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A MEANINGFUL LIFE
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& Grow Monthly Magazine
at a stone cutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a
hundred times without
as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at
the hundred-and-first blow it will
split in two, and I know it
was not the last blow that did it, but all that
had gone before."
~ Jacob A. Riis...
April 24, 2006
TODAY'S TUNE [ON/OFF]
Day at a Time"
If you cannot hear the song, simply:
Here to open media window...
THIS WEEK'S ISSUE
From the Inside Out...
Yes You Can!...
Untangling the Web...
What a Site and
Just for YOU...
Laughing It Off...
Tell Me about
"M" Is For
Afraid to Make Choices?
BE the World
You Want to See!
of the best ways to get
through difficulties is to simply persevere day by
day. Huge projects don't seem as daunting when we focus on one element ... completing
that before we tackle the next phase. As Napoleon Hill said, "Most great
people have attained their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest
~ Chelle Thompson, Editor
From the Inside Out
THE PICKLE JAR
far back as I can remember, the large pickle jar sat on the floor beside the dresser
in my parents' bedroom. When he got ready for bed, Dad would empty his pockets
and toss his coins into the jar.
a small boy I was always fascinated at the sounds the coins made as they were
dropped into the jar. They landed with a merry jingle when the jar was almost
empty. Then the tones gradually muted to a dull thud as the jar was filled.
used to squat on the floor in front of the jar and admire the copper and silver
circles that glinted like a pirate's treasure when the sun poured through the
the jar was filled, Dad would sit at the kitchen table and roll the coins before
taking them to the bank.
the coins to the bank was always a big production. Stacked neatly in a small cardboard
box, the coins were placed between Dad and me on the seat of his old truck.
and every time, as we drove to the bank, Dad would look at me hopefully. "Those
coins are going to keep you out of the textile mill, son. You're going to do better
than me. This old mill town's not going to hold you back."
each and every time, as he slid the box of rolled coins across the counter at
the bank toward the cashier, he would grin proudly. "These are for my son's
college fund. He'll never work at the mill all his life like me."
would always celebrate each deposit by stopping for an ice cream cone. I always
got chocolate. Dad always got vanilla. When the clerk at the ice cream parlor
handed Dad his change, he would show me the few coins nestled in his palm. "When
we get home, we'll start filling the jar again."
always let me drop the first coins into the empty jar. As they rattled around
with a brief, happy jingle, we grinned at each other. "You'll get to college
on pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters," he said. "But you'll get there.
I'll see to that."
years passed, and I finished college and took a job in another town. Once, while
visiting my parents, I used the phone in their bedroom, and noticed that the pickle
jar was gone. It had served its purpose and had been removed. A lump rose in my
throat as I stared at the spot beside the dresser where the jar had always stood.
dad was a man of few words, and never lectured me on the values of determination,
perseverance, and faith. The pickle jar had taught me all these virtues far more
eloquently than the most flowery of words could have done.
I married, I told my wife Susan about the significant part the lowly pickle jar
had played in my life as a boy. In my mind, it defined, more than anything else,
how much my dad had loved me. No matter how rough things got at home, Dad continued
to doggedly drop his coins into the jar.
the summer when Dad got laid off from the mill, and Mama had to serve dried beans
several times a week, not a single dime was taken from the jar. To the contrary,
as Dad looked across the table at me, pouring catsup over my beans to make them
more palatable, he became more determined than ever to make a way out for me.
"When you finish college, son," he told me, his eyes glistening, "you'll
never have to eat beans again unless you want to."
The first Christmas after our daughter Jessica was born, we spent the holiday
with my parents. After dinner, Mom and Dad sat next to each other on the sofa,
taking turns cuddling their first grandchild. Jessica began to whimper softly,
and Susan took her from Dad's arms. "She probably needs to be changed,"
she said, carrying the baby into my parents' bedroom to diaper her.
Susan came back into the living room, there was a strange mist in her eyes. She
handed Jessica back to Dad before taking my hand and quietly leading me into the
she said softly, her eyes directing me to a spot on the floor beside the dresser.
To my amazement, there, as if it had never been removed, stood the old pickle
jar, the bottom already covered with coins.
walked over to the pickle jar, dug down into my pocket, and pulled out a fistful
of coins. With a gamut of emotions choking me, I dropped the coins into the jar.
looked up and saw that Dad, carrying Jessica, had slipped quietly into the room.
Our eyes locked, and I knew he was feeling the same emotions I felt. Neither one
of us could speak.
