There is Always Something to Be Thankful for
A famous writer was in his study room. He picked up his pen and started writing:
“Last year, I had surgery and my gallbladder was removed. I had to stay stuck to the bed due to this surgery for a long time.
The same year I reached the age of 60 years and had to give up my favourite job. I had spent 30 years of my life in this publishing company.
The same year I experienced the sorrow of the death of my father.
And in the same year my son failed his medical exam because he had a car accident. He had to stay in bed at the hospital with the cast on for several days. The destruction of the car was another loss.”
In the end, he wrote: Alas! It was such a bad year!
When the writer’s wife entered the room, she found her husband looking sad, lost in his thoughts. From behind his back, she read what was written on the paper. She left the room silently and came back with another paper and placed it on the side of her husband’s writing.
When the writer saw this paper, he found this written on it:
“Last year I finally got rid of my gall bladder due for which I had spent years in pain.
I turned 60 with sound health and got retired from my job. Now I can utilize my time to write something better with more focus and peace.
The same year my father, at the age of 95, without depending on anyone or without any critical condition met his Creator.
The same year, God blessed my son with a new life. My car was destroyed, but my son stayed alive without getting any disability.”
In the end, she wrote: This year was an immense blessing of God and it passed well!
See the same incidents, but different viewpoints. If we ponder with this viewpoint that what could have happened more, we would truly become thankful to the Almighty.
Moral: In our daily lives, we must see that it’s not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.
There is always, always, always something to be thankful for.
– Author Unknown
Meditation: in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. – 1 Thessalonians 5:18
You will succeed because Jesus loves You!
My Friend Barry
I first met Barry in the mid-80’s while working as the secretary for the President of a limousine company in the town where I grew up, a suburb of Dallas. My boss, Charles was the newly appointed President of the National Limousine Association based in Washington, DC. Barry, a man nearly twice my age and also serving on the board lived near the Associations’ headquarters and would routinely call to discuss issues with my boss. When Barry would call he would exuberantly say “Good morning!!!” and you could tell from his voice and tone that it really was!
Being a young mother of two small daughters, often it was well up into the day before my morning felt “good” to me. Usually fatigued from the daily routine of getting dinner the night before, baths, making lunches, helping with homework, and then getting up early to rush the girls off to school and drive the 20+ miles to work in traffic, I would be doing well to muster up a smile, much less any enthusiasm, yet Barry’s calls would always rejuvenate me.
As time went on, I found myself anxiously awaiting his phone calls. He would always ask about my family and before long he knew as much about my family as my closest friends. He would be genuine in his interest to hear how the girls were doing as well as my husband, Bill.
His laughter was contagious and his zest for life always made me glad he called. Barry spoke of his family too, a wife of many years, children and his most recent family addition, a grandson. You could tell from our conversations that he not only loved life, but also his family. In the spring of ’88 his work with the Association would bring him to Dallas. When he called to tell me the news that he would, at last, get to meet me in person, I was ecstatic! I had long wondered what he looked like and wanted to see for myself if that enthusiasm on the phone was indeed something that was the ‘real deal’.
Barry arrived some weeks later and chose to stay over on Saturday to see some of the Dallas area. He had asked if Bill, the girls and I were up for showing him around and I jumped at the opportunity, saying “yes” without first checking with the family.
As it turned out, there was a softball tournament that Saturday and Bill, being an assistant coach, could not get out of attending it. Feeling bad that I had already accepted the invitation to show him the city, I begged off from sitting in the stands for hours watching teams of children play softball (none of which included my own) and said nothing to Barry of the change in plans.
On that Saturday we were to meet at his hotel for brunch. His treat! When I arrived alone he was hugely disappointed that the girls and Bill were not with me. I explained the circumstances and he asked if we could include a trip to the ball fields as part of our excursion that day and I agreed. Little did I know that the events of that day would change me forever!
Barry was a gentleman in every sense of the word and his attitude and humor kept me entertained throughout the entire day – one surprise after another. However, it was the way he treated others that would remain with me and alter my ways of thinking for a lifetime.
It started first with the waitress at brunch. He made sure he knew her name and called her by it throughout the morning meal, but it didn’t stop there. He complimented her on the tiniest of tasks and genuinely showed an interest in every part of her job. When she warmed up to us, his humor kicked in. When she asked if we were from out of town, he remarked that he had flown in because we were getting married that afternoon! He continued by asking her if she didn’t agree that I was the most beautiful woman in the world and wouldn’t I make a lovely bride for him.
