“That Story Lady”

Angela Scott, Author – Storyteller – Ventriloquist

Archive for the ‘Inspirational’ Category

Letters To A Soldier

March 15, 2009

Recently I had the opportunity to mail thirteen letters written by students in a second grade class to a soldier. As I read the letters, I felt the kids had asked questions I would also like answered. I believe you will be touched by the depth and sincerity of their interest and appreciation for serving our country.

1st letter
Thank you for saving our country. I wonder what it is like there. Who is your boss? Why do you have to wear the uniform? I hope you write back soon.
Sincerely,
Marie
Dear Marie, Thank you so much for your letter. It is very hot and dry over here. My boss is another military person with higher rank. I work for that person, but we all work for the army. The President is the boss over all the military. We wear the same uniform because that way we know who is on our side. Kind of like a sports team wearing their uniforms. Thank you for writing. Scott

2nd letter
Why do you wear the armor? What do your vehicles look like? Thank you for protecting us!
Sincerely,
Mason
Dear Mason, Thank you for writing a letter to us. We wear armor to help protect us against bullets and flying metal. It helps us stay safe, so we can come back home. Our vehicles are strong and have armor on them. We use them to help us get where we need to go safely. Thank you Mason, Scott

3rd letter
Thank you for saving our country. What do your clothes feel like? What does your boss look like? Is he nice? I hope you write back.
Your friend,
Amer
Dear Amer, Thanks for writing me and my unit. The clothes we wear feel just fine. It is a uniform and it made to keep us safe from fires and from getting scratches on us. I have a boss who is a good boss. She is an officer that is in charge of our unit. Thank you for writing, Scott

4th letter
Thank you for protecting us from danger. I hope you have friends in the army. I do in school. Is your job hard? Is your suit hot? Are you the boss in the army? Let me know when you get a chance. Please write me back.
Your friend,
Kaiya
Dear Kaiya, Thank you very much for writing. Yes, I have many friends in the army and we all help each other. The job is hard sometimes, but not all the time. We like what we do and that makes the job a lot easier. I am a boss of some people, but not all of them in the unit. Thank you Kaiya, Scott

5th letter
Thank you for saving us. I am proud of you. Who is your boss? Good job! Do you play? You are nice.
Your friend,
Arturo
Dear Arturo, Thanks for the letter and thank you for being proud of us. Our boss is a Captain and she is in charge of the whole unit. Yes, I like to play sports. We like watching it on TV too. I think that you are very nice for writing us a letter. Thanks, Scott

6th letter
Thank you for risking your life for us. What kind of suits do you wear? Do you have friends? Do you have to sleep in a tent?
Your friend,
Ronnie
Dear Ronnie, Thank you for writing a letter to us. We wear a uniform that protects us from getting scratched up. Yes, I have lots of friends here in the Army. We do sleep in tents, but they are really big and have beds in them. Thank You, Scott

7th letter
Do you have friends in the army? What is it like there? Does it rain a lot? Who is your boss? What kind of clothes do you wear in the Army? Do you even get sick? What kind of training do you have to do?
Your friend,
Yancy
Dear Yancy, Thanks for writing. Yes, I have lots friends in the army. It is dry and hot here, but we drink a lot of water. That helps us make it through the day. It doesn’t rain a lot where we are, but in other places in Iraq it may. We wear a uniform that helps protect us from scratches and fires. Some people get sick, but not all the time. We really have to wash our hands a lot to keep us from getting sick. We train for a lot of things to help us stay safe, and to help the Iraqi Police protect the people in their city. Thank you, Scott

8th letter
Thank you for protecting us. What is it like there? What kind of uniform do you wear? You are a very nice man. Do you have friends there? Do you have a boss?
Thank you,
Patience
Dear Patience, Thank you for writing to us. It is hot and dry and not much grass or trees around. We wear a uniform that helps protect us from scratches and fires. Yes, I have a lot of friends. It is good to have friends; so that we can help each other do things. Yes, I have a boss and she is a Captain. Thanks, Scott

9th letter
Thank you for fighting for our country. What is it like fighting for our country? So do you eat food as a soldier? I hope you are okay from the war.
Your friend,
Makenzie
Dear Makenzie, Thank you for writing us. I really like fighting for my country. It makes me proud to do it. I like protecting people like you and your friends and family from those who don’t like us. Yes, we eat food over here. Sometimes we like to eat the good food like chicken and steak. We will be just fine over here and thank you for caring. Thanks, Scott

