Friday, February 27, 2009
"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 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 (Wow!)
"If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate," Nikka - age 6
"There are two kinds of love. Our love. God's love. But God makes both kinds of them." Jenny - age 8
"Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday." 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
Author and lecturer Leo Buscaglia once talked about a contest he was asked to judge. The purpose of the contest was to find the most caring child. The winner was a four year old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman's yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there. When his Mother asked him what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said, "Nothing, I just helped him cry."
Thursday, February 26, 2009
I would never trade my amazing friends, my wonderful life, my loving family for less gray hair or a flatter belly. As I've aged, I've become more kind to myself and less critical of myself. I've become my own friend. I don't chide myself for eating that extra cookie, or for not making my bed, or for buying that silly cement gecko that I didn't need, but looks so avante garde on my patio. I am entitled to overeat, to be messy, to be extravagant. I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging.
Whose business is it if I choose to read until 4:00 am and sleep until noon? I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 50s & 60s, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love, I will. I will walk the beach in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body and will dive into the waves with abandon if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the bikini set. They, too, will get old.
I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten and I eventually remember the important things. Sure, over the years my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when a beloved pet gets hit by a car? But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will never know the joy of being imperfect.
I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turn gray and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face. So many have never laughed and so many have died before their hair could turn silver. I can say "no" and mean it. I can say "yes" and mean it. As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don't question myself anymore. I've even earned the right to be wrong.
So, to answer your question, I like being old. It has set me free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. And I shall eat dessert every single day.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
He works miracles.
God is like...
He's got a better idea.
God is like...
He's the real thing.
God is like...
He cares enough to send His very best.
God is like...
He gets the stains out that others leave behind.
God is like...
He brings good things to life.
God is like...
He has everything.
God is like..
Try him, you'll like Him.
God is like.
You can't see him, but you know He's there.
God is like...
He's ready when you are.
God is like...
You're in good hands with Him.
God is like...
VO-5 Hair Spray
He holds through all kinds of weather.
God is like...
Aren't you glad you have Him? Don't you wish everybody did?
God is like...
the U.S. POST OFFICE
Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet nor ice will keep Him from His appointed destination.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
The older I get, the more I enjoy Saturday mornings. Perhaps it's the quiet solitude that comes with being the first to rise, of maybe it's the unbounded joy of not having to be at work. Either way, the first few hours of a Saturday morning are most enjoyable.
A few weeks ago, I was shuffling toward the kitchen, with a steaming cup of coffee in one hand and the morning paper in the other. What began as a typical Saturday morning turned into one of those lessons that life seems
to hand you from time to time.
Let me tell you about it. I turned the volume up on my radio in order to listen to a Saturday morning talk show. I heard an older sounding chap with a golden voice. You know the kind, he sounded like he should be in the
broadcasting business himself.
He was talking about "a thousand marbles" to someone named "Tom". I was intrigued and sat down to listen to
what he had to say. "Well, Tom, it sure sounds like you're busy with your job. I'm sure they pay you well but it's a shame you have to be away from home and your family so much. Hard to believe a young fellow should have to work sixty or seventy hours a week to make ends meet. Too bad you missed your daughter's dance recital. " He continued, "Let me tell you something Tom, something that has helped me keep a good perspective on my own priorities." And that's when he began to explain his theory of a "thousand marbles."
"You see, I sat down one day and did a little arithmetic. The average person lives about seventy-five years. I know, some live more and some live less, but on average, folks live about seventy-five years." "Now then, I multiplied 75
times 52 and I came up with 3900 which is the number of Saturdays that the average person has in their entire lifetime.
"Now stick with me Tom, I'm getting to the important part. "It took me until I was fifty-five years old to think about all this in any detail", he went on, "and by that time I had lived through over twenty-eight hundred Saturdays. "I got to thinking that if I lived to be seventy-five, I only had about a thousand of them left to enjoy. "So I went to a toy store and bought every single marble they had. I ended up having to visit three toy stores to round-up 1000 marbles. "I took them home and put them inside of a large, clear plastic container right here in my workshop next to the radio. Every Saturday since then, I have taken one marble out and thrown it away.
"I found that by watching the marbles diminish, I focused more on the really important things in life. There is nothing like watching your time here on this earth run out to help get your priorities straight. "Now let me tell you one last thing before I sign-off with you and take my lovely wife out for breakfast. This morning, I took the very last marble out of the container. I figure if I make it until next Saturday then God has blessed me with a little extra time to be with my loved ones...... "It was nice to talk to you Tom, I hope you spend more time with your loved ones, and I hope to meet you again someday. Have a good morning!"
You could have heard a pin drop when he finished. Even the show's moderator didn't have anything to say for a few moments. I guess he gave us all a lot to think about. I had planned to do some work that morning, then go to the
gym. Instead, I went upstairs and woke my wife up with a kiss. "C'mon honey, I'm taking you and the kids to breakfast." "What brought this on?" she asked with a smile. "Oh, nothing special," I said. " It has just been a
long time since we spent a Saturday together with the kids. Hey, can we stop at a toy store while we're out? I need to buy some marbles."
Thursday, February 19, 2009
One day, a poor boy was selling clothing door to door,
to pay for his education
realized that he only had ten cents left in his pockets.
He was hungry and so decided to ask for some food
at the next house he comes to.
In the meantime, he lost his hunger
when a beautiful woman opened the door.
Instead of a meal, he asked for a glass of water.
She saw that he was very hungry
so instead brought him a huge glass of milk.
He drank it very slowly and then asked:
"How much do I owe you?"
"You do not owe me anything at all," she replied:
"My mother taught us never to accept anything
for doing someone a kindness."
He replied: "Then I thank you from the bottom of my heart."
When Howard Kelly left the house
as well as feeling stronger physically.
he sensed a return of his faith in the Lord
which he had early abandoned.
Years later, this same young woman fell gravely ill.
The local doctors were mystified,
so they sent her to the big city
where they knew that the specialists
would be able to diagnose this rare sickness.
Doctor Howard Kelly was called as a consultant.
When he heard this name of the city where she lived,
he got up and went to her room.
As he entered her room,
he immediately recognized her.
He returned to the consultation room,
determined to do his best to save her life.
From that day on, he paid special attention to this case.
After a long battle,
the war was finally won.
Doctor Kelly left instructions
that the bill should be sent to him for authorization.
He looked it over,
wrote something in the margin,
and sent it to her room.
She thought that when she opened the envelope
she would find an invoice
that would take the rest of her life to pay in full.
But when she finally opened it
something caught her attention
in the margin of the invoice.
She read these words:
Paid in full with a glass of milk: Doctor Howard Kelly.
Tears of joy filled her eyes and her heart.
She prayed: "Thank you Lord, for your love
has crossed the hands and hearts of man."
There is a saying that goes like this:
Bread thrown over the water returns to you.
An act of goodness that you do today
can come back to you or someone that you love,
when you are not expecting it.
If you do not see this act of goodness returned,
at least you will have made a difference in this World.
And in the end,
isn't that what life is all about?
You now have two choices.
You can pass on this message
or make believe that you were never touched by it.
The hardest lesson in life,
is to know which bridges to cross,
and which to burn.....
Many people pass through our lives
but only real friends leave their imprints
in our hearts.....
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Many thoughts are running through my mind. Eyes are sleepy but my mind is wide awake. And I am thinking about my dear son Jon….and thinking about what is love…and how it is more, much more than just three little words.
So, what is love?
To me, love is a million things….
Love is …
…asking about someone’s day and truly caring about the answer
So the next time I ask you, “How’s your day?” please know that I truly want to know about it and care about you.
…knowing that people can be different and loving them just the same
It doesn’t matter if we have different opinions as long as we agree to differ rather than differ to agree.
…being there for my loved one and friends
…being patient with people, even when I’m tired or especially when I am tired.
…writing a note or post of encouragement to my loved ones and friends
…listening to a friend’s story even if I had heard it many times before
…calling someone back after an argument
…being honest about how I feel
…caring for someone even when it’s hard to do so and I don’t feel like it
…trusting in someone even when I’m scared
…saying sorry when I’m wrong
…listening and giving advice and knowing the difference between the two
…smiling even if my heart is weary
…calling someone to say ‘Hi’ even if it has been a busy day
…praying for someone
…forgiving someone again and again
…walking beside my loved one, not ahead or behind
…believing in my loved ones
…being comfortable with my loved ones even in silence
…providing a shoulder to cry on and being a friend
…a difficult emotion because it carries with it so many types of responsibilities
…dying to self for someone
…offering someone a new perspective to life
…holding my tongue
…not changing the radio station/tv channel when someone is using it
…being a person to joke with
…trying to understand people and/or situations
…being open to correction
…ignoring someone’s faults
…changing my plans for someone even if it breaks my heart to do so
…crying for someone because I know they are hurting inside
…giving good hugs
…doing what God does to us
Oh…there are so many ways to say ‘I love you’. Exchanging notes, text messages, e-mails, cards, phone calls, web cam calls etc. Each day of my life, I realize how important it is to say it, especially at home.
However, there is a difference between telling someone we love them and telling them WHY we love them.
Life is short.
Till today, I regret the chance to not tell my dad “I love you” when I saw him the last time on Sept. 26th 2007 before he died on Oct 16th 2007. I never expected him to leave me and always thought he would be there for me. Now, I always tell my loved ones and friends how much I love them just in case I don’t have the chance to do so again..
When people tell me that they love me, my heart is filled with so much joy and what else can I do but do the same to fill their hearts with joy and love….Hearing such love messages makes such a difference in my life and it helps me to remember that loving others is what matters.
To me, love is more than just the three little words. It is a process that is learned. I am quite sure that no one has mastered the art of loving because of its inherent complexities and demands and yet, in this short life of hours, love is the most important thing.
C.S. Lewis said, “God does not care how much we know, but how much we have loved.”
Before I say good night, or rather good morning by the time you read this…allow me to share with you yet another quotation that I love…
‘Blessed is the influence of one true, loving human soul on another.”
As you begin this new day in your life, let go of your inhibitions and hang-ups.
Love, just love, no matter how difficult it is to love that person.
Let God be seen in you today and always in the way you love.
I want to love too…to love more and to be loved more.
God bless you....
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Our Death is our Closing Balance
Our Prejudiced Views are our
Our Creative Ideas are our Assets
Heart is our Current Asset
Soul is our Fixed Asset
Brain is our Fixed Deposit
Thinking is our Current Account
Achievements are our Capital
Character & Morals, our Stock-in-trade
Friends are our General Reserves
Values & Behavior are our Goodwill
Patience is our Interest Earned
Love is our Dividend
Children are our Bonus Issues
Education is Brands / Patents
Knowledge is our Investment
Experience is our Premium Account
The Aim is to Tally the Balance Sheet Accurately.
The Goal is to get the
Best Presented Accounts Award.
Some very good and very bad things
The most destructive habit....... ........ .....Worry
The greatest Joy......... ......... ......... ...Giving
The greatest loss........ .......Loss of self-respect
The most satisfying work........ .......Helping others
The ugliest personality trait............Selfishness
The most endangered species..... ...Dedicated leader
Our greatest natural resource.... ........ .Our youth
The greatest "shot in the arm"........Encouragement
The greatest problem to overcome.... ........ ...Fear
The most effective sleeping pill........ Peace of mind
The most crippling failure disease..... ......Excuses
The most powerful force in life........ ......... Love
The most dangerous pariah...... ......... ..A gossiper
The world's most incredible computer.... ...The brain
The worst thing to be without..... ......... ..... Hope
The deadliest weapon...... ......... .......The tongue
The two most power filled words....... ......."I Can"
The greatest asset....... ......... ......... ....Faith
The most worthless emotion..... ......... ....Self- pity
The most beautiful attire...... ......... .......SMILE!
The most prized possession.. ......... .....Integrity
The most powerful channel of communication. ...Prayer
The most contagious spirit...... ......... .Enthusiasm
The most important thing in life........ ....... Almighty GOD
Everyone needs this list to live by...
Great opportunities to help others seldom come,
but small ones surround us every day...
Here's wishing you a wonderful day!
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Avoid negative sources, people, places, things and habits.
Believe in yourself
Consider things from every angle
Don't give up and don't give in
Enjoy life today, yesterday is gone
Family and friends are hidden treasures, seek them out and enjoy their riches
Give more than you planned to
Hang on to your dreams
Ignore those who try to discourage you
Just do it
Keep doing no matter how hard it seems, it will get easier
Love yourself first and most
Make it happen
Never lie, cheat or steal, always strike a fair deal
Open your eyes and see things as they really are
Practice makes perfect
Quitters never win and winners never quit
Read, study and learn about everything important in your life
Take control of your own destiny
Understand yourself in order to better understand others
Want it more than anything
Xcellerate your efforts
You are unique of all God's creations, nothing can replace you
Zero in on your target and go for it!
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Cabbage always has a heart;
Green beans string along.
You're such a Tomato,
Will you Peas to me belong?
You've been the Apple of my eye,
You know how much I care;
So Lettuce get together,
We'd make a perfect Pear.
Now, something's sure to Turnip,
To prove you can't be Beet;
So, if you Carrot all for me
Let's let our tulips meet.
Don't Squash my hopes and dreams now,
Bee my Honey, dear;
Or tears will fill Potato's eyes,
While Sweet Corn lends an ear.
I'll Cauliflower shop and say
Your dreams are Parsley mine.
I'll work and share my Celery,
So be my Valentine.
A large crowd gathered and they all admired his heart for it was perfect. There was not a mark or a flaw in it. Yes, they all agreed it truly was the most beautiful heart they had ever seen. The young man was very proud and boasted more loudly about his beautiful heart.
Suddenly, an old man appeared at the front of the crowd and said, “Why your heart is not nearly as beautiful as mine.” The crowd and the young man looked at the old man’s heart. It was beating strongly, but full of scars, it had places where pieces had been removed and other pieces put in, but they didn’t fit quite right and there were several jagged edges. In fact, in some places there were deep gouges where whole pieces were missing.
The people stared ? “How can he say his heart is more beautiful?” they thought.
The young man looked at the old man’s heart and saw its state and laughed. “You must be joking,” he said. “Compare your heart with mine, mine is perfect and yours is a mess of scars and tears.”
“Yes,” said the old man, “Yours is perfect looking but I would never trade with you. You see, every scar represents a person to whom have given my love - I tear out a piece of my heart and give it to them, and often they give me a piece of their heart which fits into the empty place in my heart, but because the pieces aren’t exact, I have some rough edges, which I cherish, because they remind me of the love we shared.”
“Sometimes I have given pieces of my heart away, and the other person hasn’t returned a piece of his heart to me. These are the empty gouges - giving love is taking a chance. Although these gouges are painful, they stay open, reminding me of the love I have for these people too, and I hope someday they may return and fill the space I have waiting. So now do you see what true beauty is?”
The young man stood silently with tears running down his cheeks.
He walked up to the old man, reached into his perfect young and beautiful heart, and ripped a piece out. He offered it to the old man with trembling hands. The old man took his offering, placed it in his heart and then took a piece from his old scarred heart and placed it in the wound in the young man’s heart. It fit, but not perfectly, as there were some jagged edges.
The young man looked at his heart, not perfect anymore but more beautiful than ever, since love from the old man’s heart flowed into his.
They embraced and walked away side by side.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
1. 1. If time doesn’t wait for you, don’t worry! Just remove the damn battery from the clock and enjoy life!
2. Expecting the world to treat u fairly coz u r a good person is like expecting the lion not to attack u coz u r a vegetarian. Think about it.
3. Beauty isn’t measured by outer appearance and what clothes we wear, but what we are inside. So, try going out without clothes tomorrow and see the admiration!
4. Don’t walk as if you rule the world, walk as if you don’t care who rules the world! That’s called Attitude…! Keep on rocking!
5. Every lady hopes that her daughter will marry a better man than she did and is convinced that her son will never find a wife as good as his father did!!!
6. He was a good man. He never smoked, drank & had no affair. When he died, the insurance company refused the claim. They said, he who never lived, cannot die!
7. A man threw his wife in a pond of Crocodiles. He’s now being harassed by the Animal Rights Activists for being cruel to the Crocodiles!
8. So many options for suicide: Poison, sleeping pills, hanging, jumping from a building, lying on train tracks, but we chose Marriage, slow & sure!
9. All desirable things in life are either illegal, banned, expensive or married to someone else!
10. Laziness is our biggest enemy- Jawaharlal Nehru
We should learn to love our enemies- Mahatma Gandhi
11. 10% of road accidents are due to drunken driving. Which makes it a logical statement that 90% of accidents are due to driving without drinking
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
This essay was first posted in my other blog last year and I am reposting it here because this blog has a different set of readers. I hope you enjoy Frost as much as I do :-). Have a nice day!_____________________________________________________________
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it
And spills the upper boulder in the sun,
And make gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there,
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
“Stay where you are until our backs are turned!”
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of outdoor game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, “Good fences make good neighbors.”
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
“Why do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.” I could say “Elves” to him,
But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather
He said it for himself. I see him there,
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father’s saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, “Good fences make good neighbors.”
by Robert Frost
I love Frost because of the air of mystery and melancholy surrounding his poems. A few scholars regard Frost as a nature poet who writes in the tradition of Ralph Waldo Emerson and William Wordsworth or even an Imagist in the school of Ezra Pound; however, Frost did not classify himself that way. A look at his poems (you can find the many of his collection here) reveal how his poems deal with the theme of nature in a colloquial tone. Frost’s poems must also be studied in the context of the American dream.
His poetry speaks to the ordinary person with simple yet evocative images. I like him cos Frost is easy to approach, not esoteric or verbose and uses words that allow the reader to connect with tangible objects and authentic emotion. He uses no pretense, as shown by this straightforward line from “Mending Wall“:
“We keep the wall between us as we go.”
Due to his immense popularity and resonance with common Americans , he has been nicknamed America’s Poet. He writes of home, of yelping dogs, apple trees, and rough fingers. His poems recall a simpler, idealized time of prosperity and fertility.
Frost received such a wide range of awards and distinctions, including four Pulitzer Prizes!! Despite his popularity, Frost did not participate in the modernistic, free-verse experiments of his fellow poets. He preferred to convey his thematic messages through meter, rhyme, and form. The U.S. Senate passed a resolution dedicated to Frost on his seventy-fifth birthday, declaring that “His poems have helped to guide American thought and humor and wisdom, setting forth to our minds a reliable representation of ourselves and of all men.”
Ok. Enough background information and now it is time to look at the poem.
“Mending Wall”, which was written in 1915, is Robert Frost’s tribute to one man’s notion of being a good neighbor even as that concept is the opposite of his own. It is the opening poem in Robert Frost’s second collection of poetry, North of Boston (1915). He wrote it with homesick feelings as he was living in England with his wife and four children before WW1.
It is said that French-Canadian Napoleon Guay who had been Frost’s neighbor in New Hampshire a few years earlier inspired him to write this poem because he often repeated the phrase, “Good fences make good neighbors,” during the routine repairs on the wall between their farms.
“Good fences” symbolically refer to personal boundaries that remind us of the American pioneer mentality of staking a claim and taking ownership. Personally, I believe that Frost does not subscribe to this dream and in fact, hints at another version.
To me, “Mending Wall” illustrates the idea of personal and natural freedom, as well as limitations, of a rural existence. The poem questions the necessity of a wall, like questioning the wisdom of perpetuating an old habit/tradition. Interestingly, Frost later became American “goodwill ambassador” first to South America and then to Soviet Union during President Kennedy’s administration. Obviously, Kennedy thought Frost should foster positive relations with other people and cultures internationally in the light of his interest in the dilemma of borders in “Mending Wall”.
I find this poem particularly meaningful as Frost shows us the complexities of humanity through the relationship between man and nature and even in communal and personal space. A deep thinker, Frost asks us to contemplate the meaning of “neighbor” and “boundary”.
“Mending Wall” has two characters: its narrator and his neighbor who are owners of adjacent farms. They meet each Spring to repair the stone wall that separates their properties. Initially, the narrator seems be skeptical in his attitude toward property. but later Frost shows that it is in fact more complicated.The poem opens with his words “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall”—a phrase he repeats later, making it a kind of slogan for the position on property he personifies.
The poem seems to imply that if a stone is missing form the fence, you can bet that the two men are out there putting it back together piece by piece. Now let’s think of this in the Malaysian context. Do we see people ready to mend fences or do they make walls higher or new barriers?
Frost’s description of every detail in this poem is quite interesting, very pleasant to read, and extremely imaginable. I feel I have the liberty to make my own conclusions from the reading and like in “The Road Not Taken”, these conclusions change (even as I am blogging this post!!)
On one hand, Frost makes literal implications about what the two men are doing. For instance, they are physically putting the stones back, one by one. Their dedication, commitment, and constant drive shines through when reading how persistence these men seem about keeping the wall intact.
Quite the contrary however, is the inferences that something even deeper is going on. There is a sharing experience taking place here. Indeed, by laboring so hard, each man is experiencing physical repercussions, but they are also using this time as a “meet and greet” period.
One can deduce from the beginning of the poem that the wall has many forces that keeps it in shambles. For instance, Frost writes:
“…that sends the frozen ground swell under it and spills the upper boulders in the sun…”,
“I have come after them(hunters) and made repair where they have left not one stone on a stone…”
The man and his neighbor don’t seem to have time for anything else, for it sounds as if they are constantly making repairs. Is there a reason for this? Doesn’t it sound familiar?
It is important to note that not only are these men completing a manly task, they are also “building” some type of relationship. If this were not an issue, the neighbor would not repeat;
“Good fences make good neighbors.”
As the man tells his story, it seems that while the two men may be conversing and interacting, there is some distance between them at all times. The man says:
“…on a day we meet to walk the line and set the wall between us once again.”
I believe Frost is telling us that while there is a need for friendship in each of us, it is equally as necessary for us to have our own space.
As the poem continues we see that what is taking place is almost like a game. In fact, he says;
“We keep the wall between us as we go”.
This is almost like there is this game of leapfrog taking place!
I find the following line most intriguing:
“He is all pine and I am apple orchard,”
That line reminds us that each of us are different in our personality or likes, dislikes, etc. One of the men grow “apples” while the other only has “pines”. Nonetheless, each are special and both of them contain separate, yet endearing qualities.
I spent some time thinking of Frost’s use of the “stone” itself. What could he have meant by this poem?
“Stay where you are until our backs are turned“.
He is speaking to the stones. It seems as though he is telling them that if they are going to fall, please wait until he is not looking. This seems to be quite strange as the man appears so bored at times that he would talk about or to anything.
Maybe the neighbor is not as much of a talker as one might have imagined. Maybe the man only has himself and these inanimate objects to converse with. After all, the only quote by the neighbor in this poem is:
“Good fences make good neighbors.”
In another light however, there is the idea of separation, or segregation. The two men are consistently kept apart by this wall. I think Frost contrasts his “wall” of separation with the idea of segregation in our world. We are left with the impression that if two people have differences, no matter the extent, they are not considered equals by society.
There is the recurring idea that the wall should not be there in the first place.
“Something there is that doesn’t love a wall.”
In the final analysis, I think what Frost is trying to say in this poem is that walls don’t make good neighbors simply because walls are unnecessary. Some of you may disagree, but if the poem is read in-depth, it is obvious that Frost does not condone mending walls between people. The beginning of the poem makes the speaker seem like he’s alright with the wall.
I seriously believe that it is actually just because he’s following tradition and conforming without thinking individually. The speaker meets up with his neighbor to repair the wall and the neighbor says,
“Good fences make good neighbors.”
Then the speaker is able to start thinking about the actual purpose of the wall/fence which doesn’t really do anything except keep the neighbors apart or keep in livestock (which is not present). The speaker likens the neighbor to a savage, making him appear old-fashioned and traditional. The neighbor keeps true to the beliefs held by his father and repeats,
“Good fences make good neighbors.”
The main theme of this poem is to stir us to question traditions. The fence (wall) divides the neighbors and alienates them from each other–not exactly a “good neighbor” in itself. From the way the speaker likens the neighbor to a savage, it is obvious that the speaker thinks the neighbor is in the wrong when he believes in mending walls.
The fence/wall represents old traditions, especially traditions that are actually bad for society. Frost is sending a message to the readers that we should do away with this “wall” and commit to new ideas which will benefit human relations. However, the pessimistic message he also sends us is contained in the last three lines.
The neighbor remains faithful to his father’s tradition and continues thinking well of fences. This represents the way members of a society are so susceptible to conformity to traditional views and thus are hard to change. Frost is negatively saying that most of the time, no matter how bad the tradition is, people still refuse to accept change. Does it not sound familiar again?
It seems that his neighbor can appear dangerous as well, and Frost ends with his neighbor’s statement, “Good fences make good neighbors”. In short, the fence is what physically keeps the two neighbors apart, but also brings them together each spring to mend it once again. May this happen in Malaysia. May the differences that keep us apart also draw us together as we yearn for progress in our country.
This sentence infers that the wall separating we as a people, needs to come down. It is virtually impossible for us to build lasting relationships while we are still possessed with hatred and discrimination.
Honestly, may the walls that separate us from one another in Malaysia come tumbling down!!!! The choice is ours - to build walls or to bring down the walls.What is your opinion of this poem and your desire for our country? Please leave a comment, dear reader. Thanks!
Monday, February 9, 2009
There is an important thing to consider. Throughout my dealings with people, I have learnt and am still learning to be careful with what I say. Often, I ask myself - "Is what I'm, doing or saying contributing to the difficulty?"Taking responsibility--for ourselves and for the way we communicate--is an important step to reducing conflict.
Here are some key tips.
1. Are they truly difficult or just different from us?
Sometimes when people have different ways of handling things than we do, we label them as difficult. Responding with an approach of "that's interesting" instead of concluding that they're "wrong" or "annoying" can help us find value in the differences. Lately, I realize that I may learn something new about myself or about them even if I may feel indignant at the beginning of the conflict.
2. Mirror, mirror...
Often we react because the other person reflects something in ourselves that we don't like... or don't want to look at. It helps to first take an honest look at ourselves. We might ask ourselves, "Is there any part of me that is like her? Is there something I'm seeing in her that I find distasteful in myself? Maybe I need to have more acceptance and compassion for myself."
3. Be aware that there are different styles.
People have natural differences in their behavioral styles. Some people's styles are brief and to the point. They are more task-oriented. Other people are more talkative and social and place a higher emphasis on relationships. Then there are people who tend to be more analytical. They focus on analysis, data, and order. Still others place a high priority on steadiness and security. If you communicate in a way that mirrors a person's style, you will be speaking his or her language. This builds rapport quickly, and we are very likely to have a successful communication--and less conflict.
4. Actively listen.
Give the person our full attention. It's easy to miss things he or she is saying when we react emotionally. In this busy world, most of us listen while we are "multitasking." I have made many mistakes in my life but some of the lessons I have learnt include the following:
* Put ourselves in the person's shoes as best we can to empathize with him/her.
* Ask questions to clarify.
* Summarize or paraphrase--restate in your own words--what he or she has said.
* Finally, acknowledge the person's point of view, even if you don't agree. For example, you might say, "It seems that this is very important to you" or "I can hear that you're angry about this." While you're listening, keep the focus on him or her, rather than bringing it back to you. Ask yourself, "Am I really listening or just waiting for my turn to speak?"
One important principle in listening is that we must not ask too many questions lest we sound like busybodies. If someone wants to tell us something, he/she will do so in good time and we need not rush. Should we be impatient to know the truth, it is better to ask the questions inconspicuously to avoid further conflict.
5. Notice when our emotional "buttons" get pushed.
Take responsibility for our reactions; after all, a person may have pushed our buttons, but then again, he probably didn't install them ;). From my experience, in such situations, I take a break or walk away until I am less reactive. Interacting when emotions are high can be risky. Taking deep breaths or doing some other physical exercise can help to blow off steam. At my age, I cannot afford the 'excitement' of an argument as it sets off palpitations that make me giddy! Thus, for my own sanity, I try to defuse the situation in different ways.
6. I must watch my "yes... buts."
In my classes, I used "but" (or "however") after supposedly agreeing with someone ("I understand, but...") or after giving him a compliment ("You did a great job, but...") jokingly but I had to be very careful because I realized then and even now that in doing so, I am really dismissing or devaluing what the person has said or done and may hurt the person. Having said that, I always tell them that I am correcting the fault in the answer and not the person. Yet, after many mistakes, I realize that I should instead, use the "yes... and" approach. For example, say "I understand your perspective, and I'd like to share mine with you."
7. Use "I" statements.
"You" statements tend to create defensive reactions. For example, instead of "you're always late," say "I need for you to be on time." "I" statements are more powerful and productive. Be careful about "you" statements in disguise. "I think you're a jerk" is not an "I" statement.
8. I have learnt to be aware of my body language and voice.
When I was teaching Business Communication for many years, I used to reiterate the fact that so much of what we say is communicated through our body language and our voices. They speak a language all their own. It's often not what we say; it's how we say it. If our body language is closed (for example, arms and legs crossed), we are sending a strong message that we are closed off. Even though we may be comfortable in that position, it's important to be aware that we're sending a message--a strong message. Open body language sends an important message about our receptivity. Keeping our arms unfolded and open gestures are examples of using open body language.
As a mother, I made a lot of mistakes in the way I communicated with my older boy until he said one day, "Mom, I think you need to attend a course in communicating with teens." I was stunned and began to evaluate how I had been communicating with him. Naturally I was indignant at first for I proclaimed that I did not raise my voice etc but the rebuttal was ...oh but your tone of voice or your facial expression speaks volumes. Then I realized not too late that my tonal expression added to the conflict. Sometimes, we may not realize how terse, edgy or irritated we could sound to others. A good way is to try listening to ourselves on an audiotape or voice mail. It can be helpful and enlightening!
Ironically, I learnt the value of body language in relationships in the comfort of my own home even though I lectured about it for years! Then again, we are never too old to learn and I am sharing this with you all from the bottom of my heart in humility and sincerity. Thanks to wisdom and God, I have good communication channel now with my older boy.
For the general population in this country, if we don't look someone directly in the eye, there's a perception that we are hiding something or being less than truthful. Eye communication, such as rolling your eyes (in disgust, for example), also can speak volumes.
9. Focus on and state the positives!
When frustrated or irritated, so much of what gets said is negative. For example, instead of "why don't you ever clean your room," I learnt to say "I really love it when your room is clean!" When you ask for a positive outcome, you are much more likely to have success.
Communication is so important in our lives especially when we communicate with our loved ones. Let's put our best foot forward and instead of putting it in our mouth!
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Without a doubt, pursuing our passion is essential to our happiness.and our success.
Passion points to what truly inspires us. It stirs our deepest values and desires. I think about how I become energetic when I'm doing something I love to do - even housework like what I wrote in my post on July 16. I become more alive and engaged, and time melts away.
To be honest, those of you who know me personally would be aware that I am very passionate about my work and many other areas of my life (sometimes to my detriment I must admit but now I am able to moderate the optimum level of passion), my relationships and my whole life and in doing so, I feel happy, joyful, and fully connected to what I do each day.
The excitement, energy, and initiative passion brings is EXACTLY what we need to accomplish our biggest goals and dreams. When I was teaching and later lecturing, I used to tell my students to enjoy their homework and to be passionate about the subject matter of their essays. Of course, many laughed at me but yet, a substantial number told me (years later of course) that they realized the truth of my words and how it could empower them.
If you've been plodding along in your life at half throttle, see what tapping into your passion does for you. It's like opening the floodgates. I'm continually in awe of the drive and determination that arises as soon as a student focuses on a goal that's aligned with their passion. And I am very proud of those who achieved their goals of much passion and went on to higher plains!
So, what stops us from finding and pursuing our passion?
Unfortunately, many of us have neglected or forgotten our passion by making choices in life based on what's safe, easy, or status quo. We take a job because it pays well or the title sounds important, not because it is really what we want or are excited about. We spend what little free time we give ourselves watching TV or doing other meaningless tasks instead of actively pursuing something that really moves us.
The result? We end up feeling stifled, bored, frustrated, and drained by what we do each day. Our lives get "oomph-impaired."
If you've lost touch with your passions, or never knew them, commit now to uncovering what makes you come alive. If you're no stranger to passion, but would like to "kick it up a notch," all you may need to do is slow down and evaluate what about your life keeps you excited and feeds your energy. I did and it worked wonders for me!
At one point in my life, I left a very good position because external circumstances robbed me of my passion. It was quite idealistic of me to give up so much for nothing. My colleagues then thought I was quite insane and I took one or two years to adjust to the loss in status and income.
Although I still miss the interaction at that work place, I realize that I left because I did not want to be a shell of a person going through the rigmarole of things without the passion, zeal and enthusiasm because there were certain things I did not like. In doing so, I grew up. Yes, I did. Initially, I experienced culture shock in my next place of work and looked back with regret. But as time passed, I learnt to let go of past glories and pushed myself forward with passion to achieve even more than what I did before.
In many ways. I broadened my perspective, found within myself resilience that I never thought existed, creativity that was unleashed, courage to step forward to face new challenges, trust in God for Him to provide for my needs (and He did!) and energetic passion to work. The wealth of experience, relationships, ken and standards I had built over the years helped me to outclass my previous achievements until one day when I asked myself a few questions about where I was heading and again, took steps to make necessary changes in order to facilitate the next growth spurt in my life.
Once again, I asked myself many questions and as I sought the answers, I discovered new things, values and situations that inspired me and followed my dream. Now, I am most happy where I am.
With much humility, I would like to share some of those questions with you if you are seeking to discover the heart of your inspiration.
1) Your present life
Are you happy with the direction you are going?
What about your life right now do you love, or at least enjoy?
What do you actively dislike, and what do you merely tolerate?
What is your favorite aspect of your work, and why?
Which of your unique talents and abilities could you use more fully?
Where are you holding back?
2) Your future life:
If you could be doing anything in five years, what would it be? Think big.no limitations!
What would a typical day look like?
Would you be writing a book? (*wink wink* am actually writing my 6th book at the moment after a long lapse)
Raising thoroughbred horses?
What would really thrill you to be able to say you've accomplished, both personally and professionally?
And, what would make you feel like you've made a difference?
What do you see in your future life that may provide clues about pursuing your passion?
What's one step you could take now--in your present life-- to move you closer to what you really want?
I hope that in small ways, I have inspired you to take stock of your life to realize your dream. Personally, I have always been a dreamer..always moving on, wanting more of myself, of life and I am not the type to want stagnation or complacency in my life. Yet, I do not the giddy headed type of dreamer floating on candy flossed clouds.
No. I am constantly looking for and creating dynamism, creativity and generating worthwhile achievements be it in my family, faith, writing, music, relationships or work because I am propelled by my dreams that I can ...I will...with God's help. I wish you all the very best in your endeavours and may God bless you with wisdom in all that you do.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Last Christmas, my husband and I celebrated our 25th anniversary. I still cannot believe that we lasted 25 years of marital life together plus 6 years and 4 months of courtship!!! The initial years were not easy and now that we are older, it almost seems as thought the conflict we had in the past were so minor and even trivial!
After all this time, there is one thing that I realize. A marriage or a relationship need continual nurturing in order to remain healthy. Our plants need consistent care such as in watering, weeding and pruning to flourish and must never be neglected.
Is there a formula then for love and intimacy just as there is a formula for gardening? From my experience, I believe that it is important to make our spouses feel cared for and important in our lives.
In very simple terms,
You + partner + messages of appreciation = LASTING LOVE
Actually, it takes very little effort to show love to our spouses.
Typically, when we talk to our mates, we tend to focus on the things that have to be done.
Common statements in my home:
Are you picking Nick up from violin, or am I?
Did you mail the insurance payment?
And in general, we also naturally tend to point out things that need fixing.
I could be telling my spouse about a leaky faucet or how the car needs to be serviced.
But how often do we take the tiny amount of time to regularly articulate the things that work?
All too often, when things are running smoothly, we begin to neglect what works in our marriages or relationships. The cost of this neglect: you and your partner begin to feel unappreciated, emotional intimacy between you dwindles, sex becomes rote and mechanical. People often rationalize that it isn’t so bad living in a chronic state of disconnection from their loved one (after all, most of the couples you know don’t seem happy either). Some look to friends or relatives outside of the relationship to make them feel special and appreciated. It shouldn’t be this way. And it doesn’t have to.
Change patterns of love-neglect
Keep this simple. In fact, the simpler the better. The goal is to be consistent and make it last. (And most people, no matter how busy, can wedge simple, easy tasks into their routines.) I used to labor over lengthy love letters. Now I don’t. Start with small, loving, and supportive statements. Here are few areas to focus on in your marriage or relationship:
Messages of appreciation
Any sentiment that communicates thanks and gratitude fall into this category.
Make it a habit to say “Thank you” more often, even when you partner or spouse does the little things that s/he has done a million times before (poured you the first cup of morning coffee, fed the dog, took out the trash…even if you had to ask).
Make sure your partner hears your thanks. (In other words, don’t mutter it or say it under your breath. Be generous with your verbalized gratitude.)
I remember how a former classmate from KL told me that her romantic hubby used to leave her post-it notes under the coffee mug so that she would see it when she cleared the table. How romantic!
Beyond “Thank you,” try to add statements like:
“You’re such a giving person.”
“That was so thoughtful of you.”
“That really helped me.”
“I appreciate what you did for me.”
“You’re such a hard worker.”
“You’re the best thing that ever happened to me.”
“That was kind of you.”
As you grow more accustomed to pointing out the positive things, you’ll naturally see places where these types of statements will fit. And of course your partner will be more motivated to continue to do whatever it was that earned your warm appreciation. So you shape a wonderfully reciprocal situation when you tell him/her you appreciate something.
Here are some other ideas for statements you can use in other situations:
Messages of love and interest
I love you.
I missed you.
I can’t wait to see you.
You make me so happy.
I love spending time with you.
I look forward to spending time with you.
I’m thinking of you.
I love that about you.
How was your day? I’d love to hear about it.
How would you like to celebrate?
Messages of support and commitment
We’re in this together.
What can I do to help?
Don’t worry, I’ll take care of it.
That took a lot of courage.
I’m so proud of you.
You did a great job.
I’m sending you good-luck vibes.
I’m here for you.
Tell me what you need.
Gestures of love and support:
Actions often speak louder than words. So in addition to regularly sending your partner verbal messages of appreciation to make him/her feel special, take the necessary action steps to make this happen in other ways. And remember, big gestures aren’t necessary. A relationship benefits from regular, consistent, smaller gestures, not large-but-rare ones.
A kiss; a hug; holding hands; touching one another; a smile; a loving glance; a wink; a wave; a thumbs-up; a high-five; making him laugh or smile; making her coffee; bringing home his favorite food; a loving note, e-mail, text message, or voice message; a gift; a pleasant surprise; helping out more; being present; being playful; planning for fun…
These lists are by no means exhaustive.
Start with them and practice with your partner. It’s important to feel the truth behind each statement of love you send.Mean what you say and you will touch your partner’s heart, and to do that you have to be in tune with your own heart first.
Feeling loved and appreciated go hand-in-hand. Love and emotional intimacy are nurtured by messages and actions that make you and your partner feel special. While this tends to flow naturally when couples are first dating, years into the relationship it often takes reminders and consistent effort to stay on top of this vital part of your relationship. Believe me…after so many years…I should know.
So dear reader, whoever you are, wherever you are, I wish you many years of loving, sharing and living with your partner/spouse. God bless you and your family.
The greatest hunger a person has is to be needed. Help create that feeling in others.
The greatest virtue is kindness. You can't love everyone, but you can be kind to everyone.
Don't try to impress others. Let them have the fun of impressing you.
Be enthusiastic. Nothing of consequence was ever achieved without enthusiasm.
Be positive. Positive people attract others, while negative people repel.
You have greater impact on others by the way you listen than by the way you talk.
Gossip cheapens the one who gossips more than the one gossiped about.
Call a person by his or her name and use it often in conversation.
Differences are bound to occur and can be resolved if conflict is managed in a polite manner.
If you are given to making fun of someone, be sure it is of yourself.
Be genuinely interested in others. Get them to talk about themselves.
A smile doesn't cost anything and pays big dividends. It makes you and everyone else feel
Be the first to say: "Hello! Good to see you."
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
The golden rule is where it all begins and ends.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
What may seem like a faltering memory may in fact be a decline in the rate at which we learn and store new information. My older relatives have been advising me to take gingko but being one who is not a keen pill-popper, I have not even tried it once.
A friend advised me to learn a new language in order to stimulate the brain cells so off I went to German class with my younger boy. It was quite alright at the beginning but gradually became tougher because if I could remember thepronunciation of the word, I would forget its spelling and vice versa . Worse still, there were times, especially when it came to numbers, when I answered my German teacher in French!!!! Quite embarrassing indeed!
As such, I sought some practical alternatives and have been using the following to try to keep sane and cognitively fit!
1. WRITE IT DOWN.
Now, with the amount of things I have to remember in any given day, I have given up trying to stuff it all into my memory bank. When I want to remember something, the very best thing to do is write it down. Then, when I need to recall it, it will be there for me in an instant.
2. KEEP IT TOGETHER.
Initially, I used to write memos all over the place and then I forgot where I wrote them! Now, when I write down things I want to remember, I keep them in one consistent place to avoid the frustration of looking around for my memos.
3. MAINTAIN GOOD HEALTH.
My neighbourhood pharmacist who has a pair of twins has advised me to eat healthy foods, get enough sleep, and exercise. These are all important for your memory, staying focused and being alert.
4. RECORD YOUR THOUGHTS.
Sometimes I might want to remember something, but it's impossible for me to write it down, such as when I am driving. I record my thoughts, or parking space number, or a phone number I see on a billboard in my hand phone.
5. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF.
If you keep saying you have a bad memory, you'll probably continue to have a bad memory. It's important to have a motivated, I CAN remember attitude. I constantly tell myself I have a good memory and I am trying my best to improve it.
6. SEND YOURSELF E-MAIL REMINDERS.
There are many free e-mail reminder services available. I simply type in what I want to remember, such as a birthday, anniversary or event, and then I receive an e-mail reminder when the date is approaching. Facebook has been a great help in this area.
7. POST STICKY NOTES.
Those wonderful, little sticky notes can be amazing memory helpers. Want to remember something before you leave the house? Jot it down on a Post-It Note and stick it on the inside of your door. You'll be sure to see it as you're getting ready to walk out. Have to make an urgent call first thing in the morning? Leave a Post-It Note on your telephone.
8. SET TIMERS AND ALARMS.
Take advantage of alarm clocks and timers throughout the day. Have to take the clothes out of the wash at 3:00? Set your alarm clock to remind you. Want to leave for the basketball game by 6:15? Set your timer to beep a few minutes before.
9. USE VISUAL REMINDERS.
Associating a visual image with something you want to remember can improve recall and help you focus. I especially like visual reminders for remembering my goals. If your goal is to take a trip to a beautiful island in a few years, keep a magazine photograph of the island right on your desk. If your goal is to own your own business one day, find a picture or ornament that will help remind you of this goal each day.
Tension and stress are associated with memory lapses and managing stress improves memory.
11. CONCENTRATE AND FOCUS
If you want to recall something later, pay attention. Try to reduce distractions and minimize interferences.
12. SLOW DOWN
If you’re rushing, you may not be focused or paying full attention.
Keep important items in a designated place that is visible and easily accessed.
14. REPEAT IT
Repetition improves recall; use it when meeting new people and learning new things.
These are a number of things I am doing every day that have helped me to preserve my mental abilities. I just hope these can help us enjoy a better quality of life as we get older. All the best to you, dear readers! To take a line from the Bee Gees song, "Don't forget to remember me!" Do visit my blog again and please, leave a message or an email. I would love to hear from you! Thank you. ;)
- Attitude (16)
- Christmas (12)
- Communication (2)
- compassion (1)
- culture (3)
- Education (2)
- ethics (2)
- Family (35)
- Friendship (15)
- Humor (1)
- iInspirational (1)
- in (1)
- Inspirational (355)
- integrity (1)
- life (3)
- Lifestyle (31)
- Literature (2)
- Love (38)
- Motivational (8)
- music (2)
- Personal (5)
- Poetry (4)
- Self-improvement (7)
- wisdom (40)
- women (1)
- ► 2012 (38)
- ► 2011 (66)
- ► 2010 (120)
- Mommy, what is LOVE?
- I am now, probably for the first time in my life, ...
- Mommy, please describe God...
- How many marbles do you have?
- The Story of a Glass of Milk
- LOVE IS...
- THE BALANCE SHEET OF LIFE
- THE ABCs of Success
- IF YOU LOVE A VEGETARIAN
- THE MOST BEAUTIFUL HEART
- THE LOGIC OF ELEVEN
- MENDING WALLS
- HOW DO WE COMMUNICATE?
- WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
- KEEPING LOVE AND INTIMACY ALIVE
- DO UNTO OTHERS
- CAN YOU REMEMBER?
- DO YOU LOVE LOLITA?
- GREAT AND SMALL KNOWLEDGE
- ▼ February (20)