Sunday, 31 July 2011

You've Got To Find What You Love

This is the text of the Commencement address by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, delivered on June 12, 2005.

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course." My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now.

This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope its the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Thank you all very much.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Treasures In Your Life

By Pandora Poikilos

Today's post is in conjunction with the Blog-A-Licious Blog Tour 6 a fantastic blog hop that brings together bloggers of all genres, backgrounds and locations. In today's hop, the blog featured before Peace from Pieces is Shannon. The blog featured after Peace from Pieces is Hope. Do stop by and say hello, plus some of us are having giveaways and contests. Enjoy!
Click HERE for a full list of participating blogs.

This is an condensed version of a previous post I made, "I Love You Because" in honour of the treasures in my life - faith, trust and love. Three things we are so keen (unknowingly or not) on taking for granted.

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

Love and light.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Blog-A-Licious Blog Tour 6

Join Me!
Blog-A-Licious Blog Tour

Come join us on a fantastic blog hop that brings together bloggers of all genres, backgrounds and locations.

Tour Date - Saturday, 30 July
Theme - Treasures In Your Life

Want to join in the fun? Here's what you need to do ...
1. Leave your blog link at the bottom of this post.
2. Write an article or post a photo relevant to the theme on YOUR blog. If your post is not up by Saturday 12.00 noon (GMT), your link will be removed from this list.
2. Introduce the blog before you and the blog after you.
3. Visit as many of the listed blogs as you can, if not in one day you can do a few a day? Make a comment, follow, join.
4. If you are having a giveaway or a competition this would be the time to showcase your hot stuff. This is not compulsory, it is up to you.
5. This is open to all bloggers, writers, authors, publishers. All we ask is that you have a blog, be able to post as per the weekly theme, have a comment system that works and have F-U-N.
6. The tour is limited to 20 bloggers.
7. BUT, we will be doing it every two weeks. Next blog tour is on 14 August, to sign up click HERE.

Fun tips to make it work
1. Tweet it (#blogalicious), Stumble it and share it any way you can. Tweet me @pandorapoikilos
2. Not all of us are on the same time zone so try to have your post up by Friday night your time. This way it'll be ready for when people come to visit you.
3. Giveaways and competitions are not compulsory, it is up to you.
4. Even if you can't visit all the blogs in one day, spread it over the weekend or even the week.
5. If there is anything you need, email me -

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Little Brown Boy

By Alison Peters

Danielle was only four when she burst through the front door, having just gotten off the school bus, after preschool. Charging through the living room, she spotted me in the dining room and launched into a speech while she headed toward me. While it was comical to see such a little person behave so dramatically, her outrage seemed real enough that she had my full attention.

"They are MEAN to him!" she raged, her little fist hammering the table top for emphasis.

"Who is mean to who?" I interrupted.

"Those kids on the bus! They are MEAN to the little brown boy!" She looked up at me, hands on her hips, her eyes wide, incredulous. I knew she expected me to right this injustice immediately. It was the first one she had discovered in her very new Out In The World On Her Own adventures.

"They make fun of him and make fun of him and make fun of him." Her golden head nodded emphatically with each repetition. "They laugh at him. They copy the way he talks. They hurt his feelings!" I watched her while I listened. This was something very different for her, this little girl I knew so well. I had never seen her just this way before. I even saw flashes of anger in her green eyes.

"The way he talks...?" I prompted, as if she needed prompting. I sat down at the table and set her on my lap.

"He doesn't talk perfect, but that's just because he's a little kid!" this four-year-old elderly person informed me loudly, inches from my face. She looked directly into my eyes, needing answers. "WHY are they so MEAN?"

My husband and I had been a little apprehensive about sending her to and from preschool ("Headstart") on a bus with many of the kids so much older and bigger and tougher than she was. This was our baby of the family, our sheltered miniature princess, and it was not easy to back off and let her face the world without us for a few hours a day ... Alas, even princesses grow up.

"Do you think they might be doing that just because he's new?" I asked her.

She thought for a minute. "No. When I was new, they didn't make fun of me."

I took a deep breath. "Do you think maybe they tease him because his skin is black?"

She thought for a minute, clearly puzzled. Then she wrinkled her nose and said, "You mean brown?" I nodded and she went on: "Because he's BROWN? You don't make fun of someone just because of that!"

