Dealing With the Storms of Life

A Storm

A Storm

Did you know that an eagle knows when a storm is approaching long before it breaks?

The eagle will fly to some high spot and wait for the winds to come. When the storm hits, it sets its wings so that the wind will pick it up and lift it above the storm. While the storm rages below, the eagle is soaring above it.

The eagle does not escape the storm. It simply uses the storm to lift it higher. It rises on the winds that bring the storm.

When the storms of life come upon us – and all of us will experience them – we can rise above them by setting our minds and our belief toward God. The storms do not have to overcome us. We can allow God’s power to lift us above them.

God enables us to ride the winds of the storm that bring sickness, tragedy, failure and disappointment in our lives. We can soar above the storm.

Remember, it is not the burdens of life that weigh us down… it is how we handle them.

One of the Coolest Inventions Ever

Photo Credit: gravedistractions via morguefile.com

Photo Credit: gravedistractions via morguefile.com

I remember as a kid, on a warm summer’s night, taking a walk down the block to this little ice cream store that made the best ice cream in the whole world (according to us kids). There was nothing better in the world at that time, then buying a nice, cool, creamy, soft chocolate cone with chocolate sprinkles, and hanging out with my brother and friends. Those nights and times together were just priceless.

I reminisce about when we were all there ordering our cones and dishes, watching the worker pull back the lever and drool, as that awesome ice cream just flowed out of the machine into out cups or cones. Ice cream never tasted better (by the way, it still tastes awesome…it’s just different when you’re a kid…know what I mean?) There were also machine that dispensed ice cream sandwiches and things like that, but they on the most part, weren’t as special as getting the real thing.

Since those days of my childhood, nothing much has changed in ice cream stores…until now. Today, I read a short article on http://optimistworld.com that there is now a SMILE ACTIVATED ICE CREAM MACHINE!!!

The following is what was stated…”While instantly gratifying, buying ice cream from a vending machine isn’t quite as much fun as it could be. Which is why SapientNitro and Unilever created the world’s first smile-activated ice cream vending machine as part of Unilever’s “share happy” campaign.

The technology behind it is sophisticated, but the concept is simple: consumers walk up to the machine, smile and are rewarded with a frozen treat.

When its motion detectors sense someone is near, the machine beckons them to come closer and interact. Using facial recognition technology, it can then recognize a person’s age, gender and emotion, and measure their smile using a “smile-o-meter”. If their grin is wide enough, they get free ice cream.

Users can also opt to have a picture of their happy self-uploaded to Facebook, which ties in perfectly with Unilever’s brand message: “share happy”. Currently being showcased at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival, the smile-activated ice cream vending machine will be rolled out at high-traffic locations across the globe over the next 18 months.

From security checkpoints that recognize eyes, to cameras that spot friends and family, machines are increasingly capable of smart interaction with humans. Throw in emotion and delight, and you’ll create a memorable experience that knocks the socks off traditional advertising.”

Now THAT sounds like the kind of machine that I would just LOVE to have around my house…not just for the ice cream but for the smiles as well. Today’s technology never ceases to amaze me but I think this item of ingenuity is by far…one the coolest ever!

So, go out, get a friend and enjoy a tasty cone today!

The Disease of Me

Photo Credit: Jeff Kramer via Flickr

Photo Credit: Jeff Kramer via Flickr

As most of you know (or don’t know), I am a coach, I have coached soccer, basketball, baseball, and softball on all levels during my 27 years of teaching. I have never done this before, but I decided that I would share with you some “coaching wisdom.” The following article “The Disease of Me” was written by Alan Stein. It was written from a coach’s point of view. It stresses the importance of thinking of others and playing as a team. In order for a team to be successful, each player has to be unselfish and think about the other people on their team as important as they are. Throughout my years of coaching, I have taught these concepts to many of my players and teams.

I would like to ask you to do is this…when you read this article, read it from YOUR perspective. Consider what YOUR philosophy might be in YOUR everyday life. In other words, where you might read the word “player”, replace it with the word “me” and think of yourself as being that “player”. You will find that these simple suggestions will help give you a healthier perception of your life.

