I recently came across a poem about friends and friendship the other day that is, in some ways, related to a previous post of mine, “Do It All the Way”. Friendships and the passing of time, are things that we need to consider more and more each day. The following poem was posted on May 6, 2016 by oldmainer It serves as a great reminder to us all!
I Went to See A Friend Today
I went to see a friend today A friend I had not seen Since he was in his twenties And I was still a teen
We were both inseparable then See one, you’d see the other Sharing everything we did. He was like a brother
But as so often happens Too soon there came the day When he decided to remain And I to move away
We wished each other good luck Recalled good times we’d shared Said that we would keep in touch See how each other fared
But of course that didn’t happen The days just came and went No phone calls were ever made No greetings ever sent
How quickly the time passes And friendships start to dim Although we went our separate ways I often thought of him
I wondered how he looked today How he had weathered life Did he still live in our old home town Did he ever take a wife
One day I got a letter And when I looked inside I read I regret to inform you That your friend has died
I went to see a friend today As I’ve often said I would To visit for a little while My promise to make good
I wish that I could tell him How bad I feel that I Never took the time to say hello Before I said goodbye
Friendships are precious. Be sure to take some time to visit the people that are special in your life. Enjoy the time you spend together and remember the good memories from the past.
“There is nothing on this earth more prized than true friendship.” ~ Thomas Aquinas
Time really does fly and unfortunately, this thing called “life” really does become busy and gets into our way from allowing us to do the things that we love to do. Whether it be enjoying our favorite hobbies, visiting the eatery of our choice, going on a date with our special loved one, or simply spending time with our friends, we all need to carve out some time throughout our lives, to make sure that we are fully enjoying the fullness and blessings of life.
A little while ago, I received the unfortunate and sad news that one of my childhood buddies had suddenly passed away. I felt horrible. We always told each other how much we wanted to get together, hang out, have some good laughs, and reminisce about our “glory days.” We had gotten together sporadically over the years and had recently decided to make plans for a get-together. It never happened. He passed away suddenly after a simple procedure went horribly wrong and he was gone. I felt saddened and dismayed about the whole situation, but it made me realize, even more so than ever, how precious our life is and how much we need to spend as much time doing the things we enjoy…even if it means that we sacrifice some of the “busy things” in our life.
You never know how much time you have left with the ones you love. I thought that I had more time. I didn’t know that so many moments were the lasts. I have learned this: instead of living with the fear of the lasts, live with love for all the moments. Even the ones you are pulling your hair out and screaming…don’t do it halfway. Do it all the way, and don’t let those moments escape you.
Have you ever had a want, desire, or dram that you have always wanted to accomplish in your life and just never saw it come to fruition? Or, how many of us have a job or project that we would like to do but just haven’t gotten around to get it done? If you are like most people, all they need is that little motivation or push to get them going…once they get going…they finish well. We need someone to give us that extra push.
Such is the case in a story that I discovered a while ago written by Irene Sax in Newsday which demonstrates this thought in a great way.
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.”
Who will be the person or group of people that you will help “push” today?
Every once in a while, I come across a story that renews my faith in miracles. The following true story is an example of how miracles just “don’t happen” but come from a higher being.
Tess was a precocious eight-year-old when she heard her Mom and Dad talking about her little brother, Andrew. All she knew was that he was very sick and they were completely out of money. They were moving to an apartment complex next month because Daddy didn’t have the money for the doctor bills and their house.
Only a very costly surgery could save him now and it was looking like there was no one to loan them the money. She heard Daddy say to her tearful Mother with whispered desperation,
“Only a miracle can save him now.”
Tess went to her bedroom and pulled a glass jelly jar from its hiding place in the closet. She poured all the change out on the floor and counted it carefully.
Three times, even. The total had to be exactly perfect. No chance here for mistakes. Carefully placing the coins back in the jar and twisting on the cap, she slipped out the back door and made her way 6 blocks to Rexall’s Drug Store with the Big Red Indian Chief sign above the door.
She waited patiently for the pharmacist to give her some attention but he was too busy at this moment. Tess twisted her feet to make a scuffing noise.
She cleared her throat with the most disgusting sound she could muster.
Finally, she took a quarter from her jar and banged it on the glass counter.
That did it!
“And what do you want?” the pharmacist asked in an annoyed tone of voice.
“I’m talking to my brother from Chicago whom I haven’t seen in ages,” he said without waiting for a reply to his question.
“Well, I want to talk to you about my brother,” Tess answered back in the same annoyed tone.
“He’s really, really sick… and I want to buy a miracle.”
“I beg your pardon?” said the pharmacist.
“His name is Andrew and he has something bad growing inside his head and my Daddy says only a miracle can save him now. So how much does a miracle cost?”
“We don’t sell miracles here, little girl. I’m sorry but I can’t help you, “the pharmacist said, softening a little.
“Listen, I have the money to pay for it. If it isn’t enough, I will get the rest. Just tell me how much it costs.”
The pharmacist’s brother was a well-dressed man. He stooped down and asked the little girl, “What kind of a miracle does your brother need?”
“I don’t know,” Tess replied with her eyes welling up. “I just know he’s really sick and Mommy says he needs an operation. But my Daddy can’t pay for it, so I want to use my money.
“How much do you have?” asked the man from Chicago.
“One dollar and eleven cents,” Tess answered barely audibly. “And it’s all the money I have, but I can get some more if I need to.
“Well, what a coincidence,” smiled the man. “A dollar and eleven cents—the exact price of a miracle for little brothers.” He took her money in one hand and with the other hand he grasped her mitten and said “Take me to where you live. I want to see your brother and meet your parents. Let’s see if I have the kind of miracle you need.”
That well-dressed man was Dr. Carlton Armstrong, a surgeon, specializing in neuro-surgery. The operation was completed without charge and it wasn’t long until Andrew was home again and doing well.
Tess’s Mom and Dad were happily talking about the chain of events that had led them to this place. “That surgery, “her Mom whispered.” was a real miracle. I wonder how much it would have cost?”
Tess smiled. She knew exactly how much a miracle cost… one dollar and eleven cents …… plus the faith of a little child.
A miracle is not the suspension of natural law, but the operation of a higher law!
Have you had times in your life when everything seems to go wrong and nothing that you can say or do goes right? People get a flat tire on a way to a meeting. Someone slept through their alarm clock and got to work late. A person loses their car keys and will be late for an appointment. The list goes on and on. You might decide to make excuses for other things…things that you may have wanted to do your whole life but haven’t, a failed relationship, a job that you never finished, etc. Some people make excuses for everything and never get anyhting accomplished.
Let me tell you a short story that I recently came across that was found on the site, “Proactive Coaching,” that I think will illustrate the power of NOT making excuses and performing to the fullest talents and gifts that you possess.
Look at the picture above. This is Jim Thorpe and you can see that he’s wearing different socks and shoes. This wasn’t a fashion statement. It was the 1912 Olympics, and Jim, an American Indian from Oklahoma represented the U.S. in track and field. On the morning of his competitions, his shoes were stolen. Luckily, Jim ended up finding two shoes in a garbage can. That’s the pair that he’s wearing in the photo. But one of the shoes was too big, so he had to wear an extra sock. Wearing these shoes, Jim won two gold medals that day.
This is a perfect reminder that you don’t have to resign to the excuses that have held you back. So, what if life hasn’t been fair? What are you going to do about it today? Whatever you woke up with this morning; stolen shoes, ill health, failed relationships, don’t let it stop you from running your race. You can experience more in life if you’ll get over the excuses and get on with living.
You can have reasons, or you can have results…but you can’t have both.
Special Note (from Wikipedia):
Thorpe’s monument, featuring the quote from Gustav V (“You, sir, are the greatest athlete in the world.”), still stands near the town named for him, Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania. The grave rests on mounds of soil from Thorpe’s native Oklahoma and from the stadium in which he won his Olympic medals.
Thorpe’s achievements received great acclaim from sports journalists, both during his lifetime and since his death. In 1950, an Associated Press poll of almost 400 sportswriters and broadcasters voted Thorpe the “greatest athlete” of the first half of the 20th century. That same year, the Associated Press named Thorpe the “greatest American football player” of the first half of the century. In 1999, the Associated Press placed him third on its list of the top athletes of the century, following Babe Ruth and Michael Jordan.ESPN ranked Thorpe seventh on their list of best North American athletes of the century.
Thorpe was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963, one of seventeen players in the charter class. Thorpe is memorialized in the Pro Football Hall of Fame rotunda with a larger-than-life statue. He was also inducted into halls of fame for college football, American Olympic teams, and the national track and field competition.
Children have always fascinated me. I have been a teacher, coach, camp director, and counselor, etc., for over 30 years. I have seen all kinds of children during that time. There are children who are very well behaved, fun to have around, and a joy to know. Some are quiet, reserved, secluded, and would rather do things by themselves. Still others, are belligerent, disobedient, nasty and mean. It really is a fascinating thing how individuals can have such a variety of personalities, behaviors, and mannerisms.
I have discovered that a majority of the time, the people that are good, wholesome, and well-rounded, have been brought up in a caring, loving, and nurturing family whereas individuals that have been raised in a negative or repressed environment possess the traits that aren’t as likable. Basically, it all comes down to the way a person is raised.
All of this leads me to today’s story.
Many years ago, a woman named Dorothy Law used to write a daily column for one of her local newspapers regarding family matters. One day, she was up against the deadline to get an article into the newspaper and she was short on material, so she created a 14-line poem which dealt with childrearing. It soon took on a life of its own and became a type of guideline millions and millions of parents around the world. For many, many years after the article was published, it was widely thought that the poem was written anonymously. Dr. Nolte never received credit or compensation and, believe it or not, wasn’t even aware that her writing had grown to the great popularity that it has become, and had forgotten about it. It wasn’t until 1974 that she decided to copyright her poem and later, wrote a best-selling book, “Children Learn What They Live: Parenting to Inspire Values,” along with a co-author, Rachel Harris.
Dr. Dorothy Nolte died in 1988 at the ripe old age of 81, but she left with the world, a timeless poem that will forever serve as a reminder to parents, the importance of raising their children with integrity, character, and thoughtfulness towards others.
It is my hope that you will enjoy this poem and share it with your loved ones.
Children Learn What They Live ~ by Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D.
If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about
If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.
As a parent…what will you do? If you are NOT a parent, how will you treat others?
It’s funny how you can learn things from even the smallest things in our life. In today’s story, you’ll find an interesting way to remember where our trust SHOULD be every day.
Several years ago, a friend of mine and her husband were invited to spend the weekend at the husband’s employer’s home. My friend, Arlene, was nervous about the weekend. The boss was very wealthy, with a fine home on the waterway, and cars costing more than her house.
The first day and evening went well, and Arlene was delighted to have this rare glimpse into how the very wealthy live. The husband’s employer was quite generous as a host and took them to the finest restaurants. Arlene knew she would never have the opportunity to indulge in this kind of extravagance again, so was enjoying herself immensely.
As the three of them were about to enter an exclusive restaurant that evening, the boss was walking slightly ahead of Arlene and her husband.
He stopped suddenly, looking down on the pavement for a long, silent moment. Arlene wondered if she was supposed to pass him. There was nothing on the ground except a single darkened penny that someone had dropped, and a few cigarette butts.
Still silent, the man reached down and picked up the penny. He held it up and smiled, then put it in his pocket as if he had found a great treasure. How absurd! What need did this man have for a single penny? Why would he even take the time to stop and pick it up? Throughout dinner, the entire scene nagged at her.
Finally, she could stand it no longer. She casually mentioned that her daughter once had a coin collection, and asked if the penny he had found had been of some value.
A smile crept across the man’s face as he reached into his pocket for the penny and held it out for her to see. She had seen many pennies before! What was the point of this?
“Look at it.” He said. “Read what it says.”
She read the words “United States of America.”
“No, not that; read further.”
“No, keep reading.”
“In God we Trust?”
“And if I trust in God, the name of God is holy, even on a coin. Whenever I find a coin I see that inscription. It is written on every single United States coin, but we never seem to notice it! God drops a message right in front of me telling me to trust Him? Who am I to pass it by? When I see a coin, I pray, I stop to see if my trust IS in God at that moment. I pick the coin up as a response to God; that I do trust in Him. For a short time, at least, I cherish it as if it were gold. I think it is God’s way of starting a conversation with me. Lucky for me, God is patient and pennies are plentiful!
