Thursday, May 31, 2007


Cityscape - “It is better for a city to be governed by a good man than by good laws.”

Did you know that your money likely has traces of cocaine on it?

A study by Jack Demirgian of the Argonne National Laboratory revealed that a full 78% of the currency circulating in Miami and other major US cities carries trace amounts of cocaine.

They were only looking for cocaine, but I wonder what else might be found on the bills? Fast-food products, no doubt, such as French fry grease, mustard, soft drink residue and coffee. And how about rouge or lipstick from purses and lint from pockets? I've seen everything from ink to oil on money that has come my way, and more indistinguishable stains than I care to remember.

And if they look closely enough, they can even tell something about where that money has been! To the store. To the beach. Even hidden beneath a mattress.

Just about anything that comes into contact with money leaves a bit of itself behind. Then, when the bills rub up against each other in a wallet or billfold, they share contaminates. Everything the bills touch is changed, however slightly.

So it is with us. Everybody you and I speak to, rub shoulders with or even smile changed. These changes can be helpful or hurtful, depending on our interaction. And even little changes can make a difference. NO ONE is insignificant in this regard.

Bette Reeves said, "If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in bed with a mosquito." I will surely affect everybody I encounter - one way or another. And they will affect me. I will leave a bit of myself behind, and take a little piece of them with me. Everybody.

There is something awe-inspiring about the influence we have on one another. In your daily contacts, what will you leave behind, and what will you take with you?

From Lifesupport.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


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Pink carnations - “Happiness held is the seed; happiness shared is the flower”

Jewish humor has it that a rabbi and a priest met at the town picnic and began their usual "kibitzing." "This baked ham is just delicious," the priest teased the rabbi. "You really should try some. I know it's against your religion, but I can't understand why such a wonderful thing should be forbidden. You just don't know what you're missing. You haven't lived until you've tried Mrs. Kennedy's baked ham. Tell me, when are you going to break down and try a little ham?"

The rabbi looked at the priest, smiled and said, "At your wedding."

Truth is light...wherever it is found. Only one sun shines in the noonday sky. Likewise, the source of truth is one, in whatever form it is found. "We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of
the dark," said Plato. "The real tragedy of life is when [we] are afraid of the light." Afraid of the truth. And afraid of one another.

Someday, we may laugh together. When that day comes, we'll know what it is to walk in the light.

From Lifesupport.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Looking over your shoulder - “The friends who grew up with you deserve a special respect- the ones who stuck by you shoulder to shoulder, in a time when nothing was certain, all life lay ahead, and every road led home.”

"Do you think my hair is soft and shiny?" Jessica asked Josh one moonlit evening.

Josh answered, "Yep."

"And are my eyes bright and beautiful?" she continued.

"Yep," he replied.

After a few minutes Jessica forged ahead, "Josh, do you think my skin is smooth and clear?"


At this, Jessica smiled brightly and declared, "Oh, Josh, you say the sweetest things!"

Lucky for Josh, he got a little help!

No relationship can be built on flattery, but sincere compliments smooth over many rough edges. A thoughtful compliment is a way of saying, "I care enough to notice." Even relationships that are not romantic in nature will benefit from well-placed compliments.

Granted, some people feel suspicious, embarrassed, or defensive when complimented. They sometimes suspect that fine words might be part of a manipulative design. And quite often, people respond to compliments with mixed emotions rather than plain gratitude, primarily because they find the sincerity behind them suspect.

But most often, sincere encouragement can bolster self-confidence and cement friendships. In love relationships, thoughtful compliments can help keep the fires of romance burning vigorously.

One marriage counselor says, 'Compliment your spouse at least once every day." He cautions against flattery by adding, "It should be sincere. Then point out something new you appreciate about him or her every week. Make sure it is something you have never mentioned before. You'll be surprised at what it does for your marriage."

Sincere compliments cost nothing and can accomplish so much. In ANY relationship, they are the applause that refreshes.

From Lifesupport.

Monday, May 28, 2007


Memorial bronze statue - “In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it.”

I enjoy a story about baseball great Joe Garagiola. He once stepped to the plate when his turn came to bat. Before assuming his stance, however, fervent Roman Catholic Joe took his bat and made the sign of the cross in the dirt in front of home plate. Catcher Yogi Berra, also a devout Catholic, walked over and erased Garagiola's cross. Turning to the astonished batter, Berra smiled and said, "Lets let God watch this inning."

And I suspect that God, who does not root for one team only, smiled.

I likewise enjoy the story about an old Quaker who stood during the church meeting and told his fellow Friends about a young man who was not a Quaker and who lived an undisciplined life. This young man invited a pious Quaker friend to go sailing one day. A sudden storm came up and the wild young man was drowned. Having made his point, the old Quaker sat down.

Silence returned to the meeting until the old man once again arose. This time he said, "Friends, for the honor of the truth, I think I ought to add that the Quaker also drowned."

And I suspect that the heart of God, who does not arbitrarily sink ships, was filled with sadness for both losses.

It is true that the sun shines on all of us - good and bad alike. The rain falls on each of us, regardless of religious affiliation. And I wonder, are we really very different from one another?

From Lifesupport.

Sunday, May 27, 2007


Bath towels for sale - “Do not quit! Hundreds of times I have watched people throw in the towel at the one-yard line while someone else comes along and makes a fortune by just going that extra yard.”

Are you aware that you will miss about one- third of this coming year? You will "miss" it by sleeping. Researchers tell us that the average person sleeps about one-third of each year - or one-third of a lifetime.

But the experts also tell us that something important happens when we sleep - we dream. Apparently all people dream, even if they don't remember dreaming. And over the next twelve months, most of us will have about a thousand dreams.

Dreaming is important. But equally important are those "dreams" we have for our lives - those plans, hopes and goals we will formulate concerning our relationships, our spiritual growth, self-improvement, our physical health and our world. The dreams, or wishes, we have for our lives are just as necessary as dreaming while we sleep.

Dr. Norman Vincent Peale used to tell of a 79-year-young woman who was struck by a hit-and-run driver. She was expected to die from her injuries. When he visited, he found her wrapped in plaster from her hips to her heels. He glanced around the room, cluttered with mementos of a lifetime. He spotted a paisley shawl, a child's drawing of a horse (lavender) and shelves of much loved, much-thumbed books.

One shelf was a row of brand new books - the only new items in the room. They looked as if they had never been touched. Dr. Peale asked her if she cared for poetry. Her answer was a beautiful tribute to hope and dreams: "I love poetry, but I haven't read those yet." Her face lit up. "I'm saving them for my old age."

She did, too. She lived to read those books many times. When she finally died at 91, she was planning a trip to Europe.

Louis Driscoll put it like this: "In your heart keep one still secret spot where dreams may go, and sheltered so, may thrive and grow."

She kept her dreams alive. And they kept her alive.

From Lifesupport.

Saturday, May 26, 2007


Fresh vegetables vending stall - “An onion can make people cry but there's never been a vegetable that can make people laugh.”

I have hear numerous comments like these: "I want my life to matter." "I want to make more of a difference to people." "Life is too short. I may not live a long life, but I do want to look back on a meaningful one." We live in a time when people are seeking more authentic ways to live.

We also live in a time when there is less interest in religion and more in spirituality. Less in denominations and more in global participation. There seems to be a public yearning for lasting answers to the gnawing emptiness so many feel within.

Television, movies and print media are tying into our universal attraction to all things spiritual. And so is the Internet. Just google the word "God." In English you will get several hundred million hits! More people are writing and talking about God than the world's wealthiest, most powerful and most well-known historical personalities. There is a great interest in spirituality, and for many people, a renewed quest for meaning.

In the wonderful Lewis Carroll story of "Alice In Wonderland," one of the characters is a lock. The lock is restless. It is busily hunting for something behind every rock and tree. As Alice watches the lock, her curiosity is aroused and she asks, "What is the matter?"

The lock replies, "I am looking for something to unlock me."

I think that is our quest -- looking for something to unlock us. Something to open us up to passion and purpose for living. We don't want to die before we ever truly LIVE! And we somehow know that our best answers will be spiritual ones; for we're finally unlocked when our hearts have been opened. It's a peace.

From Lifesupport.

Friday, May 25, 2007


Spiral yam - “The growth of understanding follows an ascending spiral rather than a straight line”

Rabbi Harold Kushner tells a wonderful story about a bright young man who was a sophomore Stanford pre-med student. To reward him for having done so well in school, his parents gave him a trip to the Asia for the summer.

While there he met a guru who said to him, "Don't you see how you are poisoning your soul with this success-oriented way of life? Your idea of happiness is to stay up all night studying for an exam so you can get a better grade than your best friend. Your idea of a good marriage is not to find the woman who will make you whole, but to win the girl that everyone else wants.

"That's not how people are supposed to live," the sage admonished. "Give it up; come join us in an atmosphere where we all share and love each other."

The young man had completed four years at a competitive high school to get into Stanford, plus two years of pre-med courses at the university. He was ripe for this sort of approach. He called his parents from Tokyo and told them he would not be coming home. He was dropping out of school to live in an ashram (a spiritual retreat).

Six months later, his parents got this letter from him:

"Dear Mom and Dad,
I know you weren't happy with the decision I made last summer, but I want to tell you how happy it has made me. For the first time in my life, I am at peace. Here there is no competing, no hustling, no trying to get ahead of anyone else. Here we are all equal, and we all share. This way of life is so much in harmony with the inner essence of my soul that in only six months I've become the number two disciple in the entire ashram, and I think I can be number one by June!"

What this young man didn't get is that it's not always about competition and achievement -- doing more and doing it faster than anyone else. It's not HOW you do it; it is WHAT you do. Success is more about doing the RIGHT thing. Miss that, and nothing else matters.

Someone put it like this: "I spent my life frantically climbing the ladder of success. When I got to the top I realized it was leaning against the wrong building." Even if he got to the top first, it made no difference. There is no merit in being first to arrive at the wrong place.

Do you know what one difference between efficient and effective is? One who is efficient does the thing in the best possible way; one who is effective does the best possible thing. More important than efficiency is effectiveness. More important than climbing highest is climbing the right ladder.

Blessed are those who accomplish.. .the right thing. Blessed are those who scale the mountain and, whether or not they even make it to the top, they know they chose the right path. These people will have found success.

From Lifesupport.

Thursday, May 24, 2007


A solid rock - “In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins. Not through strength, but through persistence.”

A funny story tells about three high school seniors who went to New York for their senior trip. When they arrived in the city, they went immediately to one of the finest hotels and registered for a room. They were assigned a room on the 30th floor.

After settling in, they decided to go see the sights. They toured Manhattan, the Empire State Building, Wall Street and the Statue of Liberty. They finally returned to their hotel utterly exhausted.

When they asked the desk clerk for the key to their room, he said, "I am sorry, the elevators are not running." He told them that they could either wait or use the stairway. The thought of a soft bed was irresistible, so they decided to climb the stairs -- all thirty stories.

One of the boys had an idea. "On the way up, each of us will tell the funniest story we know for ten flights of stairs," he suggested. The other two agreed and started to climb. When they reached the tenth floor, they were still going strong. By the twentieth floor, their legs were rubber and they panted for breath. The steps grew harder to climb and the one whose turn it was to tell a funny story said, "I'm sorry, I'm just too tired to talk."

They trudged on in silence. When they reached the 29th floor, one of them began to laugh. He sat down on the steps and laughed hysterically. Finally, he said to his amazed companions, "I just thought of the funniest thing that could ever happen."

"What is it?" they asked.

He said, "We left the key in the lobby."

Many people feel as if they have lost the key to getting what they want in life -- meaning, happiness, success, peace, security. They have been trudging and toiling at length but feel as if they are locked out of that place they really want to be. They think, "If only I had the key to a whole and happy life!"

That wise and amazing woman Eleanor Roosevelt gave three keys to meaning, happiness, success and peace. "One is that you do whatever comes your way as well as you can," she said. She knew that the key to satisfaction in life is to take pride in whatever you're given to do, regardless how grand or humble the undertaking.

"Another is that you think as little as possible about yourself and as much as possible about other people and about things that are interesting," she continued. Eleanor Roosevelt knew that those who take a genuine interest in the concerns of others and in great ideas lose their desire to worry needlessly about themselves.

"The third is that you receive more joy out of giving joy to others and [that you] should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give," she concluded. She was aware that the key to finding happiness is in giving happiness -- wherever and whenever possible.

These are three keys that should neither be lost nor locked away in a safe place. Learn to use them -- every day -- and you'll open doors to those important and wonderful things that will make your life worth living!

From Lifesupport.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


White mini castle - “A cabin with plenty of food is better than a hungry castle”

The airline pilot announced over the intercom, "Folks, I've got good news and bad news for you. The bad news is...we're lost. The good news is...we're making great time!"

It's too easy to live our lives like that, isn't it? Always a bit too busy. In a hurry to accomplish the day's tasks. Rushing around...but not clear exactly where we want to ultimately end up.

It's been provocatively said, "Millions long for immortality who do not know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon." The problem is...they know they would like to accomplish something important with their lives or they would like to make a certain income or they would like to be happy. But when it comes to making the journey toward those destinations, they feel stuck. In short, they are lost.

Author and speaker Danny Cox, in his book SEIZE THE DAY (Career Press, 1994), tells of a man who made a great success of his life in spite of tremendous hardships. The moment that ultimately turned this man's life around was when he sat down and asked himself four important

1) What do I really want? He didn't want to just sleepwalk through life, nor look back someday and feel regret.

2) What will it cost? In time, money and commitment.

3) Am I willing to pay the price?

4) When is the best time to start paying the price?

Answer these four questions and you will be clear on the direction you want to take your life. Commit to these answers and you'll make great time.

From Lifesupport.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Piles of shoes for sale - “Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you criticize them, you are a mile away from them and you have their shoes.”

One night, a Dodgers farm club coached by Tommy Lasorda was leading Tucson by one run in the eighth inning, but Tucson had the bases loaded with two outs. According to Don Martin in TEAM THINK (Penguin books, Ltd., 1993), Lasorda decided to pep up his pitcher, a left-hander named Bobby O'Brien. Lasorda slowly walked out to the mound and said, "Bobby, if the heavens opened up right now and you could hear the voice of the Big Dodger in the sky and he said to you, 'Bobby, you're going to die and come up to heaven, and this is the last batter you're ever going to face,' how would you like the meet the Lord, getting this man out or letting him get a hit from you?"

"I'd want to face him getting this guy out," O'Brien replied.

"That's right," said Lasorda, "you would. Now, how do you know that after you throw the next pitch you're not going to die? This might really be the last hitter you're ever going to face and if it is, you'll want to face the Lord getting him out."

Lasorda figured it was just about the best pep talk ever and he strutted confidently back to the dugout. O'Brien wound up and threw the pitch. The batter lined a base hit to right field, knocking in two runs.

Lasorda was beside himself. "Bobby, what happened?" he asked.

"It's like this, Skip," said O'Brien. "You had me so worried about dying I couldn't concentrate on the batter!"

Many people are worried about dying. Their worry can keep them from fully enjoying life in the present. But for other people, the knowledge that they will die someday actually motivates them to live more fully!

Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, who has extensively studied death and dying, put it like this: "It's only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth - and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up, we will then begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had."

It's true, we have no way of knowing when our time is up. But we have today. Will you live it as if it were the only day you had?

From Lifesupport.

Monday, May 21, 2007


Scenic riverside view - “The belief that one's own view of reality is the only reality is the most dangerous of all delusions”

Our news is constantly filled with the reality of death and dying. And each of us, if we live long enough, experiences the loss of persons we loved.

Children ages eight through ten were asked what they thought about death, and these are some of their answers:

"When you die, God takes care of you like your mother did when you were alive – only God doesn't yell at you all the time." (Beth, 9)

"When you die, they bury you in the ground and your soul goes to heaven, but your body can't go to heaven because it's too crowded up there already." (Jimmy, 8)

"Only the good people go to heaven. The other people go where it's hot all the time like in Florida." (Judy, 9)

"Maybe I'll die someday, but I hope I don't die on my birthday because it's no fun to celebrate your birthday if you're dead." (Jon, 9)

"I'm not afraid to die because I'm a Boy Scout." (Kevin, 10)

"Doctors help you so you won't die until you pay their bills." (Stephanie, 9)

I've observed that the loss of a loved one can be one of the most difficult things we humans can face. And one of our greatest needs as we experience such a loss is for simple, human comfort. I've known friends of sick and dying people to sit by a bedside or in a hospital room for hours, even days, at a time. I've sometimes heard them offer words of prayer. I've seen food in homes of people who are dying overflow from kitchen to dining room – food brought by comforting friends from church and concerned neighbors. And I've observed friends to just listen…for as long as it takes. Caring friends are indispensable in times of trouble.

When U.S. Congressman Sam Rayburn (1882-1961) discovered that he was ill, he announced to the House of Representatives he was going home to Texas for medical tests. Some wondered why he did not stay in Washington where there were excellent medical facilities. His answer was a beautiful tribute to friendship: "Bonham is a place where people know it when you're sick, and where they care when you die."

