A King And His Four Wives

four wivesOnce upon a time…there was a rich King who had four wives.

He loved the 4th wife the most and adorned her with rich robes and treated her to the finest of delicacies. He gave her nothing but the best.

He loved the 3rd wife very much and was always showing her off to neighboring kingdoms. However, he feared that one day she would leave him for another.

He loved his 2nd wife. She was his confidante and was always kind, considerate and patient with him. Whenever the King faced a problem, he could confide in her, and she would help him get through the difficult times.

The King’s 1st wife was a very loyal partner and had made great contributions in maintaining his wealth and kingdom. However, he did not love the first wife. Although she loved him deeply, he hardly took notice of her.

Tragedy hits the King

One day, the King fell ill and he knew his time was short. He thought of his luxurious life and wondered, “I now have four wives with me, but when I die, I’ll be all alone.”

King seeks help from his wives

Thus, he asked the 4th wife, “I have loved you the most, endowed you with the finest clothing and showered great care over you. Now that I’m dying, will you follow me and keep me company?”

“No way!” replied the 4th wife, and she walked away without another word. Her answer cut like a sharp knife right into his heart.

The sad King then asked the 3rd wife, “I have loved you all my life. Now that I’m dying, will you follow me and keep me company?”

“No!” replied the 3rd wife. “Life is too good! When you die, I’m going to remarry!” His heart sank and turned cold.

He then asked the 2nd wife, “I have always turned to you for help and you’ve always been there for me. When I die, will you follow me and keep me company?”

“I’m sorry, I can’t help you out this time!” replied the 2nd wife. “At the very most, I can only send you to your grave.” Her answer came like a bolt of lightning, and the King was devastated.

Then a voice called out: “I’ll leave with you and follow you no matter where you go.” The King looked up, and there was his first wife, who looked sickly from malnutrition.

Greatly grieved, the King said, “I should have taken much better care of you when I had the chance!”

diamond ring

In truth, we all have 4 wives in our lives.

Our 4th wife is our body.
No matter how much time and effort we lavish in making it look good, it will leave us when we die.

Our 3rd wife is our possessions, status and wealth.
When we die, it will all go to others.

Our 2nd wife is our family and friends.
No matter how much they have been there for us, the furthest they can stay by us is up to the grave.

Our 1st wife is our Soul, often neglected in pursuit of wealth, power and pleasures of the ego.
However, our Soul is the only thing that will follow us wherever we go. So cultivate, strengthen and cherish it now, it is your greatest gift to offer the world.

Let Go To Find No Time For Regret

I had not really planned on taking a trip this time of year, and yet I found myself packing rather hurriedly.

This trip was going to be unpleasant and I knew in advance that no real good would come of it.

doggy guilt trip

Annual Guilt Trip

I’m talking about my annual “Guilt Trip.”

I got tickets to fly there on “WISHIHAD” airlines. It was an extremely short flight.

I got my baggage, which I could not check. I chose to carry it myself all the way. It was weighted down with a thousand memories of what might have been.

No one greeted me as I entered the terminal to the Regret City International Airport.

I say international because people from all over the world come to this dismal town.

As I checked into the Last Resort Hotel, I noticed that they would be hosting the year’s most important event, the Annual Pity Party.

I wasn’t going to miss that great social occasion. Many of the towns leading citizens would be there.

First, there would be the Done family, you know, Should Have, Would Have and Could Have.

Then came the I Had family.

You probably know ol’ Wish and his clan.

Of course, the Opportunities would be present, Missed and Lost.

The biggest family would be the Yesterday’s. There are far too many of them to count, but each one would have a very sad story to share.

broken chocolate heart
Photo credit: Pedro de Sousa

Broken Dreams

Then Shattered Dreams would surely make and appearance.

And It’s Their Fault would regale us with stories (excuses) about how things had failed in his life, and each story would be loudly applauded by Don’t Blame Me and I Couldn’t Help It.

Well, to make a long story short, I went to this depressing party knowing that there would be no real benefit in doing so. And, as usual, I became very depressed.

But as I thought about all of the stories of failures brought back from the past, it occurred to me that all of this trip and subsequent “pity party” could be cancelled by ME!

“I can’t change yesterday, but I do have the power to make today a wonderful day.”
I started to truly realize that I did not have to be there. I didn’t have to be depressed.

One thing kept going through my mind, I can’t change yesterday, but I do have the power to make today a wonderful day.

I can be happy, joyous, fulfilled, encouraged, as well as encouraging. Knowing this, I left the City of Regret immediately and left no forwarding address.

Am I sorry for mistakes I’ve made in the past? YES! But there is no physical way to undo them.

new growth starting again

Starting Again

So, if you’re planning a trip back to the City of Regret, please cancel all your reservations now. Instead, take a trip to a place called, Starting Again.

I liked it so much that I have now taken up permanent residence there. My neighbors, the I Forgive Myselfs and the New Starts are so very helpful.

By the way, you don’t have to carry around heavy baggage, because the load is lifted from your shoulders upon arrival.

God bless you in finding this great town. If you can find it — it’s in your own heart — please look me up.

I live on ICANDOIT street.

William Brentlinger’s brief life brought everlasting memories to parents

The journey of William Brentlinger lasted only eleven days, yet he brought a lifetime’s worth of precious memories to people around the world and his parents, Lyndsay and Matthew Brentlinger.

William Brentlinger
Photo credit: Lindsey Brown Photography

Against the odds

Ultrasound pictures revealed William had severe heart abnormalities, which normally would have resulted in a still-birth. Yet he managed to survive the trauma of birth and spent 11 meaningful days with his twin sister, Reagan Brentlinger.

A local Ohio photographer specializing in portraits of newborns, Lindsey Brown, found time from her busy schedule to take several heart-warming pictures of the twins, so the parents could forever treasure their time together with William.

William Brentlinger and sister Reagan
Photo credit: Lindsey Brown Photography

Lindsey Brown captures the moment

“I could not believe how perfect they both looked,” Brown told CNN. “They were both in the five pound range when I photographed them. William was extremely alert, as if he was trying to take it all in, while little Reagan slept and barely opened her eyes.”

“Pictures are just memories,” said Brown. “I know how much people cherish them, so I was really glad I was able to do that for them.”

About congenital heart disease

William Brentlinger may have lived a little more than week, figures from the Congenital Heart Public Health Consortium state about 40,000 babies are born with congenital heart defects each year and “approximately two to three million individuals are thought to be living in the United States with congenital heart defects.”

According to the American Heart Association, “Congenital heart disease is a problem that occurs with the baby’s heart while the baby is still developing. It’s seen in approximately 1% of babies born in the United States and is the most common form of birth defect.”

Hopefully little William Brentlinger will shed more light on the dangers of this potentially deadly condition and save some lives of other beautiful young children before it’s too late.

More info: (h/t cnn.com13abc, good.is, boredpanda.com, March of Dimes)

Our stage of friendship changes over the years

stages of friendship

First stage of friendship

In kindergarten your idea of a good friend was the person who let you have the red crayon when all that was left was the ugly black one.

In first grade your idea of a good friend was the person who went to the bathroom with you and held your hand as you walked through the
scary halls.

In second grade your idea of a good friend was the person who helped you stand up to the class bully.

In third grade your idea of a good friend was the person who shared their lunch with you when you forgot yours on the bus.

In fourth grade your idea of a good friend was the person who was willing to switch square dancing partners in gym so you wouldn’t have to be stuck dancing with the dork of the class.

In fifth grade your idea of a friend was the person who saved a seat on the back of the bus for you.

dancing 1800s

Next stage of friendship

In sixth grade your idea of a friend was the person who went up to your new crush, and asked them to dance with you, so that if they said no you wouldn’t have to be embarrassed.

In seventh grade your idea of a friend was the person who let you copy the social studies homework from the night before that you had forgotten about.

In eighth grade your idea of a good friend was the person who helped you pack up your stuffed animals and old baseball cards so that your room would be a “high schooler’s” room, but didn’t laugh at you when you finished and broke out into tears.

In ninth grade your idea of a good friend was the person who went with you to that “cool” party thrown by a senior so you wouldn’t wind up being the only freshman there.

In tenth grade your idea of a good friend was the person who changed their schedule so you would have someone to sit with at lunch.

teen friends

Teen stage of friendship

In eleventh grade your idea of a good friend was the person who gave you rides in their new car, convinced your parents that you shouldn’t be grounded, consoled you when you broke up with your significant other and found you a date to the prom.

In twelfth grade your idea of a good friend was the person who helped you pick out a college, assured you that you would get into that college, helped you deal with your parents who were having a hard time adjusting to the idea of letting you go.

At graduation your idea of a good friend was the person who was crying on the inside but managed the biggest smile one could give as they congratulated you.

friends after school

After school stage of friendship

  • Helped you clean up from that party.
  • Helped you sneak out of the house when you just couldn’t deal with your parents.
  • Assured you that now that your significant other were back together, you could make it through anything.
  • Helped you pack up for college and just silently hugged you as you looked through blurry eyes at 18 years of memories you were leaving behind.
  • And finally on those last days of childhood, went out of their way to come over and send you off with a hug, a lot of memories and reassurance that you would make it in college as well as you had these past 18 years.
  • But most importantly sent you off to college knowing you were loved.

forever friends

Now your stage of friendship is the person who

  • Gives you the better of the two choices.
  • Holds your hand when you’re scared.
  • Helps you fight off those who try to take advantage of you.
  • Thinks of you at times when you are not there.
  • Reminds you of what you have forgotten.
  • Helps you put the past behind you but understands when you need to hold on to it a little longer.
  • Stays with you so that you have confidence.
  • Goes out of their way to make time for you.
  • Helps you clear up your mistakes.
  • Helps you deal with pressure from others.
  • Smiles for you when they are sad.
  • Helps you become a better person.
  • However most importantly loves you!

Sharon Ogden, Kentucky