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"It is one of those beautiful compensations
of this life that no one can sincerely try
to help another without helping himself."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson, Author, Poet & Philosopher (1803-1882)
December 22, 2003
"What Child Is This?"
16th Century English Melody
Words by William C. Dix 1865
From the Inside Out...
Never Too Old
Yes You Can!...
Make Clear Choices
Links That Shine...
Just for YOU ...
Discovery of the Week
Laughing It Off...
Politically Correct Christmas
Untangling the Web...
What a Site!
Look at That!...
Finding a Calm Center
BE the World
You Want to See!
One of the most wonderful experiences I've known
was the three years that I lived in Japan. There is nothing
more transformational than emersing oneself in another culture!
~ Chelle ~
From the Inside Out
didn't look much like Christmas that December 23, 1969. The
trees were lush, the countryside awash in green. There was
no hint of snow in the sweltering heat. In fact, I was the
only thing that "looked like Christmas."
I was perched in the open door of a helicopter hovering about
fifty feet over the center of a dusty village in the III Tactical
Corps area of Vietnam. Instead of the ubiquitous olive drab
that cloaked everything military, I was clad in a bright red
Santa suit, complete with hat and white beard.
I had a sack of toys slung over my shoulder replacing the
M-16 I usually carried. I wanted to make the entrance into
the village square as quickly as possible before the beard
turned gray with sweat and dust. I checked the harness of
my rappelling gear, gave a thumbs-up to the chopper crew,
and jumped out into space. I slid down the rope and made a
soft landing in the center of the square. The helicopter departed
in a final cloud of dust while I looked around the square.
of kids were arrayed around me. Interpreters and Vietnamese-language
slingers informing them that something joyful and wonderful
would happen had summoned them. I could tell from the puzzled
looks on their faces though that these kids still weren't
too sure that my arrival was the "something joyful and
wonderful." My silly "ho-ho-ho" didn't help
kids kept shrinking farther away from this stranger in red,
and I thought my Santa Claus routine would be just another
failed attempt to impose western ideas on an eastern culture.
I sat down in the middle of the square, wondering how I could
let these kids know that Santa was one of the good guys.
My mouth was still fuzzy with dust from my landing in the
village, so I opened a butterscotch drop and popped it into
my mouth to chase away the cobwebs. Instantly, the kids started
inching closer. It took me a minute to realize they were drawn
by the sight of food. I peeled the wrapper off another and
held it out in my hand.
one little girl allowed the allure of the candy to overcome
her reluctance. She came forward to take the butterscotch
from my hand. She put it in her mouth, and the half-frightened
look on her face blossomed into a beautiful flower of a smile.
the dam broke and all the kids from all corners of the square
were ionized to the magnet of the sweet stuff. They sat on
me and touched me and laughed and giggled and smiled. I couldn't
peel wrappers off fast enough so I just started throwing the
candy into the air. The kids scrambled frantically for it
at first, but then returned to their better nature when they
realized there would be enough for all of them.
captured their attention with the candy, I then broke out
some small spiral notebooks and pens. As they marveled over
their collective treasures, I went into the crowd of adults
in the periphery with my fellow GIs and started handing out
food from c-ration packs and from the packages we'd received
from home. My mother's chocolate chip cookies were a big hit.
Vietnamese bowed and gestured and spoke their rapid-fire reactions
... but what I understood best were the smiles.
handed out Coke and Dr. Pepper and Pepsi and whatever else
we'd scrounged for our gift-giving and, after a short while,
everyone in the village had been given something in celebration
of the birth of a little baby none of them had ever heard
didn't have much peace to spread beyond that precious hour
of sanity in the asylum of Vietnam, but we did have an abundance
of good will to share.
I've studied at some great colleges in my life and I've been
taught by some of the greatest minds of our time, but I've
never learned a lesson quite like the one I did in that tiny
village square on that special Christmas in 1969.
Vietnamese never heard of Christmas before that day and certainly
have never celebrated it since, however I know with utter
certainty that they taught me more about the real meaning
of Christmas than I ever thought I'd learn.
is not complicated. It rests in the hearts of people everywhere,
all the time. Christmas is pure and it is simple. We can
find Christmas ever day, in so very many ways. Christmas is
love and when we show it, we get it back. The
child born that first Christmas was never too young to teach
that, and I pray that none of us are ever too old to learn
Stephen T. Bank
Yes You Can!
