#inspiration

THE JOURNEY

He walked until there was no more land…then he took a boat across the seas.

He climbed the highest mountain…where, high above the trees

 

he found the wise one waiting…sitting with the sun behind her peeking.

He hoped she could provide him with the answers he was seeking.

 

“Before you ask your questions.” She said. “After your long journey across the sea.  Please sit down, relax, and share a cup of tea with me.”

 

They shared a cup of tea in silence…but she could see his patience wearing thin…

“You have questions?” She observed. He sighed, “Where do I begin?”

 

With every question he would pose…she’d listen and nod her head silently

then ask what he thought was the answer…as she slowly sipped her tea.

 

After each question he would answer she’d refill his cup without making a sound…

and he slowly began to realize where his answers could be found.

 

When it came time for him to go…when his questioning was through

he smiled saying, “I’ve come a long way seeking answers I already knew.”

 

He thanked her for her guidance…and the best tea he ever tasted….

She smiled saying, “It’s nice to know your journey was not wasted.”

 

He thinks about her often now…

in his continuing search for peace and harmony

as he journeys to his kitchen…

and pours himself a cup of tea.

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THINGS I STILL DO NOT KNOW

One reason I love to walk in the silence of the morning…with the stars and moon aglow…is how it reminds me, every day, of all the things I do not know.

 

Our world is filled with a diversity of wonders…in all kinds and shapes and sizes…

not knowing all there is to know means I’m always in for some surprises.

 

I do not know why there is a moon and stars…I don’t know how they came to be…

and every morning I’m surprised they choose to shine their light on me.

 

I do not know the name of every flower…every tree…never had the need…

so I am constantly surprised at the beauty of everything created from a seed.

 

I do not know why the sun rises to begin the day and sets when the day is done…

I only know I’m constantly surprised by the beauty of each one.

 

I can only name a few birds in all the birds I ever see…

so every bird is like a work of art…and is beautiful to me.

 

I do not know one bird’s song from the next in the early morning symphony I hear…

so every song from every bird is music to my ears. 

 

I know where babies come from but I’m a little fuzzy on the why…so I’m constantly surprised and amazed when a baby goes strolling by.

 

I do not know why I’m stuck on the ground while other creatures soar…

I do not know why I walk on two legs while others walk on four.

 

I do not know how all this was created…when…by what…or who…

and as I take a walk each morning…I kind of hope I never do.

 

Because as I walk and look and listen as nature puts on her show…

I am thankful every morning for all the things I do not know.

 

For my daily reminder that if I walk through life with open and innocent eyes…

every step is filled with wonder…

every moment…a surprise.

 
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IT'S JUST A...

If you walk around our house…and I say this candidly…you probably wouldn’t give a second thought to some of the things you see.

 

You’d probably miss that piece of wood in the corner…if you walk by a little to quick…

and even if you noticed it you might think…”it’s just a stick.”

 

In the corner of our kitchen…that piece of furniture…over there…chances are you’d pass by thinking…”it is just a chair.”

 

Your eyes might find the pen and ink drawing…if they find it at all…

and even if they do you might think…it’s just another picture on the wall.”

 

If you happen into our laundry room…you might give that weathered old collar a look…

chances are you’d say, “It’s just an old collar”…hanging on that hook.

 

And you’d be correct in your assumptions for how often we see things as we find them…but the meaning is not in what we see… but in what we see behind them.

 

That old collar was our dog Whitman’s who would match me stride for stride…

as we walked together every morning…until the day he died.

 

My father drew that self-portrait when he was a young man…I think around 22

It’s a nice remembrance of the man…now that his life is through.

 

Deborah’s father made that little chair and it rests in our corner because…

It serves as a constant reminder of the kind of man he was.

 

And that was Deborah’s mom’s walking stick in the corner for all to see…carved by Deborah’s dad from the branch of an old orange tree.

 

But it is more than a decoration…it’s not just there for idle talk.

It reminds Deborah of her mom every morning…when we take our walk.

 

It’s funny isn’t it…the things we might not even notice when we walk through someone’s door…

We might see just a stick, a chair, a drawing, a strap…

when they are really so much more. 

 
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GRANDMA'S RECIPE

I picked up Grandma’s recipe book the other day…the one she made just for me…written in her own hand and filled with my favorite recipes.

 

On the first page of my cookbook…these words…always waiting for me…

‘It’s easy to be a good cook’ she wrote, ‘just follow the recipe!’

