23 March 2014

posted 20 Mar 2014, 20:33 by C S Paul
23 March 2014

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Quotes to Inspire

  • "Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate." — John F Kennedy
  • "I will study and prepare, and someday my opportunity will come." — Abraham Lincoln
  • "Better to be prepared and not called, than to be called and not prepared." — James Wallace
  • "Brotherhood is the very price and condition of man's survival." — Carlos Romulo
  • "True grit is making a decision and standing by it, doing what must be done." — John Wayne
  • "Character, not circumstances, make the man." — Booker T. Washington
  • "Living consciously involves being genuine; it involves listening and responding to others honestly and openly; it involves being in the moment." — Sidney Poitier
  • "Never does the human soul appear so strong and noble as when it forgoes revenge and dares to forgive an injury." — E. H. Chapin
  • "You can't shake hands with a clenched fist." — Golda Meir
  • "Don't ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up." — Robert Frost
  • "I quit being afraid when my first venture failed and the sky didn't fall down.” — Allen H. Neuharth
  • "People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within.” — Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
  • Most of your happiness will come from your relationships with others. Handle them with care. - Brian Tracy

Being Rich - True
By Jaye Lewis

We prowled through the second hand bookstore, the day after Christmas, just my husband, Louie, our daughters, Jenny and Helen, and me. This was a precious time for us, because we would be splitting up as a family, again, in just a couple of days.

It had been a tough eight months since my husband had retired from the Navy. As plotters and planners, we had manipulated the "military system," while on active duty, as much as we could, trying to prevent a long, dreaded absence from one another. Now, here we were, retired, and 
we were eight months into our longest separation.

When my husband retired, we discovered that the only job available for him was in the city of Norfolk, Virginia. Our dream was to live out the rest of our lives in the mountains of southwestern Virginia, six and a half hours away. My health had gotten so bad, that it was impossible for me to stay with Louie in the city. We had settled for a separation, praying that a job would become available in the beautiful region that we love.

So, there we were, delaying the inevitable, passing time in a second hand bookstore, before the girls and I headed back to southwest Virginia. We were as broke as we'd ever been, supporting two households; yet we were grateful to be together, and we seized every 
opportunity for extra hugs, shared daydreams and laughter.

There was only one other person in the bookstore, besides the proprietor, a lovely, well-dressed, woman, about my age. I noticed her clothes, her shoes, and her expensive handbag, and I wondered what it would be like, to be rich enough to walk into a bookstore and have the 
money to buy any book my heart desired. But we were having so much fun, that I quickly forgot the woman.

We joked as we continued our treasure hunt, clutching our spending money of five dollars apiece, all hoping to be the first to find the oldest, least expensive book. It was a bittersweet excursion. 

Frequently Louie and I would brush past one another, finding excuses to touch or to give on another's hand an extra squeeze.

Jenny remembered, that there was an ATM machine, not far from the bookstore, and she decided that she needed another twenty dollars that she had squirreled away.

"No fair!" I cried, laughing. "The rest of us can only spend five dollars, and here you're going to have twenty-five dollars?!"

We all laughed, and we began to tease Jenny, mercilessly, but she was able to convince her Dad that she must have the $20, in order to get that irresistible book.

"Come on, Jenny," Louie laughed. "I'll drive you to the ATM."

Then we did another round of hugging and kissing, none of us wanting to be apart for even a few minutes.

Soon Louie and I would be saying "good-bye." We couldn't resist the opportunity to assure one another of our love, and our faith that our separation would soon come to an end. It must have been a curious ballet, this demonstrative family scene, but we were oblivious to what others might think.

Military families seem to fall into two categories: those who look for affectionate pportunities, and those who avoid close contact, because "good-byes" are painful. I have to admit that we're a pretty "huggy-kissy" family, so unmindful of anyone else, we continued to give kisses and hugs all around. In our military career, we had become painfully aware, that anything can happen during even the briefest separation. 

But now, as I look back, I realize how odd me must have looked.Finally, in between another hug and kiss, I saw the perfect book for me! It was one hundred years old, and it was on my favorite time period, the Middle Ages. Oh, how I wanted that book! I quickly checked the inside cover for the price, and my heart fell. It was twenty-five dollars! We just didn't have it. I looked up at Louie, already knowing the answer.

He must have wanted me to have that book. I could see the pain in his eyes. Louie reached out and gave me an extra hug. I understood his "honey, we just can't afford it" message. I leaned into his sheltering arms, and I saw that the well-dressed lady was also touching the book that I wanted. Ah well, let her have it. I gave Louie and extra hug, and half serious, I murmured, as my eyes locked with hers.

"Oooohh, I wish I were rich!"

