Saturday, March 31, 2007


Bougainvillea paper flower - “Each flower is a soul blossoming out to nature”

The date is June 24, 1859. Suddenly, there he is, atop a hill overlooking the plain of Solferino. Napoleon's troops prepare for battle with the Austrians below, and Henri Dunant has a box-seat view from his place on the hill.

Trumpets blare, muskets crack and cannons boom. The two armies crash into each other, as Henri looks on, transfixed. He sees the dust rising. He hears the screams of the injured. He watches bleeding, maimed men take their last breaths as he stares in horror at the scene below.

Henri doesn't mean to be there. He is only on a business trip - to speak to Napoleon III about a financial transaction between the Swiss and the French. But he arrived late and now finds himself in a position to witness first-hand the atrocities of war.

What Henri sees from his hill, however, pales in comparison with what he is soon to witness. Entering a small town shortly after the fierce encounter, Henri now observes the battle's refugees. Every building is filled with the mangled, the injured, the dead. Henri, aching with pity, decides to stay in the village three more days to comfort the young soldiers.

He realizes that his life will never be the same again. Driven by a powerful passion to abolish war, Henri Dunant will eventually lose his successful banking career and all his worldly possessions only to die as a virtual unknown in an obscure poorhouse.

But we remember Henri today because he was the first recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (in 1901). We also remember him because of the movement he founded - the Red Cross.

Act One of Henri Dunant's life closed June 24, 1859. Act Two opened immediately and played the remainder of his 81 years.

Many people's lives can be divided into Act One and Act Two. The first performance ends when one decides to ultimately follow a new direction or passion. Henri Dunant's old life, driven by financial success, prestige and power, no longer satisfied. A new Henri Dunant emerged in Act Two; one who was motivated by love, compassion and an overriding commitment to abolish the horrors of war.

For some, Act Two may begin with a conversion, or a turning point. Others speak of a defining moment. However it is understood, the "old self" is laid to rest and a new self is born - one governed by principle, spirit and passion.

You may be ready for Act Two. It may be the next scene of a life that counts.

From Lifesupport.

Friday, March 30, 2007


Traditional headhunter Iban costume - “Imagination continually frustrates tradition; that is its function”

An expert on whales was telling friends about some of the unusual findings he had made. "For instance," he said, "some whales can communicate at a distance of 300 miles."

"What on earth would one whale say to another 300 miles away?" asked a sarcastic member of the group.

"I'm not absolutely sure," answered the expert, "but it sounds something like this: 'Heeeeeeey! Can you hear me nowwww!?!' "

Hearing well is only part of effective communication. But another, and often more important part, is frequently overlooked. It does not concern the ears, however, but the eyes.

According to Leil Lowndes (TALKING THE WINNER'S WAY, Contemporary Books) Boston researchers asked opposite-sex individuals to have a two-minute casual conversation. They tricked half their subjects into maintaining intense eye contact by directing them to count the number of times their partner blinked. They gave the other half of the subjects no special eye-contact directions for the chat.

When questioned afterward, the unsuspecting blinkers reported significantly higher feelings of respect and fondness for their colleagues who, unbeknownst to them, had simply been counting their blinks. One might conclude that, for respect and fondness, count blinks! But the larger message is: good eye contact will dramatically improve your relationships.

Ears are not the only organs essential for great listening. Whether you're talking to a spouse, a colleague, a neighbor, a child or a stranger, eye contact is essential. When eyes are focused away
from distractions and onto the speaker, the message you communicate most clearly is, "I value you."

Today, listen with your eyes -- and "see" what you've been missing!

From Lifesupport.

Thursday, March 29, 2007


Green forestry - “The richest genius, like the most fertile soil, when uncultivated, shoots up into the rankest weeds”

In his autobiography Days of Grace (Random House Audio, 1993), tennis great Arthur Ashe relates a defining incident that occurred when he was 17 years old. He was playing in a tournament in West Virginia. As was often the case, he was the only contestant of color in the

One night, some of the kids trashed a cabin. They absolutely destroyed it and then decided to say that Arthur was responsible. The incident was reported in the newspapers; Arthur denied his involvement, but the boys would not change their story. The worst part for Arthur was worrying about what his father would say and do. He eventually made the dreaded phone call.

As he surmised, his father had already learned of the vandalism. His father's tone was grim. He asked Arthur only one question. "Arthur Junior," he asked, "all I want to know is...were you mixed up in that mess?"

Arthur answered, "No, Daddy, I wasn't." His father never asked about it again. Arthur learned that day why he had always been encouraged to tell the truth. There would come a time when he must be believed, and this was such a time. Because he had already earned his trust and respect, he knew his father believed him. From that day on he was determined, above all else, to live a life of integrity.

Unfortunately, we find notable examples of modern leaders in every field who give low priority to personal integrity. But we do not need saints - we need people like you. People who will be known for their integrity. People who will determine to be their best selves. People who daily earn the trust and respect of others, regardless of their age or station in life. People who insist on the importance of character.

Our world does not need another saint. But it needs you.

From Lifesupport.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Broadcasting tower - “In an age in which the media broadcast countless pieces of foolishness, the educated man is defined not by what he knows, but by what he doesn't know.”

It's said that we begin to cut our wisdom teeth the moment we bite off more than we can chew. But do we ever feel as if we have enough wisdom? That we have arrived; that we are wise?

Jeff Hull writes about his great aunt, called Momma J. At 96, she was the last of her generation. As the family was gathered at her sister's funeral, a cousin remarked to Jeff that they were soon to be moving into the family's oldest generation. Jeff looked at his cousin and said plaintively, "But Mary, I don't feel like I know the answers yet."

After everyone had a good laugh, Mary turned to Momma J. and said, "When does that change, Momma?"

Momma J., from her wheelchair, smiled and said, "I don't know yet, dear."

Upon reflection, Jeff Hull asks this penetrating question: "How often do we let our own story about our limitations stop us from doing what we want to, what we are committed to, in life?" He is asking, "How often do we feel as if we have to know the answers before we can proceed, before we can follow our hearts, or before we can attempt something big?"

