Thursday, January 28, 2010

A sip

I witnessed a hit-and-run accident and stopped to help. One of the drivers, a pregnant woman in her 30s, stood outside her car. The car’s front bumper was slightly scraped and dented. The woman was dazed, but unhurt.

She kept asking should she drive home, or stay. I told her to hang on just a bit. The police would arrive soon to take her statement. I spoke gently to her and she seemed to be reassured.

I noticed her face had started to flush under the hot afternoon sun. Spotting a store nearby, I ran over and bought a bottle of water and gave it to the woman.

I kept asking if she needed medical attention, and she said no. I encouraged her to take a sip of the water. It would do her some good, I said.

With all of the excitement, she never did take a sip. But she clutched the bottle tightly and seemed comforted holding it.

--By Ron Cooper

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Glad heart

Blessed is he
With a glad heart
So thankful for
The smallest things

Blessed is she
With an open heart
To fully experience
The simple joys

Blessed are we
With gracious wonder
To really appreciate
Life's very best

--Ron Cooper
Dedicated to George

Scatter these thoughts throughout your day ! (2)

Be part of mankind—
Be kind to man!

Quiet your mind
Relish your soul

Hatred: Love gone astray
Love: Hatred in disarray

Be purposeful
Be peaceful

--By Ron Cooper

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A mother's good example

My daughter Wendy learned through a co-worker of two young boys who are suffering a terrible brain disease and need money for medical care. She never met the boys, but was moved by their plight and obvious need for financial support.

She and a co-worker organized a bake sale. They asked everyone to bring in baked goods, set up tables, collected the money, and made sure the family got the $500 that was raised.

Then she told her daughter Greta the story of the boys, and how she had played a part in organizing the fund raising. This lesson of compassion by her mother will leave a lasting, positive mark on Greta!

By a proud father
Ron Cooper

My son's good example

I witnessed my son’s spontaneous generosity.

Jake and I were moving things from his old apartment when we met his next-door neighbor, a delightful 90-year-old woman from Colombia.

She spoke no English, but we managed to learn she is a nature-lover. She made admiring comments about Jake’s bird feeder. He had planned to take it to his new house.

But without hesitating he made it a gift to the woman, placing it where she could see the birds without leaving her living room.

Jake planted a little bit of good will that day, and a new friendship took flight!

--By a proud father
Ron Cooper

Monday, January 25, 2010

Scatter these thoughts throughout your day!

Encourage the goodness in someone, and you will be repaid with a hospitable heart.

Caring counts!

Eliminate the madness

Accentuate the gladness

Labels divide us

Harmony unifies us

--By Ron Cooper

Kindness on the road

Stopped at a red light, I looked with concern at the motorist in front of me. She had a dangerously low passenger tire on the right side. But just then, the light changed and she started to speed away.

I, too, sped up and began following her. I couldn’t get out of my head the possibility she might crash her car—when it could be avoided. At the next light, I pulled up next to her, tooting the horn. She rolled down the window and I told her about the tire. She really appreciated that.

We all share the road. Drivers can at times exasperate us and even make us curse. But we should help them in any way that we can. It’s the right thing, the kind thing, to do.

By Ron Cooper

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Friendly Greeter

Wal-Mart may be best known for its greeters, but my favorite greeter is at my neighborhood grocery store. He's there, with a big hearty welcome, to greet me. He even has a bask cart ready and waiting and has already wiped it clean with disinfectant.

On my way out, he always says, "Have a nice day, Sir!" And he means it! Not just empty words, but heartfelt sentiments.

Kindness is contagious, and this man with a genial disposition and broad smile is spreading it well!

By Ron Cooper

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Dear Greta,

You are beginning to realize that the true joys of life come through discovery. As you learn this important lesson, consider these useful signposts to serve as your guide.

Discover your joys: These are uniquely yours born of the happy nature that lies within your soul. Your joys will brighten each precious moment you dare to open yourself up to experience.