When I was out shopping today, I found a penny on the sidewalk. I stopped and picked it up, and realized that I had been worrying and fretting in my mind about things I cannot change. I read the words, “In God We Trust,” and had to laugh. Yes, God, I get the message. It seems that I have been finding an inordinate number of pennies in the last few months, but then, pennies are plentiful…and God is patient.
Dogs really are man’s best friend. Most people have had some sort of pet sometime in the life and can attest to the fact that they were a joy to have. Dog’s are usually the most favorite kind of animal that people have. There is no other pet that is so adoring, loving, faithful, happy, and dedicated to their masters. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end and for many people, this sad time can be very sad, depressing, and lead to a great deal of despair. On the other hand, there are some instances in which people remember fondly their pet, learn from the situation and move on. They look at the circumstances from a different perspective.
Such is the case in today’s story. A dear college friend of mine, Heidi, sent me the following story which…I am sure…will warm your heart and, maybe, cause you to look at life a little differently.
Here’s a surprising answer from a 6-year-old child.
Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog’s owner Ron, his wife Lisa, and their little boy Shane were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle,
I examined Belker and found that he was dying of cancer. I told the family that we couldn’t do anything for Belker and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for their old dog in their home.
As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me that they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.
The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker’s family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped away peacefully.
The boy seemed to accept the transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker’s Death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that dogs’ lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, “I know why.”
Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I’d never heard a more comforting explanation. It changed the way I try and live.
He said, “People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life like loving everybody all the time and be nice, right?” The six-year-old continued.
“Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay for as long as we do.”
Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:
When your loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy.
Stretch before rising.
Run, romp, and play daily.
Thrive on attention and let people touch you. Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.
On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
Never pretend to be something you’re not.
If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.
That’s the secret of happiness that we can learn from a good dog!
During the Second World War, Corrie Ten Boom and her family showed great courage in helping to rescue Jewish people from the Nazis. Corrie’s involvement with the Dutch underground began with her acts of kindness in giving temporary shelter to her Jewish neighbors who were being driven out of their homes. Soon the word spread and more and more people came to her home for shelter. As quickly as she would find places for them, more would arrive. She had a false wall constructed in her bedroom behind which people could hide.
After a year and a half, her home developed into the center of an underground ring that reached throughout Holland. Daily, dozens of reports, appeals, and people came in and out of their watch shop. She wondered how long this much activity and the seven Jews that they were hiding would remain a secret.
On February 28, 1944, while Corrie was 48 years old, a man came into the shop and asked Corrie to help him. He stated that he and his wife had been hiding Jews and that she had been arrested. He needed six hundred gilders to bribe a policeman for her freedom. Corrie promised to help. She found out later that he was an informant that had worked with the Nazis from the first day of the occupation. He turned their family into the Gestapo. Later that day, her home was raided, and Corrie and her family were arrested (their Jewish visitors made it to the secret room in time and later were able to escape to new quarters). Her father died 10 days later from a sickness.
They were arrested and imprisoned by the Germans. Corrie and her sister were sent to Ravensbruck concentration camp, where her sister died. The rest of her family was never seen again. error just before the end of the war in 1945. She spent the rest of her long life spreading the news of God’s forgiveness.
Here is a story of forgiveness, that she once shared. I still think it would have been so hard for me to ever have done………..
A Holocaust Survivor’s Story of Forgiveness
~A Guidepost article from 1972 relates a short story titled “I’m Still Learning to Forgive“(Corrie TenBoom) ~
“It was in a church in Munich that I saw him, a balding heavy-set man in a gray overcoat, a brown felt hat clutched between his hands. People were filing out of the basement room where I had just spoken. It was 1947 and I had come from Holland to defeated Germany with the message that God forgives. …
And that’s when I saw him, working his way forward against the others. One moment I saw the overcoat and the brown hat; the next, a blue uniform and a visored cap with its skull and crossbones. It came back with a rush: the huge room with its harsh overhead lights, the pathetic pile of dresses and shoes in the center of the floor, the shame of walking naked past this man. I could see my sister’s frail form ahead of me, ribs sharp beneath the parchment skin. Betsie, how thin you were!
Betsie and I had been arrested for concealing Jews in our home during the Nazi occupation of Holland; this man had been a guard at Ravensbruck concentration camp where we were sent. …
“You mentioned Ravensbruck in your talk,” he was saying. “I was a guard in there.” No, he did not remember me.
“I had to do it — I knew that. The message that God forgives has a prior condition: that we forgive those who have injured us.” “But since that time,” he went on, “I have become a Christian. I know that God has forgiven me for the cruel things I did there, but I would like to hear it from your lips as well. Fraulein, …” his hand came out, … “will you forgive me?”
And I stood there — I whose sins had every day to be forgiven — and could not. Betsie had died in that place — could he erase her slow terrible death simply for the asking?
It could not have been many seconds that he stood there, hand held out, but to me it seemed hours as I wrestled with the most difficult thing I had ever had to do.
For I had to do it — I knew that. The message that God forgives has a prior condition: that we forgive those who have injured us. “If you do not forgive men their trespasses,” Jesus says, “neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.” …
And still I stood there with the coldness clutching my heart. But forgiveness is not an emotion — I knew that too. Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart. “Jesus, help me!” I prayed silently. “I can lift my hand, I can do that much. You supply the feeling.”
And so woodenly, mechanically, I thrust my hand into the one stretched out to me. And as I did, an incredible thing took place. The current started in my shoulder, raced down my arm, sprang into our joined hands. And then this healing warmth seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes.
“I forgive you, brother!” I cried. “With all my heart!”
For a long moment, we grasped each others’ hands, the former guard, and the former prisoner. I had never known God’s love so intensely as I did then.”
Have you ever been hurt by someone and angry at them? How willing have you been to forgive them? Imagine the hurt and hate that Corrie had and how hard it must have been for her to forgive this man. Let’s use this story as an example of how we can forgive others, even though it may be very difficult, and make ourselves better people because of it.
Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does change the future!
