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Peggy L. Ferguson, Ph.D.Licensed Marriage/Family TherapistLicensed Alcohol/Drug Counselor405-707-9600/ peggyferguson@peggyferguson.com

Poems, Sayings & Other Pieces of Collective Wisdom

Peggy L. Ferguson, Ph.D.
Licensed Marriage/Family Therapist
Licensed Alcohol/Drug Counselor

Poems, Sayings and Other Pieces of Collective Wisdoms

Table of Contents

New:  The Wind is Not Always At Our Backs
Prayer of St. Francis
Seventh Step Prayer
Autobiography in Five Short Chapters
Let Go
The Acceptance Paragraph
Peggy's Favorite Affirmation
Prayer of the Unknown Confederate Soldier
Tapestry of My Life
The Beatitudes
Comes the Dawn
Twenty Third and l/2 Psalm (Recovery)
Happiness is a Habit
On Marriage - Kahil Gibran
The Bedevilments
The Promises
The Acceptance Paragraph

The Wind is Not Always at Our Backs

By Clay Harrison

The wind's not always at our back
the sky is not always blue.
Sometimes we crave the things we lack
and don't know what to do.
Sometimes life's an uphill ride
with mountains we must climb.
At times the river's deep and wide
and crossing takes some time.
No one said that life is easy
there are no guarantees.
So trust the Lord continually
on calm or stormy seas.
The challenges we face today
prepares us for tomorrow.
For faith takes our fears away
and peace replaces sorrow.

Prayer of St. Francis

make me an instrument of Thy peace,
Where there is hatred, let me show love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy
O, Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love,
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying that we are born again
to eternal life.


Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, and without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant.  They too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons.  They are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass.

Take kindly to the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Seventh Step Prayer

 My Creator, I am willing that You should have all of me, good and bad.

I pray that You now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to You and my fellows.

Grant me strength, as I go out from here to do Your bidding.


Peggy's Note:  I use the following as a description of the learning process:

in Five Short Chapters

 by Portia Nelson


I walk down the street

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I fall in, I am lost…I am helpless.

It isn’t my fault.

It takes me forever to find my way out.

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I pretend I don’t see it, I fall in again.

I can’t believe I’m in the same place.

But it isn’t my fault.

It still takes me a long time to get out

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I see it there, I still fall in…It’s a habit.

My eyes are open.

I know where I am.

It is my fault.

I get out immediately.

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I walk around it. 

I walk down another street.

Let Go 

Author Unknown


To let go does not mean to stop caring, it means I can't do it for someone else.

To let go is not to cut myself off, it's the realization that I can't control another.

To let go is not to enable, but to allow learning from natural consequences.

To let go is to admit powerlessness, which means the outcome is not in my hands.

To let go is not to try to change or blame another, its to make the most of myself.

To let go is not to care for, but to care about.

To let go is not to fix, but to be supportive.

To let go is not to judge, but to allow another to be a human being.

To let go is not be in the middle arranging all the outcomes but to allow others to affect their destinies.

To let go is not to be protective, it's to permit another to face reality.

To let go is not to deny, but to accept.

To let go is not to nag, scold, or argue, but instead to search out my own shortcomings and correct them.

To let go is not to adjust everything to my desires but to take each day as it comes, and cherish myself in it.

To let go is not to criticize and regulate anybody but to try to become what I dream I can be.

To let go is not to regret the past, but to grow and live for the future.

To let go is to fear less, and love more. 


The Acceptance Paragraph From The AA Big Book

And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation -- some fact of my life -- unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God's world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life's terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.

Peggy's favorite affirmation:

"Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better."

by Emile Coue'

The Prayer of an Unknown Confederate Soldier

I asked God for strength that I might achieve.
I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health that I might do greater things.
I was given infirmity that I might do better things.
I asked for riches that I might be happy.
I was given poverty that I might be wise.
I asked for power that I might have the praise of men.
I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life.
I was given life that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for, but everything I hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am, among all men, most richly blessed.

by: Dale Wimbrow

When you get what you want in your struggle for self
And the world makes you king for a day,
Just go to the mirror and look at yourself,
And see what THAT man has to say.

For it isn't your father or mother or wife
Who judgment upon you must pass;
The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the one staring back from the glass.

Some people may think you a straight-shootin'
And call you a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you're only
a bum
If you can't look him straight in the eye.

He's the fellow to please, never mind all the rest,
For he's with you clear up to the end,
And you've passed your most dangerous, difficult
If the man in the glass is your friend.

You may fool the whole world down the pathway of
And get pats on the back as you pass,
But your final reward will be heartaches and
If you've cheated the man in the glass.


My life if but a weaving
Between my Lord and me
I can not choose the colors
He works so steadily.

Oft times He weaves in sorrow
And I, in foolish pride,
Forget He sees the upper
And I, the underside.

Not until the loom is slient
And the shuttles cease to fly,
Will God unroll the tapestry
And explain the reasons why.

The dark threads are as needed
In the Weaver's skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned.
Author unknown


Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is
the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

by: Kara DiGiovanna

After awhile you learn the subtle difference between holding a hand and chaining a soul,
And you learn that love doesn't mean leaning and company doesn't mean security,
And you begin to learn that kisses aren't contracts and presents aren't promises.
And you begin to accept your defeats with your head up and your eyes wide open,
with the grace of an adult, not the grief of a child,
And you learn to build all your roads on today because tomorrow's ground is uncertain for plans.
After awhile you learn that even sushine burns if you get too much.
So plant your own garden and decorate your own soul, instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure..that you really are strong.
And you really do have worth.

Author Unknown

THE Lord is my sponsor! I shall not want. He maketh me to go to many meetings. He leadeth me to sit back, relax, and listen with an open mind; He restoreth my soul, my sanity, and my health; He leadeth me in the paths of sobriety, serenity, and fellowhip for mine own sake.

HE teacheth me to think, to take it easy, to live and let live, and to do first things first.

HE maketh me honest, humble, and grateful; He teacheth me to accept the things I cannot change, to change the things that I can, and gives me the widsom to know the difference.

YEA though I walk through the valley of despair, frustration, guilt, and remorse, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy program, thy way of life, thy twelve steps...they comfort me.

THOU preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies--rationalization, fear, anxiety, self-pity, and resentment: Thou anointest my confused mind and jangled nerves with
knowledge, understanding and hope: No longer am I alone, neither am I afraid, nor sick, nor helpless, nor hopeless: My cup runeneth over.

SURELY sobriety and serenity shall follow me every day of my life, twenty-four hours at a time: As I surrender my will to thine and carry thy message to others: And I will dwell in the house of my Higher Power, as I understand him, daily.
          Forever and Ever. AMEN.

Happiness Is a Habit

1. LIVE A SIMPLE LIFE. Be temperate in your habits. Avoid self-seeking and selfishness. Make simplicity the keynote of your daily plans. Simple things are best.

2. THINK CONSTRUCTIVELY. Train yourself to think clearly and accurately. Store your mind with useful thoughts. Stand guard at the door of your mind.

3. CULTIVATE A YIELDING DISPOSITION. Resist the common tendency to always want your own way. Try to see the other's viewpoint.

4. BE GRATEFUL. Begin the day with gratitude for your opportunities. Be glad for the priviledge of life and work.

5. WORK WITH RIGHT MOTIVES. The highest purpose of your life should be to grow in spiritual grace and power.

6.BE INTERESTED IN OTHERS. Divert your mind from self-centeredness. In the degree that you give, serve and help, you will experience the by-product of happiness.

7.LIVE IN A DAYTIGHT COMPARTMENT. That is, live one day at a time. Concentrate on your immediate task. Make the most of today. Plan for tomorrow, but live for today.

8. HAVE A HOBBY. Nature study, walking, gardening, music, golfing, carpentry, stamp collection, sketching, voice culture, foreign language, chess, books, photography, social service, public speaking, travel, authorship. Cultivate an avocation to which you turn for diversion and relaxation.

Second Chance Newsletter, April 1991


Author Unknown


When I ask you to listen to me and you start giving advice, you have not done what I asked.

When I ask you to listen to me and you begin to tell me why I shouldn't feel that way, you are trampling on my feelings.

When I ask you to listne to me and you feel you have to do something to solve my problem, you have failed me, strange as that may seem.

Listen! All I asked was that you listen, not talk or do, just hear me.

Advice is cheap: Fifty cents will get you both Dear Abby and Billy Graham in the same newspaper,

And I can do for myself; I'm not helpless. Maybe discouraged and faltering, but not helpless.

When you do something for me that I can and need to do for myself, you contribute to my fear and weakness.

But, when you accept as a simple fact that I do feel what I feel, no matter how irrational then I can quit trying to convince you and can get about the business of understanding what's behind this irrational feeling. And when that's clear, the answers are obvious and I don't need advice.

Irrational feelings make sense when we understand what's behind them.

Perhaps that's why prayer works, sometimes, for some people because God is mute, and He doesn't give advice or try to fix things.

So, please listen and just hear me. And, if you want to talk, wait a minute for your turn; and I'll listen to you.

On Marriage
 By Kahlil Gibran

You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.

Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.

The Bedevilments

Source:  AA Big Book, P52)

We were having trouble with personal relationships;
We couldn't control our emotional natures
We were a prey to misery and depression
We couldn't make a living
We had a feeling of uselessness
We were full of fear
We were unhappy
We couldn't seem to be of real help to other people


The Promises

Source:  AA Big Book, P 83.

If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through.
We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.
We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.
No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.
That feeling of uselessness and self pity will disappear.
We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.
Self-seeking will slip away.
Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.
Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.
We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.
We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us—sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.


By Mary Stevenson

One night I dreamed I was walking
Along the beach with the Lord.

Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.

Sometimes there were two sets of footprints.
Other times there were one set of footprints.

This bothered me because I noticed that
During the low periods of my life when I was

Suffering from anguish, sorrow, or defeat,
I could see only one set of footprints,

So I said to the Lord, "You promised me,
Lord, that if I followed You,
You would walk with me always.

But I noticed that during the most trying periods
Of my life there have only been
One set of prints in the sand.

Why, When I have needed You most,
You have not been there for me?"

The Lord replied,
"The times when you have seen only one set of footprints
Is when I carried you."










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