“What do you want to be when you grow up?” Her parents asked…

“A bird!” she said with glee.

“I want to glide across the sky 

I want to play up in the trees.”


“Well, come on,” they said each grabbing one hand…

without ever asking why...

“We have a lot of work to do…


if we’re going to teach you how to fly.”

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The older I get the more and more I become aware

that when you stop to look at little things…there’s always magic there.


Yesterday we walked the Appalachian trail…

not the entire trail

no, our walk was incomplete

I estimate we actually walked about three hundred feet.


But in the little bit we hiked much to our surprise

we saw flowers, trees and mushrooms and a host of butterflies.


Once down from the trail we hit the white water…actually we didn’t pick up an oar.

We watched, as other people braved the rapids, from the safety of the shore.


But we climbed on rocks, we skipped stones…and with the river running fast

as the rafters cleared the final hurdle we cheered them when they passed.


We waved at a train, talked to people we didn’t know, felt a cool breeze in our hair, watched insects crawl among the rocks as we were sitting there.


We stopped to have a picnic…picking up hot boiled peanuts along the way.

We drove home the Blue Ridge Parkway…pausing to enjoy the beauty of the day.


When we returned to the cabin…

after a morning where so many little things fell into our laps

We took a little time…and took a little nap.


Later in the evening…seated in our rocking chairs

we watched the sun set and the moon rise…as the sound of crickets filled the air.


And I had to smile as I sat in the rocker thinking of all we happened to see 

as I was one again reminded of how big the little things can be.


And how important, it is…after a week like we’ve had in our country,

where sorrow has reigned as king…

in the midst of a sadness so big


to look for happiness in little things.

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He said, “Hey Mom I wish I had a super power!”

His mom said…”But you do!

of all the people in this world


no one else…is you!”

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They were on the edge of hopelessness…their dream…not going as they planned

until they happened on a little purple flower growing in the sand…


And they began to hope again…believing their dream…within their reach


when they saw a little purple flower growing on the beach.

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The daughter picked up the tiny artificial Christmas tree her mom kept on the dresser by her bed

and, remembering its story…she gently bowed her head.


There was a time when her mom was young, when she was feeling a little blue

when she was sad, confused and worried…when she didn’t know what to do.”


A dear friend told her when things look bad to think about her Christmas tree.

That by Christmas time her worry would be gone and she’d see things differently.”


By Christmas time her friend said, gone will be your uncertainty, your misgivings and your doubt,

By Christmas time you’ll be wondering what you were ever so worried about.


The next day when she got home…she was surprised and excited to see

on this dresser…her friend had left her…this tiny Christmas tree.


From that day on whenever she was apprehensive…when her troubles flooded out

whenever she was overwhelmed with worry, or with doubt.


she would look at this little Christmas tree…”By Christmas time.” she’d say

and soon, as if by magic, her troubles would fade away.


The daughter had just come from her mom’s funeral, when tree in hand, a thought came to her head…

So she took it home and found a spot on the dresser by her bed.


She knows when she misses her mother…as she will most every day…


By Christmas time she’ll whisper…by Christmas time she’ll say 

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No matter what happens in his life…he never speaks of pain

Instead he finds treasures in his troubles and pleasures in the rain.


When asked how he endures his suffering…how so easily he copes  

he answers that he only thinks of love…of happiness and hope.


He thinks of life as an adventure and all the beauty there is to see…

He finds his peace in the kindness of his friends…in the warmth of his family.


He looks at all the beauty in the world…he finds his inspiration in the turtle dove…

for he knows if he’s to thrive in life…he must fill his heart with love.


He says he’s much too busy…to ever speak of pain…

too busy finding treasures in his troubles and pleasures in the rain.


To busy finding inspiration in the flight of the turtle dove...

too busy filling his heart with hope…with happiness and love.


For he knows outward beauty is fleeting…that one day it will depart


and he knows the only lasting beauty…is the beauty in his heart…



The pier was crowded with people…the water shimmered like glass

When a family of dolphins caught everyone’s eyes as they came swimming by en masse.


We watched one dolphin jump…I’ve never seen one jump so high…

when a little boy sitting next to us said, “Look, Mommy…did you see that dolphin fly?”


“Did you see him, Mommy? Did you see him jump? Dod ups see him touch the sky?”

“I knew dolphins could swim.” He yelled….”But I never dreamed that they could fly!”


His mom smiled at his innocence…and a tear fell from her eye.

“How lucky we were to be here, she said…when that dolphin chose to fly.”


“You see it doesn’t happen often…we’re not sure the reason why… 

but not many people ever get the chance…to see a dolphin fly.”


“I wonder if it’s a sign,” his mom said…”perhaps the dolphin is telling you

not to give up hope…that your dream may still come true.”


That some day people will see you jump…they will see you touch the sky…

and another boy will yell out, “Mommy, did you see that little boy fly?”


The boy nodded his head an smiled…a smile that filled the air…


As they turned to walk away together…as Mom pushed his wheel chair.

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Expectations…she exceeded them…

because her parents made a pledge

that every time she needed them…

they would take her to the edge.


They took her to the edge of fear…

and when her courage swayed

they gently whispered in her ear…

it’s okay to be afraid.


They instilled in her the desire to achieve 

from the moment she could crawl

always reminding her, “You must believe!”… 

and…“We will catch you if you fall.”


“Don’t worry if you fail,” they agreed, 

“just don’t let your dreams die.”

“It’s disappointing if you don’t succeed…

but it’s a tragedy not to try.”


They never told her of their pledge…

only repeating, “We believe in you!”

Their love took her to the edge…

Their love pushed her…

and she flew.



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When I was young:

I planned to be a football star…but I wasn’t the right size

When I was young:

I planned to be a movie star…but that never materialized


When I was young:

I planned to be a doctor…but the sight of blood made me faint

When I was young:

I planned to be a famous writer…but obviously…I ain’t.


When I was young:

I planned to be a farmer and live off of the land

But as is glaringly apparent…

life doesn’t always go as planned.


When I was young:

I never planned to go to college…

I wanted to stay home with my peers

When I was young:

I never planned to be a teacher…but I taught for 30 years


When I was young:

I never planned to move to Florida…

but now I’m here to stay

When I was young:

I never planned to marry and have a family…

but now wouldn’t have it any other way.


When I was young I made so many plans

but now that I’m older I have come to understand:

Most of the love and happiness in my life has come…


from all the things I never planned.