Chicken Soup for the Soul-The Dog and the Shadow

Chicken Soup for the Soul-The Dog and the Shadow

It happened that a Dog had got a piece of meat and was carrying it home in his mouth to eat it in peace. Now, on his way home he had to cross a plank lying across a running brook. As he crossed, he looked down and saw his own shadow reflected in the water beneath. Thinking it was another dog with another piece of meat, he made up his mind to have that also. So he made a snap at the shadow in the water, but as he opened his mouth the piece of meat fell out, dropped into the water and was never seen more.
Beware lest you lose the substance by grasping at the shadow.
Chicken Soup for the Soul-Eagle or chicken

Chicken Soup for the Soul-Eagle or chicken

A boy found an eagle’s egg and he put it in the nest of a prairie chicken. The eagle hatched and thought he was a chicken. He grew up doing what prairie chicken do-scratching at the dirt for food and flying short distances with a noisy fluttering of wings. It was a dreary life. Gradually the eagle grew older and bitter. One day he and his prairie chicken friend saw a beautiful bird soaring on the currents of air, high above the mountains.
“Oh, I wish I could fly like that!” said the eagle. The chicken replied, “Don’t give it another thought. That’s the mighty eagle, the king of all birds-you could never be like him!” And the eagle didn’t give it another thought. He went on cackling and complaining about life. He died thinking he was a prairie chicken. My friends, you too were born an eagle. The Creator intended you to be an eagle, so don’t listen to the prairie chickens!
Chicken Soup for the Soul-Keep your spirit

Chicken Soup for the Soul-Keep your spirit

Whether sixty or sixteen, there is in every human being’s heart the lure of wonders, the unfailing childlike appetite of what’s next and the joy of the game of living. In the center of your heart and my heart there is a wireless station: so long as it receives messages of beauty, hope, cheer, courage and power from men and from the infinite, so long are you young.
 An individual human existence should be like a river—small at first, narrowly contained within its banks, and rushing passionately past boulders and over waterfalls. Gradually the river grows wider, the banks recede, the waters flow more quietly, and in the end, without any visible break, they become merged in the sea, and painlessly lose their individual being.
Youth means a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity,of the appetite for adventure over the love of ease.This often exists in a man of sixty more than a boy of twenty.Nobody grows old merely by a number of years.We grow old by deserting our ideals.
Years may wrinkle the skin,but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. Worry, fear, self-distrust bows the heart and turns the spirit back to dust.
Chicken Soup for the Soul-Love Your Life

Chicken Soup for the Soul-Love Your Life

However mean your life is,meet it and live it ;do not shun it and call it hard names.It is not so bad as you are.It looks poorest when you are richest.The fault-finder will find faults in paradise.Love your life,poor as it is.You may perhaps have some pleasant,thrilling,glorious hourss,even in a poor-house.The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the alms-house as brightly as from the rich man’s abode;the snow melts before its door as early in the spring.I do not see but a quiet mind may live as contentedly there,and have as cheering thoughts,as in a palace.The town’s poor seem to me often to live the most independent lives of any.May be they are simply great enough to receive without misgiving.Most think that they are above being supported by the town;but it often happens that they are not above supporting themselves by dishonest means.which should be more disreputable.Cultivate poverty like a garden herb,like sage.Do not trouble yourself much to get new things,whether clothes or friends,Turn the old,return to them.Things do not change;we change.Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts.
Chicken Soup for the Soul-You are absolutely unique

Chicken Soup for the Soul-You are absolutely unique

You do not have to pretend in order to seem more like someone else. you do not have to lie to hide the parts of you that are not like what you see in anyone else.
You were meant to be different. Nowhere, in all of history, will the same things be going on in anyone’s mind, soul and spirit as are going on in yours right now.
If you did not exist, there would be a hole in creation, a gap in history, and something missing from the plan for humankind. treasure your uniqueness. It is a gift given only to you. enjoy it and share it!
No one can reach out to others in the same way that you can. No one can speak your words. no one can convey your meanings. No one can comfortothers with your kind of comfort. No one can bring your kind of understanding to another person. No one can be cheerful and light-hearted3 and joyous4 in your way. no one can smile your smile. No one else can bring the whole unique impact of you to another human being.
Share your uniqueness. Let it flow out freely among your family and friends, and the people you meet in the rush.
Chicken Soup for the Soul-Giraffe Small Boots

Chicken Soup for the Soul-Giraffe Small Boots

Birthday small giraffe, giraffe mother gave him to buy two pairs of small boots because he had four feet. Giraffe’s devoted and long legs, boots EC particularly high. Small giraffe wearing new boots, in the woods, run, jump and do not take care of losing one. He Huaahua ah, did not find darkness to find. The next day, small goats grazing in the woods, only to see a small boots. He was pleased to that, I thought: “I want my mother to buy new boots, and her mother not to buy. This small boots and new and beautiful, I just can wear. Although only one, is better than no-ah.”
Small goat wearing small boots. His legs may be too short, feet cannot catch the end, a reference to the contrary tripwire,fell down hurtly.
Small goat said: “Oh, dared to offend you because I roof dwarf? High roof as big brother, I gave him to wear!” Although the roof as the big brother, his legs may be too rough, would not be able to wear.
Piglets,monkeys, small Qiwei, small squirrels …… also no law to wear.
Like big brother thought for a little while, said: “This small boots only the owner can wear it. Owners can Who? No owner, no one wearing more than a pity!” “This small boots can I do to Waterloo.” Small squirrels Then, jumping on the small boots go. She can just jump into, shouting up: “help ah! I climb not come up!” We hastened to find something long tree branches to throw small boots go, let along the branches of small squirrels to climb up. We said: “This small boots useless, it has had to throw away.” “Do not throw, it can give me to do chimney!” Small rabbit heard of this matter and immediately ran over. Her own small boots on the roof. You see, all laughed, and said: “small rabbits, not under your chimney hole, how smoke into?” Small rabbits in all seriousness: “I have this special chimney usefulness.” After a while, small mouth giraffe just out of the house, see far away places, there is a strange chimney. He went one, was shocked: “This is not my small boots?” He found a small giraffe small boots. Now, he has the four feet on a small boots.
Motivational Quotes’ Collection-39

Motivational Quotes’ Collection-39

1. Time tames the strongest grief.
2. When an opportunity is neglected, it never comes back to you.
3. To save time is to lengthen life.
4. Time tries truth.
5. To him that does everything in its proper time, one day is worth three.
6. Doubt is the key of knowledge.
7. Wisdom is more to be envied than riches.
Chicken Soup for the Soul-How to invest youself

Chicken Soup for the Soul-How to invest youself

Pang Shenglong is well aware of the fact that studying abroad might not be a good investment. After all, with the global recession still ongoing, job applicants with a foreign diploma have no edge over their domestically trained peers.
But for those already studying abroad and who want to pursue a foreign education, the opportunity to expand their horizons outweighs any financial concerns. Experts say that studying abroad has become a less pragmatic decision in recent years, with students emphasizing their personal development rather than seeing it only as an “investment” in their employability.
“Photos in textbooks can’t give you the feeling of standing under the Eiffel Tower,” said Pang, 24, a postgraduate majoring in civil engineering at the University of Nantes in France.
Apart from studying, living in a foreign country is more about seeing the world.
By traveling to Italy, Switzerland and Denmark during the holidays, Pang said he gained a deeper understanding of European culture.
“Studying abroad can be a life changing experience as you have to deal with everything in a completely new environment,” said Xie Shaoyuan, marketing director of Education International Cooperation Group.
“By adapting to, communicating with, and understanding a different culture and people, students can renew their attitude toward studying and life, which has a lasting impact on their careers and personal lives,” Xie said.
Chen Zhe, 22, a senior majoring in finance at the University of Edinburgh, agreed. Chen’s experience of living in the UK and experiencing new cultures, traditions and people made him realize the significance of preserving his own cultural traditions and identity.
“Before I left the cultural environment I was familiar with, I thought some of our holiday traditions were unnecessary,” said Chen. “But by being exposed to so many new traditions, I’ve begun to understand the significance of keeping our own traditions alive.”
Besides traveling and integrating culturally, learning how to study is vital for Liu Chang, 25, a law student from Fudan University who is currently on an exchange year to George Washington University in the US.
“Apart from what is taught in the classroom, I have also benefited from self-education,” said Liu.
Since China and the US use different teaching methods, each of which have their own advantages, it is important for students to make the most of their different learning environments and acquire a wide range of knowledge.
“I can learn by talking to my Mexican roommates about their country, or by talking about soccer with my British friends,” said Liu. “Studying abroad always offers me chances to learn something new.”
Xie thinks that in terms of the investment, studying abroad may not be as financially rewarding as it was a few years ago. But the connections and the new worldview developed through this unique experience will pay off eventually.
“Instead of direct financial benefits, the edge of having international experience and a new perspective on life is even more precious,” said Xie.
Chicken Soup for the Soul-Ten things make you more wealthy

Chicken Soup for the Soul-Ten things make you more wealthy

A recent Gallup poll, quoted in The Atlantic, found that “well-being rises with income at all levels of income, across countries.” In other words, as the article’s title states, the poll proves that “Yes, Money Does Buy Happiness.”
Except that it doesn’t prove that at all. What the study actually discovered was a “strong correlation” between each nation’s real GDP per capita and the sense of “well-being” among those nation’s citizens.
Correlation isn’t causation. The data could just as easily be interpreted the other way around: that happiness creates wealth. What’s most likely, though, is that happiness and wealth are part of a cycle, each one creating more of the other.
And that’s the reason for this post. Assuming you want to create both wealth and happiness for yourself and those around you, you have two approaches: wait until you’re wealthy to be happy, or become more happy now and thereby create more wealth.
I maintain that, in today’s economy, it’s easier to start with the happiness, because unlike wealth (which takes time to accumulate), you can increase the amount of happiness in your life within minutes, simply by taking more notice of things that make you happy.
With that in mind, here are ten things that can make you happy immediately, regardless of where you are in the cycle.
1. Life
It’s easy to forget that the mere fact of conscious existence–that you are alive–is itself a miracle. As the old saying goes “every day above ground is a good day.”
2. Health
Rather than thinking of illness as something bad that happens to you, start thinking of health as something good that’s happening to you.
3. Purpose
There is nothing more conducive to long-term happiness than knowing that your actions are making the world a better place.
4. Friendship
Almost everyone has friends, although it’s easy to lose track of them in the rush of events. Take a few minutes–today–to reconnect with some of them.
5. Family
If you’ve got a good relationship with your family, rejoice! You’re experiencing one of the deepest sources of happiness on the planet.
6. Self-reliance
Feeling secure that you can count on yourself to accomplish what you set out to accomplish creates a quiet but potent happiness.
7. Community
Having the support of a wider group makes you more aware that you’re part of something greater than yourself.
8. Gratitude
Rather than focusing on what you don’t have or what’s out of reach, be thankful for the wonderful things already in your life.
9. Laughter
It is impossible to laugh and be miserable at the same time. Regular doses of laughter are more than medicine… it’s the flavor of life.
10. Love
‘Nuff said.
Create these ten things in your life and I guarantee that you’ll either become more wealthy or, if not, you won’t really care anyway because you’ll already have what’s important.
Chicken Soup for the Soul-Teaching Children Money Habits for Life

Chicken Soup for the Soul-Teaching Children Money Habits for Life

The life-long benefits of teaching children good money habits make it well worth the effort. Children who are not taught these lessons pay the consequences for a life-time. Some parents don’t teach children about money because they think they shouldn’t talk about money with children, don’t have the time, or think they don’t have enough money. Parents should take the time to teach children about money regardless of their income and should start when children are young.
Most people have strong feelings and opinions about money, based on childhood experiences and the values and beliefs of their families. Most often, these experiences, values, and beliefs are different for each parent. It is vital for the healthy development of children that parents talk about these feelings and opinions and establish a consistent approach to teaching children about money.
Here are some guidelines parents can keep in mind as they begin the financial socialization of their children:
Guide and advise rather than direct and dictate how the child’s money should be used.
Encourage and praise the child rather than criticize and rebuke actions taken.
Allow children to learn by mistakes and by successes.
Be consistent while taking children’s differences into account.
Include all family members in money management discussions, decision making, and activities as appropriate for their age.
Explain to children what they can and cannot do and the consequences of violating the limits.
As children get older increasingly include them in discussions of limits and consequences.
Expect all family members to perform unpaid, routine household chores based on their abilities.
Express your desire to have things you can’t afford. Children need to know that parents say “no” to themselves, too.
Chicken Soup for the Soul-Autumn-the Harvest Season

Chicken Soup for the Soul-Autumn-the Harvest Season

The autumn, with its ripening fruits, and waving harvest, is now with us. We see on every hand the results of the farmer’s toil and forecast in the springtime. Then it was that he broke up the soil, sowed the seed, pruned his trees, and guarded the tender plants. Now we see the ripening crops. The trees are bending with golden fruit, and abundance rewards farmer’s toil.

But suppose in spring the farmer had left the soil unturned, the seed unsown, the trees untrimmed, and everything neglected, what would now be the result? We should see nothing but barren fields, overrun with weeds and biers; and the farmer would feel that a winter of want and distress is before him.

And let us remember that the autumn of life will come on apace; and that what we now sow, we shall then reap. If we would reap an abundant harvest, and gather precious fruit, and secure an autumn of plenty prosperity, we must now, in the springtime of life, be diligent and careful in the cultivation of our hearts. We must form only those habits which will produce good fruits. Our acts must be noble, our thoughts and our words must be pure, and our feelings must be kind. As we now sow, we shall then reap. If we “sow to the wind, we shall reap the whirlwind”.