MAKE CLEAR CHOICES
man tells of driving a long and lonely road, the last 65 miles
of it unpaved, in order to watch Hopi Indian ceremonial dances
in Arizona. After the dances, he returned to his car only
to find that it had a flat tire. He put on the spare and drove
to the only service station on the Hopi reservation.
you fix flats?" he inquired of the attendant.
came the answer.
much do you charge?" he asked.
a twinkle in his eye, the man replied, "What difference
does it make?"
is what has been called a "Hobson's choice." A Hobson's
choice is a situation that forces a person to accept whatever
is offered or go without. According to Barbara Berliner's
OF ANSWERS, the phrase was inspired by sixteenth-century
entrepreneur Thomas Hobson, who hired out horses in strict
rotation at Cambridge University. There was no choosing by
the customer it was strictly Hobson's choice.
most of the time we really do have a choice, and the choice
we make does make a difference. We may not always believe
it. We may feel as if we have no choice...we have to do such
we usually do have a choice. When we realize that most of
what we do we do by choice, then we are taking control of
our own lives.
is an experiment. For the next 48 hours, eliminate the words
"I have to" from your vocabulary and substitute
the words "I choose to." Don't say, "I have
to work late tonight." Instead, say, "I choose to
work late." When you choose to do it, you take control
of your life. Instead of saying, "I have to stay home,"
try "I choose to stay home." The way you spend your
time is your choice. You set the priorities. You are responsible.
You have control.
is very little in this life we have to do. You and I choose
to do certain things because we believe that it will be for
the best. When we eliminate "I have to" from our
vocabularies, we take control. Try it for two days (after
all, it's your choice), and you are sure to feel less helpless
and more in charge of your life right away.
almost every situation, we do have some choice. And the choice
we make will make a difference. Take control for in
the end, it's those choices we make that will make our lives
happier and more fulfilled.
reading is found in Steve Goodier's book
A LIFE THAT MAKES A DIFFERENCE
to Learn More about ZIG ZIGLAR'S CD/Cassette Set...
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borders the South Pacific Ocean and, in the southernmost part,
touches the South Atlantic Ocean. Its neighbors are Argentina
and Boliva to the east and Peru to the north. On "Noche
Buena" the children here keep a watch for "Viejo
Pascuero," or Old Man Christmas. He looks very much like
Santa Claus and he also arrives with a team of reindeer which
is quite unusual since it's summer in South America during
the month of December. The chimneys on the homes are quite
small in this warm climate, therefore Viejo Pascuero climbs
through the window with his gifts. In some areas, Viejo Pascuero
is seen as a local rancher and is often in the company of
a llama. and Following the midnight "Misa del Gallo,"
or Mass of the Rooster, the Christmas Eve meal often includes
azuela de ave, a chicken soup filled with potatoes, onions
and corn on the cob. The meal on Christmas Day usually includes
turkey, seafood, freshly grown vegetables and salads, along
with Chilean wine for which the country is famous. Deserts
always include "Pan de Pascua," a sweet Christmas
all need to beware of charity cons during the holiday season.
For a wide range of bonafide fundraising organizations and
tips on giving wisely, go to the American Institute of Philanthropy
You can also check with the
Better Business Bureau at Give.org
Just for YOU ...
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As an African American and Pan-African holiday celebrated
by millions throughout the world African community, Kwanzaa
brings a cultural message which speaks to the best of what
it means to be African and human in the fullest sense. Kwanzaa
is neither political nor religious and despite some misconceptions,
is not a substitute for Christmas. Kwanzaa is a spiritual
celebration of the oneness and goodness of life.
seven-day festival begins December 26th, ending on New Years
Day, and is centered around seven principles: Unity, Self-determination,
Collective Work and Responsibility, Cooperative Economics,
Purpose, Creativity and Faith. The festivals roots lie
in African first-fruit harvest celebrations, from which it
takes its name, with the word Kwanzaa from the Swahili phrase
matunda ya kwanzaa, which means first fruits.
The days leading up to Kwanzaa are spent decorating the house
with black, red and green paper decorations and hanging handmade
ornaments on an evergreen Kwanzaa Bush.
the next 7 nights the family gathers to light the seven-candle
holder or Kinara. The first night one of the children
is asked to light the central candle, the black one symbolizing
unity, after which they are told the meaning of the word.
The next night someone lights the red one (self-determination)
and so on for the next seven nights. Part of this holiday
is spent teaching children about their heritage. A ceremonial
table is set up with an ear of corn symbolizing each of the
children and a carved and decorated unity cup, which is used
for the toasts made each evening. December 31st is the night
for the giving of gifts to the children, which might be a
book and a heritage symbol, such as an African artifact.
seven day celebration ends with a feast, Karumu,
which has African-American foods, and plenty of music. Once
everyone has finished eating, they all rise, recommit themselves
to the seven principles of Kwanzaa and bid everyone happiness,
and that at the end of this year they all come together in
larger numbers, with greater achievement, and a higher level
of human life.
How did the legend
of "Santa Claus" evolve?
Click for Answer
Laughing It Off
POLITICALLY CORRECT CHRISTMAS
the night before Christmas and Santas a wreck...
How to live in a world thats politically correct?
His workers no longer would answer to Elves,
Vertically Challenged they were calling themselves.
And labor conditions at the North Pole,
were alleged by the union to stifle the soul.
Four reindeer had vanished without much propriety,
released to the wilds by the Humane Society.
And equal employment had made it quite clear,
that Santa had better not use just reindeer.
So Dancer and Donner, Comet and Cupid,
were replaced with 4 pigs, and you know that looked stupid!
The runners were carefully removed from his sleigh;
the ruts were deemed dangerous by the E.P.A.
His pipe's second-hand smoke had his workers quite frightened.
and his fur-trimmed red suit was called Unenlightened.
And as for gifts...why, Santa never had the notion,
that making a choice could cause such commotion.
No candy or sweets...they were bad for the tooth.
Nothing that seemed to embellish the truth.
And fairytales...while not yet forbidden,
were like Ken and Barbie, better off hidden,
for they raised the hackles of those psychological,
who claimed the only good gift was one ecological.
baseball, no football...someone might get hurt,
besides playing sports exposed kids to dirt.
Dolls were said to be sexist and should be passé.
And Nintendo would rot your entire brain away.
Santa stood there, disheveled and perplexed,
he just couldnt figure out what to do next.
He tried to be merry he tried to be gay,
but you must admit he was having a bad day.
sack was quite empty, it was flat on the ground,
nothing fully acceptable was anywhere to be found.
Something special was needed, a gift that he might,
give to us all, offending neither left nor the right.
gift that would satisfy with no indecision,
each group of people in every religion.
So here is that gift, its price beyond worth...
MAY YOU AND YOUR LOVED ONES, ENJOY PEACE ON EARTH
Untangling the Web
WHAT A SITE!
Need some help with holiday shopping?
A cheerful place for the festive season
where you can swap gift ideas, find humorous stories and visit
links to unique shopping sites from around the world can be
found at www.HappyChristmas.com
And at another site...
features a section
with free holiday tips from the best Gurus in the world to
make life better and wiser with their content. Lifetips.com
is the world's first Knowledge Search Engine that offers
58,000 Guru tips, articles and big brain
tests along with links to 100,000+ web sites.
Spruce up your holiday emails...
with Outlook Express Stationery. To see how this works, run
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you can go to www.Thunder
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screensaver downloads. The artwork you will find there is
Look at THAT!
Photo: Garriage Ho /Reuters
Sixty Santa Clauses ...
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree!
Sixty Santas from the U.S. and Canada travel onboard a Star
Ferry during a cruise on Hong Kong Harbour. The Santa volunteers
are on an annual goodwill world tour which
includes stops in Beijing, Singapore and Bangkok, giving Christmas
gifts to children. ~Reuters
FINDING A CALM CENTER
of us know that being calm, centered and positive in our
lives is beneficial. Yet learning about centering is not
enough, experiencing being centered is what makes it come
alive. Creating an environment in which you can take a short
break and breathe, to ground yourself whenever you need
to, is a great way to begin. By finding an approach or two
that works well for you, youll be on your way to more
centered living after reading this article by Hope Langer,
CPCC, MS, a Certified Professional Co-active Coach:
"Centering brings us back to ourselves. It allows us
to hear our inner voice more clearly, for some, even to
FIND our inner voice. We can look inside and know what is
most important right in that moment. Being centered is soothing,
calming, and nurturing. Centering ourselves is like exercising
or eating a healthy diet we wish we could magically
acquire the discipline to do it regularly, but it takes
intention and focus. To be effective, centering has to be
extremely appealing. Otherwise, odds are we wont do
it! We know about many things that are good for us, and
somehow we manage not to do most of them like taking
strongtasting vitamins, developing an exercise routine or
a new eating regimen.
we want some space and time for ourselves, how do we do
it? One method is to make this task compelling.
What would make being centered compelling ? Having fun?
Having a sense of calm or space? Being in the woods? Having
time to think? Being relaxed with others? Reading for pleasure?
Enjoying a good cup of tea or coffee? Treating yourself
to a luxurious bath, manicure, massage? Structures have
an important role in helping people remember what they want
to do. You might link your new behavior, centering, to something
that you already do every day: Every time the phone rings,
let it ring three times, take three deep breaths, and center.
Every time you park your car, stay in the car for two minutes
and center. Every trip to the kitchen, to a co-workers
office, and to the bathroom, are opportunities to center.
Take timeout for you, even five or ten minutes; getting
centered doesnt have to be about discipline or reining
in that zany free spirit of yours. You will discover that
taking care of yourself can be delightful, easy, fun, and
centered is holding on to what matters, and gracefully letting
go of the rest. Heres an easy and quick way to center
in just a couple of minutes: Take a sitting or standing
position. Make sure both feet are completely on the ground.
Notice the connection of your feet to the earth. Notice
what your intention is for the time you are in this space.
Close your eyes. Notice your breathing. When you inhale,
breathe down into your abdomen, and beyond. See if you can
get your breath to reach the tips of your toes. Keep breathing
and noticing your breathing. When you exhale, imagine all
the tension in your body being carried out of your body
by your breath. Notice again your connection to the earth
and how grounded you are in this moment. Let go of any distractions
as quickly as they enter your consciousness. Notice them
and let them go, notice and let go, notice and let go. Consciously
choosing to center yourself, even for a few moments, is
a powerful and positive step toward increased calm in your
~ Chelle Thompson, Editor ~
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intent of Inspiration Line is to show What Is Possible . By
choosing new perspectives,
we can change ourselves from the inside out and improve our
relationships, our community and our planet."
Editor . Chelle Thompson ~~~ Associate Editor . Geri Merrill
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