Wednesday, October 07, 2015

The Three Questions (Akbar & Birbal)

King Akbar was very fond of Birbal. This made a certain courtier very jealous. Now this courtier always wanted to be chief minister, but this was not possible as Birbal filled that position. One day Akbar praised Birbal in front of the courtier. This made the courtier very angry and he said that the king praised Birbal unjustly and if Birbal could answer three of his questions, he would accept the fact that Birbal was intelligent. Akbar always wanting to test Birbals wit readily agreed.

The three questions were

1. How many stars are there in the sky

2. Where is the centre of the Earth and

3. How many men and how many women are there in the world.

Immediately Akbar asked Birbal the three questions and informed him that if he could not answer them, he would have to resign as chief minister.

To answer the first question, Birbal brought a hairy sheep and said, “There are as many stars in the sky as there is hair on the sheep’s body. My friend the courtier is welcome to count them if he likes.”

To answer the second question, Birbal drew a couple of lines on the floor and bore an iron rod in it and said, “this is the center of the Earth, the courtier may measure it himself if he has any doubts.”

In answer to the third question, Birbal said, “Counting the exact number of men and women in the world would be a problem as there are some specimens like our courtier friend here who cannot easily be classified as either. Therefore if all people like him are killed, then and only then can one count the exact number.”

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Fox & the Goat

A Fox fell into a well, and though it was not very deep, he found that he could not get out again. After he had been in the well a long time, a thirsty Goat came by. The Goat thought the Fox had gone down to drink, and so he asked if the water was good.

"The finest in the whole country," said the crafty Fox, "jump in and try it. There is more than enough for both of us."

The thirsty Goat immediately jumped in and began to drink. The Fox just as quickly jumped on the Goat's back and leaped from the tip of the Goat's horns out of the well.

The foolish Goat now saw what a plight he had got into, and begged the Fox to help him out. But the Fox was already on his way to the woods.

"If you had as much sense as you have beard, old fellow," he said as he ran, "you would have been more cautious about finding a way to get out again before you jumped in."

Look before you leap.

- Aesop's Fable

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


A Chinese girl named Li-li got married and lived with her mother-in-law.  Since the mother-in-law was obnoxious, Li-li decided to kill her.

Li-li went to her doctor to get slow-acting poison.  The doctor said, "Just so that people don't suspect you, treat your mother-in-law very nice, as you'd like to be treated."  So Li-li was nice to her mother-in-law as she slipped a little poison into her food each day.  
Now a funny thing happened: the two started getting along much better and became best friends.  So Li-li went back to the doctor and said, "I now love my mother-in-law and don't want to kill her; please give me something to counteract the poison."  The doctor replied, "I gave you ordinary vitamins; the only poison was in your attitude."

Original Author Unknown

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Monkeys & the Fish

The rainy season that year had been the strongest ever and the river had broken its banks.  There were floods everywhere and the animals were all running up into the hills.  The floods came so fast that many drowned except the lucky monkeys who used their proverbial agility to climb up into the treetops.  They looked down on the surface of the water where the fish were swimming and gracefully jumping out of the water as if they were the only ones enjoying the devastating flood.

One of the monkeys saw the fish and shouted to his companion: "Look down, my friend, look at those poor creatures.  They are going to drown. Do you see how they struggle in the water?"  "Yes," said the other monkey.  "What a pity! Probably they were late in escaping to the hills because they seem to have no legs.  How can we save them?"  "I think we must do something.  Let's go close to the edge of the flood where the water is not deep enough to cover us, and we can help them to get out."

So the monkeys did just that.  They started catching the fish, but not without difficulty.  One by one, they brought them out of the water and put them carefully on the dry land.  After a short time there was a pile of fish lying on the grass motionless.  One of the monkeys said, "Do you see? They were tired, but now they are just sleeping and resting.  Had it not been for us, my friend, all these poor people without legs would have drowned."

The other monkey said: "They were trying to escape from us because they could not understand our good intentions.  But when they wake up they will be very grateful because we have brought them salvation." 

Traditional Tanzanian Folktale

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

The Dog & Chain

Once there was a dog that barked and snapped at people all the time.  On one occasion, the dog actually bit a man.  Many people in the neighborhood were afraid of the dog.  The owner of the dog realized people were afraid to come to his house, so he had no choice but to restrain the animal by putting a collar and chain on him and tying him to a tree.