"It looks to me, as though you already are," she said with a smile.There was a pause that stretched through eternity, and my heart filled with comprehension. I looked up at my husband, and I gazed at my daughters, wrapped as we were in the arms of love, and I knew it. I was 
rich. Very rich. I quickly turned to thank the woman for her gentle reminder, but she was gone!

Who was she? I'll never know. But what she did for my outlook, was nothing short of miraculous. I will never forget her. Where did she disappear to? I can't say.

Strangely enough, within days, my husband received a job offer in southwestern Virginia. In less than two weeks, he was hired and we moved to the place that is now our home. The job notice had been sent out two days before Christmas, even as we hugged and kissed and wished 
in that bookstore. Even as I heard the words, "It looks to me, as though you already are," events were already in motion to unite our family.

I am quite certain that it was all part of God's plan, to remind me of what being "rich" is all about... faith, love, family, and friends. And when I get to heaven, I will not be at all surprised to discover that God sent an angel to a second hand bookstore, in Norfolk, Virginia, to give me his richest message, the day after Christmas, many years ago.

I must at least try
by Joe Simpson

In June 1985, two British mountaineers Joe Simpson and Simon Yates made the first-ever climb of the West Face of the 21,000 foot snow-covered Siula Grande mountain in Peru. It was an exceptionally tough assault - but nothing compared to what was to come. Early in the descent, Simpson fell and smashed his right knee. Yates could have abandoned him but managed to find a way of lowering him down the mountain in a series of difficult drops blinded by snow and cold. Then Simpson fell into a crevasse and Yates eventually had no choice but to cut the rope, 
utterly convinced that his friend was now dead.

In his subsequent book on the climb entitled "Touching The Void", Joe Simpson wrote: "As I gazed at the distant moraines, I knew that I must at least try. I would probably die out there amid those boulders. The thought didn't alarm me. It seemed reasonable, matter-of-fact. That was how it was. I could aim for something. If I died, well, that wasn't so surprising, but I wouldn't have just waited for it to happen. The horror of dying no longer affected me as it had in the crevasse. I now had the chance to confront it and struggle against it. It wasn't a bleak dark terror any more, just fact, like my broken leg and frostbitten fingers, and I couldn't be afraid of things like that. My leg would hurt when I fell and when I couldn't get up I would die."

The survival of Yates himself was extraordinary. That Simpson somehow found a way of climbing out of the crevasse after 12 hours and then literally crawled and dragged himself six miles back to camp, going three days and nights without food or drink, losing three stone, and 
contracting ketoacidosis in the process, would be the stuff of heroic fiction if it was not so true. Indeed, six operations and two years later, he was even back climbing. All because, against all the odds, he tried ...

The Carpenter
-- Author unknown

Once upon a time, two brothers who lived on adjoining farms fell into conflict. It was the first serious rift in 40 years of farming side-by-side, sharing machinery, and trading labor and goods as needed, without a hitch. Then the long collaboration fell apart.

It began with a small misunderstanding, and it grew into a major difference, and finally, it exploded into an exchange of bitter words, followed by weeks of silence.

One morning, there was a knock on John's door. He opened it to find a man with a carpenter's toolbox. "I'm looking for a few days work," he said. "Perhaps you would have a few small jobs here and there I could help with? Could I help you?"

"Yes," said the older brother. "I do have a job for you. Look across the creek at that farm. That's my neighbor. In fact, it's my younger brother! Last week, there was a meadow between us. He recently took his bulldozer to the river levee, and now there is a creek between us. 

Well, he may have done this to spite me, but I'll do him one better.

See that pile of lumber by the barn? I want you to build me a fence - an 8-foot fence - so I won't need to see his place, or his face, anymore."

The carpenter said, "I think I understand the situation. Show me the nails, and the post-hole digger, and I'll be able to do a job that pleases you."

The older brother had to go to town, so he helped the carpenter get the materials ready and then he was off for the day. The carpenter worked hard all that day -- measuring, sawing, and 
nailing. About sunset, when the farmer returned, the carpenter had just finished his job.

The farmer's eyes opened wide, his jaw dropped. There was no fence there at all. It was a bridge... a bridge that stretched from one side of the creek to the other! A fine piece of work, with handrails, and all!

And, the neighbor, his younger brother, was coming toward them, his hand outstretched... "You are quite a fellow to build this bridge, after all I've said and done."

The two brothers stood at each end of the bridge, and then they met in the middle, taking each other's hand. They turned to see the carpenter hoist his toolbox onto his shoulder.

"No, wait! Stay a few days. I've a lot of other projects for you," said the older brother.

"I'd love to stay on," the carpenter said, "but I have many more bridges to build."


The Stranger
-- Author Unknown

A few months before I was born, my Dad met a stranger who was new to our small town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around to welcome me into the 
world a few months later.

