It’s in the Valleys I Grow

Back in the early 2000’s, I was on a major roller-coaster of emotional turbulence.  My friend, Angie, gave me this poem, and I’ve kept it all these years.  It seems that just when things are going well, you get thrust into a valley.  So when you think you may be stuck in a rut — or in a very deep valley — pull out this poem.

I hope this poem gives you encouragement and strength to grow through whatever valley of life you have experienced or may be going through right now.  “Bea Positive” that any storm in your life has a purpose!

Growing in the valleys

Sharing a Paximadia (Greek cookie)

lenthangIn Greek culture, Paximadia is a toasted Lenten cookie made with almonds and citrus. They have a hard texture and are a bit crumbly, and ideally dunked with your favorite cup of coffee. Or in my case, with a small bottled water.  I find it fitting that Paximadia was shared with me during this Lenten season.

My driver was in the hotel lobby at 12:15 p.m., right on time. He asked me how my day was going and helped me with my luggage. As I got settled in the back seat, I noticed a foil-covered pan in the passenger front seat.

I detected a heavy European accent when he spoke to me, so I asked my driver where he was from. He proudly told me he was from Greece and had been in the U.S. 40 years. I told him about the Greek community north of Tampa in Tarpon Springs that my husband and I visited. It’s a cute little town on the bay with Greek restaurants and shops. I told him about the annual “Epiphany Dive for the Cross” in Tarpon Springs. (FYI, this is the largest observance in the U.S. outside of Greece!).

He came to the U.S. 40 years ago to make money and send back to his family in Greece. He originally planned to be here a couple of years.  Two years soon became five. He was so excited to share that he made close to $25,000 after 5 years; “that was a lot of money back then”.  So he kept working and told his family he would stay a few more years and then never left.  He tries to go back to Greece each year to see his family.

He and his wife raised 4 children, 3 girls and 1 boy ranging from 22 years to 13 years old. He has 3 grandchildren, too. His wife cooks dinner every night for the entire family. The 3 married girls and their families live in the same neighborhood. Every night the entire family eats a home-cooked dinner together. I told him how rare it was for me to hear that a family spends quality time together every night and eats dinner together.

So I was too curious and had to asked “is that your lunch in the foil-covered pan?”  He said, “no, my wife loves to bake, too. Here you must try these cookies.” He opened the foil and handed the pan to me. I took a cookie, and he insisted that I take another. Since I hadn’t eaten lunch yet, I was grateful for the cookie. Then he handed me one of his water bottles he had in the front seat along with some tissues for a napkin. I wrapped the second cookie in the tissue to share with my husband once I landed in Tampa.

He chatted some more about his family, and we turned into the airport. As he pulled over to park, I asked how much I owed him. I couldn’t believe when he told me the flat rate because I had paid double the day before from the airport to the hotel!

I paid him cash and told him no need for change. He got out of the car and got my luggage out for me. As I reached out my hand to shake and thank him for the ride, he kissed both my cheeks – the European way, you know. He thanked me and said “God has blessed you to be a beautiful person.”

As I walked through the airport to my gate, I held back tears. It never dawned on me that he would thank me. I was just another passenger in his day . . . Maybe it was because I spoke to him. Maybe because I cared enough to ask about his life and family. Maybe because I shared a home-baked cookie from his wife.  Maybe it is because I was Positive!

 

“The fruits of success . . .”

I read this article today and wanted to share with all of you.  We all want to be “successful” and many times we think that money and titles are tangible signs of success.  I’m sure many of you are like me . . . you have (or had) a career that is unnoticed by the world at-large.  However, you’ve probably touched people in ways that have had a lasting and positive impact.

Bea Positive “Bea-lieves” that my life is successful!  I hope you enjoy the article and will share with others!

by Deepak Chopra, MD

http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20131102024414-75054000-are-you-destined-for-success

An excerpt from “Are You Destined for Success?” November 02, 2013

The fruits of success, as measured in lifelong satisfaction, are far more meaningful. They consist of:

  • Setting a long-range goal and fulfilling it.
  • Building a secure sense of self.
  • Becoming a unique individual.
  • Fulfilling your potential in a satisfying way.
  • Evolving in strength, love, and wisdom.
  • Being of service to others.
  • Living for a higher value that can be described as spiritual.
  • Staying true to yourself.
  • Becoming a role model.
  • Being part of a stable and loving family.
  • Living with dignity.

These are the ingredients of a truly successful life. You can achieve them in parallel to a brilliant career or a career that will go unnoticed by the world at large. Every deeply rooted culture has valued the inner qualities that produce worthy individuals, who are the flower of that culture. If you lack these qualities, becoming a king will still leave you feeling empty and miserable. What I’ve outlined is called the path of wisdom in the East, and it’s worth considering here and now. In a consumerist society driven by the ethic of win-lose, it comes as a relief to know that there is another way.

Quote

Coincidence . . . Luck . . . Miracle?

Miracles, in the sense of phenomena we cannot explain, surround us on every hand: life itself is the miracle of miracles.
George Bernard Shaw

angel in disguise

Joe has been my parents’ neighbor across the street for over 15 years.  I know he is an Alabama fan because he flies the flag on his front porch during football season.  He had two big black dogs, Rottweiler-mixes, that loved to come to the yard when we visited to check out our dogs.  On this visit, I saw Joe walking a white dog that I had never seen before.

My dad had gone down the driveway to get the mail and happened to see Joe getting his mail, too.  Joe came across the street with his new white dog.  When daddy came back to the house, he told me an amazing story.

The two black dogs had grown old over the past year, and crossed “The Rainbow Bridge” a while back.  Joe’s wife had been battling cancer for over a year, and finally succumbed about 2 weeks before our visit.  Other than his dogs and his wife, Joe lived alone.

On the day of his wife’s funeral, Joe was sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch alone.  A white dog walked up through the yard and onto the porch.  She sat down next to Joe’s rocking chair.  Joe checked for a collar and other signs of her owner and found nothing.  Joe picked her up and put her in his pick-up truck and drove down to the vet.

He asked the vet to scan the dog for a micro-chip and give her a general health-check.  There was no micro-chip and no signs of fleas or visible health-issues.  Joe left a note in the vet’s waiting room for “Lost Dog” with the description of the white dog and where she was found.  They drove back home to Joe’s house.

Two weeks went by and no phone call from anyone looking for a white dog.  By this time, Joe had grown quite fond of his new friend who never left his side.  He told my father, “I was so lonely when my wife died and praying for a sign that she was ok.  That’s when “Angel” walked up on the porch.  I named her Angel because I believe that she was sent from heaven on the day my wife went to heaven.”

Coincidence . . .  luck . . . miracle?  What would you call it?

  • Sometimes God speaks to us in subtle, delicate ways. 
  • Some people would call this coincidence. 
  • Some people would say Joe was just lucky.
  • For me, I “Bea-lieve” that this was one of those “phenomena we cannot explain” . . . a miracle to answer a prayer. 

 “Bea Positive” that your earnest, faith-filled prayers will be answered in the most perfect way, in just the right time.

 

%d bloggers like this: