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The Deluxe Doll House

Just for Fun

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Subject: THE DAFFODIL PRINCIPLE
 

Several times my daughter had telephoned to say,
Mother, you must come see the daffodils before they
are over." I wanted to go, but it was a two-hour drive
from Laguna to Lake Arrowhead. "I will come next
Tuesday, " I promised, a little reluctantly, on her
third call.

Next Tuesday dawned cold and rainy. Still, I had
promised, and so I drove there. When I finally walked
into Carolyn's house and hugged and greeted my
grandchildren, I said, "Forget the daffodils, Carolyn!
The road is invisible in the clouds and fog, and there
is nothing in the world except you and these children
that I want to see bad enough to drive another inch!"

My daughter smiled calmly and said, "We drive in this
all the time, Mother."

"Well, you won't get me back on the road until it
clears, and then I'm heading for home!" I assured her.

"I was hoping you'd take me over to the garage to pick
up my car."

"How far will we have to drive?"

"Just a few blocks," Carolyn said. "I'll drive. I'm
used to this."

After several minutes, I had to ask, "Where are we
going? This isn't the way to the garage!"

"We're going to my garage the long way," Carolyn
smiled, "by way of the daffodils."

"Carolyn," I said sternly, "please turn around."

"It's all right, Mother, I promise. You will never
forgive yourself if you miss this experience."

After about twenty minutes, we turned onto a small
gravel road and I saw a small church. On the far side
of the church, I saw a hand lettered sign that read,
"Daffodil Garden."

We got out of the car and each took a child's hand,
and I followed Carolyn down the path. Then, we turned
a corner of the path, and I looked up and gasped.
Before me lay the most glorious sight. It looked as
though someone had taken a great vat of gold and
poured it down over the mountain peak and slopes. The
flowers were planted in majestic, swirling
patterns-great ribbons and swaths of deep orange,
white, lemon yellow, salmon pink, saffron, and butter
yellow. Each different-colored variety was planted as
a group so that it swirled and flowed like its own
river with its own unique hue.

There were five acres of flowers.

"But who has done this?" I asked Carolyn.

"It's just one woman," Carolyn answered. "She lives on
the property. That's her home." Carolyn pointed to a
well kept A-frame house that looked small and modest
in the midst of all that glory.

We walked up to the house. On the patio, we saw a
poster.

"Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking" was
the headline. The first answer was a simple one.
"50,000 bulbs,"it read. The second answer was, "One at
a time, by one woman. Two hands, two feet, and very
little brain." The third answer was, "Began in 1958."

There it was, The Daffodil Principle.

For me, that moment was a life-changing experience. I
thought of this woman whom I had never met, who, more
than forty years before, had begun-one bulb at a
time-to bring her vision of beauty and joy to an
obscure mountain top. Still, just planting one bulb at
a time, year after year, had changed the world. This
unknown woman had forever changed the world in which
she lived. She had created something of indescribable
magnificence, beauty, and inspiration.

The principle her daffodil garden taught is one of the
greatest principles of celebration. That is, learning
to move toward our goals and desires one step at a
time--often just one baby-step at a time--and learning
to love the doing, learning to use the accumulation of
time.

When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small
increments of daily effort, we too will find we can
accomplish magnificent things. We can change the
world.

"It makes me sad in a way," I admitted to Carolyn.
"What might I have accomplished if I had thought of a
wonderful goal thirty-five or forty years ago and had
worked away at it 'one bulb at a time' through all
those years. Just think what I might have been able to
achieve!"

My daughter summed up the message of the day in her
usual direct way. "Start tomorrow," she said. It's so
pointless to think of the lost hours of yesterdays.
The way to make learning a lesson of celebration
instead of a cause for regret is to only ask, "How can
I put this to use today?"

So, stop waiting...

Until your car or home is paid off
Until you get a new car or home
Until your kids leave the house Until you go back to
school
Until you finish school
Until you lose 10 lbs.
Until you gain 10 lbs. Until you get married
Until you get a divorce
Until you have kids Until you retire
Until summer Until spring
Until winter
Until fall
Until you die

There is no better time than right now to be happy.
Happiness is a journey, not a destination.
So work like you don't need money,
Love like you've never been hurt,
And, dance like no one's watching.

