Story

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What do you get from a Bowl of Plain Rice?

Published February 10, 2013 by gigiwellness28

About 20 years ago, on a late Spring evening, a young man was pacing up and down outside a little self serve café, he finally walked in the café timidly as the café was also empty.

He went to the counter and said, “Excuse me, I would like to order a bowl of rice please?”

The young couple, who started this café not long ago, was a bit disappointed when they realised he was not going to order other dishes,  but still filled up a bowl of rice for him.

When the young man paid for the bowl of rice, he asked, “Excuse me, can I use those sauces on the side counter?”

The female owner replied with a friendly smile, “Sure, go help yourself, they are free of charge!”

A bowl of rice with sauce

The young man sat down to eat his rice with sauces.  When he was half way, he went to order another bowl of rice.

The male owner said, “One bowl is definitely not enough, I’ll fill it up a bit more this time.”

“Oh no,” the young man replied, “it’s for my lunch, I’ll take it to college tomorrow.”

The male owner thought the young man must be struggling financially, so he could only afford a bowl of plain rice for his meal.  Out of sympathy, he decided to add a spoonful of their special mince meat plus a tea leaf egg at the bottom of the bowl, then filled up the bowl with rice – you would have been fooled by the take away bowl and thought it’s just rice.

His wife saw what he did and understood he wanted to help the young man, but she didn’t understand why he hid the meat and egg under the rice; until the husband explained, “If he saw we’ve added the other food to the rice, he might think we are pitying him, that would hurt his self-esteem.  He might feel ashamed and wouldn’t come back again.  If he went to another store and just ate rice, how would he have enough energy to study?”

“You are such a good man, honey, always considering others’ feelings.”

“Well, if I was not good, would you still marry me?”

The young couple felt so happy to be able to help.

When the young man finished his bowl of rice and came over to pick up the heavy weighted take away rice, he couldn’t help but look at the owners with question marks all over his face.

“Work hard in your study!  We’ll see you tomorrow!”  the owner waved good bye to the young man, hoping he will return to their café tomorrow.  The young man started to tear up, but he didn’t want the young couple to notice.

From that evening onwards, apart from long holiday, the young man would come to this little café to order 2 bowls of rice, 1 for dinner and 1 for lunch.  The owners had decided to hide different types of meat under his take away bowl of rice.  This had became a little unspoken secret between the 3 of them.

The couple had also decided to keep the same price for the young man’s bowl of rice.  The 3 of them would chat about his study and life, a special bond had formed, until the young man graduated a few years later.

About 20 years later, the couple, who were now in their late 40’s still ran the same little self serve café, received the Council Notification of demolition of illegal constructions in the area.  With inflation over the years and their limited saving, as they supported their son to study abroad, they wouldn’t be able to run their little café in the same area, to serve their regular customers; but had to start everything all over again, when they were almost 50.  Facing the possibilities of unemployment in their age and all the uncertainties ahead of them, they didn’t know what to do.

While they were trying to pick themselves up, a suited man came into the café.  He didn’t place an order, he just said to them, “Hello, I am the Assistant General Manager of xxx Co. Ltd., our CEO told me to invite you to run a self serve café in our newly built office building.  All the facilities and food will be provided by our company, you just need to bring your cooking skills.  Your café and our company will share the profit 50/50.”

“Who is your CEO?  Why does he treat us with such good favour?  We haven’t known any important people like that in our lives!”

“All I know is both of you had treated our CEO very well and he loves eating your café’s mince and tea leaf egg with a big bowl of rice. You’ll need to ask him for other details when he comes.”

The couple looked at each other with a puzzled look on their faces.  Later on, a man in a suit came in the café, he greeted the couple and thanked them.  He told them he was the young man, who only ordered 2 bowls of rice every evening, 1 for dinner and 1 for lunch.  He also said if it was not their continuous encouragements and the unspoken secret, he wouldn’t have been able to complete his study and definitely wouldn’t be able to achieve what he has achieved and became a big company’s CEO.  The couple was so pleased and amazed with what he had offered them.

They kept catching up until it was time to head home.  The CEO stood up, said his goodbye and right before he stepped out from the café, he turned around, gave the couple a deep bow and said, “Work hard in running the café, our company relies on your help.  We’ll see you tomorrow!”

