Why I Believe

deeclarknz.comSee that smile? That is the look of joy.

After a week like this one where our hearts get snagged by such deep heartbreak and loss of life, it becomes easy to lose our hope and faith in humanity. Yet, I choose to believe. I choose to see that even the smallest amount of good can bring light. I know it does. Just look at that smile.

It’s prizing-giving time in New Zealand. Prize-giving is a school award ceremony. Many deserving children are recognized for their efforts and accomplishments for the year.

But there are a limited number of prizes and not every child’s efforts can be acknowledged. A fact of life. We don’t all get to stand in the winner’s circle with confetti floating down on our heads. Yet, that does not mean that we didn’t give our best or put in effort.

When our name does not get called, it can feel like we failed. Especially when we have less-than-perfect circumstances surrounding our lives.

Zane was one of those kids who did not hear his name called at school. But he had a tutor who recognised that there was something very special about this young man. She made a special effort to celebrate him using “some pretty important stuff” she learned about him while supervising his homework.

Here is the list of prizes that his tutor awarded to Zane with the important information she learned (according to his foster mum):

1. A friend of the Tooth Fairy.

Zane’s birth mother didn’t find his tooth under his pillow when he was little which meant that because the tooth fairy didn’t show up, Zane didn’t believe she was real. Mrs G (the tutor) got him a little friend of the tooth fairy to prove she is real.

2. Light bulb box with some slime in it.

Zane was sometimes bright on the outside but his brain was a bucket of slime some days during study time. (Boy, I can relate to that, can’t you. Try as we may, somedays the lightbulb is dim.)

3. Body wash to stop him getting stinky.

Bodies and attitudes sometimes need a good scrubbing. (I’m sure this is all about showers, right, Zane? No stinky attitudes at your house!)

4. Sardines

Zane stole Mrs. G’s favorite, comfy chair on some days and well, sardines seemed a fitting reward for stolen chairs.

5. Chocolates

Zane is a sharing person so Mrs. G made sure that he had something that he could share.

6. Hand Cream

This prize was something he could give to his foster mum to show that he cares about her.

7. Lemon Honey Spread

Well, just because thats his favourite spread.

Zane told us that the personal prize-giving ceremony made him feel special!!! And of course, it shows all over his face, doesn’t it.

These sweet gestures between a student and his tutor meant a lot to Zane and to his foster family.

Recognition (for both effort and encouragement to grow to be the best we can be) speaks volumes to our hearts. The fact that someone has taken notice of our existence and valued the fact that we have crossed their path gives us a feeling of significance. The gestures can be small but when they speak to the heart…the impact is huge.

If I listened only to the news on TV, I think hope might fall through the holes created in my heart by all the bad things in the world. Yet, when I open my eyes to the wonderful people all around me making a huge difference in people’s lives…I believe!

I believe that there is more good in the world than bad.

I believe that good overcomes evil.

I believe that love never fails.

And I believe that in order to make a difference, all we have to do is see people with eyes of love; get to know “important stuff” about them; encourage their hearts to keep trying and moving forward; and reach out (even in small ways).

I believe.

And Mrs. G and Zane are just another proof that I should never lose hope.

Keep reaching out to each other! It matters!


Zane, keep up the good work. You won’t regret it!

Mrs. G, you continue to inspire and the world is blessed to have loving, caring hearts like yours!

Today is the Day

Mel Fisher, a dreamer, a visionary, a legend and most importantly, the World’s Greatest Treasure Hunter! Mel Fisher did what many have not – he realized his dream during his lifetime. Everyday he insisted, “Today’s the Day”! His mantra continues to inspire the search for the rest of the treasure from the Nuestra Senora de Atocha and the Santa Margarita, the Spanish galleons that sank during a hurricane on September 6, 1622, near Key West, Florida.

Mel Fisher suffered many personal losses to keep his dream alive during his 16 year search and endured over 100 court battles which ended in victory in the US Supreme Court. The riches Mel Fisher, his team and investors had worked so hard for all those years were finally theirs. The $450 million dollar treasure cache or “Atocha Mother Lode” would be found on that momentous day, July 20, 1985. Over 40 tons of silver and gold were located including over 100,000 Spanish silver coins known as “Pieces of Eight”, gold coins, Columbian emeralds, silver and gold artifacts and over 1000 silver bars.

The immensity of the Atocha’s treasure is staggering. What was only a dream instantly became an undeniable reality.” (Story from the Mel Fisher website-click on his name above.)

Day after day, we dream , we plan, we work, we lose and we try again. The journey to realizing a dream is not usually a smooth one.

Your dream may be emotional healing: freedom from depression, a new beginning after loss, hope, or renewed strength.

Your dream may be to build a future, attain a career, start a business or develop a hobby or interest.

You dream may be to impact others, see your community strengthened or encourage the downtrodden.

Keeping passion alive in the face of obstacles may be exhausting. Mel Fisher started each day reminding himself that “Today’s the Day” when everything might come together and the dream be realized. He faced each barrier, including the loss of his son, as they were presented. Each time he assessed his position. Each time he concluded that he would keep going.

His daughter said he loved to take a six foot long gold chain and put it into the hands of people he met. He loved the spark of inspiration in their eyes as the weight filled their palm.

What are you working toward? Could the realisation of your plan, goal, dream be just around the corner?

As Mel Fisher would say, “Today’s the Day!”

Don’t give up!

a good use for the bad things in life

Not one of us is exempt from difficult times. There are days and events that take our breath away and cause us to think that we might not make it to the next breath. We gasp for air and wonder how in the world we will make it through the situation.

We have all been there.

Yet, here we are. We made it through…stronger, wiser and better.

Questions can plague us as to “why” and “how”. However, if we can take those events, those experiences and make something beautiful out of them…those events become the opportunities that cause us to shine and bring value to the journey we are on.

Don’t allow this difficult moment define your future.  Don’t allow it to define how you view the world. Don’t allow it to cause you to give up and look at your journey in a hopeless way.

Be hopeful…that there is a way through…and no matter how difficult it is today…that you will take the bad things in life and make something beautiful.

This video encouraged and inspired my heart today. I hope it will do the same for your heart.


the value of being kind when others aren’t


My cousin spent today helping an infuriating, older neighbour tear down a fence. It was something her neighbour probably would not have reciprocated. She also had to wade through plants that were not good for her allergies. When completed, her young daughter noticed and commented about her labour of love.

My cousin stated: “My hives are calming down, Ill be fine and Sarah’s response makes it worth it. She said, “Mommy, why we’re you helping her when she doesn’t even like us?” I explained it’s the neighborly thing to do. She replied, “But Mom I heard her talking to you in a nice voice. Is she going to be nice now? Will she be a friend?” Good life lesson to learn when I told her that wasn’t why I did it and she probably will not be a friend. Some people are just the way they are.”

Is it really worth being nice to someone who isn’t easy to be nice to?

I think the answer is definitely, “yes.”

People are all different, have differing value systems and differing historical stories that cause them to be who they are.

Reacting like someone acts causes me to be disloyal to myself and who I really am. I most enjoy being kind, generous, loving and giving. That’s when I’m happiest within.

I find myself frustrated having to live on “their” playing field. So, I came to the realisation that revenge is not sweet for me. Being “me” is…therefore, I live fully out of my heart and appreciate that they are different than me.

I don’t expect them to be me (even when it’s hard) or give more than they are capable of giving.

It’s taken many years to reach this place…

I really despise my “mean Dee” more than I despise actions coming my way.

I also believe love never fails (even if I can’t see the good effects).

The question is, “who do I want to be and what type of journey do I want to travel?”

Answering that question for myself helps me set my standard of behaviour. It is not an easy journey and it takes maturity.

Which do you prefer?

One perpetuates drama and the other brings inner satisfaction.

If you haven’t reached the goal of not allowing circumstances to turn your world upside down, keep going. Keep applying purposeful actions to bring you to the place in your journey that you most desire.

Have a great day!

inspiring story: the father of invention

David Cook of The Chattanooga NewsFree Press shared this inspiring story. I am certain my readers will find this inspirational so I wanted to share it with you.20140319-191605.jpg

The Reynolds’ Wrap is Andrew’s parent’s blog.

Meet Andrew Reynolds, the luckiest little kid around.

Two years ago, he was born without a right hand.

Or a left hand.

His right leg ended at his knee.

His left leg? Just below it.

Then he was abandoned by his mother in an orphanage in Ukraine.

(What’s that? Oh, yes. The lucky part.)

So last summer, little Andrew’s lying in a Ukrainian orphanage, limbless and hopeless, when in walks the man who would soon become his dad.

The man looks down at the boy he soon will adopt, and sees what could be instead of what is. The man takes some duct tape, a potholder and a wooden Ukrainian spoon, and thingamajiggers them together — the potholder wrapped around the boy’s left stub, the spoon coming out the end like a new forearm, the tape holding it altogether — and presto!

Within days, Andrew’s playing with toys, laughing, like someone just catapulted him out of the orphanage and into a Disneyland of possibilities.

“He went from ‘I can’t’ to ‘I can,'” said Ezra Reynolds.

This is what Ezra does: He helps people go from I can’t to I can. Ezra is a design specialist for Signal Centers, which helps people — especially disabled ones — find full and independent lives.

Paraplegics. A woman with Parkinson’s. A boy who could only move his finger. A man with a clubbed hand. Using anything from old arcade parts to aluminum foil, Ezra invents devices so they can use a computer, play with toys, keep their jobs.

But his greatest invention?

He gave Andrew something he didn’t have.

“Independence,” said Ezra.

Last summer, Ezra and his wife, Kelly, traveled to Ukraine to adopt their fourth child. There they met Andrew. He was 18 months old and could do nothing on his own. Not eat. Not play. Not move. They placed a toy in front of him, and he cried.

“He’d been taught he can’t do these things because of his disability,” said Ezra.

Ezra invents the spoon-arm, then, after they bring Andrew to their Chattanooga home, Ezra invents something like a miniature surfboard with wheels that teaches Andrew how to use his half-limbs to move around.

Soon Andrew discards the board and begins moving around on his own. See the pattern? Dependence is replaced by invention, which leads to independence … and, among other things, the ability to pry open the fridge.

“We see him scooching off with the mayonnaise,” Ezra said.

Talk to Ezra, and you realize quickly his brain is working exponentially faster than yours, 1.21 gigawatts compared to a single-strand bulb. He’s 33, graduated from Central High, then the University of Tennessee Chattanooga with a degree in computer science and another in electrical engineering.

For inspiration, he wanders around Lowe’s, just looking, like Michelangelo in a marble quarry. His Signal Centers workshop is part Ace Hardware, part Google.

(He once met a boy who’d lost his hand, some fingers and his lower leg, and was terrified of a prosthesis. So Ezra found a Woody doll from “Toy Story.” He sawed off the hand, fingers and lower leg, and built a toy prosthesis. He gave it to the boy, so that when the boy went to get his prosthesis, he’d have some company. “It’s not so bad if you have a buddy,” Ezra said.)

Each week, Ezra takes his designs to the place he loves most: the 3D printer on the fourth floor of the Chattanooga Public Library.

“The limits are what I can envision in my head,” Ezra said.

Ezra uses the 3D printer to build devices that help his Signal Centers clients: the blind, dyslexic and paraplegic.

And one day, he used the 3D printer to make a new prosthesis for Andrew.

It’s like a plastic bracelet with an O on top. It Velcro-straps to Andrew’s stub, so his half-arm now has a cuff with an O above it that can hold a colored marker or a spoon and let Andrew begin to do things like everybody else.

“Like write, or eat,” said Ezra.

With a spoon in his 3D-printed prosthesis, Andrew eats second helpings of spaghetti. He steals his sisters’ toys. He pulls all the Kleenexes out of the box. Ezra and Kelly scold him, but it’s the softest, kindest scolding in parenting history.

“On the inside, we’re saying, ‘Yes!'” said Ezra.

You see? Andrew’s the luckiest. Sure, you could say he got a bum deal in life. That he got shortchanged.

You could say that. But you’d be wrong.

If necessity is the mother of invention, then love is the father. That day in the Ukrainian orphanage, Ezra looked on his son not with pity, but with hope.

He tinkered with a wooden spoon and duct tape. He huddled over the 3D printer. He imagined, believed and created. Because that’s what inventors do.

They invent new devices.

But Andrew?

His dad invented him a new life.

Contact David Cook at dcook@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6329. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter at DavidCookTFP.

like Ezra many are given “you can’t” messages that break their hearts. given support, opportunity and hope, those messages can be deafened.

i encourage you, dear reader, to remember that you can do anything you set your mind to do.

don’t accept limits.

let Ezra and his dad inspire you.

The importance of not causing scars


Once upon a time there was a little boy who was talented, creative, handsome, and extremely bright. A natural leader. The kind of person everyone would normally have wanted on their team or project. But he was also self-centered and had a very bad temper. When he got angry, he usually said, and often did, some very hurtful things. In fact, he seemed to have little regard for those around him. Even friends. So, naturally, he had few. “But,” he told himself, “that just shows how stupid most people are!”

As he grew, his parents became concerned about this personality flaw, and pondered long and hard about what they should do. Finally, the father had an idea. And he struck a bargain with his son. He gave him a bag of nails, and a BIG hammer. “Whenever you lose your temper,” he told the boy, “I want you to really let it out. Just take a nail and drive it into the oak boards of that old fence out back. Hit that nail as hard as you can!”

Of course, those weathered oak boards in that old fence were almost as tough as iron, and the hammer was mighty heavy, so it wasn’t nearly as easy as it first sounded. Nevertheless, by the end of the first day, the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence (That was one angry young man!). Gradually, over a period of weeks, the number dwindled down. Holding his temper proved to be easier than driving nails into the fence! Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He felt mighty proud as he told his parents about that accomplishment.

“As a sign of your success,” his father responded, “you get to PULL OUT one nail. In fact, you can do that each day that you don’t lose your temper even once.”

Well, many weeks passed. Finally one day the young boy was able to report proudly that all the nails were gone.

At that point, the father asked his son to walk out back with him and take one more good look at the fence. “You have done well, my son,” he said. “But I want you to notice the holes that are left. No matter what happens from now on, this fence will never be the same. Saying or doing hurtful things in anger produces the same kind of result. There will always be a scar. It won’t matter how many times you say you’re sorry, or how many years pass, the scar will still be there. And a verbal wound is as bad as a physical one. People are much more valuable than an old fence. They make us smile. They help us succeed. Some will even become friends who share our joys, and support us through bad times. And, if they trust us, they will also open their hearts to us. That means we need to treat everyone with love and respect. We need to prevent as many of those scars as we can.”
-author unknown

a strong person does not get angry quickly


He that is slow to anger is better than a mighty warrior; better to be someone who controls his temper than someone who conquers a city. -Proverbs

my husband constantly tells me how much strategy, discipline and strength are required in the art of war. warriors train to be focused, function in the worst of conditions, make wise decisions, and to be strong enough to face an opponent and overcome him.

i feel a great deal of respect and honor when i meet a member of the military. although i’ve never been to battle, i understand this job is not an easy one.

the men and women who face our nation’s enemies on the battlefield are admired for their strength physically and mentally.

wisdom tells us that the person who can control his/her anger is stronger than a great warrior.

it shows as much strength (and requires as much strength) as it does for someone who defeats a city.

in other words, it’s takes great strength of character to not fly-off-the-handle. you must train and practice in varying circumstance to build the skill necessary to maintain self-control.

it’s not an easy skill to learn.

however, developing self-control over anger makes us more wise and set us on the path of success. after all the proverbs are given to us to give us keys to living more successful as we travel our journey.

next time your temper flares…maybe counting to 10 is a good thing to practice.


slow down, think clearly and keep a cool head!

would you like to some inspiration?

20140226-004007.jpgi do my best to inspire my readers.

today, i’m sharing something beautiful that has inspired me…

20140727-030927-11367681.jpgi love photography.

20140727-031038-11438713.jpgit is one of my passions.

20140727-031243-11563033.jpgbeautiful photographs inspire me.

20140727-031435-11675443.jpgplease check out the photographs this Russian mother took if her children…

20140727-031546-11746030.jpgthey are truly amazing.

find more here-inspirational photographs

see…i told you!



my funny valentine

20140214-183706.jpgthis is my Valentine…his name is Rodney.

funny thing happened today, Valentine’s Day 2014…

when i woke up this morning, he explained to me that he thought about getting me flowers but decided that it was the thought that counted and he reckoned that would make me feel special.

i hugged him and thanked him for the special thought.

i then told him that i had planned a romantic dinner for Valentine’s Day.

“Oh, that will be a nice way to celebrate Valentine’s Day”, he said.

then i added,” but you’ve saved me all that work because after all it is the thought that counts. happy Valentine’s Day, sweetheart.”

he began laughing…”pretty good one!”

it’s 6:30pm and he just left the house to pick up dinner, chocolate and flowers!


i don’t think he enjoyed his special thought as much as i did mine.

first time in 10 years of marriage that i’m getting a Valentine pressie!

he’s such a funny Valentine!