Tuesday, December 27, 2016

2016-52 - Happiness and Joy...

There was once a land in which the sound of a magic trumpet could be heard everywhere. The music ensured that there would be happiness and joy for all.

However, one day, the trumpet disappeared, and everyone in that land ended up feeling sad. No one did anything, except for a little girl who went off, determined to find the trumpet. She asked everywhere, until someone took her to see the wise old man of the mountains. The man told her that the trumpet was in the Well of Shadows, and he gave her a violin which might turn out to be useful.

When the girl arrived at the Well of Shadows, she found some musicians next to it playing sad tunes. However, on hearing such sad music, the girl realized that no one, including the trumpet, would want to come out of the well to be greeted by that kind of atmosphere.

So she started to play the cheeriest, happiest music she could. She didn't give up, and even managed to cheer up the other musicians. Together they improved the atmosphere around the well so much that the trumpet came out, more joyful than ever.

And, once again, happiness and joy returned to that land.

~ Author Unknown



Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.

~ Sir James Barrie ~

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

2016-51 - The Journey...


A young lady was seated in a bus. At one of the stops, a loud and grumpy old lady got into the bus and sat next to the young lady. She squeezed her full bodied figure into the seat and bumped the young lady with her numerous bags.

The person sitting on the other side of the young lady got upset, and asked her why she did not speak up and say something. The young lady responded with a smile, "It is not necessary to be rude or argue over something so insignificant... our journey together is so short. I get off after a few stops.

If only each one of us realize that our time here is so short; that to darken it with quarrels, futile arguments, not forgiving others, discontentment, and a fault finding attitude, would be a waste of time, and energy.

Whatever troubles anyone brings you, just remember that our journey together is so short... no one knows the duration of this journey... no one knows when their stop will come.

~ Author Unknown



Life is short, and it is up to you to make it sweet.

~ Sarah Louise Delany

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

2016-50 - Being Yourself...

One day a king came to the garden and saw withering and dying trees, bushes and flowers.

An oak said that he dies because it can't be as high as a pine. Applying to a pine tree, the king found her falling down because it can’'t give grapes like a grapevine. And the grapevine was dying because it couldn't blossom like a rose.

Soon he found a single plant, pleasing heart, bloomy and fresh. The king asked, "All the trees and flowers here are withering, and you are flourishing, why?"

"I think it comes naturally. I believe that when you planted me, you wanted to get joy. If you would like to grow an oak, grapes or rose, you would plant them. So I think that I can't be anything else than what I am. And I try to develop my best qualities.

Look at yourself. You can be only yourself. It is impossible for you to become someone else. You can joy and blossom or you can wither if you do not accept yourself."

~ Author Unknown



To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

2016-49 - Gratitude...

My wife, Shirley, and I have gone on vacations to a quiet beach in southwestern Florida for most of our married life. If that beach could talk, it would tell of teenage newlyweds who sunned and wrote "I love you" on its sands.

It would tell of a little girl with eyes the color of the sea gathering seashells and of three wild boys leaping and diving into the surf.

It would tell of joyous visits over the years from friends, parents, grandparents, new brides and grooms - and now grandchildren. The beach would tell glorious tales of warmth and gratitude.

But I realized one day that I had rarely expressed my gratitude to the one who'd lived those years with me. On our 40th wedding anniversary, Shirley and I walked again the familiar margin of the sea. I told her then how thankful I was that she shared my life.

We don't have to wait for anniversaries to thank the ones closest to us - the ones so easily overlooked. If I have learned anything about giving thanks, it is this: give it now! While your feeling of appreciation is alive and sincere, act on it. Saying thanks is such an easy way to add to the world's happiness.

~ Joe Fernandes



Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.

~ William Arthur Ward

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

2016-48 - The power of words...

There was once a wise sage who wandered the countryside.

One day, as he passed near a village, he was approached by a woman who saw he was a sage, and told him of a sick child nearby. She beseeched him to help this child.