I told her I hoped she was right. She was learning lessons none of us should need to learn. Man's inhumanity to man ... Kid's inhumanity to kids ... Whatever the reason, people can be so cruel.

(Since we were looking into that subject, and since Danielle has a Downs' syndrome sister who rode on the same bus, I asked quietly, "Does anyone on the bus make fun of Shannon, Danielle?"

I'll never forget the look she gave me. My question threw her totally off guard. Her brow furrowed, her nose wrinkled again and she asked, "Why in the world would they make fun of Shannon?" The very idea was ludicrous. Her mother could be so silly sometimes ...

Relief was great ...

But just in case, just in case there really was a flash of racial prejudice or any other mean-streak residing in the preschool bus in our little rural neighborhood, it was necessary to take a bit of action. First, I telephoned the principal and informed him that my preschooler had come home upset because of the way a little boy was treated on the bus. I told him what she had told me, and he asked me to thank her for him, for alerting us to a possible problem, something that needed his attention. He assured me he would look into it and he appreciated Danielle's and my concern.

She was happy. We had done something.

Then, for good measure, she and I sang a song together: a song we both knew very well.

"Jesus loves the little children All the children of the world. Red and yellow Black ('AND BROWN', I threw in) and white, All are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world."

I don't know how the principal chose to handle the problem: I don't know what he said to the kids. But rest assured Danielle kept me posted on Life on the School Bus, and there was not even one more negative incident involving the little brown boy.

A princess had seen to that.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Do You Have a Cage?

By Paula Renaye

The following are some things I found when I finally got around to having files recovered from an old computer that bit the dust. One is just a short little poem that I wrote as an exercise in a class. The other is a little story I wrote just because.

These were written about ten years ago when I was in the midst of coming to terms that I couldn’t stay married. I haven’t changed or edited anything in either.

I am sharing them because they show where my thoughts were at that time—how I was processing what I was experiencing, trying to accept into a reality I could deal with. I was beginning to own my own role in my situation, and I was also recognizing that I had beliefs that were keeping me trapped there.

In the following story about the parakeet, I think I was trying to understand both the keeper and the kept along with the safety of the cage and the perils of being trapped there. See what you think!

The Parakeet

A few years ago I inherited a parakeet from my daughter. I did not want a bird, mind you, but I got one.

So, making the best of things, I went about the business of accepting her as mine. Being the creative genius I am, I gave her a superb and thoughtful name: BirdieBirdie. With lilting variations and other ridiculous sounds.

Yes, I did. She seemed to like her new keeper and BirdieBirdie and I became friends. It didn’t take long. I talked to her and she would leap to the side of the cage and talk back. Cute, fun. I bought her toys, bells, ladders, mirrors and all sorts of things that seemed entertaining to me, but what she really wanted was my attention.

All the time.

I had a home office so I took the teal green creature up to be with me while I worked. It seemed like a good plan. We’d keep each other company. It worked fine. Until the phone rang with a business call.

The second I started talking, so did she. It seemed any time I spoke, BirdieBirdie assumed I was speaking to her. And she responded. Loudly. Now, I’m not big on caged animals of any sort anywhere. I didn’t want this one in the first place for exactly that reason—and about five hundred others—so, in that desperate moment, I let her out.

Oh, my, it was a circus in the beginning; a bird-wrangling rodeo to get her back in the cage when the time came. It was, however, fairly effective in keeping her quiet during business calls. Fairly.

Then one day, I was talking to her and she swooped down and landed on my head. Always the head. I put her on my shoulder, my desk, my chair, and she’d stay for a little while then back to the head or gone.

Eventually, she would come to me when she wanted or whenever I called. She’d go back to her cage when she felt like it and she’d hop in whenever I carried her over on my finger.

She was no longer trapped. She could come and go, and know that there would be another time of freedom.

She had loved me when I kept her in a cage, but she wanted out so badly, to be free. I was afraid if I let her out, she’d hurt herself, she’d get out or get eaten by the dog. Believe me, we had plenty of close calls.

In the end, it was the cage that killed her. We had a new kitten and she flew to the side of the cage to see what was going on, and little sharp claws got her through the bars. The cage didn’t protect her at all.

In her freedom, she came to me of her own free will. Trapped, she died.

Keeping someone in a cage through jealousy or codependency may keep them with you. But it is only in the freedom that they can truly choose to be with you.

The story isn’t really finished—there was more I needed to understand—but it was where I was at the time and the step I took in that moment.

What I wasn’t yet willing to admit was that I had created my own cage. My unconscious belief system pushed me to build it then hand the keys to another person. Then the conscious me bemoaned the fact that I was trapped—and blamed the other person.

As you’ll see by the next few lines, I knew the truth—at least part of me did—I was just struggling to find a way to own it. I wrote the following for the one and only writing class I ever took. Looking back, it was really more about allowing what was within to come out and putting it on paper. The topic could have been anything: joy, sunshine, love, roses, puppies or mountain streams. Here is what I wrote:

The Key

The cage is locked

The key so near

All that’s holding me

Are the bars of fear

Pay attention to your thoughts and your words. Your truth is there. And, look for the messages in your own life and give yourself those moments of insight—as often as possible. It matters. It is a process of becoming really aware of what you’re thinking about—and why—and then realizing you can make it different if you want to.

Have the courage to start now. Own your thoughts, words, actions and choices. Know what you want and what you need to get there, and then do it consciously, deliberately and on purpose. You can fast forward yourself to joy!

Paula Renaye is a certified professional coach, life transformation speaker, regression hypnosis practitioner and award-winning author of the newly released Hardline Self Help Handbook. Visit for details and more self improvement tips.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

A Touch Of Lemon

By Rick Phillips

When I met Mr. Jim Lemon, I was a sixteen-year-old freshman at Houston's Jackson Junior High and the chances of my finishing high school were slim. I was a troubled teenager with an attitude, living in a neighborhood that fostered troubled teenagers.

Mr. Lemon taught American history and it was clear from the first day that his classroom was not going to be disrupted. It was apparent, very quickly, that Mr. Lemon was quite different from the other teachers I had known. Not only was he a disciplinarian, but also he was a great teacher. He would never settle for my usual standard of classroom work. Mr. Lemon pushed and prodded and never tolerated the mediocrity that had become my standard.

On the occasion of our first semester report cards, Mr. Lemon called me aside and asked how it was possible that I was a B student in his class and a D and F student in the rest of my classes.

I was ready for that question. I passionately told him about my divorced parents, the local gangs, the drugs, the fights, and the police - all the evils that I had been subjected to. Mr. Lemon listened patiently and when I was through he responded, “There’s a problem with your list Mr. Phillips, you are not on it.”

Then Mr. Lemon explained that the only person responsible for my situation was me. And the only person with the potential to change my situation was me, and that when I personally accepted that responsibility I could make a significant change in my life.

He convinced me that I was failing not because I was a failure, but because I was not accepting the responsibility for my results in those other classes. Mr. Lemon was the first teacher I had who made me believe in myself. He inspired me to become a better student and he changed my life.

Ten years later, I spoke to him again. I was preparing to graduate from Chaminade University in Honolulu.

It had taken weeks of telephone calls to find him but I knew what I had to say. When I finally did get Mr. Lemon on the telephone, I explained what his brutal honesty had meant to me, how I finally graduated from high school, and how I was a proud staff sergeant in the Army. I explained how I had married the most beautiful and wonderful woman of my dreams and how we had a beautiful daughter.

Most of all I wanted him to know that I was about to graduate magna cum laude after going to school for four hours a night, four nights a week for three years. I wanted him to know that I could never have done any of these things if he had not been a part of my life.

Finally, I told him that I had been saving money for two years so that I could invite he and his wife to come to Hawaii at my expense to be part of my graduation. I'll never forget his response. Mr. Lemon said, "Who is this again?"

I was just one of hundreds of students whose life he changed and he seemed genuinely surprised of his impact.

Perhaps none of us realize the impact that we have on other people nor do other people have any idea how much of an impact they have on us. How much, then, should we be aware of our influence on others to make sure that it is for the best? And how much more should we tell those who have had a positive impact on our lives?

Saturday, 23 July 2011

We Can Still Be Friends

“we can still be friends”
- often used during a claimed ‘mutual / amicable’ break up.
- actually means, please let’s be polite. I don’t need my car scratched or my car tyres slashed. Some advice from someone who’s been there and done that, don’t go down this road. A break up is called a BREAK up for a reason. This is so age old (even since Shakespearean days) lovers simply do not become friends.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Sometimes The Day Comes

By Joy Sankhala

Sometimes the day comes
when you try your level best
to achieve something
but you fail

Sometimes the day comes
when nobody understands you
and you feel that you are isolated
from the world

Sometimes the day comes
when you want to help the needy
but find yourself unable to
because of some reasons

Sometimes the day comes
when you are hungry and have a few bucks
but you see the child laborers and buy food for them

Sometimes the day comes
when Mom comes up with one answer
and Father with another
and you have to make your own decision

Sometimes the day comes
when you see that some people ditch others
because of their selfishness

Sometimes the day comes
when you want to tell something to your parents
but find yourself unable to because
you think that they might get hurt or misunderstand you

Sometimes the day comes
when your friends drift apart
not because you were not able to understand them
but because they were not able to understand you

Sometimes the day comes
when you want to smile
but can't find a place to even weep

Sometimes the day comes
when your beloved can't understand your feelings
and leaves you alone
and you look down and feel ashamed or embarrassed

But sometimes the day comes
when you learn from all your failure and think
"Those who dare to fail greatly can achieve greatly."

Don't look down, look up.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

God & The Spider

Author Unknown

During World War II, a US marine was separated from his unit on a Pacific island. The fighting had been intense, and in the smoke and the crossfire he had lost touch with his comrades.

Alone in the jungle, he could hear enemy soldiers coming in his direction. Scrambling for cover, he found his way up a high ridge to several small caves in the rock. Quickly he crawled inside one of the caves. Although safe for the moment, he realized that once the enemy soldiers looking for him swept up the ridge, they would quickly search all the caves and he would be killed.

As he waited, he prayed, “Lord, if it be your will, please protect me. Whatever your will though, I love you and trust you. Amen.”

After praying, he lay quietly listening to the enemy begin to draw close. He thought, “Well, I guess the Lord isn’t going to help me out of this one.” Then he saw a spider begin to build a web over the front of his cave.As he watched, listening to the enemy searching for him all the while, the spider layered strand after strand of web across the opening of the cave.”Hah, he thought. “What I need is a brick wall and what the Lord has sent me is a spider web. God does have a sense of humor.”

As the enemy drew closer he watched from the darkness of his hideout and could see them searching one cave after another. As they came to his, he got ready to make his last stand. To his amazement, however, after glancing in the direction of his cave, they moved on. Suddenly, he realized that with the spider web over the entrance, his cave looked as if no one had entered for quite a while.

“Lord, forgive me,” prayed the young man. “I had forgotten that in you a spider’s web is stronger than a brick wall.”

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Here We Come to Save the Day!

By Paula Renaye

“What we can tolerate we will not change.”

I don’t know who said it first, but I’ve said it a lot. It’s certainly been true for me and it’s probably true for you too in one way or another.

Lately though, I’ve heard a lot of people saying some version of this statement: “Small businesses—the entrepreneurs—will be the ones to get the economy moving again and save the day.”

I whole heartedly agree. And to me, that means we’ve finally stopped waiting on someone or something else to fix things for us and we’ve gotten busy saving ourselves. And when we do that on one level—when we get the courage to stop tolerating and actively make different choices—it affects every aspect of our lives.

When we push through the fear and take action anyway, we are changed at the core level. Just as feeding fear in one area created fearfulness in all areas, acting courageously fuels more courage. Each purposeful step we take—each action we consciously choose—makes us bigger and gets us closer to being our authentic selves.

But what if we’re still on that other side, looking through the window of what might be? What if we are afraid? Even if we don’t enjoy what we’re doing and our soul is screaming to be fed, it’s tough to walk away from a steady income into the unknown and the uncertainty. We’ll have thoughts such as, “What if it doesn’t work out? What will people say? I’ll look like a fool. I’ll be sorry I gave up what I had.”

These are all limiting beliefs, of course, but we’ve all heard them and may have even said similar things. We’ll stick with what we can stand rather than take a chance and go for what we really want. We’re afraid that the grass might not really be greener, so we don’t even try.

However, with the way things are in the world today, a lot of people are getting pushed past the point of what they are willing to tolerate—and that’s a really good thing!

