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Know & Grow Monthly Magazine
"My country is the world,
and my religion is to do good."

~ Thomas Paine ... Quotes for YOU

December 26, 2005


TODAY'S TUNE [ON/OFF]


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THIS WEEK'S ISSUE


From the Inside Out...
That's the Spirit!


Yes You Can!...
Make a Difference....
Give a Goat


Far Horizons...
Bulgarian New Year


Untangling the Web
...

What a Site and
Computer Ease


Laughing It Off...
"I Keep My
Snowman in the Freezer"


Fascinating Facts...
Spiritual Giving


Joyful Lifestyles...
An Experience to
Grow From

 


Inspiration Online Magazine

BE the World
You Want to See!

Helen Keller said it best:
"It is not what we see and touch or that which others do for us which makes us happy; it is that which we think and feel and do, first for the other fellow, and then for ourselves."

~ Chelle Thompson, Editor

 


From the Inside OutThe Spirit of Christmas - Inspiration Line Online Magazine
THAT'S THE SPIRIT!

It's just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree at this time of the year for the past 10 years or so.

It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas. Oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it.

You know, the overspending, the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma, the gifts given in desperation because you couldn't think of anything else.

Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way.

Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was wrestling at the junior level at the school he attended. Shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner city church. The kids were mostly black.

These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes.

As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without head gear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler's ears. It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously couldn't afford.

Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. And as each of their boys got up from the mat, he swaggered around in his tatters with false bravado, a kind of street pride that couldn't acknowledge defeat.

Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, "I wish just one of them could have won," he said. "They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them."

Mike loved kids-all kids. He understood kids in competitive situations, having coached little league football, baseball and lacrosse. That's when the idea for his present came.

That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes and sent them anonymously to the inner city church. On Christmas Eve, I placed the envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done and that this was his gift from me.

His smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year and in succeeding years. For each Christmas, I followed the tradition — one year sending a group of mentally challenged youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas — on and on...

The envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning and our children, ignoring their new toys, would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents.

As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the envelope never lost its allure. Still, the story doesn't end there.

You see, we lost Mike last year due to cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up.

Yet Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree, and in the morning, it was joined by three more. Each of our children, unbeknownst to the others, had placed an envelope on the tree for their dad.

The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further, with our grandchildren standing around the tree with wide-eyed anticipation, watching as their fathers take down their envelopes. Each of my children now grown with children of their own, continue that tradition of spreading joy to others ... spontaneously and anonymously.

Mike's spirit, like the spirit of Christmas, will always be with us.


~ Woman's Day Magazine 12/14/1982 from
Nancy Gavin's 'For the Man Who Hated Christmas'


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To Read Many More Heartwarming Stories & Poetry

Inspiration Online Magazine
Ye
s You Can!

MAKE A DIFFERENCE ... GIVE A GOAT

When we stop and think about the forces that have helped shape our lives, many of us can recall a loving parent or a caring teacher, or someone else who encouraged and inspired us and made us what we are today. But how many of us can look back and say, "I owe it all to a goat?"

A young African woman by the name of Beatrice Biira can. If it weren’t for her goat, Beatrice wouldn’t have gone to school, wouldn’t have been lifted out of poverty, and wouldn’t have won a scholarship to a college in America.

The equator runs right across the country road that leads to Beatrice's home. You can stand in both hemispheres. Beatrice's life has become something like that in the last few years. She's had one foot in the African bush, and the other in New England — all because of a goat.

"It is through selling the goat's milk that I was able to go to school," says Beatrice, who owes her good fortune to a goat named Mugisa (which means luck) and a charity called Heifer International. Beatrice’s village, Kisinga, sits nestled in a valley in the western part of Uganda. Beatrice remembers being hungry as a child.

"There wasn't much food in our fields. And if it was there, it was almost the same meal every other day. Like you eat cassava or sweet potatoes in the afternoon and in the evening. And, I must say that we were hungry," she says.

And yet, despite going hungry and not having much hope for the future, she later found herself on the campus of Northfield Mt. Hermon, in northern Massachusetts.

Heifer International is known for its work distributing livestock to poor families all over the world. In 1991, Heifer introduced 12 goats to 12 families in Kisinga. Beatrice’s family was lucky enough to be among them.