There is an old proverb that says that “Many hands make light work.” In other words, large tasks or jobs can become smaller and easier to accomplish when divided among many people. When people work together in a positive and encouraging environment, the sky really is the limit to the things that can be done. This is true for every work and job setting, the family unit, sports teams, etc. Helen Keller once said, “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” The important thing is that each member of the group feels important and that their thoughts, opinions, ideas, and contributions are important and worthwhile to their group.
There are times when as leaders, we need to take the time to encourage, inspire, and uplift the individuals that we are working with. A good leader will lead by example by working with their group, sometimes side by side and not in a dictatorship-type of role. Positive motivation and incentive are some of the biggest keys to healthy teamwork.
Today’s Story illustrates this concept of teamwork beautifully…
Many, many years ago, a man became lost while driving his car through the countryside. Foolishly, he tried to read his map as he was driving and soon drove off the road and landed in a ditch. Luckily, he wasn’t hurt but his car was securely stuck in some deep mud. He decided to look for help. After a short distance, he spotted a farmhouse and decided to ask someone for assistance.
The man soon met the farmer and told him of his predicament. Pointing out to his field, the farmer said, see that old mule out there? The man looked at the old, haggard and frayed mule then looked back to the farmer. The farmer said, “Yep, old Warwick there can do the job!”
The man shrugged his shoulders and thought to himself, I have nothing to lose, so the two men and Warwick made their way back to the ditch.
The farmer hitched up old Warwick to the car, snapped the reins and yelled out, “Pull, Henry! Pull, Nellie! Pull, Ted! Pull, Franklin! Pull, Warwick!” Then, with minimal effort, the aged mule popped the car from the murky sludge, the car was free!
The man stood in amazement. He thanked the farmer, patted the mule, then asked, “Why did you call out all those other names before you called out Warwick?”
The farmer just smiled and said, “Old Warwick is almost blind. As long as he believes that he is part of a team, he doesn’t mind pulling.”
“A GOOD LEADER inspires others with confidence in him…a GREAT LEADER inspires them with a confidence in themselves.” ~ Unknown
There is nothing better when a person is having a bad day than to laugh and smile. Anyone who knows me well knows how much I love to make people laugh and smile. I feel that that is one of my biggest blessings in life. The late Mother Teresa once said, “Let us all meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.” It is with that spirit, that I decided to post and few poems that I hope will bring a smile to your face, a moment joy to your heart, and an encouragement to finish your day on a positive note. If one of the following poems have lifted your spirits and have inspired you, feel free to share your blessing with other today!
Keep on Smiling
~ Poet: Alexandra Skiathitis
If at times you feel you want to cry
And life seems such a trial
Above the clouds there’s a bright blue sky
So make your tears a smile
As you travel on life’s way
With its many ups and downs
Remember it’s quite true to say
One smile is worth a dozen frowns
Among the world’s expensive things
A smile is very cheap
And when you give a smile away
You get one back to keep
Happiness comes at times to all
But sadness comes unbidden
And sometimes a few tears must fall
Among the laughter hidden
So when friends have sadness on their face
And troubles round them piled
The world will seem a better place
And all because you smiled!
~ Poet: Unknown
A smile is cheer to you and me
The cost is nothing-it’s given free
It comforts the weary-gladdens the sad
Consoles those in trouble-good or bad
To rich or poor-beggar or thief
It’s free to all of any belief
A natural gesture of young and old
Cheers on the faint-disarms the bold
Unlike most blessings for which we pray
It’s one thing we keep when we give it away.
~ Poet: Charlie Chaplin
Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though it’s breaking
When there are clouds in the sky, you’ll get by
If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You’ll see the sun come shining through for you.
Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near
That’s the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what’s the use of crying?
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile
That’s the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what’s the use of crying?
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile!
If you would like to hear this poem in a song, CLICK HERE! (sung by Natalie Cole)
~ Poet: Unknown
When the weather suits you not, Try smiling.
When your coffee isn’t hot, Try smiling.
When your neighbors don’t do right,
Or all of your relatives fight,
Sure ‘tis hard, but you might Try smiling.
Doesn’t change the things, of course-Just smiling.
But it cannot make them worse-Just smiling
And it seems to help your case,
Brightens up a gloomy place,
Then, it sort o’ rests your face-Just smiling.
Gladness Every Morning
~ Poet: Nixon Waterman
Touch your lips with gladness and go singing on your way,
Smiles will strangely lighten every duty;
Just a little word of cheer may span a sky of gray
With hope’s own heaven-tinted bow of beauty.
Wear a pleasant face wherein shall shine a joyful heart,
As shines the sun, the happy fields adorning;
To every care-beclouded life some ray of light impart,
And touch your lips with gladness every morning.
A Face Without A Smile
Like a bread without the spreadin’,
Like a mattress without a beddin’,
Like a cart without a hoss,
Like a door without a latchspring,
Like a dry an’ barren creed bed-
Is the face without a smile
Like a house without a dooryard,
Like a clock without a mainspring,
That will never tell the hour;
A thing that sort o’ makes yo’ feel
A hunger all the while-
Oh, the saddest sight that ever was
Is a face without a smile!
The face of man was built for smiles,
An’ thereby he is blest
Above the critters of the field,
The birds an’ all the rest;
He’s just a little lower
Than the angels in the skies,
An’ the reason is that he can smile;
Therein the glory lies!
So smile an’ don’t forget to smile,
An’ smile, an’ smile ag’in
‘Twill help you all along the way,
An’ cheer you mile and mile;
An’ so, whatever is your lot,
Jes’ smile, an’ smile, an’ smile!
“So, if you feel a smile begin, don’t leave it undetected, let’s start an epidemic quick…and get the world infected!” ~ Russel H. Conwell
One of the worst things that a person experiences throughout their lifetime are negative comments and hurtful words. They can be devastating. They can tear down an individual’s self-esteem, sense of worth, and confidence. It has been said that for every negative comment that is said to someone, that person would then need seven positive remarks to offset that one negative comment. It has been proven, that when a person is given encouragement and reassuring words, they perform better in their workplace, become happier, and have a deeper sense of value and importance.
Consider this…how much better would people feel and act if positive and heartening words were the norm instead of the common everyday vernacular of negativity?