“Many kids today don’t understand that basketball is a “we game” – not a “me game”. They play for the scorebook, not the scoreboard. Am I allowed one more cliché? They play for the name on the back of their jersey instead of the name on the front. OK, I think 3 overused coaching clichés should suffice in getting my point across.

Kidding aside, there are 3 symptoms of the ‘disease of me’ – each of which severely stagnates a player’s growth and development. Having worked a ton of camps and events this summer, I have seen each of these symptoms from players of every age and every level:

1. Too cool

2. Too good

3. Too shy

Too cool:

This symptom is rampant… in fact it is a borderline epidemic. Players are too cool to listen when a coach is talking, too cool to show enthusiasm during drills, too cool to warm-up properly, too cool to get on the floor for a loose ball or take a charge, and too cool let the people around them know that they don’t understand something or need some help. Players are often more concerned with ‘how they look’ then ‘how they perform.’ To paraphrase Woody Harrelson in White Men Can’t Jump – players that are too cool would ‘rather look good and lose than look bad and win.’

Too good:

This symptom is tricky… because it is actually an illusion. The players who think they are too good – actually aren’t! They aren’t anywhere close to being good enough, much less too good! They are so hypnotized by their ranking, or brainwashed by their entourage, that they won’t admit they have areas of their game that need improvement. They are too good to work on their left, too good to work on their footwork, or too good to work on their mid-range game. Who needs to be able to do those things when you can dribble between your legs 19 times in a row or dunk the ball with ease? Players that are too good are often shoot 1st, pass 2nd type players. Actually, they are usually shoot 1st, shoot 2nd, and don’t pass type players. They never bother with making those around them better. If a teammate can’t hold their own on the court… that is their problem.

Too shy:

This symptom is complicated as well. I don’t know if I would go as far as to say that being too shy is selfish per se; but being shy does stunt improvement. You have to be assertive if you want to get better! You can’t be too shy to ask questions. You can’t be too shy to reach out and ask for help from your coach. You can’t be too shy to verbally communicate on offense and defense. Most kids aren’t shy when it comes to texting, Twitter, and Facebook… but they quickly go into a shell when expected to speak face to face.

If you are trying to be the best player you can be… to maximize your potential and play at the highest level possible… you can’t be too cool, too good, or too shy. You need to find a cure for the ‘disease of me.’”

How to Train Your Child to be a Delinquent

Photo Credit:  soledad martinez via publicdomainpictures.net

Photo Credit: soledad martinez via publicdomainpictures.net

My youngest son is going off to college in another month or so and with that, my wife and I officially become “Empty Nesters.” Yikes! Anyway, my two boys have been the best sons that parents could ever ask for. We have, without a doubt, been tremendously blessed.

It has also made me think about the things that my wife and I have done as parents as the boys were growing up…the things we said, places we went, principles that were taught, and the many, many other good times that we shared.

We also experienced some negative things throughout our time together. It was through these times that we demonstrated and expressed an importance of relying on the Lord for wisdom, protection, and comfort. We believe that the importance of a strong belief system and the idea of having good character were the basis of raising our kids.

I recently read an article by Charles Swindoll “The Quest for Character” that looked at raising a child from a different point of view…how to raise a child to be a delinquent. I thought that this list would be an interesting thing to share. When I read the different points, I made a mental “checklist” to see if there were any things that my wife and I did or didn’t do when we were raising our boys. You might want to do the same as you read through the following ideas.

1. When your kid is still an infant, give him everything he wants. This way he’ll think the world owes him a living when he grows up.

2. When he picks up swearing and off-color jokes, laugh at him, encourage him. As he grows up, he will pick up “cuter” phrases that will floor you.

3. Never give him any spiritual training. Wait until he is twenty-one and let him decide for himself.

4. Avoid using the word “wrong.” It will give your child a guilt complex. You can condition him to believe later, when he is arrested for stealing a car, that society is against him and he is being persecuted.

5. Pick up after him–his books, shoes, and clothes. Do everything for him so he will be experienced in throwing all responsibility onto others.

6. Let him read all printed matter he can get his hands on…[never think of monitoring his TV programs]. Sterilize the silverware, but let him feast his mind on garbage.

7. Quarrel frequently in his presence. Then he won’t be too surprised when his home is broken up later.

8. Satisfy his every craving for food, drink, and comfort. Every sensual desire must be gratified; denial may lead to harmful frustrations.

