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Inspirations

   

   A weary mother returned from the store, Lugging groceries through the kitchen door.   Awaiting her arrival was her 8 year old son, Anxious to relate what his younger brother had done.
   "While I was out playing and Dad was on a call, TJ. took his crayons and wrote on the wall!  It's on the new paper you just hung in the den.  I told him you'd be mad at having to do it again."
   She let out a moan and furrowed her brow, "Where is your little brother right now?"  She emptied her arms and with a purposeful stride, She marched to his closet where he had gone to hide.
   She called his full name as she entered his room.  He trembled with fear - he knew that meant doom!  For the next ten minutes, she ranted and raved about the expensive wallpaper and how she had saved.
   Lamenting all the work it would take to repair, She condemned his actions and total lack of care. The more she scolded, the madder she got, Then stomped from his room, totally distraught!
   She headed for the den to confirm her fears.  When she saw the wall, her eyes flooded with tears.  The message she read pierced her soul with a dart. It said, "I love Mommy," surrounded by a heart.
   Well, the wallpaper remained, just as she found it, With an empty picture frame hung to surround it.  A reminder to her, and indeed to all, take time to read the handwriting on the wall


Rose Story

Red roses were her favorites, her name was also Rose.  And every year her husband sent them, tied with pretty bows.  The year he died, the roses were delivered to her door.  The card said, "Be my Valentine", like all the years before.   Each year he sent her roses, and the note would always say, "I love you even more this year, than last year on this day.  My love for you will always grow, with every passing year."  She knew this was the last time that the roses would appear.   She thought, he ordered roses in advance before this day.  Her loving husband did not know, that he would pass away.  He always liked to do things early, way before the time.  Then, if he got too busy, everything would work out fine.  She trimmed the stems, and placed them in a very special vase.  Then, sat the vase beside the portrait of his smiling face.  She would sit for hours, in her husband's favorite chair.  While staring at his picture, and the roses sitting there.  A year went by, and it was hard to live without her mate.  With loneliness and solitude, that had become her fate.  Then, the very hour, as on Valentines before, The doorbell rang, and there were roses, sitting by her door.

She brought the roses in, and then just looked at them in shock.  Then, went to get the telephone, to call the florist shop.  The owner answered, and she asked him, if he would explain, Why would someone do this to her, causing her such pain?   "I know your husband passed away, more than a year ago, "The owner said, "I knew you'd call, and you would want to know.  The flowers you received today, were paid for in advance.  Your husband always planned ahead, he left nothing to chance.  There is a standing order, that I have on file down here, And he has paid, well in advance, you'll get them every year.  There also is another thing, that I think you should know, He wrote a special little card...he did this years ago. Then, should ever I find out that he's no longer here, That's the card...that should be sent, to you the following year." She thanked him and hung up the phone, her tears now flowing hard.  Her fingers shaking, as she slowly reached to get the card.  Inside the card, she saw that he had written her a note.  Then, as she stared in total silence, this is what he wrote... "Hello my love, I know it's been a year since I've been gone, I hope it hasn't been too hard for you to overcome.  I know it must be lonely, and the pain is very real.  For if it was the other way, I know how I would feel.   The love we shared made everything so beautiful in life.  I loved you more than words can say, you were the perfect wife.  You were my friend and lover, you fulfilled my every need.  I know it's only been a year, but please try not to grieve.  I want you to be happy, even when you shed your tears.  That is why the roses will be sent to you for years.  When you get these roses, think of all the happiness, That we had together, and how both of us were blessed.  I have always loved you and I know I always will.  But, my love, you must go on, you have some living still.   Please...try to find happiness, while living out your days.  I know it is not easy, but I hope you find some ways.  The roses will come every year, and they will only stop, When your door's not answered, when the florist stops to knock.  He will come five times that day, in case you have gone out.  But after his last visit, he will know without a doubt, To take the roses to the place, where I've instructed him, And place the roses where we are, together once again. 


A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared, he sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force it's body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no farther. So, the man decided to help the butterfly, he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. BUT, it had a swollen body, and small shriveled wings. He continued to watch the butterfly, because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to support the body, which would contract in time. Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of it's life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It was never able to fly. What had he done in his well intentioned kindness and haste? What he did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required to get through the tiny opening were God's way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into it's wings so that it would be ready for flight ONCE it achieved it's freedom from the cocoon. Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life.  If god allowed us to go through our life without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as we could have been . . . And we could never fly . . .Have a great day, great life, and struggle a little . . . Then fly !!!


