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27th May, 2007 

Dear Jonathan, Andrew & Parker,

Today, May 27th, is the 55th birthday of my Uncle Ron, a younger brother of my mother, your Grandma Diana. Uncle Ron would be your great-uncle… and what a great uncle he was to me, and to your own parents. As I often do to commemorate beloved family members on their birthdays, such as Grandma Diana’s parents and grandparents, I lit a candle by his photograph which I keep by my bed.

Grandpa Leroy, Darin, Ron, Tommy – 1965.

When I was born in 1964, Ronald Dean Barmes, named in honor of his mother’s brother, Ronald, was only 12 years old, and in many ways, he and Uncle Tom, then 10, were like my older brothers. I was fortunate to have young grandparents as well, for Grandma Donna was 40, and Grandpa Leroy was 42 (ugh, the age I am now!). In some ways, it was much like having a second family who lived around the corner from where I grew up on the corner of 9th and Main streets in Elwood, Indiana. I do remember wondering why Ron and Tom called my Mamaw and Papaw, “Mom” and “Dad.” 

Despite the age difference, they spent a great deal of time with me: taking me to baseball practices (and teaching me naughty words which I repeated with great delight), riding me around on their bikes, playing games and baseball with me, and taking me to the pool. Uncle Ron had a Volkswagen with an 8-Track tape player, and we would ride around town listening to the recording, JESUS CHRIST, SUPERSTAR. Good stuff.

Uncle Tom, Uncle Ron, Darin, Mother, Great-Grandpa Garrett – Ron’s graduation from high school, May 27, 1970

Some of my favorite memories are of the times – which was quite often – I spent the night with them. Their bedroom was a magical teen wonderland for the little tyke surrounded by Fischer-Price items at his “other home” around the corner. We would listen to record albums of Bill Cosby, the Smothers Brothers, and (gulp) Cheech & Chong. They had a television in their bedroom and we often watched “The Smothers Brothers’ Hour” and all the top shows of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. What fun we had, and what a rich experience I had over other children my age.

Uncle Ron joined the US Navy in 1972, and was stationed at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center. I remember a trip that summer when my mother was pregnant for Dena. What a new adventure the Navy was for a boy ready to turn eight years old.

Dena, Uncle Ron, Destin, Darin – May 1975.

After leaving the Great Lakes, he was stationed on the East Coast, for a while in New Jersey, but mostly in Norfolk, Virginia. The long naval piers, the air craft carriers, the uniforms, the salutes… all wonderful, vivid memories! My trips to Virginia are still some of my most treasured mental videos I possess.

Uncle Ron got to see the world – South America, the Mediterranean, the North Sea – and he always shared these far away lands with, at that time, his only nephew. He returned with the neatest gifts, many of which I still have. Throughout the years, I received three pocket watches from Uncle Ron, and one day, each of you, my first three nephews, will receive these watches… perhaps one day, you may wish to pass these on to one of your own nephews.

April 1974, we were visiting Uncle Ron in Norfolk, and I spied a huge book in the Military Circle Shopping Mall’s bookstore – Carl Sandburg’s LINCOLN: THE PRAIRIE YEARS & THE WAR YEARS. It was $15, and a large sum for a 9 year old boy. I saved up my money the next few months, hoping to buy the book when I returned to Virginia with Grandpa Leroy and Grandma Donna that July. Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle Ron and I went to the mall, and the book was still there. I bought the book, and that night in the hotel room, Uncle Ron and I laid on one bed looking through all the pictures in the Lincoln book.

Several days later, it was time to leave Uncle Ron at the pier. I always hated “good byes” with Uncle Ron, and to this day, I still get choked up at airports. I can still remember Dena running after him, screaming and crying as he would turn to walk towards the plane. That July night in 1974, we watched Uncle Ron walk down the long pier. Grandpa, in tears, wanted to drive on, but Grandma Donna said, “Let’s wait until we cannot see him any more.”

I buried my face in my Lincoln book to keep from crying. I could not watch him walk away. In the front cover of the book was an envelope with my name on it. I opened the envelope and read a note: “Darin, I am so proud of you for saving your money to buy something of great value when other boys your age would spend their money on candy or toys. You are a wise young man and I am proud of my nephew. Love, Uncle Ron.”

And inside the note was a $20 bill. The Sandburg book is still one of my prized posessions, along with the bust of Lincoln he gave me in 1973.

When I began piano lessons, the first sheet music I purchased was “Anchors, Aweigh” and I could not wait to play it for Ron when he came home that Christmas.

During those rare visits home, Uncle Ron always seemed to have plenty of time for me, as well as Dena, and Destin, who arrived in November, 1974. Those visits with Uncle Ron were always special, and I feel the excitement he must have felt when my own nephews anticipate my own visits to Indiana.

Uncle Ron married in 1976, and eventually, he became a daddy to Alicia and Amanda, who are now mommies themselves.


Uncle Tom, Mother, Uncle Ron – May 1976.

In 1987, I returned from Austria and Switzerland to learn that Uncle Ron had been killed in a car wreck on June 8th. Ironically, the uncle for which he was named died 50 years to the month before his namesake. I don’t think any death has been harder for me to deal with than his. Although I miss Grandma Donna and Grandpa Leroy deeply, not having Uncle Ron around for family events is a little harder. To this day, the tune, “Anchors, Aweigh” is the most unbearable melody for me to hear.

Fortunately, June 8th has lost some of the sadness, and gained a tremendous blast of happiness. On June 8th, 2005, Parker Leroy Haas was born. Out of the dark came some light… 

The spring of 1997, I learned I was to be an uncle when Dena called to tell me she was pregnant. Several nights later, I had a dream. I was riding my bike in a nearby Ohio town, Waynesville, and I stopped to rest on a park bench. Uncle Ron appeared, and sat down by me. He was thrilled that I was to be an uncle, and he told me that being an uncle was quite a responsibility, but one of great joy. Uncle Ron reminded me that like him, I was to do special things, give unique gifts, and keep the joy of learning alive in my nieces and nephews. We talked while walking past the antique shops of Waynesville. I went into a shop to check on an item, leaving my bike with Uncle Ron outside. When I returned, he was gone.

When I woke from the dream, I realized that the mantel of being “the uncle” had passed on to me.

For nearly ten years, I have loved, with all my heart, being an uncle. In some ways, when I am with each of you, I can see Uncle Ron coming through my playfulness and teasing, but I have also adopted my own special touch; however, he had laid the foundation of “unclehood.”

Soon, the three of you – my darling nephews Jonathan, Andrew & Parker – will be joined by my new nephew or niece, and Parker, like Jonathan, and myself, will be a big brother. This will be exciting for us all!

Although I am truly your uncle, there are a number of our family friends whose children refer to me as “Uncle Darin.” To me, being an uncle, whether to the three of you, or family friends, is quite an honor, and quite legacy for me to follow.

One day, I hope that each of you will become uncles – if not to siblings, to friends of your own family. Right now, Uncle Destin and I have the wonderful roll of being “the uncles” and you can be assured we will do it with great care, great devotion, and great love – and of course, you can always count on great fun and laughter – that too, is a part of our legacy.

But to my darling nephews, I feel blessed to be your uncle, and pray that we shall always have that unique special relationship I experienced with my Uncle Ron. One day, it will be my turn to take the walk down that long pier. It will then be up to each of you to be “the uncle.” And I know that you will take on this responsibility with great care, great devotion, great love – but most especially, with great fun and laughter.

