This is a true story and for me - it is a blessing to share it with you because it is about my mother.
The afternoon was warm, I could barely feel the breeze that was gently caressing my face with its coolness as I relaxed in the afterglow of the moment. Betty had just left. We did not see one another very often anymore - yet, when we did, she always seemed to brighten my day.
Leaning back in the lawn chair, positioning myself in the comfortable grooves that had been fashioned with tender loving care over the years, my mind suddenly grabbed hold of something she had said. "How do you do it? How can you always be so positive about everything! Your spirits always seem to soar like an eagle - don't you ever get down in the dumps about anything?" I could feel the chuckle beginning deep down inside of me, slowly pushing its way to the surface. Not a chuckle of laughter, but one that comes when your mind is saying "If you only knew!"
Yes, I have much to be thankful for - my life has not always been a bed of roses. My eyelids slowly closed, as I took in a slow, deep breath of fresh air. I whispered a soft note of thanks for the peace of the day and for the lessons learned early in life which allowed me to experience that peace today.
As I lay there, I could feel myself floating, being lifted into the air. My mind slowly flowed back through some thirty odd years of memory, as I was transported in time to the moments which had changed my life forever.
Suddenly, I was right there, experiencing it all over again. Everything was so vivid, so real! I could smell the fresh bread as I prepared the next day's lunches, wiping my brow with the back of my wet hands, wondering if I might be coming down with a slight case of the flu. My legs hurt and my body ached. I rubbed my hands along my neck, gently squeezing every muscle as I moved my hands slowly down my back and legs - trying to massage the painful areas - yet nothing seem to relieve the pressure I was feeling.
2:00am! My God, this thing is really hitting below the belt! There were beads of sweat on my forehead. How can anyone sleep feeling this way? Be quiet, you're going to wake Sam up with all your tossing and turning. You might as well get up and go into the living room - there's no need for him to suffer too.
My legs felt like they were on fire, throbbing endlessly like a chinese water torture - throb, after throb, after throb - a steady, unending, stream of continuous pain. I felt like I was going crazy. It was now 5:00am, Jay was pounding on the door. "Hey, sleepy heads, let's get the lead out - we've got fish chompin at the bit, just waiting for our lines!" I couldn't even seem to muster up enough strength to get their coffee for them, so Sam got up and got it. "Honey, are you sure your all right?" I could feel the concern in his eyes as he sat down next to me. The tears whelmed up in my eyes as I tried desperately to hold them back. "I'm sorry honey, I feel so terrible. I don't know what's wrong."
Sam's laughter suddenly faded into deep concern. "Look Jay, we will just have to postpone the trip this time - I think we need to get Eva to the hospital NOW!" Jay readily agreed.
God, the time passed so slowly! I sit in the chair in the waiting room and it felt like I was sitting on a pin cushion. I moved, hoping to find some comfort in another chair, but nothing seemed to ease the pain. This doesn't feel like the flu any more. My God, what if something is really wrong with me? What if I was dying of some dreaded disease! Finally, my name was called, breaking the horrible pattern of thoughts that were developing in my mind.
The examination was swift, Doctor Black immediately requested a spinal tap. The spinal tap confirmed their diagnosis -- POLIO! They gave me a shot to ease the pain as they prepared to transfer me by ambulance to the Portland hospital. The shots no longer ease the pain, which was now combined with the fear of what was to come. "POLIO, my God, I have polio! People with polio die - or, even worse - they live their lives paralyzed in a wheel chair!" Every terrible thought that could possibly have entered my mind did! "Why me? What had I done wrong? How could I take care of my family? How would this affect the baby that grew steadily inside me? Was I going to die? Would Sam leave me? Could he still love me with this hanging over us for the rest of our lives? What was I going to do? What was going to happen to me?" A thousands questions, all unanswered, flooded my mind as they finally laid me into the bed that I was to occupy for what would seem to be a lifetime.
My self-consuming thoughts eased for a moment, as I suddenly realized that I was not alone in the room. Her name was Jane and she had polio too. We seemed to understand one another immediately - sharing the common bond of our fate. The doctors also noticed that we both had large blisters on our hands, something that they had never seen before. They wondered if the common bond was not the fact that we were both pregnant.
The treatments began. Paralysis had not begun yet, I was placed on a hard bed with a board at the end for my feet to rest against, always on my back just in case the paralysis came on suddenly. The nights were the worst, no sleep would come, I knew only pain - and then another spinal tap - just to be sure. I didn't care what they did to me, the pain was so great it wiped away anything and everything, consuming my mind as I tried to fight it, keep it from engulfing me completely in a world of darkness. "God, help me please!"
Then came the packs - how I hated them! First the rubber blanket, then a steaming hot wool blanket and on top of that another rubber blanket to hold in the massive heat. The smell of the wet wool saturated my nostrils - I felt like I was slowly suffocating. Jane didn't seem to mind the packs, she just slept peacefully through them, while I tried to climb the walls in my mind to get away from it all. I just knew I was going crazy!
After a week in isolation, it was confirmed that I would not be paralyzed. The muscles had been greatly weakened, but the damage would not be permanent and with therapy, I would walk again. The doctors realized the distress that the packs were causing me and they were soon discontinued. With the determination that there would be no permanent paralysis, came the realization that I could now be removed from isolation and begin the therapy which would place me back on the road to recovery. I was as weak as a kitten, but at least the pain was finally gone!
I had two roommates; Sally had been paralyzed from the neck down and was slowly regaining some movement in her arms and legs. I'll never forget as I listened to her story unfold. Her husband was not able to handle what had happened to her and had just vanished, leaving her alone to face this future filled with fear and uncertainty - and to make matters even worse, she had fallen and broken her leg! Yet, there was always a smile on her face...her beauty seemed to shine through the pain and suffering. I couldn't help but admire her strength...nothing seemed to deter her from the labors that would be required of her to regain the use of her muscles.
Ida, who was across the room, never seemed to want to visit with us. She kept her face to the wall most of the time. When her family would visit, the room was saturated with the deep love that was felt for her. One morning, her husband quietly told us that she was dying of cancer. I was filled with an awesome new strength, as I felt her courage giving me new hope - watching her fight a battle she could not win - yet she never complained. When she did ask for something for her pain, the nurses would quickly respond, knowing that she would never bother them unless the pain had become so unbearable that she could no longer stand it. It was at this moment that I realized I had so very much to be thankful for. God had taught me a powerful lesson through two of the greatest teachers I have ever known, as the days turned into what seemed like months of endless treatments as I learned to walk all over again. With the passing of time, Ida began to respond slowly to our presence, joining into our conversations and enjoying the honest sharing of friends.
The time was nearing for me to leave the hospital. The doctors felt that I could now be allowed to be with my family, knowing that there would be many more months of therapy sessions. I would be required to wear a support brace constantly to allow me to carry the baby that I wanted so desperately. I spent my last night in the hospital thanking God for my blessings and for allowing me to know two such courageous women.
The next morning, with tear filled eyes, we shared our final good-byes. I will never forget the words Ida whispered in my ear as we embraced, "Eva, I hate to lose you as my roommate. Not everyone has been so nice to me. Most simply do not want to be in a room with a black person. Thanks for being my friend." My entire body ached with the pain that was being shared at that moment. As they wheeled me from the room I felt an emptiness overpower me. I knew that I would not experience the strength of these two beautiful women again.
I vowed from that moment on - if I was ever again tempted to allow depression and self-pity to raise their nasty heads, screaming at me that life was mistreating me, I would immediately reflect back to this time in my life and know that I was truly blessed. Instead of a life in a wheelchair, God had held my hand and taught me the greatest lesson in life - to enjoy each day that we are given and appreciate every blessing great or small. Life is too short to waste even one precious moment!
I knew contentment in the "peace" that flooded my heart, because I knew that no matter what our situation may be - we are never alone - there is a rainbow hidden in even the darkest of clouds, if we will only look past the darkness to see it.
The breeze suddenly felt cold on my face as I opened my eyes, realizing that the sun was fading into the horizon. I was no longer experiencing what was past, but had returned to the reality of NOW. I said a silent prayer of thanks as I felt a tear releasing itself, flowing down my cheek and disappearing into my clothing - a single tear filled with a thousand memories and I was truly happy.
Author - Diana Rogers
This story is based on a true story - one I felt compelled to write and share with you.
The results of the audit were in, the mood was now being set for the story that was soon to unfold. The evening had been set aside to review the results. Coffee was perking, filling the air with the delicate mixture of a French/American blend which produced an inescapably delectable aroma. The room was buzzing with the anticipation of the moment.
Hank entered the room, which suddenly mellowed to a somber state of awesome respect. He was an impressive man in stature, face rugged, yet somehow mellowed with wisdom and the passing of time. The corporate heads of this massive empire, began to discuss the results of the audit in depth.
Later that evening, two miles away, the phone rings. Bill, glasses resting half way down his nose, instinctively looked up over the rims at the old clock ticking the hours away on the mantel and noted that the time was 8:30pm. The conversation which pursued was quick, to the point and the receiver was soon resting quietly again. Bills thoughts raced wildly as he tried to recap the conversation. His small frame, showing all the signs of stress, began to pace steadily across the floor wearing a path deep into the rich, deep grey carpet.
A meeting with Hank, 9:00am - why? Could they know? Why would the President of the company want to see me, a lowly accountant? Sweat began to bead on his forehead and soon his stomach was churning. No, that's impossible! There's was no possible way they could have found out! Too many years had been dedicated to this plan. NO - there was no way anyone could know. It's just some minor detail that caught their attention - nothing in the world to worry about!
Waiting to walk into that room was like waiting for eternity to end. The door opened as if some powerful force were guiding it, and he stepped into the masters arena. That same powerful force emitted itself as Hank rose, towering before him, and began to speak. Bill, I'm glad you could make it this morning. I have some news that I feel will eventually be profitable for both of us. We have taken notice of your dedication and the concerns you show for our company. I personally feel it is high time your loyalty, dedication and efforts be rewarded. I have brought you here this morning to congratulate you on your promotion to Vice-President of the Corporate Division.
That evening at home, Bill felt a sensation that he had never experienced. There was exhilaration, yet a feeling of ominous anticipation. Something just didn't feel right. Soon, those feelings were engulfed - buried deep within the excitement of the new position - especially the highly elevated increase in monetary status. $150,000 dollars a year - NOW he could do all that he had dreamed of - all that he believed was his due all along! It was about time someone noted my brilliance!
Bill flowed right into his new station in life, and the monetary rewards just seemed to continue to build as he climbed higher and higher on the social ladder. A new home, the Tahoe retreat, a 90 foot cabin cruiser, everything was at his fingertips, requiring nothing more than a phone call or the marvels of that little plastic miracle card. It did not take long before he was on top of the world - totally and completely - living far beyond his means. Now this is what power and position are all about! I am where it is at, nothing but success from here on out!
There would be no sleeping in today, as Bill jolted out of bed like a school boy ready to tackle his first major football game. His face beamed back at him from the bathroom mirror as he remembered - today was his anniversary - one year ago on this very day he was nothing more than a second grade accountant...today he controlled the power of an empire as he sat on the left hand of the throne.
The meeting was set for 9:00am. How ironic this meeting was to be on the very day, at the very hour, his life turned around one year ago! What wonderful rewards will they present me with today? What else could be added to this fantastic life I now have? Board of Directors? Is the President retiring? His excitement flowed out of every pore of his body - he found it hard to concentrate.
The mantle clock ticked ever so slowly today...come on...come on time - pass! He didn't want to appear cocky, but his anticipation was like throttling down a high powered engine, as he sat looking across at the huge corinthian leather chair that he so longed to possess.
Hank entered the room. Suddenly, the atmosphere chilled, it was that very same feeling he had been unable to shake a year ago - flowing all around him, engulfing him - choking the life out of him. Suddenly he felt FEAR - so powerful that everything inside him trembled. Something was wrong, so very wrong. This was not the exhilaration that one feels when they are about to be rewarded! It was the feeling of the hangman's noose being lowered ever so slowly over the head as the grip of impending death took hold of the mind.
Hanks eyes raised slowly from the desk until they were focused directly on Bill, locking onto him like a vice grip. Bill, one year ago today I announced your rise to the position of Vice-President of our company. I wanted to show you the true talent you possess inside. I wanted to provide you with the power that would have allowed you to build an empire of your own, had you been so inclined.
One year ago today, I also received this packet of information which proved beyond a shadow of a doubt your theft and your disloyalty not only to myself, but to this company. Today is the day of retribution. Bill, you could have had it all, but you chose the wrong path, you played with the Masters and you lost. Your tenure with this firm is of this moment terminated. You will never work in this capacity or field again as long as I am alive to prevent it. He slowly rose, lowered his eyes, releasing the grip as he walked quietly from the room. Have a happy life my friend. The silence that remained was earth shattering. Bill felt nothing but the vast emptiness that surrounded him.
That night Bill looked out across the water from his veranda, watching the sun slowly turn to a thousand marvelous hues of the rainbow. The shades were slowly drawn as he turned and walked to the dresser drawer. He struggled with the latch as the drawer slowly opened. Light reflected off the chrome barrel as he wrapped his hand around the pearl handle. His mind couldn't stop racing - the scenario repeating itself over and over since that morning. He knew...he knew all along...I had fooled no one. Why this? Why didn't he just fire me and be done with it? Why this?"
The silence was shattered as the unmistakable sound echoed through the neighborhood. The sweet revenge was now complete.
Author - Diana Rogers
This story is based on a true story - one I felt compelled to write and share with you.
Does he see me? Does he even know that I exist? Has his position of power blinded him to those around him? Is rudeness a prerequisite for a position of power?
I know he is important. Everyone knows he is a man of great wisdom and power. But...he cannot complete the picture alone. The responsibilities are considered and then passed on to another -- one within his support team - the one chosen most competent to complete the task successfully.
I need to know what I do is important
Am I ONLY a secretary? Without me, where would he be? If he had to answer his own phone, type his own letters, produce his own books and documents, could he still maintain the illusion of power? Am I not a vital part of him? Am I not an important asset to his success? A part of his illusion?
Am I not necessary to the success that he has obtained? Yet, he can walk by me as if I did not exist. Do I look like a part of the furniture, a piece of equipment? Maybe I do - maybe I blend in too well, make things flow too smoothly, to the extent that I have become the same as a well-oiled piece of equipment. Even equipment must be maintained. What does it require to keep me running perfectly?
Do I need to be oiled? NO. Do I need to be polished? NO. Maintained one a month? No. What is it that I require to continue to run smoothly? Just a little recognition - a little appreciation for my efforts. I do not require much, just a little. A "good morning" would be a nice start. Or "That's a fine job you did today." "I don't know what I would do without you" would be the supreme complement.
I am not invisible, I have feelings and I need what everyone on this earth needs. I need to know that what I do is important - whether it be typing a letter, picking up the trash or maintaining the equipment.
All Are Necessary
Not all of us are blessed with greatness, but all are necessary to that greatness. No one person can do it all.
Please do not treat me as if I do not exist. I may become inefficient and disappear if you do. Yes, I know I can be replaced. But do you really wish to replace me? Is my request so great? Have I really demanded too much to ask that I too be made to feel important?
Author - Diana Rogers
A True Story
Once upon a time, there was a wise man who was revered among all men for being the most "needed and necessary" person in the village. This man was "always there" in a crisis, he could "always be counted on" when someone was in trouble or needed help. He was, what we call today, the "indispensable man" - the one person who could be counted on to complete any task, at any time, for anyone who ask. People did not fear asking him for help - they knew he would help if he could. No task was too big or too small, for he was a wise man who knew the importance of all living things.
One day, a villager saw him walk into the forest, heading towards the mountains. When he did not return, the villagers began to panic and scream out in alarm. What would they do? Who would they turn to? Who would save them in times of crisis? Who could they depend on when they needed someone. How would they manage without him?
One villager volunteered to undertake a search for the wise man. Months passed without any sign. Then...one day he found the wise man sitting on the top of a mountain outside of a cave, peacefully watching the sun set. The villager sat on the ground near the wise man and ask permission to speak. The wise man acknowledged his presence and told him to speak his peace. The villager cried out "How could you leave us? How could you just walk away and leave us all alone? We depended on you for everything! How could you just walk away and never look back?"
The wise old man, turned to the villager and as a tear gently trickled its way into his beard, he said "The price was simply too high." The villager, confused by the statement responded, "I don't understand, you were the most revered and loved man in the village. There was not a man, woman or child who did not seek out your guidance, help and wisdom. You brought us through every crisis, every disaster, every problem...no other was held in such high esteem, no other was so valued as you."
"My child - one day you will understand. As you learn to survive, you will do things for yourself. You will become self-sufficient and dependent upon no other man. You see, I was not a wise man...quite the contrary - I was a foolish man, doing a foolish deed. I thought that my guidance and wisdom would help you - but, it only created a dependency so great that I soon could not fulfill it.
I became a truly wise man, the day I walked away from the village. For at that moment that I gave the village back its life. Your dependency was stifling...it was so overwhelming that soon - I had no life of my own. I lived your lives - I did your work, I solved your problems, I pulled you through each and every crisis or disaster. I literally became your sole source of survival and in doing so, I did myself and you a great injustice. In trying to protect and shield you from harm, I created an even greater problem - instead of being self-sufficient, you became totally dependent and unable to think for yourselves. Now, in my wisdom, I give you back your life.
Author - Diana Rogers
At first, I saw God as my observer, my judge, keeping track of the things I did wrong, so as to know whether I merited heaven or hell when I die. He was out there sort of like a president. I recognized His picture when I saw it, but I really didn't know Him.
Later on, when I met Christ, it seemed as thought life were rather like a bike ride, but it was a tandem bike and I noticed that Christ was in the back helping me pedal.
I don't know just when it was that He suggested we change places, but life has not been the same since. When I had control, I knew the way. It was rather boring, but predictable... It was the shortest distance between two points.
But when he took the lead, He knew delightful long cuts, up mountains and through rocky places at breakneck speeds, it was all I could do to hang on! Even through it looked like madness, He said, "Pedal!"
I worried and was anxious and asked, "Where are you taking me?" He laughed and didn't answer and I started to learn to trust. I forgot my boring life and entered into the adventure. When I would say, "I'm scared." He would lean back and touch my hand.
He took me to people with gifts that I needed, gifts of healing, acceptance and joy. They gave gifts to take on my journey, my Lord's and mine.
And we were off again. He said, "Give the gifts away: they are extra baggage, too much weight." So I did, to the people we met and I found that in giving I received and still our burden was light.
I did not trust Him, at first, in control of my life. I thought He'd wreck it. But He knows bike secrets, knows how to make it bend to take sharp corners, knows how to jump to clear high rocks, knows how to fly to shorten scary passages.
I am learning to shut up and pedal in the strangest of places and I'm beginning to enjoy the view and the cool breeze on my face with my delightful constant companion, Christ.
And when I'm sure I just can't do anymore, He just smiles and says ... "Pedal!" (or in my case write!)
Remember to praise God for everything, no matter how difficult things seem - the energy changes immediately and so do the situations or at least our attitudes towards them.
May God bless you this day!
If you know the author of this work, please email me so that I can give them proper credit.
Once upon a time there was a little sparrow, who hated to fly south for the winter. He dreaded the thought of leaving his home so much that he decided he would delay the journey until the last possible moment.
After bidding farewell to all his sparrow friends, he went back to his nest and stayed for an additional four weeks. Finally, the weather turned so bitterly cold that he could delay no longer. As the little sparrow took off and started to fly south, it began to rain. In a short time, ice began to form on his little wings. Almost dead from cold and exhaustion, he fell to earth in a barnyard. As he was breathing what he thought was his last breath, a horse walked out of the barn and proceeded to cover the little bird with fertilizer. At first the sparrow could think of nothing except that this was a terrible way to die. But as the fertilizer started to sink into his feathers, it warmed him and life began to return to his body. He also found that he had enough room to breathe. Suddenly the little sparrow was so happy that he started to sing.
