Category Archives: Tales2Inspire
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What an Incredible Dog!
Ashley Howland lovingly portrays Obi, her intuitive golden Lab, so smart and loving that you just wish your could reach out and hug him.
Obi influenced the lives of all whose lives he touched through his work and play both at school, at home and in a Labs ‘n Life program back in Ashley’s home in Australia. Obi also touched many hearts, and once you read this story, it is bound to touch yours as well.
My Special Boy, Obi, a 2014 Tales2Inspire winner, is now published in
Tales2Inspire ~ The Sapphire Collection
Stories that Echo In The Mind
Lois W. Stern
Bringing you one inspiring story at a time,
This video is dedicated to all for the Mothers Out There. And when you watch it, have the tissues ready!
When a young boy presents his mother with an IOU for all the tasks he has done to help her, she responds to him in this most inspiring video. Take a moment to watch it now.
Brought to you from
Lois W. Stern
Bringing you one inspiring story at a time.
Thanks you Natalie Hecht for this one.
Ultimately, this story is about a gift I received from my father, posthumously, the year after he died. First, I’d like to tell you something about the man he was and why the gift was so important to me. Dad was my best friend growing up. We were alike in many ways. I have a strawberry birthmark on my right arm identical to and in the same location as the one that was on his right arm. We had the same droll sense of humor. When I was young, we ate sardines and crackers together in the kitchen, laughing when my other siblings would shy away from the smelly treat. I was the daughter who enjoyed snuggling up with Dad on the couch to watch his favorite cowboy and detective TV serials and was the first to try out the walking stilts he enjoyed making for us kids.
I know Dad found our similarities endearing when I was a child. But as I grew older, certain other characteristics we shared, like fierce independence and a long stubborn streak, made us ‘butt heads’ more often than not. This was compounded by the fact that my mother died suddenly in automobile accident when I was 16, and my father remarried a woman with whom I did not get along.
In 1965 I graduated from high school and went off to college.
Jenna’s High School graduation picture with her dad
As I recall, visits home were not always pleasant. I still loved my father very much, and knew he loved me, but when we talked, it often ended in a confrontation that was fueled by our differing points of view about everything from the war in Vietnam to how long my male friends should wear their hair. It seemed to me at the time that everyone was down with the news that The Times They Are A Changin’ except Dad and his whole pigheaded generation.
The year I met and fell in love with the person who was to become my husband was a particularly trying one for my father and me. Gene had long blond hair that hung to the middle of his back and enjoyed a freewheeling life on a sailboat that he and his father had built. Dad wasn’t impressed. He insisted that I reconsider my plans to leave school and marry Gene and come home instead. When I refused, he ceased speaking to me for over a year.
Under the circumstances, Gene and I decided to elope and were married quietly at a local Justice of the Peace. We celebrated after the ceremony by getting ice cream sundaes. We spent our first year together on our boat, docked close to where Gene was hired to help build a new marina in Englewood, Florida. When we became pregnant with our first child together, we moved off the boat and bought property in central Michigan where Gene’s parents lived at the time. By then, Dad and I were on speaking terms, but we were not as close as we once had been.
Married life was busy for Gene and me. We eventually had four children, designed our own house that we built to stand nestled in the woods on our property, and created a thriving wholesale fishing bait business in the resort area of Michigan where we lived. But no matter how busy we were, we always took time during the Christmas holidays to travel to Florida to visit my father and Jeanne— stepmother number two since my mother had died and the woman whom I grew to love over the 23 years they were married.
Jenna’s step mother Jeanne, with her Dad
THIS STORY CONTINUES IN THE
TALES2INSPIRE ™ SAPPHIRE COLLECTION
To the outside world we were the ‘All American Family’; mom, dad, five well behaved children who went to church every Sunday, well groomed and dressed to perfection.We even had the array of pets. But, for my family the saying, “No one knows what goes on behind closed doors” rang all too true.
Sunday mornings seemed to be the favored time for my parents to have disagreements.These were not typical arguments that couples have about things like being late or who forgot to pay which bill, these ‘arguments’ usually turned into out and out physical altercations. During one in particular I recall being more afraid than usual after seeing my mother being held up by her throat. My father came to me and asked what was wrong. I asked through tears, Are you and mommy getting a divorce?” He pulled me close, and looked me straight in the eyes telling me they would never get divorced. I believed my dad. I needed to believe him.
I have very few positive memories of my childhood but one that has touched my life in different ways still stands out so vividly in my mind that I can still smell and feel the cold crisp air and how it burns your lungs as you take in that first deep breath as I reminisce about one of those cold winter weekends.
My father loved the outdoors and in the winter, he would take us ice-skating. This was not the ice-skating where kids go to an indoor rink and skate around in circles to music. This was real ice-skating! You had to wait until it was well into the winter months so that the ice in any given large body of water had a chance to freeze all the way through. Not only did you have to dress like you were going to climb Mount Everest but, when you talked you weren’t sure your lips were moving because your face was so numb from the biting cold and ice would actually form on your eyelashes!
Once in a great while my father would spring the question, Anyone want to go ice-skating?
THIS STORY CONTINUES IN
TALES2INSPIRE ™ ~ The Sapphire Collection
It’s easy to recognize dramatic acts of heroism, acts of great courage and selflessness. But what about the unsung heroes amongst us – the ones who think of themselves as absolutely ordinary while quietly living their lives with worthy acts of purpose. Enter Gerald and Sharon Bricker, for it is through them that their daughter Jennifer Bricker has reached unfathomable heights.
In 1987, Gerald and Sharon Bricker adopted their baby daughter Jennifer. Although they already had three biological sons, Sharon yearned for a daughter, a little girl she could dress in pink ruffles with trailing ribbons and bows. They adopted Jen, sight unseen, when she was 3 months old. She was a tiny baby, only 13 ½ inches long, but to Gerald and Sharon she was perfect.
Jen as a baby
Luck shone down on this infant from the moment she entered the Bricker household. She felt the unconditional love of her parents and three older brothers, all with solid values that helped her grow into the remarkable person she is today. As a young woman reflecting back on her childhood, Jen says with admiration:
They are amazing and they don’t even realize it, they are just good people. I don’t know how, but they always managed to handle each situation exactly the right way.
Jen with her parents, Mr. an Mrs. Bricker and friend Dave
From early on the Brickers told Jen that there was no such word as “can’t.” Instead they taught her how to go after the things she really wanted. With their guidance, Jen’s indomitable spirit and confidence soared. She vigorously dove into sports, meeting each challenge head on with confidence and the expectation of success. More often than not, she realized her dreams. Jen led a happy, rewarding life, playing softball, basketball and volleyball. But her passion was gymnastics. When she was 10, she won fourth place in the Amateur Athletic Union’s Junior Olympics in Hampton, Va., and was Illinois state power tumbling champion in her division.
Jen grew up idolizing popular gymnast Dominique Moceanu. It wasn’t just that the two girls shared a common Romanian heritage. They shared the same good looks: dark hair, sparkling eyes. ready smiles. Jen felt a magnetic attraction to Dominique, becoming her biggest fan. At fifteen years of age, Dominique was catapulted into the limelight as the youngest member of the “Magnificent Seven”, the U.S. gymnastics team that won gold at the 1996 Olympic games in Atlanta. As she stood in line to receive her gold, the name Moceanu rang a distant bell. The Brickers quietly reopened the adoption papers they had signed years earlier. What it had taken them nine years to realize was that Dominique wasn’t just Jen’s idol — she was also her biological sister.
This story continues in Tales2Inspire™ ~
The Emerald Collection
Tags: "authors helping authors project", "authors helping authors", "CREATOR OF THE TALES2INSPIRE CONTEST", "inspirational stories", "inspire others with the power of your words", "TALES2INSPIRE CONTEST", Jen Bricker, Lois W. Stern, Tales2Inspire
I have asked Sean Somics, the terrific fellow who designed the T2I logo, if he would work with me on the cover. Below you can find three prototypes that we are working from and if you have an artistic eye, would appreciate your input.
SAMPLE A – WHAT I WANT TO KEEP: THE SHADES OF GREEN ON THIS SAMPLE
MY CONCERN: DOES THE WHITE BOX AROUND THE EMERALD LOOKS TOO MUCH LIKE THE DESIGN TAKEN FROM A TEMPLATE? YOUR THOUGHTS?
SAMPLE B – WHAT I LIKE: THE GREEN CURVED LINES CONTINUING DOWN THE COVER.
WHAT I WANT CHANGED: THE GREENS NEED TO BE SHARPER AS IN SAMPLE A. I DO NOT LIKE THE INTRODUCTION OF THE COLOR PURPLE TO THE TITLE AND MY NAME.
SAMPLE C – WHAT I LIKE: AGAIN, I LIKE THE GREEN CURVED LINES CONTINUING DOWN THE COVER
I ALSO LIKE THE BOLD BLACK COLOR USED FOR THE TITLE AND AM INCLINED TO ASK SEAN TO USE IT FOR THE “BEYOND COINCIDENCE ” and “CREATED BY . . . ” PARTS AS WELL WHAT DO YOU THINK?
WHAT I WANT CHANGED: NEED THE GREENS TO BE SHARPER AS IN SAMPLE A. I DO LIKE
WHAT I’M ALSO CONSIDERING: ASKING FOR A LIGHT HALO AROUND THE EMERALD LOGO TO BREAK ALL THE GREEN.
ANY OTHER IDEAS? PLEASE SEND THEM TO ME AT: email@example.com OR POST THEM IN A COMMENT BOX ON THIS BLOG. TO AVOID CONFUSION, PLEASE REFER TO EACH COVER YOU DISCUSS BY LETTER (SAMPLE A, B OR C)
Dr. Don Lloyd finished watching the ten o’clock news and flipped off the T.V. It was 10:30 p.m. He glanced outside and noted it was snowing. His window-mounted thermometer read fifteen degrees, about normal for mid-January in Wisconsin. By 11:00 p.m. he was in bed and snoring lightly when his telephone rang. It was an emergency room nurse at the local hospital informing him that the rescue squad was bringing in a newborn baby girl from a home delivery. The baby was severely hypothermic. Dr. L. cradled the phone with his shoulder while he hurriedly dressed and listened to the rest of the story. On the ride to the E.R. he rehearsed in his mind the routine to treat hypothermia. He was apprehensive, to say the least. He was a family doctor, not a neonatal specialist.
The mother was a massively overweight teenager whose parents hadn’t even realized she was pregnant. The girl had gone off by herself, somehow delivered, placed the baby in a brown paper grocery bag and carried it to an abandoned house. She left it there on the basement floor to freeze to death.
By the time the girl returned home, she was bleeding so heavily her parents had to rush her to the E.R. The resident on duty removed some placental tissue, which quickly stopped the bleeding. He then quizzed the young mother on the whereabouts of the baby. She was evasive at first, but when the resident threatened to call the police, she finally admitted to what she had done. A frantic city-wide search by all available rescue personnel led to the baby’s discovery in a relatively short time. The baby, unfortunately, was already moribund when they found her.
When Dr. Lloyd arrived at the E.R., he was informed that the baby was so cold a rectal temperature could not be obtained. Her pulse rate was only twenty per minute and her weak, gasping respirations were only eight per minute. No blood pressure was obtainable. Her extremities had the consistency of frozen meat.
The snowstorm had morphed into a blizzard. A transfer by Med-Flight was out of the question. A neonatal I.C.U. ambulance was dispatched from University Hospital in Madison, but the normal driving time of forty five minutes was now estimated at closer to two or three hours. The I.C.U. personnel advised the local E.R. to keep up with their re-warming efforts, but added that they had never seen an infant survive with vital signs as dire as this little girl’s.
Upon arrival in the E.R., the little girl was immersed in tepid water to which warmer water was gradually added. After one hour of this routine, there was no response. No rise in temperature. All attempts to start an I.V. failed. The needles either bent or broke off in the hard tissue. Nothing was working. By this time, all of the rescue personnel had left. Only Dr. Lloyd and five nurses now remained in the E.R., which had suddenly turned very quiet. In desperation, Dr. Lloyd finally asked if anyone had any suggestions. The five nurses assisting him just shook their heads. Then all of them heard a soft voice say, “Ask God for help.”
Dr. L. asked if any of the nurses wished to pray. They didn’t, so he prayed. He prayed like he’d never prayed before. Right in the middle of it, he had a brainstorm.
THIS STORY CONTINUES IN the TALES2INSPIRE™
Dr. Stan Cupery is a retired family physician presently living in Venice, Florida and summering in Cottage Grove, Wisconsin. Dr. Cupery practiced medicine in Beaver Dam and Randolph, Wisconsin for thirty years. He received his B.A. from Oberlin College (Ohio) and his M. D. from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine-where he was also an Associate Professor and administered the preceptor program. He interned at St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth, Minnesota and served two years in the U.S. Navy.
For more than a decade, Great Blue Herons had a special meaning for Brad and Cindy. During those years, Brad had no hint this special meaning would one day acquire a much deeper significance.
The couple enjoyed watching the graceful herons at their summer cottage feed one hundred feet away, drawn by schools of minnows in a bay below their deck.
Brad and Cindy also saw the birds feed in a cove where they often anchored their boat overnight.Blue herons became their favorite bird. To celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary they commissioned a watercolor of a pair of blue heron.
Watercolor of a pair of Blue Herons, commissioned by Brad and Cindy for their 30th wedding anniversary
The years slipped by, as they will. Those thirty years edged toward thirty-five. Their prized painting hadn’t been framed. One day, Brad sneaked it out and got it framed. On the night of their 35th anniversary, as they prepared to turn in, there was the framed painting above their bed, where Brad had just finished hanging it minutes earlier.
Three years later, Cindy lost her battle with cancer. And Brad, well . . . was lost, too.
At Cindy’s memorial service, her dear friend, Ellen led the service. She wanted to help Cindy’s young grandchildren comprehend what had occurred. Here is the story she told:
Once upon a time, a happy group of tiny bugs were playing on the bottom of a lily pond. One by one, the bugs climbed up a lily stem and disappeared. Those left behind wondered what had happened to their friends. Then they agreed the next bug to venture beyond the surface of the pond would return and tell the others what they’d experienced.
One day, a bug left and found itself on a lily pad. It fell asleep. When it awoke, the warm sunshine had dried its body. Instinctively, it spread the wings it had grown while asleep and began flying away. The bug had become a beautiful dragonfly with four resplendent wings. Then it remembered the promise. It swooped back toward the surface of the pond and headed downward. The dragonfly hit the surface and could go no farther. It was not able to return. Finally, it realized the others would just need to have faith that it was going to be all right.
Original photo contributed by Sonia M. Smith
Before she passed away, Cindy had asked Brad to make two promises to her:
THIS STORY CONTINUES IN THE TALES2INSPIRE™
Finalist award – 2013
LIFE IS A TENDER GIFT