SHE’S GONE BUT HER FRAGRANCE REMAINS

perfume and roseShe’s gone.  I can’t reach out and touch her.  I can’t take her to our favorite restaurant and have a romantic meal with candles, music and quiet conversation.  I can’t look into her eyes and see the hopes and dreams that lived there, so vivid and alive.

She’s gone.  I can’t walk through the door and see her standing there waiting to greet me.  I can’t see her smile that always warmed my heart.  I can’t share my day with her and hear her laugh at some of the silly things I did.  I can’t take her hand and walk through the park and watch the geese in the pond or sit on a bench and talk about nothing.  I can’t sit by the fire and put my arm around her and feel love and comfort and coziness.

She’s gone. And I miss her so much.

I walk past her closet and smell the soft fragrance of her favorite perfume that lingers there.  It triggers memories and fills me with nostalgia and a longing to have her in my arms just one more time.  If only.

I step into the shower and her shower gel is still there and I lift the cap and breathe in the fragrance that always greeted me each morning.  Her favorite body lotion is still on the counter and I can’t resist dabbing a small drop of it on my hand and letting it remain there for me to enjoy the fragrance and reminisce. 

The last bouquet of her favorite flowers that I gave her on her birthday is still in the vase on the table.  The flowers have dried but a faint fragrance is still present and reminds me of the memorable time we had celebrating her special day.  How I wish there was another one to celebrate together.  If only.

She’s gone.  And I miss her so much.  Somehow the fragrances keep her alive 

via Daily Prompt: Fragrance

 

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CAN GOD BE SEEN? — A Little Boy Wonders

boy looking at sky

 

On the way home from church one Sunday morning, six year old Billy turned to his sister and said, “Katie, the preacher keeps talking about God, but I can’t see him. Can anybody see God?”

Katie sighed and said, “No, of course not. God’s too far away to be seen. He’s up there somewhere but you can’t actually see him.”

On another Sunday after church, Billy sat putting a puzzle together with his mother and said, “Mama, I was just wondering. Can anybody actually see God?”

Billy’s mother thought for a moment then said, “God is a spirit, Billy, so you can’t really see him. He’s there but you can’t see him.”

Later that day when he was tossing a ball with his father in the backyard, Billy said, “Daddy, is it possible to see God?”

Billy’s father said, “That’s a good question, Billy. Why do you ask?”

“The Sunday School teacher said, “Gods is real, but how do I know? I can’t see him. Where is he?”

“Well, Billy, your teacher’s right,” his father said. “God is real but you can’t actually see him. You see, he lives in your heart.”

Billy was still inquisitive about the whole subject. It seemed to him that if God was real and alive, you should be able to see him.

The next Saturday Billy was scheduled to go to a baseball game with his grandfather. When they got to the park a lady was standing on the corner holding the hand of a small girl. They both wore well-worn, tattered clothes. The lady said, “Mister, do you have a couple of dollars? We haven’t eaten today and I’d like to get a sandwich for my daughter. I don’t need nothing for myself. I can get by, but she needs something. She’s hungry.”

Billy’s grandfather reached into his pocket, pulled out his billfold, and gave the lady twenty dollars. “You go get a sandwich for both of you and make sure your daughter gets some milk.”

Tears welled in the woman’s eyes and she said, “God bless you, mister.”

When Billy and his grandfather got to the entrance of the stadium, a man and a small boy were standing there. The man seemed to be searching for something on the ground and the boy was sobbing.

“What’s going on?” Billy’s grandfather asked. “Why all the tears?”

“I promised my son I would take him to the ballgame for his birthday,” the man said. “He’s been looking forward to it for a whole month, but somehow I lost our tickets. The tickets were in my pocket but somehow they’re gone and the game’s sold out. No more tickets are available.”

Billy’s grandfather thought for a moment and then said, “Well, I’ll tell you what. Since birthday’s come just once a year and should be happy occasions, I want you to take our tickets and we’ll go another day. Is that alright with you, Billy?”

Billy looked at the tears on the boy’s face and said, “Sure, grandpa. That’s fine. We’ll go another day.”

Billy’s grandfather gave the tickets to the man who was reluctant to take them.

