13 April 2014

posted 10 Apr 2014, 05:03 by C S Paul

13 April 2014

Quotes to Inspire

  • “You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • “Kindness is more important than wisdom, and the recognition of this is the beginning of wisdom.” — Theodore Isaac Rubin, M.D.
  • “Today I bent the truth to be kind, and I have no regret, for I am far surer of what is kind than I am of what is true.” — Robert Brault
  • The greatest joys of life are happy memories. Your job is to create as many of them as possible. -  Brian Tracy
  • When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us. - Helen Keller
  • It is in the expectations of happiness that much of happiness itself is found. And it takes courage to expect happiness.- Earl Nightingale
  • Money like health, love, happiness, and all forms of success that you want to create for yourself is the result of living purposefully. It is not a goal unto itself.Dr. Wayne Dyer
  • Happiness.. resides not in possessions, and not in gold, but the feeling of happiness dwells in the soul. Democritus
  • You might be poor, and unhappy; but become suddenly rich, and you will still be unhappy. -Rick Beneteau
  • The most exhausting thing in life, I have discovered, is insincerity. - Anne Morrow Lindbergh

The Eagle
Source: an adaptation from an Anthony de Mello story

Once a farmer found an abandoned eagle's nest and in it was an egg still warm. He took the egg back to his farm and laid it in the nest of one of his hens. The egg hatched and the baby eagle grew up along with the other chickens. It pecked about the farmyard, scrabbling for grain. It spent its life within the yard and rarely looked up. When it was very old, one day it lifted up its head and saw above it a wonderful sight - an eagle soaring high above in the sky. Looking at it, the old creature sighed and said to itself, "If only I'd been born an eagle".

Going the extra mile
 Karan Bilimoria

I was 20 and had just finished my first degree when I aksed my father's advice on how to approach the world of work. He had a long and distinguished career in the Indian Army and rose to become commander-in-chief of a million men. He was a soldier's soldier and his men adored him. His manner was strict and firm, but he was very friendly. He appreciated and trusted people and gave then freedom.

"Come and see me in my office if you want to talk to me about work" he said. So I made an appointment with his ADC and went to see him. He had a huge office and I felt very small.

"You are starting out and you will be given a lot of tasks to fulfil" he said. "The first thing is always to do something to the best of your ability. Then the second time you do it, give it that little bit extra". What he was saying was: "Take the initiative; be innovative; be creative. Always go the extra mile."

Who you are speaks louder to me than anything you can say
-- Author Unknown

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 60 students in the class ceased their chatter and began to listen to our conversation. 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 17 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 60 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" - for whose website click here.

The Yellow Shirt
-- Author Unknown

The baggy yellow shirt had long sleeves, four extra-large pockets trimmed in black thread and snaps up the front.  It was faded from years of wear, but still in decent shape.  I found it in 1963 when I was home from college on Christmas break, rummaging through bags of clothes Mom intended to give away.

"You're not taking that old thing, are you?"  Mom said when she saw me packing the yellow shirt.  "I wore that when I was pregnant with your brother in 1954!"

"It's just the thing to wear over my clothes  during art class, Mom.  Thanks!" I slipped it into my suitcase before she could object.

The yellow shirt became a part of my college wardrobe.  I loved it.  After graduation, I wore the shirt the day I moved into my new apartment and on Saturday mornings when I cleaned.

The next year, I married.  When I became pregnant, I wore the yellow shirt during big-belly days.  I missed Mom and the rest of my family, since we were in Colorado and they were in Illinois. But that shirt helped.  I smiled, remembering that Mother had worn it when she was pregnant, 15 years earlier.

That Christmas, mindful of the warm feelings the shirt had given me, I patched one elbow, wrapped it in holiday paper and sent it to Mom. When Mom wrote to thank me for her "real" gifts, she said the yellow shirt was lovely.  She never mentioned it again.

The next year, my husband, daughter and I stopped at Mom and Dad's to pick up some furniture.  Days later, when we uncrated the kitchen table, I noticed something yellow taped to its bottom.  The shirt!

And so the pattern was set.

On our next visit home, I secretly placed the shirt under Mom and Dad's mattress.  I don't know how long it took for her to find it, but almost two years passed before I discovered it under the base of our living-room floor  lamp.  The yellow shirt was just what I needed now while refinishing furniture.  The walnut stains added character.

In 1975 my husband and I divorced.  With my three children, I prepared to move back to Illinois.  As I packed, a deep depression overtook me.  I wondered if I could make it on my own.  I wondered if I would find a job.

I paged through the Bible, looking for comfort.  In Ephesians, I read,  "So use every piece of God's armor to resist the enemy whenever he attacks, and when it is all over, you will be standing up."

I tried to picture myself wearing God's armor, but all I saw was the stained yellow shirt.  Slowly, it dawned on me.  Wasn't my mother's love a piece of God's armor?  My courage was renewed.

Unpacking in our new home, I knew I had to get the shirt back to Mother.  The next time I visited her, I tucked it in her bottom dresser drawer.

Meanwhile, I found a good job at a radio  station.  A year later I discovered the yellow shirt hidden in a rag bag in my cleaning closet.  Something new had been added.  Embroidered in bright green across the breast pocket were the words "I BELONG TO PAT."

Not to be outdone, I got out my own embroidery materials and added an apostrophe and seven more letters.  Now the shirt proudly proclaimed, "I BELONG TO PAT'S MOTHER."  But I didn't stop there. I zig-zagged all the frayed seams, then had a friend mail the shirt in a fancy box to Mom from Arlington, VA.  We enclosed an official looking letter from "The Institute for the Destitute," announcing that she was the recipient of an award for good deeds.  I would have given anything to see Mom's face when she opened the box.  But, of course, she never mentioned it.

Two years later, in 1978, I remarried.  The day of our wedding, Harold and I put our car in a friend's garage to avoid practical jokers.  After the wedding, while my husband drove us to our honeymoon suite, I reached for a pillow in the car to rest my head. It felt lumpy.  I unzipped the case and found, wrapped in wedding paper, the yellow shirt.  Inside a pocket was a note:

"Read John 14:27-29.  I love you both, Mother."

That night I paged through the Bible in a hotel room and found the verses:  "I am leaving you with a gift: peace of mind and heart.  And the peace I give isn't fragile like the peace the world gives.  So don't be troubled or afraid.  Remember what I told you: I am going away, but I will come back to you again. If you really love me, you will be very happy for me, for now I can go to the Father, who is greater than I am.  I have told you these things before they happen so that when they do, you will believe in me."

The shirt was Mother's final gift.  She had known for thre months that she had terminal Lou Gehrig's disease.  Mother died the following year at age 57.

I was tempted to send the yellow shirt with her to her grave. But I'm glad I didn't, because it is a vivid reminder of the love-filled game she and  I played for 16 years.  Besides, my older daughter is in college now, majoring in art.  And every art student needs a baggy yellow shirt with big pockets.

Did You Know ?

  • A housefly beats its wings about 20,000 times per minute.
  • A hummingbird weighs less than a penny!
  • A jellyfish is 95% water.
  • A mole can dig a tunnel 300 feet long in just one night!
  • A monkey was once tried and convicted for smoking a cigarette in South Bend, Indiana.
  • Mosquito - The smallest animal in this list, the Mosquito, is by far the most dangerous animal in the world. In fact they kill over one million people every year by transmitting deadly disease such as malaria, west nile, and yellow fever.
  • Takshila – the first university. Education was also encouraged from the ancient days. Takshila – the first university of the world was set up in India in about 700 B.C. The University of Nalanda was also established in India during 4th Century in India. More than 10,000 students studied over 60 subjects from all over the world.
  • The 'Place Value System' and the 'Decimal System' were developed in India in 100 B.C.
  • The World's First Granite Temple is the Brihadeswara Temple at Tanjavur, Tamil Nadu. The shikhara of the temple is made from a single 80-tonne piece of granite. This magnificent temple was built in just five years, (between 1004 AD and 1009 AD) during the reign of Rajaraja Chola.

Just For Laughs

Going Down

As the storm raged, the captain realized his ship was sinking fast. He called out, "Anyone here know how to pray?" One man stepped forward. "Aye, Captain, I know how to pray." 

"Good," said the captain, "you pray while the rest of us put on our life jackets - we're one short." 

They're hushers

Six-year-old Angie and her four-year-old brother Joel were sitting together in church. Joel giggled, sang, and talked out loud.

Finally, his big sister had had enough. "You're not supposed to talk out loud in church."

"Why? Who's going to stop me?" Joel asked.

Angie pointed to the back of the church and said, "See those two men standing by the door? They're hushers."

BEN-HUR: A TALE OF THE CHRIST 

by Lew Wallace

Part Eight

Biblical references: Matthew 27:48-51, Mark 11:9-11, 14:51-52, Luke 23:26-46, John 12:12-18, 18:2-19:30

During the next three years, Jesus preaches his gospel around Galilee, and Ben-Hur becomes one of his followers. He starts to believe that Balthasar may be right, when he sees that Jesus chooses fishermen, farmers and similar people, considered "lowly", as apostles. Judah believes Jesus to be wasting valuable time by not proclaiming himself king immediately. Yet, he has seen Jesus perform miracles, and is convinced that the Christ really had come.

During this time Malluch, armed with the Hur fortune, has bought the old Hur house and renovated it, restoring it to splendor. He then invites Simonides and Balthasar, with their daughters, to live in the house with him, and they become regular occupants of the house. Judah Ben-Hur seldom visits the house. The day before Jesus plans to enter Jerusalem and, finally proclaim himself, Judah returns and gives them a full account of what has happened through the years he has followed Jesus. When he tells of the healing of ten lepers, Amrah realizes that Judah's mother and sister could be healed, and the next morning, alone, hurries to the lepers' cave to tell them the good news. The three wait along a road, and amidst all the rejoicing and din during the Triumphal Entry, they ask Jesus to heal them, and their request is granted. When they are cured, Judah sees them and Amrah and the family are finally re-united.

Several days later, Iras talks with Judah, saying he has trusted in a false hope, for Jesus had not started the expected revolution. She says that it is all over between them, saying she loves Messala. Ben-Hur remembers the "invitation of Iras" that led to the incident with Thord, and accuses Iras of betraying him and spying on him for Messala's gain. That night, he realizes how different Balthasar and his daughter are, and resolves to go to Esther.

While he is lost in thought, he sees a parade marching down the street, and falls in with it, confused. He notices that Judas Iscariot is leading the parade, and many of the temple priests and Roman soldiers are all marching together. They go to the olive grove of Gethsemane, which confuses Ben-Hur even more, and he sees, ahead of him, Jesus walking out to meet them. Ben-Hur understands the betrayal, is spotted by a priest who tries to take him into custody; he breaks away and flees. When morning comes, Ben-Hur learns that the Jewish priests have tried Jesus before Pilate, and although he was originally ruled "not guilty", has nevertheless been sentenced to crucifixion at the crowd's demand. Ben-Hur is shocked at how his legions have all deserted him in his time of need. They head to Calvary, and Ben-Hur resigns himself to watch the crucifixion of Jesus. The sky darkens. Ben-Hur offers Jesus wine vinegar to return Jesus' favor to him. Jesus utters his last cry.

Ben-Hur and his friends commit their lives to Jesus, who they now realize is not the earthly king they had previously hoped for, but a heavenly king and a savior of mankind.

PART VIII - CHAPTER - continued

In the meantime Ben-Hur was not once visited by the old spirit. The perfect peace abode with him. He prayed simply that the end might be hastened. He knew the condition of Simonides' mind--that he was hesitating on the verge of belief. He could see the massive face weighed down by solemn reflection. He noticed him casting inquiring glances at the sun, as seeking the cause of the darkness. Nor did he fail to notice the solicitude with which Esther clung to him,
smothering her fears to accommodate his wishes.

"Be not afraid," he heard him say to her; "but stay and watch with me. Thou mayst live twice the span of my life, and see nothing of human interest equal to this; and there may be revelations more. Let us stay to the close."

When the third hour was about half gone, some men of the rudest class--wretches from the tombs about the city--came and stopped in front of the centre cross.

"This is he, the new King of the Jews," said one of them.

The others cried, with laughter, "Hail, all hail, King of the Jews!"

