Many years ago a young lady who was attending a seminar shared an interesting story with me. Apparently she and two or three of her girlfriends went and tried out for a place in a stage play. She got the starring role while her girlfriends were not even picked for the supporting cast.
Opening night she said she was really excited but afterwards became very disappointed when her girlfriends never came out and supported her.
She was explaining the situation to an elderly friend of her father’s named Hap. He wrote her a letter and she gave me a copy with her permission to share it with others. Read it carefully and think.
Once upon a time there was a fellow by the name of Al Capp who wrote a comic strip called "L’ll Abner." Many years ago he had some characters in his strip that lived in a town near Dogpatch. They were the town bums, the ne'er do wells, the failures whose whole aim in life was to pass judgment on others. Their criticism and ridicule became so vehement that in time the rest of the people in the town became acutely conscious of it. "The boys down at the stable," as they were called because that's where they spent most of their time, soon set the social standards of the town. Nobody could do anything without their sanction.
Because they lived within the structure of their crummy little world, they would laugh and point their fingers at anyone and everyone who tried to be better than they were. As a result the people feared the ridicule of the boys down at the stable so much that they stopped trying. Soon everybody became bums and the town died.
In every social structure, Ann, whether it be family, town, county or state, there are "The boys down at the stable." They are the jealous ones. They are too scared to try something different. They show their ignorance by laughing at those who do. Learn to recognize them, Ann, for what they are. Don't let them hurt you. It takes a certain amount of toughness to succeed. One has to rise above those who would tear you down so that they can laugh and say, "I told you so!"
There are too many of us who love you and want you to make it. I could put myself at the top of the list. You aren't going to fall flat on your face as they would have you. You are going to do a superb job. Remember this show is only a small step in the direction of greater things you will do, many of which are beyond your wildest dreams. All you have to do is want to. One of the things I like about you best is that you always give it hell for try.
The show will be a success because of you and others like you who try. There are only winners in the cast. The losers are gathered down at the stable laughing and hoping for your failure. If we could dig down deep inside them, I'm sure we'd find they want to win also, but are too scared to try, and they attempt to cover up their own failures as human beings by laughing at others. In a sense I'm sorry for them. Their guilt must make them very unhappy people.
Next autumn, when you see geese heading south for the winter, flying in a “V” formation, you might consider what science has discovered as to why they fly that way. As each bird flaps its wings, it creates uplift for the bird immediately following. By flying in a “V” formation, the whole flock adds at least 71 percent greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own.
People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going more quickly and easily, because they are travelling on the thrust of one another.
When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird in front.
If we have the sense of a goose, we will stay in formation with those people who are heading the same way we are.
When the head goose gets tired, it rotates back in the wing and another goose flies point.
It is sensible to take turns doing demanding jobs, whether with people or with geese flying south.
Geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.
What message do we give when we honk from behind?
Finally – and this is important – when a goose gets sick or is wounded by gunshot, and falls out of the formation, two other geese fall out with that goose and follow it down to lend help and protection. They stay with the fallen goose until it is able to fly or until it dies; and only then do they launch out on their own, or with another formation to catch up with their own group.
If we have the sense of a goose, we will stand by each other like that.
In 1962, four nervous young musicians played their first record audition for the executives of the Decca Recording Company. The executives were not impressed. While turning down this group of musicians, one executive said, "We don't like their sound. Groups of guitars are on the way out." The group was called The Beatles.
In 1944, Emmeline Snively, director of the Blue Book Modeling Agency, told modeling hopeful Norma Jean Baker, "You'd better learn secretarial work or else get married." She went on and became Marilyn Monroe.
In 1954, Jimmy Denny, manager of the Grand Ole Opry, fired a singer after one performance. He told him, "You ain't goin' nowhere, son. You ought to go back to drivin' a truck." He went on to become the most popular singer in America, named Elvis Presley.
When Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone in 1876, it did not ring off the hook with calls from potential backers. After making a demonstration call, President Rutherford Hayes said, "That's an amazing invention, but who would ever want to use one of them?"
When Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, he tried over 2000 experiments before he got it to work. A young reporter asked him how it felt to fail so many times. He said, "I never failed once. I invented the light bulb. It just happened to be a 2000-step process."
In the 1940's, another young inventor named Chester Carlson took his idea to 20 corporations, including some of the biggest in the country. They all turned him down. In 1947 - after seven long years of rejections! He finally got a tiny company in Rochester, New York, the Haloid Company, to purchase the rights to his invention, an electrostatic paper-copying process. Haloid became Xerox Corporation we know today.