For weeks, the dog strutted around the yard with his new collar and shiny chain.  One day some of the kinder and gentler dogs in the neighborhood came to pay him a visit.  While proudly showing off his “new duds,” one of the older dogs told him, “I hope you realize your chain and collar were not given to you as a reward, but as punishment for your lack of self-discipline.” 

The dog went back to his tree; finally realizing his lack of discipline had cost him his freedom.

Author Unknown

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

The Wooden Bowl

There was once a very old man, whose eyes had become dim, his ears dull of hearing, his knees trembled, and when he sat at table he could hardly hold the spoon, and spilt the broth upon the table-cloth or let it run out of his mouth. His son and his son’s wife were disgusted at this, so the old grandfather at last had to sit in the corner behind the stove, and they gave him his food in an earthenware bowl, and not even enough of it. And he used to look towards the table with his eyes full of tears. Once, too, his trembling hands could not hold the bowl, and it fell to the ground and broke. The young wife scolded him, but he said nothing and only sighed. Then they brought him a wooden bowl for a few half-pence, out of which he had to eat.

They were once sitting thus when the little grandson of four years old began to gather together some bits of wood upon the ground. ’What are you doing there?’ asked the father. ’I am making a little trough,’ answered the child, ’for father and mother to eat out of when I am big.’

The man and his wife looked at each other for a while, and presently began to cry. Then they took the old grandfather to the table, and henceforth always let him eat with them, and likewise said nothing if he did spill a little of anything.

By the Grimm Brothers

Saturday, August 01, 2015

1-year... And starting!!

Well, we’re here… It’s been exactly one-year since we stepped away from all we ever knew as adults.  After 12+ years in full-time vocational ministry we knew we needed a season off (Click here to read the original post), but even then we had no clue how bad!!

 The long story short is we essentially uprooted our former life and rearranged it until we found our new normal.  So much has happened this year... Lots of highs with our little family and even more lows from all over.  We have all grown in ways we didn't know were needed or necessary.  We have lost a lot both emotionally and physically but in weird and interesting ways gained new things.  Like I said, that's the short story... Still want more!?  Then keep reading.

We have come a long way.  And honestly, I sat down to write so many times over the months.  Some of the posts I kept and maybe I'll post them at some point because I think they could be helpful to others.  But some of those posts just needed to be trashed (and were, everything does not always have to be said... new lesson for me)!

So if you're still reading let me take you back to the beginning.  As of August 1st 2014, I was a husband, father and man without a job for the first time, in maybe... ever!?  And let me tell you, the first month was amazing!!  With all that extra time (Court working full-time with a dynamite Adoption attorney and all three of the kids going to school, Click here for that first post) I started several things I had always wondered about but never jumped on:
Trying out to be a Police Officer (Oh yeah, fitness test, agility test, intelligence test, psych test, department interview, etc.).  With dozens of other applicants I was pretty concerned but some how made it through and sent off to C.L.E.E.T.  After graduation in April I started patrolling the evenings (11p-3a) with an FTO for my Field Training, which if I do my math right, I'll be done in 2024 (Kidding on the year but seriously it's 540 total hours, it takes awhile).  Recently, I decided to not pursue police work in a full-time capacity, which was definitely on the radar, but remain in a Reserve Officer capacity with the department.  I love being a part of the brotherhood we call "the thin blue line" (And being able to say: I'M BATMAN)!!

Starting my own LLC (Surge Leadership) and began speaking "full-time".  Though this was slower than I expected, we met a lot of new people and places I had never (to be honest) thought about.  We really thought '10 Things' was the direction people would want but in the end, by default, I was able to develop a fun assembly style message on Social Media.  It all started in a small school in western Oklahoma and then all of the sudden I was visiting places all over (Some I had heard of and others that I hadn't).  With a pretty full August and September, we are having fun with 'To #Selfie or Not to #Selfie'!  

Working with even more teens as a study hall supervisor and creating a new "thing" we called: the Leadership Coach.  In the end both were exactly what we needed to both fill some gaps in time each day but more importantly giving us more vision for the future.  Thus, I checked with the state board of education and found out that all I needed to do to get my teaching certificate was pass two tests (since I had only not completed my student teaching during my undergrad).  With that in my tool belt I began looking at new full-time options (University of Tulsa, Bixby Public Schools, etc.) but knew we were missing the bigger picture.