The sage came to the village, and a crowd gathered around him, for such a man was a rare sight. One woman brought the sick child to him, and he said a prayer over her.

"Do you really think your prayer will help her, when medicine has failed?" yelled a man from the crowd.

"You know nothing of such things! You are a stupid fool!" said the sage to the man.

The man became very angry with these words and his face grew hot and red. He was about to say something, or perhaps strike out, when the sage walked over to him and said, "If one word has such power as to make you so angry and hot, may not another have the power to heal?"

And thus, the sage healed two people that day.

~ Joseph Conrad



"Don't ever diminish the power of words. Words move hearts and hearts move limbs."

~ Hamza Yusuf


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

2016-47 - Make Your Destiny...

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.

~ Gao Xingjian



It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.

~ William Shakespeare


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

2016-46 - Philosophy...

Before the visitor embarked upon discipleship, he wanted assurance from the Master.

"Can you teach me the goal of human life?"

"I cannot."

"Or at least its meaning?"

"I cannot."

"Can you indicate to me the nature of death and of life beyond the grave?"

"I cannot."

The visitor walked away in scorn.

The disciples were dismayed that their Master had been shown up in a poor light.

Said the Master soothingly, "Of what is it to comprehend life's nature and life's meaning if you have never tasted it? I'd rather you ate your pudding than speculated on it."

~ Anthony de Mello, SJ



Being a runner means you are now 'free' to win and lose and live life to its fullest.

~ Bill Rodgers

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

2016-45 - Follow your bliss...

I heard of a bus driver in Chicago who does just that. He sings while he drives. That's right... sings! And I don't mean he sings softly to himself, either. He sings so that the whole bus can hear! All day long he drives and sings.

He was once interviewed on Chicago television. He said that he is not actually a bus driver. "I'm a professional singer," he asserted. "I only drive the bus to get a captive audience every single day."

His "bliss" is not driving a bus, though that may be a source of enjoyment for some people. His bliss is singing. And the supervisors at the Chicago Transit Authority are perfectly happy about the whole arrangement. You see, people line up to ride his bus. They even let other buses pass by so they can ride with the "singing bus driver." They love it!

For him, it is to make people happy. And the more he sings, the more people he makes happy! He has found a way to align his purpose in living with his occupation. By following his bliss, he is actually living the kind of life he believes he was meant to live.

Not everybody can identify a purpose in life. But when you do, and when you pursue it, you will be living the kind of life you feel you were meant to live. And what's more, you will be happy

~ Steve Goodier



Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.

~ Joseph Campbell

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

2016-44 - Attitude...

A wise woman who was traveling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream. The next day she met another traveler who was hungry, and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food.

The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him. She did so without hesitation.

The traveler left, rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime. But, a few days later, he came back to return the stone to the wise woman.

"I've been thinking," he said. "I know how valuable this stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me this stone."

~ Author Unknown



Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.

~ Winston Churchill

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

2016-43 - How you can...

Don't ask yourself if you can do it. Ask yourself how you can do it.

Then, remind yourself why you want to do it in the first place. And let yourself feel, right now, how good it will feel when you've achieved whatever it is you wish to achieve.

Assume that there's a way, and suddenly there's a way. Focus on it, get going, and keep moving.

You have unique, valuable contributions to make to life. Your authentic desires point the way, and it's your job to follow through.

Choose to put your time and awareness into living your highest intentions. Choose to spend your life fully living your destiny.

Remind yourself why, ask yourself how, and refuse to stop until you get a solid, workable answer.

Commit to finding a way to put your skills, resources, time and effort to meaningful and loving use.

~ Ralph Marston



You have to lift your head up out of the mud and just do it.

~ Teri Garr

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

2016-42 - Eat dessert first...

