24 February 2013

posted 21 Feb 2013, 20:23 by C S Paul   [ updated 22 Feb 2013, 03:57 ]

24 February 2013


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Words of Wisdom


  • You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist. - Indira Gandhi 
  • Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow. - Swedish proverb 
  • There is nothing wrong with making mistakes. Just don’t respond with encores.  - unknown
  • The door of opportunity won’t open unless you do some pushing. - unknown
  • True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice. - Martin Luther King, Jr. 
  • Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down. - Oprah Winfrey
  • We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have. - unknown
  • We expect more of ourselves than we have any right to.- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
  • Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.  - unknown
  • Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring and integrity they think of you.  - unknown
  • The real tragedy of life is not being limited to one talent, but failing to use that one talent.  - unknown 
  • Never look down on anybody unless you're helping them up. - Jesse Jackson 
  • Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip. - Will Rogers 
  • Life is a promise; fulfill it. - Mother Teresa 

My Sons Would Know

The story is told of a father who took his two boys one afternoon to play miniature golf.

The father walked up to the man at the ticket counter and said, "How much is it to get in?" The young man replied, "Three dollars for you and three dollars for any kid who is older than six. We let them in for free if they are six or younger. 

How old are your two?" The father replied, "This one is three and the other one is seven, so I owe you $6.00." 

The young man at the ticket counter said, "Hey mister, did you just win the lottery or something? You could have saved yourself three bucks if you would have told me that the older one was six. I wouldn't have known the difference."

The father replied, "Yes, that may be true, but the boys would have known the difference."

Puppies

A farmer had some puppies he needed to sell. He painted a sign advertising the pups and set about nailing it to a post on the edge of his yard. As he was driving the last nail into the post, he felt a tug on his overalls. He looked down into the eyes of a little boy. 

"Mister," he said, "I want to buy one of your puppies." 

"Well," said the farmer, as he rubbed the sweat off the back of his neck, "These puppies come from fine parents and cost a good deal of money." The boy dropped his head for a moment. 

Then reaching deep into his pocket, he pulled out a handful of change and held it up to the farmer. 

"I've got thirty-nine cents. Is that enough to take a look?" 

"Sure," said the farmer. And with that he let out a whistle, "Here, Dolly!" he called. Out from the doghouse and down the ramp ran Dolly followed by four little balls of fur. The little boy pressed his face against the chain link fence. His eyes danced with delight. 

As the dogs made their way to the fence, the little boy noticed something else stirring inside the doghouse. Slowly another little fur ball appeared; this one noticeably smaller. Down the ramp it slid. Then in a somewhat awkward manner the little pup began hobbling toward the others, doing its best to catch up.... 

"I want that one," the little boy said, pointing to the runt. The farmer knelt down at the boy's side and said, "Son, you don't want that puppy. He will never be able to run and play with you like these other dogs would." 

With that the little boy stepped back from the fence, reached down, and began rolling up one leg of his trousers. In doing so he revealed a steel brace running down both sides of his leg attaching itself to a specially made shoe. Looking back up at the farmer, he said, "You see sir, I don't run too well myself, and he will need someone who understands." 

The world is full of people who need someone who understands. Do you understand? 

Provided by Free Christian Content.org

The mouse trap

A mouse looked through the crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife open a package. "What food might this contain?" the mouse wondered. He was devastated to discover it was a mousetrap.

Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed the warning: "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!"

The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said "Mr.Mouse, I can tell this is a grave concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me. I cannot be bothered by it."

The mouse turned to the pig and told him "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!" The pig sympathized, but said "I am so very sorry, Mr.Mouse, but there is nothing I can do about it but pray. Be assured you are in my prayers."

The mouse turned to the cow and said "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!" The cow said "Wow, Mr. Mouse. I'm sorry for you, but it's no skin off my nose."

So, the mouse returned to the house, head down and dejected, to face the farmer's mousetrap alone.

That very night a sound was heard throughout the house - like the sound of a mousetrap catching its prey. The farmer's wife rushed to see what was caught. In the darkness, she did not see it was a venomous snake whose tail the trap had caught. The snake bit the farmer's wife. The farmer rushed her to the hospital and she returned home with a fever.

Everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken soup, so the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup's main ingredient. But his wife's sickness continued, so friends and neighbors came to sit with her around the clock. To feed them, the farmer butchered the pig. The farmer's wife did not get well; she died. So many! people came for her funeral, the farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide enough meat for all of them.

