. Later she heard that he had died in a concentration camp.

"I have always felt that it was my fault -- to leave without him," she said. "Perhaps these years of wandering have been my punishment!" The pastor tried to comfort her and urged her to take the beautiful cloth with her. But she refused saying, "no, no, the cloth has found it's way to you. You need it. It has a purpose here. I want you to have it. I am happy knowing you have it."

She gazed lovingly up at the magnificent gold and ivory lace cloth, then quietly went away.

As the church began to fill on Christmas Eve, it was clear that the magnificent cloth was going to be a great success. It had been skillfully designed to look its best by candlelight.

The glorious gold and ivory lace cloth actually glowed in the candlelight! It cast lovely fine designs on the walls and ceiling of the church. Everyone looked around in wonderment, and a tranquil ambiance was cast over all.

After the service, the pastor stood at the doorway. Many people told him that the church looked more beautiful than ever before.

From the generous donations that were given, a few days later the pastor had the local jeweler who was also the clock-and-watch repairman come to repair the church chimes.

The repairman's gentle middle-aged face drew into a look of great astonishment! As if in a trance he walked right up to the beautiful cloth and looked intently!

"It is strange," he said in his soft accent. "Many years ago my wife - God rest her -- and I owned such a cloth. My wife put it on the table" -- and here he gave a big smiled -- "for holidays and when the Rabbi came to dinner."

The pastor suddenly became very excited. He told the jeweler about the woman who had been in church to get warm, saw the cloth, and recognized it to be hers! The startled jeweler clutched the pastor's arm. "Can it be?" he said through desperate tears.

Together the two got in touch with the family who had interviewed the women for the governess position, got her address, then they both drove to the city.

The jeweler knocked on the heavy, weathered, door. As it opened, there stood his beloved wife. The many years of separation were immediately washed away by their blissfully tears, as they held each other in loving embraces, never to be parted again. True love seems to find a way.

To all who hear this story, the joyful purpose of the storm was to knocked a hole in the wall of the church.

So Dear Ones, the next time something knocks a hole in your dreams, your goals - Just remember to have enough faith, enough belief in those dreams and goals, to lovingly and creatively hang your own brilliant lace cloth over the temporary mar. Then watch the miracles come.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

This story was originally written by Howard C. Schade for the December 1954 issue of Reader's Digest. It is a fitting way to get an early start on the upcoming Christmas season.

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Art of Being Well

Dr. Dráuzio Varella

If you don’t want to be ill...

...Speak your feelings.

Emotions and feelings that are hidden, repressed, end in illnesses as: gastritis, ulcer, lumbar pains, spinal. With time, the repression of the feelings degenerates to the cancer. Then, we go to a confidante, to share our intimacy, ours "secret", our errors! The dialogue, the speech, the word, is a powerful remedy and an excellent therapy!






If you don’t want to be ill...

...Make Decisions.

The undecided person remains in doubt, in anxiety, in anguish. Indecision accumulates problems, worries and aggressions. Human history is made of decisions. To decide is precisely to know to renounce, to know to lose advantages and values to win others. The undecided people are victims of gastric ailments, nervous pains and problems of the skin.




If you don’t want to be ill...

...Find Solutions.

Negative people do not find solutions and they enlarge problems. They prefer lamentation, gossip, pessimism. It is better to light a match that to regret the darkness. A bee is small, but produces one of the sweetest things that exist. We are what we think. The negative thought generates negative energy that is transformed into illness.




If you don’t want to be ill...

...Don’t Live By Appearances.

Who hides reality, pretends , poses and always wants to give the impression of being well. He wants to be seen as perfect, easy-going, etc. but is accumulating tons of weight. A bronze statue with feet of clay. There is nothing worse for the health than to live on appearances and facades. These are people with a lot of varnish and little root. Their destiny is the pharmacy, the hospital and pain.




If you don’t want to be ill...

...Accept.

The refusal of acceptance and the absence of self-esteem, make us alienate ourselves. Being at one with ourselves is the core of a healthy life. They who do not accept this, become envious, jealous, imitators, ultra-competitive, destructive. Be accepted, accept that you are accepted, accept the criticisms. It is wisdom, good sense and therapy.




If you don’t want to be ill...

...Trust.

Who does not trust, does not communicate, is not opened, is not related, does not create deep and stable relations, does not know to do true friendships. Without confidence, there is not relationship. Distrust is a lack of faith in you and in faith itself.





If you don’t want to be ill...

...Do Not Live Life Sad.

