26 August, 2012

posted 23 Aug 2012, 20:24 by C S Paul

26 August, 2012

Golf Lessons with Daughter

By Donald Hoke

Like every golfer, I can't wait for the start of the golf season. But I have a special reason: my new playing partner, my 8-year-old daughter, known affectionately as "the Terrorist."

When she was only 2, her mother and I bought the little rascal a child-sized seven iron. It was way too big for her, but she dragged it around the house. About the time she was 5, she started accompanying her daddy to the driving range and putting green.

She and I chipped around in the back yard until she started to hit the ball with some authority. One day, she put a Titleist through the bathroom window, which resulted in a torrent of tears After that, we confine golfing to the driving range.

Then last spring, I said to the Terrorist, "What do you say we play 'real’ golf on a ‘real' golf course?

"Yeah! Daddy!" came the enthusiastic response.

So the following Saturday morning, we drove to a nine-hole, par three course. It is a family-friendly course with slow greens, a driving range and a putting green on which to warm up. One rarely has to wait at the first tee.

After a torrential rain, water collects along the left side of the first fairway. And a ditch lies along the second fairway. Otherwise, it is hard to get into trouble on a course with virtually no rough. Just the place for an 8-year-old, and her daddy.

And so Daddy and the Terrorist played their first round of golf together. Golf is, a wonderful game to teach life's little messages to little girls.

"First of all, you have to count all the strokes, even if you accidentally bump the ball, and it rolls an inch," I instructed.

The Terrorist caught on fast and insisted on keeping score. "So you got a 5 on that hole?" I asked. "No, Daddy, I accidentally hit the ball on the hill, and it moved, so I got a 6." And she dutifully recorded the 6. I could be wrong but I think we have the making of an honest child here.

"Daddy, the ball is behind a bush, can I move it?"

"No, sweetheart, you have to play the ball where it lies, no fair moving it." Another of life's little messages.

On each tee, I dutifully filled my divot sand, then filled at least one more. "Always leave the golf course in better shape than you found it." I advised.

Since then, she has methodically attempted to rebuild every tee by filling every divot.

There is something about sand and kids. When the Terrorist knocked her ball into a sand trap, she would have spent the next hour making sure it was absolutely smooth. "No," I admonished, "there are people waiting on the tee, and we can't hold them up." That led to a simple lesson on slow play and about others around you and how your actions have an impact on them.

Once, when we were two holes ahead of the some behind us, we stopped to fix some extra marks on a green and to practice chipping. For 10 minutes, she chipped the ball at the hole, and I putted it back to her, another of life's little lessons: Practice makes perfect.

For now, golf simply is fun. Hit the ball hard, go find it, and who cares what the score is. We spend little time on the driving range with very elementary instruction, but nothing serious. In another two years, if she still enjoys the game, we will see about some lessons. But for now, it is just a game.

On a short, 60-yard hole, the Terrorist drove the green and landed her ball considerably inside her dad's shot. That was a momentous accomplishment, which later was recounted in great detail to her mother.

Two hours after we teed off, the Terrorist and I returned to the clubhouse to drink lemonade, eat candy bars and (at her insistence) add up the score.

She leaned back in her chair, pushed back her golf visor, looked at me with her child's eyes and, and said, "Daddy, that was a lot of fun! Let's do this again!"

And we did, all summer long.

Special Olympics

A few years ago at the Seattle Special Olympics, nine contestants, all physically or mentally disabled, assembled at the starting line for the 100-yard dash. At the gun, they all started out, not exactly in a dash, but with a relish to run the race to the finish and win.

All, that is, except one boy who stumbled on the asphalt, tumbled over a couple of times and began to cry. The other eight heard the boy cry. They slowed down and looked back. They all turned around and went back. Every one of them.

One girl with Down's Syndrome bent down and kissed him and said, "This will make it better."

All nine linked arms and walked across the finish line together.

