Copyright  2013,  Bobbi G Enterprises, Inc., 
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Column published weekly, edited for content on this website. 
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The Voice

There is a Voice. A voice heard throughout the ages; a timeless voice forever eternal. 
It’s a strong voice yet loving, a commanding yet forgiving voice. It’s a voice that loves unconditionally… a voice full of patience and kindness...a voice that would never abandon…a voice full of triumph. 

The Voice is a presence. When it is with you you are always secure. It allows you to continue into eternity with the knowledge of its reality. It occasionally subtly reminds you 
of its presence.

It’s the voice of wisdom; the voice of morals and values, the voice of ideals and tenets. 
It’s the voice of hope, faith and compassion. It’s the voice that will always and forever be. 
Yet, the Voice is being silenced by the amplified cries of those who feel their voice is louder, more eminent. Why do they want to quiet the Voice? Why would they want to turn others against the Voice? Misguided? Disillusioned? Or maybe it’s because they cannot hear the Voice themselves. Whatever the reason, they share a common cause…stifle the Voice.

Then a baby is born…and the Voice speaks. A tear is brushed from a child’s eye…and the Voice speaks. A patient is cured…and the Voice speaks. A family is rescued from a burning home…and the Voice speaks. A community comes together after a disaster…and the Voice speaks. A blanket is given to a homeless person…and the Voice speaks. A flower blooms on a battlefield…and the Voice speaks. 

The Voice speaks through others also, as in the story I would like to share with you about a man, Ben, I never met. The husband of a wonderful woman, Kay, he passed away recently and although I never had the pleasure of meeting Ben, I left the funeral service certain I had missed someone special because Ben obviously was a man worth knowing. 

This wonderful man knew the power of the Voice. Even the pastor who officiated over the service cried as he told story after story of how Ben helped people hear the Voice again. 
Of how this amazing man brought people back to the Voice at every opportunity; because to Ben, meeting anyone was just such an opportunity. This man, because he knew the Voice so well, touched so many lives. Ben has definitely left his mark in this world by sharing the Voice with others; making a difference in their life and his own. 

At the service a friend of mine spoke a few words about this amazing man also. He told of how it took Ben two hours to go to the store to buy a Pepsi. Yes, that morning ritual was his way of spreading the message of the Voice to everyone. As Ben made his rounds he was not ashamed to talk about the Voice. Ben never cowered behind the grumblings of those who try to suppress the Voice. The Voice lived in Ben and he offered it freely to everyone who came into his life.

Even though everyone already knew about the Voice, some had just forgotten, you see. Which is quite astonishing really, when you realize the Voice is all around us. It’s in the wind that blows through the trees. It’s in the sound of waves caressing the shore. It’s in the comfort of a child’s hand in yours. It’s in the smile of a stranger. It’s in the warmth of an embrace. It’s in the knowing that all will be well when things seem their worse. 

The Voice will always and forever be. The Voice will outlive eternity. The Voice is never silent, it tells us to love and be kind to one another because we are all the same. We are 
all human. We are all part of the same Voice. Are you listening?

Can you imagine…if everyone could hear the Voice?

copyright 2012 - Bobbi G
Note To Self

Note to self…love myself first so that I may love others…love them, even when they don’t act lovable…breathe deep the freshness of morning air full of gratitude to be alive…laugh as often as possible at myself and all the joys of living…be honest, because it really does feel better to tell the truth…forgive quickly...because I can.

Note to self…absorb the beauty of a sunset knowing it’s just ‘goodnight’ to an awesome day…count blessing in the small things that make up my life because they add up…never judge another person, because I do not walk on their path...be humble during times of conflict, because I don’t always have to be right…write down one thing I am grateful for every day; then read it out loud ten times…because I can.

Note to self…treat everyone who crosses my path with respect and kindness…be grateful when taking out the trash, because it’s a luxury some don’t have…remember to let my inner child play as often as possible…be thankful at each meal that I have a meal to eat…sit and observe the wonders of the world for a few minutes every day…be faithful to the one I love, because they don’t have to love me…let go of grudges and past hurts…because I can.

