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Stories Of Hope & Inspiration

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  • #16
    The Two Brothers

    Once upon a time, two brothers who lived on adjoining farms fell into conflict. It was the first serious rift in 40 years of farming side by side, sharing machinery, and trading labour and goods as needed without a hitch. Then the long collaboration fell apart. It began with a small misunderstanding and it grew into a major difference, and finally it exploded into an exchange of bitter words followed by weeks of silence.
    One morning there was a knock on John's door. He opened it to find a man with a carpenter's toolbox. "I'm looking for a few days work," he said. "Perhaps you would have a few small jobs here and there. Could I help you?" "Yes," said the older brother. "I do have a job for you. Look across the creek at that farm. That's my neighboor. In fact, it's my younger brother. Last week there was a meadow between us and he took his bulldozer to the river levee and now there is a creek between us. Well, he may have done this to spite me, but I'll go him one better. See that pile of lumber curing by the barn? I want you to build me a fence - an 8-foot fence - so I won't need to see his place anymore. Cool him down anyhow."

    The carpenter said, "I think I understand the situation. Show me the nails and the post hole digger and I'll be able to do a job that pleases you." The older brother had to go to town for supplies, so he helped the carpenter get the materials ready and then he was off for the day.

    The carpenter worked hard all that day measuring, sawing, and nailing. About sunset when the farmer returned, the carpenter had just finished his job. The farmer's eyes opened wide, his jaw dropped. There was no fence there at all. It was a bridge - a bridge stretching from one side of the creek to the other! A fine piece of work - handrails and all - and the neighbour, his younger brother, was coming across, his hand outstretched. "You are quite a fellow to build this bridge after all I've said and done." The two brothers stood at each end of the bridge, and then they met in the middle, taking each other's hand.

    They turned to see the carpenter hoist his toolbox on his shoulder. "No, wait! Stay a few days. I've a lot of other projects for you," said the older brother. "I'd love to stay on," the carpenter said, " but I have many more bridges to build."

    Everyday we have the choice of building fences or bridges. One leads to isolation and the other to openness.


    • #17
      A Sense Of A Goose

      Next Autumn, when you see geese heading south for the winter, flying in a "V" formation, you might consider what science has discovered as to why they fly that way. As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird immediately following. By flying in a "V" formation, the whole flock adds at least 71 percent greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own.

      People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going more quickly and easily, because they are travelling on the thrust of one another.

      When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird in front.

      If we have the sense of a goose, we will stay in formation with those people who are heading the same way we are.

      When the head goose gets tired, it rotates back in the wing and another goose flies point.
      It is sensible to take turns doing demanding jobs, whether with people or with geese flying south.

      Geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.
      What message do we give when we honk from behind?

      Finally - and this is important - when a goose gets sick or is wounded by gunshot, and falls out of the formation, two other geese fall out with that goose and follow it down to lend help and protection.

      They stay with the fallen goose until it is able to fly or until it dies; and only then do they launch out on their own, or with another formation to catch up with their own group.

      If we have the sense of a goose, we will stand by each other like that.


      • #18
        A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him.

        When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was. So the professor then picked up a box of small pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

        The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous "Yes." The professor then produced two cans of beer from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

        "Now", said the professor, as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things - your family, your children, your health, your friends, your favorite passions - things that, if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, your car.

        The sand is everything else - the small stuff. If you put the sand into the jar first" he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. There will always be time to clean the house, and fix the rubbish. Take care of the golf balls first, the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand".

        One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the beer represented. The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that, no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of beers".


        • #19
          The Japanese master

          A great Japanese master received a university professor who came to enquire about wisdom. The master served tea. He poured his visitor's cup full, and then kept on pouring. The professor watched the overflow until he could no longer restrain himself. 'It is overfull. No more will go in!' 'Like this cup,' the master said, 'you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you wisdom unless you first empty your cup?'


          • #20
            The international food shortage

            Recently, a worldwide survey was conducted and the only question asked was: "Would you please give your honest opinion about the solution to the food shortage in the rest of the world?"

