A Light in a Life of Gloom

Eric Moreno
Photo Credit: Eric Moreno via CC Flickr

It seems to me, generally speaking, that people are becoming increasingly more uneasy, drab, and miserable. Negativity, pessimism, and a general malaise pervade today’s society. Wars, rumors of wars, terrorism, harmful and destructive banter, violence, riots, race bating, etc., have basically resulted in air of melancholy throughout the land. Its negative influence is apparent just about wherever you go in today’s world.

So, what you do? Is there anything that we can do to improve this situation…Maybe in our own small way? It has been said, that for every one negative thing that a person says to another individual, that person should then say seven positive things to offset that negative word.

Our words are powerful weapons that we can use to uplift others, build up their confidence, self-worth, and overall sense of well-being and self-reliance. There are many, many things that we can do to accomplish this goal…share a few kind words to someone, giving others compliments, a courteous acknowledgement, a word of encouragement…the list goes on and on. Today’s story is a beautiful example of the kind of encouragement that warms the heart of another individual, but it also demonstrates the sad illustration of regret.

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room’s only window.

The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back. The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation. And every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his room-mate all the things he could see outside the window.

The man in the other bed began to live for those one-hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside. The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color of the rainbow. Grand old trees graced the landscape, and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance.

As the man by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene. One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade passing by. Although the other man couldn’t hear the band – he could see it in his mind’s eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.

Then unexpectedly, a sinister thought entered his mind. Why should the other man alone experience all the pleasures of seeing everything while he himself never got to see anything? It didn’t seem fair. At first thought the man felt ashamed. But as the days passed and he missed seeing more sights, his envy eroded into resentment and soon turned him sour. He began to brood and he found himself unable to sleep. He should be by that window – that thought, and only that thought now controlled his life.

Late one night as he lay staring at the ceiling, the man by the window began to cough. He was choking on the fluid in his lungs. The other man watched in the dimly lit room as the struggling man by the window groped for the button to call for help. Listening from across the room he never moved, never pushed his own button which would have brought the nurse running in. In less than five minutes the coughing and choking stopped, along with that the sound of breathing. Now there was only silence-deathly silence.

The following morning the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths. When she found the lifeless body of the man by the window, she was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take it away. As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone. Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the world outside. Finally, he would have the joy of seeing it all himself. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed. It faced a blank wall.

The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window. The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall. She said, “Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you.”

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Which person will you be?

How bright is your light?

The choice is yours!

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Story Source: truthbook.com

Gestures of Kindness

Pixabay CC0 Public Domain
Photo Credit: Pixabay CC0 Public Domain

There are many kinds of people that we can find in today’s world: the pessimists and optimists, the solemn, the boisterous, the sad, the happy, the mean and nasty, the thoughtful and caring…the list goes on and on. There are also numerous ways that people convey the way they feel towards others by how they act, what they say, and how they behave towards others.

Think of  five different people that you may know…whether or not they are you friends or not does not matter. Think of how they act and/or what they say…OK…think of the way that you feel when they are around you. Do they make you happy or sad? Angry or joyful? Worthless or invaluable? Do they make you feel like a million bucks and on top of the world or like a loser that isn’t worth a dime? Our actions, more than our words, really can mean everything to people that we come in contact with everyday.

Let me tell you this quick little story: Every Sunday, my family and I go to church and every week, as I am walking to my seat, there is one elderly usher, who I will name Charlie, that I always look forward to see the most. I have known Charlie for many years now, but unfortunately, I have never really gotten to know him and I have only learned things about him by bits and pieces. I know that he lives alone with his beloved dog, lost his wife years ago, enjoys camping, and loves the Lord. Like I said, I really don’t know much about him…BUT…I do know this, he is a man with a gentle soul who always has kind words to say, a big smile, a caring spirit, and has always been a HUGE inspiration and source of reassurance to me…he is a quiet man of encouragement!

How many of you are a “Quiet Encouragement” to others? The great thing is this…you don’t have to do or say a lot of things to be a light and inspiration to others! So, make a goal every day and determine how many people you will try to encourage through simple gestures of kindness!

An Encouragement for Dealing With the Discouragements in Life.

Wikimedia
Photo Credit: National Institutes of Health via Wikimedia

I think that it is safe to say that most people like to help others. The gesture makes us feel good about ourselves and makes our lives a little brighter and happier. Conversely, there are instances in which it can seem like we do kind and caring things for people as well as try to “live the good life.” Have you ever noticed that? You try to do things the right way over and over again…yet some individuals that you may know (or don’t know) keep finding the one wrong thing that you may have done and focus on that.

Today’s story serves as an encouragement for you…to remind you to always keep your eyes on the positive things in life and not the mistakes that you may have made.