With my deepest love and devotion,

Uncle Darin

Charles E. Richardson Click here to View and Sign Guest Book
1924 – 2007


Charles E. Richardson, age 82 of Elwood died May 26, 2007 at his residence after an extended illness. He was born on October 16, 1924 in Elwood, Indiana. He worked at Delco-Remy plant 7 in Anderson where he was a stock chaser before retiring in 1986. He enlisted in the United States Navy at the age of 18 and spent 3 years on a medical ship at sea. He was an avid golfer and was a member of a bowling league in the 1970’s. Chuck and Lois, Chucks sister Shirley Humphrey and friend Steve Whiteknack won the city championship in a mixed league as the “Rolling Stones”.

Suriviors include: Daughter – Cathy and husband Jerry Morton of Anderson; Son and caregiver – Bruce F. Richardson and friend, caregiver and 2nd son – Robert G. Mountcastle both of Elwood; 2 Brothers – Robert and wife Sue Richardson of Elwood and Tom and wife Carolyn Richardson of Anderson; Sister – Shirley Humphrey of Summitville; 3 Grandchildren – Brooke and husband Jason Blanchard of Cocoa, FL, Zachary Morton of Anderson and McKenzie Morton of Anderson; Great-Grandson – Jasten Blanchard of Cocoa, FL; Several Nieces and Nephew; 2 Special canine companions – Molly Ann and Maggie May; Special thanks to Chuck’s nurses – Erica Powell of Elwood, Julie Miller of Frankton and Beth Glotzbach of Elwood. He was preceded in death by his parents – Ernest and Garnet (Hobbs) Richardson; Wife whom he married February 15, 1952 and who died August 8, 2003, they shared 51 years of marriage – Lois Ann (Stack) Richardson; Sister – Rosemary Bateman; 3 Brothers – James Richardson, Fred Richardson and Mel Richardson.

Memorial Services will be conducted at 6:00 PM Thursday, May 31, 2007 at Copher-Fesler-May Funeral Home in Elwood with Rev. Roger Gardner of the East Main Street Christian Church in Elwood officiating. Graveside Service will be conducted at 2:00 PM Friday, June 1, 2007 at Sunset Memorial Park in Elwood, where burial of ashes will take place. Visitation will be held from 4 to 6 PM Thursday, May 31, 2007 at Copher-Fesler-May Funeral Home. Military Graveside Rites will be conducted by the Elwood V.F.W. Post 5782 at the cemetery following the graveside service.

Uncle Chuck was the brother of my paternal grandmother, Rosemary Richardson Jolliff-Bateman, who passed away this Januay.

One of my earliest memories of Uncle Chuck was of him riding me around on his motor cycle in our back yard when I was about 3 years old.

He and Aunt Lois were such a neat couple, full of love and laughter. Their daughter, Cathy, along with our cousin, Sherry, was one of my baby sitters.

Neat memories! 

5:00am came toooooo early this past Saturday morning! I went to bed at 11:00pm Friday night, and woke up promptly at midnight.  At 1:30am, I drifted off to sleep, and the alarm clock began beeping at 4:45am.

I rose, watered plants, completed more prepping for the day, showered, and then began herding Tom, Jose, and Bill through the showers.

We were at school at 6:30am, left at 6:45am, and arrived at Loveland Middle School for the contest at 8:00am. The choirs did a fantastic job.

By 9:30am, we were at the front gate of Kings Island waiting for the park to open at 10:00am. People were gathered at one side, prepared to race towards the new coaster, Firehawk. The signs were posted that it would not open until Noon, but that did not stop folks from racing towards the premiere ride.

Loretta Henderson, the KMS choir director, and I paired off and had a blast on Delirium, Top Gun, Adventure Express, Face Off, and Racer. We had lunch where Jose and Bill joined us at a separate table – typical teens! 

Just as we were prepared to go into Flight Of Fear, there was an announcement that Firehawk, after a 45 minute opening delay, was to open. Our teacher friend, Tina McNachten had just arrived to join us for the day, and the three of us raced to the line of Firehawk where we waited from 12:45pm-4:15pm. Excruciatingly long in wait, but so worth it! Wow!

We ate supper, and enjoyed more rides: the Beast, Top Gun again, Delirium again, Vortex, and a few other things before it was time to meet at the front entrance at 9:30pm.

We arrived home by 11:00pm, saw kids off with parents, dropped Bill & Tom off, and then Jose and I dragged our butts home, and into bed… only to get up early for church.

(Above) KMS choir students at the front entrance at Kings Island.

(Above) Two of the best teaching gal-pals in the world, Tina McNachten, left, and Loretta Henderson, right.

(Above) Tom, Bill, & Jose at Kings Island.

After church on Sunday, Jose and I were invited next door to our neighbor’s for a big cookout. What a wonderful time. I grew up with such fine neighbors, and here in Kettering, my next door neighbor, Kay Moore, is fantastic. Kay’s daughter, Laura, and her husband, Don, along with their children, Josie, 14, and Kelly, 10, live with her – and they are just as fun and great as Kay. Also at the cookout were our neighbors behind Kay and I – their property borders ours – were Bob & Chris Stephenson, and their sons, Henry, 15, and Frank, 12.

It is a great place to live with these wonderful neighbors!

100_0623.jpgKay Moore


Kay and her daughter, Laura



Above: Laura & Don’s children: (T) Kelly, and (B) Josie.


Above: Bob & Chris Stephenson’s sons: (T) Henry, and (B) Frank

What a fun, eventful, yet very busy day!


  • 6:00am    Watering plants in front & back yards
  • 6:30am    Shower, dress, ReLiv shake, work on Emails
  • 7:00am    Jose up and in shower; I pack things for the day
  • 7:30am    Jose and I head to Kettering Middle School (KMS) for a 7:45am rehearsal; Jose is assisting the baritone section since several key singers will not be at contest Saturday.
  • 7:45am    Rehearsal – Jose kicks ass in the baritone section – am proud of my son!
  • 8:20am    Drove Jose back to Van Buren Middle School
  • 8:45am    Met my neighbors, Kay Moore, and her daughter, Laura Parker, for breakfast at First Watch.
  • 10:15am   Stopped by Kroger
  • 10:40am   Back at KMS
  • 11:00am   7th grade choir
  • 11:40am   Lunch/Break
  • 12:45pm   8th grade choir
  • 1:30pm    Return home; get tons of things done
  • 2:15pm    Started teaching
  • 4:30pm   Tom & Bill Manoussakis arrive to spend the weekend with us
  • 6:30pm   Chinese buffet – three teens can devour so much food!
  • 7:30pm   Kroger to get some veggies to put in the German potato salad I am making for my neighbor’s cook out Sunday afternoon
  • 8:00pm   Photos of Tom & Bill to make a photo collage for their parents’ wedding anniversary gift
  • 9:00pm   Chopped potatoes and veggies; spuds and eggs on to boil; load of towels; set out guest towels (OK, not really guest towels, but just folded so they look spiffy – 14 and 13 year old boys will hardly take notice)
  • 10:10pm  Blogging
  • 11:00pm  Hopefully in bed


  • 5:00am   Darin in shower
  • 5:30am   Tom in shower (Bill & Jose eat)
  • 5:40am   Jose in shower (Tom eats)
  • 5:50am   Bill in shower (while others eat and get ready)
  • 6:15am   Head to KMS
  • 6:30am   Arrive at KMS
  • 6:45am   Buses leave for Loveland Middle School
  • 7:30am   Arrive at Loveland Middle School
  • 8:00am   Choirs perform
  • 9:00am   Head to Kings Island – while all this is going on, my brother, sister, and family friends will be moving Mother into her new house back in Elwood, Indiana….
  • 9:30am   Arrive at Kings Island
  • 2:00pm   Darin will be ready for a nap
  • 9:45pm   Depart from Kings Island for Kettering
  • 11:00pm  ETA @ KMS
  • 11:30pm   Darin will hopefully be adding ingredients to potato salad
  • Midnight  In bed… please, God!