Good humor. Laughter. Rest. Happiness. These replenish health and bring long life. The happy person has the gift to improve the environment wherever they live. “Good humor saves us from the hands of the doctor". Happiness is health and therapy.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Be Thankful

Author Unknown

Be thankful that you don't already have everything you desire,
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?

Be thankful when you don't know something
For it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.

Be thankful for your limitations
Because they give you opportunities for improvement.

Be thankful for each new challenge
Because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes
They will teach you valuable lessons.

Be thankful when you're tired and weary
Because it means you've made a difference.

It is easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are
also thankful for the setbacks.

GRATITUDE can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles
and they can become your blessing.

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Friday, November 23, 2007

Two Choices

What would you do?....you make the choice. Don't look for a punch line, there isn't one. Read it anyway. My question is: Would you have made the same choice?

At a fund raising dinner for a school that serves learning-disabled children, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question: "When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does is done with perfection. Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the natural order of things in my son?"

The audience was stilled by the query.

The father continued. "I believe that when a child like Shay, physically and mentally handicapped comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other people treat that child."

Then he told the following story:

Shay and his father had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, "Do you think they'll let me play?" Shay's father knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but the father also understood that if his son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.

Shay's father approached one of the boys on the field and asked (not expecting much) if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance and said, "We're losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning."

Shay struggled over to the team's bench and, with a broad smile, put on a team shirt. His Father watched with a small tear in his eye and warmth in his heart. The boys saw the father's joy at his son being accepted. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three. In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as his father waved to him from the stands. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay's team scored again. Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat.

At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game? Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball.

However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing that the other team was putting winning aside for this moment in Shay's life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least make contact. The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher.

The game would now be over. The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game.

Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the first baseman's head, out of reach of all team mates. Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, "Shay, run to first! Run to first!" Never in his life had Shay ever run that far, but he made it to first base. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled.

Everyone yelled, "Run to second, run to second!" Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and struggling to make it to the base. By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball ... The smallest guy on their team who now had his first chance to be the hero for his team. He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher's intentions so he, too, intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman's head. Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home.

All were screaming, "Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way Shay"

Shay reached third base because the opposing shortstop ran to help him by turning him in the direction of third base, and shouted, "Run to third! Shay, run to third!"

As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams, and the spectators, were on their feet screaming, "Shay, run home! Run home!" Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the grand slam and won the game for his team.

"That day", said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, "the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world".

Shay didn't make it to another summer. He died that winter, having never forgotten being the hero and making his father so happy, and coming home and seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Blessings

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.

It turns what we have into enough, and more.
It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order,
confusion to clarity.
It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home,
a stranger into a friend.
Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today,
and creates a vision for tomorrow.

Melody Beattie

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Beware of Garbage Trucks

by David J. Pollay

How often do you let other people's nonsense change your mood?

Do you let a bad driver, rude waiter, curt boss, or an insensitive employee ruin your day? You should not, unless you're the Terminator, for an instant you're probably set back on your heels, like what happened in Pasig City on October 2, 2007 when a car driver shot another car driver and a woman who berrated him and kicked his car.

However, the mark of a successful person is how quickly one can get back their focus on what's important.

Sixteen years ago I learned this lesson. I learned it in the back of a New York City taxi cab. Here's what happened.

I hopped in a taxi, and we took off for Grand Central Station. We were driving in the right lane when, all of a sudden, a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his breaks, skidded, and missed the other car's back end by just inches!

The driver of the other car, the guy who almost caused a big accident, whipped his head around and he started yelling bad words at us. My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean, he was friendly. So, I said, "Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!"

And this is when my taxi driver told me what I now call, "The Law of the Garbage Truck."

"Many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it. And if you let them, they'll dump it on you.

When someone wants to dump on you, don't take it personally. You just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. You'll be happy you did."

So this was it: The "Law of the Garbage Truck." I started thinking, how often do I let Garbage Trucks run right over me? And how often do I take their garbage and spread it to other people: at work, at home, on the streets? It was that day I said, "I'm not going to do it anymore."

I began to see garbage trucks. Like in the movie "The Sixth Sense," the little boy said, "I see Dead People."

Well, now "I see Garbage Trucks." I see the load they're carrying. I see them coming to drop it off. And like my Taxi Driver, I don't make it a personal thing; I just smile, wave, wish them well, and I move on.

One of my favorite football players of all time, Walter Payton, did this every day on the football field. He would jump up as quickly as he hit the ground after being tackled. He never dwelled on a hit. Payton was ready to make the next play his best. Good leaders know they have to be ready for their next meeting.