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One day a school teacher wrote the following math equations on the blackboard;

9×1=7

9×2=18

9×3=27

9×4=36

9×5=45

9×6=54

9×7=63

9×8=72

9×9=81

9×10=90

When he was done, he looked at the students who were all laughing at him, because the first equation was wrong. The teacher then said the following….”I wrote that first equation wrong on purpose because I wanted you to learn something important. This was for you to know how the world out there will treat you. You can see that I wrote the correct equations 9 times correctly but none of you congratulated me for it; you all laughed and criticized me because of the one wrong thing that I did. So this is the lesson…”

“The world will never appreciate the good you do a million times, but will criticize you for the one wrong thing that you do…don’t get discouraged.”

“ALWAYS RISE ABOVE THE LAUGHTER AND CRITICISM…STAY STRONG!.”

When Angels Speak

Photo Credit: Istolethetv via CC Flickr
Photo Credit: Istolethetv via CC Flickr

There is something very special and unique when kind words are spoken to people who are struggling and dealing with hard times…but none more treasured, when they are spoken from an angel. The kinds of angel that I am talking about aren’t the kind that you may be thinking…the celestial, heavenly beings that thousands of stories and books have been written and told about. The variety of angels that I am referring to is the sweet, innocent creatures that we know as children. It truly is an amazing and heartwarming thing to observe the things and actions that a child may do to another person to encourage and help them.

 Children usually say and do things in such open and honest ways…more than most adults would do. Sometimes, I think that children have the wonderful ability to see others and the world in which they live, in ways that we adults struggle to see.

 Today’s story comes from a friend of mine who wrote the following story about her little son. I found it so heartwarming and delightful; I thought that it would be something that would be a good thing to share with you.

 I hope that this story will remind you of the wonder and magic words of the “angels.”

“I took the kids to Walmart this afternoon and while we were there, we passed an elderly couple in the aisle. Instead of walking past them, Michael stops and looks at the woman in the wheelchair and says, “Hi! I’m Michael. What’s your name?”. The woman smiled and said her name was Molly, We stood there for a few minutes longer while Michael and Molly talked, before I told him it was time to say good-bye. He very gently touched his fingers to the woman’s cheek, looked her in the eyes and said, “Molly, you’re my friend.”

It was one of those moments that I just don’t have the words for. The couple seemed genuinely touched by the whole thing and Michael left with the biggest smile on his face. This isn’t the first time he’s done something like this and I’m sure it won’t be the last, but it always catches me off guard. He has such a gentle and compassionate spirit, and always seems to know exactly when someone needs that small act of kindness.

Watching him, it reminds me to slow down, step out of my comfort zone, and look for those small ways to show love to someone. You may never know what that smile or small gesture means to someone else.”

There’s A Mouse in the House!!

micolo-j Flickr
Photo Credit: Micolo-j via CC Flickr

This is a re-post of an article that I posted way back when I first began my “Good Time Stories” page. It is one of my favorite little stories. I hope you like it as much as I do!!


There are many people in today’s world that want nothing to do with helping other people. Their thought is, “why should I go out of my way to help them with the problem that they are facing? It has nothing to do with me.” Well, sometimes this decision can come back to affect them. The story today clearly illustrates why, sometimes, we should go out of our way to help others.

A mouse looked through the crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife open a package. What food might this contain? The mouse wondered – he was devastated to discover it was a mousetrap. Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed the warning: There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!

The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said, “Mr.Mouse, I can tell this is a grave concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me.”” I cannot be bothered by it.”

The mouse turned to the pig and told him, “There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!” The pig sympathized, but said, I am so very sorry, Mr. Mouse, but there is nothing I can do about it but pray. “Be assured you are in my prayers.”

The mouse turned to the cow and said “There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!” The cow said, “Wow, Mr. Mouse. I’m sorry for you, but it’s no skin off my nose.”

So, the mouse returned to the house, head down and dejected, to face the farmer’s mousetrap alone.

That very night a sound was heard throughout the house — like the sound of a mousetrap catching its prey. The farmer’s wife rushed to see what was caught. In the darkness, she did not see it was a venomous snake whose tail the trap had caught. The snake bit the farmer’s wife. The farmer rushed her to the hospital, and she returned home with a fever. Everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken soup, so the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup’s main ingredient.

But his wife’s sickness continued, so friends and neighbors came to sit with her around the clock. To feed them, the farmer butchered the pig.
The farmer’s wife did not get well; she died. So many people came for her funeral, the farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide enough meat for all of them.
The mouse looked upon it all from his crack in the wall with great sadness.

So, the next time you hear someone is facing a problem and think it doesn’t concern you, remember…..the mouse in the house.

Pictures That Speak Volumes #72

smile_3
Photo Credit: Nedhardy.com

There is nothing that is more beautiful than watching a person give the go out of their way to show their thoughtfulness and compassion for others.

The precious picture above, shows us this kind of positive love and concern for a friend. Imagine if each person in the world had this same kind of love and concern for their fellow human being.

Make it a point each day to find something to help others…you will find that you might feel blessed in a way that yo might have never imagined!  🙂

Changing the World Through Kindness

Photo Credit: Troth God of Knowledge via CC Flickr
Photo Credit: Troth God of Knowledge via CC Flickr

One of my favorite TV shows that I used to enjoy watching when I was a kid, was about this friendly, caring and compassionate man who loved to share the good things in life and his positive personal thoughts with us kids…Mr. Fred Rogers, host of “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood”.

