TRUE STORIES

TRUE STORIES

Saturday, 30 July 2016

A story about you

What a story!

*As a carpenter went home after shutting down his workshop, a black poisonous cobra entered his workshop.*

_The cobra was hungry and hoped to find its supper lurking somewhere within. It slithered from one end to another and accidentally bumped into a double-edged metal axe and got very slightly injured._

*In anger and seeking revenge, the snake bit the axe with full force. What could a bite do to a metallic axe? Instead the cobra's mouth started bleeding.*

_Out of fury and arrogance, the cobra tried its best to strangle and kill the object that was causing it pain by wrapping itself very tightly around the blades._

*The next day when the carpenter opened the workshop, he found a seriously cut, dead cobra wrapped around the axe blades.*

_The cobra died not because of someone else's fault but faced these consequences merely because of its own anger and wrath._

*Sometimes when angry, we try to cause harm to others but as time passes by, we realise that we have caused more harm to ourselves.*

_For a happy life, it's best we should learn to ignore and overlook some things, people, incidents, affairs and matters._

*It is not necessary that we show a reaction to everything. Step back and ask yourself if the matter is really worth responding or reacting to.*

Treat people with kindness even if they hurt you.

_People that show no inclination to change, are best handled with silence and prayer._

*THIS is really a touching story and could  help us take some good decisions*

The lost wallet, a great love story!

As I walked home one freezing day, I stumbled on a wallet someone had lost in the street. I picked it up and looked inside to find some identification so I could call the owner. But the wallet contained only three dollars and a crumpled letter that looked as if it had been in there for years.

        The envelope was worn and the only thing that was legible on it was the return address. I started to open the letter, hoping to find some clue. Then I saw the dateline–1924. The letter had been written almost 60 years ago.

        It was written in a beautiful feminine handwriting on powder blue stationery with a little flower in the left-hand corner. It was a “Dear John” letter that told the recipient, whose name appeared to be Michael, that the writer could not see him anymore because her mother forbade it. Even so, she wrote that she would always love him.

        It was signed, Hannah.

        It was a beautiful letter, but there was no way except for the name Michael, that the owner could be identified. Maybe if I called information, the operator could find a phone listing for the address on the envelope.

        “Operator,” I began, “this is an unusual request. I’m trying to find the owner of a wallet that I found. Is there anyway you can tell me if there is a phone number for an address that was on an envelope in the wallet?”

        She suggested I speak with her supervisor, who hesitated for a moment then said, “Well, there is a phone listing at that address, but I can’t give you the number.” She said, as a courtesy, she would call that number, explain my story and would ask them if they wanted her to connect me.

        I waited a few minutes and then she was back on the line. “I have a party who will speak with you.”

        I asked the woman on the other end of the line if she knew anyone by the name of Hannah. She gasped, “Oh! We bought this house from a family who had a daughter named Hannah. But that was 30 years ago!”

        “Would you know where that family could be located now?” I asked.

        “I remember that Hannah had to place her mother in a nursing home some years ago,” the woman said. “Maybe if you got in touch with them they might be able to track down the daughter.”

        She gave me the name of the nursing home and I called the number. They told me the old lady had passed away some years ago but they did have a phone number for where they thought the daughter might be living.

        I thanked them and phoned. The woman who answered explained that Hannah herself was now living in a nursing home.

        This whole thing was stupid, I thought to myself. Why was I making such a big deal over finding the owner of a wallet that had only three dollars and a letter that was almost 60 years old?

        Nevertheless, I called the nursing home in which Hannah was supposed to be living and the man who answered the phone told me, “Yes, Hannah is staying with us.”

        Even though it was already 10 p.m., I asked if I could come by to see her. “Well,” he said hesitatingly, “if you want to take a chance, she might be in the day room watching television.”

        I thanked him and drove over to the nursing home. The night nurse and a guard greeted me at the door. We went up to the third floor of the large building. In the day room, the nurse introduced me to Hannah.

        She was a sweet, silver-haired oldtimer with a warm smile and a twinkle in her eye. I told her about finding the wallet and showed her the letter. The second she saw the powder blue envelope with that little flower on the left, she took a deep breath and said, “Young man, this letter was the last contact I ever had with Michael.”

        She looked away for a moment deep in thought and then said softly, “I loved him very much. But I was only 16 at the time and my mother felt I was too young. Oh, he was so handsome. He looked like Sean Connery, the actor.”

        “Yes,” she continued. “Michael Goldstein was a wonderful person. If you should find him, tell him I think of him often. And,” she hesitated for a moment, almost biting her lip, “tell him I still love him. You know,” she said smiling as tears began to well up in her eyes, “I never did marry. I guess no one ever matched up to Michael…”

        I thanked Hannah and said goodbye. I took the elevator to the first floor and as I stood by the door, the guard there asked, “Was the old lady able to help you?”

        I told him she had given me a lead. “At least I have a last name. But I think I’ll let it go for a while. I spent almost the whole day trying to find the owner of this wallet.”

        I had taken out the wallet, which was a simple brown leather case with red lacing on the side. When the guard saw it, he said, “Hey, wait a minute! That’s Mr. Goldstein’s wallet. I’d know it anywhere with that bright red lacing. He’s always losing that wallet. I must have found it in the halls at least three times.”

        “Who’s Mr. Goldstein?” I asked as my hand began to shake.

        “He’s one of the oldtimers on the 8th floor. That’s Mike Goldstein’s wallet for sure. He must have lost it on one of his walks.” I thanked the guard and quickly ran back to the nurse’s office. I told her what the guard had said. We went back to the elevator and got on. I prayed that Mr. Goldstein would be up.

        On the eighth floor, the floor nurse said, “I think he’s still in the day room. He likes to read at night. He’s a darling old man.”

        We went to the only room that had any lights on and there was a man reading a book. The nurse went over to him and asked if he had lost his wallet. Mr. Goldstein looked up with surprise, put his hand in his back pocket and said, “Oh, it is missing!”

        “This kind gentleman found a wallet and we wondered if it could be yours?”

        I handed Mr. Goldstein the wallet and the second he saw it, he smiled with relief and said, “Yes, that’s it! It must have dropped out of my pocket this afternoon. I want to give you a reward.”

        “No, thank you,” I said. “But I have to tell you something. I read the letter in the hope of finding out who owned the wallet.”

