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Know & Grow Monthly Magazine
" Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage.
If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy."
~ Dale Carnegie ... Daily Inspirational Quotes

September 25, 2006


"Go the Distance"
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From the Inside Out...
The "I Can't" Funeral

Yes You Can!...
Save Money Painlessly

Far Horizons...
Queen of the Caribees

Untangling the Web

What a Site and
Computer Tips & 'Toons

Just for YOU...
Special Treats

Laughing It Off...
Confessions of a
Government Travel Agent

Fascinating Facts...
The Falling Leaves

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BE the World
You Want to See!

Generally speaking, I simply ASSUME that the best is always happening in my life; whether it's enough money, a comfortable and nurturing place to live, whatever. In this same line of thinking, I see myself protected and guided by a squadron of guardian angels ... so I seem to KNOW when it's time to let go of a situation because it's not good for me, and when to embark on a path that is Right.

~ Chelle Thompson, Editor


From the Inside OutYes, You Can! Inspiration Line Online Magazine

Donna's fourth grade classroom looked like many others I had seen in the past. Students sat in five rows of six desks. The teacher's desk was in front and faced the students. The bulletin board featured student work. In most respects it appeared to be a typically traditional elementary classroom. Yet something seemed different that day I entered it for the first time. There seemed to be an undercurrent of excitement.

Donna was a veteran small-town Michigan schoolteacher only two years away form retirement. In addition she was a volunteer participant in a countrywide staff development project I had organized and facilitated. The training focused on language arts ideas that would empower students to feel good about themselves and take charge of their lives. Donna's job was to attend training sessions and implement the concepts being presented. My job was to make classroom visitations and encourage implementation.

I took an empty seat in the back of the room and watched. All the students were working on a task, filling a sheet of notebook paper with thoughts and ideas. The ten-year-old student next to me was filling her page with "I Can'ts".

"I can't kick the soccer ball past second base." "I can't do long division with more than three numerals." "I can't get Debbie to like me." Her page was half full and she showed no signs of letting up. She worked on with determination and persistence.

I walked down the row glancing in student's papers. Everyone was writing sentences, describing things they couldn't do. "I can't do ten push-ups." "I can't hit one over the left hand fence." "I can't eat only one cookie."

By this time the activity engaged my curiosity, so I decided to check with the teacher to see what was going on. As I approached her, I noticed that she too was busy writing. I felt it best not to interrupt. "I can't get John's mother to come for a teacher conference." "I can't get my daughter to put gas in the car." "I can't get Alan to use words instead of fists."

Thwarted in my efforts to determine why students and teacher were dwelling on the negative instead of writing the more positive "I Can" statements, I returned to my seat and continued my observations. Students wrote for another ten minutes. Most filled their page. Some started another. "Finish the one you're on and don't start a new one," were the instructions Donna used to signal the end of the activity. Students were then instructed to fold the papers in half and bring them to the front. When the students reached their teacher's desk, they placed their "I Can't" statements into an empty shoe box.

When all of the students papers were collected, Donna added hers. She put the lid on the box, tucked it under her arm and headed out the door and down the hall. Students followed the teacher. I followed the students. Halfway down the hallway the procession stopped. Donna entered the custodian's room rummaged around and came out with a shovel. Shovel in one hand, shoe box in the other, Donna marched the students out to the school to the farthest corner of the playground. There they began to dig.

They were going to bury their "I Can'ts"! The digging took over ten minutes because most of the fourth graders wanted a turn. When the hole approached three fee deep, the digging ended. The box of "I Can'ts" was placed in a position at the bottom of the hole and then quickly covered with dirt.

Thirty one 10 and 11-year-olds stood around the freshly dug rave site. Each had at least one page full of "I Can'ts" in the shoe box, four feet under. So did their teacher.

At this point Donna announced, "Boys and girls, please join hands and bow your heads." The students complied. They quickly formed a circle around the grave, creating a bond with their hands. They lowered their heads and waited. Donna delivered the eulogy.

"Friends, we gather here today to honor the memory of 'I Can't.' While he was with us here on earth, he touched, the lives or everyone, some more than others. His name unfortunately, has been spoken in every public building- school, city halls, state capitols, and yes, even The White House.