* * * * * *

Richness of Heart

Published February 2, 2013 by gigiwellness28

The Little Kid’s Heart

A lady has just moved home and found there was a poor family of a widow with her two little kids living right next door.

Few nights later, the area had black out, so she lighted up some candles.  The Little Kid's Heart

A short while later, there was a knock on her front door.

It was one of that poor family’s kids, who looked very nervous and asked, “Excuse me, do you have candles in your home?”

The lady thought, “Are you for real?  They don’t even have candles?  No way I am lending you candles, who knows what else will you ask me next time!”

With that thought in her mind, she replied very rudely, “NO!”

Just as she was going to close the door, the kid showed a caring smile and handed her two candles, “I thought since you’ve just moved in, you might not have candles ready, so I’ve asked my Mama’s permission and bring you these two candles for the night.”

The lady felt so shameful of herself, she moved to tears and hold the child tightly in her arms.

 

The Pure Heart

It has not rained for a very long time, the farmers in a little town have struggled in harvesting, so the Pastor has organised a Prayer Meeting for Rain Fall.

Everyone in the town attended the Prayer Meeting, among them was a little girl, but because she’s tiny, no one had paid much notice to her.The Pure Heart

The Pastor went up to the pulpit to start the Prayer Meeting, but something caught his attention, which moved him to change what he was planning to say.

He said, “Today we come together to ask God for rain fall; but look around, this little girl is the only person who has brought an umbrella!”

Sometimes we have to say, “Little kids are in fact not that ‘little‘, in fact they are really ‘big‘!  They have a very big heart to love and they have a very big mind to trust!”

 

<< We may not earn a lot of money to be financially rich; but we can always show the richness of our heart! >>

* * * * * *

The Seasons of A Pear Tree

Published August 22, 2012 by gigiwellness28

There was a man who had four sons.  He wanted his sons to learn not to judge things too quickly, so he sent them each on a quest – in turn, to go and look at a pear tree that was a great distance away.

The first son went in Winter, the second in Spring, the third in Summer and the youngest son in Fall.

When they had all gone and come back, he called them together to describe what they had seen.

The first son said, “The tree was ugly, bent and twisted.”

The second son said, “No, it was covered with green buds and full of promise.”

The third son disagreed, “It was laden with blossoms that smelled so sweet and looked so beautiful.  It was the most graceful thing I had ever seen.”

The last son disagreed with all of them, “It was ripe and drooping with fruit, full of life and fulfilment.”

The man then explained to his sons that they were all correct, because they had each seen but only one season in the tree’s life.

He told them, “You cannot judge a tree or a person by only one season.  The essence of who they are and the pleasure, joy and love that come from that life can only be measured at the end.  When all the seasons are up.

“If you give up when it’s Winter, you will miss the promise of your Spring, the beauty of your Summer and fulfilment of your Fall.

“Don’t let the pain of one season destroy the joy of all the rest.  Don’t judge life by one difficult season.  Persevere through the difficult patches and better times are sure to come later.”

* * * * * *

Aspire to inspire before we expire.
Live simply.
Love generously.
Care deeply.
Speak kindly.
Leave the rest to God.

Happiness keeps us sweet.
Trials keep us strong.
Sorrows keep us human.
Failures keep us humble.
Success keeps us glow.
But only God keeps us going.

* * * * *

Who will Take My Son?

Published August 21, 2012 by gigiwellness28

A wealthy man and his son loved to collect rare works of art.  They had everything in their collection, from Picasso to Raphael.  They would often sit together and admire the great works of art.

When the Viet Nam conflict broke out, the son went to war.  He was very courageous and died in battle while rescuing another soldier.  The father was notified and grieved deeply for his only son.

About a month later, just before Christmas, there was a knock at the door.  A young man stood at the door with a large package in his hands.

He said, “Sir, you don’t know me, but I am the soldier for whom your son gave his life.  He saved many lives that day, and he was carrying me to safety when a bullet struck him in the heart and he died instantly.  He often talked about you, and your love for art.”

The young man held out his package, “I know this isn’t much.  I’m not really a great artist, but I think your son would have wanted you to have this.”

