On July 28th, I celebrated my 47th birthday. Nothing too elaborate... I worked all day, went out to dinner with my loving family, opened my presents, ate some brownies, then sat quietly reflecting on the fact that... I'm another year older.
Over the years, I have been getting a little balder and a little heavier while my wife who I adore, gets more gorgeous every year. My love for her is immeasurable, and only grows more intense over time. My kids whom I love are pretty much grown now. My baby is going to be 17, my middle child goes to CMU, and my oldest is 26. I am the shortest male in my house at 6'2" (besides the dog). I am so proud of my boys, but I can't forget when they were just little tykes who looked up to me. Margaret and I used to read to them bedtime stories every night, then tuck them in, and promise to check on them in 7 1/2 minutes (a compromise between 5 and 10 minutes). I really miss those days, but I am looking forward to the next adventures that are waiting for Margaret, my boys, and me. 

Since I can't read my babies bedtime stories anymore, I will have to share this one with my younger readers...

A legend from India tells about a mouse who was terrified of cats until a magician agreed to transform him into a cat.  That resolved his fear.... until he met a dog.  So the magician changed him into a dog. The mouse (turned cat, turned dog)  was content..... until he met a tiger.  So once again the magician changed him into what he feared - a tiger. But when the tiger came to him complaining that he had now met a hunter, the magician refused to help any longer.  He said "I will make you into a mouse again, for although you have the body of a tiger, you still have the heart of a mouse. 

The moral of the story... It's not what is on the outside that matters, rather, what is on the inside. Only inward character creates courage.
I've got a question for you. What is a miracle? I know what you are thinking... Here goes Kelly, trying to make some religious point. I don't mean to, but I do wonder if the term "miracle" used too often, or not often enough. Can what happened 2000 years ago when Jesus took five loaves of bread and two fish and fed over 5000 people be compared with Team USA beating Russia in hockey in 1980? Does a miracle have to happen in front of many people to be considered a true miracle, or can they happen in front of one with no other witnesses. In our lives, we never know how many miracles we will need. A miracle is not the suspension of natural law, but the operation of a higher law. With that higher power on our side, I think everyone has the ability to perform miracles in someone else's eyes. Whether it be a smile to a sick child, a conversation with someone in a nursing home, or a helpful hand to someone in need. Not all miracles are recorded in the bible, or shown over and over again on television. Many go unnoticed by the multitudes, but stay in the heart of the intended.

I mix these 2 thoughts together because I have thought a lot about by brother Dan recently. During his life, he truly showed me what character, courage, and miracles are all about. Let me just challenge all my readers to not be afraid, and have the courage to perform a miracle in someone else's life. I leave you with this short story. Enjoy.


The Price Of A Miracle

A little girl went to her bedroom and pulled a glass jelly jar from its hiding place in the closet. She poured the change out on the floor and counted it carefully. Three times, even. The total had to be exactly perfect. No chance here for mistakes. Carefully placing the coins back in the jar and twisting on the cap, she slipped out the back door and made her way 6 blocks to Rexall's Drug Store with the big red Indian Chief sign above the door. 

She waited patiently for the pharmacist to give her some attention but he was too busy at this moment. Tess twisted her feet to make a scuffing noise. Nothing. She cleared her throat with the most disgusting sound she could muster. No good. Finally she took a quarter from her jar and banged it on the glass counter. That did it! 

"And what do you want?" the pharmacist asked in an annoyed tone of voice. I'm talking to my brother from Chicago whom I haven't seen in ages," he said without waiting for a reply to his question. "Well, I want to talk to you about my brother," Tess answered back in the same annoyed tone. "He's really, really sick... and I want to buy! a miracle." " I beg your pardon?" said the pharmacist. "His name is Andrew and he has something bad growing inside his head and my Daddy says only a miracle can save him now. So how much does a miracle cost?" "We don't sell miracles here, little girl. I'm sorry but I can't help you," the pharmacist said, softening a little. "Listen, I have the money to pay for it. If it isn't enough, I will get the rest. Just tell me how much it costs." 

The pharmacist's brother was a well dressed man. He stooped down and asked the little girl, "What kind of a miracle does your brother need?" " I don't know," Tess replied with her eyes welling up. I just know he's really sick and Mommy says he needs an operation. But my Daddy can't pay for it, so I want to use my money." "How much do you have?" asked the man from Chicago . "One dollar and eleven cents," Tess answered barely audibly. "And it's all the money I have, but I can get some more if I need to." "Well, what a coincidence," smiled the man. "A dollar and eleven cents---the exact price of a miracle for little brothers. " He took her money in one hand and with the other hand he grasped her mitten and said "Take me to where you live. I want to see your brother and meet your parents. Let's see if I have the miracle you need." 

That well dressed man was Dr. Carlton Armstrong, a surgeon, specializing in neuro-surgery. The operation was completed free of charge and it wasn't long until Andrew was home again and doing well. Mom and Dad were happily talking about the chain of events that had led them to this place. That surgery," her Mom whispered. "was a real miracle. I wonder how much it would have cost?" Tess smiled. She knew exactly how much a miracle cost...one dollar and eleven cents... plus the faith of a little child.


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