Friday, October 31, 2008

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Today is the tomorrow I worried about yesterday
And today was such a lovely day,
that I wondered why I worried about today yesterday
So today I am not going to worry about tomorrow
There may not be a tomorrow anyway
So today I am going to live as if there is no tomorrow
And I am going to forget about yesterday.

Today is the tomorrow I planned for yesterday
And nearly all my plans for today did not plan out the way I thought they would yesterday
So today I am forgetting about tomorrow and I will plan for today
But not too strenuously
Today I will stop to smell a rose
I will tell a loved one how much I love her
I will stop planning for tomorrow and plan to make today the best day of my life.

Today is the tomorrow I was afraid of yesterday
And today was nothing to be afraid of
So today I will banish fear of the unknown
I will embrace the unknown as a learning experience full of exciting opportunities
Today, unlike yesterday I will not fear tomorrow.

Today is the tomorrow I dreamed about yesterday
And some of the dreams I dreamt about yesterday came true today
So today I am going to continue dreaming about tomorrow
And perhaps more of the dreams I dream today will come true tomorrow.

Today is the tomorrow I set goals for yesterday
And I reached some of those goals today
So today I am going to set slightly higher goals for today and tomorrow
And if tomorrow turns out to be like today
I will certainly reach all of my goals one day!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Choose How You Start Your Day

Michael is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, If I were any better, I would be twins!

He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, Michael 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 Michael and asked him, I don't get it! You can't be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?

Michael replied, Each morning I wake up and say to myself, Mike, 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 isn't that easy, I protested. Yes, it is, Michael 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 is: It's your choice how you live life.

I reflected on what Michael said. Soon thereafter, I left the tower 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 Michael was involved in a serious accident, falling some 60 feet from a communications tower. After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Michael was released from the hospital with rods placed in his back.

I saw Michael 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 accident took place.

The first thing that went through my mind was the well being of my soon to be born daughter, Michael replied. Then, as I lay on the ground, 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? Michael continued, ..the paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions on the face 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 Michael. 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, Gravity. Over their laughter, I told them, 'I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead.'

Michael 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.

Friday, October 17, 2008

What God Won't Ask

God won't ask what kind of car you drove.
He will ask how many people you took to church who didn't have a car.

God won't ask the square footage of your home.
He will ask how many people you helped who didn't have a home.

God won't ask how many fancy clothes you had in your closet.
He will ask how many of those clothes you gave away to Salvation Army.

God won't ask what social class you were in.
He will ask what kind of "class" you displayed.

God won't ask how many material possessions you had.
He will ask whether those material possessions dictated your life.

God won't ask what your highest salary was.
He will ask if you trampled over any people to obtain that salary.

God won't ask how much overtime you worked.
He will ask did you work overtime for your family.

God won't ask how many promotions you received.
He will ask what you did to promote others.

God won't ask what your job title was.
He will ask did you perform your job to the best of your ability.

God won't ask how many promotions you took to chase the dollar bill.
He will ask how many promotions you refused to advance your family's quality of life.

God won't ask how many times you didn't run around around on your spouse.
He will ask how many times you did.

God won't ask how many degrees you have.
He will ask how many people you thanked for getting those degrees.

God won't ask what your parents did to help you.
He will ask what you did to help your parents.

God won't ask what you did to help yourself.
He will ask what you did to help others.

God won't ask how many friends you had.
He will ask how many people you were a friend to.

God won't ask what you did to protect your rights.
He will ask what you did to protect the rights of others.

God won't ask what neighborhood you lived in.
He will ask what other neighborhoods you visited.

God won't ask how many times you told the truth.
He will ask how many times you told a lie.

God won't ask about the color of your skin.
He will ask about the color of your heart.

God won't ask how many times your deeds matched your words.
He will ask how many times they didn't. God won't ask what neighborhood you lived in.
He will ask what other neighborhoods you visited.
God ordinarily will not show you His will in order for you to consider it.
He will show you His will when He knows you are willing to do it.

Bend, But Don't Break

One of my fondest memories as a child is going by the river and sitting idly on the bank. There I would enjoy the peace and quiet, watch the water rush downstream, and listen to the chirps of birds and the rustling of leaves in the trees. I would also watch the bamboo trees bend under pressure from the wind and watch them return gracefully to their upright or original position after the wind had died down.

When I think about the bamboo tree's ability to bounce back or return to it's original position, the word resilience comes to mind. When used in reference to a person this word means the ability to readily recover from shock, depression or any other situation that stretches the limits of a person's emotions.

Have you ever felt like you are about to snap? Have you ever felt like you are at your breaking point? Thankfully, you have survived the experience to live to talk about it.

