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Know & Grow Monthly Magazine
"The genius of life is to carry
the spirit of childhood into old age."

~ Aldous Huxley... Quotes for YOU

July 25, 2005


TODAY'S TUNE[ON/OFF]


"Those Were The Days"

Inspirational Music

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THIS WEEK'S ISSUE


From the Inside Out...
The Wallet


Yes You Can!...
Learn from
Emery Peck


Far Horizons...
Sierra de Trinidad - Cuba


Untangling the Web
...
What a Site!
&
Computer Ease


Just for YOU...
Special Treats


Laughing It Off...
Shipwrecked?


Fascinating Facts...
Stop What
You're Doing


Joyful Lifestyles...
Expanding Spiritually
in Summer


Inspiration Online Magazine

BE the World
You Want to See!

Throughout my life, I've managed to feel young by maintaining an open mind and continually knowing, at a deep level, that all is well in my universe. I stay awake to 'signs' around me and am generally proactive. With time and perspective things always turn out to be worthwhile — often in unexpected ways. For, as Henry David Thoreau said, "There is no value in life except what you choose to place upon it and no happiness in any place except what you bring to it yourself."

~ Chelle Thompson, Editor

 

From the Inside OutInspiration Online Magazine - Lost Wallet
THE WALLET

As I walked home one freezing day, I stumbled on a wallet someone had lost in the street. I picked it up and looked inside to find some identification so I could call the owner. But the wallet contained only three dollars and a crumpled letter that looked as if it had been in there for years. The envelope was worn and the only thing that was legible on it was the return address. I started to open the letter, hoping to find some clue. Then I saw the dateline — 1924. The letter had been written almost sixty years ago.

It was written in a beautiful feminine handwriting on powder blue stationery with a little flower in the left-hand corner. It was a "Dear John" letter that told the recipient, whose name appeared to be Michael, that the writer could not see him any more because her mother forbade it. Even so, she wrote that she would always love him. It was signed, Hannah.

It was a beautiful letter, but there was no way except for the name Michael, that the owner could be identified. Maybe if I called information, the operator could find a phone listing for the address on the envelope. "Operator," I began, "this is an unusual request. I'm trying to find the owner of a wallet that I found. Is there anyway you can tell me if there is a phone number for an address that was on an envelope in the wallet?" She suggested I speak with her supervisor, who hesitated for a moment then said, "Well, there is a phone listing at that address, but I can't give you the number." She said, as a courtesy, she would call that number, explain my story and would ask them if they wanted her to connect me. I waited a few minutes and then she was back on the line. "I have a party who will speak with you." I asked the woman on the other end of the line if she knew anyone by the name of Hannah. She gasped, "Oh! We bought this house from a family who had a daughter named Hannah. But that was 30 years ago!"

"Would you know where that family could be located now?" I asked. "I remember that Hannah had to place her mother in a nursing home some years ago," the woman said. "Maybe if you got in touch with them they might be able to track down the daughter." She gave me the name of the nursing home and I called the number. They told me the old lady had passed away some years ago but they did have a phone number for where they thought the daughter might be living. I thanked them and phoned. The woman who answered explained that Hannah herself was now living in a nursing home.

This whole thing was stupid, I thought to myself. Why was I making such a big deal over finding the owner of a wallet that had only three dollars and a letter that was almost 60 years old? Nevertheless, I called the nursing home in which Hannah was supposed to be living and the man who answered the phone told me, "Yes, Hannah is staying with us." Even though it was already 10 p.m., I asked if I could come by to see her. "Well," he said hesitatingly, "if you want to take a chance, she might be in the day room watching television." I thanked him and drove over to the nursing home. The night nurse and a guard greeted me at the door. We went up to the third floor of the large building. In the day room, the nurse introduced me to Hannah.

She was a sweet, silver-haired old timer with a warm smile and a twinkle in her eye. I told her about finding the wallet and showed her the letter. The second she saw the powder blue envelope with that little flower on the left, she took a deep breath and said, "Young man, this letter was the last contact I ever had with Michael." She looked away for a moment deep in thought and then said Softly, "I loved him very much. But I was only 16 at the time and my mother felt I was too young. Oh, he was so handsome. He looked like Sean Connery, the actor. Yes," she continued. "Michael Goldstein was a wonderful person. If you should find him, tell him I think of him often. And," she hesitated for a moment, almost biting her lip, "tell him I still love him. You know," she said smiling as tears began to well up in her eyes, "I never did marry. I guess no one ever matched up to Michael..."

