The REAL You!

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Has someone or a certain circumstance ever affected you in such a negative way, that you decided to alter the “REAL YOU” to match the actions of your adversary? Well, today’s short story is a great illustration and reminder that we should always stay true ourselves, maintain our core principles, and remain the people that we really are.

A man saw a snake being burned to death and decided to take it out of the fire. When he did, the snake bit him causing excruciating pain.the man dropped the snake, and it fell back into the fire.

So, the man grabbed a metal pole, took the snake out of the fire, and saved its life.

Someone who was watching approached the man and said, “That snake bit you. Why are you still trying to save it?” the man replied, “The nature of the snake is to bite, but that’s not going to change my nature, which is to help.”

Do not change your nature simply because someone tries to hurt you or does you wrong. Do not lose your good heart and take care to control your emotions so when the time comes, you can let your kindness shine!

Wise Words of Wisdom: “Things I Have Learned”

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There is an old saying that says, “Blessed are those who find wisdom and who gain understanding.” Wisdom is a good thing and arguably, one of the most essential characteristics that a person can possess. A person that wants to be truly wise, needs to learn from their mistakes, try new things, listen to advice, take to heart what older people tell us, and by putting your knowledge to the test.

Today’s blog is unique. I asked people from all walks of life to share “What they have learned” during their life. The following “nuggets of truth” are a great compilation of knowledge and wisdom…just for you!!!

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“My Grandma told me when I was 7 years old….”Don’t let nobody or nothing turn you into somebody you ain’t!” And… although it wasn’t until years later when I realized what she was saying, I now know how important that lesson is. If you could be successful following that one piece of advice, imagine how amazing life would be…And this from a woman who came to America from Lithuania at 6 years old with only 2 potatoes in her pocket….who only received a 6th grade education before working in a shirt factory.” ~ Matt S.

“I have learned to take a pause before saying what is on my mind. When I was younger, I would just open my mouth and just say whatever was on my mind. It was not always in my best interest. So, I have learned to use my filter.” ~ Kim R.H.

“The Dallas Cowboys suck.” ~ Luke K.

“Time goes entirely too fast. Make sure to take the time to enjoy the moments in your life. Especially those with your family and friends. Nobody says on their death bed – I wish I could do more work.” – Chris B.

“Have faith today because tomorrow is not a promise. Love your kids unconditionally.” ~ Sheila H.G.

“Try not to judge others by their worst moments, because if judged by the worst things we have said, thought, or done, none of us would fare well.” ~ Abram P.

“God is the only one who will be there — especially in desperate times. He is all sufficient.” ~ Nancy T. P.

“That Jesus is the way to the Father.” ~ Tammy K.I.

“That Christ died for my sins according to the scriptures, he was buried and rose again on the third day, according to the scriptures.” ~ Ruthie F.

“Get over it, let it go and move on.” ~ Mike W.

“People make mistakes. Love them and forgive the and pray they do the same for you.” ~ Heidi W.M.

“Only you can make yourself happy.” ~ Marcia Jones

“Focus on the goodness in people and more good will be revealed (Phil 4:8)” ~ Didi S.C.

‘Life has a purpose; the purpose is the Process; the Process is the Product.” ~ Clanton1934

“I learnt empathy. Empathy for people suffering from pain. I experienced pain and learnt to feel others pain ;-)” ~ Garfield Hug

“Listen! Yourself, nature, others…Listening should come before talking…” ~ Beth

“Most important: God loves me! Second most important: The only things I can control are my own behavior and attitude :)” ~ Lynn

“Choose your friends wisely so you don’t get lonely. That’s the most important thing in life.” ~ Adrian B.