        The smile on his face suddenly disappeared. “You read that letter?”

        “Not only did I read it, I think I know where Hannah is.”

        He suddenly grew pale. “Hannah? You know where she is? How is she? Is she still as pretty as she was? Please, please tell me,” he begged.

        “She’s fine…just as pretty as when you knew her.” I said softly.

        The old man smiled with anticipation and asked, “Could you tell me where she is? I want to call her tomorrow.” He grabbed my hand and said, “You know something, Mister? I was so in love with that girl that when that letter came, my life literally ended. I never married. I guess I’ve always loved her.”

        “Mr. Goldstein,” I said, “Come with me.”

        We took the elevator down to the third floor. The hallways were darkened and only one or two little night-lights lit our way to the day room where Hannah was sitting alone watching the television. The nurse walked over to her.

        “Hannah,” she said softly, pointing to Michael, who was waiting with me in the doorway. “Do you know this man?”

        She adjusted her glasses, looked for a moment, but didn’t say a word. Michael said softly, almost in a whisper, “Hannah, it’s Michael. Do you remember me?”

        She gasped, “Michael! I don’t believe it! Michael! It’s you! My Michael!” He walked slowly towards her and they embraced. The nurse and I left with tears streaming down our faces.

        “See,” I said. “See how the Good Lord works! If it’s meant to be, it will be.”

        About three weeks later I got a call at my office from the nursing home. “Can you break away on Sunday to attend a wedding? Michael and Hannah are going to tie the knot!”

        It was a beautiful wedding with all the people at the nursing home dressed up to join in the celebration. Hannah wore a light beige dress and looked beautiful. Michael wore a dark blue suit and stood tall. They made me their best man.

        The hospital gave them their own room and if you ever wanted to see a 76-year-old bride and a 79-year-old groom acting like two teenagers, you had to see this couple.

        A perfect ending for a love affair that had lasted nearly 60 years.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Success Depends On Maturity!

Maturity is many things. It is the ability to base a judgment on the big picture, the long haul.

        It means being able to resist the urge for immediate gratification and opt for the course of action that will pay off later.

        One of the characteristics of the young is “I want it now.”

        Grown-up people can wait.

        Maturity is perseverance–the ability to sweat out a project or a situation, in spite of heavy opposition and discouraging setbacks, and stick with it until it is finished.

        The adult who is constantly changing friends and changing mates is immature. He/she cannot stick it out because he/she has not grown up.

        Maturity is the ability to control anger and settle differences without violence or destruction. The mature person can face unpleasantness, frustration, discomfort and defeat without collapsing or complaining. He/she knows he cannot have everything his/her own way every time. He/she is able to defer to circumstances, to other people-and to time. He/she knows when to compromise and is not too proud to do so.

        Maturity is humility. It is being big enough to say, “I was wrong.” And, when he/she is right, the mature person need not experience the satisfaction of saying, “I told you so.”

        Maturity is the ability to live up to your responsibilities, and this means being dependable. It means keeping your word. Dependability is the hallmark of integrity. Do you mean what you say-and do you say what you mean? Unfortunately, the world is filled with people who cannot be counted on. When you need them most, they are among the missing. They never seem to come through in the clutches. They break promises and substitute alibis for performance. They show up late or not at all. They are confused and disorganized. Their lives are a chaotic maze of broken promises, former friends, unfinished business and good intentions that somehow never materialize. They are always a day late and a dollar short.

        Maturity is the ability to make a decision and stand by it. Immature people spend their lives exploring endless possibilities and then doing nothing. Action requires courage. Without courage, little is accomplished.

        Maturity is the ability to harness your abilities and your energies and do more than is expected. The mature person refuses to settle for mediocrity. He/she would rather aim high and miss the mark than low-and make it.

        Maturity is the art of living in peace with that which cannot be changed, the courage to change that which should be changed, no matter what it takes, and the wisdom to know the difference.

        By Ann landers

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

The Fat Lady

Hi! How are you?” The woman smiled as she took the seat beside me. She had to lower herself slowly, squeezing her ample bottom into the seat, filling all available space.

        Positioning herself comfortably, she plopped her enormous arm on our common armrest. Her immensity saturated the space around us, shrinking me and my seat into insignificance.

        I cringed and reclined towards the window.

        She leaned towards me and repeated her greeting in an upbeat, friendly voice. Her face towered above my head, forcing me to turn to look at her. “Hi,” I replied with obvious loathing.

        I turned away to stare out the cabin window, sulking silently about the long hours of discomfort I was going to experience with this monster beside me.

        She nudged me with her meaty arm. “My name is Laura. I’m from Britain. How about you? Japan?”

        “Malaysia,” I barked.

        “I’m so sorry! Will you accept my heartfelt apology? Come, shake my hand. If we’re going to spend six hours side-by-side on this flight, we’d better be friends, don’t you think?” A palm waved in front of my face. I shook the hand reluctantly, still silent.

        Laura started a conversation with me, taking no notice of my unfriendly reactions. She talked excitedly about herself and her trip to Hong Kong to see her frinds. She rattled off a list of things she was going to buy for her students in the boarding school where she was teaching.

        I gave her one-word answers to her questions about me. Unperturbed by my coldness, she nodded as she made appreciative comments to my answers. Her voice was warm and caring. She was considerate and obliging when we were served drinks and meals, making sure that I had room to manoeuvre in my seat. “I don’t want to clobber you with my elephant size!” she said with utmost sincerity.

        To my surprise, her face which repulsed me hours before, now opened into extraordinary smiles, lively and calm at the same time. I couldn’t help but let down my guard slowly.

        Laura was an interesting conversationalist. She was well read in many subjects from philosophy to science. She turned a seemingly unimportant subject into something to explore and understand. Her comments were humorous and inspirational. When our topic turned to cultures, I was pleasantly surprised by her intelligent comments and well-thought-out analysis.

        During our conversation, Laura managed to make every cabin crew who served us walk away laughing at her jokes.

        When a flight attendant was clearing our plates, Laura cracked several jokes about her size. The flight attendant roared with laughter as she grabbed Laura’s hand, “You really make my day!”

        For the next few minutes, Laura listened attentively and gave pointers to the flight attendant’s weight problem. The grateful attendant said before she rushed off, “I’ve got to work. I’ll come back later and talk to you about it.”

        I asked Laura, “‘Have you ever thought about losing some weight?”

        “No. I’ve worked hard to get this way. Why would I want to give it up?”

        “You aren’t worried about cardiovascular diseases that come with being overweight?”

        “Not at all. You only get the diseases if you’re worried about your weight all the time. You see advertisements from slimming centres that say, ‘Liberate yourself from your extra baggage so that you are free to be yourself.’ It’s rubbish! You’re liberated only if you’re comfortable about who you are, and what you look like any time of the day and anytime of the year! Why would I want to waste my time on slimming regimes when I have so many other important things to do and so many people to be friends with? I eat healthily and walk regularly; I’m this size because I am born to be big! There is more to life than worrying about weight all day long.”

        She sipped at her wine. “Besides, God gives me so much happiness that I need a bigger body to hold all of it! Why would I lose weight to lose my happiness?” Taken aback by her reasoning, I chuckled.

        Laura continued. “Folks often see me as a fat lady with big bosoms, big thighs and a big bottom that no man would even bother to cast a glance at. They see me as a slob. They think I’m lazy and have no willpower. They’re wrong.” She held up her glass to a passing flight attendant. “More of this magnificent wine, please.” She smiled sweetly at the attendant. “Great service from your crew. May God bless all of you.”

        She turned to me, “I’m actually a slim person inside. I’m so full of energy that people won’t be able to keep up with me. This extra flesh is here to slow me down, otherwise I’ll be running everywhere chasing after men!”

        “Do men chase after you?” I asked jokingly.

        “Of course they do. I’m happily married but men still keep proposing to me.

        “Most of them have relationship problems and they need someone to confide in. For some reason, they like to talk to me. I think I should have been a counsellor instead of a school teacher!”

        Laura paused before she said thoughtfully, “You know, the relationship between men and women is so complicated. Women worship men and call them, ‘Honey’ until they find out they have been lied to, and then they turn into bitter gourds! Men love women so much that they see them as their soul mates until they look at their credit card bills, and then women become devils with tridents!”

        Laura’s enthralling conversation had turned the flight into something thoroughly enjoyable. I was also fascinated by the way people were drawn to her. By the end of the flight, almost half the cabin crew was standing near the aisle by us, laughing and joking with Laura. The passengers around us joined in the merry-making too. Laura was the centre of attention, filling the cabin with delightful warmth.

        When we waved goodbye to each other at the arrival lounge at Hong Kong’s Kai Tak Airport, I watched her walking towards a big group of adoring adults and kids. Cheers sounded as the group hugged and kissed Laura. She turned around and winked at me.

        I was stunned, as the realisation set in: Laura was the most beautiful woman I had ever met in my life.

        By Chong Sheau Ching

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Learn From Mistakes

Thomas Edison tried two thousand different materials in search of a filament for the light bulb. When none worked satisfactorily, his assistant complained, “All our work is in vain. We have learned nothing.”

        Edison replied very confidently, “Oh, we have come a long way and we have learned a lot. We know that there are two thousand elements which we cannot use to make a good light bulb.”

Saturday, 23 July 2016

I Have Learned...

I’ve learned-

        that you cannot make someone love you. All you can do is be someone who can be loved. The rest is up to them.
        I’ve learned-

        that no matter how much I care, some people just don’t care back.
        I’ve learned-

        that it takes years to build up trust, and only seconds to destroy it.
        I’ve learned-

        that no matter how good a friend is, they’re going to hurt you every once in a while and you must forgive them for that.
        I’ve learned-

        that it’s not what you have in your life but who you have in your life that counts.
        I’ve learned-

        that you should never ruin an apology with an excuse.
        I’ve learned-

        that you can get by on charm for about fifteen minutes. After that, you’d better know something.
        I’ve learned-

        that you shouldn’t compare yourself to the best others can do.
        I’ve learned-

        that you can do something in an instant that will give you heartache for life.
        I’ve learned-

        that it’s taking me a long time to become the person I want to be.
        I’ve learned-

        that you should always leave loved ones with loving words. It may be the last time you see them.
        I’ve learned-

        that you can keep going long after you can’t.
        I’ve learned-

        that we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel.
        I’ve learned-

        that either you control your attitude or it controls you.
        I’ve learned-

        that regardless of how hot and steamy a relationship is at first, the passion fades and there had better be something else to take its place.
        I’ve learned-

        that heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.
        I’ve learned-

        that money is a lousy way of keeping score.
        I’ve learned-

        that my best friend and I can do anything or nothing and have the best time.
        I’ve learned-

        that sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you’re down will be the ones to help you get back up.
        I’ve learned-

        that sometimes when I’m angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn’t give me the right to be cruel.
        I’ve learned-

        that true friendship continues to grow, even over the longest distance. Same goes for true love.
        I’ve learned-

        that just because someone doesn’t love you the way you want them to doesn’t mean they don’t love you with all they have.
        I’ve learned-

        that maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you’ve had and what you’ve learned from them and less to do with how many birthdays you’ve celebrated.
        I’ve learned-

        that you should never tell a child their dreams are unlikely or outlandish. Few things are more humiliating, and what a tragedy it would be if they believed it.
        I’ve learned-

        that your family won’t always be there for you. It may seem funny, but people you aren’t related to can take care of you and love you and teach you to trust people again. Families aren’t biological.
        I’ve learned-

        that it isn’t always enough to be forgiven by others. Sometimes you are to learn to forgive yourself.
        I’ve learned-

        that no matter how bad your heart is broken the world doesn’t stop for your grief.
        I’ve learned-

        that our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.
        I’ve learned-

        that a rich person is not the one who has the most, but is one who needs the least.
        I’ve learned-

        that just because two people argue, it doesn’t mean they don’t love each other. And just because they don’t argue, it doesn’t mean they do.
        I’ve learned-

        that we don’t have to change friends if we understand that friends change.
        I’ve learned-

        that you shouldn’t be so eager to find out a secret. It could change your life forever.
        I’ve learned-

        that two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different.
        I’ve learned-

        that no matter how you try to protect your children, they will eventually get hurt and you will hurt in the process.
        I’ve learned-

        that even when you think you have no more to give, when a friend cries out to you, you will find the strength to help.
        I’ve learned-

        that credentials on the wall do not make you a decent human being.
        I’ve learned-

        that the people you care about most in life are taken from you too soon.
        I’ve learned-

        that it’s hard to determine where to draw the line between being nice and not hurting people’s feelings, and standing up for what you believe.
        I’ve learned-

        that people will forget what you said, and people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
        By Omer B. Washington

Friday, 22 July 2016

Let go of your Stresses!

