Friday, February 29, 2008


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Sweet delicious pastry cakes - “May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human enough hope to make you happy.”

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.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


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Gardening soil for sale - “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.”

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.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Conference meeting room - “No grand idea was ever born in a conference, but a lot of foolish ideas have died there.”

I want to make the most of every day. And, like most people, I've discovered that the best way to do it is to let go of past failures.

But that's not all. One can never fully enjoy today while dwelling too much on past successes, either. People never succeed while resting comfortably on their laurels. As Ivern Ball has said, "The past should be a springboard, not a hammock." The fact is, sometimes our successes hold us back more than our failures!

I once heard a story about the actor Clark Gable. A friend paid Gable a visit one afternoon at the actor's home. She brought along her small son, who amused himself by playing with toy cars on the floor. He pretended he was racing those cars around a great track, which in reality was an imaginary circle around a golden statuette. The small statue the boy played with was actually the Oscar Clark Gable won for his performance in the 1934 movie It Happened One Night.

When his mother told him the time had come to leave, the little boy asked the actor, "Can I have this?" pointing to the Oscar.

"Sure," he smiled. "It's yours."

The horrified mother objected. "Put that back immediately!"

Giving the child the golden statue, Clark Gable said, "Having the Oscar around doesn't mean anything to me; earning it does." The actor seemed to know that past success could be a comfortable hammock upon which he may be tempted to rest, rather than a springboard launching him to the next level.

Biblical wisdom says, "Do not cling to events of the past or dwell on what happened long ago." You may have learned to let go of past failures and mistakes in order to free the present. But will you loosen your grip on past successes and achievements in order to free the future? Will your past be a springboard or a restful hammock?

"I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past," said Thomas Jefferson. I agree. After all, the future, not the past, is where the rest of your life will be lived.

From Lifesupport.

Monday, February 25, 2008


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Locked in heated discussion - “Discussion is an exchange of knowledge; argument is an exchange of ignorance”

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

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

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

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

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

From Lifesupport.

Saturday, February 23, 2008


Door knob lock and keys - “I ran up the door, closed the stairs, said my pajamas and put on my prayers, turned off the bed and hopped in the light, all because you kissed me goodnight

We can't always have everything we want! One woman laments that she wants to be a bear. Actually, what she says is this:

"If you're a bear, you get to hibernate. You do nothing but sleep for six months. I could deal with that.

Before you hibernate, you're supposed to eat yourself stupid. I could deal with that, too.

If you're a bear, you birth your children (who are the size of walnuts) while you're sleeping and wake to partially grown, cute, cuddly cubs. I could definitely deal with that.

If you're a mama bear, everyone knows you mean business. You swat anyone who bothers your cubs. I could deal with that, too.

If you're a bear, your mate EXPECTS you to wake up growling. He EXPECTS that you will have hairy legs and excess body fat.

Yup. I wanna be a bear."

We can't always have everything we want! One person said this:

"As a rule, man's a fool. When it's hot he wants it cool.
When it's cool he wants it hot, always wanting what is not."

Our age is characterized by the ability to get what we want, and the inability to want what we've got. It is characterized by discontentment.

In 1988, one woman won twenty-two million dollars in her state lottery. Her family and friends are gathered around her. The television lights are blazing. Even the network news is there. She was ecstatic. "This," the woman proclaimed, "is the happiest day of my life!"

But a mere five years later found her looking sullen. She was shown again on television shaking her head in disbelief. In a matter of a few short years, she went through a divorce, the alienation of her children, and an investment that turned sour. A judge had now garnished her lottery winnings for life. The closing scene showed the woman sitting on the steps of an apartment building in utter despair. She had won $22 million, but it was not enough to save her from unhappiness.

You have the ability to get what you want. You probably have everything you need to be completely satisfied. Do you also have the ability to want what you've got? Do you have peace of mind?

From Lifesupport.

Friday, February 22, 2008


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Ceramic flower decoration - “Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead. The consciousness of loving and being loved brings a warmth and richness to life that nothing else can bring.”

There was once a young man who, in his youth, professed his desire to become a great writer. When asked to define "great" he said, "I want to write stuff that the whole world will read, stuff that people will react to on a truly emotional level, stuff that will make them scream, cry, howl in pain and anger!"

He now works for a software company, writing error messages.

Those beautiful dreams we have for the rest of our lives too often don't materialize. And, again too often, we look back dissatisfied with the direction we took or the place we finally reached.

Frederick Buechner, in his book THE HUNGERING DARK (New York: Seabury Press, 1968), talks about looking back at high school yearbooks. He plays a sad game, remembering what all his classmates hoped and dreamed of becoming. "In my class, as in any class, at any school," he says, "there were students who had a real flair, a real talent, for something. Maybe it was for writing or acting or sports. Maybe it was an interest and a joy in working with people. Sometimes
it was just their capacity for being so alive that made you more alive to be with them. Yet now, a good many years later, I have the feeling that more than just a few of them are spending their lives at work in which none of these gifts is being used. This is the sadness of the game .."

Matt Lamb could have been one of those people. Until 1987, Matt owned and ran his own funeral home in Chicago. But that year, a doctor told Matt that he had a fatal disease. So he closed the funeral home and pursued his true passion, painting.

Soon, Matt's art drew national attention. He became quite successful. Only after Matt had found success in his dream career did doctors discover that they had misdiagnosed him. He wasn't going to die after all.

A misdiagnosis may have saved him from a life of meaninglessness. Not that owning one's own small business is in any way unworthy, but it simply was not Matt's true passion. In his heart, he wanted to paint, and he would never be truly happy until he pursued that dream, wherever it finally led him.

What does it take to move us to follow our passions? Must we face a crisis before we step off the safe, known path onto the unknown trail of adventure we've dreamed of following all our lives?

Singer Joan Baez reminds us: "You don't get to choose how you're going to die. Or when. You can only decide how you're going to live." That decision is too important to put off another day.

From Lifesupport.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Chinese New Year day 15, Chap Goh Meh, treats tray - “You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What about you? Are you ready for results?

From Lifesupport.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Chinese New Year lotus shaped pastry treats - “To keep the body in good health is a duty, for otherwise we shall not be able to trim the lamp of wisdom, and keep our mind strong and clear. Water surrounds the lotus flower, but does not wet its petals.”

Are you ready to be surprised? Life is full of surprises - to those who are aware.

History records amazing coincidences in the lives of two of America's founders - Thomas Jefferson and John Quincy Adams. You are aware that Jefferson labored for two weeks writing the Declaration of Independence. He showed his drafts to Adams and Benjamin Franklin, who edited it, honed Jefferson's ideas and refined the document. When it was finally finished, he brought it before the Continental Congress for approval. And America remembers her birth date, of course, as July 4, 1776.

Jefferson and Adams spent the next 50 years debating ideas about how this new nation should govern itself and what it should eventually become. Their administrations argued philosophies and legislation. Sometimes the two men were contentious, but later in life they seemed to develop more of an appreciation for each other. Though they lived far apart, they kept up through correspondence.

Surprisingly (and coincidentally), they both died the same day! Adams is said to have uttered, just before he died, "Jefferson still lives." He couldn't have known that Thomas Jefferson was also drawing his last breath.

Do you know what that day was? July 4 – Independence Day. Do you know what year? It was 1926, exactly 50 years from the signing of the Declaration of Independence. And the coincidences don't end there.

Couriers were dispatched with the news of the great men's deaths. From Braintree, the messenger with news about Adams traveled south. Jefferson's messenger came north from Virginia. Do you know where they met? In Philadelphia...under the shadow of the great hall where both men's lives were so dramatically shaped, and where they labored to give birth to a nation.

Coincidence? Perhaps. But historians of the day often attributed these coincidences to providence – as a good omen for a new nation.

Our lives are full of surprises and amazing coincidences. Someone said, "Coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous." It's a beautiful way of making sense of the inexplicable.

But whether or not you see the hand of providence in coincidence, life teems with the remarkable. Learn to notice what others do not see, and you'll never ceased to be amazed!

From Lifesupport.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Chinese New Year cuttlefish confectionery treats - “The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns, as it were, instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish squirting out ink.”

The teacher quizzed her class: "He drove straight to his goal. He looked neither to the right nor to the left, but pressed forward, moved by a definite purpose. Neither friend nor foe could delay him, nor turn him from his course. All who crossed his path did so at their own peril. What would you call such a man?"

A student replied, "A truck driver!"

If he is a truck driver, he is likely a successful truck driver, for anyone who pursues a vision with such passion is sure to be a success.

Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel got it right when he said:

"The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference.
The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference.
The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference.
And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference."

Nothing will kill a dream or douse the fire of a good idea more quickly than indifference. To whatever endeavor you commit yourself, be on guard primarily against that spirit-quenching attitude of apathy.

