Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Walk Inside Us

Autumn reminds me of not only the ending stages of life but also the beginnings.
I remember the days I spent in Alanya when I was a mere child. The autumns used to be so lovely there in those years. This morning, when I glanced at some autumn pictures by coincidence on internet I felt like taking a walk in a forest.

Even though I adore music, just for today, I’d like to hear the peaceful sounds of the nature, and the yellow leaves rustling in the wind here and there, and the birds chirping and perhaps the singing of insects, etc…and also the voice inside me…I’d like to hear that silent voice amidst this tranquility…

You know, when we’re silent we can hear the echo of the voice inside us in crystal clarity. I feel as if writing is some kind of silent walking through letters. When we write, we seem to be walking on a road by wording the things we kept quiet about, yes, our silence turns into a waterfall flowing easily on its way ahead. Why do we want to hear the voice of the silence hidden inside us? Maybe, we are already tired enough of telling the things we should, and, of playing our prescribed roles in certain circumstances encircling us.

There is no such thing as “to be lonely” but to be on one’s own. The times when we say we’ve had enough of loneliness, in fact, we unknowingly state that we’ve spent time on our own longer than necessary. On the contrary, when we’ve been among the crowds for a long time, we feel as though we are seperated from our own self. I think, as long as we live we can’t avoid this sort of paradoxical feelings cherishing in our inner worlds.

Sometimes, walking together with a true friend is the best of all. We hear the sounds
of the two inner worlds together. Then, we start to talk about something irrelevant which sums up the things going through our minds, we don’t need to relate our topic to the previous one or any other, that is, we enjoy the magnificient freedom of voicing ourselves as we truly are. This is probably the most relaxing one of all conversations. If your friend talks to you, it’s because he/she wants to say something straight through the heart, not because he/she thinks it’s necessary to talk. And, you don’t also need to be responsive just to prove that you’re a good listener, because your intentions are not tested but trusted by a true friend.

Today, I want to take a walk over the autumn leaves in the forest…
And, I want to take a friend of mine with me, whom I have known since
my childhood. So, there would be no need for words to make us trust each other.
Just one word would be enough to recall so many sweet memories of childhood and smile at them together...
Suna Tekin Konca

Girl with an apple

(This is a true story and you can find out more by Googling Herman Rosenblat. He was Bar Mitzvahed at age 75)
August 1942. Piotrkow, Poland .
The sky was gloomy that morning as we waited anxiously. All the men, women and children of Piotrkow's Jewish ghetto had been herded into a square.
Word had gotten around that we were being moved. My father had only recently died from typhus, which had run rampant through the crowded ghetto. My greatest fear was that our family would be separated.
'Whatever you do,' Isidore, my eldest brother, whispered to me, 'don't tell them your age. Say you're sixteen.
'I was tall for a boy of 11, so I could pull it off. That way I might be deemed valuable as a worker.
An SS man approached me, boots clicking against the cobblestones. He looked me up and down, and then asked my age.
'Sixteen,' I said. He directed me to the left, where my three brothers and other healthy young men already stood.
My mother was motioned to the right with the other women, children, sick and elderly people.
I whispered to Isidore, 'Why?'
He didn't answer.
I ran to Mama's side and said I wanted to stay with her.
'No,' she said sternly.
'Get away. Don't be a nuisance. Go with your brothers.'
She had never spoken so harshly before. But I understood: She was protecting me She loved me so much that, just this once, she pretended not to. It was the last I ever saw of her.
My brothers and I were transported in a cattle car to Germany .
We arrived at the Buchenwald concentration camp one night weeks later and were led into a crowded barrack. The next day, we were issued uniforms and identification numbers.
'Don't call me Herman anymore.' I said to my brothers. 'Call me 94983.'
I was put to work in the camp's crematorium, loading the dead into a hand-cranked elevator.
I, too, felt dead. Hardened, I had become a number.
Soon, my brothers and I were sent to Schlieben, one of Buchenwald's sub-camps near Berlin .
One morning I thought I heard my mother's voice..
'Son,' she said softly but clearly, I am going to send you an angel.'
Then I woke up. Just a dream. A beautiful dream.
But in this place there could be no angels. There was only work. And hunger. And fear.
A couple of days later, I was walking around the camp, around the barracks, near the barbed-wire fence where the guards could not easily see. I was alone.
On the other side of the fence, I spotted someone: a little girl with light, almost luminous curls. She was half-hidden behind a birch tree.
I glanced around to make sure no one saw me. I called to her softly in German 'Do you have something to eat?'
She didn't understand.
I inched closer to the fence and repeated the question in Polish. She stepped forward. I was thin and gaunt, with rags wrapped around my feet, but the girl looked unafraid. In her eyes, I saw life.
She pulled an apple from her woolen jacket and threw it over the fence.
I grabbed the fruit and, as I started to run away, I heard her say faintly, 'I'll see you tomorrow..'
I returned to the same spot by the fence at the same time every day. She was always there with something for me to eat - a hunk of bread or, better yet, an apple.
We didn't dare speak or linger. To be caught would mean death for us both.
I didn't know anything about her, just a kind farm girl, except that she understood Polish. What was her name? Why was she risking her life for me?
Hope was in such short supply, and this girl on the other side of the fence gave me some, as nourishing in its way as the bread and apples.
Nearly seven months later, my brothers and I were crammed into a coal car and shipped to Theresienstadt camp in Czechoslovakia .
'Don't return,' I told the girl that day. 'We're leaving..'
I turned toward the barracks and didn't look back, didn't even say good-bye to the little girl whose name I'd never learned, the girl with the apples.
We were in Theresienstadt for three months. The war was winding down and Allied forces were closing in, yet my fate seemed sealed.
On May 10, 1945, I was scheduled to die in the gas chamber at 10:00 AM.
In the quiet of dawn, I tried to prepare myself. So many times death seemed ready to claim me, but somehow I'd survived. Now, it was over.
I thought of my parents. At least, I thought, we will be reunited.
But at 8 A.M. there was a commotion. I heard shouts, and saw people running every which way through camp. I caught up with my brothers.
Russian troops had liberated the camp! The gates swung open. Everyone was running, so I did too. Amazingly, all of my brothers had survived;
I'm not sure how. But I knew that the girl with the apples had been the key to my survival.
In a place where evil seemed triumphant, one person's goodness had saved my life, had given me hope in a place where there was none.
My mother had promised to send me an angel, and the angel had come.
Eventually I made my way to England where I was sponsored by a Jewish charity, put up in a hostel with other boys who had survived the Holocaust and trained in electronics. Then I came to America , where my brother Sam had already moved I served in the U. S. Army during the Korean War, and returned to New York City after two years.
By August 1957 I'd opened my own electronics repair shop.. I was starting to settle in.
One day, my friend Sid who I knew from England called me.
'I've got a date. She's got a Polish friend. Let's double date.'
A blind date? Nah, that wasn't for me.
But Sid kept pestering me, and a few days later we headed up to the Bronx to pick up his date and her friend Roma.
I had to admit, for a blind date this wasn't so bad. Roma was a nurse at a Bronx hospital. She was kind and smart. Beautiful, too, with swirling brown curls and green, almond-shaped eyes that sparkled with life.
The four of us drove out to Coney Island . Roma was easy to talk to, easy to be with.
Turned out she was wary of blind dates too!
We were both just doing our friends a favor. We took a stroll on the boardwalk, enjoying the salty Atlantic breeze, and then had dinner by the shore. I couldn't remember having a better time.
We piled back into Sid's car, Roma and I sharing the backseat.
As European Jews who had survived the war, we were aware that much had been left unsaid between us. She broached the subject, 'Where were you,' she asked softly, 'during the war?'
'The camps,' I said. The terrible memories still vivid, the irreparable loss. I had tried to forget. But you can never forget.
She nodded. 'My family was hiding on a farm in Germany, not far from Berlin,' she told me.. 'My father knew a priest, and he got us Aryan papers.'
I imagined how she must have suffered too, fear, a constant companion. And yet here we were both survivors, in a new world.
'There was a camp next to the farm.' Roma continued. 'I saw a boy there and I would throw him apples every day.'
What an amazing coincidence that she had helped some other boy. 'What did he look like? I asked.
'He was tall, skinny, and hungry. I must have seen him every day for six months.'
My heart was racing. I couldn't believe it.
This couldn't be.
'Did he tell you one day not to come back because he was leaving Schlieben?'
Roma looked at me in amazement. 'Yes!'
'That was me!'
I was ready to burst with joy and awe, flooded with emotions. I couldn't believe it! My angel.
'I'm not letting you go.' I said to Roma. And in the back of the car on that blind date, I proposed to her. I didn't want to wait.
'You're crazy!' she said. But she invited me to meet her parents for Shabbat dinner the following week.
There was so much I looked forward to learning about Roma, but the most important things I always knew: her steadfastness, her goodness. For many months, in the worst of circumstances, she had come to the fence and given me hope. Now that I'd found her again, I could never let her go.
That day, she said yes. And I kept my word. After nearly 50 years of marriage, two children and three grandchildren, I have never let her go.
Herman Rosenblat of Miami Beach , Florida
This story is being made into a movie called The Fence.


Author Unknown
The partner who hogs the covers every night,Because he is not out with someone else.
The child who is not cleaning his room, butis watching TV, because that means he is atHomeand not on the streets.
For the taxes that I pay,Because it means that I am employed.
For the mess to clean after a party, Because it means that I have beenSurrounded by friends.
For the clothes that fit a little too snug, Because it means I have enough to eat.
For my shadow that watches me work,Because it means I am in the sunshine.
For a lawn that needs mowing, Windows that need cleaning,And gutters that need fixing, Because it means I have a home.
For the parking spot I find at thefarEnd of the parking lot, because it meansI amcapable of walking and that I haveBeen blessed with transportation.
For my huge heating/cooling bill,Because it means I am warm/refreshed.
For the lady behind me in church thatSings off key, because it means thatI can hear.
For the pile of laundry and Ironing, Because it means I have clothes to wear.
For weariness and aching muscles atThe end of the day, because it meansI have been capable of working hard.
For the alarm that goes off in theEarly morning hours, because itMeans I amalive.
And finally...
For too much e-Mail, Because it means I have friends whoAre thinking of me.


The 'Home Of Peaceful Empathy' or HOPE as it was popularly known was a home for the aged. It had about thirty residents. Some were sick, others were healthy. Some were active, others were confined to wheelchairs.Two things they all had in common: Their children didn't want to keep them and they all had a limited lease of life left!
Every evening, all the residents would sit outside in the garden. The management would put cane chairs outside. Tea and biscuits would be served to them. It was a daily routine that these elderly people looked forward to. Next door lived a young couple and their ten year old son, Bunty. The little boy was very thin and weak. He seemed to have no friends of his age. Every evening he would come to the old age home and chat with the residents. Sometimes he would bring yellow daisies for them. He would put the daisies into the hair of the old women and into the button holes of the old men's jackets. He called all the women 'Grandma', and all the men 'Grandpa'. They looked forward to Bunty's visits just as much as he looked forward to them.
Sometimes Bunty would play the guitar and sing songs for them. One day he told them about the drama that they had at school. He enacted the various roles all by himself. He loved these old people and he loved to see them laugh. Another day he brought his cricket bat and played cricket with them. He loved to see the Grandpa's turn into little boys.
Bunty's mother was usually busy with her household chores, but sometimes she would come along with Bunty and chat with these oldies. They would often ask her why Bunty had no friends of his age. She would simply say, "He's happier playing with you. Perhaps he has got something in common with you."
One evening the residents waited for Bunty, but he didn't turn up. The nextday too, there was no sign of him. On the fourth day, one old man who was really missing Bunty, pressed the door bell of Bunty's house. A worried looking mother opened the door. "Good evening ma'am! I was wondering if Bunty is well, we haven't seen him around for some days.Is everything all right?" The woman hesitated, "Yes, I mean, no, it isn't. Bunty is sick. Would you like to come to his room?"
The old man followed the lady to Bunty's room. The sight he saw stopped him in his tracks. A bottle of blood was being transfused into the boy.Next to his bed was a trolley laden with bottles of glucose and dextrose. There were numerous bottles of medicine. There was a nurse on duty. She signaled for them to be quiet. She got up and motioned them to come out of the room. "He has just gone to sleep. He's been struggling with the pain. Please don't disturb him."
The lady said, "Grandpa, Bunty is thalasemmic." She swallowed to hide her tears, "Every month we take him to the hospital for his blood transfusion. Three days back he contracted a viral. He got a chest infection and had very high fever. We requested the doctor to give him the blood transfusion at home. He has very low immunity. It will take awhile for him to get well. The old man said, "He never told us. He came to see us everyday, but he never let us know. Come to think of it,even you never let us know!"
"Grandpa, Bunty's a strong willed boy. He'd be heart broken if all of you were to pity him. He never wanted to discuss his disease. He's not able to match up with his peers at school, while playing games, so he opts to play with all of you. It makes him happy, so I allow him to see you every evening."
The old man was speechless. All the little acts of love; all that sharing and caring; all that concern and laughter from a child who was thalasemmic!
The happiest people in the world are not those who have no problems, but those who learn to live with things that are less than perfect!

Achieve your personal best

By Neil Eskelin
Les Brown, a noted inspirational speaker, tells the story of one of his friends, a salesman, who was in financial trouble because sales were down. Les asked him, "How many phone calls are you making a day?" His friend answered, "Twenty five." Les didn't hesitate with his advice. "Double them," he said. "Make fifty. Or seventy-five. Or one hundred."
The salesman answered, "Aw, man. that's too much."
"Too much!" replied Les. "You tell me that you are behind on your bills and then you say it's too much. You know, one way to get back on your feet real quick is to miss two car payments. How can you say anything is too much when you have everything at stake?"
The advice Les Brown gave his friend needs to be heard by people everywhere. It's amazing what we can do when we're "hungry" for success. Most people who say "I've tried," haven't scratched the surface of their potential.
Today, why not make a commitment to achieve your personal best?

Nine promise that bring happiness

We seek happiness in the wrong places and in the wrong form. The primary cause of unhappiness is simply wanting too much, over emphasizing the material things...Happiness begins where selfishness ends.
Strategy to find happiness is to make and keep nine promises:

PROMISE to talk about health, happiness, and prosperity as often as possible.
PROMISE to make all your friends know there is something in them that is special and that you value.
PROMISE to think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best in yourself and others.
PROMISE to be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.
PROMISE to be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
PROMISE to forget the mistakes of the past and press on to greater achievements in the future.
PROMISE to wear a cheerful appearance at all times and give every person you meet a smile.
PROMISE to give so much time improving yourself that you have no time to criticize others.
PROMISE to be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit trouble to press on you.

"Mother & Child"

It was Christmas 1961. I was teaching in a small town in Ohio where my twenty-seven bright-eyed, bushy-tailed third graders eagerly anticipated the great day of gifts and giving. A tree covered with tinsel and gaudy paper chains graced one corner. In another rested a manger scene produced from cardboard and poster paints by chubby, and sometimes grubby, hands. Someone had brought a doll and placed it on the straw in the cardboard box that served as the manger. It didn't matter that you could pull a string and hear the blue-eyed, golden-haired dolly say, "My name is Susie." "But Jesus was a boy baby!" one of the boys proclaimed. Nonetheless, Susie stayed. Each day the children produced some new wonder - strings of popcorn, hand-made trinkets, and German bells made from wallpaper samples, which we hung from the ceiling. Through it all she remained aloof, watching from afar, seemingly miles away. I wondered what would happen to this quiet child, once so happy, now so suddenly withdrawn. I hoped the festivities would appeal to her. But nothing did. We made cards and gifts for mothers and dads, for sisters and brothers, for grandparents, and for each other. At home the students made the popular fried marbles and vied with one another to bring in the prettiest ones. "You put them in a hot frying pan, Teacher. And you let them get real hot, and then you watch what happens inside. But you don't fry them too long or they break." So, as my gift to them, I made each of my students a little pouch for carrying their fried marbles. And I knew they had each made something for me: bookmarks carefully cut, colored, and sometimes pasted together; cards and special drawings; liquid embroidery doilies, hand-fringed, of course. The day of gift-giving finally came. We oohed and aahed over our handiwork as the presents were exchanged. Through it all, she sat quietly watching. I had made a special pouch for her, red and green with white lace. I wanted very much to see her smile. She opened the package so slowly and carefully. I waited but she turned away. I had not penetrated the wall of isolation she had built around herself. After school the children left in little groups, chattering about the great day yet to come when long-hoped-for two-wheelers and bright sleds would appear beside their trees at home. She lingered, watching them bundle up and go out the door. I sat down in a child-sized chair to catch my breath, hardly aware of what was happening, when she came to me with outstretched hands, bearing a small white box, unwrapped and slightly soiled, as though it had been held many times by unwashed, childish hands. She said nothing. "For me?" I asked with a weak smile, suddenly feeling very insecure for my thirty-odd years. She said not a word, but nodded her head. I took the box and gingerly opened it. There inside, glistening green, a fried marble hung from a golden chain. Surprised, I knew I'd never wear this inexpensive "jewelry." Then I looked into that elderly eight-year-old face and saw the question in her dark brown eyes. In a flash I knew — she had made it for her mother, a mother she would never see again, a mother who would never hold her or brush her hair or share a funny story, a mother who would never again hear her childish joys or sorrows. A mother who had taken her own life just three weeks before. I held out the chain. She took it in both her hands, reached forward, and secured the simple clasp at the back of my neck. She stepped back then as if to see that all was well. I looked down at the shiny piece of glass and the tarnished golden chain, then back at the giver. I meant it when I whispered, "Oh, Maria, it is so beautiful. She would have loved it." Neither of us could stop the tears. She stumbled into my arms and we wept together. And for that brief moment I became her mother, for she had given me the greatest gift of all: herself.

Inspiring thoughts

Anger is a condition in whichthe tongue works faster than the mind.
You can't change the past,but you can ruin the present by worrying over the future.
The darkest moment of the night is just before dawn.
Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half shut afterwards.
All people smile in the same language.
A hug is a great gift... one size fits all. It can be given for any occasion and it's easy to exchange.
Everyone needs to be loved...especially when they do not deserve it.
The real measure of a man's wealth is what he has invested in eternity.
Love...and you shall be loved.
Everyone has beautybut not everyone sees it.
It's important for parents to live the same things they teach.
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.
If you fill your heart with regrets of yesterday and the worries of tomorrow, you have no today to be thankful for.
Marriage is like a game of compromise. When either one of the players stops compromising, the game is about to end.
The choice you make todaywill usually affect tomorrow.
Take time to laugh, for it is the music of the soul.
If anyone speaks badly of you, live so none will believe it.
Patience is the ability to idle your motor when you feel like stripping your gears.
Love is strengthened by workingthrough conflicts together.
The best thing parents can do for their children is to love each other.
Harsh words break no bonesbut they do break hearts.
To get out of a difficulty,one usually must go through it.
We take for granted the thingsthat we should be giving thanks for.
Love is the only thing that can be divided without being diminished.
Happiness is enhanced by others but does not depend upon others.
For every minute you are angry with someone, you lose 60 seconds of happiness that you can never get back.
Do what you can, for who you can, with what you have, and where you are



"How beautiful, how buoyant, and glad is morning!"

-L.E. Landon, 1933

Good morning! The reason I send these messages out first thing in
the morning is because I think it is a great way to start the day,
getting centered, remembering what is important. The break of day
represents a kind of optimism. There is a newness, a freshness, as
if time starts all over again. No matter what has happened the day
before, we know the sun will come up and shine its light on us today.

Waking Up

"The moment when first you wake up in the morning is the most
wonderful of the twenty-four hours. No matter how weary or dreary
you may feel, you possess the certainty that absolutely anything may
happen. And the fact that it practically always doesn't, matters not
one jot. The possibility is always there."

-Monica Baldwin, 1950

There is always some uncertainty to the day. Will it rain? Will it
be sunny? And we don't know what surprises may come our way, big or
small! But how fun to be able to participate in the process, to
watch things as they unfold and to make choices and contribute.


"I like breakfast-time better than any other moment in the day. No
dust has settled on one's mind then, and it presents a clear mirror
to the rays of things."

-George Eliot, 1859

Somehow we see things differently in the light of a new day. When we
have a big decision to make, we often say "let me sleep on it,"
knowing that after a rest we'll have a fresh perspective and be able
to think more clearly.


"Morning prospective: imagination.
Evening retrospective: memory."

-Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)


"It's completely usual for me to get up in the morning, take a look
around, and laugh out loud."

-Barbara Kingsolver (1955- )

Our attitude has everything to do with how the day goes for us. When
we approach our activities with a sense of fun and light-
heartedness, it affects our environment, and the people around us.
Time passes by more quickly, and we enjoy ourselves so much more.

The Sandpiper

The Sandpiper

She was six years old when I first met her on the beach near where I live. I drive to this beach, a distance of three or four miles, whenever the world begins to close in on me. She was building a sandcastle or something and looked up, her eyes as blue as the sea.

"Hello," she said.

I answered with a nod, not really in the mood to bother with a small child.

"I'm building," she said.

"I see that. What is it?" I asked, not caring.

"Oh, I don't know, I just like the feel of sand."

That sounds good, I thought, and slipped off my shoes. A sandpiper glided by. "That's a joy," the child said.

"It's a what?"

"It's a joy. My mama says sandpipers come to bring us joy." The bird went gliding down the beach.

"Good-bye joy," I muttered to myself, "hello pain," and turned to walk on. I was depressed; my life seemed completely out of balance.

"What's your name?" She wouldn't give up.

"Robert," I answered. "I'm Robert Peterson."

"Mine's Wendy... I'm six."

"Hi, Wendy."

She giggled. "You're funny," she said. In spite of my gloom I laughed too and walked on. Her musical giggle followed me.

"Come again, Mr. P," she called. "We'll have another happy day."

The days and weeks that followed belonged to others: A group of unruly Boy Scouts, PTA meetings, and an ailing mother. The sun was shining one morning as I took my hands out of the dishwater. "I need a sandpiper," I said to myself, gathering up my coat. The ever-changing balm of the seashore awaited me. The breeze was chilly, but I strode along, trying to recapture the serenity I needed. I had forgotten the child and was startled when she appeared.

"Hello, Mr. P," she said. "Do you want to play?"

"What did you have in mind?" I asked, with a twinge of annoyance.

"I don't know, you say."

"How about charades?" I asked sarcastically.

The tinkling laughter burst forth again. "I don't know what that is."

"Then let's just walk." Looking at her, I noticed the delicate fairness of her face. "Where do you live?" I asked.

"Over there." She pointed toward a row of summer cottages. Strange, I thought, in winter.

"Where do you go to school?"

"I don't go to school. Mommy says we're on vacation." She chattered little girl talk as we strolled up the beach, but my mind was on other things.

When I left for home, Wendy said it had been a happy day. Feeling surprisingly better, I smiled at her and agreed.

Three weeks later, I rushed to my beach in a state of near panic. I was in no mood to even greet Wendy. I thought I saw her mother on the porch and felt like demanding she keep her child at home. "Look, if you don't mind," I said crossly when Wendy caught up with me, "I'd rather be alone today."

She seems unusually pale and out of breath. "Why?" she asked.

I turned to her and shouted, "Because my mother died!" and thought, "My God, why was I saying this to a little child?"

"Oh," she said quietly, "then this is a bad day."

"Yes," I said, "and yesterday and the day before and-oh, go away!"

"Did it hurt?" she inquired.

"Did what hurt?" I was exasperated with her, with myself.

"When she died?"

"Of course it hurt!" I snapped, misunderstanding, wrapped up in myself. I strode off.

A month or so after that, when I next went to the beach, she wasn't there. Feeling guilty, ashamed and admitting to myself I missed her, I went up to the cottage after my walk and knocked at the door. A drawn looking young woman with honey-colored hair opened the door.

"Hello," I said. "I'm Robert Peterson. I missed your little girl today and wondered where she was."

"Oh yes, Mr. Peterson, please come in. Wendy spoke of you so much. I'm afraid I allowed her to bother you. If she was a nuisance, please, accept my apologies."

"Not at all - she's a delightful child," I said, suddenly realizing that I meant what I had just said.

"Wendy died last week, Mr. Peterson. She had leukemia. Maybe she didn't tell you."

Struck dumb, I groped for a chair. I had to catch my breath.

"She loved this beach; so when she asked to come, we couldn't say no. She seemed so much better here and had a lot of what she called happy days. But the last few weeks, she declined rapidly. Her voice faltered, "She left something for you ... if only I can find it. Could you wait a moment while I look?"

I nodded stupidly, my mind racing for something, to say to this lovely young woman. She handed me a smeared envelope, with MR. P. printed in bold childish letters. Inside was a drawing in bright crayon of a yellow beach, a blue sea, and a brown bird. Underneath was carefully printed: "A SANDPIPER TO BRING YOU JOY."

Tears welled up in my eyes and a heart that had almost forgotten to love opened wide. I took Wendy's mother in my arms. "I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry," I muttered over and over, and we wept together.

The precious little picture is framed now and hangs in my study.

Six words - one for each year of her life - that speak to me of harmony, courage, and undemanding love. A gift from a child with sea-blue eyes and hair the color of sand - who taught me the gift of love.

This is a true story sent out by Robert Peterson. It serves as a reminder to all of us that we need to take time to enjoy living and life and each other.

There are NO coincidences! Everything that happens to us happens for a reason. Never brush aside anyone as insignificant. Who knows what they can teach us?

Six keys to success

AttitudeBloom where you are planted. You have a choice to get back up after temporary setbacks. Attitude is a small thing that makes a big difference!
DirectionIf you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there. Write your short term goals down on paper. I have discovered and continue to discover that putting your dreams and goals down on paper lock in or focus your belief that they can be achieved--even if you have to take a course correction in achieving your goals. Success comes in cans, failure comes in can't's.
ValuesExplore what is important to you. Maybe it is family, friends, your spirituality or working hard at any given task. I can assure you that your priorities will change as you grow older. Very important that you value yourself and treat yourself like the valuable gift from God that you are.
InterestsBirds of a feather flock together. This is to say that if you are hanging around winners or others with a "can do" mind-set, you'll likely adapt to this same kind of thinking. Remember--"SUCCESS LEAVES CLUES!
CommitmentFeelings may change, commitments do not. "Success is getting up one more time than you fall." I have often wanted to give up, and then I must think to myself about what the consequences of giving up will be. Generally, this is more than enough of a motivation to make us stick to the task at hand even if we don't feel like it. When the task is achieved, Whow!--IT FEELS GREAT!
EncouragementBe an encourager and comforter to friends that are feeling discouraged. I promise that you will not regret this as you will be encouraged by one, if not many, when you are feeling down. Encouragement and love are contagious qualities that can change the minds of the most stubborn and "hard-to-get-along-with" people you know. I have seen it happen over and over again.