I thanked Hannah and said good-bye. I took the elevator to the first floor and as I stood by the door, the guard there asked, "Was the old lady able to help you?" I told him she had given me a lead. "At least I have a last name. But I think I'll let it go for a while. I spent almost the whole day trying to find the owner of this wallet." I had taken out the wallet, which was a simple brown leather case with red lacing on the side. When the guard saw it, he said, "Hey, wait a minute! That's Mr. Goldstein's wallet. I'd know it anywhere with that bright red lacing. He's always losing that wallet. I must have found it in the halls at least three times." "Who's Mr. Goldstein?" I asked as my hand began to shake. "He's one of the old timers on the 8th floor. That's Mike Goldstein's wallet for sure. He must have lost it on one of his walks."

I thanked the guard and quickly ran back to the nurse's office. I told her what the guard had said. We went back to the elevator and got on. I prayed that Mr. Goldstein would be up. On the eighth floor, the floor nurse said, "I think he's still in the day room. He likes to read at night. He's a darling old man." We went to the only room that had any lights on and there was a man reading a book. The nurse went over to him and asked if he had lost his wallet, "This kind gentleman found a wallet and we wondered if it could be yours?" Mr. Goldstein looked up with surprise, put his hand in his back pocket and said, "Oh, it is missing!" I handed Mr. Goldstein the wallet and the second he saw it, he smiled with relief and said, "Yes, that's it! It must have dropped out of my pocket this afternoon. I want to give you a reward." "No, thank you," I said. "But I have to tell you something. I read the letter in the hope of finding out who owned the wallet." The smile on his face suddenly disappeared. "You read that letter?"

"Not only did I read it, I think I know where Hannah is." He suddenly grew pale. "Hannah? You know where she is? How is she? Is she still as pretty as she was? Please, please tell me," he begged. "She's fine...just as pretty as when you knew her." I said softly. The old man smiled with anticipation and asked, "Could you tell me where she is? I want to call her tomorrow." He grabbed my hand and said, "You know something, mister, I was so in love with that girl that when that letter came, my life literally ended. I never married. I guess I've always loved her. "

"Mr. Goldstein," I said, "come with me." We took the elevator down to the third floor. The hallways were darkened and only one or two little night-lights lit our way to the day room where Hannah was sitting alone watching the television. The nurse walked over to her. "Hannah," she said softly, pointing to Michael, who was waiting with me in the doorway. "Do you know this man?" She adjusted her glasses, looked for a moment, but didn't say a word. Michael said softly, almost in a whisper, "Hannah, it's Michael. Do you remember me?" She gasped, "Michael! I don't believe it! Michael! It's you! My Michael!" He walked slowly towards her and they embraced. The nurse and I left with tears streaming down our faces.

About three weeks later I got a call at my office from the nursing home. "Can you break away on Sunday to attend a wedding? Michael and Hannah are going to tie the knot!" It was a beautiful wedding with all the people at the nursing home dressed up to join in the celebration. Hannah wore a light beige dress and looked beautiful. Michael wore a dark blue suit and stood tall. They made me their best man. The hospital gave them their own room and if you ever wanted to see a 76-year-old bride and a 79-year-old groom acting like two teenagers, you had to see this couple. A perfect ending for a love affair that had lasted nearly 60 years.

~By Arnold Fine, Editor of The Jewish Press in Brooklyn, New York

 

Archives Here To Read Many More Heartwarming Stories & Poetry

Inspiration Online Magazine
Ye
s You Can!

LEARN FROM EMERY PECK

In October of 2002, Emery James Peck was a 19-year-old top-ranked student working his way to graduation as an elementary school teacher at Ball State University. Emery was "at the top of his game." After preparing a Hulk Hogan Halloween costume for weeks, Emery and his band of loyal friends went to a Halloween party on Nov. 1, 2002. Emery arrived at the party to many compliments on his costume and said that he "felt fine."

