Life is Hard….

Photo Credit: Loren Kerns via CC Flickr
Photo Credit: Loren Kerns via CC Flickr

There are thousands upon thousands of books, articles, and countless other kinds of information which tell us how to deal with the hardships of life.

Sometimes, it is the simple thoughts and / or stories that will remind us the most of the important things in life that we can use to remember. 

Thus is the reason for today’s short story.

Is your life hard? Are you struggling with some difficult situations right now? Hopefully, today’s little tale will help you make your life a little easier.

A farmer had a dog who used to sit by the roadside waiting for vehicles to come around. As soon as one came he would run down the road, barking and trying to overtake it. One day a neighbor asked the farmer “Do you think your dog is ever going to catch a car?” The farmer replied, “That is not what bothers me. What bothers me is what he would do if he ever caught one.”

Many people in life behave like that dog who is pursuing meaningless goals.

Life is hard by the yard, 
but by the inch, 
it’s a cinch. 

–Gean Gordon

“Dreamers” (Pictures That Speak Volumes #67)

Photo Credit: Unknown (if you know the name of this photographer, please LMK)
Photo Credit: Unknown (if you know the name of this photographer, please LMK)

Today’s picture is a heartwarming reminder of the time when we were are kids…just dreaming  of what we might someday want to become.

It is my hope that you have found the thing or things that you wanted to do as a child and have thoroughly enjoyed it. Like the famous American author, Mark Twain, once said, “if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life”.

If you haven’t lived your dream…what are you waiting for?

Slaying the Dragon – Pictures That Speak Volumes #63

Puppet Show Paris 1963 Dragon Slain

Will you look at the faces of these little darlings?? It is such a fascinating thing to observe the faces of people…especially kids when they are watching something happen in front of them.

These little critters were watching a puppet show in Paris, France, in 1963. It was at the time in which the dragon in the play was being vanquished that this photograph was taken.

Just look at those faces…a picture truly is worth a thousand words!

A Second Chance at Life

Photo Credit: Pixabay
Photo Credit: Pixabay

Have you ever thought to yourself how “good” your life REALLY is? What if the direction of your life suddenly changed and you found yourself in a situation that you had never thought that you would be in? One minute you think your life is great, you are healthy and everything is “smooth sailing?” then you find out that something in your body or mind wasn’t as good as you thought and that you were “very close” to experiencing a life-changing event?

Such was the case with me…

I have always enjoyed my life: talking with other people, spending time with my family and friends, enjoying the taste of delicious food, taking in the pleasures of seeing the beautiful things in the world, generally speaking, loving the life that I have been given.

But a little over a week ago, my life drastically took an unexpected turn. What was supposed to be a simple two hour screening procedure turned into a four day stay in the hospital.

It was during those four days that I discovered that my heart had been beating at an outstanding rate (150 beats per minute) and because of that high tempo, my heart had weakened to a dangerous level. Unbeknownst to me, I had had this condition for the past couple of years!

After leaving the hospital and meeting with the doctor the next day, I was told that the doctor was surprised that I hadn’t had either a stroke or a heart attack. YIKES!! What a shocking, wake up piece of news. I had NEVER KNOWN that my heart was 1) beating at such a high rate, and 2) that my heart had weakened to such a bad state.

So, imagine my thoughts today, when the doctor told me that despite the condition of my heart, everything would be ok. The doctors found out what was causing my elevated heart rate, the proper medicine to take to control my heart rate, and that my condition was totally correctable and curable!

The doctor simply said, “look at it this way…you have a second chance at life.

Needless to say, I am ecstatic for a couple of reasons…1) I feel great. I feel like I did 10-20 years ago, 2) I feel excited that now that I know that the doctors diagnosed the problem, everything will be OK, and 3) I have a new lease on life and I am going to take full advantage of it and take care of myself and love life even more than I did before.

Just thinking of “what could have happened” has left me feeling very humble and aware of my mortality more than it ever was. And it has taught me a lesson. It has taught me to live my life to its fullest. I shouldn’t be afraid to fail because, many times, it is when we fail that we grow and learn lessons that will benefit us in our lives.

It has made me value and love my friends, loved ones and family more so now than ever. I has allowed me to REALLY appreciate the things around me that I have taken for granted every day. But more importantly, it has strengthened my faith and assurance that my Lord and God never once abandoned or left me. He has always been there by my side throughout my life when things were going well and He was guiding the doctors and comforting me during my stay in the hospital.

