The Power of Three Little Words

Some of the most significant messages people deliver to one another often come in just three words. When spoken or conveyed, those statements have the power to forge new friendships, deepen old ones and restore relationships that have cooled.

The following three word phrases can enrich every relationship:
I’ll Be There

Being there for another person is the greatest gift we can give. When we are truly present for other people, important things happen to them and to us. We are renewed in love and friendship. We are restored emotionally and spiritually. “Being there” is at the very, very core of civility.
I Miss You

Perhaps more marriages could be salvaged and strengthened if couples simply and sincerely said to each other, “I miss you.” This powerful affirmation tells partners they are wanted, needed, desired and loved.
I Respect You

Respect is another way of showing love. Respect conveys the feeling that another person is a true equal. It is a powerful way to affirm the importance of a relationship.
Maybe You’re Right

This phrase is highly effective in diffusing an argument and restoring frayed emotions. The flip side of “maybe you’re right” is the humility of admitting “maybe I’m wrong.”
Please Forgive Me

Many broken relationships could be restored and healed if people would admit their mistakes and ask for forgiveness. All of us are vulnerable to faults, foibles and failures. A man should never be ashamed to own up to being in the wrong, which is by saying, in other words, that he is wiser today than he was yesterday.
I Thank You

Gratitude is an exquisite form of courtesy. People who enjoy the companionship of good, close friends are those who don’t take daily courtesies for granted. They are quick to thank their friends for their many expressions of kindness. On the other hand, people whose circle of friends is severely constricted often do not have the attitude of gratitude.
Count On Me

“A friend is one who walks in when others walk out.” Loyalty is an essential ingredient for true friendship; it is the emotional glue that bonds people. Those who are rich in their relationships tend to be steady and true friends. When troubles come, a good friend is there, indicating “you can count on me.”
Let Me Help

The best of friends see a need and try to fill it. When they spot a hurt they do what they can to heal it. Without being asked, they pitch in and help.
I Understand You

People become closer and enjoy each other more if they feel the other person accepts and understands them. Letting others know in so many little ways that you understand him or her is one of the most powerful tools for healing your relationship.
Go For It

Some of your friends may be non-conformists, have unique projects and unusual hobbies. Support them in pursuing their interests. Rather than urging your loved ones to conform, encourage their uniqueness – everyone has dreams that no one else has.
I suppose the three little words that you were expecting to see have to be reserved for those who are special; they are “I Love You.”
— Author Unknown

Happy Thanksgiving from Joan Wester Anderson

Pam had been praying hard for a pressing family matter that didn’t seem to be improving.  Her city had just had a snowfall, and she was driving towards the downtown area when a middle-aged man waded into the drifts and flagged down her car. Pam noticed a second man standing on the sidewalk. By his ragged clothes, she assumed he was a street person.

“Can you give us a ride to my house?” asked the stranger who had signaled her. “I’ve been trying to get a cab, but in this weather there are none to be found. I met this man who has no place to go, and I want to bring him home, feed him and let him spend the night in a warm place.”

Pam and her husband belonged to a group that fed the homeless one evening each month, but she had never been asked for a favor such as this. And yet she didn’t hesitate, even when she learned that their destination was almost five miles away. “Of course,” she said. “Get in.”       

The homeless stranger never said a word on the journey, but Pam and the other man felt immediate ease with each other, and enjoyed a spiritually uplifting conversation for awhile, then lapsed into a companionable silence.
They were almost to the house when the man turned to Pam. “Miss, you know that family problem you’ve been so worried about? Don’t worry. Everything is going to be all right.”

Pam’s mouth dropped. How had he known? As she pulled up to the front of the house, he and the homeless man got out, thanked her and walked quickly away.

Pam sat for a moment. How odd that she had not been afraid to let two strangers get into her car, or to drive them in difficult weather conditions. And how did they know of the problem she had been praying about?

Peace filled her as she started the car up again. She could leave everything in God’s hands, she realized. Obviously he had sent an angel (or perhaps even two!) to tell her so.

