Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Lion dance troupe traveling in lorry.

How are you at finding the funny side of life?

I grew up in the state of New Mexico, whose slogan is: "Land of Enchantment." In New Mexico we learned to live with dusty wind. Gusting dust storms bit into the skin, irritated eyes and sometimes even chipped paint off cars. Howling wind occasionally blew for several days straight.

Each Spring my mother complained about the dust. It seemed that a fine film covered every surface in the house, no matter how often we cleaned.

I appreciate the story of a newcomer to the Land of Enchantment who learned about dusty breezes. She was visiting an antique shop and the proprietor wiped down every item before showing it. The newcomer said, "Everything gets dusty here pretty quickly, doesn't it?"

"That's not dust, honey," the shop owner replied. "That's ENCHANTMENT."

Sometimes the only sense you can make of life is a sense of humor! Here was a person who took a negative and turned it into something humorous. That made the problem more palatable - easier to swallow. Finding the funny side can be especially important if your problem is one of those that, at least for now, can't be solved.

A Hong Kong shopping center manager faced such a problem when an escalator broke. He posted a sign to warn customers. He opted not to use the traditional "Out of Order" or "Do Not Use" warnings. Instead, his sign read, "This Escalator Is Temporarily a Stairway." He turned a
minus into humor and made it a plus.

Frank A. Clark says, "I think the next best thing to solving a problem is finding some humor in it." That way, if you're stuck with the situation for a while, you always have a ready excuse to laugh.

From Lifesupport.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Prosperity wealth basket enhancers are said to bring wealth into one's life.

One woman says she bought a computer to help her figure her budget. The first thing she learned was that she couldn't afford a computer.

Most people never feel as if they have enough money, and one of the greatest problems in too many lives is financial debt. Earl Wilson says, "Nowadays people can be divided into three classes - the Haves, the Have-Nots, and the Have-Not-Paid-For-What-They-Haves."

Yet, since the beginning of time, people have been preoccupied with ways to get or keep money. In fact, in The Old Farmer's Almanac of Everyday Advice (Random House, 1995), editor Judson D. Hale, Sr. lists a number of money superstitions from various cultures. Some examples:

If you dream of oysters, then you will come into some money.

Swallowing a raw chicken heart will ensure you a financial

A girl with hairy arms and legs will marry a rich man.

To increase your money, spit on the first piece of money you
receive each day.

I suggest we file these tidbits of advice in the "Ways to get money when all else has failed" folder. And it helps to remember that "getting" money is not an end in itself. Those who try simply to become as wealthy as possible have lost sight of what money is all about. After all, one can earn successfully and still not live successfully.

Do you want to live successfully? Then look at what you do with your money. Do you use your hard-earned resources to help others? Do you gladly support organizations and causes that serve humanity? Is the world a better place because of your possessions, no matter how
limited you believe they may be?

Henry Van Dyke teaches, "There is a loftier ambition than merely to stand high in the world. It is to stoop down and lift mankind a little higher." Regardless of how much we possess, there is always someone we can raise up a bit higher. And in so doing, we find that we will stand taller, too.

From Lifesupport.

Monday, February 26, 2007


Firecrackers to usher in the new year and ward off bad luck.

In Death Valley, California, there is a place known as Dante's View. From there you can look down to the lowest spot in the United States, a depression in the earth 200 feet below sea level called Bad Water. But you can also look up to the highest peak in the contiguous United States, Mt. Whitney, which rises to a height of 14,500 feet.

Our lives also bring us to such places - where we can either journey into the depths of despair and depression or rise to incredible heights - depending on the direction we head. Yet, the mountaintop may not be where we want to reside, either. In a letter to a suicidal person, Al Hillman shared some exquisite wisdom:

"Sheila," he wrote, "I know all too well the battle you are engaged in. You see, I spent many years in the deep, dark valleys of mental illness. Most (people) want to be on the mountaintop. I don't. I have climbed mountains up to 17,000 feet. Not a pleasant place to be. Bitterly cold, roaring winds, nothing grows there. Just snow, ice and rocks. Very uncomfortable. Even the view is dismal, for all one can see is clouds.

"I have also been in the deep, dark valleys where the walls are so steep that nothing grows; there is complete darkness and one is all alone. A terrifying place to be.

"I enjoy being in the valley (with) the green pastures and (where) the streams are gentle and calm…."

Naturally, there are often valid medical reasons for mood shifts and depression. And it may require all of our resources to climb back out of our private "Bad Water": support from the medical community, friends and family, as well as our spiritual resources. We are not alone.

But I also like the counsel of Abraham Lincoln, who was similarly afflicted. In a letter to a friend, he once wrote: "You cannot now believe that you will ever feel better. But this is not true. You are sure to be happy again. Knowing this, truly believing it, will make you less miserable now."

It is true that few of us seem to stay in that peaceful valley for long. But, as someone aptly said, "The truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery while on detour." Detours, after all, are temporary.

From Lifesupport.