The mouse looked upon it all from his crack in the wall with great sadness. So, the next time you hear someone is facing a problem and think it doesn't concern you, remember: when one of us is threatened, we are all at risk. We are all involved in this journey called life. We must keep an eye out for one another and make an extra effort to encourage one another. Each of us is a vital thread in another person's tapestry.


A foot has no nose
by Ellen K. Kuzwayo

Of the many interactions I had with my mother those many years ago, one stands out with clarity. I remember the occasion when mother sent me to the main road, about twenty yards away from the homestead, to invite a passing group of seasonal work-seekers home for a meal. She instructed me to take a container along and collect dry cow dung for making a fire. I was then to prepare the meal for the group of work-seekers.

The thought of making an open fire outside at midday, cooking in a large three-legged pot in that intense heat, was sufficient to upset even an angel. I did not manage to conceal my feelings from my mother and, after serving the group, she called me to the veranda where she usually sat to attend to her sewing and knitting.

Looking straight into my eyes, she daid "Tsholofelo, why did you sulk when I requested you to prepare a meal for those poor destitute people?" Despite my attempt to deny her allegation, and using the heat of the fire and the sun as an excuse for my alleged behaviour, mother, giving me a firm look, said ""Lonao ga lo na nko" - "A foot has no nose". It means: you cannot detect what trouble may lie ahead of you.

Had I denied this group of people a meal, it may have happened that, in my travels some time in the future, I found myself at the mercy of those very individuals. As if that was not enough to shame me, mother continued: "Motho ke motho ka motho yo mongwe". The literal meaning: "A person is a person because of another person".


Did you know ?

  • Homing pigeons use roads where possible to help find their way home. In fact, some pigeons followed roads so closely that they actually flew around traffic circles before choosing the exit that led them home. 
  • A snowflake can take up to a hour to fall from the cloud to the surface of the Earth.
  • Only 5 percent of the ocean floor has been mapped in as much detail as the surface of Mars. 
  • The only people whose likenesses adorn Pez dispensers are Betsy Ross and Paul Revere. 
  • Pain is measured in units of "dols". The instrument used to measure pain is a "dolorimeter". 
  • In a nod to astronauts, Texas is the only state that permits residents to cast absentee ballots from space. 
  • Eleven top executives of the Direct Marketing Association (the telemarketers' group that is trying to kill the federal "Do Not Call" list) have registered for the list themselves. 
  • An iceberg the size of Long Island, New York, has broken off Antarctica and has blocked sea lanes used by both ships and penguins. 
  • In 2003, the Transportation Security Administration dropped a requirement that air marshals pass a marksmanship test. Some applicants were even hired after they repeatedly shot flight attendants in mock hijacking episodes. 
  • As of January 2004, the United States economy now borrows $1,500,000,000 each day from foreign investors. 
  • A Costa Rican worker who makes baseballs earns about $2,750 annually. The average American pro baseball player earns $2,377,000 per year. 
  • Former keyboard player for Jethro Tull David Palmer is now a woman named Dee Palmer. He waited until his wife died before going through with his longtime desire for a sex change. 
  • During Bill Clinton's entire eight year presidency, he only sent two e-mails. One was to John Glenn when he was aboard the space shuttle, and the other was a test of the e-mail system. 

Just for laughs.

Sin of lying

A minister told his congregation, "Next week I plan to preach about the sin of lying. To help you understand my sermon, I want you all to read Mark 17."

The following Sunday, as he prepared to deliver his sermon, the minister asked for a show of hands. He wanted to know how many had read Mark 17. Quite a few hands went up.  

The minister smiled and said, "Mark has only 16 chapters. I will now proceed with my sermon on the sin of lying."

In a minute

A man was taking it easy, laying on the grass and looking up at the clouds. He was identifying shapes when he decided to talk to God.

"God," he said, "how long is a million years?"

God answered, "In my frame of reference, it's about a minute."

The man asked, "God, how much is a million dollars?"

God answered, "To me, it's a penny."

The man then asked, "God, can I have a penny?"

God answered, "In a minute."

Dear God ...

If you give me a genie lamp like Alladin, I will give you anything you want except my money or my chess set. Raphael

My brother is a rat. You should give him a tail. Ha ha. Danny

Please send Dennis Clark to a different camp this year. Peter

Maybe Cain and Abel would not kill each so much if they had their own rooms. It works with my brother. Larry

I want to be just like my Daddy when I get big but not with so much hair all over. Sam



BEN-HUR: A TALE OF THE CHRIST 

by Lew Wallace

Part Four

Judah Ben-Hur trains for five years in the Palaestra in Rome and becomes the heir of the deceased Arrius. Judah goes to Antioch on state business. On the voyage, he learns that his real father's chief servant, Simonides, lives in a house in this city, and that his father's possessions had been entrusted to him. He pays a visit to the house and tells his full story to Simonides, who demands more proof. Ben-Hur replies he has no proof, but asks whether they know the fate of Judah's mother and sister. He says he knows nothing and Judah Ben-Hur leaves the house with an apology. Simonides hires his servant Malluch to spy on Judah to see if his story is true and find more information. Malluch meets and befriends Judah in the Grove of Daphne and they go to the games stadium together. There, Ben-Hur finds his old rival Messala racing one of the chariots, preparing for a tournament.