Author’s note: From time to time, we mention earth angels who are in the business of giving to others. They often need publicity because any spare time they have is spent on their cause. There is no obligation on your part to get involved in ANY of these, but some of you like to know… 

— A reader suggests Dr. John Bissler. He has been a doctor for several years in one of the best children’s hospital in Cincinnati, but he doesn’t turn anyone away, and he removed a large tumor from her kidney when other doctors said it couldn’t be done. (Dr Bissler is one of only two nephrologists in the country involved in this genetic tumor disorder). For parents, the search for medical help is often difficult. Many wind up at Dr. Bissler’s Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

“While our patients are seen by an array of physicians, most are in great need of Dr. Bissler, especially for research,” says a hospital spokesman. Dr Bissler is currently raising money so he can travel throughout the world to train other doctors to do this surgery, instead of so many children having to come to Cincinnati to be treated by him. If he raises a million dollars, the hospital will match it.
Any donation is welcome; send to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, 3333 Burnet Avenue, Cincinnati, Oh., 45229. On the envelope attention to: Jennifer Barlow.  Checks should be made out to TSC Nephrology Fellowship.

— Now that the holidays are approaching, many of you are starting a gift bag or two for the impoverished people in Thornton, Ark. This small town has little or no jobs available and has always been poor, but a wonderful family (the Cayces) has supplemented their lack for more than 40 years. We got involved several years ago, and those of us looking for a charity were delighted to find an outlet for garage sale finds, outgrown shoes and, during the holidays, the toys, candy and Wal-Mart gift cards that help the children have a happy and memorable day. We can talk a little more about Thornton next time: JoAnn Cayce Charities, 403 South Second Street, Thornton AR 71766

— Finally, my own commercial: I now have written seven books on angels and miracles (as well as a humor book for mom), and I can’t imagine a better time of year to give these as gifts. Many families approach my signing table to tell me they are each buying a different book and then trading them; others feature these at their book clubs. Check or if you want an autographed copy, visit, click on “Books” and follow the order directions. I suspect the angels will be pleased.

Happy Thanksgiving!

About Joan Wester Anderson

Author and lecturer Joan Wester Anderson was born in Evanston, Ill. She began her writing career in 1973 with a series of family humor articles for local newspapers and Catholic publications, and was a monthly columnist for two national magazines during the 1980s. She has published more than one thousand articles and short stories in a variety of publications, including Woman’s Day, Modern Bride, Virtue, Reader’s Digest and the New York Times Syndicate.

Her 15 books include “Where Angels Walk, True Stories of Heavenly Visitors,” which was on the New York Times bestseller list for more than a year, has sold almost two million copies and been translated into 14 languages. Published in fall 1994 were the sequel to “Angels,” titled “Where Miracles Happen,” and for children, “An Angel to Watch Over Me.” Both books were written in response to suggestions from readers and were followed in rapid succession by three more in this series. “Forever Young” (Thomas More Publishers), the life story of actress Loretta Young, was published in November 2000. The actress had read the angel series and requested Anderson as her biographer. The two became close friends. Anderson’s book, “In the Arms of Angels” (Loyola Press) covers angelic activity primarily during the past decade, including stories of hope from the 9/11 and Columbine School tragedies. Her most recent books, “Guardian Angels” (Loyola Press), and “Angels and Wonders” (Loyola Press), focus on amazing and tender stories of God’s answers to prayers.

Anderson has appeared on national television programs including “Good Morning America,” “Oprah,” “20/20,” “NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw” and “Mother Angelica Live,” and was featured in such documentaries as “Angels–Beyond the Light” (NBC), “Angel Stories” and “Stories of Miracles” (The Learning Channel), and many videos. She was a story consultant for the television series, “It’s A Miracle,” lectures in cities across the country and has been interviewed on hundreds of radio talk shows.

Anderson, who is Catholic, is a member of St. Edna’s Parish in Arlington Heights Ill., a graduate of Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, and a former adjunct professor at Harper Community College in Palatine, Ill. She and her husband live in suburban Chicago, and have five grown children and four grandchildren.

A Thanksgiving We Won’t Forget

The little car struggled up the winding mountain highway called the Winchester Grade in northern Idaho. We were on the way to spend Thanksgiving weekend with our son-in-law Nathan’s mom and family. Ginny drove Nathan’s car. The three-cylinder engine whined for relief. Ahead of us, Ginny’s daughter, her husband and children drove their van.