FW: Chocolate Sings!

I have a new delightful friend, I am most in awe of her. When we first met I was impressed, by her bizarre behavior.
That day I had a date with friends, We met to have some lunch Mae had come along with them, all. When the menus were presented, we ordered salads, sandwiches, and soups, except for Mae who circumvented, and said, "Ice Cream, please: two scoops."

I was not sure my ears heard right and the others were aghast.

Along with heated apple pie, Mae added, completely unabashed. We tried to act quite nonchalant, as if people did this all the time.

But when our orders were brought out, I did not enjoy mine. I could not take my eyes off Mae. The other ladies showed dismay, they ate their lunches silently, and frowned.

Well, the next time I went out to eat, I called and invited Mae. My lunch contained white tuna meat, she ordered a parfait.

I smiled when her dish I viewed, and she asked if she amused me.

I answered, Yes, you do, but also you confuse me.

How come you order rich desserts, when I feel I must be sensible?

She laughed and said, with wanton mirth, I am tasting all that's possible. I try to eat the food I need, and do the things I should.

But life's so short, my friend, indeed, I hate missing out on something good. This year I realized how old I was, she grinned, I've not been this old before.

So, before I die, I've got to try, those things for years I had ignored. I've not smelled all the flowers yet, there're too many books I have not read.

There're more fudge sundaes to wolf down and kites to be flown overhead.

There are many malls I have not shopped, I've not laughed at all the jokes. I've missed a lot of Broadway Hits, and potato chips and I want to wade again in water, and feel ocean spray upon my face.

Sit in a country church once more, and thank God for It's grace.

I want peanut butter every day spread on my morning toast.

I want UN-timed long-distance calls, to the folks I love the most.

I've not cried at all the movies yet, walked in the morning rain.

I need to feel wind in my hair, I want to fall in love again. So, if I choose to have dessert, instead of having dinner.

Then should I die before nightfall, I'd say I died a winner. Because I missed out on nothing, I filled my heart's desire. I had that final chocolate mousse, before my life expired.

With that, I called the waitress over, I've changed my mind, it seems. I said, I want what she is having, only add some more whipped-cream. Here is a little something for you all. We need an annual Girlfriends Day! Money talks, but Chocolate sings.

Author unknown

 Where we live, on the Eastern shore of Maryland, the gentle waters run in and out like fingers slimming at the tips. They curl into the smaller creeks and coves like tender palms.

     The Canada geese know this place, as do the white swans and the ducks who ride an inch above the waves of Chesapeake Bay as they skim their way into harbor.  In the autumn, by the thousands, they come home for the winter. The swans move toward the shores in a stately glide, their tall heads proud and unafraid.

     They lower their long necks deep into the water, where their strong beaks dig through the river bottoms for food. And there is, between the arrogant swans and the prolific geese, an indifference, almost a disdain.

     Once or twice each year, snow and sleet move into the area. When this happens, if the river is at its narrowest, or the creek shallow, there is a freeze which hardens the water to ice.

  It was on such a morning, near Osford, Maryland, that a friend of mine set the breakfast table beside the huge window, which overlooked the Tred Avon River.

Across the river, beyond the dock, the snow laced the rim of the shore in white. For a moment she stood quietly, looking at what the night's storm had painted.

     Suddenly she leaned forward and peered close to the frosted window.

     "It really is," she cried out loud, "there is a goose out there." She reached to the bookcase and pulled out a pair of binoculars. Into their sights came the figure of a large Canada goose, very still, its wings folded tight to its sides, its feet frozen to the ice.

     Then from the dark skies, she saw a line of swans. They moved in their own singular formation, graceful, intrepid, and free. They crossed from the west of the broad creek high above the house, moving steadily to the east.

     As my friend watched, the leader swung to the right, then the white string of birds became a white circle. It floated from the top of the sky downward.

     At last, as easy as feathers coming to earth, the circle landed on the ice.

     My friend was on her feet now, with one unbelieving hand against her mouth.

  As the swans surrounded the frozen goose, she feared what life he still had might be pecked out by those great swan bills.

     Instead, amazingly instead, those bills began to work on the ice. The long necks were lifted and curved down, again and again, it went on for a long time. At last, the goose was rimmed by a narrow margin of ice instead of the entire creek. The swans rose again, following the leader, and hovered in that circle, awaiting the results of their labors.

