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By Vale McCleary
from Sioux City Iowa
Shortly after seeing The Secret movie, I was at a wedding for a friend and they had gratitude rocks on the table as a gift. Now I knew from watching the movie what these were used for, so I began a process of feeling grateful every day for the smallest things in life. Then one day our 6 month old grandson Bradley had contracted spinal bacterial meningitis. Now, I was told this is very deadly, and that 4 things could come out of this: Death, mental retardation, seizures, or hearing loss.

When he was rushed by helicopter to Omaha children's hospital, my daughter and I had no idea of what to expect. With a disbelief that this could ever happen I looked for something to get me through the feelings any parent or grandmother has when a small child is up against its life. I prayed. I went to the chapel. I took walks. I needed something - I didn't know what . I looked in my purse for something and I found my gratitude rock, from the wedding and it said gratitude on the rock. I began every day to hold this rock and feel grateful for the smallest things: cell phone was working to call family, car was dependable to drive, it wasn't snowing, enough money in pocket to eat, job was understanding of Bradley in the hospital, and that Bradley was alive one more day.

Friends back home 76 miles away were doing the same for him and myself and my daughter, putting positive energy out there all over, people were feeling the gratitude, and for the week Bradley was in the hospital and fighting for his life, I began to hold the rock and feel grateful for more and more. It doesn't say gratitude on the rock any more I rubbed it off and it has and became apart of my life in the morning and night. I even gave one to my daughter months before Bradley had gotten sick and found it was in his diaper bag. I was grateful for that too.

This story is 2 years old and so is Bradley. He has lost all his hearing, but doesn't have seizures and is a normal happy smart and beautiful little boy. I know if I hadn't felt grateful and that everyone around wasn't, I wouldn't be writing this. And now when I look at a rock or pebble I remember that being grateful is doing, and doing it everyday. Life is too short not to take a look and just pick it up....


An Officer & A Gentleman:

NYPD Boots

NYPD officer's act of kindness sparks online sensation:

November 29, 2012

A tourist's snapshot of a New York City police officer giving new boots to a barefoot homeless man in Times Square has created an online sensation.

Jennifer Foster, of Florence, Ariz., was visiting New York with her husband on Nov. 14, when she came across the shoeless man asking for change in Times Square.

As she was about to approach him, she said the officer - identified as Larry DePrimo - came up to the man with a pair of all-weather boots and thermal socks on the frigid night. She recorded his generosity on her cellphone.

It was posted Tuesday night to the NYPD's official Facebook page and became an instant hit. More than 325,000 users "liked" it as of Thursday morning, and over 79,000 shared it.

Thousands of people commented, including one person who praised him as "An officer AND a Gentleman."

The photo shows the officer kneeling beside the man with the boots at his feet. A shoe store is seen in the background.

The NYPD Facebook page on Thursday posted a comment from DePrimo saying "I didn't think anything of it" and updated it with a photo of DePrimo taken in 2011.

"'I have these size 12 boots for you, they are all-weather. Let's put them on and take care of you,'" Foster quoted DePrimo as saying to the homeless man. "The officer squatted down on the ground and proceeded to put socks and the new boots on this man. The officer expected NOTHING in return and did not know I was watching."

Foster said she's worked in law enforcement for 17 years and has never been more impressed.

"His presentation of human kindness has not been lost on myself or any of the Arizona law enforcement officials with whom this story has been shared," Foster wrote on Facebook. She said she never got the officer's name.

DePrimo, who is assigned to the Sixth Precinct and lives on Long Island, told Newsday that the homeless man "smiled from ear to ear" after getting the boots.

"It was like you gave him a million dollars," he added.

He told The New York Times that he keeps the receipt for the boots in his vest to remind him "that sometimes people have it worse."


The Shop-keeper,

the Customer, and the Beggar....

Hinsdale, Illinois

It was my last day in Calcutta, India and I wanted to buy a scarf with the rupies I had left.  I did not want to exchange any more funds and I had seen a beggar outside of the shop that I wanted to give money to.  The beggar was unlike we would see in our country.  He had no legs and was terribly disfigured. 

The shop keeper and I haggled back-and-forth for some time.  I finally said to him, "Look, I only have so many rubies and no more.  If I pay you X for the scarf, then I will have none left for the beggar outside your shop."  The shop keeper who have been a feirce negotiator to that point, then relied that i had shamed him.  He gave me the scarf for the price i wanted.  I then gave the beggar what remained of my rubies, and the shop keeper also gave money to the beggar.  I was told that the beggar was there every day for very long hours, but we both watched as he hobbled off with no legs, as he had enough for the day...and could retire early that day.  The beggar was happy to go home early.  The shop keeper was happy to make a sale.  And I was happy to have my scarf.

We each had gratitude in that moment for different but related things. 

Birth of the GRATITUDE ROCK:

By Lee Brower (assisted by his daughter)

From Utah, USA

“Just 4 Today”… every day… I choose to be in an attitude of gratitude. I get to choose how each day begins and receive the positive energy that accompanies my awareness and gratitude for all the many blessings in my life.  Does life seem to move at such a fast pace that you unconsciously ignore all of the wonderful experiences, relationships and blessings in life? That was exactly what was happening to me. I was in a fog… over-focusing on the future, ignoring the learning experiences of the past and flying through the present like an F-16 after the Star Spangled Banner at the Super Bowl.  I have some amazing daughters. I am so proud of all of them. It took the struggles of one of my daughters, however, to awaken me from this self centered sleep. A few years ago, after struggling with an addiction of substance abuse for many years, she hit a major breaking point and really needed help. Together, we researched and selected a program that we/she felt would make a positive impact on her life going forward.  At the door of this facility, we hugged and said our good-byes. With great emotion, my daughter hung her head and through smothered sobs uttered words of regret. She apologized for being a burden and a disgrace to our family. My heart ached.  I put my hands on her shoulders and looked into her beautiful tears-filled green eyes.  “Sweetheart, by going through this experience will you come out the other end better off or worse off?”  Her jaw tightened up and she proclaimed that she would be much better.  “And, if you allow me and the rest of our family to go through this experience with you, and we learn from this, then, are we going to be better off or worse off for having gone through this experience?”   “Better,” she said with humility.   “So let’s get going! I am ready if you are"

Before we parted, I left her with one last thought. Since she was twelve years old, she has had the nickname of “Mariposa” which is Spanish for butterfly. I reminded her that she has known the struggle of the caterpillar; the loneliness of the cocoon; and now she was about to experience the flight and elegance of the butterfly.  That very day, I took a solo trip to a California coastal resort to get away for a few days for some introspection and to work on my writings. The next morning I was walking on the beach contemplating life’s challenges and opportunities. As I slowly strolled along the edge of the foam, breathing in the fresh morning breeze tumbling off the waves, my gaze was drawn to a dark colored rock. It actually seemed to be glowing and I couldn’t resist picking it up. As I examined this gray rock, I turned it over and there in black was the image of a butterfly in flight!  My heart stopped.  My throat tightened.  Was this a message to me to focus on the beauty of the flight?  I knew it belonged to my daughter.  I pocketed it and sent it to her.

When she received this little rock in the mail sent priority FedEx, she was anxious to call me and find out what this was all about. I told her to keep it close to her and every time she touched it, to think of something that she was grateful for. I told her I was going to hunt for my own rock and I would do the same.  Every morning when I get dressed and reach for my wallet, there is my rock. It immediately reminds me to drop to my knees and express gratitude for the many incredible relationships, experiences and blessings in my life. I actually visualize those things I am grateful for. I conclude by visualizing the day and the outcomes I desire for the day. During the day, each time I touch the rock, I am again reminded of my vision and gratitude. Then, at the conclusion of the day, as I take the rock out and place it on its special place on my bed stand, I capture the experiences and once again take time to express my appreciation.

Where ever I go, I now collect “gratitude” rocks and I will continue to give them to anyone who is looking for a system to keep them in an attitude of gratitude. Sincere gratitude is the lubricant that allows the law of attraction to work for us.

"Gratitude may not be the greatest of virtues,  but it is the parent of all the others."

COURAGE to say Thank You

By Heather Lende

From Haines, Alaska

The other day my 80-year-old mother-in-law, Joanne, and I went to a birthday brunch for my friend Nancy, who just turned 53. There were a dozen other women friends gathered around the airy kitchen of one of those “well-appointed” newer homes, as Mimi would have said.

We ate and laughed and Nancy opened presents. At one point Nancy got serious, and asked for our attention. “We have known each other for a lot of years, and I am blessed to have such good friends,” she began. “We’ve been through a lot together: marriages, babies, teenagers, divorces, illnesses, deaths. Maybe it’s because I’m getting, well, older,” she said, laughing and taking off her reading glasses (in truth, she looks fabulous, not a day over 49), “but I really wanted to say how truly grateful I am to have my mom and Joanne here. You are both such a good example of women who have lived life well, and who continue to, even after losing your husbands and going through difficult times. You inspire me, and I think all of us. I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to let you know how much you mean to us.” (Or something very close; I couldn’t take notes on the napkin with everything suddenly so blurry.)

So this Thanksgiving, like every Thanksgiving, of course, I will give thanks for all my blessings, which no doubt are the same things you are grateful for—family, friends, food—but I will do so knowing that the people I love won’t be at the table forever. I will be so grateful for who is still here, and with any luck at all, that will give me the courage to be like Nancy, and tell them so.