Through all three of these avenues I was able to gain new opportunities for learning, growing, ministry, and serving.  And looking back, each one was an absolute necessity in the steps towards the dream (the cool part is I still get to be involved in ALL of them).  This is a great spot to say that Courtney has stayed super busy with opportunity after opportunity to impact the lives of both children and families through adoption (literally hundreds this year).  The kids are all doing well and loving summer (Court & I are currently coaching all three different basketball teams right now) but ready to dive back into school and friends and activities and schedules.  The doctor said that Jackson will be taller than me when he gets older... Which I don't doubt but crazy that I have a 10-year old (The Agoge begins now)!!  Creighton is the fastest girl I know and continues to make me laugh because she just kicks the ball (in soccer) or throws the ball (in basketball) down the field/court and then just legs it out past everyone!!  Charleigh has gotten very picking about food, clothes and anything else but still loves cuddling with me and is always my first hug and kiss when I get home!!  

So here we are (If you're still with us)... And I'm so excited to tell you about what I have been working on for a very long time.  Though the original concept came out of a meeting years ago, it has evolved bigger and bigger each day.  As of today, Surge Leadership has just launched its newest arm called THE SPARTAN CODE.  At first glance it's a leadership curriculum that we implemented and saw work at Bixby High School over the past couple of years.  But as the description says: "The Spartan Code isn't just a curriculum for athletes, it's a way of life for leaders. You can't simply learn the code... You have to live it!!"  The Spartan Code is built around four leadership principles found from the ancient traditions of the most elite warriors to ever walk the planet... You guessed it, The Spartans!  We refer to those as "DISC" and they are the true 'Characteristics of being a Spartan'.  Within our curriculum we challenge student-athletes to not only develop personally but as team leaders.  We believe, because we have seen it work, the Spartan Code can literally change a student, then a team, then school and prayerfully a city, a state, a country and the world!!

So how will that happen with curriculum for student-atheltes?  I'm glad you asked...

Quick side-note (it's actually a huge note): We are not and will not be "all things to all people."  The Spartans were the best because of their strict selective process and extreme ethics (virtues, rules, feelings, etc.) they lived out, no matter the cost.  We will be doing the same.

  • Phase One: Establish our name and see The Spartan Code used in multiple schools in our region (This will be done by not only selling shirts, stickers, posters and obviously curriculum but also coming alongside coaches to help develop leaders among their student-athletes and teams).
  • Phase Two: Continue offering updated Spartan Code Workbooks to current schools, Implementing Online Training for coaches and expanding into new schools across the country (With contact and interest already made from schools on both coasts, as well as, training videos being story-boarded, this phase is only a matter of time).
  • Phase Three: Publishing our first Book and launching our online Men's Training Course (Chapters are already being written, real-time stories are being collected and most importantly some foundational meetings have taken place for a sold publication to pick us up).
  • Phase Four: This is a secret, at this time, but will be announced alongside phase three (I'm so stinkin' excited about this phase and what it could mean for men and our society).
  • Phase Five: Publishing our Father-Son Edition Book (Though I cannot share all of the details, what is in current development has not been produced before and, believe, will help father's raise men).
**There are more dreams on the board and ideas in the works beyond phase five but we believe this will keep us busy for the next couple years.  Our question now is... Will you join us!?  

There are several ways to help and I'd like to formally invite you to take part:

  1. Visit our website: and 'Follow us' on Social Media (Facebook, Twitter & Instagram)!!
  2. Tell your family/friends/school about the dream, the curriculum and the plan!!
  3. Support us by purchasing something from the Store!!
  4. Let us know your thoughts and share some words of encouragement!!
If you can't tell... We're really excited about the future not only in Bixby but in so many schools, towns and families to come!!  Thanks for taking this journey with us... I can't wait to update you along the way!!  (God is good... All the time)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Balloons in a Room

Once a group of 50 people was attending a seminar.

Suddenly the speaker stopped and started giving each person a balloon.  Each one was asked to write his/her name on it using a marker pen.  Then all the balloons were collected and put in another room.

Now these delegates were let in that room and asked to find the balloon which had their name written, within 5 minutes.  Everyone was frantically searching for their name, pushing, colliding with each other, and there was utter chaos.

