Start with yourself . . .

change

Start With Yourself
Author Unknown

When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world. As I grew older and wiser, I discovered the world would not change, so I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country.

But, it too, seemed immovable.

As I grew into my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those closest to me, but alas, they would have none of it.

And now as I lie on my deathbed, I suddenly realize: If I had only changed my self first, then by example I would have changed my family.

From their inspiration and encouragement, I would then have been able to better my country and, who knows, I may have even changed the world.

The above words are said to be written on the tomb of an Anglican Bishop in the crypts of Westminster Abbey in London, England.

Consider this: Change starts with you!

The Carpenter’s House . . .

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The Carpenter’s House
Author Unknown

An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer-contractor of his plans to leave the house building business and live a more leisurely life with his wife enjoying his extended family.

He would miss the paycheck, but he needed to retire. They could get by. The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes, but in time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end his career.

When the carpenter finished his work and the builder came to inspect the house, the contractor handed the front-door key to the carpenter. “This is your house,” he said, “my gift to you.”

What a shock! What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently. Now he had to live in the home he had built none too well.

So it is with us. We build our lives in a distracted way, reacting rather than acting, willing to put up less than the best. At important points we do not give the job our best effort. Then with a shock we look at the situation we have created and find that we are now living in the house we have built. If we had realized that we would have done it differently.

Think of yourself as the carpenter. Think about your house. Each day you hammer a nail, place a board, or erect a wall. Build wisely. It is the only life you will ever build. Even if you live it for only one day more, that day deserves to be lived graciously and with dignity. The plaque on the wall says, “Life is a do-it-yourself project.” Your life tomorrow will be the result of your attitudes and the choices you make today.

Consider this: What choices are you making today?

A Walk In The Mountains . . .

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A Walk In The Mountains
Author Unknown

A son and his father were walking in the mountains.
Suddenly, his son falls, hurts himself and screams: “AAAhhhhhhhhhhh!!!”
To his surprise, he hears the voice repeating, somewhere in the mountain:
“AAAhhhhhhhhhhh!!!”
Curious, he yells: “Who are you?”
He receives the answer: “Who are you?”
Angered at the response, he screams: “Coward!”
He receives the answer: “Coward!”
He looks to his father and asks: “What’s going on?”
The father smiles and says: “My son, pay attention.”
And then he screams to the mountain: “I admire you!”
The voice answers: “I admire you!”
Again the man screams: “You are a champion!”
The voice answers: “You are a champion!”
The boy is surprised, but does not understand.
Then the father explains: “People call this ECHO, but really this is LIFE.
It gives you back everything you say or do.
Our life is simply a reflection of our actions.
If you want more love in the world, create more
love in your heart.
If you want more competence in your team, improve your competence.
This relationship applies to everything, in all aspects of life;
Life will give you back everything you have given to it.”
YOUR LIFE IS NOT A COINCIDENCE. IT’S A REFLECTION OF YOU!

Consider this: What are you giving life today?

Your Inner Voice . . .

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Your Inner Voice
Bob Eilers

My day started just like all the other days for the past 15 years where I get up, make some coffee, shower, get dressed and leave for the train station at preciously 7:35 A.M. to arrive at work by 8:30. While on the train I would always choose a seat away from the crowd so I can read the newspaper in peace and quiet. At work I am always being bombarded with questions from coworkers, suppliers, telephone and then those dreaded meetings so the last thing I need is some stranger to sit beside me and make small talk.

I don’t know why but for some reason when I got on the train today it was unusually full, something I don’t recall ever happening in the past. With hesitation I sat down in the only seat available beside a middle aged man that had his head down and seemed to be lost in his thoughts. I was glad that he didn’t notice when I sat next to him as he just continued to look down towards the floor.

Shortly after the train left for my 30 minute ride downtown I found myself wondering what this man was thinking about. What could be so important that he didn’t even see me sit next to him? I tried to forget about it and started to read my paper. However, for some strange reason this “inner voice” kept prompting me to talk to this man. I tried to ignore the “voice” as there was no way I was starting a conversation with a complete stranger.

As you probably guessed I eventually broke down and came up with an excuse to ask him a question. When he raised his head and turned his eyes towards me I could see that he must have been really upset as he had red eyes and still had some tears rolling down the side of his face despite his feeble attempt to wipe them away. I can’t describe the sadness I felt seeing someone in so much pain.

We talked for about 20 minutes and in the end he seemed to be doing better. As we were leaving the train he thanked me profusely for being an angel by taking the time to talk. I never did find out what was making his heart so heavy with pain but was glad I listened to the “voice” that day.

Several weeks had passed when I noticed an envelope on my desk after returning from lunch. It was not addressed to anyone and only had the word “Angel” written on it. My receptionist attached a note saying a gentleman dropped it off saying he did not know my name but had described me well enough that the receptionist knew it was for me. When I read the note inside the envelope I was so filled with emotions that I couldn’t contain myself. It was a letter from the man I met on the train thanking me again for talking to him and saving his life that day.

Apparently he had some very hurtful personal problems that were so overwhelming he was planning to take his life that day. In his letter he went on to explain that he was a religious person and in desperation screamed out to God that if God really cared about him he would send someone to prevent him from taking his life. In his eyes I was that someone, that Angel sent by God.

Not being a religious person myself I
don’t know what that “voice” was that made me take a chance and talk to a stranger but I do know that it made a difference in someone’s life that day. So the next time you feel prompted for no apparent reason to talk to a friend, relative, neighbor or even a complete stranger please remember my story. You just may make a difference in someone’s life when you listen to your inner voice.

Consider this: Listen to your inner voice.

 

The best day of your life is . . .

life

The best day of your life is the one
on which you decide your life is your own.
No apologies or excuses.
No one to lean on, rely on, or blame.
The gift is yours – it is an amazing journey -
and you alone are responsible for the quality of it.
This is the day your life really begins.”

- Author Unknown, but greatly appreciated

The Cleaning Lady . . .

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The Cleaning Lady
Joanne C. Jones

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.

Consider this: Who might you be overlooking today?

Tasting Life . . .

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves… Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given to you because you will not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

- Rainer Maria Rilke

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Tasting Life
Anthony De Mello

Before the young man began his studies, he wanted assurance from the Master.

“Can you teach me the goal of human life?”

“I cannot,” replied the Master.

“Or at least its meaning?”

“I cannot.”

“Can you indicate to me the nature of death and of life beyond the grave?”

“I cannot.”

The young man walked away in scorn. The disciples were dismayed that their Master had been shown up in a poor light.

Said the Master soothingly, “Of what is it to comprehend life’s nature and life’s meaning if you have never tasted it? I’d rather you ate your pudding than speculated on it.”

 

Consider this: Are you tasting life today?

Thanks for Your Time . . .

Time

Thanks for Your Time
Author Unknown (but greatly appreciated)

It had been some time since Jack had seen the old man. College, girls, career, and life itself got in the way. In fact, Jack moved clear across the country in pursuit of his dreams. There, in the rush of his busy life, Jack had little time to think about the past and often no time to spend with his wife and son. He was working on his future, and nothing could stop him.

Over the phone, his mother told him, “Mr. Belser died last night. The funeral is Wednesday.”

Memories flashed through his mind like an old newsreel as he sat quietly remembering his childhood days.

“Jack, did you hear me?”

“Oh sorry, Mom. Yes, I heard you. It’s been so long since I thought of him. I’m sorry, but I honestly thought he died years ago,” Jack said.

“Well, he didn’t forget you. Every time I saw him he’d ask how you were doing. He’d reminisce about the many days you spent over ‘his side of the fence’ as he put it,” Mom told him.

“I loved that old house he lived in,” Jack said.

“You know, Jack, after your father died, Mr. Belser stepped in to make sure you had a man’s influence in your life,” she said.

“He’s the one who taught me carpentry,” he said. “I wouldn’t be in this business if it weren’t for him. He spent a lot of time teaching me things he thought were important… Mom, I’ll be there for the funeral,” Jack said.

As busy as he was, he kept his word. Jack caught the next flight to his hometown. Mr. Belser’s funeral was small and uneventful. He had no children of his own, and most of his relatives had passed away.

The night before he had to return home, Jack and his Mom stopped by to see the old house next door one more time.

Standing in the doorway, Jack paused for a moment. It was like crossing over into another dimension, a leap through space and time.

The house was exactly as he remembered. Every step held memories. Every picture, every piece of furniture… Jack stopped suddenly.

“What’s wrong, Jack?” his Mom asked.

“The box is gone,” he said.

“What box?” Mom asked.

“There was a small gold box that he kept locked on top of his desk. I must have asked him a thousand times what was inside. All he’d ever tell me was ‘the thing I value most,'” Jack said.

It was gone. Everything about the house was exactly how Jack remembered it, except for the box. He figured someone from the Belser family had taken it.

“Now I’ll never know what was so valuable to him,” Jack said. “I better get some sleep. I have an early flight home, Mom.”

It had been about two weeks since Mr. Belser died. Returning home from work one day Jack discovered a note in his mailbox. “Signature required on a package. No one at home. Please stop by the main post office within the next three days,” the note read.

Early the next day Jack retrieved the package. The small box was old and looked like it had been mailed a hundred years ago. The handwriting was difficult to read, but the return address caught his attention.

“Mr. Harold Belser” it read.

Jack took the box out to his car and ripped open the package. There inside was the gold box and an envelope. Jack’s hands shook as he read the note inside.

“Upon my death, please forward this box and its contents to Jack Bennett. It’s the thing I valued most in my life.” A small key was taped to the letter. His heart racing, as tears filling his eyes, Jack carefully unlocked the box. There inside he found a beautiful gold pocket watch.

Running his fingers slowly over the finely etched casing, he unlatched the cover. Inside he found these words engraved:

“Jack, Thanks for your time! -Harold Belser.”

“The thing he valued most…was…my time.”

Jack held the watch for a few minutes, then called his office and cleared his appointments for the next two days. “Why?” Janet, his assistant asked.

“I need some time to spend with my son,” he said. “Oh, by the way, Janet… thanks for your time!”

Consider this: Who do you need to make time for today?

Judge Gently . . .

images Judge Gently

Author Unknown

Pray don’t find fault with the man who limps or stumbles along the road, unless you have worn the shoes he wears or struggled beneath his load. There may be tacks in his shoes that hurt, though hidden away from view, or the burden he bears, placed on your back might cause you to stumble too.

Don’t sneer at the man who’s down today unless you have felt the blow that caused his fall or felt the shame that only the fallen know. You may be strong, but still the blows that were his if dealt to you, in the selfsame way, at the selfsame time, might cause you to stagger too.

Don’t be too harsh with the man who sins or pelt him with word or stone, unless you are sure, yea, doubly sure, that you have no sins of your own – for you know perhaps if the tempter’s voice should whisper as softly to you as it did to him when he went astray, it might cause you to stumble too.

 

Consider this: ‘Every man has his secret sorrows, which the world knows not; and oftentimes we call a man cold when he is only sad.’ - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow