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“The universe is full of magical things
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August 25, 2008


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THIS WEEK'S ISSUE


From the Inside Out...
The Secret Garden


Fascinating Facts...
Falling Leaves
Drift By My Window



Words from the Wise...
An Irish Blessing


Yes You Can!...
Become "Higher Powered"


Far Horizons...
San Alfonso Del Mar, Chile


Just for YOU...
Treats & Announcements


Untangling the Web
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Computer-Ease


Uplifting News Stories...
Swimming Tiger,
Cheering Fans


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BE the World
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We often play Devil's Advocate to our Greater Good when we become impatient with the natural and gradual blossoming of our own consciousness. One of my most important realizations was learning that all life is a process — NOT an event ... and the time involved always serves a Higher Purpose.

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Meaningful Life Answers & Encouragement

From the Inside OutThe Daffodil Principal
THE SECRET GARDEN

Several times my daughter had telephoned to say, "Mother, you must come and see the daffodils before they are over." I wanted to go, but it was a two-hour drive from Laguna to Lake Arrowhead. Going and coming took most of a day — and I honestly did not have a free day until the following week. "I will come next Tuesday, " I promised, a little reluctantly, on her third call.

Next Tuesday dawned cold and rainy. Still, I had promised, and so I drove the length of Route 91, continued on I-215, and finally turned onto Route 18 and began to drive up the mountain highway. The tops of the mountains were sheathed in clouds, and I had gone only a few miles when the road was completely covered with a wet, gray blanket of fog. I slowed to a crawl, my heart pounding. The road becomes narrow and winding toward the top of the mountain. As I executed the hazardous turns at a snail's pace, I was praying to reach the turnoff at Blue Jay that would signify I had arrived. When I finally walked into Carolyn's house and hugged and greeted my grandchildren I said, "Forget the daffodils, Carolyn! The road is invisible in the clouds and fog, and there is nothing in the world except you and these darling children that I want to see bad enough to drive another inch!" My daughter smiled calmly, "We drive in this all the time, Mother." "Well, you won't get me back on the road until it clears — and then I'm heading for home!" I assured her. "I was hoping you'd take me over to the garage to pick up my car. The mechanic just called, and they've finished repairing the engine," she answered. "How far will we have to drive?" I asked cautiously. "Just a few blocks," Carolyn said cheerfully. So we buckled up the children and went out to my car. "I'll drive," Carolyn offered. "I'm used to this." We got into the car, and she began driving.

In a few minutes I was aware that we were back on the Rim-of-the-World Road heading over the top of the mountain. "Where are we going?" I exclaimed, distressed to be back on the mountain road in the fog. "This isn't the way to the garage!" "We're going to my garage the long way," Carolyn smiled, "by way of the daffodils." "Carolyn," I said sternly, trying to sound as if I was still the mother and in charge of the situation, "please turn around. There is nothing in the world that I want to see enough to drive on this road in this weather." "It's all right, Mother," She replied with a knowing grin. "I know what I'm doing. I promise, you will never forgive yourself if you miss this experience." And so my sweet, darling daughter who had never given me a minute of difficulty in her whole life was suddenly in charge — and she was kidnapping me! I couldn't believe it. Like it or not, I was on the way to see some ridiculous daffodils — driving through the thick, gray silence of the mist-wrapped mountaintop at what I thought was risk to life and limb. I muttered all the way. After about twenty minutes we turned onto a small gravel road that branched down into an oak-filled hollow on the side of the mountain. The Fog had lifted a little, but the sky was lowering, gray and heavy with clouds. We parked in a small parking lot adjoining a little stone church. From our vantage point at the top of the mountain we could see beyond us, in the mist, the crests of the San Bernardino range like the dark, humped backs of a herd of elephants. Far below us the fog-shrouded valleys, hills, and flatlands stretched away to the desert. On the far side of the church I saw a pine-needle-covered path, with towering evergreens and manzanita bushes and an inconspicuous, lettered sign "Daffodil Garden." We each took a child's hand, and I followed Carolyn down the path as it wound through the trees.

The mountain sloped away from the side of the path in irregular dips, folds, and valleys, like a deeply creased skirt. Live oaks, mountain laurel, shrubs, and bushes clustered in the folds, and in the gray, drizzling air, the green foliage looked dark and monochromatic. I shivered. Then we turned a corner of the path, and I looked up and gasped. Before me lay the most glorious sight, unexpectedly and completely splendid. It looked as though someone had taken a great vat of gold and poured it down over the mountain peak and slopes where it had run into every crevice and over every rise. Even in the mist-filled air, the mountainside was radiant, clothed in massive drifts and waterfalls of daffodils. The flowers were planted in majestic, swirling patterns, great ribbons and swaths of deep orange, white, lemon yellow, salmon pink, saffron, and butter yellow. Each different-colored variety (I learned later that there were more than thirty-five varieties of daffodils in the vast display) was planted as a group so that it swirled and flowed like its own river with its own unique hue.

In the center of this incredible and dazzling display of gold, a great cascade of purple grape hyacinth flowed down like a waterfall of blossoms framed in its own rock-lined basin, weaving through the brilliant daffodils. A charming path wound throughout the garden. There were several resting stations, paved with stone and furnished with Victorian wooden benches and great tubs of coral and carmine tulips. As though this were not magnificence enough, Mother Nature had to add her own grace note — above the daffodils, a bevy of western bluebirds flitted and darted, flashing their brilliance. These charming little birds are the color of sapphires with breasts of magenta red. As they dance in the air, their colors are truly like jewels above the blowing, glowing daffodils. The effect was spectacular. It did not matter that the sun was not shining. The brilliance of the daffodils was like the glow of the brightest sunlit day. Words, wonderful as they are, simply cannot describe the incredible beauty of that flower-bedecked mountain top. Five acres of flowers! (This too I discovered later when some of my questions were answered.) "But who has done this?" I asked Carolyn. I was overflowing with gratitude that she brought me — even against my will. This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. "Who?" I asked again, almost speechless with wonder, "And how, and why, and when?"

"It's just one woman," Carolyn answered. "She lives on the property. That's her home." Carolyn pointed to a well-kept A-frame house that looked small and modest in the midst of all that glory. We walked up to the house, my mind buzzing with questions. On the patio we saw a poster. "Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking" was the headline. The first answer was a simple one. "50,000 bulbs," it read. The second answer was, "One at a time, by one woman, two hands, two feet, and very little brain." The third answer was, "Began in 1958." There it was. The Daffodil Principle. For me that moment was a life-changing experience. I thought of this woman whom I had never met, who, more than thirty-five years before, had begun — one bulb at a time — to bring her vision of beauty and joy to an obscure mountain top. One bulb at a time. There was no other way to do it. One bulb at a time. No shortcuts — simply loving the slow process of planting. Loving the work as it unfolded. Loving an achievement that grew so slowly and that bloomed for only three weeks of each year. Still, just planting one bulb at a time, year after year, had changed the world. This unknown woman had forever changed the world in which she lived. She had created something of ineffable magnificence, beauty, and inspiration. The principle her daffodil garden taught is one of the greatest principle of celebration: learning to move toward our goals and desires one step at a time — often just one baby-step at a time — learning to love the doing, learning to use the accumulation of time. When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we too will find we can accomplish magnificent things. We can change the world.

"Carolyn," I said that morning on the top of the mountain as we left the haven of daffodils, our minds and hearts still bathed and bemused by the splendors we had seen, "it's as though that remarkable woman has needle-pointed the earth! Decorated it. Just think of it, she planted every single bulb for more than thirty years. One bulb at a time! And that's the only way this garden could be created. Every individual bulb had to be planted. There was no way of short-circuiting that process. Five acres of blooms. That magnificent cascade of hyacinth! All, all, just one bulb at a time." The thought of it filled my mind. I was suddenly overwhelmed with the implications of what I had seen. "It makes me sad in a way," I admitted to Carolyn. "What might I have accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal thirty-five years ago and had worked away at it 'one bulb at a time' through all those years. Just think what I might have been able to achieve!"

My wise daughter put the car into gear and summed up the message of the day in her direct way. "Start tomorrow," she said with the same knowing smile she had worn for most of the morning. Oh, profound wisdom! It is pointless to think of the lost hours of yesterdays. The way to make learning a lesson a celebration instead of a cause for regret is to only ask, "How can I put this to use tomorrow?"

~ By Jaroldeen Asplund Edwards, this story is also known as,
'The Daffodil Principle' and 'Where the Sun Splashed Gold,' from her book
Things I Wish I'd Known Sooner: Personal Discoveries of a Mother of Twelve
She is a writer and speaker with ten published books, is married to
Weston Eyring Edwards, and they are the parents of twelve children.