A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the “half empty or half full” question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: ”How heavy is this glass of water?”

        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, it’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.”

        She continued, “The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything.”

        It’s important to remember to let go of your stresses. As early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don’t carry them through the evening and into the night. Remember to put the glass down!

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Marriage - Very Touching

When I got home that night as my wife served dinner, I held her hand and said, I’ve got something to tell you. She sat down and ate quietly. Again I observed the hurt in her eyes.

        Suddenly I didn’t know how to open my mouth. But I had to let her know what I was thinking. I want a divorce. I raised the topic calmly.

        She didn’t seem to be annoyed by my words, instead she asked me softly, why?

        I avoided her question. This made her angry. She threw away the chopsticks and shouted at me, you are not a man! That night, we didn’t talk to each other. She was weeping. I knew she wanted to find out what had happened to our marriage. But I could hardly give her a satisfactory answer; she had lost my heart to Jane. I didn’t love her anymore. I just pitied her!

        With a deep sense of guilt, I drafted a divorce agreement which stated that she could own our house, our car, and 30% stake of my company.

        She glanced at it and then tore it into pieces. The woman who had spent ten years of her life with me had become a stranger. I felt sorry for her wasted time, resources and energy but I could not take back what I had said for I loved Jane so dearly. Finally she cried loudly in front of me, which was what I had expected to see. To me her cry was actually a kind of release. The idea of divorce which had obsessed me for several weeks seemed to be firmer and clearer now.

        The next day, I came back home very late and found her writing something at the table. I didn’t have supper but went straight to sleep and fell asleep very fast because I was tired after an eventful day with Jane.

        When I woke up, she was still there at the table writing. I just did not care so I turned over and was asleep again.

        In the morning she presented her divorce conditions: she didn’t want anything from me, but needed a month’s notice before the divorce. She requested that in that one month we both struggle to live as normal a life as possible. Her reasons were simple: our son had his exams in a month’s time and she didn’t want to disrupt him with our broken marriage.

        This was agreeable to me. But she had something more, she asked me to recall how I had carried her into out bridal room on our wedding day.

        She requested that every day for the month’s duration I carry her out of our bedroom to the front door every morning. I thought she was going crazy. Just to make our last days together bearable I accepted her odd request.

        I told Jane about my wife’s divorce conditions. She laughed loudly and thought it was absurd. No matter what tricks she applies, she has to face the divorce, she said scornfully.

        My wife and I hadn’t had any body contact since my divorce intention was explicitly expressed. So when I carried her out on the first day, we both appeared clumsy. Our son clapped behind us, daddy is holding mommy in his arms. His words brought me a sense of pain. From the bedroom to the sitting room, then to the door, I walked over ten meters with her in my arms. She closed her eyes and said softly; don’t tell our son about the divorce. I nodded, feeling somewhat upset. I put her down outside the door. She went to wait for the bus to work. I drove alone to the office.

        On the second day, both of us acted much more easily. She leaned on my chest. I could smell the fragrance of her blouse. I realized that I hadn’t looked at this woman carefully for a long time. I realized she was not young any more. There were fine wrinkles on her face, her hair was graying! Our marriage had taken its toll on her. For a minute I wondered what I had done to her.

        On the fourth day, when I lifted her up, I felt a sense of intimacy returning. This was the woman who had given ten years of her life to me.

        On the fifth and sixth day, I realized that our sense of intimacy was growing again. I didn’t tell Jane about this. It became easier to carry her as the month slipped by. Perhaps the everyday workout made me stronger.

        She was choosing what to wear one morning. She tried on quite a few dresses but could not find a suitable one. Then she sighed, all my dresses have grown bigger. I suddenly realized that she had grown so thin, that was the reason why I could carry her more easily.

        Suddenly it hit me… she had buried so much pain and bitterness in her heart. Subconsciously I reached out and touched her head.

        Our son came in at the moment and said, Dad, it’s time to carry mom out. To him, seeing his father carrying his mother out had become an essential part of his life. My wife gestured to our son to come closer and hugged him tightly. I turned my face away because I was afraid I might change my mind at this last minute. I then held her in my arms, walking from the bedroom, through the sitting room, to the hallway. Her hand surrounded my neck softly and naturally. I held her body tightly; it was just like our wedding day.

        But her much lighter weight made me sad. On the last day, when I held her in my arms I could hardly move a step. Our son had gone to school. I held her tightly and said, I hadn’t noticed that our life lacked intimacy.

        I drove to office… jumped out of the car swiftly without locking the door. I was afraid any delay would make me change my mind… I walked upstairs. Jane opened the door and I said to her, Sorry, Jane, I do not want the divorce anymore.

        She looked at me, astonished, and then touched my forehead. Do you have a fever? She said. I moved her hand off my head. Sorry, Jane, I said, I won’t divorce. My marriage life was boring probably because she and I didn’t value the details of our lives, not because we didn’t love each other anymore. Now I realize that since I carried her into my home on our wedding day I am supposed to hold her until death do us apart.

        Jane seemed to suddenly wake up. She gave me a loud slap and then slammed the door and burst into tears. I walked downstairs and drove away.

        At the floral shop on the way, I ordered a bouquet of flowers for my wife. The salesgirl asked me what to write on the card. I smiled and wrote, I’ll carry you out every morning until death do us apart.

        That evening I arrived home, flowers in my hands, a smile on my face, I run up stairs, only to find my wife in the bed – dead.

        My wife had been fighting CANCER for months and I was so busy with Jane to even notice. She knew that she would die soon and she wanted to save me from the whatever negative reaction from our son, in case we push thru with the divorce –At least, in the eyes of our son— I’m a loving husband…

        The small details of your lives are what really matter in a relationship. It is not the mansion, the car, property, the money in the bank. These create an environment conducive for happiness but cannot give happiness in themselves. So find time to be your spouse’s friend and do those little things for each other that build intimacy. Do have a real happy marriage!