Chicken Soup for the Soul-Lifetime Catch

Chicken Soup for the Soul-Lifetime Catch

He was 11 years old and went fishing every chance he got from the dock at his family’s cabin on an island in the middle of a New Hampshire lake.
On the day before the bass season opened, he and his father were fishing early in the evening, catching sunfish and perch with worms. Then he tied on a small silver lure and practiced casting. The lure struck the water and caused colored ripples in the sunset, then silver ripples as the moon rose over the lake.
When his peapole doubled over, he knew something huge was on the other end. His father watched with admiration as the boy skillfully worked the fish alongside the dock.
Finally, he very gingerly lifted the exhausted fish from the water. It was the largest one he had ever seen, but it was a bass.
The boy and his father looked at the handsome fish, gills playing back and forth in the moonlight. The father lit a match and looked at his watch. It was 10 P.M.– two hours before the season opened. He looked at the fish, then at the boy.
“You’ll have to put it back, son,” he said.
“Dad!” cried the boy.
“There will be other fish,” said his father.
“Not as big as this one,” cried the boy.
He looked around the lake. No other fishermen or boats were anywhere around in the moonlight. He looked again at his father. Even though no one had seen them, nor could anyone ever know what time he caught the fish, the boy could tell by the clarity of his father’s voice that the decision was not negotiable. He slowly worked the hook out of the lip of the huge bass and lowered it into the black water.
The creature swished its powerful body and disappeared. The boy suspected that he would never again see such a great fish.
That was 34 years ago. Today, the boy is a successful architect in New York City. His father’s cabin is still there on the island in the middle of the lake. He takes his own son and daughters fishing from the same dock.
And he was right. He has never again caught such a magnificent fish as the one he landed that night long ago. But he does see that same fish-again and again-every time he comes up against a question of ethics.
For, as his father taught him, ethics are simple matters of right and wrong. It is only the practice of ethics that is difficult. Do we do right when no one is looking? Do we refuse to cut corners to get the design in on time? Or refuse to trade stocks based on information that we know we aren’t supposed to have?
We would if we were taught to put the fish back when we were young. For we would have learned the truth. The decision to do right lives fresh and fragrant in our memory. It is a story we will proudly tell our friends and grandchildren. Not about how we had a chance to beat the system and took it, but about how we did the right thing and were forever strengthened.
Chicken Soup for the Soul-The package of life

Chicken Soup for the Soul-The package of life

Life comes in a package. This package includes happiness and sorrow, failure and success, hope and despair. Life is a learning process. Experiences in life teach us new lessons and make us a better person. With each passing day we learn to handle various situations.
Love
Love plays a pivotal role on our life. Love makes you feel wanted. Without love a person could go hayward and also become cruel and ferocious. In the early stage of our life, our parents are the ones who shower us with unconditional love and care, they teach us about what is right and wrong, good and bad. But we always tend to take this for is only after marriage and having kids that a person understands and becomes sensitive to others’ feelings. Kids make a person responsible and mature and help us to understand life better.
Happiness and Sorrow
Materialistic happiness is short-lived, but happiness achieved by bringing a smile on others’ face gives a certain level of fulfillment. Peace of mind is the main link to happiness. No mind is happy without peace. We realize the true worth of happiness when we are in sorrow. Sorrow is basically due to death of a loved one, failure and these things are temporary and pass away.
Failure and Success
Failure is the path to success. It helps us to touch the sky, teaches us to survive and shows us a specific way. Success brings in money, fame, pride and self-respect. Here it becomes very important to keep our head on out shoulder. The only way to show our gratitude to God for bestowing success on us is by being humble, modest, courteous and respectful to the less fortunate ones.
Hope and Despair
Hope is what keeps life going. Parents always hope their children will do well. Hope makes us dream. Hope builds in patience. Life teaches us not to despair even in the darkest hour, because after every night there is a day. Nothing remains the same we have only one choice keep moving on in life and be hopeful.
Life teaches us not to regret over yesterday, for it has passed and is beyond our control. Tomorrow is unknown, for it could either be bright or dull. So the only alternative is work hard today, so that we will enjoy a better tomorrow.
Chicken Soup for the Soul-To be proud of yourself

Chicken Soup for the Soul-To be proud of yourself

You have to be a smaller size. You have to burn more fat. You have to tighten your butt, firm your abs, fit into those skinny jeans, and do it all in 3 weeks! That just sucks.
If you’re tired of hearing all of this, and hearing it over and over again, maybe you need to stand your ground, rebel, and go against the tide. You are so much more than just a size or a number, but living in a culture that’s beauty- and body- image-obsessed isn’t easy. In fact, it’s downright painful, especially if you’re not a size 2.
Most of us weren’t even born that small! If you’re tired of feeling bad, especially around this time of year when the weather’s warming up and everyone is talking bikinis maybe you do need a new look, but this one should have nothing to do with your weight, size or shape.
This look takes cultivating what’s on the inside. It means being fearless about who you are both inside and out. It means standing up and screaming at the top of your lungs, “I’m not going to drop a jean size to be acceptable and valued, I’m actually perfect just the way I am!”
Here’s a few tips on how to begin:
1. Know your heart
We’re paying more attention to external issues than we are to our hearts. That’s why people are dying out there: if we spent half as much time noticing and tending to our hearts, we would be a lot healthier emotionally. Think about how much time the fashion industry, the food industry and the cosmetic industry pay to convince you that you’re not OK, and most people buy into it, hook, line, and sinker. How do I know? Because I buy it way too often as well. Invest in your heart—know your value and change your world.
2. Cultivate it
How do you tend to your heart? By paying attention to what’s happening to it as the losses of life unfold. By feeding it with good kind things. By spending time with yourself and learning who you are and what your strengths are.
3. Be Fearless
Find your strengths and you’ll become fearless. Utilize the gifts you’ve been given, and impact your world with them. Be humble. Be a friend. Be generous. Give your heart away, and lead others.
4. Love strong
Pay attention to the one thing that’s most important in your life: those you love. Don’t let your concern for your size, your weight or your body image rob you of life. Don’t let it steal time away from those you love because you’re so preoccupied with all that mess. Risk. Step out. Say good-bye to the old way and dare to try something new. You’ll feel so much better.
5. Be grateful
It’s hard to be grateful for something you loathe. My clients with eating disorders and body image concerns can’t generally find one thing to like about their physical appearance, but I challenge them to risk looking beyond what they see and begin to cultivate an attitude of gratefulness for what their physical body allows them to do. Hold a child. Run a marathon. Write a poem. Play an instrument. Touch a loved one. Start small, but start somewhere.
6. Stop Comparing
Don’t look at the girl at the gym, the guy on the magazine or the hot chick at the beach to judge yourself. Start thinking about your strengths, your attributes. If you feed yourself a steady diet of garbage, that’s how you’re going to feel—like garbage.
At the end of the day, only one thing is necessary to revolt against the societal norms that demand we be thin to be valued: choice. The choice to ignore the cultural mandates and set the world on fire just as you are. A choice to live, really live a full and abundant life where you’re content with who you are, not what you look like. Go get ’em!
Chicken Soup for the Soul-Admire their glow