"We have provided 'I Can't' with a final resting place and a headstone that contained his epitaph. His is survived by his brothers and sisters, 'I Can,' 'I Will' and 'I'm Going to Right Away.' They are not as well known as their famous relative and are certainly not as strong and powerful yet. Perhaps some day, with your help, they will make an even bigger mark on the world.

"May 'I Can't' rest in peace and may everyone present pick up their lives and move forward in his absence. Amen."

As I listened to the eulogy I realized that these students would never forget this day. The activity was symbolic, a metaphor for life. It was a right brain experience that would stick in the unconscious and conscious mind forever.

Writing "I Can'ts", burying them and hearing the eulogy — showed a major educational effort on this part of the teacher. And she wasn't done yet. At the conclusion of the eulogy she turned the students around, marched them back into the classroom and held a wake.

They celebrated the passing of "I Can't" with cookies, popcorn and fruit juices. As part of the celebration, Donna cut a large tombstone from butcher paper. She wrote the words "I Can't" at the top and put RIP in the middle. The date was added at the bottom.

The paper tombstone hung in Donna's classroom for the remainder of the year. On those rare occasions when a student forgot and said, "I Can't", Donna simply pointed to the RIP sign. The student then remembered that "I Can't" was dead and chose to rephrase the statement.

I wasn't one of Donna's students. She was one of mine. Yet that day I learned an enduring lesson from her.

Now, years later, whenever I hear the phrase, "I Can't," I see images of that fourth grade funeral. Like the students, I remember that "I Can't" is dead.

~© Phillip B. Childs, A Course in Miracles Online

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s You Can!


Money guru Jean Chatzky knows her latest book, Pay It Down: From Debt to Wealth on $10 a Day, centers on a gimmick. The thing is, gimmicks work — at least when it comes to our often-irrational relationship with money.

Chatzky promises financial freedom for anyone who can scrounge up an extra 'tenner' each day — what you might spend on lunch, a car wash, a movie ticket. Someone who might feel hopeless at the prospect of paying off $8,000 in credit card debt can embrace this one-day-at-a-time approach, which makes debt repayment seem not only possible, but almost easy. “It’s a hook, kind of like ‘no carbs’ is a hook,” says Chatzky, financial editor for NBC’s Today Show. “This is a problem we need to get our hands around. . . We need some sort of mental game we can play with ourselves that will help us solve the problem.”

If we were entirely logical, of course, we wouldn’t need hooks or gimmicks or any of the little self-delusions that in reality can be so helpful in giving ourselves a financial cushion. Since we’re not Mr. Spock, though, savings tricks can prove mighty helpful. Here are some of the things MSN Money readers say they do to get themselves to put aside a little extra:

1. Pad your accounts. If you use personal finance software, you can just enter a check to yourself for $300 — or $500, or $1,000, or whatever you want your pad to be. The check needn’t actually exist or ever be cashed, but the software will treat it as an outstanding obligation and deduct it from your balance. You can do something similar even if you still balance your checkbook by hand. “What I have done is to add $300 to my checking account, but not include it into the balance,” wrote Gregory Hannon, a utilities administrator for the city of Longview, Wash. “Basically, the money is hidden. . . This is my way of making sure that should it happen that I write a check without the funds (according to the checking account balance), then I know I am covered.”

2. Cull your bills. Here’s a twist on the classic savings tip of dumping your change in a jar: set aside certain denominations, such as fives or tens, whenever they make their way into your wallet. Kirstiepie99 wrote on the Your Money message board that she and her husband decided to put any of the new, colorful $20 bills they received into a jar beside their bed. “A new $20 bill can slip into your hands at any time, so it's like Russian roulette every time you go to the ATM,” she wrote. “We did it for about seven or eight months, and it funded a trip to Latvia for a month (except for the airfare). It makes saving fun!”

3. Institute a family tax. Dawnna76’s family has a Garfield piggy bank into which each family member deposits $1 a day. The bank can be raided for the occasional movie or latte, but mostly the money funds their Christmas shopping. “We have around $1,000 each year in there and we only pay cash for Christmas presents,” Dawnna76 wrote. “The nice thing is we usually never spend (all) the money on presents and what’s left, we take a trip with.”

4. Save your reimbursements. Employers can take weeks or months to pay you back for the expenses you incurred traveling or entertaining clients. By then, you may have already paid the bill. Instead of cashing the check, consider saving it instead. Kirstiepie99 says she’s saved $400 so far by depositing expense reimbursement checks from her job into a separate savings account.

