Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
October 14, 2004

When my brother and I we were children we spent a few weeks each summer in the countryside. Our childless uncle owned a big house there and didn´t mind having children around, so of course our parents were happy to loan us for a few days at a time.

Our uncle was a geologist and loved to go on long walks to find stones to his collection at the university. More often than not we followed him.

One day we left early and this time uncle had bought us backpacks – You can help me carry the samples, he explained.

Sure, why not. The whole day we then walked around the countryside and every now and again uncle put stones in our bags. We were a bit surprised he also took some stones out from our bags at times, but figured he had just found better samples than the ones we already had.

Still, when we reached the house in late afternoon, we were tired. The backpacks were so heavy we gave a big sigh of relief when we thumped them on the porch. Yet uncle´s backpack was half empty.

- Why did you give us so many stones? we asked.

- I didn´t. You did, he said cryptically.

He waited for a while before continuing:

- You did not know it, but I made you go through a little attitude test today.

- What do you mean with attitude test? we wanted to know.

- It is something someone once did to me, and I shall always remember it. You see I listened to every word you said. And when ever you were complaining about anyone or anything, I added a stone to your bags. And when ever you talked about something in an attitude of gratitude and positive thinking, I took off a stone. And now look at your backpacks.

We did. They were almost bursting at their seams.

Moral of the Story:

Your negative thoughts are like stones which you carry in your mind just like those stones in a back-bag.

The more negative thoughts, the heavier your mind is. A positive thought, however, cancels a negative one.

So look at those bags and start paying attention to what you say and how you say it.

“Two types of voices command your attention today. Negative ones fill your mind with doubt, bitterness, and fear. Positive ones purvey hope and strength. Which one will you choose to heed..??”

Author - Max Lucado
Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
October 13, 2003

It had been so hard for the children to wait for Christmas morning. The glass of milk and cookies were carefully put on the mantelpiece on Christmas Eve. The parents and grandmother had been sitting late in the living room, waiting for the children to finally fall asleep, shooing off the cat that showed great interest in the milk and the Christmas tree.

Whoever came up with the term Catmas was certainly a person who owned cats. The cat seemed to think Christmas was invented to amuse the feline kind. So during the years they had learned to tie the tip of the tree with string to a hook in the ceiling. Sure it caused the angel on top of the tree to tilt a bit, but if the option was “Timber!”, the angel could stay tilted.

Also the most precious glass baubles were tied to place with wire and the lower branches only had the cheapest plastic balls because the cat also thought football with Christmas decoration was a good way to pass time – preferably in the middle of the night when the sound effects were at their most efficient.

So they sat there, enjoying the brief silence before Christmas morning.

Ah, said the grandmother to her son, – This used to be my favorite moment each Christmas. You kids were asleep, everything was finally ready, and I could lift the weight off my feet. The only peaceful moment of Christmas for me.

Yes, I suppose we were quite a bunch to handle, her son chuckled.

You sure were… grandmother commented, – Our Christmas tree had to be tied to the ceiling as well, even though we only had an old dog who only wanted to eat and sleep…

I could write a short and funny story about each Christmas I remember, her son laughed. – OK, let’s think… Short and funny story number one: do you remember the time when we managed to get the turkey fall to the floor after you had put it on the table? Cranberry sauce was all over the new white carpet!

You could say that is a sight I’ll never forget… grandmother did not laugh quite as heartily as her son.

Short and funny story number two would be when we opened the package dad was planning to give to you for Christmas and the dog swallowed the diamond ring that fell out? You had to run after the dog everywhere and then dig the ring out of…

Mind your language. And yes, I do remember that.

The Mrs looked at her husband and shook her head slightly. The husband didn’t notice it.

And oh how we laughed when we changed your favorite Christmas record to a heavy rock record and turned the volume to the loudest… You sat there with a glass of red wine on Christmas Eve when you thought you were alone and put the music on… You never got the wine off your new silk pajamas… Now that was a funny Christmas story number three!

Grandmother looked at her son with a very tight lipped smile. He was roaring with laughter, hitting his knees with his hands.

Darling… Why don’t you go check if Santa Claus could come already?  Asked his wife and John went to check out on the kids one more time, wiping tears of mirth.

The children were fast asleep and so Santa could come and put all the presents under and around the tree. There was one big box that had a label “Merry Christmas to Dean and Mark, Love, Grandma”

Wow, that’s a big present! John said, – Must have been expensive!

He was dipping the chocolate chip cookies in the milk.

Yes, it was a bit, but I’m sure it’s worth every cent, grandma said.

They went to sleep and woke up to the yells of children in the morning. When they came down the boys had just attacked the biggest box, grandmother’s gift. The parents sat on the sofa and laughed at their kids joy.

The box opened and for a while there was a stunned silence. Then:

Wow… Thanks grandma!!

Out came one cowboy’s outfit, and one Indian chief’s. But that was not all – also a big water pistol (fully loaded) and a real bow and suction cup arrows. Lots of them. Before you had time to wink the boys were in their new costumes. The cat was wise enough to run for cover, but was chased out of its hiding place with a long squirt of water and then up the Christmas tree with suction cup arrows bouncing off its hairy behind. Interestingly the angel on top did not fall down, even though it looked like it was planning on taking off.

Mother! John shouted when the cat shot down the tree leaving it hanging on a sting, – Oh no… Didn’t you remember the havoc we used to cause when we played cowboys and Indians indoors?

Who says I didn’t?  Grandmother smiled sweetly,    Now, how about some coffee?

Originally posted on In The Corner:

You can imagine the trepidation that my husband and I felt when we walked into the hospital for my first chemo treatment.  Although the waiting room was beautiful, everything was a mystery.  Do we take a number?  Do we register?  Do I have a cold?

The night before, my family and I had sat down for what I felt was about to be the last supper.  My anxiety was through the roof.  I had actually felt my heart racing as I stared at the steroids I was to take to begin the journey.  These steroids were the threshold of a new world.

“Some ha’ meat and canny eat, and some ha’ meat but want it.  But we ha’ meat and we can eat, so let the Lord be thanket.  Amen”.  This grace, my Dad always spoke at family gatherings, enveloped my spirits.  I was reminded, once again, to count my…

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Originally posted on In The Corner:

“I can’t find it.”

“Maybe it’s gone.”

“What do you mean?”

“I had chemo last Tuesday. Maybe the chemo killed that growth.  It’s possible right?”

“It is possible.  Maybe.  Or maybe it’s hiding behind your bowel.”

Crap.  “No, I prefer to think it’s gone.”

This is the hope I hold onto as I move through my second week of post-chemotherapy stress disorder, or PCSD for short.  I wake up and think, “I wonder if it’s gone.”  I eat breakfast and think, “I wonder if this fights cancer?”  I shower and target the heat on the would-be tumors.  I drink water and imagine it rinsing the cancer from my body.  Down the sewer pipes it goes.  I heat my food on the stove – microwaves may be bad.  An apple a day keeps the cancer away and so I eat apples.  I lay down to rest to give my…

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Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
October 11, 2010

I closed Words of Affirmation – a book I was reading with my morning coffee. It did not seem to have the effect I wanted.

It was a Monday morning. A dark, wet Noveber morning when it seemed like it would take a million years to get to summer again. So dark I was sure I did not even remember what summer looked like anymore. And no affirmation seemed to work. I thought bears got it right – what a perfect idea to sleep through the lousiest part of the year and wake up when spring came!

I got into a conversation with a coworker about this when I got to work.

- You don’t think words of affirmation work? He asked me.

words of affirmation – mirror
– Today – no.

- I used to think so too, he said, – Until I realized the effect my words had on a certain person.

- What do you mean?

- Well, it was someone I knew pretty well. I have to say I treated him rather badly.

- You? But you are always so positive! How did you treat him badly?

- I told him I did not like anything about him, really. I looked at him and said he had grown a belly. That his face was sagging. His hair was thinning. I told him I did not even like his name.

I could not find words. I just did not believe him. He could see what I was thinking and nodded.

- I swear this is true. You can imagine what it did to his self esteem. If we hear such negative affirmations about ourselves, we tend to believe them, don’t you agree?

Well I sure agreed.

- I still cannot believe you! I said, – You are always encouraging others. How can it be possible you would have said such words to anyone you know?

- Such words and even more, he nodded, – Now I am not proud of myself, but I thought this would be useful for you to know when you wonder if words of affirmation work.It wasn’t only what I said – I also did pretty bad things to him. When he was feeling low, I did not want to sympathize but told him he should snap out of it and play cheerful. When he was hungry, I did not give him a chance to eat proper food.  When he felt like doing something fun I said to him that he was being childish and having fun was not productive. After all he was always short on cash so obviously he was a lazy worker.

- No…

- And worst of all – when he was sick and needed care, I did not care. I told him to get up and get to work. And when he did, I never told him he did good work. Oh no, I only told him he could do better.

I knew my coworker had been a boss at a smaller firm before. But still – surely he would never have behaved in such a way towards his employees?

- You could say I was ashamed of him, he said, – I wanted to get rid of him because he just wasn’t good enough for me – but couldn’t.

- But… That was heartless!

He nodded.

- I agree. I was a horrible person. I was cruel towards him. And I could see the effect of my words on him. He was depressed most of the time, tried to drown his sorrows by watching TV, drinking too much and calling in sick when ever he could.

- Well no wonder! I exclaimed, – But I have to say I never would have believed you could behave in such a way!

- Then one day it all changed, he said.

- What happened?

- I stood there in front of the bathroom mirror one morning. I saw the dark circles under his eyes, I saw the excess weight. I saw the hair that needed cutting. And I saw the eyes that once had looked at the world eagerly. Now they were so sad and tired. And there and then I realized he deserved better.I knew the time had come to start finding good things about myself. So I told the man whom I had disliked so many years that he was a good person after all. I decided to like every likeable thing about myself and tell it to myself too.

My jaw dropped.

- Yes. The man I disliked all those years was me. When I started working on liking myself, and telling that to myself every morning in front of the bathroom mirror, miracles began to happen. I reversed the negativity of the past. Positive words of affirmation have had a great effect!

I looked at him – full of positive energy, in good shape, always ready to encourage others.

- Wow…

He winked his eye.

- So how about having a little positive conversation with the bathroom mirror? The person in there has the greatest effect on you!

Author Unknown - Please comment if you know the author
 so credit can be given
Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
October 9, 2014

One day I stopped to think about growing apples. I was munching a delicious, juicy apple and took a big bite. As a result I got an apple seed into my mouth. I spat it out into my hand, with the intention of throwing it away. But instead I looked at the apple seed. Really looked. It was very dark brown, almost black. Its shape reminded me of a candle flame. A little dark brown candle flame…

I realized I was holding an apple tree in the palm of my hand. A little seed with the potential to become a beautiful big tree – a tree that could grow thousands of apples in its lifetime. Thousands of apples, each containing several seeds, each capable of growing a new tree which again could produce thousands of apples. Why then the world wasn’t filled with apple trees?

It is a rule of nature that only a few of these seeds grow. Most never do or are destroyed early on in their growth.

growing apples – apple seed
And it came to my mind it’s quite often so with people’s dreams also. Wonderful ideas come to our minds but they die too soon – we don’t tend to the little saplings, we don’t protect them as we should. And then one day we wonder what happened to our dreams – why did they never come true?

I put the apple seed on the table, and bent down to see how the light was reflected from it, this nature’s tiny wonder. I wondered when someone was seriously growing apples, how many times they had to try to get a seed to germinate? How much work did it require?

Maybe it was like with our dreams: the seeds of your dreams did not automatically grow. Like planting an apple tree It might take many trys: like a hundred job applications to get that good job. You might send your manuscript out two hundred times before it was accepted. You might meet dozens of people until you met the true friend.

But if you kept on sowing the seeds of your dream, one day you would succeed. And after that others would comment you were lucky to be successful – when in fact you probably failed more often than you would like to count. But you were good at failing – you learned, you adapted, and then with your new knowlegde you tried again. And again. And again. And one day success was yours.

I picked up the apple seed again – but instead of throwing it away I took an empty flower pot, poured some earth into it and planted the seed. Maybe one day it would grown into a proud tree. I’d never know if I didn’t try.

Author Unknown - Please comment if you know the author
 so credit can be given
Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
October 8, 2014

One day we were sitting at the temple entrance… one of the Christians passing by gave me a tract. I kept it to take home with me and read it later. When I read this tract it spoke of receiving the gift of eternal life when believing in Jesus Christ. I started to question and wonder, ‘How can we know eternal life? What is this eternal life the tract spoke of?’

I asked my wife and children about the matter of eternal life, and they simply joked about it saying, “Father you are a good man, you will surely be a rich man in your next life.”

But the thought would not leave me… When I die, will there be a place that I go to? So I kept thinking about this over and over in my heart and mind, until finally at midnight I called on Jesus, ‘Lord Jesus I believe, please give me eternal life.’

The Lord Jesus heard my prayer and answered my call. Then the light shone into my soul, light in my heart which was great joy. I am at peace, a real peace in my heart which I had never experienced before, which is difficult to put into words.

Early the next morning I knew in my heart that I must throw out the image of Buddha, which I had previously worshipped every day. Without speaking to my wife, I took the image and threw it into a small river….

When my wife woke up and was preparing an offering to the image of Buddha, it was gone! She was very upset asking, ‘What is happening here? Where are the gods?“

I told her I had thrown them away. My wife was very angry, crying and shouting and went to the local authorities to report the matter.

Immediately they came to my home—policemen, firemen, the local security forces… All asking at once what had happened.

I told them that I had found the True and Living God, Who loved me and had given me eternal life.

They then proceeded to tell me I was not worthy to live. Then I was imprisoned for five days when they tried to convince me to give up this foolish belief and convert back to Buddhism. Thank God, the Lord Jesus gave me strength to face and overcome these trials, and gave me words to speak and answer my accusers.

Please pray for me as I have been forced to leave my village, my wife and my two children who I love dearly. I pray that I may soon be able to return back to them. I love them but I cannot do what they have asked me to do—curse my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, come back to Buddha and my family.

May our Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on my family and my fellow-villagers.

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