     The goose's head lifted. Its body pulled. Then the goose was free and standing on the ice. He was moving his big webbed feet slowly. And the swans stood in the air watching. Then, as if he had cried, "I cannot fly", four of the swans came down around him. Their powerful beaks scraped the goose's wings from top to bottom, scuttled under its wings and rode up its body, chipping off and melting the ice held in the feathers.

     Slowly, as if testing, the goose spread its wings as far as they would go, brought them together, accordion-like, and spread again.

     When at last the wings reached their fullest, the four swans took off and joined the hovering group. They resumed their eastward journey, in perfect formation, to their secret destination.

     Behind them, rising with incredible speed and joy, the goose moved into the sky. He followed them, flapping double time, until he caught up, until he joined the last end of the line, like a small child at the end of a crack-the-whip of older boys.

     My friend watched them until they disappeared over the tips of the farthest trees. Only then, in the dusk, which was suddenly deep, did she realize that tears were running down her cheeks and had been for how long she didn't know.

     This is a true story. It happened. I do not try to interpret it. I just think of it in the bad moments, and from it comes only one hopeful question:

    "If so for birds, why not for man?"






 By Catherine Moore 

'Watch out! You nearly broad sided that car!' My
 father yelled at me.  'Can't you do anything right?'
 
Those words hurt worse than blows. I turned my head toward the elderly man in the seat beside me, daring me to challenge him. A lump rose in my throat as I averted my eyes. I wasn't prepared for another battle.
 
 'I saw the car, Dad. Please don't yell at me when
 I'm driving.' My voice was measured and steady, sounding far calmer than I really felt.

Dad glared at me, then turned away and settled back. At
home I left Dad in front of the television and went outside to collect my thoughts.  The rumble of distant thunder seemed to echo my inner turmoil.  What could I do about him? 

 Dad had been a lumberjack in Washington and Oregon . He
had enjoyed being outdoors and had reveled in pitting his strength against the forces of nature. He had entered grueling lumberjack competitions, and had placed often. The shelves in his house were filled with trophies that attested to his prowess. The years marched on relentlessly. The first time he couldn't lift a heavy log, he joked about it; but later that same day I saw him outside alone, straining to lift it. He became
irritable whenever anyone teased him about his advancing
age, or when he couldn't do something he had done as a younger man.

Four days after his sixty-seventh birthday, he had a heart attack. An ambulance sped him to the hospital while a paramedic administered CPR to keep blood and oxygen flowing. At the hospital, Dad was rushed into an operating room. He was lucky; he survived.  But something inside Dad died. His zest for life was gone. He obstinately refused to follow doctor's orders. Suggestions and offers of help were turned aside with sarcasm and insults. The number of visitors thinned, then finally stopped altogether. Dad was left alone.

My husband, Dick, and I asked Dad to come live with us on our small farm. We hoped the fresh air and rustic atmosphere would help him adjust. Within a week after he moved in, I regretted the invitation. It seemed nothing was satisfactory. He criticized everything I did. I became frustrated and moody.
 
Soon I was taking my pent-up anger out on Dick. We began to bicker and argue. Alarmed, Dick sought out our pastor and explained the situation. The clergyman set up weekly counseling appointments for us. At the close of each session he prayed, asking God to soothe Dad's troubled mind. But the months wore on and God was silent. Something had to be done and it was up to me to do it.

The next day I sat down with the phone book and methodically called each of the mental health clinics listed in the Yellow Pages. I explained my problem to each of the sympathetic voices that answered In vain. Just when I was giving up hope, one of the voices suddenly exclaimed, 'I just read something that might help you! Let me go get the article.'
 
I listened as she read. The article described a remarkable study done at a nursing home. All of the patients were under  treatment for chronic depression. Yet their attitudes had improved dramatically when they were given responsibility for a dog.

