Archive for July, 2013

It’s Inside Each of Us

July 25, 2013

 Allow Your Strengths to Work for You

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her.  She didn’t know how she was going to make it and how she wanted to give up.  She was tired of fighting and struggling.  It seemed that as one problem was resolved, a new one arose.  Her mother took her to the kitchen.  She filled three pots with water.  In the first, she dropped a handful of carrots, in the second she a few eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil without saying a word.  In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners.  She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl.  She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl.  Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.  Turning to her daughter, she asked, “Tell me, what do you see?”

“Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” the daughter replied.  The mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots.  The daughter did and noted that they got soft.  Mother then asked her to take an egg and break it.

After pulling off the shell, daughter observed the hard-boiled egg.  Finally, Mother asked her to sip the coffee.  The daughter smiled, as she tasted its rich aroma.  The daughter then asked.  “What’s the point, mother?”

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity…the boiling water…but each reacted differently.  The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting.  However after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.  The egg had been fragile.  Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior.  But, after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.  The ground coffee beans were unique, however.  After they were in the boiling water they had changed the water.  “Which are you?” she asked her daughter.  “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond?  Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?”

Think of this: Which am I?  Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity, do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?  Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat?  Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a break-up, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff?  Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a hardened heart? Or am I like the coffee bean?  The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain.  When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor.  If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you.  When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate to another level?  How do you handle adversity?

So, which are you…a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean? Some people make the future; most wait for the future to make them.


Grow from an Adversity

July 24, 2013

Challenges are normal

A true motivational “hero,” the late Norman Vincent Peale once said, “there is only one group of people that don’t have problems…and they are all dead.  Problems, or challenges are a sign of life.  So, the more problems you have the more alive you are.”  An addition that might be made to Norman’s quote might be, “if you don’t have any challenges today maybe you are on the way out of here and you don’t know it yet.”

You might take this as a tongue-in-cheek philosophy of life, however it is closer to the truth than you might think.  Everyone has challenges.  Some of us have relationship problems, others have financial ones, some face career challenges, others struggle with health issues, some have social issues, while others face difficult business challenges.  No one is immune to adversity in life.

The key to success, happiness, peace, and life balance is to accept the issues, negatives, situations, challenges, struggles (whatever you want to call them) as a part of the life process of becoming, learning, and growing.  Failures, whiners, or victims see problems as life “picking on them.”  Winners in life (or victors), on the other hand, regardless of their position, status, age, or circumstances see challenges and adversity as a catalyst for becoming better, stronger, wiser, and more aware of the reality of their life.

Challenges are not positive or negative they just “are.”  They are simple happenings.  It isn’t what is happening in your life that matters it is how you choose to see it, and what you do with it.  Whether they are perceived as negative or positive is entirely up to you and your life outlook.

Learn to see the negatives as loving teachers in your life bringing you the opportunity to get a clearer vision of where you may need attitude adjustments, improved thinking, or better skills.

The Things We Didn’t Do

July 18, 2013

There was a very special teacher in high school many years ago whose husband died suddenly of a heart attack.  About a week after his death, she shared some of her insights with a classroom of students.  The class was nearly over, and as the late afternoon sunlight came streaming in through the classroom windows, she moved a few things aside on the edge of her desk and sat down there.  With a gentle look of reflection on her face, she paused and said, “Before class is over, I would like to share with all of you a thought that is unrelated to class, but which I feel is very important.”

“Each of us is put here on earth to learn, share, love, appreciate and give of ourselves.  None of us knows when this fantastic experience will end.  It can be taken away at any moment.  Perhaps this is God’s way of telling us that we must make the most out of every single day.”  Her eyes beginning to water, she went on, “So I would like you all to make me a promise.  From now on, on your way to school, or on your way home, find something beautiful to notice.  It doesn’t have to be something you see – it could be a scent – perhaps of freshly baked bread wafting out of someone’s house, or it could be the sound of the breeze slightly rustling the leaves in the trees, or the way the morning light catches one autumn leaf as it falls gently to the ground.”

“Please look for these things, and cherish them.  For, although it may sound trite to some, these things are the ‘stuff’ of life.  The little things we are put here on earth to enjoy.  The things we often take for granted.  We must make it important to notice them, for at any time…it can all be taken away.”

The class was completely quiet.  We all picked up our books and filed out of the room silently. That afternoon, two of her students noticed more things on their way home from school than they had that whole semester.  Every once in a while, we think of that teacher and remember what an impression she made on all of us, and we try to appreciate all of those things that sometimes we all overlook.

Take notice of something special you see on your lunch hour today.  Go barefoot.  Or walk on the beach at sunset.  Stop off on the way home tonight to get a double-dip ice cream cone. Lie on the ground and observe what you can while on your back…then repeat it while on your stomach.  You” likely see things you’ve never seen before.

For as we get older, we don’t regret the things we’ve done, rather the things we didn’t. (borrowed from source unknown, but grateful)

Stay in Touch

July 11, 2013

Recently I had the opportunity to gather with three college friends. We haven’t been together in 45 years. The laughter, stories and good times were amazing. We were on a fly fishing trip in Wyoming. Plenty of great country, fishing and all the trappings of a good time. What I saw that I want to pass along to you was 4 friends having more fun than should be allowed. There were therapeutic laughing fits (I know, adults), complete relaxation, and no agendas. Don’t wait 45 years with your friends. I’m not going to. It’s just too important. You know someone you need to call right now. So do it.