Receiving no reply, they went closer.

"If thou be King of the Jews, or Son of God, come down," they said, loudly.

At this, one of the thieves quit groaning, and called to the Nazarene, "Yes, if thou be Christ, save thyself and us."

The people laughed and applauded; then, while they were listening for a reply, the other felon was heard to say to the first one, "Dost thou not fear God? We receive the due rewards of our deeds; but this man hath done nothing amiss."

The bystanders were astonished; in the midst of the hush which ensued, the second felon spoke again, but this time to the Nazarene:

"Lord," he said, "remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom."

Simonides gave a great start. "When thou comest into thy kingdom!" It was the very point of doubt in his mind; the point he had so often debated with Balthasar.

"Didst thou hear?" said Ben-Hur to him. "The kingdom cannot be of this world. Yon witness saith the King is but going to his kingdom; and, in effect, I heard the same in my dream."

"Hush!" said Simonides, more imperiously than ever before in speech to Ben-Hur. "Hush, I pray thee! If the Nazarene should answer--"

And as he spoke the Nazarene did answer, in a clear voice, full of confidence:

"Verily I say unto thee, To-day shalt thou be with me in Paradise!"

Simonides waited to hear if that were all; then he folded his hands and said, "No more, no more, Lord! The darkness is gone; I see with other eyes--even as Balthasar, I see with eyes of perfect faith."

The faithful servant had at last his fitting reward. His broken body might never be restored; nor was there riddance of the recollection of his sufferings, or recall of the years embittered
by them; but suddenly a new life was shown him, with assurance that it was for him--a new life lying just beyond this one--and its name was Paradise. There he would find the Kingdom of which he had been dreaming, and the King. A perfect peace fell upon him.

Over the way, in front of the cross, however, there were surprise and consternation. The cunning casuists there put the assumption underlying the question and the admission underlying the answer together. For saying through the land that he was the Messiah, they had brought the Nazarene to the cross; and, lo! on the cross, more confidently than ever, he had not only reasserted himself, but promised enjoyment of his Paradise to a malefactor.

They trembled at what they were doing. The pontiff, with all his pride, was afraid. Where got the man his confidence except from Truth? And what should the Truth be but God? A very little now would put them all to flight.

The breaching of the Nazarene grew harder, his sighs became great gasps. Only three hours upon the cross, and he was dying!

The intelligence was carried from man to man, until every one knew it; and then everything hushed; the breeze faltered and died; a stifling vapor loaded the air; heat was superadded to darkness; nor might any one unknowing the fact have thought that off the hill, out under the overhanging pall, there were three millions of people waiting awe-struck what should happen next--they were so still!

Then there went out through the gloom, over the heads of such as were on the hill within hearing of the dying man, a cry of despair, if not reproach:

"My God! my God! why hast thou forsaken me?"

The voice startled all who heard it. One it touched uncontrollably.

The soldiers in coming had brought with them a vessel of wine and water, and set it down a little way from Ben-Hur. With a sponge dipped into the liquor, and put on the end of a stick, they could moisten the tongue of a sufferer at their pleasure. Ben-Hur thought of the draught he had had at the well near Nazareth; an impulse seized him; catching up the sponge, he dipped it into the vessel, and started for the cross.

"Let him be!" the people in the way shouted, angrily. "Let him be!"

Without minding them, he ran on, and put the sponge to the Nazarene's lips.

Too late, too late!

The face then plainly seen by Ben-Hur, bruised and black with blood and dust as it was, lighted nevertheless with a sudden glow; the eyes opened wide, and fixed upon some one visible to them alone in the far heavens; and there were content and relief, even triumph, in the shout the victim gave.

"It is finished! It is finished!"

So a hero, dying in the doing a great deed, celebrates his success with a last cheer.

The light in the eyes went out; slowly the crowned head sank upon the laboring breast. Ben-Hur thought the struggle over; but the fainting soul recollected itself, so that he and those around him caught the other and last words, spoken in a low voice, as if to one listening close by:

"Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit."

A tremor shook the tortured body; there was a scream of fiercest anguish, and the mission and the earthly life were over at once. The heart, with all its love, was broken; for of that, O reader, the man died!

to be continued


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