Coach Nancy Ellis
Words from Coach
February 2020 S M T W T F S « Feb 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29
THE OLD DENTED BUCKET
Faith is not about everything turning out OK; it’s about being OK no matter how things turn out.
Our house was directly across the street from the clinic entrance of Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.
We lived downstairs and rented the upstairs rooms to out-patients at the clinic.
One summer evening as I was fixing supper, there was a knock at the door. I opened it to see a truly awful looking man.
“Why, he’s hardly taller than my 8-year-old,” I thought as I stared at the stooped, shriveled body.
But the appalling thing was his face, lopsided from swelling, red and raw.
Yet his voice was pleasant as he said, “Good evening. I’ve come to see if you’ve a room for just one night.
I came for a treatment this morning from the eastern shore, and there’s no bus ’till morning.”
He told me he’d been hunting for a room since noon but with no success, no one seemed to have a room.
“I guess it’s my face, I know it looks terrible, but my doctor says with a few more treatments.”
For a moment I hesitated, but his next words convinced me, “I could sleep in this rocking chair on the porch. My bus leaves early in the morning.”
I told him we would find him a bed, but to rest on the porch. I went inside and finished getting supper.
When we were ready, I asked the old man if he would join us. “No, thank you. I have plenty,” and he held up a brown paper bag.
When I had finished the dishes, I went out on the porch to talk with him a few minutes.
It didn’t take a long time to see that this old man had an oversized heart crowded into that tiny body.
He told me he fished for a living to support his daughter, her 5 children, and her husband, who was hopelessly crippled from a back injury.
He didn’t tell it by way of complaint; in fact, every other sentence was prefaced with a thanks to God for a blessing.
He was grateful that no pain accompanied his disease, which was apparently a form of skin cancer. He thanked God for giving him the strength to keep going.
At bedtime, we put a camp cot in the children’s room for him. When I got up in the morning, the bed linens were neatly folded and the little man was out on the porch.
He refused breakfast, but just before he left for his bus, haltingly, as if asking a great favor, he said, “Could I please come back and stay the next time I have a treatment?
I won’t put you out a bit. I can sleep fine in a chair.” He paused a moment and then added, “Your children made me feel at home.
Grownups are bothered by my face, but children don’t seem to mind.” I told him he was welcome to come again.
And, on his next trip, he arrived a little after 7:00 in the morning.
As a gift, he brought a large fresh fish and a quart of the largest oysters I had ever seen! He said he had shucked them that morning before he left so that they’d be nice and fresh.
I knew his bus left at 4:00 a.m. and I wondered what time he had to get up in order to do this for us.
In the years he came to stay overnight with us, there was never a time that he did not bring us fish or oysters or vegetables from his garden.
Other times we received packages in the mail, always by special delivery; fish and oysters packed in a box of fresh young spinach or kale, every leaf carefully washed.
Knowing that he must walk 3 miles to mail these, and knowing how little money he had made the gifts doubly precious.
When I received these little remembrances, I often thought of a comment our next-door neighbor made after he left that first morning.
“Did you keep that awful looking man last night? I turned him away! You can lose roomers by putting up such people!”
Maybe we did lose roomers once or twice, but, oh, if only they could have known him, perhaps their illnesses would have been easier to bear.
I know our family always will be grateful to have known him; from him we learned what it was to accept the bad without complaint and the good with gratitude to God.
Recently while visiting a friend, who has a greenhouse, as she showed me her flowers,
we came to the most beautiful one of all, a golden chrysanthemum, bursting with blooms.
But to my great surprise, it was growing in an old dented, rusty bucket. I thought to myself, “If this were my plant, I’d put it in the loveliest container I had!”
My friend changed my mind. “I ran short of flower pots,” she explained, “and knowing how beautiful this one would be, I thought it wouldn’t mind starting out in this old pail.
It’s just for a little while, till I can put it out in the garden.”
She must have wondered why I laughed so delightedly, but I was imagining just such a scene in heaven.
“Here’s an especially beautiful one,” God might have said when He came to the soul of the sweet old fisherman. “He won’t mind starting in this small body.”
All this happened long ago, and now, in God’s garden, how tall this lovely soul must stand.
The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7b)
Friends are very special. They make you smile and encourage you to succeed. They lend an ear and they share a word of praise.