At that moment a large cat came into the barnyard and, hearing the chirping of the little bird, began digging in the pile of fertilizer to find out where the sound was coming from. The cat finally uncovered the bird and ate him.
Now this story contains three morals:
If you know the author of this work, please email me so that I can give them proper credit.
As you read this...question it - then, make your own determination as to the validity of my words. Examine what is said. Use that which applies to your own personal truth and discard that which is unnecessary for your life's journey.
Where do you find the answers? What is the "truth"? Does my truth necessarily have to be your truth? Is there anyone who knows for sure? Is there any ONE person who has the "ANSWER", or do we each learn at our own pace, keeping what is necessary for our own personal journey and discarding that which is of no consequence? Is my journey so different from yours or yours from mine, that we can not share experiences?
When we share our experiences, do we learn? Do we listen or must we actually experience something in order to be able to determine the truth for ourselves? So many questions left unanswered. Where do we go for the answers? Could it be that sharing is not the answer, but rather the guide which points us toward the direction that we must go to find our own "inner" truths?
On this journey that we travel though our life span - do we discard one truth as it is over powered by another or do we combine the knowledge gained by the two into a greater, more powerful wisdom? Can we ever say that OUR truth is the only truth and that nothing else is knowledge? Are you any less of a person if your truth is not equal to mine? Am I any less because your knowledge exceeds my own? Can anyone say for sure who is right and who is wrong? Is there truly "right" or "wrong" - or does your "truth" depend on your perception at that particular moment in time?
What is it we search for? Is it the little bit of knowledge that will supply our minds with a sense of "peace", the key that will allow us to finally rest - allowing us to stop questioning, stop searching, stop wondering? To finally be able to relax and KNOW that life is as it should be and that what is, is what is meant to be! Have you reached that peace...has anyone? I would dare to say "No".
If I told you that I have found the "ANSWER" - would you be curious enough to listen? Would the potential of that knowledge draw your attention? Of course it would! Naturally, you would question everything I said, but you would none the less listen. Why? For the simple fact that I might possibly know something...some small bit of knowledge that could bring you closer to the truth you seek.
"Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free."
What creates our desire to continue? Is it our belief that there IS something more...that there IS a power greater than "I" which provides the strength we lack and carries us through even the gravest of circumstances. There are people who have known pain and suffering as their close friends far longer than they care to admit. Yet, it is here, in this space that they come to know their greatest learning experiences. Pain and suffering brings us crashing to our knees, crying out to the unknown with the message that the experience we face is far greater than our own personal strength can endure. It is at this moment that we experience true power, when the strength that we lacked is miraculously provided by a power that is greater than our own, wrapping itself softly around us, as we seem to float right through the eye of the storm. What is this power? Where is it? Can anyone truly explain it? Those who have experienced it "understand", yet - they find it impossible to grasp onto any words which can truly explain the "depth" of what they have experienced.
How can we know that the truths we are taught are "the truth", if we never question our learning? How can we honestly state that "our truth" is an honest truth if we have never questioned it, never tested it under the firing lines? The wisdom of the ancients, religion, astrology, the occult, the Tarot, the mystics - EACH contains a special knowledge. Each philosophy exists for a purpose. Each contains a message, a learning, a knowing of some degree for everyone who experiences them or takes the time to study them.
Have you ever listened to someone pour their heart out to you, reaching out for some answer they have not yet found? How do you respond to them? Have you actually experienced what they are sharing with you? Can you say you honestly "understand" or do you simply try to show a measure of sympathy for their circumstances? Have you ever been in the position of needing to talk to someone? Who is it that you turn to? Do you seek out someone who has experienced and truly "understands" what you are experiencing?
Pain is never pleasant when you are experiencing it and there is no suffering greater than your own personal suffering, no hurt greater than the hurt "you" experience at any one moment in time. It is our CHOICE to learn from an experience and use it to help others or to allow that experience to control us and embitter us toward the world in general. It is our CHOICE to treat suffering with shame and bury it deep within us or to share the experience in hopes of making the journey a little less rocky for the next person who must travel that particular road.
Does studying the ancients placed thoughts in our mind that should not exist there? Trying to understand the occults, studying the mystics, the tarot, astrology, religion - does it make us question our own particular belief? Definitely! With what conclusion - I don't know yet. I am still learning, I do not have the answer yet - I have not completed my studies, nor will I probably complete them in this lifetime. I do know that I "understand" with a much greater clarity that which I once "feared". I can say, with all truth and sincerity that I "agree or disagree" with a particular belief or philosophy... because I have studied it and I understand it - rather than choosing "disbelief" simply because it is an area that is "unknown" to me. I can discuss in all sincerity that which I have chosen as my own personal truth - because it has been "tried and tested" and I have come to believe that it is "right for me". Is my truth right for you - that I can not answer...I can only share my knowledge and allow you to choose that which is right for you.
This might sound crazy, but I am finding that it is not "what" we believe that contains power - but rather the strength of that belief which is the key. It is not our faith, but the strength of that faith that makes the difference. It is the strength of what we believe that makes us what we are. We "believe" what we want to believe. If someone provides us with something that gives us hope or a new positive reason to continue - then we tend to accept what they say. If what they say is something we don't want to accept, then in all likelihood we will discard it, forgetting all about it - as we continue to look for that which provides the hope and positive direction that we need to keep moving forward. Who is to say what is real and what is not real? Here is where we learn our own truth. Can I say that your truth is wrong? Is that even my place? No! It is, however, my right to question it, study it and come to my own peace with it...for that is a vital part of the journey towards that which I call "my truth".
Author - Diana Rogers
As you read this...question it - then, make your own determination as to the validity of the words. Examine what is said. Use that which applies to your own personal truth and discard that which is unnecessary for your life's journey.
Passion is the "spark" of excitement that is felt when we stand on the edge of the unknown. It arises at the boundary where two different worlds rub up against each other - male and female, self and other, inner and outer, familiar patterns and uncharted possibilities. The spark of passion lights up the night and provides sudden glimpses of mystery and depth. Passion is an intense quality of energized presence that puts us in touch with the fullness and richness of being alive.
We fall in love in many ways at any moment. Suddenly, something or someone takes our breath away and we feel an expansive fluttering sensation in our chest as we taste for an instant what it is like to be fully in the present. A thousand different things can bring on this heightened sense of perception. We have the capability to find ourselves falling in love several times a day...to find ourselves deeply "moved" not only by other people, but by nature and the sounds that are all around us. It is nothing more than a heightened, keener awareness of what has always been present...reminding us of the wonderful experiences that exist in the vital moments of the "present". Passions essential nature is "spontaneous and unconditional". Our total being opens and naturally resonates as it desires to connect with that which is greater than ourselves.
To prevent illusions, we must learn never to confuse the "focus" of our passion with "source" of that passion. It is the nature of passion to connect intensely with something or someone - problems arise only when we begin to look upon the "source" of our passion as the "cause" of our feeling so alive. Passions pure essence is our deeper, more basic need to feel the goodness and fullness of our own being and to KNOW that it is indeed worth celebrating. A belief that our wealth of feelings comes from the "object" of our passions is what will lead us to personal delusions, for passion becomes "conditional" when we choose to focus it on a specific person or thing. Release the need to "possess" and we are instantly thrown back into the pure intensity of "feeling" - to the source of unconditional passion inside ourselves which allows us to open up in new ways.
When we consciously direct our love toward an object we KNOW we can never possess - passion ripens into something much deeper - it becomes devotion. Whole hearted devotion is a powerful, transformative energy that can work magic in the human soul, for it allows us to discover that the "fullness" of our love is not an "object" but rather that which we treasure in our own heart allowing us to share more fully with others. Passion is a devotional path for tapping into the greater powers within ourselves. It is the purity of love, an experience of the fullness of our whole being.
In our first moments of attraction we can sense that we must surrender to it - we feel a desire to move toward it in ways we can not control. We find ourselves wanting to reach out and touch it and we feel it touch us in our most sensitive areas. It is at that very moment that we recognize that when we open up to our passion and let it move freely through us, that we are forced to let go, to "give in" and feel how raw and vulnerable we truly are. It is through "grasping" and "seducing" that we try to regain control of that which has so disarmed us.- yet, the more we try to control and direct passion the more it drives and controls us. Passion can not exist without surrender. We must surrender "self" in order to expand and move freely - to feel full and empty at the same time - full of life and empty of self. It is the moment of spiritual fulfillment when life and death exist as one...for it is at that moment when we experience the fullness of the unity of life in its wholeness and the death of an image of a "singular self" and passion without fixation becomes possible.
The key to overcoming the "illusions" of passion lies in realizing that this energy arises from our higher being and can never be entirely satisfied by any one person or thing. It's nature is "egoless" and pure in that it is ultimately a desire to experience the fullness of life itself. Where it leads us, depends entirely on what we choose to do with it. If we wish passion to become a path, we must learn to dance on the razor's edge of this energy - now taking hold, now letting go, now focusing our passion with single-pointed intensity, now releasing its focus and feeling its source in the life flowing deep within us. Learning to ride the energy of desire without being swept away by it, we allow it to resonate through us and flow toward others without having to cling to them or possess them. By simply appreciating the pure quality of this energy as it arises in the moment, we can let ourselves fall in love lightly, without becoming obsessed, for passion is the vital spark which propels our journey forward.
Once you recognize that the true nature of your passion is a powerful, radiant heart energy that wants to shine forth, flow freely and connect with life itself - you will not suppress it or try to maintain its feverish intensity and this will keep love fresh and allow us to keep falling in love with the world and each other over and over, again and again.
If you know the author of this work, please email me so that I can give them proper credit.
Transforming painful relationships into rewarding ones. Here we are actually looking at the dynamics of our "inner" self - in a form we can see in our outer world. When we heal our relationships, we heal ourselves.
Problems exist between people when there is a lack of communication. We must ask ourselves - "why" is there a lack of communication? When we see other people as "separate" and apart from ourselves, we erect prison bars around our heart. When we recognize our unity with others and begin to feel "with" them instead of separate and apart from them - the joy of being together comes naturally. When we see ourselves as being "here" in our own existence and others as "there" in a separate existence we deny the truth of our "oneness" with all people, with life and with God.
Forgiveness - letting go of ideas of sin, guilt and evil - is the key to healing relationships. Jesus said, "Love your enemies, do good to those who spitefully use you and bless those that curse you." He was showing us the formula for resolving painful human relationships and bringing about inner and outer peace - he was showing us the healing power of "love". To focus on the purity and perfection of those we are prone to "judge" - to see there "inner" Light is that which must occur to heal our relationships.
Mentally visualize the people in your life with which you struggle to maintain balance. Embrace these people, look them directly in the eyes and tell them you love them. Do this five minutes a day, each and every day and one of two things will occur. Your relationship with these people will clear up or they will leave your life. When we feel conflict between ourselves and another person, we need to first seek to work out these feelings "within" ourselves. We need to visualize the person, send them love and light and "feel" what it would feel like if they were our friend.
Relationships are lessons in tangible form that are necessary for our own personal growth. Prejudice or judgments towards character traits, actions and things that we don't like are drawn to us are drawn to us so that we can learn to "let go" and love. The quickest way to free yourself of someone who does something that irritates you is to love and accept them just as they are - with their innoying traits. People we find hard to accept become opportunities for us to practice understanding and forgiveness.
When we enter into a relationship we have one of two attitudes. "I am going to get something from this person" or "I am going to share with this person". The first leads to pain, the other to joy. One seeks to get, the other to expand - sharing works, taking doesn't. The love and freedom that we give another to grow and expand are returned to us many times over. It is faith which allows us to see the possibility of goodness in someone who does not recognize it within themselves. All healing is a result of "inner" forgiveness and spiritual love.
If you know the author of this work, please email me so that I can give them proper credit.
You will receive a body. You may like it or hate it, but it will be yours for the entire period of this time around.
You will learn lessons. You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called Life. Each day in this school you will have the opportunity to learn lessons. You may like the lessons or think them irrelevant and stupid.
There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of trial and error: Experimentation. The "failed" experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiments that ultimately "work".
A lesson is repeated until learned. A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. When you have learned it, you can then go on to the next lesson.
Learning lessons does not end. There is no part of life that does not contain its lessons. If you are alive, there are lessons to be learned.
There is no better place than "here". When your "there" has become a "here", you will simply obtain another "there" that will again look better than "here".
Others are merely mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects something you love or hate about yourself.
What you make of your life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you. The choice is yours.
Your answers lie inside you. The answer to Life’s questions lie inside you. All you need to do is look, listen and trust.
You will forget all this.
You can remember it whenever you want
If you know the author of this work, please email me so that I can give them proper credit.
Today, I will not focus on any past experiences, for I recognize that I have learned much since that moment in time. Any situation that arises today - though it may be "similar in nature" to a past situation is not the same! It will be a totally new experience - why? Because I will handle it in a slightly or extremely different and new way. Having combined the past with the present ...this new situation will be approached with new thoughts, a new sense of direction and the desire to see a "different" result.
TODAY, I MAY EXPERIENCE SOME EVENT "SIMILAR IN NATURE" TO A PAST EXPERIENCE - BUT IT WILL BE A TOTALLY ”NEW" EXPERIENCE!
I will combine what has been learned from a past experience, with that which has been learned since and the result will be an entirely different approach to an "OLD" situation, which will, in the same turn, result in an entirely different outcome - thus making this an ENTIRELY NEW EXPERIENCE!
Author - Diana Rogers
"The Greatest Secret in the World"
I will greet this day with love in my heart.
For this is the greatest secret of success in all ventures. Muscle can split a shield and even destroy life but only the unseen power of love can open the hearts of men and until I master this art I will remain no more than a peddler in the market place. I will make love my greatest weapon and none on whom I call can defend against its force.
My reasoning they may counter; my speech they may distrust; my apparel they may disapprove; my face they may reject and even my bargains may cause them suspicion; yet my love will melt all hearts liken to the sun whose rays soften the coldest clay.
And how will I do this? Henceforth will I look on all things with love and I will be born again. I will love the sun for it warms my bones; yet I will love the rain for it cleanses my spirit. I will love the light for it shows me the way; yet I will love the darkness for it shows me the stars. I will welcome happiness for it enlarges my heart; yet I will endure sadness for it opens my soul. I will acknowledge rewards for they are my due; yet I will welcome obstacles for they are my challenge.
And how will I speak? I will laud mine enemies and they will become friends; I will encourage my friends and they will become brothers. Always will I dig for reasons to plaud; never will I scratch for excuses to gossip. When I am tempted to criticize I will bite on my tongue; when I am moved to praise I will shout from the roofs.
Is it not so that birds, the wind, the sea and all nature speaks with the music of praise for their creator? Cannot I speak with the same music to his children? Henceforth will I remember this secret and it will change my life.
And how will I act? I will love all manners of men for each has qualities to be admired even though they be hidden. With love I will tear down the wall of suspicion and hate which they have built around their hearts and in its place will I build bridges so that my love may enter their souls.
I will love the ambitions for they can inspire me; I will love the failures for they can teach me. I will love the kings for they are but human; I will love the meek for they are divine. I will love the rich for they are yet lonely; I will love the poor for they are so many. I will love the young for the faith they hold; I will love the old for the wisdom they share. I will love the beautiful for their eyes of sadness; I will love the ugly for their souls of peace.
But how will I react to the actions of others? With love. For just as love is my weapon to open the hearts of men, love is also my shield to repulse the arrows of hate and the spears of anger. Adversity and discouragement will beat against my new shield and become as the softest of rains. My shield will protect me in the market place and sustain me when I am alone. It will uplift me in moments of despair yet it will calm me in time of exultation. It will become stronger and more protective with use until one day I will cast it aside and walk unencumbered among all manners of men and, when I do, my name will be raised high on the pyramid of life.
And how will I confront each whom I meet? In only one way. In silence and to myself I will address him and say I Love You. Though spoken in silence these words will shine in my eyes, unwrinkle my brow, bring a smile to my lips and echo in my voice; and his heart will be opened. And who is there who will say nay to my goods when his heart feels my love?
And most of all I will love myself. For when I do I will zealously inspect all things which enter my body, my mind, my soul and my heart. Never will I overindulge the requests of my flesh, rather I will cherish my body with cleanliness and moderation. Never will I allow my mind to be attracted to evil and despair, rather I will uplift it with the knowledge and wisdom of the ages. Never will I allow my soul to become complacent and satisfied, rather I will feed it with meditation and prayer. Never will I allow my heart to become small and bitter, rather I will share it and it will grow and warm the earth.
Henceforth will I love all mankind. From this moment all hate is let from my veins for I have not time to hate, only time to love. From this moment I take the first step required to become a man among men. With love I will increase my sales a hundred fold and become a great salesman. If I have no other qualities I can succeed with love alone. Without it I will fail though I possess all the knowledge and skills of the world.
He was in the first third grade class I taught at Saint Mary's School in Morris, Minn. All 34 of my students were dear to me, but Mark Eklund was one in a million. Very neat in appearance, but had that happy-to-be-alive attitude that made even his occasional mischieviousness delightful. Mark talked incessantly. I had to remind him again and again that talking without permission was not acceptable.
What impressed me so much, though, was his sincere response every time I had to correct him for misbehaving - "Thank you for correcting me, Sister!" I didn't know what to make of it at first, but before long I became accustomed to hearing it many times a day.
One morning my patience was growing thin when Mark talked once too often, and then I made a novice-teacher's mistake. I looked at him and said, "If you say one more word, I am going to tape your mouth shut!" It wasn't ten seconds later when Chuck blurted out, "Mark is talking again." I hadn't asked any of the students to help me watch Mark, but since I had stated the punishment in front of the class, I had to act on it.
I remember the scene as if it had occurred this morning. I walked to my desk, very deliberately opened my drawer and took out a roll of masking tape. Without saying a word, I proceeded to Mark's desk, tore off two pieces of tape and made a big X with them over his mouth. I then returned to the front of the room. As I glanced at Mark to see how he was doing he winked at me. That did it! I started laughing. The class cheered as I walked back to Mark's desk, removed the tape and shrugged my shoulders. His first words were, "Thank you for correcting me, Sister."
At the end of the year I was asked to teach junior-high math. The years flew by, and before I knew it Mark was in my classroom again. He was more handsome than ever and just as polite. Since he had to listen carefully to my instructions in the "new math," he did not talk as much in ninth grade as he had in the third.
One Friday, things just didn't feel right. We had worked hard on a new concept all week, and I sensed that the students were frowning, frustrated with themselves - and edgy with one another. I had to stop this crankiness before it got out of hand. So I asked them to list the names of the other students in the room on two sheets of paper, leaving a space between each name. Then I told them to think of the nicest thing they could say about each of their classmates and write it down. It took the remainder of the class period to finish the assignment, and as the students left the room, each one handed me the papers. Charlie smiled. Mark said, "Thank you for teaching me, Sister. Have a good weekend."
That Saturday, I wrote down the name of each student on a separate sheet of paper, and I listed what everyone else had said about that individual. On Monday I gave each student his or her list. Before long, the entire class was smiling. "Really?" I heard whispered. "I never knew that meant anything to anyone!" "I didn't know others liked me so much!" No one ever mentioned those papers in class again. I never knew if they discussed them after class or with their parents, but it didn't matter. The exercise had accomplished its purpose. The students were happy with themselves and one another again.
