Thought 132

THE PRICE OF A MIRACLE

Tess was a precocious eight years old when she heard her Mom and Dad talking about her little brother, Andrew. All she knew was that he was very sick and they were completely out of money. They were moving to an apartment complex next month because Daddy didn’t have the money for
the doctor bills and our house. Only a very costly surgery could save Andrew now and it was looking like there was no-one to loan them the money. She heard Daddy say to her tearful Mother, with whispered desperation, “Only a miracle can save him now.”

Tess went to her bedroom and pulled a glass jelly jar from its hiding place in the closet. She poured all the change out on the floor and counted it carefully. Three times, even. The total had to be exactly
perfect. No chance here for mistakes.  Carefully placing the coins back in the jar and twisting on the cap, she slipped out the back door and made her way 6 blocks to Rexall’s Drug Store with the big red Indian Chief sign above the door. She waited patiently for the pharmacist to give her some attention but he was too intently talking to another man to be bothered by an eight year old at this moment. Tess twisted her feet to make a scuffing noise. Nothing.  She cleared her throat with the most disgusting sound she could muster.  No good. Finally she took a quarter from her jar and banged it on the
glass counter. 

That did it!

“And what do you want?” the pharmacist asked in an annoyed tone of voice.  “I’m talking to my brother from Chicago whom I haven’t seen in ages,” he said without waiting for a reply to his question.

“Well, I want to talk to you about MY brother,” Tess answered back in the same annoyed tone. “He’s really, really sick …and I want to buy a miracle.”

“I beg your pardon?” said the pharmacist. “His name is Andrew and he has something bad growing inside his head and my Daddy says only a miracle can save him now. So how much does a miracle cost?”

“We don’t sell miracles here, little girl. I’m sorry but I can’t help you.” the pharmacist said, softening a little.

“Listen, I have the money to pay for it. If it isn’t enough, I will get the rest. Just tell me how much it costs.”

The pharmacist’s brother was a well dressed man. He stooped down and asked the little girl, “What kind of a miracle does you brother need?”

“I don’t know,” Tess replied with her eyes welling up. “I just know he’s really sick and Mommy says he needs an operation. But my Daddy can’t pay for it, so I want to use my money.

“How much do you have?” asked the man from Chicago.

“One dollar and eleven cents,” Tess answered barely audibly. “And it’s all the money I have, but I can get some more if I need to.”

“Well, what a coincidence,” smiled the man. “A dollar and eleven cents-the exact price of a miracle for little brothers.” 

He took her money in one hand and with the other hand he grasped her mitten and said “Take
me to where you live. I want to see your brother and meet your parents. Let’s see if I have the kind of miracle you need.”

That well dressed man was Dr. Carlton Armstrong, surgeon, specializing in neuro-surgery. The operation was completed without charge and it wasn’t long until Andrew was home
again and doing well.

Mom and Dad were happily talking about the chain of events that had led them to this place. “That surgery,” her Mom whispered. “was a real miracle. I wonder how much it would have cost?

Tess smiled. She knew exactly how much a miracle cost…one dollar and eleven cents…plus the faith of a little child.

Thought 131

WHITE ENVELOPE

It’s just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past 10 years or so.

It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas. Oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it, overspending, the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma, the gifts given in desperation because you couldn’t think of anything else.

Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way.

Our son, Kevin, who was 12 that year was wrestling at the junior level at the school he attended, and shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church.

These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in the spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes.

As the match began I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler’s ears. It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford.

Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. And as each of their boys got up from the mat, he swaggered around in his tatters with false bravado, a kind of street pride that couldn’t acknowledge defeat. Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, “I wish one of them could have won,” he said. “They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them.” Mike loved kids, all kids, and he knew them, having coached little league football, baseball and lacrosse.

That’s when the idea of his present came. That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church.

On Christmas Eve, I placed the envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done and that this was his gift from me. His smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year and in succeeding years.

For each Christmas, I followed the tradition, one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on.

The envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning and our children, ignoring their new toys, would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents.

As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the envelope never lost its allure. The story doesn’t end there.

You see we lost Mike last year due to dreaded cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree, and in the morning, it was joined by three more.

Each of our children, unbeknownst to the others, had placed an envelope on the tree for their dad.

The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing around the tree with wide-eyed anticipation watching as their fathers take down the envelope.

Mike’s spirit, like the Christmas spirit, will always be with us.

Author Unknown

January 2012

BECOMING A SUCCESS

After a discussion during one of my college classes, I started thinking again about success, and what helps people achieve this quality.  As we enter a new year, commit to succeed!

  • One must love one’s self before it may be given to another.
  • The sense of value determines the quality of performance. Performance is only a reflection of internal worth, not a measure of it.
  • Trying to impress less makes one more impressive.
  • What is shown on the outside is a mirror the feeling felt inside.
  • Chase your passion.  If work is not enjoyable – do something else.

The key trait shared by athletic champions and winners in every walk of life is the fundamental belief in one’s own internal value.

If success depends on external possessions, anxiety will be predominant in life. Being cheered for personal success is necessary, the individual is not concerned for internal gratification, but external rewards.  One can never win over a long period of time if the concept of success depends upon the perfect performance or receiving a gold medal.

Talent, appearance and other attributes are not equally distributed, but we’re all given an abundance of value.  Life is not played on a level playing field in terms of education, a supportive home life, and other circumstances beyond our control, but each person is born with the qualities of a champion. That is the quality of value.

Champions are born, but they can be unmade by their perceptions, exposure and responses. Losers are not born to lose. They are programmed that way by their own responses to their environment and their decisions.

The idea of the inner winner describes the kind of person who recognizes his or her internal value, and who is able to use that recognition as the foundation for achieving any goal. The secret of success or being a winner is to understand that results are determined by positive focused action, positive determined attitude, using one’s positive mental abilities without expecting external praise.

“You have not lived a perfect day, even though you have earned your money, unless you have done something for someone who will never be able to repay you.  Ruth Smeltzer 

 “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? by Marianne Williamson

STRESS MANAGEMENT

     A young lady confidently walked around the room while leading a training session, explaining stress management to the audience; with a raised glass of water, and everyone knew she was going to ask the ultimate question, ‘half empty or half full?’…
     She fooled them all. . . “How heavy is this glass of water?” she inquired with a smile.  Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.  She replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter.  It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, that’s not a problem.  If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my right arm.  If I hold it for a day, you’ll have to call an ambulance. In each case it’s the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.”  She continued, “and that’s the way it is with stress. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won’t be able to carry on.”
     “As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we’re refreshed, we can carry on with the burden – holding stress longer and better each time practiced. So, as early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don’t carry them through the evening and into the night – Pick them up tomorrow.
Whatever burdens you’re carrying now, let them down for a moment. Relax; pick them up later – After you’ve rested.
Life is short. Enjoy it and the now ‘supposed’ stress that you’ve conquered!”

1. Accept the fact that some days you’re the pigeon, and some days you’re the statue!

2. Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.

3. Always read stuff that will make you looks good if you die in the middle of it.

4. Drive carefully… It’s not only cars that can be recalled by their Maker.

5. If you can’t be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.

6. If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.

7. It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.

8. Never buy a car you can’t push.

9. Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won’t have a leg to stand on.

10. Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance.

11. Since it’s the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late.

12. The second mouse gets the cheese.

13. When everything’s coming your way, you’re in the wrong lane.

14. Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.

15. You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.

16. Some mistakes are too much fun to make only once.

17. We could learn a lot from crayons. Some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull. Some have weird names and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box.

18. A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.

19. Have an awesome day and know that someone thought about you today.

20. It was me, your friend!

Save the earth — It’s the only planet with chocolate!

 

 CONGRATULATIONS to the people who earned promotions since our last newsletter:  Brown Belt #2Shirley K. Zavala, Scott Conroy.    Junior Yellow Belt Megan Baker, Smyan Chinnam

 

Remember: There will be no classes on December 24th and 31st.  If these are your normal training dates plan to make them up when you are able.

Thought 130

  We do not remember days, but moments. Life moves too fast, so enjoy your precious moments.

Annon