The Paddle Wheel Boat

More than a hundred years ago, two boys were fishing in a small river. They sat in a heavy flat-bottomed boat, each holding a long, crooked rod in his hands and eagerly waiting for “a bite.”single-pedal-boat-green-no-bckgrnd
When they wanted to move the boat from one place to another they had to pole it; that is, they pushed against a long pole, the lower end of which reached the bottom of the stream. “This is slow work, Robert,” said the older of the boys as they were poling up the river to a new fishing place. “The old boat creeps over the water no faster than a snail.”
“Yes, Christopher; and it is hard work, too,” answered Robert. “I think there ought to be some better way of moving a boat.”
“Yes, there is a better way, and that is by rowing,” said Christopher.
“But we have no oars.”
“Well, I can make some oars,” said Robert; “but I think there ought to be still another and a better way.
I am going to find such a way if I can.” The next day Robert’s aunt heard a great pounding and sawing in her woodshed. The two boys were there, busily working with hammer and saw. “What are you making, Robert?” she asked.
“Oh, I have a plan for making a boat move without poling it or rowing it,” he answered. His aunt laughed and said, “Well, I hope that you will succeed.”
After a great deal of tinkering and trying, they did succeed in making two paddle wheels. They were very rough and crude, but strong and serviceable. They fastened each of these wheels to the end of an iron rod which they passed through the boat from side to side. The rod was bent in the middle so that it could be turned as with a crank. When the work was finished, the old fishing boat looked rather odd, with a paddle wheel on each side which dipped just a few inches into the water. The boys lost no time in trying it.
“She goes ahead all right,” said Christopher, “but how shall we guide her?”
“Oh, I have thought of that,” said Robert. He took something like an oarlock from his pocket and fastened it to the stern of the boat; then with a paddle which worked in this oarlock one of the boys could guide the boat while the other turned the paddle wheels.
“It is better than poling the boat,” said Christopher.
“It is better than rowing, too,” said Robert. “See how fast she goes!”
That night when Christopher went home he had a wonderful story to tell. “Bob Fulton planned the whole thing,” he said, “and I helped him make the paddles and put them on the boat.”
“I wonder why we didn’t think of something like that long ago,” said his father. “Almost anybody could rig up an old boat like that.”
“Yes, I wonder, too,” said Christopher. “It looks easy enough, now that Bob has shown how it is done.”
When Robert Fulton became a man, he did not forget his experiment with the old fishing boat. He kept on, planning and thinking and working, until at last he succeeded in making a boat with paddle wheels that could be run by steam.
He is now remembered and honored as the inventor of the steamboat. He became famous because he was always thinking and studying and working. When he first introduced his unique and wonderful invention, the so-called steamboat skeptics arrived on the river bank ready with their vicious remarks.
They started shouting “It will never start! It will never start!” When the steamboat actually started and made its way down the river, those loud-mouthed critics began shouting, “It’ll never stop! It’ll never stop!”

Coffee on the Wall

I sat with my friend in a well-known coffee shop in a neighboring town of Venice, Italy, the city of lights and water.
jeremybennett-sticky-note-pad-and-pencil-svgAs we enjoyed our coffee, a man entered and sat at an empty table beside us. He called the waiter and placed his order saying, “Two cups of coffee, one of them there on the wall.”
We heard this order with rather interest and observed that he was served with one cup of coffee but he paid for two.
When he left, the waiter put a piece of paper on the wall saying “A Cup of Coffee”.
While we were still there, two other men entered and ordered three cups of coffee, two on the table and one on the wall. They had two cups of coffee but paid for three and left. This time also, the waiter did the same; he put a piece of paper on the wall saying, “A Cup of Coffee”.
It was something unique and perplexing for us. We finished our coffee, paid the bill and left.
After a few days, we had a chance to go to this coffee shop again. While we were enjoying our coffee, a man poorly dressed entered. As he seated himself, he looked at the wall and said,
“One cup of coffee from the wall.”
The waiter served coffee to this man with the customary respect and dignity. The man had his coffee and left without paying.
We were amazed to watch all this, as the waiter took off a piece of paper from the wall and threw it in the trash bin.
Now it was no surprise for us – the matter was very clear. The great respect for the needy shown by the inhabitants of this town made our eyes well up in tears.
Ponder upon the need of what this man wanted. He enters the coffee shop without having to lower his self-esteem… he has no need to ask for a free cup of coffee… without asking or knowing about the one who is giving this cup of coffee to him… he only looked at the wall, placed an order for himself, enjoyed his coffee and left.
A truly beautiful thought. Probably the most beautiful wall you may ever see anywhere!
MORAL OF THE STORY: Need not wait for your turn to help needy.