5. Realize your rebates. Several board posters recommended saving the money you get from rebates, shopping sales or using coupons and club cards at grocery stores. Grocery stores tend to make this easy; they often print on the receipt exactly how much you saved. You can transfer that exact amount to a savings account or, if you still write checks, you can make one out for the amount of the savings and deposit that — or simply round up. “If the items ring up to the tune of $33.45 for example, I write a check for $35,” wrote Summerbreeze 98387. “When I get home, the change goes into the kitty (dollars and change both).”

6. Round it up -- or down. Another popular ploy, for those who balance their checkbooks by hand, is adding or subtracting a few bucks from each transaction. MadWomanM says she never records the full amount of her deposit to her checking account and adds a dollar or five to any checks she writes. “If I put in $105.38, I just write in $100,” she wrote, “and I always subtract to the nearest dollar or sometimes, up to five dollars. I end up (with) a surplus almost every payday, which is handy.”

7. Fee yourself. WryWit uses a slightly different method that also could work for folks who use personal finance software. “I started imposing fees on myself,” WryWit wrote. “In my checkbook register, there is a little column for fees. I use a check mark for $10 and a dash for $1. So for every $100 deposited I'll short $10, and every outgoing transaction I add a dollar. When the page is full I add them up and keep a running total at the bottom of the page. This makes it easy to reconcile the balance at any time, and when it gets up to a certain point, I transfer it into savings.”

8. Saving raises. Some message board posters save all or part of every raise they get. Sweetnepenthe has lived on the same amount of take-home pay for the past eight years, dedicating every raise to increased retirement contributions and, when those are maxed out, to savings. ImproperFraction saves half of each raise, noting that it doesn’t feel like deprivation. “Inflation is a gradual erosion of my dollar's buying power that I endure and make spending adjustments for throughout the year,” the poster wrote. “But my pay raises don’t creep up; rather they are sudden events. . . So I'll save half of this sudden jump in income and add the rest to my spending funds. This has worked quite well for me throughout my working years; I am now in the position where the amount of money I save exceeds the amount of money I spend.”

9. Divide and conquer your paycheck. Other posters save an amount equal to an hour’s pay each day, or each week if they’re just getting started. “I have an automated transaction to pull $26.18 out of my account every week,” wrote MusketeersPlus2, a union worker whose raises are known in advance. “I've even already set it up to change to $27.10" when his next pay hike kicks in.

10. Pay yourself last. The usual (and excellent) money tip is to pay yourself first by making sure a certain amount of your paycheck is deposited into savings or investment accounts. But Carolina Girl also pays herself last. “I keep a pretty close check on monthly expenses,” she posted. “If we have extra money due to less expenses (received a raise or bonus, gas bill goes down in the summer, less entertainment due to busy schedules, etc.), the extra is transferred to a savings account. I don't change my spending just because there's extra money.”

~Liz Pulliam Weston's column appears every Monday and
Thursday, exclusively on MSN Money. She also answers
reader questions in the Your Money message board.

Far Horizons


Nevis Peak
Nevis Peak, West Indies
Learn More Here

Nevis isn't just one half of a nation along with its larger sister island, St. Kitts. This fertile volcanic speck in the northern Leeward Islands is a unique destination in its own right. There’s something about this small, sombrero-shaped island that grabs you. The charm and tranquility take you back to a time when things were simpler, when life was more peaceful, when stress was just a word, not a way of life. This 36-square-mile island lies near the top of the Lesser Antilles archipelago, about 200 miles south of Puerto Rico, and just west of Antigua. The island is approximately 7 miles long and 5 miles wide, with natural vegetation that is unparalleled. Green and serene, Nevis is truly one of the remaining unspoiled places and proudly carries the name, "Queen of the Caribees." From the top of the 3,232-foot Nevis Peak to the depths of the clear waters offshore, there is a world of flora and fauna to be explored amidst the sights and sounds of Nevis' lush rainforest trails. In the hills, the comical vervet (French for "green coat") monkeys chatter and scamper; in the sea, the whales cruise by. Stroll around and see the architecture of eras gone by: churches, windmills, and refurbished Great Houses. The island is covered with the ruins of the sugar plantation era, which declined in the late 1800s after slavery was abolished and the sugar beet created competition for sugar cane. Over the years, volunteer groups and researchers have come to the island to explore the history of the old buildings and record them for future generations. Several archaeology projects led by university researchers from England and the United States continue each year. Its 10,000 residents are friendly and helpful, ready to make new friends and welcome back regular visitors. Nevis is special, a place that will seduce you, and tug at your heart strings long after you leave.

