Friday, July 30, 2010


Precious ceramic bowls on display - “Ordinary riches can be stolen, real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you.”

Two lovers were talking and she said to him, "I don't have a lot of money. I don't have a brand new sports car and a yacht like Lisa Turner, but I love you with all my heart."

He said to her, "I love you, too. But tell me more about Lisa Turner." Tennessee Williams might have said that he had "all the sincerity of a bird-hunter's whis­tle."

If love is anything, I believe it must be genuine. It must be sincere.

That word "sincere" has some interesting roots. I'm told it comes from the ancient marble quarries of Rome. Apparently, unscrupulous stone dealers covered the marble's imperfections with wax. The practice eventually became illegal, as the Roman Empire certified that all marble must be "sine cera" or "sincerus," meaning without wax -- genuine. So, to be sincere is to be genuine. And love, at its best, is likewise "free of deceit," or genuine.

Genuine love is for real. And it's the stuff whole and happy lives are built on.

From Lifesupport.

Lifesigns Life Quotes

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Peanut the cat looking sleepy - “Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.”

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.

Lifesigns Life Quotes

Monday, July 26, 2010


First grade Force Impulse Gundam model kit - “If at first, the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it”

For several years I have saved a touching piece written by teacher, Beth Nelson. She reminds us of the satisfaction gained by doing the "work of our hearts."

Let me give children the healing knowledge
That there is a better way, a more beautiful way
To live each day of their lives.
A physician I am not, but healing is part of my profession.

Let me give some child hope for eternity,
Peace in this life, confidence in what will come.
I am not a member of the clergy, but faith is part of my

Let me give children a feeling of justice,
A sensitivity for right and wrong;
A love of truth and abhorrence of evil.
A legal advisor I am not, but justice is part of my profession.

Let me bring children relief from pain of disappointment and
A remedy for dissolving personality;
An escape from the ravages of self-pity;
A psychologist I am not, but the healthy mind is part of my

Let me give children a balance between an appreciation of their
cultural heritage,
And an enthusiastic participation in the human family,
And anticipation for the world of tomorrow.
For I am a teacher.

To some, teaching may be a job; to others, a means to a greater end. One person may think he merely lays bricks; another understands that he is helping to build a hospital. Who among us cannot find a higher purpose in our work?

Michael Bridge beautifully says, "When our eyes see our hands doing the work of our hearts, the circle of creation is completed inside us, the doors of our souls fly open, and love steps forth to heal everything in sight."

From Lifesupport.

Lifesigns Life Quotes

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Server rear connecting cables - “No cord or cable can draw so forcibly, or bind so fast, as love can do with a single thread

I recently read of a motorist who was caught in an automated speed trap. His speed was measured by a radar machine and his car was automatically photographed. In a few days he re­ceived a ticket for $40 in the mail along with a picture of his auto­mobile. As payment, he sent the police department a snapshot of $40. Several days later, he received a letter from the police. It con­tained another picture -- of handcuffs!

Humor is an important part of a healthy life. Though often under-used, humor is also an essential prob­lem-solving tool, particularly in conflict. It goes a long way toward building bridges over divisive waters. What might happen if you use humor to get at that aggravating prob­lem you are facing today?

From Lifesupport.

Lifesigns Life Quotes

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Niah caves batik painting - “They see only their own shadows or the shadows of one another, which the fire throws on the opposite wall of the cave

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

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

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

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

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

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

From "Journey Through Heartsongs" (Hyperion Books, 2001)

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

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

From Lifesupport.

Lifesigns Life Quotes

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Expensive branded sun glasses for sale - “The only thing more expensive than education is ignorance.”

You may be acquainted with a real-life hero!

An American tourist in Tel Aviv was about to enter the impressive Mann Auditorium to take in a concert by the Israel Philharmonic. He was admiring the unique architecture, the sweeping lines of the entrance, and the modern decor throughout the building. Finally he turned to his escort and asked if the building was named for Thomas Mann, the world famous author.

"No," his friend said, "it's named for Fredric Mann, from Philadelphia."

"Really? I never heard of him. What did he write?"

"A check."

There are many kinds of heroes, and Fredric Mann is a hero to many concert goers. But you don't have to be famous (or wealthy) to be a hero. That honor may go to just about anyone -- perhaps you. You may have never considered yourself much of a hero, but you could be wrong. The fact is, most people's heroes and role models include those closest to them -- family and friends.