Having a Best Friend

Two friends were walking through the desert. During some point of the journey they had an argument, and one friend slapped the other one in the face.purple_tombstone_icon-svg
The one who got slapped was hurt, but without saying anything, wrote in the sand “Today my best friend slapped me in the face”.
They kept on walking until they found an oasis, where they decided to take a bath. The one who had been slapped got stuck in the mire and started drowning, but the friend saved him. After he recovered from the near drowning, he wrote on a stone “Today my best friend saved my life”.
The friend who had slapped and saved his best friend asked him, “After I hurt you, you wrote in the sand and now, you write on a stone, why?” The other friend replied “When someone hurts us we should write it down in sand where winds of forgiveness can erase it away. But, when someone does something good for us, we must engrave it in stone where no wind can ever erase it.”

MORAL:

Do not value the things you have in your life. But value who you have in your life.

Mom’s Last Laugh

grandmother-grandma-7130-largeConsumed by my loss, I didn’t notice the hardness of the pew where I sat. I was at the funeral of my dearest friend — my mother. She finally had lost her long battle with cancer.
The hurt was so intense; I found it hard to breathe at times.
Always supportive, mother clapped loudest at my school plays, held a box of tissues while listening to my first heartbreak, comforted me at my father’s death, encouraged me in college, and prayed for me my entire life.tomb-512
When mother’s illness was diagnosed, my sister had a new baby and my brother had recently married his childhood sweetheart, so it fell on me, the 27-year-old middle child without entanglements, to take care of her. I counted it an honor.
“What now, Lord?” I asked sitting in church. My life stretched out before me as an empty abyss. My brother sat stoically with his face toward the cross while clutching his wife’s hand.
My sister sat slumped against her husband’s shoulder, his arms around her as she cradled their child. All so deeply grieving, no one noticed I sat alone. My place had been with our mother, preparing her meals, helping her walk, taking her to the doctor, seeing to her medication, reading the Bible together. Now she was with the Lord. My work was finished and I was alone.
I heard a door open and slam shut at the back of the church. Quick footsteps hurried along the carpeted floor. An exasperated young man looked around briefly and then sat next to me. He folded his hands and placed them on his lap. His eyes were brimming with tears.
He began to sniffle. “I’m late,” he explained, though no explanation was necessary. After several eulogies, he leaned over and commented, “Why do they keep calling Mary by the name of ‘Margaret’?”
“Oh” “Because that was her name, Margaret. Never Mary. No one called her ‘Mary,’ I whispered. I wondered why this person couldn’t have sat on the other side of the church. He interrupted my grieving with his tears and fidgeting. Who was this stranger anyway?
“No, that isn’t correct,” he insisted, as several people glanced over at us whispering, “Her name is Mary, Mary Peters.”
“That isn’t who this is, I replied.”
“Isn’t this the Lutheran church?”
“No, the Lutheran church is across the street.”
“Oh.”
“I believe you’re at the wrong funeral, Sir.”
The solemnness of the occasion mixed with the realization of the man’s mistake bubbled up inside me and came out as laughter.
I cupped my hands over my face, hoping it would be interpreted as sobs.
The creaking pew gave me away. Sharp looks from other mourners only made the situation seem more hilarious. I peeked at the bewildered, misguided man seated beside me.He was laughing, too, as he glanced around, deciding it was too late for an uneventful exit.
I imagined mother laughing.
At the final “Amen,” we darted out a door and into the parking lot. “I do believe we’ll be the talk of the town,” he smiled. He said his name was Rick and since he had missed his aunt’s funeral, asked me out for a cup of coffee.
That afternoon began a lifelong journey for me with this man who attended the wrong funeral, but was in the right place.
A year after our meeting, we were married at a country church where he was the assistant pastor. This time we both arrived at the same church, right on time.In my time of sorrow, God gave me laughter. In place of loneliness, God gave me love. This past June we celebrated our twenty-second wedding anniversary. Whenever anyone asks us how we met, Rick tells them, “Her mother and my Aunt Mary introduced us, and it’s truly a match made in heaven.”