10th letter
Thank you for saving people’s lives. You are a hero! What is it like over there? Is it cold, sunny, or rainy? I love your job!
Your friend,
Kamilya
Dear Kamilya, Thank you for writing. I love my job too. I have been doing it for a long time. The weather is hot and it is dry over here like the desert. It doesn’t get that cold over here. It is mostly sunny and very hot during the summer time. Thanks Scott

11th letter
Is the job you’re doing hard? Thank you for saving our country. Are there bad people over there? Do you feel safe? I hope so!
Your friend,
Hussein

Dear Hussein, Thank you for writing. The job over here is hard sometimes, but we are really good at it. There are bad people over here, but we are trying to help the Iraqi Policemen to get them. I feel very safe, because we are really good at our job and we have lots of friends that care. Thank you, Scott

12th letter
What kind of training do you do there? Do you have friends in the army? Is it dangerous there? What is it like there in Iraq? Thank you for protecting our country.
Your friend,
Ghufran
Dear Ghufran, Thank you for writing. We do a lot of training to help the Iraqi Policemen keep their city safe. I have lots of friends in the Army. It is important to have friends, so we can protect and help each other. Iraq is really hot and dry, and there are not many trees. Thank you, Scott

13th letter
When you wear your suit, is it hot? What kind of clothes do you wear? I hope you have fun in Iraq!
Love,
Kaylie

Dear Kaylie, We wear a uniform and it gets hot sometimes. I want to thank you for writing us a letter and supporting us over here. Thanks, Scott

My hope is that as you reflect on these letters, you will be encouraged to think about another whether they are far away or perhaps your next door neighbor. The kindness you share may be the turning point for another that they can only hear in your voice and truly understand.

Angela Scott
© March 15, 2009

Time Capsule in a Tin Can

February 25, 2009

In the middle of a 30 second cell phone conversation, I heard a beep and then silence. The battery died, I guess.

“Only a year ago, I paid 99 cents for this cell phone, new. I guess things made today just aren’t made like they used to be,” I thought. My sarcasm did not comfort me.

On my way home, I saw the battery store and checked on a replacement battery. The sales associate listened attentively even though it was only minutes before the close of posted business hours. “Only $37.95 for a new battery,” he said.

He must have seen the question on my mind because he began reporting an abbreviated but detailed summary about the steps to replace the dying battery. “This type of battery will be a special order. Besides, our orders have already been placed this week. The anticipated delivery date is approximately two weeks,” he said. My response, “Oh,” ended our conversation.

When I arrived home, I began an excavation of the console inside my car. I needed the automobile adapter for the cell phone. I needed a power source, in case of an emergency.

Just a few years ago, I experienced a similar situation. Returning to Duke Hospital for extensive tests on my husband’s newly transplanted heart, the only cell phone we owned failed to work because the battery died. That memory did not comfort me.

Beneath eleven CD’s inside the console, I found a straw and a silver tin, rectangular in shape with a heart and cross design on the lid. “What’s that?” I asked myself.

As the driver of the car 99% of the time, I knew I had buried the unlikely and unplanned version of a time capsule in a tin can in my car. Neither did I remember what was in the tin nor did I remember why I placed it in the car.

Eager to find out what I had forgotten I had hidden, I sat on the floor beside the coffee table and lifted the lid off of the box.

Inside the container, I found a wooden toothpick holder, two Bible verses I had clipped from a newspaper, one miniature mechanical pencil, a few antacid tablets and one of Theodore Roosevelt’s favorite quotes, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

I found two more newspaper clippings, a hand carved box which could only be opened with precise directions of a puzzle. The box was less then two inches in height and width. A miniature red heart was painted on one side of the box and the palm of a hand was drawn on the opposite side. I also found a miniature zip-lock bag containing tiny gifts which symbolized courage, strength and hope; things I had collected from friends and travels.

The first newspaper clipping told the story about a $150 gas card that Bald Head Island was offering for visitors. However, there was no year listed in the article so I’m certain that article was at least a year old.

