Posted in Daily, Personal Musings, poetry, Quotes, Reflections, Work

Across the Choppy Waters

“Sometimes to change a situation you are in requires you to take a giant leap. But, you won’t be able to fly unless you are willing to transform.” Suzy Kassem

The captain of the ship hasn’t got their job cut out easy. While preparing their vessel for the short or long voyage, navigation charts are consulted, weather reports being analysed both the local and global trend, supplies stocked, medical emergencies anticipated as well as men and cargo to be looked after. When smooth sailing is predicted, there is a slight relief but the guard is still not lost. For the sea for all it’s friendliness can turn into a monster driven at times, by elements beyond it’s control. Unlike the land and air, where there may be a way out; for the ship in the sea, locating itself in the vast blue expanse is not always a possible task especially when a Mayday occurs. Despite all this, once the final destination is set, the captain steers his vessel across both the pleasant and the choppy troubled waters; always forging a way ahead.

“When written in Chinese the word “crisis” is composed of two characters – one represents danger and the other represents opportunity.” John F. Kennedy

Just like the captain, we all have our own vessels to steer. For a family who has lost their maternal light to the young lady diagnosed with terminal illness or the investor who has suffered a major loss, the farmer who had lost his heavily funded crop, jobs made redundant, loss of scholarship due to poor choices and many more; the immediate future lies ahead bleak, stark and troublesome. Yet it is while navigating these roads that one learns to find their own inner strength as well as work once again, keeping His Word and His Will in sight. Although before starting off across the roads of the future, one has to decide to do so and not be in haste to make quick decisions and bury their head in the sand, hoping it would be all over soon.

“Anyone can give up, it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that’s true strength.” Unknown

Ask any captain and they will tell that the only way across a storm in middle of the journey is the way through, till one finds a rest stop. Any person who has battled difficult illness and survived, would tell prompt treatment instead of denial will help better. For the student who has lost scholarship, finding multiple jobs and pulling up their grades would help to stay on. Staying at rest for long never helps. Instead face the trouble squarely and find a way out through the tempest. For it is only through the bad situations in life, that one discovers the best and hidden talents of themselves.

“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” Harriet Beecher Stowe

See It Through

When you’re up against a trouble,
Meet it squarely, face to face;
Lift your chin and set your shoulders,
Plant your feet and take a brace.
When it’s vain to try to dodge it,
Do the best that you can do;
You may fail, but you may conquer,
See it through!

Black may be the clouds about you
And your future may seem grim,
But don’t let your nerve desert you;
Keep yourself in fighting trim.
If the worst is bound to happen,
Spite of all that you can do,
Running from it will not save you,
See it through!

Even hope may seem but futile,
When with troubles you’re beset,
But remember you are facing
Just what other men have met.
You may fail, but fall still fighting;
Don’t give up, whate’er you do;
Eyes front, head high to the finish.
See it through!

Edgar Guest

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Posted in Daily, Family and Society, Personal Musings, Stories Around the World, Work

Share to Succeed

“People achieve more as a result of working with others than against them.” Dr. Allan Fromme

With clearing of the heavy rains, the town had needed a complete revamp of the municipal bock lawns, with tree limbs broken and scattered and muddy pools run all over the lawn. On the first look, clearing of the lawn seemed to be an impossible task. As the council meeting took place, every one of the attendees had pitched in, bringing more volunteers along the way. Slowly order was restored of what had looked like a seemingly impossible task.

“The power of one, if fearless and focused, is formidable, but the power of many working together is better.” Gloria Macapagal Arroyo

Above instances and many more similar ones, have always shown that the power of a team or set of people working in a synchronous mode can make the most drab, mundane or difficult task feasible. Each one has their own strengths and weakness. On pooling the efforts, the strengths add on, cancelling out the respective weakness amongst each other. Eventually together the task at hand is settles. While man is an social animal; each one has their own plate to handle. Learning when to combine the plates together for a splendid meal and when to have them independently at the right time, helps to balance the individual mind with the social order. Life needs both, individual as well as group effort. Too much of wither can result in proper gain of none or loss of all.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much” Helen Keller

The Stone Soup Story
Many years ago three soldiers, hungry and weary of battle, came upon a small village. The villagers, suffering a meagre harvest and the many years of war, quickly hid what little they had to eat and met the three at the village square, wringing their hands and bemoaning the lack of anything to eat. The soldiers spoke quietly among themselves and the first soldier then turned to the village elders. Your tired fields have left you nothing to share, so we will share what little we have – the secret of how to make soup from stones.’