Thinking “Out of the Box”

Many hundreds of years ago in a small Italian town, a merchant had the misfortune of owing a large sum of money to the moneylender. The moneylender, who was old and ugly, fancied the merchant’s beautiful daughter so he proposed a bargain. He said he would forgo the merchant’s debt if he could marry the daughter. Both the merchant and his daughter were horrified by the proposal.
The moneylender told them that he would put a black pebble and a white pebble into an empty bag. The girl would then have to pick one pebble from the bag. If she picked the black pebble, she would become the moneylender’s wife and her father’s debt would be forgiven. If she picked the white pebble she need not marry him and her father’s debt would still be forgiven.wbpebbles
But if she refused to pick a pebble, her father would be thrown into jail.
They were standing on a pebble strewn path in the merchant’s garden. As they talked, the moneylender bent over to pick up two pebbles. As he picked them up, the sharp-eyed girl noticed that he had picked up two black pebbles and put them into the bag. He then asked the girl to pick her pebble from the bag.
What would you have done if you were the girl? If you had to advise her, what would you have told her? Careful analysis would produce three possibilities:
1. The girl should refuse to take a pebble.
2. The girl should show that there were two black pebbles in the bag and expose the moneylender as a cheat.
3. The girl should pick a black pebble and sacrifice herself in order to save her father from his debt and imprisonment.
The above story is used with the hope that it will make us appreciate the difference between lateral and logical thinking.
The girl put her hand into the moneybag and drew out a pebble. Without looking at it, she fumbled and let it fall onto the pebble-strewn path where it immediately became lost among all the other pebbles.
“Oh, how clumsy of me,” she said. “But never mind, if you look into the bag for the one that is left, you will be able to tell which pebble I picked.” Since the remaining pebble is black, it must be assumed that she had picked the white one. And since the moneylender dared not admit his dishonesty, the girl changed what seemed an impossible situation into an advantageous one.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Most complex problems do have a solution, sometimes we have to think about them in a different way.

The Cracked Pot – A Wonderful Inspirational Story

A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on each end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master’s house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.water-bearer
For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water in his master’s house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments.
But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do. After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream.
“I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you.”
“Why?” asked the bearer. “What are you ashamed of?”
“I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master’s house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don’t get full value from your efforts,” the pot said.
The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, “As we return to the master’s house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.”
Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some. But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again the pot apologized to the bearer for its failure.
The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master’s table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house.”

MORAL:
DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE YOURSELF BY COMPARING YOURSELF WITH OTHERS. IT’S OUR DIFFERENCES THAT MAKE US UNIQUE & BEAUTIFUL.

NEED WASHING

A little girl had been shopping with her Mom in a Store. She must have been 6 years old, this beautiful red haired, freckle faced image of innocence.. It was pouring outside. The kind of rain that gushes over the top of rain gutters, so much in a hurry to hit the earth it has no time to flow down the spout. We all stood there under the awning and just inside the door of the Store.running-for-cover

We waited, some patiently, others irritated because nature messed up their hurried day. I am always mesmerized by rainfall. I got lost in the sound and sight of the heavens washing away the dirt and dust of the world Memories of running, splashing so carefree as a child came pouring in as a welcome reprieve from the worries of my day.