That group of students moved on. Several years later, after I returned from vacation, my parents met me at the airport. As we were driving home, Mother asked me the usual questions about the trip - the weather, my experiences in general. There was a light lull in the conversation. Mother gave Dad a side-ways glance and simply says, "Dad?" My father cleared his throat as he usually did before something important. "The Eklunds called last night," he began. "Really?" I said. "I haven't heard from them in years. I wonder how Mark is." Dad responded quietly. "Mark was killed in Vietnam," he said. "The funeral is tomorrow, and his parents would like it if you could attend."
To this day I can still point to the exact spot on I-494 where Dad told me about Mark. I had never seen a serviceman in a military coffin before. Mark looked so handsome, so mature. All I could think at that moment was, Mark, I would give all the masking tape in the world if only you would talk to me. The church was packed with Mark's friends. Chuck's sister sang "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." Why did it have to rain on the day of the funeral? It was difficult enough at the graveside.
The pastor said the usual prayers, and the bugler played taps. One by one those who loved Mark took a last walk by the coffin and sprinkled it with holy water. I was the last one to bless the coffin. As I stood there, one of the soldiers who had acted as pallbearer came up to me. "Were you Mark's math teacher?" he asked. I nodded as I continued to stare at the coffin. "Mark talked about you a lot," he said. After the funeral, most of Mark's former classmates headed to Chucks farmhouse for lunch. Mark's mother and father were there, obviously waiting for me. "We want to show you something," his father said, taking a wallet out of his pocket. "They found this on Mark when he was killed. We thought you might recognize it." Opening the billfold, he carefully removed two worn pieces of notebook paper that had obviously been taped, folded and refolded many times. I knew without looking that the papers were the ones on which I had listed all the good things each of Mark's classmates had said about him.
"Thank you so much for doing that" Mark's mother said. "As you can see, Mark treasured it." Mark's classmates started to gather around us. Charlie smiled rather sheepishly and said, "I still have my list. It's in the top drawer of my desk at home." Chuck's wife said, "Chuck asked me to put this in our wedding album." "I have mine too," Marilyn said. "It's in my diary." Then Vicki, another classmate, reached into her pocketbook, took out her wallet and showed her worn and frazzled list to the group. "I carry this with me at all times," Vicki said without batting an eyelash. "I think we all saved our lists." That's when I finally sat down and cried. I cried for Mark and for all his friends who would never see him again.
The purpose of this letter, is to encourage everyone to compliment the people you love and care about. We often tend to forget the importance of showing our affections and love. Sometimes the smallest of things, could mean the most to another. I am asking you, spread the message and encouragement, to express your love and caring by complimenting and being open with communication. The density of people in society, is so thick, that we forget that life will end one day. And we don't know when that one day will be. So please, I beg of you, to tell the people you love and care for, that they are special and important. Tell them, before it is too late. I leave these messages with you and ask you to continue to spread the message to everyone you know.
May the wind always be at your back, your guidance clear and true, and your path short & sweet - uhhhh not too short though!
Written by: Sister Helen P. Mrosia
Some 14 years ago, I stood watching my university students file into the classroom for our opening session in the theology of faith. That was the day I first saw Tommy. He was combing his hair, which hung six inches below his shoulders. My quick judgment wrote him off as strange—very strange. Tommy turned out to be my biggest challenge. He constantly objected to or smirked at the possibility of an unconditionally loving God. When he turned in his final exam at the end of the course, he asked in a slightly cynical tone, "Do you think I’ll ever find God?"
"No," I said emphatically.
"Oh," he responded. "I thought that was the product you were pushing." I let him get five steps from the door and then called out. "I don’t think you’ll ever find him, but I am certain he will find you." Tommy shrugged and left. I felt slightly disappointed that he had missed my clever line.
Later I heard that Tommy had graduated, and I was grateful for that. Then came a sad report: Tommy had terminal cancer. Before I could search him out, he came to me. When he walked into my office, his body was badly wasted, and his long hair had fallen out because of the chemotherapy. But his eyes were bright and his voice, for the first time, was firm. "Tommy! I’ve thought about you so often. I heard you were very sick," I blurted out.
"Oh, yes, very sick. I have cancer. It’s a matter of weeks."
"Can you talk about it?"
"Sure. What would you like to know?"
"What’s it like to be only 24 and know that you’re dying?"
"It could be worse," he told me, "like being 50 and thinking that drinking booze, seducing women and making money are the real ‘biggies’ in life." Then he told me why he had come.
"It was something you said to me on the last day of class. I asked if you thought I would ever find God and you said no, which surprised me. Then you said, ‘But he will find you.’ I thought about that a lot, even though my search for God was hardly intense at that time." "But when the doctors removed a lump from my groin and told me that it was malignant, I got serious about locating God. And when the malignancy spread into my vital organs, I really began banging against the bronze doors of heaven. But nothing happened. Well, one day I woke up, and instead of my desperate attempts to get some kind of message, I just quit. I decided I didn’t really care about God, an afterlife, or anything like that." "I decided to spend what time I had left doing something more important. I thought about you and something else you had said: ‘The essential sadness is to go through life without loving. But it would be almost equally sad to leave this world without ever telling those you loved that you loved them.’ So I began with the hardest one: my dad."
Tommy’s father had been reading the newspaper when his son approached him.
"Dad, I would like to talk with you."
"I mean, it’s really important."
The newspaper came down three slow inches. "What is it?"
"Dad I love you. I just wanted you to know that." Tommy smiled at me as he recounted the moment. "The newspaper fluttered to the floor. Then my father did two things I couldn’t remember him doing before. He cried and he hugged me. And we talked all night, even though he had to go to work the next morning."
"It was easier with my mother and little brother," Tommy continued. "They cried with me, and we hugged one another, and shared the thing we had been keeping secret for so many years. I was only sorry that I had waited so long. Here I was, in the shadow of death, And I was just beginning to open up to all the people I had actually been close to." "Then one day I turned around and God was there. He didn’t come to me when I pleaded with him. Apparently he does things in his own way and at his own hour. The important thing is that you were right. He found me even after I stopped looking for him."
"Tommy," I practically gasped, "I think you are saying something much more universal than you realize. You are saying that the surest way to find God is not by making him a private possession or an instant consolation in time of need, but rather by opening to love."
"Tommy," I added, "could I ask you a favor? Would you come to my theology-of-faith course and tell my students what you just told me?" Though we scheduled a date, he never make it. Of course, his life was not really ended by his death, only changed. He made the great step from faith into vision. He found a life far more beautiful than the eye of humanity has ever seen or the mind ever imagined.
Before he died, we talked one last time. "I’m not going to make it to your class," he said.
"I know, Tommy."
"Will you tell them for me? Will you ... Tell the whole world for me?"
"I will, Tommy. I’ll tell them."
Author - John Powell, S.J.
As he sat on top of the mountain, he carefully placed another log in the fire. It seemed important that the placement was just right. Firm, so that it would not role off; yet with enough air space around it so that it would entice the flames to lick at the bark until it too became part of the mystical dance. Yellows, oranges, reds and even blues and whites seem to captivate his mind and take it to a place he did not often visit.
Tom was on the third day of his Vision Quest. A vision for what, he did not know. Its significance, he could feel. It was this mixture which drove him to stay and stare into the fire. During the second day he had gone through fears that he would die - with nobody caring until they found his dead body by the ashes of the burnt out fire. Oh, they would care then! They would miss him when he was gone! The fear of death had brought up anger that he was not appreciated. Only with death and not being there anymore would others know his true worth.
That second day was a hard one for Tom. The fear and anger had lead him headfirst into two habits he did not like about himself. Slam, bam. Right in his face - blame and guilt. Oh, how they had bound him to a limited, shallow part of who he was. They had become emotional tools which he used to keep from looking into the essence of what he was...from looking for inspiring aspects of the human spirit, which he felt he would be lacking if he looked within too deeply. The game of blaming and feeling bad about it held some weird ray of hope for him. It left him in "could-be-ness." Which was better then "not-being-ness." The quicksand of blame gave him hope while it slowly pulled him into the abyss of quilt and self-destruction. That second day felt like a spiral from which he would never be able to free himself.
Tom had gotten through it, although he had had a restless night before the fire. He kept waking up from dreams, but could not remember what they were. Though his memory was blank, upon each awakening the feeling was the same. Frustration. Like he was trying to break loose from some veil which surrounded him, but his complete penetration was denied by it enormity and density.
Something must have been released, thought Tom, as he poked and played with the campfire. The anxiety and frustration was gone. He was doing the most important thing he could think of and that was using his fire-poking-stick to move and turn each piece of wood to the perfect position so that the flames of the fire could best perform their beautiful and hypnotic dance. He started feeling trance like and the hours ticked away as minutes. It was late afternoon - 3 or 4 - when the vision started.
His mind became a big screen. The scene was a long distant shot, like he was sitting in the front row seat of a second level balcony at an opera house - slightly to the left and looking down at the stage. There was a large pyramid which reached high into the darkness of the night. At the base was a platform that stretched across two-thirds of its width. There were four aisles - two on each side - which lead to the platform stairs. Between the aisles was an assembly area which was filled with people in ceremonial dress. On center stage was a high priest, elaborately dressed with arms extended upward - spread eagle. He stood in front of a fire pit and was leading the mass in prayers and chants. From the right, in the aisle furthest from the pyramid, walked a girl of 7 or 8. Dressed in white, she looked like a young Goddess. As she passed, people bowed from the waist down.
It was from her that Tom started to "feel." It was like he was in her body, like he was her. He immediately knew her biography and what this ceremony was all about. She had been born to be sacrificed. She was the chosen one. Raised as a glorified Martyr for her people. To be offered to a God they thought needed appeasement because of his power. A God they thought they could buy off with ceremony and sacrifice, so that they could be victors in war and enslave the conquered. She felt honored and willing to go to the fire.
Tom watched as she was fed to the flame and the picture started to fade out.
And he heard a voice as the scene left, "Not this way anymore! Not this
way anymore!" And it was over. Tom fell asleep and awoke about 11 or 12.
The stars were close, bright and abundant. His mind went to the vision as he
fed more wood to the fire. His thoughts came quick: "Was She me a long
time ago?" "It felt so real!" "Did I bring Martyrdom in
with me this time?" "Do I have a habit of scarifying?" "Is
that the cause of this river of resentment flowing within me?" "What
kind of Beingness is God anyway?" "Why was there so much hatred for
one God and so much love for another?" "Why did I have this vision by
the fire?" "Am I
crazy? So What! I know the answer to that one. So what! If what I have been is sane, then I want no part of it - it was driving me crazy!" "I wonder if somebody in the future is having a vision of me? Can I be a good vision?" "Why do some people think God is mad all the time?" "If I was God I'd be happy to have it all! Heck, I'd be happy with just a piece of the action!" "Could consciousness be different without a body - does it change in its comings and goings?" "What's the value? What is the value? Do I have to decide that myself? "I'll be like that girl and live my life to be a valuable vision for somebody in the future - that's as good a reason as I can think of tonight. Bath me to rest God, bath me to rest mind, bath me to rest fire..."
Tom left the mountain top after seven days. He would never be the same again. Neither would somebody in the future ... not to mention all of those who experienced Tom in between.
Author - Joe
Like any good mother, when Karen found out that another baby was on the way, she did what she could to help her 3-year-old son, Michael, prepare for a new sibling. They find out that the new baby is going to be a girl, and day after day, night after night, Michael sings to his sister in Mommy's tummy. The pregnancy progresses normally for Karen, an active member of the Panther Creek United Methodist Church in Morristown, Tennessee. Then the labor pains come. Every five minutes ... every minute. But complications arise during delivery. Hours of labor. Would a C-section be required?
Finally, Michael's little sister is born. But she is in serious condition. With siren howling in the night, the ambulance rushes the infant to the neonatal intensive care unit at St. Mary's hospital, Knoxville, Tennessee.
The days inch by. The little girl gets worse. The pediatric specialist tells the parents, "There is very little hope. Be prepared for the worst." Karen and her husband contact a local cemetery about a burial plot. They have fixed up a special room in their home for the new baby - now they plan a funeral. Michael, keeps begging his parents to let him see his sister, "I want to sing to her," he says.
Week two in intensive care. It looks as if a funeral will come before the week is over. Michael keeps nagging about singing to his sister, but kids are never allowed in Intensive Care. But, Karen makes up her mind - she will take Michael whether they like it or not. If he doesn't see his sister now, he may never see her alive.
She dresses him in an oversized scrub suit and marches him into ICU. He looks like a walking laundry basket, but the head nurse recognizes him as a child and bellows, "Get that kid out of here now! No children are allowed in ICU."
The mother rises up strong in Karen, and the usually mild-mannered lady glares steel-eyed into the head nurse's face, her lips a firm line. "He is not leaving until he sings to his sister! "Karen tows Michael to his sister's bedside. He gazes at the tiny infant losing the battle to live. And he begins to sing. In the pure hearted voice of a 3-year-old, Michael sings:
"You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are gray ---
"Instantly the baby girl responds. The pulse rate becomes calm and steady.
Keep on singing, Michael.
"You never know, dear, how much I love you. Please don't take my sunshine away---"
The ragged, strained breathing becomes as smooth as a kitten's purr.
Keep on singing, Michael.
"The other night, dear, as I lay sleeping, I dreamed I held you in my arms..."
Michael's little sister relaxes as rest, healing rest, seems to sweep over her.
Keep on singing, Michael.
Tears conquer the face of the bossy head nurse. Karen glows.
"You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. Please don't, take my sunshine away."
Funeral plans are scrapped. The very next day - the little girl is well enough to go home!
Woman's Day magazine called it "the miracle of a brother's song." The medical staff just called it a miracle.
If you know the author of this work, please email me so that I can give them proper credit.
Throughout our lives we are blessed with spiritual experiences, some of which are very sacred and confidential and others, although sacred, are meant to be shared.
Last summer my family had a spiritual experience that had a lasting and profound impact on us, one we feel must be shared. It's a message of love. It's a message of regaining perspective and restoring proper balance and renewing priorities.
In humility, I pray that I might, in relating this story, give you a gift my little son, Brian gave our family one summer day last year.
On July 22nd I was in route to Washington DC for a business trip. It was all so very ordinary, until we landed in Denver for a plane change. As I collected my belongings from the overhead bin, an announcement was made for Mr. Lloyd Glenn to see the United Customer Service Representative immediately. I thought nothing of it until I reached the door to leave the plane and I heard a gentleman asking every male if they were Mr. Glenn. At this point I knew something was wrong and my heart sunk.
When I got off the plane a solemn-faced young man came toward me and said, "Mr. Glenn there is an emergency at your home. I do not know what the emergency is, or who is involved, but I will take you to the phone so you can call the hospital. My heart was now pounding, but the will to be calm took over. Woodenly, I followed this stranger to the distant telephone where I called the number he gave me for the Mission Hospital. My call was put through to the trauma center where I learned that my three-year-old son had been trapped underneath the automatic garage door for several minutes and that when my wife had found him he was dead.
A neighbor, who was a doctor had performed CPR and the paramedics had continued the treatment as Brian was transported to the hospital. By the time of my call, Brian was revived and they believed he would live, but they did not know how much damage had been done to his brain, nor to his heart. They explained that the door had completely closed on his little sternum right over his heart. He had been severely crushed. After speaking with the medical staff, my wife sounded worried but not hysterical, and I took comfort in her calmness.
The return flight seemed to last forever, but finally I arrived at the hospital six hours after the garage door had come down. When I walked into the intensive care unit, nothing could have prepared me to see my little son lying so still on a great big bed with tubes and monitors everywhere. He was on a respirator. I glanced at my wife who stood and tried to give me a reassuring smile. It all seemed like a terrible dream. I was filled in with the details and given a guarded prognosis. Brian was going to live, and the preliminary tests indicated that his heart was ok - two miracles, in and of themselves. But only time would tell if his brain received any damage.
Throughout the seemingly endless hours, my wife was calm. She felt that Brian would eventually be all right. I hung on to her words and faith like a lifeline. All that night and the next day Brian remained unconscious. It seemed like forever since I had left for my business trip the day before. Finally at two o'clock that afternoon, our son regained consciousness and sat up uttering the most beautiful words I have ever heard spoken - "Daddy hold me," - and he reached for me with his little arms.
By the next day he was pronounced as having no neurological or physical deficits, and the story of his miraculous survival spread throughout the hospital. You cannot imagine our gratitude and joy. As we took Brian home we felt a unique reverence for the life and love of our Heavenly Father that comes to those who brush death so closely.
In the days that followed there was a special spirit about our home. Our two older children were much closer to their little brother. My wife and I were much closer to each other, and all of us were very close as a whole family. Life took on a less stressful pace. Perspective seemed to be more focused, and balance much easier to gain and maintain. We felt deeply blessed. Our gratitude was truly profound.
Almost a month later to the day of the accident, Brian awoke from his afternoon nap and said, "Sit down mommy. I have something to tell you." At this time in his life, Brian usually spoke in small phrases, so to say a large sentence surprised my wife. She sat down with him on his bed and he began his sacred and remarkable story. "Do you remember when I got stuck under the garage door? Well it was so heavy and it hurt really bad. I called to you, but you couldn't hear me. I started to cry, but then it hurt too bad. And then the "birdies" came.
"The birdies?" my wife asked puzzled.
"Yes," he replied. "The birdies" made a whooshing sound and flew into the garage. They took care of me."
"Yes," he said. "One of the 'birdies' came and got you. She came to tell you I got stuck under the door."
A sweet reverent feeling filled the room. The spirit was so strong and yet lighter than air. My wife realized that a three year-old had no concept of death and spirits, so he was referring to the beings who came to him from beyond as "birdies" because they were up in the air like birds that fly. "What did the birdies look like?" she asked.
Brian answered. "They were so beautiful. They were dressed in white - all white. Some of them had green and white. But some of them had on just white."
"Did they say anything?"
"Yes" he answered. They told me the baby would be alright."
"The baby?" my wife asked confused.
And Brian answered. "The baby laying on the garage floor." He went on, "You came out and opened the garage door and ran to the baby. You told the baby to stay and not leave."
My wife nearly collapsed upon hearing this, for she had indeed gone and knelt beside Brian's body and seeing his crushed chest and unrecognizable features, knowing he was already dead, she looked up around her and whispered, "Don't leave us Brian, please stay if you can. As she listened to Brian telling her the words she had spoken, she realized that the spirit had left his body and was looking down from above on this little lifeless form. "Then what happened?" she asked.
"We went on a trip." he said, "far, far away." He grew agitated trying to say the things he didn't seem to have the words for.
My wife tried to calm and comfort him, and let him know it would be okay. He struggled with wanting to tell something that obviously was very important to him, but finding the words was difficult. "We flew so fast up in the air." "They're so pretty Mommy." he added. "And there is lots and lots of "birdies".
My wife was stunned. Into her mind the sweet comforting spirit enveloped her more soundly, but with an urgency she had never before known. Brian went on to tell her that the 'birdies' had told him that he had to come back and tell everyone about the "birdies". He said they brought him back to the house and that a big fire truck and an ambulance were there. A man was bringing the baby out on a white bed and he tried to tell the man the baby would be okay, but the man couldn't hear him. He said, "birdies told him he had to go with the ambulance, but they would be near him. He said, they were so pretty and so peaceful, and he didn't want to come back. And then the bright light came. He said that the light was so bright and so warm, and he loved the bright light so much. Someone was in the bright light and put their arms around him, and told him, "I love you but you have to go back. You have to play baseball, and tell everyone about the birdies." Then the person in the bright light kissed him and waved bye-bye. Then whoosh, the big sound came and they went into the clouds."
The story went on for an hour. He taught us that "birdies" were always with us, but we don't see them because we look with our eyes and we don't hear them because we listen with our ears. But they are always there, you can only see them in here (he put his hand over his heart). They whisper the things to help us to do what is right because they love us so much. Brian continued, stating, "I have a plan, Mommy. You have a plan. Daddy has a plan. Everyone has a plan. We must all live our plan and keep our promises. The "birdies help us to do that cause they love us so much."
In the weeks that followed, he often came to us and told all, or part of it again and again. Always the story remained the same. The details were never changed or out of order. A few times he added further bits of information and clarified the message he had already delivered. It never ceased to amaze us how he could tell such detail and speak beyond his ability when he spoke of his "birdies." Everywhere he went, he told strangers about the "birdies". Surprisingly, no one ever looked at him strangely when he did this. Rather, they always get a softened look on their face and smiled. Needless to say, we have not been the same ever since that day, and I pray we never will be.
True Story Told by Lloyd Glen
A while back I was reading about an expert on the subject of time management. One day this expert was speaking to a group of business students and, to drive home a point, used an illustration I'm sure those students will never forget. After I share it with you, you'll never forget it either.
As this man stood in front of the group of high-powered over achievers he said, "Okay, time for a quiz." Then he pulled out a one-gallon, wide-mouthed mason jar and set it on a table in front of him. Then he produced about a dozen fist-sized rocks and carefully placed them, one at a time, into the jar. When the jar was filled to the top and no more rocks would fit inside, he asked, "Is this jar full?"
Everyone in the class said, "Yes."
Then he said, "Really?" He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. Then he dumped some gravel in and shook the jar causing pieces of gravel to work themselves down into the spaces between the big rocks. Then he smiled and asked the group once more, "Is the jar full?"
By this time the class was onto him. "Probably not," one of them answered.
"Good!" he replied. And he reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand. He started dumping the sand in and it went into all the spaces left between the rocks and the gravel. Once more he asked the question, "Is this jar full?"
"No!" the class shouted.
Once again he said, "Good!" Then he grabbed a pitcher of water and began to pour it in until the jar was filled to the brim. Then he looked up at the class and asked, "What is the point of this illustration?"
One eager beaver raised his hand and said, "The point is, no matter how full your schedule is, if you try really hard, you can always fit some more things into it!"
"No," the speaker replied, "that's not the point. The truth this illustration teaches us is: If you don't put the big rocks in first, you'll never get them in at all."
The title of this letter is 'The "Big Rocks" of Life'. What are the big rocks in your life? A project that YOU want to accomplish? Time with your loved ones? Your faith, your education, your finances? A cause? Teaching or mentoring others? The important people in your life?
Remember to put these BIG ROCKS in first or you'll never get them in at all.
So, tonight when you are reflecting on this short story, ask yourself this question: What are the "big rocks" in my life or business? Put those in your jar tomorrow.
If you know the author of this work, please email me so that I can give them proper credit.
Jerry is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, "If I were any better, I would be twins!" He was a unique manager because he had several waiters who had followed him around from restaurant to restaurant. The reason the waiters followed Jerry was because of his attitude. He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, Jerry was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.
Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Jerry and asked him, I don't get it! You can't be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?" Jerry replied, "Each morning I wake up and say to myself, Jerry, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood. I choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it.
Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life."
"Yeah, right, it's not that easy," I protested. "Yes it is," Jerry said. "Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people will affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It's your choice how you live life."
I reflected on what Jerry said. Soon thereafter, I left the restaurant industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it. Several years later, I heard that Jerry did something you are never supposed to do in a restaurant business: he left the back door open one morning and was held up at gunpoint by three armed robbers. While trying to open the safe, his hand, shaking from nervousness, slipped off the combination. The robbers panicked and shot him. Luckily, Jerry was found relatively quickly and rushed to the local trauma center. After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Jerry was released from the hospital with fragments of the bullets still in his body.
I saw Jerry about six months after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he replied, "If I were any better, I'd be twins. Wanna see my scars?"
I declined to see his wounds, but did ask him what had gone through his mind as the robbery took place. "The first thing that went through my mind was that I should have locked the back door," Jerry replied. "Then, as I lay on the floor, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or I could choose to die. I choose to live."
"Weren't you scared? Did you lose consciousness?" I asked. Jerry continued, "...the paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read 'he's a dead man" I knew I needed to take action."
What did you do?" I asked.
"Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me," said Jerry. "She asked if I was allergic to anything. 'Yes' I replied. The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, 'Bullets!' Over their laughter, I told them, "I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead." Jerry lived thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude. I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully. Attitude, after all, is everything.
If you know the author of this work, please email me so that I can give them proper credit.
Back in the fifteenth century, in a tiny village near Nuremberg, lived a family with eighteen children. Eighteen! In order merely to keep food on the table for this mob, the father and head of the household, a goldsmith by profession, worked almost eighteen hours a day at his trade and any other paying chore he could find in the neighborhood.
Despite their seemingly hopeless condition, two of Albrecht Durer the Elder's children had a dream. They both wanted to pursue their talent for art, but they knew full well that their father would never be financially able to send either of them to Nuremberg to study at the Academy. After many long discussions at night in their crowded bed, the two boys finally worked out a pact. They would toss a coin. The loser would go down into the nearby mines and, with his earnings, support his brother while he attended the academy. Then, when that brother who won the toss completed his studies, in four years, he would support the other brother at the academy, either with sales of his artwork or, if necessary, also by laboring in the mines.
They tossed a coin on a Sunday morning after church. Albrecht Durer won the toss and went off to Nuremberg. Albert went down into the dangerous mines and, for the next four years, financed his brother, whose work at the academy was almost an immediate sensation. Albrecht's etchings, his woodcuts, and his oils were far better than those of most of his professors, and by the time he graduated, he was beginning to earn considerable fees for his commissioned works.
When the young artist returned to his village, the Durer family held a festive dinner on their lawn to celebrate Albrecht's triumphant homecoming. After a long and memorable meal, punctuated with music and laughter, Albrecht rose from his honored position at the head of the table to drink a toast to his beloved brother for the years of sacrifice that had enabled Albrecht to fulfill his ambition. His closing words were, "And now, Albert, blessed brother of mine, now it is your turn. Now you can go to Nuremberg to pursue your dream, and I will take care of you."
All heads turned in eager expectation to the far end of the table where Albert sat, tears streaming down his pale face, shaking his lowered head from side to side while he sobbed and repeated, over and over, "No ...no ...no ...no."
Finally, Albert rose and wiped the tears from his cheeks. He glanced down the long table at the faces he loved, and then, holding his hands close to his right cheek, he said softly, "No, brother. I cannot go to Nuremberg. It is too late for me. Look ... look what four years in the mines have done to my hands! The bones in every finger have been smashed at least once, and lately I have been suffering from arthritis so badly in my right hand that I cannot even hold a glass to return your toast, much less make delicate lines on parchment or canvas with a pen or a brush. No, brother ... for me it is too late."
More than 450 years have passed. By now, Albrecht Durer's hundreds of masterful portraits, pen and silver-point sketches, watercolors, charcoals, woodcuts, and copper engravings hang in every great museum in the world, but the odds are great that you, like most people, are familiar with only one of Albrecht Durer's works. More than merely being familiar with it, you very well may have a reproduction hanging in your home or office.
One day, to pay homage to Albert for all that he had sacrificed, Albrecht Durer painstakingly drew his brother's abused hands with palms together and thin fingers stretched skyward. He called his powerful drawing simply "Hands," but the entire world almost immediately opened their hearts to his great masterpiece and renamed his tribute of love "The Praying Hands." The next time you see a copy of that touching creation, take a second look. Let it be your reminder, if you still need one, that no one - no one - ever makes it alone!
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Mark was walking home from school one day when he noticed the boy ahead of him had tripped and dropped all of the books he was carrying, along with two sweaters, a baseball bat, a glove and a small tape recorder. Mark knelt down and helped the boy pick up the scattered articles. Since they were going the same way, he helped to carry part of the burden. As they walked Mark discovered the boy's name was Bill, that he loved video games, baseball and history, and that he was having lots of trouble with his other subjects and that he had just broken up with his girlfriend.
They arrived at Bill's home first and Mark was invited in for a Coke and to watch some television. The afternoon passed pleasantly with a few laughs and some shared small talk, then Mark went home. They continued to see each other around school, had lunch together once or twice, then both graduated from junior high school. They ended up in the same high school where they had brief contacts over the years. Finally the long-awaited senior year came and three weeks before graduation, Bill asked Mark if they could talk.
Bill reminded him of the day years ago when they had first met. "Did you ever wonder why I was carrying so many things home that day?" asked Bill. "You see, I cleaned out my locker because I didn't want to leave a mess for anyone else. I had stored away some of my mothers sleeping pills and I was going home to commit suicide. But after we spent some time together talking and laughing, I realized that if I had killed myself, I would have missed that time and so many others that might follow. So you see, Mark, when you picked up those books that day, you did a lot more, you saved my life.
Every little hello, every little smile, every helping hand saves a hurting heart. Pass it on. With this email also comes the token that says that YOU are special. There's a miracle called Friendship that dwells in the heart. You don't know how it happens Or when it gets started but, you know the special lift it always brings and you realize that Friendship Is God's most precious gift!
It's National Friendship Week. 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 heart to us. Show your friends how much you care.....Send this to everyone you consider a FRIEND, even the person that sent this to you. If it comes back to you, then you'll know you have a Friend for life. Show your friends how much you appreciate them and what they mean to you......... Happy Friendship Week!!!
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We often learn the most from our children.
Some time ago, a friend of mine punished his 3-year-old daughter for wasting a roll of gold wrapping paper. Money was tight, and he became infuriated when the child tried to decorate a box to put under the tree. Nevertheless, the little girl brought the gift to her father the next morning and said, "This is for you, Daddy." He was embarrassed by his earlier overreaction, but his anger flared again when he found that the box was empty. He yelled at her, "Don't you know that when you give someone a present, there's supposed to be something inside of it?"
The little girl looked up at him with tears in her eyes and said, " Oh, Daddy it's not empty. I blew kisses into the box. All for you, Daddy."
The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little girl, and he begged her forgiveness. My friend told me that he kept that gold box by his bed for years. Whenever he was discouraged, he would take out an imaginary kiss and remember the love of the child who had put it there.
In a very real sense, each of us as parents has been given a gold container filled with unconditional love and kisses from our children. There is no more precious possession anyone could hold.
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Years ago, there was a very wealthy man who, with his devoted young son, shared a passion for art collecting. Together they traveled around the world, adding only the finest art treasures to their collection. Priceless works by Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet, and many others adorned the walls of their family estate. The widowed elderly man looked on with satisfaction as his only child became an experienced art collector. The son's trained eye and sharp business mind caused his father to beam with pride as they dealt with art collectors around the world.
As winter approached, war engulfed their nation, and the young man left to serve his country. After only a few short weeks, the elderly man received a telegram that his beloved son was missing in action. The art collector anxiously awaited more news, fearing he would never see his son again. Within days his fears were confirmed. The young man had died while rushing a fellow soldier to a medic.
Distraught and lonely, the old man faced the upcoming Christmas holidays with anguish and sadness. The joy of the season - a season that he and his son had so looked forward to in the past would visit his house no longer. On Christmas morning, a knock on the door awakened the old man. As he walked to the door, the masterpieces of art on the walls only reminded him that his son was not coming home. He opened the door and was greeted by a soldier with a large package in his hand. The soldier introduced himself to the old man by saying, "I was a friend of your son. I was the one he was rescuing when he died. May I come in for a few moments? I have something to show you."
As the two began to talk, the soldier told of how the man's son had told everyone of his - and his father's - love of fine art work. "I'm also an artist," said the soldier, "and I want to give you this." As the old man began to unwrap the package, paper gave way to reveal a portrait of the man's son. Though the world would never consider it a work of genius, the painting featured the young man face in striking detail. Overcome with emotion, the old man thanked the soldier, promising to hang the portrait above the fireplace. A few hours later, after the soldier had departed, the old man set about his task.
True to his word, the painting went above the fireplace, pushing aside thousands of dollars worth of paintings. And then the old man sat in his chair and spent Christmas gazing at the gift he had been given. During the days and weeks that followed, the man learned that his son had rescued dozens of wounded soldiers before a bullet stilled his caring heart. As the stories of his son's gallantry continued to reach him, fatherly pride and satisfaction began to ease his grief, as he realized that, although his son was no longer with him, the boy's life would live on because of those he had touched. The painting of his son soon became his most prized possession, far eclipsing any interest in the priceless pieces for which museums around the world clamored. He told his neighbors it was the greatest gift he had ever received.
The following spring, the old man became ill and passed away. The art world was in anticipation, since, with old man's passing, and his only son dead, those paintings would be sold at an auction. According to the will of the old man, all of the art works would be auctioned on Christmas Day, the day he had received his greatest gift.
The day finally arrived and art collectors from around the world gathered to bid on some of the world's most spectacular paintings. Dreams could be fulfilled this day, greatness could be achieved as some could say, "I have the greatest collection." The auction began with a painting that was not on any museum list... the painting of the old man's son. The auctioneer asked for an opening bid, but the room was silent. "Who will open the bidding with $l00?" he asked.
Moments passed and no one spoke for the picture of his son. Let's forget it and get on to the good ones." More voices echoed in agreement. "No, we have to sell this one first," replied the auctioneer. "Now who will take the son?' Finally, a friend of the old man spoke. "Will you take $10 for the painting? That's all I have." "Will anyone go higher?" called the auctioneer. After more silence he said, "Going once, going twice...Gone!" The gavel fell.
Cheers filled the room and someone shouted, "Now we can get on with it and bid on these treasures!" The auctioneer looked at the audience and announced that the auction was over. Stunned disbelief quieted the room. Then someone spoke up and asked, "What do you mean it's over? We didn't come here for a portrait of some old man's son. What about all of these other paintings? There are millions of dollars worth of art work here. We demand an explanation!"
The auctioneer replied, "It's very simple. According to the will of the father, whoever takes the son... gets it all." Just as the art collectors discovered on that day...the message is still the same...the love of the Father, a Father whose son gave his life for others. And because of that Father's love, "Whoever takes the Son gets it all!"
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The Christmas Envelope
It's just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past 10 years or so.
It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas. Oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it-overspending. The frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma - the gifts given in desperation because you couldn't think of anything else.
Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way. Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was wrestling at the junior level at the school he attended; and shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church. These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes.
As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler's ears. It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford. Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. And as each of their boys got up from the mat, he swaggered around in his tatters with false bravado, a kind of street pride that couldn't acknowledge defeat. Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, "I wish just one of them could have won," he said. "They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them."
Mike loved kids-all kids-and he knew them, having coached little league football, baseball and lacrosse. That's when the idea for his present came. That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church.
On Christmas Eve, I placed the envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done and that this was his gift from me. His smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year and in succeeding years. For each Christmas, I followed the tradition---one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on.
The envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning and our children, ignoring their new toys, would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents.
As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the envelope never lost its allure. The story doesn't end there. You see, we lost Mike last year due to dreaded cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree, and in the morning - it was joined by three more.
Each of our children, unbeknownst to the others, had placed an envelope on the tree for their dad. The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing around the tree with wide-eyed anticipation watching as their fathers take down the envelope. Mike's spirit, like the Christmas spirit will always be with us. May we all remember Christ, who is the reason for the season, and the true Christmas spirit this year and always. God bless---pass this along to your friends and loved ones.
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During the waning years of the depression in a small southeastern Idaho community, I used to stop by Mr. Miller's roadside stand for farm-fresh produce as the season made it available. Food and money were still extremely scarce and bartering was used, extensively.
One particular day Mr. Miller was bagging some early potatoes for me. I noticed a small boy, delicate of bone and feature, ragged but clean, hungrily apprising a basket of freshly picked greenpeas. I paid for my potatoes but was also drawn to the display of fresh green peas. I am a pushover for creamed peas and new potatoes. Pondering the peas I couldn't help overhearing the conversation between Mr. Miller and the ragged boy next to me.
"Hello Barry, how are you today ?"
"H'lo, Mr. Miller. Fine, thank ya. Jus' admirin' them peas * sure look good."
"They are good, Barry. How's your Ma?"
"Fine. Gittin' stronger alla'time."
"Good. Anything I can help you with?"
"No, Sir. Jus' admirin' them peas."
"Would you like to take some home?"
"No, Sir. Got nuthin' to pay for 'em with."
"Well, what have you to trade me for some of those peas?"
"All I got's my prize aggie -- best taw around here."
"Is that right? Let me see it."
"Here 'tis. She's a dandy."
"I can see that. Hmmmm, only thing is this one is blue and I sort of go for red. Do you have a red one like this at home?"
"Not 'zackley -- but, almost."
"Tell you what. Take this sack of peas home with you and next trip this way let me look at that red taw."
"Sure will. Thanks, Mr. Miller."
Mrs. Miller, who had been standing nearby, came over to help me. With a smile she said, "There are two other boys like him in our community-all three are in very poor circumstances. Jim just loves to bargain with them for peas, apples, tomatoes or whatever. When they come back with their red marbles, and they always do, he decides he doesn't like red after all and he sends them home with a bag of produce for a green marble or an orange one, perhaps."
I left the stand, smiling to myself, impressed with this man. A short time later I moved to Utah but I never forgot the story of this man and the boys--and their bartering.
Several years went by each more rapid than the previous one. Just recently I had occasion to visit some old friends in that Idaho community and while I was there learned that Mr. Miller had died. They were having his viewing that evening and knowing my friends wanted to go, I agreed to accompany them.
Upon our arrival at the mortuary we fell into line to meet the relatives of the deceased and to offer whatever words of comfort we could. Ahead of us in line were three young men. One was in an army uniform and the other two wore short haircuts, dark suits and white shirts obviously potential or returned Mormon missionaries.
They approached Mrs. Miller, standing smiling and composed, by her husband's casket. Each of the young men hugged her, kissed her on the cheek, spoke briefly with her and moved on to the casket. Her misty light blue eyes followed them as, one by one, each young man stopped briefly and placed his own warm hand over the cold pale hand in the casket. Each left the mortuary, awkwardly, wiping his eyes.
Our turn came to meet Mrs. Miller. I told her who I was and mentioned the story she had told me about the marbles. Eyes glistening she took my hand and led me to the casket.
"This is an amazing coincidence," she said. "Those three young men, that just left, were the boys I told you about. They just told me how they appreciated the things Jim "traded" them. Now, at last, when Jim could not change his mind about color or size ... they came to pay their debt.
We've never had a great deal of the wealth of this world," she confided, "but, right now, Jim would consider himself the richest man in Idaho."
With loving gentleness she lifted the lifeless fingers of her deceased husband. Resting underneath were three, magnificently shiny, red marbles.
If you know the author of this work, please email me so that I can give them proper credit.
Stella had been prepared for her husband's death. Since the doctor's pronouncement of terminal cancer, they had both faced the inevitable, striving to make the most of their remaining time together. Dave's financial affairs had always been in order. There were no new burdens in her widowed state. It was just the awful aloneness...the lack of purpose to her days.
They had been a childless couple. It had been their choice. Their lives had been so full and rich. They had been content with busy careers, and with each other. They had many friends. Had. That was the operative word these days. It was bad enough losing the one person you loved with all your heart. But over the past few years, she and Dave repeatedly had to cope with the deaths of their friends and relations.
They were all of an age -- an age when human bodies began giving up. Dying. Face it -- they were old! And now, approaching the first Christmas without Dave, Stella was all too aware she would be on her own.
With shaky fingers, she lowered the volume of her radio so that the Christmas music became a muted background. To her surprise, she saw that the mail had come. With the inevitable wince of pain from her arthritis, she bent to retrieve the white envelopes from the floor. She sat on the piano bench to open them. They were mostly Christmas cards, and her sad eyes smiled at the familiarity of the traditional scenes and at the loving messages inside. She arranged them among the others on the piano top. In her entire house, they were the only seasonal decoration.
The holiday was less than a week away, but she just did not have the heart to put up a silly tree, or even set up the stable that Dave had built with his own hands. Suddenly engulfed by the loneliness of it all, Stella buried her face in her hands, and let the tears come. How would she possibly get through Christmas and the winter beyond it!
The ring of the doorbell was so unexpected that Stella had to stifle a small scream of surprise? Now, who could possibly be calling on her? She opened the wooden door and stared through the screened window of the storm door with consternation.
On her front porch, stood a strange, young man, whose head was barely visible above the large carton in his arms. She peered beyond him to the driveway, but there was nothing about the small car to give clue to his identity. Summoning courage, the elderly lady opened the door slightly and he stepped sideways to speak into the space. "Mrs. Thornhope?" She nodded. He continued, "I have a package for you,"
Curiosity drove caution from her mind. She pushed the door open, and he entered. Smiling, he placed his burden carefully on the floor and stood to retrieve an envelope that protruded from his pocket. As he handed it to her, a sound came from the box. Stella jumped. The man laughed in apology and bent to straighten up the cardboard flaps, holding them open in an invitation for her to peek inside.
It was a dog! To be more exact, a golden Labrador retriever puppy. As the gentleman lifted its squirming body up into his arms, he explained, "This is for you, ma'am. He's six weeks old and completely housebroken." The young pup wiggled in happiness at being released from captivity and thrust ecstatic, wet kisses in the direction of the young man's face. "We were supposed to deliver him on Christmas Eve," he continued with some difficulty, as he strove to rescue his chin from the wet little tongue, "but the staff at the kennels start their holidays tomorrow. Hope you don't mind an early present."
Shock had stolen her ability to think clearly. Unable to form coherent sentences, she stammered, "But...I don't...mean...who..?" The young fellow set the animal down on the doormat between them and then reached out a finger to tap the envelope she was still holding. "There's a letter in there that explains everything, pretty much. The dog was bought last July while her mother was still pregnant. It was meant to be a Christmas gift."
Unbelievably, the stranger was turning to go. Desperation forced the words from her lips. "But who...who bought it? Pausing in the open doorway, he replied, "Your husband, ma'am." And then he was gone. It was all in the letter.
Forgetting the puppy entirely at the sight of the familiar handwriting, Stella had walked like a sleepwalker to her chair by the window. She forced her tear-filled eyes to read her husband's words. He had written it three weeks before his death and had left it with the kennel owners to be delivered along with the puppy as his last Christmas gift to her. It was full of love and encouragement and admonishments to be strong. He vowed that he was waiting for the day when she would join him. And he had sent her this young animal to keep her company until then.
Remembering the little creature for the first time, she was surprised to find him quietly looking up at her, his small panting mouth resembling a comic smile.
Stella put the pages aside and reached for the bundle of golden fur. She had thought that he would be heavier, but he was only the size and weight of a sofa pillow. So soft and warm. She cradled him in her arms and he licked her jawbone, then cuddled into the hollow of her neck. The tears began anew at this exchange of affection and the dog endured her crying without moving.
Finally, Stella lowered him to her lap, where she regarded him solemnly. She wiped vaguely at her wet cheeks, then somehow mustered a smile. "Well, little guy, I guess it's you and me." His pink tongue panted in agreement. Stella's smile strengthened and her gaze shifted sideways to the window. Dusk had fallen. Through fluffy flakes that were now drifting down, she saw the cheery Christmas lights that edged the roof lines of her neighbors' homes. The strains of "Joy to the World" floated in from the kitchen.
Suddenly Stella felt the most amazing sensation of peace and benediction washing over her. It was like being enfolded in a loving embrace. Her heart beat painfully, but it was with joy and wonder, not grief or loneliness. She need never feel alone again. Returning her attention to the dog, she spoke to him. "You know, fella, I have a box in the basement that I think you'd like. There's a tree in it and some decorations and lights that will impress you like crazy! And I think I can find that old stable down there, too. What d'ya say we go hunt it up?"
The puppy barked happily in agreement, as if he understood every word. Stella got up, placed the puppy on the floor and together they went down to the basement, ready to make a Christmas together.
If you know the author of this work, please email me so that I can give them proper credit.
For more years than I care to remember, I've been constantly on the go. Being ready and willing to take off on a moment's notice, traipse through snake-infested rain forests, or even just stay up until three o'clock in the morning to speak with someone halfway around the world are some of the prices I've had to pay to be able to investigate health products and techniques firsthand.
But the payoff-learning about new or unusual products years before the rest of the crowd-is incomparable to the hectic lifestyle. If there's something out there, anywhere, that might help, you or a loved one conquer a debilitating illness, I want you to know about it now, not one or two years down the road. By then it might be too late.
Through Alternatives, you've learned about and had access to some of the world's most powerful therapies-shark cartilage, skin cancer creams (Curaderm and Skin Answer), grapefruit seed extract (Citricidal), elderberry extract (Sambucol), coenzyme Q-10 and dozens of other health solutions years before anyone else. And based on the myriad of research I'm currently working on, I can assure you this trend will continue. The information contained in this issue is a prime example.
I've recently uncovered what could be the most powerful immune system stimulant available today. In order to learn as much as I could about it, I had to track down a research scientist who "commutes" back and forth between Egypt and Japan. Trying to coordinate schedules to speak with him, particularly when I was in Australia this. summer, was somewhat challenging to say the least. As you'll see, though, it was definitely time well spent.
Simply knowing about this gentleman's discovery and how to use it could one day save your life. I'm not exaggerating here-there's really nothing else quite like it. And within a few years, I have a feeling you'll be hearing a lot more about it in the more popular press...provided of course that it doesn't get suppressed by the pharmaceutical giants or some federal agency (and that's a big "if"). This one compound has the potential to change the way conventional medicine has approached health problems for the last 100 years.
As I'm sure you recall from history classes, Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) is credited with giving the world his theory that germs were the cause of disease. For almost 100 years now, conventional medicine has been based on Pasteur's work. Researchers and doctors have operated under the belief that disease is caused by the invasion of germs, whether they be bacteria, viruses, parasites or fungi, and to eliminate disease these invading microbes have to be destroyed. In our continuing quest to eliminate these microbes, our medicines have become increasingly more potent. While this has led to a great deal of success in healing many infections, it has also exposed a number of germ theory's shortcomings. As a result, many researchers are now rethinking the theory's validity. Pharmaceutical Drugs vs. Natural Immune Boosters: Two Schools of Germ Theory.
Over the years, two schools of thought concerning health and healing have emerged. Conventional medicine and its disciples have accepted germ theory in its entirety-that the road to disease is paved with microbes, and to remain healthy these microbes must be eliminated. They believe this can best be accomplished through the use of drugs, particularly antibiotics.
The pharmaceutical industry absolutely loves this first idea. Since there are literally millions of different microbes all around us, it stands to reason that thousands upon thousands of different medicines will be needed to destroy them. This translates into billions of dollars of profits, both from the sale of the drugs and the hundreds of testing procedures required to identify each of the pathogenic microbes involved.
The second school of thought opposes both the idea of using drugs to destroy microbes as well as the basic premise that microbes are the sole cause of disease. We live in an environment teeming with millions if not billions of microbes. These organisms inhabit and thrive in our air, water, soil, and even in our bodies. Thanks to the delicate yet very complex actions of our immune system, we are able not only to survive but actually thrive in this microbe-infested environment. An active, healthy immune system is the one thing that keeps us alive. The Second School Champions the Importance of the Immune System in Health and Healing.
Under normal circumstances, our immune systems are able to destroy harmful microbes while leaving benign varieties alone. Health problems - therefore - occur not simply because we've been exposed to one microbe or another, but because our immune systems are not functioning as well as they should be. This helps explain why not everyone exposed to the cold virus comes down with a cold, or why some people are able to avoid and recover from deadly diseases like cancer while others cannot.
When illness does take hold, followers of the second school of thought believe that emphasis should be placed on boosting the immune system through nutrition and other natural techniques. They recognize the importance of enhancing the body's own innate healing powers through a proper diet and lifestyle. To put it mildly, the pharmaceutical companies haven't been too supportive of this latter idea. There's not as much profit involved in promoting the use of whole, natural foods, herbs and vitamins as there is in selling drugs. As such, for years the pharmaceutical companies and many individuals within the medical profession have been trying to persuade the public that "alternatives" to drugs are a waste of time and money at best and outright quackery at worst. Recent trends and events have begun to prove them wrong. Now, After 100 Years of "Germ Warfare." We Know That Drugs Are Not the Total Solution
Over the past few years, we have been witnessing the backlash of germ therapy in the form of deadly, antibiotic-resistant bacteria. As a result of being "attacked" by stronger and stronger antibiotics, several strains of bacteria have mutated and developed a resistance to all forms of medication currently available. It should come as no surprise, then, that more and more people are dying of cancer each year. The toxic drug and radiation treatments heralded as the solution just aren't working as expected. Similarly, AIDS researchers have determined that bombarding the body with anti-viral medications isn't the answer. With AIDS, there are a number of different viruses at work (HIV, HHV-6B, etc.), and developing a specific medication for each and every one could take decades or longer. To complicate matters even further, viral mutations occur quite rapidly and can quickly make a promising medication useless. And very often the side effects of these drug treatments prove to be far more deadly than the virus itself.
Be it AIDS, cancer or other deadly seemingly incurable diseases, current research is confirming that therapies which hold the greatest promise are the more natural, less toxic ones that work in conjunction with the immune system. A few short years ago, any comment about a substance's ability to "boost the immune system" would have brought howls of laughter and condemnation from the medical community. Nowadays, however, this same concept seems to be all the rage among both traditional and conventional medical practitioners. Slowly but surely, modern medicine is beginning to understand the vital importance of enhancing the body's own disease-fighting capabilities.
MGN-3: Quite Possibly The Most Powerful Immune Booster Known to Man
The work of one particular doctor, Dr. Mamdooh Ghoneum, is undoubtedly going to awaken many in conventional medicine to the enormous benefits of using natural immune-enhancing compounds.
Dr. Ghoneum works with the Department of Immunology at Drew University in Los Angeles. For the last six years he has been working on an amazing product called MGN-3. By reading this issue you are among: the first to ever hear about it. In fact, as far as I know, this is the first time the public has been told about MGN-3. Up until this article, the only published information about it has been buried in technical medical journals. When I first spoke with Dr. Ghoneum, I asked him why. His answer may surprise you, as it did me.
Dr. Ghoneum was educated in Egypt and Japan, and as I mentioned earlier he continues to spend much of his time in those countries. His work with MGN-3 began in Japan, where he is quite well-known. (He just finished his sixth book in Japanese, all of which deal with cancer.) As with most new therapies, his initial research was performed in vitro and later using animal models. Although the results were extremely positive, he refused to publicize the data until he was sure the similar results could be duplicated in humans. In a world where new fads based on just the slightest hint of benefit pop up almost daily, it's refreshing and unusual to meet someone willing to forgo publicity in an effort to perform actual human studies. For this, Dr. Ghoneum is to be highly commended.
Thanks to Dr. Ghoneum. we now have excellent research data to show that MGN-3 is likely the most powerful human immune system booster on the market today. prescription or otherwise. Even more amazing is the fact that it has no known side effects. The implications this substance could have on your personal health are astounding. MGN-3 Combines a Potent Anti viral Extract with the Three Top Cancer Treatments in Japan
MGN-3 is produced by integrating, through hydrolysis, an extract from the outer shell of rice bran with the extracts from three different mushrooms: Shiitake (yielding Lentinan), Kawaratake (yielding Krestin), and Suehirotake (yielding Sizofiran).
On their own, extracts from rice bran exhibit fairly strong anti viral effects. And extracts from each of these three mushrooms have been found to have anti-cancer properties. In fact, in Japan, these three mushroom extracts have become the three leading prescription treatments for cancer. In the years to come, I feel very strongly that mushrooms will become a primary source of natural medicines all over the world. Of the million or so known varieties, only a small handful have been categorized and analyzed. One of the challenges of using mushrooms medicinally is that they seem to work differently with different people. Fortunately, as I'll explain later, the benefits MGN-3 provides the immune system are very consistent and predictable.
Natural Killer Cells
The human immune system is comprised of more than 130 subsets of white blood cells. In order to understand just how powerful an immune stimulator MGN-3 is and how you can use it to help treat a wide variety of serious health problems, you need some background information on one of the most common forms of white blood cells.
Natural Killer (NK) cells make up roughly 15% of all human white blood cells. They provide the first line of defense for-dealing with any form of invasion to the body-sort of like elite military soldiers who are called upon to seek out and destroy dangerous invaders. Each cell contains several small granules which act as "ammunition." Once an NK cell has recognized a cancer cell, for example, it attaches itself to the cell's outer membrane and injects these granules directly into the interior of the cell. The granules then "explode," destroying the cancer cell within five minutes. The undamaged NK cell then moves on to other cancer cells and repeats the process. When the immune system is particularly strong, active NK cells will often take on two cancer cells or other infected cells at the same time. NK Activity, Not Volume, Determines the Strength of the Immune System
Unlike other white blood cells, inadequate numbers of NK cells are very rarely a problem. Instead, it is the activity of the cells that generally determines whether one is sick or healthy. As long as the NK cells are active just as soldiers remain on "active" duty, ready for battle), everything remains under control. If cells lose their ability to either recognize or destroy the invader, however, the situation can deteriorate rapidly. In AIDS and cancer patients, NK cell activity is probably the primary criteria for estimating the chances of survival. It's pretty much accepted that when NK cells cease to function, the end is near.
In addition, research has now confirmed that individuals with low NK cell activity are significantly more susceptible to auto immune diseases, chronic fatigue immune dysfunction (CFIDS, or chronic fatigue syndrome), viral infections, and the development of cancerous tumors. (I haven't been able to verify that the same holds true in humans, but animal research has also shown that females commonly have lower NK cell activity than males.) Doctors can test NK cell activity with a test called the NK cell function test. Basically, a blood sample is taken from the patient and placed in a vial containing live tumor cells. After four hours, a count is taken to determine what percentage of the cancer cells have been destroyed by the NK cells. The higher the percentage, the more active the cells.
(Technically, the test is referred to as the 4 hour 51 Chromium-release assay. I'm certainly not advocating that everyone go out and have it done, but if you have been dealing with one of the conditions listed above, or have had any sort of long-standing infection, it may be a good idea. If your local lab doesn't perform this test, you doctor can order it from Specialty Labs in Santa Monica, California at (800) 421-7110.) How MGN-3 Increases NK Cell Activity
MGN-3's ability to boost NK activity and overall immunity appears to stem from four things.
1. First, as I mentioned earlier, MGN-3 increases the number of explosive granules in NK cells. The more granules a NK cell carries, the more cancer and virus-infected cells it can destroy. 2. MGN-3 increases interferon levels. Interferon is another potent compound produced by the body that both inhibits the replication of viruses and other parasites and increases NK cell activity. 3. MGN-3 increases the formation of Tumor Necroses Factors (TNF's). TNF's are a group of proteins that help destroy cancer cells. 4. I addition to increasing NK activity as much as 300% (or even higher), oral ingestion of MGN-3 can increase the activity of other key immune cells, like T-cells (200%) and B-cells (250%).
Dr. Ghoneum's years of research have proven just how powerful MGN-3 can be at boosting NK cell activity and combating a wide range of diseases. The majority of his work has been with cancer patients.
Unlike most forms of cancer treatment, MGN-3 is totally non-toxic. After years of use and continued toxicity tests, there have never been any indication of toxicity or side effects whatsoever. Undoubtedly, this is because MGN-3's primary function is to enhance the activity of the immune system rather than to attack cancer cells directly. This also helps explain why it seems to work well for all types of cancer. Although huge amounts of data haven't been published yet, MGN-3's effects on human cancer patients have been very promising.
Dr. Ghoneum's latest study involved 24 cancer patients. First, doctors tested NK cell activity in each patient, and then administered the recommended cancer dosage of 3 grams per day of MGN-3. NK cell activity was tested again after 16 hours, one week, one month and two months.
After 16 hours, NK cell activity had increased 1.3 times to 1.5 times. After one week, activity had increased eight fold. Activity continued to increase, and at the end of two months, the NK cells were killing 27 times more cancer cells in the four hour period than they were prior to taking the MGN-3. (int J Immunotherapy 98;XIV (2):89-99) Research shows that NK activity shoots up within two weeks, and continues to rise
Dr. Ghoneum told me that over the years he's run numerous NK cell activity tests on patients with all types of cancers, and 80%-90% of those patients, their NK cells could only kill about 20%-30% of the cancer cells during the first hour of the test. After just two weeks of taking MGN-3 however, the kill percentage jumped to 60%-70% in 99% of the patients.
Dr. Ghoneum presented the results from one of his studies involving five patients with breast cancer at the November 5, 1995 meeting of the American Association for Cancer research. Each patient was treated with the same dosage of 3 grams per day of MGN-3. NK cell activity increased within two weeks and continued to do so as the study progressed. At the end of the 6-8 month study, two of the patients were already in complete remission.
Another study of Dr. Ghoneum's involved 27 cancer patients ranging in age from 42 to 57. The types of cancers involved included breast, cervical, prostate, leukemia, and multiple myeloma. All patients had low NK cell activity at the beginning of the study. After only two weeks, the NK cell activity had increased as follows: breast carcinoma 154-332%, cervical carcinoma 100-275%, prostatic cancer 174-385%, leukemia 100-240%, and multiple myeloma 100-537%. Remember, this was after just two weeks of MGN-3, and NK activity continued to rise throughout the 6 month study. (study reported at the 87th annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer research, April 20, 1996.)
MGN-3 helps cancers that are unaffected by Angiogenesis Inhibitors
MGN-3 fills a gap left by many of the other natural therapies we've covered in the past, in particular the class of therapies known as angiogenesis inhibitors. Angiogenesis inhibitors, as you may recall from previous issues, work by cutting off the blood supply to tumors. Whether they be natural products, like shark cartilage or pharmaceutical ones like endostatin and angiostatin, these angiogenesis inhigitors aren't very effective at treating blood cancers such leukemia, lymphatic cancer or lung cancer. In each case, the explanation for this ineffectiveness is fairly simple.
Because leukemia is a cancer of the blood cells themselves, cutting off the blood supply to these cells is simply impossible. With lymphatic cancer, it's lymphatic fluids, not blood vessels, that supply lymph cells with all of their necessary nutrients, so again, cutting off the blood supply is futile. And because the lungs have such a rich and complex supply of blood vessels, there's really no effective way to restrict blood flow to that area.
None of these factors pose a problem for MGN-3. By increasing the activity of NK cells, which naturally reside and circulate in the blood and lymph systems, MGN-3 can be used effectively for all of these cancers. The NK cells don't have to penetrate deep into massive hard tumors to get to active cancer cells-they simply identify and eliminate the cancer cells the "encounter" in the blood and lymph. MGN-3 has even worked with Multiple Myeloma, one of the deadliest cancers.
In another study involving 11 patients, the percentages f patients experiencing complete remission with MGN-3 were as follows:
1. Prostate Cancer, tow of the three patients or 66%. (note: All of the prostate patients experienced a decline in PSA levels. One reached a normal level after one month on MGN-3, another's was normal after 2 months, and the third patient's dropped from 87.2 to 7 after 4 months.) 2. Ovarian cancer, two of three patients, or 66%. 3. Breast cancer, one of the three patients, or 33%. (The other two had partial remission.) 4. Multiple myeloma, one of the two patients, or 50% (Int J Immunotherapy 95;XI (I):23-28)
While all of these results are impressive to say the least, the case of the multiple myeloma patient in the above study is particularly remarkable. Multiple myeloma is a very rare and fatal cancer. It makes up only about one percent of all cancers, and among oncology circles it is considered practically incurable. Without treatment, a patient almost always lives less than a year. With Chemotherapy, some have been known to live two years.