He always had this kind and gentle way of explaining the important and every-day-things of life in entertaining and educational ways. I used to think that it must have been really a cool thing to live in a neighborhood like that. Unfortunately, or course, the neighborhood wasn’t real and “life” was a lot harder and different from the way it was portrayed. 

The one thing that I learned the most from watching most of his shows, something that I still try to do every day…even now…is to show kindness and compassion to other people…especially individuals that were less fortunate than me.

One of the best examples that I ever saw of the great, beautiful kindness of Mr. Roger’s was the following video clip of Mr. Rogers and a little crippled boy in his wheelchair named Jeff Erlanger in 1981. The result of this interview and the way Fred Roger’s spoke and treated Jeff during this time, changed Jeff’s life forever.

Twenty years later, Fred Rogers was nominated to the TV Hall of Fame. During the H.O.F dinner something magical and beautiful happened…which you will see in this video.

It WILL touch your heart and hopefully, illustrate to you the fantastic power of showing kindness and compassion to others…just be sure to have a box of tissues with you…you’ll need them 🙂

How can YOU change YOUR world through kindness?

The Beautiful Side of Sports

Photo Credit: Paul L. Dineen via CC Flickr
Photo Credit: Paul L. Dineen via CC Flickr

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ God forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:32

It was once said that sports and the competition that is found in each athletic contest is much like life…every emotion that you find in sport competition are the same ones that you find in everyday life. Joy, happiness, fulfillment, discipline, hard work, endurance, perseverance, anger, frustration and sportsmanship…just to name a few.

In today’s blog, I would like to share a video of a great story that shows us the beautiful side of sports. Sportsmanship and the belief of having a mind set of helping others, despite when things do not go our way, it a tremendous attribute to possess. It is my hope that you will be inspired by today’s video.

Flowers for Grandma

Photo Credit: Heidi B. Whitehead
Photo Credit: Heidi B. Whitehead

There is nothing more precious in the world than children making things for their grandparents then giving their treasure to them with faces covered with joy, excitement, and love. Today’s photo, sent from a friend of mine living in Texas, is a great example of this moment.

The Little Boy and the Old Man

Todd Baker
Photo Credit: Todd Baker via CC Flickr

Time. Time is a funny thing. Sometimes it can seem to crawl and last forever. There are other times in life that time can pass by in a blink of an eye. 

Many of us can think back to our childhood or when we became teenagers and smile, remembering the times that we might have done something goofy, silly, or immature. Or maybe you remember the instances that you used to day-dream, thinking of the day when you would grow up and “be big” like your mom or dad…or maybe your brother or sister.

Today, most of us are adults. We are busy with our everyday lives with jobs, family, sports, etc. How often do we spend so much time on ourselves and what we do, that we forget about important people in our lives..the younger and older individuals?

As time marches on throughout our lives, we need to remember that as much as we were cared for and loved when we were younger, it is important that we never forget that older people also need to feel loved, needed and cared for.

The following little story / poem by author and poet Shel Silverstein, is a beautiful illustration of a relationship between a boy and an old man that should be a good reminder to us that we should always have a heart of compassion for not only a young person but also for those who are older.


The Little Boy and Old Man

Said the little boy, Sometimes I drop my spoon.

Said the little old man, I do that too.

The little boy whispered, I wet my pants.

I do too, laughed the old man.

Said the little boy, I often cry.

The old man nodded. So do I.

But worst of all, said the little boy,

It seems Grown-ups don’t pay attention to me.

And he felt the warmth of a wrinkled old hand.

I know what you mean, said the little old man.

~ Shel Silverstein

Pictures That Speak Volumes #59

Photo Credit: Unknown
Photo Credit: Unknown

This picture, once again, shows us the goodness and kindness that people show to others!

The Wisdom of Mother Teresa

Photo Credit: Peta_de_Aztian via CC Flickr
Photo Credit: Peta_de_Aztian via CC Flickr

How often each day do you really think about helping people that you meet or spend time with each day? Or is your primary focus primarily in determining how much you receive from others? Today’s short story, in which read on kluth.org, is about one of the most humble and caring people that the world has ever known…Mother Teresa.

Mother Teresa visited Australia. A new recruit to the monastery in Australia was assigned to be her guide and “gofer” during her stay. The young man was so thrilled and excited at the prospect of being so close to this woman. He dreamed of how much he would learn from her and what they would talk about.

But during her visit, he became frustrated. Although he was constantly near her, he never had the opportunity to say one word to Mother Teresa. There were always other people for her to meet. Finally, her tour was over, and she was due to fly to New Guinea.

In desperation, the friar had his opportunity to speak to Mother Teresa. He said to her, “If I pay my own fare to New Guinea, can I sit next to you on the plane so I can talk to you and learn from you?” Mother Teresa looked at him. “You have enough money to pay airfare to New Guinea?” she asked. “Oh, yes,” he replied eagerly. “Then give that money to the poor,” she said. “You’ll learn more from that than anything I can tell you.”

