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Shake It Off And Step Up [22 May 2006|11:58am]

[ mood | thoughtful ]

Shake It Off And Step Up

A parable is told of a farmer who owned an old mule. The mule fell into the farmer's well. The farmer heard the mule 'braying' - or - whatever mules do when they fall into wells. After carefully assessing the situation, the farmer sympathized with the mule, but decided that neither the mule nor the well was worth the trouble of saving. Instead, he called his neighbors together and told them what had happened...and enlisted them to help haul dirt to bury the old mule in the well and put him out of his misery.

Initially, the old mule was hysterical! But as the farmer and his neighbors continued shoveling and the dirt hit his back...a thought struck him. It suddenly dawned on him that every time a shovel load of dirt landed on his back...HE SHOULD SHAKE IT OFF AND STEP UP! This he did, blow after blow.

"Shake it off and step up...shake it off and step up...shake it off and step up!" he repeated to encourage himself. No matter how painful the blows, or distressing the situation seemed the old mule fought "panic" and just kept right on SHAKING IT OFF AND STEPPING UP!

You're right! It wasn't long before the old mule, battered and exhausted, STEPPED TRIUMPHANTLY OVER THE WALL OF THAT WELL! What seemed like it would bury him, actually blessed him...all because of the manner in which he handled his adversity.

THAT'S LIFE! If we face our problems and respond to them positively, and refuse to give in to panic, bitterness, or self-pity...THE ADVERSITIES THAT COME ALONG TO BURY US USUALLY HAVE WITHIN THEM THE POTENTIAL TO BENEFIT AND BLESS US! Remember that FORGIVENESS--FAITH--PRAYER-- PRAISE and HOPE...all are excellent ways to "SHAKE IT OFF AND STEP UP" out of the wells in which we find ourselves!

- Author Unknown

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Do Not Go Gentle Into that Good Night (Poem, but nonetheless, inspirational.) [20 May 2006|12:01pm]

[ mood | hopeful ]

By Dylan Thomas (I'm not sure if that is his official site, but that is where I found this lovely poem.)

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

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Attitude Determines Altitude [30 Apr 2006|09:30pm]

[ mood | inspired ]

Author: Unknown
February 1, 1999

I woke up early today, excited over all I get to do before the clock strikes midnight. I have responsibilities to fulfill today. I am important. My job is to choose what kind of day I am going to have.

Today I can complain because the weather is rainy or I can be thankful that the grass is getting watered for free.

Today I can feel sad that I don't have more money or I can be glad that my finances encourage me to plan my purchases wisely and guide me away from waste.

Today I can grumble about my health or I can rejoice that I am alive.

Today I can lament over all that my parents didn't give me when I was growing up or I can feel grateful that they allowed me to be born.

Today I can cry because roses have thorns or I can celebrate that thorns have roses.

Today I can mourn my lack of friends or I can excitedly embark upon a quest to discover new relationships.

Today I can wail because I have to go to work or I can shout for joy because I have a job to do.

I can complain because I have to go to school or eagerly open my mind and fill it with rich new tidbits of knowledge.

Today I can murmur dejectedly because I have to do housework or I can feel honored because the Lord has entrusted treasures into my care.

Today stretches ahead of me, waiting to be shaped. And here I am, the sculptor who gets to do the shaping.

What today will be like is up to me. I get to choose what kind of day I will have!

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NOT exactly a story but positive anyway... [27 Aug 2005|10:27pm]

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting--
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

-Mary Oliver, Wild Geese

"At some point in my life I decided, rightly or wrongly, that there are many situations in this life that I can't do much about — acts of terrorism, feelings of nationalistic prejudice, cold war, etc. — so what I should do is concentrate on the situations that my energy can affect. When I was young, my ambition was to be one of the people who made a difference in this world. My hope still is to leave the world a little bit better for my having been here. It's a wonderful life and I love it." ~ Jim Henson, 1986

"Don't waste yourself in rejection, nor bark against the bad, but chant the beauty of the good." —Ralph Waldo Emerson

--These aren't stories, sorry I don't have any positive happy stories at the moment (when I do I'll post if I remember)but if this goes against the community rules I'll gladly delete it :)
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the happiest mart declared dead? [14 Jun 2005|04:37pm]

: ( do people still post here?
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on seeing the 100% perfect girl [06 Mar 2005|07:00pm]

On seeing the 100% perfect girl one beautiful April morning (short story) by Haruki Murakami
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DON'T QUIT! [09 Feb 2003|05:16pm]
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,

When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,

When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but do not quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,

And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;

Don't give up though the pace seems slow--
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than,
It seems to a faint and faltering man,

Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor's cup,

And he learned too late when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out--
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,

And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,

So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit--
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.