What are your joys?

Discover your strengths: These are uniquely yours welling up from your determined spirit. Your strengths will carry you through tough and uncertain days, and help another as he or she struggles.

What are your strengths?

Discover your ambitions: These are uniquely yours coming from a yearning to be fulfilled beyond measure. Your ambitions will be hard-earned and earnest and be your closest confidants.

What are your ambitions?

Remember as you seek to find your way, a delight in discovery will spur you forward to the next challenge, the next fulfillment, the next wonderful experience.

Revel in your discovery!

--By Grandpa Ron Cooper
January 2010

Monday, January 18, 2010

Oh, Haiti!

Oh, Haiti!
How you suffer
We, too, suffer

Oh, Haiti!
How you grieve
We, too, grieve

Oh, Haiti!
How you plead
We answer you

We your brothers
And sisters
Hear your cries
We are one with you

We send help
We send love

Oh, Haiti!
We hold you dear
In your darkest hour

We your brothers
And sisters
Will not abandon you
We want you whole

Oh, Haiti!
How you will recover
How you will rebuild
How you will rejoice

--By Ron Cooper

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Life in the slow lane

Life moves along in the slow lane at Mom’s nursing home—sometimes too slow for an impatient Baby Boomer such as me.

On a brilliantly sunny day two summers ago, I was taking Mom outdoors. I was most anxious to get her outside the stuffy locked facility where she and her fellow Alzheimer’s residents spent their days into the broad embrace of Mother Nature.

But the hallway near the chapel narrows. And on this day it was blocked by a slow-moving resident with a ball cap perched on his head. He was propelling his wheelchair as quickly as he could, but not fast enough for me.

“Excuse me, Sir, could we get around you?” I inquired, nudging up close and getting ready to pass. I was polite on the outside, but inside I thought: “Come on, old man, move it along!”

“Of course,” the man seemed to say, craning his head sideways to get a glimpse of me, a slight smile resting on his lips. At that moment I looked down at the floor and discovered to my shock:

The man had only one leg. His right foot literally danced over the carpet, pulling him ahead inch by determined inch. The half-trouser on his left leg was pinned neatly and rested on the wheelchair seat.

Mom, asleep, did not notice my shame. We carefully manoeuvred around the man at the place near the chapel where the hallway widens.

A few weeks later at noontime, I spotted this man again. Half his face was covered by an eye patch. Presumably he had had some surgery. But his eyesight was good enough for him to ease forward. His right foot set the pace for a slow, yet purposeful journey, tapping on the carpeted hallway as if it were tapping to a tune.

He wheeled past the small placard placed on a table in front of the chapel. It read, “God’s eternal peace to our dear residents” with the four residents who had passed on the previous month: Mary Ann on the 5th, Doris on the 25th, Mary on the 27th and Louise on the 30th.

He didn’t look up at any one or anything, such was his single-mindedness to join his companions at lunch, escaping his own sober thoughts for a thin slice of time.

By Ron Cooper

Spreading kindness--you can, too!

Four college kids set out in their Winnebago to fulfill their dream--do 100 things before they die. For each dream realized, they helped another person fulfill theirs. It's heartwarming.

Click below for the brief MSNBC report:

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Musical imagination

Just came across this awe-inspiring composer....see this video, it will open up your heart and mind!


Saturday, January 9, 2010


Stroke your innocence
Nurture your imagination
Embrace your magic

By Ron Cooper

Leader of your own soul

Dear Greta,

In your life there will be moments when you can grasp the reins of leadership. But in all moments, be the leader of your own soul.

If you forget all else, at least remember this about how to conduct your life:

• Be humble
• Be kind
• Be unique
• Be wise

--Written by G’pa Ron and dedicated to my granddaughter
December 25, 2009

Thursday, January 7, 2010

You will remember

To my granddaughter Greta,

It won’t seem possible now, but soon your years will start to fly by. What will you remember then?