My wonderful daughter made me a red velvet birthday cake this year. It was huge and I cut myself the biggest piece. With the first bite I closed my eyes and smiled. I savored every bite and added a few scoops of ice cream as well. My sons and I polished off every bit of it. We had followed that wise saying of a happy existence: "Life is short. Eat dessert first!"

I have spent way too many years of my life putting off the desserts I was given until everything else was done. Like far too many people in our society, I thought that work came first, duty came second, and joy was somewhere way down the list.

It took me a long time to see the simple truth that: "We work to live but we live to love."

Thankfully, I finally realized that when you put love first in your life, everything else tastes so much sweeter.

Don't put off the simple joys that life can bring. Eat dessert first!

Give your kids hugs before homework. Jump in the leaves before bagging them. Dance on the floors before sweeping them. Do random acts of kindness and goodness. Play with your dogs. Pet your cats. Watch the sunset. Shine your smile. Spread your sunshine. And share your love with everyone.

You will be amazed at how wonderful life will be when you "Live to Love" while you "Work to live."

~ Joseph Mazzella



Simply enjoy life and the great pleasures that come with it.

~ Karolina Kurkova
 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

2016-41 - Often enough...

Persistence is really quite simple, and extremely powerful. If you don't get it right the first time, see it not as a failure but as an opportunity for another more informed and experienced attempt.

The best response to a disappointing result is more effort. Feel the disappointment, let it make you more determined, and then move quickly to a highly effective state of taking action.

Do what must be done, then do it again and again, and again. Even the smallest action can have enormous impact when repeated often enough.

But how can you get back up when you've just fallen down? You do it by reminding yourself it's clearly the best choice, and then making the choice to act in your own best interest.

Persistence is not always easy, yet it's not particularly complicated either. You've made the effort before, so it's really not such a big deal to go ahead and make it again.

Do that often enough, and your actions take on great power and effectiveness. Do that often enough, and achievement is yours.

~ Ralph Marston



Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.

~ Napoleon Hill

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

2016-40 - Why We Shout...

A saint who was visiting the river Ganges to take a bath found a group of family members on the banks, shouting in anger at each other.

He turned to his disciples smiled and asked. "Why do people shout in anger at each other?"

The disciples thought for a while, one of them said, "Because we lose our calm, we shout."

"But, why should you shout when the other person is just next to you? You can as well tell him what you have to say in a soft manner." asked the saint. The disciples gave some other answers but none satisfied the saint.

Finally the saint explained, "When two people are angry at each other, their hearts distance a lot. To cover that distance they must shout to be able to hear each other. The angrier they are, the stronger they will have to shout to hear each other to cover that greater distance.

What happens when two people fall in love? They don't shout at each other but talk softly, Because their hearts are very close. The distance between them is either non-existent or very small." The saint continued, "When they love each other even more, what happens? They do not speak, only whisper and they get even closer to each other in their love. Finally they even need not whisper, they only look at each other and that's all. That is how close two people are when they love each other."

He looked at his disciples and said. "So when you argue do not let your hearts get distant, Do not say words that distance each other more, or else there will come a day when the distance is so great that you will not find the path to return."

~ Author Unknown



When angry count to ten before you speak. If very angry, count to one hundred.

~ Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

2016-39 - Offer encouragement...

You cannot force other people to do the right thing. What you can do, and what is extremely effective, is to encourage them.

A better choice is to expect the best, and to offer opportunities for those expectations to be met. Though it's true that people won't always live up to your positive expectations, it's also true that most people would prefer to do what's best for everyone concerned.

Just about everyone responds positively to positive, genuine encouragement. Let others know, clearly, precisely and in positive terms, what you expect, and let them know you have faith that they'll meet those expectations.

Instead of looking for ways to control, look for opportunities to support and encourage. Instead of conducting detached transactions, seek to build ongoing relationships.

Offer the encouragement to do what is right, what is good, what is valuable and positive. Expect the best, in a supportive way, and it is much more likely to happen.