Author Unknown
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The Rented Room [30 Jan 2003|11:05am]
Our house was directly across the street from the clinic
entrance of Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. We lived
downstairs and rented the upstairs rooms to outpatients at the

One summer evening as I was fixing supper, there was a knock at
the door. I opened it to see a truly awful looking man.

"Why, he's hardly taller than my eight-year-old," I thought as I
stared at the stooped, shriveled body. But the appalling thing
was his face, lopsided from swelling, red and raw.

Yet his voice was pleasant as he said, "Good evening. I've come
to see if you've a room for just one night. I came for a
treatment this morning from the eastern shore, and there's no
bus 'til morning."

He told me he'd been hunting for a room since noon but with no
success, no one seemed to have a room. "I guess it's my face...
I know it looks terrible, but my doctor says with a few more

For a moment I hesitated, but his next words convinced me,
"I could sleep in this rocking chair on the porch. My bus
leaves early in the morning."

I told him we would find him a bed, but to rest on the porch.
I went inside and finished getting supper. When we were ready,
I asked the old man if he would join us. "No thank you.
I have plenty." And he held up a brown paper bag.

When I had finished the dishes, I went out on the porch to talk
with him a few minutes. It didn't take a long time to see that
this old man had an oversized heart crowded into that tiny body.

He told me he fished for a living to support his daughter, her
five children, and her husband, who was hopelessly crippled from
a back injury.

He didn't tell it by way of complaint; in fact, every other
sentence was prefaced with a thanks to God for a blessing.

He was grateful that no pain accompanied his disease, which was
apparently a form of skin cancer. He thanked God for giving him
the strength to keep going.

At bedtime, we put a camp cot in the children's room for him.
When I got up in the morning, the bed linens were neatly folded
and the little man was out on the porch.

He refused breakfast, but just before he left for his bus,
haltingly, as if asking a great favor, he said,

"Could I please come back and stay the next time I have a
treatment? I won't put you out a bit. I can sleep fine in a
chair." He paused a moment and then added, "Your children made
me feel at home. Grownups are bothered by my face, but children
don't seem to mind."

I told him he was welcome to come again.

And on his next trip he arrived a little after seven in the
morning. As a gift, he brought a big fish and a quart of the
largest oysters I had ever seen. He said he had shucked them
that morning before he left so that they'd be nice and fresh.

I knew his bus left at 4:00 a.m., and I wondered what time he
had to get up in order to do this for us.

In the years he came to stay overnight with us, there was never
a time that he did not bring us fish or oysters or vegetables
from his garden.

Other times we received packages in the mail, always by special
delivery; fish and oysters packed in a box of fresh young
spinach or kale, every leaf carefully washed.

Knowing that he must walk three miles to mail these and knowing
how little money he had made the gifts doubly precious.

When I received these little remembrances, I often thought of a
comment our next-door neighbor made after he left that first
morning. "Did you keep that awful looking man last night?

I turned him away!
You can lose roomers by putting up such people!"

Maybe we did lose roomers once or twice. But oh! If only they
could have known him, perhaps their illness would have been
easier to bear. I know our family will always be grateful to
have known him; from him we learned what it was to accept the
bad without complaint and the good with gratitude to God.

Recently, I was visiting a friend who has a greenhouse.
As she showed me her flowers, we came to the most beautiful one
of all, a golden chrysanthemum bursting with blooms.

But to my great surprise, it was growing in an old dented, rusty
bucket. I thought to myself, "If this were my plant, I'd put it
in the loveliest container I had!"

My friend changed my mind. "I ran short of pots," she
explained, "and knowing how beautiful this one would be,
I thought it wouldn't mind starting out in this old pail. It's
just for a little while, till I can put it out in the garden."

She must have wondered why I laughed so delightedly,
but I was imagining just such a scene in heaven.

"Here's an especially beautiful one," God might have said when
he came to the soul of the sweet old fisherman.