Everyone in the stadium stood, and the cheering went on for several minutes. People who were there are still telling the story. Why? Because deep down we know this one thing:

What matters in this life is more than winning for ourselves.

What truly matters in this life is helping others win, even if it means slowing down and changing our course.


by Lew Wallace

Part Three

In Italy, Greek pirate-ships have been looting Roman vessels in the Aegean Sea. The prefect Sejanus orders the Roman Quintus Arrius to take warships to combat the pirates. 

Judah is a galley slave rowing chained on one of the Roman warships. He had survived three hard years, fueled by his passion for vengeance. Arrius is impressed by Judah and finds out more about his life and his story. 

The ship is attacked by pirates and the ship is sunk. Judah uses a plank as a raft. Arrius surfaces besides him and the two of them hold on until a Roman ship appears and rescues them. They return to Misenum and Judah is adopted by the influential Arrius, becoming a Roman citizen.

Part three - CHAPTER V  continued

The Astroea all this time was in motion. Suddenly she stopped.

The oars forward were dashed from the hands of the rowers, and the rowers from their benches. On deck, then, a furious trampling, and on the sides a grinding of ships afoul of each other. For the first time the beating of the gavel was lost in the uproar. Men sank on the floor in fear or looked about seeking a hiding-place. In the midst of the panic a body plunged or was pitched headlong down the hatchway, falling near Ben-Hur. He beheld the half-naked carcass, a mass of hair blackening the face, and under it a shield of bull-hide and wicker-work--a barbarian from the white-skinned nations of the North whom death had robbed of plunder and revenge. How came he there? An iron hand had snatched him from the opposing deck--no, the Astroea had been boarded! The Romans were fighting on their own deck? A chill smote the young Jew: Arrius was hard pressed--he might be defending his own life. If he should be slain! God of Abraham forefend! The hopes and dreams so lately come, were they only hopes and dreams? Mother and sister--house--home--Holy Land--was he not to see them, after all? The tumult thundered above him; he looked around; in the cabin all was confusion--the rowers on the benches paralyzed; men running blindly hither and thither; only the chief on his seat imperturbable, vainly beating the sounding-board, and waiting the orders of the tribune--in the red murk illustrating
the matchless discipline which had won the world.

The example had a good effect upon Ben-Hur. He controlled himself enough to think. Honor and duty bound the Roman to the platform; but what had he to do with such motives then? The bench was a thing to run from; while, if he were to die a slave, who would be the better of the sacrifice? With him living was duty, if not honor. His life belonged to his people. They arose before him never more real: he saw them, their arms outstretched; he heard them imploring him. And he would go to them. He started--stopped.

Alas! a Roman judgment held him in doom. While it endured, escape would be profitless. In the wide, wide earth there was no place in which he would be safe from the imperial demand; upon the land none, nor upon the sea. Whereas he required freedom according to the forms of law, so only could he abide in Judea and execute the filial purpose to which he would devote himself: in other land he would not live. Dear God! How he had waited and watched and prayed for such a release! And how it had been delayed! But at last he had seen it in the promise of the tribune. What else the great man's meaning? And if the benefactor so belated should now be slain! The dead come not back to redeem the pledges of the living. It should not be--Arrius should not die. At least, better perish with him
than survive a galley-slave.

Once more Ben-Hur looked around. Upon the roof of the cabin the battle yet beat; against the sides the hostile vessels yet crushed and grided. On the benches, the slaves struggled to tear loose from their chains, and, finding their efforts vain, howled like madmen; the guards had gone upstairs; discipline was out, panic in. No, the chief kept his chair, unchanged, calm as ever--except the
gavel, weaponless. Vainly with his clangor he filled the lulls in the din. Ben-Hur gave him a last look, then broke away--not in flight, but to seek the tribune.

