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Archive for December, 2011

“When we were children we were grateful to those who filled our stockings at Christmas time.  Why are we not grateful to God for filling our stockings with legs?” 

G.K. Chesterton

 

As we near the completion of 2011, in order to learn the lessons that were being taught to us, it is time to reflect and give thanks for the bounty of gifts that were delivered. Let us never forget to be grateful for even the most simple things, the things we tend to take for granted.

 

I am grateful for the air I breathe, the ability to eat and drink and chew.

I am grateful to have arms and legs that work pretty well

I am grateful for my sight and hearing and the ability to speak and communicate my thoughts and feelings

I am grateful to simply have feelings, happy, sad . . . I’m just glad to be able to feel.

 

The list becomes incredibly long as you consider everything and everyone in your life. Let’s keep in mind, we didn’t earn these things, we didn’t do something to deserve them. We were freely given them for the limited time we are on this earth. We are indeed blessed people living in abundance.

 

Even if you are facing serious health problems, or a daunting challenge or sadness, you can still find much to be thankful for. Gratitude is the attitude in life that brings us inner peace, regardless of our circumstances.

 

When we face life with a positive attitude and a grateful heart,  we respond differently to everything and everyone around us. The impact it has on our daily experience is enormous and the contribution it is to others is immeasurable.

 

Please take a moment to watch this video and observe what happens to your heart. (only 4 min.)

 

 

May you complete your year with gratitude and appreciation, and as you prepare for 2012, perhaps you will ask yourself, “What will be my attitude for the year ahead?”

 

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What is Christmas?

“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so?  It came without ribbons.  It came without tags.  It came without packages, boxes or bags.  And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore.  Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before.  What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store.  What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”

Dr Seuss

“I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.”

Charles Dickens

“Christmas is a necessity.  There has to be at least one day of the year to remind us that we’re here for something else besides ourselves.”

Eric Sevareid

“A Christmas candle is a lovely thing;
It makes no noise at all,
But softly gives itself away.”
Eva Logue

“Instead of being a time of unusual behavior, Christmas is perhaps the only time in the year when people can obey their natural impulses and express their true sentiments without feeling self-conscious and, perhaps, foolish.  Christmas, in short, is about the only chance a man has to be himself.”

Francis C. Farley

“I sometimes think we expect too much of Christmas Day.  We try to crowd into it the long arrears of kindliness and humanity of the whole year.  As for me, I like to take my Christmas a little at a time, all through the year.  And thus I drift along into the holidays – let them overtake me unexpectedly – waking up some fine morning and suddenly saying to myself:  “Why, this is Christmas Day!”

David Grayson

“Christmas gift suggestions:  To your enemy, forgiveness.  To an opponent, tolerance.  To a friend, your heart.  To a customer, service.  To all, charity.  To every child, a good example.  To yourself, respect.”

Oren Arnold

“What is Christmas?  It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future.  It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace.”

Agnes M. Pahro

“When Christmas bells are swinging above the fields of snow,

We hear sweet voices ringing from lands of long ago

And etched on vacant places

Are half-forgotten faces

Of friends we used to cherish, and loves we used to know.”

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

“People can’t concentrate properly on blowing other people to pieces if their minds are poisoned by thoughts suitable to the twenty-fifth of December.”

Ogden Nash

For those of you who believe, I wish you and yours a blessed Christmas. For those of you who celebrate this time of year in other ways, I wish you a joyous Holiday. Whatever your traditions, I wish you a season of quiet reflection, boisterous laughter, tenderness, intimate sharing, and most of all, I wish you a time of deep and profound gratitude for no matter what our situation in life, we are among the most privileged people on this earth.

With love,

Martha

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Charlie Knew Two Things

“If you can look at a dog and not feel vicarious excitement and affection, you must be a cat.”

Author Unknown

 

Charlie Knew Two Things

 

“He was a smart dog. Many dogs are. But what Charlie knew was more than where the cookie jar was kept or how to spell W. A. L. K. He knew a couple of things I could do with knowing better myself.

When he was a year old I had to put up a sign for the humans in the house – Don’t open this door without checking if the dog is at your feet. Someone missed the sign as I’d only written it on a board about half the size of China. Charlie shot out. I ran into the public street screaming after him, “come here you little bastard.” But he was much too busy sniffing the world, marking the lampposts and ducking in and out of traffic to pay any attention to me.

This went on for a long time, a couple of near heart attacks and an imagined stroke – all mine and no one else’s. Eventually I managed to entice him into a field across the road where he then sped around the peripherals daring me to catch him. He loved this game. His favorite part was when I would dive full-length rugby tackle style mucking my good shirt but coming up dog-less as he sidestepped gracefully.

