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Hire someone for a day whether you need it or not, you never know where it might go

All of my life I have been very independant.  I have built several homes, I cut and split my own firewood and I if something came along that needed to be done, I simply did it.  Some friends and I were talking about the down turn in the economy and counting our blessings that we are still doing ok.  The  conversation came around to how we could do our little part to help out.  We decided that we would hire a local to do some chore once a week.

With winter coming I have been busy making sure that everything is tucked away for the winter.  I put an ad at the post office.  I had a call within 20 minutes and I hired the young man, to come in and give me a hand.  We winterized the boat, picked up twigs that might later get caught in the snow blower, seeded some areas so grass would grow under the snow, moved some fire wood and pulled the garden. I was thrilled to have all the little stuff out of the way.

Today I found out just how quickly karma can swing around.  That young man stopped at the store to buy some food for his young family.  He came across a guy that he told his good fortune to and the guy suggested that he pass it on by helping out at can drive.  The young man went to the can drive and met a man who was down on his luck and he gave him $20 for the gas tank so he could apply for a job.  That man got the job and related that he was grateful for the job and how he had come to get the money so he could come for the interview.  His new found boss had friend that needed a handyman for his sister and the brother hired the young man that helped me.  The sister that he now works for wanted to sell a piece of property but didn’t know who to turn to.  She called me yesterday to list her property and to tell me the chain of events.

Most of the time we do not get to hear about how one act of kindness may affect someone.  It may be as simple as a smile at the right time or something that takes some sacrifice.  No matter what, random acts of kindness always bring a multitude of joy

http://www.lakeandhomes.com
info@lakeandhomes.com
Rain Silverhawk Realtor
Sandpoint Realty
223 North First Ave. |  Sandpoint, ID. 83864
Phone (208)  610-0011  FAX 208-265-5641

The Pickle Jar

The pickle jar as far back as I can remember sat on the floor beside the dresser in my parents’ bedroom. When he got ready for bed, Dad would empty his pockets and toss his coins into the jar.

As a small boy I was always fascinated at the sounds the coins made as they were dropped into the jar. They ended with a merry jingle when the jar was almost empty. Then the tones gradually muted to a dull thud as the jar was filled. I used to squat on the floor in front of the jar and admire the copper and silver circles that glinted like a pirate’s treasure when the sun poured through the bedroom window.

When the jar was filled, Dad would sit at the kitchen table and roll the coins before taking them to the bank. Taking the coins to the bank was always a big production. Stacked neatly in a small cardboard box, the coins were placed between Dad and me on the seat of his old truck. Each and every time, as we drove to the bank, Dad would look at me hopefully. “Those coins are going to keep you out of the textile mill, son.

You’re going to do better than me. This old mill town’s not going to hold you back.” Also, each and every time, as he slid the box of rolled coins across the counter at the bank toward the cashier, he would grin proudly.

“These are for my son’s college fund. He’ll never work at the mill all his life like me.” We would always celebrate each deposit by stopping for an ice cream cone. I always got chocolate. Dad always got vanilla. When the clerk at the ice cream parlor handed Dad his change, he would show me the few coins nestled in his palm. “When we get home, we’ll start filling the jar again.”

He always let me drop the first coins into the empty jar. As they rattled around with a brief, happy jingle, we grinned at each other. “You’ll get to college on pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters,” he said. “But you’ll get there. I’ll see to that.”

The years passed, and I finished college and took a job in another town. Once, while visiting my parents, I used the phone in their bedroom, and noticed that the pickle jar was gone. It had served its purpose and had been removed. A lump rose in my throat as I stared at the spot beside the dresser

where the jar had always stood. My dad was a man of few words, and never lectured me on the values of determination, perseverance, and faith. The pickle jar had taught me all these virtues far more eloquently than the most flowery of words could have done.

When I married, I told my wife Susan about the significant part the lowly pickle jar had played in my life as a boy. In my mind, it defined, more than anything else, how much my dad had loved me. No matter how rough things got at home, Dad continued to doggedly drop his coins into the jar. Even the summer when Dad got laid off from the mill, and Mama had to serve dried beans several times a week, not a single dime was taken from the jar.

To the contrary, as Dad looked across the table at me, pouring catsup over my beans to make them more palatable, he became more determined than ever to make away out for me. “When you finish college, Son,” he told me, his eyes glistening, “You’ll never have to eat beans again…unless you want to.”

The first Christmas after our daughter Jessica was born, we spent the holiday with my parents. After dinner, Mom and Dad sat next to each other on the sofa, taking turns cuddling their first grandchild. Jessica began to whimper softly, and Susan took her from Dad’s arms. “She probably needs to be changed,” she said, carrying the baby into my parents’ bedroom to diaper her. When Susan came back into the living room, there was a strange mist in her eyes. She handed Jessica back to Dad before taking my hand and leading me into the room.

“Look,” she said softly, her eyes directing me to a spot on the floor beside the dresser. To my amazement, there, as if it had never been removed, stood the old pickle jar, the bottom already covered with coins. I walked over to the pickle jar, dug down into my pocket, and pulled out a fistful of coins.

With a gamut of emotions choking me, I dropped the coins into the jar. I looked up and saw that Dad, carrying Jessica, had slipped quietly into the room. Our eyes locked, and I knew he was feeling the same emotions I felt.

Neither one of us could speak.


~ Author Unknown ~

Rocks and Sand

A philosophy professor stood before his class and had some items in
front of him. When class began, wordlessly he picked up a large
empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks, rocks
about 2″ in diameter.

He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.
So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them
into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course,
rolled into the open areas between the rocks.

He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The students laughed. The professor picked up a box of sand and
poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.

“Now,” said the professor, “I want you to recognize that this is
your life. The rocks are the important things – your family, your
partner, your health, your children – anything that is so important
to you that if it were lost, you would be nearly destroyed.

“The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your
house, your car.

“The sand is everything else. The small stuff.

“If you put the sand into the jar first, there is no room for the
pebbles or the rocks. The same goes for your life. If you spend
all your energy and time on the small stuff, you will never have
room for the things that are important to you.

“Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.
Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your
partner out dancing. There will always be time to go to work, clean
the house, give a dinner party and fix the disposal.

“Take care of the rocks first – the things that really matter. Set
your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

There are two days in every week about which we should not worry.
Two days which should be kept free from fear and apprehension.

One of these days is yesterday with its mistakes and cares,
Its faults and blunders, Its aches and pains.
Yesterday has passed forever beyond our control.
All the money in the world cannot bring back yesterday.
We cannot undo a single act we performed.
We cannot erase a single word we said. Yesterday is gone.

The other day we should not worry about is tomorrow.
With its possible adversities, Its burdens,
Its large promise and poor performance.
Tomorrow is also beyond our immediate control.
Tomorrow’s Sun will rise, either in splendor or behind a mask of clouds,
but it will rise.
Until it does, we have no stake in tomorrow, for it is yet unborn.
This just leaves only one day . . . Today.
Any person can fight the battles of just one day.
It is only when you and I add the burdens of those two awful eternity’s –
yesterday and tomorrow that we break down.
It is not the experience of today that drives people mad.
It is the remorse or bitterness for something which happened yesterday
and the dread of what tomorrow may bring.

Let us therefore live but one day at a time.

~ Author Unknown ~
(Possible author Jennifer Kritsch)

Don’t Judge By The Looks

A lady in a faded gingham dress and her husband, dressed in a homespun threadbare suit, stepped off the train in Boston, and walked timidly without an appointment into the president’s outer office. The secretary could tell in a moment that such backwoods, country hicks had no business at Harvard and probably didn’t even deserve to be in Cambridge. She frowned.

“We want to see the president,” the man said softly.

“He’ll be busy all day,” the secretary snapped.

“We’ll wait,” the lady replied.

For hours, the secretary ignored them, hoping that the couple would finally become discouraged and go away. They didn’t. And the secretary grew frustrated and finally decided to disturb the president, even though it was a chore she always regretted to do. “Maybe if they just see you for a few minutes, they’ll leave,” she told him. And he sighed in exasperation and nodded. Someone of his importance obviously didn’t have the time to spend with them, but he detested gingham dresses and homespun suits cluttering up his outer office. The president, stern-faced with dignity, strutted toward the couple.

The lady told him, “We had a son that attended Harvard for one year. He loved Harvard. He was happy here. But about a year ago, he was accidentally killed. And my husband and I would like to erect a memorial to him, somewhere on campus”. The president wasn’t touched he was shocked.

“Madam,” he said gruffly, “we can’t put up a statue for every person who attended Harvard and died. If we did, this place would look like a cemetery.”

“Oh, no,” the lady explained quickly, “we don’t want to erect a statue. We thought we would like to give a building to Harvard.

The president rolled his eyes. He glanced at the gingham dress and
homespun suit, then exclaimed, “A building! Do you have any earthly idea how much a building costs? We have over seven and a half million dollars in the physical plant at Harvard.” For a moment the lady was silent.

The president was pleased. He could get rid of them now.

The lady turned to her husband and said quietly, “Is that all it costs to start a University? Why don’t we just start our own?” Her husband nodded. The president’s face wilted in confusion and bewilderment.

Mr. and Mrs. Leland Stanford walked away, traveling to Palo Alto, California where they established the University that bears their name, a memorial to a son that Harvard no longer cared about!

1000 marbles

How many marbles do you have?

The older I get, the more I enjoy Saturday mornings. Perhaps it’s the quiet solitude that comes with being the first to rise, of maybe it’s the unbounded joy of not having to be at work. Either way, the first few hours of a Saturday morning are most enjoyable.

A few weeks ago, I was shuffling toward the kitchen, with a steaming cup of coffee in one hand and the morning paper in the other. What began as a typical Saturday morning turned into one of those lessons that life seems
to hand you from time to time.

Let me tell you about it. I turned the volume up on my radio in order to listen to a Saturday morning talk show. I heard an older sounding chap with a golden voice. You know the kind, he sounded like he should be in the
broadcasting business himself.

He was talking about “a thousand marbles” to someone named “Tom”. I was intrigued and sat down to listen to
what he had to say. “Well, Tom, it sure sounds like you’re busy with your job. I’m sure they pay you well but it’s a shame you have to be away from home and your family so much. Hard to believe a young fellow should have to work sixty or seventy hours a week to make ends meet. Too bad you missed your daughter’s dance recital. ” He continued, “Let me tell you something Tom, something that has helped me keep a good perspective on my own priorities.” And that’s when he began to explain his theory of a “thousand marbles.”

“You see, I sat down one day and did a little arithmetic. The average person lives about seventy-five years. I know, some live more and some live less, but on average, folks live about seventy-five years.” “Now then, I multiplied 75
times 52 and I came up with 3900 which is the number of Saturdays that the average person has in their entire lifetime.

“Now stick with me Tom, I’m getting to the important part. “It took me until I was fifty-five years old to think about all this in any detail”, he went on, “and by that time I had lived through over twenty-eight hundred Saturdays. “I got to thinking that if I lived to be seventy-five, I only had about a thousand of them left to enjoy. “So I went to a toy store and bought every single marble they had. I ended up having to visit three toy stores to round-up 1000 marbles. “I took them home and put them inside of a large, clear plastic container right here in my workshop next to the radio. Every Saturday since then, I have taken one marble out and thrown it away.

“I found that by watching the marbles diminish, I focused more on the really important things in life. There is nothing like watching your time here on this earth run out to help get your priorities straight. “Now let me tell you one last thing before I sign-off with you and take my lovely wife out for breakfast. This morning, I took the very last marble out of the container. I figure if I make it until next Saturday then God has blessed me with a little extra time to be with my loved ones…… “It was nice to talk to you Tom, I hope you spend more time with your loved ones, and I hope to meet you again someday. Have a good morning!”

You could have heard a pin drop when he finished. Even the show’s moderator didn’t have anything to say for a few moments. I guess he gave us all a lot to think about. I had planned to do some work that morning, then go to the
gym. Instead, I went upstairs and woke my wife up with a kiss. “C’mon honey, I’m taking you and the kids to breakfast.” “What brought this on?” she asked with a smile. “Oh, nothing special,” I said. ” It has just been a
long time since we spent a Saturday together with the kids. Hey, can we stop at a toy store while we’re out? I need to buy some marbles.”

Information Please

When I was quite young, my father had one of the first telephones in our neighborhood. I remember well the polished old case fastened to the wall. The shiny receiver hung on the side of the box. I was too little to reach the telephone, but used to listen with fascination when my mother used to talk to it. Then I discovered that somewhere inside the wonderful device lived an amazing person – her name was “Information Please” and there was nothing she did not know. “Information Please” could supply anybody’s number and the correct time. My first personal experience with this genie-in the-bottle came one day while my mother was visiting a neighbor. Amusing myself at the tool bench in the basement, I whacked my finger with a hammer. The pain was terrible, but there didn’t seem to be any reason in crying because there was no one home to give sympathy. I walked around the house sucking my throbbing finger, finally arriving at the stairway.

The telephone! Quickly, I ran for the foot stool in the parlor and dragged it to the landing. Climbing up, I unhooked the receiver in the parlor and held it to my ear. “Information Please,” I said into the mouthpiece just above my head. A click or two and a small clear voice spoke into my ear.

“Information”
“I hurt my finger…” I wailed into the phone. The tears came readily enough now that I had an audience.
“Isn’t your mother home?” came the question.
“Nobody’s home but me.” I blubbered.
“Are you bleeding?” the voice asked.
“No,” I replied. “I hit my finger with the hammer and it hurts.”
“Can you open your icebox?” she asked. I said I could. “Then chip off a little piece of ice and hold it to your finger,” said the voice.

After that, I called “Information Please” for everything. I asked her for help with my geography and she told me where Philadelphia was. She helped me with my math. She told me my pet chipmunk, that I had
caught in the park just he day before, would eat fruit and nuts.

Then, there was the time Petey, our pet canary died. I called “Information Please” and told her the sad story. She listened, then said the usual things grown-ups say to soothe a child. But I was unconsoled. I asked her, “Why is it that birds should sing so beautifully and bring joy to all families, only to end up as a heap of feathers on the bottom of a cage?”

She must have sensed my deep concern, for she said quietly, “Paul, always remember that there are other worlds to sing in.” Somehow I felt better.

Another day I was on the telephone. “Information Please.”
“Information,” said the now familiar voice.
“How do you spell fix?” I asked.
All this took place in a small town in the Pacific Northwest. When I was 9 years old, we moved across the country to Boston. I missed my friend very much.

“Information Please” belonged in that old wooden box back home, and I somehow never thought of trying the tall, shiny new phone that sat on the table in the hall.

As I grew into my teens, the memories of those childhood conversations never really left me. Often, in moments of doubt and perplexity I would recall the serene sense of security I had then. I appreciated now how patient, understanding, and kind she was to have spent her time on a little boy.

A few years later, on my way west to college, my plane put down in Seattle. I had about half an hour or so between planes. I spent 15 minutes or so on the phone with my sister, who lived there now. Then without thinking what I was doing, I dialed my hometown operator and said, “Information, Please.” Miraculously, I heard the small, clear voice I knew so well, “Information.”

I hadn’t planned this but I heard myself saying, “Could you please tell me how to spell fix?”
There was a long pause. Then came the soft spoken answer, “I guess your finger must have healed by now.”
I laughed. “So it’s really still you,” I said. “I wonder if you have any idea how much you meant to me during that time.”

“I wonder”, she said, “if you know how much your calls meant to me. I never had any children, and I used to look forward to your calls.” I told her how often I had thought of her over the years and I asked if I could call her again when I came back to visit my sister.

“Please do,” she said. “Just ask for Sally.”
Three months later I was back in Seattle. A different voice answered “Information.”
I asked for Sally.
“Are you a friend?” She said.
“Yes, a very old friend,” I answered.
“I’m sorry to have to tell you this, she said. Sally had been working part-time the last few years because she was sick. She died five weeks ago.”

Before I could hang up she said, “Wait a minute. Did you say your name was Paul?”
“Yes.”
“Well, Sally left a message for you. She wrote it down in case you called.
Let me read it to you.” The note said, “Tell him I still say there are other worlds to sing in. He’ll know what I mean.”

I thanked her and hung up. I knew what Sally meant.

* Anonymous

Christmas Envelope

It’s just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past 10 years or so. It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas-oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it-overspending, the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma-the gifts given in desperation because you couldn’t think of anything else.

Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way.

Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was wrestling at the junior level at the school he attended; and shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church, mostly black. These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented
a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes. As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler’s ears. It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford. Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. And as each of their boys got up from the mat, he
swaggered around in his tatters with false bravado, a kind of street pride that couldn’t acknowledge defeat. Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, “I wish just one of them could have won,” he said. “They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them.”

Mike loved kids-all kids-and he knew them, having coached little league football, baseball and lacrosse. That’s when the idea for his present came. That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church. On Christmas Eve, I placed the envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done and that this was his gift from me. His smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year and in succeeding years. For each Christmas, I followed the tradition-one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas,
and on and on. The envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always
the last thing opened on Christmas morning and our children, ignoring their new toys, would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents.

As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the envelope never lost its allure. The story doesn’t end there. You see, we lost Mike last year due to dreaded cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree, and in the morning, it was joined by three more. Each of our children, unbeknownst to the others, had placed an envelope on the tree for their dad. The tradition has grown and
someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing around the tree with wide-eyed anticipation watching as their fathers take down the envelope. Mike’s spirit, like the Christmas spirit, will always be with us.

May we all remember the Christmas spirit this year and always.

An Old Lady’s Poem

What do you see, nurses, what do you see?
What are you thinking when you’re looking at me?
A crabby old woman, not very wise,
Uncertain of habit, with faraway eyes?
Who dribbles her food and makes no reply””
Who seems not to notice the things that you do,
And forever is losing a stocking or shoe….
Who, resisting or not, lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding, the long day to fill….
Then open your eyes, nurse; you’re not looking at me.
I’ll tell you who I am as I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding, as I eat at your will.
I’m a small child of ten…with a father ! and mother,
Brothers and sisters, who love one another.
A young girl of sixteen, with wings on her feet,
Dreaming that soon now a lover she’ll meet.
A bride soon at twenty–my heart gives a leap,
Remembering the vows that I promised to keep.
At twenty-five now, I have young of my own,
Who need me to guide and a secure happy home.
A woman of thirty, my young now grown fast,
Bound to each other with ties that should last.
At forty, my young sons have grown and are gone,
But my man’s beside me to see I don’t mourn.
At fifty once more, babies play around my knee,
Again we know children, my loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me, my husband is dead;
I look at the future, I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing young of their own,
And I think of the years and the love that I’ve known.
I’m now an old woman….and nature is cruel;
Tis jest to make old age look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles, grace and vigor depart,
There is now a stone where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass a young girl still dwells,
And now and again my battered heart swells.
I remember the joys, I remember the pain,
And I’m loving and living life over again.
I think of the years….all too few, gone too fast,
And accept the stark fact that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, nurses, open and see,
…Not a crabby old woman; look closer…see ME!!

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