 

As I leafed through the pages in Grandma’s recipe book…hopping from recipe to recipe…I realized I was also leafing through pages of my memory.

 

I feel blessed to have Grandma’s recipes…blessed she taught me how to cook…

and blessed for the one recipe…she didn’t have write down in my book.

 

It was her recipe for living…this one I know by heart…

so I will never leave out an ingredient…never forget a part…

 

Find some moments every day…she taught…to enjoy this life you’re living…

discover the pleasures in a smile and the comfort of forgiving.

 

Take a walk in silence…you don’t have to travel very far…

to witness the beauty of the trees…or the wonder of the stars.

 

Laugh and play and work with your heart…your soul…your mind…

and never miss an opportunity to be gentle…to be kind

 

Stop and smell the flowers…play with babies…marvel at rainbows in the sky…

and always save room after every meal…for a cookie…or some pie.

 

I’ve memorized her recipe for living…it’s the road in life I took…

and when I’m hungry for a cookie or a pie…no problem…

I have Grandma’s recipe book.

 

Knowing how to live and what to cook have always been easy for me…

all I have to do is follow Grandma’s recipe.

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SOUND

It was my first day back at work…I was behind the counter in the store…when a woman pushing her baby in a stroller walked in through our front door.

 

I greeted them as I always do…Mom nodded when I caught her eye…and I waved to her baby…who waved back…as he went rolling by.

 

After shopping for a while…perusing every shelf…she was ready to buy three books for her baby…and one book for herself.

 

Children’s books during the month of July are all to be sold tax-free…and because of the system in our store they have to be rung up separately.

 

As I was explaining this to this woman she stared blankly and pointed to her ear.

If I was reading her body language correctly…she was telling me she could not hear.

 

So I looked at her and spoke more slowly and clearly…hoping she could read my lips…but she just shrugged her shoulders, still staring blankly, with her hands upon her hips.

 

And I realized the reason she couldn’t understand my words had nothing to do with clarity or speed…it’s because…with a beard and a mustache…I have no lips to read!

 

Thankfully she was patient with me even though she didn’t understand a word from our little chat…then she made a sign for writing…hey…given time I might have thought of that!

 

So I picked up pen and paper and began writing her a note……but I was a little nervous…I wrote too fast…even I couldn’t read what I wrote.

 

I help up the note an again she shrugged her shoulders…I looked to the baby who waved to me and then…I threw away my first note and began to write again.

 

This time she smiled and nodded…I think even her baby understood…perhaps he’s a bit precocious…I imagine Mom and baby both would have agreed my handwriting was atrocious.

 

But we muddled through and I held the door as they walked out into the crowd…

The mother walking in silence…while her baby was quite loud.

 

As I watched them walk away I was hit with a feeling so profound…wondering what it must be like to live in a world devoid of sound.

 

To miss the everyday sounds around you…the voices…the bird as they soar up to the sky…to never hear the melody of your baby when he sings or laughs…or cries.

 

How some of us are born lucky…we can hear and speak and see

while others have to overcome the capricious hands of destiny.

 

As I watched them fade into the crowd…two thoughts struck me as I slowly turned around…

how I need to work on my penmanship 

and how I’ll never take for granted another sound.

 
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READING BETWEEN THE LINES

 

Love and truth and beauty…we are constantly searching for their signs…

until we learn the subtle art of reading between the lines.

 

In our cribs…lying on our backs is most likely the very first place 

we learn to read between the lines of the smiles on a parent’s face.

 

Reading between the lines of their smiles as they beam down from up above…

we find their beauty…we discover their truth…we experience their love.

 

As we grow a little older eventually there comes a day 

we learn to read between the lines of everything our parents’ do…and say.

 

Between the lines of their smiles, their eyes,  their touch…we begin to read…

how they are trying in this life to give us…everything we need.

 

There comes a time when we’re older, however, when we think what they are telling us is unkind and unfair…

but if we take the time to read between the lines we find their love is waiting there.

 

And If we’re lucky enough to find someone to love…a partner…where our two loves intertwine….

we find joy in spending the rest of our lives reading between each other’s lines.

 

As we grow in age and wisdom…the more and more our planet turns…

the more experiences we have…the more and more we learn

 

how, when we read between the lines of life so much insight is provided…

how between the lines is where… love and truth and beauty…always have resided.