Harold W. Bernard said, "There are unrecognized heroes among our ordinary neighbors." And Kenneth E. Clark, former president of the American Psychological Association, once said this about heroes: "Heroes stand for what is right. If someone is our hero, it's because that person does what you would like to see accomplished." Maybe they rise above adversity with dignity. Maybe they exemplify perseverance. Maybe they show unusual courage in terrifying situations. Maybe they love the unlovable and live with quiet grace.

Real heroes are not always famous. But they DO make a difference.

So, this is for you -- the unrecognized and quiet heroes of everyday life. Thanks...for being you!

From Lifesupport.

Lifesigns Life Quotes

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Cisco telepresence VOIP phone - “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.”

A little boy wanted a taste of molasses from the large barrel by the door of an old-fashioned country store. He slid a box beside the barrel, stepped up on it and leaned over the rim as far as possible, stretching out his finger to­ward the sweet goo below. He stretched and strained and toppled headfirst into the barrel.

Dripping with molas­ses, he stood up, lifted his eyes heavenward and was heard to utter, "Lord, help me to make the most of this fantastic oppor­tunity!"

A quality that some people possess is the ability to take whatever life gives them and turn it into an opportunity. David Boren must be such a man. The Oklahoma politician learned from pro­fessional pollsters that he would most likely lose his gubernatorial bid, and lose it big. The profes­sional polling agency he hired reported his strength to be about two percent of the population.

His first reaction was to quit. But he finally decided to turn his bad news into an opportunity. He told his listeners, "I had a professional poll taken and it shows I've got great potential for in­creasing my support!"

That sounded a whole lot better than it was! But he eventually won the election and served as governor of the state of Oklahoma.

Will you accept the creative challenge to take what life gives you and turn it into an oppor­tunity? If so, watch out! Something exciting just might happen!

From Lifesupport.

Lifesigns Life Quotes

Saturday, July 17, 2010


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Friday, July 16, 2010


Antique cups and saucers - “A thousand cups of wine do not suffice when true friends meet, but half a sentence is too much when there is no meeting of minds.”

"Nobody, as long as he moves among the chaotic currents of life, is without trouble," said psychologist Carl Jung.

I received a letter from a woman who responded to something that I wrote. Listen to her unusual response to trouble:

"Your excerpt from your book *Touching Moments* really spoke to me. I have discovered the gift that can come from adversity. In January my husband, who is in his 50's, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. My whole world was turned upside down and I was devastated. It was a relief to know finally what was wrong with him, but also I am all too well aware of the grim reality of the hideous effects of such a disease.

"Sometimes it is really frustrating as well as heartbreaking to see the way he struggles to communicate and express himself. In addition seeing him standing in front of his closet, not sure why he is there but knowing there was something he needed to get out of it, tears me apart.

"However, this disease has brought us closer together. I find myself cherishing moments with him which I might never have given a second thought to. I find myself letting the dishes wait if he suggests that we take a bath together or go swing outside in our garden swing. He looks at the world with new eyes, and scenes I might never have noticed he points out to me. It may be the way that the light plays on the fountain or a delicate spider web glistening in the sun.

"I am learning to live in the moment and to be aware of all the beauty and wonder that surrounds us in this world. My husband's illness, as insidious as it is, is molding me into a better person, a more tolerant and patient person, and full of gratitude for each moment we spend together.

"Trouble will come, there is no escaping it, but trouble can richly bless us. We may find our life changing direction and seeing possibilities we may have missed if trouble had not brought its gift to us."

A woman I know was diagnosed with cancer and has struggled through surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation treatments. She was recently asked how she is doing. Her response was, "Life sparkles." Isn't that wonderful? "Life sparkles!"

She went on to explain that ever since the disease she has appreciated life more fully. Now she sees a sunrise or the way the sunlight reflects on new-fallen snow as if she were looking at it for the first time…or the last time. The world is awash in beauty in ways she has never before noticed. Kindnesses done for her by friends mean more. Life sparkles!

Nobody can live without trouble. But for those with eyes to sparkles.

From Lifesupport.

Lifesigns Life Quotes

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Hotel room closet peek - “If you can't get rid of the skeleton in your closet, you'd best teach it to dance.”

Is it difficult for you to forgive? To let the past be past? It is for me. Nearly impossible sometimes. I'm a little like the elderly Virginian woman who lived to see her beloved Richmond occupied by Union troops after the American Civil War. The matron was walking down a Richmond street when she tripped over a step and fell. A Union soldier courteously helped her up.

"How very kind of you, young man," she said acidly. "If there is a cool spot in hell, I hope you get it."

Maybe it was still a bit early for her to let go of those deep-seated resentments. But angry and bitter lives are never happy lives.

