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game of life is a lot like football.
You have to tackle your problems, block your fears,
and score your points when you get the opportunity.
~ Lewis Grizzard ...
March 31, 2008
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THIS WEEK'S ISSUE
From the Inside Out...
Smell the Flowers
Words from the Wise...
Conscious Living &
Yes You Can!...
Just for YOU...
Untangling the Web...
Uplifting News Stories...
From the Sidewalks
Online All the Time...
Featuring Daily Quotes
Weekly Short Films
BE the World
You Want to See!
Zen philosophy teaches that enlightenment
is contained in a single flower when we appreciate
a blossom, we have found happiness in nature and in our own
nature. Start your
day with a
brisk walk so you can hear the birds, smell the fragrances
and feel the fresh air on your skin. If you have a backyard,
sit quietly in the early morning light. Let all of your senses
absorb the beauty that is around you.
~ Chelle Thompson, Editor
HERE TO FIND OUT HOW
... you can help people all
world without a bit of risk to yourself!
From the Inside Out
& SMELL THE FLOWERS
is it when you get older you begin to notice things you really never
paid much attention to before? Simple things. Quiet things. Natural
been that way with me, for instance, with flowers. When I was growing
up in Moreland, my Aunt Jessie's yard was the flower capital of
drove from as far away as Grantville, Corinth and Smith City to
gaze at the color show Aunt Jessie's yard put on each spring.
never paid much attention to her flowers, myself. The only time
I ever thought about them was when Aunt Jessie would berate me for
tromping through her flowers in search of the baseball I just hit
from my yard to hers.
out of those flowers young man!" she must have screamed
at me a million times.
never understood her concern. There I was practicing to grow up
to be Gil Hodges, and how could I continue without my baseball.
flowers slay me. The azaleas will be blooming in Atlanta soon. So
will the dogwoods. Their beauty decorates the city in pinks and
whites and takes an ol' flower stomper's breath.
week there have been days that were certainly whispers of spring.
It was warm and still and it chased away the dreariness of winter.
spent one afternoon on the golf course. On one hole, the sprinkler
system was wetting the grounds around it.
smelled a smell I hadn't thought of in years. The smell of water
upon dry soil.
can't describe that smell in words, but I remember it from when
the rain used to hit the dusty dirt road in front of my grandmother's
I remember it from when I would be in my grandfather's fields, following
him as he followed his plow and his mule, and it would "come
up a cloud" as the old folks used to say, and the rain pelted
down upon the freshly plowed earth and produced that smell again.
looked up at the absolutely clear, blue sky this week. Its brilliance
was remarkable. Up there somewhere was a hole in the ozone layer,
but I couldn't see it.
chill turns to warm it may be whoever created all this reminding
us an end does finally come to winters discontent.
is my forty-fifth spring. But it was only the last several years
that I began to take a few moments to relish them.
vividly remember the first time I really noticed and appreciated
the coming of spring. I was on a golf course then, too. Augusta
National. I had just turned thirty.
was covering the Masters golf tournament for the Chicago Sun-Times.
was standing on number 16 on an April Sunday that was spectacular.
It was warm and cloudless. There was the green of the turf, the
blue sky, the pink azaleas.
would be catching a flight in a few hours, back to Chicago. I'd
called the office earlier. They said it was snowing.
stood out there and soaked it all in for the first time. It did
something to my soul. It also did something for my future.
vowed at that moment, I'd never miss another Georgia spring.
days later, I was back home in Atlanta with a job as a typist of
words upon blank sheets of paper.
years later I am still taking the time to smell and feel the glory
of springtime. Getting older does have its benefits.
about the flowers I stomped, Aunt Jessie. I never learned to hit
a curve ball anyway.
Lewis Grizzard (who died in 1994 ... two years after this writing)
Author and Columnist, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
For More go to www.LewisGrizzard.com
Stories & More*
TORE OUT MY HEART
That Sucker Flat
Columnist Lewis Grizzard celebrates his Southern Heritage
and is full of stories about faithful dogs, good country
music and more. "Georgia's Mark Twain" will make
you smile, laugh, cry and everything in between as he weaves
another magical story. You'll learn about his growing up
to need open heart surgery and how he'll never be able to
look at a plate of BBQ the same again! Lewis loved his momma,
loved his country and loved his culture, and he wrote about
the things he loved in a way that if you didn't love them
too, at least you could understand why he did. This volume
details some of his tribulations related to his eventually
fatal coronary disease.
What's the origin of
April Fool's Day?
CHECK HERE FOR ANSWER:
from the Wise
CONSCIOUS LIVING & DYING
Yes You Can!
FIND HEALTH &
HEALING THROUGH FRIENDSHIPS
Connected: There is an actual, physical chunk
of brain that runs your emotions called the limbic brain.
You can trace its development back a hundred million years.
You can see it on an MRI. Every second you spend with other
people, your limbic brain is tuning in to them, being changed
by their moods, and changing theirs in turn. It's a constant,
life-affirming limbic dance. Experimental psychologists
have known for decades that we share moods. If you don't
believe me, just think of the people who make you feel better
simply by walking into a room. These sorts of interactions
feel so good (directly and unconsciously) that we would
wither away without them. This is why you should never underrate
the emotional side of your life.
are better than men at keeping the limbic dance going by
working to ensure that families stay connected as the years
go by and by building lasting friendships and deep connections
from the many different aspects of their lives. High school
and college friends, friends from work, friends from raising
children together, from neighborhood committees, from shared
vacations sure, some of these bonds and friendships
fall away as part of the natural cycle of growing and changing,
but most women find new friendships to replace them. Women
who don't find close friendships, who have trouble keeping
up connections, need to make an effort to change those patterns.
of research studies confirm that isolation hurts us and
connection heals us through the same physical mechanisms
as exercise and healthy diet. Blood vessels are measurably
more elastic, the heart's ability to respond to extraordinary
demands is higher, cardiac inflammatory protein levels are
lower, and blood pressure response to exercise is better
in more connected people. Their stress-hormone blood profiles
are also measurably healthier than those of isolated people.
a Community: Sadly, I see people in my medical
practice who give up on connection, who stop living years
before they die. These are women and men who feel so overwhelmed
by the prospect of getting out and building new connections
that they stop trying. Our society with its emphasis
on the traditional family structure and the workplace as
centers of social togetherness doesn't help matters.
People who lack either of those have to work doubly hard.
But the consequences of not making connections are so devastating
that you cannot allow yourself to retreat into isolation.
The stakes are too high. A study of more than 4,000 women
and men in Alameda County, California, showed a direct link
between the size of one's social circle and survival, with
larger circles bringing ever-greater longevity. Women with
fewer than six regular contacts outside the house had significantly
higher rates of blocked coronary arteries, were more likely
to be obese and have diabetes, high blood pressure, and
depression, and were two and a half times more likely to
die over the course of the study than those with an extensive
either a good marriage or just one close friend cuts the
risk of mortality by a third, and the benefit increases
the more your circle broadens. It's reassuring to note that
both quality and quantity count. Some people have a few
close friends or family members, while others have a broad
network of involvement with their community. Either works
well, though it's best to have both. Talk to any nurse about
how much it matters for patients to have visitors in the
hospital about the difference in outcome for those
people who have a steady stream of visitors, a wall covered
with get-well cards, flowers obscuring the monitors and
tubing. But the thing is, you can't wait until trouble strikes
to build your community. You have to work at it day after
day, make the calls, make the effort, be the hospital visitor
years before you need one yourself.
is an extraordinary limbic resource and is available to
everyone because it's a learned skill. You can decide to
be optimistic with remarkable success. Not Pollyanna optimistic,
but glass-half-full optimistic, and it's worth the effort.
Women who are optimistic about motherhood before pregnancy
have a much lower risk of postpartum depression. Optimistic
women have lower mortality rates from cancer and heart disease.
It seems to help to approach illness with a positive, optimistic
attitude, which may lower blood pressure and improve immune
function. You recover from bypass surgery faster and better,
you get out of bed sooner after back surgery, and you go
back to work and regular exercise sooner. Anger doubles
your risk of heart disease. But perceiving your work as
satisfying cuts your risk of heart disease in half.
Compassionate: While some people are intuitively
gifted at saying and doing exactly the right thing at the
right moment, the rest of us can learn how. "Comfort
boils down to empathy and acknowledgment," says
New York City-based psychotherapist Jane Greer, PhD, author
Finding the Courage to Move on in Love, Work and Life,
in fact, is so powerful that it doesn't require the gloss
of eloquence. "When someone affirms what you are
feeling and conveys an understanding of your distress, their
sensitivity helps you feel safe and understood,"
says Dr. Greer. When you offer to bring a sick friend a
cup of hot soup, stop by to change the bedsheets, or send
a bouquet of flowers with a warm note, you put acknowledgment
problem is, how much compassion we have for others is sometimes
driven by the degree of compassion we have for ourselves
and, let's face it, most of us are pretty tough on
ourselves. "If you're stoic and you have a stiff
upper lip, it could be hard to muster up the empathy and
compassion for someone else's plight," says Dr.
Greer. That was the case with a woman I know who'd been
having problems with her boss. When she told her boyfriend
that she feared being fired, he said, "What's the
big deal? You'll call the headhunters and find another job."
He didn't stop to acknowledge her wounded self-esteem,
her fear of change, or her financial concerns that
is, all the fallout that comes from your job's being imperiled.
does tend to be a gender divide when it comes to giving
as well as receiving comfort. According to
Marianne Legato, MD, founder of the Partnership for Gender-Specific
Medicine at Columbia University, in New York City, men will
often hunker down in solitude rather than reveal a need
for comfort; they're also less skilled at soothing others:
"A man will focus on solving the problem. He'll
give you directions to accomplishing whatever goal he thinks
you should be achieving," she says.
the other hand, women tend to be much better at offering
a sympathetic ear and a shoulder to cry on. Women are not
necessarily good, however, at allowing themselves to be
comforted. Many of us have become so hyperefficient at juggling
the demands of work and family that we've lost the art of
being tended to. And we feel ashamed to even need tending.
"Accepting comfort is like accepting a gift, but
that can stir up feelings of helplessness and vulnerability
in some of us," says Dr. Greer. "We think
that by saying 'I don't need it' we can make ourselves feel
can all do better at giving and receiving comfort. Comfort
is often rooted in the flesh: Just a hug or the touch of
a hand causes our brains to release the chemical serotonin,
which improves mood. Remember, too, the healing power of
words. The right words whether they are spoken in
our church or synagogue, or come to us via Chicken Soup
for the Soul stories or public oratory have the
power to soothe the spirit and revive the heart.
you're the one in need of comfort, wisdom lies in knowing
where to find it. "When things are really terrible,
you need people who will affirm whatever you're feeling,"
says Dr. Legato. "Sit down with a friend or
relative and ask if they have time to hear you discuss a
problem and help you with it. You can't do it in five minutes.
Make sure they have an hour or more to spend."
there's no human to talk to or give you a hug
a pet may do just as well. Studies have shown that pets
help lower blood pressure and mitigate stress on the heart.
Animals are affectionate, allow us to snuggle with them
and in a slight improvement over spouses, children,
and friends never judge us or offer unwanted advice.
the end, it may be that we are simply hardwired to do good.
A study at the Institute for Social Research at the University
of Michigan in Ann Arbor reported that among older people,
those who reported helping others even if it was
just giving emotional support to a spouse were half
as likely to die within five years as those who did not.
"If comforting behavior can be linked with health
and longevity, the implications are significant,"
says Stephen G. Post, PhD, professor of bioethics at Case
Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland,
Ohio. "People who live generous lives soon become
aware that in the reasonable giving of self lies the discovery
Satisfaction in Life: Generations ago, extended
families provided rich, lifelong limbic safety nets and
connections to the group. In the days before TV, telephones,
electric lights, and convenience stores, this wasn't a choice.
There was nothing to do but be within a group. The great
gift of traditional societies was that you were a necessary
part of the community your whole life. Okinawans, a group
of people living on an island off the coast of Japan, have
the greatest documented longevity of any population on earth,
and in their culture older people are integral parts of
the community until they draw their last breath. At 90,
or 100, they are respected for their life experience and
are relevant to the group.
seems as if that model is vanishing from the planet. But
our society still has all those limbic connections
you just have to find them and put them together for yourself.
For those who are frantically busy with work, the office
can be an important source of connection and gratification,
which helps to explain why increasing numbers of Americans
of both sexes are choosing to work past retirement. Sometimes
this is for financial reasons, of course, but sometimes
it's due to the increasing recognition that work has a value
beyond the paycheck. Part of the value is simply in the
structure in having a reason to get out of the house
in the morning. Part of the value is in the social interactions
that come automatically with most jobs. And part of it is
the importance of still having a role in the tribe: a defined
niche in the great social order.
are other pathways to connectedness, too, such as spirituality.
A search for meaning is too profound and personal for facile
advice giving, but we do know that for limbic reasons alone
you should be on the journey. The growing number of reasonably
well-done studies on spirituality point to its importance
in our lives for both mental and physical health. Many people
who search for meaning in their lives and their experience
via religion or spirituality survive loss, cancer, and heart
disease better and have healthier immune chemistry and lower
risks of stroke and Alzheimer's disease than those who do
not. People who report that faith is an important part of
their lives have higher levels of life satisfaction and
emotional well-being. You can decide for yourself how much
of the positive effect stems from the increased social connections
offered by organized religion and how much is from something
ineffable, but the simple message is that it is important
to look for the meaning in your life's experience.
single human being on the planet craves limbic connections.
We just need to head out the door to build them. The tide
of social atrophy of limbic decay is not that
strong. It's just remorselessly steady. The ultimate message
is swim against the tide, every day. If you work at it steadily,
it is almost impossible to fail.
Chris Crowley & Henry S. Lodge, MD
and Lesley Dormen from www.LHJ.com
Greenland's Aurora Borealis/Northern Lights
The Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) is one of nature's
spectacular masterpieces. Imagine standing on the shores
of a remote Greenland fjord. Its a cold, clear and
dark night and frost crackles underfoot. A sheen of new
ice covers the water, and icebergs drift silently by on
the tide. The sky is pierced by a million stars and the
moon begins to creep up from behind a range of wild peaks.
a greenish glimmer appears overhead, seeming at first like
a high cloud lit by the moonlight. It begins to intensify
and swirl, gently reflected by the fjord, and with a gasp
of wonder you realize that its the Aurora Borealis,
warming up to its show of natural splendor. Before
long it has become a dazzling display of greens, red and
purples spiraling and dancing through the heavens. No photograph
can prepare one to see the Aurora first hand it moves
and changes with surprising speed forming wonderful whirlpools
and beams that merge and intensify, then split and fade.
No wonder the Inuit believed that the Northern Lights are
the playful souls of their children that died at birth.
Sometimes it is a beautiful and delicate beam of light on
the horizon, and sometimes it fills the entire night such
that it seems that light is pouring out of the sky.
Aurora Borealis forms when charged protons and electrons
emitted from the sun as a solar wind are drawn in towards
us by Earths magnetic field and collide with atoms
and molecules in our atmosphere. These collisions result
in countless little bursts of light that make up the aurora.
Collisions with oxygen produce red and green auroras, while
nitrogen produces pink and purple colors. The
Aurora Borealis actually occur all year round, but cannot
be seen during the summer months in Greenland due to the
midnight sun. The phenomenon is often seen around midnight
and is best experienced on dark, clear nights from September
on Greenland's west coast lies at the base of a 160-kilometre
(100-mile) long fjord of the same name, which appropriately
enough means "the long fjord". Kangerlussuaq has
a very stable climate with warm dry summers and cold clear
winter days which are perfect for dogsled trips and not
least for experiencing the northern lights. With around
300 days a year under cloudless skies, Kangerlussuaq is
one of the best places in the world from which to see the
northern lights. In the Kulusuk area on the east
coast the Aurora can been seen from late August until late
April and the small settlement is an excellent introduction
to the way of life in a settlement in the Ammassalik
area. Kulusuk lies on a small rocky island between saw-toothed
mountains and extensive fjords, and it is almost always
surrounded by icebergs and a glittering Arctic Ocean. Although
tourism and the service industry are increasing in importance,
traditional hunting and fishing are still essential sources
of income for many families in the settlement.
on the west coast of Greenland, 250 km north of the Arctic
Circle, you'll find Greenlands Ilulissat Icefjord,
one of the few glaciers through which the Greenland ice
cap reaches the sea. Sermeq Kujalleq is one of the fastest
and most active glaciers in the world. Studied for over
250 years, it has helped to develop our understanding of
climate change and icecap glaciology. The
combination of a huge ice-sheet and the dramatic sounds
of a fast-moving glacial ice-stream calving into a fjord
covered by icebergs makes for a dramatic and awe-inspiring
natural phenomenon. On breaking up the icebergs emerge into
the open sea and initially travel north with ocean currents
before turning south and running into the Atlantic Ocean.