At the end of 5 minutes, no one could find their own balloon.

Now each one was asked to randomly collect a balloon and give it to the person whose name was written on it.  Within minutes everyone had their own balloon.  

The speaker began: This is exactly happening in our lives.  Everyone is frantically looking for happiness all around, not knowing where it is.  Our happiness lies in the happiness of other people.

Give them their happiness, you will get your own happiness.
And this is the purpose of human life.

- Author Unknown

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Snake & The Girl

A young girl walking along a mountain path to her grandmother's house heard a rustle at her feet.  Looking down, she saw a snake, but before she could react, the snake spoke to her.

"I am about to die," he said.  "It's too cold for me up here, and I am freezing.  There is no food in these mountains, and I am starving.  Please put me under your coat and take me with you."

"No," the girl replied.  "I know your kind.  You are a rattlesnake.  And if I pick you up, you will bite me and your bite is poisonous."

"No, no," the snake said.  "If you help me, you will be my best friend.  I will treat you differently."

The young girl sat down on a rock for a moment to rest and think things over.  She looked at the beautiful markings on the snake and she had to admit he was the most beautiful snake she had ever seen.

Suddenly, she said, "I believe you.  I will save you.  All living things deserve to be treated with kindness."  She then reached over, put the snake gently under her coat and continued toward her grandmother's house.  

Within a moment, she felt a sharp pain in her side.  The snake had bitten her!  "How could you do this to me?" she cried.  "You promised that you would not bite me, and I trusted you!"

"You knew what I was when you picked me up,he hissed as he slithered away.

Original Author Unknown

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

The $20 Bill

"Who would like this $20 bill?" the man said holding a new crisp twenty dollar bill in his hand.

Hands started going up. He said, "I am going to give this $20 to one of you - but first, let me do this."  He proceeded to crumple the 20 dollar note up.  He then asked.  "Who still wants it?"  

Still the hands were up in the air.

"Well," he replied, "what if I do this?"  He dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe.  He picked it up, now crumpled and dirty. "Now, who still wants it?"

Still the hands went into the air.

"My friends, you have all learned a very valuable lesson.  No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value.  It was still worth $20.

Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way.  We feel as though we are worthless; but no matter what happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value. 

Dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, you are still priceless.  
The worth of our lives comes, not in what we do or who we know, but by ...WHO WE ARE.  

You are special AND worth it - don't ever forget it."

- Author Unknown

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Story of Endurance

Already a celebrated polar explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton coordinated the British Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition with the goal of accomplishing the first crossing of the Antarctic continent, a feat he considered to be the last great polar journey of the "Heroic Age of Exploration."

In December 1914, Shackleton set sail with his 27-man crew, many of whom, it is said, had responded to the following recruitment notice: "Men wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages. Bitter cold. Long months of complete darkness. Constant danger. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in case of success. —Ernest Shackleton."

Ice conditions were unusually harsh, and the wooden ship, which Shackleton had renamed Endurance after his family motto, Fortitudine Vincimus—"by endurance we conquer," became trapped in the pack ice of the Weddell Sea. For 10 months, the Endurance drifted, locked within the ice, until the pressure crushed the ship. With meager food, clothing and shelter, Shackleton and his men were stranded on the ice floes, where they camped for five months.

When they had drifted to the northern edge of the pack, encountering open leads of water, the men sailed the three small lifeboats they'd salvaged to a bleak crag called Elephant Island. They were on land for the first time in 497 days; however, it was uninhabited and, due to its distance from shipping lanes, provided no hope for rescue.

Recognizing the severity of the physical and mental strains on his men, Shackleton and five others immediately set out to take the crew's rescue into their own hands. In a 22-foot lifeboat named the James Caird, they accomplished the impossible, surviving a 17-day, 800-mile journey through the world's worst seas to South Georgia Island, where a whaling station was located.

The six men landed on an uninhabited part of the island, however, so their last hope was to cross 26 miles of mountains and glaciers, considered impassable, to reach the whaling station on the other side. Starved, frostbitten and wearing rags, Shackleton and two others made the trek and, in August 1916, 21 months after the initial departure of the Endurance, Shackleton himself returned to rescue the men on Elephant Island. Although they'd withstood the most incredible hardship and privation, not one member of the 28-man crew was lost.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Farmer and The Archer

There was once a man who wanted to be the best at something and he chose archery.  He practiced and practiced until he could hit the bull's eye every time.  Soon he was champion of his village, then champion of his country and in time became champion of the country.

One day, after a competition, a young man approached the archery champion.  “You're very good,” said the man, “but I know someone even better.  He's a farmer... Would you like to meet him?”

The man led the archer to the farm and Nasseradin's courtyard.  There, the archer saw a high, wooden wall with over a hundred targets painted onto it.  At the very epicentre of every bull's eye was an arrow and the archer was impressed.

When the farmer came out to greet him, the archer said “Tell me, I've practiced my whole life to be as good as I can.  I can hit the bull's eye every time, but you not only hit the bull's eye, you hit it right in the very, very centre, a perfect shot each time.”

The farmer smiled. “Well, you do things your way,” he said, “and I do things mine. You see, first I fire the arrow, then I paint the target around it!”

- Author Unknown

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Shipwrecked Prayers

A voyaging ship was wrecked during a storm at sea and only two of the men aboard were able to swim to a nearby small, deserted island.

The two survivors, not knowing what else to do, agreed that they had no 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 both prayed for was food. The next morning the first man saw a fruit-bearing tree on his side of the land and was able to eat its fruit. The other man’s parcel of land remained barren.
After a week, the first man was lonely and decided to pray for a wife. The next day, another ship was wrecked, and the only survivor, a woman, swam to his side of the island. On the other side of the island, nothing.

Soon the first man prayed for a house, clothes, and more food. The next day, like magic, all these requests were fulfilled. 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 man answered. “My companions prayers were all unanswered, 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 now owe him for my success.”

“He prayed that all your prayers be answered.”

For all we know, our blessings are not the fruits of our prayers alone but those of another praying for us.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

The Light of Life

Once there was a guru who wanted to train his two disciples by giving them a practical task, "Take 100 Rps each of you" he said "and use it to fill up your rooms with whatever you are able to purchase. In five days´ time I will return to inspect your work."

When he returned and visited the room of the first disciple, he saw it had been filled up with rags. That disciple had thought that by hook or by crook he had to, somehow or other, fill up the room, and since rags were the cheapest items to purchase, he had chosen them. The guru was duly shocked.
When the guru came to inspect the second room, he saw that it had been filled up - not only once, but twice and his disciple returned 80 Rps back to him and said, "Guru Maharaja, I only needed 20 Rps to fill the room twice."

He had lit a ghee lamp in the middle of room, along with an incense stick. Light and fragrance were spreading everywhere, from top to bottom, from left to right, from the front to the rear.

The delighted guru said, "You have truly understood. Life is very much like an empty room. It should be filled with the light of knowledge and the fragrance of service, and not with the discarded filthy things of this world."

- By Sacinandana Swami

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Why should I Read Sacred Sciptures?

An old farmer lived on his farm in the mountains with his young grandson. Each morning he got up early, sat at the kitchen table, and read the Torah. His grandson wanted to be just like his grandfather, so tried to emulate him in every way he could.

One day the grandson asked, “Grandpa, I try to read the writings just like you do, but I don’t understand most of it, and whatever I do understand I forget as soon as I close it. So what good is it doing me to read this old book?”

The grandfather, who was putting coal on the fire, quietly turned and said, “Take this coal basket down to the river and bring me back a basket of water.”

The boy did as he was told, but the water leaked out before he could get the basket home.

The grandfather laughed and said, “You’ll have to move a little faster next time,” and he sent the boy back to the river to try again. This time the boy ran faster, but again the basket emptied before he was able to return home. Out of breath, he told his grandfather that it was impossible to carry water in a basket, and he went to get the bucket. But the old man said, “I don’t want a bucket of water; I want a basket of water. You’re just not trying hard enough.” He stepped out the door to watch the boy try for the third time.

At this point the boy knew what he was trying to accomplish was impossible, so he decided to show his grandfather that even if he ran as fast as he could, the water would leak out before he got back to the house.

The boy dipped the basket into river and ran as hard as he could. When he reached his grandfather the basket was empty. He gasped, “See grandpa? It’s useless!”

“So you think it is useless?” the old man asked. “Then look at the basket.” The boy looked and saw for the first time that the basket was different. It had been washed clean of the dirty coal stains and was now clean inside and out.