            The survey was, not surprisingly, a huge failure. Because:

            In Africa they didn't know what "food" meant.

            In Eastern Europe they didn't know what "honest" meant.

            In Western Europe they didn't know what "shortage" meant.

            In China they didn't know what "opinion" meant.

            In the Middle East they didn't know what "solution" meant.

            In South America they didn't know what "please" meant.

            And, in the USA they didn't know what "the rest of the world" meant.


            • #21
              A Child's Prayer

              by: Author Unknown, Source Unknown

              Dear God, are You still awake?
              Have You got a minute or two?

              You're pretty good at understanding,
              And I really need to talk to You.

              You see, Mommy came to tuck me in,
              Like she does every night.
              I was trying to play a trick on her,
              Since she can't see without the light.

              I was going to close my eyes
              And pretend to be asleep.
              But when I heard her crying,
              I didn't dare let out a peep.

              She started talking to you, God.
              Did You hear the things she said?
              Could You hear what she was saying
              As she stood beside my bed?

              Why would Mommy be so sad?
              I wondered just what I had done,
              And then I began to remember
              it all As she named them one by one...

              This morning we worked in the garden,
              But, honest, I really didn't know
              That if I picked all those little yellow blooms
              The tomatoes wouldn't grow!

              Charlie and I were trying to be helpers,
              'Cause I know that's what Mommy needs,
              But I don't think she was too happy with us
              when we pulled up carrots instead of weeds.

              Mommy said we should stop for the day,
              she decided we had helped quite enough.
              I sure had worked up an appetite...
              I didn't know gardening was so tough!

              we had peanut-butter and jelly for lunch
              and I shared too much, I guess...
              But I didn't realize until I was done
              that Charlie had made such a mess.

              Mommy said she needed a nap,
              she had one of her headaches today.
              She told me to keep an eye on my sister
              and find something quiet to play.

              Well, God, do You remember all those curls
              you gave my little sister Jenny?
              We played barber shop...very quietly...
              and now, well, she doesn't have any.

              Boy, was Mommy mad at me...
              I had to go sit on my bed.
              She said never to cut "people hair" again.
              I guess I'll practice on Charlie instead.

              We sat and watched poor old Albert,
              I just knew he must be so bored
              Going round and round
              in the same place all day,
              Wouldn't You think so, Lord?

              I didn't think it would hurt
              to let him out for a while.
              I mean, mice need exercise, too.
              By the way, have You seen Albert lately?
              He's been sort of missing since two.

              Mommy sent us outside for the rest of the day.
              She said we needed fresh air.
              But when Daddy came home she told him
              he was trying to get something out of her hair.

              We thought Mommy needed cheering up,
              so we decided to brighten her day.
              But, God, did You see the look on her face
              When we gave her that pretty bouquet?

              We had gotten a little bit dirty,
              so Mommy said to get in the tub.
              "Use soap this time," she reminded,
              "and please don't forget to scrub."

              Charlie didn't like the water too much,
              but I lathered up real good.
              I knew Mommy would be so proud of me
              For cleaning up like I should.

              I went downstairs to the table,
              but during dinner it started to rain...
              I'd forgotten to turn off the water, it seems,
              and I hadn't unplugged the drain!

              I decided right then it was just about time
              to start getting ready for bed,
              When Mommy said, "It's sure been a long day,
              " And her face began turning all red.

              I lay there listening to Mommy
              as she told You about our day.
              I thought about all of the things I had done
              and I wondered what I should say.

              I was just about to tell her
              that I'd been awake all along,
              And ask her to please forgive me
              for all of those thing I'd done wrong.

              When suddenly, I heard her whisper,
              "God, forgive me for today...
              For not being more understanding
              when those problems came my way...

              For not handling situations in the way
              You wanted me to...for getting angry
              and losing my temper,
              Things I know You don't want me to do.

              And, God, please give me more patience,
              Help me make it through another day,
              I'll do better tomorrow, I promise..
              . In Jesus' name I pray."