At 9, Beatrice was performing adult chores, and yearning desperately to attend school. But her family, one of the poorest in Kisinga, just couldn't afford it. It seemed as though Beatrice would always be on the outside looking in. She says she kept bugging her parents: "I was very impassioned. I really wanted to go to school."

Enter her goat. The Heifer goats are bred to produce prodigious amounts of milk. After struggling for years, just to feed her kids, Beatrice’s mother was able to sell enough goat’s milk to finally send Beatrice, then 10, to the local school. "I was very eager to go to school," recalls Beatrice. "Even when I got there, I made sure that I did extra work, extra homework, extra help, how to read, how to write. And I made it pretty quick."

From there, she won a scholarship to a high school in Kampala, Uganda’s capital. Then, she went on to prep school in New England, where it turns out, her biggest adjustment was winter. "It was ridiculously cold. It was really cold. Like negative 30 degrees," recalls Beatrice. "And 20 inches of snow. That has never occurred to me in my life." But seasons change, and for the first time in her life, Beatrice learned how to play tennis. She might never make it to Wimbledon, but she’s pretty smart and won an award for general excellence. Not bad for a kid who grew up with her parents and seven brothers and sisters in a tin-roofed shack in Africa, with an outhouse nearby.

With all the money donated to help fight famine around the world, with all the grandiose plans conceived to conquer poverty, sometimes all it takes to save a child is a goat. If you don’t believe that, come to Kisinga. The sale of the goat's milk and offspring gave Beatrice's mother enough money to send all of her children to school. And like all members of Heifer International's projects, she passed on the gift of the first female offspring to another family in need, continuing the benefits of income and nutrition. You get a goat, and you share your goat’s offspring with one of your neighbors. It’s done in a ritual called “Passing on the Gift.”

Beatrice's story reveals the devastating reality of poverty, and that EVEN THE SMALLEST CONTRIBUTION toward the purchase of a gift animal can drastically improve lives all over the world. Begin the new year with kindness and generosity. To make a difference in the lives of families like Beatrice's, you can make a contribution through THE MOST IMPORTANT GIFT CATALOG IN THE WORLD AT HEIFER INTERNATIONAL.




Far Horizons

BULGARIAN NEW YEAR

New Year's in Bulgaria
Learn More Here

Bulgarians dressed in animal costumes dance in the village of Lesnovo, 30 km east of the capital Sofia. Dancers, named 'kukers', call for good health and harvests. This is the time when people look back over all that has happened during the year and to believe that everything bad is already behind and the new year will only bring happiness. The early morning of 1st January is 'New Year Tibe' when another unusual Bulgarian custom called 'sourvakane' is performed by boys between 5 and 16 with twigs decorated with coins, small ring-shaped buns, popcorn and bright ribbons. In the morning they wish their parents and other relatives Happy New Year by tapping their backs with the twigs. The custom pays homage to ancestors and is held near the fireplace, where according to an ancient legend, their spirits live. At the New Year's table you'll find ritual loaves of bread made by the oldest housewife with depictions on them of the field, the vineyard, the garden and the sheep-pen, expressing a common hope that the new year will bring fertility to the land. 'Banitza,' a flaky cheese pie is rolled out in a baking dish, and if you crunch up something while eating it, this is your piece of luck. It is actually a cornel twig which symbolizes success throughout the coming year. According to an old Slavic custom, pork is also present on the New Year's table as chops or any other kind of meat. And last but not least — the festive table is rich in dried fruit such as plums and apricots, raisins, walnuts and grape clusters.

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Untangling the Web

Inspiration Online Magazine
WHAT A SITE!

"Online Translation Tools"
This site is a tool which connects you directly to online translation tools. Fagan Finder itself does not contain these tools. Instead, it includes a listing of many translation tools, each of which has different language and translation capabilities. It matches up the translation you want with a tool that can handle it. Type in a URL or copy and paste a block of text to be translated, specify from which language into which language, and voilà, you'll get a fairly passable machine translation.
www.FaganFinder.com/Translate/

Also: Free Website Translation Service for English, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese (Brazilian), Italian and Russian languages.
http://www.Online-Translator.com/srvurl.asp?lang=en

Check HereInspirational Links

Inspiration Online Magazine

COMPUTER-EASE

"Symbols that Are Not on a Keyboard"
Use the ALT key plus the following number combos
(from the number keypad on the right hand side of
your keyboard) to get the corresponding symbol:
ALT 0176 = ° ALT 155 = ¢
ALT 172 = ¼ ALT 0190 = ¾ ALT 171 = ½
ALT 134 = å ALT 133 = à ALT 164 = ñ
ALT 0216 = Ø ALT 0174 = ® ALT 0169 = ©

Computer Tips Here>Deleting Unwanted Programs
Here's the step-by-step procedure to
remove / uninstall programs in your computer.