*Other Stories & More*


THE DAFFODIL PRINCIPLE
Every year, high in the San Bernardino mountain range of Southern California, five acres of beautiful daffodils burst into bloom. Amazingly, this special spot, known as "The Daffodil Garden," was planted by one person, one bulb at a time, over a period of thirty-five years. An inspirational story to many, the Daffodil Principle by Jaroldeen Asplund Edwards has gained international popularity via the Internet and has been retold over and over. Available for the first time as an illustrated gift book, with artwork by Anne Marie Oborn, this modern-day classic is a keepsake for generations to come as it teaches the principle that through small and simple acts one can change the world.
By by Jaroldeen Edwards (Author), Anne Marie Oborn (Illustrator)

See Our Recommended Reading Here


 


Fascinating Facts
FALLING LEAVES DRIFT BY MY WINDOW ...


 

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Words from the Wise
AN IRISH BLESSING ...

Michael at eWater.net

This traditional Irish blessing says: "I wish you not a path devoid of clouds, nor life on a bed of roses, not that you might never need regret, nor that you should never feel pain..." I've combined it with heartwarming photos and the tune 'Down by the Salley Gardens' by Joannie Madden. My name is Michael, age 29, and I'm the guy who makes the flashes and runs this website, where you can inspire your friends with an E-Card
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(Contributed by Jim who lives in Galena, Illinois)

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Ye
s You Can!

BECOME "HIGHER POWERED"

In 1988, I was 25 years old and laying in the hospital for alcoholism, drug addiction and severe depression. I thought there was no hope and wished I would die in my sleep.

The hospital took me to a recovery support group meeting that utilized a 12 Step Program. I saw "Higher Power" was mentioned in the second step and I was terrified. Being raised in a strict religious household I had been taught to fear God. I do not blame the church for my distorted perceptions because it did teach God does forgives us ... but somehow in my warped dysfunctional mind I never "heard" that concept. As a result, I believed in a "Higher Power" that was vengeful, unloving and punishing. I believed that there was no hope for me that I was a bad person and God hated me.

When I saw "Higher Power" was involved with recovery, I immediately knew the program would never work for me. The problem was I had no where else to go. I had hit a bottom in my alcoholism and drug addiction. I was emotionally dead and physically I was damaged forever. Recovery in a 12 Step Program was my last desperate grasp at finding a life worth living.

I probably would have stood on my hands and walked through broken glass if that would have stopped me from craving and obsessing over alcohol and drugs. When it came down to my choices, it was death or the program. So I decided to try the program suggested.

By desperately listening, I learned that a person does not have to believe in God to be a part of the 12 Step Program. Alcoholics seeking recovery who have no understanding of a God can simply find something greater than themselves to believe in. Often, using the recovery group is a simple way for a person struggling with the God concept to find hope.

Most have to admit that a group of recovering alcoholics has more power together than one lone alcoholic floundering through life. This very basic concept of a Higher Power often leads the recovering alcoholic to expanding their vision and belief in a much greater "Higher Power "... whatever that may be.

In recovery, it does not matter what a person calls their "Higher Power". It can be God, The Universe, Buddha, Mother Nature or whatever name you desire. What matters is how the person perceives their "Higher Power" and the belief and faith that their "Higher Power" will keep them sober.

I believe anyone can find a "Higher Power" to rely on if they just reach out, take action, listen and be open to learning. Even if someone has faith in nothing at all their perceptions of believing can and usually do change. They eventually find their own personal Higher Power.

I experienced this process first hand. Over time by listening at my recovery support group, my concept of my "Higher Power" changed to be loving, kind and forgiving and it completely filled my soul. I began to rely on the Power more and more and the black pit of desperation in my gut began to fill with love, kindness and hope.

Later in the Steps, I learned meditation was an essential aspect to recovery as well. At first it was difficult to let my mind go blank. My thoughts raced around in my head and it was difficult to keep them silent for even a minute. I was told to keep practicing and meditating would become a valuable asset in getting to know myself and my "Higher Power." Eventually it did.

Now meditating is part of my daily routine and taking the time to sit and relax my mind is inspiring and energizing. I have heard it said, "Praying is talking to your Higher Power and meditating is listening."

Looking back at the person I was and who I have become is like looking back on someone else's life. I am not the same person emotionally, physically or spiritually. I believe I am one of the millions of miracles of 12 Step Recovery Groups because my new Higher Power has guided me on my new journey in sobriety.

