Monday, June 29, 2009


As you pick up that chart today and scan that green Medicaid card, I hope you will remember what I am about to say.

I spent yesterday with you. I was there with my mother and father. We didn't know where we were supposed to go or what we were supposed to do, for we had never needed your services before. We have never before been labeled charity.

I watched yesterday as my dad became a diagnosis, a chart, a case number, a charity case labeled "no sponsor" because he had no health insurance.

I saw a weak man stand in line, waiting for five hours to be shuffled through a system of impatient office workers, a burned-out nursing staff and a budget-scarce facility, being robbed of any dignity and pride he may have had left. I was amazed at how impersonal your staff was, huffing and blowing when the patient did not present the correct form, speaking carelessly of other patients' cases in front of passersby, of lunch breaks that would be spent away from this "poor man's hell."

My dad is only a green card, a file number to clutter your desk on appointment day, a patient who will ask for directions twice after they've been mechanically given the first time. But, no, that's not really my dad. That's only what you see.

What you don't see is a cabinetmaker since the age of 14, a self-employed man who has a wonderful wife, four grown kids (who visit too much), and five grandchildren (with two more on the way) - all of whom think their "pop" is the greatest. This man is everything a daddy should be - strong and firm, yet tender, rough around the edges, a country boy, yet respected by prominent business owners.

He's my dad, the man who raised me through thick and thin, gave me away as a bride, held my children at their births, stuffed a $20 bill into my hand when times were tough and comforted me when I cried. Now we are told that before long cancer will take this man away from us.

You may say these are the words of a grieving daughter lashing out in helplessness at the prospect of losing a loved one. I would not disagree. Yet I would urge you not to discount what I say. Never lose sight of the people behind your charts. Each chart represents a person - with feelings, a history, a life - whom you have the power to touch for one day by your words and actions. Tomorrow it may be your loved one - your relative or neighbor - who turns into a case number, a green card, a name to be marked off with a yellow marker as done for the day.

I pray that you will reward the next person you greet at your station with a kind word or smile because that person is someone's dad, husband, wife, mother, son, or daughter - or simply because he or she is a human being, created and loved by God, just as you are.

-Author Unknown-

Sunday, June 28, 2009


Soon Tommy's parents, who had recently separated, would arrive for a conference on his failing schoolwork and disruptive behavior. Neither parent knew that I had summoned the other.

Tommy, an only child, had always been happy, cooperative, and an excellent student. How could I convince his father and mother that his recent failing grades represented a brokenhearted child's reaction to his adored parents' separation and pending divorce?

Tommy's mother entered and took one of the chairs I had placed near my desk. Then the father arrived. They pointedly ignored each other.

As I gave a detailed account of Tommy's behavior and schoolwork, I prayed for the right words to bring these two together to help them see what they were doing to their son. But somehow the words wouldn't come. Perhaps if they saw one of his smudged, carelessly done papers.

I found a crumpled, tear-stained sheet stuffed in the back of his desk. Writing covered both sides, a single sentence scribbled over and over.

Silently I smoothed it out and gave it to Tommy's mother. She read it and then without a word handed it to her husband. He frowned. Then his face softened. He studied the scrawled words for what seemed an eternity.

At last he folded the paper carefully and reached for his wife's outstretched hand. She wiped the tears from her eyes and smiled up at him. My own eyes were brimming, but neither seemed to notice.

In his own way God had given me the words to reunite that family. He had guided me to the sheet of yellow copy paper covered with the anguished outpouring of a small boy's troubled heart.

"Dear Mother . . . Dear Daddy . . . I love you . . . I love you . . . I love you."

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Once upon a time, there was a king who ruled a prosperous country.

One day, he went for a trip to some distant areas of his country. When he was back to his palace, he complained that his feet were very painful, because it was the first time that he went for such a long trip, and the road that he went through was very rough and stony.

He then ordered his people to cover every road of the entire country with leather. Definitely, this would need thousands of cows' skin, and would cost a huge amount of money.

Then one of his wise servant dared himself to tell the king, "Why do you have to spend that unnecessary amount of money ? Why don't you just cut a little piece of leather to cover your feet?"

The king was surprised, but he later agreed to his suggestion, to make a "shoe" for himself.

There is actually a valuable lesson of life in this story : to make this world a happy place to live, you better change yourself - your heart; and not the world.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Dear God, thank you for this sink of dirty dishes; we have plenty of food to eat.

Thank you for this pile of dirty, stinky laundry; we have plenty of nice clothes to wear.

And I would like to thank you, dear God, for those unmade beds; they were so warm and comfortable last night. I know that many have no bed.

My thanks to you, God, for this bathroom, complete with all the splattered mirrors, soggy, grimy towels and dirty lavatory; they are so convenient.

Thank you for this finger-smudged refrigerator that needs defrosting so badly; It has served us faithfully for many years. It is full of cold drinks and enough leftovers for two or three meals.

Thank you, God, for this oven that absolutely must be cleaned today. It has baked so many things over the years.

The whole family is grateful for that tall grass that needs mowing, the lawn that needs raking; we all enjoy the yard.

Thank you, God, even for that slamming screen door. My kids are healthy and able to run and play.

Dear God, the presence of all these chores awaiting me says You have richly blessed my family. I shall do them cheerfully and I shall do them gratefully.

- Author Unknown -

Sunday, June 21, 2009


TO all the fathers out there...HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!! May you be blessed today and always.

May you in turn, remember your own father too...Here's a story to inspire you...

For 52 years my father got up every morning at 5:30 a.m., except Sunday, and went to work. For 52 years he returned home at 5:30 p.m., like clockwork, for dinner at 6:00 p.m. I never remember my father taking a "night out with the boys," nor do I ever recall my father drinking. All he asked from me as his daughter was to hold his hammer while he repaired something, just so we could have some time to talk to each other.

I never saw my father home from work ill, nor did I ever see my father lay down to take a nap. He had no hobbies, other than taking care of his family.

For 22 years, since I left home for college, my father called me every Sunday at 9:00 a.m. He was always interested in my life, how my family was doing, and I never once heard him lament about his lot in life. The calls even came when he and my mother were in Australia, England or Florida.

Nine years ago when I purchased my first house, my father, 67 years old, spent eight hours a day for three days in the 80-degree Kansas heat, painting my house. He would not allow me to pay someone to have it done. All he asked, was a glass of iced tea, and that a hold a paint brush for him and talk to him. But I was too busy, I had a law practice to run, and I could not take the time to hold the paint brush, or talk to my father.

Five years ago, at age 71 again in the sweltering Kansas heat, my father spent five hours putting together a swingset for my daughter. Again, all he asked was that I get him a glass of iced tea, and talk to him. But again, I had laundry to do, and the house to clean.

Four years ago, my father drove all the way from Denver to Topeka, with an eight foot Colorado Blue Spruce in his trunk, so that my husband and I could have a part of Colorado growing on our land. I was preparing for a trip that weekend and couldn't spend much time tallied to Daddy.

The morning or Sunday, January 16, 1996, my father telephoned me as usual, this time from my sister's home in Florida. We conversed about the tree he had brought me, "Fat Albert," but that morning he called the tree "Fat Oscar," and he had seemed to have forgotten some things we had discussed the previous week. I had to get to church, and I cut the conversation short.

The call came at 4:40 p.m., that day, my father was in the hospital in Florida with an aneurysm. I got on an airplane immediately, and on the way, I thought of all the times I had not taken the time to talk to my father. I realized that I had no idea who he was or what his deepest thoughts were. I vowed that when I arrived, I would make up for the lost time, and have a nice long talk with him and really get to know him.

I arrived in Florida at 1 a.m., my father had passed away at 9:12 p.m. This time it was he who did not have time to talk, or time to wait for me.

In the years since his death I have learned much about my father, and even more about myself. As a father he never asked me for anything but my time, now he has all my attention, every single day.



I stopped to watch my little girl busy playing in her room. In one hand was a plastic phone; in the other a toy broom. I listened as she was speaking to her make believe little friend And I'll never forget the words she said, even though it was pretend.

She said, "Suzie's in the corner cuz she's not been very good. She didn't listen to a word I said or do the things she should." In the corner I saw her baby doll all dressed in lace and pink. It was obvious she'd been put there to sit alone and think.

My daughter continued her "conversation," as I sat down on the floor. She said, "I'm all fed up, I just don't know what to do with her anymore? She whines whenever I have to work and wants to play games, too. She never lets me do the things that I just have to do?

She tries to help me with the dishes, but her arms just cannot reach... And she doesn't know how to fold towels. I don't have the time to teach. I have a lot of work to do and a big house to keep clean. I don't have the time to sit and play -- don't you know what I mean?"

And that day I thought a lot about making some changes in my life; As I listened to her innocent words that cut me like a knife. I hadn't been paying enough attention to what I hold most dear. I'd been caught up in responsibilities that increased throughout the year.

But now my attitude has changed, because, in my heart, I realize... I've seen the world in a different light through my little darling's eyes. So, let the cobwebs have the corners and the dustbunnies rule the floor, I'm not going to worry about keeping up with them anymore.

I'm going to fill the house with memories of a child and her mother... For we are granted only one childhood, and we will never get another.

-Author Unknown-


Her hair was up in a ponytail.
Her favorite dress tied with a bow.
Today was Daddy's Day at school,
And she couldn't wait to go.

But her mommy tried to tell her
That she probably should stay home.
Why the kids might not understand
If she went to school alone.

But she was not afraid;
She knew just what to say.
What to tell her classmates
Of why he wasn't there today.

But still her mother worried
For her to face this day alone.
And that was why, once again,
She tried to keep her daughter home.

But the little girl went to school,
Eager to tell them all
About a dad she never sees,
A dad who never calls.

There were daddies along the wall in back
For everyone to meet.
Children squirming impatiently,
Anxious in their seats.

One by one, the teacher called,
A student from the class
To introduce their daddy
As seconds slowly passed.

At last, the teacher called her name,
Every child turned to stare.
Each of them was searching
For a man who wasn't there.

"Where's her daddy at?"
She heard a boy call out.
"She probably doesn't have one,"
Another student dared to shout.

And from somewhere near the back,
She heard a daddy say,
"Looks like another deadbeat dad,
Too busy to waste his day."

The words did not offend her
As she smiled up at her Mom
And looked back at her teacher,
Who told her to go on.

And with hands behind her back,
Slowly, she began to speak.
And from the mouth, of a child,
Came words incredibly unique.

"My Daddy couldn't be here
Because he lives so far away.
But I know he wishes he could be,
Since this is such a special day.

And though you cannot meet him,
I wanted you to know
All about my daddy
And how he loves me so.

He loved to tell me stories.
He taught me to ride my bike.
He surprised me with pink roses,
And taught me to fly a kite.

We used to share fudge sundaes
And ice cream in a cone.
And though you cannot see him,
I'm not standing here alone.

"Cause my daddy's always with me
Even though we are apart.
I know because he told me,
He'll be forever in my heart."

With that, her little hand reached up
And lay across her chest,
Feeling her own heartbeat,
Beneath her favorite dress.

And from somewhere in the crowd of dads,
Her mother stood in tears,
Proudly watching her daughter,
Who was wise beyond her years.

She stood up for the love
Of a man not in her life,
Doing what was best for her,
Doing what was right.

And when she dropped her hand back down,
Staring straight into the crowd,
She finished with a voice so soft,
But its message clear and loud.

"I love my daddy very much.
He's my shining star.
And if he could, he'd be here,
But heaven's just too far.

You see, he was a fireman
And died just this past year
When airplanes hit the towers
And taught Americans to fear.

But sometimes when I close my eyes,
It's like he never went away."
And then she closed her eyes
And saw him there that day.

And to her mother's amazement,
She witnessed with surprise,
A room full of daddies and children,
All starting to close their eyes.

Who knows what they saw before them.
Who knows what they felt inside.
Perhaps for merely a second,
They saw him at her side.

"I know you're with me Daddy,"
To the silence, she called out.
And what happened next made believers
Of those once filled with doubt.

Not one in that room could explain it,
For each of their eyes had been closed.
But there, on the desk beside her,
Was a fragrant long-stemmed pink rose.

And a child was blessed, if only for a moment,
By the love of her shining bright star.
And given the gift of believing
That heaven is never too far.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


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Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Recently, newly appointed Minister of Information, Communication and Culture Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim urged bloggers to act and write responsibly. He said bloggers who twist the truth shall be held accountable.

In the light of such developments, bloggers need to have more awareness of legal rights and responsibilities including laws governing bloggersphere, especially, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission Act 1998 (MCMC Act) and the relevant rules and guidelines of MCMC, laws relating to copyrights issues and defamation laws.

Recently, e-lawyer successfully organised the eLawyer Blogging & Law Conference in March 2009 at University of Malaya, KL. Subsequently, they received much feedback from Penang bloggers requesting them to organise the similar event in Penang.

With the assistance and sponsorship of Exa Bytes Network Sdn Bhd (”Exabytes”), the largest web hosting company in Malaysia, the eLawyer - Exabytes Penang Bloggers & Law Forum 2009 in will be held at USM, Penang on 27 June 2009.

The details of the conference are as follows:

Forum Name: eLawyer - Exabytes Penang Bloggers & Law Forum 2009
Date: 27 June 2009
Time: 9.00am – 12.30pm
Fees: F.O.C.
Venue: Dewan Kuliah G31, Pusat Pengajian Sains Komputer, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Penang Campus (Landmark Masjid USM).
Language: English

This event is exclusively sponsored by - the No.1 web hosting company in Malaysia

Topic 1: Bloggers & Copyrights Laws

Speaker: Mr. Foong Cheng Leong (Cheng Leong)
Brief profile: Cheng Leong is a practising lawyer in KL. He specialises in intellectual property laws practice. He is an active blogger and owner of Cheng Leong started blogging since 2001. He speaks frequently on intellectual property and internet laws.

Topic 2: Bloggers & Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission Act 1998 (MCMC Act) and rules and guidelines of MCMC

Speaker: Mr.Shamsul Jafni Shafie (Sam)
Brief profile: Sam is the former director of Security, Trust and Governance Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission. He was also the Work Area 5 Leader on “International Cooperation” to draft the Global Cybersecurity Agenda for the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) -

Topic 3: Bloggers & Defamation Law

Speaker: Mr. Stephen Tan Ban Cheng (Stephen)
Brief profile: Stephen is a journalist-turned-lawyer. Currently, he is a practising lawyer in Penang. Stephen was a senior journalist in the famous local newspaper including New Strait Times and the Star for more than 20 years.

Moderator: Mr. Khairul Anuar bin Shaharudin (Kruel)

Brief profile: Kruel is the cybername for Khairul, who is a practising lawyer in KL and an avid bloggers. Kruel participated in numerous bloggers events and his blog Legal Cat-asthrophereceived well comments from the bloggersphere in Malaysia.

Registration: The admission to this Forum is FREE. However, due to limited seats, please R.S.V.P by sending your details (Name, Tel, Email, Occupation and Company/School) to: before 24 June 2009 or call 03-2782 5399 for more information.

Please try to be there, especially bloggers from Penang and the northern region.

Please click on the image to enlarge.

Monday, June 15, 2009


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Sunday, June 14, 2009


One morning a sixteen-year-old boy was kidnapped from his house by a band of knife-wielding thugs and taken to another country, there to be sold as a slave. The year was 401 AD.

He was made a shepherd. Slaves were not allowed to wear clothes, so he was often dangerously cold and frequently on the verge of starvation. He spent months at a time without seeing another human being -- a severe psychological torture.

But this greatest of difficulties was transformed into the greatest of blessings because it gave him an opportunity not many get in a lifetime. Long lengths of solitude have been used by people all through history to meditate, to learn to control the mind and to explore the depths of feeling and thought to a degree impossible in the hubbub of normal life.

He wasn't looking for such an "opportunity," but he got it anyway. He had never been a religious person, but to hold himself together and take his mind off the pain, he began to pray, so much that " one day," he wrote later, "I would say as many as a hundred prayers and after dark nearly as many again...I would wake and pray before daybreak -- through snow, frost, and rain...."

This young man, at the onset of his manhood, got a 'raw deal.' But therein lies the lesson. Nobody gets a perfect life. The question is not "What could I have done if I'd gotten a better life?" but rather "What can I do with the life I've got?"

How can you take your personality, your circumstances, your upbringing, the time and place you live in, and make something extraordinary out of it? What can you do with what you've got?

The young slave prayed. He didn't have much else available to do, so he did what he could with all his might. And after six years of praying, he heard a voice in his sleep say that his prayers would be answered: He was going home. He sat bolt upright and the voice said, "Look, your ship is ready."

He was a long way from the ocean, but he started walking. After two hundred miles, he came to the ocean and there was a ship, preparing to leave for Britain, his homeland. Somehow he got aboard the ship and went home to reunite with his family.

But he had changed. The sixteen-year-old boy had become a holy man. He had visions. He heard the voices of the people from the island he had left -- Ireland -- calling him back. The voices were persistent, and he eventually left his family to become ordained as a priest and a bishop with the intention of returning to Ireland and converting the Irish to Christianity.

At the time, the Irish were fierce, illiterate, Iron-Age people. For over eleven hundred years, the Roman Empire had been spreading its civilizing influence from Africa to Britain, but Rome never conquered Ireland.

The people of Ireland warred constantly. They made human sacrifices of prisoners of war and sacrificed newborns to the gods of the harvest. They hung the skulls of their enemies on their belts as ornaments.

Our slave-boy-turned-bishop decided to make these people literate and peaceful. Braving dangers and obstacles of tremendous magnitude, he actually succeeded! By the end of his life, Ireland was Christian. Slavery had ceased entirely. Wars were much less frequent, and literacy was spreading.

How did he do it? He began by teaching people to read -- starting with the Bible. Students eventually became teachers and went to other parts of the island to create new places of learning, and wherever they went, they brought the know-how to turn sheepskin into paper and paper into books.

Copying books became the major religious activity of that country. The Irish had a long-standing love of words, and it expressed itself to the full when they became literate. Monks spent their lives copying books: the Bible, the lives of saints, and the works accumulated by the Roman culture -- Latin, Greek, and Hebrew books, grammars, the works of Plato, Aristotle, Virgil, Homer, Greek philosophy, math, geometry, astronomy.

In fact, because so many books were being copied, they were saved, because as Ireland was being civilized, the Roman Empire was falling apart. Libraries disappeared in Europe. Books were no longer copied (except in the city of Rome itself), and children were no longer taught to read. The civilization that had been built up over eleven centuries disintegrated. This was the beginning of the Dark Ages.

Because our slave-boy-turned-bishop transformed his suffering into a mission, civilization itself, in the form of literature and the accumulated knowledge contained in that literature, was saved and not lost during that time of darkness. He was named a saint, the famous Saint Patrick. You can read the full and fascinating story if you like in the excellent book How the Irish Saved Civilization by Thomas Cahill.

"Very interesting," you might say, "but what does that have to do with me?" are also in some circumstances or other, and it's not all peaches and cream, is it? There's some stuff you don't like -- maybe something about your circumstances, perhaps, or maybe some events that occurred in your childhood.

But here you are, with that past, with these circumstances, with the things you consider less than ideal. What are you going to do with them? If those circumstances have made you uniquely qualified for some contribution, what would it be?

You may not know the answer to that question right now, but keep in mind that the circumstances you think only spell misery may contain the seeds of something profoundly Good. Assume that's true, and the assumption will begin to gather evidence until your misery is transformed, as Saint Patrick's suffering was, from a raw deal to the perfect preparation for something better.

Ask yourself and keep asking, "Given my upbringing and circumstances, what Good am I especially qualified to do?"

Monday, June 8, 2009


A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousands of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried up to meet his schedule.

A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping continued to walk.

A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.

The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.

In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written,with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars.

Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston and the seats average $100.

This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of an social experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?

One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be:
If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?

To listen to a brief clip from Josh's subway concert, click THIS LINK.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


Give this heart with Words of Wisdom to everyone you know....

'Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.'

A sharp tongue can cut your own throat.

If you want your dreams to come true, you mustn't oversleep.

Of all the things you wear, your expression is the most important.

The best vitamin for making friends.....

The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.

The heaviest thing you can carry is a twisted tongue that divides the truth..

One thing you can give and still your word.

You lie the loudest when you lie to yourself

If you lack the courage to start, you have already finished.

One thing you can't recycle is wasted time.

Ideas won't work unless 'You' do.

Believe the truth & it shall set you free...sift out the lies & make restitution....

Your mind is like a functions only when open..

The 10 commandments are not a multiple choice.

The pursuit of happiness is the chase of a lifetime!

It is never too late to become what you might have been.

Life is too short to wake up with regrets.

So love the people who treat you right..

Forget about the one's who don't.

Believe everything happens for a reason.

If you get a second chance, grab it with both hands.

If it change's your life, let it.

Nobody said life would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it.

People are like balloons; once you let them go, you might not get them back.

Sometimes we get so busy with our own lives and problems that we may not even notice that we've let them fly away.

Sometimes we are so caught up in who's right and who's wrong that we forget what's right and wrong.

Sometimes we just don't realise what real friendship means until it is too late.

May these words of wisdom touch your life in a very positive way.

"Hope is a light diet, but very stimulating."
-Judz Cee

Saturday, June 6, 2009


Our house was directly across the street from the clinic entrance of Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. We lived downstairs and rented the upstairs rooms to out patients at the clinic.

One summer evening as I was fixing supper, there was a knock at the door. I opened it to see a truly awful looking man. "Why, he's hardly taller than my eight-year-old," I thought as I stared at the stooped, shriveled body. But the appalling thing was his face, lopsided from swelling, red and raw.

Yet his voice was pleasant as he said, "Good evening. I've come to see if you've a room for just one night. I came for a treatment this morning from the eastern shore, and there's no bus 'til morning."

He told me he'd been hunting for a room since noon but with no success, no one seemed to have a room. "I guess it's my face... I know it looks terrible, but my doctor says with a few more treatments..."

For a moment I hesitated, but his next words convinced me: "I could sleep in this rocking chair on the porch. My bus leaves early in the morning."

I told him we would find him a bed, but to rest on the porch. I went inside and finished getting supper. When we were ready, I asked the old man if he would join us. "No thank you. I have plenty." And he held up a brown paper bag.

When I had finished the dishes, I went out on the porch to talk with him a few minutes. It didn't take a long time to see that this old man had an oversized heart crowded into that tiny body. He told me he fished for a living to support his daughter, her five children, and her husband, who was hopelessly crippled from a back injury.

He didn't tell it by way of complaint; in fact, every other sentence was preface with a thanks to God for a blessing. He was grateful that no pain accompanied his disease, which was apparently a form of skin cancer. He thanked God for giving him the strength to keep going.

At bedtime, we put a camp cot in the children's room for him. When I got up in the morning, the bed linens were neatly folded and the little man was out on the porch.

He refused breakfast, but just before he left for his bus, haltingly, as if asking a great favor, he said, Could I please come back and stay the next time I have a treatment? I won't put you out a bit. I can sleep fine in a chair." He paused a moment and then added, "Your children made me feel at home. Grownups are bothered by my face, but children don't seem to mind." I told him he was welcome to come again.

And on his next trip he arrived a little after seven in the morning.

As a gift, he brought a big fish and a quart of the largest oysters I had ever seen. He said he had shucked them that morning before he left so that they'd be nice and fresh. I knew his bus left at 4:00 a.m. and I wondered what time he had to get up in order to do this for us.

In the years he came to stay overnight with us there was never a time that he did not bring us fish or oysters or vegetables from his garden.

Other times we received packages in the mail, always by special delivery; fish and oysters packed in a box of fresh young spinach or kale, every leaf carefully washed. Knowing that he must walk three miles to mail these, and knowing how little money he had made the gifts doubly preciou s.

When I received these little remembrances, I often thought of a comment our next-door neighbor made after he left that first morning.

"Did you keep that awful looking man last night? I turned him away! You can lose roomers by putting up such people!"

Maybe we did lose roomers once or twice. But oh! If only they could have known him, perhaps their illnesses would have been easier to bear.

I know our family always will be grateful to have known him; from him we learned what it was to accept the bad without complaint and the good with gratitude to God.

Recently I was visiting a friend, who has a greenhouse, as she showed me her flowers, we came to the most beautiful one of all, a golden chrysanthemum, bursting with blooms. But to my great surprise, it was growing in an old dented, rusty bucket. I thought to myself, "If this were my plant, I'd put it in the loveliest container I had!"

My friend changed my mind. "I ran short of pots," she explained, and knowing how beautiful this one would be, I thought it wouldn't mind starting out in this old pail. It's just for a little while, till I can put it out in the garden."

She must have wondered why I laughed so delightedly, but I was imagining just such a scene in heaven. "Here's an especially beautiful one," God might have said when he came to the soul of the sweet old fisherman. "He won't mind starting in this small body."

All this happened long ago - and now, in God's garden, how tall this lovely soul must stand.

-Author Unknown-

Friday, June 5, 2009


The twenty year old soldier, recently reduced in rank from buck sergeant to buck private, stood outside base headquarters and read his orders again. "Report to Captain McDanial at..."

No doubt this Captain McDanial would know of the private’s recent release from the base stockade at Fukuoka after serving five months of a six months sentence for stealing $420.00 of military script money and a .45 caliber pistol from the 2nd Airdrome Squadron’s post office.

Might as well get ready for a nasty chewing out, he mumbled to himself as he hoisted his duffle bag to his shoulder and climbed the steps to the entryway. After stepping inside and setting his belongings down in an out of the way spot, he surveyed the orderly room. The first sergeant was sitting at a desk near the wooden railing and three other clerical types were beyond him, two seated at desks, and one at a filing cabinet.

The private nervously handed over his orders to the first sergeant and said, "I am to report to Captain McDanial."

"Oh, you’re private _____. The captain said he wants to see you the moment you got here. He has a special assignment for you. Door on your left at the end of the room. Knock three times and wait until he says, 'come in,' before you enter, then march up to his desk, come to attention and salute."

Yikes, the private said to himself, as he headed toward the Captain's door. A special assignment? Looks like I’m in for it now!

The 'come in,' command was sharp and authoritative. The private braced himself for the ordeal and taking a deep breath opened the door and strode to within three paces of the captain’s desk where he saluted and said, "Private _______ reporting as ordered sir."

"Stand at ease, private. I’ve read the transcript of your courts martial. That, and a copy of your conduct while in the stockade were forwarded to me by your commanding officer. I note that you achieved trustee status after two months, and that your conduct was that of a model soldier in confinement. Because of this, I’ve decided to give you a special assignment. Perhaps the first sergeant mentioned this to you?"

"Yes sir. He did."

"Good," he said, as he got to his feet while opening and reaching inside the top drawer of his desk.

"Here," the Captain said, as he stretched out his hand toward the private. "Here is $420.00 in military script. Go to the base post office and buy a money order with it. On your way, get your barracks assignment from the first sergeant, then report to me tomorrow morning at 0800 hours with the money order. Any questions?"

The private was too astounded to formulate a question! Here was this captain, who only knew of him what he had read in the courts martial transcript, entrusting him with $420.00 in military script money - the exact amount he and his partner in crime had stolen. By giving him until tomorrow morning to complete the special assignment, the captain had created the opportunity for the private to get a great head start if he decided to go AWOL with it. Why was the captain doing this?

"No questions, sir."

"Good. Dismissed."

The private came to attention, saluted, did an about-face and strode briskly to the door. He turned the knob, pulled the door towards him and while momentarily facing the captain said, "Sir?"

The captain looked up.

"Thank-you, sir," the private sang in a joyous voice!

The captain waved him out.

The private almost skipped down the street towards the base post office he was so thrilled at the trust this Captain McDanial had placed in him. How could the private do anything else when the captain had so clearly demonstrated his faith in him?

Captain McDanial's 'special assignment' was much more than a routine chore. It was an opportunity for the private to restore his dignity.

Postscript: Later in that month of April 1948, Captain McDanial arranged a thirty day emergency leave for the private when the private received news that his older sister had been involved in an automobile accident and was not expected to live.

It has been said that people come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Captain McDanial (his real name) was one of those persons that come into our lives for a reason. The private has never seen, or heard, from the captain again; but he has never forgotten him and what he did for the private with his 'Special Assignment.'

-author unknown-

Taken from THIS LINK.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


There once was a farmer who grew award-winning corn. Each year he entered his corn in the state fair where it won a blue ribbon.

One year a newspaper reporter interviewed him and learned something interesting about how he grew it. The reporter discovered that the farmer shared his seed corn with his neighbors.

"How can you afford to share your best seed corn with your neighbors when they are entering corn in competition with yours each year?" the reporter asked.

"Why sir," said the farmer, "didn't you know? The wind picks up pollen from the ripening corn and swirls it from field to field. If my neighbors grow inferior corn, cross-pollination will steadily degrade the quality of my corn. If I am to grow good corn, I must help my neighbors grow good corn."

He is very much aware of the connectedness of life. His corn cannot improve unless his neighbor's corn also improves.

So it is with our lives. Those who choose to live in peace must help their neighbors to live in peace. Those who choose to live well must help others to live well, for the value of a life is measured by the lives it touches. And those who choose to be happy must help others to find happiness, for the welfare of each is bound up with the welfare of all.

The lesson for each of us is this: if we are to grow good corn, we must help our neighbors grow good corn.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


I grew up in the '50s with very practical parents. A mother, God love her,who washed aluminum foil after she cooked in it, then reused it. She was the original recycle queen, before they had a name for it.

My father was happier getting old shoes fixed than buying new ones. Their marriage was good, their dreams focused. Their best friends lived barely a wave away. I can see them now, Dad in trousers, tee shirt and a hat and Mom in a house dress, lawn mower in one hand, dishtowel in the other.

It was the time for fixing things. A curtain rod, the kitchen radio, screen door, the oven door, the hem in a dress. Things we keep. It was a way of life, and sometimes it made me crazy. All that re-fixing, eating, renewing, I wanted just once to be wasteful. Waste meant affluence. Throwing things away meant you knew there'd always be more.

But then my mother died, and on that clear summer's night, in the warmth of the hospital room, I was struck with the pain of learning that sometimes there isn't any more. Sometimes, what we care about most gets all used up and goes away...never to return. So, while we have it... it's best we love it... and care for it... and fix it when it's broken... and heal it when it's sick.

This is true for marriage... and old cars... and children with bad report cards... and dogs with bad hips... and aging parents... and grandparents. We keep them because they are worth it, because we are worth it.

-Author Unknown-

Taken from this LINK.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


The Young Merman
Jenni Piech

Once upon a time there was a young merman who lived in a beautiful kingdom deep in the ocean. Ever since he had been born he had always been surrounded by magnificent coral reefs, exotic sea creatures and the breath-taking architecture of the mer-people. Yet he never seemed happy, as he always saw the worst in everything and was critical of those around him. Of course, this made him very unpopular with the other mermen and mermaids, and he often found himself alone, thinking about how awful everything and everyone was.

He did, however, have one friend; the eldest and wisest merman in the kingdom. This old merman had known the young merman’s parents for a very long time, and he knew that the boy had never had any friends because of his negative attitude. The wise merman felt sorry for the boy, and so, when he could, he would take some time to talk to the boy and try to help him.

One morning the boy and the wise merman were taking a gentle swim through the kingdom. The wise merman was admiring what a beautiful morning it was turning out to be, but the boy could only notice that the water was colder than he liked it and that the dolphins were being too playful and noisy.

“But what about the coral?” suggested the old merman. “Aren’t the colours glorious today?”

“I guess,” the boy shrugged. “If you happen to like orange, red and pink.”

The old merman looked at the boy for a moment, before the boy finished, “Which I don’t.”

The old merman sighed, wondering if he would ever be able to think of something to make the boy happy. He wrapped the end of his long, white beard around his finger and then unwrapped it again.

“Well,” he said, “I should be on my way. I have a class to teach”.

“What are teaching today?” asked the boy.

“Today I’ll be teaching about God.”


“Yes, God. Have you never heard of God?”

“No. How would I? I’ve never been to any of your lessons.”

“Hmm.” The old merman stroked his beard thoughtfully. “Well, that is a shame. Cheerio then.”

As the old merman began to leave the boy stopped him.

“Hey! Aren’t you going to tell me what it is?”

“What what is?”


“Oh, I see. Well, you can find God everywhere really…”

“Everywhere? But that’s impossible…. Isn’t it?”

“No, it’s very possible.”

“Well, what does it look like then?”

“It looks like you, and me, and the dolphins and the coral….”

The boy frowned at the old merman. “So God isn’t really anything at all?”

The wise, old merman smiled at the boy for a brief moment and then turned away to leave.

“You tell me!” he said as he swam away. “Go and find it and then tell me if it isn’t really anything at all!”


The young merman swam around the kingdom aimlessly for a while, feeling cross about the nonsense the old merman had been speaking.

“What rubbish,” thought the boy. “God looks like everything? God can’t be very special then!”

Frowning, he looked around him, at the buildings, the mer-people and the shimmering fish. Then he remembered the old merman’s words.

“Fine,” he thought. “I’ll look for it, and then I’ll tell him what I think!”

The boy swam straight up to a dolphin, folded his arms across his chest and stared at it.

“So you’re God, are you?”

The dolphin looked at the boy and grinned. The boy didn’t grin back.

“God has a chunk missing from its fin and has bits of fish caught in its teeth, does it?! How stupid!”

The boy swam off, leaving behind the dolphin who had started to laugh.

The boy was in such a bad mood whilst he was swimming that he swam right into a beautiful mermaid with long, golden hair. She looked cross at first, but her face softened and she smiled at the boy.

“You must be in a rush to get somewhere,” she said gently.

“Not really,” the boy replied.

“Well, just try to be careful then, you wouldn’t want to hurt someone.”

Another frown appeared on the boys face and he swam on.

“Well, she can’t be God, that’s for sure. You wouldn’t want to hurt someone… Who does she think she is?”

The boy swam up to a high cliff which overlooked the entire kingdom. He slumped down onto a rock, feeling very hard-done-by. As he looked down he saw a tiny, brightly coloured fish feeding off of the algae which grew on the rock.

“You can’t be God either,” said the boy glumly. “You’re far too small.”


As the evening closed in and the lights of the kingdom began to sparkle in the dark water, the boy sighed. He had been looking for God all day, and all that he had found was a stupid dolphin, a rude mermaid and a small, insignificant fish. The young merman was just about to call it a day and swim home, when he spotted his old friend swimming slowly towards him.

“What are you doing all the way up here?” asked the wise merman. “You’re a long way from the town.”

“Well I was doing what you said and…” the boy replied venomously, but the old merman raised his hand to silence the boy.

“So you’ve been up here all day? Too angry and self absorbed to notice when God is right in front of you?”

The boy opened his mouth to speak, but quickly closed it again, suddenly feeling foolish.

“Look,” said the old merman forcefully. And he pointed towards the kingdom; towards the lights spilling from the buildings, and the glittering schools of fish weaving gracefully in and out of the tall towers and low coral houses; towards the beautiful mermaids and mermen rushing to and fro throughout the kingdom and the enormous shadows of whales on the outskirts of the underwater city. From high up on the cliff every individual movement seemed like a cog in the one big movement of the whole kingdom. Each life and action seemed to fit perfectly with everything else.

The boy sat watching the kingdom, which seemed like one united pulse of colour, movement and breath. He had never seen it this way before.

“Do you see God now?” asked the old merman gently.

“Yes,” said the boy, in awe. “I… I never noticed it before. It’s all perfect, isn’t it? Why didn’t I see it before?”

“When you stop thinking about yourself and how you wish the world would be, you start to see how the world really is. And it’s better than anything that you wished for, isn’t it? Because it doesn’t revolve around you and your ideas; you’re just part of the beautiful flow of it all. Doesn’t that feel good to know?”

Just then the boy saw the tiny, coloured fish which he had seen earlier that day. It was casually swimming over the rocks, experiencing every moment as it arrived and not expecting anything at all. The boy suddenly realised how much like the tiny fish he’d like to be.

He laughed. “Yes, it feels wonderful!”

written by Jenni Piech who lives in south-east England with her fiance, Tim, and their cat, Cheesecake.

Monday, June 1, 2009


Thomas Edison's laboratory was virtually destroyed by fire in December, 1914. Although the damage exceeded $2 million, the buildings were only insured for $238,000 because they were made of concrete and thought to be fireproof.

Much of Edison's life's work went up in spectacular flames that December night. At the height of the fire, Edison's 24-year old son, Charles, frantically searched for his father among the smoke and debris.

He finally found him, calmly watching the scene, his face glowing in the reflection, his white hair blowing in the wind.
"My heart ached for him," said Charles.

"He was 67 - no longer a young man - and everything was going up in flames. When he saw me, he shouted, "Charles, where's your mother?"

When I told him I didn't know, he said, "Find her. Bring her here. She will never see anything like this as long as she lives."
The next morning, Edison looked at the ruins and said, "There is great value in disaster. All our mistakes are burned up. Thank God we can start anew."

Three weeks after the fire, Edison managed to deliver his first phonograph.

Oh my, it's very beautiful over there.

Thomas Edison

To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.

Thomas Edison