Monday, April 30, 2007

WEALTH OF WISDOM

Old broken sofa - “Words and hearts should be handled with care for words when spoken and hearts when broken are the hardest things to repair.”

One man said, "I had a brain scan and was told not worry --there was nothing there!" Which is all right because some of my best ideas over the years have come from others, anyway. And I have discovered that wisdom can be found in most any place and from most any person -- even the young­est of us.

It was a child who passed on this morsel: "If your sister hits you, don't hit her back. They always catch the second person." It is wisdom borne of hard experience.

Yet another child teaches us that "the best place to be when you are sad is in Grandma's lap."

Adults, too, have wisdom to share. One par­ent observed that "the best way to keep kids at home is to make the home a pleasant place to be... and let the air out of their car tires."

Wisdom can also be found among the youngest of us. And the most elderly will share it too, if we listen. I am related by marriage to a woman who is 103 years old. During her 100th year, "Aunt Pearl" was asked to speak to a group of high school students. She offered a century of wis­dom in a few short sentences: "Enrich your life by becoming a better per­son, a better student and an individual worthy of trust and faithful in your commitments. Aspire to help and not hinder in all your good and worthy undertakings. Use these words often: 'thank you,' 'please,' 'I'm sorry.' Af­ter living 100 years, I admonish you to think deeply, speak gently, work hard, give freely, pay promptly, pray earnestly and be kind."

Wisdom doesn't come much better than that.

From Lifesupport.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

ONE MINUTE CAN CHANGE A LIFE

Hawker stalls for rent - “Many a man who pays rent all his life owns his own home; and many a family has successfully saved for a home only to find itself at last with nothing but a house.”

He almost killed somebody, but one min­ute changed his life. The beautiful story comes from Sherman Rogers' old book, FOREMEN: LEADERS OR DRIVERS? In his true-life story, Rogers illus­trates the importance of effective relationships.

During his college years, Rogers spent a summer in an Idaho logging camp. When the super­intendent had to leave for a few days, he put Rogers in charge.

"What if the men refuse to follow my or­ders?" Rogers asked. He thought of Tony, an im­migrant worker who grumbled and growled all day, giving the other men a hard time.

"Fire them," the superintendent said. Then, as if reading Rogers' mind, he added, "I suppose you think you are going to fire Tony if you get the chance. I'd feel badly about that. I have been logging for 40 years. Tony is the most reliable worker I've ever had. I know he is a grouch and that he hates everybody and everything. But he comes in first and leaves last. There has not been an accident for eight years on the hill where he works."

Rogers took over the next day. He went to Tony and spoke to him. "Tony, do you know I'm in charge here today?" Tony grunted. "I was going to fire you the first time we tangled, but I want you to know I'm not," he told Tony, adding what the su­per­intendent had said.

When he finished, Tony dropped the shovel­­ful of sand he had held and tears streamed down his face. "Why he no tell me dat eight years ago?"

That day Tony worked harder than ever be­fore -- and he smiled! He later said to Rogers, "I told Maria you first foreman in deese country who ever say, 'Good work, Tony,' and it make Maria feel like Christmas."

Rogers went back to school after that sum­mer. Twelve years later he met Tony again. He was superintendent for railroad construction for one of the largest logging companies in the West. Rogers asked him how he came to Califor­nia and happened to have such success.

Tony replied, "If it not be for the one mi­nute you talk to me back in Idaho, I keel some­body someday. One minute, she change my whole life."

Effective managers know the importance of taking a moment to point out what a worker is doing well. But what a difference a minute of af­firmation can make in any relationship!

One minute. Have you got one minute to thank someone? A minute to tell someone what you sincerely like or appre­ci­ate about her? A mi­nute to elaborate on some­thing he did well? One minute. It can make a difference for a lifetime.

From Lifesupport.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

THE HAND

Fresh home grown vegetables for sale - "The greatest service which can be rendered any country is to add a useful plant to its culture."

At first it sounded like a Thanksgiving story, but the more I reflected on it, the more appropriate it seemed for any time of the year. The way I heard it, the story went like this:

Thanksgiving Day was near. The first grade teacher gave her class a fun assignment -- to draw a picture of something for which they were thankful.

Most of the class might be considered economically disadvantaged, but still many would celebrate the holiday with turkey and other traditional goodies of the season. These, the teacher thought, would be the subjects of most of her student's art. And they were.

But Douglas made a different kind of picture. Douglas was a different kind of boy. He was the teacher's true child of misery, frail and unhappy. As other children played at recess, Douglas was likely to stand close by her side. One could only guess at the pain Douglas felt behind those sad eyes.

Yes, his picture was different. When asked to draw a picture of something for which he was thankful, he drew a hand. Nothing else. Just an empty hand.

His abstract image captured the imagination of his peers. Whose hand could it be? One child guessed it was the hand of a farmer, because farmers raise turkeys. Another suggested a police officer, because the police protect and care for people. Still others guessed it was the hand of God, for God feeds us. And so the discussion went -- until the teacher almost forgot the young artist himself.

When the children had gone on to other assignments, she paused at Douglas' desk, bent down, and asked him whose hand it was. The little boy looked away and murmured, "It's yours, teacher."

She recalled the times she had taken his hand and walked with him here or there, as she had the other students. How often had she said, "Take my hand, Douglas, we'll go outside." Or, "Let me show you how to hold your pencil." Or, "Let's do this together." Douglas was most thankful for his teacher's hand.

Brushing aside a tear, she went on with her work.

The story speaks of more than thankfulness. It says something about teachers teaching and parents parenting and friends showing friendship, and how much it means to the Douglases of the world. They might not always say thanks. But they'll remember the hand that reaches out.

From Lifesupport.

Friday, April 27, 2007

LET GO OR GET DRAGGED

"Lau shu fan", traditional Chinese breakfast dish - “The difference between 'involvement' and 'commitment' is like an eggs-and-ham breakfast: the chicken was 'involved' - the pig was 'committed'.”

The name "Benedict Arnold" is synonymous with "traitor." But he was actually a loyal citizen of what was to become the United States, a gallant soldier and a five-star general. Wounded twice in battle, he was highly respected for his military leadership. He even enjoyed the friendship of George Washington.

But during the Revolutionary War, Arnold saw five subordinates promoted over him, and the blow to his esteem was more than he could manage. The injury to his pride was far greater than those physical injuries he sustained in battle. So he laid plans to get revenge.

In 1780, he attempted to betray vital West Point to the British. He later moved to England and was paid a sum of money to compensate for his property loss, but he was never fully accepted in British society. He eventually returned to trading and died a mostly unsuccessful and unhappy man. His downfall was not greed -- his problem was rather one of jealousy.

Do you know who is the most difficult person to love? It is easy to love friends and not too difficult to love those less fortunate than ourselves. It certainly isn't easy loving enemies, but sometimes the person most difficult to love is the one who is MORE fortunate than we are. The one who receives the promotion we deserved. The one who gets the recognition we desired, the honor we sought or the affections of the lover we had hoped to win. It is easy to resent those who seem to be more fortunate.

But as one person said to me, "Let go, or get dragged. Unless you let things go, you should be prepared to have that thing drag you around until you do let it go." Even envy. Let it go or get dragged.

Besides, if you ever want to grab onto something good, you'll need a free hand.

From Lifesupport.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

LIFESIGNS LIFE QUOTE SUPPLEMENTARY: JustSayHi.com

“Nothing defines humans better than their willingness to do irrational things in the pursuit of phenomenally unlikely payoffs. This is the principle behind lotteries, dating, and religion.”

Scott Adams (American Cartoonist, b.1957)

Most of us have tried our hands on online dating one time or another. Almost all of the high quality sites require some form of payment to actually contact other members. For those looking for a high quality online dating site that is really 100% free, try JustSayHi.com

Currently JustSayHi.com is only open for members who reside in Canada and United States. New member registration is simple and fast through their 60-Second sign-up step. The sign-up process requires you to complete a brief personal profile which includes details on personal appearance and lifestyle. There you also choose which kind of relationship you are looking for: dating, activity partner, friendship, marriage, relationship or intimate encounter?

When registration is complete you are automatically taken to your JustSayHi.com member page. Here you can participate in forums, invite your friends to join or simply start to look for your dream date! And once you have found your dream date, you can immediately start establishing contact by sending an email or an instant message. Simplicity at its best!

JustSayHi.com is truly 100% free (and hope it stays that way too!). Just wish that it is not limited to Americans and Canadians only. And once they go international, there is no doubt that their member base will blow out of proportions.

WON'T POWER

Market alleyway life quote- “The market is not an invention of capitalism. It has existed for centuries. It is an invention of civilization.”

A certain man was on a diet to lose weight. He even changed routes to work in order to avoid a particular bakery, which displayed scrumptious looking pastries in its window. But one day he arrived at the office carrying a beautiful, large coffee cake. His colleagues teased him about slipping off the diet.

In reply, he smiled and said, "Today I accidentally drove by the bakery and looked in the window and saw a host of goodies. Now, I felt it was no accident, so I prayed, `Lord, if you want me to have one of these delicious coffee cakes, let me find a parking space in front of the bakery.' And sure enough, the eighth time around the block, there it was!"

Sometimes "will power" is simply "won't power." It's about finding the inner power to say, "I won't continue in this behavior or attitude."

Self-discipline is an essential part of building a whole and healthy life. Do you need to say, "I won't" to something that is holding you back today?

From Lifesupport.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

NO REGRETS

Blue vase - “Trust is like a vase.. once it's broken, though you can fix it the vase will never be same again.”

Not many people have heard of Bill Havens. But Bill became an unlikely hero of sorts - at least among those who knew him best. Here is his story:

At the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris, the sport of canoe racing was added to the list of international competitions. The favorite team in the four-man canoe race was the United States team. One member of that team was a young man by the name of Bill Havens.

As the time for the Olympics neared, it became clear that Bill's wife would give birth to their first child about the time that the US team would be competing in the Paris games. In 1924 there were no jet airliners from Paris to the United States, only slow ocean-going ships. And so Bill found himself in a dilemma. Should he go to Paris and risk not being at his wife's side when their baby was born? Or should he withdraw from the team and remain with his family?

Bill's wife insisted that he go to Paris. After all, competing in the Olympics was the culmination of a life-long dream. But Bill felt conflicted and, after much soul-searching, decided to withdraw from the competition and remain home where he could support his wife when the child arrived. He considered being at her side his highest priority - even higher than going to Paris to fulfill his dream.

As it turned out, the United States four-man canoe team won the gold medal in Paris. And Bill's wife was late in giving birth to their child. She was so late, in fact, that Bill could have competed in the event and returned home in time to be with her when she gave birth.

People said, "What a shame." But Bill said he had no regrets. For the rest of his life, he believed he had made the better decision. Bill Havens knew what was most important to him. Not everybody figures that out. And he acted on what he believed was best. Not everybody has the strength of character to say no to something he or she truly wants in order to say yes to something that truly matters. But for Bill, it was the only way to peace; the only way to no regrets. There is an interesting sequel to the story of Bill Havens.…

The child eventually born to Bill and his wife was a boy, whom they named Frank. Twenty-eight years later, in 1952, Bill received a cablegram from Frank. It was sent from Helsinki, Finland, where the 1952 Olympics were being held. The cablegram read: "Dad, I won. I'm bringing home the gold medal you lost while waiting for me to be born."

Frank Havens had just won the gold medal for the United States in the canoe-racing event, a medal his father had dreamed of winning but never did. Like I said - no regrets.

Thomas Kinkade eloquently said, "When we learn to say a deep, passionate yes to the things that really matter... then peace begins to settle onto our lives like golden sunlight sifting to a forest floor."

From Lifesupport.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

HOW THIRSTY ARE YOU?

Green lime for sale - “I'm not that interested in fashion... When someone says that lime-green is the new black for this season, you just want to tell them to get a life.”

A man had an operation, and the doctor, by mistake, left a sponge in him. A friend asked him if he had any pain because of it. "No," said the man, "but I sure do get thirsty."

It's true that the people who get thirsty - not for water or beverages - but thirsty to pursue a dream or achieve a goal, are the ones who will eventually succeed. Thirst, or desire, is paramount. Napoleon Hill has said, "Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything."

Alan C. Elliott writes in his book A DAILY DOSE OF THE AMERICAN DREAM: Stories of Success, Triumph, And Inspiration (Rutledge Hill Press) that educator Benjamin Bloom reported the results of a five-year study that was undertaken to discover what made some people extraordinarily successful. The study consisted of detailed research into the lives of 120 of the nation's top artists, athletes, and scholars.

Bloom was surprised to find that natural abilities played only a small part in the development of those individuals. As children, they were often mediocre musicians, athletes or students, but Bloom found that they possessed a powerful drive to succeed. They practiced the piano hours every day, rose well before school every morning to swim, or spent hours alone working on science projects.

Parental support was also a key factor. The parents of the successful young people helped out, exposing their children to great ideas and influential persons. Many sacrificed to ensure that their offspring received good training. But in the end, it was their children's thirst to do well that made the difference.

How thirsty are you? Your success in any field you choose may hinge on your answer to that simple question.

From Lifesupport.

Monday, April 23, 2007

WHEN THE WORLD SAYS, "NO!"

Tray of ice - “Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.”

When Henry Ward Beecher was a young boy in school, he learned a lesson in self-confidence, which he never forgot. He was called upon to recite in front of the class. He had hardly begun when the teacher interrupted with an emphatic, "No!" He started over and again the teacher thundered, "No!" Humiliated, Henry sat down.

The next boy rose to recite and had just begun when the teacher shouted, "No!" This student, however, kept on with the recitation until he completed it. As he sat down, the teacher responded, "Very good!"

Henry was irritated. "I recited just as he did," he complained to the teacher.

But the instructor replied, "It is not enough to know your lesson, you must be sure. When you allowed me to stop you, it meant that you were uncertain. If all the world says, `No!' it is your business to say, `Yes!' and prove it."

The world says, "No!" in a thousand ways:

"No! You can't do that."

"No! You are wrong."

"No! You are too old."

"No! You are too young."

"No! You are too weak."

"No! It will never work."

"No! You don't have the education."

"No! You don't have the background."

"No! You don't have the money."

"No! It can't be done."

And each "No!" you hear has the potential to erode your confidence bit by bit until you quit altogether. Though the world says, "No!" to you today, will you determine to say, "Yes!" and prove it?

From Lifesupport.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

ACRES OF DIAMONDS

House by the hillside - Some of us are timid. We think we have something to lose so we don't try for that next hill.”

A century ago, Russell Conwell traveled the United States with a speech he called, "Acres of Diamonds." He told of a young man who stud­ied at Yale to become a mining engineer. Upon gradua­tion, "gold fever" struck him and he set off to Cali­fornia to seek his fortune.

Yale had offered him a position as an in­structor, which he turned down. He persuaded his mother to sell their Massachu­setts farm and ac­com­pany him. But the trip was futile as he found no gold and eventually accepted a job in Minne­sota working for a mining company -- at a lower salary than he would have received at Yale.

More interesting is that the man who bought the family farm from the widowed mother was har­vesting potatoes one day. As he slid a heavy bushel through an opening in the stone wall, he noticed a shiny stone. He had it assayed and learned it was native silver. The farm was sitting on a fortune in silver!

Why had the mining engineer, who had un­doubt­edly passed by that same rock and others like it hundreds of times, not discovered the ore? Could it be that he never dreamed a treasure could be found so easily? Was it because he believed that one must go else­where to fulfill a dream?

What we are seeking may be found right where we are! There are certainly times to make life changes, but sometimes we must simply change our thinking. What you seek (happiness, security, fulfillment, challenge) may be at your fingertips, though yet unseen.

There may be hidden potential in your pre­sent job, your current relationships or the loca­tion in which you live. The answers to your dreams may be found at your fingertips if you only believe it is possible. Before making that big life change, look carefully around. You may be sitting on acres of diamonds!

From Lifesupport.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

THE MOST IMPORTANT TRIP YOU MAY EVER TAKE

Picnic spot at the beach - “Skill without imagination is craftsmanship and gives us many useful objects such as wickerwork picnic baskets. Imagination without skill gives us modern art.”

It is accurately said that it is easy to be an angel when nobody ruffles your feathers. But it seems that feather rufflers will always be around.

We're told that 19th Century German statesman Prince Otto von Bismarck once became so incensed at the criticism of a professor (he must have ruffled the prince's feathers), that he challenged him to a duel. Protocol had it that the one challenged was to have the choice of weapons.

The professor made his choice...sausages! He sent word to Bismarck, along with a pair of sausages, that one sausage was safe to eat. The other had been poisoned with trichinae, which would cause a slow and lingering death, or at least long invalidism. He informed the prince that he should choose which sausage to eat and said he would eat the other one.

Bismarck reasoned that a man might die with some sort of honor on a dueling field, but never by food poisoning. He sent the message back, "His highness has destroyed the sausages and asks that you be his guest at dinner this evening. After due consideration he feels he may have been slightly in error. He believes an agreement can be reached."

One of the most important trips a person ever takes is "to meet someone halfway." Bismarck met his adversary halfway and chose to bring something useful from his conflict.

When others ruffle our feathers, we always have a choice. We can meet them on the dueling field, where one will clearly win and the other will lose, or we can meet them halfway. Even armed only with words, we can seek to hurt or we can seek a solution.

The choice we make will make all the difference.

From Lifesupport.

Friday, April 20, 2007

WHO LISTENS?

Makeshift roadblock - “Man's great misfortune is that he has no organ, no kind of eyelid or brake, to mask or block a thought, or all thought, when he wants to”

Two psychiatrists met at their 20th college reunion. One is vibrant, while the other looks withered and worried. "So what's your secret?" the older looking psychiatrist asked. "Listening to other people's problems every day, all day long, for years on end, has made an old man of me."

"So," replies the younger-looking one, "who listens?"

Unfortunately, that is too often a problem -- who listens? REALLY listens?

I received a letter from a woman who lives in New York. She explained that her 22-year-old electrician son went to Manhattan a few days after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. He wanted to volunteer his time, but discovered that his skills were not needed.

Joe may have helped in a way he never anticipated, for on the train home, he sat across from a weary firefighter covered in what appeared to be "ground zero" dirt and debris. Though he could see bits of rock in the man's hair and noticed that his hands were bloody, what shocked the young man most was the look in the firefighter's eyes. They appeared lifeless and dull.

Then the man began to talk and Joe listened. He talked about retrieving a shoe with a foot inside. Joe listened. He talked about cleaning debris from a face, then discovering that this person's body was gone. Joe listened. And as his listened, he did not flinch. He did not react in disgust. He did not judge. He did not interrupt. He just listened.

He listened as the firefighter lamented about the carnage everywhere and about shoes...there were so many shoes, he said. Everywhere...shoes.

Through it all Joe quietly held the man's attention and listened, which is exactly what the rescue worker needed at that moment. And because he listened, the man continued to speak. He talked
his pain out, as much as possible. And Joe, for that time at least, helped him carry his unbelievably heavy burden.

That day Joe did not give blood, nor did he use his electrical skills to help with the relief effort. But he did one of the most important things a human can do for another. He gave a stunned and disheartened man his whole attention, and thereby immeasurably assisted in the work of setting the world right.

Mary Lou Casey says, "What people really need is a good listening-to." Now more than ever.

From Lifesupport.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

ONE OF YOUR GREATEST ASSETS

Pointy rooftop - “The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life. Rarely do members of one family grow up under the same roof.”

One of your greatest assets is...your imagination!

In his book THE WINNER'S EDGE, writer Denis Waitley tells of high school basketball players who were divided into three groups. Group One was told not to practice shooting free throws for one month. Group Two was told to practice shooting free throws in the gym every afternoon for a month. Group Three was told to "imagine" shooting free throws every afternoon for one hour for a month.

The results? Group One slipped slightly in their percentage free-throw average. Group Two increased about two percentage points. Group Three also increased about two percentage points.

Do you want to excel at some endeavor? Or perhaps improve or change something about yourself? Is there a skill you'd like to perfect? Or maybe you want to replace your fear of something, such as speaking in public or heading up a project, with more confidence and courage. If so, then mental practice, visioning success, is as important as physical practice. The time you spend "seeing" in your mind what you are trying to accomplish actually helps to bring it to pass.

Imagine your success. Visualize doing that thing you fear. Get it in your mind. Then imagine your success in that area again and again, like free throws going into the basket. In a short time,
you'll likely discover that things really did change for you!

Anatole France said, "To know is nothing at all; to imagine is everything." Whatever you desire begins in the mind. You can IMAGINE what will follow!

From Lifesupport.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

THE RICHEST PERSON IN THE WORLD

Kite stuck in tree - “You can't fly a kite unless you go against the wind and have a weight to keep it from turning a somersault. The same with man. No man will succeed unless he is ready to face and overcome difficulties and is prepared to assume responsibilities.”

I will always remember Stella. Elderly, blind and living alone, one might think she should have spun long tales of hardship and misery. And I sup­pose she could have told such stories, but she made little room in her life for self-pity. She might have mentioned the deaths of friends and family, including her husband; the glaucoma that finally claimed her eyesight; the small pension on which she was forced to subsist and the arthritis that kept her home­bound in a little trailer house. And nobody could blame her had she de­spaired that she had grown so dependent on others.

She never did lament about all her hard­ships, either past or present. But I fre­quently recall her enumerating her good fortune. Speaking of her son, she often said: "My Jimmy came to see me today. He's so good to me!" Of her friends, she often commented: "I've been talking on the phone all morning. I'm so thankful I have such good friends." Then, with a broad smile and a slap on her knee, she would invariably ex­claim, "I'm the richest person in the world!"

And maybe she was! She had love. She found it in her friends, her family and her faith. She had everything she needed for a happy and fulfilled life. And what's more, she knew it.

Stella spoke of her upcoming 90th birthday. "All my family will be here," she smiled. Then slapping her knee, she exclaimed, "You know, I'm the richest person in the world!"

But she barely made that birthday celebra­tion herself. Several days prior she was laid in a hospital bed and slipped into a coma. Her family was told she would die shortly. I felt sad that she would not expe­rience her long-awaited celebration.

However, a strange thing happened. On the day of her birthday, she opened her eyes and greeted the smiling faces of family and friends sur­rounding her bed. She sat up and enjoyed birthday cake while someone read cards. They told her they loved her and they said, "Good-bye." At one point, she looked at me with that familiar twin­kle in her eye, smiled and whispered, "I'm the rich­est person in the world!"

Stella went to sleep that night and slipped peacefully away. I have often wondered if she felt sorry for those who have everything but happiness. After all, they could be just as wealthy and happy as she, if they only realized that the greatest of all riches is love.

Thanks to Stella, I have now decided to be­come the richest person in the world! And I think I can!

From Lifesupport.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

CHOOSING THE RIGHT COMPASS

Square rooftop - “Rain does not fall on one roof alone

"We pass this way but once," we have heard it said. But my wife has learned that, unless I've studied a map, that isn't necessarily true.

So I understand the fix a local hunting guide got himself into. His party became hopelessly lost in the mountains and they blamed him for leading them astray. "You told us you were the best guide in Colorado!" they asserted.

"I am," he said, "but I think we're in Wyoming now."

It's bad enough to get lost in the city or in the mountains. But how much worse to get lost in our life's journey.