During the experience you probably felt a mix of emotions that threatened your health. You felt emotionally drained, mentally exhausted and you most likely endured unpleasant physical symptoms.

Life is a mixture of good times and bad times, happy moments and unhappy moments. The next time you are experiencing one of those bad times or unhappy moments that take you close to your breaking point, bend but don't break. Try your best not to let the situation get the best of you.

A measure of hope will take you through the unpleasant ordeal. With hope for a better tomorrow or a better situation, things may not be as bad as they seem to be. The unpleasant ordeal may be easier to deal with if the end result is worth having.

If the going gets tough and you are at your breaking point, show resilience. Like the bamboo tree, bend, but don't break!

Thursday, October 16, 2008


A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on each end of a pole, which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master's house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water in his master's house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do. After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. "I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you." "Why?" asked the bearer. "What are you ashamed of?" "I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your masters house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don't get full value from your efforts." The pot said.

The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, "As we return to the masters house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path."

Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some. But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again the Pot apologized to the bearer for its failure.

The bearer said to the pot, "Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pots side? That's because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you've watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my masters table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house."

Each of us has our own unique flaws. We re all cracked pots. Don't be afraid of your flaws. Acknowledge them, and you too can be the cause of beauty. Know that in our weakness we find our strength.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Nothing to Fear

There's nothing to fear --- you're as good as the best,
As strong as the mightiest, too.
You can win in every battle or test;
For there's no one just like you.
There's only one you in the world today;
So nobody else, you see,
Can do your work in as fine a way:
You're the only you there'll be !

So face the world, and all life is yours
To conquer and love and live:
And you'll find the happiness that endures
In just the measure you give;
There's nothing too good for you to possess,
Nor heights where you cannot go:
Your power is more than belief or guess ---
It is something you have to know.

There is nothing to fear --- you can and you will.
For you are the invincible you.
Set your foot on the highest hill ---
There's nothing you cannot do.

A Tear to the Eye

Barbara was driving her six-year-old son, Benjamin, to his piano lesson.

They were late, and Barbara was beginning to think she should have cancelled it. There was always so much to do, and Barbara, a night-duty nurse at the local hospital, had recently worked extra shifts.

She was tired. The sleet storm and icy roads added to her tension. Maybe she should turn the car around.

"Mom!" Ben cried. "Look!" Just ahead, a car had lost control on a patch of ice. As Barbara tapped the brakes, the other car spun wildly rolled over, then crashed sideways into a telephone pole.

Barbara pulled over, skidded to a stop and threw open her door. Thank goodness she was a nurse - she might be able to help these unfortunate passengers.

Then she paused. What about Ben? She couldn't take him with her. Little boys shouldn't see scenes like the one she anticipated. But was it safe to leave him alone? What if their car were hit from behind?

For a brief moment Barbara considered going on her way. Someone else was sure to come along. No! "Ben, honey, promise me you'll stay in the car!"

"I will, Mommy," he said as she ran, slipping and sliding toward the crash site. It was worse than she'd feared. Two girls of high school age are in the car. One, the blonde on the passenger side, was dead, killed on impact.

The driver, however was still breathing. She was unconscious and pinned in the wreckage. Barbara quickly applied pressure to the wound in the teenager's head while her practiced eye catalogued the other injuries. A broken leg, maybe two, along with probable internal bleeding. But if help came soon, the girl would live.

A trucker had pulled up and was calling for help on his cellular phone. Soon Barbara heard the ambulance sirens. A few moments later she surrendered her lonely post to rescue workers.

"Good job," one said as he examined the driver's wounds. "You probably saved her life, ma'am." Perhaps.

But as Barbara walked back to her car a feeling of sadness overwhelmed her, especially for the family of the girl who had died. Their lives would never be the same. Oh God, why do such things have to happen?

Slowly Barbara opened her car door. What should she tell Benjamin? He was staring at the crash site, his blue eyes huge. "Mom," he whispered, "did you see it?"

"See what, Honey?" she asked.

"The angel, Mom! He came down from the sky while you were running to the car. And he opened the door, and he took that girl out."

Barbara's eyes filled with tears. "Which door, Ben?"

"The passenger side. He took the girl's hand, and they floated up to Heaven together"

"What about the driver?"

Ben shrugged. "I didn't see anyone else."

Later, Barbara was able to meet the families of the victims. They expressed their gratitude for the help she had provided. Barbara was able to give them something more - Ben's vision.

There was no way he could have known what happened to either of the passengers. Nor could the passenger door have been opened; Barbara had seen its tangle of immovable steel herself. Yet Ben's account brought consolation to a grieving family. Their daughter was safe in Heaven. And they would see her again.