No one wants to go through difficult times alone. So Rayburn traded the best of medical technology for the closeness of loving friends. He knew that good friends are good medicine. Often the best.

From Lifesupport.

Sunday, May 20, 2007


Storage rack - “Trouble brings experience, and experience brings wisdom.”

I recall a story about Noah Webster (of dic­tionary fame), who suddenly found himself one day in an em­bar­rassing situation. He was caught kissing the maid in the kitchen pantry by none other than his wife.

"Why Noah!" she exclaimed. "I'm sur­prised!"

Always the semanticist, Noah replied, "No, my dear, you're amazed. I'm surprised!"

No, I don't know how they ever resolved that situation. But I do know that surprise and amazement are important if we are to make the most of life's journey. People are dying to really love life. But they have, too often, forfeited the pre­sent in or­der to worry about the future or lament the past.

Ruth Carter Stapleton wrote a succinct phi­losophy of life in 1981, which was later read at her graveside service. She said: "Time is passing. Each day is a glorious opportunity to live and enjoy. To­day I will let the past die - all the undone things, all the misjudged things.... Today, there are new pleas­ures, new challenges, new magic."

If she allowed herself to be surprised by the present, could she help but be amazed every day by the "pleasures," "challenges" and "magic" all around her? And how about you? Are you ready to put aside concern for the past and future long enough to truly experience the present?

Are you ready to be amazed?

From Lifesupport.

Saturday, May 19, 2007


Laughing Buddha statue - “To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of leave the world a better know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”

Did you hear about the man who attempted skydiving for the first time? His parachute didn't open. Then his auxiliary chute failed. Now he found himself in free fall with no more options.

Then a strange thing happened. He spotted something coming up towards him from the ground at a high rate of speed. It was a man! When he was sure they would pass one another without a collision, he shouted down to the figure, "Do you know anything about parachutes?"

"No!" the man called back. "Do you know anything about gas stoves?"

A little bit of technological knowledge could have been helpful in both cases. But it has never just been about how much we know.

I read that the world's body of knowledge doubled from 1900 to 1950. In other words, knowledge that took thousands of years to accumulate doubled in only fifty years. It then doubled again between 1950 and 1965. In just fifteen years. It is estimated that the world's body of knowledge doubled once more between 1965 and 1970 and now doubles every five years. Amazing! We can never keep up with all there is to learn.

But perhaps more important than how much any of us knows is how consistently we act on the knowledge we have. We certainly need enough knowledge to live fruitful and constructive lives, but even knowledge will not serve well if we neglect to use it.

You may know that material things don't bring lasting happiness. Will you actively pursue things of the heart and spirit?

You may know peace comes when you forgive. Will you decide to put down that grudge and leave it behind?

You may know that any decision made from fear alone is likely to be wrong. Will you choose the path of courage, even if that path seems hard to navigate?

Most of us know important principles about effective living. But in the end, what we know to be true is of no consequence - the decisions we make are everything. And if we apply well even the little we know, we can be healthy, happy and hopeful.

From Lifesupport.

Friday, May 18, 2007


Learning to stand on your own two feet - “We all have different desires and needs, but if we don't discover what we want from ourselves and what we stand for, we will live passively and unfulfilled.”

Do you know what an L.L.B. is?

When people traveled more often by train than by air, one mother found herself in need. She was traveling with two children, one of which was a fussy baby. It seemed that nothing she did would settle the child down.

However, seated next to her was an older gentleman who offered to take the infant so she could tend to her other child. He bounced the baby on his knee, cooed and whispered and finally stood up and paced the aisle. In a little while the infant fell fast asleep and he sat down again. The mother was amazed. "You must be an M.D.," she exclaimed.

"No," he smiled. "I'm just an L.L.B."

"An L.L.B?" she asked. "What's that?"

"A Lover of Little Babies!" he said.

In America's aftermath of Hurricane Katrina we are discovering L.L.B's, as well as Lovers of Older Folks, Lovers of Life's Victims and even Lovers of Lost Pets. Some of these good-hearted people open their homes. Some scour the streets of New Orleans for stranded residents. Some volunteer at shelters around the country, some organize support in their own communities and some send supplies and money. Some pray. It is these lovers of humanity that will, in the end, help devastated lives through the crisis and give us all enough hope to keep doing what we can.

You've heard it said, "Blessed are the merciful…" Mercy takes on several faces. Sometimes it may look like an L.L.B. But today it looks like many of you. May you be truly blessed.

From Lifesupport.

Thursday, May 17, 2007


HP Tablet PC - “Man is a strange animal. He generally cannot read the handwriting on the wall until his back is up against it.”

An old story is told of two men who went fishing in a small boat. The day was uneventful until one of them hooked a huge fish, which, in the strug­gle, pulled him overboard! He couldn't swim and began to panic.

"Help!" he yelled. "Save me!"

The friend reached over and grabbed the man by the hair to pull him closer to the boat. But when he tugged, the man's toupee came off and he slipped down under the water again.

He came up shouting, "Hey, help me! I can't swim!"

So the friend reached down again and this time latched onto the struggling man's arm. But when he pulled, the arm came off! It was an arti­fi­cial limb.

The drowning man continued to kick and thrash around and his friend reached out a third time. This time he grabbed a leg and pulled. You guessed it -- he pulled off a wooden leg!

The man continued splashing and sputter­ing and calling out, "Help me!" and the friend fi­nally called back in disgust, "How can I help you if you won't stick together?"

Similarly, how can people in marriages and families be helped when they won't stick to­gether? How can churches, schools and businesses get anywhere when they won't stick together? And how can a nation function well when it can't stick together?

None of us lives in isolation. This life is a group outing. And some conflict along the way is inevitable. But when we stick together, beauti­ful things can hap­pen.

If you feel as if things in your life are fal­ling apart, maybe it is because the people in your life are not sticking together!

From Lifesupport.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


Bonsai for sale - “Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.”

You've heard it said that the best things in life aren't things. This truth is illustrated well by Andrea Jaeger.

At age 14 Andrea won her first professional tennis tournament. At 18, she reached the finals of Wimbledon. But at age 19, a shoulder injury brought her career to an end.

Her body was injured, but not her spirit. Andrea Jaeger no longer serves up aces on the court, but she is serving society. She began a nonprofit organization called Kids' Stuff Foundation that brings hope and joy to children who are suffering from cancer or other life-threatening illnesses. She runs the organization full time, year-round, unpaid.

"You get very spoiled on the pro tour," she says. "The courtesy cars, the five-star hotels, all the people clapping because you hit a good shot. It's easy to forget what's important in life." She goes on to say, "I forget a lot less lately."

Her life is an example of what can happen when one concentrates on worthy priorities. She remembers what is important in life. And I'll wager she is fulfilled and happy because of her decision.

It has been succinctly said that the main cause for failure and unhappiness is trading what you want most for what you want at the moment. If the best things in life are not things, what do you want most? Fulfillment? Love? Joy? Happiness? Meaning? Intimacy? Friendship? Spiritual wholeness? Success? Health? Hope? Something else?

What if you traded what you want at the moment for what you want most -- if you remember what is important in life and concentrate only on that. The life you build would be no less than incredible.

From Lifesupport.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


Seafaring ship - “Without goals, and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination.”

Did you know...?

That Joan of Arc was only seventeen when she was riding at the head of the army that liberated France from the English?

That John Calvin was twenty-six when he published his "Institutes"?

That John Keats died when he was twenty-six?

That Shelley was thirty when he was drowned, but not before he left English literature his classic "Odes"?

That Sir Isaac Newton had largely discovered the working of the law of gravitation when he was twenty-three?

That Henry Clay, the "great compromiser," was sent to the United States Senate at twenty-nine and was Speaker of the House of Representatives at thirty-four?

That Raphael painted his most important pictures between twenty-five and thirty?

That Mozart only lived thirty-five years?

Of course, most of us will never achieve the prominence of these extraordinary individuals. Nor should we -- we are each cut from a unique pattern. But many people feel as if they should be leaving more of a mark on the world. When I was a young man I wanted to make things happen. After a few years I realized I would have to content myself with watching most things happen. (Now I often find that I have no idea at all what is happening!)

It helps to remember that there is a time for everything -- and everybody. Our time to bear good fruit may be yet to come. In fact, we may do our best work, or find our unique place, later in life.

Colorado aspen trees grow vigorously. After the devastation of a forest fire, frequent occurrences in the Rockies, aspens are sometimes the first trees to return. They re-forest an area quickly, providing shade for slower-growing spruce and pine saplings. These evergreens grow slower, but may live many years longer than the aspens. Each tree grows in its own time.

So does each person. Some people come to fruition quickly, others contribute more significantly in later years.

If you've not yet come into your own, don't worry. Tend to your work and aspirations with care. Don't give up; but rather be patient, for growth can be slow. Remember, storms and disease are devastating, but they can also prune you and make you stronger. With proper nurture, you will in time enjoy a full harvest.

There is a time for everything and everybody. And the time to begin is now.

From Lifesupport.

Monday, May 14, 2007


Bronze cats statues - “Pay no attention to what the critics say. A statue has never been erected in honor of a critic.”

One golfer had an absolutely horrible day at the links. His ball lay on an anthill and he swung viciously with a five-iron. Again and again he missed the ball and chopped away at the hill, killing ants and sending sand flying through the air. One frightened ant turned to another and said in panic, "We'd better get on the ball if we want to stay alive!"

So it is with all of us. There is a time to think, but also a time to do. There is a time to learn, but also a time to act. There is a time to gather information, but also a time to make de­ci­sions.

It's been said that knowing something doesn't make a difference. But taking what you know and doing something with it makes all the difference.

If you have been putting off that decision; if you've been procrastinating about beginning that project; or if you've never gotten around to pursu­ing that dream which never seems to go away,
then this is your nudge to get on the ball. It's the only way to really live!

From Lifesupport.

Sunday, May 13, 2007


Grand prize red car - “A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove...but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.”

Should we chain our children to the bedpost until they reach adulthood? Should we shield them from all negative influences until they can make mature decisions?

When Dr. Willis Tate was at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, he told of a mother who gallantly tried to protect her son. She wrote a long letter to Dr. Tate about her son who was coming to enroll as a freshman. She wanted the president to make sure that the boy had a "good" roommate who would encourage him to go to church and not use bad language. She did not want the roommate to smoke or otherwise negatively influence her son.

But the mother's closing remarks make the letter unforgettable: "The reason all of this is so important is that it is the first time my boy has been away from home, except for the three years he spent in the Marines."

Parents want to protect their children. But perhaps more importantly, most parents want their children to develop sufficient inner resources to protect themselves in potentially destructive situations. They want to equip them to be independent, to make responsible decisions on their own.

Which means that, as their children grow into adulthood, parents must gradually learn to give up thinking that they can protect them and endeavor more to love them. And isn't love really what children of any age truly need from their parents?

From Lifesupport.

Saturday, May 12, 2007


Kashews the cat looking uninterested - “The wireless telegraph is not difficult to understand. The ordinary telegraph is like a very long cat. You pull the tail in New York, and it meows in Los Angeles. The wireless is the same, only without the cat.”

Italian actor Roberto Benigni has been described as a charming and effusive man who, in his joy over winning the 1998 Academy Award for best actor for his performance in the film "Life Is Beautiful," danced over the tops of chairs and leaped up on stage. With that in mind, listen to what he says on the subject of gratitude: "It's a sign of mediocrity when you demonstrate gratitude with moderation."

Gratitude with moderation! Doesn't that describe how many of us approach life?