I drove to the animal shelter that afternoon. After I filled out a questionnaire, a uniformed officer led me to the kennels. The odor of disinfectant stung my nostrils as I moved down the row of pens. Each contained five to seven dogs. Long-haired dogs, curly-haired dogs, black dogs, spotted dogs all jumped up, trying to reach me. I studied each one but rejected one after the other for various reasons, too big, too small, too much hair. As I neared the last pen a dog in the shadows of the far corner struggled to his feet, walked to the front of the run and sat down. It was a pointer, one of the dog world's aristocrats. But this was a caricature of the breed. Years had etched his face and muzzle with shades of gray. His hipbones jutted out in lopsided triangles. But it was his eyes that caught and held my attention. Calm and clear, they beheld me unwaveringly.

 I pointed to the dog. 'Can you tell me about him?'
The officer looked, then shook his head in puzzlement. 
'He's a funny one. Appeared out of nowhere and sat
in front of the gate. We brought him in, figuring someone would be right down to claim him, that was two weeks ago and we've heard nothing. His time is up tomorrow.' He gestured helplessly.

As the words sank in I turned to the man in horror.
 'You mean you're going to kill him?' 
'Ma'am,' he said gently, 'that's our policy. We don't have room for every unclaimed dog.'
I looked at the pointer again. The calm brown eyes awaited
my decision.
'I'll take him,' I said. 
I drove home with the dog on the front seat beside me. 
When I reached the house, I honked the horn twice. I was helping my prize out of the car when Dad shuffled onto the front porch. 
 
 'Ta-da! Look what I got for you, Dad!' I said excitedly. 
Dad looked, then wrinkled his face in disgust. 'If I
had wanted a dog I would have gotten one. And I would have picked out a better specimen than that bag of bones. Keep it! I don't want it'
Dad waved his arm scornfully and turned back toward the house. 
Anger rose inside me. It squeezed together my throat
muscles and pounded into my temples.

'You'd better get used to him, Dad. He's staying!' Dad ignored me. 'Did you hear me, Dad?' I screamed. At those words Dad
whirled angrily, his hands clenched at his sides, his eyes narrowed and blazing with hate. 

 We stood glaring at each other like duelists, when suddenly the pointer pulled free from my grasp. He wobbled toward my dad and sat down in front of him. Then slowly, carefully, he raised his paw. 
Dad's lower jaw trembled as he stared at the uplifted paw. Confusion replaced the anger in his eyes. The pointer waited
patiently. Then Dad was on his knees hugging the animal.

It was the beginning of a warm and intimate friendship.
Dad named the pointer Cheyenne . Together he and Cheyenne explored the community. They spent long hours walking down dusty lanes. They spent reflective moments on the banks of streams, angling for tasty trout. They even started to attend Sunday services together, Dad sitting in a pew and Cheyenne lying quietly at his feet.

Dad and Cheyenne were inseparable throughout the next
three years. Dad's bitterness faded, and he and Cheyenne made many friends. Then late one night I was startled to feel Cheyenne 's cold nose burrowing through our bed covers. He had never before come into our bedroom at night. I woke Dick, put on my robe and ran into my father's room. Dad lay in his bed, his face serene. But his spirit had left quietly sometime during the night.

Two days later my shock and grief deepened when I
discovered Cheyenne lying dead beside Dad's bed. I wrapped his still form in the rag rug he had slept on. As Dick and I buried him near a favorite fishing hole, I silently thanked the dog for the help he had given me in restoring Dad's peace of mind.

The morning of Dad's funeral dawned overcast and dreary. This day looks like the way I feel, I thought, as I walked down the aisle to the pews reserved for family. I was surprised to see the many friends Dad and Cheyenne had made filling the church. The pastor began his eulogy. It was a tribute to both Dad and the dog who had changed his life. And then the pastor turned to Hebrews 13:2. 'Be not forgetful to entertain strangers.'

'I've often thanked God for sending that
angel,' he said.  For me, the past dropped into place, completing a puzzle that I had not seen before: the sympathetic voice that had just read the right article. Cheyenne's unexpected appearance at the animal shelter. . .his calm acceptance and complete devotion to my father. . and the proximity of their deaths. And suddenly I understood. I knew that God had answered my prayers after all. Life is too short for drama & petty things, so laugh hard, love truly and forgive quickly. Live While You Are Alive. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity. Forgive now those who made you cry. You might not get a second time. 
And if you don't send this to at least 4 people - who 
cares?
 
 But do share it with someone. 

 Lost time can never be found!