“Grandson, that’s what happens when you read the Torah. You might not understand or remember everything you read, but the words will change you inside and out. That is the work of God's Word in our lives.”

- Original Author Unknown

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Cricket

A man and his friend were walking through Times Square in midtown New York during lunch hour. The streets were filled with people. Cars were honking their horns, taxicabs were squealing around corners, sirens were wailing, and the sounds of the city were almost deafening. Suddenly, the man said, “I hear a cricket.”

His friend said, “What? You must be crazy. You couldn’t possibly hear a cricket in all this noise!”

“No, I’m sure of it,” the man said, “I hear a cricket.”

“That’s crazy,” his friend insisted.

The man listened carefully for a moment and then walked across the street to a big cement planter filled with shrubs. He looked under the branches and, sure enough, he found a small cricket. His friend was utterly amazed.

“That’s incredible,” his friend said. “You must have superhuman ears!”

“No,” the man said. “My ears are no different from yours. It all depends on what you’re listening for.”

“But that can’t be!” said the friend. “I could never hear a cricket in this noise.”

“Yes, that’s true,” came the reply. “It depends on what is really important to you. Here, let me show you.”

He reached into his pocket, pulled out a few coins, and discreetly dropped them on the sidewalk. Then, with the noise of the crowded street still blaring in their ears, they noticed every head within twenty feet turn and look to see if the money that had tinkled on the pavement was theirs.

“See what I mean?” asked the man. “It all depends on what’s important to you.”

- Adapted from Sacinandana Swami

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Cracked Pot

A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on one end of the pole he carried across the back of 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, the cracked pot arrived only half full. This went on every day for two years, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots of water to his master’s house.

Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishment and saw itself as perfectly suited for the purpose for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its 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 as 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?”

“For the past two years, I have been able 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 work without getting the full value of your efforts,” the pot said.

The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and out of 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 wildflowers on the side of the path. The pot felt cheered.

But at the end of the trail, the pot still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and again it apologized 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 knew about your flaw and 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 me. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master’s table. If you were not just the way you are, he would not have such beauty to grace his house.

Moral: Each of us has his/her unique flaws—we are all cracked pots. But a compassionate and expert devotee can engage us in the Lord’s service, and then we can all be useful, despite our defects.

- Original Story Unknown

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

A Dish of Ice-Cream

In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10 year old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him.

“How much is an ice cream sundae?”

“50 cents,” replied the waitress.

The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied a number of coins in it.

“How much is a dish of plain ice cream?” he inquired. Some people were now waiting for a table and the waitress was a bit impatient.

“35 cents!,” she said brusquely.

The little boy again counted the coins. “I’ll have the plain ice cream,” he said.

The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away.  The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and departed.

When the waitress came back, she began wiping down the table and then swallowed hard at what she saw.

There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were 15 cents – her tip.

- Unknown

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

A Potato, An Egg and A Coffee Bean

A daughter complained to her father that her life was miserable and that she didn’t know how she was going to make it.  She was tired of fighting and struggling all the time.  It seemed that just as one problem was solved, another one soon followed.  Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen.  He filled three pots with water and placed each over a higher fire.  When the water began to boil, he placed potatoes in one pot, eggs in the second pot, and ground coffee beans in the third pot.  He then let them boiling for a while without saying a word to his daughter.

The daughter moaned and waited impatiently, wondering what her father was doing.  After twenty minutes he turned off the burners.  He took the potatoes and eggs out of the pots, and placed them in different bowls, and poured the coffee into a cup.  Turning to her he asked “What do you see?” “Potatoes, eggs and coffee,” she quickly replied.  “Look closer,” he said, “and touch the potatoes.”  She did and noted that they were soft.  He then asked her to take an egg and break it.  After removing the shell she observed the hard-boiled egg.  Finally he asked her to sip the coffee.  Its rich aroma brought a smile to her face.  “Father, what does this mean?” she asked.  He then explained that the potatoes, eggs and coffee beans had each faced the same adversity- boiling water.  However, each one reacted differently.

The potato went in strong, hard and unrelenting, but in boiling water it become soft and weak.
The egg was fragile, with the thin outer shell protecting its liquid interior until it was put in the boiling water.  Then the inside of the egg became hard. 