A very short space lay between him and the stairs of the hatchway aft. He took it with a leap, and was half-way up the steps--up far enough to catch a glimpse of the sky blood-red with fire, of the ships alongside, of the sea covered with ships and wrecks, of the fight closed in about the pilot's quarter, the assailants many,
the defenders few--when suddenly his foothold was knocked away, and he pitched backward. The floor, when he reached it, seemed to be lifting itself and breaking to pieces; then, in a twinkling, the whole after-part of the hull broke asunder, and, as if it had all the time been lying in wait, the sea, hissing and foaming, leaped in, and all became darkness and surging water to Ben-Hur.

It cannot be said that the young Jew helped himself in this stress. Besides his usual strength, he had the indefinite extra force which nature keeps in reserve for just such perils to life; yet the darkness, and the whirl and roar of water, stupefied him. Even the holding his breath was involuntary.

The influx of the flood tossed him like a log forward into the cabin, where he would have drowned but for the refluence of the sinking motion. As it was, fathoms under the surface the hollow mass vomited him forth, and he arose along with the loosed debris. In the act of rising, he clutched something, and held to it. The time he was under seemed an age longer than it really was; at last he gained the top; with a great gasp he filled his lungs afresh, and, tossing the water from his hair and eyes, climbed higher upon the plank he held, and looked about him.

Death had pursued him closely under the waves; he found it waiting for him when he was risen--waiting multiform.

Smoke lay upon the sea like a semitransparent fog, through which here and there shone cores of intense brilliance. A quick intelligence told him that they were ships on fire. The battle was yet on; nor could he say who was victor. Within the radius of his vision now and then ships passed, shooting shadows athwart lights. Out of the dun clouds farther on he caught the crash of other ships colliding. The danger, however, was closer at hand. When the Astroea went down, her deck,
it will be recollected, held her own crew, and the crews of the two galleys which had attacked her at the same time, all of whom were ingulfed. Many of them came to the surface together, and on the same plank or support of whatever kind continued the combat, begun possibly in the vortex fathoms down. Writhing and twisting in deadly embrace, sometimes striking with sword or javelin, theykept the sea around them in agitation, at one place inky-black, at another aflame with fiery reflections. With their struggles he had nothing to do; they were all his enemies: not one of them but would kill him for the plank upon which he floated. He made haste to get away.

About that time he heard oars in quickest movement, and beheld a galley coming down upon him. The tall prow seemed doubly tall, and the red light playing upon its gilt and carving gave it an appearance of snaky life. Under its foot the water churned to flying foam.

He struck out, pushing the plank, which was very broad and unmanageable. Seconds were precious--half a second might save or lose him. In the crisis of the effort, up from the sea, within arm's reach, a helmet shot like a gleam of gold. Next came two hands with fingers extended--large hands were they, and strong--their hold once fixed, might not be loosed. Ben-Hur swerved from them appalled. Up rose the helmet and the head it encased--then two arms, which began to
beat the water wildly--the head turned back, and gave the face to the light. The mouth gaping wide; the eyes open, but sightless, and the bloodless pallor of a drowning man--never anything more ghastly! Yet he gave a cry of joy at the sight, and as the face was going under again, he caught the sufferer by the chain which
passed from the helmet beneath the chin, and drew him to the plank.

The man was Arrius, the tribune.

to be continued

My Father's Clothes

Provided by Free Christian Content.org

What my father wore embarrassed me as a young man. I wanted him to dress like a doctor or lawyer, but on those muggy mornings when he rose before dawn to fry eggs for my mother and me, he always dressed like my father.

We lived in south Texas, and my father wore tattered jeans with the imprint of his pocketknife on the seat. He liked shirts that snapped more than those that buttoned and kept his pencils, cigars, glasses, wrenches and screwdrivers in his breast pocket. My father's boots were government issues with steel toes that made them difficult to pull off his feet, which I sometimes did when he returned from repairing air conditioners, his job that also shamed me.

