Category Archives: Inspirational

Life’s Greatest Surprises.

    When I reflect back on my life, I would say I have had several unique and wonderful surprises. Looking back even the opportunity to grow up with lots of animals on a small farm was a great surprise. Getting to experience the miracle of life and even death was an experience that has helped form me into the person I am today.
    Some of the surprises in my life have come because of my families lack of even simple pleasures such as a television. When I was ten and my brother was eleven my mom answered an add in the newspaper. The add was requesting children that did not watch television on a regular basis to come to the University of Utah, so people could do some experiments hooking up electrodes on our head to measure how certain short movie clips effected our emotions. I remember watching four short clips, one was a movie about boxing and another one was of cars racing. I forget what the other movies were about. At the end of the experiment my brother and myself were given $10 dollars. We thought we were so rich. I think my mom talked us into getting some clothes with part of the money and the rest we could spend on what we wanted. I just remember how excited we were to get so much money.
    On another occasion our family was the recipients of sub for Santa from our church. Back in the late 70s the big craze were these 15 in one game boards and we got two of them. In my mind I was thinking why couldn’t we get something cool like a television or even a new Monopoly game. I was not being very thankful.
    When our kids were little, it was Christmas Eve when we got a knock on the door and we were surprised with a visit from Santa. A kind neighbor Glen Nelson dressed up like Santa and gave our kids a memory they would never forget. We were all excited that night for the kindness of wonderful neighbors.
    Two more surprises I am saving for last. When Cassie and myself had only been married for 15 months we became the foster parents of two children. Rick was 5 and Stephanie was 4. We went from being Aunt Cassie and Uncle Leonard to mom and dad on a Friday; that coming Monday was the first day of school for Rick.
    Rick and Stephanie have been wonderful additions. Five years after becoming their foster parents we were able to adopt them into our family. The three younger children would have been devastated if their older siblings had to go to a different home. They always looked up to them and loved doing all the family activities together. Our family would be empty without them.
    Finally, on the day I was driving with my parents to get married we looked over and we saw Cassie driving with her parents on the freeway to get married. For me this was a huge relief and a wonderful sign that Cassie really did love me and wanted to marry me. Of all the many delightful surprises I am glad Cassie gets to experience many of them with me.

The Wise Sage

     When I think of forgiveness I think of the story my Dad liked to tell about a wise Chinese Sage who is the wisest old man of the village. Their was a woman who was offended greatly by another woman in the village, so she visits the wise sage and asks him what is the best way to hurt someone the most? He said it is very simple. The first step is to be as nice as possible to the woman that hurt you everyday. Then in two weeks, I will tell you what to do next. Three weeks go by when the wise old sage sees the woman who wanted to hurt the other woman in the village. The wise sage said,” Are you ready for the next step to hurt the person who offended you?” The woman said she could never hurt the woman who had once offended her. She said she could never hurt this woman because she was her very best friend. When we serve others it is very easy to forgive them and overlook their differences.

Our Pennies Made all the Difference

Many years ago, when I was making 75 cents an hour, my three children asked for bicycles for Christmas, but I couldn’t afford them.

So that January, I put three bikes on layaway. I paid all through the year, but a week before Christmas, I still owed $14.50. The Saturday before Christmas, my son Ricky asked how much I needed. When I told him, he asked if he could pour the pennies out of the penny jug we kept.

I said, “Son, I don’t care, but I know there’s not $14.50 worth of pennies in there.”

Ricky poured them out, counted them, and said, “Mom, there’s $15.50 worth of pennies.” Ecstatic, I told him to count out $1 for gas so I could go get the bikes.

I’ve always thought of this as our little Christmas miracle. It was as blessed a Christmas as anyone could ever have. —Dot Williams, Canton, Georgia.

As told in the Readers Digest



It’s wondrous what a hug can do.
A hug can cheer you when you’re blue,
A hug can say, “I love you so,
Or, “Gee, I hate to see you go,”
A hug is – welcome back again,”
“Great to see you! Where’ve you been?”
A hug can soothe a small child’s pain 
And bring a rainbow after rain, 
The hug! There’s just no doubt about it 
We scarcely could survive without It!
A hug delights and warms and charms.
It must be why God gave us arms.