However, the ground coffee beans were unique. After being exposed in the boiling water, they changed the water and created something new.

“Which are you?” he asked his daughter.  When adversity knocks to your door, how do you respond?  
"Are you a potato, an egg or a coffee bean?”

- Unknown

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Two Stories that have a lot in common


Many years ago, Al Capone virtually owned Chicago. Capone wasn't famous for anything heroic. He was notorious in everything from bootlegged booze and prostitution to murder.

Capone had a lawyer nicknamed "Easy Eddie." He was his lawyer for a good reason. Eddie was very good! In fact, Eddie's skill at legal maneuvering kept Big Al out of jail for a long time.

To show his appreciation, Capone paid him very well. Not only was the money big, but also, Eddie got special dividends. For instance, he and his family occupied a fenced-in mansion with live-in help and all other conveniences. The estate larger than an entire Chicago City block.

Eddie lived the high life of the Chicago mob and gave little consideration to the atrocity that went on around him. Eddie did have one soft spot, however. He had a son that he loved dearly. Eddie saw to it that his young son had clothes, cars, and a good education.

Nothing was withheld. Price was no object. And, despite his involvement with organized crime, Eddie even tried to teach him right from wrong. Eddie wanted his son to be a better man than he was. Yet, with all his wealth and influence, there were two things he couldn't give his son; he couldn't pass on a good name or a good example.

One day, Easy Eddie reached a difficult decision. Easy Eddie wanted to rectify wrongs he had done. He decided he would go to the authorities and tell the truth about Al "Scarface" Capone, clean up his tarnished name, and offer his son some semblance of integrity. To do this, he would have to testify against The Mob, and he knew that the cost would be great.

So, he testified. Within the year, Easy Eddie's life ended in a blaze of gunfire on a lonely Chicago Street. But he gave his son the greatest gift he could offer, at the greatest price possible.

Police removed from his pockets a rosary, a crucifix, a religious medallion, and a poem clipped from a magazine. The poem read:

The clock of life is wound but once,
and no man has the power
to tell just when the hands will stop,
at late or early hour.
Now is the only time you own.
Live, love, toil with a will.
Place no faith in time.
For the clock may soon be still.


World War II produced many heroes. One such man was Lieutenant Commander Butch O'Hare. He was a fighter pilot assigned to the aircraft carrier Lexington in the South Pacific. One day his entire squadron was sent on a mission. After he was airborne, he looked at his fuel gauge and realized that someone had forgotten to top off his fuel tank. He would not have enough fuel to complete his mission and get back to his ship. His flight leader told him to return to the carrier. Reluctantly, he dropped out of formation and headed back to the fleet. As he was returning to the mother ship he saw something that turned his blood cold: a squadron of Japanese aircraft were speeding their way toward the American fleet. He couldn't reach his squadron and bring them back in time to save the fleet. Nor could he warn the fleet of the approaching danger.
There was only one thing to do. He must somehow divert them from the fleet. Laying aside all thoughts of personal safety, he dove into the formation of Japanese planes. Wing-mounted 50 caliber's blazed as he charged in, attacking one surprised enemy plane and then another. Butch wove in and out of the now broken formation and fired at as many planes as possible until all his ammunition was finally spent. Undaunted, he continued the assault. He dove at the planes, trying to clip a wing or tail in hopes of damaging as many enemy planes as possible and rendering them unfit to fly. Finally, the Japanese squadron took off in another direction.

Deeply relieved, Butch O'Hare and his tattered fighter limped back to the carrier. Upon arrival, he reported in and related the event surrounding his return. The film from the gun-camera mounted on his plane told the tale. It showed the extent of Butch's daring attempt to protect his fleet.

He had, in fact, destroyed five enemy aircraft. This took place on February 20, 1942, and for that action Butch became the Navy's first Ace of W.W.II, and the first Naval Aviator to win the Congressional Medal of Honor. A year later Butch was killed in aerial combat at the age of 29.

His hometown would not allow the memory of this WW II hero to fade, and today, O'Hare Airport in Chicago is named in tribute to the courage of this great man. So, the next time you find yourself at O'Hare International, give some thought to visiting Butch's memorial displaying his statue and his Medal of Honor. It's located between Terminals 1 and 2.


Butch O'Hare was "Easy Eddie's" son.

Original Author Unknown