This Is What a Real Hero Looks Like

October 21, 2014



Jack Mook

Jack Mook


I’ve always been in awe of individuals and couples who welcome children into their home via foster care or adoption. Thank God there are such people in the world who are willing to turn their own world inside out and upside down to give these children the love and care they so desperately need.

Jack Mook, a Pittsburgh police detective, is one such hero. When he learned why two foster children stopped Read the rest of this entry »

You Are a Bridge of Light

October 20, 2014
mike-dooley

Mike Dooley


Have you ever wondered why you were “different” from others? Why you looked at things differently? Why you felt about things differently?

There’s a reason for that. The planet is in desperate need of people who Read the rest of this entry »

The Mother of Big Stone County

October 14, 2014

Anna Bolsta

Anna Bolsta




When Anna Christine Bolsta, my great-great grandmother, died in 1927 at the age of eighty-six, her son, Alfred Leonadis Bolsta, wrote this tribute to her. It’s a revealing portrait of the unimaginably hardscrabble life of a pioneer woman who birthed ten children and was the very epitome of selfless service.





PROLOGUE: Ole Bolsta was a blacksmith, having learned the trade from his father in Norway. Ole had come to the United States in 1862 at the age of twenty-one. He met and married Anna in St. Peter and had two sons with her there to join the two daughters Anna had from a previous marriage. In April 1869, Ole and three other men left St. Peter, Minnesota, and headed west on the old Brown’s Trail looking for “wood and water.” They found both in Artichoke Township. Ole walked the 110 miles back to St. Peter, and in June 1869, brought his young wife and four children to Artichoke in an oxen-drawn covered wagon.


THE MOTHER OF BIG STONE COUNTY
Alfred Leonadis Bolsta’s tribute to his mother, Anna Christine Bolsta, following her death on March 23, 1927

After nearly fourscore years and ten, of a life of struggle and sacrifice, thrift and economy through fearsome necessity, the tired body of the mother of Big Stone County lies in peace and rest in her last earthly resting place, in the Ortonville cemetery, not twenty miles from the spot where her then tireless feet first touched the green sod of the virgin soil of Big Stone County fifty-eight years ago.

Anna Christine Bolsta was the ‘first white settler” of Big Stone County and while her life’s story is written with honorable mention in gold upon the pure white page of the scroll of Heaven, her passing, with scarce a mention of tribute, tore terribly at penitent hearts suffering in poignant bereavement and brought tears and sadness to a few friends. With some others their tears and sadness were deceit and mockery—things hated loathingly to the depth of the great, forgiving heart and understanding soul of the mother of Big Stone County.

She sleeps today—at rest—free from strife, worry, heartaches and pain, under the green sod in the clean, sweet, purifying earth of the county she loved, and on the little mound above her are many beautiful flowers, of which, if she could speak to us, she would say, ‘They are beautiful, but there are so many I wish you would put them on the other graves—just leave me that little geranium.”

The ebb-tide of her life of human adventure, such as few women have ever known, reached slowly through the rough breakers of discomfort and suffering toward the sublime beauty of the setting sun which heralds a refuge of peace and rest, just beyond the bar of the Great Adventure. And in that final travail of moral dissolution which she was well aware of, her thoughts were, as always, for the welfare of others, and she said, “I am sorry you have to bother Read the rest of this entry »

Awake: The Life of Yogananda

September 25, 2014

AWAKE: THE LIFE OF YOGANANDA TRAILER

awake-yogananda-movie-graphic

Co-director Paola di Florio

Co-director Paola di Florio







Awake: The Life of Yogananda, the new documentary exploring the life of Indian guru Paramahansa Yogananda, author of the spiritual classic Autobiography of a Yogi, opens in theaters nationwide this fall.









Co-director Lisa Leeman

Co-director Lisa Leeman







The film has already gained great acclaim, winning prestigious awards at major film fests, including the Read the rest of this entry »

They Don’t Know You Like We Do

September 16, 2014

School teacher Len Christie

School teacher Len Christie



Len Christie, a Western Australia primary school teacher wrote this letter to his students after they took the NAPLAN (National Assessment Program–Literacy and Numeracy), a standardized test to assess basic math and language skills.