Chicken Soup for the Soul-Admire their glow

I looked at my beautiful Christmas tree and sighed. It was time. The New Year was a week old and my tree still stood in the corner of our room with its collection of memories proudly displayed in a shower of colorful lights. I’d procrastinated long enough.
I got up, went to the garage and hauled all the boxes into the room. The garland was the first to come down. The tree looked naked already. I took the large ornaments off next. They made a large pile on our bed. An hour later, our bed was covered with Christmas memories. Each pile contained an ornament along with its matching brothers and sisters from sets purchased many years ago.
I prepared the boxes and carefully placed ornaments in their protective packaging, pausing every few minutes to admire a favorite. “Hey, little Santa!” I held the Santa from my childhood. “Thanks for being my friend for almost fifty years.” He was a little ragged but still gives me a flood of wonderful memories. “Until next year, my dear friend.”
There was a collection of handmade ones. My children made in their first years of school, more than twenty years ago. Made by tiny hands, they are far from perfect in design, but every year they go on my memory tree – memories of young giggles on Christmas morning and a smiling face when they handed them to me when I came home from work. “Look what we made, Daddy!”
“Oh! It is beautiful. Let’s find a special spot on the tree for it.” Every year since, they are displayed.
A few hours after I started, the filled boxes were back in the garage, the room was vacuumed and I sat staring at a barren corner. The room seemed so empty. It took me two days of work to assemble and decorate my tree, but only a few hours to take it apart.
My tree is a good marriage or a great friendship. Like the tree, they take a long time to assemble and decorate with memories, but can be torn down quickly. All it takes is an unkind word or a thoughtless act, and what once stood proudly in the glow of love comes tumbling down.
Every year I have to put my tree away, but not my marriage or friendships. I take great care of those. They get to glow in the corner of my life for as long as I live. I get to analyze my tree and find memories for a few weeks every year. I can do the same with the loves in my life every day. When I held the Santa, a flood of wonderful memories returned. The same happens when I hold my wife or see the smile of a friend across the room.
Take great care of your friendships and your marriage. Once they come down, they aren’t as easy to put back together as a Christmas tree, if at all. Stand them in that special spot in the corner of your heart and admire their glow.
Chicken Soup for the Soul-Be yourself

Chicken Soup for the Soul-Be yourself

1. Don’t worry about your self-image.
We all have an image of ourselves, how we think we appear to others. It’s usually wrong because we just don’t know what other people think about us, and so it’s not worth worrying about.
2. Give up trying to find yourself.
A lot of people say, “I need time to find myself, to work out who I am.” This is one way to give yourself a neurosis because there’s nothing to find. You have your capabilities; you may be a cook or a chemist or a charity worker and nothing can take that away.
3. Celebrate your uniqueness.
Every human being is different, unique. Nobody has quite the same take on things as you do. This is a marvellous feeling to enjoy. At the same time we have to understand that others have a different take too. It means we’re not necessarily right, and it makes us more tolerant.
4. Live now!
Don’t put it off until tomorrow. We don’t know what tomorrow will be like. The past is a memory – so there’s no point in living there. The future is a hope and a dream which is pleasant to contemplate now is all we have.
5. Be aware of this moment in your life.
What’s happening? What are you doing? Are you enjoying? It doesn’t have to be a big moment like a graduation ceremony or winning a lottery prize. Life is mostly small moments like washing the dishes or riding the subway, or having coffee with a friend. Life is too precious to be wasted drifting along half-awake.
Chicken Soup for the Soul-How to become a positive thinker

Chicken Soup for the Soul-How to become a positive thinker

Positive thinking is a significant element of happiness. In order to become a positive thinker, determination and consistency are important. The first thing to know about positive thinking is that everyone can do it. With certain cognitive and behavioral modifications, we can all become positive thinkers. Another important factor is that being a positive thinker does not mean you become numb to anything that is not working properly in your life or is negative — it just means that you approach life and face challenges with a healthier outlook.
To become a positive thinker, these may help you:
1. Change your self-monitoring:
Instead of selectively attending to negative events, focus on the positive ones. Then pay attention to the delayed consequences of your behavior rather than the immediate ones. For example, if a job is not going like you want, focus on the fact that you have a job and how you can take your time to make the situation better.
2. Change your self-evaluation:
Challenge any inaccurate internal attributions and see if you compare your behavior to standards that are excessively rigid and perfectionistic. If so, change these and be reasonable with your comparisons. For example, if you constantly compare your weaknesses with other peoples’ strengths, then switch this and compare yourself with those who are doing poorer than you as well. Overall, people who focus more on their strengths than their weaknesses but at the same time are aware of their weaknesses have a healthier self-evaluation result.
3. Change your self-reinforcement:
If you have low rates of self-reward and high rates of self-punishment when it comes to certain aspects of your life, then you want to modify this. For example, think more of how far you’ve come, how hard you’ve worked, acknowledge yourself for it and then see how much further you want to go.
4. Draw conclusions with evidence:
Look at the evidence, look at the events, look at patterns and don’t base your conclusions on assumptions. For example, don’t just assume someone will cheat you because they look like or in some ways act like an ex you didn’t get along with. Look at other elements to see if there is any evidence for your assumption.
5. Don’t be that individual:
The majority of how people interact with you is due to their own personality, strengths, and baggage and does not have as much to do with you. Pay attention to how to differentiate between different interaction signals. For example, instead of immediately getting frustrated because the waitress was a little late attending to you, think that maybe she is having a really tough day or too may tables to take care of.
6. Don’t do “either/or” thinking:
Black and white thinking based on perfectionistic thought is counterproductive. Every time a thought pops up and has words like “should” or “must,” challenge it. For example, instead of saying “this should be done this way,” say something like, “I prefer it this way but I am sure there are other ways to do and am willing to be open.
7. Don’t do emotional reasoning:
This is a belief based on feeling alone without any rational thinking behind it. For example, you don’t like such and such but you don’t have any logical reason for not liking them.
8. Challenge your “what if” thoughts:
When faced with too much fear about a situation, imagine the worst case scenario and visualize a solution for it, then let go of fear. This way, you will be prepared for anything and your fear would not block you from being open and creative to different solutions. For example, if you are constantly worried about losing your job up to a point where it is creating a lot of anxiety and fear and is effecting your performance and your happiness negatively, then think of losing your job, visualize how you will handle it, find solutions in your mind and then let go of the thought and the fear attached to it.
At the end, positive thinkers are better problem solvers and have better interactions. In addition to that, people who are positive thinkers are happier and more satisfied with their life.
Chicken Soup for the Soul-If the world were a Village of 100 People

