The Journey
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Stories to inspire and warm your heart
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Stories to inspire courage & hope

Going nowhere fast
I visited my sister in northern Illinois, and it didn’t take me long to remember what driving in the city was like. They were working so hard at getting nowhere.
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Stir the dirt
“Plants resent root disturbance.”
I nearly laughed out loud right there in the library. According to the magazine Horticulture, “plants resent root disturbance.”
Well don’t we all.
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Just load the wagon
"Don't worry that the mule is blind, just load the wagon."
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Bend and stretch
At that moment, we know we are better than adversity. At that moment, we bend and stretch and reach for the sky.
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Middle of a mess
I just spilled a can of pop all over my desk while reaching for “The Change-Your-Life Quote Book.” What I just learned didn’t come from the book, though; it came from the mess I made.
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Wiggling thru life
Solutions will present themselves if we look for them . . . if we’re flexible enough to bend with the problem instead of struggle against the problem . . .  if we learn to wiggle through life.
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Against all odds
I want to be like the tulip at the St. Polycarp Catholic Church.
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Much is required
Unless misinterpreted, Jesus did not say “To whom much is given, of him much will be required unless it frightens you. . . . or unless it’s a pain in the neck . . . or unless you don’t feel like it that day.”
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Fear only has the power you give it
“Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid,” Arthur Gordon wrote, and he’s right.
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When it matters
“All you can do is teach them right from wrong,” she said, “and trust they’ll come back to that during difficult times in life.”
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Go through the door
Helen Keller said this: “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.”
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Keep your glove on
Sometimes we need to be reminded to look up and be ready for greatness to fall into our outstretched glove.
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Ain't No Reality
They’re calling it “Reality TV.”  Reality has nothing to do with it.
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Outside the box
But nothing spectacular happens in a predictable, safe, certain box.You have to risk being very bad in the hopes of being very good.
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Sort through the mess
Sometimes life seems such a heavy burden to bear. We let problems grow out of proportion. It swallows us up. We lie trapped under a pile of dirty dishes, unable to move, unable to find the way . . .
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What sports teach
That’s why I’ve followed that school bus all these years. It was never about going to watch them win; it was just about going to watch.
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So what now?When tWhen the challenges of life start to close in around me, it only takes a few things to remind me that my most important job is to produce happy children;
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Stories to inspire happiness

Get out of the boat
I see the look in your eyes—that look caused by unimaginable pressure and grief, that look caused by helplessness and hopelessness, that look caused by incessantly rowing a boat that isn’t going anywhere. I see the look because I know the feeling.
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The rest is just stuff
There are some things which really, really matter—freedom, love, kindness, respect, life, death—but most everything else is just “stuff” and won’t mean a hill of beans five minutes from now, let alone 100 years from now.
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Finding fries at the bottom of the sack
Somewhere a fortune cookie must echo that sentiment given voice by that young teenage woman—She who finds happiness at the bottom of a bag of fries can find happiness everywhere she looks.
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Day old anger
Day-old anger is like reduced-calorie pop; it still has flavor—just not quite the “bite” of real pop . . . and without the calories which make us fat. Day-old anger is anger without the edge, without the “bite.”
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There's been a death, no one died
Without “I’m sorry,” those unkind words and deeds, once said and done, continue to float around us, wear us down, keep us unhappy. Forgiveness and “forgetness” never come because they haven’t been asked for.
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Banking on love
Love is like that. Each time you show your child or your spouse or your neighbor kindness, or respect, or attention, or affection, you’re making a deposit into your “account” with them.
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Can't Be perfect
On a Monday, my daughter broke the middle school’s 25-year-old long jump record with a leap of 15 feet—3 ½ inches. On Wednesday, she couldn’t clear 14 feet.
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If I had never
If I had never heard a child’s laugh, I might not believe happiness exists.
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Fill it to the top
'Normal' is a setting on a washing machine.
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Today, I'll clean fish
He stood at the counter with five boxes of plastic baggies.
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Promises to myself
I will not allow the size of my worries to determine the depth of my joys.
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Beauty Takes Time
I learned a lot from my flower garden this year.  I learned to enjoy old friends. I learned to enjoy “frivolous things” every now and then. And I remembered what I’ve always known; that sometimes, beauty takes time.
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Waiting for bad
When life just doesn’t make sense, quit trying to make it have sense. Trust that when the pieces are all fit together, a beautiful picture will emerge.
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Don't stop
Don’t stop seeing your tiny successes hidden in the middle of your biggest failures.
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Stories to inspire kindness

Paying the price
Maybe life should be more like harness racing.
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You just never know
The first time the umpire screeched, I sat there quietly. The next time he yelled “strike,” I turned to the parent next to me and frowned. The third time, we couldn’t help but giggle out loud. After that, the scream he made with each strike call was more obnoxious than funny.
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We all want the same thing
This column is about no one—and everyone. It isn’t because of something that just happened, but something that happens every day.We forget kindness when we are at our kids’ events.
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I saw the eyes of pure evil
I met Madalyn Murray O’Hair once. Once was enough.
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You are cruel
What do people think; that I just got up one day and decided I didn’t want to be married anymore?'
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Be a hero
True heroes strive for perfection, acknowledge they’ll never reach it, and forgive others when they fall short of it.
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Mark of a lifetime
The leaves have forever influenced the life of that stone. It seems a mighty power for such a thing as dainty as a dead leaf.
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More good than bad
Some people find fault like there was a prize for it. Nothing is ever good enough for them.
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Calling it even
“Come Friday, we’re even.”
The man has worked for years and years at his job, and though the hours are often long (and over 40 hours) and the pay is not good, he has picked up his pay check each Friday and considered his account even.
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Everyone deserves someone
I believe all the world’s loneliness and bitterness and cruelty would disappear if everyone had just one person who cherished them.
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Short supply of kindness
It is a kind soul who can look at another’s actions not with disgust and criticism, but with trust that they made the best choice they could at that single moment in their life.
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Crying for an ugly bird
We stumbled across people just like that bird every day. We look away in disgust, or we stare and shake our heads, but mostly we ignore them.
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Stories to inspire belief in yourself

It will be all right
When a solution to our problem seems unattainable, we easily give in to despair and believe our current pain will be our lifelong pain.  But it won’t. It will be all right.
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Be extraordinary
Go see the movie “A Beautiful Mind.” It is the story of a man who would not settle on being less than extraordinary.
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There is no unimportant person
Have you ever read the label on a bottle of cream of tartar?
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It isn't fair; it's life
It’s hard to believe that tomorrow will be better when yesterday’s tomorrow wasn’t better.
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Be who you were born to be
I believe we spend a good part of our life running from what life asks of us (just as we spend a good part of our life running from what God asks of us).
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Look what I found
underneath it all
Hidden in all that mess was something beautiful. I almost missed it because all I could see was the mess which had wrapped itself around it; all I could see were the burdens which weighed it down.
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Matter to someone
It’s awfully easy to be insignificant. It’s safe. If we never reach out to anyone, then no one talks about us, no one hurts us, no one takes advantage of us.
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When the time comes
"Passed on his way" . . . how fitting a description of death.
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Use What Ya' Got
I believe God gave us all the ingredients to have the things we want, to have peace on earth . . . the cure to disease, the solution to hunger, the remedy for sadness. . . . right here under our noses.
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Use the best in you
Just as you can’t make a quality pie without quality ingredients, you can’t make a quality life without using the best that’s inside you.
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Making a home for life
She was a homemaker...the person responsible for making the home.... Her life was her family, and she knew that was enough life for anyone.
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In search of one moment in time
I wait for that one moment in time when I say “here is where I wanted to be; here is where I was meant to be; here is where I feel content; here is the place where all the twists of my life have taken me . . . and it is a good place to be.”
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Triumphantly unnoticed
“His great achievement—his fondest hope—is to be triumphantly unnoticed.”
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Parable of the pencil
I think we sometimes forget our purpose. We stumble through the day, doing what has to be done without thought to what needs to be done.
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JudyMae Publications

JUDY MAE BINGMAN
Our souls are hungry for meaning, for the sense that we have figured out how to live so that our lives matter, so that the world will be at least a little bit different for our having passed through it. . . . What frustrates us and robs our lives of joy is this absence of meaning. . . . Does our being alive matter?

Harold S. Kushner in
"When All You Ever
Wanted Isn't Enough"
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"You don't become happy by pursuing happiness. You become happy by living a life that means something."
Harold S. Kushner in
When All You Ever Wanted Isn't Enough