  • 7:00am   Rise, water plants, shower, dress
  • 8:15am    Jose up
  • 8:45am    Leave for church
  • 9:15am   Sunday school
  • 10:30am   Church
  • Noon       Home
  • 2:00pm   Cookout at neighbors’

From then on, I have no idea what I will do… I dare not nap as I will be WIDE AWAKE all night. I do have a lesson to teach at 5:30pm for an hour.  Monday will be regular lessons in the afternoon and evening.

So, it may be a few days before I blog again!

Have a fantastic weekend – and make it GREAT!

Live for that moment that you cannot put into words….

ONE. Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.

TWO. Marry a man/woman you love to talk to. As you get older, their conversational skills will be as important as any other.

THREE. Don’t believe all you hear, spend all you have or sleep all you want.

FOUR. When you say, “I love you,” mean it.

FIVE. When you say, “I’m sorry,” look the person in the eye.

SIX. Be engaged at least six months before you get married.

SEVEN. Believe in love at first sight.

EIGHT. Never laugh at anyone’s dream. People who don’t have dreams don’t have much.

NINE. Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt but it’s the only way to live life completely.

TEN. In disagreements, fight fairly. No name calling.

ELEVEN. Don’t judge people by their relatives.

TWELVE. Talk slowly but think quickly.

THIRTEEN. When someone asks you a question you don’t want to answer, smile and ask, “Why do you want to know?”

FOURTEEN. Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk.

FIFTEEN. Say “bless you” when you hear someone sneeze.

SIXTEEN. When you lose, don’t lose the lesson

SEVENTEEN. Remember the three R’s: Respect for self; Respect for others; and Responsibility for all your actions.

EIGHTEEN. Don’t let a little dispute injure a great friendship.

NINETEEN. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.

TWENTY. Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice.

TWENTY-ONE. Spend some time alone.

I have always been a major fan of authors Norman Vincent Peale and Robert Schuller. Recently, my cousin from Texas told me about this new church opening at the Compaq Center in Houston. I began following the build-up to the event and shared the info with my mother. One day she told me one of the police officers with whom she works was reading Your Best Life Now by Joel Osteen, the minister of this new church. I got the book from the library and it is wonderful. Generally, I am apprehensive of books written by ministers as they tend to delve too much of their own doctrine, which is fine, but not for me. Joel Osteen, like Peale and Schuller, has a remarkable way of presenting these life enriching thoughts. Here is an outline of what Osteen has to say:

Enlarge your vision:
* Your own wrong thinking can keep you from God’s best
* Envision your own success
* You must receive it in your mind and heart before you can receive it

Raise your level of expectancy:
* Program your mind for success
* Break out of your self-imposed prison
* Find somewhere you can dream

God has more in store:
* What you will receive is directly connected to how you believe
* Break curses

Break barriers of the past:
* Clear the battles of the mind
* Each day is a new day
* Get some fire in your spirit
* Let God open doors
* Don’t let anything keep you down

Develop a healthy self image:
* You will never rise above the image you have of yourself in your mind
* Change your self image
* Don’t focus on weaknesses

Understand your values:
* Learn to be happy with your self

Become what you believe:
* We receive what we believe
* What you believe has much greater impact on your life than what anybody else believes
* Dare to believe for greater things

Develop a prosperous mind-set:
* Learn to appreciate differences
* Be the best that you can be, then you can feel good about yourself

Choose the right thoughts:
* Constantly think about what you are thinking
* Set your mind on higher things
* When you think positive, excellent thoughts, you will be propelled toward greatness
* If you transform your mind you will transform your life
* God believes in you

Reprogram your mental computer:
* You are programmed for victory

Power in your words:
* What you say in the midst of your difficulties will have a great impact on how long you stay in those situations
* Stop talking about how big your mountains are to God, and start talking to your mountains about how big your God is
* Guard what you say

Speak life changing words:
* avoiding negative talk is not enough… you must get on the offense

Let go of emotional wounds:
* Make the most of what you have
* Change the channel – just like the remote for your television set
* Get up and get moving

Don’t let bitterness take root:
* Forgive to be free
* Forgiveness is a choice, but is not an option

Defeat disappointments:
* You can’t unscramble eggs
* Don’t become trapped in the past

Find strength through adversity:
* Even when we are sitting down on the outside, we must see ourselves as standing on the inside
* Keep on standing firm

Trust God’s timing:
* God often works the most when we see it and feel it the least

Trials have a purpose:
* It’s in the tough times of life that we find out what we’re really made of
* The trial is a test of your faith, character and endurance

Keep your heart of compassion open

Choose to be happy – it is a choice:
* Happiness is a decision you make, not an emotion you feel
* Don’t worry about the things you cannot change

Live with enthusiasm – don’t go through the motions in life – have enthusiasm!

The empires of the future are the empires of the mind.
~ Winston Churchill

Every heart that has beat strongly and cheerfully has left a hopeful impulse behind it in the world, and bettered the tradition of mankind.
~ Robert Louis Stevenson

Enthusiasm is the best protection in any situation. Wholeheartedness is contagious.
Give yourself, if you wish to get others.
~ David Seabury

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.
~ Aristotle

Nothing will ever be attempted, if all possible objections must first be overcome.
~ Samuel Johnson

Every heart that has beat strongly and cheerfully has left a hopeful impulse behind it in the world, and bettered the tradition of mankind.
~ Robert Louis Stevenson

There is no such thing as a great talent without great will-power.
~ Honore de Balzac

Do you realize that the only time in our lives when we like to get old is when we’re kids? If you’re less than 10 years old, you’re so excited about aging that you think in fractions.

“How old are you?” “I’m four and a half!” You’re never thirty-six and a half. You’re four and a half, going on five! That’s the key.

You get into your teens, now they can’t hold you back. You jump to the next number, or even a few ahead.

“How old are you?” “I’m gonna be 16!” You could be 13, but hey, you’re gonna be 16! And then the greatest day of your life . . . you become 21. Even the words sound like a ceremony . . . YOU BECOME 21. YESSSS!!!

But then you turn 30. Oooohh, what happened there? Makes you sound like bad milk! He TURNED; we had to throw him out. There’s no fun now, you’re Just a sour-dumpling. What’s wrong? What’s changed?

You BECOME 21, you TURN 30, then you’re PUSHING 40. Whoa! Put on the brakes, it’s all slipping away. Before you know it, you REACH 50 and your dreams are gone.

But wait!!! You MAKE it to 60. You didn’t think you would!

So you BECOME 21, TURN 30, PUSH 40, REACH 50 and MAKE it to 60.

You’ve built up so much speed that you HIT 70! After that it’s a day-by-day thing; you HIT Wednesday!

You get into your 80s and every day is a complete cycle; you HIT lunch; you TURN 4:30; you REACH bedtime. And it doesn’t end there. Into the 90s, you start going backwards; “I Was JUST 92.”

Then a strange thing happens. If you make it over 100, you become a little kid again. “I’m 100 and a half!” May you all make it to a healthy 100 and a half!!

1. Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes age, weight and height. Let the doctors worry about them. That is why you pay “them ”

2. Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down.

3. Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever. Never let the brain idle. “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.” And the devil’s name is Alzheimer’s.

4. Enjoy the simple things.

5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath.

6. The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person, who is with us our entire life, is ourselves. Be ALIVE while you are alive.

7. Surround yourself with what you love, whether it’s family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever. Your home is your refuge.

8. Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.

9 Don’t take guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, even to the next county; to a foreign country but NOT to where the guilt is.

10. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

And if you don’t send this to at least 8 people – who cares?

But do share this with someone. We all need to live life to its fullest each day.

Experience aboard a tall ship inspires a vision that transcends into motivation that has the power to overcome ALL barriers.

People who have a vision control their destiny and lifestyle. For people without a vision, their destiny and lifestyle is controlled by others.

Today’s teenagers are being academically stuffed while being motivationally starved.

There are three priorities, CHEAP, QUICK and GOOD. You can have any two.
A good job quick — won’t be cheap.
A quick job cheap — won’t be good.
A good job cheap — won’t be quick.
Note: A single priority increases efficiency. At the other end, if all three elements have equal priority the results are reversed, low quality, high cost, and difficult to finish. This is the result of rotating priorities, which means, no one knows what the goal is. Priority of the moment depends on current mood.

What is Your Leadership Style?
High Efficiency
Do it.
Do it then tell me what you did.
Tell me what you are going to do and do it.
Tell me what you want to do and wait for a decision.
Don’t do anything without my approval.
Don’t do anything until I tell you.
Low Efficiency

“Leadership is constantly changing, and survivors learn to change with it.”

“Yesterday, natural resources defined power. Today, knowledge is power. Yesterday, leaders commanded and controlled. Today, leaders empower and coach. Yesterday, leaders were warriors. Today, they are facilitators. Yesterday, managers directed. Today, managers delegate. Yesterday, supervisors flourished. Today, supervisors vanish.” — Dr. Denis Waitley, The Toastmaster, December 2000.

Seven Rules of Motivation
#1 Set a major goal, but follow a path. The path has mini goals that go in many directions. When you learn to succeed at mini goals, you will be motivated to challenge grand goals.
#2 Finish what you start. A half finished project is of no use to anyone. Quitting is a habit. Develop the habit of finishing self-motivated projects.
#3 Socialize with others of similar interest. Mutual support is motivating. We will develop the attitudes of our five best friends. If they are losers, we will be a looser. If they are winners, we will be a winner. To be a cowboy we must associate with cowboys.
#4 Learn how to learn. Dependency on others for knowledge is a slow, time consuming processes. Man has the ability to learn without instructors. In fact, when we learn the art of self-education we will find, if not create, opportunity to find success beyond our wildest dreams.
#5 Harmonize natural talent with interest that motivates. Natural talent creates motivation, motivation creates persistence and persistence gets the job done.
#6 Increase knowledge of subjects that inspires. The more we know about a subject, the more we want to learn about it. A self-propelled upward spiral develops.
#7 Take risk. Failure and bouncing back are elements of motivation. Failure is a learning tool. No one has ever succeeded at anything worthwhile without a string of failures.

I always am interested in lists that offer domestic suggestions (household hints), and I even have a few of my own that I found in a 1964 cookbook at my mothers. However, the best I acquired were from our neighbors, Ida & Luther Myrick. Ida & Luther lived across the street from where I grew up and were from the hills of Kentucky, in or near Barbourville. Luther, a retired coal miner, had been the “caller” for the Jellicoe, Tennessee hoedown which is still very popular these days. They were the neatest couple and always had a ton of humor and old stories to share with our family.

A former student whose children also studied piano with me, is a mystery writer with a twist – her investigator also solves “household mysteries” and the books are a hoot. Sharon has a ton of household hints on her website and she has shared a few with me:

Ida offered these – and I know that they DO work!!!

For an ear ache or infection, take a piece of cheesecloth and put ground pepper in it, twist it, dip the end in caster oil and then dip it into the ear.

For afresh cut – pour, dip or brush turpentine on the new/fresh cut. Do not put it on an old cut – in Ida’s words, “You will have to pee like a race horse.”

For bad chest colds – drink a shot of whiskey.

Some I learned through the cookbook:
Clean a microwave oven/oven – slice a lemon, place it in a bowl with water and boil it in the oven without covering the bowl. Immediately wipe down the oven. I twill also smell fresh. Then pour the lemons down the disposal.

Ice in the garbage disposal will sharpen the blades.

Use a can of Cocoa-Cola to clean your toilet stains.

Dilute hydrogen-peroxide with half water in a spray bottle. Spray the mixture on a stain and dab with a white cloth. This is great for furniture.

Baking soda on carpet will freshen the carpet. From Sharon Short.

Baking soda in the drains will freshen the drains.

For kidney or urinary tract infections: take a half-teaspoon of baking soda and stir into a tall glass of water. Drink. Repeat every 20 minutes for an hour.

Dab Milk Of Magnesia on your face and let it dry. Then wash. This is great for black heads and oily skin.

For ink on carpet or fabric – use hairspray. Flyer, as a puppy, chewed my favorite aqua blue pen right on the beige carpet. Mother said to use Aqua-net hairspray – wow!


Budweiser beer conditions the hair.

Pam cooking spray will dry finger nail polish.

Cool whip will condition your hair in 15 minutes.

Mayonnaise will KILL LICE, it will also condition your hair. (Hope I don’t need this!)

Elmer’s Glue – paint on your face, allow it to dry, peel off and see the dead skin and blackheads if any.

Shiny Hair – use brewed Lipton Tea.

Sunburn – empty a large jar of Nestea into your bath water. (That’s a lot of tea…isn’t it?)

Minor burn – Colgate or Crest toothpaste.

Burn your tongue? Put sugar on it!

Arthritis? WD-40 Spray and rub in, kill insect stings too.

Bee stings – meat tenderizer (Mix with water to make a paste…works! Have used this many times!)

Chigger bite – Preparation H

Puffy eyes – Preparation H

Paper cut – crazy glue or chap stick(glue is used instead of sutures at most hospitals).

Stinky feet – Jello!

Athletes feet – cornstarch

Fungus on toenails or fingernails – Vicks vapor rub

Kool aid to clean dishwasher pipes. Just put in the detergent section and run a cycle, it will also clean a toilet. (Wow, and we drink this stuff)

Kool Aid can be used as a dye in paint also Kool Aid in Dannon plain yogurt as a finger paint, your kids will love it and it won’t hurt them if they eat it!

Peanut butter- will get scratches out of CD’s! Wipe off with a coffee filter paper.
Sticking bicycle chain – Pam no-stick cooking spray.

Pam will also remove paint, and grease from your hands! Keep a can in your garage for your hubby.

Peanut butter will remove ink from the face of dolls.

When the doll clothes are hard to put on, sprinkle with corn starch and watch them slide on.

Heavy dandruff – pour on the vinegar!

Body paint – Crisco mixed with food coloring. Heat the Crisco in the microwave, pour in to an empty film container and mix with the food color of your choice!

Tie Dye T-shirt – mix a solution of Kool Aid in a container, tie a rubber band around a section of the T-shirt and soak.

Preserving a newspaper clipping – large bottle of club soda and cup of milk of magnesia, soak for 20 min. and let dry, will last for many years!

A Slinky will hold toast and CD’s! (Will get right on the toast! Can you imagine when you take a piece of toast…brrrrrronnnnngggg!)

To keep goggles and glasses from fogging, coat with Colgate toothpaste. (Works, but leaves a film!)

Wine stains, pour on the Morton salt and watch it absorb into the salt.

To remove wax – Take a paper towel and iron it over the wax stain, it will absorb into the towel.

Remove labels off glassware etc. rub with Peanut butter!

Baked on food – fill container with water, get a Bounce paper softener and the static from the Bounce towel will cause the baked on food to adhere to it. Soak overnight. Also; you can use 2 Efferdent tablets, soak overnight!

Crayon on the wall – Colgate toothpaste and brush it! (Gets black marks off floor, also! Toothpaste & baking soda are good for cleaning…non-abrasive!)

Dirty grout – Listerine

Stains on clothes – Colgate

Grass stains -Karo Syrup

Grease Stains – Coca Cola, it will also remove grease stains from the driveway overnight. We know it will take corrosion from car batteries! (Works!)

Fleas in your carpet? 20 Mule Team Borax- sprinkle and let stand for 24 hours.
Maybe this will work if you get them back again. (Have ant problems…mix borax/sugar… put in shallow lid (from ice cream pail). Place where ants are a problem… works great! (Put down ant hills, also…they be gone! Had some big red ant hills last summer & this got rid of them! I use borax in laundry to whiten clothes!)

To keep FRESH FLOWERS longer Add a little Clorox, or 2 Bayer aspirin, or just use 7-up instead of water. (Never heard of Clorox…other 2…yes!)

When you go to buy bread in the grocery store, have you ever wondered which is the freshest, so you “squeeze” for freshness or softness? Did you know that bread is delivered fresh to the stores five days a week? Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Each day has a different color twist tie. They are:
Monday = Blue
Tuesday = Green
Thursday = Red
Friday = White
Saturday = Yellow.

So if today was Thursday, you would want red twist tie; not white which is Friday’s (almost a week old)! The colors also go alphabetically by color Monday through Friday.

Life is a collage of beginnings and endings that run together like still-wet paint. Yet before we can begin any new phase in life, we must sometimes first achieve closure to the current stage we are in. That’s because many of life’s experiences call for closure. Often, we cannot see the significance of an event or importance of a lesson until we have reached closure. Or, we may have completed a certain phase in life or path of learning and want to honor that ending. It is this sense of completion that frees us to open the door to new beginnings. Closure serves to tie up or sever loose ends, quiets the mind even when questions have been left unanswered, signifies the end of an experience, and acknowledges that a change has taken place.

The period of completion, rather than being just an act of finality, is also one of transition. When we seek closure, what we really want is an understanding of what has happened and an opportunity to derive what lessons we can from an experience. Without closure, there is no resolution and we are left to grieve, relive old memories to the point of frustration, or remain forever connected to people from our past. A sense of completion regarding a situation may also result when we accept that we have done our best. If you can’t officially achieve closure with someone, you can create completion by participating in a closure ritual. Write a farewell letter to that person and then burn your note during a ceremony. This ritual allows you to consciously honor and appreciate what has taken place between you and release the experience so you can move forward.

Closure can help you let go of feelings of anger or uncertainty regarding your past even as you honor your experience – whether good or bad – as a necessary step on your life’s path. Closure allows you to emotionally lay to rest issues and feelings that may be weighing down your spirit. When you create closure, you affirm that you have done what was needed, are wiser because of your experience, and are ready for whatever life wants to bring you next.

The Spirituality of Abraham Lincoln

“We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these things were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.”

One hundred and forty-two years ago today, Abraham Lincoln wrote these words. So often, President Lincoln is referred to as our most “Christian president.” Although few today would equate Lincoln with Christ so explicitly, our casual ways of talking about the martyred president embody something of an old idea.

Consider – if you would – these images of Lincoln:
v the common man of uncommon wisdom,
v the man who saved a country and freed the slaves,
v the man of sorrows who was acquainted with grief,
v the man who could forgive a hostile, warring nation,
v the man who showed great compassion and love for all humanity
v the teller of simple stories dense with meaning.

The day after Abraham Lincoln’s death was Easter Sunday and it took almost no time at all for the pious and patriotic people to transform Lincoln into the American Christ. American preachers forgot their prepared Easter sermons and rhapsodized about the martyred president. Some compared him with Moses leading his oppressed people to freedom. But most likened him to Christ – the savior of the nation.

A couple of years ago I was driving through the square in Hodgenville, Kentucky, a little community near the site of Lincoln’s birthplace, and I noticed that this town had draped his statue with holly, ivy and Christmas greenery. Without thinking a thing of it, the good people of Hodgenville had merged one humble but redeeming birth into another.

For over a century now, there have been tons of comparisons between Lincoln and Christ:
· Both were born in humble origins
· Both of their fathers were carpenters
· Both worked as laborers before beginning their careers
· Both loved all walks of life – especially children
· Both had many enemies who wished them harm
· Both were great story tellers
· Both were considered radical
· Both men were capable of great love for mankind
· Christ entered Jerusalem a few days before his death to shouts of “Hosanna” and “Savior” and “Messiah.”
· Lincoln entered Richmond, Virginia a few days before his death, also to shouts of “Hosanna” and “Savior” and “Messiah.”
· Both men looked after their mothers until the day of their assassinations
· Christ and Lincoln were both executed on Good Friday
· Christ, moments away from death, asked that his enemies be forgiven with the words, “Father forgive them.”
· Lincoln, in his second inaugural address the month before his death, pleaded with Northern states to forgive the Southern Confederacy – “With malice toward none.”

Modern religious scoffers have been reluctant to recognize Abraham Lincoln’s deep spirituality, in spite of the fact that he was often known as “Father Abraham” and has been described as one of the most deeply religious presidents the country has ever seen. The key to Lincoln’s belief system was a rough-hewn version of predestination that he absorbed from the evangelical Baptist preachers who scoured the frontiers of Kentucky and Indiana.

Yet for all of his familiarity with the Bible, and his invocation of Providence and of the Almighty, he did not actively participate in a church or lend his name and authority to a denomination. Lincoln was not, as his wife, Mary Todd, later described, “a technical Christian.”

The religious aspect Lincoln’s spirituality was this: Lincoln believed some form of providence was at work in the universe, but was unable to believe in Jesus Christ as his savior. He was once quoted to say that he would join the church that had engraved above its altar: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, mind and strength.” Although he was unable to believe fully in Christian doctrine, he was never comfort-able in his unbelief. But what is so difficult to comprehend is how, during the devastation of the Civil War, Lincoln’s self-made theology reshaped American history. And the question that is of-ten asked among my fellow Lincoln scholars:

Was Abraham Lincoln a Christian?

Sadness and suffering appear to be at the core of Lincoln’s spirituality. At the age of nine, Nancy Hanks Lincoln, the woman Lincoln claimed as his be-loved angel mother, died in the woods of the family’s Indiana farm. A few years later he lost his sister Sarah who was his closest companion in the world.

In 1850, Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln lost their three year-old-son, Eddie. With Eddie’s death, Mary turned to religion by joining the Presbyterian Church, and Abraham turned to the Bible. His thorough investigation of the scriptures launched him on a steady course that permeated his soul and his future political writings.