Naturally the villagers were intrigued and soon a fire was put to the town’s greatest kettle as the soldiers dropped in three smooth stones. ‘Now this will be a fine soup’, said the second soldier; ‘but a pinch of salt and some parsley would make it wonderful!’
Up jumped a villager, crying ‘What luck! I’ve just remembered where some’s been left!’
Then off she ran, returning with an apron full of parsley and a turnip. As the kettle boiled on, the memory of the village improved: soon barley, carrots, beef and cream had found their way into the great pot, and a cask of wine was rolled into the square as all sat down to feast. They ate and danced and sang well into the night, refreshed by the feast and their new-found friends.

In the morning the three soldiers awoke to find the entire village standing before them. At their feet lay a satchel of the village’s best breads and cheese. ‘You have given us the greatest of gifts – the secret of how to make soup from stones’, said an elder, ‘and we shall never forget.’ The third soldier turned to the crowd, and said: ‘There is no secret, but this is certain, it is only by sharing that we may make a feast’, then off the soldiers wandered, down the road.
Author Unknown

“Happiness quite unshared can scarcely be called happiness; it has no taste.” Charlotte Bronte

Posted in Daily, Family and Society, Life, Reflections, Stories Around the World, Work

Maintain the Balance

“To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life; we must first set our hearts right.” Confucius

Of recent, few multinational companies have been allotting compulsory leave days for their top employees. These few days after every four months or so, come with a half pay and an order not to be seen in the company premises for either completing the new projects, clear the back log or develop new ideas. The whole idea was to “take a break” from the professional life and grow the personal one. In a way, these organizations have done this so as to increase the employee productivity as well as better the general work efficiency on the whole.

“No other success can compensate for failure in the home.” David O. McKay

When a young adult enters the modern career world, the importance is laid in establishing a good professional life, earning good money and save for the future. As time goes on, one may start a family or become a part of one. Being social beings, we crave for close relationships and bonds as thick as blood. Yet once family and friends arrives, certain things may be taken for granted; especially time spent with the latter. When one realizes the error soon, time may be left to pick up the broken links and rebuild them.

“In family relationships love is really spelled t-i-m-e, time.” Dieter F. Uchtdorf

In the process of rebuilding, the metal once scarred or bent mayn’t be as strong as it looks. For the builder it involves immense effort to re-link the chains as compared to when building in flow with the fresh meta links. While wealth, riches, fame and materials are necessary for the social or professional order in life; it is the close knit web of family and bonds that help one to heal, grow, nurture and flourish away from the outside world. As one nurtures or is being nurtured by the family, the children of tomorrow are minor extensions of today. These inquisitive minds learn more from actions and deeds than words. In order to live life to the fullest, learning to balance the entire framework of professional as well as personal life is what brings fruit to the former. Time is always there to reform as long as one decides to put their priorities and focus in the right manner.

“The single most important factor in our long-term happiness is the relationships we have with our family and close friends.” Clayton M. Christensen

