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Some samples: 1) When major-league baseball star Barry Bonds was still attending classes and playing games at Arizona State, he visited his grandfather for a while when he had some time off. Unfortunately, when he drove back to Arizona State, his mother called him and let him know that his grandfather had died. Barry said, “No, he didn’t—I just saw him a couple of hours ago.” His grandfather had died while sitting in a chair and watching some recordings of Barry’s games. Barry always had a lot of respect for his grandfather, who attended his games when Barry’s father, Bobby, couldn’t because Bobby was playing major-league baseball. Barry also respected his grandfather because his grandfather had grown up during a time of hatred—the Jim Crow era—and yet his grandfather had not become a hateful man. Barry says, “To grow up in those times and not have any hatred, nothing—it’s incredible.” Barry’s grandfather gave him a present that had belonged to his grandfather and that he still has today: a cross on a chain. Barry acquired an excellent work ethic from his family. He worked out five hours a day during the off-season so he could keep in shape for major-league baseball. Even when he shot a movie in Vancouver, his contract stated that he would have time off from filming so he could work out for five hours a day. 2) Steve Pollak, an elementary schoolteacher, member of the Phish, and songwriter of “Suzy Greenberg,” is married to Leslie, who had prayed to meet someone to share her life. On her 30th birthday, she blew out the candles on her birthday cake and then prayed, “OK, God, I want to find someone who falls madly in love with me, and then hear the pitter patter of little feet after that.” Sure enough, soon afterward, she found a dog dodging trucks on a bridge near where she lived. She adopted the dog, named him Willie, and shared her life with him. Leslie’s aunt told her, “You said pitter patter of little feet, and fall in love with you—you weren’t specific.” Therefore, on her next birthday, Leslie was more specific. After blowing out the birthday-cake candles, she prayed, “OK, God, I want a tall dark male human being to fall in love with me, whom I fall in love with, but the clincher is he needs to propose to me before my college reunion on June 8th.” Being specific counts. She made the prayer January 17th, she met Steve March 23rd, they were engaged May 11th, and they went to her reunion June 8th. Leslie says, “True story.” 3) During World War I, an English nurse was present when some badly wounded Germans were brought in. One mortally wounded German was a young boy of sixteen, and he kept calling for his mother. The nurse knew that he would die, but she wanted to do what little she could for the boy, so she went to him and held his hand. He was delirious, but he immediately calmed down, looked her in the eyes, and said, “Mother, I knew you would come.” A few minutes later, he died.

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