The Choice

Endless love

A woman came out of her house and saw three old men with long white beards sitting in her front yard. She did not recognize them. She said, “I don’t think I know you, but you must be hungry. Please come in and have something to eat.”   “Is the man of the house home?” they asked. “No,” she said, “he’s out.” “Then we cannot come in,” they replied. In the evening when her husband came home, she told him what had happened. “Go tell them I am home and invite them in!” The woman went out and invited the men in. “We do not go into a house together,” they replied. “Why is that?” she wanted to know. One of the old men explained, “His name is Wealth,” said pointing to one of his friends, and said, pointing to another one, “He is Success, and I am Love.” Then he added, “Now go in and discuss with your husband which one of us you want in your home.” The woman went in and told her husband what was said. Her husband was overjoyed. “How nice!” he said. “since that is the case, let us invite Wealth. Let him come in and fill our home with wealth!” His wife disagreed. “My dear, why don’t we invite Success?” Their daughter-in-law was listening from another corner of the house. She jumped in with her own suggestion: “Would it not be better to invite Love? Our home will then be filled with love!” “Let us heed our daughter-in-law’s advice,” said the husband to his wife.” Go out and invite Love to be our guest.” The woman went out and asked the three old men, “Which one of you is Love? Please come in and be our guest.” Love got up and started walking toward the house. The other two also got up and followed him. Surprised, the woman asked Wealth and Success: “I only invited Love, why are you coming in?” The old men replied together: ” If you had invited Wealth or Success, the other two of us would have stayed out, but since you invited Love, wherever he goes, we go with him. Wherever there is Love, there is Wealth and Success!!!” “Where there is pain, we wish you peace and mercy. Where there is self-doubting, we wish you a renewed confidence in your ability to work through it. Where there is tiredness, or exhaustion, we wish you understanding, patience, and renewed strength. Where there is fear, we wish you love, and courage.” You have two choices right now: (1) Delete this; or (2) Invite Love by sharing this story. Peace to all. – Unknown

THIEF!

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Image by dislegal via Flickr

I remember as a small child when we would have these gatherings with either family or friends. Invariably someone would come up and mention my “cuteness” and ask, “What are you going to be when you grow up?” Well, it started out being a cowboy or some super hero. Later it was fireman, policeman, lawyer… As I grew older my dreams of the future changed. When, at last, I was in college, I was asked, “What will you major in?” Another question designed to find out what I would be when I “grew up.” By then I had my heart set on becoming a preacher as my father before me. So I studied and prepared for that life. I reached success in that endeavor. I was preaching nearly full-time for much of my adult life. Physical disability keeps me from plying my trade full-time anymore, but I still am called upon to preach here and there. I am content that I could realize my dream and perhaps have a positive influence on someone’s life. My kids are now reaching their dreams and it thrills me to watch them achieve their goals. However, for many, there is a “thief” which goes around stealing our dreams and robbing us of the necessary mental state to attain our goals. Sometimes, the thief will come as a parent, a relative, a friend or a co-worker, but the greatest thief is, so many times, just ourselves. We find ourselves just about reaching the pinnacle, and this “small” voice inside says, “You’ll never make it.” “You can’t possibly do this.” “Very few have ever done this successfully.” And on and on the “small” voice predicts some kind of failure. Failure, though, is exactly how dreams are realized. It is one of the most important tools we have, because it teaches us invaluable lessons. And, when we learn these lessons well, we are poised and ready for success, which is probably just around the corner. The message I always gave my children was, you are capable of doing anything your heart desires. You are smart enough, good-looking enough, strong enough, and worthy of reaching the stars. The human spirit is indomitable. Remember the saying, “If you can conceive it, and your heart can believe it, you can achieve it.” There are no “overnight” successes, but with perseverance, it will come. Imagine yourself in the life you dream of living. Then in your heart, believe it will happen for you, as it has for others. Then work, work, work, work. You get the picture. So, be true to your dream, and don’t let anyone steal it from you — especially yourself. You can do anything your heart desires, so don’t give up or give in. Let the dream in you live. Larry Harp