We rarely show gratitude for each miraculous new day.

We wait too long to tell others what they mean to us.

We're more excited about acquiring something new than taking inventory of all we already have.

The word that too often describes our gratitude is "moderate." You know the adage: "In all things, moderation," but I've never heard, "In gratitude, moderation." There should NEVER be moderation in showing gratitude!

Author Sarah Ban Breathnach says, "Every time we remember to say 'thank you,' we experience nothing less than heaven on earth."

Imagine living every day demonstrating gratitude with abandon. Imagine becoming excessive in thanksgiving. Every day would be another episode in your never-ending love affair with life.

From Lifesupport.

Friday, May 11, 2007


Square motif building - “A round man cannot be expected to fit in a square hole right away. He must have time to modify his shape.”

Ten sure-fire ways to become a weak leader:

1. Weak leaders are blind to the current situation. They solve the wrong problems in the wrong way.

Good leaders understand what is happening. They size up the situation, put themselves in the right position to respond, prepare, and then act at the proper time.

2. Weak leaders discourage others. They find fault and blame. They criticize when things don't go right.

Good leaders encourage. They give credit when things go well and take responsibility when they don't go well.

Alabama football coach "Bear" Bryant was once asked how he inspired his players. He responded, "Well, I'm just an old plow hand from Arkansas, but I've learned a few things about getting people to do what you want them to do. When things go wrong, I did it. When things go semi-good, we did it. And when things go good, you did it. That's all it takes to hold a team together and win football games."

3. Weak leaders know it all. They already have the answers.

Good leaders keep learning. A cross-discipline study of leadership indicated that effective leaders in all fields are always learning. They constantly improve their skills. The best leaders are perpetual learners. Unlike weak leaders, they know that a spurt here and a spurt there does not make one an expert!

4. Weak leaders never rock the boat. They won't make courageous decisions for fear of failing. They prefer to keep things as they are, even if the system is not working all that well. Weak leaders will almost always follow the well-worn path.

Good leaders, however, will often go where there is no path and leave a trail. They are sure of their direction and they act boldly.

5. Weak leaders keep others in their place. They remind them who is boss.

Good leaders know that authority is more earned than granted.

A young Army officer found that he did not have the correct change for a soft drink vending machine. Noticing a subordinate nearby, he said, "Private, do you have change for a dollar?"

Cheerfully, the man said, "I think so - let me look."

"That is no way to address your superior, soldier!" scolded the officer. "Now, let's try it again. Private, do you have change for a dollar?"

The soldier snapped to attention, saluted and said, "NO, SIR!"

6. Weak leaders do all of the work themselves. They delegate poorly. They micro-manage and control.

Good leaders identify the gifts, strengths and limitations of those they lead. They assign, train, encourage and then get out of the way.

7. Weak leaders sabotage the successes of others. When those below them succeed, they feel threatened.

Good leaders, on the other hand, help their subordinates find success. They give a hand up. They realize that when one is lifted to another's shoulders, both stand taller.

8. Weak leaders ask others do what they are not willing to do themselves, and try to get others to go places they have not been.

Good leaders always lead by example.

9. Weak leaders motivate by force. They cajole, intimidate, threaten and issue ultimatums.

Good leaders know that motivation by force destroys morale. They understand that people respond best to positive incentive. They know that people who believe in themselves will do more work and better work.

10. Finally, weak leaders do not listen to those they lead. Their minds are already made up and they charge recklessly ahead.

Good leaders listen and learn. U.S. Secretary of State Dean Rusk once said, "One of the best ways to persuade others is with you ears -- by listening to them." Good salespeople know this. Good motivators know this. Good leaders know this.

There you have it: ten characteristics of weak leaders. Avoid all ten of these leadership blunders and you can become a GREAT leader.

From Lifesupport.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


Old monitor - “After a day spent staring at a computer monitor, think of a book as a kind of screen saver for your brain”

Charles Allen, in his book Victories in the Valleys of Life (Fleming H. Revell, 1981), tells the story of a man who, one wintry day, went to traffic court in Wichita, Kansas, not knowing court had been canceled because of a blizzard. A few days later he wrote this letter:

"I was scheduled to be in court February 23rd, at 12:15 p.m., concerning a traffic ticket. Well, I was there as scheduled and, to my surprise, I was the only one there. No one had called to tell me that the court would be closed, so I decided to go ahead with the hearing as scheduled, which meant that I had to be the accuser, the accused and the judge. The citation was for going 46 miles per hour in a 35-mile-per-hour zone. I had the speed alert on in my car, set for 44 miles per hour; and as the accuser, I felt that I was going over 35 miles per hour, but as the accused, I know that I was not going 46 miles per hour. As judge, and being the understanding man that I am, I decided to throw it out of court this time. But it had better not happen again."

He had a rare opportunity to judge himself and took full advantage. On the other hand, we probably judge ourselves all day long. We may even react more harshly to our own mistakes and errors than we would ever react to those same shortcomings in others.

Two thousand years ago a Roman writer named Publilius Syrus observed, "How unhappy are they who cannot forgive themselves." Whether dealing with others or with ourselves, it usually helps to err on the side of grace. Do you need to be gentler with yourself?

From Lifesupport.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007


Business rack server - “Think P.I.G. - that’s my motto. P stands for Persistence, I stands for Integrity, and G stands for Guts. These are the ingredients for a successful business and a successful life.”

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.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007


River boatman - “Love is the river of life in the world.”

When the world lets you down, is there somebody who will keep faith?

In her book SMALL SACRIFICES, (Signet, 1988) Ann Rule tells a gruesome story of a mother who sacrificed her three children and how one family went the distance to set things right.

Diane Downs rushed to the emergency room covered in blood. She screamed that her children were in the car and had been shot. She said she'd stopped to help a hitch-hiker who pulled a gun and shot all three of her children in the head and torso. Her five-year-old daughter died. Her little son Danny was paralyzed and would certainly suffer psychological trauma. Her six-year-old daughter Christie suffered a stroke, some paralysis and, like Danny, psychological trauma.