As I grew up, I never questioned his place in my family. In my young mind, he had a special niche. My parents were complementary instructors: Mom taught me the word of God, and Dad taught me to obey it. But the stranger.. He was our storyteller. He would keep us 
spellbound for hours on end with adventures, mysteries and comedies.

If I wanted to know anything about politics, history or science, he always knew the answers about the past, understood the present and even seemed able to predict the future! He took my family to the first major league ball game. He made me laugh, and he made me cry. The stranger never stopped talking, but Dad didn't seem to mind.

Sometimes, Mom would get up quietly while the rest of us were shushing each other to listen to what he had to say, and she would go to her room and read her books (I wonder now if she ever prayed for the stranger to leave.)

Dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions, but the stranger never felt obligated to honor them. Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our home... not from us, our friends or any visitors. Our longtime visitor, however, got away with four-letter words that burned my ears and made my dad squirm and  my mother blush.

My Dad was a teetotaler who didn't permit alcohol in the home, not even for cooking. But the stranger encouraged us to try it on a regular basis. He made cigarettes look cool, cigars manly and pipes distinguished. He talked freely (much too freely!) about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing.

I now know that my early concepts about relationships were influenced strongly by the stranger. Time after time, he opposed the values of my parents, yet he was seldom rebuked... and NEVER asked to leave.

More than fifty years have passed since the stranger moved in with our family. He has blended right in and is not nearly as fascinating as he was at first. Still, if you were to walk into my parent's den today, you would still find him sitting over in his corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures. His name?....

We just call him... "TV."

He has a younger sister now. We call her "Computer."


Did You Know? 

  • Most of Indian kitchens have their own secret recipes, ingredients or way of preparing certain recipes which makes the dish completely unique in itself.
  • In Northern parts of India, people tend to rely on red ‘n’ green chilies, saffron, yoghurt are among most commonly used ingredients. Ghee (clarified butter) is most essential ingredient of any north Indian dish which is full of fats but still considered healthy adding amazing taste to the food.
  • In the South, people love black pepper, tamarind and coconut in their food. Coconut is most famous, being used in different forms such as coconut milk, oil, dried and grated. South Indian food is largely non-greasy, roasted and steamed.
  • There is a common misconception that Indian food is always hot and spicy, being high on fats, calories and unhealthy. Well, this is not always true. Common ingredients such as, chilies, tamarind, pepper, coconut and even Ghee which is known to be high on fats, all have their own nutritive value which makes Indian food healthy to eat. While spices are used in Indian cooking they are not what make food spicy.
  • The two cultures that have influenced Indian food cooking and food habits are the Hindu and the Muslim traditions. The Hindu vegetarian tradition is widespread in India, although many Hindus eat meat.
  • The Portuguese, the Persians and the British made important contributions to the Indian Food scene.  It was the British who started the commercial cultivation of tea in India.
  • A Boeing 737 weighing 150,000 pounds (68,000 kg) must deflect about 88,000 pounds (40,000 kg) of air - over a million cubic feet (31,500 cubit metres) down by 55 feet (16.75 m) each second while in flight. 
  • A commercial aircraft door will not open in flight because it is actually bigger than the window frame itself, and the door opens inwards towards the cabin. To open, it must be opened inwards, rotated, and then slipped sideways out of the frame. Even if the door could somehow be opened, it would be like lifting a 2,200 pound weight. 
  • Most planes flying internationally have their home country's flag painted on or around their tails. Genrally, the flag is facing the proper way round on the left (port) side of the aircraft, and backward on the starboard side. Why? Because that's how it would look if a real flage were hoisted on a pole above the airplane during the flight. 
  • “The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) was established in 1935 as the Central Bank of the Country. RBI was nationalised in 1949.”
  • “RBI was established with initial share capital worth Rs. 5 crores with 5 Lakh Rs. 100 share dividend.”
  • “The State Bank of India was known as The Imperial Bank of India prior to 1955.“

Just for Laughs

Drunk on the Subway
Author Unknown

A drunk man who smelled like cheap wine sat down on a subway seat next to a priest. The man's tie was stained, his face was plastered with red lipstick, and a half empty bottle of gin was sticking out of his torn coat pocket. He opened his newspaper and began reading. 

After a few minutes the man turned to the priest and asked, "Say, Father, what causes arthritis?" 

"My Son, it's caused by loose living, being with cheap, wicked women, too much alcohol and a contempt for your fellow man."

"Well, I'll be hornswaggled," the drunk muttered, returning to his paper. 

The priest, thinking about what he had said, nudged the man and apologized. "I'm very sorry. I didn't mean to come on so strong. How long have you had arthritis?" 

"I don't have it, Father. I was just reading here that the Pope does". 


The Computer Is Down
Author Unknown

Two priests died at the same time and met Saint Peter at the Pearly Gates. St. Peter said, "I'd like to get you guys in now, but our computer is down. You'll have to go back to Earth for about a week, but you can't go back as priests. So what else would you like to be?" 