“God is in control…most things are out of my control.” ~ Kerby

“God is good. Jesus loves me. His Word is true.” ~ VirtuousGirs

“You be you. Life is way too short to try to make others happy.” ~ Simplywendi

“Listen. When someone is speaking, let them finish. When impatient for something to happen, listen for God’s guidance and prompting. If it doesn’t happen right away, wait. Keep moving with life.” ~ ekurie

“As I get older, I don’t care about what other people think of me, it doesn’t affect my identity one bit! What a relief!” ~ cactusflower18

“Trust your gut. Of course, you have to recognize the feeling – the younger, the better.” ~ Vanessa Dawne

“Within love, all things exist.” ~ oldmainer

“Life is short! Live it truly!” ~ popsiclesociety

“I am a lot. I am definitely too much for some people. Those aren’t my people.” ~ Valerie S

“I’ve learned that calories actually do count!” ~ Nancy C.

“I am stronger than I think.” ~ Sharon A.

“And be kind before being correct.” ~ ekurie

“It is better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.” ~ Stacy K.

“It is ok to fail.” ~ Liz T.

“Make friends as a child, in your teens, in college – especially with the people you naturally seem to avoid. They end up being the most interesting and enjoyable people later in life.” ~ Barbara K.

“Nerds make the best spouses.” ~ Barbara K.

“Learning doesn’t stop after you graduate.” ~ Elizabeth C.

“Stop feeling bad for outgrowing people who had the chance to grow with you.” ~ Nancy C.L.

How I feel or act depends upon my relationship with Christ. ~ Nancy C.L.

“Being alone is a life skill.” ~ Jessica E.

“I’ve learned that those desolate valley times…take you to amazing mountain times.” ~ Michelle G.

“Let food be thy medicine!” ~ Jane P.

“To give selflessly.” ~ Jenn H.

“We judge ourselves by our intentions. Reality judges us by our behavior.” ~ Ryan R.

“If you can’t fool yourself, who can you fool?” ~ Jeff C.

“I am only responsible for how I act and feel towards others. I am not responsible for how they feel or act towards me.” ~ Nancy C.L.

“The more I learn, the less I realize I actually know.” ~ Tom K.

“If th­­ere is one thing that I have learned in my life is how much more important listening is than speaking. My father always said to me, “Why do you think God gave us two ears, but only one mouth?” ~ Sean C

“That needing to leave your high-paying professional job and getting a low wage service job changes stranger’s perception of who you are. That there really isn’t anything you can say to a grieving person to make them feel better. Your presence is the best thing you can offer.”

~ Cat9984

“Every day is precious. Therefore, life works best when I view my cup as always, half full, not half empty.” ~ bigskybuckeye

 

“Take more pictures…every day!” ~ Robin G.

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What is something that YOU have learned during your life? If you have some words of wisdom, please leave them in the “Comment Section” below.

 

Have a GREAT day!!

Facing the Struggles of Life

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Life can be tough at times and it during these periods of hardship that we may wonder to ourselves, “Why is this happening to me?”, “Why am I suffering with this obstacle?”, “How can I get out of this negative situation?”

The struggles in our life aren’t always pretty, but many times they can help us to develop our strength of character, mind, and lifestyle. Without struggles, we will never grow and get stronger, so it’s important for us look at the undesirable situations that come our way and learn how to tackle challenges on our own, and not rely on help from others all the time.

The following illustration is a great example of this mind-thought…

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Once upon a time, a man discovered a butterfly that was starting to hatch from its cocoon. Curious, he sat down and decided to watch the butterfly. Over the next few hours, he watched it as it struggled to force itself through a tiny hole. Then, it suddenly stopped making progress and looked like it was stuck.

After a short time, the man decided to help the butterfly escape from its captivity. He took a pair of scissors and cut off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged slowly and easily, even though it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings.

The man thought nothing of it, he sat there waiting for the wings to enlarge and support the butterfly. However, that never happened. The butterfly spent the rest of its life unable to fly, crawling around with small wings and a swollen body.

Despite the man’s kind heart, he didn’t understand that the restricting cocoon and the struggle needed by the butterfly to get itself through the small hole were God’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings to prepare itself for flying once it was free.

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We need to understand and remember that the problems that we sometimes face happen for our good. Just like fire strengthens a crucible, bad experiences and situations can strengthen a person’s will to become the best individual that they can be.