Police immediately scoured the area for her assailant. But the investigation eventually turned from the search for an elusive killer to the motive for a mother to harm her own children. Diane apparently had been having an affair with a married man named Lew. He was not interested in being with her when the children were around, so, the prosecution later postulated, Diane decided to eliminate her children in order to keep Lew.

During the saga, one man took a genuine interest in her children. He was Fred Hugi, the prosecuting attorney. Hugi was married, but they had no children. He always said he never liked kids and had nothing to do with them. But all that changed when he visited Danny and Christie in the hospital. His eyes filled with tears at the sight of Christie. She could not move, but she made eye contact with the lawyer. That day he walked away filled with love and compassion for the helpless children.

Hugi visited her several times a week. She was eventually given to caring foster parents and the attorney continued his visits.

Over a year later the case finally went to trial. The most solid evidence against Diane came from her daughter Christie. She told a horrific tale about the frightening events of that night. She was afraid of her mother and needed reassurance that she would be safe if she testified. She told how her mother had shot all three children – Danny on the floor of the car, her sister in the back seat
and she in the front. She described in detail her fear, shock and disbelief.

Diane Downs was finally convicted and is serving time in prison. Her children continued to live with the same foster family for two more years.

This sad story of a mother's brutality doesn't end here, however. It takes a wondrous and beautiful spin. For both children were eventually adopted by a caring family committed to raising and loving them, regardless of their long-term special needs. It was a couple who didn't have any other children of their own and wanted to be faithful to Christie and Danny for the rest of their lives. They were adopted by Fred and Joanne Hugi – the prosecuting attorney who loved Christie the first time he saw her fighting for her life in a hospital bed. This family chose to go the distance, to keep faith with two small children when the world had been so unfaithful.

As Emmet Fox says so well:
"There is no difficulty that enough LOVE will not conquer,
no disease that enough LOVE will not heal,
no door that enough LOVE will not open,
no gulf that enough LOVE will not bridge,
no wall that enough LOVE will not throw down,
no sin that enough LOVE will not redeem..."

Sometimes love is just about keeping faith.

From Lifesupport.

Monday, May 7, 2007


Designer arc gateway - “The moral arc of the universe bends at the elbow of justice.”

How would you rate your level of "Inner Peace"? Enough to stay calm in a den of lions? Enough to get through a good day? Enough for the next five minutes, so long as everybody leaves you alone?

You may need a good case of inner peace, a disease that could leave you stress-free and contented for years to come. A chiropractor named Jeff Rockwell composed a list he calls "Symptoms of Inner Peace." You may have already caught this disease! See how many of these symptoms you exhibit:

1. A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than from fears based on past experiences.

2. An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.

3. A loss of interest in judging self.

4. A loss of interest in judging others.

5. A loss of interest in conflict.

6. A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others.

7. A loss of ability to worry (this is a serious symptom).

8. Frequent, overwhelming episodes of appreciation.

9. Contented feelings of connectedness with others and nature.

10. Frequent attacks of smiling through the eyes of the heart.

11. Increasing susceptibility to love extended by others as well as the uncontrollable urge to extend it.

12. An increasing tendency to let things happen.

Inner peace is a communicable disease that could possibly infect your home or workplace. You may already be showing signs of it and quite possibly be passing it along to others! Rockwell warns:

"If you have all or even most of the above symptoms, please be advised that your condition of PEACE may be so far advanced as to not be treatable."

Have you caught it?

From Lifesupport.

Sunday, May 6, 2007


Diamond wedding ring - “The choicest pleasures of life lie within the ring of moderation.”

While attending a conference, I returned to my motel room late one evening. The overhead light outside my door was burned out and I had difficulty finding the keyhole. When I managed to open the door, I felt around the wall for a light switch. I found a plate where a switch was once installed...but no switch.

Not discouraged easily, I remembered spotting a lamp by the bed when I deposited my luggage earlier in the day. I found the bed in the dark and felt around until I found the lamp, but when I switched it on, nothing happened! Now what?

Though I knew that it was dark outside my window since the outdoor light was broken, I thought that perhaps if I opened the curtains I might be able to use the light from the street to find another lamp. So I made my way slowly across the room to the drapes drawstring! (Have you ever had days like that?)

I finally stumbled around until I found a desk lamp that actually worked! That evening I discovered in a whole new way just how dark the world can be and how necessary light is.

But even more necessary than physical light is the light that shines from people -- that light which illumines these dark recesses of the spirit and warms the heart. The light of love and compassion and faith. Because, for many people, the world is a dark and lonely place.

One December I received a letter from a reader in Mexico City who said this about the darkness around her: "Yesterday I bought a Christmas decoration. It's a plastic star, maybe 18 inches across, strung with small white and gold Christmas lights. I hung it in my living room window last night. It looks so beautiful from outside -- even better than I had hoped! I live on the second floor of a five-story government housing project building. The building where I live is tucked away where few people go. Not a whole lot of folks see my lighted star. As long as I have it plugged in, that star shines bravely and brightly out into the cold night. It shines on regardless of whether anyone is around to see it or not. And I know that anyone who does see it must be heartened by it -- it's that lovely.

"I got to thinking, 'Isn't that the way we should be? Shouldn't our lives in some way shine out into the cold night -- regardless of whether or not anyone admires them? It's certainly nice when someone notices us and is encouraged or heartened. But, after all, isn't it the shining itself that is most important?'"

It is the shining that is important, whether or not you feel as if you are making a difference. For someone today just may be stumbling in discouragement or sadness or fear and in need of some light.

So let your light shine. Whatever light you offer may be a beacon of hope and encouragement in someone's darkness. And if you feel that your light is no more than a candle in a forest, remember this -- there isn't enough darkness in all the world to put out the light of one small candle.