The situation here was that this young man wanted to encounter an experience of a feeling when instead; all he needed to do was to simply learn a lesson for life simply by doing things for others.

Finding Happiness in Today’s World

Photo Credit: Leland Francisco via CC Flickr
Photo Credit: Leland Francisco via CC Flickr

Unfortunately, it seems that thoughts and feelings of people around the world are getting worse and more negative every day. People appear to be more rushed, stressed and self absorbed in their everyday lives more than ever.

Have you ever noticed that the more people focus their lives on themselves, the more miserable they generally become? Their main goal is to FET as many things as they can. Meanwhile, the happiest and most content people are usually the individuals that GIVE to others.

Today’s short story is a tremendous illustration of how each one of us can find a secret to finding the goodness and happiness in life.

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A holy man was having a conversation with the Lord one day and said. “Lord, I would like to know what Heaven and Hell are like.

The Lord led the holy man to two doors.

He opened one of the doors and the holy man looked in. In the middle of the room was a large round table. In the middle of the table was a large pot of stew, which smelled delicious and made the holy man’s mouth water. The people sitting around the table were thin and sickly. They appeared to be famished. They were holding spoons with very long handles that were strapped to their arms and each found it possible to reach into the pot of stew and take a spoonful.

But because the handle was longer than their arms, they could not get the spoons back into their mouths. The holy man shuddered at the sight of their misery and suffering.

The Lord said, “You have seen Hell.

They went to the next room and opened the door. It was exactly the same as the first one. There was the large round table with the large pot of stew which made the holy man’s mouth water. The people were equipped with the same long-handled spoons, but here the people were well nourished and plump, laughing and talking.

The holy man said, “I don’t understand.”

“It is simple,” said the Lord. “It requires but one skill. You see they have learned the secret to happiness….. feed one another.”

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Source: gatewaytojesus.com

The Little Angel

Photo Credit: Suvodeb Banerjee via CC Flickr
Photo Credit: Suvodeb Banerjee via CC Flickr

There are times in our lives when we all get depressed, down on ourselves, and wonder why we were put into a situation that may seem so unfair or cruel. I recently came across the following short story written by Helen Down on Life if Hope that is a terrific reminder why we shouldn’t focus on the negative things that happen in our lives but to use them to help others that may be experiencing the circumstance as you did.

He looked in the mirror, repelled by the sight of what he saw, a constant reminder of his last fire-fight. ‘Though he’d rescued a man, a dog, and a boy, his fame as a “hero” brought him little joy. His wife had now left him for a more handsome man. She crushed his soul when she said, “Care of an invalid was not in my plan.”

As he stood there bemoaning his unhappy state, he was filled with self-pity, with anger and hate. His dreams for the future now turned upside down, he limped to the park with a deep frown on his face. He decided to give his mind some relief, so he sat down and started to read. As he read, he paid little attention to the movement that began around him.

Then out from a group of some children at play, a ragged young girl approached, her head turned away. Standing close to his side, and her eyes to the ground, she stretched out her arm and said, “Look what I found!” She held in her hand what looked like a weed, all wilted and brown, its flower gone to seed.

The man growled in answer, “Just leave me alone. Get on with your playing, or run along home.”

But the child was undaunted. “I picked these for you. They’re awfully pretty, and I think you are, too.”

The man was annoyed, for her eyes seemed to shift. He pushed her aside, refusing her gift. He thought that she mocked him, as others had done–the object of ridicule, the target for “fun”.

And then something happened. God opened his mind. A new look he took: the wee girl was blind! He reached out and touched her. He patted her head; then accepted her flowers, although they looked dead.

His anger and hatred had started their melt. God’s love, through this child, he knew he had felt. The man turned to thank her, but she wasn’t there. She seemed to have vanished into the noon air. Although day after day to the park the man came, he never did see his small angel again.

But the child had awakened in him a desire to start a new life, to forget that last fire. He went to the hospital, where once he had been. He stood there and stared at familiar scenes. He watched the burn patients in their therapy. In some he saw anger, in some, agony. Remembering so vividly the pain he’d endured, he knew that the “inside” was the hardest to cure. From that moment on, he knew what he’d do. He’d help these folks heal. And his soul would heal, too.

Start to help others and heal your soul…today!

The Garbage Truck Principle

Photo Credit: P. Gordon via CC Flickr
Photo Credit: P. Gordon via CC Flickr

There are many kinds of people that we come in contact with each day. Some people have encouraging, positive, and happy personalities, some have quiet and soothing behaviors, while still others, have just plain mean, nasty, and miserable people.

Personally, I am the kind of person that enjoys helping, encouraging, and uplifting others.  Nothing “makes my day” more than making someone smile or going out of my way to hold a door open for someone, cutting someone’s lawn, or, believe it or not, pay for an anonymous person’s meal or their food at the check out line in a supermarket. Why? Because it makes me happy…it brings me joy…it’s the strength of what I do.