The Beginning — A Self-Diagnosis: Little did Emery know that within 30 short minutes his life would begin to change forever. Peck said that at the Halloween party he began to notice that the left side of his face was losing feeling. Emery didn't want to spoil the fun of the party, so he "just went on with the night and made no issue of what was happening." After the party, Emery didn't realize what would lie ahead for him. He went home to bed hoping that he would wake up and all his problems would be washed away. The next morning, Emery found out that sleep was not the cure-all he hoped it would be. "I couldn't get my nostrils to flare that next morning," Emery said, which worried him. Once the worry had officially set in, Emery began to try and diagnose himself on the Internet. After much searching on the Internet, Emery couldn't seem to solve his problem - he didn't feel he had enough symptoms to warrant an immediate trip to doctor.

Emery's worries deepened when he noticed that he had lost his appetite. "I really got worried when I couldn't eat. I have eaten three meals a day for years. I knew that something was happening." Emery said his moment of clarity came when he tried to eat Tangy Taffy on that dark Sunday — a candy he calls an addiction. Emery said he put the candy in his mouth and it "tasted like car keys." Emery went to class that following Monday but was too busy with school work to visit the Health Center. Peck spoke with his mother that Monday about his concerns."She told me I needed to get a real diagnosis fast," Emery said.

The Realization: Following a stressful weekend, Emery went to the Ball State Health Center on Nov. 3, 2002. Peck told his doctor, "I think I have facial paralysis." His doctor responded with a somber look and told Emery that he had Bell's palsy. Emery was prescribed to a steroid with the purpose of regaining/preventing any further damage. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke explains that Bell's palsy is a form of facial paralysis resulting from damage to the cranial nerve. Approximately 40,000 Americans are diagnosed with Bell's palsy every year, approximately 0.02 percent of the population. Bell's palsy is not necessarily a permanent condition, but in some cases people never recover full control of their face. Emery did not want to become one of those people.

Following the diagnosis, Emery went to a friend's dorm room to break the news. In true Emery Peck fashion, he and his friend tried to make a joke of it. Peck said, "At first, I thought it was funny. How did something this odd happen to me?" Emery and his friend took pictures of Emery trying to smile with all his might. The pictures were taken to try to help Emery see what had truly been happening to him. After Emery saw the pictures "it put everything into perspective." Emery knew he was facing a major battle.

The Novelty Wears Off: After dealing with his Bell's palsy for almost two weeks, Peck felt that "the novelty had worn off." Many changes had occurred in Emery's life. Peck said he was accustomed to not tasting food, but he now had to wear an eye patch. Emery's doctors ordered him to wear an eye patch because he was unable to blink and keep dust and other debris out of his eyes. Emery faced a constant regimen of wearing an eye patch at all times and using Visine to re-wet his eye constantly. By this time, Emery felt discouraged and "sick of explaining what happened." Wearing the eye patch made Emery feel as if he "looked like a bad Captain Hook." Emery's classroom presence challenged him as well. "In my Art Ed 200 class, I felt out of place. I sat in the back like a freak. My face was disconnected." Peck's Art Education 200 class was in a large lecture hall filled with nearly 120 students. His distorted face made the once outspoken student into nothing but a voiceless face in the crowd.

In a 2003 study by the Harvard Medical School of Health, research showed that, "early treatment with corticosteroids improves the chances for a full recovery by about 20%." Corticosteroids are what Emery had been prescribed, but he had not been taking his steroids at all. Emery said he didn't feel that the steroids were going to help him improve. Recovery seemed bleak.

Rock Bottom: After two weeks, Emery showed no signs of improvement. In fact, his eye seemed to get worse. Emery's doctor now required him to use medical eye drops to keep his eye from drying out permanently. "When I heard permanently, I was afraid my eye would fall out. It was like I was away from reality for so long that my mind had created so many worst-case scenarios. It was almost like my palsy was becoming a Lifetime movie." Emery reached his lowest point after that visit to the doctor. He felt like he may never return to life that he once knew. Sure, his friends had adjusted to his distorted looks, but Emery began to think further into the future. Emery faced the fear of losing his motivation for teaching. Emery's concerns focused on the thought of the students' reaction to the teacher with the disgusting face. The thought of all Emery's hard work being given away to an infection left him frustrated and bewildered.