While I certainly applaud any efforts to instill feelings of inherent value and worth in children, it must be done carefully to avoid a sense of entitlement and ensure that self-esteem is authentic rather than artificially implanted. That said, communicating to students like this is a wonderful start!



A Letter to all Students who sat NAPLAN this year

This week you would have received your NAPLAN test results. We are pleased that you tried your very best in these challenging tests and during the weeks and months leading up to them.

I’d like you, your family, friends and teachers to remember that these tests are unable to measure all of what it is that makes you the valued person who you are. The people who have created these tests and those that mark them don’t know you as well as your teachers know you, to the extent to which I know you and certainly not the way your family and friends know you.

They don’t know that many children at Beechboro Primary School speak one or more languages other than English. They also don’t know that you may Read the rest of this entry »

Giving Up Is Insane!

September 15, 2014

medals-live-your-dream-never-give-up
In an earlier post I wrote about the gift of rejection, I urged writers to let professional rejection inspire them and make them even more determined to succeed. Angelo Pizzo, the filmmaker behind Hoosiers and Rudy, echoed this sentiment in the July 7, 2014 issue of Sports Illustrated.

Pizzo, who started his film career as an executive, never thought of himself as a writer until he decided to write the screenplay for Rudy himself. He wrote this about one producer’s reaction to his initial draft:

I finally finished the screenplay. I gave it to a producer, the man who gave me my first job out of film school. He read it on a flight, called me from the airport and said, “You just wasted a year of your life. This is irredeemable, hopeless, bad writing. Go back to development.” I was crushed.


Fortunately, Pizzo ran into another writer who set him straight:

About a year later, after I had gotten another executive job, I told this story at a dinner party to Scott Berg, the Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer. He said, “You’re Read the rest of this entry »

Larry Reavis: From Fundamentalism Through Atheism Toward Self-Realization

September 9, 2014

Larry Reavis

Larry Reavis


I moved to Encinitas on November 29, 2010, but it is my great misfortune that I was not able to meet fellow Encinitas resident and Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) devotee Larry Reavis before he passed away on December 31, 2011 at the age of seventy-five. (SRF was founded by Paramahansa Yogananda, author of the spiritual classic Autobiography of a Yogi.)

However, I was still able to get to know Larry through this impressive video biography he left behind. With amazing visual effects and frequent scriptural, literary and religious references, it details his lifelong spiritual journey, from encountering Paramahansa Yogananda in 1947 through his fundamentalism and atheism phases to his ultimate quest for self-realization.

Click here to read Larry’s extensive writings about his life and spiritual journey.

Like Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony, Larry’s magnum opus will entertain and edify, yet remain incomplete. He was planning to write and record more episodes when death came calling.

With the permission of Larry’s wife, Joie, who I was privileged to meet and interact with in Encinitas, I am happy to present Larry’s twenty-one-part video series here. It is sure to engage, entertain and enlighten you!

Per the wishes of Self-Realization Fellowship, Larry does not reveal any specifics of the meditation techniques he discusses. For more information on those techniques, visit the SRF website.

LARRY’S BIO: Larry Reavis, Ph.D., studied engineering before getting a doctorate (Ohio State, 1967) in Social Psychology. As a professor, he began doing home inspections when he and the Director of Southern Methodist University’s Institute of Urban Studies signed a contract with the Dallas Department of Housing and Urban Rehabilitation to survey 10,000 homes. As a master electrician, plumber, class-A building contractor, renovator, home inspector, public speaker, author and video producer, he founded his own company, Homexam, Inc. in 1986.


LARRY’S 1947 ENCOUNTER WITH PARAMAHANSA YOGANANDA
(2 VIDEOS IN THIS SECTION)

LARRY REAVIS (1 OF 21)


LARRY REAVIS (2 OF Read the rest of this entry »

A Voice in the NIght

September 6, 2014

This story by Patricia Joseph-Lyle of Detroit, Michigan, from the August 2014 issue of Guideposts called to mind this earlier Guideposts story about the urgent need to listen to your inner voice at all costs. That’s not an exaggeration. Fail to heed that voice and it could cost you everything you hold dear.

A VOICE IN THE NIGHT
Something was telling her to call her younger sister at 3 a.m., but she had no idea why. What would she tell her sibling?

woman-with-cell-phone-in-bed

Call Karyn. Those words startled me from a sound sleep. I sat straight up, rubbed my eyes and looked at the clock: just after three in the morning.



My younger sister Karyn was a senior at Eastern Michigan University and was used to pulling long hours studying in her tiny on-campus apartment… but she had to be asleep by now.

My alarm wasn’t set to go off for another two and a half hours. There was so much to do tomorrow.

Get my two little girls to school, work a 10-hour day at the office, take the girls to violin and piano practice, cook dinner, check homework and iron school uniforms.

I needed every hour of rest I could get.

I’ll call her in the morning, I thought. I lay back down and closed my eyes.

Call her, Pattie. A voice Read the rest of this entry »

Love Note

September 5, 2014

I love this story by Paul Grachan, Lockport, Illinois. Many people look for signs that the Universe has delivered their soulmate to them. Well, you’re not going to find a sign any clearer than this one!

Paul’s story appeared in a Guideposts e-letter. Click here to sign up for Guideposts‘ free Mysterious Ways newsletter. You’ll also be able to download a free e-book, Mysterious Ways: 9 Inspiring Stories That Show Evidence of God’s Love and God’s Grace.

LOVE NOTE
He thought it odd that he’d found a dollar bill with his new girlfriend’s name on it. Little did he know . . .

dollar-bill-esther
How do you know when you’ve met the love of your life? I couldn’t stop thinking about Esther. I laughed whenever we were together. My spirit soared at the sight of her. But we’d only been on a few dates! Was I really going to take her to dinner that weekend and ask her to be my girlfriend?

I knew she liked me but I was still nervous.

On my lunch break, I ran into a deli for a sandwich, pulling some bills that I had received as change earlier in the day from my wallet to pay for it. I glanced at them as I handed them to the cashier. Something was written on one of the dollars. I snatched it back and took a closer look.

In pencil, right next to George Washington, was the word Read the rest of this entry »

I Felt I Belonged to the World

August 26, 2014

Businessman and philanthropist Bill Austin

Businessman and philanthropist Bill Austin






Businessman and philanthropist Bill Austin said something very profound when I interviewed him for a story in Twin Cities Business. He told me:

As a young man, I felt I belonged to the world, but I didn’t know what that meant.






Austin, who was a teenager when he experienced that epiphany, grew to embody that statement. Today, in his early seventies, he leads overseas missions for teams from his company, Starkey Hearing, ten months out of the year to provide free Read the rest of this entry »

Everyone Is Seeking God

August 25, 2014

hands-reaching-toward-god

Whether they know it or not, everyone is seeking God. As Paramahansa Yogananda explained in a December 9, 1945 talk at the Self-Realization Fellowship Hollywood Temple:



God is ever trying to draw His children back to their inherent perfection. That is why you will see even in evil people there is a search for God, though it may not be pronounced as such. Can you find an evil person who wants to derive misery from his actions? No. He thinks his Read the rest of this entry »

Dancing with Kenzie

August 24, 2014

Twelve-year-old Kenzie has mitochondrial disease, a condition that prevents her from walking, talking or caring for herself. To provide some semblance of normalcy, Kenzie’s parents Read the rest of this entry »

The Strength Will be Given to You

August 15, 2014

We are surrounded by heroes, the vast majority of which never find themselves in a situation requiring them to express their heroic nature. And yet, many of us—perhaps even most of us—would rise to the occasion when the moment requires it. One such hero, Edson Bourn of Jacksonville, Florida, was pushed to the limit and beyond in this intense, pulse-pounding story, which appeared in the August 2014 issue of Guideposts. It’s a powerful reminder that we are all capable of much more than we think we are, and that when we think we have exhausted our resources of courage and strength, they will be replenished if our intentions are pure and our faith intact.


THE MIRACULOUS SURGE
Walking down the beach that day, he was so wrapped up in his own problems he almost didn’t hear the girls screaming

hand-reaching-up-ocean-waterShrieks of joy, the sounds of happy children, reverberated across Rhode Island’s Napatree Beach. Two little girls playing in the sand. But I was barely aware of any of it. I plodded along, oblivious of the crashing waves at high tide. Late afternoon.

I ran my fingers through my wind-tangled hair, as if to clear my head. I’d come to this isolated spit of land on my sailboat, a place to escape. My wife and I had recently separated, our marriage in shambles. I worried about the toll on our boys, just six and eight.

It seemed like forever since I’d heard them laugh. But I didn’t know what to do to make things better.

“Help! Help!”

The girls. I’d meant to tell them to stay away from the water. The currents could be dangerous. Now one of them was in the ocean. Beyond the surf line. I could just hear her screams over the waves. The undertow.Any second now she’d be swept away.

I ran across the hard-packed sand as fast as I could. The other girl was at the edge of the surf, maybe 20 yards away, yelling, all the while wading deeper into the water herself.

“Wait! Stop! Don’t go any farther!” I charged into the waves and was reaching for her when a wall of water overwhelmed us. I clawed to the surface and for half a second I saw her disappear under another big breaker. I dove to the spot. I’m a strong swimmer, but I could feel the current pulling me hard.

Where is she? Splashing. A gasp for air. There. I grabbed Read the rest of this entry »

Catching the Invisible

August 14, 2014

This beautiful story, written by Lisa Leshaw of Coram, New York, appeared in the June 2014 issue of Guideposts. It’s a wonderful reminder to make the best of every situation you find yourself in, even—and perhaps especially—when you feel scared and alone. It’s also a reminder that you’re never truly alone, that a loving intelligence is always conspiring on your behalf, and that the more you reach out in love, the lovelier your life becomes.


WITH YOU ALWAYS—LOVE, DAD
Trapped in an elevator with a severe case of claustrophobia, she took the opportunity to record her feelings about her father

little-girl-blowing-a-kissOne minute, I was a 31-year-old part-time music teacher. The next, I’d turned into one of my pre-K students, hyperventilating and sobbing uncontrollably, wishing Mom and Dad would come rescue me. That’s what claustrophobia will do to you.

My parents were home on Long Island, though, and I was trapped in an elevator in a Manhattan high-rise. All alone. This was exactly what I’d been afraid of when my best friend asked me to come see her new apartment. Unless I wanted to climb 15 flights of stairs, this metal coffin was my only way up.

So I said a prayer and went for it. I was doing okay…until the elevator car jerked and then came to a halt–between floors. What a cruel trick for God to play on me.

I tried taking deep, cleansing breaths. Feeling faint, I sank to the floor and tucked my head between my knees. Close your eyes, go to your happy place. Maybe because the next day was Father’s Day, I thought back to how Dad comforted me when I was a little girl. “Catch the kiss!” he’d say.

He’d pucker his lips, blow a kiss and laugh as I ran around our living room, grabbing handfuls of air, trying to hold on to the invisible. Had I ever told him what those moments meant to me? I might never get the chance. Not if I suffocated in here…or if the cable Read the rest of this entry »

A Torrent of Treasures

August 13, 2014
mike-dooley

Mike Dooley



Do you dream about finding your purpose and living your dream in wealth and comfort, but don’t have a clue how to get there? I’ve got good news: You can start right now, this very minute, with your very next thought. And here’s the great news: It works!

That’s the message from Notes from the Universe, which are daily e-mails from Mike Dooley‘s TUT’s Adventurers Club. Dooley describes them as “short and often humorous reminders of life’s magic and your divinity.” They’re free and sent out five days a week.



Here is a taste of Dooley’s wisdom that speaks to shaping the future to suit your dreams.

Live your dreams now, to any degree that you can. With every purchase. Every Read the rest of this entry »

Synchronized Silliness

July 30, 2014

Harry Shearer and Martin Short in an all-time classic film

Harry Shearer and Martin Short in an all-time classic film




When this five-minute video premiered on Saturday Night Live during the 1984-85 season, it became an instant classic. My wife and I howled because, let’s face it, synchronized swimming was easy to make fun of.



A few years later, the guy I wrote greeting cards for came out with a button that read SUPPORT SYNCHRONIZED SWIMMING. Again, hilarious!

Then our seventh-grade daughter joined a sport at school. One guess as to what it was. Yep. And we quickly learned that synchronized swimming was perhaps the toughest sport out there. I mean, I can’t even tread water much less perform intricate feats requiring grace and strength while doing so. Heck, I can’t even Read the rest of this entry »


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 412 other followers