I like the wisdom of Sydney Harris. "Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time," he says, "It is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable."

You and I do not have all the answers yet. Truth is, we never will. But if we wait for all the answers, we will never move forward.

For no regrets, the only answer that matters is...take that next step. With courage, follow your heart's desire. The path ahead may be dark and hazy, for we can never see far into the future. But it is always clear enough to take one more step. And it's the way to a full and happy life.

From Lifesupport.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Old coconut - “If you had teeth of steel, you could eat iron coconuts”

CELEBRATE YOU! It is no exaggeration to say you are a GIFT to the world.

US Congressman Tribble told a story about teaching his daughter that she was her own person. Wherever she went, the little girl was constantly associated with her father. "Oh, you must be Congressman Tribble's daughter," well-intentioned adults would coo.

She explained to her parents that she wanted to be herself, not simply known as Congressman Tribble's little girl. Her father told her not to worry about it. Her mother, who perhaps understood the problem better, suggested, "The next time that happens, just stand right up and say,'I am Constance Tribble!'"

The opportunity arose just a few days later. A group of people met her and when they heard her name, they said, "Why, Congressman Tribble must be your father!" Constance looked right back at them and said, "Oh, no! That's not what my mother says!"

We can be assured than Congressman Tribble was her father, but that fact was only a part of who Constance Tribble is. She rightly believed herself to be unique, and she wanted to be known as her own person.

You are unique. Do you value that which makes you different? For nobody in the world has quite the mix of your perspective, your sense of humor, your skills and abilities and your potential. No one can be YOU as well as you can be you. You are an original, the likes of which
the world has never before seen.

Writer Robert Zend quips, "People have one thing in common -- they are all different." And it's the difference that makes a difference!

From Lifesupport.

Monday, March 26, 2007


Pork ribs - “Worthless people live only to eat and drink; people of worth eat and drink only to live.”

In the 1960s, a National Aeronautics and Space Administration team working on the Apollo moon mission took some astronauts to Arizona, where the terrain of the Navajo Reservation looks very much like the lunar surface. With all the trucks and large vehicles were two figures
that were dressed in full lunar spacesuits.

NASA official Charles Phillip Whitedog tells that a Navajo sheep rancher and his son were watching the strange creatures walking about. The father did not speak English and his son asked for him what the strange creatures were. It was explained to that they were astronauts
training to go to the moon. The man became excited and asked if he could send a message to the moon with the crew.

NASA personnel grabbed a tape recorder and the old Navajo spoke into it. When asked to translate, his son refused. The NASA people played the recording for other natives on the reservation, each of whom smiled or chuckled and likewise refused to translate. Finally, they
paid someone to translate the rancher's message:

"Watch out for these guys, they come to take your land."

World history is replete with examples of people "watching out" for one another. But I believe today's world is learning the higher value of keeping faith. One writer accurately says, "On the day when we can fully trust each other, there will be peace on earth."

Keeping faith is essential between nations and within nations. It keeps the peace. Keeping faith is essential between companies and their customers. It creates good will. And keeping faith is
essential between friends and within families. It builds bonds of love that no amount of adversity can break. Invincible bonds are forged upon the anvil of trust.

If people like you, they'll give you a hand. But if they trust you, they'll give you their heart. And heart to heart, we can face anything together.

From Lifesupport.

Sunday, March 25, 2007


Billboard advert - “Living in an age of advertisement, we are perpetually disillusioned. The perfect life is spread before us every day, but it changes and withers at a touch.”

Salt Lake City, Utah, is a worldwide center for genealogical research. Even the big department stores sell genealogy supplies.

One newcomer to Salt Lake City, and a non-researcher, got a job as a clerk at one of those big department stores. She received her introduction to genealogy one day when a customer came into the store and asked, "Where do I find the family group sheets?"

The new clerk, with a shocked look on her face, answered, "Family group sheets? All we carry are the king, queen, double and twin-size sheets."

Maybe family sized bedding is taking closeness a bit far! But having family or close friends is one of the essential needs of all people. We long for emotional support and intimacy.

Most of us are familiar with studies that have shown that people suffering from cancer or vascular problems have a higher survival rate when they enjoy a strong support system of family and friends. People need people.

Moreover, a supportive wider community can also be important. Not long ago, scores of people gathered on a California beach, lighting candles and lifting voices in song. Mostly strangers to one another, they came there to grieve the loss of 88 persons who died when a jetliner crashed into the ocean off their coast. They were not even family and friends of the victims - simply concerned residents who cared.

"Your joy, your pain, your loss, your gain - are ours...for you are one of us." That is the powerful message of family. At its best, even an Internet family can help fill our need for closeness. Your joy, your pain, your loss, your gain - can be shared. You belong. And together, we'll celebrate it! Or, we will get through it.

From Lifesupport.

Saturday, March 24, 2007


Ice red bean mix - “Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.”

Abraham Lincoln once said, "I will prepare, and some day my chance will come." When his chance came, he was ready.

During his seminary years, one priest-in-training sported a T-shirt that never failed to bring chuckles. Across the front was emblazoned: "Expectant Father." His chance came and he, too, was ready!

When your chance comes, will you be ready?

Hockey superstar Wayne Gretzky was always ready. He broke almost every record imaginable and is known as the greatest hockey player of all time.

Gretzky is not particularly big for his sport -- he stands at 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighs in at 170 pounds. He never skated particularly fast, his shot was not high-powered and he often
placed dead last on regular strength tests administered to his team. So what made "The Great One" so great? He was ready.

Gretzky attributes his stardom to practice and preparation. He practiced stick handling in the off-season with a tennis ball, as the ball was harder to control than a puck. In practice he innovated. He practiced bouncing the puck off the sideboards to his teammates until that technique became a regular part of his play. Then he worked on bouncing the puck off the net! He became so accomplished at these maneuvers that he sometimes said, "People say there's only six men on the ice, but really, if you use the angle of deflection of the board, there's seven. If you count the net, that's eight. From the opening face-off, I always figure we have 'em eight-on-six."

What made "The Great One" so great? Gretzky was always the best prepared member of his team. He was ready.