Good parents know that they have to welcome their children home from school with hugs and kisses.
Leaders and parents know that they have to be fully present, and at their best for the people they care about.

The bottom line is that successful people do not let Garbage Trucks take over their day.

What about you? What would happen in your life, starting today, if you let more garbage trucks pass you by?

Here's my bet. You'll be happier.

Life's too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so. Love the people who treat you right. Forget about the ones who don't. Believe that everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance , TAKE IT!
If it changes your life , LET IT!
Nobody said it would be easy...
They just promised it would be worth it!

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Reflections

By Kathleene S. Baker

Annually, the first part of November finds me wandering down memory lane as I fumble through my untidy batch of recipes. You see, my recipes are not neatly filed away on my computer, nor are they alphabetized in a cute recipe box; they are an embarrassing hodgepodge of cards, scraps of paper, and even a few envelopes. Yet, finding my favorites for the holiday season is never difficult.

Some dishes are recognized by the handwriting of the person that jotted it down at my request. Others were scribbled on any notepad that was handy at the time; and I search for a certain color of paper. As I rummage through my jumbled collection of recipes, it causes me to recall people, places, and events from the past-and I like it that way. For me, my filing system is perfect!

Still, one recipe card stands out amongst all other. The handwriting has faded, the yellowed edges are bent, and it has amassed an array of smudges over the years. Oh, but it is far from being just another dog-eared recipe card; it's a special keepsake from my Mother, who is now deceased. This year I realized just how faint her handwriting had become on the aging card and it was promptly placed in plastic for protection.

I'd not been gone from home long before asking Mother for her Pumpkin Bread recipe. It had been part of every holiday I could remember, not to mention being decadent and habit forming. The recipe originated with my Grandmother, who died before my birth, and was handed down to my Mother.

That ragged, old card has traveled with me from state to state, kitchen to kitchen, and has generated more loaves of pumpkin bread than I would dare to count. Many were devoured at family dinners, and countless others have been given as gifts after being embellished with holiday ribbons and bows.

I often feel my compilation of favorite recipes is akin to a roadmap of my adult life, beginning with the Pumpkin Bread recipe from my mother. Others were gathered along the way in different states and different cities; some were offered by old friends, some by new friends, and some by relatives. I find myself being grateful for each person that came into my life and shared a special dish, several of which are now part of my traditional holiday fare.

Most times the roadmap of my life has directed me down scenic boulevards or tranquil country roads, although I've had my share of bumps and detours along the way. Upon reflection, I'm more than thankful for the journey.and all those who touched my life along the way.

©2006 Kathleene S. Baker


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kathy and her husband, Jerry, reside in Plano, Texas with two fur kids named Shiloh and Hank. Their other children are grown and have given them 4 grands. Kathy, a freelancer, has contributed to newspapers, anthologies, magazines, and online ezines. Her first piece of work was inspired by Josey, a very special Miniature Schnauzer. She writes a weekly column for Frank Talk Magazine entitled "Heart of Texas." She is Editor for Starfish which is a daily inspirational column.

Kathy can be reached at Lnstrlady@aol.com or her website www.txyellowrose.com

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

One Habit Every Child Must Learn

By Steve Kroening

If you want to save your children a lot of pain and suffering as they grow up, there’s one habit they must learn. This habit will help them avoid financial problems, many relational problems, and a large number of health problems. But it will do a lot more than help them avoid problems. It will also help them become far more successful in their occupation and relationships.

What one habit can possibly do all this? It is called delayed gratification. Unfortunately, not many people today understand what this is or how to make it a habit. Delayed gratification is the opposite of instant gratification. Most of us know exactly what that is. Our society is built on instant gratification. Advertising demands you make a decision right now. Restaurants have drive-thrus so you don’t have to wait. And even our fireplaces light up with the push of a button. No more kindling, logs, and matches.

Not that all of these things are bad. Some are wonderful. But it’s so difficult to know when it’s best to gratify ourselves and when not to. We get sucked into the world so easily that we don’t even realize it until we’re in debt, alone, and dying from a preventable disease.

Unfortunately, delaying gratification is a habit that’s completely foreign to children. They’re born demanding what they want. And they learn early to cry and even scream when they don’t get it. And today, few of them are taught to do otherwise. So most adults expect instant satisfaction of all their wants.

The earlier you can train your children to delay spending money on what they want, eating what tastes good but has no nutritional value, and adopting habits that may feel good but don’t benefit the mind (video games), body (such as smoking), or soul (sin), the better off they’ll be as they grow up.