The father opened the package.  It was a portrait of his son, painted by the young man.  He stared in awe at the way the soldier had captured the personality of his son in the painting.  The father was so drawn to the eyes that his own eyes welled up with tears.

He thanked the young man and offered to pay him for the picture.  “Oh, no sir, I could never repay what your son did for me.  It’s a gift.”

The father hung the portrait over his mantle.  Every time visitors came to his home, he took them to see the portrait of his son before he showed them any of the other great works he had collected.

The man died a few months later.  There was to be a great auction of his collections.  Many influential people gathered, excited over seeing the great paintings and having an opportunity to purchase one for their collection.  On the platform sat the painting of the son.

The auctioneer pounded his gavel.  “We will start the bidding with this picture of the son.  Who will bid for this picture?”

There was silence.  Then a voice in the back of the room shouted, “We want to see the famous paintings.  Skip this one.”

But the auctioneer persisted, “Will someone bid for this painting?  Who will start the bidding?  $100?  $200?”

Another voice shouted angrily, “We didn’t come to see this painting.  We came to see the Van Goghs, the Rembrandts.  Get on with the real bids!”  But still the auctioneer continued, “The son!  The son!  Who’ll take the son?”

Finally, a voice came from the very back of the room.  It was the longtime gardener of the man and his son.  “I’ll give $10 for the painting.”  Being a poor man, it was all he could afford.

“We have $10, who will bid $20?”

“Give it to him for $10.  Let’s see the masters.”

“$10 is the bid, won’t someone bid $20?”

The crowd was becoming angry, they didn’t want the picture of the son.  They wanted the more worthy investments for their collections.  The auctioneer pounded the gavel.  “Going once, twice, SOLD for $10!”

A man sitting on the second row shouted, “Now let’s get on with the collection!”  The auctioneer laid down his gavel, “I’m sorry, the auction is over.”

“What about the paintings?”

“I am sorry.  When I was called to conduct this auction, I was told of a secret stipulation in the will.  I was not allowed to reveal that stipulation until this time.  Only the painting of the son would be auctioned.  Whoever bought that painting would inherit the entire estate, including the paintings.  The one who took the son gets everything!”

God gave his Son 2,000 years ago to die on a cruel cross.  Much like the auctioneer, His message today is, “The Son, the Son, who’ll take the Son?”  Because whoever takes the Son gets everything.

* * * * * *

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

Published August 11, 2012 by gigiwellness28

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein – a story book my late Grandpa loved dearly.

Different people have different interpretations about this story; to my Grandpa, this story reminded him of how God sacrificed His only son for us.

According to Wikipedia, Timothy P. Jackson, a former professor of Religious Studies at Stanford University put it:

Is this a sad tale?  Well, it is sad in the same way that life is depressing.  We are all needy, and, if we are lucky and any good, we grow old using others and getting used up.  Tears fall in our lives like leaves from a tree.  Our finitude is not something to be regretted or despised, however; it is what makes giving (and receiving) possible.  The more you blame the boy, the more you have to fault human existence.  The more you blame the tree, the more you have to fault the very idea of parenting.  Should the tree’s giving be contingent on the boy’s gratitude?  If it were, if fathers and mothers waited on reciprocity before caring for their young, then we would all be doomed.

I found the actual ’73 Giving Tree Movie spoken by Shel Silverstein in YouTube, so for those who don’t want to read the story but want to watch the Movie, please click below, otherwise, please read on or do both:

The Giving Tree

Once, there was a tree…
And she loved a little boy.
And every day the boy would come
And he would gather her leaves
And make them into crowns and play king of the forest.
He would climb up her trunk
And swing from her branches
And eat apples
And they would play hide-and-go-seek.
And when he was tired, he would sleep in her shade.
And the boy loved the tree… very much…
And the tree was happy.