You will remember how your family deeply loves you, and how your arrival in the world filled a void too vast to comprehend.

You will remember the warm embraces of your childhood, and how those closest to you will always hold you dear.

You will remember how proud we all are of you, and how we cherish your generous spirit and loving heart.

You will remember—and so shall we!

--By Ron Cooper

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Today, in America!

Today, I see my friend as he lay dying. It is the malaria again. I see it every day in the rainy season. It is hard to lose a friend, but that is life here in our Africa.

Tomorrow, I pray we will all be strong enough to go to America. In America, we will be well and have those to nurse us to good health.

Today I see my friend with only a handful of rice to eat. I have twice as much and feel fortunate. I share with him, and he smiles. I pray that we will all be strong enough to go to America. In America, there is more than enough to eat. In America, no one goes hungry.

Tomorrow, I pray that we will be in America, the land of plenty.

Today, I see my friend beaten by thieves. They demand his money. He has no money, but they do not believe him. He cries out and I want to help him. I carry no weapons, only a Bible. I pray that they stop beating him.

America is a safe place with laws to protect my people. Tomorrow, I pray that we all will be in America.

Today, in Africa, land of my birth, I find sickness, death, hunger and brutality. But as surely as the sun rises each day, I find cause for hope. That hope, praise God, is America—a land with a caring people who open their hearts to receive us in happiness and friendship.

Today, praise God, I am in America. I have new friends who, like me, are children of God. They, like me, see God in everyone. They are our new brothers and sisters.

We have come a long way—poor, tired travelers looking for a new home. We find it here with you. Thank you, my friends, and God bless you and bless our America.

(Inspired by new friends moving to my community from war-torn Burundi in Africa).

--By Ron Cooper

Saturday, January 2, 2010


Ear drops low
Lips raise up
Whisper issues
So weak
So earnest
To be noticed
To be revered
As the soul’s
Own expression

--By Ron Cooper


For to give back love
Lost to him gone astray

For to give back tenderness
Lest we lose our way

Forgive now and often
For human beings will fail
But spiritual beings
Will triumph and prevail

--By Ron Cooper


If you want to be feared
If you want to be powerful
But if you want to be admired

--By Ron Cooper

Start anew

Dear Lord,

Guide me on my daily quest
Give me peace, give me rest
Give me purpose in this life
Take away stress and strife
Most of all I do pray
Give your blessing
To this glorious day!

--By Ron Cooper

(Friends: Please leave your comments!)

Breakfast ministry

For the past year I’ve gone to a restaurant where I eat bacon and eggs and teach English to Maria on placemats. We started with simple words and phrases and graduated to talking about the pluses and minuses of signing up for her employer’s health insurance plan.

This is my breakfast ministry.

When you least expect it, God puts you in a position to help one of His children. I majored in Spanish for one year in college and used it daily when I worked with Mexican-Americans as a VISTA (Volunteer in Service to America) in the 1960s in Nebraska. My Spanish got rusty—until Maria entered my life.

She’s about 35, has a young daughter and a husband, all of them from Mexico trying to carve out a life in Southern Indiana. She busses tables at the restaurant, and her English is elementary.

Teaching Maria has become part of my early-morning routine. I did not expect others at the restaurant to take note, but Fay the cashier did and my breakfast ministry doubled.

Fay was fond of Maria and wanted to speak with her in her native tongue. So I began to teach her Spanish. I taught her the word for “pretty” (bonita) so she could pay a compliment to Maria. I also told her how to say goodbye, hello and see you later. Fay was tickled to death. I’m pleased, too.

I didn’t dream I’d be ministering to someone in this way. But you never know when God will call you. Just be ready. It could come between your first and second cups of coffee!

--By Ron Cooper

Frost on a tree

Frost on a tree
Clothing branches in glistening white
The chill in the air disappears
Leaving your purpose in doubt
But you will return again
To lighten the gray landscape

--By Ron Cooper


A cloud I see passes over me
Its fluffiness fills the sky
In sunny splendor, this tender
Heavenly form floats by
Nature’s glory unmasked

--By Ron Cooper

The plate

The plate makes its rounds as hungry hands watch for their chance. As the plate passes, the hands try to snare it long enough to claim a tasty morsel. The hands reach to take the whole plate, but accusing eyes stop them short. The reward is but a share. But still the hungry hands try to outwit the eyes, moving at lightning speed to have, to hoard, to still the gnawing pangs.

--By Ron Cooper

Let our lives speak

Let our hands touch
Touch the weary
Touch the distressed
Touch supreme

Let our eyes see
See the poor
See the hungry
See goodness

Let our feet walk
Walk from anger
Walk into wonder
Walk heavenward

Let our lives speak
Speak the goodness
Speak the kindness
Speak divine-ness

--By Ron Cooper

4 ingredients for a joyful life

1. Exercise to strengthen your body
2. Prayer to exercise your soul
3. Love of self to tenderize your heart
4. Love of others to leave your legacy

--By Ron Cooper


Eyes shut tight
Traces of divinity
Speaking jewels
Of insight
Giving selves
To One
Glorious moments
Purposeful paths
Peaceful wisdom
Eyes wide open
Unseen wonders

--By Ron Cooper


These steps have carried
The feet of pain
The burdens of sorrow
The ache of grief
These steps have carried
The brightness of spirit
The soaring souls
The good and great times
To the heights

--By Ron Cooper
Dedicated to Andrew and Doris Best


Your eyes
Speak your wisdom
Your voice
Strong with advice
You hold the hand
Of the frightened
Pat the back
Of the anxious
Provide clear purpose
To the troubled soul

Or you can die
With the fullness
Of your life
And its uniqueness
Never to be spoken
Trapped inside
Never to be shared
Always intending
To voice its tenderness
Yet afraid of bracing
For the intensity
Of the intimacy

Leave your legacy

--By Ron Cooper

Old man and a chair

Every morning at my restaurant hangout, a feeble old man shows up with his walker. Every morning, he takes little baby steps on his way to a table. Lately, I’ve noticed the man slowing down. He gets halfway to his goal when the sudden weight of his weariness overtakes him. He teeters and looks like he will fall.

But the waitresses have their eye on him. After he makes one little misstep, they are at his side with a chair. They coax him into it, and he just sits there. There he sits, a slight, drooping figure with a faint smile of gratitude on his face. Waiting in the middle of a busy restaurant. Waiting for his gathering strength to return. When it does, he’s on his way again.

The waitresses watch his progress, whispering among themselves whether they should bring out the chair again.

After watching this occur many times, I can only conclude: One small act of compassion equals one big act of love.

--By Ron Cooper

Confident, not self-important

Dear Lord,

Let me be confident
But keep me from self-importance
Let me be assertive
But avoid being hurtful or overbearing
Let me take pride in my accomplishments
But keep me from gloating
Let me know that positive self-esteem
Is essential to happiness
And true happiness
Is recognizing the Divine in all of us.

--By Ron Cooper

Note: Please give some feedback in the comment form below...Thanks!


Are the best things in life really free?
The answer is a triumphant ‘yes’ when we are:

• Free of hate
• Free of violence
• Free of prejudice
• Free of inequality
• Free of injustice

Then—and only then—will we be:

• Free to care
• Free to share
• Free to love

By Ron Cooper
Dedicated to Greta

Prayer for the Workplace

Dear Lord,

May I treat all of my co-workers with the respect due to all of your children
May I be an instrument of your kindness and generosity to all who pass through these doors
May I be patient with those who are having a bad day
May I use humor to defuse tense situations
May I avoid gossip, for it robs me of compassion and understanding
May I exercise patience, especially when deadlines loom and stress reigns supreme
In this place of work, may I conduct myself in a way that will bring glory to You always! This I pray,


--By Ron Cooper
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