Love in A Paper Bag

Love in A Paper Bag

Love in A Paper Bag

It was Molly’s job to hand her father his brown paper lunch bag each morning before he headed off to work. One morning, in addition to his usual lunch bag, Molly handed him a second paper bag. This one was worn and held together with duct tape, staples, and paper clips.

“Why two bags?” her father asked.

“The other is something else,” Molly answered.

“What’s in it?”

“Just some stuff. Take it with you.”

Not wanting to hold court over the matter, he stuffed both sacks into his briefcase, kissed Molly and rushed off. At midday, while hurriedly scarfing down his real lunch, he tore open Molly’s bag and shook out the contents: two hair ribbons, three small stones, a plastic dinosaur, a pencil stub, a tiny seashell, two animal crackers, a marble, a used lipstick, a small doll, two chocolate kisses, and 13 pennies.

The busy father smiled, finished eating, and swept the desk clean into the wastebasket- leftover lunch, Molly’s junk and all.

That evening, Molly ran up behind him as he read the paper.

“Where’s my bag?”

“What bag?”

“You know, the one I gave you this morning.”

“I left it at the office. Why?”

“I forgot to put this note in it,” she said. “And, besides, those are my things in the sack, Daddy, the ones I really like – I thought you might like to play with them, but now I want them back. You didn’t lose the bag, did you, Daddy?”

“Oh, no,” he said, lying. “I just forgot to bring it home. I’ll bring it tomorrow.”

While Molly hugged her father’s neck, he unfolded the note that had not made it into the sack: “I love you, Daddy.”

Molly had given him her treasures. All that a 7-year-old held dear. Love in a paper bag, and he missed it – not only missed it, but had thrown it in the wastebasket. So back he went to the office. Just ahead of the night janitor, he picked up the wastebasket and poured the contents on his desk.

After washing the mustard off the dinosaurs and spraying the whole thing with breath freshener to kill the smell of onions, he carefully smoothed out the wadded ball of brown paper, put the treasures inside and carried it home gingerly, like an injured kitten. The bag didn’t look so good, but the stuff was all there and that’s what counted.

After dinner, he asked Molly to tell him about the stuff in the sack. It took a long time to tell. Everything had a story or a memory or was attached to dreams and imaginary friends. Fairies had brought some of the things.

He’d given her the chocolate kisses; she’d kept them for when she needed them. “Sometimes I think of all the times in this sweet life,” he mused, “when I must have missed the affection I was being given. A friend calls this ‘standing knee-deep in the river and dying of thirst.”

We should all remember that it’s not the destination that counts in life, but the JOURNEY. That journey with the people we love is all that really matters. Such a simple truth is so easily forgotten.

Author Unknown

Meditation: Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; – Romans 12:10

You will succeed because Jesus loves You!

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Just A Box of Crayons

Just A Box of Crayons

Just A Box of Crayons

While walking in a toy store
The day before today,
I overheard a Crayon Box
With many things to say.

“I don’t like red!” said Yellow.
And Green said, “Nor do I!”
And no one here likes Orange,
But no one knows quite why.

“We are a box of crayons
that really doesn’t get along,”
Said Blue to all the others.
“Something here is wrong!”

Well, I bought that box of crayons
And took it home with me
And laid out all the crayons
So the crayons could all see

They watched me as I colored
With Red and Blue and Green
And Black and White and Orange
And every color in between

They watched as Green became the grass
And Blue became the sky.
The Yellow sun was shining bright
On White clouds drifting by.

Colors changing as they touched,
Becoming something new.
They watched me as I colored.
They watched till I was through.

And when I’d finally finished,
I began to walk away.
And as I did the Crayon box
Had something more to say…

“I do like Red!” said the Yellow
And Green said, “So do I!”
And Blue you are terrific!
“So high up in the sky.”

“We are a Box of Crayons
Each of us unique,
But when we get together
The picture is complete”

Christian fellowship provides us
With encouragement and love;
It will help us in our journey
‘Till we reach our home above

– Shane DeRolf

Meditation: But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. – 1 Corinthians 12:24-26

You will succeed because Jesus loves You!

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8 Gifts that Do Not Cost A Cent

8 Gifts that Do Not Cost A Cent

8 Gifts that Do Not Cost A Cent

But you must REALLY listen. No interrupting, no daydreaming, no planning your response. Just listening.

Be generous with appropriate hugs, kisses, pats on the back and handholds. Let these small actions demonstrate the love you have for family and friends.

Clip cartoons. Share articles and funny stories. Your gift will say, “I love to laugh with you.”

It can be a simple “Thanks for the help” note or a full sonnet. A brief, handwritten note may be remembered for a lifetime, and may even change a life.

A simple and sincere, “You look great in red,” “You did a super job” or “That was a wonderful meal” can make someone’s day.

