The BEAGLE Theory of Life


Life’s lessons come to us in some unusual ways, but more often than not through rubbing up against those hard and unyielding sharp edges of the world.

Such is the case with the B.E.A.G.L.E. Theory of Life.

There was a pistol of a young man—Charlie Marston—who attended high school with my daughter. He had a sense of humor that just never quit, and his tremendous appetite for great food was no match for his appetite for life. However, when he was still a teen, he developed brain cancer. He fought valiantly and continued to live his life with goals and purpose, but lost his four and a half year battle a year ago when he was just twenty-two.

In that short time, however, he touched innumerable lives and provided tremendous inspiration to everyone around him. Although I was not a close friend, I write about him today out of gratitude for the example he provided of how to live a life of joy and giving in the midst of a serious illness.

His funeral service was truly a celebration of his life, as one person after another stood to tell a story of Charlie’s encouraging and thoughtful nature, his ability to find humor in most any situation, and his deep and abiding faith in a God who was constantly by his side and who was his rock.

One teacher told a story of how he had to speak to Charlie about work that was unfinished. Having had brain surgery, but ever the wit, Charlie responded that it would be pretty heartless to fail a kid with a hole in his head. This retort was delivered and accompanied by, no doubt, his million watt smile.

During the service, I learned about Charlie’s simple B.E.A.G.L.E. Theory of Life, and I am honored today to share it with you. 


B is for Believe. In yourself, in others, in all the glorious possibilities there are in this world.

E is for Eat. Life is too short not to enjoy food and fellowship. To borrow an old phrase: Eat, drink, and definitely be merry!

A is about staying Active. No matter your circumstances, do not let them hold you back or down. After all, life is not a spectator sport.

G is for trusting in God. As it says in Romans 15:13, May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

L is for Leaning on friends and family. Develop and keep those relationships strong and close, offer forgiveness, and respond with grace. To quote John Bowring, “A happy family is but an earlier heaven.”

E is for Enjoying life. Some may argue that during tough times there is nothing to enjoy, but even in the midst of cancer Charlie saw every glass as overflowing, an opportunity to slake his incredible thirst for life. Always remember to choose joy.


Charles Swindoll provided a great reminder when he wrote, “Words can never adequately convey the incredible impact of our attitudes toward life. The longer I live the more convinced I become that life is 10 percent what happens to us and 90 percent how we respond to it.”

That quote really encapsulates the heart of Charlie’s theory: that it is not so much what happens to us, but how we respond that ultimately matters.

As we head into this month of Thanksgiving, where gratitude is perhaps more on our hearts and minds than usual, I encourage you to really open your eyes to the power of thankfulness, to share, live, laugh, and love to the fullest.

Remember as well our behavior is an opportunity to impact others every day. To that end, I share the video below of the song, For Good, from the show Wicked. One of Charlie’s dear friends sang it at his service as a testament to his friendship and positive influence on her life.

Blessings to you all!


The unthankful heart… discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!  ~Henry Ward Beecher


Questions:  Do you find it difficult to be grateful when times are hard? How do you find gratitude amidst life’s storms? Please do comment-many minds make for lots of ideas and shared blessings!

Sharing at NOBH, The Better Mom, Finding Heaven, PYHO



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  1. Beautiful and so touching. As a mom of young adults around Charlie’s age – it truly touches me deeply that he went through such a difficult time and yet kept such an outstanding attitude. I love the B.E.A.G.L.E. theory of life – it’s truly perfect. I am one of those people who pretty consistently looks at whatever the situation and tries to find one good thing. Don’t get me wrong – I have my moments – but overall I believe gratitude is the only way to go – God has been so gracious to me, I have no reason for any other attitude.

  2. This is a tremendous and easy to remember, Kim. Well done! Thanks for the post (and what a great website, full of encouragement – Lord knows we all need more encouragement.

    Stay strong!
    Scott Couchenour recently posted…Attach Yourself WiselyMy Profile

    • Thank you, Scott. I agree-there is so much focus on the bad in the world we need to remember to look for the good. Thanks so much for stopping by to comment!

  3. We often think that joy is a feeling, and is conditioned by the situations that we find ourselves in. And Charlie experienced joy even in his most trying of circumstances. I believe that is because joy is not a feeling but a flow of energy that emerges from our inner Core. And even although people, situations, objects or events may evoke joy, they are not the source.

    As a great teacher, Torkom Saraydarian said,

    “Joy is a state of beingness in which your consciousness is not conditioned by the environment or by the thoughts, emotions, and activities going on in your environment.”

    “Joy brings vitality not only to your body but also to your thoughts, emotions, actions, expressions. You become full of vitality; you become a source of vitality in your environment.”

    You have a very inspirational post here, thanks for this!
    Patricia Anderson recently posted…The Power of JoyMy Profile

    • That is so true, Patricia! When we give over our joy to people or things, we lose the ability to be joyful and content in all circumstances. Thank you for your kind words, and I’m glad you found inspiration here!

  4. Beautiful and wise! Thank you my friend!
    Auntie Em recently posted…Stormy Weather?My Profile

  5. What an inspiring young man. His story really puts any trouble I may face in perspective. And yes, it is easier to be ungrateful or whiny when enduring hardship. But lately, my hard work of developing the discipline of gratitude is paying off. I remember when I am mad or sad to challenge those feelings/thoughts with what I am grateful for. I did it just today at my all-time least favorite place … the grocery store! haha! God is good. We just need to remember that! Thanks, Kim, for another great encouragement!

    • Yay, Beth! Developing the discipline of gratitude is hard work, but it really does pay off. Thanks for sharing so other moms can hear about success and change!

  6. Thank you for sharing about Charlie’s life and his BEAGLE theory of life…what a great tribute to him, and his faith in God, and his family and friends…so inspiring! Thank you so much, Kim :)
    Dolly recently posted…When you worship God at the gym…My Profile

    • You are so very welcome, Dolly, and thanks for coming by. He was an inspiring young man and I am still humbled by his attitude.

  7. I 100% agree that attitude is everything! I love the beagle acronym! How can anyone not be happy at the thought of an adorable little dog?
    ilene recently posted…About A HurricaneMy Profile

    • You certainly gave attitude a run for the money through your recent hit from Storm Sandy! It’s never much fun to have to go through these trials, but they do make us stronger, and can make us more grateful, too
      Like you said, having a BEAGLE by your side is a nice, warm, fuzzy bit of happiness, too. :-)

  8. Stories like this, that speak about young people in the face of death or trials, always warm my heart. Thank you for sharing this, as well as the meaning of the Beagle way of life.

    We have been living in hard times for a while now. I am able to remain grateful by focusing on Jesus and what He does for us every single day. Taking the time to recognize the good things and celebrate the small victories is always more comforting than trying to solve it all. I am often tempted to try and solve, but God has taught me better.

    • I’m so glad you mentioned that you are often tempted to try and solve on your own, Tereasa! I think lots of us are, but we always fall down on that count. :-( I’m so glad you have been able to be comforted by finding gratitude, and thanks for sharing. There are moms who will find great comfort in your words!

  9. awesome reminder, especially in a season (for me) of more stress than gratefulness. love the Beecher quote–and the encouragement to always be seeking out those blessings in our lives. for they are, truly, many.
    good words, kim!
    happy wednesday!
    HopeUnbroken recently posted…Days 24-31: On Giving Up. . . Period.My Profile

    • Steph, glad you liked the Beecher quote, especially in your more stressful season. And you are right: There are always so many blessings to be had. I love the image of us gently sweeping through our day and having blessings cling to us, although my picture is more like dust clinging to my socks as I walk through the house. :-)

  10. Sometimes it seems almost easier to find gratitude when things are going wrong- b/c it’s finding what is right that helps pull me through.
    Shell recently posted…Pour Your Heart Out: Four DressesMy Profile

  11. It is difficult sometimes, what I do is just burst into singing and worshipping Him, it uplifts my spirit all the time. It is not easy at the beginning but as I go on I feel His arms around me…
    Thanks for encouraging us Kim, have a super blessed day!
    Ugochi recently posted…TOO HOLY FOR THAT!My Profile

    • Ugochi, you make a great point about how singing can readjust our attitudes and lift our hearts. Thanks for sharing and welcome to my happy corner!

  12. What a wonderful, wonderful way to live.
    I need to write all this down.
    Thank you for sharing, Kim.
    RIP Charlie.
    Alison recently posted…A Tale of Two Americans. Okay, Many AmericansMy Profile

  13. wow, that is heartbreaking and inspiring all at once. Reading this just reminds me of all the things I focus on that are unimportant in every way. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story about Charlie!
    lori recently posted…Close Enough to Forget: Marie OsborneMy Profile

    • Lori, it really does put things into perspective, doesn’t it? Charlie was never one to feel sorry for himself, but was a light that shined all the time.

  14. {Melinda} How blessed you were to have known this amazing young man. My son is 12 and has cystic fibrosis. He is an inspiration to me as he battles everyday to stay healthy and positive. God has used his special needs to make all of us stronger. His fight and resilience has been an inspiration and testimony to many people.
    Mothering From Scratch recently posted…battles fuel our fireMy Profile

    • Your story touches my heart, Melinda, and I imagine there are other moms who needed to hear this, too. I never ceased to be amazed at how God uses individuals and families to inspire and strengthen. Blessings and prayers to you, and thanks so much for coming by!

  15. Kim: as my computer was loading this post, my 15 pound dog jumped on my lap so you can imagine my surprise when I read the title, B.E.A.G.L.E! Although my pup isn’t a beagle, I wondered where this was leading!
    Charlie sounds like quite a character. I want to share his theory with others but especially with myself. I struggle with my attitude, daily and have read Swindoll’s quote before and tried to keep my focus on it. Thanks for linking up with us at No Ordinary Blog Hop. Every blessing, Kelly

    • Charlie was a character and a real model for us all.
      I think we all struggle to one degree or another, Kelly. Always being sharpened…
      Thanks for coming by!


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