~ Ralph Marston



Correction does much, but encouragement does more.

~ Johann von Goethe

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

2016-38 - Habits...

A wealthy man requested an old scholar to wean his son away from his bad habits. The scholar took the youth for a stroll through a garden. Stopping suddenly he asked the boy to pull out a tiny plant growing there.

The youth held the plant between his thumb and forefinger and pulled it out. The old man then asked him to pull out a slightly bigger plant. The youth pulled hard and the plant came out, roots and all. "Now pull out that one," said the old man pointing to a bush. The boy had to use all his strength to pull it out.

"Now take this one out," said the old man, indicating a guava tree. The youth grasped the trunk and tried to pull it out. But it would not budge. "It's impossible," said the boy, panting with the effort.

"So it is with bad habits," said the sage. "When they are young it is easy to pull them out but when they take hold they cannot be uprooted."

The session with the old man changed the boy's life.

~ Jay Scott



I think if you stop bad habits, and you stop long enough, you develop good habits.

~ Jordan Knight


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

2016-37 - Making Relations Special

When I was a kid, my mom liked to make breakfast food for dinner every now and then. And I remember one night in particular when she had made dinner after a long, hard day at work.

On that evening so long ago, my mom placed a plate of eggs, sausage and extremely burned biscuits in front of my dad. I remember waiting to see if anyone noticed! Yet all dad did was reached for his biscuit, smile at my mom and ask me how my day was at school. I don't remember what I told him that night, but I do remember watching him smear butter and jelly on that biscuit and eat every bite!

When I got up from the table that evening, I remember hearing my mom apologize to my dad for burning the biscuits. And I'll never forget what he said: "Honey, I love burned biscuits now and then."

Later that night, I went to kiss Daddy good night and I asked him if he really liked his biscuits burned. He wrapped me in his arms and said, "Your momma put in a hard day at work today and she's real tired. And besides – a little burned biscuit never hurt anyone!"

~ Author Unknown



There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness.

Friedrich Nietzsche






Tuesday, September 6, 2016

2016-36 - A weakness...

A 10-year-old boy decided to study judo despite the fact that he had lost his left arm in a devastating car accident.

The boy began lessons with an old Japanese judo master and was doing well, so he couldn't understand why, after three months of training the master had taught him only one move. "Sensei, shouldn't I be learning more moves?" he asked. "This is the only move you know, but this is the only move you'll ever need to know," the sensei replied.

Not quite understanding, but believing in his teacher, the boy kept training.

Several months later, the sensei took the boy to his first tournament. Surprising himself, the boy easily won his first two matches. The third match proved to be more difficult, but after some time, his opponent became impatient and charged; the boy deftly used his one move to win the match and win the finals.

He was the champion. On the way home, the boy summoned the courage to ask what was really on his mind. "Sensei, how did I win the tournament with only one move?"

"You won for two reasons," the sensei answered. "First, you've almost mastered one of the most difficult throws in all of judo. And second, the only known defence for that move is for your opponent to grab your left arm."

The boy's biggest weakness had become his biggest strength.

~ Mike Bennett



Patience is the support of weakness; impatience the ruin of strength.

~ Charles Colton

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

2016-35 - What forgiveness will buy...

Think of the time and energy a little forgiveness could buy you. Being frustrated, annoyed or angry uses up your precious time, energy, thoughts and actions.

When someone does something to annoy you, consider how much of your valuable time you could save by forgiving that person, in your own mind, right then. When you forgive before you've even shown any anger, the matter will die and you can quickly move on.

Expect the best from those around you, and you'll very likely get it. Yet when someone falls short of your expectations, don't aggravate the problem by letting it sap your time and energy. Look for a way to quickly forgive and forget.

The more little things you can forgive, the more big things you can accomplish.

~ Ralph Marston



One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is to forgive.

~ Maya Angelou

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

2016-34 - You can be different...

