Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Christmas

Christmas is not in tinsel and lights and outward show.

The secret lies in an inner glow.

It's lighting a fire inside the heart.

Good will and joy a vital part.

It's higher thought and a greater plan.

It's glorious dream in the soul of man.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Today...I wish you a day of ordinary miracles

A fresh pot of coffee you didn't have to make for yourself.

An unexpected phone call from an old friend.

Traffic lights on green all the way to work.

I wish you a day of little things to rejoice in...

The fastest line at the supermarket or post office.

A good sing-along song on the radio.

Your keys right where you look for them.

I wish you a day of happiness and perfection-little bite-size pieces of perfection that give you the funny feeling that the Lord is smiling on you, holding you so gently because you are someone special and rare.

I wish You a day of Peace, Happiness and Joy.

They say it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them, but then an entire lifetime to forget them.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

What Love Means

What Love means to a 4-8 year old . . .
Slow down for three minutes to read this. It is so worth it. Touching words from the mouth of babes. A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds, "What does love mean?" The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined. See what you think:

"When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love." Rebecca- age 8
"When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth." Billy - age 4
"Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other." Karl – age 5
"Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs." Chrissy - age 6
"Love is what makes you smile when you're tired." Terri - age 4
"Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK." Danny - age 7
"Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss" Emily - age 8
"Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen." Bobby - age 7
"If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate," Nikka -age 6
"Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it every day." Noelle - age 7
"Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well."Tommy - age 6
"During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn't scared anymore." Cindy - age 8
"My mommy loves me more than anybody. You don't see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night." Clare - age 6
"Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken." Elaine - age 5
"Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford." Chris - age 7
"Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day." Mary Ann - age 4
"I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones." Lauren - age 4
"When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you." Karen - age 7
"Love is when Mommy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn't think it's gross." Mark - age 6
"You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget." Jessica - age 8

And the final one -- Author and lecturer Leo Buscaglia once talked about a contest he was asked to judge. The purpose of the contest was to find the most caring child.
The winner was a four year old child whose next-door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman's yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there. When his Mother asked what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said, "Nothing, I just helped him cry"

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Rite of Passage

I received an email recently and wanted to share it with you.

'Do you know the legend of the Cherokee Indian youth's rite of passage?

His father takes him into the forest, blindfolds him and leaves him alone.

He is required to sit on a tree stump the whole night and not remove the blindfold until the rays of the morning sun shine through it. He cannot cry out for help to anyone. Once he survives the night, he will be a MAN.

He cannot tell the other boys of this experience, because each lad must come into manhood on his own.

The boy is naturally terrified. He can hear all kinds of noises. Wild beasts must surely be all around him. Maybe even some human might do him harm. The wind blew the grass and earth, and shook his tree stump, but he sat stoically, never removing the blindfold. It would be the only way he could become a man!

Finally, after a horrific night the sun appeared and he removed his blindfold. It was then that he discovered his father sitting on the tree stump next to him. He had been at watch the entire night, protecting his son from harm.

We, too, are never alone. Even when we don't know it, our Heavenly Father is watching over us, sitting on the tree stump beside us. When trouble comes, all we have to do is reach out to Him.

If you liked this story, pass it on. If not, maybe you took off your blindfold before dawn...'

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The people that matter most

Here's a short quiz for you to try:

1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America.
4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.
5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winner for best actor and actress.
6. Name the last decade's worth of World Series winners.

How did you do?
The point is, few of us remember the headliners of yesterday.
These people are by no means second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields.
But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are easily forgotten.
Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Here's another quiz. See how you do on this one:
1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.
5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.

The lesson: The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that care.

Monday, October 01, 2007

I've got a new job!!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Holiday 2007 - House for an Art Lover

In 1901, Glasgow’s most famous architect, Charles Rennie Mackintosh entered a competition to design a ‘House for an Art Lover’. The competition was set by a German design magazine which sought entries to design ‘a grand house in a thoroughly modern style’, and challenged architects to develop ideas which were fresh and innovative. Mackintosh worked on his submission together with his wife, Margaret Macdonald. For the first time, Mackintosh and Macdonald were allowed complete freedom of artistic expression, their designs not conforming to client specification and demand.
Whilst the Mackintoshs’ entry was disqualified from the competition on the grounds of late submission, the designs were awarded a special prize for “their pronounced personal quality, their novel and austere form and the uniform configuration of interior and exterior.”

Charles Rennie Mackintosh's competition entry has been admired by scholars and Mackintosh enthusiasts alike over the last century. The urging of consulting engineer, Graham Roxburgh, led to the idea of building the House in the late eighties. His dream to build the House for an Art Lover became a reality in 1989 when building work began. However, recession in the early Nineties forced the project to be temporarily halted. Building work resumed in 1994, revived by a collaboration between Glasgow City Council and the Glasgow School of Art. Over one hundred years after the designs were first created, the House now stands completed in Bellahouston Park.

Friday, June 29, 2007

White Cube Gallery

A very dear friend took me to see this in London yesterday. It was all very 'showbiz' with heavy weight security and much razzmatazz which was then let down by viewing in a pitch black room for a full 5 minutes.
This was then followed by a perusal of other interesting exhibits including a Tiger Shark in formaldehyde, split lengthways allowing you to walk through the middle and a couple of cows cut in half. All novel items but whether they are art is questionable. I personally thought the Skull was fabulous but question the validity of spending that much money to make or purchase it. How many people could be helped, how many lives eased just a little, with that sort of money? The adage is 'a fool and his money are easily parted'.
The rest of the exhibits leave me cold and I find myself recalling the tale of the Emperor's New Clothes. However, if that's what rocks your boat then c'est la vie.

British artist Damien Hirst revealed his latest work of art at the White Cube Gallery in London, June 1, 2007. "For the Love of God" is a life-size cast of a human skull in platinum and covered by 8,601 pave-set diamonds weighing 1,106.18 carats. The single large diamond in the middle of the forehead is reportedly worth $4.2 million alone. Hirst financed the project himself, and estimates it cost between 10 and 15 million. Of course, it will cost someone a pretty penny to own the work: It's priced at $99 million.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Holiday 2007

Q. What do you call a grumpy cow?

A. Moo-dy

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Train Ticket

Three women and three men are travelling by train to the football. At the station, the three men each buy a ticket and watch as the three women buy just one ticket. "How are the three of you going to travel on only one ticket?" asks one of the men.

"Watch and learn," answers one of the women. They all board the train. The three men take their respective seats but all three women cram into a toilet together and close the door. Shortly after the train has departed, the conductor comes around collecting tickets. He knocks on the toilet door and says, "Ticket, please. The door opens just a crack, and a single arm emerges with a ticket in hand. The conductor takes it and moves on.

The men see this happen and agree it was quite a clever idea; so, after the game, they decide to do the same thing on the return trip and save some money. When they get to the station they buy a single ticket for the return trip but see, to their astonishment, that the three women don't buy any ticket at all!!

"How are you going to travel without a ticket?" says one perplexed man. "Watch and learn," answer the women. When they board the train, the three men cram themselves into a toilet, and the three women cram into another toilet just down the way. Shortly after the train is on its way, one of the women leaves her toilet and walks over to the toilet in which the men are hiding.

The woman knocks on their door and says, "Ticket, please."

I'm still trying to figure out why men ever think they are smarter than women.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Ph.D. in Leadership

Short Course:

Make a short list of all things done to you that you abhorred.

Don't do them to others. Ever.

Make another list of things done to you that you loved.

Do them to others. Always."

Dee Hock

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Kew Gardens

I thought I'd share this photo with you of Kew Gardens on Monday.

Transforming the landscape from white to blue, the delicate alpine Chionodoxa comes into flower as the snows melt in the mountains of Turkey, Crete and Cyprus, earning it the name Glory of the Snow.

Thousands of deep blue, starry-flowered Chionodoxa siehei from western Turkey have been naturalised in the lawn creating a blanket of spring colour. They emerge in the early months of the year, flower and then die back to survive the summer underground as dormant bulbs.

With this and the daffodils under the warm Spring sunshine I had a fab birthday walking through the grounds.

'Just as a prism of glass miters light and casts a colored braid, a garden sings sweet incantations the human heart strains to hear. Hiding in every flower, in every leaf, in every twig and bough, are reflections of the God who once walked with us in Eden.'
Tonia Triebwasser

Monday, March 26, 2007

Birthday wishes

Today is my 40th Birthday and I wish to extend to you all my best wishes and share with you my good fortune in having so many lovely friends. I ask you to raise a glass and think of me with the same regard as I hold you all.

'I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see.' -- John Burroughs.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Diary of..........

Excerpts from a Dog's Daily Diary

8.00am Dog food! My favourite thing!
9.30am A car ride! My favourite thing!
9.40am A walk in the park! My favourite thing!
10.30am Got hugged and petted! My favourite thing!
12.00pm Lunch! My favourite thing!
1.00pm Played in the garden! My favourite thing!
3.00pm Chased my tail! My favourite thing!
5.00pm Bonio biscuits! My favourite thing!
7.00pm Got to play ball! My favourite thing!
8.00pm Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favourite thing!
11.00pm Sleeping on the bed! My favourite thing!

Excerpts from a Cat's Daily Diary

Day 683 of my captivity.

My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength. The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape. In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the floor. Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates what I am capable of. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a "good little hunter" I am. The audacity!
There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of "allergies." I must learn what this means, and how to use it to my advantage.
Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow - but at the top of the stairs. I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches. The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released - and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously retarded! The bird has got to be an informant. I observe it communicating with the guards regularly. I am certain that it reports my every move. My Captors have arranged protective custody for it in an elevated cell, so he is safe...for now....

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Precepts To Live By

Be impeccable with your word - Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

Don't take anything personally - Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering.

Don't make assumptions - Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one rule, you can completely transform your life.

Always do your best - Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Counting My Blessings

This is a quote from Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet. I can't believe I didn't know about this book until a good friend gave me a copy. It seems to provide just the right words when you need them, bringing clarity to confusion, turning chaos into calm, and centering the wandering mind.

Always there - like my very good friends, cyber or otherwise.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Sand and Stone

Two friends were walking through the desert. At some point during the journey, they had an argument; and one friend slapped the other one in the face. The one who was slapped was hurt, but without saying anything, wrote in the sand: "Today my best friend slapped me in the face." They kept on walking, until they found an oasis where they decided to bathe. The one who had been slapped got stuck in the mire and started to drown, but the friend saved him. After he had recovered from the near drowning, he carved on a stone: "Today my best friend saved my life." The friend who had slapped and saved his best friend asked him, "After I hurt you, you wrote in the sand and now, you write on a stone, why?" The friend replied "When someone hurts us we should write it down in sand, where winds of forgiveness can erase it away. But, when someone does something good for us, we must engrave it in stone where no wind can ever erase it."
Learn to write your hurts in the sand and to carve your benefits in stone. They say it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them, but; then an entire life to forget them.


Monday, January 15, 2007

Night Watch

I was feeling in a reflective mood today when someone sent me this, so I thought I'd share it with you too.
'The nurse took the tired, anxious serviceman to the bedside. "Your son is here," she said to the old man.
She had to repeat the words several times before the patient's eyes opened. Heavily sedated because of the pain of his heart attack, he dimly saw the young uniformed Marine standing outside the oxygen tent. He reached out his hand. The Marine wrapped his fingers around the old man's limp ones, squeezing a message of love and encouragement. The nurse brought a chair so that the Marine could sit beside the bed. All through the night the young Marine sat there in the poorly lit ward, holding the old man's hand and offering him words of love and strength. Occasionally, the nurse suggested that the Marine move away and rest awhile. He refused. Whenever the nurse came into the ward, the Marine was oblivious of her and of the night noises of the hospital - the clanking of the oxygen tank, the laughter of the night staff members exchanging greetings, the cries and moans of the other patients. Now and then she heard him say a few gentle words. The dying man said nothing, only held tightly to his son all through the night. Along towards dawn, the old man died. The Marine released the now lifeless hand he had been holding and went to tell the nurse. While she did what she had to do, he waited.
Finally, she returned. She started to offer words of sympathy but the Marine interrupted her."Who was that man?" he asked. The nurse was startled, "He was your father," she answered."No, he wasn't," the Marine replied. "I never saw him before in my life." "Then why didn't you say something when I took you to him?" "I knew right away there had been a mistake, but I also knew he needed his son, and his son just wasn't here. When I realized that he was too sick to tell whether or not I was his son, knowing how much he needed me I stayed."

The next time someone needs you just be there. Stay.

We are not human beings going through a temporary spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings going through a temporary human experience.
May you all have a peaceful and safe week.'

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

For Anna

I thought I would post this picture for my cyber pal Anna in honour of the seal that has been spotted in the centre of Peterborough. These lazy guys were chillin' off Garinish Island, Bantry Bay, West Cork last year. Clearly from the pose they are the Kate Moss of the seal world.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Mazza's Birthday

This is my very dear friend Mary whose significant birthday is today.

"This is my wish for you: Comfort on difficult days, smiles when sadness intrudes, rainbows to follow the clouds, laughter to kiss your lips, sunsets to warm your heart, hugs when spirits sag, beauty for your eyes to see, friendships to brighten your being, faith so that you can believe, confidence for when you doubt, courage to know yourself, patience to accept the truth, Love to complete your life." Anon.

Happy Birthday Mary, from us all.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Bridges in Bedford

I thought that, in keeping with my bridge posting cyber pals, I should include a couple of pics of bridges that I have come across in my travels. At the bottom is the Bedford Suspension Bridge, dated 1921 and at the top is the Bedford Butterfly Bridge, dated 1998.

'Sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge and lean over to watch the river slipping slowly away beneath you, you will suddenly know everything there is to be known.'
Pooh's Little Instruction Book, inspired by A. A. Milne