Wednesday, April 23, 2014

This Story Will Lead You to Hidden Treasure!

Searching for hidden treasure...
A story is told of a man who sold his home and farm to a small family in order to fund his quest for hidden treasure. After years of looking through cities, deserts, jungles, and miles of wilderness, the treasure-seeker grew old, sick, poor, and utterly discouraged.

Giving into his depression, the old man threw himself into a mighty river, ending both his quest and his life.

Halfway around the world, the family who had bought the land from the treasure-seeker were carefully cultivating it. One day, while digging in the ground, they came across a most peculiar stone. Lifting it into the light they discovered that it was a diamond—one of the largest in the world.

Unbeknownst to him, the treasure-seeker's former home had been built atop a massive deposit of diamonds and precious jewels.

The greatest treasures in life are often "hidden" in our own backyard.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

"Life Is Like A Piano"

I recently stumbled across this quote and I absolutely love it! If anyone knows the original source please let me know.
"Life is like a piano, the white keys represent happiness and the black show sadness. But as you go through life's journey remember that the black keys also create music."

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

It's Easy To Say No To Life

I saw a production of Jean Anouilh's Antigone tonight. I was struck by these words spoken by King Creon:
"It is easy to say no. To say yes, you have to sweat and roll up your sleeves and plunge both hands into life up to the elbows. It is easy to say no, even if saying no means death. All you have to do is to sit still and wait. Wait to go on living; wait to be killed. That is the coward's part."
Saying yes to life is hard work—but it is so rewarding!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Seasons of Life | Parker Palmer

Years ago, I was given an article written by Parker Palmer that revolutionized my outlook on life and helped me move forward. The article comes from his book, To Know As We Are Known. I thought you might enjoy reading a few snippets.
Seasons is a wise metaphor for the movement of life, I think. It suggests that life is neither a battlefield nor a game of chance but something infinitely richer, more promising, more real. The notion that our lives are like the eternal cycle of the seasons does not deny the struggle or the joy, the loss of the gain, the darkness or the light, but encourages us to embrace it all—and to find in all of it opportunities for growth. 
Despite all appearances, of course, nature is not dead in winter—it has gone underground to renew itself and prepare for spring. Winter is a time when we are admonished, and even inclined, to do the same for ourselves. 
Until we enter boldly into the fears we most want to avoid, those fears will dominate our lives. But when we walk directly into them—protected from frostbite by the warm garb of friendship or inner discipline or spiritual guidance—we can learn what they have to teach us. Then we discover once again that the cycle of the seasons is trustworthy and life-giving, even in the most dismaying season of all. 
Summer is the season when all the promissory notes of autumn and winter and spring come due, and each year the debts are repaid with compound interest. In summer, it is hard to remember that we had ever doubted the natural process, had ever ceded death the last word, had ever lost faith in the powers of new life. Summer is a reminder that our faith is not nearly as strong as the things we profess to have faith in -- a reminder that for this single season, at least, we might cease our anxious machinations and give ourselves to the abiding and abundant grace of our common life.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

I Want To Be Hans Hubermann

Hans Hubermann and Liesel Meminger
In what is probably the most delicious and heart-breaking book I have ever read, I met a man—a fictional, yet true man—named Hans Hubermann.

If I become a man like Hans Hubermann, I will consider my life a success.

Hans Hubermann, a German living in Nazi-Germany, is the foster father of Liesel Meminger, the main character of The Book Thief. During World War I, Hans' life was saved by a Jew. Because of this, Hans consciously decides to not join the Nazi party. In the book, Hans quietly—yet daringly—resists the hatred of the Nazis while simultaneously offering beautiful acts of kindness.

At one point, a group of Jews are marched are marched through the town:
When they arrived in full, the noise of their feet throbbed on top of the road. Their eyes were enormous in their starving skulls. And the dirt. The dirt was molded to them. Their legs staggered as they were pushed by soldiers’ hands—a few wayward steps of forced running before the slow return to a malnourished walk.
Liesel watches them and describes their condition:
Hunger ate them as they continued forward, some of them watching the ground to avoid the people on the side of the road. Some looked appealingly at those who had come to observe their humiliation, this prelude to their deaths. Others pleaded for someone, anyone, to step forward and catch them in their arms. 
No one did. 
Whether they watched this parade with pride, temerity, or shame, nobody came forward to interrupt it. Not yet.
Then, after a hungry, dying Jew staggers forward, something unbelievable happens:
[Hans] reached into his paint cart and pulled something out. He made his way though the people, onto the road. 
The Jew stood before him, expecting another handful of derision, but he watched with everyone else as Hans Hubermann held his hand out and presented a piece of bread, like magic.
For the past week, I have been haunted by the thought of that scene. I think the actual weight of what he did really hit me today. Hans was not only offering food to someone who was deeply malnourished, but he was offering love to someone who had been deprived of it. Throughout his life, Hans is shown offering life-saving love to those in desperate need.

Our lives are filled with people starved for love—true love. Our offerings to them may seem meager, but they are no less meaningful. Indeed, our offerings of love may make all the difference between life and death.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Turning a Famine Into a Feast

Feast or Famine?
A story is told about a horde of locusts that devastated certain parts of South Africa. The landowners did everything they could to prevent the locusts from eating their crops, but all of their efforts were useless. The feasting of the locusts had completely devastated the land.

Shortly afterwards, the horde of locusts died and their bodies were plowed into the land. And in a twist of absolute irony, the once destructive locusts became the fertilizer for the best crops the farmers ever had.

In like manner, our tragedies—though devastating and destructive—often contain the hidden potential for growth. Just as winter is essential for summer, tragedy is essential to an eventual triumph.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Disturb Us, Lord

Disturb Us, Lord
Sir Francis Drake, an adventurer who accomplished much during his fifty-five years of life, is attributed with writing this poem. His words (along with the adventurous life he led) inspire me to get off my couch and live less comfortably!

Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when
with the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wilder seas
Where storms will show Your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.

We ask you to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push back the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.

This we ask in the name of our Captain,
Who is Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Losers Make Excuses; Winners Make Progress

I've been reading a book by Brian Tracy called No Excuses. In it, he makes this amazing point:
Losers make excuses; winners make progress. Now, how can you tell if your favorite excuse is valid or not? It's simple. Look around and ask, "Is there anyone else who has my same excuse who is successful anyway?" 
When you ask this question, if you are honest, you will have to admit that there are thousands and even millions of people who have had it far worse than you have who have gone on to do wonderful things with their lives. And what thousands and millions of others have done, you can do as well—if you try.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

How to Find Hidden Treasure

The Farmer and His Sons
This wonderful little story comes from Aesop's Fables; it tells about the true source of fortune:
A Father, being on the point of death, wished to be sure that his sons would give the same attention to his farm as he himself had given it. He called them to his bedside and said, "My sons, there is a great treasure hid in one of my vineyards." The sons, after his death, took their spades and mattocks and carefully dug over every portion of their land. They found no treasure, but the vines repaid their labor by an extraordinary and superabundant crop.