It was only four days before Christmas. The spirit of the season had not yet caught up with me, even though cars packed the parking lot of our local discount store. Inside the store was worse. Shopping carts and last-minute shoppers jammed the aisles. Buying for someone who had everything and deploring the high cost of items, I considered gift buying anything but fun. Hurriedly, I filled my shopping cart with last-minute items and proceeded to the long checkout lines. I picked the shortest, but it looked as if it would mean at least a 20 minutes wait. In front of me were two small children - a boy of about five and a slightly younger girl. She carried a beautiful pair of shiny, gold house-slippers. As the Christmas music sounded in the store's stereo system, the small girl hummed along, off-key, but happily. When we finally approached the checkout register, the girl carefully placed the shoes on the counter. She treated them as though they were a treasure. The clerk rang up the bill. "That will be $6.09," she said. The boy laid his crumpled bills atop the stand while he searched his pockets. He finally came up with $3.12. "I guess we'll have to put them back," he bravely announced. "We'll come back some other time, maybe tomorrow." With that statement, a soft sob broke from the little girl. "But Jesus would have loved those shoes." she cried. "Well, we'll go home and work some more. Don't cry, we'll come back." he assured her. Quickly I handed $3.00 to the clerk. These children waited in line for a long time. And after all, it was Christmas. Suddenly a pair of arms came around me and a small voice said, "Thank you lady." "What did you mean when you said Jesus would like the shoes?" I asked. The boy answered, "Our mommy is sick and going to heaven. Daddy said she might go before Christmas to be with Jesus." The girl spoke, "My Sunday school teacher said the streets up in heaven are shiny gold, just like these slippers. Won't my mommy be beautiful walking on those streets to match these shoes?" My eyes flooded as I looked into her tear-streaked face. "Yes," I answered, "I'm sure she will." Silently I thanked God for using these children to remind me of the true spirit of giving. Somehow, not only for Christmas, But all the long year through. The joy that you give to others. Is the joy that comes back to you.


Small Things

As you are well aware we can have a bigger impact on those we teach than we are often aware of. Here is a story that demonstrates this fact. Maybe you have heard it before.

ALL GOOD THINGS

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 mischievousness 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 Mark 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 by 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 instruction in the "new math," he did not talk as much in ninth grade as he had in 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 their 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 lull in the conversation. Mother gave Dad a side-ways glance and simply said, "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 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 Chuck's 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 his 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.

Written by: Sister Helen P. Mrosla


I CALLED a friend at 6 a.m. and a sleepy female voice answered. Realizing that I had dialed the wrong number, I apologized and hung up.
  When I redialed, the same voice told me I still had the wrong number. As I started to apologize profusely, the woman interrupted me. "Please don't apologize," she said. "I'm sitting by the window with a cup of coffee enjoying a truly beautiful sunrise. If you hadn't awakened me, I would have missed it."


IT WAS mid-October and the trees along the parkway were ablaze with colour.  At an overlook, we stood next to a woman who was showing the view to her elderly mother.  "Isn't it wonderful of God to take something just before it dies and make it so beautiful?" the daughter commented as she gazed at some falling leaves.  "Wouldn't it be nice if He did that with people?" the mother mused.  The younger woman looked at the stooped, white-haired figure beside her.  "Sometimes He does," she answered so softly that she thought no one heard.


MY FRIEND was approaching the age of 60, and recovering from losing her husband to a younger woman. Her children were on their own and no longer needed her. She had tried, unsuccessfully, to get a job and was depressed, feeling useless and anxious about the future.
   One day she was waiting to cross a busy street, feeling old, ugly, helpless and totally incapable of getting to the other side. A ten-year-old boy was poised on the curb beside her, waiting for the light to change.
   "Do you think," my friend asked, "that you could help an old lady across the street?"
   "Sure," he agreed cheerfully, "Where is she?"
   My friend, smiling inside and out, sailed across the street on her own.


IN THE middle of one of my parents' more memorable disagreements, my father jumped up from the table, grabbed two sheets of paper, and said to my mother, "Let's make a list of everything we don't like about each other."   Mom started writing.  Dad glowered at her, and then wrote on his paper.   She wrote again.  He watched, and every time she stopped, he would start writing.  They finally finished.  "Let's exchange complaints," Dad said. They gave each other their lists.  "Give mine back," Mom pleaded when she glanced at his sheet.  All down the page Dad had written: "I love you, I love you, I love you."


MY SISTER sent several photos with her last letter, showing the bookcase she had built, the macrame hanger she had made, and the back porch she had constructed.  I was impressed, and felt myself inadequate.  When my husband came home, I showed him the photos and lamented, "What do I make?"  "You make me happy," he said.


I RAN short of money while visiting my brother, and borrowed $50 from him.  After my return home, I wrote him a short letter every few weeks, enclosing a $5 check in each one.  He called me up and told me how much he enjoyed the letters, regardless of the money; I had never written regularly before.   Eventually I sent off a letter and the last five-dollar check.  In my mail box the next week I found an envelope from my brother.  Inside was another $50.


WHILE my wife was busy rummaging through items on sale in a department store, I was trying to keep our two little monsters out of mischief.  I was about to stomp off to the car with a boy under each arm when an elderly man ambled up, smiling at the boys.  "These two yours?" he asked.  "Yes."   "They look as if they're full of the devil."  And then, tousling the boys' hair, he looked me in the eye and added: "You're a rich man, sir, a rich man."  We stood there, the boys not understanding what had happened.  As for me, I could feel my chest swelling with pride.