CHECK **DAILY VIRUS THREATS**


Laughing It Off Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
"I KEEP MY SNOWMAN IN THE FREEZER"

I keep my snowman in the freezer,
Just behind the pies;
He likes it there, he told me so,
I can see it in his eyes.

I made him on a cold, cold morning
When the snow was fresh and deep;
Now he sits in the freezer
Near the fish that we got cheap.

I keep my snowman in the freezer
And look at him each day;
If I’d left him in the garden
He’d simply have melted away.

But now he’s like my Grandma
Living somewhere safe and nice;
He’s in a frosty, snowy palace
On a throne of coldest ice.

I keep my snowman in the freezer
Near a lump of frozen beef,
And I’ve got a treat for him in August:
I’m taking him to Tenerife!

~By Ian McMillan www.ian-mcmillan.co.uk

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Fascinating Facts
SPIRITUAL GIVING



Where on earth is it Christmas EVERY day?...

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Joyful Lifestyles: Weekly InsightsInspiration Online Magazine - Joy
AN EXPERIENCE TO GROW FROM

Things were going pretty much like always this year ... that is, until September 5th when I had a very startling "Footwear Malfunction" (not televised on the Super Bowl, however). On Labor Day I was across the street at my good friend Phyllis' house checking on their kitty 'Fred.' In the backyard, I took an innocent step onto a sandy area and my left ankle started twisting out of my sandal; then when I shifted to the right foot, there was an ominous 'snap-crackle-pop' ... and down I went. My wonderful husband Bruce took me to the Urgent Care Clinic where we learned that I had fractured all three bones in my right ankle and seriously sprained the left ankle, which became big, puffy and purple.

The very next morning I saw an orthopedic surgeon, who performed surgery that same day ... quite a blessing, indeed. I stayed overnight for pain management and to give Bruce a much needed stress break. He had lovingly been running all over town to get a wheelchair, walker, bath bench and everything else I needed. Afterwards, x-rays showed perfect bone alignment with a long screw on one side and a surgical steel plate on the other side of my right ankle using five screws. Surprisingly, it actually took longer for my sprained ankle to heal, since I had to hop on it occasionally or be completely 'footless'. By November 1st I began putting partial weight on the fractured one, then went from a wheel chair to a cane. By early December, almost thirteen weeks later, I was finally walking on my own.

About two weeks after surgery I got to experience an ethereal stop sign. I had become overconfident in my ability to pull myself to a standing position with the walker while going up a couple of stairs — then one day SPLAT! — I didn't have my weight shifted forward enough, so I flipped over backwards! My ankles went unscathed, but I scraped and bruised my elbows. From that point I decided to take a sit-back-and-wait-for-the-bones-to-knit approach, rather than engineering clever ways to still do EVERYTHING.

In October, I went for a lovely birthday lunch with a dear friend here in Santa Fe. She drove up to the restaurant entrance so I could navigate inside with my trusty walker. It was a funny thing that, without even thinking about it, I waited for her to open the door and hand me the walker. She said, "I guess you're used to having your door opened for you," and we both laughed! Later, in reflection, I realized how delightful it is to no longer care about appearing strong or perfect or able to do everything no matter what ... real strength comes from letting go when you need to, and being steely capable when you choose to be. Once I elected to just 'watch my bones knit' instead of doing acrobatic stunts to accomplish giant tasks, healing appeared in many forms.

This reminds me of one of my favorite authors, Dr. Toni Grant, who wrote in her book Being a Woman that with strong women there is actually strength in surrender Women who tend to operate as powerful Amazonian archetypes can EVOLVE to a place where they are able to release the need to always be right and the compulsion to prove themselves over and over. I've practiced this for many years by not trying to win every argument and not hyper-achieving in the workplace. Now I'm relinquishing the need to prove myself at all ... which is bringing much more serenity into my life.


Blessings To All for A Glorious New Year ...
Inspiration Line's Editor

Chelle (Pronounced 'Shay') Chelle Thompson

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