The Rise of Emery Peck: Emery packed his bags and began a drive from his dorm in Muncie to his parents' home in Evansville — where his family had yet to see his "new" face. Emery said, "Somehow during my visit I had a moment of clarity. I went back to the way I felt at first. I was optimistic." The Peck family showed Emery support during his visit and, much like Emery's friends, learned to love and accept Emery's condition. Helen Peck, Emery's mother, said, "I had bought him his favorite grasshopper pie for Thanksgiving, and he couldn't taste it. He took the leftovers of the cake home and froze them. He was saving it until he could taste again." Emery's determination to taste the pie showed his parents that his optimism was beginning to flourish. Emery's optimism helped create a new view of how he wanted to handle his palsy. "I became strong by recovering that humor. I would let food fall out of my mouth in the cafeterias. I ran into walls on purpose. I was having fun with it again, but I didn't tell anyone. Everyone was laughing. It was selfish, but what could I do?"

After recovering some of the social aspects of his life, Emery wanted to overcome his palsy altogether. Early that December, nearly a month after his diagnosis, Emery began his own special workout to conquer his palsy. "I knew it all started at my eye," Emery said. With that realization in mind, Emery laid in bed for hours trying to blink. When Emery wasn't lying in bed trying to blink, he was walking to class trying to blink. After days of attempting to regain control of his face, something incredible happened while visiting some friends. Emery and his friends were playing video games for hours when people began to complain about their eyes hurting from a lack of blinking. Emery responded sarcastically, "At least you can blink both of your eyes." After Emery made that statement, he lifted up his eye patch and tried with all his power to blink. And he did. Emery immediately rejoiced with energy that hadn't been seen from him in many months when he said, "Holy blinking Batman. I did it!" The room filled with cheers of joy. Emery had taken a major step in his battle — without ever taking his steroids.

Five days after Emery blinked for the first time in a month control began to return to the rest of his face. Two weeks after regaining control of his face, taste began to slowly return, and he unfroze his leftover grasshopper pie. "I had never tasted anything so wonderful," Emery said. Emery could feel victory was near. He was right. After six weeks of struggling with Bell's palsy, Emery appeared fully recovered and credits his recovery to determination.

Fast forward to 2004: Emery is approaching graduation at Ball State University and has fully recovered from his Bell's palsy. While reflecting on the experience, Peck said: "Faster than any research said I would recover, it was all back, and without medicine or outside help. That feeling is amazing. I fought it face-to-face, literally. I was me again, a soul survivor." The Harvard Medical School of Health said, "Most doctors believe that medications are effective only if the patient starts taking them within two or three days after symptoms first appear." Emery never took his medication and instead used courage to overcome his palsy. His story can be looked upon as a tale of the will of one man conquering something that can't be controlled.

~ True-Life Narrative ©2004 — By Zachary Sampsel, a 23-year-old journalism student at
Ball State University in Indiana, who is actually a very close friend of Emery Peck

Resources: Interview with Emery Peck; Harvard Health Letter April, 2003, Vol. 28 Issue 6;
Bell's Palsy: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke; Bell's Palsy Infosite & Forums



I WANT TO SEND A WARM & FUZZY THANK YOU
TO THE 144 KIND SUBSCRIBERS WHO

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Far Horizons

SIERRA DE TRINIDAD - CUBA

Inspiration Line - Cuba
Photo: Webshots
Learn More Here

The waterfall of El Nicho, in the mountainous region of Sierra de Trinidad, is by itself an ideal place for lovers of Nature and Adventure Tourism. In the mountains of El Nicho you can hike through the caves, enjoy waterfall bathing and track the mountain's exotic flora and fauna. Cuba has three mountain regions: the wild and rugged Sierra Maestra in the east, rising to 6,560 ft in the Pico Turquino; a lower range, the scenic Sierra de los Órganos, in the west; and the Sierra de Trinidad, a picturesque mass of hills amid the plains and rolling country of central Cuba, a region of vast sugar plantations. The wet forests of Cuba retain exceptionally insular flora and fauna, with many species unique to its forests. The island’s long-standing isolation has made it possible for some of the old lines to survive, yet they have become extinct on the nearby continents. Expansion in the production of cacao, coffee and tobacco as well as mining and other human activities represent a serious threat in some areas.