Take for example the following African tribe. In this tribe, when someone does something wrong, they take the person to the center of the village where the entire tribe surrounds the individual and for two days say all the good things that the person has done in their life. The tribe believes that each person is good but sometimes people make mistakes which are really a cry for help. They unite to reconnect with them and their good nature.
What a beautiful demonstration of a community’s love and concern for one of their own! Again I ask, shouldn’t we try to emulate this kind of behavior towards our family and friends every day (or when it is needed?)
As some of you know, I am a teacher and a sports coach. A few years ago, one of my teams was going through a tough stretch. There was a lot of in-fighting, accusations, and ill-will between team members. Something had to be done…so, I came up with a plan. The idea was called a “Pow-Wow” mainly because I used to really like the idea of the Native American Indians spending their time together in their tee-pees, fellowshipping and sharing their thoughts and concerns together.
The “Pow-Wow” consisted of all of my players sitting in a circle (myself included), with one of the individuals holding a ball. The person with the ball in their possession was not allowed to speak. One-by-one, each of the other players would share constructive criticism with their teammate. Negative personal comments were not allowed. Once every player “holds the ball,” The process starts over again. This time, nothing but encouraging, reassuring, and emboldening comments are shared. The beautiful result was that when the players left the “Pow-Wow” there was a noticeably higher level of confidence, camaraderie, and team spirit which continued until the end of the season. Those positive and motivating words healed a broken team and helped drive the team to a successful season. I have used this “Pow-Wow” method a few times during my 32 years of coaching and it has ALWAYS lead to fantastic results…all because of positive and uplifting words.
Thus, the Power of the Pow-Wow!
Remember…ONE KIND WORD can change a person’s entire day!!
The Civil War was a bloody and vicious war. At least 618,000 Americans died and some say the toll reached 700,000. Casualties exceeded all of America’s other wars from the Revolution through Vietnam.
In the winter of 1862, General Robert E. Lee’s forces had claimed several key battlefields in the Eastern Campaign. One of those key battles was as one-sided as a battle could be. It was the Battle of Fredericksburg. On December 13, 1862, Union forces began what was termed a desperate and eventual doomed assault on a heavily fortified position known as “the stone wall at sunken road.”
After crossing a river, the Union confidently took the town of Fredericksburg with little resistance. The Confederate army had voluntarily given up the town so that they might fortify themselves along a stone wall at the base of a sloping hill. As the Union army began to approach the wall, they were attacked and by the morning of December 14th over 8,000 Union soldiers had been shot in front of the stone wall. Many of those remaining on the battlefield were still alive, but suffering from their wounds, the cold, and thirst.
During the night, both sides were forced to listen to the cries and moans of those soldiers for hours. A Confederate soldier stationed near the wall later stated that it was “weird, unearthly, and terrible to hear and bear the cries of the dying soldiers filling the air – lying crippled on a hillside so many miles from home – breaking the hearts of soldiers on both sides of the battlefield.”
Richard Rowland Kirkland, an infantry sergeant for the Confederacy could not rest or sleep due to the suffering of the Union soldiers and that morning he asked his commanding officer if he could scale the wall and, the shooting stopped. provide water for the suffering Union troops. The commanding officer was reluctant at first because of the danger to Richard but later allowed to do so. As Richard climbed the wall, several shots were instantly fired thinking that Kirkland’s motives were to wound more, but after realizing what was happening, the shooting ceased. Richard Rowland Kirkland made his way to each soldier comforting them the best he could by laying his jacket over one and providing water to the thirsty lips for all. For the next hour and a half, he would scale the wall several times with his canteen to get more water for his enemy.
It was a moment that temporarily stopped the Civil War.
You see, Mr. Kirkland showed an incredible sense of courage and leadership to his men and the enemy in an extremely adverse situation. He most likely was very scared and fearful knowing that his decision to help others might have been his last…but he made a commitment and stuck to it to its conclusion.
How much more should people, as leaders, step up, stay focused on the task at hand and work together with others, to achieve their goals! There is a huge difference between a Boss and a Leader…a Boss has people work for THEM to get a job completed, while a Leader works together with people, to accomplish a task. I doubt very much that anyone will experience a situation as extreme as Mr. Kirkland, but will have the opportunity each day to demonstrate their leadership skills to those around them.
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.
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!
It is interesting how many people think that the little things that can happen in life, can really have no significant impact during situations or circumstances that may occur in their lives. They may become careless or thoughtless about words that they say or the actions that they perform. It is an important concept to understand and remember…the little things in life DO MATTER and can leave a significant impact on others.
The “little things” in life, can also lead to great accomplishments and success. It is said that “the difference between an ordinary person and an extraordinary person, is that little EXTRA.” An athlete that takes a little more time than the average player, will become an exceptional player. The same goes for the business world, teachers, coaches, or any other kind of profession…the “little extra” can have a huge impact on the life of an individual.
Consider the following story, written by Sam Parker and Mac Anderson, which demonstrates the power of going the “extra mile” or “the extra degree.”
At 211 degrees, water is hot.
At 212 degrees, water boils.
And with boiling water, comes steam.
And steam can power a locomotive.
One degree makes all the difference.
And, the one degree of effort in business and in life separates the good from the great!
The average margin of victory for the last 25 years in all major professional golf tournaments, combined, was less than three strokes.
The average margin for victory between an Olympic Gold Medal and no medal at all is extremely small. For example, in the 2004 Men’s 800m race, the margin of victory was an incredible 0.71 seconds!
At the Indianapolis 500, the average margin for victory for the past 10 years has been 1.54 seconds. On average, the winner took home $1,278,813, the second place prize was $621,321, a difference of $657,492. (Note, these stats are from a few years ago 😊
It is your life.
You are responsible for the results of it.
It is time to turn up the heat.
To get what we have never had, we must do what we have never done.
I think that some people will find this hard to believe, but people are not perfect. All of us have inadequacies and deficiencies that others may look at in a negative light but what individuals don’t realize, is that in many, many ways, some weaknesses in people can, in fact, be used in positive ways! This is true in all areas of life whether it be at work, schools, businesses, etc. We should learn, especially if you are a leader, how to find strengths through weaknesses.