Note to self…be a friend I would want a friend to be…happily pay my bills because I am fortunate to have a home and car…say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ at every opportunity…smile at everyone, knowing it just might brighten their day…be thoughtful and remember birthdays and anniversaries of those I call family and friends…never pass up an opportunity to do a random act of kindness…because I can.

Note to self…hug my children everyday, even when they don’t act huggable…avoid negative reactions in favor of positive responses…remember the ‘lesson’ is in the lemon and make lemonade…practice patience in stressful situations because things have a way of working themselves out…accept others for who they are…treat others better than I like to be treated and feel great about it…because I can.

Note to self…be tolerant of those who anger quickly …enjoy who I am, because I do ‘me’ better than anybody... ask someone today, “What can I do for you?”...never intentionally say things to hurt anyone’s feelings and always say “I’m sorry” when I have…ask myself “What can I learn from this?” when life throws me a curve…start each day with a smile on my face and a song in my heart...because I can.

Note to self…look for the silver lining, because there is always a silver lining…face adversity with courage and the desire to overcome…never stop seeking knowledge and learning new things…stop and smell the roses in the middle of a dessert…keep positive, feel good thoughts in my mind at all times…take a leap of faith on a great adventure…do all the things I’ve always wanted to do…because I can.

Note to self…keep ears closed when others gossip…remember, each moment, of every day, is a chance to make positive decisions which enhance my life…speak softly with kindness to those who are hurting…listen when someone needs to talk…hold the hand of a child and remember what it was like to be childish…create happiness wherever my path through life leads me…love…because I can.

Note to self...always remember, life is supposed to be fun…because I can.

“””Can you imagine”””…your ‘note to self’ list? Write one today!


Copyright 2012 - Bobbi G
Pay Kindness Forward

Philippians 4:5 reads: 
“Let everyone see that you are unselfish and considerate in all you do.”

The virtue of kindness is an act of ‘unselfish’ charitable behavior and being ‘considerate’ 
of others. Kindness flows directly from our hearts and isn’t dramatic or complicated. Kindness simply comes in the form of a kind word, a pleasant disposition, a smile, a compliment, an offer to help. Kindness is simple. Kindness is thoughtful. Kindness says you care.

Research has also shown that an act of kindness not only benefits the recipient, but also the giver. So true, isn’t it? Our hearts feel lighter when we offer a simple act of kindness toward another because it’s the thread of virtuousness that binds us together as human beings. And if we weren’t kind to one another, how sad would that be?

Writing this column reminded me of a story that I’ve never told anyone before, but I’d like to share it with you. When I was about twelve, I was returning by plane from my father’s home in Alaska to my mother’s in Massachusetts. Unexpectedly stranded overnight in Chicago due to inclement weather, the airline chauffeured me to a hotel and made sure I was picked up in the morning. At my young age, I was understandably anxious about the ordeal, but I’d always been an independent child and made the best of my new found circumstance. Arriving back at the airport the next morning however, I realized I wasn’t carrying money because we obviously hadn’t foreseen my flight being delayed. Penniless, 
I was hungry and had no idea what I was going to do about breakfast. 

A passenger on another flight noticed me sitting alone at one of the airport’s restaurants’ table drinking water from a paper cup and asked if I needed help. Nervously, I explained the delay, staying overnight and (embarrassed by my confession) I mentioned I couldn’t afford breakfast. He generously handed me money so I could buy something to eat. Momentarily stunned by this stranger’s kindness, when I finally found words I stammered something about how to repay him. He told me to pay it forward and help someone else instead. 

I was so touched by his unselfish act of kindness I vowed to be that kind of person when I grew up. Well, I’m going to be bluntly honest. I grew up angry and resentful instead. It wasn’t until the good Lord, in all His infinite wisdom, gave me a time-out in the form of being bedridden for two years that my unkindness became a flashing neon reminder I wasn’t the person I had promised myself I wanted to be when I grew up. And I wasn’t proud of myself, yet grateful for the ‘pause’ to gain insight. So, bit by bit I chiseled away at the negativity and began to rebuild my ‘self’ into someone I am proud to call ‘a daughter,’ ‘a mother,’ ‘a friend,’ and now ‘a grandmother.’  

And decades after the airport incident, I, again, find myself the recipient of another generous act of unselfish kindness. Usually the one doing kind things for others these days, it feels awkward to be the recipient of such a selfless act. Yet, I have realized that to not allow someone to also give is to take that gift away from them. 

Just knowing the sacrifice this friend is making on my behalf has humbled me more than 
I can express. How amazing and overwhelming, all at the same time, to know someone’s generosity overshadows their own needs. The very thought of putting another’s needs before your own is incredibly selfless, and the epitome of kindness.  

Friends, you don’t have to wait for someone to show you kindness. Take it upon yourself 
to be good and kind to those you see every day and gently remind them to pay kindness forward…because giving, is receiving. 

Can you imagine…if kindness was a virtue no one could live without?

 copyright 2012 - Bobbi G

Bobbi G Enterprises, Inc.   828-695-9018
 
Published weekly in the Focus Newspaper...
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They Become Us

The other night I witnessed something I’ve rarely seen and wanted to share it with you. Saturday night I was sitting on a bench at the local pizza place waiting on my pizza. A father walked in with his three daughters and inquired at the register about their order. Since it wasn’t quite ready he then gave his youngest a quarter and told her she could get anything from the machines in that amount. 

Delighted, all three girls went in search of a gumball machine costing 25 cents. Suddenly, their excitement grew as the two older girls ran to their father blurting out a whispered shout in unison, “There’s a quarter already in one!” Frowning, he walked back over to see what the clamor was about. Then producing a pocket knife he fished a quarter out of the machine, handed it to the eldest child and instructed her to give it to the lady at the front register explaining, “It’s not ours to keep.” 

I sat there in amazement as not one child protested, complained or in any way challenged their father’s request. My heart felt lighter as I watched this display of honesty unfold before my eyes. We aren’t always privy to watching a parent teach a virtuous lesson to a child. It made my heart smile.

Moral excellence is considered a virtue. Aristotle may have said it best when he wrote about, “virtue is excellence at being human.” And, if I may be so candid, we need to get better at being human and teach our children to instill a strong moral compass as their life guide. Difficult at first, learning to have strong virtues, when practiced often enough, soon becomes habit. 

Christianity list Faith, Hope and Love as the three theological virtues found in 1 Corinthians 13:13. The greatest of these we’ve know is love, described as patient and kind, yet not envious, boastful, arrogant, or rude. Other virtues found in the Bible are considered “Fruits of the Holy Spirit.” Love is listed again, as well as, kindness, patience, generosity, joy, faithfulness, and self-control.

Even though the word ‘honesty’ doesn’t fall within this list, it falls under virtues such as kindness and self-control. And yes, love. Considering Love is the greatest virtue, we’d be remiss if we didn’t realize everything else falls under this one virtue. Therefore, we need to be teaching Love to our children.

Take a little journey with me as we realize what may happen without moral excellence...

A child is born…free of hatred, prejudice, anger, greed, envy, spite and all such negative behaviors. Instead, this child is full of love. Then as the child starts to grow, it watches its parents arguing, hears its mother yelling obscenities at a neighbor, sees its father throwing tools across the garage frustrated at the car…and so it learns anger.

As the child enters school it watches children cast out a classmate because they are different, hears jokes made about another’s skin color, sees students sitting apart from the rest at lunch because they don’t look like everyone else…and so it learns prejudice.

Entering college it watches how the other students make friends easily, hears them tell of making good grades, sees their clothes and cars are nicer than its own…and so it learns envy. 

Starting its first job it watches as other employees get company perks, hears them brag about buying new cars and boats, sees the boss take extravagant trips…and so it learns greed. 

Today, this child is among us, even some of us…rearing a family, working at a profession, or running a business. Children are like a sponge, always having their ears and eyes wide open absorbing the world around them. Thus, we need to mind our virtues, utilizing caution to shield what children watch, hear and see because remember friends… when children grow up…they become us. 

Can you imagine…children growing up with moral excellence?

 copyright 2013 - Bobbi G