AND THE REST OF THE STORY IS …

 

images-1.jpg

I used to love listening to Paul Harvey’s program, The Rest of the Story. He would share the unknown facts to a familiar story that completely changed what I understood as the truth.

Two incidents happened this week that have reminded me of how much I need to know the rest of the story before I make judgments.

The incident I’m about to share happened this week. Two neighbors had pets. One neighbor had two pit bull terriers, the other a seven-month-old cat. The pits broke through their neighbor’s fence and ran into their yard. One of the pits grabbed the cat into its mouth and bit the cat in half. The cat had been sleeping in as sunny patch in her own yard. Because there are children and dogs in her family she had no fear of the sounds of an animal running toward her. She had no idea she was in danger. Frankly, she probably didn’t even know what hit her. The pit’s family was away for the day and the cat’s family had no choice but to call animal control to do something about the pits in their yard.

Animal control took the pits away and because one of them killed a pet in that pet’s yard they were held under the vicious animal act and were to be euthanized within 3 days. When the owner of the pits returned and learned of their pets’ plight, she put out a plea on Facebook saying her dog killed the neighbor’s cat and that her dogs were going to be euthanized. She asked if anyone outside of the town would be willing to rehome them and save their lives.

That’s when it hit the fan. Comments on Facebook went crazy. All of a sudden people accused the cat of tormenting the dog. One fellow said, “Dogs kill cats all the time.” Others wrote that the only reason these dogs were going to be put down is because they were pits. (Which was not the case. The law states that any animal that tresspasses and kills will be considered vicious.) Some even went on to say the owners of the cat were irresponsible.

How did they come up with such conjectures?

Now for the rest of the story: these pits regularly escaped their yard and ran all over the neighborhood. On multiple occasions several neighbors had asked the owners of the pits to control their dogs, to fix their fence or build higher fences. The owners never complied. On the day of the cat’s death, the owners had left their dogs in the back yard because they were going to be gone for the entire day and didn’t want to leave them cooped up in the house. They did this even though they knew the dogs could escape. Frankly, all the neighbors were sick of being terrorized by these dogs and were relieved to be able to give statements to the animal control agents saying as much.

When the owners of the cat heard of the dogs’ fate, they went to the pits’ owners and said they would do what they had to do to save the dogs if only the pit owners would build a higher and more sturdy fence. The cat’s family also has a newborn son who would soon be toddling around in the back yard. They needed to feel safe in their own yard. But the law prevented the cat owners from intervening. The dogs either had to leave the town or die.

Fortunately, someone out of town offered the dogs a home.

So the rest of the story leads to the correct conclusion that had the owners of the pits been more responsible, this would not have happened and they would still have their beloved pets. However, now neither neighbor has their pet. Thankfully, it was a cat instead of a child.

Remember the story about the doctor being dragged of a United Airlines jet a few months ago? The media portrayed a grim scene. This week I heard the rest of that story by someone well acquainted with the situation. As it turns out this doctor had already agreed to give up his seat and left the jet. However, when he found he couldn’t fly out later in the day, he wanted his seat back and tried to take it even though it now belonged to someone else. Did we hear that side? Nope.

So, both of these situations give me reason to pause. Before I let a Facebook post or a news story raise my blood pressure I need to remind myself to stop and consider, what is the rest of the story?

BUILDING BRIDGES INSTEAD OF WALLS

IMG_2088.jpgThe greatest communication skill is paying value to others. ~ Denis Waitley

If I wanted to help someone go from point A to point B, but there was a great divide separating A & B what would I do? Build a wall or build a bridge? The obvious answer is to build a bridge. The person may decide to stand his or her ground on point A, but, this person also has the option to cross over to B. 

Now, say I wanted to help someone go from point A to point B and I build a wall, what happens? I’ve created a barrier. 

I’ve seen a lot of wall builders lately. And if these people honestly wanted to help others to see the other side, they would build a bridge of reason, not a wall of anger and hyped-up fear. I also see wall-building in relationships. Friends who have everything going for them except for one thing—politics. And yet they sacrifice that friendship on the wall. People are actually devaluing their friends for a temporary situation. 

Listen folks, Trump isn’t the only wall builder in this country!

OUR STATE OF MIND? OUR CHOICE!

Watch your manner of speech if you wish to develop a peaceful state of mind. Start each day by affirming peaceful, contented and happy attitudes and your days will tend to be pleasant and successful. ~ Norman Vincent Peale

Every election year the same thing happens. If the Liberals win the Conservatives bemoan the end of the world and the coming of the Antichrist. If the Conservatives win the Liberals bemoan the end of the world and the coming of the Antichrist. The four years that follow, the losing side posts divisive things on Facebook trashing the elected president and elected officials who are not of their persuasion.

I get so sick of this cycle and want to scream, “STOP IT!” We are all a part of this country. We need to pull together no matter who is president! What Norman Vincent Peale said in the above quote may seem simplistic to some, but it is true. We need to focus on peaceful, contented, and happy attitudes. AND we need to do this for our fellow Americans. If we must post on social media, then post affirming things. NOT repost hateful, divisive, fear-mongering things that may not, and probably is not, entirely true.

Let us be an instrument of peace to both ourselves and to others. Let’s guard our minds, focus on what we are absolutely certain is true (not rely on the media for truth for Heaven’s sake) and be grateful.

2017. What will our attitude be about it? It is our choice.

happy-new-year-facebook-cover-1-700x259

TELL YOURSELF THE TRUTH

Do not walk in the path of human reason, and resist the pressures that would project you into conjectures about the future. Live one day at a time! ~ Frances J Roberts

Photo on 11-14-16 at 4.33 PM #2.jpg

Imagine with me a moment. Let’s say you are unhappy with the election. Let’s say you are downright livid, frightened out of your skin, worried, unconsolable. You and like-minded friends talk about all the horrible things that are going to happen to this and within this country. You talk about the might be’s, the what if’s, and the I heard’s. Let’s say you spend the rest of this month and the better part of the next in this stew of emotions.

Let’s say you die on December 12th.

Is this the way you would have  wanted to fill your last days? Anger, fear, worry, depression? The irony of it all is that the misery you and your like-minded friends on Facebook and around the coffee table feared might happen, would have actually happened in your life by your own hand.

We are all given one day at a time. And in that day, we need to tell ourselves the truth about that day. DON’T TRUST THE MEDIA TELL YOU THE TRUTH! Why? Because they have a vested interest in keeping things stirred up.

Stay in the day you are in. If what you fear actually  happens in that day, then you have reason to fret. However, I suggest you find beauty in each day. Instead of contributing hate, anger, and fear on your FB page and among friends, choose to be an instrument of peace, spark kindness, and be a source of life.

Do yourself a favor and tell yourself the truth.

LET THEM KNOW

fullsizeoutput_531d

The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone. ~ Harriet Beecher Stowe

This year has been one with way too many funerals.  Precious souls who have been wrenched from our lives. Sudden. Untimely. Unfair.

At each service while listening to friends and family share how the departed enriched their lives, I’m reminded of a song that states, “Give me roses while I am living.”

Am I doing enough of that? What would I say about someone, about what they meant to me, about their character, and what I really appreciated about them, during their funeral service that I’ve not said to their face?

Now, while they live, it is time to let them know.

TELL ME A STORY…about you!

img_5512

The greatest art in the world is the art of storytelling. ~ Cecil B. DeMille

When I encourage people to write down their stories the usual replies are:

  • My life is nothing special
  • I haven’t done anything worth writing about
  • No one would be interested, who would read them?

In 1874 a young man kept a day planner. In it he recorded the weather and something he did that day, like picking cotton, going to the cotton gin, or sitting up with a sick friend. He wrote about going to church or eating supper with family. If someone had told him his scribblings would one day be treasured, he would have thought that person was nuts. When 1875 rolled around, he threw his the 1874 planner in the drawer. Over the years the little planner was passed on until it landed in the hands of his great-granddaughter in 2010. She opened it and ran her finger over his writing while reverently reading what he had to say. This was her touching point, her connection, with a long-dead relative. To her, it wasn’t day-to-day ramblings. It was a treasure.

That great-granddaughter is me.

Writer Page Lambert once said, “We cannot change the pain of our past, but we can give health to the future.” We can do this through writing. The difference between what my great-grandfather did and what I do is writing with purpose. Writing to give health to the future. And good news! You don’t have to be a writer to do this. Just tell your stories.

Write about:

  • Mistakes you made, what you learned from them, and how you overcame.
  • Influential people in your life, why they are influential, how they have inspired you
  • Your observations and epiphanies from the historic events that have taken place in your lifetime. Things that have changed or influenced the way we live in the USA, or even the world. Natural disasters, the social media explosion, or modern inventions.
  • Memories made or lessons that can be taken from your hobbies.

You may not think anyone will be interested. But from experience let me say, yes, your stories will be treasured. They are threads in the fabric of humanity.

Your stories matter.

THE BEST GIFT OF ALL

DSC_0018

When you give someone your time, you are giving them a portion of your life that you’ll never get back.Your time is your life. That is why the greatest gift you can give someone is your time. ~ Rick Warren

When I think back over my life, I remember moments more than things. Do you? Things gather dust, grow outdated, break, get lost, sometimes sold in garage sales, or are given away. But when I give my time, moments are created. Those we keep for a lifetime. Giving time gives me rewards, like laughing with my dad. Or the fun I have taking my mom to Mississippi to visit her sister. (My beautiful mom is on my right side in this pic. Her sister is on my left). We talk, we laugh, and solve the worlds problems during that ten-hour journey.

IMG_1677.jpg

Watching my children grow into adults and having children of their own are like daily diamonds—a lot of pressure while they are forming, but are sparkling jewels in my memories. Remember that Amanda! Elizabeth is a diamond in the rough!

IMG_5318.JPG  IMG_0168.jpg

And let’s not forget friends. When my soul-tank is empty, they fill it back up. I always want to make time to do the same for them.

IMG_0304.JPG

I gladly give the gift of my time to others. because the rewards received back are rich moments that will remain with me throughout my life and grow more valuable with each passing year.

Stuff is stuff. Poof! It’s gone. But moments? They are everlasting. And in the giving is the receiving.