At what do you wish to succeed? A project? A job? A relationship? A personal mission? A financial goal? A life purpose? "Each one of us has a fire in our heart for something," says Mary Lou Retton. "It's our goal in life to find it and keep it lit."

In order to succeed greatly, one must care greatly. For indifference is no match against a well-attended fire in the heart.

From Lifesupport.

Monday, February 18, 2008


Chinese New Year dragon motif - “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.”

The poet Rupert Brooke set out to travel by boat from England to America. Everyone on deck had someone there to see him or her off - everyone except him. Rupert Brooke felt lonely, terribly lonely. Watching the hugging and kissing and good-byes, he wished he had someone to miss him.

The poet saw a youngster and asked his name. "William," the boy answered.

"William," he asked, "would you like to earn a few shillings?"

"Sure I would! What do I have to do?"

"Just wave to me as I leave," the lonely man instructed.

It is said that money can't buy love, but for six shillings young William waved to Rupert Brooke as the boat pulled out. The poet writes, "Some people smiled and some cried, some waved white handkerchiefs and some waved straw hats. And I? I had William, who waved at me with his red bandana for six shillings and kept me from feeling completely alone."

We are all lonely at times. But here was a man who was strong enough to admit his loneliness. One psychotherapist says that a necessary first step toward coping with loneliness is for people to feel free simply admitting they are lonely. For once we recognize it, then we can do something about it.

What can we do? Reach out to friends and family. Too many people are lonely because they have been building walls instead of bridges.

We can also find others who may be lonely and help fill their emptiness. The world is full of them. Mother Teresa used to describe loneliness as "the biggest disease" of our time. And the loneliest do not all reside in nursing homes, nor do they all live by themselves.

Finally, we can recognize that, spiritually, we are not alone. This is a time for us to dig deep into our spiritual being.

Lily Tomlin quipped, "We're all in this alone." But, of course, that isn't true. And great joy comes from discovering the power in the word "together."

From Lifesupport.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


I've still got the DIY'ed aluminum biscuit tin as my mailbox. You know those makeshift mailboxes that you make using any weatherproof (or semi-weatherproof in my case) containers that you have lying around the house. They are sufficient most of the time, but their aesthetics leave much to be desired.Luckily you can find high quality residential mailboxes and commercial mailboxes at mailboxixchange. If you are looking for a great looking residential mailbox for your home, you can browse through an extensive listing of residential mailboxes of various designs and makes on mailboxixchange.
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Saturday, February 16, 2008


Chinese New Year sweets and candies - “There is only one difference between a long life and a good dinner: that, in the dinner, the sweets come last.”

Do you know what you really need? I'm not talking about material things. I mean, what do you need to make your life all you want it to be?

Author Stephen Covey says that people all share four basic needs: the need to live, to love, to learn and to leave a legacy.

We need to live. Not just to breathe but to live life fully. Dr. Philip Humbert asks, "What remarkable, extraordinary and amazing things will you do with this wild and wonderful miracle, your one and only life?"

We need to love. We also need to be loved. As anthropologist Margaret Mead puts it, "One of the oldest human needs is having someone wonder where you are when you don't come home at night."

We need to learn. And not only for a few years when we are young. We must be life-long learners who never stop growing, never cease to improve. For when we no longer grow, we stagnate. And when we stagnate, we die.

Finally, we need to leave a legacy. It is a basic desire to want our lives to count for something. In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson: "To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a little bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded."

These are four needs that must never be neglected. Live fully, love completely, learn constantly and leave something worthwhile behind. It is the path to success. And to joy.

From Lifesupport.

Friday, February 15, 2008


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Chinese New Year home made almond cookies - “A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand”

Lorraine Hansberry wrote a play called, "A Raisin in the Sun." In that play a sister is com­pletely out of patience with her brother. He has been so dis­gusting in her eyes that she never again wants anything to do with him.

But her mother is wise. She tells her daugh­ter that the time to love somebody is not when they have done well and made things easy for everyone. The time to love somebody is when "he's at his low­est and can't believe in himself 'cause the world done whipped him so."

She is telling her daughter that there is a time to patiently bear with another. And especially when that other is hard to love and angry because "the world done whipped him so."

Patiently bearing with another is not the same as allowing yourself to be abused. There is certainly a time to say, "No," especially when some­one's behavior is destructive. But there is also a time for understanding and patience. It has been said that patience is the ability to count down before blasting off. And an old Chinese prov­erb has it that if you continually grind a bar of iron, you can make a nee­dle of it. All it takes is patience.

If there is a time to call it quits, is there also a time for patient understanding? Is there someone who may need you to bear with them a little longer?

From Lifesupport.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


Valentine's day home made card and chocolate treat - “When you smiled you had my undivided attention. When you laughed you had my urge to laugh with you. When you cried you had my urge to hold you. When you said you loved me, you had my heart forever.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From Lifesupport.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Chinese New Year seaweed snacks - “I like vending machines, because snacks are better when they fall. If I buy a candy bar at the store, oftentimes I will drop it so that is achieves its maximum flavor potential.”

Do you know how to have a life of joy?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From Lifesupport.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Chinese New Year almond chocolate pastries - “All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From Lifesupport.

Monday, February 11, 2008


Chinese New Year red decoration lucky charms - “The best of a book is not the thought which it contains, but the thought which it suggests; just as the charm of music dwells not in the tones but in the echoes of our hearts.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From Lifesupport.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


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Chinese New Year twinkle red lights decor - “May you grow up to be righteous, may you grow up to be true. May you always know the truth and see the lights surrounding you. May you always be courageous, stand upright and be strong. May you stay forever young.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From Lifesupport.

Saturday, February 9, 2008


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Chinese New Year prosperity and wealth treats - “Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.”

Calvin, of the "Calvin and Hobbes" comic strip fame, once imparted some timeless wisdom: "If people sat outside and looked at the stars each night," he observed, "I'll bet they'd live a lot differently. "

I believe he's right. Year by bewildering year, our world grows more complex. We crave peace within our souls. We long for simplicity in lives that too easily become inexplicably tangled in complicated webs.

David enjoyed the simple things of life. He sometimes took jobs at dude ranches, national parks and seasonal resorts. His brother, however, wanted to entice him to get a "real" job and live in a world surrounded by things that only money can buy. David's brother often sent him photos of himself enjoying the so-called "good life." He labeled his snapshots "My new sound system" or "My new car."

But the photos stopped arriving after David responded with a picture of his own. He sent his brother a large poster with a breathtaking view of Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park. On the back was David's message: "My back yard."

I believe I understand how David feels. "The Good Life" is not defined by possessions, but by pure and utter enjoyment of simplicity.

John Burroughs (1837-1921) put it like this: "To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird's nest or a wildflower in spring -- these are some of the rewards of the simple life."

Those who take time to find pleasure in the ordinary DO live differently. The simple difference is this: because they have learned to live simply, they have learned to live.

From Lifesupport.

Friday, February 8, 2008


Chinese New Year giant inflatable decor, God of Prosperity - “Prosperity in the form of wealth works exactly the same as everything else. You will see it coming into your life when you are unattached to needing it.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

From Lifesupport.

Thursday, February 7, 2008


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Chinese New Year 2008 the year of the rat - “An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.”

Columnist Dave Barry says this about his father: "My dad ... he'd try anything -- carpentry, electrical wiring, plumbing, roofing. From watching him, I learned a lesson that still applies to my life today: No matter how difficult a task may seem, if you're not afraid to try it, you can do it. And when you're done, it will leak." (And then you'll pay somebody even more to fix it than if you'd called him in the first place.)

But I learned from my parents the value of "going for it." "Nothing ventured, nothing lost," is the motto of too many of us. Many people are so afraid to fail that they never venture beyond the familiar. "Better to be safe than sorry" has trapped too many unhappy people in the cocoon of their comfort zones.

A delightful story tells that Col. Robert Johnson of Salem, New Jersey, announced that he would take a public risk. He let the town know that he would eat a wolf peach on the steps of the county
courthouse at noon on September 26, 1820. "Why would he take such a chance?" asked bewildered townsfolk.

Scientists and doctors had long proclaimed the wolf peach, also called the Jerusalem Apple and the Love Apple, as poisonous. Col. Johnson was warned that he would foam and froth at the mouth. If the wolf peach was too ripe and warmed by the sun, they told him he would be exposing himself to brain fever. Should he somehow survive the experience, the skin of the fruit would stick to the lining of his stomach and eventually cause cancer.

A crowd of 2,000 friends and neighbors jammed the square to see Col. Johnson eat the "poisonous" fruit -- a tomato.

Col. Johnson believed his risk was small, but must be taken if myths about the fruit were to be dispelled. Who has not accomplished anything worthwhile without taking some chance?

"Behold the turtle," says James Conant. "He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out."

From Lifesupport.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


Chinese New Year night bazaar - “It is in the character of very few men to honor without envy a friend who has prospered.”

One man quipped: "It's not that I'm afraid of dying. It's just that I've been alive for as long as I can remember, and I'm kind of set in my ways."

Some people ARE afraid of dying. Others are not concerned about their death ... but they worry about how they're going to get there. Will illness linger? Or will it be sudden?

I can't even guess how or when I might die, but knowing this present existence will end has actually helped me to live passionately. Others have discovered the same phenomenon.

Journalists Bill and Judith Moyers did a documentary on death and dying in the U.S. They learned that many of the terminal patients they interviewed were peaceful about their impending deaths. In fact, many of them found greater meaning and beauty in life after learning that they would die!

According to Moyers, one man lived four years past his doctor's prognosis. In that time, he learned to cherish every moment of life. As he said, "If you are told you will never see spring again, and you live to see spring, spring takes on a whole new life." ("Modern Maturity," Sept./Oct. 2000)

Psychologist Abraham Maslow had a similar experience. After his first heart attack he realized that his remaining days on earth were short. He wrote about it to a friend: "My river never seemed so beautiful (Maslow lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on the Charles River). The confrontation with death -- and reprieve from it -- makes everything look so precious, so sacred, so beautiful and I feel more strongly than ever the impulse to love it, to embrace it, and to let myself be overwhelmed by it...." Can you imagine feeling that way about death? He ends with this remarkable statement: "Death, and its ever present possibility makes love, passionate love, more possible. I wonder if we could love passionately, if ecstasy would be possible at all, if we knew we'd never die."

But we DO know we'll die! And, strange as it may seem, knowing life is short can help us to live ... beautifully, meaningfully, passionately.

A book's ending helps us to decide how we liked the book. A movie that seems to go on endlessly loses enjoyment for most viewers . A never-ending meal may cause diners to become disinterested in the food. Likewise, knowing life is all too short gives power to live it passionately and enjoy it fully.

I'll someday die. And so will you. Be glad! It is BECAUSE of that knowledge that we can live every day -- every moment -- with passion!

From Lifesupport.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


Oriental picture frame - “Art consists of limitation. The most beautiful part of every picture is the frame.”

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

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

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

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

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

From Lifesupport.

Monday, February 4, 2008


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The crowd at the Chinese New Year Bazaar - “It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinions; it is easy in solitude to live after your own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude”

In Turin, Italy, an anonymous citizen wrote the tax office enclosing 10,000 Lira (four or five US dollars) and explained he had cheated on his income tax and it had caused him to lose his appetite. He added, "If my appetite doesn't improve I'll send the rest."

Guilt created a biological response in him. But it created an even more unusual response in one woman. William Wirt Winchester's widow built a bizarre mansion to assuage her guilt. It is a house built over a 38 year period at a cost of over five million dollars. The 160 room house has stairways that lead to blank walls, corridors that lead to unopenable doors, 13 bathrooms, 13 stair steps, 13 lights to a chandelier, 13 windows to a room.

Her husband was the son of the Winchester, heir of the manufacturer of the repeating rifle. Her house is referred to as the "guilt house," and was conceived as a never-ending building project to provide a home for the spirits of those killed by Winchester rifles. Instead of confronting her guilt and working through it in constructive ways, her project occupied the rest of her life.

Erma Bombeck has called guilt "the gift that keeps on giving." And it is, if it isn't laid to rest. It can keep on giving emotional, physical and spiritual problems for a lifetime. But you needn't carry it around forever or find a bizarre way to assuage it.

Do you have unresolved guilt? I'm not talking about the kind of guilt that may keep one from breaking the law or hurting innocent people. I mean unnecessary guilt. Over-anxiety and self-loathing about that which can no longer be changed.

- In one day you can recognize where your feelings of guilt come from.
- In one day you can decide to make necessary amends to those you may have hurt.
- In one day you can decide to ask for forgiveness from others.
- In one day you can exercise your spiritual power and choose to be at one with God and the universe.
- In one day you can decide to be gentler with yourself and allow yourself to experience the healing balm of acceptance.
- In one day you can resolve to learn from the past and not repeat your behavior.
- In one day you can choose to do something constructive with that guilt, and then continue every day until it is only a memory.

And best of all, that one day can be today.

From Lifesupport.


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