* Steve Kroening is a freelance writer for Success magazine and also publishes Wisdom's Edge, a free e-zine with Biblical tips for finance, health, relationships, and success. Sign up at www.wisdomsedge.com.


Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight" Proverbs 3:5

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Monday, November 19, 2007

"THE BASUREROs.. ." (The Scavengers)

Ever since I was diagnosed of having a possible heart enlargement in the
last APE, I have exerted more effort to do physical exercises. I do
jogging during week days and do long - ride mountain biking every
Sunday.

But this Sunday is a special Sunday to me. While I was on my way to the
mountains of Busay (Cebu) hoping to strengthened my heart by this
exercise, instead, I personally encountered a heart-breaking scene that
changed me.

I already passed the Marco Polo Plaza (formerly Cebu Plaza Hotel) when I
decided to stop to buy bananas at a small carenderia (local fastfood)
located along the road. I haven't taken any solid food that morning so
I need fruits to have the needed energy to get to my destination -
the mountain top.

I am almost done eating with the second banana when I noticed two
children across the street busily searching the garbage area.
"Basureros" (scavengers) I said to myself and quickly turn my attention
away from them to sip a small amount of water. I cared less for these kind
of children actually; to make it straight, I do not like them, and I do not
trust them even more.

You see, several times I have been a victim to these kind of children
who are pretending to be basureros looking for empty bottles and cans
when in fact the 'palangganas' (wash basin) , 'kalderos' (cooking pots),
and 'hinayhays' (hanging clothes) are their favorites.

I remembered one afternoon while I was watching a Mike Tyson fight when
I noticed that the TV screen suddenly became blurred. I checked outside
and saw two young basureros running away with my newly installed
antenna.

Hatred may be a little bit stronger word to describe my feeling towards
these basureros, but I do not like them honestly not till I met these
three children.

I was about to embark on my bike again when I heard one of the two
children, a girl of about 7 or 8 of age saying aloud to the other , a
12-yr old boy , " kuya (older brother) si dodong kuha-a kay nag-sige'g
tan-aw sa mga nagkaon, mauwaw ta" (kuya get dodong coz he is staring at
those who are eating, it's embarassing), only then that I noticed a small
boy standing near to me biting slightly his finger. He's a few inches
shorter if compared to my 5 years old son (but I knew later that he's also
5 yrs. Old). Though he did not ask for food to anyone in the carenderia,
the way he looked at the customers who were eating, enough to convince me
that he intensely craving for it. The older boy then quickly crossed the
street and gently pulled out the little one who politely obeyed. As I
watched the two crossing back the street to the garbage area, I heard the
tindera saying " Lo-oy kayo nang mga bataa uy, mga buotan ra ba na"
(it's pity, those are good & well mannered kids). I learned further from
the carenderia owner that the children are from a good family , both
parents were working before , and that their father got a stroke 3 years
ago and became partially paralyzed and their mother died of heart attack
while their father was still confined at the hospital. The parents were
still in their early forties when the catastrophe happened , and the
children became basureros since then to meet their daily needs and for
their father's medication.

Deeply moved by what I heard, I went to a nearby bakery and bought pesos
worth of bread and gave it to the children who initially refused
including the little boy. " Sige lang noy, salamat na lang, magpalit
lang nya mi kung mahalinan na mi" (its ok, thank you anyway, we'll buy
later once we sold our scavenged wares) the girl said to me.

I explained that they need to go home because it started to rain . "
Naanad na man mi ani " (we're used to this) the girl answered again.

Again, I explained that the rain can make them sick and if they'll
become sick there's no one to take care of their father. Upon
mentioning their father,they nodded and accept the bread but I noticed
that the older boy did not eat.

When I asked him if he does not like the kind of bread I bought for them
he smiled but as he's about to explain, the little girl, who is the more
talker of them interrupted, "Domingo man gud ron ,noy, basta Sabado ug
Domingo hapon ra siya mokaon kami ra ang mokaon ug pamahaw pero dili na
pod mi mokaon inig hapon,si kuya ra. Pero basta Lunes ngadto sa
Biyernes, kay klase man, si kuya ra sad ang seguro-on ug papamahaw, kami
hapon na sad mi moka-on Pero kung daghan mi ug halin mokaon mi tanan."
(Today is sunday, on saturdays and sundays, only on the afternoon does he
eat, we're the one who eats at breakfast, but afternoons, only he eats.
But from monday to friday, he's the one eating breakfast because he goes
to school, and we eat only at dinner but if we can sell many of our
scavenged wares, we all eat) she continued. "Ngano man diay ug mokaon mong
tanan, bahinon ninyo bisan ug unsa ka gamay?" (What if you all eat,
just share what you have?) I countered.

The young girl reasoned out that their father wanted that her older brother
to come to school with full stomach so he can easily catch up the teacher's
lessons. "Inig ka trabaho ni kuya mo undang na man mi ug pamasura, first honor
baya na siya" (If he (referring to his older brother) gets a job, we will stop scavenging, he is first honor in his class) the little boy added proudly.

Maybe I was caught by surprise or I am just overly emotional that my tears
started to fall. I then quickly turned my back from them to hide my tears and pretended to pick up my bike from the carenderia where I left it.

I don't know how many seconds or minutes I spent just to compose myself;
pretending again this time that I was mending by bike.

Finally I get on to my bike and approached the three children to bid
goodbye to them who in turn cast their grateful smiles at me. I then took
a good look at all of them specially to the small boy and pat his head
with a pinch in my heart. Though I believe that their positive look at
life can easily change their present situation, there is one thing that
they can never change; that is , their being motherless. That little boy
can no longer taste the sweet embrace, care, and most of all , the love
of his mother forever. Nobody can refill the empty gap created by that
sudden and untimely death of their mother. Every big events that will
happen to their lives will only remind them and make them wish of their
mother's presence.

I reached to my pocket and handed to them my last 100 peso bill which I
reserved for our department's bowling tournament. This time they refused
strongly but I jokingly said to the girl " sumbagon taka ron kung di
nimo dawaton" (I'll punch you if you do not accept this). She
smiled as she extended her hand to take the money. " Salamat noy
makapalit gyud me ron ug tambal ni papa " (Thank you so much sir, we can
now buy papa's medicine) she uttered. I then turned to the small boy and
though he's a few feet away from me, I still noticed that while his
right hand was holding the half - filled sack , his left hand was
holding a toy ? a worn out toy car. I waved my hands and said bye bye to
him as I drove towards the mountains again. Did he find the toy in the
garbage area or the toy was originally his - when the misfortune did not
take place yet? - I did not bother to ask. But one thing is crystal
clear to me, that inspite of the boy's abnormal life,he did not give up
his childhood completely. I can sense it that way he hold and stare at
his toy.

My meeting with that young basureros made me poorer by 100 pesos. But
they changed me and made me more richer as to lessons of life are
concerned.

In them, I learned that life can changed suddenly and may caught me flat
footed. In them, I've learned that even the darkest side of life, cannot
change the beauty of one's heart. Those three children, who sometimes
cannot eat three times a day, still able to hold on to what they believe
was right. And what a contrast to most of us who are quick to point out
to our misfortunes when caught with our mistakes. In them, I've learned
to hope for things when things seem to go the other way.

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

A POEM: TO MY CHILD

Just for this morning, I am going to
smile when I see your face and laugh
when I feel like crying.

Just for this morning, I will let you
choose what you want to wear,
and smile and say how perfect it is.

Just for this morning, I am going to step
over the laundry and pick you up and take you to
the park to play.

Just for this morning, I will leave the
dishes in the sink, and let you teach me how to put
that puzzle of yours together.

Just for this afternoon, I will unplug
the telephone and keep the computer off, and sit with
you in the backyard and blow bubbles.

Just for this afternoon, I will not yell
once, not even a tiny grumble when you scream and
whine for the ice cream truck, and I will buy you one
if he comes by.

Just for this afternoon, I won't worry
about what you are going to be when you grow up, or
second guess every decision I have made where you are
concern ed.

Just for this afternoon, I will let you
help me bake cookies, and I won't stand over you
trying to fix them.

Just for this afternoon, I will take us
to McDonald's and buy us both a Happy Meal so you can
have both toys.

Just for this evening, I will hold you in
my arms and tell you a story about how you were
born and how much I love you.

Just for this evening, I will let you
splash in the tub and not get angry.

Just for this evening, I will let you
stay up late while we sit on the porch and count all the stars.

Just for this evening, I will snuggle
beside you for hours, and miss my favourite TV shows.

Just for this evening when I run my
finger through your hair as you pray, I will simply be
grateful that God has given me the greatest gift ever given.

I will think about the mothers and
fathers who are searching for their missing children, the
mothers and fathers who are visiting their children's
graves instead of their bedrooms. The mothers
and fathers who are in hospital rooms
watching their children suffer senselessly and screaming
inside that little body

And when I kiss you goodnight I will hold
you a little tighter, a little longer. It is then,
that I will thank God for you, and ask him for
nothing, except one more day.............

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

My Favorite Duck Inn Memory

by Linda Stallings


I first met my husband's Aunt Margie in February of 2003, just one year before he and I married. She was a lovely lady of 72, and so full of life and laughter that I loved her from the moment we met.

Over the next year, she and I would talk on a daily basis. As we did so, we discovered we had many things and places we'd been in common - one of the places she mentioned often was "The Duck Inn". Although it had been many years since she had been there, her memories were vivid.

She told me how, as a young mother of three, back in the 50's, her family would meet on Friday nights at the Duck Inn for an evening of dinner and visiting. It was a routine; all her brothers and sisters would come and bring the children and they would stay, enjoy the catfish and let the children visit with their cousins. If they all showed up, there would be close to 20 in total.

As the years past, Aunt Margie and Uncle Floyd moved down to Eustace, Texas and their visits to the Duck Inn sort of stopped. Everyone had scattered out from the Dallas area and the children grew up, got married and moved also.

Then just a year ago, as Aunt Margie began to grow more frail from the liver cancer that now ravaged her, I decided to throw a birthday party in her honor. Although her birthday was several days away from the date I picked, August 14, I knew time was running out. I called all her nieces and nephews, her only living brother and sister and told them of my plan for the surprise birthday party. I had rented a suite at the newly opened Gaylord Texan Hotel and when it came time to select a restaurant, no doubt the Duck Inn was the choice I made.

Margie was told nothing of the plans. I simply told her to pack an overnight bag and be ready when I showed up on Saturday to get her and her sister (my mother-in-law). They were given a booklet I made full of riddles that just made the surprise even greater.

After checking into the hotel and getting them settled, we took off for dinner. Still, Margie knew nothing of where we were going or that her entire family would be there to celebrate her very last birthday.

When we arrived, she lit up when she saw where we had chosen for dinner. She was in total disbelief that I had remembered all the stories she had shared with me of those days back in the 50's and 60's when her family was all together and the children were small. She entered the dining room to even greater surprise - there was 18 of her family members, waiting on our beloved guest of honor.

With kidney failure, now part of her illness, she was barely eating, but that night she cleaned her plate - every last morsel of catfish was gone. She was exuberant that evening and her birthday was a huge success.

Aunt Margie slipped from us just 2 weeks later - but in every conversation I had with her after that evening - she told me how my choice of restaurants could not have pleased her more.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Linda has been writing for a number of years now and writes about true experiences that are near and dear to her heart. Many of her stories are tributes to family members. In addition to writing, Linda is a full time Executive Assistant with two grown daughters and a loving husband that enjoys spending leisure time with her on the lake or on their Harley Davidson. Linda's love for writing stories began when her children were small; she would create tales to entertain them using their names and their friends as the characters. Linda's stories have been published in "Chicken Soup for the Soul", the book and the weekly newspaper syndicate, "Fort Worth Business Press" and several other local newspapers. Linda can be contacted at lghastings@embarqmail.com

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Monday, November 12, 2007

HOW TO STAY YOUNG

1. Throw out nonessential numbers.
This includes age, weight and height. Let the
doctors worry about them. That is why you pay "them."

2. Keep only cheerful friends.
The grouches pull you down.

3. Keep learning.
Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening,
whatever. Never let the brain idle. "An idle mind
is the devil's workshop."
And the devil's name is
Alzheimer's.

4. Enjoy the simple things.

5. Laugh
often, long and loud. Laugh
until you gasp for breath.

6. The tears happen.
Endure, grieve, and move on.
The only person, who is with
us our entire life, is ourselves.
Be ALIVE while you are alive.

7. Surround yourself with what you love ,
whether it's family, pets, keepsakes,
music, plants, hobbies, whatever.
Your home is your refuge.

8. Cherish your health:
If it is good, preserve it.
If it is unstable, improve it.
If it is beyond what you can
improve, get help.

9. Don't take guilt trips.
Take a trip to the mall,
even to the next county;
to a foreign country but
NOT to where the guilt is.

10. Tell the people you
love that you love them ,
at every opportunity.


AND ALWAYS REMEMBER:
Life is not measured by the
number of breaths we take,
but
by the moments that
take our breath away.

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Friday, November 9, 2007

Just for Laughs: Miscommunication

Memo from CEO to Manager:

Today at 11 o'clock there will be a total eclipse of the sun.
This is when the sun disappears behind the moon for two minutes.
As this is something that cannot be seen everyday, time will be
allowed for employees to view the eclipse in the parking lot.
Staff should meet in the lot at ten to eleven, when I deliver a
short speech introducing the eclipse,and giving some background
information.

Safety goggles will be made available at a small cost.

Memo from Manager to Department Head:

Today at ten to eleven, all staff should meet in the car park.
This will be followed by a total eclipse of the sun, which will
appear for two minutes.

For a moderate cost, this will be made safe with goggles.
The CEO will deliver a short speech beforehand to give us all
some information.

This is not something that can be seen everyday.

Memo from Department Manager to Floor Manager:

The CEO will today deliver a short speech to make the sun
disappear for two minutes in the form of an eclipse.

This is something that cannot be seen everyday,so staff will
meet in the car park at ten or eleven.

This will be safe, if you will pay a moderate cost.

Memo from Floor Manager to Supervisor:

Ten to eleven staff are to go to the car park, where the CEO
will eclipse the sun for two minutes.

This doesn't happen everyday.

It will be safe and as usual it will cost you.

Memo from Supervisor to Staff:

Some staff will go to the car park today to see the CEO disappear.

It is a pity this doesn't happen everyday.

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Thursday, November 8, 2007

Thought for the day

You simply will not be the same person two months from now after consciously giving thanks each day for the abundance that exists in your life. And you will have set in motion an ancient spiritual law: the more you have and are grateful for, the more will be given you.

Sarah Ban Breathnach
Simple Abundance

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Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Stand Tall Like The Sunflower

by Tony Masiello

I find it humorous sometimes that even the most mundane occurrences can have an impact on our awareness.

My wife, daughter, and I moved into our home nine years ago and we spent a lot of time and energy in the yard to get it looking like it does today. We live on a corner, higher than street level, and the entire side of the yard is encased by a professionally built rock wall. The front of the house though is another story because instead of a wall along the sidewalk the rocks appear to be just thrown up onto the dirt as if someone were in a hurry to finish.

We did the best we could with what we had to work with and called this area our 'rock garden'. Whenever we had left over flowers or plants, Denise or I would stick them out front, just to bring some color to the area.

I still do all of my own yard work, even the dreaded weed-pulling. After putting on my knee pads I assume the position to clear the yard of weeds, even in the rock garden.

Last summer I had reached the end of the rock garden and found a tiny little plant that I could not immediately identify. I knew I didn't plant it and Denise claimed that she didn't either. We decided to let it continue growing until we could figure out what it was.

Weeks passed and as I made my way back to the mystery plant, it appeared to be a Sunflower. It was spindly looking with a tall skinny stalk and only one head on it. I decided to baby it along and weed around it. As I pulled rocks from the area to get to the weeds, I noticed something unusual. The Sunflower had not started where I saw the stalk begin. It actually had begun under a big rock and grown under and around it to reach the sun.

That's when I realized that if a tiny little Sunflower didn't let a big rock stand in its way of developing, we too have the capability of doing the same thing. Once our environment begins to see that we believe in ourselves like that little Sunflower, we can attain the same nourishment and nurturing as well.

First, we need to believe in ourselves knowing we have the capabilities in achieving our desires. Like the Sunflower, it knew it had the capability to overcome its obstacle because it trusted in the Universal Truth and had faith it would succeed.

Stand tall like the Sunflower 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.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tony Masiello is an author, and intuitive consultant. He is the author of the e-book, Whispers from the Universe, which is a collection of writings that will help you, motivate you, inspire you and guide you along the inner path of your life. For more information or to contact Tony go to his website: www.universalinsight.com

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Monday, November 5, 2007

The Wise Old Man

A man of 92 years, short, very well-presented, who takes great care in his appearance, is moving into an old people’s home today.

After waiting several hours in the retirement home lobby, he gently smiles as he is told that his room is ready.

His wife of 70 has recently died, and he is obliged to leave his home.

As he slowly walks to the elevator, using his cane, I describe his small room to him, including the sheet hung at the window which serves as a curtain.

- "I like it very much", he says, with the enthusiasm of an 8 year old boy who has just been given a new puppy.

-"M. Gagné, you haven’t even seen the room yet, hang on a moment, we are almost there. "

" That has nothing to do with it ", he replies.