“No, I insist,” the grandfather said. “Take them. It’s a birthday gift to your son. Go celebrate.”

The man finally took the tickets and his son walked over and hugged the grandfather. He had a smile on his face and said, “Thank you, sir. This is the best birthday ever.”

On the way home Billy and his grandfather talked about how happy the boy and his father were to get the tickets. Suddenly grandfather pulled the car to the curb and stopped. He said, “Looks like a lady is having a problem.”

The grandfather got out of the car and walked to the car in front of them where a lady was trying to change a tire. She seemed relieved that the grandfather offered to help. Soon the tire was changed and the lady smiled and thanked the grandfather. “I’m so grateful,” she said. “I had surgery just last week and didn’t have much strength to change a tire. I sure needed a good Samaritan to come by and you did. Thank you so much.”

Billy’s grandfather dropped him off at home and later that evening at the dinner table, Billy said to his mother, father and Katie, “Guess what? I saw God today. Several times. He really can be seen.”

 

 

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Daily Prompt: Harmonize

harmonize

via Daily Prompt: Harmonize

HARMONIZING FOR JOEY

My brother Joey was born without arms.  When asked how something like this happens, the doctors simply said, “Sometimes it just happens.”

In 1950, a child born without arms in my hometown was considered “a freak of nature,” not normal.  Because of this, most parents would have kept a child such as Joey from the public eye to avoid having people stare and express words of sympathy or pity.

My parents were different.  When Joey was born they sat my brother, Sam, and me down and had a serious talk with us.  Sam was six years old and I was seven.  They told us that they were determined to help Joey have a full, active life, to have hopes and dreams like everyone else, but we would all have to work together to make it happen.  Sam and I were thrilled to be on mom and dad’s so-called team to help Joey grow and develop and enjoy life.

As soon as Joey was able to sit up, Sam and I helped him learn to use his feet to scoot across the floor.  We were amazed at how fast he could go. We got jumbo crayons and put them between his toes and when we colored, Joey colored.  We laughed at his scribbles as well as our own.

Joey had an amazing mind and, along with my parents, Sam and I soon had Joey speaking in sentences and singing nursery rhymes by the time he was two. One he learned he could talk nothing stopped him.  My dad said Joey rattled on “like an eight-day clock.”

When Joey was three and running around in the back yard with us, we bought him a soccer ball and the three of us began what was to become many years of wild, competitive soccer matches.  We would play until we were exhausted and would then fall to the ground, laughing and talking.

We all worked together to help Joey learn to pick up utensils with he toes and feed himself.  We created a special tool for him to use and pick up a wash cloth and  wash himself in the shower.  With each task that Joey was able to do on his own, we all rejoiced, gave each other high-fives, and sometimes cried.

What’s interesting is that Joey didn’t just receive, he also gave.  He was a key member of the team.  His keen sense of humor had us all laughing on a regular basis.  His wit was beyond his years.  His brilliant mind generated endless creative ideas on how to improve things around the house.  He also came up with ways to help others with disabilities.  At his direction and persistence, our school was one of the first to put in sidewalks with ramps for wheelchairs and to widen restroom stalls.  He was a force to be reckoned with.

Perhaps his greatest contribution to our team was his ability to inspire us.  He had a “never say die attitude,” a willingness to give anything a try, and just when we all needed a lift he would say, “We can make it happen, let’s do it.”  When we tried something and failed, he would say, “Remember, failure’s not the end, it’s the beginning of trying again, a chance to do it better. We can’t give up.”

Joey went on to be captain of the high school soccer team and graduated second in his class.  Without the family’s tremendous teamwork, without everyone’s willingness to work together and harmonize their efforts, Joey would most likely have remained at home, out of public view, and his brilliance, his wit, his ability to inspire others, would have been wasted.

Normal is how you perceive normal, not what others tell you is normal.”  

                                                                                                                        …Sean Thomas

 

 

 

 

YOU MAY NOT BE WHO YOU THINK YOU ARE But You Can Become Who You Really Are

Be Who You Are

The odds are that who you think you are is NOT who you really are. There’s good news, though because you CAN become YOUR REAL SELF. It’s a choice you can make and it’s a gift you can give yourself.

The reason you are likely NOT WHO YOU REALLY ARE is because over the years you have been bombarded with relentless messages from advertisers designed to convince you that who you are is not okay. The persistent messages constantly tell you what you need to do to be acceptable, to look better, to feel better.

It addition, you likely have gotten subtle messages, and maybe some not so subtle, from family, friends, and others that have influenced how you view yourself. You gradually become who others think you should be and, perhaps worse, you bury qualities that, according to others, you don’t have.

You listen to all the messages, both consciously and subconsciously, and over time you begin to believe them and start telling yourself: “I’m not okay.” “I’m not good enough.” “I’m different.” “I need to change if I want to fit in.” “I don’t like how I look.” “I’m no smart enough.” “I’m not loveable.” “I don’t have any talents.”

As a result, YOU BECOME WHO YOU ARE NOT. You may not even realize it, but you become the person you think others expect you to be. The REAL YOU, your authentic self, gets buried, sometimes forever.

But there’s GOOD NEWS. One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is to make a decision to shed the layers of who you are not, choose to discover all the good that’s in you, and BECOME WHO YOU ALREADY ARE, THE REAL YOU, THE PERSON YOU WERE CREATED TO BE. It will take courage but you CAN do it. Like E.E. Cummings once said, “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”

The best place to start is to identify the qualities that describe the real you. Here are five descriptions that describe THE REAL YOU. Examine each one and allow yourself to BELIEVE that these are really you. Make them part of the messages you repeat to yourself.

YOU ARE WHOLE

It doesn’t matter if you have a disability, or if you have bodily defects, scars, or warts, or if you are overweight or unusually thin, or if you’re missing a limb or more, or if you are blind or deaf, or even if you have a debilitating disease, YOU ARE WHOLE. It doesn’t matter if you’ve made the world’s worst mistakes, YOU ARE WHOLE. That’s how you were created….WHOLE. No one can change that, not even you.

The very SOUL that was breathed into you when you took your first breath, the SOUL that prompted your heart to beat, the SOUL that makes up your beautiful inner being and gives you life — that’s what is WHOLE. The amazing SOUL that’s KEY to your very life is WHOLE. Nothing, not one single thing, not any person, can change that. To feel WHOLE, to accept yourself as WHOLE, is one of the most beautiful, most encouraging, most fulfilling feelings you can experience. YOU ARE WHOLE

YOU ARE AN ORIGINAL

There can be only one original painting and down through the centuries original paintings by the great masters have always been considered to have great value. Originals of any kind have great value. That’s what and who you are. YOU ARE AN ORIGINAL. And as an original, YOU ARE VALUABLE.

Regardless of whether you are a “believer” or not, the fact is you were created in the image of the great master CREATOR. You are not God, but YOU ARE GODLIKE because you can think, verbally interact, love, express emotions, plan, organize, create, and so much more that makes you a UNIQUE being. You are ONE OF A KIND, an ORIGINAL. You are VALUABLE.

Accept and nurture your uniqueness and give thanks that you are who you are: AN ORIGINAL. John Mason made a valid point when he said, “You were born an original, don’t die a copy.”

YOU ARE CREATIVE

Because you are made in the image of the great master CREATOR, you have the capacity to make things, to create, to invent, to express yourself in something that is uniquely your creation. Consider the fact that when you create YOU ARE GODLIKE in that you are bringing forth something new.

Most people think of being creative as painting a landscape, or writing a book, or composing a symphony. But creativeness comes in all shapes and forms — anything from crocheting an afghan, to solving a problem, to improving ways to do things on the job, to expressing yourself in dance or song, to sewing a dress, to making a quilt, to creating a new recipe, to developing a better way to garden or farm, creating new designs, constructing wood projects, demonstrating creative leadership, using a creative approach in teaching others — there’s no limit.

YOU ARE CREATIVE — YOU ARE UNIQUE — all you have to do is have the courage to EXPRESS IT.

YOU ARE CAPABLE

You were created with innate abilities, talents, gifts. Though you may resist the idea, or even deny it, the fact is YOU ARE CAPABLE. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. Don’t let yourself doubt that you have talents. Though you might not initially recognize your abilities, never stop exploring your own strengths. A talent that you might not identify at one time, you might well discover several years later. Circumstances often help bring about self-discoveries.

In exploring your own talents, never compare yourself to others. You were not designed to have the same gifts as everyone else. Your talents are uniquely yours. Appreciate what you have and resist the temptation to envy another person’s talents.

You may not be an admired leader, but you may be an appreciated servant. You may not be the party organizer, but you may be one who contributes delicious food for the party. DISCOVER YOUR OWN UNIQUE TALENTS and develop what you have been given. BE WHO YOU REALLY ARE.

YOU ARE LOVEABLE

It’s not unusual to hear someone say, “I don’t see how anyone can love me.” The fact is, plain and simple, YOU ARE LOVEABLE because you were created out of love. The master Creator “so loved”…..EVERYONE. That includes YOU. And one of the greatest commandments ever given was “love one another.” That means each person is indeed “loveable.” Again, that includes YOU.

Just like talents, you can resist the idea or even deny it, but the fact is, YOU ARE LOVEABLE. And here’s the most amazing thing of all: love that expresses the love of the Creator is an UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. This means that you do not have to meet certain conditions in order to be loveable. You are loved for WHO YOU REALLY ARE. Even when you make mistakes, YOU ARE still LOVEABLE. Nothing can change that.

It bears repeating. One of the best gifts you can give yourself is to be WHO YOU REALLY ARE. To do so will bring you peace of mind and put you on the road to self-fulfillment. Take another look at WHO YOU REALLY ARE and BELIEVE. You, yes YOU, are WHOLE, a beautiful ORIGINAL, CREATIVE, CAPABLE, and LOVEABLE human being.

“Be yourself; everyone else is taken.”     ….Oscar Wilde

 

 

 

 

 

MY MOTHER’S HANDS

Holding mother's hands

It was Christmas and I traveled home to visit my mother. She was now in a long-term nursing care facility. Her mind drifted in and out of reality but she always seemed to recognize me and greet me with a smile. It was difficult to see her sit idle in a chair because she had always been so active and had such a strong spirit.
She was asleep when I got there, her head slumped almost to her chest. I sat down beside her and took her hands in mine and for a few moments just looked at this special woman who had been such a wonderful mother.
I looked down at her hands, now wrinkled and shrunken with age. I couldn’t help but think about how she had used those hands to embrace life and mold lives. In her hands I saw a mother who sacrificed and gave up so much in order to serve others.
I recall how those hands held me when I was small, picked me up when I fell, wiped tears from my cheeks, and rubbed my forehead when I went to sleep.
Those hands made favorite snacks and birthday cupcakes for me, and somehow created meals out of nothing when there seemed to be nothing in the house to eat. They sewed clothes when we couldn’t afford to buy them.
Those hands tied my shoes, zipped up my jackets, gave me a bath, and helped me put on my pajamas.
They helped me hold a pencil and write essays, poems, and do math for school.
Those beautiful hands helped me make play dough creatures, played board games with me, pulled me in the wagon, pushed me on a sled down a snowy hill, clapped for me when I was in the Christmas play at school.
Those hands received dandelions when I gave them as though they were the rarest of flowers, received my finger paintings as though they were masterpieces, and carefully and tenderly tucked away the Mother’s Day cards and birthday cards I made out of scraps of paper as though they were purchased from an expensive card store.
Those worn hands gripped my arm firmly when I misbehaved, guided me out of danger, held me tight and comforted me when I got hurt
Those hands lovingly held her grandchildren, carried food to friends and family members in times of illness and grief, served the needy, planted seeds in the garden, picked the vegetables and froze them for eating later.
Those hands decorated the Christmas tree, made gifts for under it, cooked delicious holiday meals that became family traditions, crocheted afghans, and constantly made little surprises that made my day.
Those hands were folded daily in prayer, turned worn pages in her Bible, selected songs in a hymn book to play on the piano at night while I lay in bed and listened before falling asleep.
May her beautiful hands, so full of a life well lived, be forever engraved in my memory. I’m so very grateful and honored to have held those hands in mine.