The first priest says, "I've always wanted to be an eagle, soaring above the Rocky Mountains." 

"So be it," says St. Peter, and off flies the first priest. 

The second priest mulls this over for a moment and asks, "Will any of this week count, St. Peter?" 

"No, I told you the computer's down. There's no way we can keep track of what you're doing." 

"In that case," says the second priest, "I've always wanted to be a stud." 

"So be it," says St. Peter, and the second priest disappears. 

A week goes by, the computer is fixed, and the Lord tells St. Peter to recall the two priests. 

"Will you have any trouble locating them?" He asks. 

"The first one should be easy," says St. Peter. "He's somewhere over the Rockies, flying with the eagles. But the second one could prove to be more difficult." 

"Why?" asked the Lord. 

"He's on a snow tire, somewhere in North Dakota." 


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 - 

When the party--Balthasar, Simonides, Ben-Hur, Esther, and the two faithful Galileans--reached the place of crucifixion, Ben-Hur was in advance leading them. How they had been able to make way through the great press of excited people, he never knew; no more did he know
the road by which they came or the time it took them to come. He had walke d in total unconsciousness, neither hearing nor seeing anybodyor anything, and without a thought of where he was going, or the ghostliest semblance of a purpose in his mind. In such condition
a little child could have done as much as he to prevent the awful crime he was about to witness. The intentions of God are always strange to us; but not more so than the means by which they are wrought out, and at last made plain to our belief.

Ben-Hur came to a stop; those following him also stopped. As a curtain rises before an audience, the spell holding him in its sleep-awake rose, and he saw with a clear understanding.

There was a space upon the top of a low knoll rounded like a skull, and dry, dusty, and without vegetation, except some scrubby hyssopThe boundary of the space was a living wall of men, with men behind struggling, some to look over, others to look through it. An inner wall of Roman soldiery held the dense outer wall rigidly to its place. A centurion kept eye upon the soldiers.

Up to the very line so vigilantly guarded Ben-Hur had been led; at the line he now stood, his face to the northwest. The knoll was the old Aramaic Golgotha--in Latin, Calvaria; anglicized,
Calvary; translated, The Skull.

On its slopes, in the low places, on the swells and higher hills, the earth sparkled with a strange enamelling. Look where he would outside the walled space, he saw no patch of brown soil, no rock, no green thing; he saw only thousands of eyes in ruddy faces; off a little way in the perspective only ruddy faces without eyes; off a little farther only a broad, broad circle, which the nearer view instructed him was also of faces. And this was the ensemble of three millions of people; under it three millions of hearts throbbing with passionate interest in what was taking place upon the knoll; indifferent as to the thieves, caring only for the Nazarene, and for him only as he was an object of hate or fear or curiosity--he who loved them all, and was about to die for them.

In the spectacle of a great assemblage of people there are always the bewilderment and fascination one feels while looking over a stretch of sea in agitation, and never had this one been exceeded; yet Ben-Hur gave it but a passing glance, for that which was going on in the space described would permit no division of his interest.

Up on the knoll so high as to be above the living wall, and visible over the heads of an attending company of notables, conspicuous because of his mitre and vestments and his haughty air, stood the high priest. Up the knoll still higher, up quite to the round summit, so as to be seen far and near, was the Nazarene, stooped and suffering, but silent.

The wit among the guard had complemented the crown upon his head by putting a reed in his hand for a sceptre. Clamors blew upon him like blasts--laughter--execrations--sometimes both together indistinguishably. A man--ONLY a man, O reader, would have charged the blasts with the remainder of his love for the race, and let it go forever.

All the eyes then looking were fixed upon the Nazarene. It may have been pity with which he was moved; whatever the cause, Ben-Hur was conscious of a change in his feelings. A conception of something better than the best of this life--something so much better that it
could serve a weak man with strength to endure agonies of spirit as well as of body; something to make death welcome--perhaps another life purer than this one--perhaps the spirit-life which Balthasar held to so fast, began to dawn upon his mind clearer and clearer, bringing to him a certain sense that, after all, the mission of the Nazarene was that of guide across the boundary for such as loved him; across the boundary to where his kingdom was set up and waiting for him. Then, as something borne through the air out of the almost forgotten, he heard again, or seemed to hear, the saying of the Nazarene,

"I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE."

And the words repeated themselves over and over, and took form, and the dawn touched them with its light, and filled them with a new meaning. And as men repeat a question to grasp and fix the meaning, he asked, gazing at the figure on the hill fainting under its crown, Who the Resurrection? and who the Life?

"I AM,"

the figure seemed to say--and say it for him; for instantly he was sensible of a peace such as he had never known--the peace which is the end of doubt and mystery, and the beginning of faith and love and clear understanding.

to be continued

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