In 1862, one year into the Civil War, the Lincoln’s lost their cherished eleven-year-old son, Willie. This particular family tragedy tilted the emotional balance for Mary who sought comfort from an era popularized with spiritualists and séances.
But for Lincoln, this personal tragedy, coupled with the grievous casualties of the war, ignited an even greater faith in God and his own belief of a purpose driven life.

Religion became a hot issue in 1846 when Lincoln ran for congress against a famous Illinois Methodist minister, Peter Cartright. The Cartwright camp spread talk of Lincoln as infidel. Lincoln attended one of Rev. Cartright’s campaign speeches and took a seat not too far from the speaker’s stand. The portly and boisterous Rev. Cartright spied his tall, lean opponent and took advantage of this surprise visit. Rev. Cartright worked his audience into an emotional, revival frenzy.

Finally he said, “If you love the Lord, stand up!”

The crowd rose with arms stretched towards the open sky, cheering for several min-utes. Lincoln remained seated.

“If you are a Christian, stand up!”

The crowd rose again with cheers and outstretched arms. Still, Lincoln remained seated.

“If you know you are going to heaven, stand up!”

This time, the response was thunderous. Spying Lincoln still seated, Rev. Cartright looked over at his congressional opponent and pointed a finger. “You, Mr. Lincoln! Where do you intend on going?”

Lincoln rose to his full height of six feet, four inches, looked around at the thousands gathered, turned to Rev. Cartright and said, “Well, I intend on going to congress.”

The crowd roared.

The next day Lincoln responded to Rev. Cartright’s claims of Lincoln’s disrespect for religion with what is probably his most revealing theological statement. Lincoln wrote: “That I am not a member of any Christian Church, is true, but I have never uttered any disrespect toward religion in general or of any Christian group.”

Lincoln was elected to the United States Congress. It would be his last political vic-tory until the presidential election of 1860. Lincoln would have gained politically by joining a church, maintaining a religious-front and keeping doubts to himself. But that would have been out of character.

Was Lincoln a Christian?

Although Lincoln never joined a church nor ever made a clear profession of stan-dard Christian beliefs, it is obvious that Christianity exerted a profound influence on his life for Lincoln’s speeches and conversation revealed a spiritual perception far above the ordi-nary.

It is one of the great ironies of the history of Christianity in America that the most profoundly religious analysis of the nation’s deepest trauma came not from a clergyman or a theologian but from a politician who was self-taught in the ways of both God and humanity.

The source of Lincoln’s Christian perception will probably always remain a mystery, but of the unusual depth of that perception there is no doubt. Nowhere was that depth more visible than in his Second Inaugural Address of March 1865. This address has often been called the greatest state paper of the nineteenth century, but it is more than a state paper. It is a theological classic.

This occasion on March 4, 1865, gave Lincoln his best opportunity to state the Bibli-cal faith that formed the center of his conviction. He included:
v fourteen references to God
v many scriptural allusions and
v four direct quotations from the Bible.

It is difficult to think of another state paper so steeped in Scripture and so devoted to theological reflection.

Once during the Civil War, a Northern minister told the president, “I hope the Lord is on our side.”

Lincoln, with what I personally believe to be his most prolific statement said, “I don’t think it matters that God is on our side, but it is my constant anxiety and prayer that I and this nation should be on the Lord’s side.”

During the war, God became even more instrumental to Lincoln because he believed God had a magnificent work for America to perform, a work significant for the whole world. It seemed as though Lincoln began speaking not to his country alone but to aspirants for freedom in all countries around the world, and not to his own moment in history but to the centuries.

The proposition that all men are created equal was a truth for the ages, and if Amer-ica, under God, achieved a new birth of freedom, it would stand as an object lesson to all nations.

Was Abraham Lincoln a Christian?

Yesterday afternoon I called up my dear friend of mine in Muncie, Indiana, who is a music professor at Ball State University and an ordained minister. My friend redirected in my thinking by relating a question proposed by one of his religion professors.

The teacher said to his students, “Many ask, ‘do I have faith?’ But what is important to ask is, ‘Am I faithing?’”

The professor turned FAITH into a verb.

As we discussing the mystery of Lincoln’s spirituality I began forming a much more pointed question:

“We can ask ‘Was Lincoln a Christian?’

But we’ll never know the answer. What we should ask is, ‘Was Lincoln Christian?’”

Now this I believe we can justify -Lincoln was, without a doubt, very Christian. But then my friend stated something that seemed to sum up Lincoln’s spirituality. He said: “If anything, Lincoln’s faith was consistent.”

That began unraveling even more ideas and questions – not about Lincoln, but about myself, and my life.

Am I consistent enough?
Do I love others enough?
Do I serve enough?
Do I forgive enough?
Do I love God enough?

The tapestry of Lincoln’s life is masterful. From his suffering he drew compassion. From his weakness he drew strength. Although today we see President Lincoln in stone and on the pages of American his-tory, he was our most human president, and perhaps our most Christ-like who modeled a consistent practice of his faith.

Lincoln’s summary of faith, which I read at the start, is still vital today.

v Have we forgotten God?
v Do we imagine that all the blessings of our own lives are produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own?
v Have we become so intoxicated with unbroken success that we are too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace?
v Are we too proud to pray to the God that made us?

And I ask myself: Am I consistent in my own faith?

As we walk through the world, the people we encounter appear so different from one another. We see babies, old men, pregnant women, and teenaged boys. We know couples on the verge of marriage and lonely widows. We interact with toddlers and the terminally ill. As different as each person seems, they are all living the human experience. They are just at different places in the cycle that begins with birth and ends with death. Every phase of the cycle of life has its gifts and its challenges. Each stage is temporary and ultimately gives way to a new phase. This ephemeral quality makes each phase precious, because it will never last.

One of the wonderful qualities possessed by babies and young children is that they are unaware that a cycle of life even exists. They simply are present to wherever they happen to be right now, and they don’t give much thought to the past or future. Being around them reminds us of the joy that comes from living fully in the moment. On the opposite end of life’s cycle are our elderly role models. They are a reminder that each phase of life should be treasured. Time does pass, and we all change and grow older.

Being aware of the cycle of life and our place in it makes us wiser. As we develop a true appreciation for the phase we are in, we can savor it more. A new mother going through a difficult time with her infant can more easily embrace her challenges because she knows that her child will grow up, and she will long for this time again. Difficult and challenging periods are inevitable, but – like everything that is a part of the cycle of life – they are temporary. When we are fully engaged with life, we get to savor and grow from each phase, and we are ready for the next one when it arrives. Fully embracing wherever you are in the cycle of life is the very essence to happiness.

We all experience periods where we feel separated from the loving ebb and flow of the universe. These times of feeling disconnected from the source may occur for many reasons, but self-sabotage is the most common cause for us choosing to cut ourselves off from the flow of the universe. We purposefully, though often unconsciously, cut ourselves off from this flow and from the embrace of humanity so we can avoid dealing with painful issues, shun the necessary steps for growth, or prevent the success that we are afraid of achieving from ever happening. When you choose to disconnect from the source, you block the flow of the universe’s energy from passing through you. You become like a sleepwalker who is not fully awake to life, and your hopes, plans, and dreams begin to appear as distant blurs on a faraway horizon. Universal support has never left you, but if you can remember that you became disconnected from source by choice, you can choose to reconnect.