One parent asked the clerk in a discount store if they carried any compasses. She answered, "We have compasses for making circles, but not for going places." Have you ever confused the two? Has it seemed as if your life is going in circles and not actually getting anywhere? Then it may be that you are lost or at least unsure what direction you should be heading.

Here are some questions to ask yourself if you feel as if you are going in circles:

  • Where do I want to be a few years from now (in this relationship, this vocation, or any other way important to me)?
  • What do I need to do to make it happen?
  • Who will help me along the way?
  • When do I want to arrive?
  • How will I take the next small step?

Living well has little to do with comfort and speed, but much to do with direction.

From Lifesupport.

Monday, April 16, 2007

WHEN YOU'VE BEEN "THROWED"

Twi the doggie on garden soil - “Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.”

It is well said: "Strength and courage aren't always measured in medals and victories. They are measured in the struggles we overcome. The strongest people aren't always the people who win but the people who don't give up when they lose."

It's been said that Andrew Jackson's boyhood friends just couldn't understand how he became a famous general and then the President of the United States. They knew of others who had greater talent but who never succeeded. One of Jackson's friends commented, "Why, Jim Brown, who lived right down the pike from Jackson, was not only smarter, but he could throw Andy three times out of four in a wrestling match. But look where Andy is now."

Another friend responded, "How did there happen to be a fourth time? Don't they usually say three times and out?"

"Sure, they were supposed to, but not Andy. He would never admit he was beat - he would never stay 'throwed.' Jim Brown would get tired, and on the fourth try Andy would throw him and be the winner."

Andrew Jackson just wouldn't stay "throwed"! And that determination served him well for many years.

Life will knock us off our feet again and again. You've been there and so have I. But some people just won't stay "throwed." They get up again, dust themselves off and go for it one more time. These are people of courage. They are also people of faith and hope.

Maybe you have been knocked off your feet. Will you stay "throwed," or will you rise and give it your best one more time?

From Lifesupport.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

A HEALTHY DOSE OF LAUGHTER

Colorful buildings - “Where life is colorful and varied, religion can be austere or unimportant. Where life is appallingly monotonous, religion must be emotional, dramatic and intense. Without the curry, boiled rice can be very dull.”

I read that a child laughs 400 times a day on the average, while an adult laughs only 15 times each day. Which is puzzling since laughter feels so good and is so good for us!

You may know the benefits of laughter on the mind and spirit, but are you aware of how much a good laugh can help you physically? Nor­man Cousins used to say that laughter is so bene­ficial for your body that it is like "inner jog­ging."

Mayo Clinic (Mayo Clinic Health Letter, March 1993) reports that laughter aids breathing by disrupting your normal respiration pattern and in­creasing your breathing rate. It can even help clear mucus from your lungs.

Laughter is also good for your heart. It in­creases circulation and improves the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to tissues throughout your body.

A good laugh helps your immune system fight off colds, flu and sinus problems by increas­ing the concentration of immunoglobulin A in your sa­liva. And it may help control pain by rais­ing the levels of certain brain chemicals (endorphins).

Furthermore, it is a natural stress reliever. Have you ever laughed so hard that you doubled over, fell off your chair, spit out your food or wet your pants? You cannot maintain muscle tension when you are laughing!

The good news is that you are allowed more than 15 laughs a day! Go ahead and double the dose and make it 30 times today. (You may begin to no­tice immediate improvement in your relationships!) Then double it again! You are bound to feel better, you will cope with problems
more effectively and people will enjoy being around you.

Laughter: it's just good medicine!

From Lifesupport.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

THE LIST

Ship turbo charger turbine - “Cheerfulness removes the rust from the mind, lubricates our inward machinery, and enables us to do our work with fewer creaks and ;groans. If people were universally cheerful, probably there wouldn't be half the quarreling or a tenth part of the wickedness”

Photo courtesy of TSAI

How long would your list be if you took inventory of your blessings - all of that for which you can give thanks? For family? For friends? For faith? For health and the necessities of life? Did you know that some one million people will die this week … how is your health? Those who have food, clothing and shelter have more than much of our world's population will ever possess. Do you have these necessities of living?

How long would your list be if you took inventory of your blessings … and added one new item daily? Would you be amazed at the size of the list?

You have 1,140 minutes in every day. How would your life be different if you spent just 15 of those minutes daily giving thanks? Just 15 minutes filling your mind with concrete examples of how fortunate you are? Most of us would discover even after a few days that the exercise was life changing!

Poet Courtland Sayers put it this way:

Five thousand breathless dawns all new;
One million flowers fresh in dew.
Five thousand sunsets wrapped in gold;
One million snowflakes served ice cold.
Five quiet friends, one baby's love;
One white sea of clouds above.
One June night in a fragrant wood;
One heart that loved and understood.
I wondered when I waked that day -
In God's name - how could I ever pay?

Christian mystic Meister Eckhart said, "If the only prayer you say in your whole life is 'thank you,' that would suffice." I suspect he is right.

From Lifesupport.

Friday, April 13, 2007

TOLL ROAD TO SUCCESS

Seedling growth on a dish - “Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.”

An airline passenger struck up a conversation with a stranger who was sniffling, apparently due to a recent head cold. "Look at me!" he said. "Never a day's sickness in my life, and all due to simple food," he boasted. "Why, from the age of twenty to that of forty I lived an absolutely simple, regular life -- no pampering, no late hours, no extravagances. Every day, in fact, I was in bed regularly at nine o'clock and up again at five in the morning. I ate a plain meal at noon and, after that, exercised for an hour, then..."

"Excuse me," interrupted the sniffling stranger in the next seat, "but what were you in for?"

Some people can go overboard with a rigid routine, but a certain amount of self-discipline is necessary when traveling this road of life.

Undisciplined people will end up doing what others determine. Disciplined people set their own daily schedules.

Undisciplined people are led around by immediate desires. Disciplined people pursue long-range goals .

Undisciplined people never accomplish anything significant. Disciplined people make beautiful dreams come true.