              Wiping her eyes, she kissed me
              and knelt here beside my bed.
              She stroked my hair for a little while..."
              I love you, precious," Mommy said.

              She left the room without ever knowing
              That I'd been awake all the time.
              And God, could we make it our little secret?
              You know, just Yours and mine?

              I'm sorry I was so much trouble today,
              I really didn't mean to be...
              Daddy says it's tough being a kid sometimes,
              but I think it's harder on Mommy than me.

              Well, goodnight, God. Thanks for listening.
              It's sure nice to know You're there.
              I feel so much better when I talk to You
              'cause You always hear my prayer.

              And I'll do better tomorrow, I promise...
              Just You wait and see!
              I'll try not to be so much trouble again,
              But, God,
              please give more patience to Mommy
              ......Just in case! Amen.


              • #22
                The Charles Blondin Story

                The amazing story of Charles Blondin, a famous French tightrope walker, is a wonderful illustration of what true faith is.

                Blondin's greatest fame came on September 14, 1860, when he became the first person to cross a tightrope stretched 11,000 feet (over a quarter of a mile) across the mighty Niagara Falls. People from both Canada and America came from miles away to see this great feat.

                He walked across, 160 feet above the falls, several times... each time with a different daring feat - once in a sack, on stilts, on a bicycle, in the dark, and blindfolded. One time he even carried a stove and cooked an omelet in the middle of the rope!

                The Rest Of The Story

                A Lesson in Faith - The Charles Blondin Story | Inspire 21


                • #23
                  An autobiography in five very short chapters

                  CHAPTER ONE

                  I walk down the street. There's a hole in the sidewalk.
                  It is a very deep hole. I fall in ... I am helpless.
                  It isn't my fault.
                  It takes forever to find a way out.

                  CHAPTER TWO

                  I walk down the same street. There's a deep hole in the sidewalk.
                  I pretend I don't see it. I fall in ... again.
                  I can't believe I'm in the same place, but it isn't my fault.
                  It still takes a long time to get out.

                  CHAPTER THREE

                  I walk down the same street. There's a deep hole in the sidewalk.
                  I see it is there. I still fall in ... it's a habit, but my eyes are open.
                  I know where I am. It is my fault.
                  I get out immediately.

                  CHAPTER FOUR

                  I walk down the same street. There's a deep hole in the sidewalk.
                  I walk around it.

                  CHAPTER FIVE

                  I walk down another street.

                  Author: Portia Nelson


                  • #24
                    The Optimist Creed

                    Promise yourself . . .

                    To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.

                    To talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet.

                    To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.

                    To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.

                    To think only of the best, to work only for the best and to expect only the best.

                    To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.

                    To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.

                    To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.

                    To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.

                    To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

                    Written by Christian D. Larson in 1912


                    • #25
                      The tiger's whisker

                      Once upon a time, a young wife named Yun Ok was at her wit's end. Her husband had always been a tender and loving soulmate before he had left for the wars but, ever since he returned home, he was cross, angry, and unpredictable. She was almost afraid to live with her own husband. Only in glancing moments did she catch a shadow of the husband she used to know and love.

                      When one ailment or another bothered people in her village, they would often rush for a cure to a hermit who lived deep in the mountains. Not Yun Ok. She always prided herself that she could heal her own troubles. But this time was different. She was desperate.

                      As Yun Ok approached the hermit's hut, she saw the door was open. The old man said without turning around: "I hear you. What's your problem?"

                      She explained the situation. His back still to her, he said, "Ah yes, it's often that way when soldiers return from the war. What do you expect me to do about it?"

                      "Make me a potion!" cried the young wife. "Or an amulet, a drink, whatever it takes to get my husband back the way he used to be."

                      The old man turned around. "Young woman, your request doesn't exactly fall into the same category as a broken bone or ear infection."

                      "I know", said she.

                      "It will take three days before I can even look into it. Come back then."

