The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Stories of Inspiration

Personal Growth

There was a wise man Sviatozar. One day his nephew came to visit him. The young man was sad, gloomy and obviously upset with something. Sviatozar asked what happened to him. The nephew said that he suffered a serious setback and now he will never be able to achieve his goal.

The nephew asked an old man to give him advice what he should do next, but Sviatozar just asked to lead him to the hills. This road was difficult and long. But the nephew immediately agreed to help his uncle. When they reached the hills, Sviatozar said that he needed to go to the top of the highest hill. The young man was surprised, but decided to help his uncle, because the old man had never climbed there.

With great difficulty the nephew helped his uncle to climb to the hill, sometimes even dragged the old man on his back. On the top of the hill, sweating, he put his uncle on the ground and laughed happily.

Do you remember that when you were a little boy sometimes you returned home with tears in your eyes? – Sviatozar asked him.

The boys teased you. Do you remember why? — Exactly! — The young man looked around and nodded. He recalled that as a child he often played there with other boys. And they called this hill an Everest, because only few people could get to its top. At that time I was unable to get there. This hill seemed an impregnable rock to me.

And today you not only climbed there, but dragged up me, too, — an old man said and looked at his nephew. How could you do this? What do you think?

Perhaps I just grew up, — the young man shrugged. — I became stronger and fitter …

“And the formidable Everest suddenly turned into a harmless mound.” You got my advice.

Don’t Hope>>>Decide!

While waiting to pick up a friend at the airport in Portland, Oregon, I had one of those life-changing experiences that you hear other people talk about — the kind that sneaks up on you unexpectedly. This one occurred a mere two feet away from me.

Straining to locate my friend among the passengers deplaning through the jet way, I noticed a man coming toward me carrying two light bags. He stopped right next to me to greet his family.

First he motioned to his youngest son (maybe six years old) as he laid down his bags. They gave each other a long, loving hug. As they separated enough to look in each other’s face, I heard the father say, “It’s so good to see you, son. I missed you so much!” His son smiled somewhat shyly, averted his eyes and replied softly, “Me, too, Dad!”

Then the man stood up, gazed in the eyes of his oldest son (maybe nine or ten) and while cupping his son’s face in his hands said, “You’re already quite the young man. I love you very much, Zach!” They too hugged a most loving, tender hug.

While this was happening, a baby girl (perhaps one or one-and-a-half) was squirming excitedly in her mother’s arms, never once taking her little eyes off the wonderful sight of her returning father. The man said, “Hi, baby girl!” as he gently took the child from her mother. He quickly kissed her face all over and then held her close to his chest while rocking her from side to side. The little girl instantly relaxed and simply laid her head on his shoulder, motionless in pure contentment.

After several moments, he handed his daughter to his oldest son and declared, “I’ve saved the best for last!” and proceeded to give his wife the longest, most passionate kiss I ever remember seeing. He gazed into her eyes for several seconds and then silently mouthed. “I love you so much!” They stared at each other’s eyes, beaming big smiles at one another, while holding both hands.

For an instant they reminded me of newlyweds, but I knew by the age of their kids that they couldn’t possibly be. I puzzled about it for a moment then realized how totally engrossed I was in the wonderful display of unconditional love not more than an arm’s length away from me. I suddenly felt uncomfortable, as if I was invading something sacred, but was amazed to hear my own voice nervously ask, “Wow! How long have you two been married?

“Been together fourteen years total, married twelve of those.” he replied, without breaking his gaze from his lovely wife’s face. “Well then, how long have you been away?” I asked. The man finally turned and looked at me, still beaming his joyous smile. “Two whole days!”

Two days? I was stunned. By the intensity of the greeting, I had assumed he’d been gone for at least several weeks – if not months. I know my expression betrayed me.

I said almost offhandedly, hoping to end my intrusion with some semblance of grace (and to get back to searching for my friend), “I hope my marriage is still that passionate after twelve years!”

The man suddenly stopped smiling.

He looked me straight in the eye, and with forcefulness that burned right into my soul, he told me something that left me a different person. He told me, “Don’t hope, friend… decide!” Then he flashed me his wonderful smile again, shook my hand and said, “God bless!” - Michael D. Hargrove-

Life Is A Gift

Today before you think of saying an unkind word– think of someone who can’t speak.

Before you complain about the taste of your food–think of someone who has nothing to eat.

Before you complain about your husband or wife–think of someone who is crying out to God for a companion.

Today before you complain about life–think of someone who went too early to heaven.

Before you complain about your children–think of someone who desires children but they’re barren.

Before you argue about your dirty house, someone didn’t clean or sweep–think of the people who are living in the streets.

Before whining about the distance you drive–think of someone who walks the same distance with their feet.

And when you are tired and complain about your job–think of the unemployed, the disabled and those who wished they had your job.

But before you think of pointing the finger or condemning another–remember that not one of us are without sin and we all answer to one maker.

And when depressing thoughts seem to get you down–put a smile on your face and thank God you’re alive and still around.

Life is a gift – Live it, Enjoy it, Celebrate it, and Fulfill it.

-Author Unknown-

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My mom only had one eye. I hated her… She was such an embarrassment. She cooked for students and teachers to support the family.

There was this one day during elementary school where my mom came to say hello to me. I was so embarrassed.

How could she do this to me? I ignored her, threw her a hateful look and ran out. The next day at school one of my classmates said, “EEEE, your mom only has one eye!”

I wanted to bury myself. I also wanted my mom to just disappear. I confronted her that day and said, “If you’re only gonna make me a laughing stock, why don’t you just die?”

My mom did not respond… I didn’t even stop to think for a second about what I had said, because I was full of anger. I was oblivious to her feelings.

I wanted out of that house, and have nothing to do with her. So I studied real hard, got a chance to go abroad to study.

Then, I got married.

I bought a house of my own. I had kids of my own. I was happy with my life, my kids and the comforts. Then one day, my Mother came to visit me. She hadn’t seen me in years and she didn’t even meet her grandchildren.

When she stood by the door, my children laughed at her, and I yelled at her for coming over uninvited. I screamed at her, “How dare you come to my house and scare my children! GET OUT OF HERE! NOW!!!”

And to this, my mother quietly answered, “Oh, I’m so sorry. I may have gotten the wrong address.” – and she disappeared out of sight.

One day, a letter regarding a school reunion came to my house. So I lied to my wife that I was going on a business trip. After the reunion, I went to the old shack just out of curiosity.

My neighbors said that she died. I did not shed a single tear. They handed me a letter that she had wanted me to have.

“My dearest son,

I think of you all the time. I’m sorry that I came to your house and scared your children.

I was so glad when I heard you were coming for the reunion. But I may not be able to even get out of bed to see you. I’m sorry that I was a constant embarrassment to you when you were growing up.

You see………when you were very little, you got into an accident, and lost your eye. As a mother, I couldn’t stand watching you having to grow up with one eye. So I gave you mine.

I was so proud of my son who was seeing a whole new world for me, in my place, with that eye.

With all my love to you,

Your mother.” -Author Unknown-

For today’s newsletter from

A Big Experiment
Friday, August 16, 2019

Rami Shapiro, a rabbi, teacher, and author on Judaism and spirituality reflects on the enriching, powerful experience of interspiritual dialogue initiated by Fr. Thomas Keating (1923–2018).
In 1984 Father Thomas Keating invited a small group of contemplatives from eight different religious traditions—Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Islamic, Native American, Russian Orthodox, Protestant, and Roman Catholic—to gather at St. Benedict’s Monastery in Snowmass, Colorado, to engage in what he called “a big experiment.” [1]
The experiment was to see what would happen when meditators from different traditions meditated together and shared the spiritual insights they gleaned from their meditation. Within a few days it became clear to the attendees that while their religious vocabularies were different, their experiences were not. As one attendee put it:
I enter into meditation as a slice of American cheese: thick and solid; my egoic self intact and feeling apart from both God and creation. I return from meditation as a slice of Swiss cheese: thin and filled with holes. I know myself and all others to be a part of God. Indeed, there is no other at all, only the One, the Whole, the Ultimate Reality I am calling God. And with this sense of wholeness comes a sense of holiness, a sense of love from and for all beings. . . .
During the first few years of the Snowmass Conference, a series of agreements arose among the attendees. Father Thomas compiled the first eight and brought them to the group for consideration. With lots of conversation and some editing, the Snowmass Conference Eight Points of Agreement came into being. We include them here as a way of sharing a contemporary expression of perennial wisdom arising not from ancient texts but from the lived experience of contemporary mystics—women and men who, while coming from specific traditions, dare to step beyond them to see what is on its own terms.
The Eight Points of Agreement

  1. The world religions bear witness to the experience of Ultimate Reality, to which they give various names.

  2. Ultimate Reality cannot be limited by any name or concept.

  3. Ultimate Reality is the ground of infinite potentiality and actualization.

  4. Faith is opening, accepting, and responding to Ultimate Reality. Faith in this sense precedes every belief system.

  5. The potential for human wholeness—or, in other frames of reference, enlightenment, salvation, transcendence, transformation, blessedness—is present in every human being.

  6. Ultimate Reality may be experienced not only through religious practices but also through nature, art, human relationships, and service to others.

  7. As long as the human condition is experienced as separate from Ultimate Reality, it is subject to ignorance and illusion, weakness and suffering.

  8. Disciplined practice is essential to the spiritual life; yet spiritual attainment is not the result of one’s own efforts, but the result of the experience of oneness with Ultimate Reality. [2]
    It took us until the late 20th century to say such things, and now we almost see them as obvious. There is indeed an evolution of consciousness and a convergence of consciousness that does not need to dismiss or dilute any one tradition.

Gateway to Presence:
If you want to go deeper with today’s meditation, take note of what word or phrase stands out to you. Come back to that word or phrase throughout the day, being present to its impact and invitation.

[1] The Common Heart: An Experience of Interreligious Dialogue, ed. Netanel Miles-Yepez (Lantern Books: 2006), 1.
[2] Thomas Keating, “The Points of Agreement,” Introduction to The Common Heart, xvii-xviii.
The World Wisdom Bible: A New Testament for a Global Spirituality, ed. Rami Shapiro (Skylight Paths Publishing: 2017), 150-151.
Image credit: A Moment of Prayer (detail), Frederick Arthur Bridgeman, 1877, Private Collection.

Steve Wilbur 4/10/37-6/14/19

Steve Wilbur walked a lonely road from an early age. His father died when he was only 4 years of age and his mother remarried when he was nine. Although Ray Condon was a good man, he was very shy and talked very little with Steve, so there was not the father/son interaction between them. He also did not adopt Steve as a son.

When he was 12, his mother contracted tuberculosis and spent nearly 3 years in a sanatorium. So Steve and his stepfather were left to their own devices, looking after themselves in that household while his mother was away in the sanatorium. On rare occasions she was allowed home on a weekend but spent that time in bed. Because of the contagious disease, Steve could not get near her and was not allowed in her bedroom, so he spoke to her from the doorway.

It was during this lonely time that Steve began to read the Bible & seek the Lord all on his own. In the rural atmosphere of Pa. like John the Baptist, he grew up in the wilderness and was always nourished by time spent in the woods and fields.

School occupied some of the lonely time. Steve was very intelligent and at the top of his class in high school. He also played the clarinet in the high school band. But his heart was hungry for more of the Lord during these formative years.

When he was about 15, from the doorway of his mother’s bedroom, on a rare visit home from the sanatorium. he spoke of the possibility of being healed by God. He said “if God can make a world, He can heal a body.” So he and his mother made their way to Pittsburgh to one of Kathryn Kuhlman’s meetings. At the risk of hemorrhaging to death, his mother decided to lift her hands to the Lord as others were doing around her. As she lifted her hands in worship she felt as though oil was being poured on her head. She was miraculously healed from tuberculosis.

Undoubtedly, this miracle strengthened his faith. He began to listen to full gospel preachers of that era on the radio. He often spent eight to nine hours reading the Bible and praying on the mountain behind their home and would come down the mountain in the evening to eat. He walked 15 miles to attend a little country church. (He was not allowed to drive the family car).

Through these radio preachers he heard about being filled with God’s Spirit. So intense was his desire for God, he made his way to attend services where the Spirit of the Lord was moving. With only enough money for a bus ticket, but no food, he set out to attend meetings that changed his life. Steve was there from August 1957 to January 1958. He was 20 years old.

The Lord met Steve late one night at the end of a meeting. About eleven o’clock a ball of fire appeared at the top of the tent and went rolling through the air and hit Steve broadside and knocked him into the tent wall. There he lay in the sawdust trying to get up and could not. He said to himself, “This must be the Holy Ghost.” And there he wrestled with the Lord. Another man from California who attended that meeting told Steve later that he saw that ball of fire come down from the ceiling of the tent, hit Steve and knock him to the ground.

When he finally managed to get up off the sawdust he was transformed, having been translated to a dimension of beauty and eternal spring. He returned to Pennslvania a changed man filled with God’s Spirit. Steve said “You don’t know what I was like before that event, because I have been another man ever since.”

When he returned home, he walked the 15 miles to that little country church, expecting to join in worship with the believers there as he had in the past. But to his surprise, they announced that Steve would minister that day. What a shock! He had never addressed an audience before. Although he was at the top of every class in school, he was never asked to speak at the graduation because he was too shy and could not do it. But this day he rose to the occasion, and preached his first sermon on the spot. All heaven came down and God moved in a mighty way. That was the beginning of his ministry.

Word travelled about this young man who ministered with an unusual anointing, and for the next nine years his walk with God was filled with fasting, praying, reading God’s Word and preaching as doors opened to him. One of these invitations found him in McKeesport, PA. where a young woman, Roberta Boyd happened to be in the congregation. At the age of 28 he married Roberta Boyd in June of 1965. From December of 1965 to August of 1975, the Wilburs lived in Detroit, Michigan where he was employed by General Motors, an experience he expressed a “working in the land of Mordor” Their family life with three children, Stephen, Tanya Rose and Eric was happy and Steve ministered faithfully in his own house church.

In 1975 Wade Taylor, along with Joe Nieves, invited Steve to join the faculty at Pinecrest. After he and Roberta visited Pinecrest to investigate, they were convinced that this was the next step for them. While on the faculty at Pinecrest,Steve would travel to various churches, conventions and camp meetings preaching in the power of the Spirit the unsearchable riches of Christ. He was in high demand as a conference speaker and was a major reason why many attended Pinecrest in the 1980’s.

In August of 1992, the Wilbur family moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where Steve pastored at Hebron Christian Fellowship in Decatur, Georgia for nine years. Since that time he has continued to serve the Body of Christ as a prophetic pastor and preacher. The home of Steve and Roberta became an oasis for thirty souls; when Steve could not come to them, thirsty souls have come to him and found renewal and refreshing. He accepted us as we were, just as he had received grace to accept himself. We all knew he was eccentric and we loved him for it. He could launch into a discourse in almost any field of knowledge, or discuss his appetite for mushrooms which would surpass a hobbit’s or his love of languages and proper pronunciation, or the sense that he inhabited a world of superlatives, or that he knew the botanical names of all the exotic trees and shrub he had planted around his house. Did the Lord use Steve’s eccentricity as a cloak? What we saw was only the tip of the iceberg. But what we did not see was the nine tenths of integrity, honesty, goodness and prayer. Roberta’s testimony revealed the countless hours he spent in prayer, the unseen good deeds, the generous way he was with people his ability to treat the high and the low with the same dignity and respect.

Rick Joiner remarked that Steve was the last great orator of the charismatic movement. But the best way to measure Steve’s impact on people is how widely and deeply he is loved because of who he was, but primarily how he proclaimed the glory of the Lord he adored and worshipped and challenged God’s people to arise to the call of the Father to a higher dimension.

The Charles Blondin Story

The amazing story of Charles Blondin, a famous French tightrope walker, is a wonderful illustration of what true faith is.

Blondin’s greatest fame came on September 14, 1860, when he became the first person to cross a tightrope stretched 11,000 feet (over a quarter of a mile) across the mighty Niagara Falls. People from both Canada and America came from miles away to see this great feat.

He walked across, 160 feet above the falls, several times… each time with a different daring feat - once in a sack, on stilts, on a bicycle, in the dark, and blindfolded. One time he even carried a stove and cooked an omelet in the middle of the rope!

The Rest Of The Story

A Lesson in Faith - The Charles Blondin Story | Inspire 21

Desperation to Inspiration

The history of I Have Decided To Follow Jesus

A young man named John received a parrot as a gift. The parrot had a bad attitude and an even worse vocabulary. Every word out of the bird’s mouth was rude, obnoxious and laced with profanity.

John tried and tried to change the bird’s attitude by consistently saying only polite words, playing soft music and anything else he could think of to “clean up” the bird’s vocabulary.

Finally, John was fed up and he yelled at the parrot. The parrot yelled back. John shook the parrot and the parrot got angrier and even ruder. John, in desperation, threw up his hand, grabbed the bird and put him in the freezer.

For a few minutes the parrot squawked and kicked and screamed. Then suddenly there was total quiet. Not a peep was heard for over a minute.
Fearing that he’d hurt the parrot, John quickly opened the door to the freezer.

The parrot calmly stepped out onto John’s outstretched arm’s and said, “I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions. I’m sincerely remorseful for my inappropriate transgressions and I fully intend to do everything I can to correct my rude and unforgivable behavior.”

John was stunned at the change in the bird’s attitude.

As he was about to ask the parrot what had made such a dramatic change in his behavior, the bird continued, “May I ask what the turkey did?”

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You Don’t Learn This in College

When police found Fred Barley, 19, living in a tent on the campus of Gordon State College in Barnesville, Georgia, they were prepared to evict him. Then they heard his story. Barley had ridden six hours from Conyers, Georgia, on his little brother’s bike, carrying all his possessions—a duffel bag, a tent, two gallons of water, and a box of cereal—in order to enroll for his second semester at the school as a biology major. He’d arrived early to look for a job, but no luck. “I’m like, ‘Man, this is crazy,’” Officer Richard Carreker told ABC New York.

Moved by Barley’s plight, Carreker and his partner put Barley up at a motel on their own dime. Word spread, and soon people donated clothes, school supplies, funds to cover the rest of his motel stay—he was even given a job at a pizzeria. And then there was Casey Blaney of Barnesville, who started a GoFundMe page for Barley after spending time with him. “I thought, Geez, this kid just rode a 20-inch little boy’s bike six hours in 100-degree weather. He’s determined,” she wrote on her Facebook page. The fund reached $184,000, all of which is going into an educational trust for Barley.

Two traveling angels stopped to spend the night in the home of a wealthy family.

The family was rude and refused to let the angels stay in the mansion’s guest room. Instead, the angels were given a space in the cold basement. As they made their bedroom the hard floor, the older angel saw a hole in the wall and repaired it. When the younger angel asked why, the older angel replied…. “Things aren’t always what they seem.”

The next night the pair came to rest at the house of a very poor, but very hospitable farmer and his wife. After sharing what little food they had, the couple let the angels sleep in their bed where they could have a good nights’ rest. When the sun came up the next morning the angels found the farmer and his wife in tears. Their only cow, whose milk had been their sole income, lay dead in the field.

The younger angel was infuriated and asked the older angel “How could you have let this happen!? The first man had everything, yet you helped him,” she accused. “The second family had so little, but was willing to share everything and you let their cow die.”

“Things aren’t always what they seem,” the older angel replied.”When we stayed in the basement of the mansion, I noticed there was gold stored in that hole in the wall. Since the owner was so obsessed with greed and unwilling to share his good fortune, I sealed the wall so he wouldn’t find it. Then last night as we slept in the farmers bed, the angel of death came for his wife. I gave her the cow instead. “Things aren’t always what they seem.”

Sometimes this is exactly what happens when things don’t turn out the way you think they should. If you have faith, you just need to trust that every outcome is always to your advantage. You might not know it until some time later. “Things aren’t always what they seem.” -Kathaleen Pinto-

Things aren’t always what they seem

A Child’s Explanation Of God

The following was written by an 8 year old from Chula Vista, CA, for his third grade homework assignment. The assignment was to explain God:

"One of God’s main jobs is making people. He makes them to replace the ones that die so there will be enough people to take care of things on earth.

He doesn’t make grown-ups, just babies. I think because they are smaller and easier to make. That way, He doesn’t have to take up His valuable time teaching them to talk and walk; He can just leave that to mothers and fathers.

God’s second most important job is listening to prayers. An awful lot of this goes on, since some people, like preachers and things, pray at times besides bedtime

God doesn’t have time to listen to the radio or TV because of this. Because He hears everything there must be a terrible lot of noise in His ears, unless He has thought of a way to turn it off.

God sees everything and hears everything and is everywhere which keeps Him pretty busy. So you shouldn’t go wasting His time by going over your mom and dad’s head asking for something they said you couldn’t have.

Atheists are people who don’t believe in God. I don’t think there are any in Chula Vista. At least there aren’t any who come to our church.

Jesus is God’s Son. He used to do all the hard work like walking on water and performing miracles and trying to teach the people who didn’t want to learn about God. They finally got tired of Him preaching to them and they crucified Him. But He was good and kind like His Father and He told His Father that they didn’t know what they were doing and to forgive them and God said OK.

His Dad (God) appreciated everything that He had done and all His hard work on earth so He told Him He didn’t have to go out on the road anymore, He could stay in heaven. So He did. And now He helps His Dad out by listening to prayers and seeing things which are important for God to take care of and which ones He can take care of Himself without having to bother God. Like a secretary only more important.