"He won't mind starting in this small body."

All this happened long ago -- and now, in God's garden,
how tall this lovely soul must stand.

Author Unknown

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How Can We Make a Difference? [10 Jun 2002|12:53am]

[ mood | thankful ]

"Who I Am Makes a Difference"

A teacher in New York decided to honor each of her seniors in high school by telling them the difference they each made. She called each student to the front of the class, one at a time. First she told each of them how they had made a difference to her and the class. Then she presented each of them with a blue ribbon imprinted with gold letters, which read, "Who I Am Makes a Difference."

Afterwards the teacher decided to do a class project to see what kind of impact recognition would have on a community. She gave each of the students three more ribbons and instructed them to go out and spread this acknowledgment ceremony. Then they were to follow up on the results, see who honored whom and report back to the class in about a week.

One of the boys in the class went to a junior executive in a nearby Company and honored him for helping him with his career planning. He gave him a blue ribbon and put it on his shirt. Then he gave him two extra ribbons and said, "We're doing a class project on recognition, and we'd like you to go out, find somebody to honor, give them a blue ribbon, then give them the extra blue ribbon so they can acknowledge a third person to keep this acknowledgment ceremony going. Then please report back to me and tell me what happened."

Later that day the junior executive went in to see his boss, who had been noted, by the way, as being kind of a grouchy fellow. He sat his boss down and he told him that he deeply admired him for being a creative genius. The boss seemed very surprised. The junior executive asked him if he would accept the gift of
the blue ribbon and would he give him permission to put it on him. His surprised boss said, "Well, sure." The
junior executive took the blue ribbon and placed it right on his boss's jacket above his heart. As he gave him the last extra ribbon, he said, "Would you do me a favor? Would you take this extra ribbon and pass it on by honoring somebody else. The young boy who first gave me the ribbons is doing a project in school and we want to keep this recognition ceremony going and find out how it affects people."

That night the boss came home to his 14-year-old son and sat him down. He said, "The most incredible thing happened to me today. I was in my office and one of the junior executives came in and told me he admired me and gave me a blue ribbon for being a creative genius. Imagine. He thinks I'm a creative genius. Then he put this blue ribbon that says "Who I Am Makes a Difference." on my jacket above my heart. He gave me an extra ribbon and asked me to find somebody else to honor. As I was driving home tonight, I started thinking about whom I would honor with this ribbon and I thought about you. I want to honor you. My days are really hectic and when I come home I don't pay a lot of attention to you. Sometimes I scream at you for not getting good enough grades in school and for your bedroom being a mess. But somehow tonight, I just wanted to sit here and, well, just let you know that you do make a difference to me. Besides your mother, you are the most important person in my life. You're a great kid and I love you!"

The startled boy started to sob and sob, and he couldn't stop crying. His whole body shook. He looked up at his father and said through his tears, "Dad, earlier tonight I sat in my room and wrote a letter to you and Mom explaining why I had killed myself and I asked you to forgive me. I was going to commit suicide tonight after you were asleep. I just didn't think that you cared at all. The letter is upstairs. I don't think I need it after all."

His father walked upstairs and found a heartfelt letter full of anguish and pain. The envelope was addressed, "Mom and Dad". The boss went back to work a changed man. He was no longer a grouch but made sure to let all his employees know that they made a difference. The junior executive helped several other young people with career planning and never forgot to let them know that they made a difference in his life....one being the boss' son.

And the young boy and his classmates learned a valuable lesson. "Who you are DOES make a difference".

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[28 May 2002|02:29am]

[ mood | impressed ]


May 27, 2002 -- Polina Sirosh left her handbag stuffed with nearly $5,000 in cash on the back seat of a taxi - and got every cent back.
The lucky Manhattan photographic artist says it's thanks to a determined and gentle cabby whom money can't buy.

The driver, Saiful Mondal, 34, tracked down Sirosh using nothing more than her name on a bank card and the business card of a renowned interior-design architect he found in Sirosh's Fendi purse.

Then, when she offered him a $500 reward, along with her thanks, Mondal, a Queens computer student who is putting himself through grad school and whose wife is pregnant with their first child, refused.

"That's not my money," said Mondal, who had been a police officer in his native Bangladesh.

Sirosh, 26, insisted. He compromised.