Every day, go out of your way to do something kind.

There are times when we want nothing better than to be left alone. Be sensitive to those times and give the gift of solitude to others.

The easiest way to feel good is to extend a kind word to someone, really it’s not that hard to say, Hello or Thank You.

Friends are a very rare jewel, indeed. They make you smile and encourage you to succeed. They lend an ear, they share a word of praise, and they always want to open their hearts to us.

– Author Unknown

Meditation: Of all your gifts you shall offer up every heave offering due to the Lord, from all the best of them, the consecrated part of them..Numbers 18:29

You will succeed because Jesus loves You!

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How to Make the World A Better Place

How to Make the World A Better Place

How to Make the World A Better Place

Once upon a time, a young man and woman met, gazed into each other’s eyes, kissed, and knew – for certain – that they were supposed to be together forever. In the subsequent days, weeks, and months everything fell into place just as they had anticipated. He was perfect in her eyes, and she was perfect in his.

Oh, it’s the majestic certainty of young love! When two souls who barely know each other believe they know everything that they must know to live happily ever after in their own blissful bubble. They think this because it’s what their emotional hearts and minds tell them is true.

But you know what happens next. It’s what always happens next in phony fairy tales like this. For one reason or another, logic trumps emotion, their bubble bursts, and the two lovers tumble back down to Earth, bruising themselves along the way and realizing that their perfect partner isn’t so perfect after all.

Maybe he learns that she doesn’t like rock music – and rock music is extremely important to him. Maybe she learns that he never makes the bed – and making the bed is extremely important to her. Regardless of the specifics, our lovers are finally beginning to see each other for who they really are – imperfect human beings. This is the turning point at which ‘falling in love’ ends and the test of ‘true love’ begins.

Either their mindset adjusts and they accept reality – that true love isn’t so much about perfection as it is about growth and patience – or they move on to the next short-term fairy tale romance in hopes of finding that one perfect soul mate who does everything just right.

Why am I telling you this story?

Because the fluctuating feelings that steer our romantic relationships are quite similar to those that steer our motivation to make a meaningful impact on the world around us. A little passion is all that’s required to start, but only sustained perseverance makes it worthwhile.

Sure, short powerful bursts of effort and seemly giant leaps in a single bound appear to be remarkable. But they fade as fast as they arrive, and all we’re left with in the end is an unfulfilled void.

An enduring dedication – fulfilling promises by marching forward with one foot in front of the other, even when the going gets tough – is what true love is all about. And it’s this kind of love, and only this kind of love, that can make the world a better place.

— Author Unknown

Meditation: Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 3:13-14

You will succeed because Jesus loves You!

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Friendship is one of the many blessings God has given each one of us. I am so grateful for the lasting friendships I have cultivated through the years. As women, we know that true friendship is a sacred commodity. This is a relationship that is to be cherished and revered for a lifetime. We’ve experienced friendships that have come and gone because of misunderstandings, differences in lifestyles, spiritual or personal growth. For whatever reasons, they have left a permanent mark on our hearts of what true friendship really is.

I am known to be a very outgoing person and can interact with people from various cultures and backgrounds. I believe this is one of the many gifts God has bestowed upon me. I say this with great humbleness: as a child, I was very shy and reserved. During my early years, I longed for friends. I wanted people to accept and like me. Even in high school, I felt like an outcast because I wasn’t chosen to be in what I thought was the “In” group.

Consequently, this had a negative effect on my self-esteem. I placed little value on myself. My self-worth was overshadowed by the quantity of relationships versus the quality of true friendships. As I matured, I learned to filter through those relationships that weren’t holding me up in the best light. Sometimes that meant I had to light the path on my own.

Self-acceptance our elite, and not so elite, society would have you believe that it is about who you know or who you are connected to. There is nothing wrong with having well-known friends or being in a circle of connected people. However, it becomes a problem when your self-worth is based on whom you know.

Be you – love you! Wherever you think you aren’t in life yet, should never be an indication of where you are headed. Accept your shortcomings, mistakes; accept that some people won’t like you and some you don’t need to be connected to anyway. You can receive all the accolades you can stand, but until you can accept and love yourself, they are only a clanging cymbal.

Quality, not quantity networking is one of the hottest concepts in building relationships in the professional and entrepreneurial world. We are taught to meet and connect with as many individuals as we can. Whether it is to find a new career/job, build your business or build future relationships down the road.

When I was starting my career in training and development and my business as a coach, I was meeting people and collecting a lot of business cards. I would have a handful of cards, but no connections that related to my specific needs. I soon realized that the quantity of cards never measured up to the value of networking. I quickly learned that I needed to position myself where my target audience gathered; a place that supported my vision. Many times that meant a smaller and more intimate gathering.

Isn’t it funny how sometimes we enter into relationships the same way? We get sucked into a lot of drama and no substance. Then we scratch our heads trying to figure out how we got ourselves into this situation. You will later realize that sometimes less is more. For me, a quality relationship whether it is personal/professional is one based on character, excellence, and standards I set for my own life. Not perfection, but one of value that adds to not distracts from.

There is joy in being your own best friend. A true friend is someone who accepts you as you are, feels those fears and anxieties with you, and sees your limitations. A true friend will celebrate you, cry with you, and reason with you for your own good. I can truly say that I have a small, yet valuable set of sister-friends who have helped me to be the best I can be. However, I am learning to be my own best friend too.

When I feel like I’m not where I need to be, I smile and remember where I came from. When I fear stepping out of my comfort zone, I feel the fear and say, “go for it girl”. And when I am confronted with my limitations, I tell myself to do what I can. A way will be made because God never fails. I find pure joy in laughing at my quirkiness, the silly things I say and do. When you become comfortable with yourself, you’ll realize you don’t need a crowd to feel good.

Just be YOU!

You are your own best friend!

by Cherri Walston

Meditation: A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.Proverbs 18:24

You will succeed because Jesus loves You!

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The Room Filled

The Room Filled

The Room Filled

I ran home from school, stomped up the worn wooden steps, slammed open the front door and yelled,

“Mum! Mum, I’m home!”

“Michael, I’m right here!” Mum appeared around the corner. “Stop yelling. What if your father had been sleeping? You know he works nights.”

“Sorry, Mum,” I mumbled and hung my head in shame. “I didn’t mean to yell.”

“If you had woken him, you know how mad he would have been.”

“I just wanted to show you my spelling test.” I handed her my test. “I got a gold star.”

“You got another one?” She smiled. “Good for you! You always study so hard, but you have to remember not to yell when you come in the house.”

“I know, Mum, but I was excited and wanted to show you.” I lied. Dad drank a lot. If he had too much, he’d argue with Mum. I was afraid she’d leave. My two older brothers and I would be alone with him. What if I came home and she was gone? It was a fear I lived with most of my childhood. I needed to know she was there.

Years later, I moved away for my first job. Each evening, I’d open the door to a lonely, empty room. I didn’t call out for Mum. I knew she wasn’t there. I spent evenings alone. There were no computers, only books and television. It was a temporary situation.

Three months later, I was home again. Mum and I sat at the kitchen table, played cards, and talked. It was nice to have someone to share my day with – someone who loved me.

A year later, I sat in my car. The back seat and trunk were full of my belongings. My mattress was tied to my roof. Mum stood beside the car.

“Well, you’re off on your own again.”

“This is it.” I smiled up at her. “I can’t believe I have my own house.”

“You’ll do fine, Michael.” Her eyes glistened. Tears threatened to spill down her cheeks.

“Thanks for everything, Mum. Without your support, I wouldn’t be going where I’m going today.” I pulled away and wiped my own tears from my eyes. I’d miss coming home to her, but there was another woman I’d be coming home to soon.

A few hours later, Georgia and I sat in the living room of my new home. I knelt on one knee and asked her to marry me. For many years, I came home from work to my wife. We had two children – a boy and a girl. Georgia and I shared our days and love. My home – my life – was full. I was happy.

Disaster struck. My manager announced major layoffs. Fifteen years of seniority were not enough to save me. A new job took me to another city. Georgia and our kids stayed behind to sell the house. I opened the door to a rented room. There were no hugs, no children yelling “Daddy”, and no one to share my day with. I was alone.

A year later they joined me. I opened a door to love and family again. The pattern continued: a new job, a move, a lonely room, and a family that followed later.

I came home one night to another empty room. My daughter didn’t move with us this time. She was on her own. My son was home, but he didn’t greet me. He wanted to be alone to deal with his feelings. Georgia died the week before.

I faced an empty room. I never understood what empty was. There were many empty rooms I cried in, but not one compared to the room Georgia never filled again.

A year later, I opened the door, and there was Ginny. Her arms reached out and pulled me close. Her lips met mine. Her loved soothed me. Ginny and I have been apart for a month or more a few times. She’s had to help her children in other states. I’d enter an empty room when I came home from work and hear my footsteps echo off the walls – the sound of alone. I was sad she wasn’t there, but I knew she’d be back.

Ginny knows an empty room. Her husband, Harvey, passed on and left her in one too. We keep those rooms behind closed doors. They remain empty. Like a photo album, we only go there when we want to remember the past.

Ginny and I live in the present room – the room filled.

by Michael Smith

Meditation: All the rivers run into the sea, Yet the sea is not full; To the place from which the rivers come, There they return again.Ecclesiastes 1:7

You will succeed because Jesus loves You!

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