Chicken Soup for the Soul-If the world were a Village of 100 People

If we could shrink the earth population to a village of precisely 100 people, with all the exsting human ratios remaining the same, it would look something like the following:
There would be:
57 Asians
21 Europeans
10 from the Western Hemisphere, both north and south
8 Africans
52 would be female
48 would be male
70 would be non-while
30 would be white
70 would be non-christian
30 would be Christian
89 would be heterosexual
11 would be homosexual
6 people would possess 59% of the entire world wealth and all 6 would be from the United States.
80 would live in substandard housing
70 would be unable to read
50 would suffer from malnutrition
1 would be near death; 1 would be near birth
1(yes, only 1) would have a college education
1 would own a computer
When one considers our world from such a compressed perspective, the need for acceptance, understanding and education becomes glaringly apparent.
The following is also something to ponder
If you woke pup this morning with more health than illness……you are more blessed than the million who will not survive this week.
If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation…you are ahead of 500 million people in the world.
If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep… you are richer than 75% of this world.
If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in dish someplace…you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealth.
If your parents are still alive and still married…you are very rare, even in the United Stated and Canada.
Someone once said: What goes around comes around.
Work live you don’t need the money.
Love like you’ve never been hurt.
Dance like nobodys watching.
Sing like nobodys listening.
Live like it Heaven on Earth.
Chicken Soup for the Soul-Give yourself a vacation

Chicken Soup for the Soul-Give yourself a vacation

“How are things back at the office?” one of the gentlemen in my bicycle tour group asked me as we were nearing the end of another lengthy ride through Croatia’s scenic countryside.
“I assume they are going fine,” I said. “I haven’t had any contact and I don’t plan to.”
“Your phone isn’t on?” he asked, incredulously. “You haven’t checked your email?”
“My phone is off and no, I’m not planning on checking email,” I said.
My wife Heidi and I took my children, Daniel and Rachel, on a two-week trip to Croatia, one of the most beautiful countries in the world. We made the choice to spend some of our money on this wonderful experience so we could spend time bonding with each other and the kids.
Why would I diminish the environment we had traveled thousands of miles to create by bringing my work environment into it? That would be counter-productive to everything I wanted out of this trip. If I worked during this experience, I would be taking time away from my family and sending them the message that work takes priority over them.
In addition to sharing this incredible experience, I wanted to take us all out of the activity-driven world we live in. If I had my cell phone on and was constantly searching out a wireless connection to keep up with the office, I would just bring that hyper-connected environment into the peaceful, meaningful world I was trying to create.
One of the primary purposes of taking a vacation is to rest and rejuvenate. How can you accomplish that goal if you simply move the source of that stress to a different location? Granted, it’s one that may have a better view than your office window, but you haven’t truly gotten away.
In addition to creating life-long memories with my family, another wonderful thing happened as a result of this bike trip. As we were returning home, I was flooded with new ideas. I came up with concepts for nine blog posts and several ideas that I want to incorporate into my business.
It felt like I had received an unexpected bonus. While it wasn’t the goal of the trip, I was rewarded with fresh insights, ones that never would have occurred to me during the regular course of business. Taking time off restored and rejuvenated me and allowed my creative spirit to really come to the surface.
The good news is that at least half of Americans agree with me. The travel website company recently released the results of a survey that examined the link between vacations and happiness.
Among other findings, the survey found that 46 percent of employed Americans reported that they never check in with work while on vacation. However, 59 percent of men make it a habit to check with the office. Not surprisingly, those who check in at least once a day reported higher stress levels.
Here’s another argument for getting away: 47 percent of people who went on vacation last year like their job while 71 percent who haven’t vacationed in five years don’t. And 86 percent of Americans link their personal happiness to vacation.
Vacations make us happy, give us time to bond with our families and allow us the downtime for to feel rejuvenated and inspired. Just leave that cellphone off and that laptop behind.
Chicken Soup for the Soul-Do It Today

Chicken Soup for the Soul-Do It Today

When I was superintendent of schools in Palo Alto, California, Polly Tyner, the president of our board of trustees, wrote a letter that was printed in the Palo Alto Times. Polly’s son, Jim, had great difficulty in school. He was classified as educationally handicapped and required a great deal of patience on the part of his parents and teachers. But Jim was a happy kid with a great smile that lit up the room. His parents acknowledged his academic difficulties, but always tried to help him see his strengths so that he could walk with pride. Shortly after Jim finished high school, he was killed in a motorcycle accident. After his death, his mother submitted this letter to the newspaper.
Today we buried our 20-year-old son. He was killed instantly in a motorcycle accident on Friday night. How I wish I had known when I talked to him last that it would be the last time. If I had only known I would have said, “Jim, I love you and I’m so very proud of you.”
I would have taken the time to count the many blessings he brought to the lives of the many who loved him. I would have taken time to appreciate his beautiful smile, the sound of his laughter, his genuine love of people.
When you put all the good attributes on the scale and you try to balance all the irritating traits such as the radio which was always too loud, the haircut that wasn’t to our liking, the dirty socks under the bed, etc., the irritations don’t amount to much.
I won’t get another chance to tell my son all I would have wanted him to hear, but, other parents, you do have a chance. Tell your young people what you would want them to hear if you knew it would be your last conversation. The last time I talked to Jim was the day he died. He called me to say, “Hi, Mom! I just called to say I love you. Got to go to work. Bye.” He gave me something to treasure forever.
If there is any purpose at all to Jim’s death, maybe it is to make others appreciate more of life and to have people, especially families, take the time to let each other know just how much we care.
You may never have another chance. Do it today!
Chicken Soup for the Soul-What is success

Chicken Soup for the Soul-What is success

Your job is important and part of what defines you as who you are. However, in order to be truly successful in life you need to be balanced. After fifteen years in the Information Technology industry, I have learned a few lessons that have helped me maintain my sanity at work.
Hobbies
Key for me has always been to have hobbies and interests out side of work. It doesn’t matter what you do, but you need time away from your work, time away from your family and time that is strictly yours for enjoyment. This blog for example is one of my new hobbies and a way to stretch my mind. For others it might be some board game or even something like Geocaching (Ties into the active life I talk about below). Without hobbies, or at least a time to decompress, I feel that by the end of the week I’m dead and no use to my family all weekend long.
Family
Put family first… This doesn’t mean to be a clock watcher at work, but make sure that you leave your work at work and make time for your family. I have kids and I make sure I’m there for supper almost every night. Make sure that you spend time with your wife, husband, significant other (And watching TV doesn’t count). My life overall runs a lot better when I make sure I give time to my wife and kids.
Active life
This is my #1. If I don’t run, play soccer, rock climb or do something active, I tend to be grumpy and irritable. This is the way I deal with my stress, this is not only something that makes me feel good, but it means that when I’m at work, I can focus on work. Take time a few times a week, look at what is offered in your area and go for it. If you can’t find anything, consider running. Running is easy to get started and cheap… You can also do it anywhere in the world. I’ve traveled quite a bit in life and running is something that you can do no matter where you are (Sometimes it can be hard to find the motivation when its below 25°C and you need the right gear, but you still can do it).
Time for personal reflection
Personal reflection means that I take time for myself, make sure my life is where I want it to be, and if it isn’t, to think about how I can get it to where I need it to be. I know this sounds cliche, but we only have one life to live and I feel like I’d better not waste mine. I love my work, my family and the experiences I have had in my life and taking the time to reflect makes me feel like all those goals I haven’t reached yet are attainable if I stay focused and on course.
Chicken Soup for the Soul-The cost of miracle