Sioux Indian Story

Surface waves of water: expansion of a disturb...
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“My grandfather took me to the fish pond on the farm when I was about seven, and he told me to throw a stone into the water. He told me to watch the circles created by the stone.Then he asked me to think of myself as that stone person. “You may create lots of splashes in your life but the waves that come from those splashes will disturb the peace of all your fellow creatures,” he said. “Remember that you are responsible for what you put in your circle and that circle will also touch many other circles. You will need to live in a way that allows the good that comes from your circle to send the peace of that goodness to others. The splash that comes from anger or jealousy will send those feelings to other circles. You are responsible for both.” That was the first time I realized each person creates the inner peace or discord that flows out into the world. We cannot create world peace if we are riddled with inner conflict, hatred, doubt, or anger. We radiate the feelings and thoughts that we hold inside, whether we speak them or not. Whatever is splashing around inside of us is spilling out into the world, creating beauty or discord with all other circles of life. – Unknown Red Marbles

Harvard

Statue of John Harvard, founder of Harvard Uni...
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A lady in a faded gingham dress and her husband, dressed in a homespun threadbare suit, stepped off the train in Boston, and walked timidly without an appointment into the president of Harvard’s outer office. The secretary could tell in a moment that such backwoods country folks had no business at Harvard and probably didn’t even deserve to be in Cambrigde. She frowned. “We want to see the president, “the man said softly. “He’ll be busy all day,” the secretary snapped. “We’ll wait,” the lady replied. For hours, the secretary ignored them, hoping that the couple would finally become discouraged and go away. They didn’t. And the secretary grew frustrated and finally decided to disturb the president, even though it was a chore she always regretted to do. “Maybe if they just see you for a few minutes, they’ll leave, “she told him. He sighed in exasperation and nodded. Someone of his importance obviously didn’t have the time to spend with them, but he detested gingham and homespun suits cluttering his office. The president, stern-faced with dignity, strutted toward the couple. The lady told him, “We had a son that attended Harvard for one year. He loved Harvard, and was very happy here. But about a year ago, he was accidentally killed. And my husband and I would like to erect a memorial to him somewhere on campus. “The president wasn’t touched, he was shocked. “Madam,” he said gruffly, “we can’t put up a statue for every person who attended Harvard and died. If we did, this place would look like a cemetery.” “Oh, no” the lady explained quickly, “we don’t want to erect a statue. We thought we would give a building to Harvard.” The president rolled his eyes. He glanced at the gingham dress and homespun suit, then exclaimed, “A building!! Do you have any earthly idea how much a building costs? We have over seven and a half million dollars in the physical plant at Harvard!!” For a moment the lady was silent. The president was pleased. He could get rid of them now. The lady turned to her husband and said quietly, “Is that all it costs to start a university? Why don’t we just start our own?” Her husband nodded. The president’s face wilted in confusion and bewilderment. Mr. and Mrs. Leland Stanford walked away, traveling to Palo Alto, CA where they established the University that bears their name…a memorial to a son that Harvard no longer cared about. “You can easily judge the character of others by how they treat those who can do nothing for them or to them.” – Malcolm Forbes

 

 

There Is Greatness All Around You – Use It

Pole vault
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There are many people who could be Olympic champions, All-Americans who have never tried. I’d estimate five million people could have beaten me in the pole vault the years I won it, at least five million. Men who were stronger, bigger and faster than I was, could have done it, but they never picked up a pole, never made the feeble effort to pick their legs off the ground to try to get over the bar.   Greatness is all around us. It’s easy to be great because great people will help you. What is fantastic about all the conventions I go to is that the greatest in the business will come and share their ideas, their methods and their techniques with everyone else. I have seen the greatest salesmen open up and show young salesmen exactly how they did it. They don’t hold back. I have also found it true in the world of sports. I’ll never forget the time I was trying to break Dutch Warmer Dam’s record. I was about a foot below his record, so I called him on the phone. I said, “Dutch, can you help me? I seem to have leveled off. I can’t get any higher.” He said, “Sure, Bob, come on up to visit me and I’ll give you all I got.” I spent three days with the master, the greatest pole vaulter in the world. For three days, Dutch gave me everything that he’d seen. There were things that I was doing wrong and he corrected them. To make a long story short, I went up eight inches. That great guy gave me the best that he had. I’ve found that sports champions and heroes willingly do this just to help you become great, too.
John Wooden, the great UCLA basketball coach, has a philosophy that every day he is supposed to help someone who can never reciprocate. That’s his obligation. When in college working on his masters thesis on scouting and defensive football, George Allen wrote up a 30-page survey and sent it out to the great coaches in the country. Eighty-five percent answered it completely. Great people will share, which is what made George Allen one of the greatest football coaches in the world. Great people will tell you their secrets. Look for them, call them on the phone or buy their books. Go where they are, get around them, talk to them. It is easy to be great when you get around great people. By Bob Richards
Olympic Athlete