A prosperous Arab of Antioch, Sheik Ilderim, announces that he is looking for a chariot driver to race his team in the coming tournament. Judah, wanting revenge on Messala, decides to drive the sheik's chariot and defeat Messala. Meanwhile, Balthasar and his daughter Iras are sitting at a fountain in the stadium. Messala's chariot nearly hit them but Judah intervenes. Balthasar thanks Ben-Hur and presents him with a gift. Judah heads to Sheik Ilderim's tent. The servant Malluch follows him there, and along the way they talk about the Christ and Malluch relates Balthasar's story of the Magi. They realize that the man rescued at the fountain was the same Balthasar that saw the Christ's birth.

Back at Simonides' house, Esther, Simonides and Malluch talk together, and conclude that Ben-Hur is who he claims to be, and that he is on their side in the fight against Rome.

Messala realizes that Judah Ben-Hur has been adopted into a Roman home and his honor has been restored. He threatens to take revenge.

Meanwhile, Balthasar and his daughter Iras arrive at the Sheik's tent. With Judah they discuss how the Christ, approaching the age of thirty, is ready to enter public ministry. Judah takes increasing interest in the beautiful Iras.


Part Four - CHAPTER XIV

If the reader will return now to the repast of the wise men at their meeting in the desert, he will understand the preparations for the supper in Ilderim's tent. The differences were chiefly such as were incident to ampler means and better service.

Three rugs were spread on the carpet within the space so nearly enclosed by the divan; a table not more than a foot in height was brought and set within the same place, and covered with a cloth.

Off to one side a portable earthenware oven was established under the presidency of a woman whose duty it was to keep the company in bread, or, more precisely, in hot cakes of flour from the handmills grinding with constant sound in a neighboring tent.

Meanwhile Balthasar was conducted to the divan, where Ilderim and Ben-Hur received him standing. A loose black gown covered his person; his step was feeble, and his whole movement slow and cautious, apparently dependent upon a long staff and the arm of a servant.

"Peace to you, my friend," said Ilderim, respectfully. "Peace and welcome."

The Egyptian raised his head and replied, "And to thee, good sheik--to thee and thine, peace and the blessing of the One God--God the true and loving."

The manner was gentle and devout, and impressed Ben-Hur with a feeling of awe; besides which the blessing included in the answering salutation had been partly addressed to him, and while that part was being spoken, the eyes of the aged guest, hollow yet luminous, rested upon his face long enough to stir an emotion new and mysterious, and so strong that he again and again during the repast scanned the much wrinkled and bloodless face for its meaning; but always there was the expression bland, placid, and trustful as a child's. A little
later he found that expression habitual.

"This is he, O Balthasar," said the sheik, laying his hand on Ben-Hur's arm, "who will break bread with us this evening."

The Egyptian glanced at the young man, and looked again surprised and doubting; seeing which the sheik continued, "I have promised him my horses for trial to-morrow; and if all goes well, he will drive them in the Circus."

Balthasar continued his gaze.

"He came well recommended," Ilderim pursued, much puzzled. "You may know him as the son of Arrius, who was a noble Roman sailor, though"--the sheik hesitated, then resumed, with a laugh--"though he declares himself an Israelite of the tribe of Judah; and, by the
splendor of God, I believe that he tells me!"

Balthasar could no longer withhold explanation.

"To-day, O most generous sheik, my life was in peril, and would have been lost had not a youth, the counterpart of this one--if, indeed, he be not the very same--intervened when all others fled, and saved me." Then he addressed Ben-Hur directly, "Art thou not he?"

"I cannot answer so far," Ben-Hur replied, with modest deference.

"I am he who stopped the horses of the insolent Roman when they were rushing upon thy camel at the Fountain of Castalia. Thy daughter left a cup with me."

From the bosom of his tunic he produced the cup, and gave it to Balthasar.

A glow lighted the faded countenance of the Egyptian.

"The Lord sent thee to me at the Fountain to-day," he said, in a tremulous voice, stretching his hand towards Ben-Hur; "and he sends thee to me now. I give him thanks; and praise him thou, for of his favor I have wherewith to give thee great reward, and I will. The cup is thine; keep it."