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"Changing the Size of Scroll Bars"
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Laughing It Off
Island Castaway - Inspiration Line
SHIPWRECKED?

The hurricane came unexpectedly. The ship went down and was lost. The man found himself swept up on the shore of an island with no other people, no supplies, nothing to do. Only bananas and coconuts.

So for the next four months he ate bananas, drank coconut juice and longed for his old life. He fixed his gaze on the sea, hoping to spot a rescue ship.

One day, as he was lying on the beach, he spotted movement out of the corner of his eye. It was a rowboat, and in it was the most gorgeous woman he had ever seen. She rowed up to him. In disbelief, he asked her: "Where did you come from? How did you get here? "I rowed from the other side of the island," she said. "I landed here when my cruise ship sank."

"Amazing," he said. "I didn't know anyone else survived. How many are there? You were lucky to have a rowboat wash up with you." She replied, "It's only me and the rowboat didn't wash up; nothing did." He was confused. "Then how did you get the rowboat?"

"Oh, simple," replied the woman. "I made the rowboat out of materials that I found on the island. The oars were whittled from Gum tree branches. I wove the bottom from palm branches and the sides and stern came from a Eucalyptus tree."

"B-B-But that's impossible," stuttered the man. "You had no tools or hardware. How did you manage?"

"Oh, that was no problem," replied the woman. "On the other side of the island there is a very unusual rock formation exposed. I found that if I fired it to a certain temperature in my kiln, it melted into iron. I used that for tools, and used the tools to make the hardware. But enough of that," she said. "Where do you live?" Sheepishly, he confessed that he had been sleeping on the beach the whole time. "Well, let's row over to my place, then," she said.

After a few minutes of rowing she docked the boat at a small wharf. As the man looked to the shore, he nearly fell out of the boat. Before him was a stone walk leading to an exquisite bungalow painted in blue and white. While the woman tied up the rowboat with an expertly woven hemp rope, the man could only stare ahead, dumbstruck. As they walked into the house, she said casually, "It's not much, but I call it home. Sit down, please; would you like a drink?" Trying to hide his amazement, the man accepted, and they sat down on her couch to talk.

After they had exchanged their stories, the woman announced, "I'm going to slip into something comfortable. Would you like to take a shower and shave? There is a razor upstairs in the bathroom." No longer questioning anything, the man went into the bathroom. There in the cabinet was a razor made from a bone handle. Two shells honed to a hollow ground edge were fastened onto it's end. "This woman is amazing," he thought. "What next?"

When he returned, she greeted him wearing nothing but vines and smelling faintly of gardenias. She beckoned for him to sit down next to her. "Tell me," she began, moving closer to him, "we've been out here for a very long time. You've been lonely. There's something I'm sure you really feel like doing right now, something you've been longing for all these months. You know..." She stared into his eyes.

He couldn't believe what he was hearing! "You mean?" he replied excitedly .................................

"I can check my e-mail from here?"

~Contributed by Bob in St. Cloud, Florida

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Joyful Lifestyles: Weekly InsightsInspiration Online Magazine - Joy
EXPANDING SPIRITUALLY IN SUMMER

In an article for Beliefnet.com Amy Cunningham explains that in the hot summer months we sometimes feel overwhelmed or stuck, like there is nowhere to turn ... "But then, in the heat, you expand. You tune into yourself as a living organism, absorb the rain and sun. These are spiritual months. You can grow larger in spirit as you move towards harvest. You can tune into your senses. And you can completely enjoy yourself in the process.

'Summer offers opportunities, not readily available at other times, to appreciate the abundance in the natural order of things and the cycle of life,' writes Virginia Beach healer MeeWah Reynolds. 'Verdant hues and bright colors, sunny days and soaring temperatures, the scent of newly cut grass and freshly turned soil, less and lighter clothing, trips to the beach, a vacation or holiday, travel, outdoor activities, weddings, gatherings of family and friends. Many of these associations and activities originated in ancient times and have been retained throughout man's history to the present.' It is easy, however, to become detached from all that keeps summer so sacred and spiritual. Hence, here are ten suggestions to help you fertilize your internal summer growth.

1. FIRST, UNPLUG THE TELEVISION: Enjoy the extra psychic space and time. Fair warning: if you enforce this on your children, you must spend more money at first on art supplies, bug boxes, nets, board games and building toys. That's the tradeoff, but within a week, you'll see behavior changes you hadn't known to expect.
2. SWIM IN REAL WATER: A spiritual summer calls for as much contact with a lake, river, or ocean as possible. Life begins in water. Our bodies are mostly made up of water. And relating to real water is to connect with the larger world.
3. GAZE AT THE NIGHT SKY: You can create an unforgettable evening for your family simply by taking an old quilt to a dark hill on a clear night and looking up into the summer sky. There it is in all its glory, the sky that unites you to the most ancient of peoples in faraway times.
4. PLANT A BUTTERFLY GARDEN AND SET UP A HUMMINGBIRD FEEDER: You know to watch for fireflies, but have you considered taking the concept deeper? Butterfly spirits will come to your garden in larger numbers if you plant a few herbs and flowering bushes that appeal to them. Feeding migrating hummingbirds when they buzz through your town (or linger year-round, as they do in California) can be one of the world's most thrilling activities.
5. TAKE A MEANINGFUL WORKSHOP: Spiritual and religious retreats and Zen centers are now hot topics on the travel pages of many major newspapers. On the Internet try Find the Divine where you can locate virtually every religious and spiritual retreat center in existence.
6. WALK BAREFOOT: Summer is a time to be more conscious of the sanctity of the earth and while going barefoot sometimes takes some getting used to, it is good for you in several ways. Your feet walk upon the Earth and through this your spirit is connected to the universe.
7. MAKE OR BUY PRESENTS FOR THOSE YOU LOVE: If you are a person of the spirit, you know that NOW is the time to holiday shop. You can think. You can select, not grab, the right gift. Forage now, collect for the coming winter, and enjoy your December. (This is my personal favorite ... I'm always finished buying just the 'right thing' for my loved ones by AUGUST each year.)
8. SIT UNDER A GREAT TREE: It is too bad that tree-hugging is now symbolic in some people's minds of everything wrong with environmentalism and the New Age. So don't hug the tree. Just sit and relate to it. Climb it. Meet someone you love under it. Suspend a hammock between two trees and climb in.
9. CONSIDER WHERE YOU ARE BURNING OUT: Light a torch in the yard or start a bonfire on the beach, and acknowledge how far you've come. Then face where you are flaming out like a flamboyant, crazy maniac. 'Normally we think of being burnt out as something that needs to be corrected,' writes Waverly Fitzgerald in her School of the Seasons newsletter. 'But burnout is actually part of the natural balance, putting an end to a period of intense work, ceaseless giving to others or expanding achievement…' Perhaps, as Arthur Waskow suggests in his book SEASONS OF OUR JOY, the dog days of summer (named after the dog tag star Sirius which rises in the night sky this time of year and adorns the dog depicted in the constellation Canis Major) provide a chance to examine where we need to regroup and gather our resources. What tasks, projects or commitments have taken all of your strength? How might you symbolize that depletion with a ritual?
10. READ ETERNALLY BEAUTIFUL THINGS: 'Read a book of spiritual depth,' says Rabbi David Wolpe, 'and do it before a mountain, a sea, a forest, a cave, a flower, a star strewn sky.' Spiritual author Phyllis Tickle: 'I have assembled a shelf of carefully-chosen books to be my companions...a lot of fiction (which I do not normally read in any quantity), some of the Desert Fathers and of the Celtic mystics, a volume or two on Eliot's poetry, and a delicious collection of Jewish folk tales.'"

Sounds like a refreshing new perspective to embrace and enjoy during these hot months, doesn't it?

Joyful Blessings,
Inspiration Line's Editor

Chelle 'Shay' Chelle Thompson


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