Eleven Life Lessons…from Bill Gates!

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Bill Gates gave a speech at a High School a little while ago and shared with the audience eleven things they did not and will not learn in school. He talked about how feel-good, politically correct teachings created a generation of kids with no concept of reality and how this concept has set them up for failure in the real world.

Rule 1: Life is not fair – get used to it!

Rule 2: The world doesn’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3: You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won’t be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.

Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

Rule 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity.

Rule 6: If you mess up, it’s not your parents’ fault, so don’t whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they are now… They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent’s generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they’ll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don’t get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.

Rule 10: Television is NOT real life. In real life, people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.

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Great words of wisdom to take to heart and think about!

Wisdom to Make Life Happier

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I have always found it encouraging and edifying to find “words of wisdom” that I can think about and, hopefully, try to apply to my everyday life. I think that for an individual to become a wise person, they are smart to find things such as quotes, anecdotes, learn from experiences from other people, etc.

I have always found it interesting how much better life seems to be when you look at the world through a lens of positive thinking and with the heart of helping and showing acts of kindness towards others.

A little while ago, I came across the following collection of wise sayings that I hope you find as encouraging and inspirational as I did!

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  1. It hurts to love someone and not be loved in return. But what is more painful is to love someone and never find the courage to let that person know how you feel.

 

  1. A sad thing in life is when you meet someone who means a lot to you, only to find out in the end that it was never meant to be and you just have to let go.

 

  1. The best kind of friend is the kind you can sit on a porch swing with, never say a word, and then walk away feeling like it was the best conversation you’ve ever had.

 

  1. It’s true that we don’t know what we’ve got until we lose it, but it’s also true that we don’t know what we’ve been missing until it arrives.

 

  1. It takes only a minute to get a crush on someone, an hour to like someone, and a day to love someone but it takes a lifetime to forget someone.

 

  1. Don’t go for looks, they can deceive. Don’t go for wealth, even that fades away. Go for someone who makes you smile because it takes only a smile to make a dark day seem bright.

 

  1. Dream what you want to dream, go where you want to go, be what you want to be. Because you have only one life and one chance to do all the things you want to do.

 

  1. Always put yourself in the other person’s shoes. If you feel that it hurts you, it probably hurts the person too.

 

  1. A careless word may kindle strife. A cruel word may wreck a life. A timely word may level stress. But a loving word may heal and bless.

 

  1. The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything they just make the most of everything that comes along their way.

 

  1. Love begins with a smile, grows with a kiss, ends with a tear. When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling. Live your life so that when you die, you’re the one smiling and everyone around you is crying.

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“True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us.” ~ Socrates

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Source:  http://relationshipsinlife.wordpress.com

A Bowl of Noodles

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Learning lessons can be a curious business. People learn lessons in life in a variety of ways and today’s story is a fabulous tale how a little girl learned a valuable lesson…a lesson that we should all take to heart and thank those special people that we know and love.

Sometimes, even the simplest things in life can teach us lessons that will serve as reminders to us about the goodness of life…such as a simple bowl of noodles.

One night, a little girl had a terrible quarrel with her mother, then stormed out of the house. While she was out roaming the town, she suddenly realized that she did not have any money in her pocket, she didn’t even have enough coins to make a phone call home.

After walking around for what seemed like hours, her stomach began to growl and she began to get very hungry. She suddenly smelled a sweet fragrance and discovered a noodle shop, one of her favorite foods to eat. How she wished for a bowl of noodle soup! But she had one problem, she had no money!

The owner of the eatery saw her standing at the counter and noticed her sad face and demeanor and said, “Hi there little girl, you want to have a bowl of noodles?

The little girl just shook her head and shyly replied, “I do not have any money

“Okay, I’ll tell you what, I’ll treat you,” said the owner, “come in, I will cook you a bowl.”
A few minutes later the owner brought her a steaming bowl of noodles. The little girl was so happy to see the food and started to gobble up the delicious food…then suddenly started to cry.

“What is it? What’s the matter? Why are you crying?”, asked the store owner.

“Nothing. Nothing at all. I am just touched by your kindness!”, the girl said as she wiped her the tears from her face. “I can’t believe it. Even a stranger on the street gives me a bowl of noodles. My mother is so mean and cruel. We had a huge fight and I decided to leave her. I have the worst mother on earth”

The store owner sighed and asked, “why did you think so? I want you to think again. I gave you a simple bowl of noodles and you were happy and content. Your mother has raised you since you were little. She has taken care of you, fed you, clothed you, and loved you. Why are you not grateful and thankful? Is this soup more important than your mother?

After hearing this, the girl was very sad then said to herself, “Why did I not think of that? A bowl of noodles from a stranger made me feel thankful and happy, while my mother has raised me since I was born, and I have never once felt so grateful and appreciative…I never once said thank you.”

On her way home, the little girl thought to herself what she would say to her mother when she arrived home: “Mom, I’m sorry. I know it is my fault, please forgive me … ”

After a while, she arrived back to her home and started to climb the stairs. Suddenly, she looked up and saw her mother full of worry and exhausted from looking for her everywhere. Upon seeing her daughter, her mother gently said: “Come inside honey. You are probably very hungry. I cooked rice and prepared the meal already, come eat while it is still hot …”
Unable to control her regret and sadness any longer, the little girl began to sob in her mom’s hands.

You see folks, in life, we sometimes find it easy to appreciate the small actions of some people around us, but for the relatives, especially parents, we often overlook their love and sacrifices and look at them as a matter of natural, mundane actions…we take them for granted.

Parental love, care, and concern are the most precious gifts we have been blessed to have since the day we were born.

Parents do not expect us to pay them back for nurturing and caring for us…but how much do REALLY appreciate or treasure the unconditional sacrifice and love of our parents?

A great point to ponder.

So…take some time today to thank your parents. Give them a hug, a kiss, thank them for all that they have done for you, or just tell them a simple I love you.

Remember…

Love your parents

And treat them with loving care

For you will only know their value

When you see their empty chair

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Story Source (Revised): Moral Stories – Ogbuagu Henry Chiedozie

Life Lessons From A 90-Year-Old Woman

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There is much wisdom to be gained from individuals of advanced age. If we are wise, we would take heed of things that they have experienced throughout their lifetime, and apply it to our everyday lives.

The following list of “Life Lessons” was written by 90-year-old Regina Brett, in the publication, The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio. It is certainly a fantastic collection of helpful tidbits of knowledge that we should all use.

To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 44 lessons life taught me. It is the most-requested column I’ve ever written. My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more:” ~ Regina Brett

01. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
02. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
03. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
04. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.
05. Pay off your credit cards every month.
06. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
07. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.
08. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
09. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.
12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God never blinks.
16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
18. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.
24. No one is in charge of your happiness, but you.
25. Frame every so-called disaster with these words ”In five years, will this matter?”.
26. Always choose life.
27 Forgive everyone everything.
28. What other people think of you is none of your business.
29. Time heals almost everything. Give time, time.
30. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
31. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
32. Believe in miracles.
33. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.
34. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
35. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.
36. Your children get only one childhood.
37. All that truly matters, in the end, is that you loved.
38. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
39. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.
40. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
41. The best is yet to come.
42. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
43. Yield.
44. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.

 

Things Our Mothers Taught Us

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Mothers. This special group of ladies are more valuable than gold and can have more impact on an individual’s life than almost anything a person can experience throughout their lifetime. They can teach us the wide assortment of life lessons as we are growing up. The following is an interesting list of some of the wonderful words of wisdom that a mother can instill in their children every day.

 

  1. My mother taught me TO APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE. “If you’re going to kill each other, do it outside. I just finished cleaning.”

