April 15, 2012

posted 15 Apr 2012, 00:27 by C S Paul   [ updated 15 Apr 2012, 02:34 ]

April 15, 2012

Laughter the best medicine

Humor is infectious. The sound of roaring laughter is far more contagious than any cough, sniffle, or sneeze. 

When laughter is shared, it binds people together and increases happiness and intimacy. In addition to the domino effect of joy and amusement, laughter also triggers healthy physical changes in the body. 

Humor and laughter strengthen your immune system, boost your energy, diminish pain, and protect you from the damaging effects of stress. Best of all, this priceless medicine is fun, free, and easy to use.

Laughter is strong medicine for mind and body.
Laughter is a powerful antidote to stress, pain, and conflict. Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh. Humor lightens your burdens, inspires hopes, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert.

With so much power to heal and renew, the ability to laugh easily and frequently is a tremendous resource for surmounting problems, enhancing your relationships, and supporting both physical and emotional health.

What Did You Expect Him To Do?

      By Michael Josephson of Character Counts 

One of the highlights of my life as a dad—and having five kids, I've had quite a few—occurred on a Saturday afternoon when I was taking my then 13-year-old son Justin and his friend Aaron to a movie. As we entered the theater, I noticed the ticket seller had undercharged me, so I asked the boys to wait a moment while I returned the money.

This did not please the boys, who were anxious to get choice seats.

Nevertheless, I endured hostile glares from people in line and even an annoyed reaction from the cashier, who corrected the mistake.

When I returned, Aaron, who was exasperated because the prime seats had been taken, asked, "Why did you have to do that? It was her mistake, not yours."

I was about to launch into a lecture on integrity when my son, who was also irritated, looked at his friend and said, "What did you expect him to do?"

Many years later, this memory is an uplifting reminder of the impact we have on the character of our kids. Hearing from my son that he expected me to be honest and knew I expected the same of him was like a pat on the back saying I'd done okay as a father.

My son, still one of the most honest people I know, realized that honesty is neither a convenience nor a choice. To a person who values integrity, it's a habit.

When it comes to parenting, it's hard to know what's working and what isn't, but one of the best rewards for attentive parenting is seeing something good in our children and knowing we played a part.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.

Logic 101

Author Unknown

A college student was in a philosophy class which had a discussion about God's existence. The professor presented the following logic: 

"Has anyone in this class heard God?"

Nobody spoke.

"Has anyone in this class touched God?"

Again, nobody spoke.

"Has anyone in this class seen God?"

When nobody spoke for the third time, he simply stated, "Then there is no God." 

One student thought for a second, and then asked for permission to reply. Curious to hear this bold student's response, the professor granted it, and the student stood up and asked the following questions of his classmates: 

"Has anyone in this class heard our professor's brain?"


"Has anyone in this class touched our professor's brain?"

Absolute silence.

"Has anyone in this class seen our professor's brain?"

When nobody in the class dared to speak, the student concluded, "Then, according to our professor's logic, it must be true that our professor has no brain!" 

(...The student received an "A" in the class.) 

The Burden

Author Unknown

"Why was my burden so heavy?" I slammed the bedroom door and leaned against it. Is there no rest from this life? I wondered.I stumbled to my bed and dropped onto it, pressing my pillow around my ears to shut out the noise of my existence. "Oh God," I cried, "let me sleep. Let me sleep forever and never wake up!" With a deep sob I tried to will myself into oblivion, then welcomed the blackness that came over me. 

Light surrounded me as I regained consciousness. I focused on its source: The figure of a man standing before a cross. "My child," the person asked, "why did you want to come to Me before I am ready to call you?" "Lord, I'm sorry. It's just that... I can't go on. You see how hard it is for me. Look at this awful burden on my back. I simply can't carry it anymore." "But haven't I told you to cast all of your burdens upon Me, because I care for you? My yoke is easy, and My burden is light." "I knew You would say that. But why does mine have to be so heavy?" "My child, everyone in the world has a burden. 

Perhaps you would like to try a different one?" "I can do that?" He pointed to several burdens lying at His feet. "You may try any of these." 

All of them seemed to be of equal size. But each was labeled with a name. "There's Joan's," I said. Joan was married to a wealthy businessman. She lived in a sprawling estate and dressed her three daughters in the prettiest designer clothes. Sometimes she drove me to church in her Cadillac when my car was broken. "Let me try that one." How difficult could her burden be? I thought. The Lord removed my burden and placed Joan's on my shoulders. I sank my knees beneath its weight. "Take it off!" I said. ""What makes it so heavy?" "Look 

inside." I untied the straps and opened the top. Inside was a figure of her Mother-in-law, and when I lifted it out, it began to speak. 

