August 25: The Greater Fool

An English nobleman gave his jester a wand, saying, “Keep this until you find a greater fool than yourself.”  The jester laughingly accepted the wand and waved it about on festive occasions.One day, the nobleman lay dying.  Calling the jester to his bedside, he said, “I am going on a long journey.”“Where to?” asked the jester.“I don’t know,” came the reply.“How long will you be gone?” the jester inquired.“I will be gone forever,” said the nobleman.“What provisions have you … [Read more...]

August 24: Speaking Up at Work

It might seem hard to excel on the job if you’re not outspoken.  But Wendy Gelberg, author of The Successful Introvert: How to Enhance Your Job Search and Advance Your Career, tells us how to go from shy to shining at work.▪ Set meeting goals.  Review the agenda in advance, and be   prepared to contribute one idea, comment or suggestion.▪ Speak when you can.  If a meeting setting proves too intimidating, ask for some one-on-one time for post-meeting feedback.▪ Talk yourself up.  Know … [Read more...]

August 23: No Time to Lose

The ship’s chief engineer, coming down the companionway into the engine room, shouted at one of the crew members, “How long have you been working here?”The crew member answered honestly, “Ever since I saw you coming down the ladder.”There is a constant temptation for all of us to take it easy until an emergency arises.  Often, we tend to excuse our own spiritual idleness, putting off action to some future time we imagine will be more practical.We are naturally inclined to believe that … [Read more...]

August 22: He’s Come Too Far to Fail

Duchenne muscular dystrophy slowly robbed Daniel Escalona of his ability to run, walk, and move his arms.  Yet it didn’t dim his determination.  Daniel graduated from his Chicago high school in June 2012, and is now a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  The school has a state-of-the-art dorm and support system for 24 students with disabilities.Writing in the Chicago Sun-Times, Daniel’s father, Alejandro, reflected on the bittersweet, but proud experience of sending his … [Read more...]

August 21: Adversity Doesn’t Kill

Three hundred years ago, a prisoner condemned to the Tower of London carved this sentiment on the wall of his cell to keep up his spirits during his long imprisonment: “It is not adversity that kills, but the impatience with which we bear adversity.”Rebelling against difficulties or obstacles that can’t be legitimately avoided only makes a bad situation worse.  Ordinary common sense recommends that we ride the storm, not buck it.  But going one step further—from the natural to the supernatu … [Read more...]

August 20: So Much More is Possible

Jim Abbott has been retired for 13 years from an improbable major-league baseball pitching career that included a no-hitter for the New York Yankees.  The reason his career was improbable is that he’s only got one arm.During 10 seasons, from 1989 to 1999, he played with the California Angels, the Yankees, the Chicago White Sox and the Milwaukee Brewers.  Though his 87-108 win/loss record wasn’t stellar, it still included one of baseball’s most difficult feats, the no-hitter.It’s hard to i … [Read more...]

August 19: Everybody Counts

Preacher and writer William L. Stidger once told a story about the conductor Walter Damrosch who stopped his orchestra when everything was apparently going along smoothly.  He asked, “Where is the seventh flute?”As Stidger points out, the conductor didn’t ask for the first flute, or the second—but the seventh.  Even the seventh flute had an important role in creating the harmony the leader desired.The lesson, Stidger explained: “We may feel inferior, untalented, not beautiful, and some of … [Read more...]

August 18: Weaving Prayers of Love and Concern

Sometimes the impact of a prayer can begin with one simple stitch.  This was the case with the St. Mary’s Prayer Weavers based in Metamora, Illinois.  The group consists of nine women who sew prayer shawls and lap robes for their fellow parishioners, both men and women, who are suffering from physical or spiritual ailments.The group used to donate their items to parishioners who lived in nursing homes or were unable to attend church, but member Susan Wyckoff notes their list has since grown t … [Read more...]