You see, that’s the beauty of true FAITH. Faith is that knowledge of believing in someone or something when you cannot see it but you KNOW it is there. When you sit on a chair, do you bend down and test it first to make sure that it will hold you? Or do you simply just sit on the chair without closely inspecting its durability and strength?  Having faith in the Lord is exactly the same thing. I KNOW that He will take care of me and I KNOW that He is there to hold me up and to strengthen me. I don’t have to question or test anything that He does for me..My life is in His hands and if my time on earth is done, He will hold me close to himself and take me home. I have total peace and total fulfillment in my life knowing that He is always there with me.

So, how has your life treated you? How much do you appreciate the ways that you have been blessed? How well do you REALLY love and appreciate your loved ones? How strong is your faith? How secure are you if things were to suddenly go in a negative direction in your life?

Take the time everyday to truly be thankful for the good things in life. Find the moments in your daily routine to be grateful for your family and friends and show them how you feel. Discover the paths that you can follow and explore to give yourself a second chance in life.

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”  ~ Colossians 3:17

It’s Time for A Pop Quiz!

Hand completing a multiple choice exam.
Hand completing a multiple choice exam.

Don’t bother getting a pen and paper… just read… if you can’t
answer them, just keep going.

1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.

2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.

3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America contest.

4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer prize.

5. Name the last five Academy Award winners for Best Actor and Actress.

How did you do?

The point is, none of us remembers the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They’re the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Now here’s another quiz. See how you do on this one:

1. Name three teachers who aided your journey through school.

2. Name three friends who helped you through a difficult time.

3. Name five people who have taught you something worth while.

4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.

5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.

Easier?

The lesson?

The people who make a difference in your life aren’t the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They’re the ones who care.

Remembering the Important Things In Life

Photo Credit: Pete via CC Flickr
Photo Credit: Pete via CC Flickr

A philosophy professor stood before his class with some items on the table in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks, about 2 inches in diameter.

He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks.

He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up the remaining open areas of the jar.

He then asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “Yes.”

“Now,” said the professor, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The rocks are the important things – your family, your partner, your health, your children – things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter – like your job, your house, your car. The sand is everything else, the small stuff.”

“If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the rocks. The same goes for your life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take your partner out dancing. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party, or fix the disposal.”

“Take care of the rocks first – the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

———————–

~ Author Unknown

The People That Make a Difference.

Photo Credit: Ed Bierman
Photo Credit: Ed Bierman

Throughout our lives, we can probably all remember a person or a few people, who have influenced our life in a certain way. Whether they touched our life in a positive or negative fashion, these people will never be forgotten.

In today’s world we have a tendency to focus on the THINGS that are happening in the world around us: news, work, local or world events, etc. and we forget to remember the good things in life.

I recently found this interesting little quiz on indianchild.com that I think many of you will find very interesting and inspiring.

So, without further delay, take a minute or so and take the following quiz and then see how you do. It may very well be an eye opener.

Enjoy!

Take this quiz:
1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America contest.
4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.
5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor actress.
6. Name the last decade's worth of World Series winners.
How did you do?

The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are
no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields.
But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten.
Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Here's another quiz. See how you do on this one:
1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
4. Think of a few people who have made you feel, appreciated and special.
5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.
6. Name half a dozen heroes whose stories have inspired you. Easier?

The lesson:

The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that care and love you. Take some time today to go out of your way and thank those people who have made a difference in your life.

So, You Think YOU Are Having a Lousy Day?

Photo Credit: Podnox via CC, Flickr
Photo Credit: Podnox via CC, Flickr

Everyone has a bad day. Sometimes our bad days can stretch into a week or more. We can become disheartened and discouraged. What we need at times like these, are reminders that some people may have it a lot worse and harder than what you are experiencing. So, here are a few quick stories that I found on Puffin.com that may allow you to realize…that things could be worse.

Fire authorities in California found a corpse in a burned out section of forest while assessing the damage done by a forest fire. The deceased male was dressed in a full wet suit, complete with scuba tanks on his back, flippers, and face mask. A postmortem revealed that the person died not from burns, but from massive internal injuries. Dental records provided a positive identification.