But, as a child, I'd crept into his closet and modeled his wardrobe in front of the mirror. My imagination transformed his shirts into the robes of kings and his belts into soldiers' holsters. I slept in his undershirts and relied on the scent of his collars to calm my fear of the dark. Within a few years, though, I started wishing my father would trade his denim for khaki and retire his boots for loafers. I stopped sleeping in his clothes and eventually began dreaming of another father.

I blamed the way he dressed for my social failures. When boys bullied me, I thought they'd seen my father wearing his cowboy hat but no shirt while walking our dog. I felt that girls snickered at me because they'd glimpsed him mowing the grass in cut-offs and black boots. The girls' families paid men (and I believed better dressed ones) to landscape their lawns, while their fathers yachted in the bay wearing lemon yellow sweaters and expensive sandals.

My father only bought two suits in his life. He preferred clothes that allowed him the freedom to shimmy under cars and squeeze behind broken Maytags, where he felt most content. But the day before my parents' twentieth anniversary, he and I went to Sears, and he tried on suits all afternoon. With each one, he stepped to the mirror, smiled and nodded, then asked about the price and reached for another. He probably tried ten suits before we drove to a discount store and bought one without so much as approaching a fitting room. That night my mother said she'd never seen a more handsome man.

Later, though, he donned the same suit for my eighth grade awards banquet, and I wished he'd stayed home. After the ceremony (I'd been voted Mr. Citizenship, of all things), he lauded my award and my character while changing into a faded red sweat suit. He was stepping into the garage to wash a load of laundry when I asked what even at age fourteen struck me as cruel and wrong.

"Why," I asked, "don't you dress 'nice,' like my friends' fathers?"

He held me with his sad, shocked eyes, and searched for an answer. Then before he disappeared into the garage and closed the door between us, my father said, "I like my clothes." An hour later my mother stormed into my room, called me an "ungrateful child," a phrase that echoed in my head for years to come. 

As I matured I realized that girls avoided me not because of my father but because of his son. I realized that my mother had scolded me because my father could not, and it soon became clear that what he had really said that night was that there are things more important than clothes. He'd said he couldn't spend a nickel on himself because there were things I wanted. That night, without another word, my father had said, "You're my son, and I sacrifice so your life will be better than mine."

For my high school graduation, my father arrived in a suit he and my mother had purchased earlier that day. Somehow he seemed taller, more handsome and imposing, and when he passed the other fathers they stepped out of his way. It wasn't the suit, of course, but the man. The doctors and lawyers recognized the confidence in his swagger, the pride in his eyes, and when they approached him, they did so with courtesy and respect. After we returned home, my father replaced the suit in the flimsy Sears garment bag, and I didn't see it again until his funeral.

I don't know what he was wearing when he died, but he was working, so he was in clothes he liked, and that comforts me. My mother thought of burying him in the suit from Sears, but I convinced her otherwise and soon delivered a pair of old jeans, a flannel shirt and his boots to the funeral home.

On the morning of the services, I used his pocketknife to carve another hole in his belt so it wouldn't droop around my waist. Then I took the suit from Sears out of his closet and changed into it. Eventually, I mustered the courage to study myself in his mirror where, with the exception of the suit, I appeared small and insignificant. Again, as in childhood, the clothes draped over my scrawny frame. My father's scent wafted up and caressed my face, but it failed to console me. I was uncertain: not about my father's stature - I'd stopped being an ungrateful little twerp years before. No, I was uncertain about myself, my own stature. And I stood there for some time, facing myself in my father's mirror, weeping and trying to imagine

... as I will for the rest of my life ...

the day I'll grow into my father's clothes. 

Did You Know ?