Reconnecting with the universe grounds you and is as easy as you making a concerted effort to become interested in the activities you love or responding to what nurtures or stimulates you. You may also want to make a list of the activities and kinds of experiences that touch your soul. Try to pinpoint the times when you have felt fully engaged and aware and ask yourself what you were doing. But one of the easiest ways to reconnect is simply by stating the intention of doing so.

When you disconnect from the universe, your sense of purpose, creativity, and ability to be innovative are not as easy to access. You may also experience a deep and empty sense of longing or feel devoid of ideas or unworthy of love. It’s important, however, to recognize that being disconnected from the universe is never a permanent state, and it can be reversed any time you decide that you are ready to reconnect. When you are connected to the universe, all aspects of your being will feel alive as the flow of the universe pours through your being and into your life.

Our desires act as fuel, propelling us toward new horizons. Without something to strive for, we stagnate and become stuck in ruts of our own making because we are unsure of what to do next. Goals are the dreams that we are willing to work for. When we set goals, we take responsibility for our lives and choose to wholeheartedly devote ourselves to our aspirations. Even if we only take the smallest steps toward achieving our ambitions, it is vital that we actively pursue our goals rather than just daydreaming about them. Having goals makes us feel good because it adds a sense of purpose and direction to our lives.

When you endeavor to achieve clear and quantifiable goals, your choices and actions take on new significance. Consciously creating your goals can help ensure that the success you seek is attainable and serves you. Your plan must be conceivable, tangible, and measurable. If you cannot visualize your goal in great detail or believe that you can realize them, you may find it difficult to commit to your goals and take the necessary steps to achieve them. Make sure that your goals have the potential to be emotionally satisfying. You may even want to write them down. Putting your goals into words can keep your intention fresh in your mind and remind you of your purpose. As you make progress toward realizing your goals, give yourself a reward each time you take a step forward so that you have the incentive to keep going. If you find yourself stuck in a rut, examine ways in which you can revise your strategy so that your plan can work.

In creating goals, you create your future by outlining your destiny. When you choose your goals using your head and heart, you take the first step in manifesting what you want. You grant your own wishes every time you achieve another goal.

When we enter a room or see an object for the first time, our minds register its color before any other detail. The colors our eyes can perceive are like words that form a subtle language of mood, energy, and insight. Color can exert a gentle effect on the mind and the body, influencing our dispositions and our physical health. Color has the ability to trigger our emotions, affect the way we think and act, and influence our attitudes. You unconsciously respond to the color of the walls in your home, your car, your clothing, and the food you eat based on your body’s natural reactions to certain colors and the psychological associations you have formed around them. The consequences of the decision to paint a room or wear a specific article of clothing therefore goes beyond aesthetics.

The colors you encounter throughout your day can make you feel happy or sad, invigorate you or drain your vitality, and even affect your work habits. Throughout history, cultures spread over many different parts of the globe have attributed varying meanings to different colors. In China, blue is associated with immortality, while people in the Middle East view blue as a color of protection. There is also evidence that human beings respond to color in a very visceral way. Red excites us and inflames our passions. Too much red, however, can make us feel overstimulated and irritated. Pink tends to make people feel loved and protected but also can cause feelings of lethargy. Yellow represents joy or optimism and can energize you and help you think more clearly. Bright orange reduces depression and sadness. Blue and green are known to inspire peaceful feelings, and people are often able to concentrate better and work in rooms painted in soft blues and greens. The darker tones of! both colors can make you feel serious and introspective.

There are ways to integrate color into your life that go beyond picking the hues of your décor and your wardrobe. You can meditate with color by concentrating on the colors that make you feel peaceful or using a progression of colors to symbolize a descent into a relaxed state. Color breathing involves visualizing certain colors as you in inhale and exhale. Choose to surround yourself with the colors that you are attracted to and make you feel good, and you can create an environment that makes you feel nurtured, peaceful, and uplifted.

To live harmoniously, we need to be supportive and helpful to all people, creatures, and plant life that share this earth with us. While “being of service” is part of being a good citizen of the world, it also feels good to help others. When we do something for others in service, without the expectation of anything in return, we are turning our actions into offerings.

There are many ways to be of service to our community. There are the obvious and much needed volunteer opportunities, such as serving Thanksgiving dinner at a shelter, mentoring our youth, or cleaning up a beach. Then, there is the kind of service that we may not even think of as being acts of service. Learning a new language (perhaps sign language) so that you can talk to more people is a way to reach out to others. Inviting someone who isn’t motivated enough to exercise on their own to join you on your daily walk is a way to give of yourself. Sharing flowers or vegetables from your garden, organizing a poetry reading, offering to babysit for a busy parent, or donating pet food to an animal shelter all are simple ways to offer your services to your community.

There are many ways that you can serve the world. Imagine the impact we would have on the environment if we picked up one piece of trash off the street everyday and chose not to drive our car once a week. Even gardening tactics such as throwing wildflower seeds onto a vacant lot can brighten the lives of others – including the lives of birds and insects. Everyday, you can do something to make this world a better place. During meditation, ask for guidance on what you can do to be of service. This can be a wonderful way to start your day. Smiling at a stranger who looks down in the dumps or teaching your neighborhood kids how to whistle will impact someone’s day or even their life. Giving of yourself is the best gift that you can give.

The journey of water as it flows upon the earth can be a mirror of our own paths through life. Water begins its residence on earth as it falls from the sky or melts from ice and streams down a mountain into a tributary or stream. In the same way, we come into the world and begin our lives on earth. Like a river that flows within the confines of its banks, we are born with certain defining characteristics that govern our identity. We are born in a specific time and place, within a specific family, and with certain gifts and challenges. Within these parameters, we move through life, encountering many twists, turns, and obstacles along the way just as a river flows.

Water is a great teacher that shows us how to move through the world with grace, ease, determination, and humility. When a river breaks at a waterfall, it gains energy and moves on, as we encounter our own waterfalls, we may fall hard but we always keep moving on. Water can inspire us to not become rigid with fear or cling to what’s familiar. Water is brave and does not waste time clinging to its past, but flows onward without looking back. At the same time, when there is a hole to be filled, water does not run away from it in fear of the dark; instead, water humbly and bravely fills the empty space. In the same way, we can face the dark moments of our life rather than run away from them.

Eventually, a river will empty into the sea. Water does not hold back from joining with a larger body, nor does it fear a loss of identity or control. It gracefully and humbly tumbles into the vastness by contributing its energy and merging without resistance. Each time we move beyond our individual egos to become part of something bigger, we can try our best to follow the lead of the river.

There is an undercurrent of energy thrumming through the Universe. Like the wind or a whisper, we can sometimes hear it and often feel it. Most of the time, we sense this energy unconsciously without any tangible proof it is really there. Thoughts, emotions, and the life force in all living things are forms of this kind of energy. So are creativity, growth, and change. The impressions, images, and vague premonitions we get about people and situations are other examples of formless energy. When you enter a space and feel an “intangible tension” in the air that gives you a sense of foreboding in your gut, what you are likely experiencing is energy.

Energy cannot be destroyed, but it can be transformed or transferred from one person, thing, or source to another. Though energy is formless, it does take form and shape in the way it flows and resides within all things: a grain of sand, a bird, a stone, and an ocean wave. Living things radiate complex vibrations while nonliving things’ vibrations are simpler. Energy is a magnifier that can attract like energies while repelling disparate ones. Many of our reactions to people and circumstances are based on unconscious reactions to their energies. We may even intuitively tune into the energy of a situation we are facing when making a decision about how to proceed. With careful practice and meditation, we can learn to sense the energy within other living things and ourselves. We can also become more attuned to how we are impacted by different kinds of energy. For instance, being around too many energies can leave one person feeling edgy or excited, while another person will feel tired and drained.