Another newspaper clipping told the story about two local professors who had recently been awarded with the highest civilian honor bestowed by the North Carolina Governor: the Order of the Long Leaf Pine award. That article did not list a date but it did include the state toast:

“Here’s to the land of the long leaf pine,
The summer land where the sun doth shine,
Where the weak grow strong and the strong grow great,
Here’s to ‘down home,’ the Old North State!”

I felt as if I had discovered a time capsule which I had buried in my car without premeditation. Each item evoked memories far beyond face value of each individual item.

A few people might say the intrinsic value of my memories is little more than a miniature can of trash. However, the epiphany I experienced as I inventoried my buried treasure was worth more than a pound of rare gemstones.

I confess this recent discovery of tiny memories led me on a path I had traveled before but had forgotten. Memories flooded my mind. “What does all of this mean?” I asked.

I realized the tin container held glimpses of previous opportunities in life, a miniature blueprint.

Again I asked myself, “Why did I bury these items? Why did I stop where and when I did?”

Waiting patiently for a response, I remembered why. My mom had a heart attack on July 25th last year. I now remember the urgency I felt to develop a new course of action in my life after the unexpected hospital emergency.

Dr. David Campbell said it best in his book entitled, “If You Don’t Know Where You’re Going, You’ll Probably End up Somewhere Else,” because I found myself in quite a different place than I had planned. A quote in Dr. Campbell’s book stated, “If you want something to happen, you have to make a space for it.”

Mom’s heart attack stopped me in my tracks, but the severity of her situation encouraged me to consciously make a space for many things I wanted to happen. President Roosevelt was right, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” It’s never too early to begin looking for your own time capsule in a tin can.

 

Angela Scott

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All writings here are copyrighted by Angela Scott. You may not use them without written permission but you may link to the posts or give out a link to the posts.

What a Newspaper Article Taught Me About Life

February 6, 2009

Sorting through books my mom gave to me over 30 years ago, I recently found an article she apparently had clipped out of a newspaper. The newspaper had yellowed with age and its edges were ragged but the words were clear.

I telephoned my mom and asked her about the newspaper clipping. “Yes, that sounds like what I used to do,” she said. With the responsibilities and privileges of a family, mom said she would often place a clipping from the newspaper in a book or magazine she was reading, however, because of life she was continually interrupted before completing what she had begun.

Newspaper articles also catch my attention so I frequently grab a pair of scissors to capture ideas which I collect. Perhaps it is because that is what my mom used to do.

Of course, I do not remember reading this particular article. It begins with a simple question we answer every day, “What is Life?” This list of 16 sentences addressing the challenges and victories in life caught my attention.

Life is a challenge … meet it
Life is a gift … accept it
Life is an adventure … dare it
Life is a sorrow … overcome it
Life is a tragedy … face it
Life is a duty … perform it
Life is a game … play it
Life is a mystery … unfold it
Life is a song … sing it
Life is an opportunity … take it
Life is a journey … complete it
Life is a promise … fulfill it
Life is a beauty … praise it
Life is a struggle … fight it
Life is a goal … achieve it
Life is a puzzle … solve it

~Author unknown

The more I looked at the small, fragile piece of paper I knew it was a classic memory and a succinct story of direction for everyday living to share with others. My guess is that the time you spend reading this story is one of the best investments you can ever make in your life. Change your thoughts and change the direction of your life, if you make the choice to do so.

In a book written by Earl Nightingale entitled “Lead the Field,” he said “…thinking is one of the most challenging things human beings do.” It is easy to watch television and movies, because our minds receive information others have chosen for us, the viewers. We have the privilege of deciding what we want to receive and what we want to give.

Think about the stories in your life and select a story to share with another about the single most important lesson you learned from your experience. The story you share and give to another may be the best gift anyone could ever receive, whether now or in the future.

I thanked mom for one of the best gifts she had unknowingly given to me many years ago that I just recently found.

You can only give away what you already possess. Today is a good day to exercise your “giving muscle” and enrich the life of another with a gift that only you can give. Remember, practice makes permanent.

Angela Scott

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All writings here are copyrighted by Angela Scott. You may not use them without written permission but you may link to the posts or give out a link to the posts.

Second Glance at a First Hand Observation – A Tale of Three Telephones in the Afternoon Sunset

September 5, 2008

Shining brightly, the evening sunset in the sky clearly revealed telephone-shaped shadows on the brick wall. My husband announced, “Look at that! The sun is shining through the dotted outline of holes in each side section of that telephone booth. It is unusual these days to see a telephone booth mounted on a brick wall outside a business.”