Read the rest here.Collapse )

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Random Acts of Kindness Day [14 May 2002|01:19am]

[ mood | Kind ]

Someone was really mean to an LJ friend of mine today. She later posted that she wanted everyone to do some sort of random act of kindness tomorrow (Tuesday) to sort of make up for how mean that guy was. I told the story to nnnslogan and he decided that we should spread the word around LJ.

He suggested that we make it a new holiday. May 14 is Random Acts of Kindness Day. Even if that day already exists, no harm in making another one :).

So, yeah. Try to make a conscious effort to do nice things for people today. Open doors, carry groceries, hand the homeless man a sandwich, do whatever nice thing you have the opportunity to do for someone.

Oh, and post something about it in your journals to encourage others to do the same.

Thanks! :)

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I Am Choosing to Live [29 Mar 2002|01:51am]

[ mood | optimistic ]

Attitude Is Everything
by: Brian Cavanaugh, T.O.R., A Cup of Chicken Soup for the Soul

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 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 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 breathe 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.

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Do It Anyway [28 Mar 2002|02:40pm]

[ mood | determined ]

*This gets a little religious at the end, but it's Mother Teresa, so what do you expect ;). Anyway, whether you share her religious beliefs or not, she makes some good points throughout the rest of the quote.

Do It Anyway

People are often unreasonable, illogical,
and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you
of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some
false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may
cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone
could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may
be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often
forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it
may never be enough;
Give the world the best you've got

You see, in the final analysis, it is between
you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.

Through the end this is so true....so do it
anyway in Jesus name.

- Mother Teresa

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Ice Cream "Comb" [28 Mar 2002|01:25am]

[ mood | contemplative ]

The Ice Cream Comb Story

Written and submitted by Rick Beneteau
Editor's Note: "Comb" is not a typo.

She was three. Just released from a far-away hospital after life threatening brain surgery, ready to take on the world again. I was happy just to have her back. My little "Mr. Clean" (shaven head and hoop earrings) and me driving along to our local mall. Hanging out with dad day.

I recall her words as if it were yesterday.

"Daddy, can I get a treat?"

As she was understandably spoiled (if there is such a thing), I replied "OK honey, but just ONE".

Her eyes beamed like the Fourth of July in anticipation of that something only she knew at the time.

We drove around to the new end of the mall on the normal seek-and-destroy mission of capturing a parking place. After all, it was Saturday. We landed a fair distance from our destination, and began walking hand-in-hand towards the entrance, her pace gaining momentum with each tiny step. A few feet from the doors she broke loose and ran hands-first into the thick wall of glass, trying with everything she had to swing the big doors open. No luck. With a little assistance, she 'did it' and tried the very same thing at the second set of doors.

It was then that I asked her what she wanted for her treat. Without hesitation, she matter-of-factly said "an ice cream comb from the ice cream store." OK, the goal was set and we were in the mall!

But hold on! What was this? At the end of what was just an ordinary looking lane of retail chain outlets she spied something new-- this huge fountain, water shooting who knows how high into the air. The new goal line!

She ran, and I walked (don't ya just hate it when parents let their kids run wild in public?), and we arrived at the spectacle at about the same time. The turbulent noise was almost deafening.

"Daddy, can I make a wish, can I make a wish?" she screamed as she jumped with the kind of pure joy we've all long since forgotten.

"Sure honey, but that will be YOUR TREAT you know" I explained (gotta be firm with these kind of things).

She agreed.

I fumbled around in my pocket and pulled out what I think was a dime (big spender) and placed it in her outstretched hand. She cupped it tightly, closed her eyes and grimaced, formulating her wish. I stared at that little scrunched-up face and said my own kind of prayer of thanks, feeling so blessed to still have this ball of energy in my life. And then like a shooting star, the coin was flung into the foaming water and with it, her wish.

We happily continued our stroll into the familiar section of the mall. An eerie silence ensued, which I was admittedly uncomfortable with. When I just couldn't stand it anymore, I couldn't resist breaking it.

"Aren't you gonna tell daddy what you wished for?"

She retorted "I wished I could get an ice cream comb."

I just about lost it right then and there. Couldn't imagine what the shoppers thought of this lunatic laughing uncontrollably in the middle of a crowded mall. And needless to say, she got her wish, and two treats.