Obviously, the waitress didn’t know what to say seeing that we were years apart in age, so she smiled and agreed with him. He went on with his charade as I sat smiling and listening to his ridiculous story. All the while he made it remarkably believable. When she walked away, I laughed and told him how crazy he was and he laughed just as hard as I.
Throughout our meal our waitress would provide the best of service, coming to check on us regularly and offering anything that she could possibly bring us. It was obvious that she couldn’t get enough of Barry and his outlandish story and every time she appeared at the table, he added to it even going so far as to invite her to the ‘wedding’ that afternoon.
It was hard to contain myself as I wondered what he would do if she accepted. I could tell from that first experience I was in for a day full of surprises and Barry didn’t disappoint me. After walking out into the lobby, still laughing about his charade with the waitress, we encountered the hotel custodian, an elderly black man with graying hair and a demeanor so low I sensed immediately that he wanted to be invisible. As he polished and cleaned the lobby tables and doors we stood talking about the day’s agenda.
Barry wanted to run up to his room and get his sunglasses and I told him I’d wait there in the lobby for him. We were standing near the elevator and the custodian had made his way over to clean out the ashtrays. I remember them being the ones with the sand on the top that, when freshened up, had the hotel’s logo pressed into the clean sand.
Barry went into action! He greeted the elderly custodian with the warmest “hello, good morning, sir” that I have ever heard – much like that between two long lost friends at a chance meeting. The custodian smiled and softly returned a shy “hello” back as he continued with the ashtrays. Barry was relentless.
“How are you (waiting for his name) today?” The old man replied, “Oh, fine”.
“And what is your name, sir?” The old man replied with his first name, Henry.
“Well, Mr. Henry.” Barry began. “No, sir, that’s my first name, Henry. Me’s last name is Turner”, was his reply.
“I beg your pardon, Mr. Turner”, Barry said. Mr. Turner now smiling and standing a little straighter and taller turned to look towards me. I returned the smile, waiting to see what was in store for us both from Barry.
He continued. “Mr. Turner, how long have you worked for the hotel?” he asked.
“Oh, nearly five years now” came his reply.
“And do you take care of this beautiful lobby all by yourself, or do you have help?”
Barry continued to pry. “No sir, I do it all by myself, ain’t got no helpers, don’t need nobody, I likes doing it real nice by myself” he answered.
Barry then walked towards the ashtray he had just finished restoring to perfection. “Mr. Turner, how do you get that logo in the sand like that, I have often wondered how it’s done and you’re the first person I have ever seen who could actually tell me.” Mr. Turner, now standing tall and confident walked over to the next ashtray and proceeded to show Barry the tricks of the trade so to speak. He carried a rubber stamp in his supplies that when pressed into the smoothed out sand made the logo prominent. “Jest like that, sir”, was Mr. Turner’s reply.
Barry studied the logo in the sand intently and turned to Mr. Turner and remarked, “well, I’ll be – that is impressive if I must say so – and that must take practice to get it right in the center and make it stand out like that – yes, a real art I’d say”.
Barry had turned his total and complete attention to the aging custodian, showing him a genuine interest in these mundane tasks and Mr. Turner was thriving on the attention he was getting. The elevator arrived and Barry went up. The elderly custodian began to whistle a little tune as he continued his cleaning and when he got to the next ashtray, he stood looking at his work as an artist does upon completing a masterpiece.
Sitting silently in the lobby glancing through a magazine I began to take it all in. I marveled at the changes that had come over Mr. Turner – he walked tall now to the next ashtray, his head held high, a smile on his withered face and he whistled softly – a transformation made in only moments by an act of respect and a few spoken words.
The remainder of the day proved to be more of the same as we visited historical locations, shops and even the ball fields where we found the girls and Bill intently watching the softball tournament. Everywhere we went Barry made the people he encountered feel like they were the owner or president of their company, or could be! His enthusiasm and concentrated interest in whatever they were doing brought smiles and opened conversation everywhere we went.
Later that night, alone with my thoughts, I replayed the video in my mind of Barry making small talk with total strangers standing near us in a line, the waitress, Mr. Turner and even the way he reacted when meeting my family. What a difference he made in the lives of those he would never meet again, whose day was made more special because of a word, a smile, a story.
I closed my eyes and thought to myself, I want to live my life just like Barry – making those I encounter feel important everywhere I go! The following year, the limousine company I worked for declared bankruptcy and closed its doors. I was handed the word processor on my desk as payment for my last two weeks at work.