" It is already decided in my mind that I like my room. It is a decision I take every morning when I wake up. "

" Happiness is something I choose in advance. Whether or not I like the room does not depend on the furniture, or the decor – rather it depends on how I decide to see it. "

" I can choose. I can spend my day in bed enumerating all the difficulties that I have with the parts of my body that no longer work very well, or I can get up and give thanks to heaven for those parts that are still in working order. "

" Every day is a gift, and as long as I can open my eyes, I will focus on the new day, and all the happy memories that I have built up during my life. "

" Old age is like a bank account. You withdraw in later life what you have deposited along the way. "

So, my advice to you is to deposit all the happiness you can in your bank account of memories.

Thank you for your part in filling my account with happy memories, which I am still continuing to fill…

1. Free your heart from hate.

5. Expect less.

4. Give more.

3. Live simple.

2. Free your mind from worry.

Remember these simple guidelines for happiness.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

What GOD can do!

A poorly dressed lady with a look of defeat on her face, walked into a grocery store.

She approached the owner of the store in a most humble manner and asked if he would let her charge a few groceries. She softly explained that her husband was unable to work, they had seven children and they needed food.

John Longhouse, the grocer, scoffed at her and requested that she leave his store.

Visualizing the family needs, she said: "Please, sir! I will bring you the money just as soon as I can." John told her he could not give her credit, as she did not have a charge account at his store.

Standing beside the counter was a customer who overheard the conversation between the two. The customer walked forward and told the grocer that he would stand good for
whatever she needed for her family.

The grocer said in a very reluctant voice, "Do you have a grocery list?" Louise replied, "Yes sir." "O.K." he said, "put your grocery list on the scales and whatever your grocery list weighs, I will give you that amount in groceries."

Louise, hesitated a moment with a bowed head, then she reached into her purse, took out a piece of paper, and scribbled something. She then laid the piece of paper on the scale carefully with her head still bowed.

The eyes of the grocer and the customer showed the amazement they felt when the scales went down and stayed down. The grocer, staring at the scales, turned slowly to the customer and said begrudgingly, "I can't believe it." The customer smiled and the grocer started putting the groceries on the other side of the scales.

The scale did not balance. So he continued to put more and more groceries on them until the scales would hold no more. The grocer stood there in utter disgust. Finally, he grabbed the piece of paper from the scales and looked at it with greater amazement.

It was not a grocery list. It was a prayer which said:

"Dear Lord, you know my needs and I am leaving this in your hands". The grocer gave her the groceries that he had gathered and stood in stunned silence. Louise thanked him and left the store.

The customer handed a fifty-dollar bill to the grocer and said, "It was worth every penny of it." Only God Knows how much a prayer weighs.

POWER OF PRAYER: When you receive this, say a prayer.


Remember the five simple rules to be happy :

1. Free your heart from hatred.
2. Free your mind from worries.
3. Live simply.
4. Give more.
5. Expect less.

No one can go back and make a brand new start. Everyone can start from now and make a brand new ending. God didn't promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow, sun
without rain, but He did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears, and light for the way.

Disappointments are like road bumps, they slow you down a bit but you enjoy the smooth road afterwards. Don't stay on the bumps too long. Move on! When you feel down because you didn't get what you want, just sit tight and be happy, because God has thought of something better to give you.

When something happens to you, good or bad, consider what it means. There's a purpose to life's events, to teach you how to laugh more or not to cry too hard. You can't make someone love you, all you can do is being someone who can be loved, the rest is up to the person to realize your worth. It's better to lose your pride to the one you love, than to lose the one you love because of pride.

We spend too much time looking for the right person to love or finding fault with those we already love, when instead we should be perfecting the love we give. Never abandon an old friend. You will never find one who can take his place.

Friendship is like wine, it gets better as it grows older.

Please, pass this on to your dear friends. . . I just did.

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Friday, October 19, 2007

Rain Washed

Author Unknown

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.

Courtesy of...

AsAManThinketh.net
For a free eBook of James Allens classic:
http://www.AsAManThinketh.net

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Trust In God

by Norman Macleod

Courage, Brother, do not stumble,
Though your path be dark as night;
There’s a star to guide the humble,
Trust in God and do the right.

Let the road be rough and dreary,
And its end far out of sight,
Foot it bravely, strong or weary;
Trust in God and do the right.

Perish policy and cunning,
Perish all that fears the light;
Whether losing, whether winning,
Trust in God and do the right.

Trust no party, sect or faction,
Trust no leaders in the fight;
But in every word and action
Trust in God and do the right.

Simple rule and safest guiding,
Inward peace and inward might,
Star upon our path abiding;
Trust in God and do the right.

Some will hate you, some will love you,
Some will flatter, some will slight;
Cease from man, and look above you,
Trust in God and do the right.

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