On this blog page, author Mary C. Woolling posts an ongoing series of her essays showcasing the positives of life.

New essays are added often. You are cordially invited to become a regular reader. Also, please feel free to share this site with your family and friends via the “Tell a Friend” link, located in the right-hand column below.

Comments on Mary's essays are most welcome. Simply click on the “Post Comments” link appearing at the end of each essay, and share your thoughts.

If you'd like to contact Mary, you may do so at mary@herestolife.us

Friday, February 03, 2023

The Power of Love

This is My commandment,
That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
~John 15:12

The power for good that comes from loving one another can be extraordinarily strong. The possibility of long-lasting positive impact from experiencing that love could be much greater than ever imagined.

Consider the following story, the facts of which I once heard related in a sermon by Dr. Robert H. Schuller.*

Back in the 1950s, graduate students at Johns Hopkins University tried to predict the future of a group of 200 boys growing up in a crime-ridden, inner-city neighborhood. Considering the disadvantaged youngsters’ dismal environment, the students forecast a bleak outcome for the boys, estimating that the majority of them would eventually be sent to prison.

A quarter of a century later, subsequent graduate students revisited the study. They were able to trace 180 of the original 200 boys, now grown men. The graduate students were astonished to learn that only six of them had ever been incarcerated.

In seeking to ascertain how such an amazing result could have come about, the students asked each man to name the greatest influence of his life. Three-fourths of them singled out the same person, a teacher.

The graduate students ultimately located the teacher – an elderly lady, then living in a retirement community. They spoke to her of the surprising outcome of their study and asked if she had followed any special course of action in guiding her pupils.

A sweet smile and faraway look appeared on her face as the teacher replied, “No . . . no . . . I just loved those boys. I just loved them.”

*Let’s Build a New Tomorrow, Dr. Robert H. Schuller, 1980.

Friday, January 20, 2023

Picnic in the Park — Paradise Preview?

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am.
— John 14:3 NIV

Through His death and resurrection, Jesus showed all who believe in Him that, when we leave this earth, we will not die. We will go right on living – in complete fullness – with Him for eternity. What a comfort to know that death is not a closed-door ending of existence but rather a wide-open entry into a glorious new life. Equally comforting is the assurance that all those we love will join us in that joy-filled forever place.

Our finite, mortal minds could never comprehend what immortal life will really be like. Still, it’s fun to imagine the possibilities.

Whenever I try to envision what Heaven will be like, I think of “Picnic in the Park.” Many years ago, my good friend Jon and I co-chaired that fun summer picnic, which was held at a nearby park for our church congregation.

I can still see it all so clearly in my mind’s eye. A picture-perfect day, with celestial-blue sky, ethereal white clouds, golden-glow sunlight, pleasantly-warm temperatures, and soothing-soft breezes. Whistling strains from a circus calliope tooting tunes in showboat fashion could be heard all across the park. Little children were enjoying a jumping Bounce House, face painting, and pony rides; while, in an adjacent grassy field, teenagers competed in three-legged and relay races, frisbee toss, and tug-of-war. The delicious aroma of freshly-popped popcorn, courtesy of a familiar, bright-red, vintage Popcorn Machine, wafted over the air.

Under the picnic pavilion, a local catering service had arranged a divine buffet of old-fashioned fried chicken, baked beans, corn on the cob, cabbage slaw, and fresh-from-the-oven, hot country biscuits. People were eagerly queuing up to the tables to partake of this fabulous fare. At the other end of the pavilion, a group of talented, octogenarian musicians and soloists performed “oldies-but-goodies” songs and classic Big Band sounds, to which some attendees had paired off and were dancing.

All ages from the youngest set through seniors represented in that happy gathering — each one seemingly carefree, delighted to be there with family and friends, and grateful for the blessings of the day.

I remember the moment when Lewis, our newly-installed pastor, arrived at the park. Standing there beside me, surveying the scene, he remarked, “You know, Mary, I bet this is what Heaven’s going to be like.” I couldn’t have agreed more. A sublime sea of smiles in a land of light, laughter, and love.

Picnic in the Park. A coming attraction of the Paradise that God has prepared for us? I have confidence in the possibility. After all, the word “paradise” comes from the Latin paradisus and the Greek paradeisos, both meaning “a park.”

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Maudie

Dear Readers,

My little tortoiseshell kitty cat Maudie passed away last night. She was 21 years old (21 and 5 months, to be exact) and had been suffering for a time with kidney disease.

Along with her late littermates, Lionel and Felix, Maudie appeared in my yard one summer afternoon in 2001. Tiny kittens, they were lost, hungry, thirsty, and so in need of a home. Of course, they were welcomed right into my house and remained wonderful lifelong companions to each other and to me all through the years.

As with all “Torties,” Maudie’s beautiful fur was a mosaic of taupe, gray, brown, black, and orangey-peach hues, the overall appearance resembling the shell of a tortoise. My father was fond of her and actually named her. He identified her coat color as mauve. “Now, where’s that little mauvie-colored kitty?,” he’d ask. “Mauvie” turned into Maudie.

Almost all Torties are female kitties — it’s a genetic thing. It is said that they bring good luck and success to their owners. Maudie certainly brought all things good to me. She was gentle, smart, affectionate, talkative, and ever-by-my side.

A dear little kitty, a gift for sure. I have no doubt that God sent her to me. She’ll be waiting for me, I trust.

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