‘So now you have a farm, two houses, and four cars, correct?’ asked Marcelo. Ivan nodded. ‘Well done!’ Marcelo smiled amicably to his old friend. ‘And what else have you got? A master’s degree from University of Chile, a good and stable job, and what else? Money, ah, how much money have you got? More than a hundred million pesos, I suppose?’
Ivan did not reply, but his smile meant a ‘yes’ to all of the questions. ‘And with all of these in your hands, you’re still the first to arrive at work and the last to leave, yes?’ For the second time, Ivan nodded. ‘For how long?”Three years and a half.’ ‘Oh, poor Ivan Espinoza,’ Marcelo sighed. For a moment he stopped talking. The conversation that previously was filled with laughter and jokes suddenly turned itself into a deep silence. Marcelo gazed over Ivan and tapped his right shoulder tenderly. An air of confidence was transpired from the light of his eyes, despite his graying eyebrow. ‘My friend, did you see that table?’ ‘Yes,’ Ivan glanced to a table next to them. ‘How many legs?’ ‘Four’
‘If you break one of the table’s legs, will you have a balanced table?’ ‘No’
‘So is life. It’s got four legs: education, money, a job you love, and a family you adore. If you break one of life’s legs, you will have an imbalanced life,’ remarked Marcelo. Sighing, the man paused for a little while before continuing. ‘Now you have a good job, money, and proper education, but you don’t see your children except when they are asleep before and after work. Is that a balanced life? You work for your family, don’t you?”Yes.’
‘So why do you work so hard but spend less time with them?’
Written by Subhan Zein

Posted in Daily, Family and Society, Life, Reflections, Stories Around the World, Work

The Mark Left Behind

“How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world.” William Shakespeare

Walking into the shopping centre (similar to Walmart) downtown, unknowingly one would be found scanning their eyes at random for the familiar face of the friendly store clerk. On spotting that familiar “friendly face” shopping becomes easier especially when figuring out the offers. One longs for that similar friendly face in public offices, the court as well as at the municipal office, to get the unfamiliar procedure, forms, certifications and the rest sorted out to the layman.

In this era, where time always runs short for everybody; offering help, being kind, of grace and courteous isn’t always easy. Amidst loads of paperwork, targets to be achieved, over time hours, less holidays, rushing through two to three jobs to make ends meet; doing a job with utmost professional gains at time more importance than being kind, helpful and humane. For those who learn to balance both; their faces leave a distinct impression in the minds of those who meet them.

“Some people come into our lives, leave footprints in our hearts and minds and we are never the same again.” Jared Leto

Besides the work that we do for the basic bread and butter, the individual prints of approaching each turn that life takes one through, shows hint of the true character and underlying personality. Our every action, word and deed echoes more about ourselves than the promises that we make. The inner person reflects what it is within, for the world outside to see. Just like every vessel will pour out what it has or contains, so will a person leave their prints behind. While the first impression may be the best one; if the ones that follow aren’t true, losses would happen in the long run. Being kind and true within is what makes the difference in the lives of each person, whether it be their social, personal or professional life.

“Do things for people not because of who they are or what they do in return, but because of who you are.” Harold S. Kushner

The old man shuffled slowly into the restaurant. With head tilted and shoulders bent forward, he leaned on his trusty cane with each unhurried step. His tattered cloth jacket, patched trousers, worn out shoes, and warm personality made him stand out from the usual Saturday morning breakfast crowd. Unforgettable were his pale blue eyes that sparkled like diamonds, large rosy cheeks, and thin lips held in a tight, steady smile.
He stopped, turned with his whole body, and winked at a little girl seated by the door. She flashed a big grin right back at him.

A young waitress named Mary watched him shuffle toward a table by the window. Mary ran over to him, and said, ‘Here, Sir . . . let me give you a hand with that chair.’ Without saying a word, he smiled and nodded a thank you. She pulled the chair away from the table. Steadying him with one arm, she helped him move in front of the chair, and get comfortably seated. Then she scooted the table up close to him, and leaned his cane against the table where he could reach it.
In a soft, clear voice he said, ‘Thank you, Miss . . . and bless you for your kind gestures.’ ‘You’re welcome, Sir.’ She replied. ‘And my name is Mary. I’ll be back in a moment and if you need anything at all in the mean time, just wave at me!’ After he had finished a hearty meal of pancakes, bacon and hot lemon tea, Mary brought him the change from his bill. He left it lay on the table. She helped him up from his chair and out from behind the table. She handed him his cane and walked with him to the front door. Holding the door open for him, she said, ‘Come back and see us, Sir!’ He turned with his whole body, winked and smiled, then nodded a thank you. ‘You are very kind.’ he said softly.

When Mary went to clean his table, she almost fainted. Under his plate she found a business card and a note scribbled on a napkin. Under the napkin was a one hundred dollar bill. The note on the napkin read . . . ‘Dear Mary, I respect you very much and I can see you respect yourself too. It shows by the way you treat others. You have found the secret of happiness. Your kind gestures will shine through to all those who meet you.’ The man she had waited on was the owner of the restaurant where she worked. This was the first time that she or any of his employees had ever seen him in person. 

Written by Steve Brunkhorst

 

Posted in Family and Society, Life, poetry, Quotes, Work

Face the Sun

“Sunflowers end up facing the sun, but they go through a lot of dirt to find their way there.” J.R. Rim

After a month of restructuring the church garden, along the walkway numerous flowers were planted in and tended to. In keeping with the harmony and serenity of the garden, alongside the path, sunflower seeds were planted in. Later as the crop of sunflowers began to grow out, it was a pretty sight for sore eyes. Surprisingly on further tending to these flowers, it was surprising to note that few of them with their tall spindly and skinny stalks hadn’t started from the soil directly below; but had begun under the bugger rocks outlining the sandy path. Few had begun below the heavy rocks and had grown around them to stand tall, facing the sun.

“With zealous step he climbs the upland lawn,
And bows in homage to the rising dawn;
Imbibes with eagle eye the golden ray,
And watches as it moves the orb of day.”
– Darwin

While restructuring the bed of sunflowers, one can’t help but be awestruck at the strength of their seemingly spindly stalks. No matter from where they originate, they always find their way out, to finally face the sun. On trying to imbibe their strength into the daily life, each one has an inner core of potential and capabilities that largely go untapped. One of the many reasons for losing out on the inner ability lie in the reality that one tends to believe less in their own strength. Viewing every obstacle simply as a hurdle doesn’t help, unless we find a way to “go around it”. The environment around one will sustain every situation as long as one is determined to search out a way to use the resources at hand to overcome the obstacle, live the dream within and brighten the day by the rays of the sun.

“ Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow. It’s what sunflowers do.” Helen Keller

An Ode to the Kansas Sunflower

Oh sunflower! The queen of all flowers,
No other with you can compare,
The roadside and fields are made golden
Because of your bright presence there.
Above all the weeds that surround you
You raise to the sun your bright head,
Embroidering beautiful landscapes
Your absence would leave brown and dead.

Oh queen of the September morning
You watch for the first ray of sun,
And salute the bright orb as it travels
Till the bright day of autumn is done.
Tho’ sickles may slay in the pasture,
And the plowman destroy in the field,
Yet, still will the corners and by-ways
The seed for the future years yield.

Then, Sunflower, peep over the fences
And cover the hillsides with gold,
And out in the cornfields, if tempted,
Again take thy claim as of old;
Salute, too, and nod to the stranger,
Who travels the dusty highway,
He’ll worship the sun crown you’re wearing
And love you for brightening his way.

So, Sunflower, grow tall in the meadow
And spread to the breezes your arms,
No matter if some do molest you
And try to destroy on the farms,
Let thy stalk all the season still gather
The sunbeams that come dancing by;
And then in September unfold them
To dazzle with splendor the eye.

– Ed Blair

Posted in Daily, Family and Society, Personal Musings, Quotes, Stories Around the World, Work

Stay on the Course

“Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward toward success.” C. S. Lewis

The seventh rejection is often hard. Especially for a young couple who want to start their own bakery and chocolatier. Though ideas are plenty, talent is present; getting a bank loan as well as rental premises in the right place for a start-up is as important as skill and talent. In addition to it, getting funds for the best raw ingredients is what matters the most. When approaching for a loan, the few initial rejections may sting a bit; yet when it happens too frequently it takes courage to stick on to the plan and find alternatives. At times, in those moments, it is the family, neighbourhood and community that help initially till better options become available. Yet, even in their absence, finding alternate jobs as well as using available resources for starting small scale is what later makes the big dreams feasible.

“The successful man will profit from his mistakes and try again in a different way.” Dale Carnegie

Many of us, have similar plans or ventures, whether they be setting a shop with known or innate talents, building a new skill (like tapestry, crocheting) or exploring new ventures; obstacles are bound to be there. Staying on, despite the constant brick walls popping up, the hidden taunts, open criticism and judgmental nods, makes the final achievement more sweet. Keeping the latter alone in the forefront won’t make a difference. Being dedicated and focused on the dream itself and not the glory, reward or fame of succeeding is what makes most dreams come true. Success is secondary to mental and emotional satisfaction.

Inspiring stories are always there to be seen from the lives of the people around us, of the present and the past. As William S. Banowsky stated, the story behind one of the greatest leaders of the 19th century is one of dogged persistence in the face of repeated setbacks.
In 1831 he failed in business.
In 1832 he was defeated for the state legislature.
In 1833 he failed again in business.
In 1834 he was elected to the state legislature.
In 1835 his sweetheart died.
In 1836 he had a nervous breakdown.
In 1838 he was defeated for Speaker.
In 1840 he was defeated for Elector.
In 1843 he was defeated for Congress.
In 1846 he was elected for one term to Congress.
In 1848 he was defeated again for Congress.
In 1855 he was defeated for the Senate.
In 1856 he was defeated for Vice President.
In 1858 he was defeated again for the Senate.
In 1860 he, finally, was elected President of the United States. And these are just a few of the rough spots in the life of Abraham Lincoln.

“If God closes a door AND a window, consider the fact that it might be time to build a whole new house.” Mandy Hale

Sitting back and just brooding over the setbacks with pessimism, dejected and down-heartened mood will not make things better. Instead try to improvise, find alternative means, work hard, keep the faith and try again from a different angle. Learning from mistakes isn’t easy for self-correction clashes with the ego. However with constructive criticism, corrective measures may be made for a better outcome. It is never the occasional rain than makes the stones smooth but the running water which flows making a path for itself, keeping the odds, feasibility and practicality in mind.

“The harder you fall, the heavier your heart; the heavier your heart, the stronger you climb; the stronger you climb, the higher your pedestal.” Criss Jami

 

Posted in Daily, poetry, Reflections, Work

Challenge of the Change

“Opportunity often comes disguised in the form of misfortune, or temporary defeat.” Napoleon Hill

One of the most important requisites for living the comfortable modern life is “professional security (once known as job security)”. From the early years of childhood, stress is laid on completing academics, gaining a professional degree or mastering a course and ultimately being securely employed. The final objective was to earn a comfortable income to support, sustain and prosper for oneself. The price for this would range from foregoing doing something that one loves especially in the creative arts of writing, music or theatre ; to training and mastering oneself for a specific vocation or skill to bring the bread and butter to the table. The initial days of putting the new found skill at test may involve less returns with more efforts till an opportunity presents itself for a better outcome. Then the innate response to resist the change would lie in the disguised security and comfort zone of the present.

“What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.” Oscar Wilde

One never realizes their true potential if one refuses to evaluate the options for a change as they surface. In such situations, one may miss out on taking the opportunity to strike out and move along a different plane for the fear of losing out on the perceived benefits of the present. Those times, what may work best is when few principles are followed. Primarily does the change help us grow for the better. Second is whether the new opportunity, in the long run, aids us in the professional capacity. Third and above all, if the change brings forth the pleasure to work and peace of mind in doing the task at hand. The world is huge and big enough to accommodate the varied range of skills and talents. Yet staying with apparent surety of the known, refusing to explore the new out of fear and insecurity may cause regrets to surface in the later years.

“Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it.” Buddha

Reflecting on Life

Take time to stop today
Take time to stop a while
Reflect on how life changes
Then take the time to smile

Know that as the days go by
These things that challenge you
Will one day just be memories
Of times you have gone through

Look back now on yesterday
And all you have achieved
Recognise the strengths you’ve gained
The blessings you’ve received

One day in the future
You will think about today
You’ll see just how these challenges
Have helped you on your way

Written by Michelle Tetley
©2007