Chicken Soup for the Soul-The cost of miracle

Tess was a precocious eight-year-old girl when she heard her Mom and Dad talking about her little brother, Andrew. All she knew was that he was very sick and they were completely out of money. They were moving to an apartment complex next month because Daddy didn’t have the money for the doctor’s bills and our house.
Only a very costly surgery could save him now and it was looking like there was no-one to loan them the money. She heard Daddy say to her tearful Mother with whispered desperation, “Only a miracle can save him now.”
Tess went to her bedroom and pulled a glass jelly jar from its hiding place in the closet. She poured all the change out on the floor and counted it carefully. Three times, even. The total had to be exactly perfect. No chance here for mistakes.
Carefully placing the coins back in the jar and twisting on the cap, she slipped out the back door and made her way 6 blocks to Rexall’s Drug Store with the big red Indian Chief sign above the door.
She waited patiently for the pharmacist to give her some attention but he was too busy at this moment. Tess twisted her feet to make a noise. Nothing. She cleared her throat with the most disgusting sound she could muster.
No good. Finally she took a quarter from her jar and banged it on the glass counter. That did it! “And what do you want?” the pharmacist asked in an annoyed tone of voice. “I’m talking to my brother from Chicago whom I haven’t seen in ages, “he said without waiting for a reply to his question.”
“Well, I want to talk to you about my brother,” Tess answered back in the same annoyed tone. “He’s really, really sick and I want to buy a miracle.”
“I beg your pardon?” said the pharmacist. “His name is Andrew and he has something bad growing inside his head and my Daddy says only a miracle can save him now. So how much does a miracle cost?”
“We don’t sell miracles here, little girl. I’m sorry but I can’t help you,” the pharmacist said, softening a little. “Listen, I have the money to pay for it. If it isn’t enough, I will get the rest. Just tell me how much it costs.”
The pharmacist’s brother was a well-dressed man. He stooped down and asked the little girl, “What kind of a miracle does your brother need?” “I don’t know,” Tess replied with her eyes welling up.
“I just know he’s really sick and Mommy says he needs an operation. But my Daddy can’t pay for it, so I want to use my money.”
“How much do you have?” asked the man from Chicago.
“One dollar and eleven cents,” Tess answered barely audibly. “And it’s all the money I have, but I can get some more if I need to.”
“Well, what a coincidence,” smiled the man. “A dollar and eleven cents — the exact price of a miracle for little brothers. “He took her money in one hand and with the other hand he grasped her mitten and said “Take me to where you live. I want to see your brother and meet your parents. Let’s see if I have the kind of miracle you need.”
That well-dressed man was Dr. Carlton Armstrong, a surgeon, specializing in neurosurgery. The operation was completed without charge and it wasn’t long until Andrew was home again and doing well. Mom and Dad were happily talking about the chain of events that had led them to this place.
“That surgery,” her Mom whispered, “was a real miracle. I wonder how much it would have cost?” Tess smiled. She knew exactly how much a miracle cost one dollar and eleven cents plus the faith of a little child.
Chicken Soup for the Soul-We Never Told Him He Couldn’t Do it

Chicken Soup for the Soul-We Never Told Him He Couldn’t Do it

My son Joey was born with club feet. The doctors assured us that with treatment he would be able to walk normally – but would never run very well. The first three years of his life were spent in surgery, casts and braces. By the time he was eight, you wouldn’t know he had a problem when you saw him walk.
The children in our neighborhood ran around as most children do during play, and Joey would jump right in and run and play, too. We never told him that he probably wouldn’t be able to run as well as the other children. So he didn’t know.
In seventh grade he decided to go out for the cross-country team. Every day he trained with the team. He worked harder and ran more than any of the others – perhaps he sensed that the abilities that seemed to come naturally to so many others did not come naturally to him. Although the entire team runs, only the top seven runners have the potential to score points for the school. We didn’t tell him he probably would never make the team, so he didn’t know.
He continued to run four to five miles a day, every day – even the day he had a 103-degree fever. I was worried, so I went to look for him after school. I found him running all alone. I asked him how he felt. “Okay,” he said. He had two more miles to go. The sweat ran down his face and his eyes were glassy from his fever. Yet he looked straight ahead and kept running. We never told him he couldn’t run four miles with a 103-degree fever. So he didn’t know.
Two weeks later, the names of the team runners were called. Joey was number six on the list. Joey had made the team. He was in seventh grade – the other six team members were all eighth-graders. We never told him he shouldn’t expect to make the team. We never told him he couldn’t do it. We never told him he couldn’t do he didn’t know. He just did it.
Chicken Soup for the Soul-The Difference a Teacher Can Make

Chicken Soup for the Soul-The Difference a Teacher Can Make

Steve, a twelve-year-old boy with alcoholic parents, was about to be lost forever, by the U.S. education system. Remarkably, he could read, yet, in spite of his reading skills, Steve was failing. He had been failing since first grade, as he was passed on from grade to grade. Steve was a big boy, looking more like a teenager than a twelve year old, yet, Steve went unnoticed until Miss White.
Miss White was a smiling, young, beautiful redhead, and Steve was in love! For the first time in his young life, he couldn’t take his eyes off his teacher; yet, still he failed. He never did his homework, and he was always in trouble with Miss White. His heart would break under her sharp words, and when he was punished for failing to turn in his homework, he felt just miserable! Still, he did not study.
In the middle of the first semester of school, the entire seventh grade was tested for basic skills. Steve hurried through his tests, and continued to dream of other things, as the day wore on. His heart was not in school, but in the woods, where he often escaped alone, trying to shut out the sights, sounds and smells of his alcoholic home. No one checked on him to see if he was safe. No one knew he was gone, because no one was sober enough to care. Oddly, Steve never missed a day of school.
One day, Miss White’s impatient voice broke into his daydreams.
“Steve!” Startled, he turned to look at her.
“Pay attention!”
Steve locked his gaze on Miss White with adolescent adoration, as she began to go over the test results for the seventh grade.
“You all did pretty well,” she told the class, “except for one boy, and it breaks my heart to tell you this, but” She hesitated, pinning Steve to his seat with a sharp stare, her eyes searching his face.
“The smartest boy in the seventh grade is failing my class!”
She just stared at Steve, as the class spun around for a good look. Steve dropped his eyes and carefully examined his fingertips.
After that, it was war!! Steve still wouldn’ do his homework. Even as the punishments became more severe, he remained stubborn.
“Just try it! ONE WEEK!” He was unmoved.
“You’e smart enough! You’l see a change!” Nothing fazed him.
“Give yourself a chance! Don’ give up on your life!” Nothing.
“Steve! Please! I care about you!”
Wow! Suddenly, Steve got it!! Someone cared about him? Someone, totally unattainable and perfect, CARED ABOUT HIM!
Steve went home from school, thoughtful, that afternoon. Walking into the house, he took one look around. Both parents were passed out, in various stages of undress, and the stench was overpowering! He, quickly, gathered up his camping gear, a jar of peanut butter, a loaf of bread, a bottle of water, and this timehis schoolbooks. Grim faced and determined, he headed for the woods.
The following Monday he arrived at school on time, and he waited for Miss White to enter the classroom. She walked in, all sparkle and smiles! God, she was beautiful! He yearned for her smile to turn on him. It did not.
Miss White, immediately, gave a quiz on the weekend homework. Steve hurried through the test, and was the first to hand in his paper. With a look of surprise, Miss White took his paper. Obviously puzzled, she began to look it over. Steve walked back to his desk, his heart pounding within his chest. As he sat down, he couldn’ resist another look at the lovely woman.
Miss White’ face was in total shock! She glanced up at Steve, then down, then up. Suddenly, her face broke into a radiant smile. The smartest boy in the seventh grade had just passed his first test!
From that moment nothing was the same for Steve. Life at home remained the same, but life still changed. He discovered that not only could he learn, but he was good at it! He discovered that he could understand and retain knowledge, and that he could translate the things he learned into his own life. Steve began to excel! And he continued this course throughout his school life.
After high-school Steve enlisted in the Navy, and he had a successful military career. During that time, he met the love of his life, he raised a family, and he graduated from college Magna Cum Laude. During his Naval career, he inspired many young people, who without him, might not have believed in themselves. Steve began a second career after the Navy, and he continues to inspire others, as an adjunct professor in a nearby college
Miss White left a great legacy. She saved one boy who has changed many lives. I know, because I am the love of his life.
You see, it’ simple, really. A change took place within the heart of one boy, all because of one teacher, who cared.
Chicken Soup for the Soul-The growth of trees

Chicken Soup for the Soul-The growth of trees

When I was growing up, I had an old neighbor named Dr. Gibbs. He didn’t look like any doctor I’d ever known. He never yelled at us for playing in his yard. I remember him as someone who was a lot nicer than circumstances warranted.
When Dr. Gibbs wasn’t saving lives, he was planting trees. His house sat on ten acres, and his life’s goal was to make it a forest.
The good doctor had some interesting theories concerning plant husbandry. He came from the “No pain, no gain” school of horticulture. He never watered his new trees, which flew in the face of conventional wisdom. Once I asked why. He said that watering plants spoiled them, and that if you water them, each successive tree generation will grow weaker and weaker. So you have to make things rough for them and weed out the weenie trees early on.
He talked about how watering trees made for shallow roots, and how trees that weren’t watered had to grow deep roots in search of moisture. I took him to mean that deep roots were to be treasured.
So he never watered his trees. He’d plant an oak and, instead of watering it every morning, he’d beat it with a rolled-up newspaper. Smack! Slap! Pow! I asked him why he did that, and he said it was to get the tree’s attention.
Dr. Gibbs went to glory a couple of years after I left home. Every now and again, I walked by his house and looked at the trees that I’d watched him plant some twenty-five years ago. They’re granite strong now. Big and robust. Those trees wake up in the morning and beat their chests and drink their coffee black.
I planted a couple of trees a few years back. Carried water to them for a solid summer. Sprayed them. Prayed over them. The whole nine yards. Two years of coddling has resulted in trees that expect to be waited on hand and foot. Whenever a cold wind blows in, they tremble and chatter their branches. Sissy trees.
Funny things about those trees of Dr. Gibbs’. Adversity and deprivation seemed to benefit them in ways comfort and ease never could.
Every night before I go to bed, I check on my two sons. I stand over them and watch their little bodies, the rising and falling of life within. I often pray for them. Mostly I pray that their lives will be easy. But lately I’ve been thinking that it’s time to change my prayer.
This change has to do with the inevitability of cold winds that hit us at the core. I know my children are going to encounter hardship, and I’m praying they won’t be naive. There’s always a cold wind blowing somewhere.
So I’m changing my prayer. Because life is tough, whether we want it to be or not. Too many times we pray for ease, but that’s a prayer seldom met. What we need to do is pray for roots that reach deep into the Eternal, so when the rains fall and the winds blow, we won’t be swept asunder.
Chicken Soup for the Soul-The most beautiful heart

Chicken Soup for the Soul-The most beautiful heart

One day a young man was standing in the middle of the town proclaiming that he had the most beautiful heart in the whole valley. A large crowd gathered, and they all admired his heart for it was perfect. There was not a flaw in it.
Suddenly, an old man appeared and said, “Why, your heart is not nearly as beautiful as mine.”
The crowd and the young man looked at the old man’s heart. It was full of scars, it had places where pieces had been removed and other pieces put in, but they didn’t fit quite right, and there were several jagged edges. In fact, in some places there were deep gouges where whole pieces were missing.
The young man laughed. “Comparing your heart with mine, mine is perfect and yours is a mess of scars.”
“Yes,” said the old man, “Yours looks perfect but I would never trade with you. You see, every scar represents a person to whom I have given my love. I tear out a piece of my heart and give it to them, and often they give me a piece of their heart that fits into the empty place in my heart.
But because the pieces aren’t exact, I have some rough edges, which I cherish, because they remind me of the love we shared.
“Sometimes I have given pieces of my heart away, and the other person hasn’t returned a piece of his or her heart to me. These are the empty gouges — giving love is taking a chance.
Although these gouges are painful, they stay open, reminding me of the love I have for those people too, and I hope someday they may return and fill the space I have waiting. So now do you see what true beauty is?”
The young man walked up to the old man, reached into his perfect heart, and ripped a piece out. He offered it to the old man.
The old man placed it in his heart, then took a piece from his old scarred heart and placed it in the wound in the young man’s heart. It fit, but not perfectly, as there were some jagged edges.
The young man looked at his heart, not perfect anymore but more beautiful than ever, since love from the old man’s heart flowed into his.
They embraced and walked away side by side.
Chicken Soup for the Soul-The 4 Wives

Chicken Soup for the Soul-The 4 Wives

There was a rich merchant who had 4 wives. He loved the 4th wife the most and adorned her with rich robes and treated her to delicacies. He took great care of her and gave her nothing but the best.
He also loved the 3rd wife very much. He’s very proud of her and always wanted to show off her to his friends. However, the merchant is always in great fear that she might run away with some other men.
He too, loved his 2nd wife. She is a very considerate person, always patient and in fact is the merchant’s confidante. Whenever the merchant faced some problems, he always turned to his 2nd wife and she would always help him out and tide him through difficult times.
Now, the merchant’s 1st wife is a very loyal partner and has made great contributions in maintaining his wealth and business as well as taking care of the household. However, the merchant did not love the first wife and although she loved him deeply, he hardly took notice of her.
One day, the merchant fell ill. Before long, he knew that he was going to die soon. He thought of his luxurious life and told himself, “Now I have 4 wives with me. But when I die, I’ll be alone. How lonely I’ll be!”
Thus, he asked the 4th wife, “I loved you most, and owed you with the finest clothing and showered great care over you. Now that I’m dying, will you follow me and keep me company?” “No way!” replied the 4th wife and she walked away without another word.
The answer cut like a sharp knife right into the merchant’s heart. The sad merchant then asked the 3rd wife, “I have loved you so much for all my life. Now that I’m dying, will you follow me and keep me company?” “No!” replied the 3rd wife. “Life is so good over here! I’m going to remarry when you die!” The merchant’s heart sank and turned cold.
He then asked the 2nd wife, “I always turned to you for help and you’ve always helped me out. Now I need your help again. When I die, will you follow me and keep me company?” “I’m sorry, I can’t help you out this time!” replied the 2nd wife. “At the very most, I can only send you to your grave.” The answer came like a bolt of thunder and the merchant was devastated.
Then a voice called out: “I’ll leave with you. I’ll follow you no matter where you go.” The merchant looked up and there was his first wife. She was so skinny, almost like she suffered from malnutrition. Greatly grieved, the merchant said, “I should have taken much better care of you while I could have!”
Actually, we all have 4 wives in our lives
The 4th wife is our body. No matter how much time and effort we lavish in making it look good, it’ll leave us when we die.
Our 3rd wife is our possessions, status and wealth. When we die, they all go to others.
The 2nd wife is our family and friends. No matter how close they had been there for us when we’re alive, the furthest they can stay by us is up to the grave.
The 1st wife is in fact our soul, often neglected in our pursuit of material, wealth and sensual pleasure.
Guess what? It is actually the only thing that follows us wherever we go. Perhaps it’s a good idea to cultivate and strengthen it now rather than to wait until we’re on our deathbed to lament.
Chicken Soup for the Soul-The Secret of Life

Chicken Soup for the Soul-The Secret of Life

As the Lord God was creating the world he called upon his archangels. The Lord asked his archangels to help him decide where to put the Secret of Life.
“Bury it in the ground,” one angel replied.
“Put it on the bottom of the sea,” said another.
“Hide it in the mountains,” another suggested.
The Lord replied, “If I see to do any of those, only a few will find the Secret of Life. The Secret of Life must be accessible to EVERY-ONE!”
One angel replied, “I know: put it in each man’s heart. Nobody will think to look there.”
“Yes!” said the Lord. “Within each one’s heart.”
And so it was —— The SECRET OF LIFE lies within all of us.
Chicken Soup for the Soul-The Blessed Dress

Chicken Soup for the Soul-The Blessed Dress

I got an engagement ring for Christmas. My boyfriend and I had been dating for almost a year and both felt the time was right to join our lives together in holy matrimony.
The month of January was spent planning our perfect Alabama June wedding. My mother, two sisters and I went to Huntsville, the closest town with a selection of bridal shops, to buy the gown that would play the leading role on my special occasion.
We had a wonderful time just being together and sharing silly jokes, but the day soon turned serious by afternoon: still no sign of the dress of my dreams. Both sisters were ready to give up and try another day in another town, but I coerced them into one more boutique.
I had a good feeling as we entered the quaint little shop filled with the scent of fresh flowers. The elderly clerk showed us several beautiful gowns in my size and price range, but none were right. As I opened the door to leave, the desperate shop owner announced she had one more dress in the back that was expensive and not even my size, but perhaps I might want to look at it anyway. When she brought it out, I squealed in delight.
This was it!
I rushed to the dressing room and slipped it on. Even though it was at least two sizes too large and more costly than I had anticipated, I talked Mom into buying it. The shop was so small it didn’t offer alterations, but my excitement assured me I would be able to get it resized in my hometown.
Excitement wasn’t enough. On Monday morning, my world crumbled when the local sewing shop informed me the dress simply could not be altered because of numerous hand-sewn pearls and sequins on the bodice. I called the boutique for suggestions but only got their answering machine.
A friend gave me the number of a lady across town who worked at home doing alterations. I was desperate and willing to try anything, so I decided to give her a call.
When I arrived at her modest white house on the outskirts of town, she carefully inspected my dress and asked me to try it on. She put a handful of pins into the shoulders and sides of my gown and told me to pick it up in two days. She was the answer to my prayers.
When the time came to pick it up, however, I GREw skeptical. How could I have been so foolish as to just leave a $1,200 wedding dress in the hands of someone I barely knew? What if she made a mess out of it? I had no idea if she could even sew on a button.
Thank goodness my fears were all for naught. the dress still looked exactly the same, but it now fit as if it had been made especially for me. I thanked the cheerful lady and paid her modest fee.
One small problem solved just in time for a bigger one to emerge. On Valentine’s Day, my fiance called.
“Sandy, I’ve come to the decision that I’m not ready to get married,” he announced, none too gently. “I want to travel and experience life for a few years before settling down.”
He apologized for the inconvenience of leaving all the wedding cancellations to me and then quickly left town.
My world turned upside down. I was angry and heartbroken and had no idea how to recover. But days flew into weeks and weeks blended into months. I survived.
One day in the fall of the same year, while standing in line at the supermarket, I heard someone calling my name. I turned around to see the alterations lady. She politely inquired about my wedding, and was shocked to discover it had been called off, but aGREed it was probably for the best.
I thanked her again for adjusting my wedding gown, and assured her it was safely bagged and awaiting the day I would wear it down the aisle on the arm of my real “Mister Right.” With a sparkle in her eye, she began telling me about her single son, Tim. Even though I wasn’t interested in dating again, I let her talk me into meeting him.
I did have my summer wedding after all, only a year later. And I did get to wear the dress of my dreams – standing beside Tim, the man I have shared the last eighteen years of my life with, whom I would never have met without that special wedding gown.
Chicken Soup for the Soul-The Little Red Wagon

Chicken Soup for the Soul-The Little Red Wagon

My friend Gayle has been “living” with cancer for four years and it is progressively getting worse. During a conversation with another friend, Gayle expressed that one of her childhood wishes was to have a red Radio Flyer wagon. As a child she never received one because she believed that if you told your birthday wish it wouldn’t come true. I was at an ice cream stand one day and in the window was a miniature red Radio Flyer wagon that could be won in a weekly drawing. Every time you make a purchase you could fill out a ticket for a chance to win. After several weeks and many ice cream cones, I didn’t win. I got up the courage to ask the person in charge if I could buy one. I went to the window and as I began to tell my story, I could feel my throat tighten and my eyes overflowed with tears. Somehow I managed to explain my reason for wanting to purchase the wagon, and after writing a check, I left carrying it. The wagon was delivered the next day, and for Gayle it was dream come true. The following day I received a letter that read:
Dear Bonnie,
Every once in a while there is an opportunity to pass on a kindness – no questions asked. I lost my parents to cancer six months apart from each other. I cared for both of them but could not have done it without the love and generosity of friends – friends who care.
the best to you,
Norma
It was from the owner of the ice cream stand. Enclosed was my uncashed check.