"Joan, you'll never be good enough for my son," it began. "He never should have married you. You're a terrible mother to my grandchildren..." I quickly placed the figure back in the pack and withdrew another. It was Donna, Joan's youngest daughter. Her head was bandaged from the surgery that had failed to resolve her epilepsy. A third figure was Joan's brother. Addicted to drugs, he had been convicted of killing a police officer. "I see why her burden 

is so heavy, Lord. But she's always smiling and helping others. I didn't realize...." 

"Would you like to try another?" He asked quietly. 

I tested several. Paula's felt heavy: She was raising four small boys without a father. Debra's did too: A childhood of sexual abuse and a marriage of emotional abuse. When I Came to Ruth's burden, I didn't even try. I knew that inside I would find arthritis, old age, a demanding full-time job, and a beloved husband in a nursing home. 

"They're all too heavy, Lord" I said. ""Give back my own." As I lifted the familiar load once again, It seemed much lighter than the others. "Lets look inside" He said. I turned away, holding it close. 

"That's not a good idea," I said. "Why?" "There's a lot of junk in there." "Let Me see." The gentle thunder of His voice compelled me. I opened my burden. He pulled out a brick. "Tell me about this one." 

"Lord, You know. It's money. I know we don't suffer like people in some countries or even the homeless here in America. But we have no insurance, and when the kids get sick, we can't always take them to the doctor. They've never been to a dentist. And I'm tired of dressing them in hand-me-downs." "My child, I will supply all of your needs... and your children's. I've given them healthy bodies. I will teach them that expensive clothing doesn't make a person valuable in My sight." 

Then He lifted out the figure of a small boy. "And this?" He asked. "Andrew..." I hung my head, ashamed to call my son a burden. "But, Lord, he's hyperactive. He's not quiet like the other two. He makes me so tired. He's always getting hurt, and someone is bound to think 

I abuse him. I yell at him all the time. Someday I may really hurt him...." "My child," He said, "If you trust Me, I will renew your strength, if you allow Me to fill you with My Spirit, I will give you patience." 

Then He took some pebbles from my burden. 

"Yes, Lord," I said with a sigh. "Those are small. But they're important. I hate my hair. It's thin, and I can't make it look nice. I can't afford to go to the beauty shop. I'm overweight and can't stay on a diet. I hate all my clothes. I hate the way I look!" "My child, people look at your outward appearance, but I look at your heart. By My Spirit you can gain self-control to lose weight. But your beauty should not come from outward appearance. Instead, it 

should come from your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in My sight." My burden now seemed lighter than before. "I guess I can handle it now" I said. 

"There is more," He said. "Hand Me that last brick." "Oh, You don't have to take that. I can handle it." "My child, give it to Me." Again .

His voice compelled me. He reached out His hand, and for the first time I saw the ugly wound. "But, Lord, this brick is so awful, so nasty, so.....Lord! What happened to Your hands? They're so scarred!" 

No longer focused on my burden, I looked for the first time into His face. In His brow were ragged scars-as though someone had pressed thorns into His flesh. "Lord," I whispered. "What happened to You?" 

His loving eyes reached into my soul. "My child, you know. Hand Me the brick. It belongs to Me. I bought it." "How?" "With My blood." 

"But why, Lord?" "Because I have loved you with an everlasting love. Give it to Me." 

I placed the filthy brick into His wounded palm. It contained all the dirt and evil of my life: my pride, my selfishness, the depression that constantly tormented me. He turned to the cross and hurled my .brick into the pool of blood at its base. It hardly made a ripple. 

"Now, My child, you need to go back. I will be with you always. When you are troubled, call to Me and I will help you and show you things you cannot imagine now." "Yes, Lord, I will call on You." 

I reached to pick up my burden. 

"You may leave that here if you wish. You see all these burdens? They are the ones that others have left at My feet. Joan's, Paula's, Debra's, Ruth's..... As I placed my burden with Him, the light began to fade. Yet I heard Him whisper, "I will never leave you, nor forsake you." 


by Lew Wallace

Part Two

Biblical references: Luke 2:51-52

Judah Ben-Hur is a prince descended from a royal family of Judaea. Messala, his closest childhood friend, the son of a Roman tax-collector, leaves home for five years of education in Rome. He returns as a proud and avaricious Roman. He mocks Judah and his religion and the two become enemies. Judah decides to go to Rome, as Messala had, for military training but use his skills to fight the Roman Empire.

Valerius Gratus, the fourth Roman prefect of Judaea, passes by Judah's house. As Judah watches the procession, a roof tile is loosed, falls into the street and hits the governor. Messala betrays Judah, who is arrested. There is no trial; Judah's family is secretly imprisoned in the Antonia Fortress and all the family property is seized. Judah vows vengeance against the Romans. He is sent to become a slave aboard a Roman warship. On the way to the ship he meets Jesus, who offers him water, which deeply moves Judah.  