You may be wondering why I am revealing these thoughts with you. The reason is simple…I would like to share a principle, a theory with you that I once heard, that affected the way that I react when certain people “lose their cool.” It’s called the “Garbage Truck Principle.”

The “Garbage Truck Principle” goes something like this… there are some people in today’s world that are like Garbage Trucks. They are filled with all kinds of “garbage”, anger, resentment, rage, hatred and other poisonous feelings. They fill themselves with all kinds of trash until they can’t take any more. The result? They look for something or someone to dump their trash onto. These individuals “explode” by yelling, screaming, shouting, or displaying hurtful actions towards others.

There are a couple of ways to deal with the “Garbage Trucks” which will help us stay positive and prevent them from robbing us of the joy we have. First, don’t allow these negative people to dump the trash on you. When you meet a person that is filled with these poisonous emotions, avoid them. Don’t react to them by what you say or do…just ignore them and move on. Remember, they are looking for a place to dump their trash. Second, be mentally strong. Make up and prepare your mind in advance when you do come across a Garbage Truck, you will not allow them to steal your joy. You will not allow them to take control of your actions or emotions. You have better things to do with your life than to waste it on these people. Remember, you are not a garbage dump. You are special, one-of-a-kind person, that was put on this earth to be an encouragement and help towards others.

Lastly, don’t become a garbage truck! Don’t allow the negative experiences and hurtful things in life make you bitter, angry, and resentful. Turn your negative thoughts into positive ones. Instead of seeing what people can do for you…change your thinking…”what can I DO for others?” You will find your life will be more fulfilling and meaningful.

Remember…Don’t Be A Garbage Truck!!

Defeating Despair: The Power of Encouragement

Photo Credit: Jessiee Cuizon via CC Flickr
Photo Credit: Jessiee Cuizon via CC Flickr

There is nothing worse in the world today than a person who has lost their vision, desire and hope to fulfill their dreams. Negative comments, hurtful words, and discouraging actions, can all lead an individual to having a disheartening sense of doom and despair. If left in this state for lengths of time, it can cause un-needed levels of distress and deep scars that can last, sometimes, for a lifetime.

So, what is something that can counteract despair? What can people do to help someone that is struggling with their life…or better yet, what can they do to prevent someone else from facing despair? Through Encouragement. It was once said that for every 1 negative comment a person said to another individual…it takes 7 positive comments or actions to counter. Sometimes, just giving people simple words of encouragement or a nod of satisfaction can do wonders to a person’s self-confidence. There are many, many times, that all a person really needs is a hug or that human touch. I previously posted a story called “The Power of A Human Touch” that you can check out here.

What I decided to do in today’s blog was to post three separate stories of encouragement which show the true power of a positive word or action. It is my hope that these short stories will, in some way, touch your heart in a helpful way.

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It wasn’t like Scott Kregel to give up. He was a battler, a dedicated athlete who spent hour after hour perfecting his free throws and jump shots during the hot summer months of 1987. But just before fall practice everything changed. A serious car accident left Scott in a coma for several days.

When he awoke, a long rehabilitation process lay ahead. Like most patients with closed head injuries, Scott balked at doing the slow, tedious work that was required to get him back to normal — things such as stringing beads. What high school junior would enjoy that?

Tom Martin, Scott’s basketball coach at the Christian school he attended, had an idea. Coach Martin told Scott that he would reserve a spot on the varsity for him — if he would cooperate with his therapist and show progress in the tasks he was asked to do. And Tom’s wife Cindy spent many hours with Scott, encouraging him to keep going.

Within 2 months, Scott was riding off the basketball court on his teammates’ shoulders. He had made nine straight free throws to clinch a triple-overtime league victory.

It was a remarkable testimony of the power of encouragement.

~ Readers Digest

Photo Credit: Celestine Chua vis CC FLickr
Photo Credit: Celestine Chua vis CC FLickr

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Jean Nidetch, a 214 pound homemaker desperate to lose weight, went to the New York City Department of Health, where she was given a diet devised by Dr. Norman Jolliffe.

Two months later, discouraged about the 50 plus pounds still to go, she invited six overweight friends home to share the diet and talk about how to stay on it.

Today, 28 years later, one million members attend 250,000 Weight Watchers meetings in 24 countries every week.

Why was Nidetch able to help people take control of their lives?

To answer that, she tells a story.

When she was a teen-ager, she used to cross a park where she saw mothers gossiping while the toddlers sat on their swings, with no one to push them. “I’d give them a push,” says Nidetch. “And you know what happens when you push a kid on a swing? Pretty soon he’s pumping, doing it himself. That’s what my role in life is–I’m there to give others a push.”

Irene Sax in Newsday.

Photo Credit: Celestine Chua vis CC Flickr
Photo Credit: Celestine Chua vis CC Flickr

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Edward Steichen, who eventually became one of the world’s most renowned photographers, almost gave up on the day he shot his first pictures.

At 16, young Steichen bought a camera and took 50 photos. Only one turned out — a portrait of his sister at the piano. Edward’s father thought that was a poor showing. But his mother insisted that the photograph of his sister was so beautiful that it more than compensated for 49 failures.