 

  1. My mother taught me RELIGION. “You better pray that will come out of the carpet!”

 

  1. My mother taught me TIME TRAVEL. “If you don’t straighten up, I’m going to knock you into the middle of next week.”

 

  1. My mother taught me LOGIC. “Because I said so, that’s why.”

 

  1. My mother taught me MORE LOGIC. “If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you’re not going to the store with me.”

 

  1. My mother taught me FORESIGHT. “Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you’re in an accident.”

 

  1. My mother taught me IRONY. “Keep crying, and I’ll give you something to cry about.”

 

  1. My mother taught me about the science of OSMOSIS. “Shut your mouth and eat your supper.”

 

  1. My mother taught me about CONTORTIONISM. “Will you look at the dirt on the back of your neck?”

 

  1. My mother taught me about STAMINA. “You will sit there until all that spinach is gone.”

 

  1. My mother taught me about WEATHER. “This room of yours looks like a tornado went through it.”

 

  1. My mother taught me about ANTICIPATION. “Just wait until we get home!”

 

  1. My mother taught me about RECEIVING. “You’re going to get it when you get home!”

 

  1. My mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE. “If you don’t stop crossing your eyes, they are going to stick that way.”

 

  1. My mother taught me ESP. “Put your sweater on; don’t you think I know when you are cold?”

 

  1. My mother taught me HUMOR. “When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don’t come running to me.”

 

  1. My mother taught me HOW TO BECOME AN ADULT. “If you don’t eat your vegetables, you will never grow up.”

 

  1. My mother taught me GENETICS. “You’re just like your father.”

 

  1. My mother taught me about me about my ROOTS. “Shut that door behind you. Do you think we live in a barn?”

 

  1. My mother taught me WISDOM. “When you get to my age, you will understand.”

 

  1. And my favorite: my mother taught me about JUSTICE. “One day you’ll have kids and I hope they turn out just like you!”

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WHAT WAS THE BEST THING THAT YOUR MOTHER TAUGHT YOU?

The Fog and The Swimmer

Ozge Can

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Throughout every person’s life, an individual may have one, or many goals, that they set for themselves. There are many kinds of goals. Whether they are short term, long term or just temporary, the important thing is that we stay consistent, focused and keep our eyes on the goal. There are times when attaining a goal may be easy or other times when it seems like a goal is far, far away and we will never be able to reach it but if we don’t lose heart and keep working hard, a goal can be accomplished. Today’s story is a great example of a person who learned from her weakness, became a stronger, more determined individual and met her goal.

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When she looked ahead, Florence Chadwick saw nothing but a solid wall of fog. Her body was numb. She had been swimming for nearly sixteen hours.

Already she was the first woman to swim the English Channel in both directions. She had managed to finish that swim in a record time, 16 hours and 22 minutes on August 8, 1950. Now, at age 34, her goal was to become the first woman to swim from Catalina Island to Palos Verde on the California coast.

On that Fourth of July morning in 1952, the sea was like an ice bath and the fog was so dense she could hardly see her support boats. Sharks cruised toward her lone figure, only to be driven away by rifle shots. Against the frigid grip of the sea, she struggled on – hour after hour – while millions watched on national television.

Alongside Florence in one of the boats, her mother and her trainer offered encouragement. They told her it wasn’t much farther. But all she could see was fog. They urged her not to quit. She never had . . . until then. With only a half mile to go, she asked to be pulled out.

Still thawing her chilled body several hours later, she told a reporter, “Look, I’m not excusing myself, but if I could have seen the land I might have made it.” It was not fatigue or even the cold water that defeated her. It was the fog. She was unable to see her goal.

Two months later, she tried again. This time, despite the same dense fog, she swam with her faith intact and her goal clearly pictured in her mind. She knew that somewhere behind that fog was land and this time she made it! Florence Chadwick became the first woman to swim the Catalina, eclipsing the men’s record by two hours!

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~ Author Unknown ~

Source: inspirationalstories.com

A Sandpiper to Bring You Joy

Ekaterina Chernetsova (Papchinskaya)

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There are some stories that are worth repeating..today’s story is one of them.

