6 April 2014

posted 4 Apr 2014, 10:07 by C S Paul   [ updated 4 Apr 2014, 10:11 ]

6 April 2014

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Quotes to Inspire

  • "The important thing is not to stop questioning.” — Albert Einstein
  • "A strong man stands up for himself ... A stronger man stands up for others." — Keeler
  • "The best helping hand that you will ever receive is the one at the end of your own arm.” — Fred Dehner
  • "Harry Emerson Fosdick said: 'Democracy is based upon the conviction that there are extraordinary possibilities in ordinary people.' Sadly, it can be destroyed by evil, controlling people." — RWI
  • "Nature decrees that we do not exceed the speed of light. All other impossibilities are optional.” — Robert Brault
  • “Wise sayings often fall on barren ground, but a kind word is never thrown away.” — Sir Arthur Helps
  • “You will regret many things in life, but you will never regret being too kind or too fair.” — Brian Tracy
  • “Don’t wait for people to be kind. Show them how.” — Anonymous
  • “The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.” — Oscar Wilde
  • “That best portion of a good man’s life: his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love.” — William Wordsworth
  • “Kindness is loving people more than they deserve.” — Joseph Joubert
  • “We are made kind by being kind.” — Eric Hoffer
  • “Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.” — Benjamin Franklin

The Story of Father's Day
-- Author Unknown

Father's Day, contrary to popular misconception, was not established as a holiday in order to help greeting card manufacturers sell more cards. In fact when a "father's day" was first proposed there were no Father's Day cards!

Mrs. John B. Dodd, of Washington, first proposed the idea of a "father's day" in 1909. Mrs. Dodd wanted a special day to honor her father, William Smart. William Smart, a Civil War veteran, was widowed when his wife (Mrs. Dodd's mother) died in childbirth with their sixth child. Mr. Smart was left to raise the newborn and his other five children by himself on a rural farm in eastern Washington state. It was after Mrs. Dodd became an adult that she realized the strength and selflessness her father had shown in raising his children as a single parent.

The first Father's Day was observed on June 19, 1910 in Spokane Washington. At about the same time in various towns and cities across American other people were beginning to celebrate a "father's day." In 1924 President Calvin Coolidge supported the idea of a national Father's Day. Finally in 1966 President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation declaring the 3rd Sunday of June as Father's Day.

Father's Day has become a day to not only honor your father, but all men who act as a father figure. Stepfathers, uncles, grandfathers, and adult male friends are all honored on Father's Day.

Helping hands
Author Unknown

A mother, wishing to encourage her son's progress at the piano, bought tickets to a performance by the great Polish pianist Ignace Paderewski. When the evening arrived, they found their seats near the front of the concert hall and eyed the majestic Steinway waiting on the stage. Soon the mother found a friend to talk to, and the boy slipped away.

At eight o'clock, the lights in the auditorium began to dim, the spotlights came on, and only then did they notice the boy - up on the piano bench, innocently picking out "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." His mother gasped in shock and embarassment but, before she could retrieve her son, the master himself appeared on the stage and quickly moved to the keyboard.

He whispered gently to the boy, "Don't quit. Keep playing." Leaning over, Paderewski reached down with his left hand and began filling in the bass part. Soon his right arm reached around the other side and improvised a delightful obligato. Together, the old master and the young novice held the crowd mesmerized with their blended and beautiful music.

In all our lives, we receive helping hands - some we notice, some we don't. Equally we ourselves have countless opportunites to provide helping hands - sometimes we would like our assistance to be noticed, sometimes we don't. Little of what we all achieve is without learning from others and without support from others and what we receive we should hand out.

The Teacher and the Taught
Author Unknown

A young teacher from an industrial city in the north of England had accepted a temporary job teaching a class of four-year-olds out in one of the most isolated, rural parts of north Wales. One of her first lessons involved teaching the letter S so she held up a big colour photograph of a sheep and said: "Now, who can tell me what this is?"

No answer. Twenty blank and wordless faces looked back at her. "Come on, who can tell me what this is?" she exclaimed, tapping the photograph determinedly, unable to believe that the children were quite so ignorant. The 20 faces became apprehensive and even fearful as she continued to question them with mounting frustration.

Eventually, one brave soul put up a tiny, reluctant hand. "Yes!" she cried, waving the snap aloft. "Tell me what you think this is!" "Please, Miss," said the boy warily. "Is it a three-year-old Border Leicester?"

The Thing I Value Most
Author Unknown

It had been some time since Jack had seen the old man. College, girls, career, and life itself got in the way. In fact, Jack moved clear across the country in pursuit of his dreams. There, in the rush of his busy life, Jack had little time to think about the past and often no time to spend with his wife and son. He was working on his future, and nothing could stop him.

Over the phone, his mother told him, "Mr. Belser died last night. The funeral is Wednesday." Memories flashed through his mind like an old newsreel as he sat quietly remembering his childhood days.

"Jack, did you hear me?"

"Oh, sorry, Mom. Yes, I heard you. It's been so long since I thought of him. I'm sorry, but I honestly thought he died years ago," Jack said.

"Well, he didn't forget you. Every time I saw him he'd ask how you were doing. He'd reminisce about the many days you spent over 'his side of the fence,' as he put it," Mom told him.

"I loved that old house he lived in," Jack said.

"You know, Jack, after your father died, Mr. Belser stepped in to make sure you had a man's influence in your life," she said.

"He's the one who taught me carpentry," he said. "I wouldn't be in this business if it weren't for him. He spent a lot of time teaching me things he thought were important... Mom, I'll be there for the funeral," Jack said.

As busy as he was, he kept his word. Jack caught the next flight to his hometown.

Mr. Belser's funeral was small and uneventful. He had no children of his own, and most of his relatives had passed away.

The night before he had to return home, Jack and his Mom stopped by to see the old house next door one more time.

Standing in the doorway, Jack paused for a moment. It was like crossing over into another dimension, a leap through space and time.

The house was exactly as he remembered. Every step held memories. Every picture, every piece of furniture... Jack stopped suddenly.

"What's wrong, Jack?" his Mom asked.

"The box is gone," he said.

"What box? " Mom asked.

"There was a small gold box that he kept locked on top of his desk. I must have asked him a thousand times what was inside. All he'd ever tell me was 'the thing I value most,'" Jack said.

It was gone. Everything about the house was exactly how Jack remembered it, except for the box. He figured someone from the Belser family had taken it.

"Now I'll never know what was so valuable to him," Jack said. "I better get some sleep. I have an early flight home, Mom."

It had been about two weeks since Mr. Belser died. Returning home from work one day Jack discovered a note in his mailbox. "Signature required on a package. No one at home. Please stop by the main post office within the next three days," the note read.

Early the next day Jack retrieved the package.

The small box was old and looked like it had been mailed a hundred years ago. The handwriting was difficult to read, but the return address caught his attention.

"Mr. Harold Belser," it read.

Jack took the box out to his car and ripped open the package. There inside was the gold box and an envelope.

Jack's hands shook as he read the note inside.

"Upon my death, please forward this box and its contents to Jack Bennett. It's the thing I valued most in my life." A small key was taped to the letter.

His heart racing, tears filling his eyes, Jack carefully unlocked the box. There inside he found a beautiful gold pocket watch. Running his fingers slowly over the finely etched casing, he unlatched the cover.

Inside he found these words engraved: "Jack, thanks for your time! Harold Belser."

"The thing he valued most... was... my time."

Jack held the watch for a few minutes, then called his office and cleared his appointments for the next two days.

"Why?" Janet, his assistant asked.

"I need some time to spend with my son," he said.

"Oh, by the way, Janet... thanks for your time!"

Did You Know?
  • If you could save all the times your eyes blink in one life time and use them all at once you would see blackness for 1.2 years!
  • The life span of a taste bud is ten days.
  • It's impossible to sneeze with your eyes open.
  • Give a tennis ball a good, hard squeeze. You're using about the same amount of force your heart uses to pump blood out to the body.
  • The aorta, the largest artery in the body, is almost the diameter of a garden hose.Capillaries, on the other hand, are so small that it takes ten of them to equal the thickness of a human hair.
  • Your body has about 5.6 liters (6 quarts) of blood. This 5.6 liters of blood circulates through the body three times every minute.
  • The heart pumps about 1 million barrels of blood during an average lifetime--that's enough to fill more than 3 super tankers.
  • Babies start dreaming even before they're born.
  • The human body can function without a brain.
  • Humans are the only primates that don't have pigment in the palms of their hands.

Just for Laughs

The Oldest Profession 

A doctor, a civil engineer, and a computer scientist were arguing about what was the oldest profession in the world. 

The doctor remarked, 'Well, in the Bible it says that God created Eve from a rib taken from Adam. This clearly required surgery, so I can rightly claim that mine is the oldest profession in the world.' 

The civil engineer interrupted and said, 'But even earlier in the book of Genesis, it states that God created the order of the heavens and the earth from out of the chaos. This was the first and certainly the most spectacular application of civil engineering. 

Therefore, fair doctor, you are wrong; mine is the oldest profession in the world.' The computer scientist leaned back in his chair, smiled and said confidently, 'Ah, but who do you think created the chaos?' 


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

The sun was rising rapidly to noon; the hills bared their brown breasts lovingly to it; the more distant mountains rejoiced in the purple with which it so regally dressed them. In the city,
the temples, palaces, towers, pinnacles, and all points of beauty and prominence seemed to lift themselves into the unrivalled brilliance, as if they knew the pride they were giving the many
who from time to time turned to look at them. Suddenly a dimness began to fill the sky and cover the earth--at first no more than a scarce perceptible fading of the day; a twilight out of time; an evening gliding in upon the splendors of noon. But it deepened, and directly drew attention; whereat the noise of the shouting and laughter fell off, and men, doubting their senses, gazed at each other curiously: then they looked to the sun again; then at the mountains, getting farther away; at the sky and the near landscape, sinking in shadow; at the hill upon which the tragedy was enacting; and from all these they gazed at each other again, and turned pale, and held their peace.

"It is only a mist or passing cloud," Simonides said soothingly to Esther, who was alarmed. "It will brighten presently."

Ben-Hur did not think so.

"It is not a mist or a cloud," he said. "The spirits who live in the air--the prophets and saints--are at work in mercy to themselves and nature. I say to you, O Simonides, truly as God lives, he who hangs yonder is the Son of God."

And leaving Simonides lost in wonder at such a speech from him, he went where Balthasar was kneeling near by, and laid his hand upon the good man's shoulder.

"O wise Egyptian, hearken! Thou alone wert right--the Nazarene is indeed the Son of God."

Balthasar drew him down to him, and replied, feebly, "I saw him a child in the manger where he was first laid; it is not strange that I knew him sooner than thou; but oh that I should live to see this day! Would I had died with my brethren! Happy Melchior! Happy, happy Gaspar!"

"Comfort thee!" said Ben-Hur. "Doubtless they too are here."

The dimness went on deepening into obscurity, and that into positive darkness, but without deterring the bolder spirits upon the knoll. One after the other the thieves were raised on their
crosses, and the crosses planted. The guard was then withdrawn, and the people set free closed in upon the height, and surged up it, like a converging wave. A man might take a look, when a
new-comer would push him on, and take his place, to be in turn pushed on--and there were laughter and ribaldry and revilements, all for the Nazarene.

"Ha, ha! If thou be King of the Jews, save thyself," a soldier shouted.

"Ay," said a priest, "if he will come down to us now, we will believe in him."

Others wagged their heads wisely, saying, "He would destroy the Temple, and rebuild it in three days, but cannot save himself."

Others still: "He called himself the Son of God; let us see if God will have him."

What all there is in prejudice no one has ever said. The Nazarene had never harmed the people; far the greater part of them had never seen him except in this his hour of calamity; yet--singular contrariety!--they loaded him with their curses, and gave their sympathy to the thieves.

The supernatural night, dropped thus from the heavens, affected Esther as it began to affect thousands of others braver and stronger.

"Let us go home," she prayed--twice, three times--saying, "It is the frown of God, father. What other dreadful things may happen, who can tell? I am afraid."

Simonides was obstinate. He said little, but was plainly under great excitement. Observing, about the end of the first hour, that the violence of the crowding up on the knoll was somewhat abated, at his suggestion the party advanced to take position nearer the crosses. Ben-Hur gave his arm to Balthasar; yet the Egyptian made the ascent with difficulty. From their new stand, the Nazarene was imperfectly visible, appearing to them not more than a dark suspended figure. They could hear him, however--hear his sighing, which showed an endurance or exhaustion greater than that of his fellow-sufferers; for they filled every lull in the noises with their groans and entreaties.

The second hour after the suspension passed like the first one. To the Nazarene they were hours of insult, provocation, and slow dying. He spoke but once in the time. Some women came and knelt at the foot of his cross. Among them he recognized his mother with the beloved disciple.

"Woman," he said, raising his voice, "behold thy son!" And to the disciple, "Behold thy mother!"
The third hour came, and still the people surged round the hill, held to it by some strange attraction, with which, in probability, the night in midday had much to do. They were quieter than in the preceding hour; yet at intervals they could be heard off in the darkness shouting to each other, multitude calling unto multitude.

It was noticeable, also, that coming now to the Nazarene, they approached his cross in silence, took the look in silence, and so departed. This change extended even to the guard, who so
shortly before had cast lots for the clothes of the crucified; they stood with their officers a little apart, more watchful of the one convict than of the throngs coming and going. If he
but breathed heavily, or tossed his head in a paroxysm of pain, they were instantly on the alert. Most marvellous of all, however, was the altered behavior of the high-priest and his following, the wise men who had assisted him in the trial in the night, and, in the victim's face, kept place by him with zealous approval.

When the darkness began to fall, they began to lose their confidence. There were among them many learned in astronomy, and familiar with the apparitions so terrible in those days to the masses; much of the knowledge was descended to them from their fathers far back; some of it had been brought away at the end of the Captivity; and the necessities of the Temple service
kept it all bright. These closed together when the sun commenced to fade before their eyes, and the mountains and hills to recede; they drew together in a group around their pontiff, and debated what they saw. "The moon is at its full," they said, with truth, "and this cannot be an eclipse." Then, as no one could answer the question common with them all--as no one could account for the darkness, or for its occurrence at that particular time, in their secret hearts they associated it with the Nazarene, and yielded to an alarm which the long continuance of the phenomenon steadily increased. In their place behind the soldiers, they noted every
word and motion of the Nazarene, and hung with fear upon his sighs, and talked in whispers. The man might be the Messiah, and then-- But they would wait and see!

to be continued