Her encouragement convinced the youngster to stick with his new hobby. He stayed with it for the rest of his life, but it had been a close call.

What tipped the scales?

The vision to spot excellence in the midst of a lot of failure.

Bits & Pieces, February 4, 1993, pp. 4-5.

Photo Credit: Celestine Chua vis CC Flickr
Photo Credit: Celestine Chua vis CC Flickr

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Words of Regret: The Sandpiper

Gerry via CC Flickr
Gerry via CC Flickr

A day or so ago, I read the following story, written by Robert Peterson, who was the man mentioned in this story. It reminded me of how often we are so wrapped up the trials, troubles, or business of our everyday lives…that sometimes we don’t take the time to stop and really enjoy our life. We forget that other people might be dealing with their own hardships and we become careless with the words and actions towards them.

It is my hope that this story will touch your heart and remind you to take time to enjoy the life that you have and try to find uplifting and positive words that may help a person in need.

She was six years old when I first met her on the beach near where I live. I drive to this beach, a distance of three or four miles, whenever the world begins to close in on me. She was building a sand castle or something and looked up, her eyes as blue as the sea.

“Hello,” she said. I answered with a nod, not really in the mood to bother with a small child.

“I’m building,” she said.

“I see that. What is it?” I asked, not really caring.

“Oh, I don’t know, I just like the feel of sand.”

That sounds good, I thought, and slipped off my shoes. A sandpiper glided by.

“That’s a joy,” the child said.

“It’s a what?” I asked.

“It’s a joy, my mama says sandpipers come to bring us joy.” The bird went gliding down the beach.

“Good-bye joy,” I muttered to myself, “hello pain,” and turned to walk on. I was depressed; my life seemed completely out of balance.

“What’s your name?” She wouldn’t give up.

“Robert,” I answered. “I’m Robert Peterson.”

“Mine’s Wendy….I’m six.”

“Hi, Wendy.”

She giggled. “You’re funny,” she said. In spite of my gloom, I laughed too and walked on. Her musical giggle followed me.

“Come again, Mr. P,” she called. “We’ll have another happy day.”

The days and weeks that followed belonged to others; a group of unruly Boy Scouts, PTA meetings, and an ailing mother.

The sun was shining one morning as I took my hands out of the dishwater. “I need a sandpiper,” I said to myself, gathering up my coat. The ever-changing balm of the seashore awaited me. The breeze was chilly, but I strode along, trying to recapture the serenity I needed. I had forgotten the child and was startled when she appeared.

“Hello, Mr. P,” she said. “Do you want to play?”

“What did you have in mind?” I asked, with a twinge of annoyance.

“I don’t know, you say.”

“How about charades?” I asked sarcastically.

Her tinkling laughter burst forth again. “I don’t know what that is.”

“Then let’s just walk,” I said. Looking at her, I noticed the delicate fairness of her face. “Where do you live?” I asked.

“Over there.” She pointed toward a row of summer cottages. Strange, I thought, in winter.

“Where do you go to school?”

“I don’t go to school. Mommy says we’re on vacation.” She chattered little girl talk as we strolled up the beach, but my mind was on other things.

When I left for home, Wendy said it had been a happy day. Feeling surprisingly better, I smiled at her and agreed. Three weeks later, I rushed to the beach in a state of near panic. I was in no mood to even greet Wendy. I thought I saw her mother on the porch and felt like demanding she keep her child at home.

“Look, if you don’t mind,” I said crossly when Wendy caught up with me, “I’d rather be alone today.”

She seemed unusually pale and out of breath. “Why?” she asked.

I turned to her and shouted, “Because my mother died!” and thought, “My God, why was I saying this to a little child?”

“Oh,” she said quietly, “then this is a bad day.”

“Yes,” I said, “and yesterday and the day before and – oh, go away!”

“Did it hurt?” she inquired

“Did what hurt?” I was exasperated with her, with myself.

“When she died?” she asked.

“Of course it hurt!” I snapped, misunderstand, wrapped up in myself. I strode off.

A month or so after that, when I next went to the beach, she wasn’t there. Feeling guilty, ashamed and admitting to myself I missed her, I went up to the cottage after my walk and knocked at the door. A drawn looking young woman with honey-colored hair opened the door.

“Hello,” I said. “I’m Robert Peterson. I missed your little girl today and wondered where she was.”

“Oh, yes, Mr. Peterson, please come in. Wendy spoke of you so much. I’m afraid I allowed her to bother you. If she was a nuisance, please, accept my apologies.”

“Not at all-she’s a delightful child,” I said, suddenly realizing that I meant what I had just said.

“Wendy died last week, Mr. Peterson. She had leukemia. Maybe she didn’t tell you.”

Struck dumb, I groped for a chair. I had to catch my breath.

“She loved this beach; so when she asked to come, we couldn’t say no. She seemed so much better here and had a lot of what she called “happy days. But the last few weeks, she declined rapidly…” Her voice faltered.