You can pray anytime you want and they are sure to hear you because they got it worked out so one of them is on duty all the times.

You should always go to Church on Sunday because it makes God happy, and if there’s anybody you want to make happy, it’s God. Don’t skip church to do something you think will be more fun like going to the beach. This is wrong! And, besides, the sun doesn’t come out at the beach until noon anyway.

If you don’t believe in God, besides being an atheist, you will be very lonely, because your parents can’t go everywhere with you, like to camp, but God can. It is good to know He’s around you when you’re scared in the dark or when you can’t swim very good and you get thrown into real deep water by big kids.

But you shouldn’t just always think of what God can do for you. I figure God put me here and He can take me back anytime He pleases. And that’s why I believe in God."

This is from my inbox email today, from Cross Cards - Encouragement for Life:

Encouragement for Today

October 16, 2019

The Greatest Blessing of All

Listen to this devotion

“And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8 (NIV)

A hundred years ago, a pair of English ornithologists took birds from their mother’s nest on the island of Skokholm off the coast of Wales. They tagged those birds and transported them to various far-off places, then released them to see whether the birds could find their way home to Wales.

One of those birds was released in Venice. Despite the tremendous distance (about 1,000 miles) and despite the fact that this species wasn’t native to the region, the bird found its way back home by a path it had never flown — in just over 14 days!

That experiment was repeated with even greater distances.

Two birds were transported by train in a closed box to London, then flown by airplane to Boston. Only one of the two survived that trip. The lone surviving bird flew all the way across the Atlantic Ocean and found its way back to its mother’s nest in 12 days and 12 hours!

Pretty impressive, right? Even ornithologists are amazed by this inbuilt capacity called the homing instinct. It’s the inherent ability to find their way home across great distances, despite unfamiliar terrain.

There’s a similar instinct hardwired into the human soul — the longing to be blessed by God. In the words of Saint Augustine, “You have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” The 17th-century French philosopher Blaise Pascal called it the “God-shaped hole.” Pope Francis called it “nostalgia for God.”

Yet despite our innate nature to long for God’s blessings, they don’t always come in our timing.

In 1996, my wife and I experienced this “longing for God” when we inherited a core group of 19 people and started a church. There was nothing easy about those early years. It took us three years to become self-supporting. And five to grow to 250 people. It wasn’t quick. It wasn’t easy. And I wouldn’t have had it any other way! In hindsight, I call those first five years of church planting a grace period.

In law, a grace period is a period of time when a particular rule does not apply. Spiritually speaking, a grace period is when God doesn’t give you what you want when you want it. Why? Because you aren’t ready for it. That’s how blessings backfire!

What I learned during those early years of church planting is that God needed to grow me — before He could grow our church. We know God won’t allow us to be tested beyond what we can bear. (1 Corinthians 10:13) Well, God won’t bless us beyond our level of spiritual maturity either. He loves us all far too much to do that. God’s blessings are perfectly sequenced, and that requires great patience on our part. But in that process, we’re conformed to the image of Christ.

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The House with the Golden Windows

A little girl lived in a small, very simple, poor house on a hill.

She loved to play in the small garden. As she grew up, she was able to see over the garden fence and across the valley to a wonderful house high on the hill . This house had golden windows, so golden and shining that the little girl would dream of how magic it would be to grow up and live in a house with golden windows instead of an ordinary house like hers.

And although she loved her parents and her family, she yearned to live in such a golden house and dreamed all day about how wonderful and exciting it must feel to live there.

When she got to an age where she gained enough skill and sensibility to go outside her garden fence, she asked her mother if she could go for a bike ride outside the gate and down the lane. After pleading with her, her mother finally agreed, insisting that she kept close to the house and didn’t wander too far.

The day was beautiful and the little girl knew exactly where she was heading! Down the lane and across the valley, she rode her bike until she got to the gate of the golden house across on the other hill.

As she dismounted her bike and lent it against the gate post, she focused on the path that lead to the house and then on the house itself… And was so disappointed as she realized all the windows were plain and rather dirty, reflecting nothing other than the sad neglect of the house that stood derelict.

So sad that she didn’t go any further and turned, heart broken as she remounted her bike … As she glanced up she saw a sight to amaze her… There, across the way on her side of the valley was a little house and its windows glistened golden … as the sun shone on her little home.

She realized that she had been living in her golden house and all the love and care she found there was what made her home the ‘golden house’.

Everything she dreamed was right there in front of her nose!