Little did I know then that my beautiful little girl would soon embark on a long road of seizures, surgeries, special schools, medications and end up partially paralyzed on her right side. She never learned to ride a bike.

Today, she is almost seventeen. She cannot use her right hand and walks with a noticeable limp. But she has overcome what life seemed to so cruelly inflict on her. She was teased a lot and always struggled in school, both socially and academically. But each year she showed improvement. She is planning a career in early childhood education. With one year still remaining in high school, she and I, one night not too long ago, mapped out all the courses she would need to take in community college. It was her idea. She volunteers weekly at a local hospital, on the children's floor. She baby-sits a neighbors children five days a week. On her own this year, she stood outside in line for four hours on a cold Canadian January afternoon and enrolled herself, with her own babysitting money, into two courses she felt she would need for college.

You see, to her failure was never an option.

It would almost be redundant for me to explain why I wanted to share this story with you. She IS my daughter and I carry all those fatherly biases with me wherever I go. But these aside, she is a very exceptional person and one that I admire and have learned a lot from.

It is my sincerest hope that her story will have even a momentary positive impact on you as a human being, a parent or a spouse.

I'd like to leave you with a closing thought. As human beings, we deserve all the treats, and the multitude of good things that life can offer us. We all have wishes and dreams, AND the power to make them reality. Just simple truths of the universe.

We can wish for, and get, that ice cream comb.

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Pay it Forward [27 Mar 2002|02:33am]

[ mood | thoughtful ]

Another Random Act of Kindness

Written and submitted by Michael Hargrove

�1999 Michael D. Hargrove and
Bottom Line Underwriters, Inc.

I want to share with you a true experience that changed the way my friend Tom lives his life and indirectly my view of the world.

At the time, Tom was waiting tables at the Newport Bay Restaurant on the waterfront in Portland, Oregon. As he was listening to a couple he had been serving quietly explain how they had somehow misplaced their money and didn't have a single credit card on them, his thoughts ran from how to avoid an embarrassing situation in a crowded patio of patrons to how this was going to absolutely kill his check average for the day.

"An absolutely lousy way to end a shift," he thought.

His focus was riveted back to the flustered couple as the woman asked almost whispering, "What do you do in situations like this?" Tom didn't have a snappy answer to this but before he could even give them a look of dismay, a man sitting at the table next to them calmly said, "Dishes." They all looked at the smiling face next to them and he jovially repeated, "There's always dishes you know." Well, the laughter that ensued was just what was needed to lighten the heaviness of the predicament for a moment.

Then the couple nervously rattled off a bunch of alternatives, "I know the bill's for $57, but we have $40 dollars in the boat. We could give you that and one of our driver's licenses and come back later with the difference or we could leave you a $300 pair of binoculars as a deposit until we can get back here with a credit card or one of us could stay here while the other goes back to the dock to get our money or...."

"There's another option." It was the man sitting at the table next to them again.

"There is?" Tom asked.

The man continued, "Yes there is...I could put your meal on my credit card, you give me the forty bucks and then mail me back the difference later." Everyone paused in silence for what seemed like forever.

The lady broke in with, "You'd do that? Well, we could also leave you the binoculars or something...I mean we will pay you back. We own several businesses all over Portland and...."

"Oh, please!" the man interrupted, "If I thought for a second you'd rip me off for twenty bucks, I'd never have offered." All the while this man was smiling a smile that lead Tom to believe he knew something that everyone else was oblivious to. Not a sneaky kind of 'get one over on someone' smile but one that seemed to be born of...well, pleasure. This guy was thoroughly enjoying this exchange.

As the husband ran off to their boat to get the $40, Tom took the man's credit card to ring up the bill. In his mind, Tom was half-expecting the card to be maxed out or stolen. It wasn't. He wondered what would possess someone to do this for a couple of complete strangers. Then he thought, "Well, my check average is saved but so much for the tip!"

When he returned with the voucher and a pen, the other man (his customer) had just returned with the $40 and was handing it to the good Samaritan. Tom returned his credit card to him and as he attempted to hand him the voucher to sign, the man held up his hand for Tom to stop and motioned to him to hand it over to his customers. He told Tom with a big beaming smile, "I just got here friend and I don't know if you gave these folks good service or if you stunk up the joint!" Then turning to the couple he said, "Don't forget his tip!"

They didn't. Tom was flabbergasted. Tom was pleased. Tom was ready to punch out.