Untangling the Web

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"Crime Doctor's Security Advice"
Security Consultant, Chris McGoey, is internationally known as an expert in the fields of security, loss prevention, and crime prevention. He works with business owners, property managers, law enforcement, and the legal profession, and has prepared an extensive series of original articles for this website. HOME INVASION SAFETY TIP — If you own a newer vehicle with a remote Panic Button, put your car keys beside your bed at night. If you hear a noise outside or someone trying to get in your house, just press the panic button for your car. The alarm will be set off, and the horn will continue to sound until either you turn it off or the car battery dies — plus it makes nearby dogs bark as an extra surprise!

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Improving Your View
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Laughing It Off Pooch Pouch

I had a New Hampshire Congresswoman ask for an aisle seat on the airplane so that her hair wouldn't get messed up by being near the window.

I got a call from a Candidate's Staffer, who wanted to go to Capetown. I started to explain the length of the flight and the passport information. He interrupted me with, "I'm not trying to make you look stupid, but Capetown is in Massachusetts." Without trying to make him look like the stupid one, I calmly explained, "Cape Cod is in Massachusetts, Capetown is in Africa." His response ...(click) ??

A Senior Vermont Congressman called, furious about a Florida package we did. I asked what was wrong with the vacation in Orlando. He said he was expecting an ocean-view room. I tried to explain that is not possible, since Orlando is in the middle of the state. He replied, "Don't lie to me. I looked on the map, and Florida is a very thin state!!!"

I got a call from a Lawmakers Wife who asked, "Is it possible to see England from Canada?" I said, "No." She said, "But they look so close on the map."

An Aide for a US Cabinet Member once called and asked if they could rent a car in Dallas. When I pulled up the reservation, I noticed they only had a 1-hour lay-over in Dallas. When I asked him why he wanted to rent a car, he said, "I heard Dallas was a big airport, and we will need a car to drive between the gates to save time."

An Illinois Congresswoman called last week. She needed to know how it was possible that her flight from Detroit left at 8:20am and got into Chicago at 8:33am. I tried to explain that Michigan was an hour ahead of Illinois, but she could not understand the concept of time zones. Finally, I told her the plane went very fast, and she bought that!

A New York lawmaker called and asked, "Do airlines put your physical description on your bag so they know who's luggage belongs to who? " I said, "No, why do you ask?" She replied, "Well, when I checked in with the airline, they put a tag on my luggage that said (FAT), and I'm overweight, I think that is very rude!" After putting her on hold for a minute while I "looked into it" (I was actually laughing) I came back and explained the city code for Fresno, CA is (FAT), and that the airline was just putting a destination tag on her luggage.

A Senator called and said, "I need to fly to Pepsi-Cola, FL. Do I have to get on one of those little computer planes?" I asked if he meant fly to Pensacola, FL on a commuter plane. He said, "Yeah, whatever!!"

A Senior Senator called and had a question about the documents he needed in order to fly to China. After a lengthy discussion about passports, I reminded him he needed a visa. "Oh no I don't, I've been to China many times and never had to have one of those." I double checked and sure enough, his stay required a visa. When I told him this he said, "Look, I've been to China four times and every time they have accepted my American Express!"

A New Mexico Congressman called to make reservations, "I want to go from Chicago to Rhino, New York" The agent was at a loss for words. Finally, the agent: "Are you sure that's the name of the town?" "Yes, what flights do you have?" replied the man. After some searching, the agent came back with, "I'm sorry, sir, I've looked up every airport code in the country and can't find a Rhino anywhere." The man retorted, "Oh don't be silly! Everyone knows where it is. Check your map!" The agent scoured a map of the state of New York and finally offered, "You don't mean Buffalo, do you?" "That's it! I knew it was a big animal"????

Now you know why the government is in the shape that it's in!

~A Joke Circulated on The Internet
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