I’ve met several people lately who simply reached their break point with the status quo and said “enough” and closed the door on their old ways of being. Something shifted within them and the “shoulds” imposed by the media no longer mattered. Almost overnight they unplugged from consumerism and plugged into compassion.

Some of us, however, had to be pushed into it. When the rug is pulled out from under us—when reality finally can’t be ignored and we have to face taking full responsibility for ourselves—we become willing to see new options. The crisis jumpstarts our creativity and innovative thinking, and we get busy doing something. That’s what’s happening now in many different ways.

This excerpt from Richard Bach’s wonderful classic, Illusions, says so much.

Once there lived a village of creatures along the bottom of a great crystal river. The current of the river swept silently over them all—young and old, rich and poor, good and evil—the current going its own way, knowing only its own crystal self.

Each creature in its own manner clung tightly to the twigs and rocks of the river bottom, for clinging was their way of life, and resisting the current was what each had learned from birth.

But one creature said at last, “I am tired of clinging. Though I cannot see it with my eyes, I trust that the current knows where it is going. I shall let go, and let it take me where it will. Clinging, I shall die of boredom.”

The other creatures laughed and said, “Fool! Let go, and that current you worship will throw you tumbled and smashed against the rocks, and you will die quicker than boredom!”

But the one heeded them not, and taking a breath did let go, and at once was tumbled and smashed by the current across the rocks.

Yet in time, as the creature refused to cling again, the current lifted him free from the bottom, and he was bruised and hurt no more.

And the creatures downstream, to whom he was a stranger, cried, “See a miracle! A creature like ourselves, yet he flies! See the messiah, come to save us all!”

And the one carried in the current said, “I am no more messiah than you. The river delights to lift us free, if only we dare let go. Our true work is this voyage, this adventure.”

But they cried the more, “Savior!” all the while clinging to the rocks, and when they looked again he was gone, and they were left alone making legends of a savior.

We have been taught to fear change, and that keeps us compliant and complacent. Oh, we’ll complain about how awful it is, but we’ll keep clinging to our rocks and shame anyone who dares consider doing what we fear.

That’s changing—it has changed!

As the Hopi Elders say, “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”

If you’re already making changes, thank you! Keep being the grandest version of you that you can be—and help others be their grandest selves as well.

If you’re not and you want to, what are you waiting for? Let go of the fear and let your soul live the life it really wants to. Follow your heart and your dreams.

We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. It is up to us to save the day. Be the change and do it now!

Paula Renaye is a certified professional coach, life transformation speaker, regression hypnosis practitioner and award-winning author of the newly released Hardline Self Help Handbook. Visit for details and more self improvement tips.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Everybody Lies

Updated 17 July 2011

101 Lies We Tell & Believe
By Pandora Poikilos

There is a cocktail of deceit and ignorance we serve ourselves everyday and that is the delusion that we are completely innocent of telling lies. And when we do tell lies, we console ourselves that these lies are necessary white lies to spare someone else hurt or misery. But in telling a white lie, are you lying or telling the truth? So back to the title, everybody lies whether we want to admit to it or not. Yes, "we" because I am guilty of it just as you are.

Why this sudden train of thought? The recent scandal (of the Rupert Murdoch empire, News of the World, News International) that has rocked the journalism world has opened a can of worms which has thus far survived scrutiny. For the longest time, the masses believed people's curiosity deserve to be answered even if it is at the expense of someone else's privacy. Unregulated freedom of speech is power to the people. People are wise enough to regulate themselves and are intelligent enough to differentiate right from wrong. Yes, that is exactly why a 168 year old newspaper was forced to shut down. Right down to the core of this very creepy crawly can of worms lies one issue we so often choose to sidestep, the "truth".

We listen to what we want to hear. Once we have heard something we like, we tell ourselves this is the truth. Never mind if it is fact or fiction. Even better if it comes from someone important or from a majority. Popularity trumps accuracy. Responsibility for our actions be damned, the freedom to say anything we want reigns. In the words of Billy Bragg's latest release, Never Buy The Sun ...
And the parents of the missing girl cling desperately to hope
While a copper takes improper payments in a thick brown envelope
And nobody in the news room asks where this information comes from

International executives they hang their heads in shame
Tell us with their hands on heart that the paper board is to blame
But everyone who loves their kiss and tell
You must share the blame as well
And so in the spirit of all things unreal (as is the current state of a lot of things at the moment), here is a list of lies, lies and lies that we so often let slip or that we hear and believe, in no particular order of course .

#101 - I am fine
#100 - Your secret is safe with me
#99 - I respect your privacy
#98 - I understand how you feel
#97 - I am completely honest
#96 - I only want to make you happy
#95 - That dress looks great on you
#94 - It is wonderful to see you
#93 - Of course, I remember you
#92 - I'm on the way home
#91 - I just do not have the time
#90 - I meant to call you
#89 - People change
#88 - It is for your own good
#87 - I'll do it later
.... more to come

Sunday, 17 July 2011

How To Stay Worry Free

Today's post is in conjunction with the Blog-A-Licious Blog Tour 5 - a fantastic blog hop that brings together bloggers of all genres, backgrounds and locations. In today's hop, the blog featured before Peace from Pieces is the ever stellar Karen. The blog featured after Peace from Pieces is the eclectic Roy. Do stop by and say hello to the others on today's tour. Enjoy! Sign up for Blog-A-Licious Blog Tour 6, HERE

3 Special Words to keep worries from getting the better of you.
Author Unknown

Let me help
Good people/friends do this when they see someone hurt and jump to help. They are sure winners.

I understand you
A powerful tool for healing any relationship and become closer.

I respect you
Another way of showing love in all interpersonal relationship.

I miss you
This powerful affirmation tells the other person that they are wanted, needed, desired and loved.

You are right
Best effective in diffusing arguments.

Please forgive me
Heals and restores broken relationships.

I thank you
Gratitude is an exquisite form of courtesy.

Count on me
Loyalty is a special ingredient in any relationship.

I'll be there
A great gift to give for a relationship in need for renewing love and friendship.

Go for it
Best way of supporting and encouraging the other person's dreams and desires.

and the most important one of all

I love you
These three words cover all the above

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Blog-A-Licious Blog Tour 5

Join Me!
Blog-A-Licious Blog Tour

Come join us on a fantastic blog hop that brings together bloggers of all genres, backgrounds and locations.

Tour Date - Saturday, 16 July
Theme - How To Stay Worry Free

1. Janki -
2. Shelley -
Want to join in the fun? Here's what you need to do ...
1. Leave your blog link at the bottom of this post.
2. Write an article or post a photo relevant to the theme on YOUR blog. If your post is not up by Saturday 12.00 noon (GMT), your link will be removed from this list.
2. Introduce the blog before you and the blog after you.
3. Visit as many of the listed blogs as you can, if not in one day you can do a few a day? Make a comment, follow, join.
4. If you are having a giveaway or a competition this would be the time to showcase your hot stuff. This is not compulsory, it is up to you.
5. This is open to all bloggers, writers, authors, publishers. All we ask is that you have a blog, be able to post as per the weekly theme, have a comment system that works and have F-U-N.
6. The tour is limited to 20 bloggers.
7. BUT, we will be doing it every two weeks. Next blog tour is on 30 July, to sign up click HERE.

Fun tips to make it work
1. Tweet it (#blogalicious), Stumble it and share it any way you can. Tweet me @pandorapoikilos
2. Not all of us are on the same time zone so try to have your post up by Friday night your time. This way it'll be ready for when people come to visit you.
3. Giveaways and competitions are not compulsory, it is up to you.
4. Even if you can't visit all the blogs in one day, spread it over the weekend or even the week.
5. If there is anything you need, email me -

Friday, 15 July 2011

Where Were You?

“where the hell were you?!?!”
- usually used after one party has experienced a really bad patch and then finds out that they are being advised on how it SHOULD have been done.
- actually means, I needed you and you were nowhere to be found. Now, don’t you dare tell me how to feel. This one’s a little tricky. Sometimes when a person has been hurt so much or experiencing something really tough, they are beyond expectations of what others can do for them and like a hurt puppy they’ll retract their paw instead of showing you where it hurts. If this is important to the person and the person is important to you, just be there. Yes, even without the person asking. You’d be surprised what just being silent and being there can do. And eventually, the words will come, for you and for the other person.
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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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