As the couple was ready to leave, they thanked him again for his kind gesture but the man stopped them and told them that there was something he wanted in return.

"Okay, here it comes!" thought Tom.

The man said, "I'm really only returning the favor that a stranger once did for me. A situation not too unlike the one you two found yourselves in, as a matter of fact. Anyway, this guy told me exactly what I'm going to tell you now. In the next seven days the opportunity will arise for you to duplicate this kind deed. It may not be obvious, but if you look hard enough for it, the opportunity will show itself to you. When it does...act! Don't hesitate, don't think too hard about it, don't worry about the outcome...just act. When you do, we can consider ourselves even. Fair enough?"

"You do still want us to send you the rest of our tab, don't you?" asked the lady.

"Of course," he replied, smiling as he handed her his business card. "But the debt isn't fully repaid until you do something like this too, okay?"

"Okay, sure!" they both replied in unison.

"But why the seven days?" she asked.

"You'll see," he said again smiling that knowing smile of his. The couple chuckled and went on their way. But Tom couldn't help himself, he just had to know.

"Did someone else really do this for you too?" he asked the man.

"Yep, sort of...close enough anyway."

"What's really with the seven days, huh?" Tom asked.

"It's simple. I just wanted them to look for ways to help others. Within a week or so, they'll find plenty of ways to do something for someone else. The really nice thing that happened to me, even though this guy bailed me out of my jam several years ago, is that I still continue to look for ways to perpetrate a random act of kindness whenever I can. It's a fun way to approach each day and it's had a dramatic impact on my life. My hope is that they'll have the same experience as I have. Hey, it might be a good idea for you to do the same, buddy!"

Well, Tom indeed has done the same thing and, since hearing his story, so have I! I have found it to be an extremely enjoyable way to go through the day and the blessings that have come my way because of this new outlook are too many to mention in this short story, but they're real!

Hey...guess what!
Now YOU have heard this story too.
Looks like now it's your turn!

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[25 Mar 2002|11:20pm]

[ mood | grateful ]

Your Health Matters

Submitted by Carole M.
(Written by her mother)

I asked my mother to write down an experience that she and my father had last summer so I could submit it to you. She is a free lance writer so please excuse the length.

My husband Frank and I retired last June and a month later we moved into a mobile home park in South Florida. Our grandchildren Shane, age 11, and Justin, age 7, lived with us for about three weeks in July.

We both love kids but Frank has always had a special way with them. He's a great listener and very patient and really tries to treat them as "little people" and not just as children. He's very sociable too and likes a lot of the same things that they like, such as sports and cars and video games. Frank also has many hobbies but his favorite pastime is to just tinker around in the garage. Since we moved here much of his time has been spent at his workbench either fixing or building something.

Shane had his birthday the day after he and his brother arrived and we gave him a radio controlled airplane. The neighbor kids were instantly drawn to it. The boys and their new friends would take it to a big open field just up the street and Frank would often accompany them because something would usually go wrong with the plane that he would have to fix. Sometimes they would have to come back to the house so he could work on it in the garage.

Our garage became the local hangout. Every morning the kids would meet there and then walk over to the field where they would take turns flying the plane. Some of the kids would use this opportunity to bring over a broken skateboard or bicycle or something that Frank could look at. Frank would say, "Just leave it here and I'll see what I can do."

One day a little girl brought over an artificial leg. "Mister can you make this not hurt for my Mom?" I happened to be in the front yard watering at the time.

The little girl, I'll call her Violet, is a five and a half year old Bosnian refugee. Her real parents were killed in the war when she was one or two and she has no other family. Her adoptive mother, I'll call her Daisy, is a social worker who was working over there in 1993 when she found her in an orphanage.

Daisy is a remarkable person who last year tragically lost her leg in a boating accident.

When Frank and I saw this little girl she was very sad looking and Frank was quite taken by her. They had met once before when he was out in the field with Shane and Justin. A few of the kids snickered as she held the leg up high in the air. Frank noticed their reaction and eventually got everyone in the garage to say out loud what they would feel like if this leg had belonged to them or if they had to go through life with only one leg or one arm. They all agreed that their lives would be different. Frank can always make a discussion lively and interesting to kids. Each person had a turn examining the leg. It turned out not to be so "gross" or hideous after all. Frank then asked the little girl, "Honey, is your Mom home right now?" "Uh hum. She's asleep." "Can we both go see her?"