Larger icebergs typically do not melt until they reach 40-45
degrees north (south of the United Kingdom and level with
New York City). The Ilulissat Icefjord was declared a UNESCO
World Heritage Site in 2004.
is also the third largest settlement in Greenland, widely
known by its Danish name of Jakobshavn ("Jacob's
Harbor"). In direct translation Ilulissat is
the Greenlandic word for "The Icebergs". Inuit
settlements have existed in the area of the icefjord for
at least three thousand years. The town is located about
halfway up the country's west coast, 200 kilometers north
of the Arctic Circle.
abandoned settlement of Sermermiut two kilometers
south of the modern town of Ilulissat was once amongst the
largest settlements in Greenland with around 250 inhabitants.
The modern town was founded in 1741 by missionary Danish
Poul Egede for trader Jakob Severin who had an established
a trading lodge in the area. Ilulissat is Greenland's most
popular tourist destination because of its proximity to
the picturesque Ilulissat Icefjord.
a MAGNIFICENT Video of
(Always let videos fully download once, for smooth second
The Ilulissat Icefjord in Greenland.
MORE TRAVEL ARTICLES:
ANNOUNCEMENTS & TREATS
Untangling the Web
WHAT A SITE!
to Enhance Your Life & Enrich Your Spirit
"How To Clean Stuff"
On the main page, you'll find the featured articles on
"How to Clean" in the middle of the page. To
browse more articles, use the tabs along the top of the
page. The sections are: Main, House, Kitchen, Bathroom,
Bedroom, Laundry, Office, Garage, Outside, Life, Other
and the World. Click the tab to view the cleaning tips
for each section. Know what you're looking for? Then try
the search engine to see if they have a tip on it. Do
you have a stellar cleaning tip you'd like to share? Then
do so! Just fill out the form and if it gets published
on the site, they will donate 25 cents to the Clean Water
Fund. You'll find a link on the Submit page for the Clean
Water Fund so that you can learn all about what their
cause is as well.
by Jane at www.The-Cats-Meow.com)
Uplifting News Stories
FROM THE SIDEWALKS OF SEATTLE
on Good Morning America
WA Vince Mira, 15, is a somewhat shy kid who looked
uncomfortable during TV interviews on Good Morning America
and the Ellen Show. But when he steps up to the microphone
to sing the classic "Ring of Fire," the result
is downright spooky. A sidewalk singer from Seattle's Pike
Place Market, Vince is just a teenager, but if you close your
eyes and listen to his voice, you might think you're listening
to a performance by the music legend Johnny Cash. Born in
Los Angeles, Vince's deep, resonant baritone voice and guitar
playing immediately caught the attention of Seattle's musical
community. He was instantly booked at prestigious clubs and
theaters throughout the Pacific Northwest.
is a student at Federal Ways Internet Academy, taking
all of his classes from home. He is one of seven children.
In December, Mira played
for a group of residents at the Foundation House
retirement home, where his brother Isaac Miranda works. It
wasnt his first time performing in front of an elderly
crowd. Before he was discovered, Mira entertained frequently
at retirement homes throughout the Federal Way area. The
audience members at Foundation House said they figure Mira
is on the way to becoming a legend himself. There was lots
of foot-tapping and smiling while the teen played. LanaLu
Hull, 84, said she has traveled all over the country in her
years and of all the singers shes seen, Mira is one
of the best. Ive been around so I figure I
have a pretty good idea that he really is a marvelous performer,
Hull said. His poise, for a 15-year-old, hes
really amazing, she said. Hes very good
and I predict that hes going to be very famous.
The young performer might become popular with the girls as
well, according to Mary Lakshas, 94. Hes a
cute little guy, she said.
Jam's Stone Gossard had heard Vinces set at the Market
Anniversary from his car apparently. From the depths
of this kids soul came a voice like a distant thunder.
It was like a Wizard of OZ moment, as if a 25 year old Johnny
Cash were standing behind the screen singing whatever Vince
mouthed. The tone, perfect. The inflections, spot on. Three
days later, Gossard called Vince to ask him to be a part of
the Hank Williams tribute album he was putting together. Vince
sang "Your Cheatin Heart" so well it was
as if Mr. Williams was there in the room himself. Vince's
first full-length album Cash
Cabin Sessions was just recorded in Tennessee
with John Carter Cash (Johnny Cash's son). The Cash Cabin
Studio is outside of Nashville, and it is where the Johnny
Cash and June Carter Cash recorded most of their later work.
Watch Vince Mira singing on Good
Morning America the Ellen
let videos fully download once, for smooth second viewing.)
at the Cash Cabin in Tennessee
Online All the Time
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