I saw the open telephone booth as we entered the store and even noticed someone talking on the telephone as we walked into the store. I also remembered about how unusual it was to see a telephone booth mounted outside a business, especially since the prolific use of cell phones.

But my husband saw the reflection first. I looked again after hearing his observation. Amazed at what I saw, I knew I had a unique photo opportunity. However, this time I did not have a camera with me. My dilemma presented me with an opportunity either to minimize, maximize or cancel, similar to those three symbols on the top right hand corner of a computer screen. While my husband waited in the car, I dashed into the store once again.

Quickly checking disposable camera prices, I found two disposable cameras on sale for the price of one. Only two of those cameras sat on the shelf in the store. Believing those cameras were meant for this moment, I purchased them and immediately returned to the fleeting photo opportunity.

I saw three telephones on that brick wall but only one was real; the others were merely illuminated illusions.

Although easily distinguishable to the eye, I knew this message was for me. I understood the message although it was not in words. I knew who wanted me to talk with Him.

Telephone calls to Him are free and readily available to all, unlike telephone calls placed at pay telephones.

 

Angela Scott

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All writings here are copyrighted by Angela Scott. You may not use them without written permission but you may link to the posts or give out a link to the posts.

Recovery From Heart Transplant Surgery – A Wife’s Recovery After Her Husband’s Heart Transplant

July 27, 2008

“You look so calm. How do you do it?” my friends asked. “What are they really asking?” my thoughts blurred. They said I looked calm, without any worries. Oh, if they only knew the storms raging within my thoughts. Yet, the quiet in the hospital’s 7th floor reading room is the place where I found “Anatomy of an Illness” by Norman Cousins. This book seemed to be waiting as a gift of sustaining strength for me.

Hospital staff focused on their arduous tasks of highly skilled health care for numerous patients requiring care for critical health needs. My focus on humor, inspiration, health and faith, of course, carried me through the storm of my life, a heart transplant for my spouse. It is a good thing I did not fully comprehend what was really happening, until our life resumed after his heart transplant.

I remembered a sermon my previous pastor, Richard Hipps, had preached several years earlier about Norman Cousins and a book Cousins had written entitled, “Anatomy of an Illness.” Cousins discovered his pain slowly diminished proportionately with laughter. The more he chuckled, the less pain medicine he needed to conquer a painful disease.

Ultimately, his discovery of laughter’s healing quality restored his health years ago, and that gives me hope today. The decision to follow Norman Cousins’ prescription required a minimal amount of time because it was easy to remember the comedians I enjoyed the most as a child. First, I remembered Jonathan Winters and Red Skelton. Norman Vincent Peale’s inspirational writing of positive thinking was next. Peale’s writing opened a new path for me in addition to new avenues of thought related to the healing qualities of music.

I also found Bible verses I had not previously attempted to memorize now gave me the opportunity to focus on God, rather than myself. A passage of scripture in Job 11:17-19 was particularly challenging for me, however, I successfully memorized it and it continually gives me comfort.

The memorization technique I used was the “sentence writing” method, a method of punishment for misbehavior in class was used by my teachers in middle school. Those sentences of punishment, which they required to be written at least 100 times or more, taught me a lesson I will always remember. “I will not talk in class.” An effective method such as this one would most certainly assist me with memorizing one or two Bible verses…

I got the message. For more years than I prefer to recall, I was known as the quiet student; one who painfully learned the repetition of writing a message or thought over and over would deeply embed the message in my mind. Earl Nightingale was right, “We become what we think about.”

Even though those teachers from years passed had intended “sentence writing” as punishment, my decision as an adult to use this technique as my own personal learning tool gave me hope when I least expected it and needed it the most.

 

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All writings here are copyrighted by Angela Scott. You may not use them without written permission but you may link to the posts or give out a link to the posts.

Miracle of a Smile in the Hospital

February 1, 2008

Her doctor had scheduled the procedure for 12:00 noon with an arrival time of 11:00. I called my sister on the cell phone when I did not see them in the waiting room. “We are just a few minutes away,” my sister answered. “Just drive up to the handicapped parking area and I’ll get mom checked in while you park your car which, based on my own experience, could take a while.”

Grabbing my gloves, buttoning my coat and securing my earmuffs, I watched for my sister’s car. I remember thinking, “It is bone chilling cold; a typical January day in North Carolina.”

