Lesson From a Rainy Day

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shared story

August 26, 1999 is a day that many New Yorkers would probably like to forget. However, this New Yorker will always remember that day because that is the day that I learned what a powerful gift appreciation can truly be.

On August 26, 1999, New York City experienced a torrential downpour. The relentless rain caused the streets to flood. New York City’s subway system came to a screeching halt as the subway stations were inundated with water. Unfortunately, this happened during the morning rush hour.

Many people who were going to work were stranded and forced to go home. Some battled with fellow New Yorkers to hail a cab or to get on a bus. Still others braved the storm, walking miles to get to work.

I happened to be one of people on her way to work that morning. I went from subway line to subway line only to find that most service had stopped. After running around like crazy and making my way through crowds of people, I finally found a subway line that was operating. Unfortunately, there were so many people waiting to board the subway that I could not even get down the stairs to the platform.

Undaunted and determined to get to work, I decided to take the train uptown several stops and then switch back to the downtown train. It was a hassle, but it paid off. However, the train got more packed at each stop. People pushed and shoved. I was constantly hit with elbows and bags. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, the train reached my stop.

But the journey was not over yet. I would still have to walk several blocks to get to my office. The rain had intensified, and no umbrella was enough to withstand the forces of Mother Nature. When I finally got to work, I was completely soaked and left a puddle of water everywhere I sat. I was also exhausted and discouraged from my commute.

My coworkers and I spent most of the day drying off. When 5:00 rolled around, I was ready to go home. I was about to log off my computer when I received an email from Garth, my Deputy Director. I opened the email and found the following message:

I would like to thank all those associates who made the effort and eventually reported to work. It is always reassuring, at times like these, when employees so clearly demonstrate their dedication to their jobs. Thank you.

As you can see, Garth’s email was short, but I learned more from that brief message than I ever did from a textbook. The email taught me that a few words of appreciation can make a big difference. The rainstorm and the transit troubles had made me miserable and weary. But Garth’s words immediately invigorated me and put a smile back on my face.

Garth’s actions also made me realize that words of appreciation not only make you feel good but it also motivates and inspires you. After reading his email, I felt that coming to work that day was an accomplishment that I should be proud of. Suddenly getting drenched and the extremely long commute did not seem so bad. As a matter of fact, his email made the whole subway ordeal all worthwhile.

Sometimes we are so wrapped up in our lives that we forget the magical power of appreciation. Garth had been caught in the rain like the rest of us. He had to tend to his responsibilities. He also had to cope with the numerous absences in the five areas that he manages. And he had to take on his boss’ responsibilities, as he was unable to get to work. Yet, he still found time to send an email thanking his employees for their dedication and the extra effort they had made to get to work. Garth taught me that I should never be too busy to show people my appreciation and to acknowledge the positive things they do. This was the most valuable lesson that anyone could ever give me. And for that, I will always be grateful to Garth.

August 26, 1999 may have been one of the darkest days in New York City history, but it was one of the brightest days in my life thanks to Garth.

The Pig and the Cow

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“Why is it,” said the rich man to his minister, “that people call me stingy when everyone knows that when I die I’m leaving everything to the church?”

“Let me tell you a fable about the pig and the cow,” said the minister. “The pig was unpopular while the cow was beloved. This puzzled the pig. ‘People speak warmly of your gentle nature and your sorrowful eyes,’ the pig said to the cow. ‘They think you’re generous because each day you give them milk and cream.

But what about me? I give them everything I have. I give bacon and ham. I provide bristles for brushes. They even pickle my feet! Yet not one likes me. Why is that?'”

“Do you know what the cow answered?” said the minister. “The cow said, ‘Perhaps it is because I give while I’m still living.'”