Will you let your light shine?

From Lifesupport.

Saturday, May 5, 2007


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Fridge magnets decor - “Never pride yourself on knowledge. Remember; even a head of iceberg lettuce knows more than you do. It knows whether or not that light really does go out when the refrigerator door shuts.”

One man says he had a great speech for parents. It was called, "How to Raise Your Children." He went on speaking tours in the Midwestern United States and was paid a high honorarium for the talk. "This guy will wow you, " people said.

Then they had their first child. His majestic speech lost its punch at 2:00 AM with the baby in full cry. But he kept trying. He renamed his new, modified speech "Some Suggestions for Parents" and charged bravely on.

They had two more children. The speech changed again. And again. Now it's called, "Feeble Hints for Fellow Strugglers" and he begins with the question: "Does anyone here have a few words of wisdom?"

Parents through the ages can identify. "Could someone, please, just give me the final answers to parenting?" we ask. "ALL of them? Could someone tell please tell me how to respond and what to do and what to say and when to say it and do it and tell me now?"

But, of course, we ask the impossible.

Maybe this will help. I have saved it for years, and I'm convinced it was written by one who has been there.... It is not the final answer to parenting, but cherish it as a dose of wisdom worth re-reading as often as possible.

Beatitudes For Parents
by Marion E. Kinneman (1895-1985) (Used by permission.)

Blessed are those parents who make their peace with spilled milk and with mud, for of such is the kingdom of childhood.

Blessed is the parent who engages not in the comparison of his child with others, for precious unto each is the rhythm of his own growth.

Blessed are the fathers and mothers who have learned laughter, for it is the music of the child's world.

Blessed and wise are those parents who understand the goodness of time, for they make it not a sword that kills growth but a shield to protect.

Blessed and mature are they who without anger can say "no," for comforting to the child is the security of firm decisions.

Blessed is the gift of consistency, for it is heart's-ease in childhood.

Blessed are they who accept the awkwardness of growth, for they are aware of the choice between marred furnishings and damaged personalities.

Blessed are the teachable, for knowledge brings understanding, and understanding brings love.

Blessed are the men and women who in the midst of the unpromising mundane, give love, for they bestow the greatest of all gifts to each other, to their children, and -- in an ever-widening circle -- to their fellow men.

Blessed are those who read these words...but more blessed will be they who follow them!

From Lifesupport.

Friday, May 4, 2007


Catnap on the roof - “If you can't sleep, then get up and do something instead of lying there worrying. It's the worry that gets you, not the lack of sleep.”

A humorous story has it that a newly appointed young clergy person was contacted by a local funeral director to hold a graveside service at a small country cemetery in Iowa. There was to be no funeral, just the committal, because the deceased had no family or friends left in the state.

The young pastor started early to cemetery, but soon became lost. After making several wrong turns, he finally arrived a half-hour late. The hearse was nowhere in sight and cemetery workers were relaxing under a near-by tree, eating their lunch.

The pastor went to the open grave and found that the vault lid was already in place. He took out his book and read the service. As he returned to his car, he overheard one of the workers say, "Maybe we'd better tell him it's a septic tank."

Why is it we make our biggest mistakes in public? And some people can't avoid it...former hockey goalie Jacques Plante wonders, "How would you like a job where, if you made a mistake, a big, red light goes on and 18,000 people boo?"

But we should never give up our right to be wrong. Good judgment comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgment. It is your right to be wrong. "No (one) ever became great or good except through many and great mistakes," said William E. Gladstone. Great mistakes are opportunities for great learning. And great learning makes for great living.

You have a right to be wrong. And if you are to build a great life, you have a duty to make great mistakes. If possible, laugh at them. Always learn from them. And try to make sure your next mistake is one you haven't made before!

From Lifesupport.

Thursday, May 3, 2007


Going up the escalator - “An escalator can never break: it can only become stairs. You would never see an Escalator Temporarily Out Of Order sign, just Escalator Temporarily Stairs. Sorry for the convenience.”

Edward Fischer writes in Notre Dame Magazine (February, 1983), that a leper (or, more correctly, a sufferer of Hansen's Disease) in Fiji followed the leading of his twisted hands. He became an internationally known artist. "My sickness I see as a gift of God leading me to my life's work," he said. "If it had not been for my sickness, none of these things would have happened."

As a young girl, Jessamyn West had tuberculosis. She was so sick that she was sent away to die. During that time she developed her skill as a writer and authored numerous novels in her lifetime.

That great author Flannery O'Connor suffered numerous ailments - lupus struck her at 25 and she walked only with the aid of crutches for the final fourteen years of her life. She noted, however, that this illness narrowed her activities in such a way that she had time for the real work of her life, which was writing.

Some people succeed in spite of handicaps. Others succeed because of them. The truth is, our problems help to make us what we are. Those who suffer often learn the value of compassion. Those who struggle often learn perseverance. And those who fall down often teach others how to rise again. Our troubles can shape us in ways a carefree existence cannot.

A story is told of an Eastern village that, through the centuries, was known for its exquisite pottery. Especially striking were its urns; high as tables, wide as chairs, they were admired around the globe for their strong form and delicate beauty.

Legend has it that when each urn was apparently finished, there was one final step. The artist broke it - and then put it back together with gold filigree.

An ordinary urn was then transformed into a priceless work of art. What seemed finished wasn't, until it was broken.

So it is with people! Broken by hardships, disappointments and tragedy, they can become disappointed and bitter. But when mended by a hand of infinite patience and love, the finished product will be a work of exquisite beauty and effectiveness; a life that could only reach its wholeness after it was broken.

If you feel broken remember that you are a work of art! And you may not actually be complete until the pieces are reassembled and bonded with a golden filigree of love.

From Lifesupport.


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