Wilma Rudolph was the 20th of 22 children. She was born prematurely and her survival was doubtful. When she was 4 years old, she contacted double pneumonia and scarlet fever, which left her with a paralyzed left leg. At age 9, she removed the metal leg brace she had been dependent on and began to walk without it. By 13 she had developed rhythmic walk, which doctors said was a miracle. That same year she decided to become a runner. She entered a race and came in last. For the next few years every race she entered, she came in last. Everyone told her to quit, but she kept on running. One day she actually won a race. And then another. From then on she won every race she entered. Eventually this little girl, who was told she would never walk again, went on to win three Olympic gold medals.
The moral of the above Stories: Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.
You gain strength, experience and confidence by every experience where you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you cannot do. And remember, the finest steel gets sent through the hottest furnace. A winner is not one who never fails, but one who NEVER QUITS! In LIFE, remember that you pass this way only once! Let's live life to the fullest and give it our best.
I remember as a small child when we would have these gatherings with either family or friends. Invariably someone would come up and mention my "cuteness" and ask, What are you going to be when you grow up?"
Well, it started out being a cowboy or some super hero. Later it was a fireman, artist, architect... As I grew older my dreams of the future changed. When, at last, I was in college, I was asked, "What will you major in?" Another question designed to find out what I would be when I "grew up."
By then I had my heart set on becoming a computer programmer. So I studied and prepared for that life. I reached success in that endeavor. I was designing software full-time for much of my adult life. A realization of my life purpose changed all of that where I now spend almost all of my time helping others to succeed in their own lives.
I am content that I could realize my dream that affords me the opportunity to have a positive influence on someone's life. My son is now reaching for his own dreams and it thrills me to watch him achieve his goals.
However, for many, there is a "thief" which goes around stealing our dreams and robbing us of the necessary mental state to attain our goals.
Sometimes, the thief will come as a parent, a relative, a friend or a co-worker, but the greatest thief is, so many times, just ourselves.
We find ourselves just about reaching the pinnacle, and this "small" voice inside says, "You'll never make it." "You can't possibly do this." "Very few have ever done this successfully." And on and on the "small" voice predicts some kind of failure.
Failure, though, is exactly how dreams are realized. It is one of the most important tools we have, because it teaches us invaluable lessons. And, when we learn these lessons well, we are poised and ready for success, which is probably just around the corner.
The message I always gave my son was, you are capable of doing anything your heart desires. You are smart enough, good-looking enough, strong enough, and worthy of reaching the stars. The human spirit is indomitable. Remember the saying, "If you can conceive it, and your heart can believe it, you can achieve it."
There are no "overnight" successes, but with perseverance, it will come. Imagine yourself in the life you dream of living. Then in your heart, believe it will happen for you, as it has for others. Then work, work, and work! You get the picture.
So, be true to your dream, and don't let anyone steal it from you -- especially yourself. You can do anything your heart desires, so don't give up or give in. Let the dream in you live.
One Person by Leanne Petty,posted Jan 25 2012 8:59AM
Dr. Frank Mayfield was touring Tewksbury Institute when, on his way out, he accidentally collided with an elderly floor maid. To cover the awkward moment Dr. Mayfield started asking questions, "How long have you worked here?"
"I've worked here almost since the place opened," the maid replied.
"What can you tell me about the history of this place?" he asked.
"I don't think I can tell you anything, but I could show you something."
With that, she took his hand and led him down to the basement under the oldest section of the building. She pointed to one of what looked like small prison cells; their iron bars rusted with age, and said, "That's the cage where they used to keep Annie."
"Who's Annie?" the doctor asked.
"Annie was a young girl who was brought in here because she was incorrigible - which means nobody could do anything with her. She'd bite and scream and throw her food at people. The doctors and nurses couldn't even examine her or anything. I'd see them trying with her spitting and scratching at them. I was only a few years younger than her myself and I used to think, 'I sure would hate to be locked up in a cage like that.' I wanted to help her, but I didn't have any idea what I could do. I mean, if the doctors and nurses couldn't help her, what could someone like me do?
"I didn't know what else to do, so I just baked her some brownies one night after work. The next day I brought them in. I walked carefully to her cage and said, 'Annie, I baked these brownies just for you. I'll put them right here on the floor and you can come and get them if you want.' Then I got out of there just as fast as I could because I was afraid she might throw them at me. But she didn't. She actually took the brownies and ate them.
"After that, she was just a little bit nicer to me when I was around. And sometimes I'd talk to her. Once, I even got her laughing. One of the nurses noticed this and she told the doctor. They asked me if I'd help them with Annie. I said I would if I could. So that's how it came about that every time they wanted to see Annie or examine her, I went into the cage first and explained and calmed her down and held her hand…which is how they discovered that Annie was almost blind."
