Jul 16, 2010

Friendly Friday - Michele Ashman Bell

Michele Ashman Bell grew up in St. George, Utah.  In fourth grade her teacher wrote on her report card that she had a tendency to daydream and would probably do well with creative writing.  Her love for books and learning about people and places has helped her make her teacher's prediction come true.  Michele is the author of many books and Christmas stories.  She is married and is the mother of four children, and a grandma of one.  Aside from supporting her children in all of their many activities, she loves to travel, do research for her books and eat chocolate.
Embracing the Unexpected 

Recently I heard a story from my brother-in-law about a woman who took her children to Southern California for a vacation.  They went to Seaworld and while they were there the woman became quite concerned when one of her sons got separated from her.  He is in his late teens, but is autistic, so she was extra worried about him, especially being in an unfamiliar environment.

She began searching for him frantically and after what seemed like a long time, to her relief, she finally found him.  He was upset and was hugging himself and rocking back and forth.  “Let’s just go, Mom,” he said over and over.  His mother noticed that he was drenched with water and smelled like fish but when she asked him what happened all he said was, “Let’s just go, Mom.”

The mother quickly took her son back to their hotel where she told him to take a shower and change into some clean, dry clothes.  After a while she noticed her son had been in the bathroom for quite a long time and she began to be concerned. 

She knocked on the door to ask him what he was doing.  She could hear him inside, but he wouldn’t answer.  Finally, she cracked the door open to check on him, and there, in the bathtub, was . . . a penguin!  He’d managed to smuggle one out of Seaworld!

Apparently, the boy had shoved the penguin under his shirt and being a larger-sized young man, he managed to hide the squirming animal without his own mother even suspecting anything.

Going to the phone the mother called Seaworld and told them what her son had done. 

“Lady, there’s no way your son  could steal a penguin from here, we have the best security system there is.”
“Look at your security tapes and call me back at this number,” she told them.

A few minutes later the phone rang. 

Every time I think about this boy hiding a penguin under his shirt and getting it all the way back to the hotel, I have to smile.  Life is full of fun little surprises, some good and some bad.  Learning to find the humor and make the most of a situation is a wonderful way to go through life.  Around every bend in the road we find unexpected challenges and surprises, things we can’t anticipate, things we can’t control.  What we can control though, is our reaction. 

            Martin Luther King said, “The true measure of a man is not how he behaves in moments of comfort and convenience but how he stands at times of controversy and challenges.” 

Frank A. Clark said, “I think the next best thing to solving a problem is finding some humor in it.”

With all the crazy things going on in the world, I think it’s more important now than ever to find humor around us and share it with others.  Helping another person smile, giving the gift of laughter, can lighten someone else’s burden and help lighten their load. 

Next time you hit one of life’s potholes, pause, take a deep breath, then instead of exploding, or crying, or getting upset, try laughing; find the humor, embrace the unexpected.  Who knows, maybe someday you’ll find a penguin in your bathtub!

*** Thanks for being my guest today, Michele. I love this story. My son has autism and I can totally see him doing something like this. It made me laugh.

My guest next week will be RaShelle Workman.


  1. Michele - That is so absolutely true! We need humor in our lives to keep things balanced. It takes so much stress off my shoulders when I can find something to laugh about. Even when my mom passed away, it helped to share funny stories of things we all did together with my siblings. Humor - used in the right way - can bring us peace and comfort.

  2. He smuggled out a penguin??? What a story. Thanks, Michele for a great and inspirational post. Love the new look, Christine.

  3. Great story--and message. Thanks for sharing that.

  4. Great story--and message to go along with it! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Hilarious! Great post--wonderful guest.

  6. What a great story! I laughed out loud.

    Humor is so important. Life would be unbearable without it. I love to laugh.

  7. Sent via email:

    I couldn't get my computer to let me post a comment, but just wanted to say loved the post for Friendly Friday this week. I went to Michelle's class at the conference and she was delightful. Loved the story about the penguin :)
    ~Robbin Peterson