  • About 50 Bibles are sold every minute. It is the world’s best-selling book. Some 1 billion copies of Bibles have been sold.
  • Christianity is the world’s most widespread religion (2.1 billion Christians – see list of largest religions).
  • There are about 34,000 Christian denominations in the world.
  • The Bible was written in three languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Koine Greek.
  • The Slavonic Orthodox Church has twice as many adherents as the Baptist Church.
  • The 12 disciples were not were not allowed to carry food, money, or extra clothing.
  • John was the only apostle who witnessed the crucifixion of Jesus.
  • There are more than 10,000 distinct religious groups in the world. The amount of time that people spend on travel has been consistent at 1,1 hours per person per day in all societies.
  • Traffic jams of New York, San Francisco and Paris are well known – beaten only by those in Seattle where a driver annually spends 59 hours stuck in traffic.
  • Traffic jams are nothing new. In 45 BC, Rome banned all vehicles from within the city – and in other cities vehicles, including horses, were allowed only at night… because of traffic jams.
  • Traffic lights were used before the advent of the motorcar.

Power of Positive Thinking

 by Norman Vincent Peale

Chapter 8 continued

A friend in England sent me a book by Winston Churchill entitled Maxims and Reflections. In this book Churchill tells of the British General Tudor, who commanded a division of the British Fifth Army which faced the great German assault in March 1918. The odds were heavily against him, but General Tudor knew how to meet an apparently immovable and undefeatable obstacle. His method was simple. He merely stood and let the obstacle break on him and he, in
turn, broke the obstacle.

Here is what Churchill said about General Tudor. This is a very great sentence and it is filled with power: "The impression I had of Tudor was of an iron peg, hammered into the frozen ground, immovable."

General Tudor knew how to stand up to an obstacle. Just stand up to it, that's all, and don't give way under it, and it will finally break You will break it. Something has to break, and it won't be you, it will be the obstacle.

You can do this when you have faith, faith in God and faith in yourself. Faith is the chief quality you need. It is enough. In fact, it is more than enough.

Use that formula which the businessman suggested and you will develop this brand of powerful faith in God and in yourself. You will learn to know yourself, your own ability, your power to do things. To the degree to which your attitude shifts from negative to positive the mastery touch will come to you. Then, with assurance, you can say to yourself under any and all circumstances and mean it, "I don't believe in defeat."

Take the story of Gonzales, who won the national tennis championship a few years ago in a gruelling battle. He had been practically unknown, and because of wet weather he had not been able to perfect his game prior to the tournament. The sports writer of a metropolitan newspaper in analysing Gonzales said that there were certain defects in his techniques, and gave it as his opinion that probably greater champions had played on the courts, however, he credited
Gonzales with a marvelous serve and a skillful volley. But the factor that won the championship, said the writer, was his staying power and the further fact that "he was never defeated by the discouraging vicissitudes of the game."

That is one of the most subtle lines I have ever read in any sports story—"He was never defeated by the discouraging vicissitudes of the game." 
It means, does it not, that when the game seemed to go against him he did not let discouragement creep in nor negative thoughts dominate and thus lose the power needed to win. This mental and spiritual quality made that man a champion. He was able to face obstacles, to stand up to them and overcome them.

Faith supplies staying power. It contains dynamic to keep one going when the going is hard. Anybody can keep going when the going is good, but some extra ingredient is needed to enable you to keep fighting when it seems that everything is against you. It is a great secret, that of never being "defeated by the discouraging vicissitudes of the game."

You may counter, "But you don't know my circumstances. I am in a different situation than anybody else and I am as far down as a human being can get."

In that case you are fortunate, for if you are as far down as you can get there is no further down you can go. There is only one direction you can take from this position, and that is up. So your situation is quite encouraging. However, I
caution you not to take the attitude that you are in a situation in which nobody has ever been before. There is no such situation.

Practically speaking, there are only a few human stories and they have all been enacted previously. This is a fact that you must never forget—there are people who have overcome every conceivable difficult situation, even the one in which
you now find yourself and which to you seems utterly hopeless. So did it seem to some others, but they found an out, a way up, a path over, a pass through.

to be continued

Just for Laughs

ATTORNEY: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact? WITNESS: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.


ATTORNEY: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?
ATTORNEY: And in what ways does it affect your memory? 
WITNESS: I forget. 
ATTORNEY: You forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot?