Tuesday, July 31, 2007

THOSE WHO WILL LISTEN WILL LEARN

Prawns for sale - “Love one another, but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls

Advice comes in all shapes and sizes. For instance, someone gave the sage advice: "If you dance with a grizzly bear, you had better let him lead." No argument here.

Or this, found in a fortune cookie: "You are a poor, pathetic, gullible fool who seeks advice from bakery products."

Conrad Hilton, hotelier extraordinaire, was asked on national television if he had one vital bit of advice for listeners. "Please," he said, "place the curtain on the INSIDE of the tub."

It's been accurately said that there is a lot of advice available for nothing, and most of it is worth about what we paid for it. But here is sound guidance, from an unknown author, worth taking to heart:

"If someone hurts you, betrays you, or breaks your heart, forgive; for that person has helped you learn about trust and the importance of caution.

If someone loves you, love back unconditionally; that one is teaching you to love.

Make every day count. Appreciate every moment and take from those moments everything that you possibly can, for you may never be able to experience them again.

Talk to people that you have never talked to before -- and actually listen.

Let yourself fall in love, break free, and set your sights high.

Hold your head up because you have every right to. Tell yourself you are a great individual and believe in yourself, for if you don't believe in yourself, it will be hard for others to believe in you.

You can make of your life anything you wish. Create your own life and then go out and live it with absolutely no regrets.

Most importantly, if you love others, tell them, for you never know what may come tomorrow.

And learn a lesson in life each day you live."

Even some free advice can occasionally be of profit. Those who listen will learn.

From Lifesupport.

Monday, July 30, 2007

BE STRONG

Traffic police bike headlight - “When you have come to the edge Of all light that you know And are about to drop off into the darkness Of the unknown, Faith is knowing One of two things will happen: There will be something solid to stand on or You will be taught to fly”

Someone made the statement: "To err is dysfunctional, to forgive co-dependent." I sometimes wonder if we believe that. True forgiveness is still one of the most remarkable traits a human can possess!

A few years ago, Hildegard Goss-Mayr of the "International Fellowship of Reconciliation" told this true story.

In the midst of tragic fighting in Lebanon in the 1970s, a Christian seminary student was walking from one village to the next when he was ambushed by an armed Druze guerrilla fighter. The Druze ordered his captive down a mountain trail where he was to be shot.

But an amazing thing happened. The seminarian, who had received military training, was able to surprise his captor and disarm him. Now, the table was turned, and it was the Druze who was ordered down the trail.

As they walked, however, the student of theology began to reflect on what was happening. Recalling the words of Jesus, "Love your enemies; do good to those who hate you; turn the other cheek," he found he could go no further. He threw the gun into the bushes, told the Druze he was free to go and turned back up the hill.

Minutes later, he heard footsteps running behind him as he walked. "Is this the end after all?" he wondered. Perhaps the Druze had retrieved the gun and wanted to finish him off. But he continued on, never glancing back, until his enemy reached him, only to grab him in an embrace and pour out thanks for sparing his life.

Mercy often wears the face of forgiveness. And though it usually isn't an enemy in uniform that we are challenged to forgive, we have opportunities for mercy everyday. Family members and friends, co-workers and neighbors and even strangers have need for our forgiveness. You know who they are.

As Mahatma Gandhi said, "The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong." Be strong. Forgive.

From Lifesupport.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

TURN ... AND COME OUT RIGHT

Weather proof walkie talkie - “A friendship can weather most things and thrive in thin soil; but it needs a little mulch of letters and phone calls and small, silly presents every so often - just to save it from drying out completely.”

Not long ago a commercial airliner landed at New York's JFK Airport. The captain was new to the New York run and steered the jet off the runway, onto the taxiway and stopped. Slowly he began taxiing. First he turned the nose of the aircraft to the right. Then he turned it to the left. Then he turned the plane completely around.

Finally, over the public-address system, a confused voice asked, "Does anyone know where Gate 25 is?" Perhaps if he just turned around enough times he would come out right!

Deciding to turn, though, is something we often have to do if we are to live fully and live well! For each of us knows what it is to head the wrong direction in life; and we also know how relieved we feel to turn around again.

Do you remember the old Shaker hymn, written by Joseph Brackett, Jr. over 150 years ago?

'Tis the gift to be simple,
'tis the gift to be free,
'tis the gift to come down where you ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
It will be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan't be ashamed.
To turn, turn will be our delight,
'Til by turning, turning we come round right

Turning. I believe it is one of the most hopeful words in our language. We human beings, by turning, can do something about the course we've taken. We may not be able to change what we've already done; and we may not be able to fully escape the consequences of past choices. But we need not continue in the same, destructive path. We can turn. We can find our way again!

Are you headed the wrong direction? Don't give up...you can always start over. You can always turn. And turn again...and again...until you come out right.

From Lifesupport.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

YOUR WORK IS A GIFT

Juicy fresh red tomatoes - “The foods that promote longevity, virtue, strength, health, happiness, and joy; are juicy, smooth, substantial, and agreeable to the stomach.”

Work sometimes has a bad reputation in our world. But there is something worse than work, and that is boredom. At least that is what Drs. Kathryn Rost and G. Richard Smith of the University of Arkansas say. After analyzing the mental health of heart attack survivors, they concluded that one factor which greatly reduced the chances of depression was going back to work.

And why not? At work we are often around friends, and people with strong relationships will almost always fare better mentally. But we humans also need to be useful and productive!

Arthur Kroeger wrote in Quote magazine (August 1994) that his brother sometimes visited an Anabaptist colony in southern Alberta, Canada. During one visit he asked leaders how they dealt with the problem of misbehavior - when people rebelled against the colony's strict rules. He was told that these people were first asked to correct their behavior. If they did not respond, they would be given a stern "talking to."

"But what do you do when all else fails, when somebody stubbornly refuses to behave?" he pressed.

"Ah," came the reply, "if it comes to that, then we don't give him anything to do."

The ultimate punishment - don't give them any work! If that doesn't sound so bad, just ask those who are unemployed how they feel about not working....

It has been wisely said, "The Lord didn't burden us with work, but rather blessed us with it." We need to be busy and productive.

Whatever it is you do to make a living - be grateful. Those long hours and that feeling of exhaustion at the end of the day come from having something useful to do. Your work is a gift. You are blessed.

From Lifesupport.

Friday, July 27, 2007

3 Biggest Cities in Australia: Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane

Australia is a great place to go for some much needed rest and relaxation. With its world famous Gold Coast and Australian Outback, Australia caters for all types of visitors, from the leisure traveller to the rugged adventurer.

Among the best places in Australia to visit are the 3 biggest cities in Australia: Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. At Sydney Harbour visitors are treated to a delightful panorama scene from the world's best harbour: from a multitude of kayaks and yachts to ferries and huge ocean liners.

In Melbourne Victoria visitors are able to endulge themselves in world class modern architectures and heritage sites, namely The Federation Square and The National Gallery of Victoria. As for the rugged adventurer travellers, visit Brisbane for a dose of skydiving.

Finding great and cheap accommodations in Australia is made simplier through CheaperthanHotels.com.au. They guarantees the lowest rates available and visitors pay on arrival which is always a plus. If you are planning your next holiday, Australia is one of your best choice of destination. And CheaperthanHotels.com.au is the only place to get great deals and savings for finding accommodations; Hotel in Sydney, Hotel in Melbourne and Hotel in Brisbane.

GETTING THE ANGER OUT

Soldering iron tool - “If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.”

I learned that a woman in Arkansas called her local police department. She asked about the penalty for fighting. The sergeant told her that she could be charged with assault and battery. The fine was $100.

"Oh, I want to beat up my sister," she said, "and I wanted to see if I can afford it."

Anger must certainly be expressed, but this woman discovered that there is a price for expressing it inappropriately. Which is why, in the Japanese town of Yamanakako, visitors will pay hefty sums simply for the chance to vent their anger in Yoshie Ogasawara's "Relief Room," the main attraction of her four-story fun house. There, stressed-out business persons, jilted lovers and enraged spouses can smash a large porcelain vase, hurl ceramic ware into a soapstone
peach tree from China and break a few ceramic clowns in an attempt to express their pent-up rage. The relief room owes its phenomenal success to our human need to express anger appropriately.

But still the most effective way of dealing with anger is to express it in words. "Talk it out" with the person with whom you are upset. As William Blake wrote:

I was angry with my friend,
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe.
I told it not, my wrath did grow.

Anger must be "told" to be stilled. And if it is not possible to talk directly with the offending person, find a good listener. Sometimes, just "getting it out" is enough.

Further, talk it out soon, since unacknowledged anger is a malignant tumor. "Don't let the sun set on your anger," but rather strive to finally let go of each day's resentment in order to keep a clean slate.

Talking is still the best way to work through life's issues. And besides, this way you get to keep the dishes for company!

From Lifesupport.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

SAY, "AWE"

Smart consumer expo - “In a consumer society there are inevitably two kinds of slaves: the prisoners of addiction and the prisoners of envy”

Albert Einstein said that wonder is the source of all true art and all science. "He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed."

During our recent visit to Peru, we were amazed at the magnificent Incan architecture. Their precise stonework has withstood the centuries, though earthquakes have toppled other buildings all around. We were enthralled by the terraces the Incan people built on the sides of Andean mountains to grow crops. They created perhaps the finest irrigation system the world had known at the time.

At Nazca we looked in wonder at the so-called "Nazca Lines" -- a series of lines and pictures the ancient Nazca people drew in the desert sand many hundreds of years ago. Archaeologists are still bewildered by the significance of these lines, yet we were thrilled to gaze in awe at this unusual relic of antiquity. To us, everything was new. Every moment an adventure.

I'm reminded of the little girl who rode a train with her mother. Looking out the window, she exclaimed, "Look! A horse!" And a moment later, "Look! Houses!"

She gave every indication of keeping this up, so her embarrassed mother apologized to the man next to her. "I'm sorry my daughter is going on like this," she said. "She still thinks everything is
wonderful."

When do we stop thinking everything is wonderful? When we grow up? Does growing older also mean growing jaded?

And must we travel to faraway places to marvel once again? Can't we experience wonder and awe today -- this moment?

A fresh orange or buttered toast is no less marvelous today than when you first tasted it. The building you work in may be an architectural miracle the ancients never fathomed. The smell of your summer garden or the sight of this evening's sunset can be no less glorious today than it ever was. Few things are commonplace in themselves -- it's our reaction to them that grows dull over the years.

As Einstein observed, those who will pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe will truly live. They will see what others miss. They will feel what others cannot. Life will be for them both exquisite and mysterious when they learn to say, "Awe."

From Lifesupport.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A CONSPIRACY OF KINDNESS

Ship construction crane - “The whole difference between construction and creation is exactly this: that a thing constructed can only be loved after it is constructed; but a thing created is loved before it exists.”

My friend Randy Jessen tells this true story of love and kindness. It is a little longer than our usual fare, but I think you will find it well worth reading!

If you had to choose one word to describe Kevin, it might be "slow." Kevin didn't learn his ABCs as fast as other kids. He never came in first in the schoolyard races. However, Kevin had a special rapport with people. His bright smile and big heart won him plenty of friends.

When Kevin discovered that the pastor at his church, Randy Jessen, was putting together a boys basketball team, his mother let him participate. And soon basketball became a center of Kevin's life. He worked hard at practice. While the other boys practiced dribbling and lay-ups, Kevin shot baskets. He had a special spot near the free throw line. He threw and threw the ball, and it occasionally went in! When that happened, Kevin raised his arms and shouted, "Look at me, Coach!"

The day before their first game, Coach Randy gave each player a bright red jersey. Kevin was number 12. He scrambled himself into the sleeves and wore that jersey almost every day. One Sunday morning, the church service was interrupted by Kevin's excited voice. "Look, Coach!" He lifted his gray wool sweater to reveal the red jersey underneath with number 12 on the front. Nobody minded the interruption; the church knew Kevin and loved him.

I'd like to be able to tell you that the team did well. Actually, they never won a game that season -- except for the night it snowed and the other team never showed up. At the end of the season, the boys played in the church league's tournament. As the last-place team, they drew the unfortunate spot of playing against the first-place team -- boys who had never lost a game all year.

The game went as expected, and near the end of the fourth quarter Kevin's team stood nearly 30 points behind. It was then that one of the boys called timeout. "Coach," he said, "this is our last game and Kevin's never made a basket. I think we should let him make a basket." The team agreed. Kevin was instructed to stand at his special place near the free throw line and wait. He was told that when he was given the ball, he should shoot.

Kevin was ecstatic. He ran to the floor and waited. When the ball was passed to him he shot -- and missed. Number 17 from the other team snatched the rebound, dribbled down the court for an easy lay-up. But a moment later Kevin got the ball again. He shot -- and missed. Number 17 repeated his performance for another two points. Kevin shot a third and fourth time with the same result.

But then the other team seemed to figure out what was going on and the next time they snatched the rebound, they threw it to Kevin! Kevin shot...and missed. But now every rebound came to him and he threw and threw toward the basket.

BOTH teams had circled Kevin by this time and all of the boys were shouting, "Kevin! Kevin!" The crowd took up the chant. Soon everyone in the gym was shouting for Kevin! Coach Randy was sure the game should have been over by this time and he glanced at the clock. It was stopped at 4.3 seconds! The timekeepers were standing by their table shouting with the crowd, "Kevin! Kevin!" The world had stopped for Kevin. He shot and shot and finally one of his shots took a crazy bounce on the rim and...went in! Chaos reigned! Everyone stood and cheered as if one boy had single-handedly won a world championship. Kevin's arms sprang up in the air and he shouted, "I won! I won!" His team escorted him off the court, the clock ticked down and the game was over.

That day an undefeated team retained their perfect record. But everybody won. Everybody! Because everybody had participated in a crazy conspiracy of kindness, a simple act of mercy, that was so compelling, so powerful, that I'm sure all of heaven rejoiced!

From Lifesupport.

Monday, July 23, 2007

A BEAUTIFUL HEART

Building lots - “Be content with your lot; one cannot be first in everything.”

One grandfather quipped about his grandchildren: "My grandkids are four and six. The Pulitzer Prize winner is four and the brain surgeon is six."

Parents and grandparents are understandably proud of the quick minds and impressive talents of their little ones. But let me tell you about another quality, perhaps even more important, found in a little girl named Skylar.

I received a letter recently from a grandmother who told me about her four-year-old granddaughter Skylar. Ever since Skylar learned of Disneyland from TV, she saved her nickels and dimes in a piggy bank in hopes of visiting there someday. Her parents surprised her with a trip when she was four, however, and didn't even require her to use her own money!

When Skylar returned it was Christmastime. She decided to buy presents with her savings. But she also learned from announcements on TV about a local homeless shelter called "The Road House." She repeatedly asked her mother what "homeless" meant and why those children needed coats and warm clothes. She couldn't seem to get the homeless off her mind. (Wouldn't it be wonderful if everyone had that problem?)

Her mother took her to the store to buy presents. Instead of buying for herself or her family, however, she decided to purchase a warm coat, socks, gloves and crayons for a little girl in the shelter. She also wanted to buy a doll (a "baby," as she called it), but when she discovered she didn't have enough money, she left the doll behind.

When Skylar got home, she lined up her own much-loved "babies" and chose one she thought another child could also love. The baby went into a box with the other items she bought that day.

She was so excited waiting for Christmas! Skylar was not thinking about Santa Claus or the presents she would be getting. She was thinking about going to the shelter and giving her carefully selected gifts to a homeless child.

On Christmas Eve she and her family drove to the shelter where Skylar presented her Christmas box to a grateful little girl. She was so filled with joy at truly helping someone else, that her family has decided to make the journey to the homeless shelter an annual tradition.

"Perhaps it's good to have a beautiful mind, but an even greater gift is to have a beautiful heart," says Nobel Laureate John Nash ("A Beautiful Mind"). A beautiful heart is that gift...that leads us...into the beauty of giving.

From Lifesupport.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

KEEPING UP WITH YESTERDAY?

Government service counter - “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

James Myers in "A Treasury of Military Humor" (The Lincoln-Herndon Press, Inc., 1990), tells an all-too-true story which comes from the American Civil War. General Stonewall Jackson recruited a man named Miles, who had a reputation as a superb bridge builder. Because bridges were needed to be built or rebuilt quickly, Miles became a valuable asset to the army.

One day, retreating Union troops set fire to a bridge and Jackson called upon Miles to get his men ready to prepare a foundation for a new bridge. He told him that the engineers would have plans ready in record time.

The next day, Jackson called for Miles and asked him if the engineers had given him their plans yet. "General," Miles drawled, "we done got the foundation built but I cain't tell ya whether them pictures is done or not."

There is a time for careful planning, it's true. But there is also a time for quick and decisive action. Miles seemed to know that the urgency of the situation required him to just do what needed to be done.

Our greatest obstacle to "doing what needs to be done" is not careful planning. Though many of us have admirable plans and worthy resolutions, we often simply never get around to doing what we have determined to do! We procrastinate. And unfortunately, we often miss an opportunity to do something decisive today, for as Don Marquis has said, "Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday."

Or maybe you have been thinking that you would like to procrastinate less, but just haven't gotten around to it yet. If so, perhaps these words will help:

He was going to be all that a mortal could be...tomorrow.
None should be stronger or braver than he...tomorrow.
A friend who was troubled and weary he knew,
Who'd be glad of a lift and who needed it, too,
On him he would call to see what he could do...tomorrow.
Each morning he'd stack up the letters he'd write...tomorrow.
And he thought of the friends he would fill with
delight...tomorrow.
It was too bad indeed; he was busy each day,
And hadn't a minute to stop on his way;
"More time I'll give to others," he'd say..."tomorrow."
The greatest of workers this man would have been...tomorrow.
The world would have known him, had he ever seen...tomorrow.
But the fact is he died, and faded from view,
And all that he left here when living was through
Was a mountain of things he intended to do...tomorrow.

If there is a time and a season for everything, then is today the day to do that thing you have been putting off?

From Lifesupport.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

GETTING THE LAST WORD IN

Notice board postings - “The truth of the matter is that there's nothing you can't accomplish if: (1) You clearly decide what it is that you're absolutely committed to achieving, (2) You're willing to take massive action, (3) You notice what's working or not, and (4) You continue to change your approach until you achieve what you want, using whatever life gives you along the way.”

Listen to this letter of apology:

"Dear Dog,

I am so sorry about you being sent to the dog pound for the broken lamp which you did not break; the fish you did not spill; and the carpet that you did not wet; or the wall that you did not dirty with red paint...

Things here at the house are calmer now, and just to show you that I have no hard feelings towards you, I am sending you a picture, so you will always remember me.

Best regards,

The Cat"

The Old French root of the word "repent" is "repentir," which actually means to be sorry. The cat may have said he was sorry, but there is no sorrow here. It reminds of me of the story of a woman with fourteen children, ages one through fourteen, who decided to sue her husband for divorce on grounds of desertion.

"When did he desert you?" the judge asked.

"Thirteen years ago," she replied.

"If he left 13 years ago? Where did all the children come from?"

"Well," said the woman, "he kept coming back to say he was sorry."

Again, no sorrow here, for if he'd been truly sorry, he'd have stayed. Sincere repentance always leads to change.

Are you in error? Apologize. But apologize well. Never ruin your apology with an excuse, for only sincere repentance can lead to change. Apologize with words, then back those words up with actions. Decide to act differently next time.

Apologize -- it's a great way to get the last word in.

From Lifesupport.

Friday, July 20, 2007

THE SMILING GAME

Spices & ingredients for sale - “Lovers may be -- and indeed generally are -- enemies, but they never can be friends, because there must always be a spice of jealousy and a something of Self in all their speculations.”

It's been said that a smile is the lighting system of the face, the cooling system of the head and the heating system of the heart. But a smile is also a powerful weapon against toxic attitudes of all kinds.

Lisa Gurnsey, of Portland, Oregon, wrote to me about a man whose smile quite literally changed her life: "I was having a horrible day -- hating my job, tired of the weather, tired of trying to keep up on bills, and just completely stressed out. I stopped at the post office in the morning and, as I was entering, an older business man commented to me that it was going to be a good day and life shouldn't be as bad as I make it look. I glared at him and simply said, 'I wish it was Friday.'

"I felt better about my day when I left the post office...that man's smile and comment, although irritating at first, made me think.

"The second time I ran into the man I went out of my way to say 'Happy Friday' to him and to smile. I saw him a few more times and always he was cheery and 'made my day.'

"I looked for him around Christmastime to give him a card and explain how his kind words and smile that very first day made me regroup my thinking and realize I didn't have it so bad. But I have not seen him at the post office since then. I look every morning...I go at different times to see if I can catch him. Maybe he retired, maybe he is ill. I think to myself, 'I wish I had thanked him for being a kind person.' I can honestly say this man changed my life. I will work to spread that same feeling to those I see in need of a smile."

Speaker Josh Hinds makes this suggestion: "Play the smiling game in your daily life. See how many people you can get to smile back at you. Keep score and tally the results at the end of each day."

That sounds like a game we can all play. The rules are simple. There are lots of winners. And who knows...you may even "make" someone's day -- even if that someone is you!

From Lifesupport.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

COMPLIMENT MORE; REPRIMAND LESS

Bombay big onions - “The world is a dangerous place. Not because of the people who are evil; but because of the people who don't do anything about it.”

Alan Loy McGinnis cites an interesting study in his book THE FRIENDSHIP FACTOR (Augsburg, 1979). A second-grade teacher complained that her children were spending too much time standing up and roaming around the room rather than working.

Two psychologists spent several days at the back of the room with stopwatches observing the behavior of the children and the teacher. Every ten seconds they noted how many children were out of their seats. They counted 360 unseated children throughout each 20-minute period. They also noted that the teacher said "Sit down!" seven times during the same period.

The psychologists tried an experiment. The asked the teacher to say "Sit down!" more often. Then they sat back to see what would happen. Now she commanded her students to sit down 27.5 times in an average 20-minute period, and now 540 were noted to be out of their seats during the same average period! Her increased yelling actually made the problem worse. (When she later backed off to her normal number of reprimands, the roaming also declined to the exact same number recorded previously in just two days.)

Then the experimenters tried another tack. They asked the teacher to refrain from yelling "Sit down!" altogether, and to instead quietly compliment those children who were seated and working. The result? Children's roaming decreased by 33%! They exhibited their best behavior when they were complimented more and reprimanded less.

Eleanor Porter said, "Instead of always harping on a man's faults, tell him of his virtues. Try to pull him out of his rut of bad habits. Hold up to him his better self, his real self that can dare and do and win out."

It works for children and it works for adults. There is immense power in encouragement -- power to make a real difference!

From Lifesupport.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

STICK TO IT

Blue fish statue - “Opportunities, many times, are so small that we glimpse them not and yet they are often the seeds of great enterprises. Opportunities are also everywhere and so you must always let your hook be hanging. When you least expect it, a great fish will swim by.”

According to William S. Banowsky, the story of one of America's greatest leaders is actu­ally a story of repeated failures and dogged per­sis­tence:

In 1831 he failed in business.

In 1832 he was defeated for the state legislature.

In 1833 he failed again in business.

In 1834 he was elected to the state legislature.

In 1835 his sweetheart died.

In 1836 he had a nervous breakdown.

In 1838 he was defeated for Speaker.

In 1840 he was defeated for Elector.

In 1843 he was defeated for Congress.

In 1846 he was elected for one term to Congress.

In 1848 he was defeated again for Congress.

In 1855 he was defeated for the Senate.

In 1856 he was defeated for Vice President.

In 1858 he was defeated again for the Senate.

In 1860 he, finally, was elected President of the United States. And these are just a few of the rough spots in the life of Abraham Lincoln.

Someone said, "Failure is the line of least persistence." My mother called it "stick-to-it- iv-ness." It generally boils down to a healthy combination of faith and hard work, and it usually means success.

Are you feeling discour­aged? Per­haps you just need to give it one more try.

From Lifesupport.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

TWO EYES; TWO HANDS

Packing paper boxes - “There are people who put their dreams in a little box and say, "Yes, I've got dreams, of course I've got dreams." Then they put the box away and bring it out once in awhile to look in it, and yep, they're still there.”

An older couple lay in bed one morning, having just awakened from a good night's sleep. He tenderly took her hand, but she pulled back responding, "Don't touch me."

"Why not?" he asked.

"Because I'm dead."

Her confused husband said, "What are you talking about? We're both lying here in bed together and talking to one another."

"No," she said, "I'm definitely dead."

He insisted, "You're not dead. What in the world makes you think you're dead?"

"Because I woke up this morning and nothing hurts."

It is good to be able to laugh when we can, and especially about daily aches and pains or normal problems. But sometimes our difficulties and losses are so staggering we wonder how long we can cope. Lingering and chronic illness, loss of someone we love and overwhelming worry can devastate us. All of us have known almost unbearable pain and hardships. Heart-breaking times. We might think we will never again wake up feeling good.

A wise obstetrician at a university teaching hospital once made a comment about suffering. Someone asked the doctor what advice he offered to his students, future doctors and nurses, when caring for mothers who gave birth to stillborn infants.

The doctor paused for a moment in thought. Then he said this: "I tell them that they need two eyes. One eye is not enough; they need two eyes. With one eye they have to check the I.V.; and with the other eye they have to weep. That's what I tell them," he said. "I tell them that they need two eyes."

He knows the secret of hard times: we need two eyes. One for seeing, the other for weeping. And we need two hands. One for holding on, the other for reaching out.

I don't know all there is to know about suffering. But I do know the way to survive it. Two eyes; two hands. That's how we get through this life best.

From Lifesupport.

Monday, July 16, 2007

OUR GREATEST SONGS ARE STILL UNSUNG!

Shipyard scrap metal - “The man who lets a leader prescribe his course is a wreck being towed to the scrap heap.”

Do you dread the future? Or will you warmly welcome it as you would a new friend?

Senator Hubert Humphrey, a man with an indomitable zest for living, once talked about the "good old days." He said, "They were never that good, believe me. The good new days are today, and better days are coming tomorrow. Our greatest songs are still unsung."

What a marvelous spirit! Our greatest songs are still unsung! Quite a different spirit is found in a business magazine ad that pictures a newborn baby with the caption: "Only 22,463 days until retirement." The ad is cute, but it picks up on a spirit of our day. It is a spirit of worry and anxiety. It is a spirit that tells us, "You don't know what the future holds! It is likely to be bleak; even disastrous! You can never be too careful!" You know what spirit I mean.

I have always believed in the future. And I will look forward to it with great anticipation. Why shouldn't I make friends with the future? After all, I intend to spend the rest of my life there!

I am intrigued by a story about a bishop back in the 1870s. The bishop had charge of a small denominational college. Annually, he visited the school and stayed in the home of the president.

The bishop was a narrow thinker with a dim view of the future. He told the school president during one of those visits that everything that could be invented had already been invented.

The administrator disagreed. "In 50 years," he contested, "people will learn to fly like birds."

That kind of talk greatly disturbed the bishop. "Flight is reserved for birds and angels," he said emphatically, "and you, sir, are guilty of blasphemy!"

The name of the bishop was Milton Wright. That name may not have a great deal of meaning to you, but something else will. You see, back at home, this clergyman had two enthusiastic sons - Orville and Wilbur - who believed that our greatest songs were still unsung! The rest of the story is one of an enthusiastic belief in tomorrow. You know how it ends.

Do you believe that your greatest songs are still unsung? Will you joyously welcome tomorrow, and all the tomorrows to come? Supported by those we hold dear and under girded by faith, we, too, can share an enthusiastic belief in tomorrow!

From Lifesupport.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

ACT ON IT

Emergency alarm - “There are more things to alarm us than to harm us, and we suffer more often in apprehension than reality.”

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

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

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

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

From Lifesupport.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

DEADLY ASSUMPTIONS

Electronic fingerprint security sensor panel - “Most people never feel secure because they are always worried that they will lose their job, lose the money they already have, lose their spouse, lose their health, and so on. The only true security in life comes from knowing that every single day you are improving yourself in some way, that you are increasing the caliber of who you are and that you are valuable to your company, your friends, and your family.”

Joan, the town gossip and supervisor of the town's morals recently accused George, a local man, of having a drinking problem because she observed his pickup truck outside the town's only bar one morning. George stared at her for a moment, and said nothing. Later that evening, he parked his pickup truck in front of her house and left it there all night.

Why is it that most assumptions are wrong? Yet we too often act as if they are right!

Years ago, a young American at a banquet found himself seated next to the eminent V. K. Wellington Koo, a Chinese diplomat. Completely at a loss as to what to say to someone from such a different culture, this young man ventured, "Likee soupee?"

Mr. Koo smiled and nodded. Later when called upon to speak, Wellington Koo delivered an eloquent talk in exquisite English, sat down while the applause was still resounding, turned to the young man and smiled, "Likee speechee?

His assumption about Mr. Koo was simply not true. Which is not unlike a husband who assumes he knows his wife's opinion on a matter, only to find out she thinks differently. Or a wife who assumes that her husband's silence means he is angry or disinterested, only to learn that he is worried about something else. Or an employee who assumes he knows that his boss is upset with him because she didn't praise his performance on a project, when she was merely preoccupied with another matter.

Assumptions. We all make them. They're usually wrong and they too often get us into trouble.

I like the advice of Eniong Hilario: "Things are better said than assumed." When in doubt, check it out. You think you know what was said? Check it out. You think you know what was meant? Check it out. You may think you know, but check it out.

And when you do, be prepared to be surprised!

From Lifesupport.

Friday, July 13, 2007

FILLED UP WITH LOVE

Dental operating chair - “You can't deny laughter; when it comes, it plops down in your favorite chair and stays as long as it wants.”

Welsh poet David Whyte made the intriguing observation, "I don't want to have written on my tombstone, when finally people struggle through the weeds, pull back the moss, and read the inscription there, 'He made his car payments.'"

Whyte, like most of us, wants his life to matter. Even in some small way, most people want to make a difference and, at least to some degree, they want to be happy. But it doesn't just happen.

I am inspired by the story of Rose Nelson, told in Arnold and Barry Fox's book Making Miracles (Emmaus, PA: The Good Spirits Press, 1989). One can usually find a cheery smile on the face of the wheelchair-bound woman. Which is remarkable, given what happened. You see, Rose was brutally beaten by two drunk teenage boys who left her unable to walk. She was forced to sell her home after medical bills devoured her modest savings.

If anyone has reason to be resentful, it is Rose Nelson. But she will smile and say that she never even thinks of being bitter as long as her brain is working and she can think of love.

"How can you be so loving after what happened to you?" she was asked.

"Oh, my," she considered. "I could have dried up after the boys beat me. I was afraid I would. That's why I decided to be full of love and to give my love to everyone. The more I love everyone else, the better I feel. And the better I feel, the more I love the world. Love cured my fear."

Rose worked at love and happiness. It had to become a high priority if she was not to be consumed by her horrific experience. Yet anyone who wants peace or happiness or joy can learn from Rose. We must do more than just make the car payments. We must love and love and love some more. Rose learned to fill her mind with as much love as it would hold, and then gave it away at every opportunity.

Dr. Karl Menninger said this about love: "We do not fall in love, we grow in love and love grows in us." Let enough grow in you to fill you up and you'll be satisfied forever.

From Lifesupport.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS EVER

Restricted access area - “Most people live, whether physically, intellectually or morally, in a very restricted circle of their potential being. They make very small use of their possible consciousness, and of their soul's resources in general, much like a man who, out of his whole bodily organism, should get into a habit of using and moving only his little finger.”

We ALL fail!

And I'm not talking about your latest baking disaster or losing a game of "Scrabble." We fail in some important areas. We may fail at a significant relationship. We may fail at a job. We may fail at doing something we are convinced we were meant to do! We all fail. And sometimes we fail in pretty spectacular ways.

Baseball player Lou Brock said something important about failure. Brock once held the record for stolen bases. He was about 35 years old at the time and his days as a professional player were winding down. Brock was talking about why he successfully stole more bases than younger, faster players.

"When you start out in baseball," Brock said, "you're young and you have the speed and reflexes. However, when you try to steal second base and you get thrown out, it's a long walk back to the dugout with 40,000 fans watching you. When you reach my age, you come to understand that records are not set by being the quickest, but by the willingness to look bad in the eyes of others."

When Brock became willing to look bad in the eyes of 40,000 fans, he broke the chains of fear and experienced true freedom. (He probably also played better!) He learned how to do ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS EVER: he learned how to put failure behind him.

Unless we learn how to put failure behind us:

· We will never ask for what we need for fear of rejection.

· We will never ask a boss for a promotion for fear of her saying no.

· We will never go back and take classes for fear of failing.

· We will never change careers for fear of it not working out.

· We will never forgive others who hurt us for fear of being hurt by them again.

· We won't do the things we want to do for fear of letting ourselves and others down.

Unless we learn how to put failure behind us, we won't take any risk at all! And we'll never fully live, either.

The Bible talks about forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. Learn to put your failures behind you and you can go places you never dreamed possible.

From Lifesupport.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

THOSE ARE MY PRINCIPLES

Transporting eggs via air cargo - “It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.”

Comedian Groucho Marx quipped, "Those are my principles. If you don't like them, I have others."

You and I have principles. And we also have opinions. I have opinions about what I think is right or wrong or good or bad. But they're only opinions - I COULD be wrong! I won't try to build my life around my opinions, but I WILL endeavor to stand by my principles.

A 15-year-old boy learned a valuable lesson about life principles. He wrote a letter to "Dear Abby" about finding a woman's wallet that contained $127 as well as the woman's identification. He hopped onto his bicycle and peddled over to her house - about a mile away. He told her he found her wallet and she gave him a big hug. She also gave him twenty dollars.

That evening the boy told his parents about the event and his father said, "I don't think you should have accepted $20 for doing what you should have done. A person shouldn't be rewarded for being honest."

He pondered his father's statement and decided he would return the money. He biked to the lady's home and gave her back the twenty dollars. She didn't want to take it, but he told her she had to - that his father pointed out something to him that he had never realized before. Her eyes filled with tears as she said, "This is one for Ripley."

The boy's question to Abby? "Abby, who is Ripley?"

Is a life built around principles so unusual that Robert Ripley should mention it in his column "Believe It or Not"? When ideals such as honesty and a personal standard of always doing the right thing guide our every action and decision, we actually change. These great principles shape our lives and make us into persons of character. They build self esteem and teach confidence. That boy is fortunate to be raised by a wise father who had the wisdom to say, "Those are my principles."

Martin Luther King, Jr. put it well: "The time is always right to do what is right." Those were his principles. Decide to always do what is right - today and every day - and you will find yourself building a life that matters.

From Lifesupport.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

THOSE WHO WILL LISTEN WILL LEARN

Marine fish in aquarium - “Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing it is not fish they are after.”

Advice comes in all shapes and sizes. For instance, someone gave the sage advice: "If you dance with a grizzly bear, you had better let him lead." No argument here.

Or this, found in a fortune cookie: "You are a poor, pathetic, gullible fool who seeks advice from bakery products."

Conrad Hilton, hotelier extraordinaire, was asked on national television if he had one vital bit of advice for listeners. "Please," he said, "place the curtain on the INSIDE of the tub."

It's been accurately said that there is a lot of advice available for nothing, and most of it is worth about what we paid for it. But here is sound guidance, from an unknown author, worth taking to heart:

"If someone hurts you, betrays you, or breaks your heart, forgive; for that person has helped you learn about trust and the importance of caution.

If someone loves you, love back unconditionally; that one is teaching you to love.
Make every day count. Appreciate every moment and take from those moments everything that you possibly can, for you may never be able to experience them again.

Talk to people that you have never talked to before -- and actually listen.

Let yourself fall in love, break free, and set your sights high.

Hold your head up because you have every right to. Tell yourself you are a great individual and believe in yourself, for if you don't believe in yourself, it will be hard for others to believe in you.

You can make of your life anything you wish. Create your own life and then go out and live it with absolutely no regrets.

Most importantly, if you love others, tell them, for you never know what may come tomorrow.

And learn a lesson in life each day you live."

Even some free advice can occasionally be of profit. Those who listen will learn.

From Lifesupport.

Monday, July 9, 2007

HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN MORNING IS COMING?

Office workers - “The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.”

Many years ago Bertrand Russell, the English philosopher and mathematician, was imprisoned for opposing World War I. "When I reported to the warder," Russell said, "he asked me the customary questions - name, age, place of residence. Then he inquired, "Religious affiliation? "

Russell replied, "Agnostic."

The poor man looked up. "How do you spell that?"

He spelled it for him. The warder wrote the word carefully on the admission form, then sighed, "Oh, well; there are a great many sects, but I suppose they all worship the same God."

I'm sure Russell could not help but chuckle.

It is true, however, that there exist many spiritual paths. The world has always teemed with a wide variety of spiritual thought and many differing journeys of the heart. But too often the world has used these differences as a weapon. How much agony has been wrought by what should be a thing of beauty - religious passion?