School was about to end for summer vacation and I decided to take that time to enjoy it with the girls and think of what I would do next. Barry stayed in touch with me, making sure I would be all right in light of my sudden loss of work and income. I assured him I was fine and that I would bounce back come September when school started back and that I would find other employment.
It was then that Barry began to encourage me to start my own business – he reminded me that I had the knowledge and personality to be successful and now I had an expensive tool by which to get started – the computer. At first, it seemed more like the story of us getting married that day – totally ridiculous – but he wouldn’t let it go.
As we continued to converse over the summer it became more and more evident that he was right – I could do it! I spent the summer gearing up for my new company, “Secretarial Solutions” and on the first day of school while dropping the girls off I heard a knock on my van window. I rolled down the glass and a gentleman asked for my business card.
Puzzled, I asked, “What business card?” forgetting the signs on the side of our van advertising my new business. He smiled, “Isn’t this your van?” “Yes,” I replied and then snapped to what he meant and scrambled to find my new business card to hand him. He became my very first customer!
For the remaining four years my business grew and I thrived. Barry was there for me each time I needed advice or direction and always for encouragement. Whenever I found an opportunity – which was daily – I put into action what Barry had shown me – and even today it is the standard by which I live.
Sometimes I wonder whatever happened to Barry Locke, and then I smile knowing if he isn’t still here on earth making people feel important, he is surely in heaven making up stories to entertain the angels!
By Linda Hastings
Meditation: A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, But by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken. – Proverbs 15:13
You will succeed because Jesus loves You!
Witnessing A Miracle
It was one of the hottest days of the dry season. We had not seen rain in almost a month. The crops were dying. Cows had stopped giving milk. The creeks and streams were long gone back into the earth. It was a dry season that would bankrupt several farmers before it was through. Every day, my husband and his brothers would go about the arduous process of trying to get water to the fields. Lately, this process had involved taking a truck to the local water rendering plant and filling it up with water. But severe rationing had cut everyone off. If we didn’t see some rain soon we would lose everything.
It was on this day that I learned the true lesson of sharing and witnessed the only miracle I have seen with my own eyes. I was in the kitchen making lunch for my husband and his brothers when I saw my six-year-old son, Billy, walking toward the woods. He wasn’t walking with the usual carefree abandon of a youth but with a serious purpose. I could only see his back. He was obviously walking with a great effort…trying to be as still as possible. Minutes after he disappeared into the woods, he came running out again, toward the house. I went back to making sandwiches; thinking that whatever task he had been doing was completed. Moments later, however, he was once again walking in that slow purposeful stride toward the woods.
This activity went on for an hour: walk carefully to the woods, run back to the house. Finally, I couldn’t take it any longer and I crept out of the house and followed him on his journey (being very careful not to be seen, as he was obviously doing important work and didn’t need his Mommy checking up on him). He was cupping both hands in front of him as he walked; being very careful not to spill the water he held in them, maybe two or three tablespoons were held in his tiny hands. I sneaked close as he went into the woods. Branches and thorns slapped his little face, but he did not try to avoid them. He had a much higher purpose.
As I leaned in to spy on him, I saw the most amazing sight. Several large deer loomed in front of him. Billy walked right up to them. I almost screamed for him to get away. A huge buck with elaborate antlers was dangerously close. But the buck did not threaten him, he didn’t even move as Billy knelt down. And I saw a tiny fawn laying on the ground, obviously suffering from dehydration and heat exhaustion, lift its head with great effort to lap up the water cupped in my beautiful boy’s hand.
When the water was gone, Billy jumped up to run back to the house and I hid behind a tree. I followed him back to the house; to a spigot that we had shut off the water to. Billy opened it all the way up and a small trickle began to creep out. He knelt there, letting the drip, drip slowly fill up his makeshift “cup,” as the sun beat down on his little back. And it came clear to me. The trouble he had gotten into for playing with the hose the week before. The lecture he had received about the importance of not wasting water. The reason he didn’t ask me to help him.
It took almost twenty minutes for the drops to fill his hands. When he stood up and began the trek back, I was there in front of him. His little eyes just filled with tears. “I’m not wasting,” was all he said. As he began his walk, I joined him, with a small pot of water from the kitchen. I let him tend to the fawn. I stayed away. It was his job. I stood on the edge of the woods watching the most beautiful heart I have ever known working so hard to save another life.
As the tears that rolled down my face began to hit the ground, they were suddenly joined by other drops…and more drops…and more. I looked up at the sky. It was as if God, Himself, was weeping with pride. Some will probably say that this was all just a huge coincidence. That miracles don’t really exist. That it was bound to rain sometime. And I can’t argue with that. I’m not going to try. All I can say is that the rain that came that day saved our farm, just like the actions of one little boy saved another.
– Author Unknown
Meditation: A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench; He will bring forth justice for truth.. – Isaiah 42:3
You will succeed because Jesus loves You!
The Danger of Comparison
A guy met one of his schoolmates several years after school and he could not believe his eyes; his friend was driving one of the latest sleek Mercedes Benz cars. He went home feeling awful and very disappointed in himself. He thought he was a failure. What he didn’t know was that his friend was a driver and had been sent on an errand with his boss’s car!
Rosemary nagged her husband always for not being romantic. She accused him of not getting down to open the car door for her as her friend Jane’s husband did when he dropped her off at work. What Rosemary didn’t know was that Jane’s husband’s car had a faulty door that could only be opened from the outside!
Sampson’s wife went to visit one of her longtime friends and was very troubled for seeing the three lovely kids of her friend playing around. Her problem was that she had only one child and have been struggling to conceive for the past five years. What she didn’t know was that only one of those kids was the biological child of her friend and he had sickle cell and had just a year left to live; the other two were adopted!
Life does not have a universal measuring tool; so create yours and use it. Looking at people and comparing yourself with them will not make you better, only bitter. If you know the sort of load the chameleon carries, you wouldn’t ask why it takes those gentle strides. So, enjoy what you have and be grateful for it. Not all that glitters is gold, everyone is going through one thing or the other, live and be happy with what you have.
Meditation: we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. – 2 Corinthians 10:12
You will succeed because Jesus loves You!
As a carpenter went home after closing from his workshop, a black, poisonous cobra entered his workshop.
The cobra was hungry and hoped to find its supper lurking somewhere within. It slithered from one end to another and accidentally bumped into a double-edged metal axe and got slightly injured.
In anger and seeking revenge, the snake bit the axe with full force. What could a bite do to a metallic axe? Instead, the cobra’s mouth started bleeding.
Out of fury and arrogance, the cobra made to strangle and kill the object that was causing it such pain by wrapping itself very tightly around the blades.
The next day when the carpenter opened his workshop, he found a seriously cut, dead cobra wrapped around the axe blades.
The cobra died not because of someone else’s fault but faced these consequences merely because of its own anger.
Sometimes when angry, we try to cause harm to others, but as time passes by, we realise that we have only caused more harm to ourselves instead.
For a happy life, it is best we learn to ignore and overlook some things, people, incidents, affairs and matters.
It is not necessary that we react to everything. Step back and ask yourself if the matter is really worth responding or reacting to.
People that show no inclination to change, are best handled with silence and prayer.
Meditation: Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, For anger rests in the bosom of fools. – Ecclesiastes 7:9
You will succeed because Jesus loves You!
Excess and Excuses
It hurts me to write this story. But I must write it. I live in Canada, which is seen as a rich country. The country to the south of us, the United States, also falls into this category. As a writer, I’ve been blessed that my work has touched so many lives in so many corners of the world.
I receive many letters. An enormous amount of them come from places where it isn’t as good as we have it here. Yet these letters are filled with hope and optimism. Terror and fear are daily occurrences in countries like Africa, India and Papua New Guinea [PNG] just to name a few. Yet when I read the letters from people living in these and many more places, their passion is overwhelming. You also have great respect for their rich, individual heritages.
You look at Papua New Guinea and discover it has over 800 languages. Each province has more than 20 different languages. Not all of them have the same dialect. The only language that they all can speak and understand is called “Pidgin English.” 800 languages means that they also have a number of different customs and traditions. All just loaded with culture and character.
North America is the richest of nations, yet, for the most part, our culture is one of excess and excuses.
Excess: We eat too much. We drink too much. We spend far too much.
Excuses: We point fingers. We blame others. We dwell in dysfunction.
We are rich with excess and excuses. For so many, we have a hard time speaking one language. We have bigger houses and bigger broken homes. Divorce is the norm. We have multiplied our possessions but reduced our values. We’ve learned how to make a living but not a life. It’s time that we stop our spoiled, self-centered ways.
Time we look in the mirror at our fat selves. Weak with character, high with cholesterol. Time we wake up. Time we learn that life isn’t about ‘things’. Time that we use our rich resources for positive change. Time we give back. Help others. Time our lives are filled with purpose. In that we will have a real reason to live.
By Miles Patrick Yohnke
Meditation: But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” – Luke 12:20-21
You will succeed because Jesus loves You!