Ben-Hur took back the gift, and Balthasar, seeing the inquiry upon Ilderim's face, related the occurrence at the Fountain.

"What!" said the sheik to Ben-Hur. "Thou saidst nothing of this to me, when better recommendation thou couldst not have brought. 

Am I not an Arab, and sheik of my tribe of tens of thousands? And is not he my guest? And is it not in my guest-bond that the good or evil thou dost him is good or evil done to me? Whither shouldst thou go for reward but here? And whose the hand to give it but mine?"

His voice at the end of the speech rose to cutting shrillness.

"Good sheik, spare me, I pray. I came not for reward, great or small; and that I may be acquitted of the thought, I say the help I gave this excellent man would have been given as well to thy humblest servant."

"But he is my friend, my guest--not my servant; and seest thou not in the difference the favor of Fortune?" Then to Balthasar the sheik subjoined, "Ah, by the splendor of God! I tell thee again he is not a Roman."

With that he turned away, and gave attention to the servants, whose preparations for the supper were about complete.

The reader who recollects the history of Balthasar as given by himself at the meeting in the desert will understand the effect of Ben-Hur's assertion of disinterestedness upon that worthy.

In his devotion to men there had been, it will be remembered, no distinctions; while the redemption which had been promised him in the way of reward--the redemption for which he was waiting--was universal. To him, therefore, the assertion sounded somewhat like an echo of himself. He took a step nearer Ben-Hur, and spoke to him in the childlike way.

"How did the sheik say I should call you? It was a Roman name, I think."

"Arrius, the son of Arrius."

"Yet thou art not a Roman?"

"All my people were Jews."

"Were, saidst thou? Are they not living?"

The question was subtle as well as simple; but Ilderim saved Ben-Hur from reply.

"Come," he said to them, "the meal is ready."

Ben-Hur gave his arm to Balthasar, and conducted him to the table, where shortly they were all seated on their rugs Eastern fashion.

The lavers were brought them, and they washed and dried their hands; then the sheik made a sign, the servants stopped, and the voice of the Egyptian arose tremulous with holy feeling.

"Father of All--God! What we have is of thee; take our thanks, and bless us, that we may continue to do thy will."

It was the grace the good man had said simultaneously with his brethren Gaspar the Greek and Melchior the Hindoo, the utterance in diverse tongues out of which had come the miracle attesting the Divine Presence at the meal in the desert years before.

The table to which they immediately addressed themselves was, as may be thought, rich in the substantials and delicacies favorite in the East--in cakes hot from the oven, vegetables from the gardens, meats singly, compounds of meats and vegetables, milk of kine, and honey and butter--all eaten or drunk, it should be remarked, without any of the modern accessories--knives, forks, spoons, cups, or plates; and in this part of the repast but little was said, for they were hungry. But when the dessert was in course it was otherwise. They laved their hands again, had the lap-cloths shaken out, and with a renewed table and the sharp edge of their appetites gone they were disposed to talk and listen.

With such a company--an Arab, a Jew, and an Egyptian, all believers alike in one God--there could be at that age but one subject of conversation; and of the three, which should be speaker but he to whom the Deity had been so nearly a personal appearance, who had
seen him in a star, had heard his voice in direction, had been led so far and so miraculously by his Spirit? And of what should he talk but that of which he had been called to testify?

to be continued


The Power of Positive Thinking

by Norman Vincent Peale

Chapter 14 continued 

One of the simplest methods for reducing tension is to practice the easy-does-it attitude. Do everything more slowly, less hectically, and without pressure. My friend Branch Rickey, famous baseball man, told me that he would not use a player no matter how well he hits, fields, or runs if he is guilty of "over pressing." To be a successful big-league baseball player there must be a flow of easy power through every action and of course through the mind.

The most effective way to hit a ball is by the easy method, where all the muscles are flexible and operating in correlated power. Try to kill the ball and you will slice it or maybe miss it altogether. This is true in golf, in baseball, in every sport.

From 1907 through 1919, except for one year, 1916, Ty Cobb's batting average led the American League, a record so far as I know that has never been surpassed. Ty Cobb presented the bat with which he performed his extraordinary feats to a friend of mine. I was permitted to take this bat in my hand, which I did with considerable awe. In the spirit of the game I struck a pose, as if to bat. Doubtless my batting stance was not in any sense reminiscent of the immortal slugger. In fact, my friend, who was himself at one time a minor league baseball player, chuckled and said, "Ty Cobb would never do it that way. You are too rigid, too tense. You are obviously overtrying. You would probably strike out."  

