Sunday, 27 February 2011

A Preacher's Dying Wish

Author Unknown

An old preacher was dying. He sent a message for his doctor and his lawyer, both church members, to come to his home.

When they arrived, they were ushered up to his bedroom. As they entered the room the preacher held out his hands and motioned for them to sit, one on each side of his bed. The preacher grasped their hands, sighed contentedly, smiled and stared at the ceiling.

For a time, no one said anything. Both the doctor and the lawyer were touched and flattered that the preacher would ask them to be with him during his final moments.

They were also puzzled; the preacher had never given them any indication that he particularly liked either of them. They both remembered his many long, uncomfortable sermons about greed, covetousness and avaricious behavior that made them squirm in their seats.

Finally, the doctor said, "Preacher, why did you ask us to come?" The old preacher mustered up his strength, then said weakly, "Jesus died between two thieves ... and that's how I want to go."

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Growing Up Is Optional

Author Unknown

The first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn't already know. I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder.

I turned around to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being She said, "Hi handsome. My name is Rose. I'm eighty-seven years old. Can I give you a hug?" I laughed and enthusiastically responded, "Of course you may!" and she gave me a giant squeeze.

"Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?" I asked. She jokingly replied, "I'm here to meet a rich husband, get married, have a couple of children, and then retire and travel." "No seriously," I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age." I always dreamed of having a college education and now I'm getting one!" she told me.

After class we walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake. We became instant friends. Every day for the next three months we would leave class together and talk nonstop. I was always mesmerized listening to this "time machine" as she shared her wisdom and experience with me.

Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went. She loved to dress up and she reveled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She was living it up. At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet.

I'll never forget what she taught us. She was introduced and stepped up to the podium. As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her three by five cards on the floor. Frustrated and a little embarrassed she leaned into the microphone and simply said, "I'm sorry I'm so jittery. I gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey is killing me! I'll never get my speech back in order so let me just tell you what I know."

As we laughed she cleared her throat and began: "We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing. There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy, and achieving success." You have to laugh and find humor every day. "You've got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die. We have so many people walking around who are dead and don't even know it!" "There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up. If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don't do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old. If I am eighty-seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty-eight. Anybody can grow older. That doesn't take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding the opportunity in change." "Have no regrets. The elderly usually don't have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets."

She concluded her speech by courageously singing "The Rose." She challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them out in our daily lives. At the years' end Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those years ago. One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep. Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example that it's never too late to be all you can possibly be. If you read this, please send this peaceful word of advice to your friends and family, they'll really enjoy it!

We send these words in loving memory of ROSE

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Why We Need Love

By Jill Hoppe

Love. Countless songs are written about it, thousands of books have explored its meaning, and millions pay monthly fees to cyber-cupids with the hope of finding a true one. From our earliest moments on earth, the quest for love begins.

Infants instinctually seek out sustenance, yet beyond the call for milk and diaper maintenance babies long for touch, affection and interaction. Simply put, they need love. And, when that need is not satisfied, a baby's ability to socially develop is impaired.

Fortunately for us, one of the greatest things about love is that it comes in many shapes and sizes and can be defined in different ways. Romantic love consumes much of our efforts, but the love of family and friends is equally meaningful when it comes to sharing tender moments and coping with life's hardships.

Read on to see why we see love as the ultimate commodity...

The big picture
Love provides all of us with comfort as well as a solid foundation for our endeavors. When we love others, and know that they love us in return, things like coping with a bad day at work, a broken heart or serious illness become a little bit easier because we know that there are people we can turn to for advice, support, and a shoulder to cry on.

Along with comfort, love gives us self-confidence. There may be things we wish we could change about our appearance or personality, but love helps us move past our insecurities. It's a lot harder to beat yourself up over fat thighs or the fact your voice nervously cracked while talking to your boss when you just spent hours at dinner laughing with your best friend.

Love also helps us accomplish our goals. Knowing that there are others in the world that care about what we do is a great motivator. Whether you're trying to get through a tough class at school or starting a new business, encouragement is one of the best ways friends and family express their love for one another.

Its true value
Love gives us the emotional and intellectual strength to become people of good character. With the exception of anarchists and sociopaths, most people strive to be good citizens of the world. Simple acts such as recycling or helping an elderly neighbor take out the garbage make us better people. Being honest and kind gives us integrity.

People who have love in their lives are happier overall. They are more tolerant, willing to help others, and show more understanding. These are the very qualities that improve our character and make us better individuals.

When we share our lives with others, we also share our emotions. And, while relationships of any kind are complex and often times challenging, they teach us the value of patience, sacrifice, and loyalty. In turn, love is enriched when we bring these attributes to our relationships. It's an amazing exchange of positive energy, and it's brought to life by love.

As a motivator
Love helps us prevail in hard times. There's nothing better after a long, hard day than to fall into the arms of someone you love. Life is wrought with challenges - some that cause minor stress, others that change us irrevocably, such as the loss of a family member. In times of crisis and despair, love is the difference between being able to heal and overcome or succumbing to depression.

It's normal for those who've suffered serious illness and debilitating pain to become hopeless. However, love is what gives people the strength to endure painful treatments such as surgery and chemotherapy. Love is what gives us the will to live against all odds, and what instills hope for a brighter future.

In recent days, job loss and economic difficulties have affected many across the world - you may even be one of them. It's important to recognize that having fewer material items doesn't mean you are less of a person. If you surround yourself with people who love and want the best for you, you'll find the confidence you need to rebuild your life and uncover new dreams.

Love has always been, and will always be, the great equalizer. All the money in the world is no substitute for this all-powerful life force. Love begets laughter, happiness, and passion. Love inspires us to dream and have fun. Love connects us to all that is good in this big, beautiful world of ours.

So fill your life with love by cultivating strong, affectionate relationships with family, lovers, friends, and pets. For although we won't die without love in our lives, love is the one essential measure that gives true meaning and value to our existence.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Why We Need Hope

By Shruti Bhutada

While there is no dearth of hope in this world, actually, there is quite an economy that operates on selling hope and dreams, and earn big bucks; there are reasons to be skeptical about hope. Why do we need hope? I mean, we all know that while that song about hope, that nice motivational lecture you last attended, that movie you saw, that news report you saw where justice had been delivered finally, are feel good factors with a low shelf life. Then, before you know it, darkness descends again.

Stuff happens to people who do no wrong. Psychos turn enemies and friends turn psychos. Another irony about life is that there is this pattern to it. When things are going all right, and you actually start believing that things are as nice as they seem, they suddenly change their color scheme to the exact opposite. While we keep reading about the battle between the wrong and right, the good and the evil, nothing prepares us for the evil present in good, and the wrongs the rights commit. The only resultant that remains, and is actually more faithful than any of these factors, is cynicism. At least doubt is permanent.

Hope on the other hand, is like drugs. It gives you a temporary high, but then, reality strikes and you have to face the consequences. One of my dear friends once said, that hope is a fools weapon. There are times when I almost agree. Look at this world!

Everyday, things seem to be getting worse. The crimes against innocent, the crimes on the streets and on the internet. You can't trust anyone, you can't depend on anyone. People you know, show sides you would rather not see. All this not only weakens Gods and goods case, but also that of hope.

Forgive me for acting the devils advocate, but happiness, trust, virtue, good and God, all disappear when you need them most. Pain and hatred at least stay. You can never predict or claim, that if you are fair to people, they shall be fair with you. That if you do good, you will get good in return. But I can bet that if you do something bad, you shall receive bad. if you kick someone, you can trust them to retaliate. But if you hug someone, you can't trust them to reciprocate.

It isn't a comforting thought, but then there is that minuscule element of conformity, and at least that, is something that hope doesn't have. Cynics say that hope is a pretty good way of spending the time in between two tragedies. Your life may not actually be beautiful, but at least it will seem beautiful. That cynic is me. It makes you question, why do we need hope? So that motion picture industry can earn mega bucks? So that motivational speakers and religious leaders don't have to go search for new jobs? I mean, if life isn't going to be fair, why bother with hope and things like that? Why not join the bandwagon and become as indestructible a destroyer as you can.

People wont dare hurt you, because they know that you will respond to a slap, with a sword. No one shall mess with you, and if that doesn't happen, you can pretty much live life your way. I mean, then it can be fair, or blue or orange. After all, when every human being starts keeping a gun in their overcoat, the only way to ensure that you are safe, is to carry a tank and an army. So that any time someone shoots at you, you blast their existence off this planet.

BINGO!! Exactly. Aren't these gun totters the very people whose menace we try to hope against. I mean, if things just go wrong, if there is a tsunami, you don't complain much. Its when your friends disappoint you. its when people you don't even know, come and hurt you for no reason. Its when crime happens. Its when bombs drop from the sky like bird dropping. Its when an indestructible destroyer wannabe comes with a toy tank and pokes you, scaring you into believing it's a real tank, that you hope.

Then, you question hope. Then you question fairness. Then you kill hope and convince yourself that world is not going to be fair. Then, you know that you can be unfair too. Then, you become one of those very people you were trying to thwart. You become exactly what you battled against.

Its ironic, that even though hope seems inconsequential in this battle called life, it seems that it's the death of hope that starts this battle in the first place. Why do we need hope? To validate fairness? No. fairness isn't just some pinky sweety concept created by human mind. It is the fulcrum of this planet. It is the conclusion of the experiment called life.

Life isn't fair because you pray everyday so Gods watching and everything. Life is fair, because in this world, nothing is created nor destroyed. What goes around, comes around. Matter and anti matter exist together. When you suck out the space, you will get vacuum. It won't all end. When you forsake your ideals, something in you dies. It won't come alive when you really need yourself.

No human being can sleep well with a guilty conscious. If you hurt someone, it will deprive you of sleep, or worst, numb that area in your mind which tells you what you are doing is wrong. Which means, you have committed partial suicide!!! Which is rather foolish.

We don't need hope to validate fairness. Fairness is probably too profound for us to grasp, because we think that every time someone hits us in face, they will immediately turn back and fall in the ditch. We don't see that their hand hurts as much as our chin, and somewhere in their mind, something right just disappeared. Then, thinking that hopes waste, and we can slap around, we become the same, and start slapping people. There are others who cry and whine and basically become ultimate destroyers of hope. They are the kinds who tell you, " whatever you want, you will not get. Whatever you fear and hate, will eventually become your destiny."

We don't need hope to live our lives for us. To fight our battles or to make things right. We need hope to keep the boat sailing in storm till its past. We need it to keep us going till life comes full circle, because it will. We need hope, because we have no option. Don't give it up. Its more precious than you might know. And giving it up, will make things as worst as you envisioned, for all you know.

Passion is the thread that joins the heart to the mind and the mind to the rest of the universe.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

No Regrets

By Steve Goodier

At the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris, the sport of canoe racing was added to the list of international competitions. The favorite team in the four-man canoe race was the United States team. One member of that team was a young man by the name of Bill Havens.

As the time for the Olympics neared, it became clear that Bill's wife would give birth to their first child about the time that the U.S. team would be competing in the Paris games. In 1924 there were no jet airliners from Paris to the United States, only slow ocean going ships. And so Bill found himself in a dilemma. Should he go to Paris and risk not being at his wife's side when their baby was born? Or should he withdraw from the team and remain with his family?

Bill's wife insisted that he go to Paris. After all, competing in the Olympics was the culmination of a life long dream. But Bill felt conflicted and, after much soul searching, decided to withdraw from the competition and remain home, where he could support his wife when the child arrived. He considered being at her side his highest priority, even higher than going to Paris to fulfill his dream.

As it turned out, the United States four-man canoe team won the gold medal in Paris. And Bill's wife was late in giving birth to their child. She was so late, in fact, that Bill could have competed in the event and returned home in time to be with her when she gave birth.

People said, "What a shame." But Bill said he had no regrets. For the rest of his life, he believed he had made the better decision.

Bill Havens knew what was most important to him. Not everybody figures that out. And he acted on what he believed was best. Not everybody has the strength of character to say no to something he or she truly wants in order to say yes to something that truly matters. But for Bill, it was the only way to peace; the only way to no regrets.

There is an interesting sequel to the story of Bill Havens...

The child eventually born to Bill and his wife was a boy, whom they named Frank. Twenty eight years later, in 1952, Bill received a cablegram from Frank. It was sent from Helsinki, Finland, where the 1952 Olympics were being held. The cablegram read: "Dad, I won. I'm bringing home the gold medal you lost while waiting for me to be born."

Frank Havens had just won the gold medal for the United States in the canoe racing event, a medal his father had dreamed of winning but never did. Like I said, no regrets.

Thomas Kinkade eloquently said, "When we learn to say a deep, passionate yes to the things that really matter, then peace begins to settle onto our lives like golden sunlight sifting to a forest floor."

Music Of The Heart

By Stephanie West Allen

Most of Beethoven's masterpieces were composed while he was deaf. He had inside him music that would not be stilled by life's circumstances. His music triumphed over suffering.

The last movement of the Ninth Symphony is choral music Beethoven set to Friedrich von Schiller's poem "Ode to Joy." Beethoven believed this poem celebrated the brotherhood of man.

On May 7, 1824, when the Ninth Symphony premiered, Beethoven was on-stage conducting. Also on-stage was a supplementary conductor necessary because of Beethoven's deafness. When the "Ode to Joy" movement was over, the audience erupted in applause. Beethoven did not turn around as he could not hear them.

Turn Around and See What You Have Created
One of the chorus members broke protocol and moved towards Beethoven. He took hold of the composer's arm. Beethoven gave him a fierce look but the chorus member persisted gently turning him around. By then the applause had subsided.

As Beethoven looked out into the audience, they began to rise in standing ovation. First one person and then many and then all. It is said that a single, small tear of joy slipped down the composer's cheek. It is also said that another tiny companion tear rolled down the cheek of the chorus member standing next to him.

Some Questions for You
What gift inside of you is so strong that it must triumph over any adversity (or shyness or inactivity or busy-ness) and come out for others to enjoy?

Are you still holding it in, sapping creative energy by squelching it? What will it take for this ability, this genius, to flow out of you on a stream of inspiration?

We all have our genius with which we can make our world and that of others a more beautiful place. Part of being a member of the brotherhood of man is sharing our gifts with each other. What will bring your tear of joy?

And one more question, who in your life gently turns you around when you are facing in the wrong direction so you can see your standing ovation?

And Today...
Read these words from "Ode to Joy":

"Let us raise our voices in more pleasing and more joyful sounds!"

Sing today. Sing, sing, sing the happiest songs you know. As the words flow out of your mouth with gusto, feel every cell in your body spinning and dancing and cavorting with joy. Each song will be a workout of gladness for your whole being. Yeah, it may feel silly at first but do it anyway. Soon the happiness will permeate you and all feelings of silliness will fly out the window, never to return.

Get others to sing with you. Let's make this day an international day of song.

If you find yourself in a situation where you cannot sing right that moment, hum in your head. Head humming is highly beneficial for you, too.

Make today a symphony of song and jubilation. And before you go to sleep, give yourself a rousing round of applause. What a day this can be.

Comfort Zone

Author Unknown

I used to have a comfort zone where I knew I wouldn't fail.
The same four walls and busywork were really more like jail.
I longed so much to do the things I'd never done before,
But stayed inside my comfort zone and paced the same old floor.

I said it didn't matter that I wasn't doing much.
I said I didn't care for things like commission cheques and such.
I claimed to be so busy with things inside my zone,
But deep inside I longed for something special of my own.

I couldn't let my life go by just watching others win.
I held my breath; I stepped outside and let the change begin.
I took a step and with new strength I'd never felt before,
I kissed my comfort zone goodbye and closed and locked the door.

If you're in a comfort zone, afraid to venture out,
Remember that all winners were at one time filled with doubt.
A step or two and words of praise can make your dreams come true.
Reach for your future with a smile;
Success is there for you!

The Risk Of Love

By Kris Hydmore

There is a risk involved in everything
Every time you share a smile
Every time you shed a tear
You are opening yourself up to hurt.

Some people tread slowly through life,
Avoiding the closeness risk brings,
Sidestepping the things they can not understand
Turning away from those who care too much-
Those who care stay too long,
Those who hold too tightly.

There is never an easy way to love
You cannot approach it cautiously
It will not wait for you to arm yourself.

It does not care if you turn away
It is everywhere, it is everything.
Love is the greatest of all risks.

It is not reliable, it is not cautious,
It is not sympathetic
It is unprejudiced and unmerciful.
It strikes the strongest of mind,
And brings them to their knees in one blow.

Even in the best of times, love hurts.
It hurts to need, it hurts to belong,
It hurts to be the other part of someone else,
Without either of your consent.

But, from the moment it overtakes you,
It hurts worse to be all alone.
The risk of love never depletes;
It grows stronger and more dangerous with time.
But, it is in the total surrender of all defense,
That we, no matter weak or strong,
No matter willing or captive,
No matter what, we truly experience love.

Despite the many things love is not,
Outweighing it all are the things that love is.
Love is surrender without a loss.
It is a gift without the cost.
It consumes your every thought and desire,
Every breath you take.
It is the fire that fuels you
To do more than pass through life;
It urges you, instead, to live.

No matter the outcome, having felt love,
You will never be the same.
It may scar your heart and soul
And leave you only memories of forever.
Or, it may cause every day of your life
To feel like there is no need for tomorrow.
But, love is worth it. It is worth the risk...

For in all of life,
Love is truly the only risk worth taking.

Why We Need Faith

By Emma Wanjiku

Faith is extremely important in our lives and in many cases, we have nothing but faith. Different people put their faith on different things. However, most of us have faith in common things and this is one of the aspects that identify us as human beings. From when you are born into the world, this is where faith begins. You go through life hoping that the future will hold all you desire. If there was absence of faith, people would not take their children to school. Even planning to have a child would be out of the question. If you did not have faith, you would not sacrifice for the future and this is the essence of faith. We depend on faith for every day.

The belief that business of life everyday will go on is faith. The direct opposite of faith is hopelessness and despair. Some people have become too integrated with normal happenings of life and they do not consider their beliefs to be faith. For example, when you go to sleep, you might think that the obvious or logical thing is to wake up the next morning. People have become accustomed to the norms of life but at some point in our lives, life will deal us a huge blow. All this reminds us that there is nothing ordinary about events of life; we really do not know anything.

The desire to reach for the extra ordinary is best defined through religion. Religion is seen as the gateway to supernatural power that hold answers that are above us; having faith in God. Most human beings recognize that they do not have answers to all questions. God is perceived to the one who holds all the processes of life and the great debate today is faith in God. There are all kinds of gods in the world today and this has lead to deeper divisions and even confusion. It is not a good idea to get into debates on which god is the true God. Some people will argue that there are several real gods while other insists that there is one god who takes different forms.

The bottom line is that life is filled with great pain, joys and things we cannot simply understand. For this reason, we cannot rule out God completely irrespective of the religion we hail from. So the big question remains do you need faith? I think we all need faith and whether we realize it or not, we are wired to respond to faith. The bible says that faith comes by hearing. In life, you will build your faith on whatever you decide to dominate your life; you will have faith in whatever you choose to have faith in. Knowing that you do not have all the answers to life is one thing. Knowing that you have a power to overcome all doubts and always hope for the best is another. I choose to have hope and if this is faith, then let it be.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Blog-A-Licious Blogs

This post touches on two themes, Monday New.s (a weekly routine to share something I'm trying for the first time) and our more popular segment on the blog, Blog-A-Licious Blogs.

When Blog-A-Licous Wednesdays started out 19 weeks ago, I wasn't certain if it would receive any response or if other bloggers would be game in sharing their blogs. Well, there's something I have definitely learnt.

More than 200 blogs later, I bring you the new revised edition of Blog-A-Licious Blogs.

Enjoy and keep those great, great posts coming!

Sunday, 20 February 2011


By Joel Mbowa

Sometimes we forget that there are people watching us (our actions).

Sometimes we forget we are letters read on a daily basis.

In these letters we are sometimes the headings, the lines, the chapters, the verses, the comas, the full stops which are all important.

Sometimes we forget that there are those who take serious what we do slightly and think there hasn't been any impact made.

Sometimes we forget that the power to do good to others lies within us and when we release it we are bound to be affected by the same.

Sometimes we ignore the fact that whatever we sow is what we reap in life.

Sometimes, sometimes, sometimes.

True Love

Author Unknown

It was a busy morning, about 8:30am, when an elderly gentleman in his 80's arrived to have stitches removed from his thumb. He said he was in a hurry, as he had an appointment at 9:00am.

I took his vital signs and had him take a seat, knowing it would be over an hour before someone would to able to see him. I saw him looking at his watch and decided since I was not busy with another patient, I would evaluate his wound.

On examining it I saw it was well healed, so I talked to one of the doctors and got the needed supplies to remove his sutures and redress his wound. While taking care of his wound, I asked him if he had another doctor's appointment this morning, as he was in such a hurry. The gentleman told me no, that he needed to go to the nursing home to eat breakfast with his wife.

I inquired as to her health. He told me that she had been there for a while because she is a victim of Alzheimer's disease. As we talked, I asked if she would be upset if he was a bit late. He replied that she no longer knew who he was, that she had not recognized him for five years now.

I was surprised and asked him, 'And you still go every morning, even though she doesn't know who you are?'

He smiled as he patted my hand and said, 'She doesn't know me but I still know who she is.'

I had to hold back tears as he left. I had goose bumps on my arm and thought, 'That is the kind of love I want in my life."

True love is neither physical nor romantic. True love is an acceptance of all that is, has been, will be, and will not be.

Remember that the small deeds that we do in life really matter.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Excellence & You

Author Unknown

"Excellence is not a skill. It is an attitude." - Ralph Marston

A gentleman once visited a temple under construction where he saw a sculptor making an idol of God. Suddenly he noticed a similar idol lying nearby.

Surprised, he asked the sculptor, "Do you need two statues of the same idol?"

"No," said the sculptor without looking up, "We need only one, but the first one got damaged at the last stage."

The gentleman examined the idol and found no apparent damage... "Where is the damage?" he asked.

"There is a scratch on the nose of the idol," said the sculptor, still busy with his work.

"Where are you going to install the idol?"

The sculptor replied that it would be installed on a pillar twenty feet high.

"If the idol is that high, who is going to know that there is a scratch on the nose?" the gentleman asked.

The sculptor stopped his work, looked up at the gentleman, smiled and said, "I know it and God knows it!"

Moral - The desire to excel should be exclusive of the fact whether someone appreciates it or not. Excellence is a drive from inside, not outside. Excel at a task today - not necessarily for someone else to notice but for your own satisfaction.

Friday, 18 February 2011

You Said

By Todd Wielgos

You said you were afraid to go to a better place
until I lit the path and took your hand.

You said that you were afraid to try
until I convinced you that in my eyes you couldn't fail.

You said you couldn't share your hurt
until I showed you the scars on my heart.

You said you wished you could do things differently
until I convinced you that it wouldn't change how I felt about you.

You said you couldn't fly
until I lifted your arms and blew confidence under your wings.

You said you were too tired to go on
until I lent my shoulder to carry your load.

You started to say you didn't deserve.
I said be still and know that you are special.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

What Is A Blessing?

By Monique Fox

A blessing is being able to have a child
Seeing his or her bright eyes and smile

A blessing is the clear blue sky, the green grass
A smile or a hello to a stranger as you walk pass

A blessing is having family and friends that love you
And sticks together in good and bad times like glue

A blessing is having a faithful and respectful companion or spouse
Wanting to go to a peaceful and cheery home free of louse

A blessing is having clothes, food, a car, a house or apartment
And being able to pay some debts with dollar bills and cents

A blessing is having God here, there and everywhere
Giving much happiness, joy, and tender loving care

A Firefighter's Gloves

Author Unknown

A firefighter's gloves hold many things,
From elderly arms to a kid's broken swing.
From the hands they shake and the backs they pat,
To the tiny claw marks of another treed cat.

At 2:00 a.m. they are filled with the chrome,
From the DWI who was on her way home.
And the equipment they use to roll back the dash
From a family of 6 she involved in the crash.

The brush rakes in spring wear the palms out,
When the wind does a "90 degree" to fill them with doubt.
The thumb of the glove wipes the sweat from the brow
Of the face of a firefighter who mutters "What now?"

They hold inch and three quarters flowing one seventy five,
So the ones going in, come back out alive.
When the regulator goes then there isn't too much
But the bypass valve they eagerly clutch.

The rescue equipment, the ropes, the C-collars,
The lives that they save never measured in dollars,
Are the obvious things firefighter's gloves hold,
Or, so that is what I've always been told.

But there are other things firefighter's gloves touch,
Those are the things we all need so much.

They hold back the rage on that 3:00 am call.
They hold in the fear when your lost in a hall.
They hold back the pity, agony, sorrow.
They hold in the desire to "Do it tomorrow".

A glove is just a glove till it's on a firefighter,
Who works all day long just to pull an all-nighter.
And into the foray they charge without fear,
At the sound of a "Help!" they think that they hear.

When firefighter's hands go into the glove,
It's a firefighter who always fills it with love.
Sometimes the sorrow is too much to bear,
And it seeps the glove and burns deep "in there".

Off come the gloves when the call is done,
And into the pocket until the next run.
The hands become lonely and cold for a bit,
And shake just a little thinking of it.

And we sit there so red eyed with our gloves in our coats,
The tears come so fast that the furniture floats.
We're not so brave now; our hands we can't hide,
I guess it just means that we're human inside.

And though some are paid and others are not,
The gloves feel the same when it's cold or it's hot.
To someone you're helping to just get along,
When you fill them with love, you always feel strong.

And so when I go on my final big ride,
I hope to have my gloves by my side.
To show to St. Peter at that heavenly gate,
'Cause as everyone knows,
Firefighters do not wait!

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Every Woman

Author Unknown

Should Have
...a feeling of control over her destiny old love she can imagine going back to
...and one who reminds her how far she has come friend who always makes her laugh
...and one who lets her cry

Should Know to fall in love without losing herself to quit a job, break up with a lover, and confront a friend without ruining the friendship

...when to try harder and when to walk away to have a good time at a party she'd never choose to attend to ask for what she wants in a way that makes it most likely she'll get it

...that she can't change the length of her calves, the width of her hips, or the nature of her

...that her childhood may not have been perfect but it is over

...what she would and wouldn't do for love to live alone even if she doesn't like it

...whom she can trust, whom she can't, and why she shouldn't take it personally

...where to go, be it to her best friend's kitchen table or a charming inn in the woods
when her soul needs soothing

...what she can and can't accomplish in a day, a month, and a year

Monday, 14 February 2011

Love Now

By Ruby Bayan

There was a time in my life I became afraid to love. Because all those times I fell in love, I got hurt. I thought maybe that's why it's called "falling" in love.

I would give my all, loving deeply and wholeheartedly. It would be a truly emotional, extremely euphoric experience. I would dream about the object of my affection all day and all night, imagining good times together, thinking of what I can do or give him to show how much I cared. I would feel light as a feather, energized and excited, literally blooming with the joy I felt inside. Then somehow something would go wrong and my whole world would crash. Disappointment. Resentment. Anger. Pain.

Why? Can we not love without pain? Is disappointment really a price to pay for all the happiness we feel when we're in love? Should we blindly accept that because we love we get hurt?

It was only after many years of soul-searching and internalizing inspirational writings that I discovered that I can love without getting hurt. I finally understood that unconditional love was the answer.

Love is one of the most powerful forces in the universe. It is the fire that burns inside, the essence of being. Love is the source of all our comfort and contentment. It is a precious gift that defines our purpose in life. If we keep in mind that we can indeed preserve its true meaning, we can love to the fullest and be happy the rest of our lives.

Accept that people express love in different ways.

How do YOU express your love? You say "I love you" three times a day, you kiss and embrace him every chance you get, you never forget your anniversaries, and you always prepare his favorite dishes. How does HE express his love? He rarely says "I love you", he seldom kisses you, he forgets your birthday, and he doesn't even try to cook. But he works overtime, walks the dog, helps you with the laundry, takes you to the movies, and calls you "Honey". He probably loves you as much as you love him, he just shows it differently. If you can accept that difference then you can have a healthier perspective of your relationship.

Derive happiness from giving love.

When you love, do it because you want to. There is indescribable joy in loving. Just give it. And cherish the satisfaction in having given someone something of yourself. It's like giving a gift. Whether it is appreciated or not, find joy in simply giving.

Love without expecting anything in return.

Now this is where pain comes in: when you demand something in return for the love you give. You are actually setting yourself up for disappointment because love cannot always be reciprocal. Love between two people can never be of the same intensity at the same time and place. No matter how much your partner loves you, she will never be able to fill all your needs all the time. And you are worst off if you believe you should love only when you are sure to receive equal love in return. Sad to say, you will be waiting in misery forever.

Love now.

The past is gone and the future is just a dream. All of yesterday's aches and pains, even the joys and laughter, are mere memories. Let them go. And your fantasies and worries? They may never come. So why dwell on them? Live now. Give love now. Do it now and enjoy the moment. That is the secret of inner contentment.

Throw away those destructive habits.

When you insist upon yourself that you always have to be in control, that you always have to be right, that others must always please you, you mold unreasonable expectations of yourself and the ones you love. Loving relationships are flexible, dynamic, and evolving. Give room for change and interaction. Allow for new behavior and learning experiences. When we welcome these into our lives, we open ourselves up to love and affection rather than anger and frustration.

Yes, you will say that unconditional love is easier said than done. Especially when we have always believed that love is give and take. Try believing that love is simply giving. They say "Give until it hurts". Let's say "Love until it hurts no more".

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Author of this article, Ruby Bayan who is also a freelance writer can be spotted at

Sunday, 13 February 2011

I Wish You Faith

By James N Watkins

I wish you truth for your decisions,
I wish you doubts to make you sure,
I wish you fear to give you caution,
I wish you courage to keep you pure,
But beyond these hopes and wishes,
One prayer soars high above,
I wish for you my graduate
Faith and Hope and Love.

I wish defeats to make you humble,
I wish success to let you soar,
I wish you tears to make you tender,
I wish you joy and so much more.
For beyond these hopes and wishes,
one prayer soars high above,
I wish for you my graduate
Faith and hope and love.

So as you stand and face tomorrow,
When life gets rough and tough,
There's someone who believes in you
With faith and hope and love.
So I wish for you my graduate
Faith and hope and love.

Why Am I The One To Die?

By Elizabeth Beeson

I went to a party, Mom,
I remembered what you said.
You told me not to drink, Mom,
So I drank soda instead.
I really felt proud inside, Mom,
The way you said I would.
I didn't drink and drive, Mom,
Even though the others said I should.
I know I did the right thing, Mom,
I know you are always right.

Now the party is finally ending, Mom,
As everyone is driving out of sight.
As I got into my car, Mom,
I knew I'd get home in one piece.
Because of the way you raised me,
So responsible and sweet.

I started to drive away, Mom,
But as I pulled out into the road,
The other car didn't see me, Mom,
And hit me like a load.
As I lay there on the pavement, Mom,
I hear the policeman say,
"The other guy is drunk," Mom,
And now I'm the one who will pay.
I'm lying here dying, Mom....
I wish you'd get here soon.
How could this happen to me, Mom?
My life just burst like a balloon.
There is blood all around me, Mom,
And most of it is mine.
I hear the medic say, Mom,
I'll die in a short time.

I just wanted to tell you, Mom,
I swear I didn't drink.
It was the others, Mom.
The others didn't think.
He was probably at the same party as I.
The only difference is, he drank
And I will die.

Why do people drink, Mom?
It can ruin your whole life.
I'm feeling sharp pains now.
Pains just like a knife.
The guy who hit me is walking, Mom,
And I don't think it's fair.
I'm lying here dying
And all he can do is stare.

Tell my brother not to cry, Mom.
Tell Daddy to be brave.
And when I go to heaven, Mom,
Put "Daddy's Girl" on my grave.
Someone should have told him, Mom,
Not to drink and drive.
If only they had told him, Mom,
I would still be alive.

My breath is getting shorter, Mom.
I'm becoming very scared.
Please don't cry for me, Mom.
When I needed you,
you were always there.
I have one last question, Mom.
Before I say good bye.
I didn't drink and drive,
So why am I the one to die?

Everything Does Happen For A Reason

Author Unknown

Years ago in Scotland, the Clark family had a dream. Clark and his wife worked and saved, making plans for their nine children and themselves to travel to the United States. It had taken years, but they had finally saved enough money and had gotten passports and reservations for the whole family on a new liner to the United States.

The entire family was filled with anticipation and excitement about their new life. However, seven days before their departure, the youngest son was bitten by a dog. The doctor sewed up the boy but hung a yellow sheet on the Clarks' front door. Because of the possibility of rabies, they were being quarantined for fourteen days.

The family's dreams were dashed. They would not be able to make the trip to America as they had planned. The father, filled with disappointment and anger, stomped to the dock to watch the ship leave - without the Clark family. The father shed tears of disappointment and cursed both his son and God for their misfortune.

Five days later, the tragic news spread throughout Scotland - the mighty Titanic had sunk. The unsinkable ship had sunk, taking hundreds of lives with it. The Clark family was to have been on that ship, but because the son had been bitten by a dog, they were left behind in Scotland.

When Mr. Clark heard the news, he hugged his son and thanked him for saving the family. He thanked God for saving their lives and turning what he had felt was a tragedy into a blessing.

Although we may not always understand, all things happen for a reason.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Do You Know A Young Carer?

Sourced from Friends At WLYC

Young carers are children and young people under the age of 18 years who provide care to another family member who has a physical illness/disability, mental ill health, sensory disability, or has a problematic use of drugs or alcohol. The level of care they provide would usually be undertaken by an adult and as a result of this has a significant impact on their normal childhood.

The 2001 census estimated that there are 175 000 young carers in the UK but the figure is thought to be much higher.

Young carers are described as permanently worried children, caring can silence children through fear, embarrassment or pride. Many experience emotional problems, isolation and lonliness.

What is it like to be a young carer?
In order for us to provide the best service we could, we asked a group of young carers, how their lives were affected by their caring role

These are some of the things they said
- “Get to spend time being kind and caring for your family”
- “Frightened of telling people”
- “Miss School”
- “Grow up quickly”
- “Go to school tired. Can’t concentrate at school”
- “Keeping things inside”
- “Work too hard, get ill”
- “Depressed, stressed, worried”
- “Frightened the caring role will end i.e. taken into care or bereavement”

Questions on the young carer’s role
- Do you recognise yourself as a young carer
- Who do you talk to about your caring role
- Do you worry about the person you care for when you are at school
- Who would you go to if you needed help with your caring role
- Does your caring role impact on your education
- How important is it to have contact with other young people in a caring role
- Does it help to have friends who understand your caring role
- Have you ever been bullied because of your caring role
- What do you dislike about being a young carer
- Do you think other people should have more understanding of young carer’s
- What do you think we could do to raise more awareness of the impact a caring role has on young people
- As a young carer what would make your life easier ?

What can we do to help?
- Recognition of their situation
- Understanding of their problems
- Someone to talk to in a confidential setting
- Assistance to access help from other agencies
- Opportunities to join after school clubs
- Provide caravan holiday breaks for the family
- The knowledge they are not alone

Singapore, Round 2 – Pulau Ubin

By Rough Guy'd
So come the Saturday, we decided to go for another trip with a big group of people, being my cousin’s friends. This time the destination was a popular local island not far from the city but probably off most tourist’s itinerary. The island of Pulau Ubin is situated about two km northeast of the main island and has been referred to as what Singapore was like fifty years ago.
As always with a large group, we didn’t exactly make the greatest time and by the time we all managed to meet up and take the ferry across the water, it was already 230pm. The first thing we did when we reached the island (other than taking lots of photos) was to head to the tourist-catering village and rent ourselves a bunch of bikes. The best way to see the island is by bicycle and even the most unfit of us would find the cycling to be easy and we managed to see quite a lot of the island this way, including a short part where they built a thin cycling track over the water.
While cycling one of the many tracks on the island, we stopped off for some drinks and got the chance to meet the owner’s pet wild boar before we headed back to the main village to tuck into a nice seafood dinner. One thing that can never be underestimated is the Singaporean’s knowledge of how to prepare seafood.
The following week, I took the time to visit the science centre. While initially I wasn’t that interested to see it, I was told by my relatives that it was worth seeing. What I found when I went inside was that the place was big and very well thought out. What was most interesting was that the place was built not so much for academia in mind but the simple every day person and while this meant that you would never have the same amount of detail, what they sacrificed in detail they made up for by being user friendly and very hands on. Most of the exhibits spoke of cutting edge technology and many allowed you to try for yourself some of the ideas and theories. There was even some demonstrations put on so that you can see some of the bigger effects such as their working tesla coils.
Finally to round out the last of my time in Singapore, I went to an IT expo. The expo was held at Suntec city and was absolutely packed with people so that you couldn’t even walk easily. As well as seeing many big and impressive things for sale and demonstration, there was also a lot of smaller things and I bought for myself a very handy pair of noise-cancelling earphones that would more than pay for its cost down the line. Now that I had planned my time perfectly, I was free to move onto Malaysia without worrying about missing the wedding and still leaving me with time to do what I wanted to do the most, backpacking. Next stop, Melaka in Malaysia.

Friday, 11 February 2011

The Wrong Figures

By Barbara Elliott Carpenter

When I was nineteen, I thought that I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I was engaged to a twenty-one-year-old young man, whom I had been dating for over three years; and we were planning a wedding. We truly loved each other.

Then doubts began to wiggle their way into my thinking, and I started to wonder if I were making the right decision. A college scholarship was available, if I wanted to apply for it. I was a good student, ranking in the upper ten percent of my senior class. I had half-heartedly considered pursuing a career in the fields of art or writing. I possessed a measure of talent in both areas, but I had lacked incentive to really work at either of them. And that's where the doubts began.

Without telling my fiance, I struggled for weeks with my dilemma. I knew that I could not go away to college and still get married. I also knew that my heart belonged to him, would always belong to him. I tried to count the cost of both losses, tried to project what my life would be like in both scenarios. I was in a flood of indecision.

Late one night, as I tossed and turned, I heard my dad cough lightly from the next room. He was only thirty-nine; but he was very ill with lupus, and had many sleepless, pain-filled nights.

"Dad, is Mom asleep?" I called softly.

"Yes," he answered.

"Daddy, I have a problem," I told him. For a long time, there was no answer; and I thought that he had fallen asleep. He was a man of few words, at best. So I resigned myself to receiving no help from that quarter.

"Maybe you're using the wrong figures."

When his answer floated gently into my room, it was as if a cartoon light bulb appeared over my head. How simple my father had made it. All I had to do was eliminate one set of figures from the equation, and my problem was solved!

A few weeks later I married my young man. And, no, it hasn't always been a "happily-ever-after" fairy tale existence. It has been, however, a life filled with love, even in the midst of "dislike" for each other. Untold riches have been mine, through the lives of my daughter and my son, and now through the lives of their children.

Down all the years, I have used my "talents" in art projects for my children, both at school and church, as a means to decorate my own house and houses of friends and relatives with my own oil paintings, and my years of association with a writer's roundtable, both with writing content and designing covers for our books. I have finally seen another of my dreams materialize in the form of my first book, which will be released in May, 2003.

My young dad died just two short years after giving me the words I needed to make the correct choice for my life. My daughter, the only grandchild he would ever hold, was only seven months old when he died.

I wish my dad could know how often I have used his one-line philosophy. I have discovered that, usually, when confronted with a choice or problem or dilemma, the easiest solution is simply to delete one set of "figures" from the equation.

It works for me!

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

If I Were Any Better

Author Unknown

Jerry is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, "If I were any better, I would be twins!" He was a unique manager because he had several waiters who had followed him around from restaurant to restaurant.

The reason the waiters followed Jerry was because of his attitude. He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, Jerry was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.

Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Jerry and asked him, I don't get it! You can't be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?" Jerry replied, "Each morning I wake up and say to myself, Jerry, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood.

I choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life.

"Yeah, right, it's not that easy," I protested. "Yes, it is," Jerry said. "Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people will affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It's your choice how you live life."

I reflected on what Jerry said. Soon thereafter, I left the restaurant industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.

Several years later, I heard that Jerry did something you are never supposed to do in a restaurant business: he left the back door open one morning and was held up at gun point by three armed robbers. While trying to open the safe, his hand, shaking from nervousness, slipped off the combination. The robbers panicked and shot him. Luckily, Jerry was found relatively quickly and rushed to the local trauma center. After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Jerry was released from the hospital with fragments of the bullets still in his body.

I saw Jerry about six months after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he replied, "If I were any better, I'd be twins. Wanna see my scars?" I declined to see his wounds, but did ask him what had gone through his mind as the robbery took place. “The first thing that went through my mind was that I should have locked the back door," Jerry replied. "Then, as I lay on the floor, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or I could choose to die. I chose to live."

"Weren't you scared? Did you lose consciousness?" I asked. Jerry continued, "...the paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read 'he's a dead man.'

I knew I needed to take action." "What did you do?" I asked. "Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me," said Jerry. "She asked if I was allergic to anything. 'Yes,' I replied. The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, 'Bullets!' Over their laughter, I told them, 'I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead.'"

Jerry lived thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude. I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully. Attitude, after all, is everything.

I've Learned

Author Unknown

I've learned that you can get by on charm for about 15 minutes.
After that, you'd better know something.

I've learned that you shouldn't compare yourself to the best others can do, but to the best you can do.

I've learned that it's not what happens to people that's important.
It's what they do about it.

I've learned that you can do something in an instant that will give you a heartache for life.

I've learned that no matter how thin you slice it, there are always two sides.

I've learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you miss them terribly after they die.

I've learned that it's taking me a long time to become the person I want to be.

I've learned that it's a lot easier to react than it is to think.

I've learned that you should always leave loved ones with loving words.
It may be the last time you see them.

I've learned that you can keep going long after you think you can't.

I've learned that we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel.

I've learned that either you control your attitude or it controls you.

I've learned that regardless of how hot and steamy a relationship is at first, the passion fades and there had better be something else to take its place.

I've learned that heroes are the people who do what has to be done, when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.

I've learned that when the light turns green, you had better look both ways before proceeding.

I've learned that you can love someone and still not like them very much.

I've learned that there are people who love you dearly, but just don't know how to show it.

I've learned that my best friend and I can do anything or nothing and still have the best time.

I've learned that sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you're down will be the ones to help you get back up.

I've learned that I'm getting more and more like my mom, and I'm kind of happy about it.

I've learned that sometimes when I'm angry, I have the right to be angry, but that doesn't give me the right to be cruel.

I've learned that true friendship continues to grow, even over the longest distance.

I've learned that just because someone doesn't love you the way you want them to doesn't mean they don't love you with all they have.

I've learned that no matter how much I care, some people just don't care back.

I've learned that you should never tell a child his dreams are unlikely or outlandish. Few things are more humiliating, and what a tragedy it would be if he believed it.

I've learned that your family won't always be there for you. It may seem funny, but people you aren't related to can take care of you and love you and teach you to trust people again. Families aren't biological.

I've learned that no matter how good a friend someone is, they're going to hurt you every once in awhile and you must forgive them for that.

I've learned that it isn't always enough to be forgiven by others. Sometimes you have to learn to forgive yourself.

I've learned that no matter how bad your heart is broken, the world doesn't stop for your grief.

I've learned that our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.

I've learned that sometimes when my friends fight, I'm forced to choose sides even when I don't want to.

I've learned that just because two people argue, it doesn't mean they don't love each other.

I've learned that sometimes you have to put the individual ahead of their actions.

I've learned that it takes years to build up trust, and only seconds to destroy it.

I've learned that we don't have to change friends if we understand that friends change.

I've learned that you shouldn't be so eager to find out a secret. It could change your life forever.

I've learned that it's not what you have in your life but whom you have in your life that counts.

I've learned that two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different.

I've learned that a good friend is better than a therapist.

I've learned that you cannot make someone love you. All you can do is be someone who can be loved. The rest is up to them.

I've learned that it's hard to determine where to draw the line between being nice and not hurting people's feelings and standing up for what you believe.

Whatever You Make Of It

By Ralph Marston

Most anything that happens can be useful to you, or it can set you back, depending primarily on what you make of it.

Get into the habit of asking yourself "how can I make the best of this?" For example, a couple of hours ago I jumped into my car to make a 10-minute run to the post office. Along the way, a 2-inch bolt became imbedded in my right front tire. Now I'm sitting in the waiting room of a tire dealer, getting the damage repaired.

I could have spent a few hours fretting about the loss of my time, and how unfair it was. And I must admit, I did spend a few minutes in that mode. But then I asked myself, "how can I make the best of this?" The answer -- get out a pen and paper and write this message.

The various circumstances in which you find yourself can serve as excuses, or they can be turned into opportunities. What's great about the time and place in which you find yourself? Whatever you make of it.

Although We Have Never Met

Author Unknown

Although we have never met
we have known about each other
in our hearts for years

Although we have never met
I have seen your Soft Smile
with the eyes of my soul

Although we have never met
I have felt your warm embrace
through the tenderness of your words

Although we have never met
I have enjoyed the pleasures of your affection
wash my mind through the passion in your voice

Although we have never met
I have caressed you in the passionate
embrace of my heart and mind

Although we have never met
I have Tasted of your scent
as a vivid memory from yesterday

Although we have never met
I have kissed your lips and felt
the charms that lie within

Although we have never met
I have loved you

Guy In The Glass

By Dale Wimbrow

When you get what you want in your struggle for pelf,
And the world makes you King for a day,
Then go to the mirror and look at yourself,
And see what that guy has to say.

For it isn't your Father, or Mother, or Wife,
Who judgement upon you must pass.
The feller whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the guy staring back from the glass.

He's the feller to please, never mind all the rest,
For he's with you clear up to the end,
And you've passed your most dangerous, difficult test
If the guy in the glass is your friend.

You may be like Jack Horner and "chisel" a plum,
And think you're a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you're only a bum
If you can't look him straight in the eye.

You can fool the whole world down the pathway of years,
And get pats on the back as you pass,
But your final reward will be heartaches and tears
If you've cheated the guy in the glass.

Did We Fail?

By Catherine Pulsifer

With excitement and enthusiasm we started our small business. No longer did we have the security of a weekly paycheck. We now were on our own to generate an income to provide us with the money to live. I was a little anxious about our ability to do this. But, Byron believed in our products, and more so, believed in our ability to succeed.

So, we worked and produced a number of products to sell. We invested heavily in a market that provides local crafts for cruise ships coming into our area. The first ships arrived, and we barely made enough money to pay our expenses. We now had our money invested in the booth that we had rented for the summer and fall months. We had a lot of money tied up in materials. But, we did not have enough money to cover our monthly bills. We were discouraged, and the thoughts of failure ran through our heads.

As we discussed our options, I happened to read the quote by Mary Pickford:
"If you have made mistakes...
there is always another chance for you...
you may have a fresh start any moment you choose,
for this thing we call 'Failure' is not the falling down, but the staying down."

This quote reinforced my determination and Byron's belief that we could succeed. We did fall down, but we were determined not to stay down! So, we stepped back and refocused. We came up with new products using existing materials. We redesigned our booth set up. We reviewed our pricing structure. And, we started making enough money to pay our bills.

My point in sharing our story is that if we had done nothing, if we allowed ourselves to "stay down", then we would have failed. But, we made the choice to learn from our mistakes, and we moved forward with more determination. Mary Pickford's quote offers a much better perspective on failure - a chance for a fresh start! The most important point here is "choice" because you decide how you view your failure, you decide if you stay down.

There are many stories of people who chose not to stay down:
- The Beatles' first audition - the recording company rejected them.
- Lucille Ball, the actress, was told to try another profession.
- Authors who have received numerous rejection slips, but they kept going until they were published.

Remember, how you view "failure" is entirely up to you.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Dads Will Be Dads

Bu Susan M Lang

While I was pregnant with my first child, sweltering through the endless, fiery summer months in which ankles swelled and sweat poured forth profusely, I wanted only one thing--to give birth.

"I can't wait until this child is out," I would huff and puff in frustration.

My husband lovingly reassured me that the baby would spring forth at the appointed time. That some day I would be free from the burden of the added weight and the painful swollen ankles. I, however, felt as if the child had taken up permanent residence.

"Suppose the kid likes it in here and doesn't want to leave," I would say.

"Highly unlikely, dear. The baby will be here before you know it," he insisted, his feet still grounded firmly in reality, while mine were constantly elevated.

As it turned out, when my water broke that fateful evening, I was shocked into reality. Our first daughter did leave the womb and enter the atmosphere. She even arrived three weeks early.

When Mary was born, I was overjoyed. Not only was it a relief to hold her tiny body in my arms, but she was a red-headed beauty. Even when she was minutes old, I felt that we had a unique attachment. And we did, for she had been a part of me. However, what I didn't anticipate was how difficult it would be to let her go.

For those nine months that seemed like an eternity, the baby had been mine...all mine. She was joined with me and depended on only me for survival. Even though Tom could feel her kick through the womb as she grew bigger, I usually had to notify him that she was moving. He depended on me to tell him what the baby was doing. The communication that Mary and I had was ours alone. Now, she was in the world and I had to share her with others. Including her dad.

Now, it's not that I didn't trust him. My husband is a compassionate husband and father. It's just that he doesn't do things the way that I do them.

He held the baby differently. I cradled her close, showing her my maternal love. He held her facing outward so she would have a world view. He transported her differently. I carried her in my arms from room to room as I tidied up. He placed her in the stroller and rolled her around so that he could put things away and still keep an eye on her. He comforted her differently. I rocked her quietly to calm her; he bounced her. He even fed her differently. I breast-fed her at 2:00 a.m. He bottle-fed her at 2:00 p.m. (Okay, so I can't hold biology against the poor guy.) It's just that it was difficult to accept that someone could relate to Mary in another way. Undoubtedly, I was very insecure, and sharing her was hard. Even with her dad.

Of course, there was the time that I was downstairs in the basement office for a while working on a project. It was Dad's time to watch his little girl. As I reached the top of the steps after finishing my work, he asked, "Where's Mary?"

"What do you mean, where is Mary?" I screamed.

"I thought you had her," he said nonchalantly. "Don't worry, I'll find her." He had placed her on the living-room floor for a moment and then inadvertently turned his back. We began our search there. As it turned out, she had crawled over to the floor-length picture window and was hiding behind the drapes. We found her giggling in delight at the birds on the front lawn and at the cars passing by. It was the first time that she had crawled. I seldom placed her on the floor, but Tom liked to give her room to stretch and play. No harm was done, in fact just the opposite. Our baby had reached a new point in her life because my husband, her dad, had let her expand her horizons.

During all those months of pregnancy while I complained, I never imagined how difficult it would be to let her go once she was born. For me, it was the first test of motherhood--to let Dad be Dad. To realize that someone else could nurture my child in his own way. And to realize that what he had to give her, I couldn't give.

That is the beauty of parenting. That each mother and each father has a unique contribution. That our babies need the distinctive love and nurture that each one of us has to offer. And it pays off, too. By the time our second child was on the way, Mary was two years old. She and her dad had a wonderful relationship forged by the variety of experiences which they alone had shared.

After our youngest child, Kristi, arrived, I was able to give my husband more freedom--and space--in his distinctive parenting techniques. I, too, had grown. And, I had learned from his parenting style, even as he had learned from mine. After all, we were a team.

"Well, they're all yours," I declared one day as I headed for the office.

"Aren't you just a little worried?" he teased.

"No, just remember to check behind the drapes if the baby disappears," I laughed. "Besides," I added, "you've got everything under control."

Monday, 7 February 2011

Someone Who Understands

Author Unknown

A store owner was tacking a sign above his door that read "Puppies For Sale." Signs like that have a way of attracting small children and sure enough, a little boy appeared by the store owner's sign. "How much are you going to sell the puppies for?" he asked. The store owner replied, "Anywhere from $30-$50."

The little boy reached in his pocket and pulled out some change. "I have $2.37," he said. "May I please look at them?" The store owner smiled and whistled, out of the kennel came Lady, who ran down the aisle of his store followed by five teeny, tiny balls of fur. One puppy was lagging considerably behind.

Immediately the little boy singled out the lagging, limping puppy and said, "What's wrong with that little dog?" The store owner explained that the veterinarian had examined the little puppy and had discovered it didn't have a hip socket. It would always limp. It would always be lame. The little boy became excited. "That is the little puppy that I want to buy." The store owner said, "No, you don't want to buy that little dog. If you really want him, I'll just give him to you."

The little boy got quite upset. He looked into the store owner's eyes, pointing his finger, and said, "I don't want you to give him to me. That dog is worth every bit as much as all the other dogs and I'll pay full price. In fact, I'll give you $2.37 now, and 50 cents a month until I have him paid for."

The store owner countered, "You really don't want to buy this little dog. He is never going to be able to run and jump and play with you like the other puppies."

To this, the little boy reached down and rolled up his pant leg to reveal a badly twisted, crippled left leg supported by a big metal brace. He looked up at the store owner and softly replied, "Well, I don't run so good myself, and the little puppy will need someone who understands!"

Are You Stupid?

By Pandora Poikilos

Harsh title? I know. But let's review what got me to it. Those who've reading the blog since way back when know that the Keep Me Safe campaign was something I started last year to raise awareness on Internet safety and using (not abusing) social media networks that came with it. From this, came the Pledge Of Responsible Social Media Users which is intended to be a voice at advocating non-abusive and safe Internet usage and guidelines.

On 13 January, to further create awareness of the campaign and the pledge I started a group on Facebook. well, with 500 million users and counting, I have a very strong chance at making my voice heard.

All went well, a click here, a click there and voila! The "I Am Responsible - Are You?" group was started. Then, I made a mistake and a very big one. In asking people to read what is put in front of them, somewhere, somehow I, myself failed to do this. This is my first group that I have ever started on Facebook but I remember when joining it last year, I could choose the groups I wanted to join and if a friend added me, I would receive a notification that said something like - You've been invited to join so and so by so and so. Perfect. People still thought I was intelligent enough to make my own choices. I wasn't stupid, I can read, I can understand and choose. No issues.

So, I started clicking away at my friends names assuming that they would receive this notification. Happy that I could be informing people and asking them to come and share my voice. Two batches of 'invitations' and more than 50 names later, I was mortified to note that it wasn't invitations, it was automated additions. Huh? What?

Again, if someone selects your name to join a group, you're not invited to the group, you are automatically added into the group. Now, now, don't be shocked. So, there's always an undo. It's the computer, it's the Internet. Just 'unclick' the persons you've added in. Well, if someone has figured this out, let me know because there isn't an option to do this either.

Which means, that users would have to log on to Facebook, be aware that they have been added into a group and then choose whether they wanted to stay or leave. There I was promoting a group about Internet safety and privacy, by adding people without their permission. Absolutely dandy. So, I started messaging them one by one, apologising, some came forward asking and I explained what had happened. This is me.

But here's a scenario, with 500 million users and counting, there's bound to be a group created every minute and most of us do not check our Facebook pages every minute of everyday. Here's a dramatic (but completely possible) scenario, a friend creates a group along the lines of "I Cheat On My Spouse Too" and automatically adds you.

You don't check your Facebook profile for say, a week. So, for 7 days, 168 hours, people who know you, your other Facebook friends, people around the world will be under the impression that you too, cheat on your spouse. How's that?

On a positive note, I would like to think that this is Facebook telling people - Wake up. You need to be more careful about who you add as friends. Be more vigilant about what you say and do on the Internet. It isn't all honesty, trust and responsibility that you find at every nook and corner of the cyber world.

Then I look at it from the business aspect and I think, this is Facebook telling people - We want you clicking away at your pages more frequently. If you're going to be checking on groups that you're automatically added into, the more you'll be clicking away.

The more you use, the more money for them. Responsibility and accountability be damned, let's make some money from 500 million users and counting. Then, on the simple, practical side of it, I think, this is Facebook telling you, you're too stupid to make your own choices. You do not have your own voice. Let someone else, friend or not, do this for you. Let someone else be your voice. One click, that's all it takes.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Time To Quit

By Geri Scazzero

The journey into a profound spirituality for me began when I finally said, “I quit.” Refusing to continue pretending everything was “fine,” I told my husband, Pete, I was quitting the church –and he was the pastor!

The powerful journey we took together – to “quit” the things that really don’t belong to God’s kingdom and embrace the things that do – changed our personal lives, our marriage and our church.

Take a few minutes to see how many of the following ten statements apply to you. It may be time for you to quit.
1. You need the approval of others to feel good about yourself.
2. You are angry, sad, or disappointed and feel guilty about it.
3. You believe you don't have choices.
4. You do for others what they can and should do for themselves.
5. Your rarely consider your own hopes and dreams because of your focus on others.
6. You say “yes’ when you would rather say “no”.
7. You have difficulty speaking up when you disagree or prefer something different.
8. You’re becoming a less instead of a more loving person.
9. You are resentful and tired because you regularly “try to do it all.”
10. You are afraid to admit your weaknesses and flaws.

If two or three apply to you, you may need to start quitting. If four to six apply, you have a lot to quit; if you scored seven or above, your true self may be “buried alive.”

When we quit those things that are damaging to our souls, we are freed up to choose ways of being that are rooted in love and lead to life – both for us and others. Quitting goes hand in hand with choosing. Something breaks inside of us when we finally say, “No more!”

Read more about "I Quit" at Emotionally Healthy

About the author - Geri is a teaching pastor and director of Marriage Ministry at New Life Fellowship Church, a multiracial, international church with over 65 nations represented in Queens, New York City. Her husband, Pete is the founder and senior pastor.

Power Of A Smile

By Barbara Hauck

She smiled at a sorrowful stranger.
The smile seemed to make him feel better,
He remembered past kindnesses of a friend
And wrote him a thank you letter.

The friend was so pleased with the thank you
That he left a large tip after lunch.
The waitress, surprised by the size of the tip,
Bet the whole thing on a hunch.

The next day she picked up her winnings,
And gave part to a man on the street.
The man on the street was grateful;
For two days he'd had nothing to eat.

After he finished his dinner,
He left for his small dingy room.
He didn't know at that moment
That he might be facing his doom.

On the way he picked up a shivering puppy
And took him home to get warm.
The puppy was very grateful
To be in out of the storm.

That night the house caught on fire.
The puppy barked the alarm.
He barked till he woke the whole household
And saved everybody from harm.

One of the boys that he rescued
Grew up to be President.
All this because of a simple smile
That hadn't cost a cent.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

More Than 75 People Have Taken The Pledge. Have You?

Updated on 23 January 2011

To all those who have taken the Pledge of Responsible Social Media Users, we thank you very much for your support and in your effort to keep our cyber world safe. Here's another update! Of course there's more to be added but if you need more information or would like to join in, please click on the link or contact us for more information.

Click Me To Read Me

15 January 2011
Click Me To Read Me!

Friday, 4 February 2011

Bend But Don't Break

Author Unknown

One of my fondest memories as a child is going by the river and sitting idly on the bank. There I would enjoy the peace and quiet, watch the water rush downstream, and listen to the chirps of birds and the rustling of leaves in the trees. I would also watch the bamboo trees bend under pressure from the wind and watch them return gracefully to their upright or original position after the wind had died down.

When I think about the bamboo tree's ability to bounce back or return to it's original position, the word resilience comes to mind. When used in reference to a person this word means the ability to readily recover from shock, depression or any other situation that stretches the limits of a person's emotions.

Have you ever felt like you are about to snap? Have you ever felt like you are at your breaking point? Thankfully, you have survived the experience to live to talk about it.

During the experience you probably felt a mix of emotions that threatened your health. You felt emotionally drained, mentally exhausted and you most likely endured unpleasant physical symptoms.

Life is a mixture of good times and bad times, happy moments and unhappy moments. The next time you are experiencing one of those bad times or unhappy moments that take you close to your breaking point, bend but don't break. Try your best not to let the situation get the best of you.

A measure of hope will take you through the unpleasant ordeal. With hope for a better tomorrow or a better situation, things may not be as bad as they seem to be. The unpleasant ordeal may be easier to deal with if the end result is worth having.

If the going gets tough and you are at your breaking point, show resilience. Like the bamboo tree, bend, but don't break!

Thursday, 3 February 2011

I Want

By Chris Putter

I want to give you flowers.
I want to give you my love.
I want to share with you my feelings.
I want to tell you my story.
I want to feel you near to me.
I want to share my days with you.
I want to share my loneliness.
I want to share my happiness.

I want to show you the trees in spring.
I want to show you the fields in winter.
I want to dance on the wind.
I want to sing in the sunshine.
I want to show you the waterfalls.
I want to walk barefoot in the rain.
I want to sit on top of the mountains.

I want.
I want to give you roses.
I want to laugh with you.
I want to cry with you.
I want to breathe the air with you.
I want to spend my years with you.
I want to go on holidays with you.
I want to grow old with you.

I want you.
I want your love.
I want your thoughts.
I want your warmth.
I want to be needed.
I want our love, to grow strong.
I want our children to grow tall.
Through our love,
Through our devotion,
Through our examples.

I want so much.
I want to live next to God.
I want to serve Him.
I want to obey Him.
I want to do these things with you.
I want to do these things with our children.
I want all these things
Because I am human.
I have needs and wants
Like everybody else.
I am me.

Making A Difference

Author Unknown

There was a man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work. One day he was walking along the shore. As he looked down the beach, he saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself to think of someone who would dance to the day.

So he began to walk faster to catch up. As he got closer, he saw that it was a young man and the young man wasn't dancing, but instead he was reaching down to the shore, picking up something and very gently throwing it into the ocean.

As he got closer he called out, "Good morning! What are you doing?"

The young man paused, looked up and replied, "Throwing starfish in the ocean."

"I guess I should have asked, why are you throwing starfish in the ocean?"

"The sun is up, and the tide is going out, and if I don't throw them in they'll die."

"But, young man, don't you realize that there are miles and miles of beach, and starfish all along it. You can't possibly make a difference!"

The young man listened politely. Then bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves and said, "It made a difference for that one."

There is something very special in each and every one of us. We have all been gifted with the ability to make a difference, and if we can become aware of that gift, we gain through the strength of our visions the power to shape the future.

We must each find our starfish. And if we throw our stars wisely and well, the world will be blessed.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

I Love You Because ...

By Pandora Poikilos

Written On Wednesday, 17 November 2010
Updated On Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Some weeks ago, when having to deal with an issue from the past that had reared its little but very ugly head, I felt as though a load of bricks had fallen on me and cracked me open even further. It was bad enough that I was still reeling from physical pain brought on by my recent VP Shunt surgery and numerous other issues, I also had the wonderful privilege of someone 'close' to me saying, "Because brain surgery was something I wanted, I had to bear the pain as normally as I could and should not complain." For a short while, I thought that yes, something was definitely wrong with me. That maybe, I should not have agreed to the surgery.

Then I thought, what other option did I have? Lumbar punctures for the rest of my life? Hospital visits at least once a month or unexpectedly rushing to the nearest hospital because my CSF fluid had built up far too much? Nobody wakes up one morning and says, “today I've asked for a metal piece attached with a tube to be put into my brain and I'm going to enjoy every bit of it”. If at any point, I really am crazy and this is how other people react to their VP Shunts, do let me know and I'll stop jabbering away.

Maybe the person really hated me that much or maybe I was just that easy to hurt, I don't know. What I do know is that I am not everything I am called. I am what I answer to. And in the words of Mahatma Gandhi, "Nobody can hurt me without my permission". I grew up in an environment where Sunday church meant it was an opportunity to have more to talk about after the service than about the service.

In the name of concern, it was more important to spend whatever time possible assuming what our neighbours were up to than to actually setting out to do something fruitful ourselves. It was a time when we would open our doors to the whole world and forget what we individually needed as a family. Most of all, it was the time when we could criticise, slander, rebuke the divorcee and forget that we condone a far worse situation within the four walls of our home. After all, a grown up touching a child is something that happens everyday, everywhere. Nothing is wrong with it.

As I look back and think of all the people I have crossed paths with, I am thankful for the ones who have hurt me, even if they have hurt me in a big way. Because without them, I wouldn't be able to appreciate the 'support beams' that now support my world so strongly. Yes, I may not have the riches of Hollywood, and with my current physical state of baldness may look like something the cat has been dragging around for two weeks but I have support, encouragement and love. I have everything I need.

This post is about the few people who have shown me in every way possible way that there is such a thing as unconditional love and that if you're willing, you can do anything you set your mind to. It is for the person who reads each of my blog posts and makes it a point to write me a little note to say that I have made a good difference in their world.

It is for people, who regardless of time, effort, money and off days left in their work calendar have driven me or sat with me time after time in a hospital telling me everything will turn out fine and not telling me that I have been such a nuisance to them. Be it holding my hand, spoon feeding me or putting my clothes on, to do it this many times and for me to know I'd probably never have the chance to do the same for them, is an amazing feat.

It is for the person who has opened her home and her heart to me, despite her own significant losses and reminded me that you need something to hold on to, even if your faith is the size of a mustard seed. And in the moments for when I lose focus to always read, Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”.

It is for the person, who despite knowing my many cracks, flaws and broken pieces can still tell me that I am loved for who I am and that together we are just like Peas and Carrots. Also, that just as our fingers, when clasped together offers no space, that is how close we will always be.

Mostly, it is for the people who have believed in me even when I've stopped believing in myself, telling me to pick up a pen and write and to never forget to keep doing it, and irrelevant of country, time zone or phone charge have always found a way of keeping in touch, even if it is for just 2 minutes. Because, really, you actually need less than that to say I Love You or even I’m thinking of you. And so, here are the many reasons why I love the people that I love.

I Love You Because
- You never pushed me down when I was already down
- You make me laugh
- You listen to me
- You've never tried to change me
- You're the first person I think of in the morning
- You understand me
- You accept me
- You're the last voice I hear before I sleep
- You may not agree with what I write, but you still read it anyway
- You taught me how to remember the names of the 7 dwarfs - Dopey, Happy, Grumpy, Sneezy, Sleepy, Bashful & Doc!
- You end all your text messages with I Love You
- You've never complained when I said "I needed to talk" even if it's been at 3am
- You were honest enough to say you hate my makeup
- You've always been there to pick me up at the airport
- You've sat beside my hospital bed and not had a wink of sleep
- You taught me to love craft and to keep doing it
- You gave me my passion for books
- You've eaten my cake, even when it came out all cracked
- You're the person I can call when I'm in pain
- You don't say I told you so, even when you have told me and I've screwed up
- You always come stay, to be near, even if you can't solve the problem
- You've never once said I woke you up (which I probably did) when I woke up with nightmares and needed to calm down
- I can tell you anything and I know you won’t look at me differently
- You’ve never said I don’t have time for you
- You respect my personal space
- I can trust you
- You don’t jump to conclusions
- You don’t choose bits of me that you like, you take it all
- We're going to have a Labrador called 'Bruce'
- You are you. There's no else who can fit those shoes
- You make me feel safe
- I can close my eyes, knowing you'll be around when I wake up
- You know about the best gift box in the world
- You love me in ways I'm not sure I deserve
- Watching 'Cream Fraiche' with you was worth all the laughs
- You're my eyes when my spelling's gone to the dogs
- Sometimes, we really need to change the subject and sometimes we don't and we're still figuring out together, which is which
- You just called me pedantic and it made me laugh

(and there's more to come!)
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Books Sold - 6 Nov 2011 to 31 May 2012

Some of you have asked me for my total number of books sold to evaluate KDP Select so here it is. Bear in mind, that results will vary based on genre and author. Good luck and remember, Keep Moving Forward.

Total - 120,836

1. Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped Out
Amazon Kindle - 42,559
Paperback -
Smashwords -

2. Frequent Traveller
Amazon Kindle - 35277
Paperback -
Smashwords -

3. Dora's Essentials - Books, Blogs & Smiles 1
Amazon Kindle - 462
Smashwords -

4. Mirror Me Martha (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle - 281
Smashwords -

5. Drive On Hope (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle - 190
Smashwords -

6. Blog-A-Licious Directory 2012
Amazon Kindle - 1
Smashwords -

7. Pandora's Reading Room 1
Amazon Kindle -
Paperback - N/A

8. The Cat That Barked (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle -

9. Dora's Essentials - Examining Anxiety
Amazon Kindle -

10. Dora's Essentials - Books, Blogs & Smiles 2
Amazon Kindle -

11. Elevenses from Around the World
Amazon Kindle -

12. Genetically Modified Foods vs. Sustainability
Amazon Kindle -

Blog-A-Licius - Sherbet Blossom



Dealightfully Frugal

Blog-A-Licious - The Few, The Proud, The Wife


My Soul Slippers

Blog-A-Licous - Textbook Mommy

Blog-A-Licious - Blue Frogs Legs

Blog-A-Licious - Pretty All True

Pretty All True

Blog-A-Licious - tbaoo



Powered by

Blog-A-Licious - The Invisible Art

Blog-A-Licious - Rediscovering Domesticity

Rediscovering Domesticity

Blog-A-Licious - Quiver Full

Blog-A-Licious - Cori's Big Mouth

Blog-A-Licious - Great Fun


Blog-A-Licious - Busy Wife

Blog-A-Licious - Steps To Happiness

Powered by

Blog-A-Licious - Toby & Max

Blog-A-Licious - Amelie

Raising Amelie

Blog-A-Licious - Peas In A Pod

Blog-A-Licious - Riley

Blognostics - Poetry


My Awards - September 2010

My Awards - September 2010
Awarded By Jo Frances

My Awards - May 2011

My Awards - May 2011
Awarded By Alejandro Guzman

My Awards - May 2011

My Awards - May 2011
Awarded by Kriti Mukherjee

My Awards - April 2011

My Awards - April 2011
Awarded By Roy Durham

My Awards - June 2011

My Awards - June 2011
Awarded By Sulekha Rawat

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