It's been said, "If you want your ship to come in, you must build a dock." When your chance comes, will you be ready?

From Lifesupport.

Friday, March 23, 2007


Tiny birds' eggs - “Remember, people will judge you by your actions, not your intentions. You may have a heart of gold -- but so does a hard-boiled egg.”

They call it a "trouble box." It is a brightly colored, egg-sized box found among natives of Guatemala. Inside are placed six tiny dolls. Families often keep one inside their homes. When trou­ble be­falls a family member, the disturbed person takes out one of the tiny dolls and talks the problem over with it. Then the doll is set aside and the prob­lem forgot­ten.

If another difficulty comes up that same day, another doll is selected to "listen." Each doll is then set aside to mull over the situation. Finally, at the end of every day, the dolls are gathered and re­placed in the box, ready for tomorrow.

The idea sounds intriguing! One doll for one problem. And it makes psychological sense. Many of our troubles cannot be acted upon immediately and just become a source of destructive worry. But if we can sufficiently talk through a problem and then, if no action is required, set it aside, we can go about the business of living unencumbered.

The formula is simple: a) talk through the problem, either with a caring friend or by yourself; b) if it requires action, do what must be done; and c) if no action is called for, then set it aside and
fo­cus your energies in more productive areas. Talk. Act. Move on.

Remember, worry is not the same as healthy concern. Worry is like a rocking chair -- it gives you something to do, but gets you nowhere. Decide to worry less, and you may find yourself living more!

From Lifesupport.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


“On life's journey faith is nourishment, virtuous deeds are a shelter, wisdom is the light by day and right mindfulness is the protection by night. If a man lives a pure life, nothing can destroy him.”


A humorous story tells about a speeding motorist who was caught by radar from a police helicopter in the sky. An officer pulled him over and began to issue a traffic ticket. "How did you know I was speeding?" the frustrated driver asked.

The police officer pointed somberly toward the sky. "You mean," asked the motorist, "that even He is against me?"

It's like the man who said, "It feels like the whole world is against me...but I know that's not true. Some of the smaller countries are neutral."

When we have a problem, it can often feel as if everything in our life is going wrong. We may tend to think that everybody is upset, that nobody cares or that everything is falling apart.

To think more clearly and to solve your problems more effectively, try letting go of these destructive beliefs:

  • Let go of the idea that your problem is perma­nent. Few troubles last forever. And those that can­not be solved can usually be managed.
  • Let go of the idea that your problem is pervasive. Few problems affect every area of your life.
  • Let go of the idea that your problem is personal. There is nothing wrong with you because you have a problem. All capable, lovable and suc­cessful people have plenty of problems.

Remember, worms cannot fall down. But human beings can -- and will. Let go of these de­structive beliefs and you may be amazed at how much better you feel already!

From Lifesupport.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Independence Monument Park - “True independence and freedom can only exist in doing what's right.”

We've all been lonely. You may understand how one weary traveler felt as he sat alone on the edge of the bed in his motel room. He reached for the Gideon Bible in the drawer and opened it. Inside was a page that said, "If you are lonely and restless, read Psalm 23 and Psalm 27, Old Testament." Just below this reference, somebody wrote by hand: "If you are still lonesome, call Mandy at 235-2827."

Not all aloneness is lonely, however. Theologian Paul Tillich put it this way: "Language... has created the word 'loneliness' to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word 'solitude' to express the glory of being alone."

Can you be alone without being lonely? Can you spend time by yourself without craving noise and stimulation? There is glory in solitude. And it brings with it gifts that come from nowhere else.

Ardath Rodale has said, "We can find quiet places of solitude among the trees. In a grove of pine trees where the ground is covered by soft needles, I sometimes lie down and look up through the branches to see the blue sky. The tips of new pine growth shine in the sunlight. The smell of pine needles fills the air. As a soft wind blows, I realize that the whole branch sways in the breeze, but the needles shiver independently like one of Bertoia's musical chimes. I listen, but all is quiet. Trees say to each of us, 'Give yourself time to listen to who you are.'"

Have you noticed that, in English, the word "listen" contains the same letters as the word "silent"? In order to truly listen to who we are, we must be silent. And in solitude, we will hear what can be heard no other way.

Have you discovered the glory of solitude?

From Lifesupport.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


“Love is the master key which opens the gates of happiness.”

One woman complained to a friend that she couldn't remember anything from one day to the next.

"Let me get this straight," he said. "You can't remember anything from one day to the next. How long has this been going on?"

She said, "How long has what been going on?"

If your memory is not what you would like it to be, it may help to focus on the few things you really need to remember. This list, compiled from several sources, may just be suitable for framing.

  • Remember that your presence is a present to the world.
  • Remember that you are a unique and unrepeatable creation.
  • Remember that your life can be what you want it to be.
  • Remember to count your blessings, not your troubles.
  • Remember that you'll make it through whatever comes along.
  • Remember that most of the answers you need are within you.
  • Remember those dreams waiting to be realized.
  • Remember that decisions are too important to leave to chance.
  • Remember to always reach for the best that is within you.
  • Remember that nothing wastes more energy than worry.
  • Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
  • Remember that the longer you carry a grudge, the heavier it gets.
  • Remember not to take things too seriously.
  • Remember to laugh.
  • Remember that a little love goes a long way.
  • Remember that a lot goes forever.
  • Remember that happiness is more often found in giving than getting.
  • Remember that life's treasures are people, not things.
  • Remember that miracles still happen.
From Lifesupport.

Monday, March 19, 2007


“A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend. A successful woman is one who can find such a man.”

Lana Turner (American film Actress known for her glamorous looks and sexual allure. 1920-1995)

John Chow of John Chow dot Com is one of those successful men. This Internet Guru has helped numerous others in their quest to make money online. And when he offers to link to any blogs that review his blog, its just too tempting to pass on this golden opportunity.

“Money is not the most important thing in the world. Love is. Fortunately, I love money.” For those who share the same sentiments, John Chow is the man to look up to. John Chow dot Com is a great wealth of information for bloggers to monetize their blogs and prosper from it! By setting the stage and earning a total of $7011.05 in February 2007 from his blog alone, he has redefined the term Dot Com Mogul.

“When its a question of money, everybody is of the same religion.”

Voltaire (French Philosopher and Writer. One of the greatest of all French authors, 1694-1778)


Spices display rack - “Compromise, if not the spice of life, is its solidity. It is what makes nations great and marriages happy.”

The man looked a little worried when the doctor came in to administer his annual physical, so the first thing the doctor did was to ask whether anything was troubling him.

"Well, to tell the truth, Doc, yes," answered the patient. "You see, I seem to be getting forgetful. No, it's actually worse than that. I can never remember where I park my car, where I'm going,
or what it is I'm going to do once I get there -- if I get there. So, I really need your help. What can I do?"

The doctor mused for a moment, then answered kindly, "Pay me in advance."

Actually, forgetfulness isn't all bad...especially when we decide to forget all that pain from the past that threatens to ruin the present. Like one song says, "There ain't no future in the past."

The past is to be remembered -- how else will we learn from it and keep from repeating it? But why would I want to remember every time I felt hurt because of my spouse, my children, my
friends, my boss or anybody else? Why would I want to fill my mind with a detailed catalogue of past pain? Better to remember the times they brought me joy or love or feelings of warmth. Unfortunately, even those wonderful and magical moments too easily fade away.

A friend of Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, asked her about a particular traumatic event in her life. Miss Barton seemed perplexed.

"Can't you remember?" the friend prodded.

Clara Barton replied, "I distinctly remember forgetting it."

Dwell on the past -- but not the negative past, not the pain of the past nor the sadness. Dwell on the good. Be consumed by past joys and obsessed with gratitude. Dwell upon the moments that
uplifted you, the times you laughed and the memories of love shown to you by friends and family.

Not everything should be remembered, and those who live well know what to forget and what to cherish. Like the song says, "There ain't no future in the past." But there IS joy there. And love.
And kindness...if we choose to remember.

From Lifesupport.

Sunday, March 18, 2007


“Time is a sort of river of passing events, and strong is its current; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place, and this too will be swept away.”

Photo by TSAI

Do you know how to have a life of joy?

A businessman on his deathbed called his friend and said, "Bill, I want you to promise me that when I die you will have my remains cremated." "And what," his friend asked, "do you want me to do with your ashes?" The businessman said, "Just put them in an envelope and mail them to the Internal Revenue Service and write on the envelope, `NOW YOU HAVE EVERYTHING!'"

Paying taxes is not usually a joy. But GIVING can be joyful. We pay the taxes because we have to. But when we CHOOSE to give time or money, then giving can add to our overall happiness.

Mother Teresa teaches us an important lesson about happiness. She was one of those people who emanated joy. Born in 1910 in Eastern Europe, she felt called as a teenager to move to Calcutta, India. Some months later she saw a sight that completely revolutionized her life.

Shortly after moving to Calcutta she spotted a homeless, dying woman lying in the gutter, being eaten by rats. After seeing that, compassion compelled her to beg an abandoned Hindu temple from the government and convert it into a crude, make-shift hospital for the dying. "Nobody should die alone" she would later say. Mother Teresa went on to establish homes for the destitute dying in numerous cities. But in spite of devoting her life to people in such dire straits, she radiated joy and happiness.

This incredible woman was once interviewed by Malcolm Muggeridge from the BBC News. He asked her an unusual question: "Mother Teresa, the thing I noticed about you and the hundreds of sisters who now form your team is that you all look so happy. Is that a put-on?"

Here was a woman who had none of the things we like to think of as bringing happiness: a home, a family, prosperity… Rather, she lived in near-poverty and spent her time wiping dirt and various body fluids from half-dead cancer and leprosy victims…and appeared to be blissfully happy. "Is that a put-on" she was asked?

She replied, "Oh no, not at all. Nothing makes you happier than when you really reach out in mercy to someone who is badly hurt."

She would agree that happiness does not come from acquiring, but is a by-product of giving: time, money, love. Do you want a life of joy? Start with a lifestyle of giving!

From Lifesupport.

Saturday, March 17, 2007


“I think every big town should contain artificial waterfalls that people can descend in very fragile canoes, and they should contain bathing pools full of mechanical sharks. Any person found advocating a preventive war should be condemned to two hours”

Demographic experts are tell us that there is a general spiritual awakening among people of various faiths. Some are returning to "organized" religions. Others are seeking spiritual answers along other paths. However it is done, people are realizing the importance of a healthy spiritual dimension to their lives.

One man tells about a time when his wife suffered from a headache. She took medication and lay down, but nothing seemed to help.

Her six-year-old daughter was concerned about her Mommy's health, so the ailing woman asked her if she would like to pray for her. Little Leia said that she would. Leia put her hand on
her mother's head and prayed the only prayer she knew: "Lord, thank you for this food..."

I imagine that the words she uses are not important. In fact, I don't know if any words are really adequate to express our deepest spiritual desires. Moreover, what seems most crucial is not so much how "good" we are at praying, but that we simply pause regularly to nurture the soul. Prayer is a dose of spiritual medication that, taken daily, enhances all of life.

Leonardo da Vinci spent countless hours ruminating upon things of the spirit as he worked on his famous canvas of the Last Supper. He spent so much time meditating in the cloister that some of the monks in that little church became concerned. They remonstrated with the artist about his wasting precious time and money. "Why do you spend so much time with us in prayer when you have come here to work?" they wondered.

Leonardo answered, "When I pause the longest, I make the most telling strokes with my brush."

You may not feel that you are much good at prayer, but how good are you without it?

From Lifesupport.

Friday, March 16, 2007


“The architecture of our future is not only unfinished; the scaffolding has hardly gone up”

It's said, "If at first you don't succeed, give up; failure may be your thing."

I love the humor, but I don't believe the sen­timent for a moment! Everyone fails. And some­times in a big way! But it's also true that courage, persistence, faith, and self-confidence can build a mansion on the rubble left by our greatest failures.