                      Three days later, Yun Ok returned to the hermit's hut. "Yun Ok", he greeted her with a smile, "I have good news. There is a potion that will restore your husband to the way he used to be, but you should know that it requires an unusual ingredient. You must bring me a whisker from a live tiger."

                      "What?" she gasped. "Such a thing is impossible!"

                      "I cannot make the potion without it!" he shouted, startling her. He turned his back. "There is nothing more to say. As you can see, I'm very busy."

                      That night Yun Ok tossed and turned. How could she get a whisker from a live tiger?

                      The next day before dawn, she crept out of the house with a bowl of rice covered with meat sauce. She went to a cave on the mountainside where a tiger was known to live. She clicked her tongue very softly as she crept up, her heart pounding, and carefully set the bowl on the grass. Then, trying to make as little noise as she could, she backed away.

                      The next day before dawn, she took another bowl of rice covered with meat sauce to the cave. She approached the same spot, clicking softly with her tongue. She saw that the bowl was empty, replaced the empty one with a fresh one, and again left, clicking softly and trying not to break twigs or rustle leaves, or do anything else to startle and unsettle the wild beast.

                      So it went, day after day, for several months. She never saw the tiger (thank goodness for that! she thought) though she knew from footprints on the ground that the tiger - and not a smaller mountain creature - had been eating her food. Then one day as she approached, she noticed the tiger's head poking out of its cave. Glancing downward, she stepped very carefully to the same spot and with as little noise as she could, set down the fresh bowl and, her heart pounding, picked up the one that was empty.

                      After a few weeks, she noticed the tiger would come out of its cave as it heard her footsteps, though it stayed a distance away (again, thank goodness! she thought, though she knew that someday, in order to get the whisker, she'd have to come closer to it).

                      Another month went by.

                      Then the tiger would wait by the empty food bowl as it heard her approaching. As she picked up the old bowl and replaced it with a fresh one, she could smell its scent, as it could surely smell hers.

                      "Actually", she thought, remembering its almost kittenish look as she set down a fresh bowl, "it is a rather friendly creature, when you get to know it." The next time she visited, she glanced up at the tiger briefly and noticed what a lovely downturn of reddish fur it had from over one of its eyebrows to the next. Not a week later, the tiger allowed her to gently rub its head, and it purred and stretched like a house cat.

                      Then she knew the time had come. The next morning, very early, she brought with her a small knife. After she set down the fresh bowl and the tiger allowed her to pet its head, she said in a low voice: "Oh, my tiger, may I please have just one of your whiskers?" While petting the tiger with one hand, she held one whisker at its base and, with the other hand, in one quick stroke, she carved the whisker off. She stood up, speaking softly her thanks, and left, for the last time.

                      The next morning seemed endless. At last her husband left for the rice fields. She ran to the hermit's hut, clutching the precious whisker in her fist. Bursting in, she cried to the hermit: "I have it! I have the tiger's whisker!"

                      "You don't say?" he said, turning around. "From a live tiger?"

                      "Yes!" she said.

                      "Tell me", said the hermit, interested. "How did you do it?"

                      Yun Ok told the hermit how, for the last six months, she had earned the trust of the creature and it had finally permitted her to cut off one of its whiskers. With pride she handed him the whisker. The hermit examined it, satisfied himself that it was indeed a whisker from a live tiger, then flicked it into the fire where it sizzled and burned in an instant.

                      "Yun Ok", the hermit said softly, "you no longer need the whisker. Tell me, is a man more vicious than a tiger? If a dangerous wild beast will respond to your gradual and patient care, do you think a man will respond any less willingly?"

                      Yun Ok stood speechless. Then she turned and stepped down the trail, turning over in her mind images of the tiger and of her husband, back and forth. She knew what she could do.

                      Source: Korean fable


                      • #26
                        There Is No Hope



                        • #27
                          Two frogs in the milk

                          This is the story of two frogs. One frog was fat and the other skinny. One day, while searching for food, they inadvertently jumped into a vat of milk. They couldn't get out, as the sides were too slippery, so they were just swimming around.