Mark Twain gave some advice about discipline. "Do one thing every day you don't want to do," he suggested. It's a price we pay for success. Then leave some time to do something you WANT to do, too. The first gets us where we want to go; the other makes the traveling more fun.

The road to success is a toll road. Pay that small, daily fee, and you'll be able to go most anywhere you want. Leave some time for fun, and you'll enjoy the ride.

From Lifesupport.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

STEEL AND VELVET

Lucky cat figure - “All of us have bad luck and good luck. The man who persists through the bad luck - who keeps right on going - is the man who is there when the good luck comes - and is ready to receive it.”

An unusual tribute was paid to Abraham Lincoln by Carl Sandburg. The poet wrote, "Not often in the story of mankind does a man arrive on earth who is both steel and velvet, who is as hard as rock and soft as drifting fog, who holds in his heart and mind the paradox of terrible storm and peace unspeakable and perfect."

Lincoln demonstrated then and now how a person can possess both a will of iron and a heart of tenderness. Nothing deterred the president during the American Civil War from his "noble" cause, and few persons have ever endured more criticism and detractors than Lincoln. Yet he was no more a man of steel than one of velvet.

When General Robert E. Lee surrendered his army, Lincoln sent an unexpected message to the enemy commander. "Tell your men they may keep their horses; they'll need them for plowing," said the president. Then this: "Tell your men they may keep their rifles; they'll need them for hunting." When Lee read those words he wept.

For each of us there is a time for toughness and a time for tenderness. A time for resolve and a time for compassion. An iron will is not the same as an iron spirit. Another courageous American, Martin Luther King, Jr. some hundred years later encouraged us to exhibit tough minds and soft hearts...not the other way around.

Be mentally tough; your resolve and determination will overcome great obstacles along life's path. But let your heart be soft; your compassion and love will make the journey worth it.

From Lifesupport.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

NOT JUST A PIPE DREAM

Security horse on patrol - “A horse is the projection of peoples' dreams about themselves - strong, powerful, beautiful - and it has the capability of giving us escape from our mundane existence.”


Are your dreams and beautiful ideas just pipe dreams?

According to Webb Garrison in his book WHY YOU SAY IT (Rutledge Hill Press, 1992), the term "pipe dream" has its origins in the 19th century. The drug opium was imported into Europe from Asia and was widely used in certain literary circles in Britain. Opium was smoked in a pipe and, once under the influence, people had hallucinations that were referred to as pipe dreams. So today, an unrealistic or impractical idea may be quickly discounted as a pipe dream.

But not all seemingly impossible or far-fetched ideas are merely pipe dreams. A case in point is the dream millionaire Eugene Lang gave to high school students in the impoverished neighborhood in which he was raised. Addressing a class of eighth-graders in the South Bronx, Lang threw away his prepared speech. The empty eyes of the students in attendance told him they were not interested in his "motivational" talk. Their neighborhood had become a battlefield of poverty, drugs and gangs, and a breeding ground of despair. About 80% of them would not complete high school. Few would ever leave the neighborhood. Fewer still would climb out of poverty. That is why Mr. Lang tossed aside his speech. The students didn't need a speech; they needed a dream.

Then, the words that came from Eugene Lang's mouth may have even astonished him! "If you graduate from high school," he told the youth, "I will send you to college." Send you to college!

For the next four years he worked with the school and kept the dream alive. And the results were phenomenal: all but two of the 60 teenagers finished high school! True to his word, he sent them to college. "He gave us hope," one student said, no doubt speaking for the majority. Another one of the students, upon meeting Lang later, said to him, "Mr. Lang, we did the impossible."

Not every seemingly unrealistic idea is a pipe dream. When that beautiful dream is combined with hard work and great expectation, then the impossible can be achieved. For when you believe enough in that magnificent dream, most anything can happen.

From Lifesupport.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A WONDROUS MYSTERY

Old Malaya Home Guard Uniform - “Most people who work at home find they do not have the benefit of receptionists who serve as personal guards.”

Sometimes fact is more mysterious than fiction! The "Denver Post" printed an article December 23, 1981 about a stranger-than-fact event that occurred in Colorado.

Stan Sieczkowski heard in church about a Denver family facing a rather bleak Christmas holiday. Medical bills robbed them of any extras; they would not even have a tree.

So Stan and his son Jay determined to get them that tree. They headed up into the Colorado Rockies in the family pickup. However, the truck skidded off the icy road and hit a boulder that shattered the windshield. Jay was showered by glass slivers and suffered from shock and crash trauma. Stan was uninjured, though somewhat shaken.

Cars sped past that day -- maybe 200 of them. Only two stopped. A gentle, dark-haired woman took the boy into her car to comfort him while her husband and another man helped Stan move his truck off the road. Then they drove father and son to Stan's home and quietly left without identifying themselves.

Later that month, Stan's pastor asked if he might deliver a food basket to the unfortunate family for which he had earlier tried to cut a tree. Stan found the house, but he could hardly find his speech when the door opened. Standing there before him was the same couple who had helped him on the mountain road!

Call it an amazing coincidence...or call it divine providence. Some mysteries are better left unanalyzed. But it is nice to remember that, when we give our hearts away in a spirit of generosity, we can still brush up against wonder, joy and love.

From Lifesupport.

Monday, April 9, 2007

PASSION MAKES THE DIFFERENCE

Cute piggy soft toy - “Cute is when a person's personality shines through their looks. Like in the way they walk, every time you see them you just want to run up and hug them.”

Are you too young or too old, too incapacitated or too disadvantaged to make a difference?

Let me tell you about Mattie Stepanek, who will be fourteen this year. Mattie has a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy. Three of his siblings have died of the disease. His mother is also afflicted. Mattie breathes through a tube in his neck and needs a wheelchair to get around.

Mattie was asked a few years ago what he might wish for. He named three things. He said he wanted to meet Oprah Winfrey, he wanted to meet President Jimmy Carter, and he wanted to publish a book of his poetry. (Mattie had been writing poetry since he was three.)

His wishes were all granted. He not only met Oprah, but also has appeared on her show. He visited with President Jimmy Carter and spoke with him about one of Mattie's favorite topics - world peace. After talking to Carter, Mattie said that he thought he was on the right track. He also had a book of his poetry published in 2000, when he was only eleven! By January of 2001, it had soared to the top of the New York Times best-seller list!

"Prayer for a Journey" was written when Mattie was just eight.

Thank You, God,
Not just for life,
But for our journey through life.
Life is a miracle,
And a journey through life
Is so full of so many more miracles
If we travel with our Heartsongs.
Thank You, God,
For blessing me with the
Gift of Heartsongs,
So that I can enjoy my miracles.
April 1998

From "Journey Through Heartsongs" (Hyperion Books, 2001)
http://www.mattieonline.com/.

If you were to ask Mattie what his purpose in life is he would answer, "My life mission is to spread peace to the world." But isn't fourteen too young to spread peace to the world? Isn't it too young to make a real difference?

G. W. F. Hegel said, "Nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion." Maybe it's not about age, or physical health or any of the things we usually associate with people who are changing their own worlds and making a difference. If Hegel is right - it's about passion. And passion is something Mattie Stepanek has plenty of!

From Lifesupport.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

THE PUSH YOU NEED

Color recycle bins - “One thing you can't recycle is wasted time”

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.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

GETTING THE BEST FROM THOSE YOU LEAD

Lamp post - “Asking a writer what he thinks about critics is like asking a lamp post how it feels about dogs”

A teacher was sitting at her desk grading papers when her first grade class came back from lunch. One of her students informed her, "Robert has to go to the principal's office."

"I wonder why?" the teacher mused.

"Because he's a following person," the child replied.

"A what?" the teacher asked.

"It came over the loudspeaker: 'The following persons are to go to the office.'"

Some people are "leading people" and some are "following people." And actually, we are each followers and leaders at various times. But if you are ever in a leadership position, this advice from college football coaching legend "Bear" Bryant about how to get the best from those you're leading can be useful.

"I'm just a plow hand in Arkansas," Bear said, "but I have learned how to hold a team together. How to lift some men up, how to calm down others, until finally they've got one heartbeat together, a team. There are just three things I'd ever say: 'If anything goes bad, I did it. If anything goes semi-good, then we did it. If anything goes real good, then you did it.' That's all it takes to get people to win football games for you."

I suspect that's all it takes to get people to be effective in any situation. For leaders are only as good as those who follow them, and followers are at their best when leaders are quick to give credit for successes.

British classical scholar Benjamin Jowett put it like this: "The way to get things done is not to mind who gets the credit for doing them." That's especially good to know when you're a "leading person."

From Lifesupport.

Friday, April 6, 2007

WAY TO RESULTS

Waiting in line for lottery tickets - “It's not easy taking my problems one at a time when they refuse to get in line.”

Melodie Hartline relates in Reader's Digest (September, 1996) that in her job as an employee of a jewelry store, she often arranged for engaged couples to have their wedding bands engraved with something special. She once asked a bride-to-be what she would like inscribed inside her fiancé's ring.

"We aren't very romantic," she replied. Then she related that they were marrying on her fiancé's birthday so he wouldn't forget the date!

Melodie persisted, "Isn't there something you'll want him to remember as he looks inside his ring?"

"There sure is," she said. And that's how "Put it back on!" came to be inscribed inside her husband's ring.

Perhaps she was trying to "help along" her husband's commitment to the relationship.

Catherine, from Scotland, may have wanted to help along her lover's commitment for several decades. And finally, her 68-year-old boyfriend, George, proposed after 44 years of courtship. Why the wait? "He is a bit shy, you know," Catherine said.

At the heart of any meaningful relationship is commitment. Further, commitment is vital to the success of any endeavor. Happy people are committed people. They commit to other people, they commit to themselves, they commit to God, and they commit to their dreams. They know that nothing is possible without firm resolve.

Author Ken Blanchard has said, "There's a difference between interest and commitment. When you're interested in doing something, you do it only when it's convenient. When you're committed to something, you accept no excuses - only results."

What about you? Are you ready for results?

From Lifesupport.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

YOU'RE NOT ALONE

Old Malaya Communist Uniform - “The tendency in modern civilization is to make the world uniform... Let the mind be universal. The individual should not be sacrificed.”

"The commonest and subtlest of all human diseases," a prominent physician said, "is fear." Fear is an incapacitating, paralyzing disease. We all fear at times, but many carry with them unnec­essary and destructive fears.

We're afraid of the unknown.

We're afraid of old age; afraid of growing senile and dependent.

We're afraid of change; afraid to plunge into that new relationship, job or way of life.

We're afraid of the future.

We're afraid to risk; afraid to fail or ap­pear as if we failed.

We're afraid to love; afraid to trust.

We're afraid of closeness; afraid we might get hurt.

We're afraid to die. Like Henry Van Dyke said, "Some people are so afraid to die that they never begin to live."

Fear is the most devastating enemy of hu­man personality.

But here's the good news: unnecessary fears can be conquered! Courage to meet fear head-on is actually at our fingertips.

An American slavery abolitionist, Wendell Phillips, made an interesting observation. He noted that it is easy to be brave when all are be­hind you and agree with you. But the difficulty comes when 99 percent of your friends think you are wrong. Then it is the brave soul who stands up – one among 1,000 – remembering that one with God makes a ma­jority!

You see, courage often comes from simply knowing you are not alone.

From Lifesupport.

CHING MING FESTIVAL

Today is Ching Ming festival.

"For the Chinese, it is a day to remember and honour one's ancestors. Young and old pray before the ancestors, sweep the tombs and offer food, tea, wine, chopsticks, (joss) paper accessories, and/or libation to the ancestors. The rites are very important to most Chinese and especially farmers. Some people carry willow branches with them on Qingming, or put willow branches on their gates and/or front doors. They think that willow branches help ward off the evil ghosts that wander on Qingming. Also on Qingming, people go on family outings, start the spring plowing, sing, dance, and Qingming is a time where young couples start courting. Another popular thing to do is fly kites (in shapes of animals, or characters from Chinese opera)" excerpt from Wikipedia.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

MAKING DELIVERIES

Unassuming post express deliveryman - “Never neglect the little things. Never skimp on that extra effort, that additional few minutes, that soft word of praise or thanks, that delivery of the very best that you can do. It does not matter what others think, it is of prime importance, however, what you think about you. You can never do your best, which should always be your trademark, if you are cutting corners and shirking responsibilities. You are special. Act it. Never neglect the little things.”

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

THE ROCKING CHAIR TEST

Fruits plastic wrapped for protection - “If most of us are ashamed of shabby clothes and shoddy furniture, let us be more ashamed of shabby ideas and shoddy philosophies... It would be a sad situation if the wrapper were better than the meat wrapped inside it.”

How are you at making decisions?

Years ago, a city family bought a cattle ranch and moved to the wide-open country. After a month, friends visited the family in their ranch house. "What did you decide to name your ranch?" they inquired.

"Well," the husband replied, "I wanted to call it the Flying W and my wife wanted to name it the Suzy Q, but one of our sons liked the Bar J and the other preferred the Lazy Y. So we compromised and call it the Flying W/Suzy Q/Bar J/Lazy Y."

"I see," said the visitor. "And where are your cattle?"

"None of them survived the branding!" said the rancher.

You, no doubt, make better decisions than that. But what do you do when you have a particularly tough decision to make? What do you do when your options are not at all clear?

When faced with a difficult decision, one man relies on what he calls the "rocking chair test." He imagines himself as an old man, nearing the end of his life. As he sits and rocks on his porch and
contemplates his life, he asks himself if this decision will have any meaning to him. Will he be proud or ashamed of his decision? How will this decision have affected the course of his life?

The "rocking chair test" helps him take a long view of his options. If any decision passes the test, then he knows that it was a good choice.

What decisions are you presently struggling with? Take the "rocking chair test" today and make a better decision for tomorrow.

From Lifesupport.

Monday, April 2, 2007

RUN WITH INTENT

Candy glass jar - “I like buying snacks from a vending machine because food is better when it falls. Sometimes at the grocery, I'll drop a candy bar so that it will achieve its maximum flavor potential.”

Buckminster Fuller once said, "The minute you choose to do what you really want to do it's a different kind of life." And it's not about what you're getting PAID to do! If you want to live abundantly, decide what you really want and figure out a way to do it. Be clear and live with intent.

You may have heard of Fred Lebow. Fred complained to his doctor that he lacked energy. His doctor advised him to take up running in order to increase his stamina. He fell in love with it! He was 39 years old when he entered his first race -- and did horribly. He beat only one other contestant…a 72-year-old man. But he loved it!

Fred decided what he really wanted to do -- and he did it in his spare time. He joined the New York Road Runners Club and organized New York City's first marathon race. But what Fred truly wanted to do, even more than run, was to bring people together. And that is what he did.
He believe that anybody should be able to run -- people of all ages, any background, professional or amateur, and of any country. Today, more than 28,000 people of all backgrounds and nationalities compete in the NYC Marathon.

Not everyone in New York was excited about people running through their neighborhoods. Fred was approached by a youth gang that warned him that nobody had better run through their turf. "That's great," Fred enthused. "I need someone to protect the runners in your area, and you look like just the fellows to do it." He gave them each a hat, shirt and jacket and that year, when the marathon went through their neighborhood, these young men proudly guarded the runners along their way.

Fred decided what was truly important to him and he found a way to do it. He lived with intent. That single decision made his life remarkably different.

In 1990, Fred Lebow found he had a brain tumor. In 1992 he ran his final race. He crossed the finish line holding the hand of his friend and Norwegian Olympic medalist, Grete Waitz. A bronze statue was created of Fred in his running clothes, checking his watch. It is now placed at the finish line of every race. Fred died in 1994. But as one sports writer said, "Fate handed him a short race. With his gall, with his love of life, Fred Lebow turned it into a marathon."

Fred would say that it's not about how long you live, but how you run the race of life. Do you run it with intent?

From Lifesupport.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

COOL HEADS AND WARM HEARTS

Wheat grass beverage - “People in general are responding to beverage products with health and wellness benefits. The trend is unmistakable and is going to gain traction in the years to come.”

If you've ever struggled making the right decision, you may appreciate this story:

A young man seemed to take an unusually long time to place his order at the flower shop. When the clerk asked how she could help, he explained that his girlfriend was turning 19 and he couldn't decide whether to give her a dozen roses or 19 roses -- one for each year of her life.

The woman put aside her business judgment and advised, "She may be your 19-year-old girlfriend now, but someday she could be your 50-year-old wife."

The young man bought a dozen roses.

My wife Bev understands that logic. As part of our anniversary tradition, which usually includes an evening out and sometimes a night away from home, I also buy her a single rose.

I made that decision on wedding anniversary number one. But it wasn't easy. My heart argued for giving her one rose the first anniversary, two roses on the second, and so forth. But my head argued that, in twenty or thirty years, a roomful of roses would not mean as much as something simpler -- not to mention the cost! In the end, my heart and head reached a compromise.

So I buy the one special rose every wedding anniversary and then we treat ourselves to a wonderful and romantic evening away. Over the years, Bev has dried every anniversary rose and saved the petals in a decorative jar.

The roses helped teach me something about making decisions. Any kind of decision. I've discovered that good decisions are made with both my head and my heart. Together, cool heads and warm hearts can solve most any problem.

A cool head asks the hard questions. A cool head thinks it through. A cool head objectively weighs the options.

But a warm heart asks the tender questions. A warm heart considers feelings and relationships. A warm heart asks what feels right.

Making the right decision is often difficult. And it seems we never have enough information when we need to decide. But the best decisions are made from both a cool head and a warm heart. It usually takes both of them to get it right.

From Lifesupport.

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