A beautiful legend tells of an African tribe that ritualizes forgiveness. When a tribe member acts irresponsibly or unjustly, he/she is taken to the center of the village. All work ceases and every man, woman and child in the village gathers in a large circle around the accused. Then the tribe bombards the rejected person with affirmations! One at a time, friends and family enumerate all the good the individual has done. Every incident, every experience that can be recalled with some detail and accuracy is recounted. All their positive attributes, strengths and kindnesses are recited carefully and at length. Finally, the tribal circle is broken, a joyous celebration takes place, and the outcast is welcomed back into the tribe.

What a beautiful ritual of restoration! They replace hurt with happiness; pain with peace. Once again they are family. The rejected one is restored and the village is made whole.

Paul Boese has said, "Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future." As brothers and sisters in our global village, is letting go of those resentments really an option?

From Lifesupport.

Lifesigns Life Quotes

Monday, July 12, 2010


Construction site in Singapore - “The road to success is always under construction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From Lifesupport.

Lifesigns Life Quotes

Saturday, July 10, 2010


Gardening hoses for sale - “I think this is what hooks one to gardening: it is the closest one can come to being present at creation.”

I recall sitting with a woman a few years ago whose only son had unexpectedly died. I had sat in the same place a couple of years before when her husband had passed away. Of course, the loss of her son was opening the wound, not yet fully healed, caused by her husband's death.

With tear-filled eyes and pursed lips she lamented, "Oh, how terrible life can be! Isn't this world a terrible place?"

What could I say? On the one hand, I be­lieve that the world can be a wonderful and en­chant­ing place. There are times of fun and joy and happiness. I even believe life can be an exciting ad­venture!

On the other hand, for her right then, the world was indeed a terrible place. All of her family was gone. She faced the prospect of countless days filled with heartache and endless nights of loneli­ness. Such grief cannot be dismissed with a quick, "Oh, it will be all right. You'll be fine." Or, "Don't worry, he's in a better place." Regardless of whether these statements are true, to minimize her feelings of loss at that moment would have done her a great disservice. More than anything, she needed some­one to understand her pain and confusion.

"It's a difficult world to live in," I finally said, taking her hand. "I'm sorry."

She eventually did get through both losses. It was difficult and took time, but with help from her friends and hope from her faith she was able put her life back together. She was able to laugh and sing again.

When the world seems like a terrible place, I think it is good to remember a few things:

* Please don't blame yourself for something that may not be your fault. The death of a family member is a good example. There are some things which are beyond your control.

* Remember that you will get through it, even if it doesn't seem so at the time. One widowed woman remarked to me six months after her spouse's death, "I used to have more bad days than good days. Now I have more good days!" She was moving through her loss.

* Remember that you are not isolated. Please reach out to others when you hurt. And draw upon your spiritual resources. You are not alone.

This world can be fun and challenging, filled with laughter and happiness! But when suffer­ing visits, remembering these things can help ease the hurt.

From Lifesupport.

Lifesigns Life Quotes

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Steamed fish Chinese style - “No steam or gas ever drives anything until it is confined. No Niagara is ever turned into light and power until it is tunneled. No life ever grows until it is focused, dedicated, disciplined.”

Gretchen Alexander is sightless. But she refuses to allow her blindness to limit her life activities. She enjoys archery, golf, softball, sailing and water-skiing, as well as a number of other activities that those of us who are sighted have yet to learn.

She also speaks to groups about living life fully. When speaking to a group of high school students, she was once asked if there was anything she wouldn't try.

"I've decided to never sky-dive," she answered. "It would scare the heck out of my dog."

Why do some people rise above their problems and live life fully, while others become defeated? Merle Shain explains it this way: "There are only two ways to approach life, as a victim or as a gallant fighter. And you must decide if you want to act or to react...."

When discouraged, a victim reacts, perhaps in pain or self-pity. But a fighter acts. A fighter makes a decision to change that set of circumstances that left her or him discouraged. Or a fighter decides to accept those circumstances with grace and move ahead anyway. A fighter decides to act with courage. A fighter takes responsibility for his or her happiness. No matter how afraid, a fighter refuses to give in to the most defeating of all human emotions – helplessness.

A victim reacts. A fighter acts. It's your decision. It's a decision about whether you will live your life fully and with courage or whether you will be forever defeated by harsh circumstances. Make it well, for it may be one of the most important decisions you ever make.

Will you be a victim or a gallant fighter?

From Lifesupport.

Lifesigns Life Quotes

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Sky bridge walk way to the plane - “The hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which to burn”

Albert Einstein once arrived in London carrying his violin. After greeting him, an old friend asked, "You still play the violin, Albert?"

The mathematical genius nodded and said, "Yes, but not very well. My teacher says, 'The trouble with you, Mr. Einstein, is that you can't count.'"

He knew that he had much to learn if he were to play the violin well. So he approached his endeavor with a sense of humility, even to the point of laughing at his poor rhythm.

I heard of a hotel that has a water fountain in the lobby that is operated by an infra-red beam of light. When a thirsty person wants a drink, she simply bends down and the water automatically turns on. There is a sign above the water cooler that reads, "Stoop and drink."

What a marvelous parable for a life attitude. Stoop and drink. Especially when drinking from the fountain of knowledge -- stoop and drink. Like Albert Einstein, wise people know that they can only learn something new AFTER they realize two important points: 1) They do not yet know it all, and 2) There are others willing to teach. It is an attitude of humility...we stoop in order to drink.

One man says, "Every person I work with knows something better than me. My job is to listen long enough to find it and use it." He is not always the teacher. He figuratively stoops before his employees by listening carefully to their ideas so he might drink from their knowledge.

Everyone we will ever meet knows something better than us -- our children and our parents; the woman who drives the bus and the receptionist who answers the telephone; the man who sweeps the floor and our neighbor next door. Those who realize that all the world has something to teach will never run short of opportunities to stoop and drink. And they will always be refreshed.

From Lifesupport.

Lifesigns Life Quotes

Sunday, July 4, 2010


Peanut the cat in captivity - “If you can't control your peanut butter, you can't expect to control your life.”

My father taught me a powerful lesson on forgiveness.

His own father was a mining engineer and his family lived in the Philippines prior to World War II. They were captured by the Japanese and incarcerated there during World War II. He, his mother and sisters were sent to a prison camp at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila where they remained until the Philippine Islands were freed at the end of the war. His father, an enlisted man, was separated from the family and imprisoned with captured military personnel.

My dad was a teenager at the time. He, like other prisoners, struggled to survive. To keep from starving, he learned to eat his small, daily rations of rice without first removing the carcasses of worms in the bowl. But he ate better than most prisoners - he worked as an orderly in the prison hospital and, on occasion, was able to finish leftover food from patients. Though almost six feet tall, when he was finally freed he weighed only 95 pounds.

Life was difficult there by any standards. Numerous prisoners became ill and many died. Anger and bitterness toward their captors abounded. For years, even decades, after their eventual release from the prison camp, the men and women of Santo Tomas (like other prisoners of war) felt a smoldering bitterness toward the people who incarcerated them.

My father lost almost everything. His family lost their home. They lost their possessions. And harder still, they lost their freedom. But he also lost his father. My grandfather did not survive his captivity.

Yet I never heard my dad express any anger or resentment toward the Japanese soldiers or the Japanese people. Just the opposite. He taught me to regard ALL people with respect. He taught me to honor people of all races, nationalities and religions. He knew that bitterness only kept his wounds open and infected. Like a disease, his festering resentments could even infect others. And they could kill.

Alexander Pope has said, "To err is human; to forgive, divine." But that is not accurate. It's better said, "To err is human, but to forgive is human, too." Forgiveness is not an option for human beings. Forgiveness is essential for our health as individuals and necessary if we are to live together. To err is human, but to forgive is human, too. Perhaps to be perfect is divine. But to forgive is one of the most human things we can do.

And its never too soon to do something so very human.

From Lifesupport.

Lifesigns Life Quotes

Friday, July 2, 2010


Colorful ceramic plate designs - “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.”

In his book "Asimov Laughs Again" (New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1993), author Isaac Asimov relates an incident when he was interviewed by television journalist Barbara Wal­ters.

She asked him how many books he had written and then asked, "Don't you ever want to do anything but write?"

He said, "No."

She pressed on. "Don't you want to go hunting? Fishing? Dancing? Hiking?"

This time he answered, "No! No! No! And no!"

She continued, "But what would you do if the doctor gave you only six months to live?"

He said, "Type faster."

Isaac Asimov spent his life doing what he loved. It was comedian George Burns who once said, "I honestly think it is better to be a failure at something you love than to be a success at some­thing you hate."

Easily said, but leaving the safety of what is known and venturing into the unknown can be one of the scariest decisions we can make. And also one of the most fulfilling.

If you no longer find satisfaction in what you do, is it time to leave the familiar behind and follow your heart?

From Lifesupport.

Lifesigns Life Quotes


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