The Gift of Helping Others is Priceless

There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up John Holmes

Intermission at a recent concert of mine in California. I was touching up my makeup and hair when someone delivered a note to me in my dressing room. “I’m out here watching you tonight, and I couldn’t be prouder.” Signed, Mrs. Nehrens.

​In an instant I was whisked back more than 40 years to the Professional Children’s School in New York. There was my math teacher, Mrs. Nehrens, her smile brighter than a spotlight and her voice like a trumpet in a jazz band. You had to listen. Still, my mind wandered sometimes—especially during geometry, which I couldn’t make heads nor tails of—and I’d cut up. I loved to do my imitation of Johnny Ray crooning “Cry.” It brought down the house at the Apollo. Mrs. Nehrens was not amused.

“Leslie,” she said, “this is not a stage. This is a place of serious study.”

Professional Children’s was a private school for young performers. In the hallway before homeroom you’d catch a ballerina sewing ribbons on her toe shoes or a violinist studying a score. It was understood that sometimes we had to dart out for auditions and rehearsals. I’d already been excused to sing on Milton Berle’s show and Arthur Godfrey’s. But there was no skipping out on academics. We had to keep up with our schoolwork.

Algebra had been a breeze. But geometry? I couldn’t figure out the difference between an equilateral triangle and an isosceles triangle—or were they the same thing? Many times Mrs. Nehrens stayed late with me after school. She guided me through the theorems and proofs and equations. One summer she even tutored me. She didn’t want me to flunk out.

We never would have been able to afford the school if it weren’t for Aunt Eloise. She was a performer too. She’d been one of the Blackbirds of 1928 on Broadway and sang in Porgy and Bess. “You’ll go to Professional Children’s,” she announced.

“We don’t have the money for that,” my mom replied. She’d quit her job to accompany me on auditions and rehearsals, and Dad had already taken on two other jobs in addition to his regular work as an elevator operator to make up the difference.

“I’ll help out,” Aunt Eloise said.

We lived in Washington Heights in upper Manhattan, and I sang at St. James Presbyterian Church on 141st Street. Our choir director was always urging me to blend in better. “Don’t be so loud, Leslie,” she said. Well, I didn’t want to hold back. There was no hiding my talent under a bushel. “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine,” I sang out. The Lord himself seemed to be doing a good job of letting that happen.

Until I turned 12. I wasn’t a cute kid anymore, but a gangly adolescent. Work dried up. I still took singing lessons and dance classes, but that was all the performing I did besides my doo-wopping in the hallway at school.

The biggest blow came that fall. One day Mom sat me down and said, “Leslie, I have some bad news. We can’t afford tuition at Professional Children’s anymore.”

“What about Aunt Eloise?” I asked.

“Work has been slow for her too,” Mom said. “It won’t be so bad. You can go to George Washington right here in the neighborhood. A lot of your friends are there.”

“But how will I be able to go on auditions? How will I get my career going again?”

Mom shook her head. In that instant I saw that light of mine go out. I would never step onstage again. All I could imagine ahead were years of drudgery. Had all the performing I’d done as a youngster been just a fluke?

Both of my grandfathers were ministers, and I was used to hearing their graces before dinner, prayers that went on and on until our food was cold. That night I got down on my knees and started praying like they prayed.

“Dear Father God, I am so grateful for all you’ve given me: Mom and Dad and Aunt Eloise. And my singing voice and my acting. You’re going to have to help me, God, because I want to keep going to this school that helps me do all that…”

But the first day of school I was trudging up the hill to George Washington, not shooting downtown on the subway to Professional Children’s.

That afternoon I sat at the kitchen table, staring at my homework. The phone rang, and I didn’t bother to answer it. I didn’t want to talk to anyone. “Yes, yes,” I heard my mother say. “Thank you so much. We can never repay you for this.”

Mom came into the kitchen, tears in her eyes.

“That was Mrs. Nehrens,” she said. Why was my old teacher calling us? “She called this morning and wanted to know why you weren’t in school,” Mom continued. “I told her we couldn’t afford Professional Children’s anymore. Well, she just found a scholarship for you from the Presbyterian Church. It will cover your tuition for the rest of the school year.”

I jumped up and gave Mom a huge hug. And back at Professional Children’s, I gave Mrs. Nehrens a hug too.

That year turned out to be an important one for me. I landed a spot on the TV show Name That Tune and won twenty-five thousand dollars. Record producer and songster Mitch Miller heard me do “The Lord’s Prayer” on the show and signed me to Columbia Records. Later, I was a regular on Mitch’s popular sing-along TV show. And that eventually led to Broadway.

So when I read Mrs. Nehrens’s note in my dressing room, I knew I had a huge debt of gratitude to repay. I stepped back onstage and announced, “Folks, I want you to meet the lady who made it possible for me to get where I am today.” I had the crew shine the spotlight on Mrs. Nehrens, because as I discovered more than 40 years ago, nobody’s light can shine all on its own. It takes help from people like my old math teacher. “Thank you, Mrs. Nehrens,” I said. “Take a bow.”

She deserved it. She taught me a lot more than just geometry.

Today’s inspiring story was shared from the following website: https://www.guideposts.org/better-living/entertainment/movies-and-tv/guideposts-classics-leslie-uggams-on-lending-a-helping

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What Do You Want to Be Remembered For? The Meaning of True Success

To do more for the world than the world does for you, that is Success Henry Ford

The Charles Schulz Philosophy

The following inspirational quiz is often called the Charles Schulz Philosophy or sometimes Charlie Brown’s Philosophy.  It’s not actually written by him, although the quote at the bottom is from a peanuts cartoon. Enjoy the following quiz.



1.
Name the five wealthiest people in the world.

2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.

3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America.

4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.

5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.

6. Name the last decade’s worth of World Series winners.

How did you do?

The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Here’s another quiz. See how you do on this one:

1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.

2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.

3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.

4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.

5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.

Easier?

The lesson: The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that care.

“Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today. It’s already tomorrow in Australia.”
-Charles Schulz

Today’s post is shared from the following website: http://www.greatest-inspirational-quotes.com/charles-schultz-philosophy.html

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Overcoming Depression – The Amazing Power of Friendship

Cherish your human connections -  your relationships with friends and family    Barbara Bush

When I was going through depression, there was nothing more important to me than to feel like I had a friend. Thank goodness my husband and my children were such good friends to me. Often, my other friends had no idea that I was going through depression – even though it felt like I had a neon sign hanging around my neck which flashed: “Danger! Danger! I’m hanging from the neck of an Emotional Wreck!

It was during my most difficult days that those friendships gave me strength and the desire to keep fighting. I hope that if you are going through depression, that you have good friends to turn to. In turn, be the best friend you can be. We never know what others might be going through.

If you are going through depression, find those that you can trust. I know that it is not always easy but …. it is possible. A true friend can help you through your hard days and laugh with you on the better days! We are connected more than we know on this planet. When we connect to others in a positive way, we help ourselves, we help others and we help the world!

I hope you will enjoy today’s story about friendship! It’s hard to place a value on friendship – it is such a priceless commodity! :

An Inspiring Story About Friendship

In ancient Greece, Socrates was reputed to hold knowledge in high esteem. One day one fellow met the great philosopher and said, “Do you know what I just heard about your friend?”.

“Hold on a minute,” Socrates replied. “Before telling me anything I’d like you to pass a little test. It’s called the Triple Filter Test.”. “Triple filter?”. “That’s right,” Socrates continued. “Before you talk to me about my friend, it might be a good idea to take a moment and filter what you’re going to say. That’s why I call it the triple filter test.

The first filter is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?” “No,” the man said, “actually I just heard about it and…”. “All right,” said Socrates. “So you don’t know if it’s true or not.

Now let’s try the second filter, the filter of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my friend something good?” . “No, on the contrary…”. “So,” Socrates continued, “you want to tell me something bad about him, but you’re not certain it’s true.

You may still pass the test though, because there’s one filter left: the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my friend going to be useful to me?” “No, not really.”

“Well,” concluded Socrates, “if what you want to tell me is neither true nor good nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?”

Story shared from the following website: http://www.videoinspiration.net/blog/short-stories-about-friendship/

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The Work of Being Happy

No misfortune is so bad that whining about it won’t make it worse Jeffrey R. Holland

Working at being happy takes some understanding and sometimes some simplification of our lives. It is best accomplished through being unselfish and caring more about the needs of those you love than about your own selfish desires. Have you ever noticed how miserable some celebrities are? There is a reason. There is no happiness in being a diva, and constantly being served. There is, however, happiness in serving and loving others.

Couch potatoes are rarely happy either. Again, there is a good reason, we are meant to be productive, hard-working individuals and our bodies were made to move! There may be a few highs involved with being a couch potato who has developed some gaming skills but there will not be long-term happiness and joy.

What about those difficult times that we all have? Some almost constantly? We can’t make all difficult circumstances go away but we can change our attitude and the way we address those difficult times. I remember not too long ago, a friend relating to me all of the difficult trials that had recently been a part of her life and then she added that she had met an individual at the hospital that made what she was going through look like a cake walk. Her point to me was that no matter how hard and how bad her life seemed at times, the Lord had reminded her of how much worse it could be and how many blessings were present in her life despite the difficulties.

Long term happiness is not to be found in short term thrills. Tried and true happiness is found in aligning ourselves with the Lord. It is He who knows us best and who knows exactly how to bring joy and happiness into our lives. For me, it is being a part of my family and something bigger than myself. For you, it might be holding a crack baby, watching after grandchildren, or playing with your child. Happiness does not come packaged in difficult to open gift boxes, it comes through loving and being loved.

Today, I am sharing another excerpt from the article by Jeffrey R. Holland called the The Gospel Plan of Happiness. I will share the last excerpt from his article on Monday. I hope you will read it and enjoy the inspired words that Jeffrey R. Holland shares! Have a wonderful weekend and choose to be happy!

Work At It

Here is one last suggestion when there are so many others we should consider. Nephi said that in an effort to find happiness in their new land after their 30 years of trouble, “I, Nephi, did cause my people to be industrious, and to labor with their hands” (2 Nephi 5:17). By contrast, those from whom they fled became “an idle people, full of mischief and subtlety” (2 Nephi 5:24).

If you want to be happy in school or on a mission or at a job or in a marriage—work at it. Learn to work. Serve diligently. Don’t be idle and mischievous. A homespun definition of Christlike character might be the integrity to do the right thing at the right time in the right way. Don’t be idle. Don’t be wasteful. “Seek learning, even by study and also by faith” (D&C 88:118). Be industrious and labor, including laboring for and serving others—one of the truly great keys to true happiness.

Now, let me close by citing Alma’s straightforward counsel to Corianton. With all the encouragement a father would want to give a son or daughter, he said that in the Resurrection the faithful are raised to a state of “endless happiness” wherein they “inherit the kingdom of God” (Alma 41:4). At that time, he added, we will be “raised to happiness according to [our] desires of happiness” (Alma 41:5). But he also sternly cautioned: “Do not suppose … that [without repentance] ye shall be restored from sin to happiness. Behold, I say unto you, wickedness never was happiness” (Alma 41:10; emphasis added).

Sin is the antithesis of “living after the manner of happiness.” Indeed, those who believe otherwise, Alma says, “are without God in the world, and … have gone contrary to the nature of God; therefore, they are in a state contrary to the nature of happiness” (Alma 41:11).

Excerpt of article by Jeffrey R. Holland entitled The Gospel Plan of Happiness was shared from the following website: https://www.lds.org/ensign/2017/09/the-gospel-path-to-happiness?lang=eng

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Persistence and Determination

Energy and persistence alter all things Benjamin Franklin

I wonder how many people have had a dream and worked hard to accomplish their dream but gave up…just before they would have succeeded?

I love Thomas Edison – I love his determination and persistence. I especially love his attitude!

Do you have a dream in your heart? I believe we are all meant to leave our positive imprint on the world that we are a part of. I’m not talking about everyone having their day of fame or becoming incredibly wealthy. I’m talking about the day to day positive influence we can choose to give to those that we know, love and come in contact with.

I hope that when it comes time for my obituary to be written, that everyone I know can think of a kind word I shared or some way in which I made their life both better and happier. If I am successful in that endeavor, I will have been blessed with a wildly successful life!

What about your dream? Is your heart begging you to listen to it? Is there something wonderful you are meant to do for this world? Do you need to share a compliment? a kind word? some time?

As you think about the dream of your heart, I hope you enjoy today’s inspiring story!

Thomas Edison

When he was a young boy, Thomas Edison’s parents pulled him out of school after teachers called him “stupid” and “unteachable.” Edison spent his teenage years working and being fired from various jobs, culminating in his termination from a telegraph company at age 21. Despite these setbacks, Edison never deterred from his true passion, inventing. Throughout his career, Edison obtained 1,093 patents. And while many of these inventions — such as the light bulb, stock printer, phonograph and alkaline battery — were groundbreaking, even more of them were unsuccessful. Edison is famous for saying that genius is “1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.”

One of Edison’s greatest stories of perseverance occurred after he was already wildly successful. After inventing the light bulb, Edison began a quest to find an inexpensive light bulb filament. At the time, ore was mined in the Midwest, and shipping costs were incredibly high. To combat this, Edison opened his own ore-mining plant in Ogdensburg, New Jersey. For roughly a decade, Edison devoted all his time and money to the plant. He also obtained 47 patents for inventions designed to make the plant run more smoothly. And after all of that, Edison’s project still failed thanks to the low quality ore on the East Coast.

But as it turned out, one of the aforementioned 47 inventions (a newly-designed crushing machine) revolutionized the cement industry and earned Edison back nearly all of the money he lost. In addition, Henry Ford would later credit Edison’s Ogdensburg project as the main inspiration for his Model T Ford assembly line, and many believe that Edison paved the way for modern-day industrial laboratories. Edison’s foray into ore-mining proves that dedication and commitment can pay off even in a losing venture.

Today’s inspiring story shared from the following website: http://www.growthink.com/content/7-entrepreneurs-whose-perseverance-will-inspire-you

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