My parents had split up and my sister and I were in a foster home. It wasn't a nice place to be and all of the children were eventually removed. It wasn't a good start in life. Some of the kids that were there were already well on their way to a life of crime.

Waiting for the bus one morning they engaged in screaming at one of the teachers as she drove by. I was told that they would beat me up if I didn't scream at her too.

Those were still the days of slapping your hand with a ruler if you misbehaved in school. She was my teacher. I crept into the classroom. My eyes and head down. I heard my name and cowered my way to the teachers desk fully expecting the ruler. She took me by the arm and pulled me close as I was pulling the other way.

She said stop... Come here. She gently cupped her hands around my ear and said "You can be different."

I was stunned. I looked her in the eyes and she said again "You can be different, you don't have to be like them."

It made all the difference. It was an epiphany that struck at a very early age.

I became successful in life and never felt the need to ever engage in activities that were damaging to another person. I could be me. The beating in the flesh was far less than the beating I took in my soul the day I was so unkind to my teacher... and yet she gave me a life well lived with those few simple words...

You can be different.

~ Author Unknown



Everybody is different. Everybody has different styles. Just do it the best way you know how.

~ Vince Carter

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

2016-33 - Keep Your Dream

This is a story about a young man who would go from stable to stable, race track to race track, farm to farm and ranch to ranch, training horses. As a result, the boy's high school career was continually interrupted. When he was a senior, he was asked to write a paper about what he wanted to be and do when he grew up.

That night he wrote a seven-page paper describing his goal of someday owning a horse ranch. He wrote about his dream in great detail and he even drew a diagram of a ranch, showing the location of all the buildings, the stables and the track.

He put a great deal of his heart into the project and the next day he handed it in to his teacher. Two days later he received his paper back. On the front page was a large red F with a note that read, "See me after class."

The boy with the dream went to see the teacher after class and asked, "Why did I receive an F?"

The teacher said, "This is an unrealistic dream for a young boy like you. There's no way you could ever do it. If you rewrite this paper with a more realistic goal, I will reconsider your grade."

The boy went home and thought about it long and hard. Finally, after sitting with it for a week, the boy turned in the same paper, making no changes at all.

He stated, "You can keep the F and I'll keep my dream."

~ Author Unknown



You have to dream before your dreams can come true.

~ A. P. J. Abdul Kalam


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

2016-32 - Just Do It!

Author Elbert Hubbard told the story of an incident during the Spanish-American War.

It was imperative that the president get a message to the leader of the insurgents. His name was Garcia and he was known to fighting somewhere in the mountains of Cuba, but no mail or telegraph could reach him.

Someone said, "There's a fellow by the name of Rowan who will find Garcia for you if anybody can."

Rowan took the letter without hesitation. He sealed it in a leather pouch strapped over his heart. He landed in the dark of night off the coast of Cuba and make his way to the mountains, and after much difficulty, found Garcia. He handed him the letter, turned around and headed home.

Rowan didn't ask, "Exactly where is he?" or "I doubt if I can do it." There was a job to be done and he did it. Instead of making a dozen excuses why you can't complete the task, think about Rowan - Deliver the goods!

~ Elbert Hubbard



Throw caution to the wind and just do it.

~ Carrie Underwood


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

2016-31 - Want to!

I remember the night in Miami when our son, Ian, was just five years old.

We were staying with relatives and it was his bedtime. When I looked at the living room floor, I knew we had a problem.

Toys were all over the place. "Ian," I said, "you need to pick up all those toys before you go to bed."

"Daddy," he said, "I'm too tired to pick up my toys."

My immediate inclination was to force him to clean up the room. Instead, I went into the bedroom, laid down, and said, "Ian, come here. Let's play Humpty Dumpty." He climbed up on my knees and I said, "Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall." And he fell.

Ian laughed and said, "Let's do it again." Well, after the third "fall," I said, "Okay, but first go pick up those toys."

Without thinking, he ran into the living room and in ninety seconds he finished a job that could have taken half an hour.

Then he jumped back on my knees and repeated, "Daddy, let's do it again."

"Ian, I thought you were too tired to pick up those toys."

He answered, "I was, daddy, but I just wanted to do this!"

~ Author Unknown



We can finish any job when we have the "Want to!" 

~ Author Unknown

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

2016-30 - The Vessel...


The Master was searching for a vessel to use;
On the shelf there were many - which one would He choose?

"Take me", cried the gold one, "I'm shiny and bright,
I'm of great value and I do things just right.
My beauty and lustre will outshine the rest
And for someone like You, Master, gold would be the best!"

The Master came next to a vessel of wood,
Polished and carved, it solidly stood.
"You may use me, dear Master", the wooden bowl said,
"But I'd rather You used me for fruit, not for Bread!"

Then the Master looked down and saw a vessel of clay.
Empty and broken it helplessly lay.
No hope had the vessel that the Master might choose,
To cleanse and make whole, to fill and to use.

"Ah! This is the vessel I've been hoping to find,
I will mend and use it and make it all Mine."
"I need not the vessel with pride of its self;
Nor the one who is narrow to sit on the shelf;

Nor the one who is big mouthed and shallow and loud;
Nor one who displays his contents so proud;
Not the one who thinks he can do all things just right;
But this plain earthy vessel filled with My power and might."

Then gently He lifted the vessel of clay.
Mended and cleansed it and filled it that day.
Spoke to it kindly. "There's work you must do,
Just pour out to others as I pour into you."

~ Author Unknown



"If you cannot mould yourself entirely as you would wish, how can you expect other people to be entirely to your liking?"

~ Thomas a Kempis


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

2016-29 - The Teacher…

The Teacher could not be called an ardent advocate of etiquette and good manners, but dealing with people, he always showed natural politeness and courtesy.

One evening a young student drove the Teacher home and was rude to the police in the way.

Justifying himself, he said: "I want to be myself and let everyone know what I feel. Politeness is nonsense, just hot air…"

"It is true," agreed the Teacher kindly, "but our car tires are filled with air and you see how it helps to soften the blows."

~ Author Unknown



Respect for ourselves guides our morals, respect for others guides our manners.

~ Laurence Sterne


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

2016-28 - Love Is A Circle

Love is a circle, coming back to you,
When your love is given, with a heart that's true.

Love is a circle, going up then down,
Reaching to the heavens. returning to ground.

Love is a circle, take my hand, my friend,
Love is a circle, love will never end.

Love is a circle, setting people free,
Love is a circle, love is you and me.

Love, once it is given, has no end,
Circling forever thru all time.
Bringing love wherever man may be,
Going on for all eternity.

~ Manny Feldman



"A part of kindness consists in loving people more than they deserve."

~ Joseph Joubert

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

2016-27 - Many living things need each other to survive

If you have ever seen a Colorado aspen tree, you may have noticed that it does not grow alone. Aspens are found in clusters, or groves. The reason is that the aspens send up new shoots from the roots. In a small grove, all of the trees may actually be connected by their roots!

Giant California redwood trees may tower 300 feet into the sky. It would seem that they would require extremely deep roots to anchor them against strong winds. But we're told that their roots are actually quite shallow - in order to capture as much surface water as possible. And they spread in all directions, intertwining with other redwoods.

Locked together in this way, all the trees support each other in wind and storms. Like the aspen, they never stand alone. They need one another to survive.

People, too, are connected by a system of roots. We are born to family and learn early to make friends. We are not meant to survive long without others.

And like the redwood, we need to hold one another up. When pounded by the sometimes vicious storms of life, we need others to support and sustain us.

Have you been going it alone? Maybe it's time to let someone else help hold you up for a while. Or perhaps someone needs to hang on to you.

~ Author Unknown



"Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can't help them, at least don't hurt them."

~ Dalai Lama