It was beautiful to watch Ty Cobb. The man and the bat were one. It was a study in rhythm, and one marveled at the ease with which he got into the swing. He was a master of easy power. It is the same in all success. Analyze people who are really efficient and they always seem to do things easily, with a minimum of effort. In so doing they release maximum power.

One of my friends, a famous businessman who handles important affairs and varied interests, always seems to be at ease. He does everything efficiently and quickly but is never in a dither. He never has that anxious, frazzled look on his face which marks people who cannot handle either their time or their work. I inquired the secret of his obviously easy power.

He smiled and replied, "Oh, it isn't much of a secret. I just try keep myself in tune with God. That's all. Every morning after breakfast," he explained, "my wife and I go into the living room for a period of quietness. One of us reads aloud some inspirational piece to get us into the mood of meditation. It maybe a poem or a few paragraphs of a book. Following that we sit quietly, each praying or meditating according to his own mood and manner, then together we affirm the thought that God is filling us with strength and quiet energy. 

This is a definite fifteen-minute ritual and we never miss it. We couldn't get along without it. We would crack up. As a result I always seem to feel that I have more energy than I need and more power than is required." So said this efficient man who demonstrates easy power. I know a number of men and women who practice this or similar techniques for reducing tension. It is becoming a quite general and popular procedure nowadays.

One February morning I was rushing down the long veranda of a Florida hotel with a handful of mail just in from my office in New York. I had come to Florida for a midwinter vacation, but hadn't seemed to get out of the routine of dealing with my mail the first thing in the morning. As I hurried by, headed for a couple of hours' work with the mail, a friend from Georgia who was sitting in a rocking chair with his hat partially over his eyes stopped me in my headlong rush and said in his slow and pleasant Southern drawl, "Where are you rushing for, Doctor? That's no way to do down here in the Florida sunshine. Come over here and 'set' in one of these rocking chairs and help me practice one of the greatest of the arts."

Mystified, I said, "Help you practice one of the greatest of the arts!"

"Yes," he replied, "an art that is passing out. Not many people know how to do it anymore."

"Well," I asked, "please tell me what it is. I don't see you practicing any art."

"Oh, yes, I am," he said. "I am practicing the art of just sittin' in the sun. Sit here and let the sun fall on your face. It is warmlike and it smells good. It makes you feel peaceful  inside. Did you ever think about the sun?" he asked. "It never hurries, never gets excited, it just works slowly and makes no noise—doesn't push any buzzers, doesn't answer any telephones, doesn't ring any bells, just goes on a-shining, and the sun does more work in the fraction of an instant than you and I could ever do in a lifetime. Think of what it does. It causes the flowers to bloom, keeps the trees growing, warms the earth, causes the fruit and vegetables to grow and the crops to ripen, lifts water to send back on the earth, and itmakes you feel 'peaceful like.'

"I find that when I sit in the sun and let the sun work on me it puts some rays into me that give me energy; that is, when I take time to sit in the sun.  

"So throw that mail over in the corner," he said, "and sit down here with me."

I did so, and when finally I went to my room and got at my mail I finished it in no time at all. And there was a good part of the day left for vacation activities and for more "sittin' inthe sun."

Of course I know a lot of lazy people who have been sittin' in the sun all their lives and never amounted to anything. There is a difference between sittin' and relaxing, and just sittin'.

But if you sit and relax and think about God and get yourself in tune with Him and open yourself to the flow of His power,

then sittin' is not laziness; in fact, it is about the best way to renew power. It produces driving energy, the kind of energy you drive, not the kind that drives you.

The secret is to keep the mind quiet, avoiding all hectic reactions of haste, and to practice peaceful thinking. The essence of the art is to keep the tempo down; to perform your responsibilities on the basis of the most efficient conservation of energy. It is advisable to adopt one or two workable plans through the use of which you can become expert in the practice of relaxed and easy power.

One of the best such plans was suggested to me by Captain Eddie Rickenbacker. A very busy man, he manages to handle his responsibilities in a manner indicating reserves of power.

I found one element of his secret quite by accident.

I was filming a program for television with him. We had been assured that the work could be done quickly, leaving him free to go to the many other matters on his daily agenda.

However, the filming was long delayed beyond the time anticipated. I noted, however, that the Captain showed no signs of agitation. He did not become nervous or anxious. He did not pace up and down, putting in frantic calls to his office. Instead, he accepted the situation gracefully. There were a couple of old rocking chairs at the studio, apparently intended for use in a set other than ours. He sat in one rocker in a very relaxed manner.

to be continued

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