The mother was carried away. The little Tirzah, in her home attire,stupefied with fear, went passively with her keepers. Judah gave each of them a last look, and covered his face with his hands,as if to possess himself of the scene fadelessly. He may have shed tears, though no one saw them.

There took place in him then what may be justly called the wonder of life. The thoughtful reader of these pages has ere this discerned enough to know that the young Jew in disposition was gentle even to womanliness--a result that seldom fails the habit of loving and being loved. The circumstances through which he had come had made no call upon the harsher elements of his nature, if such he had.

At times he had felt the stir and impulses of ambition, but they had been like the formless dreams of a child walking by the sea and gazing at the coming and going of stately ships. But now, if we can imagine an idol, sensible of the worship it was accustomed to, dashed suddenly from its altar, and lying amidst the wreck of its little world of love, an idea may be had of what had befallen the young Ben-Hur, and of its effect upon his being. Yet there was no sign, nothing to indicate that he had undergone a change, except that when he raised his head, and held his arms out to be bound, the bend of the Cupid's bow had vanished from his lips. In that instant he had put off childhood and become a man.

A trumpet sounded in the court-yard. With the cessation of the call, the gallery was cleared of the soldiery; many of whom, as they dared not appear in the ranks with visible plunder in their hands, flung what they had upon the floor, until it was strewn with articles of richest virtu. When Judah descended, the formation was complete, and the officer waiting to see his last order executed.

The mother, daughter, and entire household were led out of the north gate, the ruins of which choked the passageway. The cries of the domestics, some of whom had been born in the house, were most pitiable. When, finally, the horses and all the dumb tenantry of the place were driven past him, Judah began to comprehend the scope of the procurator's vengeance. The very structure was devoted. Far as the order was possible of execution, nothing living was to be left within its walls. If in Judea there were others desperate enough to think of assassinating a Roman governor, the story of what befell the princely family of Hur would be a warning to them, while the ruin of the habitation would keep the story alive.

The officer waited outside while a detail of men temporarily restored the gate. In the street the fighting had almost ceased. Upon the houses here and there clouds of dust told where the struggle was yet prolonged. The cohort was, for the most part, standing at rest, its splendor, like its ranks, in nowise diminished. Borne past the point of care for himself, Judah had heart for nothing in view but the prisoners, among whom he looked in vain for his mother and Tirzah.

Suddenly, from the earth where she had been lying, a woman arose and started swiftly back to the gate. Some of the guards reached out to seize her, and a great shout followed their failure. She ran to Judah, and, dropping down, clasped his knees, the coarse black hair powdered with dust veiling her eyes.

"O Amrah, good Amrah," he said to her, "God help you; I cannot."

She could not speak.

He bent down, and whispered, "Live, Amrah, for Tirzah and my mother.

They will come back, and--"

A soldier drew her away; whereupon she sprang up and rushed through the gateway and passage into the vacant court-yard.

"Let her go," the officer shouted. "We will seal the house, and she will starve." 

The men resumed their work, and, when it was finished there, passed round to the west side. That gate was also secured, after which the palace of the Hurs was lost to use.

The cohort at length marched back to the Tower, where the procurator stayed to recover from his hurts and dispose of his prisoners. On the tenth day following, he visited the Market-place.

Did You Know ?

  • The surface of hot water freezes faster than cold water but the rest of the water will remain liquid longer than in a cold sample.
  • The smallest transistor is 50-nanometres wide – roughly 1/2000 the width of a human hair.
  • A compass does not point to the geographical North or South Pole, but to the magnetic poles.
  • The double-helix structure of DNA was discovered in 1953 by James Watson and Francis Crick. The length of a single human DNA molecule, when extended, is 1.7 metres (5 ft 5 in).
  • In a desert, a mirage is caused when air near the ground is hotter than air higher up. As light from the sun passes from cooler to warmer air, it speeds up and is refracted upward, creating the image of water.
  • The typical bolt of lightning heats the atmosphere to 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • An atomic clock is accurate to within 1 second in 1,7 million years.
  • Barbie was introduced at the New York Toy Fair on 9 March 1959; her real name is Barbie Millicent Roberts and her parents are Ruth and Elliot Handler. Barbie has four sisters: Skipper (1964), Stacie (1992), Kelly (1995) and Krissy (1995).
  • Ken, Barbie’s boyfriend, debuted in 1961. Unfortunately, they split up on Valentine’s Day 2004.
  • World’s first travel agencies:  Cox & Kings, founded in 1758, and Thomas Cook, founded in 1860.
  • A fathom is 6 feet (1,8 metres).

The Most Caring Child

Author and lecturer, Leo Buscaglia, once talked about a contest he was asked to judge. The purpose of the contest was to find the most caring child.

The winner was a four-year-old child, whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old Gentleman's yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there.

When his mother asked him what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy just said, "Nothing, I just helped him cry."

 Power of Positive Thinking

 by Norman Vincent Peale

Chapter 6 (continued)

One summer afternoon my wife and I went for a long walk in the woods. We were stopping at the beautiful Lake Mohonk Mountain House which is set in one of the finest natural parks in America, 7,500 acres of virgin mountainside in the middle of which is a lake lying like a gem in the forest. The word mohonk means "lake in the sky." Aeons ago some giant upheaval of the earth cast up these sheer cliffs. You come out of the deep woods onto some noble promontory and rest your eyes on great valleys set among hills, rock-ribbed and ancient as the sun. These woods, mountains, and valleys constitute what ought to be a sure retreat from every confusion of this world.

On this afternoon as we walked there was a mixture of summer showers and sunlit hours. We were drenched and started to fret about it a bit because it took the press out of our lothes. Then we told each other that it doesn't hurt a human being to get drenched with clean rain water, that the rain feels cool and fresh on one's face, and that you can always sit in the sun and dry yourself out. We walked under the trees and talked and then fell silent.

We were listening, listening deeply to the quietness. In a strict sense, the woods are never still. There is tremendous activity always in process, but nature makes no strident noises regardless of the vastness of its operation. Nature's sounds are quiet, harmonious. On this beautiful afternoon, nature was laying its hand of healing quietness upon us, and we could actually feel the tension being drawn off.

Just as we were falling under this spell, the faint sounds of 95 what passes for music came to us. It was nervous, high-strung music of the jitterbug variety. Presently through the woods came three young people, two young women and a young man, and the latter was lugging a portable radio.

They were three young city people out for a walk in the woods and tragically enough were bringing their noise along with them. They were nice young folk, too, for they stopped and we had a pleasant talk with them. It occurred to me to ask them to turn that thing off and listen to the music of the woods, but I didn't feel it was my business to instruct them, and finally they went on their way.

We commented on the loss they were incurring, that they could pass through this peacefulness and not give ear to the music that is as old as the world, harmony and melody the like of which man has never equaled: the song of the wind through the trees, the sweet notes of birds singing their hearts out, the whole background of the music of the spheres.

This is still to be found in America in our woods and great plains, in our valleys, in our mountain majesties, and where the ocean foams on soft shores of sand. We should avail ourselves of its healing. Remember the words of Jesus, "Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest awhile." (Mark 6:31) Even as I write these words and give you this good advice, I recall instances where it has been necessary to remind myself to practice the same truth, which emphasizes that we must everlastingly discipline ourselves to quietness if we expect its benefits in our lives.

One autumn day Mrs. Peak and I took a trip into Massachusetts to see our son John at Deerfield Academy. We told him we would arrive at 11 A.M., and we pride ourselves on the good old American custom of promptness. Therefore, being a bit behind schedule, we were driving at breakneck speed through the autumnal landscape. My wife said, "Norman, did you see that radiant hillside?" 

"What hillside?" I asked.

"It just went by on the other side," she explained. "Look at that beautiful tree."

"What tree?" I was already a mile past it.

"This is one of the most glorious days I have ever seen," my wife said. "How could you possibly imagine such amazing colors as these New England hillsides in October? In fact," she said, "it makes me happy inside."

That remark of hers so impressed me that I stopped the car and went back a quarter of a mile to a lake backed by towering hills dressed in autumn colors. We sat and looked and meditated. God with His genius and skill had painted that scene in the varied colors which He alone can mix. In the still waters of the lake lay a reflected vision of His glory, for the hillside was unforgettably pictured in that mirrorlike pond.

For quite a while we sat without a word until finally my wife broke the silence by the only appropriate statement that one could make, "He leadeth me beside the still waters." (Psalm 23:2) We arrived at Deerfield at eleven, but we were not tired. In fact, we were deeply refreshed.

To help reduce this tension which seems to dominate our people everywhere, you can start by reducing your own pace. To do that you will need to slow down, quiet down. Do not fume. Do not fret. Practice being peaceful. Practice "the peace of God which passeth all understanding." (Philippians 4:7) Then note the quiet power sense that wells up within you.
(to be continued)

Just for Laughs

Randy, the painter, often thinned his paint to make it go further. The Baptist Church decided to restore its biggest building. Randy put in a low bid and got the job. He bought the paint, and, yes, thinned it with turpentine. Well, Randy was painting away, the job nearly completed, when suddenly there was a clap of thunder. The sky opened, and the rain poured down. It washed the thinned paint off the church. Randy fell from the scaffold, landing among the gravestones. He was no fool. He knew this was a judgment from the Almighty. Randy raised his voice to the heavens, crying, "Oh, God, forgive me; what should I do?" And from above, a mighty voice roared: “Repaint! Repaint! And thin no more!"