You don't have to follow American foot­ball to appreciate that, in 1955, Johnny Unitas failed his first qualifying test to play football with the Pitts­burgh Steelers. Once on the team, he fumbled three times during his first regular-season game as quar­terback. Each of those fumbles, as well as an inter­ception he threw that game, re­sulted in a touchdown for the other team. But just fifteen years later, in the 1970 commemora­tion of the fif­tieth anniversary of the National Football League, Johnny Unitas was selected as the greatest quar­terback of all time, and the same year the As­soci­ated Press named him the outstanding profes­sional football player of the

What happened? He didn't give in to fail­ure. He made a decision to move on after each defeat. After all, every disappointment presents us with two options: to move on or to quit. And how you decide, in the long run, means everything.

From Lifesupport.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


“Remember there's no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.”

Jean Kerr said, "Hope is the feeling you have, that the feeling you have, isn't permanent." It is what we have when we know that we WILL eventually survive the night and bask in sunshine once again. It does not deny the present darkness, but it reminds us that dawn is coming.

Brigadier General Robinson Risner ("Robbie") spent seven years as a POW at the "Hanoi Hilton," as prisoners of war called their North Viet Nam compound. There he discovered the power of hope. He spent four and a half years of that time in isolation. He endured ten months of total darkness. Those ten months were the longest of his life. When they boarded up his little seven-by-seven foot cell, shutting out the light, he wondered if he was going to make it. He had already been under intense physical and mental duress after years of confinement. And now, not a glimmer of light shone into his cell -- or into his soul.

Robbie spent hours a day exercising and praying. But at times he felt he could nothing but scream. Not wanting to give his captors the satisfaction of knowing they'd broken him, he stuffed clothing into his mouth to muffle the noise as he screamed at the top of his lungs.

One day Robbie got down on the floor and crawled under his bunk. He located a vent that let in outside air. As he pressed against the vent, he saw a faint glimmer of light reflected on the inside wall of the opening. Robbie put his eye next to the cement wall and discovered a minute crack in the construction. It allowed him to glimpse outside, but was so small that all he could see was one blade of grass. A single blade of grass and a faint ray of light. But when he stared at the sight, he felt a surge of joy, excitement and gratitude like he hadn't known in years. "It represented life, growth, and freedom," he later said, "and I knew God had not forgotten me." It was a tiny glimmer hope that sustained Robbie through an unbearable ordeal.

The human spirit is strong. It seems to run forever on nothing but a morsel of hope. Without it, you have nothing. With it, nothing else matters.

From Lifesupport.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


“This human struggle and scramble for office, for a way to live without work, will finally test the strength of our institutions”

In her poem "Aurora Leigh," Elizabeth Bar­rett Browning wrote:

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

I have certainly plucked my share of black­berries, blind to what wonder there is in life. But on occasion I have also had my eyes opened by others, a bit more sensitive and aware. I cherish those mo­ments and recall them when life gets too routine and ordinary. I'll never forget one such moment.

I stumbled out the door of a mountain cabin where I was spending the weekend working with youth and their families at a rustic retreat center. I had a 6:30 a.m. appointment to keep and squinted from the early autumn sun peeking over pine-blan­keted mountaintops.

"Today is a miracle!" spoke a young, enthu­siastic voice behind me. I turned toward the radiant face of my teen-aged friend.

"How?" I asked her. I wasn't sure if I could handle any excitement this early in the morning.

"Think about it," she smiled. "The sun rose, didn't it?"

"Yeah." I found it easy to hide any enthusi­asm. It seemed to rise on every other morning with­out any help from me.

"That's a miracle! It is miraculous that the earth turns as it does. At night, the sun goes down and in the morning it rises. It just happens!"

I pretty much had this figured out years ago, I thought, as I rubbed sleep from my eyes. I was also busy thinking about how to get a cup of coffee.

"And look at the mountains! Covered with trees and grass, they look so beautiful. And there," she pointed, "a valley. It's all a miracle!"

"What have I stumbled into?" I thought. "And where is the coffee?"

"Wildflowers blooming," she continued. "It all smells so fresh and clean and so good." She took a deep breath. Her blue eyes sparkled. "All of na­ture receives water and light. Things grow and blos­som -- it is all so beautiful."

Maybe it wasn't coffee I needed...but whatever she had gotten into! I didn't know if it was her bubbly personal­ity or the freshness of the morning, but I began to sense her enchantment with the daybreak. A little, anyway. Somehow, she had me believing that the day did hold a certain magic.

Then, with a smile that seemed to make her blonde curls laugh, she gave her pronouncement a note of finality. "And best of all, it will happen again tomorrow. And the next day! And the next!" She sighed. "It's a miracle morning!"

My young friend showed wisdom beyond her years. For her, earth was "crammed with heaven" and "every bush afire." She should never want for happiness, for she had already learned, at such an early age, to find wonder in the common­place and to feel gratitude for the ordinary. If each day for her is a miracle, then a lifetime will be no less than a mar­velous extravaganza!

From Lifesupport.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


“You've got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on.”

Are you meeting a friend for lunch? Ac­cord­ing to "The Farmer's Almanac," if you are American you will probably touch each other twice an hour. If you are English, you may not touch each other at all. If you are French, you might touch each other 110 times an hour, and if you are Puerto Ri­can, you just might touch each other 180 times an hour.

There are obvious cultural differences in communication styles, but studies agree that touch­ing is important to human development. Psycholo­gist Wayne Dennis observed a group of babies in an orphanage where they were given practically no stimulation, including touch ("New Mind" by Robert Ornstein and Paul Ehrlich; A Touchstone Book, 1990). Most laid on their backs all day in bare cribs placed in bare rooms. They were touched only when their diapers were changed. At the end of one year, the children's de­velopment was about that of a six-month-old. The good news is that, once adopted into nurturing envi­ronments, these children quickly caught up to other children their age.

Human touch is vital. With it, we thrive. Without it, we wither. And it is good preventive medicine. It is simpler to hold a hand than to hold a consultation. A hanging head needs a shoulder un­der it. A back rub can be the easiest way to get a "monkey off someone's back." And
the best way to get somebody's chin up is by lifting it with a gentle hand.

One of the best gifts you can give another may be an encouraging touch. And would you really mind if the gift were returned?

From Lifesupport.

Monday, March 12, 2007


“Toys were lots of fun before they became capitalist tools.”

Vicki Huffman, in PLUS LIVING (Harold Shaw Publishers, 1989), tells about a man who loved to hunt and bought two pedigreed setters that he trained to be fine bird dogs. He kept them in a large, fenced pen in his backyard.

One morning he observed a little bulldog trotting down the alley behind his home. It saw the two dogs and squeezed under the fence. The man thought he should perhaps lock up the setters so
they wouldn't hurt the little dog, but changed his mind. Maybe they would "teach that bulldog a lesson," he reasoned.

As he predicted, fur began to fly, and all of it was bulldog fur. The feisty intruder soon had enough and squeezed back under the fence to get away.

To the man's surprise, the visitor returned again the next morning. He crawled under the fence and once again took on the tag-team of setters. And like the day before, he soon quit and squeezed out of the pen.

The incident was repeated the following day, with the same results.

The man left early the next morning on a business trip and returned after several weeks. He asked his wife what finally became of the bulldog.

"You won't believe it," she replied. "At the same time every day that little dog came to the backyard and fought with our setters. He never missed a day! It has come to the point now that when our setters simply hear him snorting down the alley, they start whining and run down into the basement. Then the little bulldog struts around our backyard as if he owns it."

How do you manage those problems you encounter daily? I don't mean that we must fight with them, but do you persistently take them on until you persevere?

Dale Carnegie made this observation: "Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all." In the
end, it's the persistent bulldog that will own the backyard.

From Lifesupport.

Sunday, March 11, 2007


Essential space for healthy living.

I heard about a woman who sued her hus­band for divorce. She told the judge she had nagged and nagged, but she couldn't get him to do right.

The judge wondered if she had tried using kindness. Referring to the biblical passage which says that when we show kindness to our enemy it is like heaping "burning coals on his head," he asked her if she had tried heaping coals on his head.

She answered, "No, but I don't think it will work. I already tried scalding water and that didn't do any good." (Ouch….)

Who hasn't felt frustrated with another? Who hasn't wanted to strike out rather than reach out? But revenge is never as sweet as we imagine it to be. And besides, when we fight fire with fire, everybody is likely to get burned.

Next time you get upset try this: retaliate in kindness, not in kind. Turn your anger into an as­sault of good will! After all, who can resist a bar­rage of kindness?

From Lifesupport.

Saturday, March 10, 2007


“In the childhood memories of every good cook, there's a large kitchen, a warm stove, a simmering pot and a mom.”

A little bear cub was confused about how to walk. "What do I do first?" he asked his mother. "Do I start with my right foot or my left? Or both front feet and then my back feet? Or do I move both feet on one side and then both feet on the other?"

His mother answered, "Just quit thinking and start walking."

She was wise, for things will happen only after we put aside thinking and talking and start doing.

Nolan Bushnell, the founder of Atari, said that everyone who has ever taken a shower has an idea. It's the person who gets out of the shower, dries off and does something about it who makes a difference. Or, as columnist Sydney Harris puts it, "Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable. " One of the most important lessons we can learn is to act on a good idea.

From Lifesupport.

Friday, March 9, 2007


“Compromise makes a good umbrella, but a poor roof; it is temporary expedient, often wise in party politics, almost sure to be unwise in statesmanship.”

Writer and philosopher Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said, "Kindness is the golden chain by which society is bound together." But I was not thinking about the golden chain of kindness one day when a dilapidated automobile, possibly held together with glue and wire, parked in front
of my house. During those years, we lived in a small town just across the street from the church I served, and travelers in need constantly found their way to our home.

I was growing weary of helping the numerous people who stopped by almost daily. I was frequently awakened in the middle of an otherwise good night's sleep, to get out in the cold and help someone passing through. Once our property was vandalized; once I drove through a blizzard in order to get two people to safety; many times I felt taken for granted by penniless motorists or hitchhikers who did not thank me for help they received and complained that I didn't do more. I hadn't felt a part of a "golden chain of kindness" for awhile and, though I still offered assistance where I could, sometimes I inwardly wished they would just go away.

But on this day, a young man with a week-old beard climbed from the broken-down automobile. He had no money and no food. He asked if I could give him some work and I offered him gasoline and a meal. I told him that if he wanted to work, we'd be pleased if he'd cut the grass, but work wasn't necessary.

Though sweaty and hungry, he worked hard. Because of the afternoon heat, I expected him to give up before the job was completed. But he persisted and, after a long while, he sat wearily down in the shade. I thanked him for his work and gave him the money he needed. Then I offered him a little extra money for a task particularly well done, but he refused. "No sank you,"
he said in heavily accented speech. I insisted that he take the money but he stood up and once again said, "No sank you. I want to work. Joo keep the money." I tried again and for a third time
he protested, shaking his head as he walked away.

I never saw him again. I'm sure I never will. And interestingly, he probably thinks I helped him out that day. But that is not the way it was. I didn't help him, he helped me. He helped me to
believe in people again. He helped me to once again WANT to do something for those who are in need. I wish I could thank him for restoring some of my faith in the basic goodness of others and for giving me back a little of the optimism I had lost somewhere along the way. Because of him I once again felt part of a golden chain of kindness that binds us to one another.

I may have fed his body that day. But he fed my soul.

From Lifesupport.

Thursday, March 8, 2007


Don't expect mangoes when you plant papayas.

A man had just taken his annual physical exam and was waiting for the doctor's initial report. After a few minutes the doctor came in with his charts in hand and said, "There's no reason why you can't live a completely normal life as long as you don't try to enjoy it."

One of the great keys to successful living is to ignore the doctor's recommendation and enjoy life as much as possible. Living is difficult. Learn to enjoy it. Decide to be happy.

Dr. Norman Vincent Peale used to tell about a time when Branch Rickey, former general manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Brooklyn Dodgers, was managing the St. Louis Browns baseball team. The Browns happened to be playing against the Detroit Tigers and the immortal Ty Cobb came to bat with two outs and the bases empty in the last inning of a tie game. Cobb drew a base on balls. Once at first, Cobb took a risky lead. His daring, his pure desire to make the most of the moment, rattled the pitcher. The pick-off throw was wild and Cobb dashed. He made a defiant turn at second, forcing another wild throw, slid 10 feet into
third and watched as the dazed third baseman muffed the catch. Cobb sprang to his feet and sped for home. By sheer adventure and skill he made what amounted to a home run out of a base on balls!

Unfortunately, the Browns lost as a result. But, Branch was thrilled. He had the privilege of witnessing Ty Cobb's irrepressible love of the game, that quality of zest that set him apart from most other players. Branch commented, "If a player really loves this game, it'll love him back."

So it is with all of life. If we really love life, it will love us back. If we learn to enjoy it, even when it is difficult, we will live well. Henry Van Dyke said, "Be glad of life because it gives you the chance to love and to work and to play and to look at the stars."

Be glad. Enjoy! Love life...and it will love you back.

From Lifesupport.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007


If you want things to stay as they are, things will have to change.

"Learn to say no," said Charles Spurgeon. "It will be of more use to you than to be able to read Latin."

One educator used to say that no society can last long unless it has a quorum of "unpurchasable people." These are people of principle who cannot be bought; people who have learned to say no. I believe that these so-called unpurchasable people are the truly contented and fulfilled souls around us.

In Whitney Seymour's book MAKING A DIFFERENCE (New York: William Morrow and Co., Inc., 1984), Arthur McArthur, General Douglas McArthur's father, told his son of such an unpurchasable man. This man was a Union general in charge of the occupied territory surrounding New Orleans toward the end of the American Civil War. He was pressed by local plantation owners to permit them to haul their cotton to the wharves in order for it to be sold for shipment to England. The general controlled all the wagons and horses, and his orders from high
command in Washington were clear. He was not to let the cotton crop get to market.

Then one day, when Colonel Arthur MacArthur was visiting the general, two Southern ladies were ushered into the general's office, a "grande dame" and a beautiful young companion. The older lady came right to the point. She said that the landowners needed the temporary use of
transport facilities to move their cotton. The North did not wish to force England into the war, she argued, and was allowing some merchant ships to slip through the blockade. Therefore, the Union would not be opposed to the sale of cotton for English textile mills. To show her
gratitude she handed over $250,000 in gold certificates. "And if you need other inducements, this young lady will supply them," she added. They departed, leaving behind a distressed general holding the beautiful young woman's address.

The general immediately ordered MacArthur to dispatch this message to Washington: "TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have just been offered two hundred and fifty thousand dollars and the most beautiful woman I have ever seen to betray my trust. I am
depositing the money with the Treasury of the United States, and request immediate relief from this command. They are getting close to my price."

Many others may have fallen for the seductive offer. And though his decision was no doubt difficult to make, how much harder might his life have eventually become had he chosen wrong? Saying yes to contentment and peace often begins with saying no. For ultimately happy lives are guided by unwavering principles, such as honesty, trust and love. Those who keep sight of their principles and use them as a guide in all their decision-making will eventually arrive at a place of lasting peace.

"Ideals are like stars; you will not succeed in touching them with your hands," says Carl Schurz. "But like the (seafarers) on the desert of waters, you choose them as your guides, and following them you will reach your destiny."

From Lifesupport.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007


Cloudy sky above, traffic jam below.

Are you setting your sights too low?

I heard of a woman who fished all morning and never caught anything. But a man in the next boat was reeling in a fish every time she glanced over. Then, to make matters worse, he kept the small ones and threw the large ones back into the water!

She couldn't stand it any longer. She called over to him, "How come you're throwing the big ones back?"

He answered by holding up a little frying pan.

We may think that is silly but, in our minds, don't we all hold up frying pans? Every time we throw away a big idea, a magnificent dream or an exciting possibility, are we measuring it against a small frying pan?

We talk about making more money or be­coming more successful, but I believe that this con­cept works in other, and sometimes more important areas, as well. We can love more than we ever dreamed possible! We can be happier and live more fully than we ever thought we could! What we can do or become is limited more by the size of the frying pan in our minds than by actual circum­stances.

Author Brian Tracy reminds us that "you are not what you think you are, but what you think, you are." Think big. Dream big. Pray big... and look for big results. It all begins with changing the size of your thinking.

What would happen if you threw away the frying pan you have been using to measure the size of your dreams, and replaced it with a larger one? What would happen if you decided that it may really be possible to have a better relationship with the one you love, or that you actually can be hap­pier and more fulfilled than you are now? What would hap­pen if you decided never to settle for anything less than what you truly want? What if, from now on, you threw the little fish back and kept the big ones?

And what if you decided to begin today?

From Lifesupport.

Monday, March 5, 2007


Krookie the cat: “The best example of democracy I can recall is five dogs sitting down to dinner with one cat”

One man was annoyed at his sentimental wife's constant sniffling as she watched a touching movie on the television. "For goodness' sake," he scolded, "why is it you cry about the imaginary woes of people you've never met?"

"For the same reason you yell and scream when a man you don't know scores a goal," she said.

That reason, of course, is that they identify with the person or the event. The word "identify" originally comes from the Latin root "idem," which means "same." When we identify with someone, we feel the same sadness or ecstasy the other feels and we understand another's plight.

There is no substitute for an ability to identify with others. One woman wrote me a letter about how she acquired this valuable trait. She said this:

"I was a registered nurse for quite a few years. I always thought of myself as an empathetic person, somebody who was able to reach out and understand what someone else was going through. Then I became a patient when I was diagnosed with M.S. and realized I never really
knew the true meaning of the word "empathy." Unfortunately, it sometimes has to be learned and not taught.

"I found out just how much even a smile means to someone who is sick and so scared about what is happening in their life. [Because of M.S.], I found out how much it means to have someone take a few minutes and be friendly and just talk.... I hate the disease, but it has taught me so much!"