9. Give your child all the spending money he wants. Don’t make him earn his own. Why should he have things as tough as you did?

10. Take his side against neighbors, teachers, and policemen. They’re all against him.

11. When he gets into real trouble, make up excuses for yourself by saying, “I never could do anything with him; he’s just a bad seed.”

12. Prepare for a life of grief.

I hope this list opened your eyes and heart to some things that you did (or could do) for your children in the future. Enjoy your family and enjoy your time with them.

The Loyal Reader Award

The Loyal Reader Award

The Loyal Reader Award

There is one thing that I enjoy to do at the end of each day…and that is to read many of the blogs that people post. I find it interesting how different each individual thinks in comparisons to others. For example, there can be one topic that is presented…let’s say religion…and there would be 50 people saying or writing things…and each one of them would be different. Ahhh…the spice of life!

I would like to thank Belsbror for giving me a little “spice” in my life whenever I visit their blog page. I would strongly suggest that you do the same….you won’t be disappointed!!

It is always so humbling to me whenever I get nominated for a special award because I honestly don’t feel like I deserve them. I really do enjoy posting articles, stories and pictures that, hopefully, will touch a person’s heart. It is my hope and prayer that in some way, I can help a person make their life a little easier and sweeter.

So, without further ado, here are some of the people / pages that I think are great nominations for this award along with the rules of acceptance:

1. Display this award on your blog.

2. Thank the person who sent it to you.

3. Answer a rhetorical question of the authors choosing.

4. Send on the award to everyone you consider a loyal reader.

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The Question: If I am a tree, will I become a book or furniture?

My Answer: A piece of furniture…then I could serve others.

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My List of Award Nominees

Lessons by Heart

Theseeker

Lorna’s Voice

Free to Fly Now

Homeschool Crafts

RedLipstickReviews

An Honest Day or Two

Written Thoughts….

Tell me about it

Retireediary

Elaine’s Random Thoughts

The Punchy Lands!

Running To Her Dreams

Soul Gatherings

Heavenly Raindrops

The Kindness of A Stranger

Photo Credit: David Anderson, Flickr

Photo Credit: David Anderson, Flickr

It was a bitter, cold evening in northern Virginia many years ago. The old man’s beard was glazed by winter’s frost while he waited for a ride across the river. The wait seemed endless. His body became numb and stiff from the frigid north wind.

He heard the faint, steady rhythm of approaching hooves galloping along the frozen path. Anxiously, he watched as several horsemen rounded the bend. He let the first one pass by without an effort to get his attention. Then another passed by, and another. Finally, the last rider neared the spot where the old man sat like a snow statue. As this one drew near, the old man caught the rider’s eye and said, “Sir, would you mind giving an old man a ride to the other side? There doesn’t appear to be a passageway by foot.”

Reining his horse, the rider replied, “Sure thing. Hop aboard.” Seeing the old man was unable to lift his half-frozen body from the ground, the horseman dismounted and helped the old man onto the horse. The horseman took the old man not just across the river, but to his destination, which was just a few miles away.

As they neared the tiny but cozy cottage, the horseman’s curiosity caused him to inquire, “Sir, I notice that you let several other riders pass by without making an effort to secure a ride. Then I came up and you immediately asked me for a ride. I’m curious why, on such a bitter winter night, you would wait and ask the last rider. What if I had refused and left you there?”

The old man lowered himself slowly down from the horse, looked the rider straight in the eyes, and replied, “I’ve been around these here parts for some time. I reckon I know people pretty good.” The old-timer continued, “I looked into the eyes of the other riders and immediately saw there was no concern for my situation. It would have been useless even to ask them for a ride. But when I looked into your eyes, kindness and compassion were evident. I knew, then and there, that your gentle spirit would welcome the opportunity to give me assistance in my time of need.”

Those heartwarming comments touched the horseman deeply. “I’m most grateful for what you have said,” he told the old man. “May I never get too busy in my own affairs that I fail to respond to the needs of others with kindness and compassion.”

With that, Thomas Jefferson turned his horse around and made his way back to the White House.

My Life is Over: No Regrets

Photo Credit: Ladyheart via morguefile.com

Photo Credit: Ladyheart via morguefile.com

This past year has been one of the most heart-wrenching and hardest years of my life. It was a week before Christmas, last year, when I lost my best friend in the world, my dad. A week or so later, as soon as I got home from his memorial service, I found out that one of my friends got killed in a snowmobile accident. He left behind a wife and a 3 year old son. From that time until today, four more people that I knew and loved passed away…but the memorial service that I attended today was one of the hardest. The service was for a man that I loved very, very much. I used to tell him that he was my second dad and he and his wife would call me their “second son.”

He was what every dad and husband should be to a family: a caring and kind father who loved his two children beyond measure. He would do anything for them and always demonstrated his love by what he did and said to them. But his wife was his queen. He treated her like royalty. She was the one that he absolutely loved, cherished and adored. It was evident by the way they looked, talked, and spent time with each other. She was truly, in every sense of the word, his “soul-mate.” I used to always tell the two of them, if I was to look up the word “soul-mate” in the dictionary, I would find a picture of them next to the word.

My friend loved life to the fullest and he loved to laugh…it was SO infectious to the people around him. A few years ago, he was diagnosed with having pancreatic cancer which was the disease that sadly took his life four days ago. During the past month or so, when they found out that the disease was not progressing in the right direction, my friend and his wife decided to spend their precious remaining time together talking about how blessed they were and looking back during their 52 years of marriage…they had no regrets (other than having more time together). Their love for each other was complete and unconditional. They expressed a true love for each other that was apparent to everyone that knew them.

I sat there and thought to myself, how many of us, when we are at the end of our lives here on earth, will be able to say to our spouse and loved ones, that we had no regrets. How many of us, even now, have regret about things that we never did or said to the ones that we love? How many of us might regret something that we may have done or said to someone? Regret is a strong emotion and it can cause a lot of grief and sadness to a person…if they allow it. So make it a goal, each day, to live without regret. Take time to do or say something special with your better half each day, while time is still on your side…so that you can someday say to the ones you love, that the life you shared with them was a blessing and, most importantly…you had no regrets.

Just Stay

Photo Credit: DVIDSHUB via Creative Commons, Flickr

Photo Credit: DVIDSHUB via Creative Commons, Flickr

There is something special who has the care and concern for other people…even if the other person is a stranger. In my opinion, when an individual can demonstrate kindness and compassion to someone in need, that is a rare trait that few people seem to possess. I read the following story on truthbook.com which is one of my favorite stories of someone showing a wonderful level of empathy and sympathy to a fellow human being.

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A nurse took the tired, anxious serviceman to the bedside. “Your son is here,” she said to the old man. She had to repeat the words several times before the patient’s eyes opened.

Heavily sedated because of the pain of his heart attack, he dimly saw the young uniformed Marine standing outside the oxygen tent. He reached out his hand. The Marine wrapped his toughened fingers around the old man’s limp ones, squeezing a message of love and encouragement.

The nurse brought a chair so that the Marine could sit beside the bed. All through the night the young Marine sat there in the poorly lighted ward, holding the old man’s hand and offering him words of love and strength. Occasionally, the nurse suggested that the Marine move away and rest awhile. He refused.

Whenever the nurse came into the ward, the Marine was oblivious of her and of the night noises of the hospital – the clanking of the oxygen tank, the laughter of the night staff members exchanging greetings, the cries and moans of the other patients. Now and then she heard him say a few gentle words. The dying man said nothing, only held tightly to his son all through the night.

Along towards dawn, the old man died. The Marine released the now lifeless hand he had been holding and went to tell the nurse. While she did what she had to do, he waited.

Finally, she returned. She started to offer words of sympathy, but the Marine interrupted her, “Who was that man?” he asked.

The nurse was startled, “He was your father,” she answered.

“No, he wasn’t,” the Marine replied. “I never saw him before in my life.”

“Then why didn’t you say something when I took you to him?”

“I knew right away there had been a mistake, but I also knew he needed his son, and his son just wasn’t here. When I realized that he was too sick to tell whether or not I was his son, knowing how much he needed me, I stayed. I came here tonight to find a Mr. William Grey. His son was killed in Iraq today, and I was sent to inform him. What was this Gentleman’s Name? ”

The nurse with tears in her eyes answered, “Mr. William Grey………”