After they'd been working with her for about a year - and it was tough sledding with Annie - the Perkins Institute for the Blind opened its doors. They were able to help her and she went on to study and became a teacher herself.
Annie came back to the Tewksbury Institute to visit, and to see what she could do to help out. At first, the Director didn't say anything and then he thought about a letter he'd just received. A man had written to him about his daughter. She was absolutely unruly - almost like an animal.
He'd been told she was blind and deaf as well as 'deranged'. He was at his wit's end, but he didn't want to put her in an asylum. So he wrote here to ask if we knew of anyone - any teacher - who would come to his house and work with his daughter.
And that is how Annie Sullivan became the lifelong companion of Helen Keller.
When Helen Keller received the Nobel Prize, she was asked who had the greatest impact on her life and she said, "Annie Sullivan." But Annie said, "No Helen. The woman who had the greatest influence on both our lives was a floor maid at the Tewksbury Institute."
History is changed when one person asks, “What can someone like me do?”
Colonel Sanders went to more than 1,000 places trying to sell his chicken recipe before he found an interested buyer. The fact that we can buy Kentucky Fried Chicken today attests to his perseverance. Thomas Edison tried almost 10,000 times before he succeeded in creating the electric light. If he had given up, you would be reading this in the dark!
The original business plan for what was to become Federal Express was given a failing grade on Fred Smith¹s college exam. And, in the early days, their employees would cash their pay checks at retail stores, rather than banks. This meant it would take longer for the money to clear, thereby giving Fed Ex more time to cover their payroll.
Sylvester Stallone had been turned down a thousand times by agents and was down to his last $600 before he found a company that would produce Rocky. The rest is history! To truly succeed requires a total commitment to your goal. Too many people make the mistake of quitting just short of success. Keep going no matter what. If you really believe in what you are doing, give it all you¹ve got and don¹t give up.
You will succeed. There is no such thing as failure. Every action produces an outcome. It may not always be the outcome you are looking for, but it is an outcome nonetheless. If you monitor the results of your actions and keep correcting what is not working, you will eventually produce the outcome you are looking for.
Be Persistent – Ray Kroc, the late founder of McDonalds, put it best when he said: “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with great talent. Genius will not. Un-rewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not. The world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence, determination and love are omnipotent.”
Just Do It by Leanne Petty,posted Jan 23 2012 7:50AM
Too many people put off something that brings them joy just because they haven’t thought about it, don’t have it on their schedule, didn’t know it was coming or are too rigid to depart from their routine.
I got to thinking one day about all those women on the Titanic who passed up dessert at dinner that fateful night in an effort to cut back… From then on, I’ve tried to be a little more flexible.
How many women out there will eat at home because their husband didn’t suggest going out to dinner until after something had been thawed? Does the word “refrigeration” mean nothing to you?
How often have your kids dropped in to talk and sat in silence while you watched ‘Jeopardy’ on television?
I cannot count the times I called my sister and said, “How about going to lunch in a half hour?” She would gasp and stammer, “I can’t. I have clothes on the line. My hair is dirty. I wish I had known yesterday, I had a late breakfast, It looks like rain.” And my personal favorite: “It’s Monday.” She died a few years ago. We never did have lunch together.
Because we cram so much into our lives, we tend to schedule our headaches. We live on a sparse diet of promises we make to ourselves when all the conditions are perfect!
We’ll go back and visit the grandparents when we get Stevie toilet-trained. We’ll entertain when we replace the living-room carpet. We’ll go on a second honeymoon when we get two more kids out of college.
Life has a way of accelerating as we get older. The days get shorter, and the list of promises to ourselves gets longer. One morning, we awaken, and all we have to show for our lives is a litany of “I’m going to,” “I plan on,” and “Someday, when things are settled down a bit.”
When anyone calls my ‘seize the moment’ friend, she is open to adventure and available for trips. She keeps an open mind on new ideas. Her enthusiasm for life is contagious. You talk with her for five minutes, and you’re ready to trade your bad feet for a pair of Rollerblades and skip an elevator for a bungee cord.
My lips have not touched ice cream in 10 years. I love ice cream. It’s just that I might as well apply it directly to my stomach with a spatula and eliminate the digestive process. The other day, I stopped the car and bought a triple-decker. If my car had hit an iceberg on the way home, I would have died happy.
Now… Go on and have a nice day.
Do something you WANT to……
not something on your SHOULD DO list.
