A Small White Envelope: A Christmas StoryAuthor Unknown

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, mostly black. 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  their 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 just 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 for 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. May we all remember Christ, who is the reason for the season, and the true Christmas spirit this year and always.  God bless.



Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.”

Dr. Denis Waitley           Speaker and Author


CONGRATULATIONS for earning a promotion since our last newsletter – Ty Patrick Schroeder – Junior Orange Belt

 CONGRATULATIONS TO MOOSE AND SHELBY – PROUD PARETNS OF NINE PUPS BORN DECEMBER 13th.  Shelby is being a great mother and Moose likes to visit regularly to check on the wellbeing of  kids.


          As I type I think back on the training that we have done in the dojo since 1979.  There are nine students with more than 20 years of dedication still involved in our training.  The training has remained traditional in nature, which is uncommon in these days because most directors of schools look to make money, sacrificing the “art and the tradition of self discovery and intrinsic improvement.”

             One of the strengths of a karate training session is that the process is mental as well as physical, so the whole person benefits from the time spent in the dojo as well as during the disciplined practice at home.  We cannot attempt to stay at the same level that we are at today.  We must try to improve our abilities at kata, kumite, and self development.

            Another strength of traditional karate training is seen when the student can focus his or her energies on the inner qualities that set our training apart from other forms of exercise.  Goal setting is not unique to karate training but is at times different because we cannot look at just the physical benefits of an exercise program.  We must take into account that we want to improve ourselves physically, mentally and emotionally.  Think about what you want to accomplish during this year and write it on a piece of paper – – – put it away in a safe place (with your monthly dojo newsletters) and look at it every so often to see if progress is being made toward accomplishing the desired goal.     

            Accept the challenge of setting realistic short and long term goals.  Be prepared to work toward the goal and step by step improvements will be made.


“Remind thyself, in the darkest moments, that every failure is only a step toward success, every detection of what is false directs you toward what is true, every trial exhausts some tempting form of error, and every adversity will only hide, for a time, your path to peace and fulfillment.”    Og Mandino


Do you ever wish you could look into the future and see where you will be and what you will be doing?  I am not writing about paying money to “psychics” or reading tea leaves and cards. What I am relating is much more accurate and reliable. You can see your own future and it won’t cost     you any money.

If you want to know what your future is going to be like, don’t look into a crystal ball. Instead, take a look at your present thoughts. Your present thoughts determine your future.

The thoughts you have form your belief system. And, if you want to see your belief system, which is just a collection of thoughts you accept as true, take a look at your life. Your life is your belief, made into reality.

For instance, if you believe there is never enough, that life is a struggle, that you will have to fight for what you get, then you will never have enough, and you will struggle and fight your way through life.

If you believe there is no limit to what you can do, and adversity just makes you stronger, then your life will be one of achievement and resiliency. Understand that what you see in life depends mainly on what you look for. This means that everything you see, everything you do, everything you hear and think and wonder about is filtered through your belief system.

So, if you want to shape your future into a happy, productive, fulfilling time, eliminate negative thoughts about what you don’t want, in favor of positive ones about what you do.

“There is no such thing as a hopeless situation. Every single circumstances of your life can change! ” . . . “There is a truth deep down inside of you that has been waiting for you to discover it, and that truth is this: you deserve all good things life has to offer . . . Your current thoughts are creating your future life. What you think about the most or focus the most will appear as your life . . . You cannot help the world by focusing on the negative things. As you focus on the world’s negative events, you not only add to them, but you also bring more negative things into your own life . . .  Instead of focusing on the world’s problems, give your attraction and energy to trust, love, abundance, education, and peace . . .  Everything is energy. You are an energy magnet, so you electrically energize everything to you and electrically energize yourself to serve everything you want . . . Your power is in your thoughts, so stay aware. In other words, “Remember to remember.”  (Selected thoughts from THE SECRET by Rhonda Byrne)

“You will attract everything that you require. If it’s money you need you will attract it. If it’s people you need you’ll attract it. You’ve got to pay attention to what you’re attracted to, because as you hold images of what you want, you’re going to be attracted to things and they’re going to be attracted to you. But it literally moves into physical reality with and through you. And it does that by law. (Bob Proctor)



Words To Live By ~ Rebecca Barlow Jordan

It’s not how much you accomplish in life that really counts, but how much you give to others.

It’s not how high you build your dreams that makes a difference, but how high your faith can climb.

It’s not how many goals you reach, but how many lives you touch.

It’s not who you know that matters, but who you are inside.

Believe in the impossible, hold tight to the incredible, and live each day to its fullest potential.

 You can make a difference in your world.


2015 – The new year is upon us. What it becomes is going to be determined by each of us. Many great things are already planned :

        Our 30th Benefit Tournament is Sunday, April 26th.

        The I. W. K. A. Championship Event we are hosting is August 6, 7 & 8 in Princeton, NJ.


Golden Rule Karate Tournament at Warren Hills H.S. is Sunday, February 8 with a bad weather date of February 22. This is a good event to participate in to get ready for our upcoming events.


This Winter Season – Be safe! ! ! Remember to listen to WRNJ 1510 M or 92.7 FM radio station for class cancellations due to weather. . . or check the dojo website –

There are no classes on December 24, 25, 26  & 31 and January 1.   Plan ahead and make classes up.

Knowledge . . . Each person has an amazing mind with a capacity for learning which is beyond comprehension.   During a discussion during one of my college classes prior to Thanksgiving, it became evident through grades and participation that some of the students were thinking more about the end of the semester than continuing to try to improve and advance necessary skills. Whether we think about School, Work or Karate, we must strive to improve and continue to exercise our minds with challenging information. The effort needed to improve requires less time involved if one desires to improve. Putting forth haphazard effort causes the individual to spend much more time to improve and advance than if the person tries consistently to do each task to the best of his or her ability.

The only responsibility that a man cannot evade in life is the one he thinks of  least, his personal influence. Man’s conscious influence, when he is on dress parade, when he is attempting to impress those around him, is unfortunately small. But his unconscious influence, the silent, subtle radiation of his personality, the effect of his words, are tremendous. Every moment of life he is changing, to a degree . . . the life of the whole world. Every man has an atmosphere which is affecting every other. So silent and unconscious is this influence working, that man may forget that it exists.

As John Donne said:  No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. . . . any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.”

Into the hands of every individual is given a marvelous power for good or for evil, the silent, unconscious, unseen influence of his life. This is simply the constant radiation of what a man  truly is, not what he pretends to be. Every man, by his living, is radiating sympathy, or sorrow,  or cynicism, or happiness, or hope, or any of a hundred other qualities. Life is a state of constant radiation and absorption; to exist is to radiate; to exist is to be the recipient of radiations from The Majesty of Calmness   –  by William George Jordan


3 Keys to Finding Your Genius Article by Jim Rohn

  1. Get the right knowledge. Words—if they are not true—are meaningless. I hear children say, “I read it in a book.” But is it true? Just because someone says it or writes it, doesn’t mean it is true. As learners, we want to get the right knowledge, not just information or opinions. It is our job to seek out information and knowledge and then test it and run it through our minds to see if it is true and if it can be rightfully applied to our lives in order to make them better. We need to weigh and measure what we learn in order to gain the right knowledge.
  2. Become passionate about learning. This will take some work, but the only way to do it is to begin learning about things that have an immediate impact in your life. When you learn about a new financial concept that helps you earn money or get out of debt, you get fired up. When you learn about a way to communicate that helps you sell more products, you’ll feel energized. When you learn about how to interact with your family in a healthy way and your relationships get better, you’ll feel inspired.
  3. Discipline yourself through the hard work of study. Learning will take work. Until someone comes up with modules that can plug into your mind and give you instant access to knowledge, you are on your own, and that takes work. The process of learning is a long one. Yes, we can speed it up, but it is still a process of reading, listening, reviewing, repetition, applying the knowledge, experiencing the outcomes, readjusting, etc. Simply put, it takes time. Slowly but surely, when you discipline yourself, you will gain knowledge and begin learning. Learning is possible, no matter what your age. You are never too young or too old. Your mind was created to learn and has a huge capacity to do so. This week, make a commitment to unlock the potential of your mind




“The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.”    Vince Lombardi



MAKE A LIST OF YOUR VALUES – What’s really important to you? Your family? Your  religion? Your leisure time? Your hobbies? Decide on what your most  important values in life are and then make sure that the goals you set are designed to include and enhance them.

     BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND – Tom Watson, the founder of IBM was once asked what he attributed the phenomenal success of IBM to and he said it was three things: The first thing was that he created a very clear image in his mind of  what he wanted his company to look like when it was done. He then asked himself how would a company like that have to act on a day-to-day basis. In the very beginning of building his company, he began to act  that way.

     PROJECT YOURSELF INTO THE FUTURE – The late, great Earl Nightingale created a whole new  industry (self-improvement) after a 20-year study on what made people successful. The bottom-line result of his research was simply, “We Become What We Think About.” Whatever thoughts dominate our minds most of the time are what we  become. That’s why goal setting is so critical in achieving success  because it keeps us focused on what’s really important to us. He then said that the easiest way to reach our goals is to pretend that we had ALREADY achieved our goals.  That is, begin to walk, talk and act as though we are already experiencing the success we seek. Then, those things will come to us  naturally through the power of the subconscious mind.

     WRITE DOWN TEN THINGS THAT YOU WANT THIS YEAR – By making a list of the things that are important to you,  you begin to create images in your mind. It’s been said that your mind  will actually create chaos if necessary to make images become a reality.       Because of this, the list of ten things will probably result in you achieving at least eight of them within the year.

     ASK YOURSELF GOOD QUESTIONS   As you think about your goals, instead of WISHING for them to come  true, ask yourself HOW and WHAT CAN YOU DO to make them come true. The subconscious mind will respond to your questions far greater  than just

making statements or making wishes.

     FOCUS ON ONE PROJECT AT A  TIME   One of the greatest mistakes people make in setting goals  is trying to work on too many things at one time. There is tremendous  power in giving laser beam focused attention to just one idea, one project  or one objective at a time.

     WRITE OUT AN “IDEAL  SCENARIO” Pretend that you are a newspaper reporter that has just finished an interview about the outstanding success that you’ve  achieved and the article is now in the newspaper.   How would it read? What would be the headline?


REMEMBER: If you cannot attend a class and you wish to make the class up – – call ahead – – If you do not call you forfeit the chance to do so.


Do you have someone that is hard to find something for?

Give the Gift of Health and Security an

Isshin-ryu Gift Certificate

or needed karate equipment . . . Remember order through us & SAVE $


Do Something Good for someone in your life . . . For a change Start with Yourself! There is no time like the present!




Two students competed in the NOVEMBER 16TH – – TOYS FOR TOTS KARATE TOURNAMENT – – Jake Brader and Sammy Heinrich. Both did well and demonstrated outstanding Isshin-ryu form and spirit. CONGRATULATIONS!




Lastly, as you read this newsletter, there are approximately 250 days until the start of meeting, seminars, the tournament and festivities for the 2015 IWKA Championship Event in Princeton that we are hosting. If you have contacts with any business that may benefit from being seen by the many hundreds of people that study Isshin-ryu Karate in this area (where there are at least 40 dojos within a 40 minute drive) or the thousands from across the country and world that will at least visit our web page, see me and I can create a custom letter of information to them and include sponsorship materials.   The first cutoff date for registration is December 5 – – – just a few days away. I meet friends I have met since one of the first events held in 1971. Children and adults will benefit from being a part of the event, as will parents and friends.