Monday, 27 February 2012

The Most Beautiful Flower

The park bench was deserted as I sat down to read
Beneath the long, straggly branches of an old willow tree.

Disillusioned by life with good reason to frown,
For the world was intent on dragging me down.

And if that weren't enough to ruin my day,
A young boy out of breath approached me, all tired from play.

He stood right before me with his head tilted down
And said with great excitement, "Look what I found!"

In his hand was a flower, and what a pitiful sight,
With its petals all worn - not enough rain, or too little light.

Wanting him to take his dead flower and go off to play,
I faked a small smile and then shifted away.

But instead of retreating he sat next to my side
And placed the flower to his nose
And declared with ovacted surprise,

"It sure smells pretty and it's beautiful, too.
That's why I picked it; here, it's for you."

The weed before me was dying or dead.
Not vibrant of colors: orange, yellow or red.

But I knew I must take it, or he might never leave.
So I reached for the flower, and replied, "Just what I need."

But instead of him placing the flower in my hand,
He held it mid-air without reason or plan.

It was then that I noticed for the very first time
That weed-toting boy could not see: he was blind.

I heard my voice quiver; tears shone in the sun
As I thanked him for picking the very best one.

You're welcome," he smiled, and then ran off to play,
Unaware of the impact he'd had on my day.

I sat there and wondered how he managed to see
A self-pitying woman beneath an old willow tree.

How did he know of my self-indulged plight?
Perhaps from his heart, he'd been blessed with true sight.

Through the eyes of a blind child, at last I could see
The problem was not with the world; the problem was me.

And for all of those times I myself had been blind,
I vowed to see the beauty in life,
And appreciate every second that's mine.

And then I held that wilted flower up to my nose
And breathed in the fragrance of a beautiful rose

And smiled as I watched that young boy,
Another weed in his hand,
About to change the life of an unsuspecting old man.

The Cocoon

One day a man found a cocoon of a butterfly. When a small opening appeared, he sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through the tiny hole. 
Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It had gotten as far as it could and could go no farther. 
So the man decided to help the butterfly. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly now emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings.
The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand, to be able to support the body, which would contract in time.
Neither happened!
In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly.
What the man, in his kindness and haste, did not understand was, that the restricting cocoon, and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening, were nature's way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings, so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved freedom from the cocoon.
Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If we were allowed to go through our life without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as we could have been. And we would never be able to fly.

Discover the Power of Forgiveness

What do you do when somebody hurts you? Do you want to hurt him back or do you hold it against that person for the rest of your life? If you answer yes to these questions, know that you are like most people. To forgive is something that people generally have difficulty with.
Why don't people forgive readily? Here's why, because it is easier to hate than to forgive. Some people think to forgive is a sign of weakness, but let me tell you, it is not. To forgive takes courage and extra effort.
What is forgiveness? It is a gift from a generous heart. Forgiveness is not a reward. It is not something that you give to someone based on his good behavior. It is something that you give to a person irrespective of whether he has deserved it or not. Forgiveness is also not based on whether the person has asked for forgiveness.
Also know this. Forgiveness is not an event, which starts and concludes when you say the words, "I forgive you". Forgiveness is an act and a process, which often takes time. The deeper your hurt the longer it usually takes to completely forgive. It is an act because it is not just the words you say but it is your actions which will show if you've really forgiven.
A fine example of someone who embodies true forgiveness is former South African president Nelson Mandela. Mandela was imprisoned by the former all-white South African government for 27 years. Upon his release Mandela surprised the whole world when he showed no bitterness towards his jailers. That is truly remarkable.
Why is it necessary to forgive? Forgiveness releases you from the burden of bitterness and hate. It takes enormous energy to hate and to keep that hate in place. Forgiveness brings freedom whereas revenge is neither sweet nor gratifying, its just a hollow feeling.
Hate puts unnecessary stress on your body. It is a well-known fact, proven by numerous studies, that bitterness and hate can actually make you sick. A great number of people in the world don't really belong in a hospital, because the root of their problem is not physical but is mental. The moment they forgive and let go of their hate they will start to get well.
There is another reason why you need to forgive. If you don't forgive you actually prevent blessings from flowing to you. The Bible says that before you pray for anything first forgive those who wronged you, and then your Father in heaven will forgive you your wrongs. So there you can see that blessings are closely connected to your forgiving others.
I have personal experience of this. I used to be very cynical about life and didn't forgive easily. At the time I also struggled in every area of my life. Things just didn't seem to work out for me. It is as if everything that could go wrong, always went wrong. That was until somebody told me to take a look at my attitude. And when I forgave those who wronged me and changed my attitude, everything else changed. It didn't happen overnight. It took a while, but I could see and feel the difference.
Now you may ask how do you know when you've really forgiven someone? Here's the key. If after you've "forgiven" that person you still experience a negative sting whenever you think of him or her, it means you still have work to do. If however you don't have negative feelings towards that person it means you are free.
Are things not working out in your life, despite you doing all the "right" things? Is it possible that you have unforgiveness in your heart? It is certainly something to think about!