Ginny down shifted. The engine screamed, but we gained momentum. Our son-in-law, concerned for us, slowed down. “Why are they slowing down?” Ginny expressed her frustration. “If we slow down, we’ll never get started again!”

“They’re concerned.” I replied and stared at the valley spread out below us. They slowed until we pulled beside them. Heather’s window opened. “Did you down shift?”

“Of course I did, but now you slowed me down.” Ginny yelled to be heard over the wind blowing in her window. “Just go! We’ll catch up!”

We watched them speed up the mountain and out of sight. Ginny shifted again. The transmission groaned. The smell of burning fluids stung our eyes. “I think the transmission is about to burn out,” I said to Ginny.

“I know.” Ginny tried to shift again, but the engine screamed louder. “What are we going to do?” She tried shifting again. The car slowed to 10 miles per hour. “There’s a lookout. I’m pulling over.”

We pulled into the parking lot and got out of the car. The fumes caused our eyes to tear. The wind whipping across the valley made them cold on our cheeks. The temperature was 15 degrees colder than in the valley we drove through only a few miles back.

I opened the hood and stared at the engine. No fluids leaked out, but the burnt smell was stronger. “Gin, I’m not a mechanic, but I’m sure it’s the transmission or clutch, but what do I know?” Ginny looked with me. “What are we going to do?”

“Let’s give them a call.” We opened our cell phones. There was no signal. We were on a mountain in the middle of no where.

“I guess we need to wait until they miss us and come back.”

“What if they don’t?” Ginny asked. “They will.” I tried to sound confident. “I’m sure of it.”

Ginny turned toward the valley. “We have a great view though. Just look at that.”

“Wow!” The valley stretched out below us. A nearby sign said the area was the scene of a battle between the U.S. Army and the Nez Perce Indians in the late 1800s. Many men died in the grasses that were now brown in the cold November air. History was played out in these valleys.

“I’m cold. Let’s get back in the car and wait.” Ginny suggested. “I agree.” We closed the doors and cuddled as the winds rocked the car. “There’s one good thing.”

“What’s that?’

“We won’t starve. We have the food and wine we brought for dinner tomorrow.”

“I forgot that. You’re right.” She sighed. “I wonder how long it will take them to realize we’re not following?”

The sun dropped lower in the sky. A fog rolled across the valley. We watched the changing colors and turned the engine on for heat. A few cars passed. Once in a while a transport truck lumbered by. There was no sign of rescue.

Night came. We sat in the dark on the desolate mountainside. When we saw car lights winding down the mountain from the direction we were headed, we turned on our emergency flashers, in hopes it was family coming to rescue us. Time after time, the lights passed by and headed down the mountain.

The number of cars passing slowed to a trickle. A police car went by without slowing. We resigned ourselves to a lonely night in the mountains. “Hun?” I pulled Ginny closer.


“At least this will be a Thanksgiving we won’t forget.”

“There is that.” She forced a laugh. “We sure won’t.”

An hour later, a set of lights came down the mountain. Ginny turned on the flashers. The car slowed, pulled into the lot and stopped beside us. It was Ginny’s daughter and family. They’d realized we weren’t behind them and pulled into a gas station on the other side of the mountain to wait. When we didn’t pass, they came looking for us.

Nathan took over driving his car, while Ginny and Heather went in the van with the kids. Apparently, his transmission is finicky. Third gear didn’t work unless you shifted just right. He got the little car over the mountain and to his mom’s house without any trouble.

That night, Ginny and I cuddled under the covers. “Mikey?”

“Yes, Hun?”

“I love you.”

“I love you too, Gin.”

“More!” She giggled and snuggled closer. “I’m thankful for being in a warm bed.”

“I won’t argue with you on that, Gin.”

“You were right, Mike.”

“How’s that?”

I held her close, closed my eyes and began to drift to sleep in the comfort of her love, as I heard her sleepy voice whisper. “This is a Thanksgiving we won’t forget.”

By Michael T. Smith