The little voice was so sweet as it broke the hypnotic trance we were all caught in ‘Mom let’s run through the rain,’ she said.
‘What?’ Mom asked.
‘Let’s run through the rain!’ She repeated
‘No, honey. We’ll wait until it slows down a bit,’ Mom replied.
This young child waited about another minute and repeated: ‘Mom, let’srun through the rain,’
‘We’ll get soaked if we do,’ Mom said..
‘No, we won’t, Mom.. That’s not what you said this morning,’ the young girl said as she tugged at her Mom’s arm.
This morning? When did I say we could run through the rain and not get wet?
‘Don’t you remember? When you were talking to Daddy about his cancer, you said, ‘If God can get us through this, he can get us through anything!’

The entire crowd stopped dead silent. I swear you couldn’t hear anything but the rain.. We all stood silently. No one came or left in the next few minutes.

Mom paused and thought for a moment about what she would say. Nowsome would laugh it off and scold her for being silly. Some might even ignore what was said. But this was a moment of affirmation in a youngchild’s life. A time when innocent trust can be nurtured so that it will bloom into faith.

‘Honey, you are absolutely right. Let’s run through the rain. If GOD lets us get wet, well maybe we just needed washing,’ Mom said.

Then off they ran. We all stood watching, smiling and laughing as they darted past the cars and yes, through the puddles. They held their shopping bags over their heads just in case. They got soaked. But they were followed by a few who screamed and laughed like children all the way to their cars.
And yes, I did. I ran. I got wet. I needed washing.

Circumstances or people can take away your material possessions, they can take away your money, and they can take away your health. But no one can ever take away your precious memories…So, don’t forget to make time and take the opportunities to make memories every day. To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven.

I HOPE YOU STILL TAKE THE TIME TO RUN THROUGH THE RAIN.

They say it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them, but then an entire life to forget them.
Take the time to live!!!
Keep in touch with your friends, you never know when you’ll need each other — and don’t forget to run in the rain

Choices and Consequences

Five wise men got lost in the forest. The first one said: – I will go the left – my intuition tells me that. The second one said: – I will go the right – because “the right” comes from the word “rightness”. choices-signpost-hiThe third one said: – I will go back – we came from there, it means I will go out from the forest. The fourth one said: – I will go straight – we should move forward, the forest will end and something new will open.

The fifth said: – You are all wrong. There is a better solution. Wait for me. He found the tallest tree and climbed into it. While he was climbing everyone else scattered towards their own sides. From above he saw where they should go to leave the forest faster. Now he could even see in what order the other wise men will reach the end of the forest. He climbed higher and saw the shortest way. He understood the problem and found the best solution! He knew that he did everything right. And the others were wrong. They were stubborn and they didn’t listen to him. He was the real Wise Man! But he was wrong.

Everyone was right.
The one who went to the left, found himself in the thicket. He had to starve and fight with wild animals. But he learned how to survive in the forest; he became a part of the forest and could teach others the same.
The one, who went to the right, met thieves. They took everything from him and made him steal with them. But after some time, he had woken up something in those thieves that they have forgotten – humanity and compassion. The remorse was so strong in some of them, that after his death they also became the wise men.
The one, who went back, made a pathway through the forest, which soon became a road for those who wanted to walk in the forest without being afraid of getting lost.
The one, who went straight, became a pioneer. He visited the places where no one else was and opened wonderful new possibilities for people, amazing healing plants and magnificent animals.
The one, who climbed into the tree, became a specialist of finding short ways. People turned to him when they wanted to find the fastest way to deal with their problems, even if it didn’t lead to any development.