Consider the following story…
There was once a man who had two large clay pots which he would hang on the ends of a pole he carried across his neck when he went to fetch water from a stream. One of the pots had a small crack in it while the other was perfect. The perfect pot always brought home a full pot of water while the cracked pot returned home barely half full.
For years, the man would always return from the stream with only one and a half pots of water. The perfect pot was very proud of its accomplishment; however, the cracked pot was ashamed of its imperfection. It felt terrible that it only accomplished half of what it was intended to do.
One day while kneeling by the stream to fill his two pots, the cracked pot spoke out, “I am sorry Sir and want to apologize.”
“Why? What are you sorry about?” asked the man.
“Because of my flaw, I can only give you half a load. Never ever have I given you what you expected,” said the cracked pot.
The man continued to quietly fill his pots. When he put his pole over his neck with his two pots attached, he looked at the cracked pot and said, “Today as we walk home, look down at the path as we walk.” As they walked, the cracked pot did what he was told; he looked down at the path. By the time they arrived home half the water in the cracked pot had leaked out and it was feeling sorry for itself again.
After the man put down his pole, he asked the cracked pot, “What did you notice along the path on our way home?”
“I noticed beautiful flowers growing along our path,” replied the cracked pot.
“You’re right,” said the man. “Flowers do grow along our path. “However, did you notice they only grow on one side of the path and not the other?”
You see, I have always known about your flaw and I decided to take advantage of it. I only planted flower seeds on your side of the path and every day as we walked back from the stream, you watered the seeds for me. Because of you, I have always had an abundance of beautiful flowers to decorate my home and share with my friends. Without your flaw, I would never have had all this beauty in my life.”
Remember, the people we know are just like the cracked pot. They all have flaws. Rather than complain about their imperfections, maybe we should acknowledge their flaws and take advantage of them to make our lives and places where we live and work, better places to live. For example, in the working world, imagine how much better a work environment could be or how much production would improve, if leaders looked upon their employees with this kind of mindset! Maximizing strengths through weaknesses is a true sign of a successful person!
Have you ever experienced situations in your life in which seem impossible to solve and there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel? Are the obstacles that have gotten in your way and have stopped you from achieving a life dream or a personal goal? Then I have an inspiring and motivational story you! This is an encouraging illustration of obedience, perseverance, faith and long-suffering. It will demonstrate to you the importance of maintaining your faith and patience with adversities that may come into your life.
A man was sleeping at night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light, and God appeared. The Lord told the man he had work for him to do and showed him a large rock in front of his cabin. The Lord explained that the man was to push against the rock with all his might.
So, this the man did, day after day
For many years he toiled from sun up to sun down, his shoulders set squarely against the cold, massive surface of the unmoving rock, pushing with all of his might. Each night the man returned to his cabin sore and worn out, feeling that his whole day had been spent in vain.
Since the man was showing discouragement, the Adversary (Satan) decided to enter the picture by placing thoughts into the weary mind: “You have been pushing against that rock for a long time, and it hasn’t moved.”
Thus, he gave the man the impression that the task was impossible and that he was a failure. These thoughts discouraged and disheartened the man.
Satan said, “Why kill yourself over this? Just put in your time, giving just the minimum effort; and that will be good enough.”
That’s what the weary man planned to do but decided to make it a matter of prayer and to take his troubled thoughts to the Lord. “Lord,” he said, “I have labored long and hard in your service, putting all my strength to do that which you have asked. Yet, after all this time, I have not even budged that rock by half a millimeter. What is wrong? Why am I failing?”
The Lord responded compassionately, “My friend when I asked, you to serve Me and you accepted, I told you that your task was to push against the rock with all of your strength, which you have done. Never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. Your task was to push.
And now you come to Me with your strength spent, thinking that you have failed. But, is that really so? Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscled, your back sinewy and brown; your hands are callused from constant pressure, your legs have become massive and hard. Through opposition, you have grown much, and your abilities now surpass that which you used to have. True, you haven’t moved the rock. But your calling was to be obedient and to push and to exercise your faith and trust in My wisdom. That you have done. Now I, my friend, will move the rock.”
At times, when we hear a word from God, we tend to use our own intellect to decipher what He wants, when what God wants is just a simple obedience and faith in Him. By all means, exercise the faith that moves mountains, but know that it is still God who moves mountains.
When everything seems to go wrong… just P.U.S.H.!
When the job gets you down … just P.U.S.H.!
When people don’t react the way you think they should … just P.U.S.H!
When your money is “gone” and the bills are due…just P.U.S.H!
When people just don’t understand you, just P.U.S.H.
There are many, many causes and circumstances throughout a person’s life that may make an individual fearful and afraid of the future or a situation that they might be presently experiencing and can cause a great deal of hardship and turmoil. Some of the leading causes of anxiety and distress in today’s world are things such as stresses in school, work, relationships, financial/money, the death of a loved one, a serious medical illness, drugs…the list goes on and on.
It is during these times, that people may begin to feel isolated, lonely, and hopeless. Friends, family, and other acquaintances may seem a million miles away and it can appear like no one is around to help.
Well, I have great news for you!!! Today, I am going to share with you an old American Indian legend regarding the Cherokee Indians and their young boy’s “rite of passage” into manhood. It is my hope that this story will supply you with a positive sense of comfort and reassurance when you are experiencing the “valleys and shadows” of life.
At the time the ritual begins, a father takes his young son into the forest, blindfolds him and leaves him alone. The boy is required to sit on a stump the entire night and not remove his blindfold until he sees the dawns first rays of sunlight shine through it. Once he survives the night, he is a MAN.
The boy is not allowed to tell any of the other boys in his village of this experience because each male must experience and come into manhood on his own. Naturally, the boy is terrified and scared to death. He can hear all kinds of noises…some are familiar, but many are strange and scary. There is no question that wild animals are all around him…or maybe even another human that may be wanting to cause him harm!
The wind blows the grass and the earth and shakes his stump…but the boy sits quietly and stoically, never getting up or removing his blindfold. This is the only way that he can become a man!
Finally, what seems like an eternity, the terrible night is over. Dawn’s first rays of sunlight appear, and the boy now takes off his blindfold. It is then that he discovers his father sitting on a stump next to him. He had been watching his son the entire night, protecting him from harm.