The multiple myeloma patient who experienced complete remission was a 58 year old male who was diagnosed in October 1990. He first underwent several months of chemotherapy following the diagnosis. Although everything seemed to have stabilized, his laboratory work still showed specific blood markers for multiple myeloma eight months after the chemotherapy. He then began taking the MGN-3, and in less than 6 months follow up lab work revealed no indication of cancer. Today, almost 8 years after his initial diagnosis, he continues to take MGN-3 and shows no signs of cancer. Dr. Ghoneum told me that this is the first patient who has been known to survive multiple myeloma. MGN-3 lessens the toxicity and improves the effectiveness of conventional cancer therapies Above and beyond its own cancer fighting abilities, MGN-3 lessens the toxic side effects of conventional cancer treatment. Both chemotherapy and radiation destroy many of the body's white blood cells in the process of trying to destroy the cancer. Taking MGN-3 concurrently with these treatments can help prevent this effect. Many chemotherapy patients taking MGN-3 have also reported experiencing less difficulty in swallowing and less burning of the tongue. In addition, MGN-3 has been used effectively with interlukin-2, the only prescription item that seems to come close to matching immune-boosting power. (Although there are other natural products that have immune-boosting capabilities, none have been proven in human studies to be more powerful than MGN-3.)
Interleukin is a protein that is normally produced in the body. Much like MGN-3, it also activates certain white blood cello. To potentiate the effects of this protein, scientists isolated and synthesized it into a chemical called interleukin-2 (IL-2). This extract is then injected into patients to help stimulate their immune systems.
Although IL-2 is gaining popularity as a cancer treatment, it can trigger extremely severe and life-threatening side effects. At the therapeutic doses used for cancer, interleukin-2 causes leaks in the small capillaries. These leaks result in a loss of blood pressure, weight gain, fluid retention, difficulty breathing, and heart problems. Continued use can cause kidney failure, respiratory arrest and death. In this way, it represents yet another cancer treatment that often kills the patient before it kills the cancer. Expense is also a factor. A single inter-leukin-2 treatment can cost as much as $100,000.
Dr. Ghoneum's research has revealed that when MGN-3 is used along with interleukin-2, the dosages of interleukin-2 can be reduced to extremely low levels. Levels which are low enough to avoid the severe side effects. When used together, these two products have a synergistic effect that dramatically exceeds that of either used individually. Once this knowledge becomes public (beyond this article, I mean), I hope more oncologists will be doing work in this area. I will personally be keeping a close eye on any additional research that develops and, as always, keep you informed in the months to come. Pre-Cancerous Cells (Cervical Dysplasia)
Another of Dr. Ghoneum's studies involved seven female patients whose pap smears indicated the presence of abnormal cells. This is not an uncommon finding, and while these cells are not cancerous, they are often referred to as pre-cancerous because of their propensity to develop into cervical cancer.
The severity of cervical dysplasia, as the problem is termed medically, is classified in four stages depending on the degree of abnormality in the cells. Stage I is generally a "wait-and-watch" situation, stages II and III are considered surgical cases, and stage IV is considered cancer.
In the above study, Dr. Ghoneum found that using MGN-3 in stage II and stage III patients completely resolved the problem. After six months of MGN-3 use, with no other form of treatment, all follow-up exams and tests were normal. Some of the women have continued on maintenance doses of MGN-3 at 1 gram per day. Others have discontinued its use. Today, two to three years after the study, none of the women has experienced recurrence, including women who discontinued the product after only six months.
(Over a decade ago, in Vol.l, No. 21, I wrote about how high doses of folic acid [10 milligrams a day] could also be used for cervical dysplasia. I would certainly recommend following the guidelines I outlined in that issue, in addition to those I will outline for MGN-3, when treating such problems.) HIV
Over the years, Dr. Ghoneum has worked with several HIV-infected patients. During the normal progression of this disease, NK cell activity begins to drop along with other immune cells called CD4s and CD8s. CD4 levels routinely decrease at a rate of about 15% a year. In patients taking MGN-3, however, Dr. Ghoneum says the CD4 levels can be maintained in almost every case, and oftentimes they will even begin to increase.
Work with AIDS patients has been limited, although all of the patients who have taken MGN-3 reported a noticeable difference in their well-being and all have continued to use the product. Most felt MGN-3 was instrumental in helping them stabilize their disease.
Although laboratory work has confirmed that MGN-3 inhibits the replication of HIV, it is definitely not the total answer to the problem. Over the years, I have reported on a number of therapies that seem to ameliorate the effects of the virus, but it remains clear that more research needs to be done in this area. (Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 98i243:25-29)
Although he has not yet published the results, Dr. Ghoneum recently shared with me his extraordinary results using MGN-3 to treat viral hepatitis, varieties B and C.
Within one week to a month of taking the product, all of the patients had experienced a significant decrease in their symptoms. Laboratory tests for enzyme levels have shown that liver function begins to improve within two weeks. And after four to five months, everything shows up as normal. Dr. Ghoneum has been following one particular hepatitis patient for almost two years now, and the patient has not experienced any relapse nor any further problems. The patient continues to take the daily maintenance dosage of the MGN-3 (1 gram per day).
Additional Therapeutic and Preventive Applications for MGN-3
Dr. Ghoneum has performed an amazing amount of valuable research in just the last six or seven years. When I last spoke with him, he expressed eagerness to investigate MGN-3's therapeutic potential with many other conditions, but in light of his limited time and research funding, he's had to concentrate his efforts on life-saving areas like cancer and AIDS. Based on what he has already uncovered, however, it is clear that his product holds great promise for many other conditions.
Earlier in this article, I cited chronic fatigue syndrome as one of those conditions. Additionally, MGN-3 could prove to be a lifesaver when it comes to any chronic or severe bacterial, viral or fungal infection. Dr. Ghoneum has defined what he calls "high risk' categories, and he believes that individuals in these categories could also benefit from MGN-3 mainly as a form of disease prevention.
Included in these would be: -Heavy smokers (those smoking two packs or more per day) -Heavy drinkers -Individuals who constantly work with paint (artists, house painters, etc.) -Individuals born with immune deficiencies -Families with a strong history of cancer -Chemical and refinery workers
The dosages Dr. Ghoneum has used in his studies are scientifically based on repeated NK cell activity tests. As such, they are very consistent and easy to follow. They fall into two categories:
1. For cancer, HIV, or other life-threatening condition, 3 grams per day for two weeks, then 1 gram per day until the problem is resolved. Some of the people Dr. Ghoneum has worked with continue to take the maintenance dosage even after the problem has been resolved, while others stop taking it and resume if the problem returns. 2. As a form of prevention, 1 gram per day.
Just to reiterate, MGN-3 is completely non-toxic and there's no danger whatsoever in taking it long-term. Many people stay on it for life.
In all of his studies, Dr. Ghoneum found that taking 3 grams a day resulted in a dramatic increase in NK cell activity within one to two weeks. At the lower dosage of only 1 gram per day, the same activity wasn't reached until about four weeks. This explains the initial heavy doses of 3 grams per day. Even after the dosage is dropped back to 1gram per day, NK cell activity will continue to increase.
It is best to take the MGN-3 capsules with meals in divided doses. For example, when taking 3 grams a day (which works out to 12 capsules), 4 capsules can be taken with each meal. When you (drop down to 1 gram a day (four capsules), you can take two capsules at breakfast and two at dinner. Product Availability
MGN-3 is a patented product manufactured by the Daiwa Pharmaceutical Company in Tokyo, Japan. Currently there is a limited production of the product and availability is somewhat limited.
The product is available in the United States from CompassioNet, P.O. Box 710, Saddle River, New Jersey 07458 at 800-510-2010 (fax 201-236-0090). Individuals ordering from outside the United States may need to call the toll number, which is 201-236-3900.
The price of the product is on the expensive side compared to other supplements, but certainly not compared to prescription medications or treatments. A 50 capsule bottle (250 milligrams per capsule) costs $59.95. I asked the U.S. distributor to give Alternatives subscribers a break. If you mention the newsletter, they will give you a 15% discount. (Just for the record, I don't receive any money or kickbacks on the sale of the product.)
MGN-3's Role in the Treatment of Cancer
Based on his research and experience, I asked Dr. Ghoneum for his opinions on the treatment of cancer and what he would do if he were diagnosed with the disease. (I would like to acknowledge up front that Dr. Ghoneum shared the following terrorist analogy with me before the U.S. military taking action against terrorists in the Middle East. While I considered removing this section for "political" reasons, the fact remains that the analogy works, and I want you to read it just as Dr. Ghoneum explained it to me.)
Depending on the type and location of the cancer, Dr. Ghoneum believes that surgery or a few cycles of chemotherapy or radiation therapy would be justified. He compared treating cancer to trying to wipe out a city of terrorists. By bombing the city, you would likely take care of the majority of the terrorists-, accepting the fact that some non-terrorists would also be killed. Chemotherapy, radiation or surgical removal of the tumor are the cancer- equivalents of the bombing, and the beneficial white blood cells in the area are the non-terrorist victims.
Even after the bombing, however, there would always be some terrorists who could survive. The same holds true for cancer cells that were resistant to or able to survive the therapy. But rather than bomb the city again, which would only result in total destruction, special forces should be sent in to locate and eliminate the remaining terrorists one by one. This is where MGN-3 comes in. Dr. Ghoneum feels that after surgery or a minimal number of chemo or radiation treatments, MGN-3 should be used exclusively to activate the immune system and let it do its work. (He also clarified that he would begin using the MGN-3 at the very first sign of any type of cancer, not just after conventional treatments had been completed.)
Dr. Ghoneum had some strong opinions regarding the use of any drugs or nutritional products during the treatment period. For all of the people he's worked with, he recommended that only necessary prescription drugs be continued (such as those for diabetes, high blood pressure, thyroid, etc.). In addition, because his research did not examine the combined effects of nutritional supplements and MGN-3, he recommended that patients concentrate on getting vitamins and minerals solely from natural foods and juices (organic carrots and other freshly made fruit and vegetable juices).
Through his work with the immune system, Dr. Ghoneum has also found that poor sleeping habits and unresolved stress have a major negative impact on the activity of NK cells. He felt very strongly that both of these problems must be addressed if one expects to strengthen the immune system. (It was just last month that we revisited the importance of proper sleep in this newsletter. If you haven't taken the seven steps that I outlined, you may want to make that tonight's bedside reading.) This Is One of the Most Important Discoveries I've Shared with You in Our 13 Years Together
In many of these regards, I agree with Dr. Ghoneum. If diagnosed with cancer, I too would begin a diet largely comprised of fresh juices and would make extra efforts to reduce the amount of stress in my life. I would also begin taking MGN-3 immediately.
However, I cannot say that I endorse the use of chemotherapy and radiation. I have met people who have been helped by it, and I have watched others waste away because of it. Nor can I say that I would cease taking nutritional supplements. It is more likely that I would increase my intake of particular nutrients and, depending on the type of cancer, begin taking cancer-specific supplements like shark cartilage. The past 13 years of this newsletter are packed with research on the cancer- fighting potential of dozens of different natural substances, and I cannot imagine turning my back on such conclusive evidence.
In all of my years writing Alternatives. this issue stands out in my mind as one of the most significant. The discovery of MGN-3 comes at a time when we need it most. Our health is under assault from practically every angle these days, and we now know that our best defense is to boost the inner workings of the immune system. MGN-3 gives us a safe and effective way of doing just that. It is the most powerful immune stimulant man has uncovered thus far. and it may be our best hope in conquering the world's deadliest diseases.
If MGN-3 were a drug, it would be front-page news. It would be the top story on every newscast in the country. Doctors would now be prescribing it as an adjunctive therapy for most major diseases, and pharmaceutical companies would be making billions off of it. But MGN-3 isn't a drug, and it probably won't make the news, and it could even threaten their multi-billion dollar profits of the U.S. drug industry. It may even get jerked off the market.
That's why you're learning about it here in Alternatives. It's the discovery of substances like MGN-3 that keeps me doing what I do. And it's the promise of even greater solutions that inspires me to continue to dedicate my life, my savings, and my heart to this exploration for many years to come.
Author - Dr. David Williams
A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on each end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master's house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.
For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water to his master's house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do. After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream.
"I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you."
"Why?" asked the bearer. "What are you ashamed of?"
"I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master's house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don't get full value from your efforts," the pot said.
The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, "As we return to the master's house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path."
Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some. But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again it apologized to the bearer for its failure.
The bearer said to the pot, "Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pot's side?
That's because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you've watered them.
For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master's table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house."
Each of us has our own unique flaws. We're all cracked pots. But if we will allow it, the Lord will use our flaws to grace His Father's table.
In God's great economy, nothing goes to waste.
So as we seek ways to minister together, and as God calls you to the tasks He has appointed for you, don't be afraid of your flaws.
Acknowledge them, and allow Him to take advantage of them, and you, too, can be the cause of beauty in His pathway.
Go out boldly, knowing that in our weakness we find His strength.
If you know the author of this work, please email me so that I can give them proper credit.
~ 1 ~ Most Important Question
During my second month of nursing school, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions, until I read the last one: "What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?"
Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank.
Before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade. "Absolutely," said the professor. "In your careers you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say 'hello'." I've never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.
~ 2 ~ Pickup in the Rain
One night, at 11:30 PM, an older African American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rain storm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride. Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car. A young white man stopped to help her - generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960s. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxicab. She seemed to be in a big hurry! She wrote down his address, thanked him and drove away.
Seven days went by and a knock came on the man's door. To his surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered to his home. A special note was attached. It read: Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes but my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband's bedside just before he passed away. God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others. Sincerely, Mrs. Nat King Cole
~ 3 ~ Always remember those who serve
In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10 year old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him.
"How much is an ice cream sundae?"
"Fifty cents," replied the waitress.
The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied a number of coins in it.
"How much is a dish of plain ice cream?" he inquired.
Some people were now waiting for a table and the waitress was a bit impatient.
"Thirty-five cents," she said brusquely.
The little boy again counted the coins. "I'll have the plain ice cream," he said. The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and departed.
When the waitress came back, she began wiping down the table and then swallowed hard at what she saw. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies - her tip.
~ 4 ~ The Obstacle in Our Path
In ancient times, a king had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king's wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the king for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the big stone out of the way. Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. On approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. As the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the king indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many others never understand.
Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve one's condition.
~ 5 ~ Giving Blood
Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at Stanford Hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare and serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, "Yes, I'll do it if it will save Liz."
As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the color returning to her cheeks. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded. He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, "Will I start to die right away?" Being young, the boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood.
Attitude, after all, is everything. You have 2 choices now
Hope you will choose No. 2.
If you know the author of this work, please email me so that I can give them proper credit.
Shannon could hear the footsteps behind her as she walked toward home. The thought of being followed made her heart beat faster. "You're being silly," she told herself, "no one is following you."
To be safe, she began to walk faster, but the footsteps kept up with her pace. She was afraid to look back and she was glad she was almost home. Shannon said a quick prayer, "God please get me home safe." She saw the porch light burning and ran the rest of the way to her house.
Once inside, she leaned against the door for a moment, relieved to be in the safety of her home. She glanced out the window to see if anyone was there. The sidewalk was empty.
After tossing her books on the sofa, she decided to grab a snack and get on-line. She logged on under her screen name ByAngel213. She checked her Buddy List and saw GoTo123 was on. She sent him an instant message:
ByAngel213: Hi I'm glad you are on! I thought someone was following me home today. It was really weird!
GoTo123: LOL You watch too much TV. Why would someone be following you? Don't you live in a safe neighborhood?
ByAngel213: Of course I do. LOL I guess it was my imagination cuz' I didn't see anybody when I looked out.
GoTo123: Unless you gave your name out on-line. You haven't done that have you?
ByAngel213: Of course not. I'm not stupid you know.
GoTo123: Did you have a softball game after school today?
ByAngel213: Yes and we won!!
GoTo123: That's great! Who did you play?
ByAngel213: We played the Hornets. LOL. Their uniforms are so gross! They look like bees. LOL
GoTo123: What is your team called?
ByAngel213: We are the Canton Cats. We have tiger paws on our uniforms. They are really cool.
GoTo123: Did you pitch?
ByAngel213: No I play second base. I got to go. My homework has to be done before my parents get home. I don't want them mad at me. Bye!
GoTo123: Catch you later. Bye
GoTo123 went to the member menu and began to search for her profile. When it came up, he highlighted it and printed it out. He took out a pen and began to write down what he knew about Angel so far.
Her name: Shannon Birthday: Jan. 3, 1985 Age:13 State where she lived: North Carolina Hobbies: softball, chorus, skating and going to the mall.
Besides this information, he knew she lived in Canton because she had just told him. He knew she stayed by herself until 6:30 p.m. every afternoon until her parents came home from work. He knew she played softball on Thursday afternoons on the school team, and the team was named the Canton Cats. Her favorite number 7 was printed on her jersey. He knew she was in the seventh grade at the Canton Junior High School. She had told him all this in the conversations they had on-line. He had enough information to find her now.
Shannon didn't tell her parents about the incident on the way home from the ball park that day. She didn't want them to make a scene and stop her from walking home from the softball games. Parents were always overreacting and hers were the worst. It made her wish she was not an only child. Maybe if she had brothers and sisters, her parents wouldn't be so overprotective.
By Thursday, Shannon had forgotten about the footsteps following her. Her game was in full swing when suddenly she felt someone staring at her.
It was then that the memory came back. She glanced up from her second base position to see a man watching her closely. He was leaning against the fence behind first base and he smiled when she looked at him. He didn't look scary and she quickly dismissed the fear she had felt.
After the game, he sat on a bleacher while she talked to the coach. She noticed his smile once again as she walked past him. He nodded and she smiled back. He noticed her name on the back of her shirt. He knew he had found her. Quietly, he walked a safe distance behind her. It was only a few blocks to Shannon's home, and once he saw where she lived he quickly returned to the park to get his car. Now he had to wait. He decided to get a bite to eat until the time came to go to Shannon's house. He drove to a fast food restaurant and sat there until time to make his move.
Shannon was in her room later that evening when she heard voices in the living room. "Shannon, come here," her father called. He sounded upset and she couldn't imagine why. She went into the room to see the man from the ballpark sitting on the sofa. "Sit down," her father began, "this man has just told us a most interesting story about you." Shannon moved cautiously to a chair across from the man. How could he tell her parents anything? She had never seen him before today!
"Do you know who I am Shannon?" The man asked. "No," Shannon answered.
"I am a police officer and your online friend, GoTo123."
Shannon was stunned. "That's impossible! GoTo is a kid my age! He's 14 and he lives in Michigan!"
The man smiled. "I know I told you all that, but it wasn't true. You see Shannon there are people on-line who pretend to be kids; I was one of them. But while others do it to find kids and hurt them, I belong to a group of parents who do it to protect kids from predators. I came here to find you to teach you how dangerous it is to give out too much information to people on-line. You told me enough about yourself to make it easy for me to find you. Your name, the school you went to, the name of your ball team and the position you played. The number and name on your jersey just made finding you a breeze."
Shannon was stunned. "You mean you don't live in Michigan?" He laughed. "No, I live in Raleigh. It made you feel safe to think I was so far away, didn't it?" She nodded.
"I had a friend whose daughter was like you. Only she wasn't as lucky. The guy found her and murdered her while she was home alone. Kids are taught not to tell anyone when they are alone, yet they do it all the time on-line.