Investigators set about to determine how a fully clad diver ended up in the middle of a forest fire. It was revealed that on the day of the fire, the person went for a diving trip off the coast some 20 miles from the forest. The fire-fighters, seeking to control the fire as quickly as possible, called in a fleet of helicopters with very large dip buckets. Water was dipped from the ocean and then flown to the forest fire and emptied. You guessed it. One minute our diver was making like Flipper in the Pacific, the next he was doing the breast stroke in a fire dip bucket 300 feet in the air.

Apparently he extinguished exactly 5’10” of the fire. Some days it just doesn’t pay to get out of bed – This article was taken from the California Examiner, March 20, 1998

STILL THINK YOU ARE HAVING A BAD DAY?

A man was working on his motorcycle on his patio and his wife was in the kitchen. The man was racing the engine on the motorcycle when it accidentally slipped into gear. The man, still holding onto the handle bars, was dragged through the glass patio doors and along with the motorcycle dumped onto the floor inside the house. The wife, hearing the crash, ran into the dining room and found her husband lying on the floor, cut and bleeding, the motorcycle lying next to him, and the shattered patio door. The wife ran to the phone and summoned the ambulance. Because they lived on a fairly large hill, the wife went down the several flights of stairs to the street to escort the paramedics to her husband.

After the ambulance arrived and transported the man to the hospital, the wife righted the motorcycle and pushed it outside. Seeing that gas was spilled on the floor, the wife got some paper towels, blotted up the gasoline, and threw the towels in the toilet. The man was treated and released to come home. Upon arriving home, he looked at the shattered patio door and the damage done to his motorcycle.

He became despondent, went to the bathroom, sat down on the toilet and smoked a cigarette. After finishing the cigarette, he flipped it between his legs into the toilet bowl, while seated. The wife, who was in the kitchen, heard the loud explosion and her husband screaming.

She ran into the bathroom and found her husband lying on the floor. His trousers had been blown away and he was suffering burns on the buttocks, the back of his legs, and his groin. The wife again ran to the phone to call the ambulance. The very same paramedic crew was dispatched and the wife met them at the street. The paramedics loaded the husband on to the stretcher and began carrying him to the street. While they were going down the stairs to the street accompanied by the wife, one of the paramedics asked the wife how the husband had burned himself. She told them and the paramedics started laughing so hard, one of them slipped and tipped the stretcher, dumping the husband out. He fell down the remaining stairs and broke his arm – Taken from a Florida Newspaper.

STILL HAVING A BAD DAY?

Just remember, it could be worse…..

1. The average cost of rehabilitating a seal after the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska was $80,000. At a special ceremony, two of the most expensively saved animals were released back into the wild amid cheers and applause from onlookers. A minute later, in full view, a killer whale ate them both.

2. A woman came home to find her husband in the kitchen, shaking frantically with what looked like a wire running from his waist towards the electric kettle. Intending to jolt him away from the deadly current she whacked him with a handy plank of wood by the back door, breaking his arm in two places. Until that moment he had been happily listening to his Walkman.

3. Two animal rights protesters were protesting at the cruelty of sending pigs to a slaughterhouse in Bonn Germany. Suddenly the pigs, all two thousand of them, escaped through a broken fence and stampeded, trampling the two hapless protesters to death.

And finally…

4. Iraqi terrorist, Khay Rahnajet, didn’t pay enough postage on a letter bomb. It came back with “return to sender” stamped on it. Forgetting it was the bomb he opened it and was blown to bits.

Last Words

Photo Credit: BaileyRaeWeaver via CC Flickr
Photo Credit: BaileyRaeWeaver via CC Flickr

Sometimes, some things are better left unsaid….

One day a girl, Sara, who was fifteen years old, came home from school in a very bad mood. She’d had a fight with her best friend that day and it hadn’t turned out well at all.

“Sara!” her mom yelled. “What are you doing? You know to do your chores right when you get home! And you’re late!”

“Coming, Mom!” Sara yelled, getting up and stomping towards the kitchen. “What?” she snapped as her mother gave her a stern look, annoyed.

“You’d better straighten up your attitude, young lady,” her mom warned, “or you’ll be grounded.”

“Whatever.” Sara began to throw around the dishes in the sink, trying to make as much noise as she possibly could. A plate cracked and cut her hand. Sara cursed.

“Sara!” her mom exclaimed. “How dare you use that language! Go to your room!”

“No!” Sara yelled, throwing down the towel she was using to wipe the blood off her hand.