A bowl of noodles from a stranger

That night, Sue quarreled with her mother, then stormed out of the house. While enroute, she remembered that she did not have any money in her pocket, she did not even have enough coins to make a phone call home.

        At the same time, she went through a noodle shop, picking up sweet fragrance, she suddenly felt very hungry. She wished for a bowl of noodles, but she had no money!

        The seller saw her standing wheat faltered before the counter and asked:

        - Hey little girl, you want to eat a bowl?

        - But … but I do not carry money … she shyly replied.

        - Okay, I’ll treat you – the seller said – come in, I will cook you a bowl.

        A few minutes later the owner brought her a steaming bowl of noodles. Ate some pieces, Sue cried.

        - What is it? – He asked.

        - Nothing. I am just touched by your kindness! – Sue said as she wiped her tears.

        - Even a stranger on the street gives me a bowl of noodles, and my mother, after a quarrel, chased me out of the house. She is cruel!!

        The seller sighed:

        - Girl, why did you think so? Think again. I only gave you a bowl of noodles and you felt that way. Your mother had raised you since you were little, why were you not grateful and disobeyed your mom?

        Sue was really surprised after hearing that.

        “Why did I not think of that? A bowl of noodles from a stranger made me feel indebted, and my mother has raised me since I was little and I have never felt so, even a little.”

        On the way home, Sue thought in her head what she would say to her mother when she arrives home: “Mom, I’m sorry. I know it is my fault, please forgive me … ”

        Once up the steps, Sue saw her mother worried and tired of looking for her everywhere. Upon seeing Sue, her mother gently said: “Sue, come inside honey. You are probably very hungry? I cooked rice and prepared the meal already, come eat while it is still hot …”

        Can not control any longer, Sue cried in her mom’s hands.

        In life, we sometimes easy to appreciate the small actions of some people around us, but for the relatives, especially parents, we see their sacrifices as a matter of natural …

        Parental love and concern are the most precious gifts we have been given since birth.

        Parents do not expect us to pay back for nurturing us …… but have we ever appreciated or treasure the unconditional sacrifice of our parents?

        Translated from a Vietnamese story by Tina

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

The story of a woodcutter

Once upon a time, a very strong woodcutter asked for a job in a timber merchant and he got it. The pay was really good and so was the work condition. For those reasons, the woodcutter was determined to do his best.

        His boss gave him an axe and showed him the area where he supposed to work.

        The first day, the woodcutter brought 18 trees.

        “Congratulations,” the boss said. “Go on that way!”

        Very motivated by the boss words, the woodcutter tried harder the next day, but he could only bring 15 trees. The third day he tried even harder, but he could only bring 10 trees. Day after day he was bringing less and less trees.

        “I must be losing my strength”, the woodcutter thought. He went to the boss and apologized, saying that he could not understand what was going on.

        “When was the last time you sharpened your axe?” the boss asked.

        “Sharpen? I had no time to sharpen my axe. I have been very busy trying to cut trees…”



        Reflection:

        Our lives are like that. We sometimes get so busy that we don’t take time to sharpen the “axe”. In today’s world, it seems that everyone is busier than ever, but less happy that ever.

        Why is that? Could it be that we have forgotten how to stay “sharp”? There’s nothing wrong with activity and hard work. But we should not get so busy that we neglect the truly important things in life, like our personal life, taking time to get close to our Creator, giving more time for our family, taking time to read etc.

        We all need time to relax, to think and meditate, to learn and grow. If we don’t take the time to sharpen the “axe”, we will become dull and lose our effectiveness.

        Author: Stephen Covey
        From: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Positive Thinking

Jerry was the kind of guy you love to hate. He was always in a good mood and always had something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, “If I were any better, I would be twins!”

        He was a unique manager because he had several waiters who had followed him around from restaurant to restaurant. The reason the waiters followed Jerry was because of his attitude. He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, Jerry was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.

        Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Jerry and asked him, “I don’t get it! You can’t be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?” Jerry replied, “Each morning I wake up and say to myself, Jerry, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood.’ I choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life.”

        “Yeah, right, it’s not that easy,” I protested.

        “Yes it is,” Jerry said. “Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people will affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It’s your choice how you live life.”

        I reflected on what Jerry said. Soon thereafter, I left the restaurant industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it. Several years later, I heard that Jerry did something you are never supposed to do in a restaurant business: he left the back door open one morning and was held up at gunpoint by three armed robbers. While trying to open the safe, his hand, shaking from nervousness, slipped off the combination. The robbers panicked and shot him. Luckily, Jerry was found relatively quickly and rushed to the local trauma center. After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Jerry was released from the hospital with fragments of the bullets still in his body. I saw Jerry about six months after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he replied, “If I were any better, I’d be twins. Wanna see my scars?”

        I declined to see his wounds, but did ask him what had gone through his mind as the robbery took place. “The first thing that went through my mind was that I should have locked the back door,” Jerry replied. “Then, as I lay on the floor, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live, or I could choose to die. I chose to live.”

        “Weren’t you scared? Did you lose consciousness?” I asked. Jerry continued, “The paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the emergency room and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read, ‘He’s a dead man.’ I knew I needed to take action.”

        “What did you do?” I asked.

        “Well, there was a big, burly nurse shouting questions at me,” said Jerry. “She asked if I was allergic to anything. ‘Yes,’ I replied. The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply… I took a deep breath and yelled, ‘Bullets!’ Over their laughter, I told them, ‘I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead.”

        Jerry lived thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude. I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully. Attitude, after all, is everything.

        By Francie Baltazar-Schwartz

        Let this really sink in-
        then choose how you start your day tomorrow.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Helpless Love

Once upon a time all feelings and emotions went to a coastal island for a vacation. According to their nature, each was having a good time. Suddenly, a warning of an impending storm was announced and everyone was advised to evacuate the island.

        The announcement caused sudden panic. All rushed to their boats. Even damaged boats were quickly repaired and commissioned for duty.

        Yet, Love did not wish to flee quickly. There was so much to do. But as the clouds darkened, Love realised it was time to leave. Alas, there were no boats to spare. Love looked around with hope.

        Just then Prosperity passed by in a luxurious boat. Love shouted, “Prosperity, could you please take me in your boat?”

        “No,” replied Prosperity, “my boat is full of precious possessions, gold and silver. There is no place for you.”

        A little later Vanity came by in a beautiful boat. Again Love shouted, “Could you help me, Vanity? I am stranded and need a lift. Please take me with you.”

        Vanity responded haughtily, “No, I cannot take you with me. My boat will get soiled with your muddy feet.”

        Sorrow passed by after some time. Again, Love asked for help. But it was to no avail. “No, I cannot take you with me. I am so sad. I want to be by myself.”

        When Happiness passed by a few minutes later, Love again called for help. But Happiness was so happy that it did not look around, hardly concerned about anyone.

        Love was growing restless and dejected. Just then somebody called out, “Come Love, I will take you with me.” Love did not know who was being so magnanimous, but jumped on to the boat, greatly relieved that she would reach a safe place.

        On getting off the boat, Love met Knowledge. Puzzled, Love inquired, “Knowledge, do you know who so generously gave me a lift just when no one else wished to help?”

        Knowledge smiled, “Oh, that was Time.”

        “And why would Time stop to pick me and take me to safety?” Love wondered.

        Knowledge smiled with deep wisdom and replied, “Because only Time knows your true greatness and what you are capable of. Only Love can bring peace and great happiness in this world.”

        “The important message is that when we are prosperous, we overlook love. When we feel important, we forget love. Even in happiness and sorrow we forget love. Only with time do we realize the importance of love. Why wait that long? Why not make love a part of your life today?”

Friday, 15 July 2016

A gift of love!

“Can I see my baby?” the happy new mother asked.

        When the bundle was nestled in her arms and she moved the fold of cloth to look upon his tiny face, she gasped. The doctor turned quickly and looked out the tall hospital window. The baby had been born without ears.

        Time proved that the baby’s hearing was perfect. It was only his appearance that was marred. When he rushed home from school one day and flung himself into his mother’s arms, she sighed, knowing that his life was to be a succession of heartbreaks. He blurted out the tragedy. “A boy, a big boy … called me a freak.”

        He grew up, handsome for his misfortune. A favorite with his fellow students, he might have been class president, but for that. He developed a gift, a talent for literature and music. “But you might mingle with other young people,” his mother reproved him, but felt a kindness in her heart. The boy’s father had a session with the family physician. Could nothing be done? “I believe I could graft on a pair of outer ears, if they could be procured,” the doctor decided.

        Whereupon the search began for a person who would make such a sacrifice for a young man. Two years went by. Then, “You are going to the hospital, Son. Mother and I have someone who will donate the ears you need. But it’s a secret,” said the father. The operation was a brilliant success, and a new person emerged. His talents blossomed into genius, and school and college became a series of triumphs.

        Later he married and entered the diplomatic service. “But I must know!” He urged his father, “Who gave so much for me? I could never do enough for him.” “I do not believe you could,” said the father, “but the agreement was that you are not to know … not yet.” The years kept their profound secret, but the day did come … one of the darkest days that a son must endure. He stood with his father over his mother’s casket. Slowly, tenderly, the father stretched forth a hand and raised the thick, reddish-brown hair to reveal that the mother had no outer ears. “Mother said she was glad she never let her hair be cut,” he whispered gently, “and nobody ever thought Mother less beautiful, did they?”

        Real beauty lies not in the physical appearance, but in the heart. Real treasure lies not in what that can be seen, but what that cannot be seen. Real love lies not in what is done and known, but in what that is done but not known.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

The Cookie Thief

A woman was waiting at an airport one night, with several long hours before her flight. She hunted for a book in the airport shops, bought a bag of cookies and found a place to drop.

        She was engrossed in her book but happened to see, that the man sitting beside her, as bold as could be. . .grabbed a cookie or two from the bag in between, which she tried to ignore to avoid a scene.

        So she munched the cookies and watched the clock, as the gutsy cookie thief diminished her stock. She was getting more irritated as the minutes ticked by, thinking, “If I wasn’t so nice, I would blacken his eye.”

        With each cookie she took, he took one too, when only one was left, she wondered what he would do. With a smile on his face, and a nervous laugh, he took the last cookie and broke it in half.

        He offered her half, as he ate the other, she snatched it from him and thought… oooh, brother. This guy has some nerve and he’s also rude, why he didn’t even show any gratitude!

        She had never known when she had been so galled, and sighed with relief when her flight was called. She gathered her belongings and headed to the gate, refusing to look back at the thieving ingrate.

        She boarded the plane, and sank in her seat, then she sought her book, which was almost complete. As she reached in her baggage, she gasped with surprise, there was her bag of cookies, in front of her eyes.

        If mine are here, she moaned in despair, the others were his, and he tried to share. Too late to apologize, she realized with grief, that she was the rude one, the ingrate, the thief.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Temper Control

Once upon a time there was a little boy who was talented, creative, handsome, and extremely bright. A natural leader. The kind of person everyone would normally have wanted on their team or project. But he was also self-centered and had a very bad temper. When he got angry, he usually said, and often did, some very hurtful things. In fact, he seemed to have little regard for those around him. Even friends. So, naturally, he had few. “But,” he told himself, “that just shows how stupid most people are!”

        As he grew, his parents became concerned about this personality flaw, and pondered long and hard about what they should do. Finally, the father had an idea. And he struck a bargain with his son. He gave him a bag of nails, and a BIG hammer. “Whenever you lose your temper,” he told the boy, “I want you to really let it out. Just take a nail and drive it into the oak boards of that old fence out back. Hit that nail as hard as you can!”

        Of course, those weathered oak boards in that old fence were almost as tough as iron, and the hammer was mighty heavy, so it wasn’t nearly as easy as it first sounded. Nevertheless, by the end of the first day, the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence (That was one angry young man!). Gradually, over a period of weeks, the number dwindled down. Holding his temper proved to be easier than driving nails into the fence! Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He felt mighty proud as he told his parents about that accomplishment.

        “As a sign of your success,” his father responded, “you get to PULL OUT one nail. In fact, you can do that each day that you don’t lose your temper even once.”

        Well, many weeks passed. Finally one day the young boy was able to report proudly that all the nails were gone.

        At that point, the father asked his son to walk out back with him and take one more good look at the fence. “You have done well, my son,” he said. “But I want you to notice the holes that are left. No matter what happens from now on, this fence will never be the same. Saying or doing hurtful things in anger produces the same kind of result. There will always be a scar. It won’t matter how many times you say you’re sorry, or how many years pass, the scar will still be there. And a verbal wound is as bad as a physical one. People are much more valuable than an old fence. They make us smile. They help us succeed. Some will even become friends who share our joys, and support us through bad times. And, if they trust us, they will also open their hearts to us. That means we need to treat everyone with love and respect. We need to prevent as many of those scars as we can.”

        A most valuable lesson, don’t you think? And a reminder most of us need from time to time. Everyone gets angry occasionally. The real test is what we DO with it.

        If we are wise, we will spend our time building bridges rather than barriers in our relationships.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

What goes around comes around

One day a man saw an old lady, stranded on the side of the road, but even in the dim light of day, he could see she needed help. So he pulled up in front of her Mercedes and got out. His Pontiac was still sputtering when he approached her.

        Even with the smile on his face, she was worried. No one had stopped to help for the last hour or so. Was he going to hurt her? He didn’t look safe; he looked poor and hungry. He could see that she was frightened, standing out there in the cold. He knew how she felt. It was those chills which only fear can put in you. He said, “I’m here to help you, ma’am. Why don’t you wait in the car where it’s warm? By the way, my name is Bryan Anderson.”

        Well, all she had was a flat tire, but for an old lady, that was bad enough. Bryan crawled under the car looking for a place to put the jack, skinning his knuckles a time or two. Soon he was able to change the tire. But he had to get dirty and his hands hurt.

        As he was tightening up the lug nuts, she rolled down the window and began to talk to him. She told him that she was from St. Louis and was only just passing through. She couldn’t thank him enough for coming to her aid.

        Bryan just smiled as he closed her trunk. The lady asked how much she owed him. Any amount would have been all right with her. She already imagined all the awful things that could have happened had he not stopped. Bryan never thought twice about being paid. This was not a job to him. This was helping someone in need, and God knows there were plenty, who had given him a hand in the past. He had lived his whole life that way, and it never occurred to him to act any other way.

        He told her that if she really wanted to pay him back, the next time she saw someone who needed help, she could give that person the assistance they needed, and Bryan added, “And think of me.”

        He waited until she started her car and drove off. It had been a cold and depressing day, but he felt good as he headed for home, disappearing into the twilight.

        A few miles down the road the lady saw a small cafe. She went in to grab a bite to eat, and take the chill off before she made the last leg of her trip home. It was a dingy looking restaurant. Outside were two old gas pumps. The whole scene was unfamiliar to her. The waitress came over and brought a clean towel to wipe her wet hair. She had a sweet smile, one that even being on her feet for the whole day couldn’t erase. The lady noticed the waitress was nearly eight months pregnant, but she never let the strain and aches change her attitude. The old lady wondered how someone who had so little could be so giving to a stranger. Then she remembered Bryan.

        After the lady finished her meal, she paid with a hundred dollar bill. The waitress quickly went to get change for her hundred dollar bill, but the old lady had slipped right out the door. She was gone by the time the waitress came back. The waitress wondered where the lady could be. Then she noticed something written on the napkin.

        There were tears in her eyes when she read what the lady wrote: “You don’t owe me anything. I have been there too. Somebody once helped me out, the way I’m helping you. If you really want to pay me back, here is what you do, do not let this chain of love end with you.” Under the napkin were four more $100 bills.

        Well, there were tables to clear, sugar bowls to fill, and people to serve, but the waitress made it through another day. That night when she got home from work and climbed into bed, she was thinking about the money and what the lady had written. How could the lady have known how much she and her husband needed it? With the baby due next month, it was going to be hard… She knew how worried her husband was, and as he lay sleeping next to her, she gave him a soft kiss and whispered soft and low, “Everything’s going to be all right. I love you, Bryan Anderson.”

        There is an old saying “What goes around comes around.”

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Determination and Persistence

This is a real life story of engineer John Roebling building the Brooklyn Bridge in New York, USA back in 1870. The bridge was completed in 1883, after 13 years.

        In 1883, a creative engineer named John Roebling was inspired by an idea to build a spectacular bridge connecting New York with the Long Island. However bridge building experts throughout the world thought that this was an impossible feat and told Roebling to forget the idea. It just could not be done. It was not practical. It had never been done before.

        Roebling could not ignore the vision he had in his mind of this bridge. He thought about it all the time and he knew deep in his heart that it could be done. He just had to share the dream with someone else. After much discussion and persuasion he managed to convince his son Washington, an up and coming engineer, that the bridge in fact could be built.

        Working together for the first time, the father and son developed concepts of how it could be accomplished and how the obstacles could be overcome. With great excitement and inspiration, and the headiness of a wild challenge before them, they hired their crew and began to build their dream bridge.

        The project started well, but when it was only a few months underway a tragic accident on the site took the life of John Roebling. Washington was also injured and left with a certain amount of brain damage, which resulted in him not being able to talk or walk.

        “We told them so.” “Crazy men and their crazy dreams.” “It’s foolish to chase wild visions.”

        Everyone had a negative comment to make and felt that the project should be scrapped since the Roeblings were the only ones who knew how the bridge could be built.

        In spite of his handicap Washington was never discouraged and still had a burning desire to complete the bridge and his mind was still as sharp as ever. He tried to inspire and pass on his enthusiasm to some of his friends, but they were too daunted by the task.

        As he lay on his bed in his hospital room, with the sunlight streaming through the windows, a gentle breeze blew the flimsy white curtains apart and he was able to see the sky and the tops of the trees outside for just a moment.

        It seemed that there was a message for him not to give up. Suddenly an idea hit him. All he could do was move one finger and he decided to make the best use of it. By moving this, he slowly developed a code of communication with his wife.

        He touched his wife’s arm with that finger, indicating to her that he wanted her to call the engineers again. Then he used the same method of tapping her arm to tell the engineers what to do. It seemed foolish but the project was under way again.

        For 13 years Washington tapped out his instructions with his finger on his wife’s arm, until the bridge was finally completed. Today the spectacular Brooklyn Bridge stands in all its glory as a tribute to the triumph of one man’s indomitable spirit and his determination not to be defeated by circumstances. It is also a tribute to the engineers and their team work, and to their faith in a man who was considered mad by half the world. It stands too as a tangible monument to the love and devotion of his wife who for 13 long years patiently decoded the messages of her husband and told the engineers what to do.

        Perhaps this is one of the best examples of a never-say-die attitude that overcomes a terrible physical handicap and achieves an impossible goal.

        Often when we face obstacles in our day-to-day life, our hurdles seem very small in comparison to what many others have to face. The Brooklyn Bridge shows us that dreams that seem impossible can be realised with determination and persistence, no matter what the odds are.

Face Difficulties Positively

This parable is told of a farmer who owned an old mule. The mule fell into the farmer’s well. The farmer heard the mule praying or whatever mules do when they fall into wells.
After carefully assessing the situation, the farmer sympathized with the mule, but decided that neither the mule nor the well was worth the trouble of saving. Instead, he called his neighbors together, told them what had happened, and enlisted them to help haul dirt to bury the old mule in the well and put him out of his misery. Initially the old mule was hysterical! But as the farmer and his neighbors continued shoveling and the dirt hit his back, a thought struck him. It suddenly dawned on him that every time a shovel load of dirt landed on his back, HE WOULD SHAKE IT OFF AND STEP UP! This he did, blow after blow. “Shake it off and step up… shake it off and step up… shake it off and step up!”

He repeated to encourage himself. No matter how painful the blows, or how distressing the situation seemed, the old mule fought panic and just kept right on SHAKING IT OFF AND STEPPING UP! It wasn’t long before the old mule, battered and exhausted, stepped triumphantly over the wall of that well! What seemed like it would bury him actually helped him … all because of the manner in which he handled his adversity.

THAT’S LIFE! If we face our problems and respond to them positively, and refuse to give in to panic, bitterness, or self-pity.

Friday, 8 July 2016

My mom only had one eye

My mom only had one eye. I hated her… She was such an embarrassment. She cooked for students and teachers to support the family.

        There was this one day during elementary school where my mom came to say hello to me. I was so embarrassed.

        How could she do this to me? I ignored her, threw her a hateful look and ran out. The next day at school one of my classmates said, “EEEE, your mom only has one eye!”

        I wanted to bury myself. I also wanted my mom to just disappear. I confronted her that day and said, “If you’re only gonna make me a laughing stock, why don’t you just die?”

        My mom did not respond… I didn’t even stop to think for a second about what I had said, because I was full of anger. I was oblivious to her feelings.

        I wanted out of that house, and have nothing to do with her. So I studied real hard, got a chance to go abroad to study.

        Then, I got married. I bought a house of my own. I had kids of my own. I was happy with my life, my kids and the comforts. Then one day, my Mother came to visit me. She hadn’t seen me in years and she didn’t even meet her grandchildren.

        When she stood by the door, my children laughed at her, and I yelled at her for coming over uninvited. I screamed at her, “How dare you come to my house and scare my children! GET OUT OF HERE! NOW!!!”

        And to this, my mother quietly answered, “Oh, I’m so sorry. I may have gotten the wrong address.” – and she disappeared out of sight.

        One day, a letter regarding a school reunion came to my house. So I lied to my wife that I was going on a business trip. After the reunion, I went to the old shack just out of curiosity.

        My neighbors said that she died. I did not shed a single tear. They handed me a letter that she had wanted me to have.

        “My dearest son,

        I think of you all the time. I’m sorry that I came to your house and scared your children.

        I was so glad when I heard you were coming for the reunion. But I may not be able to even get out of bed to see you. I’m sorry that I was a constant embarrassment to you when you were growing up.

        You see……..when you were very little, you got into an accident, and lost your eye. As a mother, I couldn’t stand watching you having to grow up with one eye. So I gave you mine.

        I was so proud of my son who was seeing a whole new world for me, in my place, with that eye.

        With all my love to you,

        Your mother.”

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Keep Your dreams

I have a friend named Monty Roberts who owns a horse ranch in San Ysidro. He has let me use his house to put on fund-raising events to raise money for youth at risk programs.

        The last time I was there he introduced me by saying:

        “I want to tell you why I let Jack use my horse. It all goes back to a story about a young man who was the son of an itinerant horse trainer who would go from stable to stable, race track to race track, farm to farm and ranch to ranch, training horses. As a result, the boy’s high school career was continually interrupted. When he was a senior, he was asked to write a paper about what he wanted to be and do when he grew up.”

        “That night he wrote a seven-page paper describing his goal of someday owning a horse ranch. He wrote about his dream in great detail and he even drew a diagram of a 200-acre ranch, showing the location of all the buildings, the stables and the track. Then he drew a detailed floor plan for a 4,000-square-foot house that would sit on a 200-acre dream ranch.”

        “He put a great deal of his heart into the project and the next day he handed it in to his teacher. Two days later he received his paper back. On the front page was a large red F with a note that read, `See me after class.’”

        “The boy with the dream went to see the teacher after class and asked, `Why did I receive an F?’”

        “The teacher said, `This is an unrealistic dream for a young boy like you. You have no money. You come from an itinerant family. You have no resources. Owning a horse ranch requires a lot of money. You have to buy the land. You have to pay for the original breeding stock and later you’ll have to pay large stud fees. There’s no way you could ever do it.’ Then the teacher added, `If you will rewrite this paper with a more realistic goal, I will reconsider your grade.’”

        “The boy went home and thought about it long and hard. He asked his father what he should do. His father said, `Look, son, you have to make up your own mind on this. However, I think it is a very important decision for you.’ Finally, after sitting with it for a week, the boy turned in the same paper, making no changes at all.

        He stated, ‘You can keep the F and I’ll keep my dream.’”

        Monty then turned to the assembled group and said, “I tell you this story because you are sitting in my 4,000-square-foot house in the middle of my 200-acre horse ranch. I still have that school paper framed over the fireplace.”

        He added, “The best part of the story is that two summers ago that same schoolteacher brought 30 kids to camp out on my ranch for a week. When the teacher was leaving, the teacher said, ‘Look, Monty, I can tell you this now. When I was your teacher, I was something of a dream stealer. During those years I stole a lot of kids’ dreams. Fortunately you had enough gumption not to give up on yours.’”

        “Don’t let anyone steal your dreams. Follow your heart, no matter what.”