If you were going to die soon and had only one phone call you could make, who would you call and what would you say?
And why are you waiting?
There are many people who could be Olympic champions, All-Americans who have never tried. I'd estimate five million people could have beaten me in the pole vault the years I won it, at least five million. Men who were stronger, bigger and faster than I was, could have done it, but they never picked up a pole, never made the feeble effort to pick their legs off the ground to try to get over the bar.
Greatness is all around us. It's easy to be great because great people will help you. What is fantastic about all the conventions I go to is that the greatest in the business will come and share their ideas, their methods and their techniques with everyone else. I have seen the greatest salesmen open up and show young salesmen exactly how they did it. They don't hold back. I have also found it true in the world of sports.
I'll never forget the time I was trying to break Dutch Warmer Dam's record. I was about a foot below his record, so I called him on the phone. I said, "Dutch, can you help me? I seem to have leveled off. I can't get any higher."
He said, "Sure Bob, come on up to visit me and I'll give you all I got."
I spent three days with the master, the greatest pole vaulter in the world. For three days, Dutch gave me everything that he'd seen. There were things that I was doing wrong and he corrected them. To make a long story short, I went up eight inches. That great guy gave me the best that he had. I've found that sports champions and heroes willingly do this just to help you become great too.
When in college working on his master’s thesis on scouting and defensive football, George Allen wrote up a 30-page survey and sent it out to the great coaches in the country. Eighty-five percent answered it completely.
Great people will share, which is what made George Allen one of the greatest football coaches in the world. Great people will tell you their secrets. Look for them, call them on the phone or buy their books. Go where they are, get around them, talk to them.
John Wooden, the great UCLA basketball coach, has a philosophy that every day he is supposed to help someone who can never reciprocate. That's his obligation.
Who are you learning from? Who are you helping? It is easy to be great when you get around great people!
No Regrets by Leanne Petty,posted Jan 18 2012 9:45AM
By Steve Goodier
At the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris, the sport of canoe racing was added to the list of international competitions. The favorite team in the four-man canoe race was the United States team. One member of that team was a young man by the name of Bill Havens.
As the time for the Olympics neared, it became clear that Bill's wife would give birth to their first child about the time that the U.S. team would be competing in the Paris games. In 1924 there were no jet airliners from Paris to the United States, only slow ocean going ships. And so Bill found himself in a dilemma. Should he go to Paris and risk not being at his wife's side when their baby was born? Or should he withdraw from the team and remain with his family?
Bill's wife insisted that he go to Paris. After all, competing in the Olympics was the culmination of a lifelong dream. But Bill felt conflicted and, after much soul searching, decided to withdraw from the competition and remain home, where he could support his wife when the child arrived. He considered being at her side his highest priority, even higher than going to Paris to fulfill his dream.
As it turned out, the United States four-man canoe team won the gold medal in Paris. And Bill's wife was late in giving birth to their child. She was so late, in fact, that Bill could have competed in the event and returned home in time to be with her when she gave birth.
People said, "What a shame." But Bill said he had no regrets. For the rest of his life, he believed he had made the better decision.
Bill Havens knew what was most important to him. Not everybody figures that out. And he acted on what he believed was best. Not everybody has the strength of character to say no to something he or she truly wants in order to say yes to something that truly matters. But for Bill, it was the only way to peace; the only way to no regrets.
There is an interesting sequel to the story of Bill Havens...
The child eventually born to Bill and his wife was a boy, whom they named Frank. Twenty eight years later, in 1952, Bill received a cablegram from Frank. It was sent from Helsinki, Finland, where the 1952 Olympics were being held. The cablegram read: "Dad, I won. I'm bringing home the gold medal you lost while waiting for me to be born."
Frank Havens had just won the gold medal for the United States in the canoe racing event, a medal his father had dreamed of winning but never did. Like I said, no regrets.
Thomas Kinkade eloquently said, "When we learn to say a deep, passionate yes to the things that really matter, then peace begins to settle onto our lives like golden sunlight sifting to a forest floor."
There is a place where modern technological conveniences go to die. My place.
During the past week alone we have sent our van's fuel pump to the automotive afterlife, our washing machine to laundry Valhalla and our home computer through those big Windows in the sky.
They join the lifeless metallic bodies of our dishwasher, our microwave oven and our food processor, all of which have given up the electronic ghost during the last few months. If there were laws against appliance abuse, I'd be public enemy number one. Thankfully, we do better with living things -- not counting household plants, flowers, grass and tomatoes.