You see folks, we, too, are never alone…even when we don’t know it, God is always with and watching over us…sitting on the stump next to us!
A day or so ago, a friend of mine, who works and ministers to the homeless, sent me the following newsletter that I thought would be a good thing to share with you. Let’s all take a little time each day to consider how fortunate we really are…and how many individuals struggle for food, shelter, and clothes every day! Maybe you can help the unfortunate in your own way.
Here is the story, written by my friend, Paul…
It’s Super Bowl Sunday! Are you running around trying to get everything ready for the party you’re hosting or attending? Have you decided who you’re rooting for? Is the DVR set? Did you add extra time so you can record “This Is Us” after the game? Are you going in late to work tomorrow? Do the kids get to stay up?
If you haven’t got things figured out by now, “time’s a wasting” and you better get to it! The game starts at 6:30PM EST whether you’re ready or not and you might feel stressed because of this. However, I hope we can all agree this is probably not the most important thing happening in your life right now.
The more we get caught up in what is urgent, the more we lose sight of what’s most important. It’s easy to get confused between important and urgent. Urgent is always right in front of us. Urgent is obvious. While urgent can be important, it’s not usually the case.
I believe most days we find ourselves not doing the most important thing but the most urgent thing. Many times it’s because we don’t want to miss out. Experts call it, “FOMO” or Fear Of Missing Out. We’re consumed with social media. No longer do we have to wait for a letter for an update from a friend or the next morning’s newspaper to get details about world news. Almost everything is only a click away and slow download speeds are considered intolerable.
When we get caught up in what seems urgent, we lose sight of what is important. Even worse, we stifle imagination and basically deny ourselves permission to dream about the future. We unconsciously tell our brains there’s no need to create because every moment and thought is being filled in for us. The result is instead of truly living, we’re just existing.
Our friends that are homeless are also plagued with urgency. It’s not usually because of FOMO, but rather because of instability and insecurity. They ask questions most of us don’t give much thought to, but for our friends who are homeless these are questions connected to incredible stress:
“When am I going to eat again?”
“When am I going to sleep again?”
“Where am I going to sleep?”
“Will someone take my things if I sleep?”
“Will I be able to stay warm?”
“How am I my going to get back on my feet?”
“Who is going to hire me?”
“What can I even do?”
“When am I going to shower again?”
All these items are important, but because they are unanswered questions their urgency becomes a roadblock to moving forward. When we’re always being led by urgency, the things that are truly important, or should I say, should be truly important get lost and now the urgent things are the most important because they’re the only things.
If the previous questions can be answered with certainty and consistency people will be able to think and plan for tomorrow and beyond again instead just the next hour. However, if the previous questions don’t get answered, then these questions start to be asked:
“Will people even come near me?”
“Does anyone even see me?”
“Do I matter at all?”
“Who even loves me anymore?”
So, what do we do?
HELP, HOPE, HOME
We need to HELP relieve people of these urgencies. We need to remove these stressors out of their lives and give them permission to dream again. It’s obvious one should have a job and save money, but if you’re plagued with urgency, it seems nearly impossible to plan for a future you’re not sure you’re even going to have.
Once a person has stability and security then HOPE can grow and when hope grows, all things are possible! My favorite verse in the Bible is Philippians 4:13. “I can do all things through him (Christ) who gives me strength.” However, for anything to grow the conditions must be right. I’m reminded of “The Parable of the Sower” in Matthew 13. Seeds need the right soil to flourish. For seeds of hope to grow in people, other people with hope need to be the “soil” surrounding the people who need it most.
With a foundation of stability offered through relief help and a restoration of hope in Christ, a person can genuinely focus on HOME. Home is not just any shelter, but a place where a person has the peace of knowing they are loved beyond all measure by God….because they are!
For you and I, we may need to be reminded of Psalm 121:
Psalm 121 English Standard Version (ESV)
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
4 Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
8 The Lord will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore.
The world continues to spin whether we know every detail or not. We don’t need to have FOMO. It’s OK if we let go of or miss certain things because God sees and knows everything and doesn’t miss anything. Stepping away from time to time is a great way to honor God and show Him you trust him with everything!
If you want to help our friends experiencing homelessness, here four ways you can make an impact in your community and the world around you RIGHT NOW!
1.) Be a Good Neighbor!
When you are kind to those around you, someone in crisis may have the courage to open up to you. (Matthew 22:36-40, Luke 6:31, Luke 10:25-37)
2.) Bow Your Head!
Prayer is powerful and effective. It is our greatest weapon in spiritual warfare. Please pray for wisdom, discernment, and favor. (Matthew 6:5-14, Philippians, 4:6, James 5:13-16, 1 Thessalonians 5:17)
3.) Get Involved!
Volunteer with us, one of our partners, or in your community. Time is the one thing we never get back. When you choose to spend time with someone, it speaks volumes about both you and the person your with. If you’re willing to spend time with someone often overlooked by society, there’s a good chance someone else will take notice and realize that person’s life matters. (Isaiah 58:9b-10, Matthew 25:40, Hebrews 13:16)
4.) Cheerfully Give!
Donating your money is a great way to have an impact even when you can’t be physically present. $10 PER MONTH or MORE can make a significant difference in an individual’s life, my family’s well being, and the way the world views homelessness. PLEASE GIVE GENEROUSLY TODAY! (Proverbs 19:17, Malachi 3:10, Luke 10:2, 2 Corinthians 9:7,12)
Have you ever tried to help other people and do something thoughtful and kind, yet become discouraged, disheartened, or upset when the outcome didn’t turn out the way you expected? There are times throughout our lives, when may t to accomplish certain goals, overcome negative or hurtful situations, and fall short. It can become very dispiriting, demoralizing, or down-right depressing.
There are two things that a can do when they face a difficult circumstance: 1) dwell on the negative, become bitter, lose focus, and quit the things that they were trying to accomplish, or, 2) maintain a single-mindedness desire to accomplish a goal, dream, or to help others. What decision would you make?
A few days ago, I came the following little sonnet (Author Unknown) which I found to be a good source of encouragement to me. It is my wish that it will motivate you to stay positive and focused in your quest to make others happy and when you chase your dreams.