Sunday, February 25, 2007


Pink petals in the valley.

Can one dime make a difference? Here is a woman who turned a dime into millions of dollars.

Her name was Martha Berry. This clever woman founded the Berry School in Rome, Georgia. She scraped together funds from every source possible. One day she approached Henry Ford, of Ford automobile fame, and asked for a contribution. Patronizingly, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a dime.

Rather than be insulted or discouraged by the "gift," Miss Berry bought a package of seed peanuts with it. The seeds were planted and tended, and they eventually yielded a large crop, which she later sold.

Again she called on Mr. Ford. "Here's the dime you gave me last year," she said, handing him a coin. Then she told him of the return she had realized from his token investment.

Ford was so impressed that, in the years to come, he gave millions of dollars to the school.

Can one dime make a difference? Yes, if we invest it well.

How about one hour of your time? Can it make a difference? Or how about the life of one person? Can a life like yours or mine really make a difference? The answer to each of these questions is the same: Yes, if we invest it well. are your investments doing?

From Lifesupport.

Saturday, February 24, 2007


Get ready for round 3 of MASK picture gallery courtesy of TSAI.

Pit Stop Catapult

Friday, February 23, 2007


The age old sea.

An aging man was walking with his friend. He said, "I'm a walking economy."

"How so?" the friend replied.

He lamented, "My hair line is in recession, my stomach is a victim of inflation, and both of these together are putting me into a deep depression!"

We can't help but grow older physically, but we can stay young in other ways. Though I cannot credit the original author, I think the following piece, sent in by a reader, is worth repeating. Do
you want to stay young?

How to Stay Young

1. Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes age, weight and height. Let the doctor worry about them. That is why you pay him/her.

2. Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down.

3. Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever. Never let the brain idle. "An idle mind is the devil's workshop." The devil's name is Alzheimer's Disease.

4. Enjoy the simple things. When the children are young, that is all that you can afford. When they are in college, that is all that you can afford. When you are on retirement, that is all that
you can afford!

5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath. Laugh so much that you can be tracked in the store by your distinctive laughter.

6. The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person who is with us our entire life, is ourselves. Be alive while you are alive, don't put out a mailbox on the highway of death and just wait in residence for your mail.

7. Surround yourself with what you love, whether it is family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever. Your home is your refuge.

8. Cherish your health. If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.

9. Don't take guilt trips. Go to the mall, the next county, a foreign country, but not to guilt country.

10. At every opportunity, tell the people you love that you love them.

From Lifesupport.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


Leafy green plants aligned at the roadside, pleasing to the eye and also hinders anyone from stepping onto the grass.

A band of young car thieves thought they'd found the perfect plan. They set to work stealing cars in a mall parking lot on one of the busiest days of the year. Unfortunately, their first choice was their worst choice. They spotted a nice-looking van and began picking the locks. In no time at all the door opened, and inside they found … police officers, who were using the vehicle as an undercover surveillance van!

One might say that they ran into some bad luck. (Or maybe stealing cars was a bad decision to begin with and luck had nothing to do with it.)

Many people DO try to manage their luck, however. So they believe in rituals and talismans to aid in their success. According to Jeanne Ralston ("What's Luck Go To Do With It?" Ladies Home Journal, Jan., 1999), athletes, as a group, are often superstitious. Home-run king Hank Aaron wore the same shower shoes for twenty years because he thought they brought him luck, and basketball great Michael Jordan felt more confident with his University of North Carolina basketball shorts under his Chicago Bulls uniform.

Some of us go for four leaf clovers, a superstition from the Druids of medieval Europe who believed that the plant imparted to those who found them special powers to see invisible witches and evil spirits. Others may carry a rabbit's foot. It was because of the great
bunny-making capabilities of rabbits that ancient Celts believed they should be associated with luck and prosperity. Still other people speak of knocking on wood, a custom that seems to have grown from a belief that the noise may prevent evil spirits from hearing you mention your good luck.

I understand that basketball player George Underwood once said this about luck: "I have just two superstitions. One, don't call someone a bad name if they have a loaded pistol. Two, don't call your girl friend Tina if her name is Vivian."

Robert Collier instructs that all of us have bad luck and good luck. But the one who persists through the bad luck - who keeps right on going - is the one who is there when the good luck comes. This person, says Collier, is the one who is ready to receive that opportunity when it is presented.

In other words, luck really does favor the prepared. And those who persist and work hard. "The more I practice," said golf pro Arnold Palmer, "the luckier I seem to get."

To change your luck, change your attitude from pessimism to optimism. Something good really IS around the corner. Then work hard and be ready. When that next opportunity comes, you'll be the one to seize it a MAKE something happen. It can be your next lucky break!

From Lifesupport.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Are'nt we all works in progress?

Pablo Picasso, the great Spanish painter and sculptor, once said this about his ability: "My mother said to me, 'If you become a soldier, you'll be a general; if you become a monk, you'll end up as Pope.' Instead, I became a painter and wound up as Picasso." No lack of confidence here!

But he would have agreed with Abraham Lincoln. "Whatever you are," said Lincoln, "be a good one." He demonstrated the wisdom of that advice with his own life. And in this present age, which often seems to be contented with mediocrity, his words summon a yearning for improvement and growth.

I think it helps to remember that excellence is not a place at which we arrive so much as a way of traveling. To do and be our best is a habit among those who hear and understand Lincoln's admonition.

Viennese-born composer Frederick Loewe, whom we remember from his musical scores that include "My Fair Lady," "Gigi" and "Camelot," was not always famous. He studied piano with the great masters of Europe and achieved huge success as a musician and composer in his early
years. But when he immigrated to the United States, he failed as a piano virtuoso. For a while he tried other types of work including prospecting for gold and boxing. But he never gave up his dream and continued to play piano and write music.

During those lean years, he could not always afford to make payments on his piano. One day, bent over the keyboard, he heard nothing but the music that he played with such rare inspiration. When he finished and looked up, he was startled to find that he had an audience – three moving men who were seated on the floor.

They said nothing and made no movement toward the piano. Instead, they dug into their pockets, pooled together enough money for the payment, placed it on the piano and walked out, empty handed. Moved by the beauty of his music, these men recognized excellence and responded to it.

Whatever you are, be a good one. If what you do is worth doing, if you believe that who you are is of value, then you can't afford to be content with mediocrity. When you choose the path of excellence through this life, you will bring to it your best and receive the best it can offer in return. And you will know what it is to be satisfied.

From Lifesupport.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Coastal lifeguard watch tower.

Diane Ackerman said, "Everyone admits that love is wonderful and necessary, yet no one agrees on just what it is." Over the years, I have been learning what it is.

When I first got married, I wanted to show my love to my new wife. I was drawn to romantic stories like one from the time of Oliver Cromwell in England where a young soldier had been tried in military court and sentenced to death. He was to be shot at the "ringing of the curfew bell." His fiancée climbed up into the bell tower. Several hours before curfew time and tied herself to bell's huge clapper. At curfew time, when only muted sounds came out of the bell tower, Cromwell demanded to know why the bell was not ringing. His soldiers went to investigate and found the young woman cut and bleeding from being knocked back and forth against the great bell. They brought her down, and, the story goes, Cromwell was so impressed with her willingness to suffer in this way on behalf of someone she loved that he dismissed the soldier saying, "Curfew shall not ring tonight."

That must be love, I thought! That was the kind of commitment I needed to make! I wanted to give my all. To tie myself to the bell for her. To die, if necessary, for her. To sacrifice myself on the altar of true love! I wanted her to know that I'd give it all up for her.

But she never wanted me to die for her. Never! Clean the toilets, maybe, but never die. My commitment was to be shown in household chores! (I read that an exhaustive study showed that no woman ever shot her husband while he was doing dishes. What a relief. Washing
dishes may lack inspiration, but at least it's safe...)

I was never called upon to tie myself to the bell. But I was still called upon to show my love - in little ways, mostly.

I was needed to comfort her before we were married when the doctor told her she could never have children…to hold her hand and tell her I wanted her more than I wanted a family.

I was called upon to sit by her hospital bed after surgery and encourage her.

I was called upon to hold her after her father died and let her cry.

I was also called upon to carve out alone time with her as often as possible and to make sure my plans included her as well as me.

I was never needed to prove my undying love through a glorious act of self-sacrifice. It was something I was required to do in little ways, through one small act of kindness at a time.

And that, I've learned, is love.

From Lifesupport.

Monday, February 19, 2007


Here is round 2 of MASK toys photos courtesy of TSAI. Happy viewing!






Its wonderful how our imagination runs freely during our childhood as we had the natural drive to explore the world through all our senses. One of the pinnacle moments of my childhood was watching M.A.S.K. the cartoon. It was every boys' dream to have a cool transforming vehicle. My friend TSAI happens to be an avid toys collector. He has generously sent me the following photos, documenting some of his vast collection from the series. Enjoy viewing them!







Sunday, February 18, 2007


Gong Xi Fa Chai! The following pictures are provided by my good friend Transformer Scholar Anonymous Ideologist(TSAI) using his brand new Olympus camera.

Fireworks display on the stroke of midnight.

Spectacular twin fireworks.

Finishing fireworks flares.

Saturday, February 17, 2007


Auspicious red fish decoration to usher in the lunar new year on 18 Feb 2007.

Someone said this about happiness:

To be happy for an hour -- take a nap.
To be happy for a day -- go shopping.
To be happy for a week -- take a vacation.
To be happy for a month -- get married.
To be happy for a year -- inherit a fortune.
To be happy for a lifetime -- help others.

You and I may argue with a couple of points on that list, but the author is exactly right about how to be happy for the rest of your life. Lasting contentment can always be found in helping others. It is truly a secret that many people have never discovered!

Marion Preminger stumbled upon it and wrote about where lasting happiness is to be found in her autobiography ALL I WANT IS EVERYTHING. Born in Hungary in 1913, Marion was raised in a castle, surrounded by wealth, servants and the notoriety of an aristocratic upbringing.

At a Viennese ball, she met a handsome young man, the son of an Italian doctor. They rushed into a marriage that lasted only a year.

She returned to Vienna to embark on a career of acting. There she fell in love with the German director Otto Preminger. They married and she followed him to America where he began a
promising career as a Hollywood movie director. But her new Hollywood lifestyle could not sustain her marriage and Preminger eventually divorced her.

Marion returned to Europe to live the life of a Parisian socialite until 1948. Then everything changed when she read that Dr. Albert Schweitzer was visiting Europe from his home in
Africa. She determined to meet with the notable missionary doctor.

She first encountered Schweitzer doing one of the things he loved to do best while visiting Europe -- playing a church organ for his own enjoyment. He invited her to dine with him. After the meal, Marion knew she had finally found what she'd been looking for. She accompanied Schweitzer every day during the remainder of his European visit. He invited Marion to come back to Africa with him and work as an untrained staff member in the Lamberene hospital.

She left her life of status and ease and moved to Africa. Once there, the girl who was raised like a princess became a servant. She changed bandages, bathed bodies and fed lepers. She gave her life away to the poor and, because of it, found the happiness she'd craved for so long.

It was Albert Schweitzer who asserted, "One thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve."

However, wherever and whomever you choose to help is unimportant. There are those in need everywhere. But when you figure out how to sincerely serve other people, you'll have also learned how to be happy for a lifetime.

From Lifesupport.

Friday, February 16, 2007


Little girl and her swing.

Miguel de Cervantes, author of DON QUIXOTE, wisely said, "Love not what you are, but what you may become." The problem is ... we may not be crazy about what we are, what we do or even where we're going, but thinking of making that big change is overwhelming. Or scary!

If you are longing for something different, but you are a bit wary of the next step, then consider this:

Life is like a performer on a trapeze. She swings back and forth. And then she encounters another trapeze bar. It is swinging toward her and it is empty. Now she has a decision to make. She may continue to hang onto her present bar, or let go and grasp the new one. But she can't
do both! She can't hang onto the old and grasp the new with her other hand. She HAS to decide which she wants!

If she chooses to let go of the past and grasp the future, she finds herself suspended for a moment in mid-air. She has lost her security and has yet to safely grasp the new bar. It is a risk! But a risk worth taking, for the new bar will travel to new places and her life will move forward.

You know what I'm talking about. You have let go of an old job in order to take a new one. You may have to let go of an old relationship before fitting a new one into your life. You have to let go of other priorities on your time or money before grasping than new opportunity you may want.

As Pumba (THE LION KING) says, "Ya gotta put your behind in your past." Then you're ready for whatever comes next!

From Lifesupport.

Thursday, February 15, 2007


Roof over your head.

There are few things in this life more difficult to experience than the loss of one's child. Jim Wallis, in *Who Speaks For God?* (Delacorte Press, 1996) tells about a sad and terrifying
incident that occurred during the tragic war in Sarajevo a few years ago. A reporter who was covering the violence in the middle of the city saw a little girl fatally shot by a sniper.

The reporter threw down his pad and pencil and rushed to the aid of the man who was now holding the child. He helped them both into his car and sped off to a hospital.

"Hurry, my friend," the man urged, "my child is still alive." A moment or two later he pleaded, "Hurry, my friend, my child is still breathing." In little later he said, "Hurry, my friend, my
child is still warm."

When they got to the hospital, the little girl was gone. "This is a terrible task for me," the man said to the reporter. "I must go tell her father that his child is dead. He will be heartbroken."

The reporter was amazed. He looked at the grieving man and said, "I thought she was your child."

The man replied, "No, but aren't they all our children?"

Jim Wallis adds this: "Yes, they are all our children. They are also God's children as well, and he has entrusted us with their care in Sarajevo, in Somalia, in New York City, in Los Angeles, in my hometown of Perry, Georgia, Washington, D.C."

What a fascinating question: Aren't they all our children? Under our roof and across the street? In the next town, the next state, the next country? In Europe and North America? In Africa and
Asia? In prosperous nations and developing countries? In the jungles of South America and on sandy island coastlands?

Aren't they all our children? Ours to feed? Ours to clothe? Ours to educate? Ours to keep safe? But mostly, ours to love?

"If we have no peace," said Mother Teresa, "it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other." If we belong to each other, they are indeed our children. Ours to care for.

Is there a greater privilege?

From Lifesupport.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


The calm waves in the sea.

You might be tossing about in a sea of de­spair. You might even feel as if your life may crash about you and you will never again be healed, whole or happy.

They say Robert Louis Stevenson told the story first. It's worth retelling: It seems a storm caught a seafaring vessel off a rocky coast. The wind and waves threatened to drive the boat to its destruction.

In the midst of the terror, one daring pas­sen­ger, contrary to orders, made his way across the ship. Groping along a passageway, he found the pi­lot house. There he beheld an intriguing sight; the ship's pilot was lashed to his post. Secure against the raging elements, he held the wheel fast, turning the ship, inch by inch, once more out to sea. The pilot saw the watcher and smiled.

The daring passenger found his way below deck where other passengers huddled. Encourag­ingly, he said, "I have seen the face of the pilot, and he smiled. All is well."

There are times we need to hear that. Es­pe­cially when we feel tossed about by a raging storm, it helps to remember that the pilot smiles.

Can you imagine the pilot smiling now?

From Lifesupport.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Pushing forward a narrow pathway.

Author and speaker Tony Robbins teaches that we are each motivated both by pain and by pleasure. We can change behaviors and attitudes as we utilize the pain and pleasure principles.

Here is how it works: One of the most successful American football coaches was Vince Lombardi. But he was not an easy coach to play for. One player, Henry Jordan, chuckled about Lombardi, "He treats us all the same -- like dogs." He went on to say, "I play for the love of the game, the love of the money and the fear of Lombardi."

When he plays for the love of the game and the love of the money, he is motivated by pleasure. He thinks of the enjoyment he will get when he is on the field and his financial success as a professional player. He may even think of the personal recognition he receives as a professional player and the feelings of self-respect he experiences as he continues to succeed. The pleasure of these thoughts motivates him to play well.

When he thinks of Lombardi's ire if he does less than his best, he is motivated by pain. Fear is emotional pain -- as real as any physical pain. He may think also of the pain of losing his position to another player or even of the embarrassment of a fumbled ball. All of these "pain thoughts" help him to rise to his best level of performance. We will go to great lengths to avoid pain, in whatever form we find it.

What do you need motivation to do? Is it something related to your job or school? Or something personal, such as a physical or emotional change? Or do you need more encouragement to develop a certain personality trait or to pursue a goal you have neglected far too long?

Utilize the principles of pain and pleasure. Think of the pain you will eventually feel (or even feel now!) as you fail to follow your heart's lead. Be creative. Then think of the pleasure you will
experience as you do or become whatever it is you want for yourself. Let these thoughts serve as the impetus to move out into the exciting new directions you have plotted for yourself.

Pain and pleasure are part of our daily lives. Use these feelings and you will find the push you need to give birth to your beautiful dreams!

From Lifesupport.

Monday, February 12, 2007


Discussion at the car park.

One man who loved the color yellow had yellow carpet, yellow furniture, yellow drapes, yellow walls and even yellow appliances in his yellow kitchen. He slept in a yellow bed with yellow covers and wore yellow pajamas. He got sick. You guessed it ... yellow jaundice.

He called a doctor who came to his apartment building. The manager told him he'd have no trouble finding the right one. "You just go down the hall and come to a yellow door," he said. "That's the one."

In a few moments the doctor was back. The apartment manager asked, "Were you able to help him?"

The doctor replied, "Help him! I couldn't even FIND him!"

It's not a good idea to blend too closely with your surroundings.

I think of that story when I hear stories like this newspaper account: A Miami mother came to police and spilled out cash and coins totaling $19.53. A young boy turned in 85 cents. After two days, they were the only people to return money scooped up from an armored truck
that toppled on an overpass and rained more than half a million dollars onto the street below. Police said that witnesses reported seeing rush-hour commuters loading money into their cars and driving off while two Brinks workers lay bleeding. Police had pleaded with residents to return the money, but got nothing but laughter until a mother and a boy came in.

In a world that seemed to think alike, two people had a different idea. They were not painted with the same brush as everyone else. "I have children and I needed to set a good example," said the mother of six, who could have used a little extra cash to supplement her low retail store wage. She chose not to blend in too closely.

Most people talk about values - what we believe to be right and wrong.

But whether or not we realize it, we all LIVE our true values. It is our actions, more than our words, that will show what we truly believe.

An 11-year-old boy who turned in 85 cents because he felt "it was wrong for me to keep anything," stood out from the crowd. And a mother who wanted to teach her children to do the right thing set an example they will never forget. Like Ruth E. Renkel says, "Sometimes
the poorest man leaves his children the richest inheritances." If her children inherit her values, anything else is just money.

Paint them fortunate.

From Lifesupport.

Sunday, February 11, 2007


Learn to prioritise your life before you run out of time.

It happened on the evening of April 14, 1912. The Titanic, the largest ship afloat, struck an iceberg in the treacherous waters of the Atlan­tic. Four hours later she sank to the bottom.

A place on one lifeboat was reserved for a certain woman. She was just stepping into the boat when she asked if she could run to the ship's li­brary to get something. She was allowed three minutes.

The woman ran through the corridors of the reeling vessel. Crossing the saloon she caught sight of jewelry strewn around the floor. Passengers had hurriedly cleaned out their safes and dropped valu­ables as they ran. What an opportunity! Wealth was literally at her fingertips!

But she ignored the jewelry, made her way to the library, snatched a copy of the Bible and ran back to the waiting lifeboat.

Earlier that day it may have seemed in­credible to the woman to choose a copy of the Bible over valuable jewelry. But in the face of death, prized valuables became relatively worth­less, and what may have seemed worthless be­came suddenly valuable.

Unfortunately, it often takes a catastrophe to shuffle our priorities into a sensible or­der. But what a catastrophe when we never do dis­cover what is truly valuable.

From Lifesupport.

Saturday, February 10, 2007


Temporary gazebo stalls setup to accommodate new year sales rush.

We live in a day of unrestrained violence. Children are snatched from homes or slain at school. Bombs and missiles are exploded in public places. There is war and there are rumors of war. No community, no race, no nation is immune to nor protected from a growing culture of violence. More than ever, we need to learn a different way, for the path we're following has led us into a dark and dangerous wilderness.

I like the way of Khamisa and Felix. One deadly evening in 1995, 14-year-old Tony Hicks shot and killed a 21-year-old college student and pizza deliveryman. Tony and several other gang members ordered pizza and, when it was delivered, Tony was told by his gang to shoot the young man who delivered the food, Tariq Khamisa.

Tariq's father Azim was enraged at the senseless killing. "There's something really wrong with a society where kids kill kids," he spat. He was angry at the kids, but he was even more upset with a culture that breeds so much violence.

Shortly after his son's death, Azim heard from a gentleman named Ples Felix. Ples was Tony Hick's grandfather. Azim invited Ples to his home and the two men shared their mutual grief and heartache. They also decided to do something. "I realized that change had to start with me," Azim reasoned. Therefore, though he may have wanted revenge, Azim Khamisa chose a different way to respond to his son's death.

What happened? Azim Khamisa toured the United States with Ples Felix, the grandfather of his son's killer. The two men visited schools with a message of nonviolence. They told the story of Tariq and Tony -- one child dead and the other in prison. And in a culture of violence, these two men of peace change lives -- by changing the attitudes of young people.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said that we do not start living until we can rise above the narrow confines of our individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity. If that is true, then these two men are helping the rest of us to truly live. They're showing us a better
way. And if we listen and learn, I believe we'll all be saved.

From Lifesupport.

Friday, February 9, 2007


Flowers for sale on display.

After careful consideration and endless debate The Perfect Man has finally been named: "Mr. Potato Head." He's tan. He's cute. He knows the importance of accessorizing. And if he looks at
another girl, you can rearrange his face.

Jean Kerr quipped, "Personally, I think if a woman hasn't met the right man by the time she's 24, she may be lucky." We become cynical about love, don't we? We're tempted to believe that real love is a myth, a long-term relationship is a marathon and romance is for kids.

One person said, "Marriage changes passion...suddenly you're in bed with a relative." But does marriage have to kill romance? Is marriage really nothing but a long banquet at which the dessert is served first?

I believe in love and romance. I believe it is something that can last forever, if it is carefully cultivated. Here are some tips for keeping romance alive and for staying in love:

FIND time to date. Time to be alone and tell each other of your love. You spent time alone at first...why did you quit? My wife and I get away alone every week. Just to refocus on each other.
And to fall in love again.

UNDERSTAND what delights the other and make it happen. "The romance is over," says Marlys Huffman, "when you see a rosebush and start looking for aphids instead of picking a bouquet." Does she like to be surprised by flowers? Does he have a favorite dish or activity? Does she enjoy spontaneous affection? Know what brings pleasure to your partner -- and delight him/her!

NEVER forget why you got together in the first place. When you focus first on his faults you're not thinking about his strengths. When you're busy pointing out her imperfections, you're not enjoying those qualities that attracted you to her initially. Choose to appreciate that which first drew you together and your romance will grow.

The first letter of these three tips spells the word FUN. Have fun together. Laugh. Go on outings. Plan time to enjoy one another. Remember, "the family the PLAYS together also STAYS together"!

A woman from Charleston, South Carolina was overheard to remark that it was her 53rd wedding anniversary. When asked if she planned a special celebration, she smiled and said softly, "When you have a nice man, it really doesn't matter." I suspect they learned the secrets of staying in love.

Just in case you're not presently with Mr. or Miss Exactly Right, there ARE some things you can do to bring romance back into your life. And though your relationship may never be perfect, it CAN be perfectly wonderful.

From Lifesupport.

Thursday, February 8, 2007


Human traffic jam at the payment counter.

A young woman was filling out an application for college when she came across the question: Are you a leader? She thought she had better be brutally honest, so she answered, "No." She was convinced when she sent the application in that she'd never hear from them because of that answer.

But she received a letter back from the school that read: "We have reviewed numerous applications and, to date, there will be some 1,452 new leaders attending school next year. We have decided to accept your application because we felt it was imperative that they have at least one follower."

One man bought a sign and put it on his office door. The sign read:
"I'm the boss." The next day he came to work he noticed that someone had put a post-it on his sign that said, "Your wife called. She wants her sign back."

We can't all be the boss. And what good are leaders without followers? In actuality, we need to be both.

Sometimes we lead, sometimes we follow. We lead by example, but we still follow role models. We lead by sharing our expertise, but we remain open to the wisdom of others.

There are numerous courses and lessons on leadership. Yet the best leaders are also excellent followers. They know how to listen, they respect and follow great ideas from those around them, and they are humble enough to seek help when it's needed.

You may be the boss, but do you know how to follow? This world could use a few good followers.

From Lifesupport.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007


Life is like a rack of glasses: messy, fragile and always needs to be washed clean from all dirt.

George Washington Carver observed, "I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in." But it is sometimes hard to hear the message when it is broadcast by equipment that is dirty, corroded and abused. Carver was born 150 years ago, before we used terms like toxic waste, air pollution, global warming and deforestation. Today, we have figured out that we need to take good care of the broadcasting station if we are to hear what the Divine is saying.

This is a beautiful and fragile planet we live on. As much as we can fall in love with magnificent sunsets and pristine landscapes, few people have ever experienced its beauty as acutely as those who've seen it from afar.

Senator Jake Garn was one of those privileged people. He observed earth aboard Discovery Space Shuttle and wrote of that experience in "Parade Magazine" (11-3-85). "I know now what if feels like to be out of this world," he said. "The experience is exhilarating, breathtaking, awesome. No. Those words aren't strong enough; space flight is indescribable." Listen to these words from his space diary:

"I was overcome by the beauty of the earth below. I don't
think the words exist to convey what it's like to see the earth
from space. The curve of the earth, the swirling eddies, the
patterns of clouds marbling the surface above the brilliantly
blue color of the water and the blue-green of the land…the
sheer beauty of the earth and the excitement of being in a
position to see it made this the greatest experience of my life.
Using binoculars, I once counted 22 discernible layers of blue
in the band of sunrise color that would be seen from earth
simply as blue…"

This is indeed a beautiful and fragile planet. But it's changing. And we humans are the cause of much of it. George Burns once quipped, "I can remember when the air was clean and sex was dirty." All right, he lived to be 100, but we can bring those days of clean air back. We can
live simply and responsibly. We can walk gently upon the face of the earth.

And with our broadcasting station once again in good order, I think I know what we'll hear God saying: "Thank you."

From Lifesupport.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007


Lucky wulou hanging by the window.

A funny story circulated recently about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes. Doyle evidently told of a time when he hailed a taxi in Paris. Before he could utter a word, the driver turned to him and asked, "Where can I take you, Mr. Doyle?"

Doyle was flabbergasted. He asked the driver if he had ever seen him before.

"No, sir," the driver responded, "I have never seen you before." Then he explained: "This morning's paper had a story about you being on vacation in Marseilles. This is the taxi stand where people who return from Marseilles always arrive. Your skin color tells me you
have been on vacation. The ink spot on your right index finger suggests to me that you are a writer. Your clothing is very English, and not French. Adding up all those pieces of information, I deduced that you are Sir Arthur Conan Doyle."

"This is truly amazing!" the writer exclaimed. "You are a real-life counterpart to my fictional creation, Sherlock Holmes!"

"There is one other thing," the driver said.

"What is that?"

"Your name is on the front of your suitcase."

Perhaps the driver was no master detective, but he was observant! He paid attention, and paying attention is an important part of living fully.

"Life isn't a matter of milestones, but of moments," Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy aptly said. A life lived to the full is lived from moment to moment, rather than from milestone to milestone. It is more of a series of days in which we truly pay attention, than a few major events along the way.

Speaker Alan Loy McGinnis tells of a New York City sculptor named Louise. She lived in one of the most dilapidated neighborhoods of the city. But, by paying attention to her surroundings, she found endless beauty and inspiration. She marveled at the elegance in the varying patterns of the sun and the moon reflected on tenement windows. In an object as ordinary as a chair she could see something extraordinary. "The chair isn't so hot," she once pointed out, "but look at its shadow." By paying attention, she was able to see what others might miss.

Pay attention! To the things of life. To people. To events. To your senses. Even to the ordinary. Pay attention to the moments and your life will never lack beauty and splendor. By making the most of the moments, you make the most of the years.

From Lifesupport.

Monday, February 5, 2007


Rainy day at the crossroads.

After vaccinating a young boy with an injection in the arm, a doctor wanted to stick on a bandage. "Please put it on the other arm," the boy pleaded.

"Why do that?" the doctor asked. "This will let everyone know you have been vaccinated and they won't hit your sore arm."

"Please put it on my other arm! Please!" the boy begged. "You don't know the kids at my school."

He couldn't show his weakness. He was afraid to let others know of his vulnerability for fear of being hurt more than he was already.

Adults, too, are pretty good at hiding pain. Not usually physical pain, but the pain of loss or rejection or fear. They like to appear as if they are in control; they can handle whatever life throws them; they're on top of it. And, too often, they end up going it alone. No one understands. No one is there to help.

Susan Muto, in her book Blessings That Make Us Be (Crossroad, 1982), tells a story of a great ruler who needed a second-in-command to help manage his kingdom. When he finally selected the right person, he took him outside onto a balcony of the palace where they could gaze over
all the lands under his jurisdiction. His assistant asked the king, "Master, what must I remember most of all if I am to carry out your wishes?"

"My son," the king replied, "there is only one directive to follow - and that is to look upon the people as wounded."

The wise king knew that everyone is in pain in some way. Wounds may not show, but they are there.

Discover where people hurt and you'll finally understand them. Learn where the invisible bandages are and you'll know how to help, heal or reach them. Look upon them as wounded - and you'll know what to do.

From Lifesupport.

Sunday, February 4, 2007


Canned food anyone?

I recall reading that a man from Virginia Beach filed a law suit against his hospital. He opted to have surgery in order to lose weight. So he had his stomach stapled -- a procedure that reduced
the size of his stomach so he couldn't eat as much.

A couple of days after surgery he sneaked down the hospital corridors to the kitchen. There he raided the refrigerator and ate so much that his staples burst.

The law suit? He claimed it was all the hospital's fault. They should have locked the refrigerator. No, I don't know how the suit came out...just the staples.

If the first sin was eating the forbidden fruit, then the second was trying to excuse it. "It's not my fault! SHE made me do it!"

Wonderful things can happen when we decide to be responsible for everything we put into mouths, everything we put into our minds and everything we put into our hearts.

Fill your body with the right foods and it will perform well.

Fill your mind with learning and it will not stagnate.

Fill your mind with optimistic attitudes and you will always have hope.

Fill your heart with courage and you will be able to face life with confidence.

Fill your heart with love and you'll never be alone.

Fill every day will plenty of gratitude and you will always be happy.

Only you can decide how to fill up your life.

Albert Ellis has said, "The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize
that you control your own destiny."

Only you can choose what goes into your life. Fill up your mind, your body and your heart with the very best, and the result can be no less than magnificent.

From Lifesupport.

Saturday, February 3, 2007


This is a sight most of us see daily: stopping at the traffic lights. Whether we like it or not, we have to endure it. But whether the experience is a form of endurement, that is all within our grasps. For you we, the precious moments spent waiting at the traffic lights can be used to recollect our thoughts, to recenter ourselves and not let our emotions boil over and take control.

Friday, February 2, 2007


The long empty road ahead.

Edwin Hubbel Chapin once said, "Every action of our lives touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity." That is the definition of a legacy. Wouldn't you love to do something that might strike a beautiful chord that will "vibrate in eternity"?

I've discovered something about legacies…generous people leave great legacies. I read about a couple in Canada who stopped to help a motorist who had run out of gasoline. It was a regular occurrence in their part of rural Canada. After they got him on his way, they bought a new fuel can, scratched their initials on it, filled it with petrol and stored it in the trunk of their car.

A few months later they again stopped to assist a stranded motorist. But this time they GAVE him their gas can and told him to fill it up, keep it with him and pass it along to the next motorist he sees who has run out of fuel.

Though they never expected to see their can again, in a couple of years they spotted it being passed along to a grateful motorist on the road. They recognized it several more times over the years, and each time they asked its owner where it had come from. They ascertained
that the can had traveled across the continent at least two times!

They never intended to leave a legacy. When they bought the fuel can they never dreamed that their action might strike chords that could vibrate in eternity. But that container may still be traveling around the country!

And it might not seem like a big thing, but many motorists have been saved by the generosity of complete strangers who stop to help. Then each in turn has taken the container, re-filled it, and diligently looked, perhaps for days or weeks, for an opportunity to pass it
along. Good will generated by a humble can of fuel has no doubt been multiplied many times in countless ways, striking beautiful chords that vibrate forever.

It's true - generous people leave great legacies. Even that small piece of yourself you generously give away may thrive in surprising ways throughout eternity.

From Lifesupport.

Thursday, February 1, 2007


Are you ready to brace the weather?

One summer, a drought threatened the crop in a small town. On a hot and dry Sunday, the village parson told his congregation, "There isn't anything that will save us except to pray for rain. Go home, pray, believe, and come back next Sunday ready to thank God for sending rain."

The people did as they were told and returned to church the following Sunday. But as soon as the parson saw them, he was furious.

"We can't worship today. You do not yet believe," he said.

"But," they protested, "we prayed, and we do believe."

"Believe?" he responded. "Then where are your umbrellas?"

The story applies to all of us. There are those people who leave their umbrellas at home. Throughout their lives, they are merely hoping their wishes and prayers will bear fruit, but they expect little.

Others expect their dreams and desires to come to pass. It is as if they journey through life always prepared for something to happen.

Today, how will you approach that which you are yearning for? Will you expect your prayers and work to bring about hoped-for results? Will you bring your umbrella?

From Lifesupport.


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