Show your friends how much you care. Pass this on, and brighten someone’s day. Nothing will happen if you do not decide to pass it along.
The only thing that will happen if you do pass it on is that someone might smile (because of you).
From an old rusty bucket – have a wonderful day!!!!
“I believe in the sun even if it isn’t shining. I believe in love even if I am alone. I believe in God even when he is silent.”
Every single evening as I’m lying here in bed,
This tiny little prayer keeps running through my head:
God bless all my family wherever they may be,
Keep them warm and safe from harm for they’re so close to me.
And God, there is one more thing I wish that you could do;
Hope you don’t mind me asking, please bless my computer too.
Now I know that it’s unusual to bless a motherboard,
But listen just a second while I explain it to you, Lord.
You see, that little metal box holds more than odds and ends;
Inside those small compartments rest so many of my friends.
I know so much about them by the kindness that they give,
And this little scrap of metal takes me into where they live.
By faith is how I know them much the same as you.
We share in what life brings us and from that our friendships grew…
Please take an extra minute from your duties up above,
To bless those in my address book that’s filled with so much love.
Wherever else this prayer may reach to each and every friend,
Bless each email inbox and each person who hits ‘send’.
When you update your Heavenly list on your own Great CD-ROM,
Bless everyone who says this prayer sent up to GOD.Com
The Black Telephone
When I was a young boy, my father had one of the first telephones in our neighborhood. I remember the polished, old case fastened to the Wall. The shiny receiver hung on the side of the box. I was too little to reach the telephone, but used to listen with fascination when my mother talked to it.
Then I discovered that somewhere inside the wonderful device lived an amazing person. Her name was “Information Please” and there was nothing she did not know. Information Please could supply anyone’s number and the correct time.
My personal experience with the genie-in-a-bottle came one day while my mother was visiting a neighbor. Amusing myself at the tool bench in the basement, I whacked my finger with a hammer, the pain was terrible, but there seemed no point in crying because there was no one home to give sympathy.
I walked around the house sucking my throbbing finger, finally arriving at the stairway. The telephone! Quickly, I ran for the footstool in the parlor and dragged it to the landing. Climbing up, I unhooked the receiver in the parlor and held it to my ear.
“Information, please,” I said into the mouthpiece just above my head.
A click or two and a small clear voice spoke into my ear.
“I hurt my finger…” I wailed into the phone, the tears came readily enough now that I had an audience.
“Isn’t your mother home?” came the question.
“Nobody’s home but me,” I blubbered.
“Are you bleeding?” the voice asked.
“No” I replied. “I hit my finger with the hammer and it hurts.”
“Can you open the icebox?” she asked.
I said I could.
“Then chip off a little bit of ice and hold it to your finger,” said the voice…
After that, I called “Information Please” for everything. I asked her for help with my geography, and she told me where Philadelphia was. She helped me with my math.
She told me my pet chipmunk that I had caught in the park just the day before, would eat fruit and nuts.
Then, there was the time Petey, our pet canary, died. I called, “Information Please,” and told her the sad story. She listened, and then said things grown-ups say to soothe a child. But I was not consoled. I asked her, “Why is it that birds should sing so beautifully and bring joy to all families, only to end up as a heap of feathers on the bottom of a cage?”
She must have sensed my deep concern, for she said quietly” Wayne, always remember that there are other worlds to sing in.”
Somehow I felt better.
Another day I was on the telephone, “Information Please.”
“Information,” said in the now familiar voice.
“How do I spell fix?” I asked.
All this took place in a small town in the Pacific Northwest. When I was nine years old, we moved across the country to Boston. I missed my friend very much.
“Information Please” belonged in that old wooden box back home and I somehow never thought of trying the shiny new phone that sat on the table in the hall. As I grew into my teens, the memories of those childhood conversations never really left me.
Often, in moments of doubt and perplexity I would recall the serene sense of security I had then. I appreciated now how patient, understanding, and kind she was to have spent her time on a little boy.
A few years later, on my way west to college, my plane put down in Seattle. I had about a half-hour or so between planes. I spent 15 minutes or so on the phone with my sister, who lived there now. Then without thinking what I was doing, I dialed my hometown operator and said, “Information Please.”
Miraculously, I heard the small, clear voice I knew so well.
I hadn’t planned this, but I heard myself saying,
“Could you please tell me how to spell fix?”
There was a long pause. Then came the soft spoken answer, “I guess your finger must have healed by now.”
I laughed, “So it’s really you,” I said. “I wonder if you have any idea how much you meant to me during that time.”
“I wonder,” she said, “if you know how much your call meant to me. I never had any children and I used to look forward to your calls.”
I told her how often I had thought of her over the years and I asked if I could call her again when I came back to visit my sister.
“Please do,” she said. “Just ask for Sally.”
Three months later I was back in Seattle.
A different voice answered, “Information.”
I asked for Sally.
“Are you a friend?” she said.
“Yes, a very old friend,” I answered.
“I’m sorry to have to tell you this,” She said. “Sally had been working part time the last few years because she was sick. She died five weeks ago.”
Before I could hang up, she said,
“Wait a minute; did you say your name was Wayne?”
“Yes.” I answered.
Well, Sally left a message for you. She wrote it down in case you called. “Let me read it to you.”
The note said, “Tell him there are other worlds to sing in. He’ll know what I mean”
I thanked her and hung up. I knew what Sally meant.
Never underestimate the impression you may make on others.
Whose life have you touched today?
Lifting you on eagle’s wings.
May you find the joy and peace you long for.
Life is a journey… NOT a guided tour.
A young man learns what’s most important in life from the guy next door.
Over the phone, his mother told him, “Mr. Belser died last night. The funeral is Wednesday.”
“Jack, did you hear me?”
“Oh, sorry, Mom. Yes, I heard you. It’s been so long since I thought of him. I’m sorry, but I honestly thought he died years ago,” Jack said…
“Well, he didn’t forget you. Every time I saw him he’d ask how you were doing. He’d reminisce about the many days you spent over ‘his side of the fence’ as he put it,” Mom told him.
“I loved that old house he lived in,” Jack said.
“You know, Jack, after your father died, Mr. Belser stepped in to make sure you had a man’s influence in your life,” she said.
“He’s the one who taught me carpentry,” he said. “I wouldn’t be in this business if it weren’t for him. He spent a lot of time teaching me things he thought were important. Mom, I’ll be there for the funeral,” Jack said.
As busy as he was, he kept his word. Jack caught the next flight to his hometown. Mr. Belser’s funeral was small and uneventful. He had no children of his own, and most of his relatives had passed away.
The night before he had to return home, Jack and his Mom stopped by to see the old house next door one more time.
Standing in the doorway, Jack paused for a moment. It was like crossing over into another dimension, a leap through space and time. The house was exactly as he remembered. Every step held memories. Every picture, every piece of furniture. Jack stopped suddenly…
“What’s wrong, Jack?” his Mom asked.
“The box is gone,” he said
“What box?” Mom asked.
“There was a small gold box that he kept locked on top of his desk. I must have asked him a thousand times what was inside. All he’d ever tell me was ‘the thing I value most,'” Jack said.
It was gone. Everything about the house was exactly how Jack remembered it, except for the box. He figured someone from the Belser family had taken it.
“Now I’ll never know what was so valuable to him,” Jack said. “I better get some sleep. I have an early flight home, Mom.”
It had been about two weeks since Mr. Belser died. Returning home from work one day Jack discovered a note in his mailbox. “Signature required on a package. No one at home. Please stop by the main post office within the next three days,” the note read. Early the next day Jack retrieved the package. The small box was old and looked like it had been mailed a hundred years ago. The handwriting was difficult to read, but the return address caught his attention. “Mr. Harold Belser” it read. Jack took the box out to his car and ripped open the package. There inside was the gold box and an envelope. Jack’s hands shook as he read the note inside.
“Upon my death, please forward this box and its contents to Jack Bennett. It’s the thing I valued most in my life.” A small key was taped to the letter. His heart racing, as tears filling his eyes, Jack carefully unlocked the box. There inside he found a beautiful gold pocket watch.
Running his fingers slowly over the finely etched casing, he unlatched the cover. Inside he found these words engraved:
“Jack Thanks for your time! -Harold Belser.”
“The thing he valued most was… my time”
Jack held the watch for a few minutes, then called his office and cleared his appointments for the next two days. “Why?” Janet, his assistant asked.
“I need some time to spend with my son,” he said.
“Oh, by the way, Janet thanks for your time!”
Think about this. You may not realize it, but it’s 100% true.
1. At least 15 people in this world love you in some way.
2 A smile from you can bring happiness to anyone, even if they don’t like you.
3 Every night, SOMEONE thinks about you before they go to sleep.
4. You mean the world to someone.
5. If not for you, someone may not be living.
6. You are special and unique.
7. When you think you have no chance of getting what you want, you probably won’t get it, but if you wait, sooner or later, you will get it or something better.
8. When you make the biggest mistake ever, something good can still come from it.
9. When you think the world has turned its back on you, take a look: you most likely turned your back on the world.
10. Someone that you don’t even know exists loves you.
11. Always remember the compliments you received. Forget about the rude remarks.
12. Always tell someone how you feel about them; you will feel much better when they know and you’ll both be happy.
13. If you have a great friend, take the time to let them know that they are great.
To everyone who reads this: “Thanks for your time.”
PASSENGERS ON MY TRAIN
Life is like a journey on a train…with its stations…with changes of routes…and with accidents!
At birth we boarded the train and met our parents, and we believed they would always travel on our side.
However, at some station our parents will step down from the train, leaving us on this journey alone.
As time goes by, other people will board the train; and they will be significant, i.e., our siblings, friends, children, and even the love of our life.
Many will step down and leave a permanent vacuum.
Others will go so unnoticed that we don’t realize that they vacated their seats!
This train ride will be full of joy, sorrow, fantasy, expectations, hellos, goodbyes, and farewells.
Success consists of having a good relationship with all passengers…requiring that we give the best of ourselves.
The mystery to everyone is: We do not know at which station we ourselves will step down.
So, we must live in the best way – love, forgive, and offer the best of who we are.
It is important to do this because when the time comes for us to step down and leave our seat empty – we should leave behind beautiful memories for those who will continue to travel on the train of life.
I wish you a joyful journey for the years to come on the train of life.
Reap success and give lots of love.
More importantly, thank God for the journey!
Lastly, I thank you for being one of the passengers on my train!
The most wonderful places to be in the world are:
In someone’s thoughts,
In someone’s prayers,
In someone’s heart.
A church in Atlanta was honoring one of its senior pastors who had been retired many years. He was 92 at that time and I wondered why the Church even bothered to ask the old gentleman to preach at that age. After a warm welcome, introduction of this speaker, and as the applause quieted down he rose from his high back chair and walked slowly, with great effort and a sliding gate to the podium. Without a note or written paper of any kind he placed both hands on the pulpit to steady himself and then quietly and slowly he began to speak …
“When I was asked to come here today and talk to you, your pastor asked me to tell you what was the greatest lesson ever learned in my 5 decades of preaching. I thought about it for a few days and boiled it down to just one thing that made the most difference in my life and sustained me through all my trials. The one thing that I could always rely on when tears and heart break and pain and fear and sorrow paralyzed me … The only thing that would comfort was this verse …
“Jesus loves me this I know.
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong,
We are weak but He is strong …
Yes, Jesus loves me …
The Bible tells me so.”
When he finished, the church was quiet. You actually could hear his footsteps as he shuffled back to his chair. I don’t believe I will ever forget it. A pastor once stated,
“I always noticed that it was the adults who chose the children’s hymn ‘Jesus Loves Me’ (for the children of course) during a hymn sing, and it was the adults who sang the loudest because I could see they knew it the best.”
“Senior version of Jesus Loves Me”
Here is a new version just for us who have white hair or no hair at all. For us over middle age (or even those almost there) and all you others, check out this newest version of Jesus Loves Me.
JESUS LOVES ME
Jesus loves me, this I know,
Though my hair is white as snow
Though my sight is growing dim,
Still He bids me trust in Him.
YES, JESUS LOVES ME … YES, JESUS LOVES ME …
YES, JESUS LOVES ME FOR THE BIBLE TELLS ME
Though my steps are oh, so slow,
With my hand in His I’ll go
On through life, let come what may,
He’ll be there to lead the way.
When the nights are dark and long,
In my heart He puts a song.
Telling me in words so clear,
“Have no fear, for I am near.”
When my work on earth is done,
And life’s victories have been won.
He will take me home above,
Then I’ll understand His love
I love Jesus, does He know?
Have I ever told Him so?
Jesus loves to hear me say,
That I love Him every day.