Walking into the short stay unit of the hospital last Thursday morning, I held my mother’s arm and looked for help. Filled with cars, the outside entrance looked as overwhelming as the inside entrance. To me it looked almost like shopping on the day after Thanksgiving, something I have only done once.

Mom was experiencing a considerable amount of discomfort so I knew we had to quickly move through the crowd to get her registered for admission. I scanned the crowd of people. That’s when I saw a kind gentleman at the desk. “Mom needs immediate help before she can complete any paperwork,” I whispered. He understood and said, “Let’s go this way.”

Following him while holding mom’s arm to steady her, it seemed like the man who led us had parted the Red Sea because all of a sudden we were beyond the crowd of people and were surrounded by nurses and technicians which scurried to attend to everything my mom needed.

My sister and I waited and switched chairs as different areas in the waiting room opened. With a blaring television and a discussion about recent murders, I turned to my sister and said, “I need less morbid information and more space.” Waiting is not currently one of my strengths but I am learning.

As my sister and I waited, I looked for the gentleman who had been exceptionally kind to mom as we entered the hospital. Holding a rectangular device which would buzz when the doctor was ready to talk, we continued to wait.

I turned toward the reception desk to look for the guy who had been so helpful. I walked toward him and asked, “What is your name?” Continuing, I said, “You were so kind to mom in an extremely challenging situation and you did so without any hesitation. I would like to know your name so I can write a letter about your exemplary service.”

He smiled. “My name is Tyronne,” he responded. His name badge was displayed but I only remembered the sea of people.

Thanks, Tyronne, for parting the Red Sea of people to help my mom, a miracle made possible by eye contact, a smile and a willing heart.

Angela Scott

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All writings here are copyrighted by Angela Scott. You may not use them without written permission but you may link to the posts or give out a link to the posts.

Eternal Lesson an Earthly Potter Taught Me – Interview with Terry Hunt, a Potter in Seagrove, NC

January 15, 2008

Watching the potter throw the lump of clay on the wheel, it only took a few minutes to transform the shapeless clay into a perfect round shaped pound cake pan, approximately half the size of a standard pound cake pan. Mesmerized, I remarked, “It looks like magic. One minute you see the clay and before you can blink your eyes, there is another beautiful piece of pottery.”

Chad Brown, the production potter, worked easily and confidently as he controlled the spinning pottery wheel with his hands and right foot on the power wheel. Watching Chad work, I lost track of time while he quickly filled the workshop with greenware pottery to dry before firing in the kiln. Chad said, “I want all of my energy going into actually making the pottery.”

“Chad, how much time does it actually require to create one of those cake pans?” I asked. Without any hesitation, he said, “Forty-five seconds up to two minutes, at the most.” Terry Hunt, owner of Cross Creek Pottery, added, “That is what production potters do. Chad works for me one day a week helping me prepare for our pottery shows which begin in March and continue each month until December. During peak seasons for pottery, we participate in two or three shows per month. This requires us to have a lot of pottery in stock for our customers.”

Adjoining the workshop, shelves lined the store front with finished pieces of pottery such as soup mugs, brie bowls, Rebecca vases, pound cake pans, and cornbread dishes. And, of course, the large decorative pottery jars boldly announced their beauty as well. “From small pieces of pottery to large decorative pieces of pottery, the legacy I want to leave with folks is the fact that I worked with all of it,” Terry remarked.

Turning pottery since 1990, Terry’s favorite pottery to make includes large decorative pots, as well as cups and dishes used for eating. He said there is much competition in the world of pottery. Smiling, Terry remarked, “It is a friendly competition, though. I recommend customers to other potters if I do not make the products they want to buy.”

“You must set yourself apart,” he added as we continued our pottery discussion. Terry noted his brie bowls and drinking cups are among the highly requested pottery products in his shop.”I treat all of my customers the same, whether or not they purchase pottery.

We have ‘lid lifters’ and ‘lid lookers,'” he casually mentioned. The best thing is that even though they may not purchase pottery, the interested ones will tell others what they have seen.

He noted certain items sell better in certain seasons. Face jugs are high dollar items as well as the large decorative jars and Aladdin teapots. However, the price range for miniature pottery is around $7. “Miniature pottery is actually quite valuable because they easily fill in around the large jars and decorative pots,” Terry remarked.