Then I got inspired. I dropped down in the middle of the field and played dead. It took him a minute to become concerned. He approached cautiously. Convinced by my Oscar worthy performance that I really was a goner he began to lick my face. I grabbed him. He didn’t struggle. It had been a good day and he knew there would be many more.

Years later, when we lived on a farm in The Netherlands, Charlie and his ‘sister’ Ella would run through the woods with me. One day I tripped over a root and fell flat on my face. I wasn’t hurt. The dogs could see that but what struck me in a weird way was that they weren’t laughing at me. C’mon let’s face it – had they been humans they’d have been clutching their sides convulsed with merriment – nothing is quite as amusing to us as a grown man falling snoot first in the muck. I was embarrassed but Charlie just glanced my way as if to say, “get up and get on with it.” So I did.

He loved to bark at the thunder. I’d let him out the back kitchen door because otherwise he’d deafen me. The sky would roar. Charlie would roar back. Then the dark clouds would rumble like the world was coming to an end. Charlie would raise the woof levels and continue relentlessly. In the end of course the elements would move on leaving this medium-sized black dog to strut back into the kitchen ‘mission accomplished’ written all over his face.

“Charlie,” I’d say, “That’s a waste of energy. The storm goes away whether you bark at it or not.”

He would consider my point but his reply was always the same. “Maybe, but I can’t risk it.”

To this day I think I was right about the thunder but Charlie knew two things. Life is for living to the fullest and when you fall down flat on your face don’t waste a second worrying about what people might think – just get up and get on with it.”

Dezy, The Pianobike Kid

Thank you to my friend, Bob Morley, for sharing this sweet story with us.

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You Live and Learn

 You live and learn. At any rate, you live.
Douglas Adams

The following are statements gathered from a number of people age 5-95, many of which were collected in the 1995 book, Live and Learn and Pass It On, Volume I

Life is constantly serving up lessons and a lesson is taught until it’s learned. If you don’t learn it, it will not go away. It will only get bigger and louder. Once it is learned, there will be another lesson. Like it, don’t like it, that’s just the way it is. . .

How long does it take you to learn something? Do you often fight learning the lesson before you? Do you resist it, deny it, ignore it and avoid it? Or do you stop and listen . . .  do you stop and observe. . . are you willing to let go of what you think you know and learn the lesson life has to teach you? What have you learned in your life that you would like to pass on? Write to me and tell me some of your life lessons and how they have changed you.

I’ve learned…..That the best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.

I’ve learned….. That when you’re in love, it shows.

I’ve learned….. That just one person saying to me, “You’ve made my day!” makes my day.

I’ve learned….. That having a child fall asleep in your arms is one of the most peaceful feelings in the world.

I’ve learned….. That being kind is more important than being right.

I’ve learned….. That you should never say no to a gift from a child.

I’ve learned…..That I can always pray for someone when I don’t have the strength to help him in some other way.

I’ve learned….. That no matter how serious your life requires you to be, everyone needs a friend to act goofy with.

I’ve learned….. That sometimes all a person needs is a hand to hold and a heart to understand.

I’ve learned….. That simple walks with my father around the block on summer nights when I was a child did wonders for me as an adult.

I’ve learned….. That we should be glad God doesn’t give us everything we ask for.

I’ve learned….. That money doesn’t buy class.

I’ve learned….. That it’s those small daily happenings that make life so spectacular.

I’ve learned….. That under everyone’s hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved.

I’ve learned…..That to ignore the facts does not change the facts.

I’ve learned…..That when you plan to get even with someone, you are only letting that person continue to hurt you.

I’ve learned….. That love, not time, heals all wounds.

I’ve learned…..That the easiest way for me to grow as a person is to surround myself with people smarter than I am.

I’ve learned….. That everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile.

I’ve learned….. That no one is perfect until you fall in love with them.

I’ve learned…. That life is tough, but I’m tougher.

I’ve learned…..That opportunities are never lost; someone will take the ones you miss.

I’ve learned….. That when you harbor bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere.

I’ve learned….. That I wish I could have told my Mom that I loved her one more time before she passed away.

I’ve learned….. That one should keep his words both soft and tender, because tomorrow he may have to eat them.

I’ve learned……That a smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.

I’ve learned……That when your newly born grandchild holds your little finger in his little fist, you’re hooked for life.

I’ve learned….. That everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.

I’ve learned….. That the less time I have to work with, the more things I get done.

I’ve learned…..That with every person I meet and most especially with those closest to me, I hold their hearts in my hand.




and some people will never learn . . .

Maybe you’ll live and learn. Maybe you’ll crash and burn.
John Legend

The choice is yours. It always is.

Thank you to my dear friend Maureen Maguire for sending me these wonderful lessons

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