Monday, 13 February 2012

Random acts of kindness

ONE OF THE BEST STORIES I HAVE EVER HEARD!   As she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the very first day of school, she told the children an untruth. Like most teachers, she looked at her students and said that she loved them all the same. However, that was impossible, because there in the front row, slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard. Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he did not play well with the other children that his clothes were messy and that he constantly needed a bath. In addition, Teddy could be unpleasant. It got to the point where Mrs. Thompson would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X's and then putting a big 'F' at the top of his papers.  At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child's past records and she put Teddy's off until last. However, when she reviewed his file, she was in for a surprise.  Teddy's first grade teacher wrote, 'Teddy is a bright child with a ready laugh. He does his work neatly and has good manners...He is a joy to be around..'  His second grade teacher wrote, 'Teddy is an excellent student, well liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle.'  His third grade teacher wrote, 'His mother's death has been hard on him. He tries to do his best, but his father doesn't show much interest, and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren't taken.'  Teddy's fourth grade teacher wrote, 'Teddy is withdrawn and doesn't show much interest in school. He doesn't have many friends and he sometimes sleeps in class.' 

By now, Mrs. Thompson realized the problem and she was ashamed of herself. She felt even worse when her students brought her Christmas presents, wrapped in beautiful ribbons and bright paper, except for Teddy's. His present was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper that he got from a grocery bag. Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one-quarter full of perfume. But she stifled the children's laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume on her wrist. Teddy Stoddard stayed after school that day just long enough to say, 'Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my Mom used to.'  After the children left, she cried for at least an hour. On that very day, she quit teaching reading, writing and arithmetic. Instead, she began to teach children. Mrs. Thompson paid particular attention to Teddy. As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded. By the end of the year, Teddy had become one of the smartest children in the class and, despite her lie that she would love all the children the same, Teddy became one of her 'teacher's pets'. 

 A year later, she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that she was the best teacher he ever had in his whole life.  Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still the best teacher he ever had in life. 

Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he'd stayed in school, had stuck with it, and would soon graduate from college with the highest of honors. He assured Mrs. Thompson that she was still the best and favorite teacher he had ever had in his whole life. 

Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor's degree, he decided to go a little further. The letter explained that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had. But now his name was a little longer.... The letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, MD. 

The story does not end there. You see, there was yet another letter that spring. Teddy said he had met this girl and was going to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit at the wedding in the place that was usually reserved for the mother of the groom. Of course, Mrs. Thompson did. And guess what? She wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing. Moreover, she made sure she was wearing the perfume that Teddy remembered his mother wearing on their last Christmas together. They hugged each other, and Dr. Stoddard whispered in Mrs. Thompson's ear, 'Thank you Mrs. Thompson for believing in me. Thank you so much for making me feel important and showing me that I could make a difference.'  Mrs. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back. She said, 'Teddy, you have it all wrong. You were the one who taught me that I could make a difference. I didn't know how to teach until I met you.'  (For you that don't know, Teddy Stoddard is the Doctor at Iowa Methodist in Des Moines that has the Stoddard Cancer Wing.)  Warm someone's heart today. . .. pass this along. I love this story so very much, I cry every time I read it. Just try to make a difference in someone's life today? tomorrow? just 'do it'.  Random acts of kindness, I think they call it!

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Story of Silversmith

One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible Study.

That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver.

As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities.

The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot; then she thought again about the verse that says: "He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver." She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined.

The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.

The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, "How do you know when the silver is fully refined?"

He smiled at her and answered, "Oh, that's easy -- when I see my image in it"

If today you are feeling the heat of the fire, remember that God has his eye on you and will keep watching you until He sees His image in you.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Cracked Pot

An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which she carried across her neck.

One of the pots had a crack in it 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 house, the cracked

pot arrived only half full.

For a full two years this went on daily, with the woman bringing home

only one and a half pots of water.

Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments. But the

poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection,and miserable that

it could only do half of what had been made to do.

After 2 years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to

the woman one day by the stream. "I am ashamed of myself, because this
crack in my side causes water to leak out
all the way back to your house."

The old woman smiled, "Did you notice that there are flowers on your

side of the path, but not on the other pot's side?"

"That's because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted

flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk
back, you
water them."

"For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to

decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are,there would
be this beauty to grace the house."

Each of us has our own unique flaw. But it's the cracks and flaws we

each have that make our lives together so very interesting and

You've just got to take each person for what they are and look for the

good in them.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Importance of Friends

Have you ever realized the importance of friends in life? What would life be without them? If you have ever imagined this you would be well aware what friends do to you, how they make your life from nothing to everything. Friends are the most important element of any man’s life. Without them you are simply nothing. Without them life would be as colourless as it can get. Life would loose all its meaning and charm.
Friendship is an interpersonal relationship between the two persons. Friendship comes with friends which are not the part of our social circle but the part of our lives, people with whom we can share our joys and sorrows. Friendship is the blessing and the greatest gift to mankind. When we are born, we are gifted with the blood relations who make our family. But friendship is not a blood relation; this is the relation which we choose according to our will.
Friendship is a very sweet and emotional relationship which gives a man the whole happiness of life. It makes one’s life so easy n peaceful. Friendship is just like the water. As water gets the shape of that pot in which it is poured, friendship gets the same shape according to the situation. Friends are those who cheer us up when we are sad. They motivate us to achieve the goals of our lives. They are always with us when we need support. They are always with us to help us out. There is not a word “no” in the friendship. Friends are there when we want someone to share our happy moments with our friends. There are some those things with our friends. We can share with them our crushes and our love life with complete trust. We can share our many other personal problems which we normally don’t share with our family and especially parents.

Friends make our days and nights memorable. Enjoying with them makes the little moments of life turn into huge memories of laughter and happiness. Celebrating birthday parties with the friends, enjoying school/college/university events with them is in itself a great blessing. Late night parties, end of session dinners, occasional meet-ups, all of these things make life wonderful.
The best thing about this relationship is this that friends serve you without asking for a reward or dues. They will help you out in the most difficult of times and would never ask for a reward from you. They are always around you, silent and un-noticed at times, but always there to help you make your life meaningful. It is the most precious relation of them all. If you have friends who care for you more then you need, you are the luckiest person alive.
Friends are the courage of our hearts. They are with us like an umbrella in a heavy rain. They take care of our feelings, our emotions ad make our lives meaningful and enjoyable. When we see a laugh of a child we forget all our sorrows same as when we see our true friends in trouble we forget all our pain. This is the power of this relation. Friendship is an everlasting relation which comes from heart to heart.