This woman had worked compassionately and professionally for years, but now there is a whole new dimension in her dealing with patients. She identifies with them. She knows how they must feel and responds differently. And she has become a better nurse (and person) because of it.

You may never treat hospital patients, but is there anyone in your life who would not benefit from your ability to identify with their pleasures and pains, their wild dreams and dashed hopes?

The ability to identify with others is a trait that, with practice, can be learned. Employers and employees are valued more highly when they possess it. Family and friends create more intimate relationships when those bonds are built around an ability to truly identify with one another.

Lord Chesterfield said, "You must look into people, as well as at them." It is a rare friend who has cultivated the ability to clearly see inside others and, thereby, identify with them. But it is a
necessary part of an effective and happy life.

From Lifesupport.

Sunday, March 4, 2007


Reach for the moon, because if you don't make it you'll land among the stars.

Marlin Perkins, long-time host of television's "Wild Kingdom," spent most of his life trying to put people on a first-name basis with animals. His wife Carol wanted to marry him so badly that she never let on that she did not fully share his passion for wildlife.

Soon after their marriage they went to central Africa. She tried valiantly not to complain during the long expedition, but one night she was exhausted. She said she wasn't hungry and just wanted to go to bed. So she undressed and reached for her pillow, when out from underneath crawled a huge lizard that ran up her chest and down her arm.

Carol started to scream and couldn't stop. She was so tired of being brave. Marlin came running, and after he saw that Carol wasn't hurt, he put his arm around her and said, "Honey, think of how lucky you were to see him up close."

I'm with Carol. I would find it difficult to appreciate the experience. But I am enthralled by Marlin's awe and enthusiasm for all things alive. He was able to marvel at the wonder of creatures and never lost his passion for animals. All living things, in their own way, were beautiful and splendid to this irrepressible lover of creation.

You may not choose to share your bed with a lizard, but do you find this world an exciting and wondrous place? Do you marvel at nature's handiwork? Do you want to "see it up close"? Does a spectacular sunset, the smell of seawater, that first spring flower, or the soft fall of snow soothe your soul? In short, are you excited about life and this magnificent world in which we live?

That amazing man Albert Einstein once said, "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." But only one is the way of joy.

From Lifesupport.

Saturday, March 3, 2007


One of life's challenges: Making a brand new house a home.

Someone noted that their life and their bank both have something in common - they get out of them about as much as they put in. Which, as far as my bank is concerned, isn't much! But it means I can get a great deal of joy and satisfaction out of life if I am careful about what I put into living.

Gary Player for years was a great competitor in national and international golf tournaments. People constantly said to him, "I'd give anything if I could hit a golf ball like you."

Upon hearing that comment one day, Player responded impatiently: "No, you wouldn't. You'd do anything to hit a golf ball like me, if it were easy! Do your know what you have to do to hit a golf ball like me? You've got to get up at 5:00 every morning, go out to the golf course, and hit a thousand golf balls! Your hands start bleeding, and you walk to the clubhouse and wash the blood off your hands, slap a bandage on it, and go out and hit another thousand golf balls! That
is what it takes to hit a golf ball like me!"

His goal was to be at the top of his sport. That lofty dream requires practice, practice and more practice. If your desire, on the other hand, is to excel at living - to give and receive love, to
experience joy and to develop fulfilling relationships - then how much of you will you put into your dream? These things, too, are possible with practice.

Do you actually practice love, even when you don't feel like it? Do you practice finding joy even when you're unhappy? Do you work at difficult relationships? It is not always easy, but the payoff is worth it!

From Lifesupport.

Friday, March 2, 2007


“All that glisters is not gold.”

This story reminds us how important a healthy self-image really is.

A man found an eagle's egg and put it in a nest of a
barnyard hen. The eagle hatched with the brood of chicks and grew
up with them. All his life, the eagle did what the barnyard chicks
did, thinking he was a barnyard chicken. He scratched the earth
for worms and insects. He clucked and cackled. And he thrashed his
wings and flew a few feet in the air.

Years passed and the eagle grew very old. One day he saw a
magnificent bird above him in the cloudless sky. It glided in
graceful majesty among powerful wind currents, with scarcely a
beat of its strong, golden wings.

The old eagle looked up in awe. "Who's that?" he asked.
"That's the eagle, the king of the birds," said his neighbor. "He
belongs to the sky. We belong to the earth – we're chickens." So
the eagle lived and died a chicken, for that is what he thought he
was. (Author unknown)

You were meant for the skies - not the chicken coop. Who will believe in you if you do not believe in yourself?

From Lifesupport.

Thursday, March 1, 2007


You will always be lucky if you make friends with strange cats.

Writer H.G. Wells once noted, "Man must not allow the clock and the calendar to blind him to the fact that each moment of life is a miracle and a mystery." Do you live as if each moment is a
miracle and a mystery?

A golf enthusiast listed three mental techniques to improve anyone's golf game. (Even mine, and I golf about as well as a slug wages war....) These techniques are not just about golf, however. They are mental attitudes that can help you live as if each moment were truly a miracle and a mystery. Here they are:

1. Resist the urge to add up your score as you go along. If you anticipate your score, you'll be distracted from the task at hand.

In other words, don't let your preoccupation with whether you are succeeding or whether you are achieving your goals distract you from being aware of the present moment.

2. Focus. Concentrate on hitting great shots rather than worrying about bad ones or what others will think if you miss. Visualize the ball going to your target.

This is a terrific technique for daily living. Focus. Concentrate on doing the next task well rather than worrying about past failures or about what others will think about you if you should "mess up." And get a picture in your mind's eye of the target you're trying to hit.

3. Keep your mind on the hole you're playing. Don't think about how you are going to play the 18th hole.

Thinking about the present will help the future take care of itself. This moment is full of magic and wonder. Give it your full attention.

Speaker Steve Sobel says, "I have learned from speaking to many cancer survivor groups that (when you have cancer) the watch on your hand no longer says, 'Tick, tick, tick.' It now says,
'Precious, precious, precious.'" When you come to know how precious is the present moment, you'll understand the mystery we call life.

From Lifesupport.


Related Posts with Thumbnails