This blog will hopefully inspire you, warm your heart, make you smile and feel positive.

Archive for May, 2017

Appointment with Love

Six minutes to six, said the great round clock over the information booth in the train station. Lieutenant Blandford was excited. In six minutes, he would see the woman who had filled such a special place in his life for the past 13 months. The woman he had never seen, yet whose written words had been with him and sustained him unfailingly.

In one of his letters, he had confessed to her that he often felt fear in fighting the battle. He had received her answer: “Of course you fear … all brave men do. Next time you doubt yourself, I want you to hear my voice reciting to you: ‘Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil, for Thou art with me.’ ” And he had remembered; he had heard her imagined voice, and it had renewed his strength.

Now he was going to hear her real voice. Four minutes to six, his face grew sharp.

People were walking fast. A girl passed close to him, and Lieutenant Blandford started. She was wearing a red flower in her suit lapel, but it was a crimson sweet pea, not the little red rose they had agreed upon. Besides, this girl is too young, about 18, whereas Hollis Meynell had frankly told him she was 30.

It was all started from that book, Of Human Bondage, which was sent with hundreds of Army library books to the training camp and finally read by Lieutenant Blandford. Throughout the book were notes in a woman’s writing. He had never believed that a woman could see into a man’s heart so tenderly and understandingly. Her name was on the bookplate: Hollis Meynell. He had got hold of a telephone book and found her address. He had written and she had answered. Next day, he had been shipped out but they had gone on writing.

For 13 months, she had faithfully replied, and more than replied. When his letters did not arrive, she wrote back. He now believed he loved her and she loved him. But she had refused to send him her photograph. She explained, “If your feeling for me has any reality, any honest basis, what I look like won’t matter. When you come back, you shall see me and then you shall make your decision. Remember, both of us are free to stop or to go on after that – whichever we choose …”

One minute to six, Lieutenant Blandford’s heart leaped with excitement.

A young woman in a pale green suit was coming toward him. Her figure was long and slim; her blond hair lay back in curls from her delicate ears. Her eyes were blue, her lips and chin had a gentle firmness.

He started toward her, entirely forgetting to notice that she was wearing no little red rose, and as he moved, a small, provocative smile curved her lips.

“Going my way, soldier?” she murmured.

Uncontrollably, he made one step closer to her. Then he saw the real Hollis Meynell. She was standing almost directly behind the girl, a woman well past 40, her graying hair tucked under a worn hat. She wore a red rose in the rumpled lapel of her brown coat.

The girl in the green suit was walking quickly away. Although Blandford was keen to follow the girl, the woman whose spirit had truly companioned and upheld his own was standing in front of him. Her pale, plump face was gentle and sensible. He could see her gray eyes had a warm, kindly twinkle.

Lieutenant Blandford did not hesitate. He gripped the small leather copy of Of Human Bondage, which directed him to her. He squared his broad shoulders, saluted and held the book out toward the woman, although even while he spoke he felt shocked by the bitterness of his disappointment.

“I’m Lieutenant John Blandford, and I assume you are Miss Meynell. I’m so glad you could meet me. May … may I take you to dinner?”

The woman’s face broadened in a tolerant smile. “I don’t know what this is all about, son,” she answered. “That young lady in the green suit – the one who just went by – begged me to wear this rose on my coat. And she said that if you asked me to go out with you, I should tell you that she’s waiting for you in the restaurant across the street. She said it was some kind of a test. I’ve got two boys myself, so I didn’t mind to oblige you.”

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Believe In Yourself

confidence

When Henry Ward Beecher, an American Congregationalist clergyman, was a young boy in school, he learned a lesson in self confidence which he never forgot. He was called upon to recite in front of the class. He had hardly begun when the teacher interrupted with an emphatic, “No!”

He started over and again the teacher thundered, “No!” Humiliated, Henry sat down. The next boy rose to recite and had just begun when the teacher shouted, “No!” This student, however, kept on with the recitation until he completed it. As he sat down, the teacher replied, “Very good!”

Henry was irritated. “I recited just as he did,” he complained to the teacher. And the teacher replied, “It is not enough to know your material; you must be sure. When you allowed me to stop you, it meant that you were uncertain. If all the world says, ‘No!’ it is your business to say, ‘Yes!’ and prove it.”

The world will say “No!” in a many ways.

“No! You can’t do that.”
“No! You are wrong.”
“No! You are too old.”
“No! You are too young.”
“No! You are too weak.”
“No! It will never work.”
“No! You don’t have the education.”
“No! You don’t have the background.”
“No! You don’t have the money.”
“No! It can’t be done.”

And each “No!” you hear has the potential to erode your confidence bit by bit until you give up all together. Though the world says, “No!” to you today, will you determine to say, “Yes!” and prove it?

Say “Yes!” today.

Thoughts of the Kids

kids

A tourist arrived late at the golf course and had to take a young boy of 10 year old as caddie. The boy was tiny and knew next to nothing about the course or the game. And he spoke only 3 words of English.

But because of these 3 words, the tourist made the young boy his caddie for the rest of his stay. After each shot, regardless of the result, the young boy would stamp his foot and shout with feeling, “Damn good shot!”

A woman was deeply hurt by the behavior of her 15 year old son. Each time they went out together he would walk on ahead of her. Was he ashamed of her? One day she asked him.

“Oh Mom, no,” was his embarrassed reply. “It’s just that you look so young that I’m worried my friends will suspect I have a new girlfriend.”

A little girl went to her teacher one day and said, ”M’am, look at my paper!”

She showed her paper and every word in it was misspelled. The teacher looked at her and said, “Kid, I really like your paper – the margins are nice and neat, and your handwriting is clean and readable.”

The girl said, “Thank you M’am. I have really been working hard on it. Next time I’m going to work on my spelling.”

Ring the Bell

A priest is walking down the street one day when he notices a boy trying to press a doorbell on a house across the street. However, the boy is very small, and the doorbell is too high for him to reach.

After watching the boy’s efforts for some time, the priest decides to help. The priest steps smartly across the street, walks up behind the little fellow and, placing his hand kindly on the child’s shoulder, leans over and gives the doorbell a solid ring.

The child looks over his shoulder and smiles at the priest. “Thank you father,” he says. “Now we run!”

5 Ways to Bounce Back

1. Don’t take what happened too personally, it might not be your fault.

If you were having a normal day and somebody decided to show negativity around it’s not up to you to take it to yourself. For example, if your boss was having a bad day himself and yelled at you for no reason at all you just need to let it go. Of course, it feels bad especially when you’re on the right track and things are going smoothly with you at work. Everyone hates being targeted for something they don’t rightfully deserve. But you need to be professional and shrug it off. Do not take those people or their actions to heart.

2. Take a half-day leave and go home to rest and relax.

Ideally, you should keep work life and personal life separately; this is one of the reasons why they have strict rules against dating your colleagues. If your day is getting worst at work then it is probably a bad idea to stick around and sulk while showing no productivity at all. It can have a negative influence on your peers as well. If you can’t seem to escape your issues at work you should probably call it a day and go home to rest on your bed.

3. Find a distraction to keep you calm and sane.

The best way to deal with a bad day is to forget about it. As it can be quite a task to forget things like that you should try to look for a distraction. Do something that makes you happy or has a calming effect on your mind. Like reading a book after a long day or going for a evening run. You can also have peppermint green tea and feel better for the rest of the day. If being alone doesn’t help, go out with a friend or on a date to get things off your mind. Having a distraction can be a blessing when you’ve spent the day sulking.

4. Rant and vent every single ounce of frustration out.

It often happens that after a very bad day at work you might end up feeling so heavy and consumed with various emotions. The best way to deal with it is to vent it out. Scream, write about it or tell your friend or someone who is willing to listen. The sooner it is out of your system, the better. Ranting actually proves to be one of the most effective solutions to feel better after a bad day.

5. Evaluate the day and think it through in your mind.

Do you even know the reason why it happened? Have you tried evaluating the facts that led you to have a bad day all along? It is important to think it through, run the whole scenario in your head before you put it back and move on. If you know the reason why it happened, you’ll be able to cope with it accordingly. It is vital that you make things easier for yourself by learning the reason behind it.

Embrace the Struggle

No matter what happens, the morning will still come tomorrow. The world keeps spinning, everyday seems the same. Wake up alone, stand up straight, pick up your feet, take it like a man, be nice to others, don’t swear, oxygen in, carbon dioxide out. But little things are changing gradually over time without notice. One day, you will suddenly feel bored with your once favorite song, give up one of your lifelong habits, let go those people and things that you think you will never let go. Time is so tough and all you can do is to adapt and overcome.

Most of us believe happiness is the absence of heartache and struggle. We prefer a life of comfort and ease, void of problems. However, happiness is actually shrouded in struggle and facing challenges that gives us the traction needed to move forward and live a more meaningful life. Changes accompany growth. So don’t be afraid of change and don’t run from challenges. Every challenge is an opportunity for growth. Avoiding struggle will only doom yourself to a life of mediocrity. Failure is the best way to learn. It makes you think, determine what went wrong, and make you change.

We are just normal people, not superheros. We will sometimes get emotional and complain the world is unfair. Afterwards, some people give up, some persist. It all depends on your choice. There are many ways to live your life. If life is a movie, you are the scriptwriter, director, and the leading actor. You may also be the only audience. But many people simply make their life movies that will be liked by other people. This doesn’t mean they can’t make one that they really like, they just don’t have courage to ignore the ways how others see them.

Life’s inherent challenges are what make it possible to thrive. Pain produces progress. Without challenges and the weight of your own personal load, there will be nothing to overcome, nothing to achieve, nothing that could bring you happiness. You can’t appreciate the good without experiencing the sting of the bad. Bad is what makes “good” good.

“Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you are climbing it.” – Andy Rooney

The Horai Box

Kathleen met Albert and his wife Sally at a Christmas party which was held at Kathleen’s home. Sally caught the attention of Kathleen. She never spoke. It was hard to tell whether she was ill, tired or bored. When the tea was served, she hesitantly took a sip, then tried to put the cup and saucer aside. But to do so she had to move the writing box, which Kathleen had inadvertently left on the coffee table. Kathleen noticed as Sally pushed back her chestnut hair and focused on the intriguing box, her dour mask had dropped. She was much younger than she looked – perhaps not yet 30.

The writing box looked like a miniature Japanese tansu, a chest of drawers, but it measured only 20 inches long, 12 inches high, and 8 inches deep. All the corners were covered with thin right-angled black iron, the top compartment had a hinged cover and was only deep enough for a thin charcoal ink block and brushes, and the front was inset with seven drawers of different sizes. Each drawer had its own tiny lock and was painstakingly cut, mitered and assembled with bamboo pegs in place of nails.

“Most Japanese were illiterate in the early 1800s,” Kathleen explained, “These boxes were used by itinerant scribes who carried their writing equipment in them as they went from village to village.”

The attempt to start a conversation proved useless; Sally’s mind was elsewhere again for the rest of the party.

Kathleen received a call from Albert the next day. “I want to apologize for last night,” he said. “Sally suffers from depression. When we were informed that there is a party, I hope new people or the party might cheer her up. I was wrong. I’m sorry.”

Albert continued, “We had a baby three months ago. The baby was strong and healthy when he was born. After being home four days we found him dead in his crib. Doctors called it SIDS – Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. No warning. No cause. No cure. That’s when Sally went into depression. Doctors gave her tranquilizers and mood elevators, but they only mask the symptoms; they really don’t help.”

After hearing Sally’s story, remembered how Sally’s face lit up when she first saw and touched the writing box, Kathleen emptied all the drawers and cubicles in her Japanese writing box. She found out the address of Albert and Sally from her friends, wrapped the box, enclosed a card, and sent it to them.

However, Kathleen received no thank-you or other acknowledge from Albert and Sally after that.

One year later, Kathleen found her precious little writing box in a package delivered to her. Inside was a letter:

Dear Kathleen,

I know I’ve been remiss in not writing sooner, but perhaps after reading this letter, you will understand my reasons for not doing so – and hopefully forgive me.

I vaguely remember receiving your gift, unwrapping it, then ignoring it as I retreated into my solitude. The next morning, the first thing I saw after waking was the box. An errant beam of sunlight highlighted it, like a spotlight on a single performer in a darkened theater. Its simple lines and exquisite craftsmanship penetrated my muddled mind. I began to perceive elegance and beauty. I played with the drawer, the locks, hinges and drawer pulls, captivated by its detail and precision.

I quickly dressed for the first time since I became ill and went shopping. I bought wax and buffing cloths for my new box. The next day and daily after, I went out looking for pens and inks and papers, exploring new places, meeting new people and thinking of poetry. I started going to the library to read up on Japanese arts and crafts. I learned a lot about the box and the special techniques of Japanese wood crafting. I also learned about Horai, a place where there is no winter and flowers never fade – and by reason of being young at heart, the people always smile. I named my box Horai.

I also went to museum where I could learn even more about the arts and culture of Japan. I am now a docent there. Between my new avocation, museum work and household chores, I was too busy and too excited to be depressed.

At this point, when I was so happy, I suppose I should have written to you, but then I found out I was pregnant. Old fears and doubts resurfaced. In any event, we had a lovely little girl in November – now two months old – at last I find myself free of the past. I can write to you honestly, appreciatively and candidly.

I’ve often wondered why you gave me the box. One day I learned that Horai is also called Shinkiro, which means mirage – the vision of intangible. Now I understood that through intuition you perceived the intangible. You sensed what the gift would do.

I am returning the Horai box, not that I love it less, but so that you may have it in your hand if you ever need it to sustain another hapless soul. Should this never be the case, then I hope it will forever serve as a happy reminder between you and me.

Sincerely and gratefully,
Sally
P.S. Our little girl is named Kathleen.