This is how the five wise men reached their destiny.
“Choices made, whether good or bad, follow you forever and affect everyone in your path one way or other”
“You can’t blame anyone else… no one but yourself. You have to make your own choices & live every challenging day with the consequences of those choices”
“Sometimes you make choices & sometimes choices make you”
One of the most incredible gifts provided to you is your “Power to Choose”

The Ship of Friendship

A voyaging ship was wrecked during a storm at sea and only two of the men on it were able to swim to a small, desert like island.
shipwreck-575907_960_720The two survivors who have been a good friends, not knowing what else to do, agreed that they had no other recourse but to pray to God. However, to find out whose prayer was more powerful, they agreed to divide the territory between them and stay on opposite sides of the island.
The first thing they prayed for was food. The next morning, the first man saw a fruit-bearing tree on his side of the land, and he was able to eat its fruit. The other man’s parcel of land remained barren.
After a week, the first man was lonely and he decided to pray for a wife. The next day, another ship was wrecked, and the only survivor was a woman who swam to his side of the land. On the other side of the island, there was nothing.
Soon the first man prayed for a house, clothes, more food. The next day, like magic, all of these were given to him. However, the second man still had nothing.
Finally, the first man prayed for a ship, so that he and his wife could leave the island. In the morning, he found a ship docked at his side of the island. The first man boarded the ship with his wife and decided to leave the second man on the island.
He considered the other man unworthy to receive God’s blessings, since none of his prayers had been answered.
As the ship was about to leave, the first man heard a voice from heaven booming, “Why are you leaving your companion on the island?”
“My blessings are mine alone, since I was the one who prayed for them,” the first man answered. “His prayers were all unanswered and so he does not deserve anything.”
“You are mistaken!” the voice rebuked him. “He had only one prayer, which I answered. If not for that, you would not have received any of my blessings.”
“Tell me,” the first man asked the voice, “What did he pray for that I should owe him anything?”
“He prayed that all your prayers be answered “

Moral:
For all we know, our blessings are not the fruits of our prayers alone, but those of another praying for us .Value your friends, don’t leave your loved ones behind.

The Cockroach Theory of Self development

At a restaurant, a cockroach suddenly flew from somewhere and sat on a lady. She started screaming out of fear. With a panic stricken face and trembling voice, she started jumping, with both her hands desperately trying to get rid of the cockroach.character-web-desktop-oggy-deedee
Her reaction was contagious, as everyone in her group also got panicky.
The lady finally managed to push the cockroach away but …it landed on another lady in the group.
Now, it was the turn of the other lady in the group to continue the drama.
The waiter rushed forward to their rescue.
In the relay of throwing, the cockroach next fell upon the waiter.
The waiter stood firm, composed himself and observed the behavior of the cockroach on his shirt. When he was confident enough, he grabbed it with his fingers and threw it out of the restaurant.8067-illustration-of-a-waiter-with-wine-glasses-pv

Sipping my coffee and watching the amusement, the antenna of my mind picked up a few thoughts and started wondering, was the cockroach responsible for their histrionic behavior?
If so, then why was the waiter not disturbed?
He handled it near to perfection, without any chaos.
It is not the cockroach, but the inability of the ladies to handle the disturbance caused by the cockroach that disturbed the ladies.
I realized that, it is not the shouting of my father or my boss or my wife that disturbs me, but it’s my inability to handle the disturbances caused by their shouting that disturbs me.

It’s not the traffic jams on the road that disturbs me, but my inability to handle the disturbance caused by the traffic jam that disturbs me.
More than the problem, it’s my reaction to the problem that creates chaos in my life.

Lessons learnt from the story:
One should not react in life. Rather, One should always respond.
Here in this case, the women reacted, whereas the waiter responded.
Reactions are always instinctive whereas responses are always well thought of, just and right to save a situation from going out of hands, to avoid cracks in relationship, to avoid taking decisions in anger, anxiety, stress or hurry.
A beautiful way to understand…………LIFE.
Person who is HAPPY is not because Everything is RIGHT in their Life.
They are HAPPY because their Attitude towards Everything in their Life is Right !!