 

And as together we grow old and wrinkled…

when it comes to love and truth and beauty…

we longer need search for signs…

because 

in all our years together…

we have gotten pretty good

at reading between the lines.

 
 
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DAVID AND GOLIATH

 

It seems appropriate that our children visited Michelangelo’s marble statue of David yesterday…(from the hotel where they’re staying…David was just a stone’s throw away.)

 

Everything the Israelites had…the philistines wanted to obtain…it’s a lot like what is happening today…With Russia and Ukraine.

 

But they fought their war a little differently back then…if we are to believe the scriptural writing…each side sent out their strongest warrior…and he would do the fighting.

 

The philistines sent out Goliath…the preeminent warmonger…confident that in all the world…there was no warrior stronger.

 

For 40 days Goliath taunted the Israelites…for he knew…and they knew he was much too strong…until a young boy with a sling and five stones…his name was David…came along.

 

The culmination of the story is certainly well known …David slew Goliath…brought him down with just one stone.

 

David was not supposed to win that battle…everyone, except David, was convinced…giving hope to every underdog whose faced a mightier opponent since.

 

Proving the amount of size and strength a person has…although an important part…is not as important as the size and strength of the courage in one’s heart.

 

My prayers are with you…the people of Ukraine…in the midst of a battle unlike any battle you have ever seen…as you…the modern day David…face off against the stronger Russian philistine.

 

As you come face-to-face with your giant… may the courage in your heart never stray…and just like David may you win your battle in an unusual and surprising way.

 

So one day when my children visit Ukraine…as I have no doubt they will do

they will seek out the landmarks of your great country…

and stand in awe in front of a marble stature 

sculpted to look like you.

 

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OUR BOOK

 

The book of our life opened when we were born…from that moment everything we experience…every adventure we ever take or took…are faithfully transcribed upon the pages of that book.

 

Meaning every day we are alive…every day we age…whether we realize it or not…we’ve written another page.

 

I’ve often wondered if that’s the reason why we fall asleep at night…to give our heart a chance to think our mind a chance do dream…and our brain a chance  to write.

 

Of course it is our parents who begin the writing…until such time we’ve grown…

old enough to pick up the pen…and begin writing on our own.

 

We meet so many different people in our life…literally…everywhere we look…which means we will find them mentioned…in the pages of our book.

 

Some will be a footnote…perhaps in only one sentence they appear…

crossing our path momentarily…and then they disappear.

 

Others will linger in the pages of our book…their influence reaching far…

for not only do they help to write our story…they help determine who we are.

 

Some of our pages will be filled with losses…some…will be filled with wins.

This page may be the end a chapter…while on this page…one begins.

 

Every page we’ve ever written once the ink has dried is there for us to see…as each chapter, each page, each paragraph each sentence…becomes a memory.

 

And though we cannot rewrite the past…we do control the pen

which means each day when we rise…we begin to write again.…

 

Adding another chapter to our story…recording all life’s stages…

Hoping when it’s time to close our book…

we’ll be happy with what we’ve written on its pages.

 

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THE WORLD WE SEE

 

I wonder what kind of world we’d live in if everyone was blind.

I wonder if we lived in total darkness how our world would be defined.

 

It’s true…we could not see the sunrise paint her colors across the sky…we could not see our children’s smile…without the benefit of our eyes…

 

But wouldn’t it be harder to be prejudiced if our sight was kept within…

If we could not see the differences in the colors of our skin?

 

It’s true we could not see the beauty of the rainbow…the vibrant colors of the rose…the kaleidoscope of leaves in Autumn…or the pure white winter snows…

 

But wouldn’t it be harder to go to war…wouldn’t wars be impossible to create…if we could not see the people on the other side…the ones we’re supposed to hate?

 

There would be no need for guns to settle our disputes if we could not see the other person the one we want to shoot.

 

It’s true we would never witness a waterfall…the view from atop a mountain high…we’d never see the vastness of the ocean…or an endless star-filled sky.

 

But without our sight…between our other senses there would be more interplay…and, perhaps, we would listen more to what others have to say.

 

Most of us, however, were not meant to live in a world whose beauty we cannot see…so we’ve learned to live with the hate…the prejudice…the wars and the bigotry…

 

But that doesn’t stop me from wondering if our world would be a little kinder…

if those of us who can see…

were…

perhaps…

a little blinder.

 

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