Tag Archives: hope

Taking for Granted vs. Taking with Gratitude

It’s a familiar story. But it still has the power to change your thinking.

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room.

One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs.

His bed was next to the room’s only window.


The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back.

The men talked for hours on end.

They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation.

Every afternoon, when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window.

The man in the other bed began to live for those one hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside.

The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake.Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance.

As the man by the window described all this in exquisite details, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine this picturesque scene.

One warm afternoon, the man by the window described a parade passing by.

Although the other man could not hear the band -he could see it in his mind’s eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.

Days, weeks and months passed.One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep.

She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away.

As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window.The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone.

Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the real world outside. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window besides the bed.

It faced a blank wall.

The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this

The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall.

She said, “Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you.”

There is tremendous happiness in making others happy beyond our own situations. Shared grief is half the sorrow, and happiness when shared, is doubled. If you want to feel rich, just count all the things you have that money can’t buy.

As Master Oogway said, “Today is a gift, that is why it is called the present .”



“When it comes to life, the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.”

~Gilbert K. Chesterton

Bring Nothing Today

My Dad's spiritual father (my "spiritual grandfather?") sends out this daily email called "Dear Friends." He finds insight in words and linking them to THE Word, which I find so fun.

I thought this gem was worth reproducing in its entirety. He asks,

    "what can I possibly contribute to the Lord this morning or any morning?"

Read the email below, then come back up and read Spurgeon… "I am entirely dependent upon Thee for support, counsel, consolation. Uphold me by Thy free Spirit, and may I not think it enough to be preserved from falling, but may I always go forward, always abounding in the work Thou givest me to do. Strengthen me by Thy Spirit in my inner self for every purpose of my Christian life. All my jewels I give to the shadow of the safety that is in Thee—my name anew in Christ, my body, soul, talents, character, my success, wife, children, friends, work, my present, my future, my end. Take them, they are Thine, and I am thine, now and for ever." http://www.spurgeongems.org/prayers.htm

This love is taking over the world. I hope you'll let it take over yours. 

Hope you'll be well and feel his presence today. 



Begin forwarded message:

From: "Dale Vander Veen" <dalevanderveen@sbcglobal.net>

Date: February 20, 2013 10:55:30 AM PST

To: "Ahome" <dalevanderveen@sbcglobal.net>

Subject: February 20 – What Do You Have for Me This Morning?


Dear friends,

    Every morning I begin my time with the Lord asking, “Lord, what do you have for me this morning?” This morning I sensed an instant reply from him, “Dale, what do you have for me this morning?” After some moments of stunned and anxious silence, I replied, “Lord, you know that I have nothing for you.”

    Then I turned to my book, Dear Friends: Seeing Our Best Friend in His Word and World, to read today’s entry. I was shocked to discover the title “I Have Nothing,” based on Luke 11:6: “A friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.” Jesus, my friend, has come to journey with me today, and I have nothing for him.

    Following today’s Scripture readings in Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year, I read David’s words, “Vindicate me, Lord, for I have lead a blameless life” (Ps. 26:1). I do not have a blameless life to give the Lord. “I have trusted in the Lord and have not faltered” (v. 1). There are times when I have trusted in the Lord, but I certainly cannot set before the Lord an unfaltering faith.

    After inviting the Lord to test and examine not only his actions, but even his heart and mind, David continues, “I have always been mindful of your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness” (v. 3). O, my! In comparison to such an offering, what can I possibly contribute to the Lord this morning or any morning?

    God has been blameless to me. He has been unfaltering in faithfulness toward me, unfailing in his love for me. “What shall I return to the Lord for all his goodness to me?” (Ps. 116:12). Lord, I have only one, no, two things for you this morning. I have a hand and a voice. The hand shakes, the voice cracks. But I will employ withered hand and wavering voice to answer your question and the psalmist’s question. “I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord” (Ps. 116:13). A hand to lift the cup, a voice to call, “Deliver me and be merciful to me” (Ps. 26:11).

    That is all I have this morning, Lord. And I know it is enough, for your grace has nerved this paralyzed hand and awakened this muted voice. I gladly join David in “proclaiming your praise and telling of all your wonderful deeds” (Ps. 26:7).


    Verse for the day: "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." (Ps. 34:18)

     Phrase for the day: "Nothing is enough."

     Quote for the day: from “Nothing But the Blood of Jesus” by Robert Lowry (1876)

        This is all my hope and peace, nothing but the blood of Jesus.

        This is all my righteousness, nothing but the blood of Jesus.

        O precious is the flow that makes me white as snow.

        No other fount I know, nothing but the blood of Jesus.

It Starts Today

Today. The word carries such power. 

Today! It's what you make it. What will you do with it? How will you use it?

Does it compel you to suit up, face your fears, believe the evidence that it will pass so soon, and seize it while you can?

Do you hear the voices calling out from the picture on the wall?


It starts today. Do you believe it? Do you trust the vision you've been given enough to show up? Will you act on it? 

You've been chosen for this, here and now, to do this and make it live. To influence your readers and make them live. To influence their lives that others can live. You can't possibly know how much depends on today.

Do you know how unbelievably rare you are? Do you want to? Do you want to stop simply knowing it and do something about it? Do you want to feel it and live it? That's an inspiration to others, to see you living as one of God's true rarities. Will it be a stretch to say you never knew the person you saw in the mirror every morning before today? 

How would you like to respond?


What would it take to draw out the real you, the one who loves like no one else, who sees the opportunities and runs toward them? To take your vision and combine it with your compassion and release it, make it influence your sphere, make those around you deal with it? To do that, to live that, it is the greatest power in this messed up world. And you have it.

Maybe you've been waiting, waiting like everyone else, being too-easily convinced that it's not the right time, not appropriate, not really needed.

Which today are you waiting for?

Every great story is about a person just like you and then one day, for no better reason than you have today, everything comes together. The decision to act is made. The experience and growth and maturing and preparing, and all the conditions come together and it's time to produce. 

That, my friend, is today.

If you will think ahead to a day down the road when it's all been done and you've become polished like a well-worn walking stick by this experience, you can imagine what you'll feel. Having committed to showing up to the writing every day, to the preparations, the sacrifice, and being progressively changed by the work of a thousand todays, with this insight having shaped the journey of your character, one day soon it will be time to share. And on that today eyes are opened, lives changed, sparks brought back to life, and no one will be able to deny what you decided back there, so many days ago.


That's today.

That flavor in your work, unlike anything they've ever tasted, some of them didn't know what tasting was until you showed them. You awoke their mouths, gave them a taste for something and created a desire they will never forget as long as they live. That's their life they're remembering, being brought back to, maybe forgotten so long it was almost dead. But from the flavor, they'll remember and their heads will raise.

"Today. It's right here. I can use it, taste it, live it."

That's what you'll have done.

And then, a today a little further off, you'll see a smile waiting for you just ahead. And you'll go toward it, knowing you are the reason for it.

Can you imagine it? I hope you can. Use what's around you, whatever you have, and don't put it off with excuses. You have to realize what an incredible opportunity you have before you. Don't give in to pressure to make you forget! Can you even imagine what this knowledge is really worth? And what will it be worth if you forget, give into doubts and let another today slip by?

Today, the next day, and the next, they're all connected. It's true. Believe it. Choose it. Trust it. And begin your training as you run for the next today and the next….

So many people are hoping and praying for someone exactly like you, to show them what you know. But you can only be the one if you decide today.


Continue the thoughts at Dick Staub's blog today. Something in the air…