The wrong people trick you into giving out information a little here and there on-line.
Before you know it, you have told them enough for them to find you without even realizing you have done it. I hope you've learned a lesson from this and won't do it again."
"I won't," Shannon promised solemnly. "Will you tell others about this so they will be safe too?" "It's a promise!"
This tantra totem has been sent to you for good luck. It has been sent around the world ten times so far. You will receive good luck within four days of relaying this tantra totem. Send copies to people you think need good luck. Don't send money as fate has no price. Do not keep this message. This tantra totem must leave your hands in 96 hours. You will get a very pleasant surprise. This is true, even if you are not superstitious.
Instructions for Life:
There was grandfather, his little grandson often came in the evenings to sit at his knee and ask the many questions that children ask. One day the grandson came to his grandfather with a look of anger on his face. Grandfather said, "Come, sit, tell me what has happened today."
The child sat and leaned his chin on his Grandfather's knee. Looking up into the wrinkled, nut brown face and the kind dark eyes; the child's anger turned to quite tears. The boy said, "I went to the town today, with my father, to trade the furs he has collected over the past several months. I was happy to go, because father said that since I had helped him with the trapping, I could get something for me. Something that I wanted. I was so excited to be in the trading post, I have not been there before. I looked at many things and finally found a metal knife! It was small, but good size for me, so father got it for me."
Here the boy laid his head against his grandfather's knee and became silent. The Grandfather, softly placed his hand on the boys raven hair and said, "and then what happened?". Without lifting his head, the boy said, "I went outside to wait for father, and to admire my new knife in the sunlight. Some town boys came by and saw me, they got all around me and starting saying bad things. They called me dirty and stupid and said that I should not have such a fine knife. The largest of these boys, pushed me back and I fell over one of the other boys. I dropped my knife and one of them snatched it up and they all ran away, laughing."
Here the boy's anger returned, "I hate them, I hate them all!" The Grandfather, with eyes that have seen too much, lifted his grandson's face so his eyes looked into the boys. Grandfather said, "let me tell you a story.
I too, at times, have felt a great hate for those that have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do. But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking posion and wishing your enemy would die. I have struggled with these feelings many times. It is as if there are two wolves inside me, one is white and one is black.
The White Wolf is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him and does not take offense when no offense was intended. But will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way.
But, the Black Wolf, is full of anger. The littlest thing will set him into a fit of temper. He fights everyone, all the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great. It is helpless anger, for his anger will change nothing.
Sometimes it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit."
The boy, looked intently into his Grandfather's eyes, and asked "which one wins Grandfather?"
The Grandfather, smiled and said, "The one I feed."
Written by: email@example.com
A young man had been to Wednesday night Bible Study. The pastor had shared about listening to God and obeying the Lord's voice. The young man couldn't help but wonder, "Does God still speak to people?"
After service he went out with some friends for coffee and pie, and they discussed the message. Several different ones talked about how God had led them in different ways. It was about ten o'clock when the young man started driving home. Sitting in his car, he just began to pray, "God ! If you still speak to people, speak to me. I will listen. I will do my best to obey."
As he drove down the main street of his town, he had the strangest thought, "stop and buy a gallon of milk". He shook his head and said out loud, "God is that you?" He didn't get a reply, and kept on toward home.
But again, the thought, "buy a gallon of milk" came up. The young man thought about Samuel and how he didn't recognize the voice of God, and how Samuel ran to Eli. "Okay, God, in case that is you, I will buy the milk." It didn't seem like too hard a test of obedience. He could always use the milk. He stopped and purchased the gallon of milk and started off toward home.
As he passed Seventh Street, he again felt the urge, "Turn down along that street." "This is crazy", he thought and drove on past the intersection. Again, he felt that he should turn down along seventh street. At the next intersection, he turned back, and headed down along Seventh Street.
Half jokingly, he said out loud, "Okay, God, I will". He drove several blocks, when suddenly he felt like he should stop. He pulled over to the curb and looked around. He was in a semi-commercial area of town. It wasn't the best but it wasn't the worst of neighborhoods either. The businesses were closed and most of the houses looked dark as if the people were already in bed except one house across the street which is lighted.
Again, he sensed something, "Go and give the milk to the people in the house across the street." The young man looked at the house. He started to open the door and then sat back in the car seat. "Lord, this is insane. How can I go to a strange house in the middle of night?" Again, he felt as if he should go and give the milk. Finally, he opened the door, "Okay God, if this is you, I will go to the door and I will give them the milk. If you want me to look like a crazy person, okay. I want to be obedient. I guess that will count for something but if they don't answer right away, I am out of here."
He walked across the street and rang the bell. He could hear some noise inside sounding like a baby crying. A man's voice yelled out, "Who is it? What do you want?" Then the door opened before the young man could get away. The man was standing there in his jeans and T-shirt. He had a strange look on his face and he didn't seem too happy to have some stranger standing on his doorstep. "What is it?" The young man thrust out the gallon of milk, "Here, I brought this to you." The man took the milk and rushed down a hallway speaking loudly in Spanish. Then from down the hallway came a woman carrying the milk toward the kitchen. The man was following her holding a baby crying. The man had tears streaming down his face. The man began speaking half crying, "We were just praying. We had some big bills this month and we ran out of money. We didn't have any milk for our baby. I was just praying and asking God to show me how to get some milk." His wife in the kitchen yelled out, "I ask God to send an Angel with some ... Are you an Angel?" The young man reached into his wallet and pulled out all the money he had on him to put it in the man's hand. He turned and walked back toward his car and the tears were streaming down his face.
He experienced that God still answers prayers.
To realize the value of ONE YEAR, ask a student who failed a grade.
To realize the value of ONE MONTH, ask a mother who gave birth to a premature baby.
To realize the value of ONE WEEK, ask the editor of a weekly newspaper.
To realize the value of ONE HOUR, ask the lovers who are waiting to meet.
To realize the value of ONE MINUTE, ask a person who missed the train.
To realize the value of ONE SECOND, ask a person who just avoided an accident.
To realize the value of ONE MILLISECOND, ask the person who won a silver medal in the Olympics.
Treasure every moment that you have!
Yesterday is history.
Tomorrow is mystery.
Today is a gift.
That's why its called the present!
BELIEVING MAKES MIRACLES HAPPEN
I'm inspired when I walk down the street and still see people trying. A lot of them look as if they're on their last leg, but they're still getting up somehow. ~Faith Ringgold
How dare we give up, break down, and roll over when so many who have it worse hang in there? Yes, we do become discouraged, and no one can compare his tragedy or his secrets to ours. Perhaps our threshold for pain is lower than our neighbor's--what do we do?
We must always look for inspiration. Reading about others' travails and how they vanquished prejudice, poverty, ill health, and every kind of disability can restore our faith in the human spirit--particularly our own!
It's natural for our spiritual batteries to run low at times--no disgrace in that. But it's up to us to recharge them so that our will to fight, to persevere and win is strengthened.
On this day, I will think about a relative or some other person whose work and/or life inspires me.
I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend. He referred to the dates on her tombstone from the beginning...to the end. He noted that first came her date of birth And spoke the following date with tears, But he said what mattered most of all Was the dash between those years. (l900-l970)
For that dash represents all the time That she spent alive on earth... And now only those who loved her Know what that little line is worth. For it matters not, how much we own; The cars...the house...the cash, What matters is how we live and love And how we spend our dash.
So think about this long and hard... Are there things you'd like to change? For you never know how much time is left, That can still be rearranged. If we could just slow down enough To consider what's true and real, And always try to understand The way other people feel.
And be less quick to anger, And show appreciation more And love the people in our lives Like we've never loved before. If we treat each other with respect, And more often wear a smile... Remembering that this special dash Might only last a little while.
So, when your eulogy's being read With your life's actions to rehash... Would you be proud of the things they say About how you spent your dash?
by Linda Ellis
--In memory of Erma Bombeck who lost her fight with cancer.
by Erma Bombeck
Time is running out for my friend. We are sitting at lunch when she casually mentions that she and her husband are thinking of "starting a family". What she means is that her biological clock is ticking and has begun its final countdown. "We're taking a survey," she says, half joking. "Do you think I should have a baby?"
"It will change your life," I say carefully, keeping my tone neutral. "I know," she says, "no more sleeping in on the weekend, no more spontaneous vacations..." But that is not what I meant at all. I look at my friend, trying to decide what to tell her. I want her to know what she will never learn in childbirth classes. I want to tell her that the physical wounds of childbearing heal, but that becoming a mother will leave her with an emotional wound so raw that she will be forever vulnerable.
I consider warning her that she will never read a newspaper again without asking "What if that had been MY child?" That every plane crash, every fire will haunt her. That when she sees pictures of starving children, she will wonder if anything could be worse than watching your child die.
I look at her carefully manicured nails and stylish suit and think that no matter how sophisticated she is, becoming a mother will reduce her to the primitive level of a bear protecting her cub. That an urgent call of "Mom!" will cause her to drop a souffle or her best crystal without a moment's hesitation.
I feel I should warn her that no matter how many years she has invested in her career, she will be professionally derailed by motherhood. She might arrange for child care, but one day she will be going into an important business meeting and she will think about her baby's sweet smell and will have to use every ounce of her discipline to keep from running home, just to make sure her baby is all right.
I want my friend to know that everyday decisions will no longer be routine. That a five year old boy's desire to go to the men's room rather than the women's at McDonalds will become a major dilemma. That right there, in the midst of clattering trays and screaming children, issues of independence and gender identity will be weighed against the prospect that a child molester may be lurking in that restroom.
However decisive she may be at the office, she will second-guess herself constantly as a mother. Looking at my attractive friend, I want to assure her that eventually she will shed the pounds of pregnancy, but she will never feel the same about herself. That her life, now so important, will be of less value to her once she has a child. That she would give it up in a moment to save her offspring, but will also begin to hope for more years - not to accomplish her own dreams, but to watch her child accomplish theirs.
I want her to know that a cesarean scar or shiny stretch marks will become badges of honor. My friend's relationship with her husband will change, but not in the ways she thinks. I wish she could understand how much more you can love a man who is always careful to powder the baby or never hesitates to play with his child.
I think she should know that she will fall in love with him again for reasons she might now find very unromantic. I wish my friend could sense the bond she'll feel with women throughout history who have tried desperately to stop war and prejudice and drunk driving.
I want to describe to my friend the exhilaration of seeing your child learn to ride a bike. I want to capture for her the belly laugh of a baby who is touching the soft fur of a dog or cat for the first time. I want her to taste the joy that is so real, it actually hurts.
My friend's quizzical look makes me realize that tears have formed in my eyes. "You'll never regret it," I say finally. Then I reach across the table, squeeze my friend's hand, and offer a silent prayer for her, and for me, and for all of the mere mortal women who stumble their way into this most wonderful of callings, this blessed gift of God. Only a parent knows this kind of love for a child. How much more is God's love for us!
A young man was getting ready to graduate from college. For many months he had admired a beautiful sports car in a dealer's showroom, and knowing his father could well afford it, he told him that was all he wanted.
As Graduation Day approached, the young man awaited signs that his father had purchased the car. Finally, on the morning of his graduation, his father called him into his private study. His father told him how proud he was to have such a fine son, and told him how much he loved him. He handed his son a beautiful wrapped gift box. Curious, but somewhat disappointed, the young man opened the box and found a lovely, leather-bound Bible, with the young man's name embossed in gold.
Angrily, he raised his voice to his father and said, "With all your money you give me a Bible? and stormed out of the house, leaving the Bible.
Many years passed and the young man was very successful in business. He had a beautiful home and wonderful family, but realized his father was very old, and thought perhaps he should go to him. He had not seen him since that graduation day.
Before he could make arrangements, he received a telegram telling him his father had passed away, and willed all of his possessions to his son. He needed to come home immediately and take care of things.
When he arrived at his father's house, sudden sadness and regret filled his heart. He began to search through his father's important papers and saw the still new Bible, just as he had left it years ago. With tears, he opened the Bible and began to turn the pages. His father had carefully underlined a verse, Matt 7:11, "And if ye, being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Heavenly Father which is heaven, give to those who ask Him?"
As he read those words, a car key dropped from the back of the Bible. It had a tag with the dealer's name, the same dealer who had the sports car he had desired. On the tag was the date of his graduation, and the words...PAID IN FULL. How many times do we miss God's blessings because they are not packaged as we expected?
1. In kindergarten your idea of a good friend was the person who let you have the red crayon when all that was left was the ugly black one.
2. In first grade your idea of a good friend was the person who went to the bathroom with you and held your hand as you walked through the scary halls.
3. In second grade your idea of a good friend was the person who helped you stand up to the class bully.
4. In third grade your idea of a good friend was the person who shared their lunch with you when you forgot yours on the bus.
5. In fourth grade your idea of a good friend was the person who was willing to switch square dancing partners in gym so you wouldn't have to be stuck do-si-do-ing with Nasty Nicky or Smelly Susan.
6. In fifth grade your idea of a friend was the person who saved a seat on the back of the bus for you.
7. In sixth grade your idea of a friend was the person who went up to Nick or Susan, your new crush, and asked them to dance with you, so that if they said no you wouldn't have to be embarrassed.
8. In seventh grade your idea of a friend was the person who let you copy the social studies homework from the night before that you had.
9. In eighth grade your idea of a good friend was the person who helped you pack up your stuffed animals and old baseball cards so that your room would be a "high schooler's" room, but didn't laugh at you when you finished and broke out into tears.
10. In ninth grade your idea of a good friend was the person who went to that "cool" party thrown by a senior so you wouldn't wind up being the only freshman there.
11. In tenth grade your idea of a good friend was the person who changed their schedule so you would have someone to sit with at lunch.
12. In eleventh grade your idea of a good friend was the person who gave you rides in their new car, convinced your parents that you shouldn't be grounded, consoled you when you broke up with Nick or Susan, and found you a date to the prom.
13. In twelfth grade your idea of a good friend was the person who helped you pick out a college, assured you that you would get into that college, helped you deal with your parents who were having a hard time adjusting to the idea of letting you go...
14. At graduation your idea of a good friend was the person who was crying on the inside but managed the biggest smile one could give as they congratulated you.
15. The summer after twelfth grade your idea of a good friend was the person who helped you clean up the bottles from that party, helped you sneak out of the house when you just couldn't deal with your parents, assured you that now that you and Nick or you and Susan were back together, you could make it through anything, helped you pack up for college and just silently hugged you as you looked through blurry eyes at 18 years of memories you were leaving behind, and finally on those last days of childhood, went out of their way to give you reassurance that you would make it in college as well as you had these past 18 years, and most importantly sent you off to college knowing you were loved.
16. Now, your idea of a good friend is still the person who gives you the better of the two choices, hold your hand when you're scared, helps you fight off those who try to take advantage of you, thinks of you at times when you are not there, reminds you of what you have forgotten, helps you put the past behind you but understands when you need to hold on to it a little longer, stays with you so that you have confidence, goes out of their way to make time for you, helps you clear up your mistakes, helps you deal with pressure from others, smiles for you when they are sad, helps you become a better person, and most importantly loves you!
I had not seen or heard from Linda in about ten years. When she called, I only vaguely remembered her. She told me that the Linda I had briefly met ten years ago was dead.
She had died in a devasting divorce where she had lost the custody of her two children because she had been too exhausted to keep up the fight.
She had died during each of her three psychiatric hospitalizations and with the diagnosis of panic disorder and with the subsequent medications.
She had died in the psychiatrist office and in the line waiting to apply for social services.
The Linda I had known was vibrant, excited about life. She had come into counseling for a brief time simply to talk about her fast- tracked career and some difficulties with her management team. What had happened to this vibrant woman during these ten years?
When I finally saw her again, I was shocked. This previously fast-tracked, put together woman was a bag of bones. She was about 20 pounds underweight, looked about 20 years older. Her shoulders were stooped, hair unkept, her speech slurred, her frail hands shaking and lips trembling. She told me how exhausting it was just to get into the car and come to the appointment. How exhausting it was to just get up in the morning and brush her teeth. How exhausted I would be if I were inside her head which felt like a cotton ball.
She said she lived in a fog. Her friend gave me a list of the medications she was taking .... all prescribed by a psychiatrist after her first break-down. She had not seen that psychiatrist in years but her current doctor was following his orders and these were the medications that are typically prescribed for people who are diagnosed with panic disorder.
When I asked her when this all began she tried to tell me about her divorce, but was unable to get through the details. She was just too tired. So I began through the weeks to piece the story together through the court records, attorney, friends, family, and hospitalization records.
As it turns out, Linda had been married to a man who was an outstanding citizen by day, and an abusive rager at night. Her response to all of this was to hide the abuse, and eventually, she began to have panic attacks. During our second visit, after weeks of gathering information, I was inwardly prompted to ask Linda to look into my eyes. As we looked, deeply, she began to inwardly travel. I whispered ... do you remember who Linda is?
Somehow, she by-passed the exhaustive effects of the medication, and she began to breathe deeply. She squeezed my hands as if she was holding on to the railing on a fast moving train. She began to sweat and tears ran down her face. I whispered, who are you? Over and over and over again. Who are you? She finally said .... "I am a child of God. I am a mother. I am Linda and want my life back. I want to be well."
At that point, I was inwardly guided to offer a radical shift from the path that she had been taking. She and her family agreed, and Linda was once again admitted into a hospital. Only this time, it was to get off the medications she was taking. A psychiatrist friend of mine who is deeply committed to aliveness, agreed to responsibly manage the medication withdrawal. The entire process took almost a year.
As she was taken off the medications, panic, spinning, nightmares, rage, and despair all surfaced. She felt out of control, suicidal, and crazy. And gradually, she began to feel alive. Instead of giving her a diagnosis during these cathartic times, she was encouraged to scream and cry and wail. She was encouraged to give voice to her feelings and to release them. She kicked pillows. She was told that it was okay to feel her feelings and she was given a safe place to express these feelings so as not to hurt anyone, anything, or herself. And gradually, very gradually, she began to connect with her body again. She began to connect with the sacredness of her life. The fog cleared. Her energy came back.
She walked outside and felt the wind and looked up at the stars at night. She began to exercise, eat good food, and laugh. She found compassion for herself, and others. She was healing. She returned to the workforce, regained visitation with her children, and began a life.
Some time later Linda sent me the following quote from a book that she had found while on the journey back to her real self.... "We ask ourselves what is behind it all and meet the unanswerable a thousand times and yet continue to be drawn to the many doors of life. We hesitate, but want to go on. We are fearful, but want to learn. We are timid, but want to be courageous. We shrink back, and yet want to grow. We have to take courage and jump. We have to cut the ropes and set ourselves adrift. We have to leave the solid ground to learn to swim. We have to sacrifice our security and take risks. Then we will experience God as the hand in the abyss, as the net under the high wire, as the lifeboat on the high seas, as ground under our feet."
From a distant view, Linda reminded me that to be re-born, we often must die first. And, while the dying is not easy, either is the re-birthing. The first step is remembrance. Behind the medications ... behind the fancy clothes and make-up ... behind the titles and accomplishments ... who are we? Who are we - really?
....by Moe Ross
To my fellow, aspiring master programmers of LIFE (all races, sexes and ages). This is not a personal letter to any one of you. Rather it is a committment to increase and excelerate my own conscious programming and my heartfelt invitation to all my human brothers and sisters who share a similar vision.
The Master Programmer
Many voices call this the "Electronic Age", not realizing that "electronics" is but one brick in the "Greater Structure" of the "Master Plan". In truth, this is the "Spiritual Awakening Age", breathing, at least, the promise and potential of a higher consciousness for mankind, which will profoundly reformat both electronics and the very atomic/molecular structure of our physical reality.