“She left something for you…if only I can find it. Could you wait a moment while I look?” I nodded stupidly, my mind racing for something to say to this lovely young woman.

She handed me a smeared envelope with “Mr. P” printed in bold, childish letters. Inside was a drawing in bright crayon hues – a yellow beach, a blue sea, and a brown bird. Underneath was carefully printed: A SANDPIPER TO BRING YOU JOY.

Tears welled up in my eyes and a heart that had almost forgotten how to love opened wide. I took Wendy’s mother in my arms. “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry.” I muttered over and over, and we wept together.

The precious little picture is framed now and hangs in my study. Six words – one for each year of her life – that speak to me of harmony, courage, and undemanding love. A gift from a child with sea-blue eyes and hair the color of sand – who taught me the gift of love.

NOTE:
This is a true story sent out by Robert Peterson. It serves as a reminder to all of us that we need to take time to enjoy life, living, and each other.

“The price of hating other human beings is loving oneself less.” Life is so complicated, the hustle and bustle of everyday traumas can make us lose focus about what is truly important and what is only a momentary setback or crisis. Today, tomorrow, be sure to give your loved ones an extra hug, and by all means, take a moment….even if it is only ten seconds, to stop and smell the roses

Pictures That Speak Volumes #54

Power of Words

This is a picture that demonstrates the true power of words by a photographer that visited this Central American country. Imagine the effect that we can have on others when we find just one positive thing to say about them!!

So…You Think You Know People?

Photo Credit: Darren Johnson via CC Flickr
Photo Credit: Darren Johnson via CC Flickr

Sometimes in life…you THINK you know what other are people are like…you think that you understand how other people feel and the struggles that they deal with. But do you REALLY know them?

Consider this:

The “gay boy” you punched in the hall today…committed suicide a few minutes ago. Remember that girl that you called a “slut” today in class? She’s a virgin. How about that boy that you called lame? He has to work every night to support his family. What about the girl that you pushed down yesterday because she was too slow and annoying? She’s being abused at home. Remember that girl that you called fat? She is slowly killing herself by starving herself. How about that old man that you made fun of because of the ugly scars that he has on his face? He fought for our country. What about the boy you laughed at because he was always crying? His mother is dying.

You think you know people? Chances are very good that you don’t. Be careful of your words and the judgments that you make towards others.  Your tongue is one of the most powerful weapons in the world…it can tear down someone and slice them to ribbons or it build them up and encourage them with one simple, kind word.

The choice is yours.

 

The Love Monster

Photo Credit: Ingrid Taylar via CC Flickr
Photo Credit: Ingrid Taylar via CC Flickr

There are many times throughout of lives that we can lose focus on the most important things in our lives and direct our attention on things that may seem more important. It was once said that the most important things in life aren’t seen…the following story is a heartwarming illustration of this idea.

A few summers’s ago, a man decided to take his wife and his precious little 5 year old daughter, along with him on a business trip to an exotic land. He had been searching for a job for many months and plans were made to meet an executive of a very well-known company for a job interview. The future looked promising, for the possibility of receiving an offer from the company would give the man and his family financial security for a long time.

The little family arrived at their destination and to their surprise, the hotel in which they were going to stay was on a very beautiful beach…even more delightful and exquisite than they ever imagined.

They quickly changed into their bathing suits, gathered their beach chairs, towels, blankets and umbrella and made their way to the turquoise sea as fast as they could. For the rest of the day, they all laughed and enjoyed themselves splashing in the water, swimming, body surfing and making sandcastles…what a glorious day it was!!!

The next morning, while his family was still sleeping, the man went down to the outdoor café to meet the business executive for the big meeting. Excited and anxious, the father met the company rep and they soon began their discussion….

A short time later, in the hotel, after eating their breakfast, the mother and little girl got ready for another visit to the white sandy beach.

After playing in the water and sand for a while, the little girl told her mom that she needed to use the bathroom.  She told her mom that she knew where it was and that she would come right back.

On the way to the restroom, the little girl noticed a big chain-linked fence that had a big sign on it with a picture. It was a picture of a black skull and cross bones with a red circle with a line through it covering the images. On the other side of the fence was a beautiful green pond. She had never seen water so green and it was covered with green stuff which looked like clovers.

“Aren’t four leave clovers lucky?” she thought to herself. “I am going to climb that fence, swim around in that stuff and cover myself from head to toe with that green goop.”

Once over the fence and immersing herself in the slimy liquid, she covered herself from head to toe with the green stuff. She grabbed handfuls of the matter and stuffed it into her bathing suit. “Wow! This is fun!” she thought. “I am now the luckiest girl in the whole world!”

Then suddenly, with a smile growing on her little face…she had an awesome plan!

Meanwhile, at the beach, the little girl’s mother noticed that her daughter had been gone for much too long, got worried, left the beach and started frantically looking for her. Her fear mounted and grew each minute as everywhere she looked, her daughter just couldn’t be found. No one had seen her anywhere.