                          The fat frog said to the skinny frog, "Brother frog, there's no use paddling any longer. We're just going to drown, so we might as well give up." The skinny frog replied, "Hold on brother, keep paddling. Somebody will get us out." And they continued paddling for hours.

                          After a while, the fat frog said, "Brother frog, there's no use. I'm becoming very tired now. I'm just going to stop paddling and drown. It's Sunday and nobody's working. We're doomed. There's no possible way out of here." But the skinny frog said, "Keep trying. Keep paddling. Something will happen, keep paddling." Another couple of hours passed.

                          The fat frog said, "I can't go on any longer. There's no sense in doing it because we're going to drown anyway. What's the use?" And the fat frog stopped. He gave up. And he drowned in the milk. But the skinny frog kept on paddling.

                          Ten minutes later, the skinny frog felt something solid beneath his feet. He had churned the milk into butter and he hopped out of the vat.

                          Author: Melissa D Zartman


                          • #28
                            Jumping the queue

                            Today, a true tale of heroism that takes place not in a war zone, nor a hospital, but in Victoria station in London in 2007, during a tube strike.

                            Our hero – a transport journalist and self-described "big, stocky bloke with a shaven head" named Gareth Edwards, who first wrote about this experience on the community blog – is standing with other commuters in a long, snaking line for a bus, when a smartly dressed businessman blatantly cuts in line behind him.

                            (Behind him: this detail matters.)

                            The interloper proves immune to polite remonstration, whereupon Edwards is seized by a magnificent idea. He turns to the elderly woman standing behind the queue-jumper, and asks her if she'd like to go ahead of him. She accepts, so he asks the person behind her, and the next person, and the next – until 60 or 70 people have moved ahead, Edwards and the seething queue-jumper shuffling further backwards all the time. The bus finally pulls up, and Edwards hears a shout from the front of the line. It's the elderly woman, addressing him: "Young man! Do you want to go in front of me?"

                            Author: Oliver Burkeman in "The Guardian Weekend", 28 August 2010


                            • #29
                              The trouble tree

                              The carpenter I hired to help me restore an old farmhouse had just finished a rough first day on the job. A flat tire made him lose an hour of work, his electric saw quit and now his ancient pickup truck refused to start.

                              While I drove him home, he sat in stony silence. On arriving he invited me in to meet his family. As we walked toward the front door, he paused briefly at a small tree, touching the tips of the branches with both hands. Upon opening the door he underwent an amazing transformation. His tan face was wreathed in smiles and he hugged his two small children and gave his wife a kiss.

                              Afterward he walked me to the car. We passed the tree and my curiosity got the better of me. I asked him about what I had seen him do earlier. "Oh, that's my trouble tree", he replied. " I know I can't help having troubles on the job, but one thing for sure, troubles don't belong in the house with my wife and children. So I just hang them up on the tree every night when I come home. Then in the morning I pick them up again." "Funny thing is," he smiled, "when I come out in the morning to pick them up, there aren't nearly as many as I remember hanging up the night before."


                              • #30
                                The seven wonders of the world

                                A group of American school children were asked to list what they thought were the present "Seven Wonders Of The World."

                                Though there were some disagreements, the following received the most votes:

                                Egypt's Great Pyramids
                                Taj Mahal
                                Grand Canyon
                                Panama Canal
                                Empire State Building
                                St. Peter's Basilica
                                Great Wall of China

                                While gathering the votes, the teacher noted that one student had not finished her paper yet. So she asked the girl if she was having trouble with her list.

                                The little girl replied, "Yes, a little. I couldn't quite make up my mind because there are so many."

                                The teacher said, "Well, tell us what you have, and maybe we can help."

                                The girl hesitated, then read, "I think the "Seven Wonders Of The World" are:

                                To see
                                To hear
                                To touch
                                To taste
                                To feel
                                To laugh
                                To love

                                The room was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. The things we overlook as simple and ordinary and that we take for granted are truly wondrous. A gentle reminder - that the most precious things in life cannot be built by hand or bought by man.