He said, “Pottery is a luxury item for some and a needed item for others. A little bit of my wife and I are in each piece of our pottery.” Continuing to work, Chad smiled and quickly added, “Pottery is a hard way to make easy money.” Terry nodded his head in agreement.

He noted that signing the pottery is often referred to as dirty work because signing and dating 500 or more pieces of pottery at one time is monotonous. “Customers do not purchase unsigned pottery; it is valuable only when signed. They want and buy signed pottery,” Terry said.

Thinking about Terry’s last comment, I realized the importance of the potter’s signature on his work; it is the finishing touch. Unless the pottery is signed, it is neither valuable nor finished, similar to an unsigned check which cannot be cashed or an unsigned letter which is incomplete.

It reminds me of an eternal lesson the creator of the universe is teaching me. Until we accept and receive the master potter’s signature on our life, we are incomplete, just like unsigned pottery.

Terry and Vivian Hunt own Cross Creek Pottery which is located in Seagrove, North Carolina. Visit their website, http://www.crosscreekpottery.com, to learn more about their work of art in pottery.

Angela Scott

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All writings here are copyrighted by Angela Scott. You may not use them without written permission but you may link to the posts or give out a link to the posts.

Courage to Ask One Question

January 4, 2008

Have you ever needed to ask a question in an uncomfortable situation, but stuffed your question deep inside? I remember the trepidation I felt when it seemed everyone else but me understood the teacher’s directions or lectures.

In a recent event, a young man stood in the doorway of my office. “May I help you?” I asked. Without hesitation, he responded, “Do you have a literacy training program here?” He stood alone in the doorway.

“Let me make a call for you,” I responded. While dialing the number, I noticed how he carefully observed the certificates, plants, and photographs which filled my office, tangible proof of my academic accomplishments and friendships.

“You are the only one here who stopped to help me; the others just told me ‘No,’ and returned to their work,” he remarked. I told him it was not a big deal because it would only take a few minutes to get an answer.

“No,” the young man continued. “I have walked all around this area and you are the only one who listened and stopped to help me.” I was saddened to hear that others had answered only a portion of his question.

I remembered my own challenge with reading comprehension, which had been extremely difficult for me. Too embarrassed to admit my deficiency, I worked tenaciously to hide my secret. Overcome by fear, my courage melted more often than I prefer to recall.

Standing alone, this fellow had the courage to ask one single question, a question to admit he needed help in what I believe must have been quite challenging for him.

I wonder if a friend or family member had encouraged him to ask for help. Perhaps the real answer is as simple as the quotation from Dr. Seuss’ book, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go.” “You have brains in your head; you have feet in your shoes; you can steer yourself; any direction you choose.”

Do you have the same courage this young man possessed to ask for help, especially when it is elusive?

Angela Scott

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All writings here are copyrighted by Angela Scott. You may not use them without written permission but you may link to the posts or give out a link to the posts.

Alaska Treasure Hunt – How I Found 3 Sand Dollars in Sitka, Alaska

January 2, 2008

Two by two, the twelve of us ran down the ramp of the catamaran onto the island’s sandy beach. Our guide on the catamaran announced nonchalantly, “If you see a bear, just blow the whistle and lock arms with the others to form a long line.” The words blurred in my thoughts. I remember thinking, “How would blowing a whistle help us if we saw a bear?”

Laughing loudly, my husband announced, “If my wife sees a bear, she won’t need to blow a whistle. The captain of the catamaran will easily hear her scream.”

Our guide also announced to wait patiently at the edge of the island for the catamaran to return for our departure. Once again my husband announced, “If my wife sees a bear on the island, she’ll be walking on water to return to the boat.” The other adventurers smiled as we all began our “afternoon wildlife excursion.”

Reflecting today on the information describing that island excursion, I am certain I skimmed over the word “wildlife” and the potential of our life being in danger that day.

The others went walking in the woods on the island. My husband and I went a different route. We walked on the tiny beach of the island basking in the sunny, warm afternoon in Alaska. “No point in placing ourselves in harm’s way, if at all avoidable,” I silently said to myself.

As we walked, my husband and I found one, two, and then three perfect sand dollars on the pristine island in Alaska. Never before had I found a perfect sand dollar at any shore I had visited and there we were on an island in Alaska holding three perfect sand dollars.

I wrapped the sand dollars in napkins and placed them gently in the pocket of my jeans. I told my husband, “I better take good care of these because no one will believe we found three sand dollars in Alaska.” I knew this was a “once in a lifetime experience.”

As the group returned to board the catamaran for our departure, one of the adventurers asked us, “What did you guys do?” I mentioned we had found driftwood and three sand dollars on our walk. Their eyes widened as they asked, “Where did you find sand dollars?” I heard their question but I was still in awe of what we had found. I gingerly held the sand dollars in my hands.

Those sand dollars represent more to me now than when we found them three years ago. Our adventure, a transformed treasure hunt, is just one of numerous extraordinary miracles my husband and I have experienced; miracles of love given to us by the creator of the universe.

Recently I found an article in a Reader’s Digest magazine about “How the new science of thank you” can change your life. In that article, Barbara Fredrickson, a psychologist at the University of North Carolina, says, “Gratitude has the potential to change everything from its ordinary state to being a gift.”

Have you expressed appreciation today for an unexpected gift of love, something that money cannot buy?

Angela Scott

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All writings here are copyrighted by Angela Scott. You may not use them without written permission but you may link to the posts or give out a link to the posts.

One Opportunity I Almost Lost – Love for an Angel

October 5, 2007

Ten years ago, one of my friends and I had been talking about the fact how much both of our children loved dogs. I remarked, “My daughter really wants another dog as a pet.” Our first dog died when my daughter was only five years of age. And, since our home had been without a pet for over six years it seemed like our hearts were ready to love another dog.

My friend told me about a fellow she often spoke with at work who wanted to give three puppies to a good home. If I was interested in adopting one of the puppies, all I needed to do was call him and mention she had given me his name.

I called Bill and inquired about a good time to visit the puppies. He enthusiastically agreed to a lunch meeting with the three puppies. They were only four weeks old and I immediately fell in love with the runt of the litter. She quietly and quickly climbed out of the dog bed, leaving her two sisters behind. Tiny and tender, I cuddled her in my hands. “This is the one I want,” I told him. He said since I was the first to visit the puppies, I could have the pick of the litter. “She can go home with you in two weeks,” he remarked.

We purchased for Angel a pet taxi, harness, leash, custom sized dog food bowl, and water dish. Eagerly anticipating the day we could bring her home, we were thrilled. Always ready with a camera for those special photo moments, I snapped a few photos of our new miniature rat terrier with my daughter and one of me holding her tiny life in my lap.

“Let’s call her Angel,” my husband said. My daughter and I quickly agreed because she was so delicate and dainty. The name stuck so we officially adopted Angel on Wednesday, March 6, 1996.

My daughter asked if I could bring Angel to school for a special event in her 4th grade class, which permitted pets. Making the necessary arrangements, I arrived in my daughter’s classroom and told the kids about Angel and her arrival in our home. They loved her too. Unique in size, color, and temperament, she quietly watched the kids.

About two months later, I decided it would be a good idea to write Bill a thank you note expressing our appreciation to him for this wonderful gift of new life in our home. I included photos I had taken of Angel and mailed the note. Although I never received a response from Bill, I knew it was what I needed to do.

Reading the newspaper only four months later, my eyes glanced at a name that was similar to Angel’s first human dad. “That’s odd,” I remember thinking. The name I read in the obituaries was too familiar. Continuing to read the column, I gasped as I read the name of his employer. My thoughts raced, “This can’t be true.” He was just a few years older than me.

When I returned to work, I called the office where Bill had worked to express my condolences because of the incredible gift he had given to my family. The receptionist answering the phone listened to my story. As I told her the details of how we had received Angel, her voice began to break. “You’re the one…” she said. “We never knew your name,” she continued.

I remembered walking to Bill’s office for the lunch visit with Angel but that was the only time I had ever visited his office. “We always wondered who you were. The pictures you sent to him holding the puppy touched his heart. You see, he posted those photos on one of the walls in his office but we did not know your name.” Her voice paused as she said, “We always wondered…”

Who would have ever thought a thank you note and a few photographs would have meant so much to this man who died only six months after I first met him? A simple thank you note to him for the puppy he had given my family had touched several lives and taught all of us an important lesson.

If you are waiting on the perfect moment to take action, remember the lesson I learned. You may have only one opportunity.

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