MY SISTER tells how one day a dozen roses were delivered to her with a card reading only: "Someone who loves you. " No name.  Being single, her first thoughts were of the men in her life - old boyfriends, new acquaintances. Or could it be Mom and Dad?  Someone at work?  She mentally ran down the list. Finally she called a friend to help her go over the possibilities. Something the friend said provided a clue.
   "Janet, did you send the flowers?" my sister asked.
   "Yes."
   "Why?"
   "Because you sounded so depressed the last time we talked that I wanted you to spend the day thinking about all the people who love you."


"GOD'S EMBROIDERY"

  When I was a little girl, my mother used to embroider a great deal. I would sit at her knee and look up from the floor and ask what she was doing.  She informed me that she was embroidering.  I told her that it looked like a mess from where I was.  As from the underside I watched her work within the boundaries of the little round hoop that she held in her hand, I complained to her that it sure looked messy from where I sat. 
  She would smile at me, look down and gently say, "My daughter, you go about your playing for awhile, and when I am finished with my embroidering, I will put you on my knee and let you see it from my side."
  I would wonder why she was using some dark threads along with the bright ones and why they seemed so jumbled from my view. A few minutes would pass and then I would hear Mother's voice say, "Daughter, come and sit on my knee."  This I did only to be surprised and thrilled to see a beautiful flower or a sunset.  I could not believe it, because from underneath it looked so messy.
  Then Mother would say to me, "My daughter, from underneath it did look messy and jumbled, but you did not realize that there was a pre-drawn plan on the top.  It was a design.  I was only following it.  Now look at it from my side and you will see what I was doing."
  Many times through the years I have looked up to my Heavenly Father and said, "Father, what are You doing?"  He has answered, "I am embroidering your life."  I say, "But it looks like a mess to me. It seems so jumbled. The threads seem so dark.  Why can't they all be bright?"  The Father seems to tell me, "'My child, you go about your business of doing My business, and one day I will bring you to Heaven and put you on My knee and you will see the plan from My side."


A True Story

  Jerry was the kind of guy you love to hate. He was always in a good mood and always had 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 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 chose 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 emergency room 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.


I AM a mother of three (ages 14, 12, 3) and have recently completed my college degree. The last class I had to take was Sociology. The teacher was absolutely inspiring with the qualities that I wish every human being had been graced with. Her last project of the term was called "Smile." The class was asked to go out and smile at three people and document their reactions. I am a very friendly person and always smile at everyone and say hello anyway, so, I thought, this would be a piece of cake, literally. Soon after we were assigned the project, my husband, youngest son, and I went out to McDonald's one crisp March morning. It was just our way of sharing special play time with our son. We were standing in line, waiting to be served, when all of a sudden everyone around us began to back away, and then even my husband did. I did not move an inch...an overwhelming feeling of panic welled up inside of me as I turned to see why they had moved.  As I turned around I smelled a horrible "dirty body" smell, and there standing behind me were two poor homeless men. As I looked down at the short gentleman, close to me, he was "smiling". His beautiful sky blue eyes were full of God's Light as he searched for acceptance. He said, "Good day" as he counted the few coins he had been clutching. The second man fumbled with his hands as he stood behind his friend. I realized the second man was mentally deficient and the blue eyed gentleman was his salvation.  I held my tears as I stood there with them. The young lady at the counter asked him what they wanted. He said, "Coffee is all Miss" because that was all they could afford. (If they wanted to sit in the restaurant and warm up, they had to buy something. He just wanted to be warm).  Then I really felt it - the compulsion was so great I almost reached out and embraced the little man with the blue eyes. That is when I noticed all eyes in the restaurant were set on me, judging my every action. I smiled and asked the young lady behind the counter to give me two more breakfast meals on a separate tray. I then walked around the corner to the table that the men had chosen as a resting spot. I put the tray on the table and laid my hand on the blue eyed gentleman's cold hand. He looked up at me, with tears in his eyes, and said, "Thank you." I leaned over, began to pat his hand and said, "I did not do this for you. God is here working through me to give you hope." I started to cry as I walked away to join my husband and son.  When I sat down my husband smiled at me and said, "That is why God gave you to me,  Honey. To give me hope." We held hands for a moment and at that time we knew that only because of the Grace that we had been given were we able to give.  We are not church goers, but we are believers. That day showed me the pure Light of God's sweet love. I returned to college, on the last evening of class, with this story in hand. I turned in "my project" and the instructor read it. Then she looked up at me and said, "Can I share this?" I slowly   nodded as she got the attention of the class. She began to read and that is when I knew that we, as human beings and being part of God, share this need to heal people and be healed.  In my own way I had touched the people at McDonald's, my husband, son, instructor, and every soul that shared the classroom on the last night I spent as a college student. I graduated with one of the biggest lessons I would ever learn:


ONE aspect of my job as a vending-machine attendant in a factory was to make refunds to people who had lost money in the machines. A "victim" was asked to write his name and the amount he had lost on a small card, which he then deposited in a box near the machine. The system worked on trust, as there was no way of checking on lost money. My faith in humanity was reaffirmed one day when I received a card in the box with the words: "Mr. Simpson. Machine gave too much back." Across the bottom of the card were taped two dimes and a nickel.
   

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Last updated October 02, 2015 by Becquet Enterprises