Our five children somehow manage to survive -- even thrive -- despite all the bad feng shui and negative karma. They are all healthy, happy and well-adjusted, give or take the occasional drama major. And that, after all, is what really matters.
At least, that's what my wife Anita said.
"This is just stuff," she said soothingly, reassuringly, as I wrote out a check to cover the installation of the new fuel pump.
"Yes it is," I said, my fingers still trembling. "Very expensive stuff. Do you realize that this fuel pump is costing me more than the first car I bought?"
She smiled playfully. "What a blessing!" she said. I looked at her curiously.
"A blessing?" I asked. "We just spent an entire freelance check on a fuel pump, and you think it's a blessing?"
"Uh-huh," she said. "What a blessing that we had the money to cover it!" She had a valid point -- as usual. But I couldn't let her win this easily.
"What about losing the washing machine at the same time?" I asked. "Was that a blessing, too?"
"Sure," she said. "My brother feels good about letting us use his machine, and I'm able to spend a little more time with him and his family while I wash our clothes at his house. And I'm really going to appreciate our new washer when we get it." She was good. No question about it.
Twenty-three years of living with me had given her plenty of experience at searching for silver linings. But I knew I had her with the last one.
"And what about our computer melt-down?" I asked. "What's the blessing in that?"
A worried look crossed her face. This was tough, no question about it. It's like they say: everyone makes mistakes, but it takes a computer to really foul things up. Then, suddenly, she brightened.
"You're not staying up so late working on the computer," she said, "so you're getting a lot more sleep! That's a good thing, isn't it?"
She had me there. I had actually noticed how much better I had been feeling the past few days, and had already attributed it to getting more sleep.
"OK, I give up -- you win!" I said. "But how do you do that?"
"You know -- what you're doing," I said. "Finding the blessing in the curse."
"Oh, that," she said. "It isn't hard, really. The blessing is always there -- somewhere. You just have to look for it. Sometimes you have to look pretty hard. But it's there."
I'd like to tell you about Max. He's a guy who had an idea about his job as a social worker.
Max took over a section of Juvie Hall, for boys aged 14-17, convicted criminals all. I met those boys before Max did. I worked as a temp secretary for one day in the office there. Scary? Terrifying. Those boys were rough and tough and mean and there was no order at all - they stampeded at will. A year later, I heard that Max had taken over; I pitied him for having a job in hell.
The following Christmas, Max was on local TV offering food baskets. He said they didn't have much but were asking no questions and would be glad if people would come by to pick them up. The next day, the boys were on TV. Max had the boys giving away the food. One of the boys, looking kind of stunned, said, "Nobody ever thanked me before." Max said he wanted to give them what they had never had - a taste of why they might want to be good guys.
The Christmas Baskets became an institution; the press covered it every year and the boys began to have a good reputation. Today, under guidance from Max and an organization he founded, they are welcomed contributors to the community. Donations are plentiful and they have lots and lots of food baskets to give away.
It's been decades now since Max started this tradition. He's still inventing new ways to help others. He sees the same hardships that we all do - but he figures out ways for everybody to help everybody else.
Max turned a job in hell into positive community change. He brought imagination and creativity (but not, initially, money) to his job for the betterment of the lives of others. Is that the key to job satisfaction? If he can do it - so can we, maybe.
You probably don't know Mark, but you might be lucky enough to know someone just like him. He's been the heart and soul of the office for a couple of years, combining exemplary professional skills with a sweet nature and gentle disposition. He's never been all that interested in getting credit for the terrific work he does. He just wants to do his job, and to do it superbly well.
And now he's moving on to an exciting new professional opportunity. It sounds like it could be the chance of a lifetime, and we're genuinely, sincerely pleased for him. But that doesn't make it any easier to say goodbye to a dear friend and trusted colleague.
Life has a way of throwing these curve balls at us. Just when we start to get comfortable with a person, a place or a situation, something comes along to alter the recipe. A terrific neighbor moves away. Someone in the family graduates. A child finds new love and loyalties through marriage. The family's principle bread-winner is laid off.
Our ability to cope with change and disruption determines, to a great degree, our peace, happiness and contentment in life.
But how do we do that? Philosophers have considered the question for centuries, and their responses have been varied. According to the author of the Biblical book of Ecclesiastes, comfort can be found in remembering that "to every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven." Kahlil Gibran urged his listeners to "let today embrace the past with remembrance, and the future with longing."
A friend of mine who works for the government is fond of reminding his fellow bureaucrats that "survivability depends upon adaptability. "And then there's Chris, the California surf-rat, who once told me that the answer to life's problems can be summed up in four words: "Go with the flow."