Suddenly, she heard a scream as she saw her little girl land on the ground in front of the fence of the contaminated pond. The girl got up screaming and made an unusual, creepy sound that touched the deepest part of the mother’s heart. As the mother yelled the girl’s name, the little child seemingly ignored her mom’s calls and started running as fast as she could to the hotel’s eating area.

At the café, things were really starting to look very promising for the father. The discussions with the business executive had gone very well and with excitement and expectations growing, his anticipation of finally landing the big job was beyond belief.

All of a sudden, from behind him, he heard his wife calling his little girl’s name in a frightened voice and his daughter’s terrifying screams and growls approaching him. The look on the executive’s face was that of horror and unbelief as he watched the rapidly approaching creature come up to the father from behind.

 

Stunned and turning around in his chair the green creature instantly attacked the father, gave him a bone-crushing hug, instantly splattering the green slime all over the executive’s Taylor-made suit. The little gremlin started covering him with kisses, and said over and over again, “I love you! I love you! I love you!” “I AM THE LOVE MONSTER!”

The infuriated business executive snarled at the little girl “Alright! That’s enough! Your time is over!” Then he barked at the dad, “tell your daughter that her time is over and to leave us alone!!!”

With all of the love and compassion that a father could ever have in his heart, he smiled down at his dear little Love Monster, scooped her up in his arms, then said to the executive…I am sorry sir, but YOUR TIME IS OVER.

And with that, while carrying his beautiful little daughter, took his wife’s hand, and walked away…the happiest man in the world.

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What are your priorities? What are the important things to you? What are the “things” that make you REALLY happy? The choice is yours!

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Author: Rich Muller

Pictures That Speak Volumes #47

Photo Credit: Unknown
Photo Credit: Unknown

There is always something beautiful when people work together to help give an unfortunate individual an experience of a lifetime!

A Poem for Grandma

Photo Credit: State Library of Victoria Collection via CC Flickr
Photo Credit: State Library of Victoria Collection via CC Flickr

When I was growing up, my grandma was like my second mom. She was always at home when my brother and I got home from school. She told us stories, taught us things from the Bible, sang with us, laughed with us, corrected us, made us help her in her garden and loved us in so many ways…that I can’t even count them.

I found this short poem the other day that made me think of my dear grandma that passed away so lone ago. But the time that I shared with her and the memories that I have will always be in my heart. I love you granny…

Her arms are always open

To welcome all with love

Her smile is brighter than the stars

That Sparkle high above

 

She listens without judgement

She takes the time to share

God bless this dear Grandma

And hole her in Your care

A Cranky Old Man

born 2 B mildWhen an old man died in a nursing home, nurses found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed them, it was spread throughout the nursing home and afar. The old man’s sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas editions of magazines around the country and appearing in magazines for Mental Health. A slide presentation has also been made based on his poem. And this old man, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the author of this ‘anonymous’ poem winging across the Internet.

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Cranky Old Man

What do you see nurses?

What do you see?

What are you thinking…

When you are looking at me?

 

A cranky old man,

Not very wise,

Uncertain of habit

With faraway eyes?

 

Who dribbles his food

And makes no reply.

When you say in a loud voice…

“I do wish you’d try!”

 

Who seems not to notice…

The tings that you do.

And forever is losing…

A sock or a shoe?

 

Who, resting or not…

Let’s you do as you will,

While bathing and feeding…

The long day to fill?

 

Is that what you’re thinking?

Is that what you see?

Then open your eyes, nurse…

You’re not looking at me.

 

I’ll tell you who I am…

As I sit here so still,

As I do all your bidding,

As I eat your will.

 

I’m a small child of Ten…

With a father and mother,

Brothers and sisters…

Who love one another.

 

A young boy of sixteen…

With wings on his feet,

Dreaming that soon now…

A lover he’ll meet.

 

A groom at twenty…

My heart gives a leap.

Remembering, the vows…

That I promised to keep.

 

At twenty-five, now…

I have young of my own.

Who need me to guide…

And a secure happy home.

 

A man of thirty…

My young now grown fast,

Bound to each other…

With ties that will last.

 

At forty, my young sons…

Have grown and are gone,

But my woman is beside me….

To see I don’t mourn.

 

At fifty, once more,

Babies play ‘round my knee,

Again, we know children…

My  loved one and me.

 

Dark days are upon me…

My wife is now dead.

I look to the future…

I shudder with dread.

 

For my young are all rearing…

Young of their own.

And I think of the years…

And the love that I’ve known.

 

I’m now an old man…

And nature is cruel.

It’s jest to make old age…

Look like a fool.

 

The body, it crumbles…

Grace and vigor, depart.

There is now a stone…

Where I once had a heart.

 

But inside this old carcass…

A young man still dwells,

And now and again…

My battered heart swells.

 

I remember the joys…

I remember the pain.

And I’m loving and living…

Life over again.

 

I think of the years,

All too few…gone too fast.

And accept the stark fact…

That nothing can last.

 

So open your eyes, people…

Open and see.

Not a cranky old man…

Look closer…see…ME!

—————

Remember this poem when you meet an older person who you might brush aside without looking at the soul within. Remember, we will all, one day, be there, too!