According to historian Karen Armstrong in THE HISTORY OF ISLAM, the prophet Mohammed launched a "peace offensive" toward the end of his life that unified people in ways the world had never before seen. Judaism looks toward the coming of the "Prince of Peace," and Christianity teaches that followers of Jesus "turn the other cheek." Likewise, the great Eastern religions have practiced tolerance of others for centuries.

An old Jewish story tells of a rabbi who asked his disciples, "How do you know when the night is giving way and the morning is coming?"

One of the disciples stood and said, "Teacher, won't you know that night is fading when, through the dim light, you can see an animal and recognize whether it is a sheep or a dog?"

The rabbi answered, "No."

"Rabbi," asked another. "Won't you know that the dawn is coming when you can see clearly enough to distinguish whether a tree is a fig or an olive?"

"No," responded the teacher. "You'll know that the night has passed when you can look at any man and any woman and discern that you are looking at a brother or a sister. Until you can see with that clarity, the night will always be with us."

Today, more than ever, may we learn to see that clearly.

From Lifesupport.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

YOUR SIGHT MAY BE PERFECT BUT...HOW'S YOUR VISION?

Dragon motif wall divider - “To attract good fortune, spend a new penny on an old friend, share an old pleasure with a new friend and lift up the heart of a true friend by writing his name on the wings of a dragon.”

Helen Keller said, "The greatest tragedy in life is people who have sight but no vision." How's your vision?

A Hollywood producer scrawled a curt rejection note on a manuscript that became "Gone With The Wind." He had no vision for what that book could become.

Henry Ford's largest original investor sold all his stock in 1906. What could have happened had he shared Ford's vision for his company?

Roebuck sold out to Sears for $25,000 in 1895. Today, Sears may sell $25,000 worth of goods in sixteen seconds.

How's your vision? Do you see what needs to be seen?

Orville and Wilbur Wright felt excited. On December 17, 1903, they had finally succeeded in keeping their homemade airplane in the air for 59 seconds. Immediately, they rushed a telegram to their sister in Dayton, Ohio, telling of this great accomplishment. The telegram read, "First sustained flight today fifty-nine seconds. Hope to be home by Christmas."

Upon receiving the news of the successful flight, their sister was so excited that she rushed to the newspaper office and gave the telegram to the editor. The next morning the newspaper headed the story: "Popular Local Bicycle Merchants To Be Home For Holidays."

Can you see the real story? Are you looking for the hidden potential lurking behind every situation? Do you recognize those obscure opportunities cleverly disguised as glaring problems?

Your sight may be perfect, but how's your vision?

From Lifesupport.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

YES! YOU CAN BE GREAT!

Coconut trees blown by the sea breeze - “A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken.”

A school music teacher received this essay from an eight-year-old student concerning Johann Sebastian Bach: "He was a GREAT composer. He had 20 children and had an old spinster in the attic to practice on."

Now, I don't know the exact number of children he had, as many did not survive. Nor do I know what he kept in the attic. But the question I have is this: do you believe you should be great?

Not all of us can be great at what we do -- music, teaching, research, carpentry, sales, etc., -- but we can all become great individuals. It's about being great at who we are, great as human beings.

Author James Michener learned about the importance of greatness on a stormy night in the South Pacific. His plane was trying desperately to land on the Tontouta airstrip but could not do so. After several attempts in the dark of night, his knuckles were white with fear. When they finally landed safely, Michener went out and walked the length of the airstrip, looking at the dim outlines of the mountains they had so narrowly missed. He wrote this:

"And as I stood there in the darkness I caught a glimpse of the remaining years of my life and I swore an oath when peace came, if I survived, I would live the rest of my years 'as if I were a great man.' I did not presume to think that I would be a great man. I have never thought in those terms, but I could conduct myself as if I were. I would adhere to my basic principles. I would bear public testimony to what I believed. I would be a better man. I would help others. I would truly believe and act as if all men were my brothers. And I would strive to make whatever world in which I found myself a better place. In the darkness a magnificent peace settled over me, for I saw that I could actually attain each of those objectives, and I never looked back.

"Two immediate consequences: I started the next day to draft the book TALES OF THE SOUTH PACIFIC. And shortly thereafter my entire staff, flying back to Tontouta, hit one of those shadowy mountains and all were killed. I'd had cause to be white-knuckled." *

Do you believe you should be great? If greatness is a life that adheres to basic principles, a life of service to others and one dedicated to the betterment of all, then your answer is simple. We can each be great individuals and, in fact, should strive to be. For greatness comes from a dedication to help, not from mere accomplishment, no matter the magnitude.

Do you believe you should be great? What step will you take today?

From Lifesupport.

Friday, July 6, 2007

SPIRIT OF LOVE

Glowing crystal chandelier - “In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in an clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness. Our life is a long and arduous quest after Truth.”

Henry Drummond has said, "The moments when you have really lived are the moments when you have done things in the spirit of love."

Here is a story (possibly apocryphal, but powerful nevertheless) about a man who acted in the spirit of love and what he consequently learned.

The story comes from Zig Ziglar's book, SEE YOU AT THE TOP (Pelican Publishing Co., 1982). He tells about an old man who stood on a Virginia riverbank many years ago. He was waiting to cross the river and, since it was bitterly cold and there were no bridges, he would have to "catch a ride" to the other side. After a lengthy wait he spotted a group of horsemen approaching. He let the first one pass, then the second, third, fourth and fifth. One rider remained. As he drew abreast, the old man looked him in the eye and said, "Sir, would you give me a ride across the river?"

The rider immediately replied, "Certainly." Once across the river, the old man slid to the ground. "Sir," the rider said before leaving. "I could not help but notice that you permitted all the other men to pass without asking for a ride. Then, when I drew abreast, you immediately asked me to carry you across. I am curious as to why you didn't ask them and you did ask me."

The old man quietly responded, "I looked into their eyes and could see no love and knew in my own heart it would be useless to ask for a ride. But when I looked into your eyes, I saw compassion, love and the willingness to help. I knew you would be glad to give me a ride across the river."

The rider was touched. "I'm grateful for what you are saying," he said. "I appreciate it very much." With that, Thomas Jefferson turned and rode off to the White House.

Ziglar reminds us that our eyes are the windows of our souls. Then he asks a pointed question: "If you had been the last rider, would the old man have asked you for a ride?"

A good question! For it is said that others will know us by our love. Some will see it in the things we do and some in the things we say. And a few perceptive souls, like the old man, may catch a glimmer of a loving and generous spirit in the expression of kind eyes.

However it shows, may you be known by your love.

From Lifesupport.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

ARE YOU RENEWING YOUR DREAMS?

Empty beer bottles - “If you have a lot of tension and you get a headache, do what it says on the aspirin bottle: "Take two aspirin" and "Keep away from children".”

"Grandpa," a young girl asked, "were you in the ark with Noah?"

"Certainly not, my dear," Grandpa replied in astonishment.

"Then," the puzzled child continued, "why weren't you drowned?"

Maybe he seemed older than Noah to her, but seniors may be finally getting respect they rightfully deserve. Hugh Downs reported that when senior adults are properly motivated, their intelligence does not wane. In fact, the ability to organize thinking may increase as folks age. Many people in their 50's, 60's and even 70's can go through college with greater efficiency than at 18.

Adults over 70 years of age have contributed richly and in varied ways.

- Emmanuel Kant wrote his finest philosophical works at age 74. - Verdi at 80 produced "Falstaff" and at 85, "Ave Maria."
- Goethe was 80 when he completed "Faust."
- Tennyson was 80 when he wrote "Crossing the Bar."
- Michelangelo completed his greatest work at 87.
- At 90, Justice Holmes was still writing brilliant American Supreme Court opinions.

And then there's George Dawson. George learned to read at age 98. (He was forced to quit school when he was a small child in order to help support his family.) "I got tired of writing my name with an 'X,'" he said. Four years later, at age 102, he wrote his autobiography, LIFE IS SO GOOD (2001, Penguin Group).

Dreams are renewable. They need not expire like an over-due library book. No matter our age, we can breathe new life into old dreams. I believe that the best age is the age you are, but something even better awaits just ahead for those with the courage to dream and to act.

Are you renewing your dreams?

From Lifesupport.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

HOW CHAMPIONS ARE MADE

Colorful vegetables assortments - “Your purpose is to make your audience see what you saw, hear what you heard, feel what you felt. Relevant detail, couched in concrete, colorful language, is the best way to recreate the incident as it happened and to picture it for the audience.”

Have you noticed that we usually do what we want to do?

On the day following a disaster drill, an employee made this comment in the Long Beach (California) Veteran's Administration Hospital. No kidding. The employee said, "We emptied the place in six minutes and that was pretty good, until quitting time at 4:30 when everybody got out of the building in three minutes."

English thinker and politician John Burns said, "The tragedy of (most people) is the poverty of their desires." The poverty of desire may still be the greatest kind of poverty we face worldwide. Most of us could do, have or even be practically anything if we simply wanted it enough.

Consider Robert Louis Stevenson. He conceived the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde one night when he couldn't sleep. Though bedridden with advanced tuberculosis, he wrote the whole book in three days, rarely pausing. Then, dissatisfied with the first draft, he tore it up and rewrote it in three more days! It was an unbelievable feat - he set down 64,000 words in six days; more than 10,000 words a day. Just 1,000 words a day for an accomplished writer of fiction is considered average.

I've heard it said: "Champions aren't made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them - a desire, a dream, a vision."

What we will accomplish is limited only by our desire. And without it, we will forever live in poverty, regardless of how much we own.

From Lifesupport.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

WHO WILL YOU BE TOMORROW?

Communications console on a marine ship - “Ninety-nine percent of all problems in communications start with misunderstandings which develop as a result of differing viewpoints and conditioning.”

One man sat at a stop light. The woman in front of him was going through papers on the seat of her car, and when the light changed to green she didn't go. A green light is not a suggestion, you know, it is more of a commandment. But she didn't notice.

When the light turned red again, she still had not moved. The man in the car behind her now started screaming epithets and beating on his steering wheel.

A policeman tapped on his windshield. "You can't arrest me for hollering in my car," the man said. The cop asked for his license and registration, returned to his car, talked on the radio for a while, and finally handed the papers back. The driver protested, "I knew you couldn't cite me for yelling in my own car!"

The officer replied, "I didn't want to cite you for shouting in your car. But I was directly behind you at the light. I saw you screaming and beating your steering wheel, and I said to myself, 'That man is out of control. He's going to hurt someone!' Then I noticed the cross hanging from your rear view mirror, the bright yellow 'Love Is a Choice' license tag, the 'Give Peace a Chance' and 'Prayer Changes Things' bumper stickers, and I was sure you must have stolen the car."

His behavior did not reflect his bumper stickers. But let's not be too critical. Are we always the people we want to be?

We make changes by stretching. Personal transformation can happen when the person we presently are does not yet resemble the person we hope to be. Better to set high ideals and occasionally fall short than to settle for mediocrity and succeed.

The important question is not, "Who are you today?" It is better to ask, "Who will you be tomorrow?"

Remember: if nothing ever changed, there'd be no butterflies.

From Lifesupport.

Monday, July 2, 2007

MAKING THOSE OBSTACLES VANISH

Marine ship air vents - “...Depression is not sobbing and crying and giving vent, it is plain and simple reduction of feeling...People who keep stiff upper lips find that it's damn hard to smile.”

American President John Quincy Adams once said, "Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish." It's true!

Look what happened once to a North Carolina church that wanted to purchase some property. The church regularly suffered from high tide flooding. But when the church was built over a hundred years ago, they couldn't afford better property.

They finally decided to relocate to higher ground. An ideal piece of property was empty - actually the highest ground in town. It belonged to a man named Sam. Officials from the church went to see Sam about selling the property. He politely told them it wasn't for sale; that he had other plans for the land.

The church looked elsewhere, but nothing satisfactory could be found. So they went back to Sam and made another offer. Again they were refused.

Then an unusual thing happened. One of the worst coastal floods in memory struck the town. As water rose, the church began to float. It left its coastal lot and started inward. It floated down the main street, turned a corner and eventually landed right on Sam's empty property.

Sam gave in. He allowed the building to stay and, if you ask the members of North Carolina's Swanquarter United Methodist Church how they came to acquire their land, they may relate what Sam said about the transaction: "I guess if the good Lord couldn't move me to give the land to the church, he would move the church to the land."

The member's persistence, combined with a little outside help, paid off. Persevere - you may by surprised at how your obstacles vanish!

From Lifesupport.

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