"It's like surfing," Chris explained. "You can't organize the ocean. Waves just happen. You ride 'em where they take you, then you paddle back out there and catch the next one. Sure, you're always hoping for the perfect wave where you can get, like, you know, totally tubular. But mostly you just take 'em the way they come. It's not like you're trying to nail Jell-O to a tree, you know?"
I'm not exactly sure, but I think Chris was saying that life is a series of events -- both good and bad. No matter how deft your organizational skills, there will always be life-influencing factors over which you have no control. The truly successful person expects the unexpected, and is prepared to make adjustments should the need arise -- as it almost always does.
That doesn't mean you don't keep trying to make all your dreams come true. It just means that when things come up that aren't exactly in your plan, you work around them -- and then you move on. Of course, some bumps along the road of life are easier to take than others. A rained-out picnic, for example, is easier to cope with than the sudden death of a loved one. But the principle is the same.
"Change, indeed, is painful, yet ever needful," said philosopher Thomas Carlyle. "And if memory have its force and worth, so also has hope."
We're going to miss Mark, just like you'll miss that graduate, that neighbor or that newlywed. But rather than dwell on the sadness of our parting, we'll focus on our hopes for a brighter future - for him, and for us. And then we'll go out and do everything we can to make that future happen.
Lifeline by Leanne Petty,posted Jan 12 2012 9:02AM
By Debi Wood
The phone was ringing.
I quickly sat up in bed. The telephone was on my husband, Peter's, side of the bed. He was still sound asleep. Peter is a policeman, called the lock-up keeper. He is on call for nighttime jobs, often with no backup. We had only just moved to Nelson Bay, Australia, right in the middle of the busy tourist season.
I quickly prodded Peter and he grabbed the phone.
No, it wasn't an official police call -- it was my brother, Butch, who lived in Sydney, about a 3 hour drive south. It was also 3 o'clock in the morning. Something was obviously wrong.
My sister, Susan, had died only 3 months earlier and I couldn't help but think the worst. Most of the conversation was on my brother's side. Finally, Peter said he'd go and check it out.
What happened next will stay with me, always.
Butch had called because he was worried about a distressed man who had just telephoned him. Butch didn't know him because the man called randomly. Apparently, he needed to talk to somebody because his wife had died recently and he felt that he couldn't go on living. He was planning to kill himself and decided to let somebody know.
He poured his heart out to Butch and was distraught. Butch tried to keep him talking, to learn anything about him. Butch is a very keen fisherman so he decided to talk about fishing. The man confided that he loved fishing and said that he had his own boat, named after his wife, the Laura, and that he lived at Fingal Bay. It just so happens that Fingal Bay is only a 10 minute drive from where we were in Nelson Bay and is quite a small town.
Butch wanted Peter to see if he could go find him before anything drastic happened. Peter left almost immediately and, amazingly, was able to find the man because his boat, the Laura, was parked in front of his home. The man was extremely surprised to see Peter and admitted that he had made the call. They spoke for awhile and the man agreed that he would seek counseling and would not do anything foolish. He was amazed that his telephone call was to someone who not only knew the area, but who knew the local policeman as well!
When I think back on this incident, I look at the parts of the story where it could have quite easily gone wrong -- where everything might have fallen apart. If we had not moved to Nelson Bay mere weeks before, Butch's call most likely would have fallen on deaf ears. If Butch had not talked about fishing, his passion, we would never have learned the name of the boat. If the man himself was not a keen fisherman, there would have been no boat. If the boat was in the water and not outside the house, Peter never would have found the man. And of course, this man dialed Butch's number at random!
Was there some force that moved his fingers over the buttons and somehow forced him to push all the right ones? Being the skeptic that I am, I'm not sure if there was a higher being watching over him, or if it was simply fate, or coincidence, but I am sure that what happened that night was not simply "one of those things".
The Circus by Leanne Petty,posted Jan 10 2012 9:21AM
Once when I was a teenager, my father and I were standing in line to buy tickets for the circus. Finally, there was only one family between us and the ticket counter. This family made a big impression on me. There were eight children, all probably under the age of 12. By the way they were dressed, you could tell they didn't have a lot of money, but their clothes were neat and clean.
The children were well-behaved, all of them standing in line, two-by-two behind their parents, holding hands. They were excitedly jabbering about the clowns, animals, and all the acts they would be seeing that night. By their excitement you could sense they had never been to the circus before. It would be a highlight of their lives.
The father and mother were at the head of the pack standing proud as could be. The mother was holding her husband's hand, looking up at him as if to say, "You're my knight in shining armor." He was smiling and enjoying his family.