But time went by,
And the boy grew older.
And the tree was often alone.
Then, one day, the boy came to the tree and the tree said,
“Come, Boy, come and climb up my trunk and swing from my branches and eat apples and play in my shade and be happy!”
“I am too big to climb and play,” said the boy. “I want to buy thing and have fun.  I want some money.  Can you give me some money?”
“I’m sorry,” said the tree, “but I have no money.  I have only leaves and apples.  Take my apples, Boy, and sell them in city.  Then you will have money and you’ll be happy.”
And so the boy climbed up the tree and gathered her apples and carried them away.
And the tree was happy…

But the boy stayed away for a long time… and the tree was sad.
And then one day the boy came back, and the tree shook with joy, and she said,
“Come, Boy come and climb up my trunk and swing from my branches and eat apples and play in my shade and be happy.”
“I am too busy to climb trees,” said the boy.  “I want a house to keep me warm”, he said.  “I and want a wife and I want children, and so I need a house. Can you give me a house?”
“I have no house”, said the tree.  “The forest is my house”, said the tree.  “But you may cut off my branches and build a house. Then you will be happy.”
And so the boy cut off her branches and carried them away to build his house.  And the tree was happy.
But the boy stayed away for a long time…
And when he came back, the tree was so happy she could hardly speak.
“Come, Boy” she whispered, “Come and play.”
“I am too old and sad to play,” said the boy.  “I want a boat that will take me away from here.  Can you give me a boat?”
“Cut down my trunk and make a boat,” said the tree.  “Then you can sail away… and be happy.”
And so the boy cut down her trunk
And made a boat and sailed away.
And the tree was happy…
But not really.

And after a long time the boy came back again.
“I am sorry, Boy,” said the tree, “but I have nothing left to give you – My apples are gone.”
“My teeth are too weak for apples,” said the boy.
“My branches are gone,” said the tree.  “You cannot swing on them.”
“I am too old to swing on branches,” said the boy.
“My trunk is gone,” said the tree.  “You cannot climb.”
“I am too tired to climb,” said the boy.
“I am sorry,” sighed the tree.  “I wish that I could give you something… but I have nothing left.  I am just an old stump.  I am sorry…”
“I don’t need very much now,” said the boy.  “Just a quiet place to sit and rest.  I am very tired.”
“Well,” said the tree, straightening herself up as much as she could, “well, an old stump is good for sitting and resting.  Come, Boy, sit down… sit down and rest.”
And the boy did.
And the tree was happy…

The end.

77 Floors of Stories

Published July 16, 2012 by gigiwellness28

After the old couple’s kids had all moved out and started their own families, the old couple had sold their house and moved to a modern apartment block.  Since they liked the view of the city, they had bought one of the top level’s apartments, which was on 77th floor.

It was a long weekend, the apartment block had massive black out so all lifts were not working; due to the long weekend, the building management needed a few days to find out the cause of the black out, therefore, most of the residents had gone to stay with family, friends or even checked in hotel.

The old couple had gone for a walk while the black out happened.  When they returned and found out the situation, they decided to take the stairs, as well as their next door neighbour, a young couple, who had just finished their weekly grocery shopping.

By the time they came to 5th floor, the young couple wanted to move quicker, so they said to the old couple, “You two take your time, we’ll go ahead first.”

The young couple rushed to 10th floor and felt the grocery bags are too heavy, so they decided to leave the bags on the staircase and collect them on the next day.

Since the weights had lifted, the young couple started to rush to 20th floor, but it was too much for the wife, so she started to blame the husband, “Exactly what had happened?  We should have gone to the hotel instead of climbing the stairs.  It’s all your fault!”

The husband was tired as well, so he became offensive and said, “How can you blame me?  You agreed to take the stairs.  I find you no longer take up your own responsibility but keep blaming on other people.  If you don’t change your attitude soon, it will become a burden for our future.”

The wife became angry and yelled, “What do you mean it will become a burden for our future?  Are you saying you want a devoice?”

They continued the argument while climbing the stairs; when they reached 40th floor, they both had less breath to argue.  The husband continued to climb the stairs and left the wife behind.  The wife was very upset and breathless, so she sat on the stairs to catch her breath.

The husband had finally reached 77th floor, when he tried to reach for his keys to open the door, he realised he had left his keys with his wife.  “What a bummer!”, he thought to himself, ” I have to wait for her!”.

The wife had reached 77th floor as well, when she saw her husband was waiting in front of their home, she pretended to forget about the argument and said, “Come on!  Open the door, even if you’re not tired, I am extremely tired.”

The husband said, “If the keys were not with you, I wouldn’t have waited for you.”

The wife searched her dress pockets and purse but she couldn’t locate the keys, “OMG!  We must have left the keys in one of the shopping bags and we’ve left them on 10th floor.”

Both of them looked at each other but none wanted to return to 10th floor.  They just slid down and sat on the floor.  A short while later, they heard footsteps and chatting from the old couple.  They had also reached 77th floor.

The old couple were shocked when they saw the young couple were sitting on the floor and looked so pale.  Once the young couple explained the situation, the old couple opened their door and invited the young couple in.

The old couple offered the young couple water to drink, food to eat and even let them stay overnight.  The young couple regained their energy very quickly.

The young woman became curious and asked the old couple, “Even after the long climb, you still don’t look tired.”  The young man joined in and said, “That’s right, we are very impressed.  What are your secrets to be so fit?”

The old man smiled and said, “It’s all her idea.  She said since we always chat while hiking, why didn’t we treat this as kind of hiking and chat about the blessing from God in our life?  So we decided to count one blessing per year per floor.”  His wife looked at him with deep feeling and said, “If it was not his good memory, I would have forgotten a lot of things.”

The old man said, “So I started to say, I always remember the first time I met you, you were the host of the party and we were beautiful.  To have the opportunity to meet with you, was God’s blessing to me on that year.

The old woman said,” Then I said, you were a bookworm and didn’t want to go to the party.  Later on I had difficulties in some subjects, you had helped me to improve a lot.  Your help was God’s blessing to me on that year.

Just like that, the old couple counted God’s blessings in their life and the memories kept flooding back.

When they reached 20th floor, they talked about their wedding;

30th floor, they talked about the birth of their three children;

40th floor, they talked about the old man’s promotion and salary increased while the old woman managed their finance diligently;

50th floor, they talked about the weddings of their three children;

60th floor, they talked about God’s healing power on their sicknesses;

70th floor, they talked about the birth of their lovely grandchildren.

When the old woman was talking about how God has led her husband to buy this apartment, they realised they had reached 77th floor.

Right before the old couple saw the young couple, the old man was going to say, “This year’s blessing is even though we are old, but we still have the strength to climb up these 77 floors during this black out.

After the young couple finished listening to the old couple’s recap, they became very embarrassed with how they behaved to each other.

The young woman says, “I know why we were so tired.  Not because we were physically tired, but because of our arguments.

The young man agrees and says to his wife, “We need to learn from them, now I want to count my blessing of the day – you have forgotten about the keys in the shopping bag.  If you did not leave them, we would not be able to hear such meaningful lesson.

* * *

No matter big or small, always count our blessings!

“Daughter, can you do me a favour please?”

Published July 12, 2012 by gigiwellness28

It was Friday, the sunset of Spring had the colour of newly squeezed orange juice.

I had planned to go out with my friends for a drink after work, but Mum called me right before I was off from work.  She sounded so cheerful, “My colleagues and I are going to have a Spring picnic tomorrow, I want them to try those famous buns from Bread Charm*; after you finished work, please buy me a dozen.”.

“Picnic?”  Without thinking, I refused to do so, “Mum, I don’t have time, I have arrangement with my friends already.”

Mum kept saying, “Just a dozen of buns, won’t take you too long.  There is a Bread Charm* closes to your office.” while I kept saying, “It’s odd to carry a dozen of buns to go out with my friends.”.  Finally she became angry, so I reluctantly agreed.

I wanted to have it done ASAP, so right after work, I rushed to Bread Charm*.  But when I got closer to the store, my heart sunk, because there was a long queue of people waiting outside the store.

I had been moving with the queue very slowly, I kept looking at my watch and checking the movement of the queue.  Finally after 20 minutes, I was inside the store.

I had been standing for a very long time and started to feel dizzy due to hunger or whatever.  When I thought of my friends, who must be having fun right now, I became anxious.

The unique warm soft breeze of Spring surrounding me, together with the freshly baked bread aroma, somehow I was wrapped in an explosive anger:

  • What is Mum thinking, not resting at home during weekend but to have picnic with her colleagues?    
  • Spring picnic, simply a child’s thing!  What’s the fun for a group of old ladies go Spring picnic?  