A year or so ago, I posted a story that I had come across simply called, “The Sandpiper.” Unbeknownst to me, the story that I published was one that had been copied and re-written by another person who wrongly took credit for it. Fortunately for me, the daughter of the real author, Mary Serman Hilbert, contacted me and told me the following…

“This story was written by my mother Mary Sherman Hilbert back in in 1978 and is copyrighted in the  US Library of Congress. It was published in Readers Digest in 1980. The story has been reprinted in over ten languages and made into two plays.

There are many plagiarized versions on the internet, including the one that has an MR. Peterson instead of Mrs. P. (Ruth Peterson) as the central woman, as you have posted here. Please read Snopes assessment here for accurate clarification of the story’s background: https://www.snopes.com/glurge/sandpiper.asp

My mother passed away New Years Day 2010 at the age of eighty-seven.

~ Leigh Hilbert, December 11th, 2017

Most people who have posted my mom’s story have had good intentions and had no way to know if it had been altered along the internet pathways.

There are a few correct versions online. I will post here the original version and you can maybe repost it.”

So, without further ado, here is the original, beautiful story of the Sandpiper…..

A Sandpiper to Give You Joy

by Mary Serman Hilbert

Several years ago, a neighbor related to me an experience that happened to her one winter on a beach in Washington State. The incident stuck in my mind and I took note of what she said. Later, at a writers’ conference, the conversation came back to me and I felt I had to set it down. Here is her story, as haunting to me now as when I first heard it:

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 caring.

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

That sounds good, I thought and slipped off my shoes. A sandpiper glided by. “That’s a joy,” the child said.

“It’s what?”

“It’s a joy. My mama says sandpipers come to bring us joy.”

The bird went glissading 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.

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

“Mine’s Windy.” It sounded like Windy. “And I’m six.” “Hi, Windy.”

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, Mrs. 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, 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, Mrs. 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.

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

“Then let’s just walk.” 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, Windy said it had been a happy day. Feeling surprisingly better, I smiled at her and agreed.

Three weeks later, I rushed to my beach in a state of near panic. I was in no mood even to greet Windy. I thought I saw her mother on the porch and felt like demanding that she keep her child at home.

“Look, if you don’t mind,” I said crossly when Windy caught up with me, “I’d rather be alone today.” She seemed unusually pale and out of breath.

“Why?” She asked.

I turned on 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, and yesterday and the day before that and – oh, go away!”

“Did it hurt?”

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

“When she died?”

“Of course it hurt!” I snapped, misunderstanding, 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 Ruth Peterson. I missed your little girl today and wondered where she was.”

“Oh yes, Mrs. Peterson, please come in.”

“Wendy talked 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 it. “Where is she?”

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

Struck dumb, I groped for a chair. My breath caught.

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, anything, to say to this lovely young woman.

She handed me a smeared envelope, with MRS. P printed in bold, childish letters.

Inside was a drawing in bright crayon hues – a yellow beach, a blue sea, 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 sorry, I’m 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 inner harmony, courage, undemanding love. A gift from a child with sea-blue eyes and hair the color of sand – who taught me the gift of love.

The Greatest Distance in the World

Kevin Gill

Photo Credit: Kevin Gill via CC Flickr

A mile is 5.280 feet long. The distance between New York City and London, England is approximately 3,500 miles, New York City to Hong Kong around 8,000 miles. If you took a trip around the globe, you would travel almost 25,000 miles! Yet, this distance is still not the farthest in the sense of importance to an individual and what they do with the life they are given.

What is the greatest, most important distance in the world? It was once said, that the greatest distance in the world is an astounding 18 inches…the distance from a person’s heart to their head. People can have all the knowledge about a particular subject matter in their head and be as smart as the wisest individuals who walk the earth but unless they LIVE it and USE their abilities, it will mean nothing.

Here is a story to illustrate what I am trying to say:

One morning a man was sitting at the breakfast table intently reading the morning paper when his wife came up to him and started to ask him questions about their plans for the upcoming day. The man just sat there, slightly nodding his head and showed no other reactions. Despite numerous attempts to get a conversation with her husband started…he was just too busy reading his paper.

Then the lady had an idea to try and break her husband’s trance from his paper. She said to him in a calm voice, “Honey, there a huge, hairy spider crawling up your sleeve.” The man just sat there, nodded slightly, and continued to read the paper never even giving her a glance.  She tried the same tact a few other times…again, to no avail. Suddenly she screamed, “HONEY! THERE’S A HUGE, HAIRY SPIDER CRAWLING UP YOUR SLEEVE!”  Her husband screamed, jumped up from his seat, threw down his newspaper, and started making moves that a Ninja would be proud of!

You see, the man had HEARD his wife but he didn’t LISTEN. He knew that there was a spider crawling up his arm but he didn’t do anything about it because he was TOO BUSY doing something else. It wasn’t until he took what he KNEW and put it into ACTION that did anything about combating the evil creature.

Many people are like that man who was reading the newspaper. They hear what is going on and KNOW what to do but without putting their knowledge into action, they are no different than anyone else.

One of my favorite slogans in athletics is also so very true in a person’s everyday life: “The difference between an ordinary person and an extraordinary individual, is that little EXTRA.” There are an untold number of people that have great ideas, thoughts, inventions, solutions to the world’s problems, etc., and do actually DO anything about them. They do ACT on their THOUGHTS. A person may have all of the book knowledge of something but if they never actually use it…it is worthless. An individual may know how to build a house, where to place the lumber, the plumbing, the electrical systems, the foundation, etc., but if that person never goes out and physically builds a house…what good is having that knowledge?

So,  I ask you today…are you a THINKER or a DOER? How well are you conquering the greatest distance in the world?

The Mighty Power of the Wind

Danny Tax

Photo Credit: Danny Tax via CC Flickr

There is something special about the wind. Something magical. The wind can feel so nice and relaxing on a hot summer day or it can chill you to your bones during a cold winter. It can look beautiful as it blows through Weeping Willows or rustles the leaves during an autumn day.

It can do things in many unique and fun ways such as flying kites, windsurfing, listening to wind chimes, sail a boat, play with a pinwheel, the list can go on and on. We have learned, thousands of years ago, to harness the wind and make it work for us such as machines called windmills. They were used to mill grain, pump water, or both, such as the windmills in Holland for example. Recently, we have created immense wind farms, which convert the power of the wind into electricity, pump water from the ground, or draining water-filled tracks of land.

We have all seen and experienced the mighty and destructive force of the wind through thunderstorms, tornadoes, and hurricane. The devastation that it leaves behind can cause damage that, sometimes, will take years and years to repair and rebuild.

The power of nature is simply awesome.

But there is a peculiar thing about the wind…you cannot see it. People know it is there…they see its results and feel its effects, but it isn’t visible. Author, Christina Rossetti, once wrote a poem in The Golden Book of Poetry (1947), “Who Can See the Wind?”

“Who Can See the Wind?”

Who has seen the wind?

Neither I nor you:

But when the leaves hang trembling,]

The wind is passing through.

 

Who has seen the wind?

Neither you nor I:

But when the trees bow down their heads,

The wind is passing by.

The words that people speak are a lot like the wind. They can be encouraging, helpful, destructive…and, like the wind, they are unseen, but the effect that they can have on someone can leave a lasting impression that may last days, years, or a lifetime. A person’s words of encouragement can uplift, inspire, and motivate an individual or they can also criticize, berate, and demean another person that could leave severe and detrimental impacts on their life.

It has once been said that the tongue is the strongest muscle in the human body. Even though it cannot physically lift a weight, it is like the small rudder of a large ship. A little thing like a rudder has a tremendous ability to move and steer a huge structure such as a ship with precision. Likewise, the tongue is a lot like a rudder…it has the ability to give a person the power to either encourage and inspire or to tear down and discourage someone.

How will you use your words today? Will you use them to uplift and encourage someone who may be in need? Or in a way that might be harmful or detrimental?

The choice is yours.