It may have taken near death with alcoholism and drug addiction to find my "Higher Power" but out of my desperation has come a glorious new relationship with a Power of my own personal understanding. I don't expect miracles today I depend on them.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Amy "AJ" Crowell is an Alcoholism, Drug Addiction & Recovery Expert who has recently released a new book called Loved Back to Life (see below). She has been in long term recovery since 1988 and is committed to educating everyone about compulsive behaviors and addictions. She believes it is often imperative for someone suffering from addictions to speak to another who has had the same experience. Learning from those who are confronted by the same out-of-control behaviors is one of the keys to finding a new direction. Amy is a sought-after motivational speaker in all arenas, but her heart belongs to teenagers. She excels at working with inner city at-risk teenagers and educates them on the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse by sharing her own story. Amy also explains there is hope with recovery from addictions and help is available when a person reaches out and asks. She stresses positive thinking and actions and teaches them anything is possible … they can achieve whatever they desire. Please visit Amy's website at: www.LovedBackToLife.com

 


LOVED BACK TO LIFE

Loved Back to Life is a book about the journey of an alcoholic and drug addict woman whose battle with the disease turns from hopeless to inspiring and amazing. The Author, Amy "AJ" Crowell, has been in long term recovery and has not had a drink or a drug since April of 1988.

All is exposed as the book reveals the progression of a teenager’s life beginning with alcohol and drug experimentation to full blown alcoholism and cocaine addiction to narrowly escaping death as an adult. This is a MUST read for every parent because it divulges secrets of an addicted teenager indicating what to look for in your own child. Those who are concerned with a family member’s, friend’s or co-worker’s addiction will find this book will help you understand the scope of alcoholism and what can be done to find assistance.

Even if you are not an addict or alcoholic you will be able to comprehend and relate to the pain that we have all experienced in life while appreciating her courageous journey into a life of happiness and fulfillment.

The book is a shocking realization of what many of our youth (and adults) are doing to themselves without caring about their futures. It includes chapters of positive suggestions about recovery and awe-inspiring short stories of other alcoholics and addicts who have survived and thrived in recovery. Other chapters are exclusively devoted to answering specific questions and it offers self-tests for alcoholism and addiction it includes everything that everyone should know about alcoholism, drug addiction and recovery.

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Far Horizons

SAN ALFONSO DEL MAR, CHILE


San Alfonso del Mar Resort, Chile
Guinness Records' World's Largest Swimming Pool San Alfonso del Mar


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If you like doing laps in the swimming pool, you might want to stock up on the energy drinks before diving in to this one. It is more than 1,000 yards long, covers 20 acres, has a 115 ft deep end and holds 66 million gallons of water. Chile's amazing pool uses a computer-controlled suction and filtration system to keep fresh seawater in permanent circulation, drawing it in from the ocean at one end and pumping it out at the other. San Alfonso del Mar Resort in Algarrobo is located on the coast of the Pacific Ocean, about 90km from the Chilean capital of Santiago. The fun here is not dependent on the weather, as the resort also has the only indoor beach in South America. This beach features heated sand, waterfalls, jet massages and bubble beds. Named by Guinness World Records as the world’s largest swimming pool, it is navigable at its deep end in small boats. The revolutionary clear water artificial lagoons, transparent to a depth of 35 metres and unprecedented in design and construction methods, are the brainchild of Crystal Lagoons founder, biochemist and Chilean businessman Fernando Fischmann.

The motivating factor to design such an immense pool was the Pacific Ocean itself. Pacific Ocean water along the Chilean coast is cold, unclean and dangerous, so Fischmann wanted to create a place for people to swim and enjoy water sports in a comfortable and safe environment, and he wanted something totally extraordinary. The sun warms the pool water to 48.2°F/9°c warmer than the adjoining sea. It took years for Fischmann to realize his dream. It was only in 2006 that he found the technology, called “Pulse Oxidation,” to maintain the water quality and clarity at a low cost. Fischmann, whose Crystal Lagoons Corporation designed the pool, said, "As long as we have access to unlimited seawater, we can make it work, and it causes no damage to the ocean." As such, many environmentalists are pleased with the results of this pool, which provides people with a form of entertainment without wreaking havoc on the earth.

In 1845 the little town of Algarrobo sprang up as a port of cabotage (coastwise trade of a nation to vessels flying its national flag). Dating from that time is the neighborhood “El Pueblo,” including La Casa Roja and a public school that is currently the House of Culture. Algarrobo was established as a resort after 1873, when an ad was published in a Santiago newspaper offering summer houses for rent. It was further developed in the 1920’s with the arrival of the railroad to Cartagena and paving of the route to Santiago. The engineer Carlos Alessandri Altamirano designed the town with its ample avenues, squares and public facilities. During the summer nights many presentations of chamber theater are organized in the House of Culture (Casa de la Cultura). With a protected bay and white sand beaches, this is an excellent destination for sea kayaking. You can also go horseback riding, hike to a waterfall or even see some penguins. Humboldt penguins live along the arid desert Pacific coast of South America, from Isla Foca off the coast of Peru to Algarrobo in Chile, with a few isolated colonies on the Punihuil Islands. From the dock of Algarrobo motorboats make trips to the Pájaros Niños Islet Nature Sanctuary, allowing you to visit the penguins.

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World's Largest Swimming Pool

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Big Dog gives you the bare bones of grammar, as well as self-tests you can take to check your grasp of the concepts, and an MLA Quick Guide. The site grades your test to let you know if you're right or wrong. If you're right, it pops up with Correct. If you're wrong, it pops up with Incorrect, but it tells you what you may have done wrong. The MLA Quick Guide is a must have for any college student. When you write papers for school, they usually have to be in the MLA format. This section guides you through how to do that and what is expected of you when you use the format.
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SWIMMING TIGER, CHEERING FANS

Odin and his trainer Lee Munro
Odin with his British trainer Lee Munro.

Odin diving for snacks. When a lump of meat is thrown into the water, Odin happily dives in after it at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom.

SAN FRANCISCO — A breath-holding, water-frolicking white Bengal tiger at a California wildlife park is causing a sensation that surprises even its trainers. "Meat motivation," Nancy Chan, spokeswoman for Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, just north of San Francisco said. "That is what gets Odin into that tank." The tiger does not mind testing his lungs for a few chunks of raw horsemeat, but he has been known to lift his tail and spray the sunburned camera wielders when they crowd his island. The strapping ten-foot-long, 445-pound cat is named for the chief god of Norse mythology, and park goers gulp down red slushy beverages while braving the 100-degree Fahrenheit heat for a glimpse of his antics. Where wild tigers once numbered close to 100,000, their numbers have dwindled to less than 5,000. Some scientists, said Chris Drelick, a new trainer at the park, believe that wild tigers could be extinct in a decade due to habitat loss and rampant poaching."Someday parks like Six Flags may be the only places to see animals like these," said Drelick. The last known wild white tiger, the result of a combination of recessive genes, was shot in 1958. Trainers regularly leash the tigers and stroll them around the grounds. The claw marks on some trees indicate the cats' preferred scratching posts.

Six year old Odin prowls his domain to the strains of music fit for a Hollywood version of a Roman battle scene, while Lee Munro, the park's head trainer and "chief explorer" offers the tiger sips of low fat milk from a blue baby bottle. Munro raised the cat since he was two weeks old, and though slight in stature, has built a bond with Odin based on mutual trust. Munro said tigers are the most powerful swimmers out of all land-dwelling animals. They're an ambush predator so they wait for prey to come down to the water. "Odin loves the water and he loves food," he said. "Not all big cats will dive and swim underwater even for meat treats."Munro hurls hunks of meat the size of softballs into a glass walled pool, and Odin pounces into the water, diving for treats with a strange expression that could be taken for excitement, while the crowd shrieks with joy. "He's actually closing his nostrils and folding back his ears to keep the water from going inside," said Munro.

Odin's trainer left behind a job as a fraud investigator 13 years ago to follow a dream of working with animals. These days he rides an Asian elephant named Taj around the park, and juggles duties between the cat and the dolphin shows. He also raised Odin's brother who can be seen slurping up underwater horsemeat treats in a similar show in a Six Flags park in New Jersey. There is a tiger splash lineage in Vallejo. Odin learned his diving from a now 'retired' tiger named Kuma, and has since passed the trick on to a much younger cub named Fedor. Fedor, though, still lacks Odin's underwater grace. "That's how Odin was when he first started out," said Munro, still sopping wet from the tank. "He was klutzy, his butt was bobbing around in the air, and his tail hanging out, but now look at him. When you actually see him dive underwater he looks so graceful." DSC.DiscoveryChannel.com

See Video HereSee Lee Munro and Odin the Tiger HERE
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(Story contributed by Jim who lives in Galena, IL and Jane at www.The-Cats-Meow.com)

Gracefully fierce.
Odin closing his nostrils to keep the water out.

White tiger has a refreshing dip.
Not all big cats enjoy the water but for Tigers from the hot climate of Southeast Asia it's one way to cool down.


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