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Posts Tagged ‘faith’

When You Need Some Help

sandor birthdayI have a little notebook in my car and sometimes, when I’m especially worried about an issue I write a prayer to God everyday, just something short, two or three sentences.  Earlier this Fall, I needed something for one of my children. So for five or seven days in a row I wrote out my request. I didn’t realize how my prayer had been answered, little by little, over the course of a month and a half, until yesterday when I was reading my notebook.  God one hundred percent answered my prary. So now I’m writing thank you notes to Him.

I like my little notebook because it forces me to recognize and acknowledge when prayers are answered. And then give the right Man credit.

When my dad was in WWII he was shot down over the North Sea. for four days he and crew members floated in a dingy until picked up by a Dutch fisherman.  Once on board he wrote a letter to my grandmother, Mooie.  He said, “I’ll find a way to study architecture while I’m in prison camp so don’t you worry. Just keep the faith.”

Why in a billion years would he think he could study architecture in prison camp? That’s an absurd and delusional idea. But, as it turned out, he spent the bulk of his time in the POW camp, with a polish Architect who taught him everything he knew.

When I first started in sales I would decided what my sales goal would be each month and then I would write that number, over and over and over. During every sales meeting my boss would look at me, scribbling away, filling up the margins of all my legal pads with 25,000, 25,000, 25,000. I wrote that number hundreds of times and I made it. The next month I wrote 28,000, 28,000, 28,000. Again I made it. this went on and on. My boss was stunned because it was 2008 and the economy had just tanked in a stupendous fashion.  Nobody was making budget. But I kept writing and making budget.

When I was a little girl my dad always told me we could “brain wash our brains.” And a phrase he made me repeat over and over was, “when you imagination accepts it as reality it will become true.”  He also cautioned me not to take this power lightly and do the hard work to make that reality happen. So I didn’t try to conjure up a hippopotamus.  Dad told me I had to guard and respect the power and to share it.

Have faith in the power of your mind. It’s amazing. Do the hard work; its necessary. Give as much as you can, it will all come back to you. And tell God thanks.

 

 

What The Hell Am I Talking About?

kitty6One of the  most befuddling questions I hear every week….”so what’s your blog about?”  or “what do you write about?” Yikes, that’s tough, I should know what I write about but I don’t. I should have an ‘elevator description’ for Hampoland, something short, to the point, accurate and endlessly witty. I got nothing.

If you look at the counter at the bottom of the page you’ll see there have almost been one million hits. I’m astonished and grateful but I still don’t know what it is I’m writing about.

My standard answer is “I’m almost brilliant….fifty percent of the time”. But that’s not really an answer, just a flip rebuttal.

For the last two weeks I’ve been talking a great deal about my dad, I. Granger McDaniel, a visionary, a war hero, a miracle man. And while I was talking and talking and writing and writing I think I discovered a couple of my themes. I learned them from him.

1. Happiness is a choice you have to make every morning. It’s not something that arrives or is given to you by somebody else. Look around you, see your world, see the magic and love it.

2. With faith and hard work anything is possible. Happiness is possible, love is possible, magic is possible. But you have to have faith and work hard.

3. Always put your family first. From the begining and in the end that’s what matters.

Love, Diana

PS  I’m putting my family first by posting this link. It’s my son, Jack, and his band. Send them twenty dollars please. if you send them 100 they will write you a song!

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/natural-outlaw-needs-get-away-van/x/3312425

Check it out please.

 

 

God Gave Me A Rock… Literally A Round Gray Rock

peaceI’m reprinting this story because I gave my rock to a friend yesterday.  She is the aunt of a seventeen year old boy who is struggling with all sorts of issues.  She wants to save him so she took her own sister to court to get custody.

When I walked into court I handed her my peace rock because it has the power to help in special situations.

Here’s the story of my peace rock. (And fyi, the aunt’s story had a happy ending.)

 

 

A little less than a year ago my brother, Granger, died. It was a pretty horrific and heartbreaking situation. Granger was my last living family member. That’s why I sometimes feel like the last creature from my herd; the last zebra with these stripes.

The day I got the phone call, telling me Granger wasn’t going to make it, I was hanging out with my kiddos, Lexie and Sandor, who was 8 at the time.  We were looking at some funky art in a  tiny gallery on Central Avenue.  When the phone rang I stepped outside to take the call.

I was told he might make the next 24 hours, but it was doubtful.  My big brother was going to die and leave me here, all alone.

My heart thumped with pain and I tried to breath evenly. I didn’t want to break down and wail in front of the kids.  It was really hot that day, almost a hundred degrees but I shivered in the sunshine and I prayed.

“Lord, please help me with this, please help me find some peace and strength to get through this. I don’t have much left. Just help me find some peace, Lord, because I don’t understand this.”

Peace and strength, that’s all I wanted. After I prayed I felt a little better. I took three giant breaths and willed myself not to cry then I walked back into the gallery to find the kids.

Lexie was looking at an abstract painting of a horse, or maybe it was a volcano. I took her hand, it was warm and dry and felt nice. For a moment I stared at the painting with her. “Where’s Sandor?”

“He went out back to play with Daniel and Ben.”

I nodded and decided I wouldn’t tell them about Granger until we got home.

I willed myself not to start crying as I walked to the galleries’ back door. Sandor and two other little boys were squating next to a pot- hole filled with black water.

“Come on Boy Boy,” I yelled. He popped up like a jack-in-the-box and ran to me.

“Look what I found, Mom.” He stuck his grubby hand in his pocket and waited for me to stretch out my hand. Then he placed a smooth river stone on my palm. “Look at it!” he said excitedly.

I unwrapped my fingers and stared at the grey rock. The word PEACE was etched into the surface. I looked at Sandor, who was grinning.”Where did you get this?”

He was bouncing just a little. “I found it in the puddle over there,” he said and pointed to the pot hole. “You can have it,” he said cheerfully than ran off to find Lexie.

Granger did die the next day. I kept that rock in my pocket for the next two weeks.  Now it stays in the cup holder in my car.  I rub when I need to and sometimes, when other people need a little Peace, I share my rock.

I’m pretty sure God and Granger would want me to pass the peace.

**You can comment or write to me at hampoland@gmail.com or find me on facebook. I always need more friends.

With Boss and God, It’s All Possible

Two or three weeks ago a dear friend of mine took a sixteen mile bike ride, put his bike up and had a massive heart attack. He was way out in the sticks at the time.

Long story short, twenty five minutes passed before doctors were able to shock him and get his heart beating again. Twenty five minutes.

That’s a long long long time.

When I learned how long his heart was silent and his brain deprived of fresh blood and oxygen I was heartbroken.

For days the reports were all heartbreaking devastating. No brain activity, minimal heart power. It was terrible.

But my friend, Boss, is an amazing man. When he was young. he and a black man had a tire store in Southern Arkansas. He told me they would change tires all day long on big trucks for $2.50. They used a crow bar and a sledge hammer and sometimes worked till midnight if there were tires to change.

This summer he and his son sold their chain of 32 convenience stores/gas stations for a lot of money. But it all started with long hard days changing tires.

Boss is a gospel musician. He and his band play in nursing homes on Sunday mornings because he likes to spread The Word and make old people happy.

If ever there was a man God would lay out a miracle for, it would be my friend, Boss.

Twenty five minutes with no heart beat. He shouldn’t be with us. But today his son let me know he sat up in bed and then, with help, was able to stand up.

With God and Boss, all things are possible.

The Boxer + The Surgeon and Parkinson’s

It’s the 4th of July, I’m laid up in bed but I’m thinking about two men I never knew who had Parkinson’s Disease. I love them both.
The first was my grandfather Dr. Jack Sidney Stell. He was a surgeon at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Hot Springs, Arkansas from 1918 until the mid 40’s.

The family called him Daddy Jack and he was deeply loved in his hospital and in his community. Daddy Jack was a staunch and faithful Baptist but his nurses at St. Joseph’s were all Catholic nuns.

I remember being told a story about my grandfather by very old nuns when I was a little girl. He’d been dead for years but his legend and the tales of his faith continued. 

Daddy Jack was diagnosed with Parkensen’s disease in the early forties, just as WWII engulfed the world. At first the symptoms were mild but they grew worse, as did the war.  Lots of the younger doctors enlisted and there was a shortage of surgeons in the area. Daddy Jack’s skills as a surgeon were desperately needed but his hands were starting to tremble.

So, before every surgery Daddy Jack and his nuns would kneel down on the cold tile floor of the operating room and pray for his shaking to stop, long enough for him to operate.  And it did.

Over and over again the nuns and my grandfather asked God to intervene and still Daddy Jack’s shaking hands. And He did.Dr. Jack Sidney Stell was able, with the help of the St. Joe’s nuns and God, to successfully perform hundreds of operations despite the Parkinson’s.  And when the war ended and the doctors all came home, Daddy Jack retired.

My number two man ins Muhammad Ali. I love him so because of his extraordinary ability to rise above the desiese. He was famous  for his witt, his grace, his footwork and his mouth. Parkensisn took all those things away from him.  And he somehow became more of a man, more of an iconic figure we could all learn from and admire. His silence taught us more, his unsteady steps taught us how to be strong and his frozen face is still filled with love and humor. He is Ali and I love him more now then when he was the heavyweight champ. He is more beautiful, more powerful and important now.

I love these two men so much because they have shown us there will always be grace and  power in faith.

Kick Fast and Keep The Faith

I’m not sure if it’s the human spirit or body I find so astonishing.

Last night I attended  Mary’s second college dance recital,modern, jazz and ballet. It was beautiful, joyous and a whole lot of fun. As we drove back to Hot Springs I thought about the athleticism of the evening. Then of course, I started thinking about our Taekwondo school.

Two years ago when our current instructor, Jim Robinson (a 53 year old sixth degree), bought out taekwondo school, I thought it was the end of my martial arts career. For ten years, the previous owner had pushed us to be powerful and brutal.

Jim Robinson’s style was nearly the polar opposite.  He insisted, even demanded, we be flexible, quick and fluid. He promised the power would come. And as he said over and over, if we weren’t quick enough to hit somebody, it didn’t matter how much power we had.

Being quick and flexible sounds like a brilliant idea unless you aren’t that way. Most of the teenagers in class are naturally quick and it was easier  for them to pick up speed. For anyone over the age of 40 it’s an entirely different situation.

The running joke about my spin heel kick has been, “Yeah, it’s beautiful but you can drink a cup of coffee before it lands.”

Though in his 50s, Jim Robinson is ridiculously quick and flexible. He’s gifted and works harder than everybody else. After watching countless martial artists, young and old, for 13 years, I’ve only seen one or two men who could match his speed. His kicks are blisteringly fast with razor like accuracy. I wanted  to be just a little like him, just a little bit. But doubted that was possible.

When he demonstrated a double and triple lead leg round kick, and said that’s what he wanted from us, I think I accidentally rolled my eyes. Yes, I could kick two or three times, but it’s wasn’t fast. Pretty but slow. However I could do one thing fast, I could get really really frustrated and embarrassed. Why was I so slow and lumbering after ten or eleven years of training? Night after night I cried in the car on the way home after class like a big chicken baby cheese cake.

Fast forward a year and a half.

Half a dozen times I wanted to quit but my pride and the kids wouldn’t let me, even though I was the oldest in the class by THIRTY YEARS. Night after night it’s just me and a bunch of awesome teenagers. Mr. Robinson has been pushing us all to kick fast. Kick low, kick high, kick fast.

Last week I was partnered with a sixteen year old yellow belt. Kicking drills, double round kicks, high and low, and suddenly this girl said, “whoa, you’re fast.”

“Who? Me?” I kicked again, to her knee then her face,  and I smiled. Yeah, I know it’s easy to impress a yellow belt but it still felt good. There was no “blistering” speed, it wasn’t a McNeeley or Robinson kick, it wasn’t even teenaged boy fast. But my kicks were 100 percent faster than they were 18 months ago.  I was stunned, I was better. How had that happened.

Everyday, I am am amazed by what we can accomplish if we simply refuse to quite. If we try to get better, at anything, we will. It’s simply a matter of showing up and trying…over and over and over again.

And it really helps if we surround ourselves with people who inspire, who push  and shove  and have unbreakable faith  we can all get better.

The secret is you can’t quit. And as my friend Amelia says, “just try to suck a little less everyday.”

Let me know what you think comment or e-mail hampoland@gmail.com

God Gave Me A Rock…Literally, A Rock

peaceI’m reprinting this story because I gave my rock to a friend yesterday.  She is the aunt of a seventeen year old boy who is struggling with all sorts of issues.  She wants to save him so she took her own sister to court to get custody.

When I walked into court I handed her my peace rock because it has the power to help in special situations.

Here’s the story of my peace rock. (And fyi, the aunt’s story had a happy ending.)

 

 

A little less than a year ago my brother, Granger, died. It was a pretty horrific and heartbreaking situation. Granger was my last living family member. That’s why I sometimes feel like the last creature from my herd; the last zebra with these stripes.

The day I got the phone call, telling me Granger wasn’t going to make it, I was hanging out with my kiddos, Lexie and Sandor, who was 8 at the time.  We were looking at some funky art in a  tiny gallery on Central Avenue.  When the phone rang I stepped outside to take the call.

I was told he might make the next 24 hours, but it was doubtful.  My big brother was going to die and leave me here, all alone.

My heart thumped with pain and I tried to breath evenly. I didn’t want to break down and wail in front of the kids.  It was really hot that day, almost a hundred degrees but I shivered in the sunshine and I prayed.

“Lord, please help me with this, please help me find some peace and strength to get through this. I don’t have much left. Just help me find some peace, Lord, because I don’t understand this.”

Peace and strength, that’s all I wanted. After I prayed I felt a little better. I took three giant breaths and willed myself not to cry then I walked back into the gallery to find the kids.

Lexie was looking at an abstract painting of a horse, or maybe it was a volcano. I took her hand, it was warm and dry and felt nice. For a moment I stared at the painting with her. “Where’s Sandor?”

“He went out back to play with Daniel and Ben.”

I nodded and decided I wouldn’t tell them about Granger until we got home.

I willed myself not to start crying as I walked to the galleries’ back door. Sandor and two other little boys were squating next to a pot- hole filled with black water.

“Come on Boy Boy,” I yelled. He popped up like a jack-in-the-box and ran to me.

“Look what I found, Mom.” He stuck his grubby hand in his pocket and waited for me to stretch out my hand. Then he placed a smooth river stone on my palm. “Look at it!” he said excitedly.

I unwrapped my fingers and stared at the grey rock. The word PEACE was etched into the surface. I looked at Sandor, who was grinning.”Where did you get this?”

He was bouncing just a little. “I found it in the puddle over there,” he said and pointed to the pot hole. “You can have it,” he said cheerfully than ran off to find Lexie.

Granger did die the next day. I kept that rock in my pocket for the next two weeks.  Now it stays in the cup holder in my car.  I rub when I need to and sometimes, when other people need a little Peace, I share my rock.

I’m pretty sure God and Granger would want me to pass the peace.

**You can comment or write to me at hampoland@gmail.com or find me on facebook. I always need more friends.

Humans vs Horses and I. Granger McDaniel

Recently, I read a pretty extraordinary paragraph about the human heart and soul. (Don’t make that face, it was gross or gooey. It’s cool stuff.)

In 1954 Robert Bannister was the first man to run a mile in less than four minutes. Before that time experts and sports writers thought it was impossible. Bannister was a good runner but suffered some sizable defeats in his career. After his failure at the 1952 Olympics, Bannister spent two months deciding whether to give up running. Instead he set a new goal: to be the first man to run a mile in under four minutes. 

And he did it… because his heart and mind were determined and focused. So his body followed.

Now old people sometimes break the four minute mile because they believe in their hearts in can be done.

Some folks want to say man kind has gotten faster because of advanced training and nutrition.  But take a look at racehorses.  Their training, nutrition and even breeding have improved DRAMATICALLY. Saddles are lighter, jockey and trainers are smarter but horses haven’t really gotten much faster.

Racehorses, unlike human beings have improved a little but not really that much.  In 1915 regret won the Kentucky Derby with a time of 2:05, and the winners in 2010 and 12 were both 2:04.  One notably exception. in 1979 Secretariat ran the derby in 1:59.  In more than thirty years.  

Why are humans getting stronger and faster but horses are not? It’s all in our head and our heart.

My daddy, I. Granger, McDaniel always told me, “when you imagination excepts it as reality, it will become the truth.”

When I was a little girl I didn’t understand.

When I was in high school I rolled my eyes.

When I was in college I thought his idea  was bull shit. (most college students are such know-it-all-doubters)

But now I understand and I believe. I know he was right. 

When we  invest our heart and soul completely and we are willing to do the hard work (that’s were most of us fail cause sometimes hard work sucks),  we can do anything, because we are human and we have the heart for it.

*Comment or e-mail. I love that.  hampoland@gmail.com