The ticket lady asked the man how many tickets he wanted? He proudly responded, "I'd like to buy eight children's tickets and two adult tickets, so I can take my family to the circus." The ticket lady stated the price.
The man's wife let go of his hand, her head dropped, the man's lip began to quiver. Then he leaned a little closer and asked, "How much did you say?" The ticket lady again stated the price. The man didn't have enough money. How was he supposed to turn and tell his eight kids that he didn't have enough money to take them to the circus?
Seeing what was going on, my dad reached into his pocket, pulled out a $20 bill, and then dropped it on the ground. (We were not wealthy in any sense of the word!) My father bent down, picked up the $20 bill, tapped the man on the shoulder and said, "Excuse me, sir, this fell out of your pocket."
The man knew what was going on. He wasn't begging for a handout but certainly appreciated the help in a desperate, heartbreaking, embarrassing situation. He looked straight into my dad's eyes, took my dad's hand in both of his, squeezed tightly onto the $20 bill, and with his lip quivering and a tear streaming down his cheek, he replied; "Thank you, thank you, sir. This really means a lot to me and my family."
My father and I went back to our car and drove home. The $20 that my dad gave away is what we were going to buy our own tickets with. Although we didn't get to see the circus that night, we both felt a joy inside us that was far greater than seeing the circus could ever provide.
Super Hero by Leanne Petty,posted Jan 10 2012 9:20AM
By Pastor Nathaniel Bronner , MountainWings.com
Dr. Marilyn spoke at our staff meeting. She took us through exercises as she worked to get our minds and spirits adjusted to a more positive direction.
"Close your eyes and think back to when you were small. What did you want to be? What were your dreams? What did you want to do? Close your eyes and think back." she instructed.
I closed my eyes and thought back. I remembered what I wanted to be.
Dr. Marilyn then told of her early beginnings as a writer. She told of the articles and the publishing successes that she experienced but so many of them were punctuated by, "I didn't get paid for that."
Her words struck me.
I worked in a corner drug store when I was very small. I was below the age limit to work but the store made an exception. My father owned the store, thus the exception.
I worked long and hard. I treasured my lunch breaks. Not so much for the food or the rest, it was what I did during my lunch breaks that I treasured. I read comic books. I read the action books, not the romance or the comedies, action, pure action.
When I closed my eyes and thought back, I knew instantly what I had aspired to be.
A Super Hero!
Superman, Batman, Spiderman and Ironman were some of my heroes.
In all of the action comics that I read, there were two distinct patterns. Those two patterns were in every action comic book that I can recall.
First, there was always a battle between good and evil. The battle was always tough. The battle was always a close call. No matter how strong or how many powers the Super Hero had, evil pushed him to the very limit and most times almost defeated him.
Second, the Super Hero was never paid for his contribution to society; he always earned his living in his alter ego.
Superman made money as Clark Kent, a newspaper reporter.
Batman made money as Bruce Wayne, a rich industrialist.
Spiderman made money as Peter Parker, a photographer.
Ironman made money as Tony Stark, owner of Stark Industries.
None of them were paid for being a Super Hero and the contributions they made as Super Heroes.
As I listened to Dr. Marilyn state how she had never been paid for many things, a light popped on in my mind.
"The real Super Heroes don't get paid for the Super Hero stuff!"
I pastor a church and have never accepted a salary or taken up love offerings for myself. It's correct to be fairly compensated but I, like Paul, simply choose not to.
I am the editor of MountainWings and the AirJesus.com websites, and I don’t get any money for that either.
I realized as my eyes were closed that it is Super Hero stuff and my dream has been realized.
You've got Super Hero stuff too.
Helping a stranger or friend in need
Doing anything beneficial that takes time, effort, energy or resources and where you expect no monetary return is Super Hero stuff.
I wasn't really planning to do it. I decided the very last minute, but everything worked out perfectly.
It kind of hit me very early today that I haven't seen her in a long time. She's always been there for me even when I didn't want to see her.
So, when I awoke today I decided to do it.
It wasn't a big deal. I mean I didn't go through a lot of trouble. It would have been great if I had invited more people to join me.
Maybe you. I don't know how really busy you are and if you'd even care to be there, but it would have been great.
The surprise party was held in my back yard.
Just before her arrival I sat alone and listened to the birds. The chimes that I got from Marianne could be heard in the distance as the air began to stir. It reminded me of church bells I used to hear back when I was a child.
There was no particular song played on the chimes but I read on the enclosed pamphlet that the notes each chime was created to ring are the exact same notes in the song Ave Maria.