Hugs are great for fathers and mothers,
Sweet for sisters, swell for brothers,
And chances are your favorite aunts
Love them more than potted plants!
Kittens crave them, puppies love them
“Heads of State” are not above them, 
A hug can break the language barrier, 
And make your travels go much merrier,
No need to fret about your store of them
The more you give, the more there’s more of them
So stretch those arms without delay 
And give someone a HUG – Today!!

I am going through some of my moms things and miss her deeply.
I found this poem about hugs.

She Graduated Life With Honors

    This student had more guts and determination than most. She was in her early 20’s; but she had leukemia, which, at the time, was in remission. She always wore a scarf on her head, because she had lost her hair during the chemo treatments. She had a cheerful attitude and was responsible and prepared. She only missed a couple of classes because of her illness. She never expected any special treatment. Some of the students were not even aware of her condition.

    Near the end of the quarter, the leukemia returned. She still turned in all of her assignments and came and took the final exam.

    She passed away about two weeks later. Her attitude and determination to the end will always be an inspiration. As I recall, she earned an “A-“  in the class; but I gave her an “A”. I always wondered, “How many of us, knowing that we were going to die, would bother to take the final exams?” In my book, she certainly passed the final exam of life.

As told by Marlon Andrus in his book 12,000 Students Later.

Find Your Passion

One of my passions is hiking.


“A musician must make music, an artist must
paint, a poet must write, if he be at peace with
himself What a man can be, he must be.
Abraham Maslow

    Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, “Many people die with their music still in them.” I think back on my life and ask myself, “Am I living my life in such a way that my heart sings with joy because I am living the passion that stirs my soul?”

What puts a smile on your face?
    Is there a particular event, a particular topic that makes your whole face just lighten up? When there is something that makes you smile and makes you happy whenever you encounter it, this is a sign of something you are passionate about. I truly believe that happiness and passion walk hand in hand. Both require each other. So following what makes you truly happy is a wonderful way to figuring out what you were put on Earth to accomplish. Think about something that you do, or that perhaps you used to do that brings total peace to you when you do it. Peace is happiness, and happiness is passion.

What do you find easy to do?
    Usually, what we find easy for us to do; will be related to what we are passionate about. It’s very hard to hate something that we do with ease! For example, let’s say you are naturally good at playing the piano. You will find the activity easy, and this ease makes it much more enjoyable. Fun leads to happiness and happiness is synonymous with passion.

    Assess everything that you do; whatever it is that you find really easy and fun may very well be your passion. Don’t think that anything is off limits or silly. Some people have taken their passion for skateboarding, drawing, or collecting to full fledged careers. Remember this, you can make a career out of anything you are passionate about.

What sparks your creativity?
    One of my passions is cooking. I love making food that everyone enjoys. I think back to my childhood and I remember that I started cooking when I was young. I remember when I was 14, my mom said, “For every pie crust you make for Thanksgiving I will make the filling.” I made 20 pie shells and my mom lived up to her side of the bargain and made 20 pie fillings.

    As a result of making all those pies, we needed to start eating pies before Thanksgiving. My mom said, “Let’s invite family over to help us eat these pies.” We also made some soup. That day was the start of a family tradition that has been going on for over 30 years. We now have many families bringing pies and soup. Every Wednesday before Thanksgiving, you will find me eating soup and pie with many family and friends.

    Think about something in your life that seems to always expand your horizons. Whatever makes you creative is probably something that you are very passionate about.

What would you do for free?
   When I was in Junior High I was riding the bus to school one morning when I spotted a homemade Christmas calendar hanging in a window of one of the homes I was passing. When I got home that evening I wanted to create my own calendar. I spent hours making this calendar, loving every minute of this

creative adventure. Over the years I have perfected this calendar, and I think it looks pretty cool. I have hung this fun calendar on a wall every year for more than 40 years. When you love something to the point of losing track of time when you do it, then you know you have found your passion.

    Another thing I love to do is sing solo’s and duet’s. Several years ago, I had the opportunity to record a few songs on a music album. I have also recorded some songs that I made into an album of my own.

    I have read a countless number of stories about stock brokers and doctors, for example, leaving their high paying positions to follow what they really love. There is a reason for that. I truly believe that if you follow what you are passionate about without thinking about whether or not it will make you rich, you will end up being successful.

    I have a friend who made a confession about his career. He had just graduated with a pharmacy degree when he made this comment.

“Now that I have graduated from college I wish I was still a custodian cleaning the school, just as I have been doing for the past four years.”

    Doing what you have a passion for brings out your best, and this leads to greatness. Greatness turns into success. Do you think that the most successful people in the world got to where they are because they wanted to get rich? Absolutely not! They did what they were so passionate about, and their immense success was just a by-product of their dedication.

What do you like to talk about?
     A few years ago I was asked to speak in church about a topic I am very passionate about. I was asked to give a talk on how being positive can help you spiritually. I was in a zone when I was writing my talk. Everything seemed to just flow as I was typing the words on the page. Everything was coming together flawlessly. This reminded me that the topics of the conversations we have can definitely tell what we are interested in. This is a good way to find out what we really enjoy most in life. Most of the time we aren’t totally aware of this.

    A very good way to find your passion is to ask your friends what they believe you like to talk about the most. Ask them what topic makes your eyes brighten up, and changes your entire behavior.

    I can guarantee you that some of their answers will be surprising to you. Some of  these things weren’t that clear to you, but your friends can see the reaction on your face that you can’t see yourself. Try it out, it’s a very insightful exercise, and one that can direct you closer to figuring out your passion.

What makes you unafraid of failure?
    Thirty five years ago I was a new home owner. Repairing something that is broken can be very costly, so I learned how to fix things around the house with my Dad as my coach. When I needed to repair something, I knew that if I got stumped my dad would help me. This knowledge, and knowing my dad was there for me, gave me the confidence I needed to fix almost anything. Passion gives one the courage and drive to go forward without someone to fall back on.

When we do what we are passionate about, we have total confidence in our abilities. This makes us not worry about failing, because in our mind how can we fail when we do what we love? Doing what you love is a success in and of itself, so failure is like an impossibility. Think of something that you do just for the fun of it, without having second thoughts about it. This may very well be your true passion.

What would you regret not having tried?
     When I look at my wife and children I am so grateful for the opportunity of being a husband and father. Had I not had this opportunity, one of my greatest regrets would have been not being and doing what husbands and fathers should do; by leading and guiding their families.

    My greatest joys have come into my life because of the opportunities of being a husband and father. Not experiencing these moments would have been a huge regret.

    We all have dreams. Somehow life pushes us in another direction, and the next thing we know we are far from the dreams of the past. If you were at the end of your life, what would you regret not having pursued or accomplished? What would you have liked to have done that you didn’t get a chance to do?

    Think about what that might be. Whatever it is that may cause you to experience regret now or later on, this may be your true passion. There is nothing worse than arriving at the end of the journey and having regrets. This is why finding your passion, and following it, is so important. Live your life so that you do not have regrets.

Nothing great in the world has been
accomplished without passion
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

True Happiness


    You can be as happy as you make up your mind to be. Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. It means that you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections in life.

    Being happy is an attitude. The people that are the happiest are happy under every circumstance, regardless of their social status, their age, religion or race. They are the bright lights when they enter a room.

    Have you ever been so happy that you lose track of time? You are so engaged in what you are doing, two hours seems like only five minutes has gone by. This is bliss. You are in the happiness zone.

    I remember as a child, my brother Mel and I asked our parents if we could go play. We couldn’t have been older than nine or ten at the time. We went to Steve’s house for a while. Then we decided to all go over to our house. On the way over to our house, we cut through a field where we noticed an old barn door was open. So we went inside. We found a barn full of wheat. This was a barn that used to have many animals, but now it was just used for storage. We started jumping in the wheat. It must have been 6-8 feet deep. We started

diving and swimming in the stuff. We even buried ourselves. We found a way to climb into the rafters of this old barn, and jump into the wheat. Before we knew it, we were pulling wheat out of our shoes, hair, our pants pockets and our underwear. We decided to take off all of our clothes and jump in the wheat nude. It made it easier to shake the wheat from our clothes. We were gone for

hours. By the time we got home, we knew we were in trouble. It was way past dinner. It had been so much fun that even going to bed without dinner didn’t matter. I still remember thinking it was not possible that we had been gone for hours. Those hours seemed like minutes, I was truly happy.

Be the Light

When a flashlight grows dim or quits
working, do you just throw it away? 
Of course not. You change the batteries.

When a person messes up or finds 
themselves in a dark place, do you 
cast them aside? Of course not! 
You help them change their batteries.

Some need AA… attention and affection;
Some need AAA… attention, affection, and acceptance; 
some need C… compassion; some need D… direction. 
And if they still don’t seem to shine… simply sit with 
them quietly and share your light.

My Experience With Skip Ross

This is a tribute to Skip Ross a  wonderful man I got to know 41 years ago. I was sad to learn of his passing not long ago. He is loved and will be missed by all who know him.

One of the saddest things I see is someone with a poor self esteem. I can relate. When I was in elementary school I was a slow learner. As a result of the label given me by my peers I became more unsure of myself.

Many students at school knew me, but I didn’t get close to anyone except for one good friend. We would wander the halls before school talking and waiting for the school bell to ring. Sometimes I felt very lonely, being able to talk only to the family’s pet goats. I was thankful for my little piece of heaven on our small farm.

I am thankful for amazing teachers, church leaders, people in the community, and most of all my parents who helped me believe in myself. As a result of them I started changing my self image into a more outgoing one.

The pivotal moment in my life was when my parents were in the Amway business. Part of their Amway training was how to be a better person on the inside and out. Every week my dad would travel about an hour south from our home in Salt Lake City to pick up his order of products. In part of his order was a cassette tape called ‘The Tape of the Week.” Some times I would go with him. On our way home we would listen to these tapes. This is where I first listened to Zig Ziglar, Rich Devos, Skip Ross and many more wonderful positive speakers.

One day my parents told me that Skip Ross was coming to town. They asked me if I wanted to hear him speak. I was so excited I might as well have been going to hear a rock star perform. He was a very successful motivational speaker, singer and had reached the top in the world of Amway.

While I was listening to Skip Ross live in person I saw a person with self confidence who was funny and could sing. Who could ask for more then that; he was the real deal. I also wanted to become a person that radiated self confidence.

My parents told me he had a youth camp in Rockford, Michigan. I wanted to go so I saved my money. It cost me $800 dollars to go to this camp a huge amount of money. I had a job making $3.15 an hour. It took me a year to save up enough money to go.

This was my first trip on an airplane. I was going to a camp where I didn’t know anyone so I had to stretch outside of my comfort zone. I was excited and nervous at the same time.

Every morning Skip Ross instructed us on how we could reach our full potential. After we were instructed he had many activities planned for us like swimming, horse back riding, and we even helped with the chores like feeding the horses and cleaning the barn. I felt right at home since I did barn chores everyday in Utah.

One day our activity was going to Lake Michigan. I had the privilege of sitting in the front seat with Skip Ross. I looked down and saw that he had a cassette tape of himself singing. I asked him if we could listen to it; he agreed. I thought that was very cool to be sitting next to the person who was singing on the tape as we were driving to the beach.

Going to the Skip Ross Circle A. Ranch in Michigan was a life changing experience. I learned that we can become anything we want to become or achieve anything we want to achieve. I also learned to Love yourself, for if you don’t, how can you expect anybody else to love you?”
What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? Would you still be at the same job? Would you go back to school and get your degree? I think we would all be the ideal weight and eat healthy. If we couldn’t fail we would have a high self esteem and we would love ourselves. The greatest love of all is learning to love yourself.

There are many different ways to understand love. We also need to remove and never use the word hate in our vocabulary. This will increase are ability to love ourselves and others unconditionally.