More or less the same time, someone at the front of the queue started a heated argument, so a storekeeper came to settle the argument and take our orders.  By the look of things, I would be the last one of the 3rd round to get the buns – finally I got something solid to look forward to.

I became relax a bit and then there was a soft voice coming from my back, “Excuse me.”  I turned around, it was a 50+ years old woman, whom I did not know.  I replied with a short “What?”.

With an almost humble smile, she said to me, “You see, I am right behind you, by the look of things, you should be the last one to get the buns from the 3rd round.  I need to buy some buns for my son, he will have Spring picnic with his class tomorrow.  Since I need to rush back home to prepare dinner then take him to tutor lesson.  If you are not in a rush, I wonder, ummm…”.  May be she thought it was a bit odd to ask me to swap my spot with her, so she asked, “May I ask whom are you buying the buns for?”  I replied, “For my Mum, she will have Spring picnic on tomorrow as well.”

Then something very strange happened, the whole store became very quiet and all eyes cast on me.  Someone in the queue asked, “Whom did you say you are buying the buns for?”

I had not got the chance to respond, the storekeeper had already said, “Ah, we have sold few hundred bags today and you are the first customer to buy for Mum.”

I looked around the store and realised nearly everyone in the queue were older women, everyone of them had large and small bags, which kind of identified them as housewives and/or mothers.

“Then how about you?”, I asked.

“Of course for our little precious ones!”, someone else answered and others laughed to show as kind of an agreement.

Then the lady who was standing behind me said, “Oh, I am terribly sorry!  I’d never thought you would be willing to wait for such long time.  That’s incredible!  Originally, I did not plan to come here, but since my son said he wants to have Bread Charm*’s buns for Spring picnic, so I came.  When I was young, I also wanted to have different types of snacks for my Spring picnics.”.  Suddenly her face emerged out a wistful expression.

I asked her, “You still remember what happened during those Spring picnics?”

She smiled, “Of course!  Every year I still want to go for a Spring picnic, even if I could only sit on the lawn and have a bit of natural Vitamin D.  But I am way too busy now!”  She sighed, “Maybe I will have the chance when my son reaches your age.”.

So, Spring picnic was not something my Mum had just decided, it was something she (or even her colleagues) had wanted for all these years?  I am my Mum’s daughter, and yet I never knew about what she wanted.

The lady behind me was holding bags of drinks, biscuits, chips, lollies and more, they must be very heavy, because she kept changing hands, however, she did not want to put the bags down to have a rest, she explained to me, “I don’t want the packages to be squashed.”.  She paused a bit then said, “I am looking forward to the day my son can buy things for me!”.  She looked at me with those kind of hope and said, “That day should not be too far away.”

Just because my existence in the store, this lady is having such big believe in her son?  And I kept using different excuses to refuse helping my Mum.  My heart started to ache.

Then the new round of freshly baked buns were ready, the aroma exploded like an atomic bomb.  The lady stood in front of me turned around and said to me, “Let’s swap spot, so you can buy the buns for your Mum quicker.”

I was shock with her offer, “No thanks, you have waited for such long time already.”, she did not listen to me and had already moved behind me.  Her slightly aged face was the living evidence of torture, she spoke to me with the warmth and determination only mothers have, “But you Mum has waited for over 20 years.”.

The old lady who stood in front of this lady smiled at me and moved one step aside, then the one in front of her did the same without saying one word.

There they were, one by one, quietly and calmly, moved one step aside, so a little path had formed in front of where I stood to the cashier.

I stood there, stunned and did not know what to do, then someone urged me, “Come on, be quick!  Your Mum is waiting for you at home.”.

I looked at them, each of them were smiling at me, it seemed their looks were filled with hope and kindness.

Suddenly I realised, at that moment, they were not looking at me, they were looking at their grown up kids.  I wondered if each of them had this little dream – that one day, when their kids all grown up, they would buy some freshly baked buns home for the parents, even right after work.

The walk to the cashier had suddenly became very long, I carefully walked pass every one of them, just like walking through each of their kids’ life.

* a made-up name.

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