“Do you want to say ‘no’ one more time and see what happens?” her mom asked. She looked furious.

“Sure,” Sara said sarcastically. “No.”

“How dare you!” Her mother slapped her.

Sara shrank back, staring incredulously at her mom. She had never hit Sara before.

“I HATE YOU!” Sara screamed before running out of the house.

“Sara, get back here!” her mom yelled, running after her.

“Leave me alone!” Sara screamed, running across the street. “I HATE YOU!” she screamed again. She continued running until she heard the sound of screeching tires and a scream. She turned around,hoping that it wouldn’t be what she thought it would be….

People were crowding around Sara’s mother, who was laying in the middle of the street, looking broken, bloody.

“NOOOO!” Sara screamed, running over and pushing through everyone to kneel by her mom. “Oh no, oh no….”

Her mom wasn’t moving or breathing. She was gone. Sara tipped back her head and wailed to the sky, sobbing so hard it hurt.

She couldn’t believe the last words she had spoken to her mother were “I hate you”.

We all need to be careful how to react to our family, friends and loved ones when we get mad. Remember, when we tell people that we hate them, or any other rude thing, remember it might be the last thing you ever say to them.

A Jar of 1000 Marbles

jar of marbles
Photo Courtesy of Alexkerhead, CC

This is one of my favorite stories showing us the importance of focusing on the important things in life……

How many marbles do you have?

The older I get, the more I enjoy Saturday mornings. Perhaps it’s the quiet solitude that comes with being the first to rise, of maybe it’s the unbounded joy of not having to be at work. Either way, the first few hours of a Saturday morning are most enjoyable.

A few weeks ago, I was shuffling toward the kitchen, with a steaming cup of coffee in one hand and the morning paper in the other. What began as a typical Saturday morning turned into one of those lessons that life seems
to hand you from time to time.

Let me tell you about it. I turned the volume up on my radio in order to listen to a Saturday morning talk show. I heard an older sounding chap with a golden voice. You know the kind, he sounded like he should be in the
broadcasting business himself.

He was talking about “a thousand marbles” to someone named “Tom”. I was intrigued and sat down to listen to
what he had to say. “Well, Tom, it sure sounds like you’re busy with your job. I’m sure they pay you well but it’s a shame you have to be away from home and your family so much. Hard to believe a young fellow should have to work sixty or seventy hours a week to make ends meet. Too bad you missed your daughter’s dance recital. ” He continued, “Let me tell you something Tom, something that has helped me keep a good perspective on my own priorities.” And that’s when he began to explain his theory of a “thousand marbles.”

“You see, I sat down one day and did a little arithmetic. The average person lives about seventy-five years.I know, some live more and some live less, but on average, folks live about seventy-five years.” “Now then, I multiplied 75 times 52 and I came up with 3900 which is the number of Saturdays that the average person has in their entire lifetime.

“Now stick with me Tom, I’m getting to the important part. “It took me until I was fifty-five years old to think about all this in any detail”, he went on, “and by that time I had lived through over twenty-eight hundred Saturdays. “I got to thinking that if I lived to be seventy-five, I only had about a thousand of them left to enjoy. “So I went to a toy store and bought every single marble they had. I ended up having to visit three toy stores to round-up 1000 marbles. “I took them home and put them inside of a large, clear plastic container right here in my workshop next to the radio. Every Saturday since then, I have taken one marble out and thrown it away.

“I found that by watching the marbles diminish, I focused more on the really important things in life. There is nothing like watching your time here on this earth run out to help get your priorities straight. “Now let me tell you one last thing before I sign-off with you and take my lovely wife out for breakfast. This morning, I took the very last marble out of the container. I figure if I make it until next Saturday then God has blessed me with a little extra time to be with my loved ones…… “It was nice to talk to you Tom, I hope you spend more time with your loved ones, and I hope to meet you again someday. Have a good morning!”

You could have heard a pin drop when he finished. Even the show’s moderator didn’t have anything to say for a few moments. I guess he gave us all a lot to think about. I had planned to do some work that morning, then go to the
gym. Instead, I went upstairs and woke my wife up with a kiss. “C’mon honey, I’m taking you and the kids to breakfast.” “What brought this on?” she asked with a smile. “Oh, nothing special,” I said. ” It has just been a
long time since we spent a Saturday together with the kids. Hey, can we stop at a toy store while we’re out? I need to buy some marbles.”