A Story To Live By

Moving at the Speed of Life ...
Image by д§mд via Flickr


By Ann Wells (Los Angeles Times)
My brother-in-law opened the bottom drawer of my sister’s bureau and lifted out a tissue-wrapped package. “This,” he said, “is not a slip. This is lingerie.” He discarded the tissue and handed me the slip. It was exquisite; silk, handmade and trimmed with a cobweb of lace. The price tag with an astronomical figure on it was still attached. “Jan bought this the first time we went to New York, at least 8 or 9 years ago. She never wore it. She was saving it for a special occasion.
Well, I guess this is the occasion.” He took the slip from me and put it on the bed with the other clothes we were taking to the mortician. His hands lingered on the soft material for a moment, then he slammed the drawer shut and turned to me. “Don’t ever save anything for a special occasion. Every day you’re alive is a special occasion.” I remembered those words through the funeral and the days that followed when I helped him and my niece attend to all the sad chores that follow an unexpected death. I thought about them on the plane returning to California from the Midwestern town where my sister’s family lives. I thought about all the things that she hadn’t seen or heard or done. I thought about the things that she had done without realizing that they were special. I’m still thinking about his words, and they’ve changed my life. I’m reading more and dusting less. I’m sitting on the deck and admiring the view without fussing about the weeds in the garden. I’m spending more time with my family and friends and less time in committee meetings. Whenever possible, life should be a pattern of experience to savour, not endure. I’m trying to recognize these moments now and cherish them. I’m not “saving” anything; we use our good china and crystal for every special event such as losing a pound, getting the sink unstopped, the first camellia blossom. I wear my good blazer to the market if I like it. My theory is if I look prosperous, I can shell out $28.49 for one small bag of groceries without wincing. I’m not saving my good perfume for special parties; clerks in hardware stores and tellers in banks have noses that function as well as my partygoing friends. “Someday” and “one of these days” are losing their grip on my vocabulary. If it’s worth seeing or hearing or doing, I want to see and hear and do it now. I’m not sure what my sister would’ve done had she known that she wouldn’t be here for the tomorrow we all take for granted. I think she would have called family members and a few close friends. She might have called a few former friends to apologize and mend fences or past squabbles. I like to think she would have gone out for a Chinese dinner, her favorite food. I’m guessing – I’ll never know. It’s those little things left undone that would make me angry if I knew that my hours were limited. Angry because I put off seeing good friends whom I was going to get in touch with – someday. Angry because I hadn’t written certain letters that I intended to write – one of these days. Angry and sorry that I didn’t tell my husband and daughter often enough how much I truly love them. I’m trying very hard not to put off, hold back, or save anything that would add laughter and luster to our lives. And every morning when I open my eyes, I tell myself that it is special. Every day, every minute, every breath truly is… a gift from God.

Learning to Get Back Up!!

A male (bull) with a baby (calf) giraffe, Gira...
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Bringing a giraffe into the world is a tall order. A baby giraffe falls 10 feet from its mother’s womb and usually lands on its back. Within seconds it rolls over and tucks its legs under its body. From this position it considers the world for the first time and shakes off the last vestiges of the birthing fluid from its eyes and ears. Then the mother giraffe rudely introduces its offspring to the reality of life.   In his book, A View from the Zoo, Gary Richmond describes how a newborn giraffe learns its first lesson. The mother giraffe lowers her head long enough to take a quick look. Then she positions herself directly over her calf. She waits for about a minute, and then she does the most unreasonable thing. She swings her long, pendulous leg outward and kicks her baby, so that it is sent sprawling head over heels. When it doesn’t get up, the violent process is repeated over and over again. The struggle to rise is momentous. As the baby calf grows tired, the mother kicks it again to stimulate its efforts. Finally, the calf stands for the first time on its wobbly legs. Then the mother giraffe does the most remarkable thing. She kicks it off its feet again. Why? She wants it to remember how it got up. In the wild, baby giraffes must be able to get up as quickly as possible to stay with the herd, where there is safety. Lions, hyenas, leopards, and wild hunting dogs all enjoy young giraffes, and they’d get it too, if the mother didn’t teach her calf to get up quickly and get with it. The late Irving Stone understood this. He spent a lifetime studying greatness, writing novelized biographies of such men as Michelangelo, Vincent van Gogh, Sigmund Freud, and Charles Darwin. Stone was once asked if he had found a thread that runs through the lives of all these exceptional people. He said, “I write about people who sometime in their life have a vision or dream of something that should be accomplished and they go to work. “They are beaten over the head, knocked down, vilified, and for years they get nowhere. But every time they’re knocked down they stand up. You cannot destroy these people. And at the end of their lives they’ve accomplished some modest part of what they set out to do.” Craig B. Larson
Adapted from “Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching from Leadership Journal Baker Books