Happiness Comes from Giving

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This story is about a beautiful, expensively dressed lady who complained to her psychiatrist that she felt that her whole life was empty; it had no meaning. So the counselor called over the old lady who cleaned the office floors, and then said to the rich lady, “I’m going to ask Mary here to tell you how she found happiness. All I want you to do is listen.” So the old lady put down her broom and sat on a chair and told her story: “Well, my husband died of malaria and three months later my only son was killed by a car. I had nobody… I had nothing left. I couldn’t sleep; I couldn’t eat; I never smiled at anyone, I even thought of taking my own life. Then one evening a little kitten followed me home from work. Somehow I felt sorry for that kitten. It was cold outside, so I decided to let the kitten in. I got it some milk, and it licked the plate clean. Then it purred and rubbed against my leg, and for the first time in months, I smiled. Then I stopped to think; if helping a little kitten could make me smile, maybe doing something for people could make me happy. So the next day I baked some biscuits and took them to a neighbor who was sick in bed. Every day I tried to do something nice for someone. It made me so happy to see them happy. Today, I don’t know of anybody who sleeps and eats better than I do. I’ve found happiness, by giving it to others.” When she heard that, the rich lady cried. She had everything that money could buy, but she had lost the things which money cannot buy. As the saying goes money is the root of all evil is it not? No. It’s the “love” of it that is.  1 Tim 6:10 says,  “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”

Jesus Knew and I Knew

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Karen, Judy and I were the last ones back in the school room after lunch. We put our metal lunch boxes on the shelf above the coat hooks, which were mostly empty. All of the other sixth graders were already outside, playing marbles or hop scotch or jumping rope, since it was a pleasant spring day.

“Look what I found this morning in the storage cupboard when I was getting out some art supplies for Mrs. Eiffler.” With a conspiratorial grin on her face, Karen held up a wooden box filled with short pieces of chalk in every color of the rainbow.

“Wow! What fun it would be to write on the chalkboard while everyone is outside.” Judy’s eyes twinkled with anticipation.

“But Mrs. Eiffler doesn’t want us writing on the chalkboard,” I responded, already feeling guilty, although we had not yet done a thing.

“Don’t be such a ‘fraidy cat’, Janet. No one will ever know,” said Karen, reaching into the box and drawing out a piece of chalk.

“Right. Everyone is outside, so we’re safe. No one will tell on us.” Judy was already drawing a house with sure strokes.

I reluctantly joined my friends in the artwork, wanting to be part of what was going on, but afraid of being caught. I knew well that we were breaking not one, but two class rules. The second rule was that no one was allowed to stay inside at noon without a written excuse from home if the weather was nice.

Trying various colors, we drew houses, trees and three-dimensional boxes. It was fun! All the time we were watching the clock, knowing that our fun would be over if anyone walked into the room.

Then Judy had an idea. “We’re all right-handed. Let’s see who can write their name best using their left hand.”

Judy and Karen picked up their chalk and started writing. I chose a white piece from the box and wrote my name. The handwriting was a bit shaky, but no one would doubt that it said “Janet.”

“I think Judy is the winner,” said Karen. “Hers is the best.”

“We’d better get this board cleaned off before Mrs. Eiffler comes back,” said Judy, eying the clock. She picked up an eraser and began erasing our handiwork from the board.

Everything came off . . . but my name!

In disbelief, I looked at the chalk I held in my sweaty hand. On closer examination, it wasn’t chalk at all. I had picked up a small piece of white color crayon (Oh snap!) which was mixed in with the pieces of chalk.

My stomach churned and my knees felt weak. What would Mrs. Eiffler do to me?

My mother had a saying: “Fools names and fools faces always appear in public places.” I never understood fully what it meant before. Now I did! I was a fool, and there was my name in crayon to prove it. And the teacher would be returning soon.

“Quick, let’s get some wet paper towels,” said Judy, springing into action.

After vigorous rubbing, my name still remained.

“I think I saw a can of cleanser by the sink in the coat room,” I said as I raced to find it. Precious minutes were ticking away.

We rubbed and my name came off all right, but in the process of removing it, we left an abrasion on the chalkboard.

Listening for footsteps coming down the hall, we dried the scrubbed area as much as we could with more paper towels and fanned it with a book to remove every tell-tale trace of wetness.

We were just slipping into our desks as the bell rang and the other students began entering the room. The teacher walked in soon afterward.

Mrs. Eiffler never asked about abrasion and maybe never noticed it. But I did. Every time I walked past the marred surface of the chalkboard, I remembered. Oh, how I remembered.

The lesson I learned that day is one I never forgot, even though over forty years have passed since the event. “No one will ever know” is never true. Even if no one else found out, Jesus knew and I knew.  Sometimes living with a guilty conscience is punishment enough.

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In Those Hands

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A basketball in my hands is worth about $19.
A basketball in Michael Jordan’s hands is worth about $33 million.
A baseball in my hands is worth about $6.
A baseball in Mark Mcquire’s hands is worth $ 19 million.

It depends whose hands it’s in.

A tennis racket is useless in my hands.
A tennis racket in Roger Federer’s hands a Wimbledon Championship.

A rod in my hands will keep away a wild animal.
A rod in Moses’ hands will part the Red Sea.

A sling shot in my hands is a kid’s toy.
A sling shot in King David’s hand is a mighty weapon.

Two fish and 5 loaves of bread in my hands is a couple of fish sandwiches.
Two fish and 5 loaves of bread in Jesus’ hands will feed thousands.

Nails in my hands might produce a birdhouse.
Nails in Jesus Christ’s hands will produce salvation for the entire world (if they want it)

It ALWAYS depends whose hands it’s in.

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So put your concerns, your worries, your fears, your hopes, your dreams, your families and your relationships in God’s hands because …… in those hands everything will turn out right for you and your loved ones.

John 10:28 “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”

The House of 1000 Mirrors

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Long ago in a small, far away village, there was place known as the House of 1000 Mirrors. A small, happy little dog learned of this place and decided to visit. When he arrived, he bounced happily up the stairs to the doorway of the house. He looked through the doorway with his ears lifted high and his tail wagging as fast as it could. To his great surprise, he found himself staring at 1000 other happy little dogs with their tails wagging just as fast as his. He smiled a great smile, and was answered with 1000 great smiles just as warm and friendly. As he left the House, he thought to himself, “This is a wonderful place. I will come back and visit it often.”

In this same village, another little dog, who was not quite as happy as the first one, decided to visit the house. He slowly climbed the stairs and hung his head low as he looked into the door. When he saw the 1000 unfriendly looking dogs staring back at him, he growled at them and was horrified to see 1000 little dogs growling back at him. As he left, he thought to himself, “That is a horrible place, and I will never go back there again.”

All the faces in the world are mirrors. What kind of reflections do you see in the faces of the people you meet?

Source: Japanese folktale

Know When to Change Course

Here you go! LOL

Have a great weekend! And take someone with you! 🙂

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Two battleships assigned to the training squadron had been at sea on maneuvers in heavy weather for several days. The visibility was poor with patchy fog, so the captain remained on the bridge keeping an eye on all activities.

Shortly after dark, the lookout on the wing of the bridge reported, “Light, bearing on the starboard bow.”

“Is it steady or moving astern?” the captain called out.

The lookout replied, “Steady, captain,” which meant it was on a dangerous collision course with their ship.

The captain then shouted to the signalman, “Signal the ship: We are on a collision course. Advice you to change course 20 degrees.”

Back came a signal, “Advisable for you to change course 20 degrees!”

In reply, the captain said, “Send: I’m a ship’s captain. Change course 20 degrees, now!”

“I’m a seaman second class, “came the reply, “You had better change course 20 degrees, now!”

By that time, the captain was furious. He spit out a command, “Send: This is a battleship. Change your course immediately.”

Back came the flashing light’s reply. “This is a lighthouse!”

The battleship changed course.

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LOL!