Daisy and Violet's house is located within sight of ours across the street from the big field. When she and Frank arrived there Daisy was sleeping off a hangover. Daisy, who is originally from New Jersey, is in her mid-forties and has never been married nor does she have any other children other than Violet. Six months after her accident her life was a mess. She wasn't working and refused to see any of her friends. Eventually she and Violet moved in with her father and step mother. Things there weren't very pleasant so she moved into her grandmother's house here in Florida. Her life began to turn around. She went to rehabilitation and to an amputee support group. Then her grandmother suffered a massive heart attack and passed away. Daisy felt the added stress she brought into her grandmother's life must have been too much and blamed herself for her death.

Daisy and Violet's home life was not great to say the least. Most days Violet would stay inside the house. Nobody ever wanted to come over to see her. Occasionally she would go outside to play while her mother would watch her from her bedroom window. Daisy never left the house. Her half-brother would stop by a couple times a week or so with food and sometimes take Violet into town or home with him. He and Daisy aren't very close. He is eighteen years younger than her.

Frank returned to Daisy's house later that afternoon to introduce himself. Daisy was reading Violet a story in the living room when he arrived. According to him he was his usual happy self and explained to her how Violet had come to his house earlier that morning with her artificial leg and asked him to make it not hurt anymore. Daisy recognized him as the "pleasant looking older gentleman always surrounded by kids" and was embarrassed and a little angry at the intrusion, but still polite. She replied, "I had no idea it was missing or that any of this happened. That probably explains why I had two little visitors earlier; two little girls. One of them wanted to show her sister THE LEG so I pulled up my dress and told them to come closer. I actually tried to scare them but it didn't work. The girl said it was very cool. Then she asked me if they could stay and have a tea party with Violet."

At that moment Daisy started crying. Frank called me on the telephone and I came over.

In the days to follow I became Daisy's surrogate mother and best friend. She was not the only one who had a physical deformity. Ten years ago I lost a breast to cancer. We cried and laughed and shared a lot of truth during this time.

A few days later Frank was out in the field with the kids when Daisy saw them from her window and decided to join them. She walked out of her house for the first time in months. Frank said something like, "Good afternoon madam. Care to go for a spin? You want to drive?" Daisy had always wanted to see Shane's airplane up close. On this day she got to fly it.

Today Daisy is getting back on her feet. She doesn't mind that she has to walk with a cane and with the help of a growing support group she is feeling more secure and gaining more self-confidence each day.

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You're Wonderful [25 Mar 2002|03:28am]

[ mood | chipper ]

You're Wonderful
Author Unknown

A famous singer had been contracted to sing at a Paris opera house and ticket sales were booming. In fact, the night of the concert, the house was packed; every ticket had been sold.

The feeling of anticipation and excitement was in the air as the house manager took the stage and said, "Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your enthusiastic support. I am afraid that due to illness, the man whom you've all come to hear will not be performing tonight. However, we have found a suitable substitute we hope will provide you with comparable entertainment." The crowd groaned in disappointment and failed to hear the announcer mention the stand-in's name. The environment turned from excitement to frustration.

The stand-in performer gave the performance everything he had. When he had finished, there was nothing but an uncomfortable silence. . . No one applauded.

Suddenly, from the balcony, a little boy stood up and shouted, "Daddy, I think you're wonderful!"

The crowd broke into thunderous applause.

Found at Cyberstory

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Attitude [25 Mar 2002|02:25am]

[ mood | calm ]

by: Rev. Charles Swindoll, Source Unknown

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, then circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think, say, or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company, a church, a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.

We cannot change our past. We cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you. We are in charge of our attitudes.

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Welcome to Happy Mart! [25 Mar 2002|01:44am]

[ mood | hopeful ]

I have several friends dealing with a lot rough things right now. I keep trying to think of inspirational things to tell them to cheer them up and let them know that things will get better. It's not always easy, though, and I tend to run out of anecdotes and encouraging words...especially when I'm having a rough day, myself.

Anyway, I thought I'd create a community for people to share their own stories and words of encouragement as well as seek inspiration when they're feeling down. Maybe it'll help someone, somewhere, when they need it most.

So, c'mon into Happy Mart and pick up some happy :).

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