The Butterfly

Cover of "Butterfly (Science Emergent Rea...
Cover of Butterfly (Science Emergent Reader)

A man found a cocoon for a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared, he sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through the little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and could go no farther. Then the man decided to help the butterfly. He took a pair of scissors and snipped the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. Something was strange. The butterfly had a swollen body and shriveled wings. The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time. Neither happened. In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and deformed wings. It was never able to fly. What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand, was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the small opening of the cocoon are God’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon. Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If God allowed us to go through all our life without any obstacles, that would cripple us. We would not be as strong as what we could have been. Not only that, we could never fly. – Unknown

Always Remember Those who Serve

ice cream van
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In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10 year old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him.   “How much is an ice cream sundae?” “Fifty cents,” replied the waitress. The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied a number of coins in it. “How much is a dish of plain ice cream?” he inquired. Some people were now waiting for a table and the waitress was a bit impatient. “Thirty-five cents,” she said brusquely. The little boy again counted the coins. “I’ll have the plain ice cream,” he said. The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and departed. When the waitress came back, she began wiping down the table and then swallowed hard at what she saw. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies – her tip

Friends
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A Simple Gesture Mark was walking home from school one day when he noticed the boy ahead of him had tripped and dropped all of the books he was carrying, along with two sweaters, a baseball bat, a glove and a small tape recorder. Mark knelt down and helped the boy pick up the scattered articles. Since they were going the same way, he helped to carry part of the burden. As they walked Mark discovered the boy’s name was Bill, that he loved video games, baseball and history, and that he was having lots of trouble with his other subjects and that he had just broken up with his girlfriend. They arrived at Bill’s home first and Mark was invited in for a Coke and to watch some television. The afternoon passed pleasantly with a few laughs and some shared small talk, then Mark went home. They continued to see each other around school, had lunch together once or twice, then both graduated from junior high school. They ended up in the same high school where they had brief contacts over the years. Finally the long awaited senior year came and three weeks before graduation, Bill asked Mark if they could talk.

Bill reminded him of the day years ago when they had first met. “Did you ever wonder why I was carrying so many things home that day?” asked Bill. “You see, I cleaned out my locker because I didn’t want to leave a mess for anyone else. I had stored away some of my mothers sleeping pills and I was going home to commit suicide. But after we spent some time together talking and laughing, I realized that if I had killed myself, I would have missed that time and so many others that might follow. So you see, Mark, when you picked up those books that day, you did a lot more, you saved my life.”

-John W. Schlatter (true story)

 

 

I Believe

Endless love

 

I believe in miracles and dreams that will come true.
I believe in tender moments and friendship, through and through.

I believe in stardust and moonbeams all aglow.
I believe there’s magic and more there than we know.

I believe in reaching out and touching from the heart
I believe that if we touch a gift we can impart.

I believe that if you cry your tears are not in vain.
And when you’re sad and lonely, others know your pain.

I believe that when we laugh a sparkle starts to shine.
And I just know that spark will spread from more hearts than just mine.

I believe that hidden in the quiet of the night,
there’s magic moths and gypsies a fairy and a sprite.

I believe that if you dance the dances of your heart,
that greater happiness will find a brand new way to start.

I believe the gifts you have are there for you to share.
And when you give them from the heart, the whole world knows you care.

I believe that if you give, even just to one,
that gift will grow in magnitude before the day is done.

I believe that comfort comes from giving part of me.
And if I share with others, there’s more for all to see.

I believe that love is still the greatest gift of all,
and when it’s given from the heart then not one of us will fall.

Author Unknown

 

Wisdom of a Native American Elder:

CoverStory- People walking through

 

It doesn’t interest me how old you are.

I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dreams, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon.

I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain!

I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own,
without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own;
if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, or to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you’re telling me is true.

I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul.

I want to know if you can be faithful and therefore be trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see beauty even when it is not pretty every day, and if can source your life from God’s presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of a lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, “Yes!”

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or own much money you have.

I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief
and despair, weary and bruised the bone, and do what needs to be done for the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you are, how you came to be here.

I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied.

I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself, and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.

I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

Excerpted from “The Invitation” by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

 

My friends you are like Angels.

Laughing Donkey
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My friends you are like Angels. I can count on you to be there, To give support through all my Joys and also through my despair. Every time I turn on my computer You are the Angels who are waiting, No matter how far the distance, to tell me “Hello” and to wish me a “Happy Day.” I can’t wait each day to tell you All about life’s good events that Have been happening to me because, I know you will be happy for me. You are the Angels who are so Near in spirit as your heart hold my Hand in your loving thoughts, To help get me through my bad days. You seem to know when something May be going wrong in my life because, I will find something in my email That tells me just how much you care. I thank God everyday for my Angels And I’ll ask Him to let me know Just when you need someone to send You a word of encouragement too. God bless each one of you loving souls, “My Dear Internet Friends,” Because you are one of those Angels Whose friendship I will forever treasure. Copyright@ 2003 M. Doris Fuller

Only 3 Words!!!

A young woman and man embracing while outdoors.
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There are many things that you can do to strengthen your relationships. Often the most effective thing you can do involves saying just three words. When spoken sincerely, these statements often have the power to develop new friendships, deepen old ones and even bring healing to relationships that have sourerd. The following three-word phrases can be tools to help develop every relationship. 1.Let me help Good friends see a need and then try to fill it. When they see a hurt they do what they can to heal it. Without being asked, they jump in and help out. 2. I understand you. People become closer and enjoy each other more when the other person accepts and understands them. Letting your spouse know – in so many little ways – that you understand them, is one of the most powerful tools for healing your relationship. And this can apply to any relationship. 3. I respect you Respect is another way of showing love. Respect demonstrates that another person is a true equal. If you talk to your children as if they were adults you will strengthen the bonds and become closer friends. This applies to all interpersonal relationships. 4. I miss you. Perhaps more marriages could be saved and strengthened if couples simply and sincerely said to each other “I miss you.” This powerful affirmation tells partners they are wanted, needed, desired and loved. Consider how important you would feel, if you received an unexpected phone call from your spouse in the middle of your workday, just to say “I miss you.” 5. Maybe you’re right. This phrase is very effective in diffusing an argument. The implication when you say “maybe you’re right” is the humility of admitting, “maybe I’m wrong”. Let’s face it. When you have an argument with someone, all you normally do is solidify the other person’s point of view. They, or you, will not likely change their position and you run the risk of seriously damaging the relationship between you. Saying “maybe you’re right” can open the door to explore the subject more. You may then have the opportunity to express your view in a way that is understandable to the other person. 6. Please forgive me Many broken relationships could be restored and healed if people would admit their mistakes and ask for forgiveness. All of us are vulnerable to faults, foibles and failures. A man should never be ashamed to own up that he has been in the wrong, which is saying, in other words, that he is wiser today than he was yesterday. 7. I thank you. Gratitude is an exquisite form of courtesy. People who enjoy the companionship of good, close friends are those who don’t take daily courtesies for granted. They are quick to thank their friends for their many expressions of kindness. On the other hand, people whose circle of friends is severely constricted often do not have the attitude of gratitude. 8. Count on me A friend is one who walks in when others walk out. Loyalty is an essential ingredient for true friendship. It is the emotional glue that bonds people. Those that are rich in their relationships tend to be steady and true friends. When troubles come, a good friend is there indicating “you can count on me.” 9. I’ll be there If you have ever had to call a friend in the middle of the night, to take a sick child to hospital, or when your car has broken down some miles from home, you will know how good it feels to hear the phrase “I’ll be there.” Being there for another person is the greatest gift we can give. When we are truly present for other people, important things happen to them and us. We are renewed in love and friendship. We are restored emotionally and spiritually. Being there is at the very core of civility. 10. Go for it We are all unique individuals. Don’t try to get your friends to conform to your ideals. Support them in pursuing their interests, no matter how far out they seem to you. God has given everyone dreams, dreams that are unique to that person only. Support and encourage your friends to follow their dreams. Tell them to “go for it.” B o n u s : 11. I love you Perhaps the most important three words that you can say. Telling someone that you truly love them satisfies a person’s deepest emotional needs. The need to belong, to feel appreciated and to be wanted. Your spouse, your children, your friends and you, all need to hear those three little words: “I love you.” Love is a choice. You can love even when the feeling is gone.

Success

Piccadilly Circus
Image by Chiva Congelado via Flickr

1. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
2. When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.
3. Follow the three R’s: Respect for self, respect for others, responsibility for all your actions.
4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.
6. Don’t let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
7. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
8. Spend some time alone everyday.
9. Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.
10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
11. Live a good, honorable life. Then, when you get older and think back, you’ll be able to enjoy it a second time.
12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.
13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation.
14. Don’t bring up the past.
15. Share your knowledge. It’s a way to achieve immortality.
16. Be gentle with the earth.
17. Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.
18. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
19. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.
20. Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.

Destiny

Destiny
Image by Pensiero via Flickr

 


During a momentous battle, a Japanese general decided to attack even though his army was greatly outnumbered. He was confident they would win, but his men were filled with doubt.

On the way to the battle, they stopped at a religious shrine. After praying with the men, the general took out a coin and said, I shall now toss this coin. If it is heads, we shall win. If it is tails we shall lose.

Destiny will now reveal itself.

He threw the coin into the air and all watched intently as it landed. It was heads. The soldiers were so overjoyed and filled with confidence that they vigorously attacked the enemy and were victorious.

After the battle. a lieutenant remarked to the general, No one can change destiny.

Quite right, the general replied as he showed the lieutenant the coin, which had heads on both sides.

 

 

A sense of a goose

A Canada Goose flying at Burnaby Lake Regional...
Image via Wikipedia

 

Next Autumn, when you see geese heading south for the winter, flying in a “V” formation, you might consider what science has discovered as to why they fly that way. As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird immediately following. By flying in a “V” formation, the whole flock adds at least 71 percent greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own.
People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going more quickly and easily, because they are travelling on the thrust of one another.

When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird in front.
If we have the sense of a goose, we will stay in formation with those people who are heading the same way we are.

When the head goose gets tired, it rotates back in the wing and another goose flies point.
It is sensible to take turns doing demanding jobs, whether with people or with geese flying south.

Geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.
What message do we give when we honk from behind?

Finally – and this is important – when a goose gets sick or is wounded by gunshot, and falls out of the formation, two other geese fall out with that goose and follow it down to lend help and protection. They stay with the fallen goose until it is able to fly or until it dies; and only then do they launch out on their own, or with another formation to catch up with their own group.
If we have the sense of a goose, we will stand by each other like that.

 

 

The carrot, the egg, and the coffee bean

Roasted coffee beans, the world's primary sour...
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A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling.

It seemed that, as one problem was solved, a new one arose. Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to a boil. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans.

She let them sit and boil, without saying a word. In about twenty minutes, she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, “Tell me, what do you see?”

“Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” the young woman replied. The mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. She then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, “What does it mean, mother?”

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity – boiling water – but each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.

The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But, after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened! The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

“Which are you?” the mother asked her daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?” Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong but, with pain and adversity, do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength? Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit but, after a death, a breakup, or a financial hardship, does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a hardened heart? Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavour.

If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?

 

 

Who you are speaks louder to me than anything you can say

A UNLV (University of Nevada, Las Vegas) Rebel...
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At the beginning of my 8:00 a.m. class one Monday at University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), I cheerfully asked my students how their weekend had been. One young man said that his weekend had not been very good. He’d had his wisdom teeth extracted. The young man then proceeded to ask me why I always seemed to be so cheerful. His question reminded me of something I’d read somewhere before: “Every morning when you get up, you have a choice about how you want to approach life that day,” I said to the young man. “I choose to be cheerful”. “Let me give you an example,” I continued.

The other sixty students in the class ceased their chatter and began to listen to our conversation. “In addition to teaching here at UNLV, I also teach out at the community college in Henderson, about seventeen miles down the freeway from where I live. One day a few weeks ago I drove those seventeen miles to Henderson. I exited the freeway and turned onto College Drive. I only had to drive another quarter-mile down the road to the college. But just then my car died. I tried to start it again, but the engine wouldn’t turn over. So I put my flashers on, grabbed my books, and marched down the road to the college.

“As soon as I got there I called AAA and asked them to send a tow truck. The secretary in the Provost’s office asked me what had happened. ‘This is my lucky day,’ I replied, smiling. “‘Your car breaks down and today is your lucky day?’ She was puzzled. ‘What do you mean?’

“‘I live seventeen miles from here.’ I replied. ‘My car could have broken down anywhere along the freeway. It didn’t. Instead, it broke down in the perfect place: off the freeway, within walking distance of here. I’m still able to teach my class, and I’ve been able to arrange for the tow truck to meet me after class. If my car was meant to break down today, it couldn’t have been arranged in a more convenient fashion.’ “The secretary’s eyes opened wide, and then she smiled. I smiled back and headed for class.” So ended my story to the students in my economics class at UNLV.

I scanned the sixty faces in the lecture hall. Despite the early hour, no one seemed to be asleep. Somehow, my story had touched them. Or maybe it wasn’t the story at all. In fact, it had all started with a student’s observation that I was cheerful. A wise man once said, “Who you are speaks louder to me than anything you can say.” I suppose it must be so.

Author: Lee Ryan Miller – story from his book “Teaching Amidst the Neon Palm Trees”

 

 

King Arthur and the witch

Sikh Women
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Young King Arthur was ambushed and imprisoned by the monarch of a neighboring kingdom. The monarch could have killed him but was moved by Arthur’s youth and ideals. So, the monarch offered him his freedom, as long as he could answer a very difficult question. Arthur would have a year to figure out the answer and, if after a year, he still had no answer, he would be put to death.

The question?….What do women really want? Such a question would perplex even the most knowledgeable man, and to young Arthur, it seemed an impossible query. But, since it was better than death, he accepted the monarch’s proposition to have an answer by year’s end.

He returned to his kingdom and began to poll everyone: the princess, the priests, the wise men and even the court jester. He spoke with everyone, but no one could give him a satisfactory answer. Many people advised him to consult the old witch, for only she would have the answer. But the price would be high; as the witch was famous throughout the kingdom for the exorbitant prices she charged.

The last day of the year arrived and Arthur had no choice but to talk to the witch She agreed to answer the question, but he would have to agree to her price first. The old witch wanted to marry Sir Lancelot, the most noble of the Knights of the Round Table and Arthur’s closest friend! Young Arthur was horrified. She was hunchbacked and hideous, had only one tooth, smelled like sewage, made obscene noises, etc. He had never encountered such a repugnant creature in all his life.

He refused to force his friend to marry her and endure such a terrible burden; but Lancelot, learning of the proposal, spoke with Arthur. He said nothing was too big of a sacrifice compared to Arthur’s life and the preservation of the Round Table.

Hence, a wedding was proclaimed and the witch answered Arthur’s question thus: What a woman really wants, she answered….is to be in charge of her own life! Everyone in the kingdom instantly knew that the witch had uttered a great truth and that Arthur’s life would be spared. And so it was, the neighboring monarch granted Arthur his freedom and Lancelot and the witch had a wonderful wedding.

The honeymoon hour approached and Lancelot, steeling himself for a horrific experience, entered the bedroom. But, what a sight awaited him. The most beautiful woman he had ever seen lay before him on the bed. The astounded Lancelot asked what had happened

The beauty replied that since he had been so kind to her when she appeared as a witch, she would henceforth, be her horrible deformed self only half the time and the beautiful maiden the other half. Which would he prefer? Beautiful during the day…or night?

Lancelot pondered the predicament. During the day, a beautiful woman to show off to his friends, but at night, in the privacy of his castle, an old witch? Or, would he prefer having a hideous witch during the day, but by night, a beautiful woman for him to enjoy wondrous intimate moments?

Noble Lancelot said that he would allow HER to make the choice herself. Upon hearing this, she announced that she would be beautiful all the time because he had respected her enough to let her be in charge of her own life.