A little tired from the day before, I thought about what I would say when she arrived. My thinking wasn't clear, perhaps I should have written everything down, but I was confident that when the moment came I could express myself well enough to make her feel important.
That was my intention anyway. I mean I wanted this to be a big thing. I wanted to make her feel as important as she has always made me feel.
I love looking at the sky, I get lost in puffy white clouds and I wave at airplanes as they pass overhead on the way to places I long to be.
Suddenly, from behind me a small gathering of sparrows and starlings flew overhead.
I thought how majestic and awesome that would be for her to see upon her arrival. Not fancy doves released from a cage at a specified time, but a moment unexpected and breathtakingly planned by God.
It was about to all come together. Everyone was there. The butterflies, birds, squirrels, chipmunks and even our hummingbirds.
I could see her off in the distance,
"Wait, I forgot my camera!" I thought. But there was no time. She was about to arrive and I didn't want to spoil it.
There she was. All the perfectly wonderful things I thought about saying suddenly left me.
All I could think to say was, "Wow!" followed by, "Thanks, God!"
She was awesome. As if on cue, another group of birds flew toward her. The chimes responded to a gentle breeze and I stood there in awe.
"Surprise," I whispered as she continued her approach.
"Right on time, as always" I said more clearly.
"I should be here for you every day. You are always there for me."
Yes, it was a new day and I surprised her by being there at sunrise, arms open wide, and mind set on making it mine. All too often I waste moments like this. Too many times I have wasted entire days moaning and complaining about how my days are going.
But who controls that? Me.
You see, every day arrives the same way all fresh and new. What we choose to do in that day, how we choose to see it is up to us.
Time is like money. We get to choose how we spend it.
I wish you could have been there. Perhaps tomorrow. Let's throw another surprise party together. Me here and you there – wherever you are.
Check the exact time for the sunrise where you live and throw a surprise party.
"I guess I'm just having a bad day," I said. I was in line at the grocery store. Not my favorite place to be. They were out of most everything I was looking for, so my small cart was nearly empty.
I placed the few items on the conveyor belt and began searching through all my little courtesy cards that fill my wallet.
I have one for Lowe's and Home Depot. It seems like I have one for everything but the kitchen sink.
"There, I found it!" I said proudly.
"That's not for this store," she said.
I sighed and nervously searched for the right one. I was very aware that there was a line of people eager to get on with their day. I even heard someone say quietly, "This is the express check out, right?"
I turned and gave him one of those looks. Kind of like the one our dog Lucy gives the other two dogs, when she's playing Alpha dog.
I was at the checkout...I was alpha dog. "growl!"
"I guess I'm having a bad day," I repeated. Then I heard someone say, "There are no bad days, just bad attitudes."
"Rough crowd!" I thought to myself.
"You're right," I acknowledged. It was a young college age girl behind me who said it.
"Every once in awhile I need someone to knock some sense into me. I should know better," I said.
Then I attempted to pull the right card out of my wallet and six key chain size cards flew out.
"No...it's definitely a bad day!" I said in frustration.
Suddenly I felt something hit my head. Not hard, but certainly enough to get my attention.
I heard, "Knock, Knock!" as she used her knuckles to tap my head.
It was the girl behind me.
I turned with this shocked look on my face.
"I'm trying to knock some sense into you like you said," she replied.
Everyone laughed. Even the guy in the back of the line who made the "express checkout" comment.
"Thanks, I needed that!" I said.
I quickly paid the clerk and thanked the girl behind me.
As I sat in my car I watched her exit the store. She met up with a man and a young child in a wheel chair. They walked across the lot and I watched the girl pick the child up as the man folded the chair and loaded it in the back seat of a car. The car must have been at least 15 years old. It had more scratches and dents then I do at 60.
As they drove away I could hear her words... "There are no bad days, just bad attitudes."
Take twelve whole months,
Clean them thoroughly of all bitterness, hate, and jealousy,
Make them just as fresh and clean as possible.
Now cut each month into twenty-eight, thirty, or
thirty-one different parts,
but don't make up the whole batch at once.
Prepare it one day at a time out of these ingredients.
Mix well into each day one part of faith,
one part of patience, one part of courage,
and one part of work.
Add to each day one part of hope,
faithfulness, generosity, and kindness.
Blend with one part prayer,
one part meditation, and one good deed.
Season the whole with a dash of good spirits,
a sprinkle of fun, a pinch of play,
and a cupful of good humor.
Pour all of this into a vessel of love.
Cook thoroughly over radiant joy,
garnish with a smile,
and serve with quietness, unselfishness,