 

 

JESUS TAKES THE SUMMER OFF

ssummer worship hours

As Jesus walked around town in the middle of the summer he noticed signs in front of the different churches.
In front of the Main Street Baptist Church the sign said: During the summer there will only be one worship service. It is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. each Sunday. All welcome.
That’s interesting, Jesus thought. I wonder where the Baptists go all summer long.
Jesus walked a little further and noticed the sign in front of the Downtown Episcopal Church. It said: Summer hours for worship are 9:30 and 11:00 a.m. Regular four worship services will resume in the fall.
I guess the Episcopalians have decided to take part of the summer off as well, Jesus said to himself. I wonder if they go the same place the Baptists do?
Two blocks further Jesus saw a big sign in front of the Fourth Street Methodist Church. It said: One worship service only during the summer at 11:00 a.m. Also no choir during the summer.
I get the feeling that people must want a break from going to church during the summer, Jesus mused. This is quite a surprise.
On the corner stood the large St. Thomas Catholic Church. The glass encased sign in the front lawn said, Please note the reduced times for Masses during the summer. Regular schedule will resume in September.
Goodness, even the Catholics are taking time off, Jesus said. This is definitely interesting.
After walking through the rest of town and seeing one sign after the other in front of churches announcing reduced summer hours, Jesus decided to call his Father
Jesus sat down on a park bench, took out his cell phone and punched in his Father’s number.
When his Father answered, Jesus said, You’re not going to believe this, Father, but I’ve walked all over town and all the churches that I saw have reduced worship times for the summer.
Oh, I believe it, God said. It’s the trend. People want time off to do other things. Besides, if one church reduces its summer hours, the other churches have to reduce their hours as well or their members will complain that it’s not fair They keep a watchful eye on each other, you know.
Jesus sat and thought for a moment. I was wondering, Father, since I’m not really needed here in town, do you suppose it would be alright if I took the summer off. There’s a little place down by the Sea of Galilee that I would love to do some fishing and relaxing.
Go ahead and take time off, God said. I was thinking of doing the same thing. The things is, they’ll get in touch with us when they need us. You can count on it.

 

TEN THINGS THAT MATTER MOST IN LIFE

TEN THINGS

1. Be realistic about life. It’s not going to go on forever. There will come a day when you will see no more sunrises, no more sunsets. So make the most of every day. Focus on the things that are most important — people, family, friends. Connect with them as often as possible. Tell them more about who are and less about what you have done in life -leave them with memories of the real you.
2. Don’t just have dreams and hopes, go after all the things you want to do in life while there is still an opportunity to do so, because when your life expires, what you have left undone will expire as well.
3. Determine who you need to forgive and then let go of the hurts they have caused you. It will help you heal. Don’t take hurts, resentments, anger, and jealousies to the grave with you. Clear the air and rest in peace. And for those you’ve hurt, send them your regrets.
4. Spend more time giving and less time receiving, more time sharing and less time buying and collecting. People will remember you by what you gave in life, what you built, not by what you owned and collected.
5. Live your life in such a way that it is an example for others to follow — show compassion for others, especially those less fortunate, be willing to make sacrifices in order to help those in need, always demonstrate honesty and integrity, look for ways to encourage and inspire those who need a lift in life, love others unconditionally.
6. Focus more on what is good in life, the positives, the beauty, the little things that mean a lot, and less time on the negatives, the wrongs, the things that don’t really matter.  Take time to smell the flowers.
7. Believe in yourself. Love yourself. Don’t deny that you have abilities and interests, because you do. Take time to discover and nurture them. Be real, be genuine, be who you are.
8. No matter your situation, that you always have choices in life. Having a choice is a freedom that was given at the beginning of time and no one can take it away from you. But be wise in what you choose. And remember, you always have the right to say no.
9. Take care of your mind, body and soul. Feed them wisely with good nourishment. Be disciplined and exercise mentally, physically and spiritually on a consistent basis.  Give time to meditation and prayer.
10. Accept the fact that you are not in control of life. God is. Love him and be grateful for all that he has done for you.