A.W. Cobb in "Chicken
Soup for the Parent's Soul"
(Contributed by Phyllis who lives
in Santa Fe, New Mexico)
To Read Many More Heartwarming Stories & Poetry
Yes You Can!
CHOOSE A RELIABLE
sitters do much more than provide your pet with food and water while you're away
from home. A good pet sitter also spends quality time with your pet, gives him
exercise, and knows how to tell if your pet needs veterinary attention. What's
more, pet sitters typically offer additional services, such as bringing in mail
and newspapers, watering plants, turning lights on and off, and providing homes
with a lived-in look to deter crime. But just because someone calls herself a
pet sitter doesn't mean she's qualified to do the job. This information will help
you find the best pet sitter for you and your pet.
hire a pet sitter? When you must be away from home say for travel or
an emergency and don't want to leave your pet in a boarding kennel, who
takes care of your pet? If you're like many pet owners, you ask a friend or neighbor
to stop in and pour some kibble and water in your pet's bowls. But is this what's
best for your pet? There's a good chance that your friends and neighbors lack
proper pet-care experience and have even forgotten to show up. They may also resent
frequent requests to look after your pet while you're gone. So what is the solution?
Consider hiring a "pet sitter" a professional, qualified individual
paid to care for your pet. A pet sitter offers both you and your pet many benefits:
the environment he knows best.
his same diet and routine.
relief from traveling to and staying in an unfamiliar place with other animals
(such as a boarding kennel).
attention and affection while you're away.
happier friends and neighbors, who aren't burdened with caring for your pet.
the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your pet is being cared for by
someone to bring in your newspaper and mail so potential burglars don't know you're
Someone who will come to your home so you don't have to drive your pet to a boarding
other services provided by most pet sitters, such as plant watering and pet grooming.
do I find a pet sitter?
Start with a recommendation from a friend, neighbor, veterinarian, humane society,
or dog trainer. Check the Yellow Pages under "Pet Sitting Services."
You can also contact the National
Association of Professional Pet Sitters (800-296-PETS) or Pet
Sitters International (336-983-9222) for a referral. Both organizations
offer pet-sitter accreditation to those who demonstrate professional experience,
complete pet-care-related home study courses, attend professional conferences,
and abide by a code of ethics set by the organizations.
should I look for? It's important to learn all you can about prospective pet
sitters' qualifications and services. Before selecting a pet sitter, interview
the candidates over the phone or at your home. Find out the following:
Can the pet sitter provide written proof that she has commercial liability insurance
(to cover accidents and negligence) and is bonded (to protect against theft by
a pet sitter or her employees)?
What training has the pet sitter received?
Will the pet sitter record notes about your pet, such as his likes, dislikes,
fears, habits, medical conditions, medications, and routines?
Is the pet sitter associated with a veterinarian who can provide emergency services?
What will happen if the pet sitter experiences car trouble or becomes ill? Does
she have a backup?
Will the pet sitter provide related services such as in-home grooming, dog walking,
dog training, and play time?
Will the pet sitter provide a written service contract spelling out services and
If the pet sitter provides live-in/sleep-over services, what are the specific
times she agrees to be with your pet? Is this detailed in the contract?
How does your pet sitter make sure that you have returned home?
Will the pet sitter provide you with the phone numbers of other clients who have
agreed to serve as references?
if you like what you hear from the pet sitter and from her references, it's important
to have the prospective pet sitter come to your home to meet your pet before actually
hiring her for a pet-sitting job. Watch how she interacts with your pet
does your pet seem comfortable with the person? If this visit goes well, start
by hiring the pet sitter to care for your pet during a short trip, such as a weekend
excursion. That way, you can work out any problems before leaving your beloved
pet in the pet sitter's care for longer periods
can I help the pet sitter and my pet? Of course, even the most trustworthy,
experienced pet sitter will have trouble if you haven't also kept your end of
the bargain. Here are your responsibilities:
Make reservations with your pet sitter early, especially during holidays.
Ensure your pet is well socialized and allows strangers to handle him.
Affix current identification tags to your pet's collar.
Maintain current vaccinations for your pet.
Leave clear instructions detailing specific pet-care responsibilities and emergency
contact information, including how to reach you and your veterinarian.
Leave pet food and supplies in one place.
Buy extra pet supplies in case you're away longer than planned.
Leave a key with a trustworthy neighbor as a backup, and give the neighbor and
your pet sitter each other's phone numbers. Be sure those extra keys work before
giving them out.
Show the pet sitter your home's important safety features such as the circuit
breaker and security system.
have a safe and fun trip. And remember to bring your pet sitter's phone number
in case your plans change or you just want to find out how Fluffy and Fido
are doing. From
the Humane Society of the United States
Inspiration Line's Website for Much More!
FOR MOTHER'S DAY
the World You Want to See©
choice we make
causes a ripple effect in
our lives. When things
to us, it is the
reaction we choose that
can create the difference
the sorrows of
our past and the joy
in our future."©
PAPAU NEW GUINEA
Photo by: AP/Torsten Blackwood
of the giant Motu Koitabu lagatois (traditional trading vessels) sails
from Manubada Island towards Port Moresby for the Hiri Moale festival.
This festival is an annual event to mark the successful Hiri trading pilgrimages
(free of pirates) bringing vegetables back from distant villages. Its celebration
coincides with Papau New Guinea's Independence Day (from Australia) celebration
in September. Port Moresby lies on the southeast shore of New Guinea and is built
around Fairfax Harbour. Europeans became aware of this port city when British
explorer John Moresby sailed through the Gulf of Papua in 1873. About 15 years
later, Great Britain established the colony of British New Guinea here, and named
Port Moresby the capital. The area was occupied by Motu and Koitabu people for
thousands of years before the Europeans arrived. The Motuans, who migrated to
the area about 2,000 years ago, have sustained themselves by building seaworthy
sailboats and sailing along the Gulf of Papua to trade their pottery for sago
You can take short drives around to the many picnic sites, jungle walks and swim
in the Crystal Rapids. Variarata National Park is a spectacular natural mountain
region which offers tiny tree kangaroos, enormous Queen Alexandra Birdwing butterflies,
views over Port Moresby and the coastline. If you get up early, you can
catch the mist which blankets the ranges and provides a glorious picture.
GO HERE for Bargains at Last MinuteTravel.com
Airfare -Cars - Cruises - Hotels
WHAT A SITE!
528 front pages from 47 countries ...
your continent and mouse over the cities
on the map to get a view of the front
that city's newspaper. A good way to see what
news stories get top
play in different regions.
If the text of a website or email you are viewing looks
too small, you can change the way your browser displays that text in Internet
Explorer. Click the View menu, then point to Text Size. From the resulting sub-menu,
select the desired text size setting: Smallest Smaller Medium Larger Largest.
Even Easier Mouse Tip: If you have "wheel" mouse, you can change
text size by holding down the CTRL key while turning the wheel. This will cause
your browser or email display to rotate through the various text size levels.
by Candy who lives in Palatka, Florida)
your desktop icons too big
or too tiny? Did you sometimes lose a
program because you didn't
put a shortcut icon on your desktop?
to fix these problems.
a Little Faith"
Stringfellow is an amazing little dog, with an even more amazing story. Faith
suffered from a birth defect, she became a member of our family when she was just
a three-week old puppy. My son Reuben (17) picked Faith out of a litter of puppies
that his friend's dog had. Several of the puppies were deformed; a few had already
died. The mother dog was literally terminating Faith's life because she knew instinctively
that Faith was unable to battle the other puppies for a place to feed. Faith was
weak, small, runtish, and mostly she was nearly dead. Reuben lifted her weak body
out from under the mother dog; he brought her home to me knowing I had a heart
like a marshmallow. Even though Faith has this defect we taught her to stand,
hop, and eventually walk on her two back legs, like a human. She's been a great
dog and we forget she's handicapped. You'll turn around and she's chasing the
geese at the park, running, jumping, skipping, and acting like any other dog ...
well, any other dog with a nose reach of 40" from the ground! (Watch your
plate, she'll clean it for you before you're ready to share.)"
even has her own website at:
and see Faith's
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR MOTHER...
the answers given by elementary school age children to the following questions:
Why were mothers created?
She's the only one who knows where
the scotch tape is.
anything about your mom that's perfect?
Just her children.
kind of little girl was your mom?
I don't know because I wasn't there,
but my guess would be pretty bossy.
the world's greatest mom?
She'd always be smiling and keep her opinions
did your mom marry your dad?
My grandma says that mom didn't have her thinking
would it take to make your mom perfect?
You know, her hair. I'd diet ... maybe blue.
the difference between moms and dads?
work at work and work at home, and dads just have to work at work.
you could change one thing about your mom, what would it be?
I'd make my
mom smarter. Then she would know it was my sister who did it and not me.
did your mom need to know about your dad before she married him?
to know his background. Like is he a crook? Does he get drunk on beer? Does he
make at least $800 a year? Did he say NO to drugs and YES to chores.
my daughter was about four years old, she still had a hard time grasping the concept
of marriage. So her dad pulled out our wedding album, thinking visual images would
help, and explained the entire service to her. Once finished, he asked if she
had any questions, and she replied ...
"Oh. I see. Is that when Mommy
came to work for us?"
had been teaching our three-year-old daughter her evening prayers. For several
evenings at bedtime she repeated it after me. One night she said she was ready
to solo. I listened with pride, as she carefully enunciated each word, right up
to the end of the prayer ...
"Lead us not into temptation,"
she prayed, "but deliver us some e-mail. Amen."
by Jane at www.The-Cats-Meow.com
in Mattoon, Illinois
"M" IS FOR ...
Joyful Lifestyles: Weekly Insights
AFRAID TO MAKE CHOICES?
Each of us has the power of emotional choice and we can create permanent change
in OURSELVES ... at any age. Lets look at some of the reasons why
were afraid to make the very choices that could change our lives. Renowned
psychologist Barbara DeAngeles, Ph.D., says to imagine that we are standing atop
a mountain ... a mountain called our comfort zone. It represents
the way were used to living, risks we take, etc. Its not called our
comfort zone because its always comfortable, but because its always
FAMILIAR. Across a ravine from our mountain is another mountain. Atop that one
is everything we want: a better relationship, more freedom, more success, more
prosperity, that new job. We say to ourselves, I know I need to jump, I
know its time. Im ready.... Then we stop. Why? Because
theres the fear of failing, or not being able to do it, or making a mistake.
Sometimes the greatest mistakes in life come from procrastination or from taking
no action at all. After fear of failure, the second thing that keeps us from changing
is fear of the unknown. At least our current circumstances, as painful or unsatisfying
as they may be, are familiar. Its almost like weve said, Id
rather suffer with what I have today than to change because at least I know what
third thing that stops us from leaping from our present mountain to a new one
is the fear of leaving old and familiar ways behind. For right there next to us
on our mountain top are a bunch of suitcases ... our emotional baggage.
Baggage that represents old anger or resentment we havent let go of, childhood
patterns that we havent changed and so forth. Sometimes were not alone
on the mountain. Maybe theres our partner, or family, or friends. We tell
them Come on jump, Im ready to change and they reply, No,
you go ahead, I like it right here where I am. Then we have to make a decision
between keeping them company or leaving them behind and growing for ourselves.
Its very painful to choose between our own growth and keeping somebody we
fourth fear that people have for making changes in their life is the fear of letting
go and losing control. Letting go may feel scary, but its SO much easier
than holding on to a familiar, yet painful way of life that no longer serves us.
Most of us have a high tolerance for emotional pain. We wait until a crisis or
drama happens to finally take action. We wait until the pressure is overwhelming,
and THEN we get counseling, join a workshop, start exercising or whatever.
If you had a lot of pain or drama in your childhood like I did, you may have a
high tolerance of emotional pain because you became used to it while growing up.
When we grow up in a home with alcoholism or constant fighting, or if our parents
were unhappy and there was a lot of tension, we get accustomed to that kind of
tension in our own lives. Therefore, we may not fully acknowledge being in pain.
DeAngeles explains that sometimes when were standing on our mountain and
not leaping, though we know we need to, and our tolerance for emotional pain is
high, we get a swift kick from Beyond saying - You know,
theyre never going to take action unless I give them a push! Thats
when our partner comes home and says, Honey, this relationship just isnt
working, Im leaving. Or maybe were in a job we know isnt
right, but we havent gotten around to quitting, and one day, all of a sudden,
our boss sits us down and says, Youre fired. I call this phenomenon
an Intervention by a Cosmic Baseball Bat."
in your life has something interceded and forced you to act, even when you were
holding back? Maybe it was a car accident that made you lie in bed and re-examine
your life, or an illness that forced you to re-evaluate how you take care of yourself.
Why not compose a list of these occurrences ... contemplate what happened
and see what thoughts come to you. Next month we will explore specific tools
for going beyond fear in "Actions Speak Louder than Fears." Until
then, remember what the English poet John Milton wrote so long ago ...
mind is its own place, and in itself can make
heaven out of Hell and a hell
Chelle (Pronounced 'Shay') Thompson
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"The intent of Inspiration Line is to
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we can change ourselves
from the inside out to improve our relationships, our community and our planet."
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Jane Cate, The TechAngel
This publication originates in
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