“Do It Anyway”
People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered:
FORGIVE THEM ANYWAY.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish and ulterior motives:
BE KIND ANYWAY.
If you are successful, you will win false friends:
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you:
BE HONEST AND FRANK ANYWAY.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight:
If you find serenity and happiness, others may be jealous:
BE HAPPY ANYWAY.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow:
DO GOOD ANYWAY.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough:
GIVE THE WORLD THE BEST YOU HAVE ANYWAY.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God:
I have been finding and posting inspiring, motivational, and encouraging stories on this blog for the past four years now. There have been instances in which people have been interested in sharing personal stories and have been willing to post their tale on this site, “Good Time Stories.”
Today, I would like to share with you, one such story which was written by my friend, known as the “Old Mainer,” from his own blog, “Old Mainer.” This is a beautiful story of an everlasting love that I am sure will touch your heart and soul. It is my hope that you not only enjoy this story but will also inspire you to discover a way to remember how much your “better half” loves you.
Each evening when I get undressed, I remove the contents of my pockets and place them on my dresser. It is all the usual stuff that we can’t live without. Cell phone, pocket knife, spare change, watch, ring, etc. Although most of the paraphernalia changes as time progresses, there is one item that I have been placing there for many years. It is a coin. Well, not a coin in the true sense of the word. It is not currency and has no monetary value. In fact, it looks more like a silver blob of aluminum that was melted down. It is flat on one side and almost smooth on the other. It wasn’t always thus. At one time, the smooth side had three words embossed on it.
I traveled a lot in my job. Never for long durations, but frequent enough to pull me away from home more then I would have liked. That is when I started carrying the coin. I always knew it was there, in my pocket, and it gave me a sense of comfort. Often, I would run my fingers over the words, as if trying to read them by touch.
When I retired, I continued to carry the coin. It had become such a part of me, that to be without it was not acceptable. Because, to me, it’s value is in what it is instead of what it’s worth. A symbol of sorts that defines me. Defines us.
The coin was given to me by my wife before departing on one of my trips. She had picked it up in a little shop. They had several of them with different phrases, but this one caught her eye and she picked it up on a whim. She probably only paid a dollar or two, but it has grown in value over the years.
Today, only the remnants of two letters remain, a V and E. All the others have worn away. But to me, they are still there. Always will be. Just more deeply embedded. It will always say I LOVE YOU. That will never wear away. If the words are gone before me, the love will still be there, and only I will see it.
It is an amazing thing to me, what people do to cope with the unfortunate circumstances and situations that they have been dealt in their lives. Some people will become pessimistic, despondent, isolated, and secluded…shutting off their friends, family and the rest of the world, while others will flee to the world of alcohol, drugs, or some other form of entertainment or vice, to lessen the pain that they are experiencing.
Transversely, other people try to look at their situation from a different perspective with a positive outlook. They decide that they are going to get their priorities in order, learn to enjoy everything about their lives even more then they used to do, and/or “make lemonade out of the lemons” that were given to them.
Today’s short story is a beautiful illustration of how an individual decided to spend his last days here on earth…
A man’s daughter had asked the local pastor to come and pray with her father. When the pastor arrived, he found the man lying in bed with his head propped up on two pillows and an empty chair beside his bed. The priest assumed that the old fellow had been informed of his visit. “I guess you were expecting me,” he said.
“No, who are you?”
“I’m the new associate at your local church,” the pastor replied. “When I saw the empty chair, I figured you knew I was going to show up.”
“Oh yeah, the chair,” said the bedridden man. “Would you mind closing the door?”
Puzzled, the pastor shut the door.
“I’ve never told anyone this, not even my daughter,” said the man. “But all of my life I have never known how to pray. At church, I used to hear the pastor talk about prayer, but it always went right over my head…”
“I abandoned any attempt at prayer,” the old man continued, “until one day about four years ago my best friend said to me, ‘Joe, prayer is just a simple matter of having a conversation with Jesus. Here’s what I suggest. Sit down on a chair, place an empty chair in front of you, and in faith see Jesus on the chair. It’s not spooky because he promised, ‘I’ll be with you always.’ Then just speak to him and listen in the same way you’re doing with me right now.”
“So, I tried it and I’ve liked it so much that I do it a couple of hours every day. I’m careful, though. If my daughter saw me talking to an empty chair, she’d either have a nervous breakdown or send me off to the funny farm.”
The pastor was deeply moved by the story and encouraged the old guy to continue the journey.
Then he prayed with him and returned to the church.
Two nights later the daughter called to tell the pastor that her daddy had died that afternoon.
“Did he seem to die in peace?” he asked.
“Yes, when I left the house around two o’clock, he called me over to his bedside, told me one of his corny jokes, and kissed me on the cheek. When I got back from the store an hour later, I found him dead. But there was something strange, In fact, beyond strange–kinda weird. Apparently, just before Daddy died, he leaned over and rested his head on a chair beside the bed.”
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 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.
One of the best, well-known chapters of the Bible worldwide, is 1 Corinthians 13…otherwise known as “The Love Chapter.” It has been used down through the ages in weddings, vows, ceremonies, and various other events.
Recently, I came across a “Christmas Version” of this popular passage of Scripture from a friend of mine that I thought would be fun to share with you. I hope that you will enjoy it and inspire you to remember the real reason for the season (and hopefully, every day of your life).
1 Corinthians 13 (A Christmas Version)
If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I am just another decorator.
If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family, I am just another cook.
If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.
If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing I the choir’s cantata, but do not focus on those that I love the most, I have missed the point.
…In other words,
Love stops the cooking to hug a child
Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the spouse.
Love is kind, though harried and tired.
Love doesn’t envy another’s home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.
Love doesn’t yell at the kids to get out of the way but is thankful they are there to be in the way.
Love doesn’t give only to those who are able to give in return but rejoices in giving to those who can’t.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.
Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, and golf clubs will rust.
But the gift of love will endure.
In case you would like to know what 1 Corinthians 13 says in Scriptures, here it is (the small numbers are the verses in the chapter) …
1 Corinthians 13
1If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
2 If I have the gift of prophecy and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body [a]to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,
5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,
6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;
7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.
9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part;
10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.
11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.
12 For now, we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.
13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the [f]greatest of these is love.