I have recently been privileged to observe a master at work; a master computer programmer. He has briefly explained parts of his work to me. Each line, each symbol of code must be precise with an exact and established agenda and purpose. Nothing is superfluous, wasted, unnecessary or out of place. Incorrect code, even one symbol, simply creates a "bug" whereby the overall program will work at less than maximum efficiency. A virus is simply code which scrambles the original format, thus creating death to the intended program.
The MASTER PROGRAMMER of LIFE is the man or woman who knows that every "THOUGHT", every "EMOTION" and every "WORD" absolutely creates his or her "Program of Life".
The Master Programmer is aware of the intent of his Life's greater purpose in this Now moment and chooses his format with a care, a precision, and an authority beyond the scope of computer programming. He knows that the integrity of his creation lays the foundation for the fullness of LIFE, itself. He is fully aware that every thought, emotion and word contributes through its energy signature and intent to either the life of the program or to its death.
To those not yet ready to take full responsibility for their own lives this may seem like very heavy stuff. To the MASTER, who knows that his/her life is no less then the grand and fine ART of INFINITE BEING, it offers an unlimited and unparalled opportunity and is the true road to self-empowerment.
The Master chooses every line of code and every symbol with precise purpose, infinite value and infinite humor. He releases the illusion of being in control for the reality of being an efficient and conscious creator. He knows that the reality of control is the truth that as we give, so we receive. As we sow, so we reap. As we program the reality (the text and flow) of our lives so we also experience them. Nor, regardless of any opinions to the contrary, can we experience out of context with our own programming. (Computer programmers can understand this on the electronics level.)
All humans, save the Master Programmers, are creating their own lives more or less unconsciously, but are fully responsible for creating them, nonetheless. Master programmers are also on different levels of evolvement, but share a common bond. The emphasis is that they are programming their lives on various levels of consciousness rather than of unconsciousness. The Master of Life programs only with integrity: meaning through his/her whole, complete and integrated Self. The Master does not attempt to complete his whole structure, using partial and incomplete tools and methods.
ALL CREATION and ALL levels of CREATION are accomplished wholly through ORIGINAL THOUGHT (MIND), EMOTION (PRIMAL FORCE) and WORD (MANIFESTATION). To attempt to create while leaving out part of the whole is to paralyze our creativity and push ourselves into the paradox of "unconscious programming". To be less than Whole and integrated is to be less than fully conscious.
The Master Programmer is working with a four-fold structure with infinite as well as finite possibilities.
1. THOUGHT is original conception. 2. EMOTION is primal ;movement or birth. 3. WORD is manifestation on the cosmic and material planes. 4. ACTION is the experience of that which is already created on the subliminal, subtle and energetic levels.
Many confuse action with creating. Painting a picture, sewing a dress, building a cathedral are celebrating that which already exists on the creatorship level. Celebrating is the highest form of creative art. We exist to create, to celebrate and to expand, infinitely.
The master creates his/her "Thought, Emotion, Word programs" with enthusiastic preference; love, tenderness, joy, exuberance, wisdom, humor; carefree and compassionate so that he or she may celebrate in like manner. Our beautiful Planet Earth is waking up. Humankind is in the throes of change. There are always those who will take the brunt and lead the way. The hard corners, sharp and prickly edges of our unconsciousness are beginning to soften beneath the warming Rays of the rising Sun of a NEW AGE: a higher consciousness for the children of men.
One excellent symbology is that ORIGINAL THOUGHT is GOD the FATHER. ORIGINAL EMOTION, GOD the MOTHER. ORIGINAL WORD, GOD the SON. This is the very stuff of which even the cells of our physical bodies are made: this is the signature at the heart of every spinning atom.
Question: Do you know WHO YOU ARE, yet?
Join us. Join in REAL FUN and CELEBRATION. We invite you, in your own time and way, to begin to be the MASTER PROGRAMMER of your own life and destiny. Your fellow travelor, Ronald Neal Quinn
I try not to be biased, but I had my doubts about hiring Stevie. His placement counselor assured me that he would be a good, reliable busboy. But I had never had a mentally handicapped employee and wasn't sure I wanted one. I wasn't sure how my customers would react to Stevie.
He was short, a little dumpy with the smooth facial features and thick-tongued speech of Down's syndrome. I wasn't worried about most of my trucker customers because truckers don't generally care who buses tables as long as the meatloaf platter is good and the pies are homemade. The four-wheeler drivers were the ones who concerned me; the mouthy college kids traveling to school; the yuppie snobs who secretly polish their silverware with their napkins for fear of catching some dreaded "truckstop germ;" the pairs of white-shirted business men on expense accounts who think every truckstop waitress wants to be flirted with. I knew those people would be uncomfortable around Stevie so I closely watched him for the first few weeks.
I shouldn't have worried. After the first week, Stevie had my staff wrapped around his stubby little finger, and within a month my truck regulars had adopted him as their official truckstop mascot.
After that, I really didn't care what the rest of the customers thought of him. He was like a 21-year-old in blue jeans and Nikes, eager to laugh and eager to please, but fierce in his attention to his duties. Every salt and pepper shaker was exactly in its place, not a bread crumb or coffee spill was visible when Stevie got done with the table. Our only problem was convincing him to wait to clean a table until after the customers were finished. He would hover in the background, shifting his weight from one foot to the other, scanning the dining room until a table was empty. Then he would scurry to the empty table and carefully bus the dishes and glasses onto cart and meticulously wipe the table up with a practiced flourish of his rag. If he thought a customer was watching, his brow would pucker with added concentration.
He took pride in doing his job exactly right, and you had to love how hard he tried to please each and every person he met. Over time, we learned that he lived with his mother, a widow who was disabled after repeated surgeries for cancer. They lived on their Social Security benefits in public housing two miles from the truckstop. Their social worker, which stopped to check on him every so often, admitted they had fallen between the cracks. Money was tight, and what I paid him was the probably the difference between them being able to live together and Stevie being sent to a group home.
That's why the restaurant was a gloomy place that morning last August, the first morning in three years that Stevie missed work. He was at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester getting a new valve or something put in his heart. His social worker said that people with Down syndrome often had heart problems at an early age so this wasn't unexpected, and there was a good chance he would come through the surgery in good shape and be back at work in a few months. A ripple of excitement ran through the staff later that morning when word came that he was out of surgery, in recovery and doing fine.
Frannie, my head waitress, let out a war hoop and did a little dance in the aisle when she heard the good news. Belle Ringer, one of our regular trucker customers, stared at the sight of the 50-year-old grandmother of four doing a victory shimmy beside his table. Frannie blushed, smoothed her apron and shot Belle Ringer a withering look. He grinned. "OK, Frannie, what was that all about?" he asked. "We just got word that Stevie is out of surgery and going to be okay." "I was wondering where he was. I had a new joke to tell him. What was the surgery about?" Frannie quickly told Belle Ringer and the other two drivers sitting at his booth about Stevie's surgery, then sighed. "Yeah, I'm glad he is going to be OK," she said, "but I don't know how he and his mom are going to handle all the bills. From what I hear, they're barely getting by as it is." Belle Ringer nodded thoughtfully, and Frannie hurried off to wait on the rest of her tables.
Since I hadn't had time to round up a busboy to replace Stevie and really didn't want to replace him, the girls were busing their own tables that day until we decided what to do. After the morning rush, Frannie walked into my office. She had a couple of paper napkins in her hand a funny look on her face. "What's up?" I asked. "I didn't get that table where Belle Ringer and his friends were sitting cleared off after they left, and Pony Pete and Tony Tipper were sitting there when I got back to clean it off," she said, "this was folded and tucked under a coffee cup." She handed the napkin to me, and three $20 fell onto my desk when I opened it. On the outside, in big, bold letters, was printed "Something For Stevie".
"Pony Pete asked me what that was all about," she said, "so I told him about Stevie and his mom and everything, and Pete looked at Tony and Tony looked at Pete, and they ended up giving me this." She handed me another paper napkin that had "Something For Stevie" scrawled on its outside. Two $50 bills were tucked within its folds. Frannie looked at me with wet, shiny eyes, shook her head and said simply "truckers."
That was three months ago. Today is Thanksgiving, the first day Stevie is supposed to be back to work. His placement worker said he's been counting the days until the doctor said he could work, and it didn't matter at all that it was a holiday. He called 10 times in the past week, making sure we knew he was coming, fearful that we had forgotten him or that his job was in jeopardy. I arranged to have his mother bring him to work, met them in the parking lot and invited them both to celebrate his day back.
Stevie was thinner and paler, but couldn't stop grinning as he pushed through the doors and headed for the back room where his apron and busing cart were waiting. "Hold up there, Stevie, not so fast," I said. I took him and his mother by their arms. "Work can wait for a minute. To celebrate you coming back, breakfast for you and your mother is on me." I led them toward a large corner booth at the rear of the room. I could feel and hear the rest of the staff following behind as we marched through the dining room. Glancing over my shoulder, I saw booth after booth of grinning truckers empty and join the procession.
We stopped in front of the big table. Its surface was covered with coffee cups, saucers and dinner plates, all sitting slightly crooked on dozens of folded paper napkins. "First thing you have to do, Stevie, is clean up this mess," I said. I tried to sound stern. Stevie looked at me, and then at his mother, then pulled out one of the napkins. It had "Something for Stevie" printed on the outside. As he picked it up, two $10 bills fell onto the table. Stevie stared at the money, then at all the napkins peeking from beneath the tableware, each with his name printed or scrawled on it.
I turned to his mother. "There's more than $10,000 in cash and checks on that table, all from truckers and trucking companies that heard about your problems. Happy Thanksgiving."
Well, it got real noisy about that time, with everybody hollering and shouting, and there were a few tears, as well. But you know what's funny? While everybody else was busy shaking hands and hugging each other, Stevie, with a big, big smile on his face, was busy clearing all the cups and dishes from the table. Best worker I ever hired.
A woman was getting a pie ready to put into the oven when the phone rang. It was the school nurse: Her son had some down with a high fever, and would she come and take him home? The mother calculated how long it would take to drive to school and back, and how long the pie should bake, and concluded there was enough time. Popping the pie in the oven, she left for school.
When she arrived, her son's fever was worse, and the nurse urged her to take him to the doctor. Seeing her son like that -- his face flushed, his body trembling and dripping with perspiration -- frayed her, and she drove to the clinic as fast as she dared. She was frayed a bit more waiting for the doctor to emerge from the examining room, which he was doing now, walking toward her with a slip of paper in his hand. "Get him to bed," he told her, handing her the prescription, "and start him on this right away."
By the time she got the boy home and in bed and headed out again for the shopping mall, she was not only frayed, but frazzled and frantic as well. And she had forgotten about the pie in the oven. At the mall she found a pharmacy, got the prescription filled and rushed back to the car ... which was locked. Yes, there were her keys, hanging in the ignition switch, locked inside the car.
She ran back into the mall, found a phone and called home. When her son finally answered, she blurted out, "I've locked the keys inside the car!" The boy was barely able to speak. In a hoarse voice he whispered, "Get a wire coat hanger, Mom. You can get in with that." The phone went dead.
She began searching the mall for a wire coat hanger -- which turned out not to be easy. Wooden hangers and plastic hangers were there in abundance, but shops didn't use wire hangers anymore. After combing through a dozen stores, she found one that was behind the times just enough to use wire hangers. Hurrying out of the mall, she allowed herself a smile of relief. As she was about to step off the curb, she halted. She stared at the wire coat hanger. "I don't know what to do with this!" Then she remembered the pie in the oven. All the frustrations of the past hour collapsed on her and she began crying.
Then she prayed, "Dear Lord, my boy is sick and he needs this medicine and my pie is in the oven and the keys are locked in the car and, Lord, I don't know what to do with this coat hanger. Dear Lord, send somebody who does know what do with it, and I really need that person NOW, Lord. Amen,"
She was wiping her eyes when a beat-up older car pulled up to the curb and stopped in front of her. A young man, twentyish-looking, in a T-shirt and ragged jeans, got out. The first thing she noticed about him was the long, stringy hair, and then the beard that hid everything south of his nose. He was coming her way. When he drew near she stepped in front of him and held out the wire coat hanger. "Young man," she said, "do you know how to get into a locked car with one of these?" He gaped at her for a moment, then plucked the hanger from her hand. "Where's the car?"
Telling the story, she said she had never seen anything like it -- it was simply amazing how easily he got into her car. A quick look at the door and window, a couple of twists of the coat hanger and bam! Just like that, the door was open. When she saw the door open she threw her arms around him. "Oh," she said, "the Lord sent you! You're such a good boy. You must be a Christian,"
He stepped back and said, "No ma'am, I'm not a Christian, and I'm not a good boy. I just got out of prison yesterday." She jumped at him and she hugged him again -- fiercely.
"Bless the Lord!" she cried. "He sent me a professional!"
We convince ourselves that life will be better after we get married, have a baby, then another.
Then we are frustrated that the kids aren't old enough and we'll be more content when they are.
After that we're frustrated that we have teenagers to deal with.
We will certainly be happy when they are out of that stage.
We tell ourselves that our life will be complete when our spouse gets his or her act together, when we get a nicer car, are able to go on a nice vacation, when we retire.
The truth is, there's no better time to be happy than right now.
If not now, when? Your life will always be filled with challenges.
It's best to admit this to yourself and decide to be happy anyway.
One of my favorite quote comes from Alfred D Souza.
He said, "For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin - real life.
But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid.
Then life would begin.
At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life." This perspective has helped me to see that there is no way to happiness.
Happiness is the way.
So, treasure every moment that you have.
And treasure it more because you shared it with someone special, special enough to spend your time...and remember that time waits for no one...
So stop waiting until you finish school, until you go back to school, until you lose ten pounds, until you gain ten pounds, until you have kids, until your kids leave the house, until you start work, until you retire, until you get married, until you get divorced, until Friday night, until Sunday morning, until you get a new car or home, until your car or home is paid off, until spring, until summer, until fall, until winter, until you are off welfare, until the first or fifteenth, until your song comes on, until you've had a drink, until you've sobered up, until you die to decide that there is no better time than right now to be happy...
Happiness is a journey, not a destination.
Thought for the day:
Work like you don't need money, Love like you've never been hurt, And dance like no one's watching.
Even though I clutch my blanket and growl when the alarm rings, thank you, Lord, that I can hear. There are many who are deaf.
Even though I keep my eyes closed against the morning light as long as possible, thank you, Lord, that I can see. Many are blind.
Even though I huddle in my bed and put off rising, thank you Lord, that I have the strength to rise. There are many who are bedridden.
Even though the first hour of my day is hectic, when socks are lost, toast is burned and tempers are short, my children are so loud thank you, Lord, for my family. There are many who are lonely.
Even though our breakfast table never looks like the pictures in magazines and the menu is at times balanced, thank you, Lord, for the food we have. There are many who are hungry.
Even though the routine of my job is often monotonous, thank you, Lord, for the opportunity to work. There are many who have no job.
Even though I grumble and bemoan my fate from day to day and wish my circumstances were not so modest, thank you, Lord, for life.
I was not surprized when at about two the afternoon I found a message from Warren reporting that he was in the hospital. He was hooked up to IV's. They told him it was his heart. He sounded tired on the voice mail. That was the part that was surprizing. I have never heard Warrens tired voice. He was always on. Always going. Always doing. He was one of my stillpoints for fearless. If Warren was ever afraid, it was hidden deep in the inner chambers of the castle. I had never been given admission into any of the corridors that lead to that part of him. And I wonder if he has even gone there himself.
I remember when he told me that he needed to add more color to the canvas. You see, when Warren and I get together it is about the painting on the canvas. He leans back in his chair, presses his 63 year old hands together, almost like prayer, and paints me a picture with carefully chosen words, of the scenes of his life from the time that I saw him last until now. He likes to sit with me in restaurants. If he has just returned from Paris, he seemed to choose the local small midwest town cafe. Energy jumping he called it. If he was coming from the small suburban courtroom where he played his role as a big city attorney, he would choose the cloistered dark bar in an upscale downtown loop hotel. I am the appointed keeper of the canvas. And the interpretor.
His love for women, food, drink, eccentric characters and high adventure has created a canvas that reflects not only charm that opens doors, but also independent wealth. Warren did it the way many of us would have liked to have done it. He put himself out there at an early age. He was a gifted writer, aggressive attorney, and he liked making money. It was really never the money. It was the fight for the money that he enjoyed. It was for who can say it faster, better, and meaner. Then once it was all said, for the sake of debate only, his heart would open and he would ask you about your life. And he would take the money and invest it. Its always been a game.
Perhaps it all really started with that scene on the canvas down there on the right hand corner. His childhood. Varied colors down there. Little Warren would sit at his grade school desk squinting at the chalkboard. He couldn't read the words. His mother had refused to see that he could not see well because she believed that disease is of the mind and cured there. So for much of Warrens early childhood, outside of the classroom where he did not have to try to focus, life was really just a boundariless watercolor. Everything looked connected ... there were no limits to the tree that bled into the earth and the sky. No definition to life. Then one day his teacher insisted that he be given an eye exam and eventually he began wearing glasses. That is when he began to think that the outer world was separate from him. That is when he started to look to the outer world as his reference point, rather than looking within himself. He stopped trusting himself and started seeing the world the way everyone else did. There were limits.
Warren remembers those kinds of moments. He also remembers that he did not forget what he had seen ... the interconnectedness of everything. Perhaps this is why for fifteen years he was one of the first soap opera writers. The stories go on and on and never end ... always bleeding from one scene to the next. Everything was truly connected, from the beginning for Warren. Marriage, a son, death. More money. Travel. Adventure.
One day he would call to tell me he needed to reschedule because he was going to Bosnia with a diplomat ... when I asked him his role, he told me that he figured that they wanted him to come along to keep the dinner parties entertained. But he cried when he was there. Then other times he would just be returning from Key West because he just needed a taste of Halloween in July. He loved the outrageous eccentrics. And there was the night he put an emergency call into me because he thought maybe he was going to do something stupid. He had flown to Hawaii and fallen in love with the color of the ocean. So in love he was considering buying a condo so he could just move all of his things there, settle down, and look at the ocean. He said that perhaps it was time he settle down.
When I started laughing and asked how that would look on the canvas he checked out of the hotel and signed up for a high seas adventure. This time it was on a ship going across the Atlantic ... a ship that was not built to get across but the crew was going to try anyway, and they were advertizing for high adventurers. For six weeks he tossed and turned on the ship. It matched his spirit. He loved it. Warren knew as well as I that he did not come to live his life in any settled way. Warren is not a guy in search of contentment or inner peace. He would say he is not in search of a single thing. All he wants is a good ride. A richly filled up canvas. And he wants to contribute. Not in the ways than anyone would know that he was involved.
I found out myself that he donated a park to inner city kids. He would not have told me. So when Warren and I meet after one of his high adventures, there is always this quality of presence about him that I do not experience with most worldly people. Even though he would be painting the picture about the gorgeous, juicy woman he met in a street cafe in Paris ... at the same time he was very present to our experience together. It is almost as if Warren travels for the canvas. Almost as if that has been what he is traveling for. At some deep level it seems that Warren travels to these places to see different parts of himself.
As a young child without glasses, he would look in a mirror and see no definition. His body had no outline His body was like a watercolor bleeding into the surroundings. But when he paints the pictures for the canvas with me ... he creates some definition for himself. He sees Warren. He sees some definition. He sees his style and his path.
I was not surprized when I later got a call that he had pulled the IV's out of his arm and checked out of the hospital. He knew that he did not have heart trouble. His heart was open to life and if he died of a heart attack, so what. I am sure he knows that I would make sure that the final scene fit in perfectly on the canvas and would be given to his only son. What more is there?