While some people feel that energy can be controlled, others see it is as the unknowable force that moves through all things. The combined energy in all things plays a hand in birth, death, growth, movement, and stillness. Practitioners of Aikido believe that all living beings share a common energy source that is our life force. Whatever your beliefs, it is worthwhile to explore the roles energy plays in your life so you can understand it more fully.

Everything in the universe is made of energy. What differentiates one form of energy from another is the speed at which it vibrates. For example, light vibrates at a very high frequency, and something like a rock vibrates at a lower frequency but a frequency nonetheless. Human beings also vibrate at different frequencies. Our thoughts and feelings can determine the frequency at which we vibrate, and our vibration goes out into the world and attracts to us energy moving at a similar frequency. This is one of the ways that we create our own reality, which is why we can cause a positive shift in our lives by raising our vibration.

We all know someone we think of as vibrant. Vibrant literally means “vibrating very rapidly.” The people who strike us as vibrant are vibrating at a high frequency, and they can inspire us as we work to raise our vibration. On the other hand, we all know people that are very negative or cynical. These people are vibrating at a lower frequency. They can also be an inspiration because they can show us where we don’t want to be vibrating and why. To discover where you are in terms of vibrancy, consider where you fall on a scale between the most pessimistic person you know and the most vibrant. This is not in order to pass judgment, but rather it is important to know where you are as you begin working to raise your frequency so that you can notice and appreciate your progress.

There are many ways to raise your vibration, from working with affirmations to visualizing enlightened entities during meditation. One of the most practical ways to raise your vibration is to consciously choose where you focus your attention. To understand how powerful this is, take five minutes to describe something you love unreservedly-a person, a movie, an experience. When your five minutes are up, you will noticeably feel more positive and even lighter. If you want to keep raising your vibration, you might want to commit to spending five minutes every day focusing on the good in your life. As you do this, you will train yourself to be more awake and alive. Over time, you will experience a permanent shift in your vibrancy.

If prayer is an intention that we announce to the universe in order to create a desired outcome, then our every thought is a prayer. This includes thoughts of worry as well as of hope. All thoughts are subtle creative energy. Some thoughts are more focused or repeated more often, gathering strength. Some are written down or spoken, giving them even greater power. Every thought we have is part of a process whereby we cocreate our experience and our reality with the universe. When we use our creative energy unconsciously, we create what is commonly known as self-fulfilling prophecy. In essence, when we worry, we are repeatedly praying and lending our energy to the creation of something we don’t want.

The good news is that we can retrain our minds and thoughts to focus our energy on what we do desire to bring into our lives. Since most worry is repetitive, it will take more than one positive thought to counteract the energy we’ve created. The simplest antidote to worry is affirmations. When we hold these positive thoughts, repeat them often, speak them and write them and refer to them throughout our day, we are using focused energy to create positive results.

We can start right away, together: I am a creative being, using my energy to cocreate a wonderful world. I know that I create my experience of life from within, and as I do so, I also create ripples of energy around me that echo into the world. My positive thoughts gather together with the thoughts and prayers of others, and together we create enough positive energy to heal not only our own lives but the world we share. I am grateful for the ability to cocreate good in my life and in the world.

A lot of times we have concerned loved ones that worry about us. When this happens they are also sending out a worry prayer to the world. A loving conversation letting them know what is happening is the easiest solution. Also, ask them to send you positive affirmations rather than worry about you. After all, worry doesn’t do them any good either. Explain to them that worry can actually be energetically harmful to you and that wishing good things for you is much more beneficial and much more fun too.

The entire month of May, Chris Stevens introduced (or reintroduced for some), the best selling book by Rhonda Byrne, The Secret to our Sunday school class.  As a class we will watched the DVD, and then discussed the viewed chapters. What an amazinf journey this has been for so many individuals.  I first became acquainted with The Secret this past February when a number of my students at Fairmont High School brought the book to my attention, claiming “it sounds just like you, Mr. Haas.” A few weeks later, Chris Stevens mentioned Oprah Winfrey had The Secret as one of her features for her book club, and Chris was interested in reading the book. I bought both the DVD, and the book in early March. Immediately, I became rejuvenated in my optimism, my drive, and my perseverance. More of my students, and their parents have purchased the book, and my son, Jose, has watched the DVD several times, and began practicing several of the techniques without my coaching. The Secret will not make a difference in your life… you will! 

How I have used The Secret 

“What dream would you dream if you knew you could not fail?”

~ Robert Schuller 

As a young boy I always knew I wanted to be drum-major of the high school marching band. I constantly pictured myself conducting, or marching in front of the band, and also imagined how it would feel, mentally invoking at least four of the five senses. I began practicing visualization with much smaller components in my life, discovering that my mind seemed to possess much strength. Adults, and friends, always noted my positive attitude, upbeat personality, and my magnetic approach to life, but I did not understand, until college, that I was practicing a technique that had been studied, and employed for centuries by some of the greatest teachers, world leaders, theologians, scientists, inventors, and so many others. 

One day, during my seventh grade year, I was sharing with my grandmother what I believed was my own magical mental manipulation, and she reached over and pulled out her Living Bible. Quickly turning to The Book of Matthew she read, “Ask, and you will be given what you ask for. Seek, and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened. For everyone who asks, receives.” She then read to me, “If you so desire something, believe that it is already yours, and so it shall be.” My grandmother already knew about my own little secret mental device! Soon after, Grandpa introduced me to the books of the great theologians, and positive thinkers, Robert Schuller, and Norman Vincent Peale. Until he died in 2004, Grandpa and I traded, or purchased books for one another by these two authors, as well as many others on this very topic. As I reflect on my early life, I realize Grandpa was an incredible example of positive thinking.  

My freshman year of high school, I infuriated many upper classmen as I took the podium as their new drum-major. 

I also employed this imagining technique with the Ball State University Singers, Ball State’s most coveted scholarship, section leader of collegiate bands and choirs, and in assuming the responsibility as the first undergraduate assistant conductor for the Ball State Choral Department. My college career was nothing short of magical as I ventured on into musical theatre, acquiring starring roles and directing responsibilities. I was even blessed with great mentors, leaders in the field of choral music and musical theatre: Fred Waring (director of the Singing Pennsylvanians) and Joshua Logan (director of South Pacific, Camelot, Annie Get Your Gun, Mister Roberts, and a host of other legendary theatrical masterpieces). 

One day, I discussed my life with a favorite professor. I was baffled that I was capable of achieving so much, yet I was clearly aware that I was not necessarily the most talented in the pool of fellow college students and performers. I was somewhat astonished that I had been afforded so much acclaim on campus, and well beyond the borders of Ball State University, and the State of Indiana. My professor, Mr. Mountford sat back in his office chair, clasped his fingers, and smiled. “You possess a strong mind. You know how to use your mind to chart your life’s course. Very few know how to employ the mind the way you and I do.” Mr. Mountford, an associate professor in music, was the director of the Ball State Singers. Prior to his tenure at Ball State, Fritz Mountford was Fred Waring’s protégé, served as the director of entertainment for Walt Disney World, and was the lead designer developing the music and entertainment for EPCOT Center, serving as the original director for the famous a cappella ensemble, “The Voices of Liberty”. 

When Ball State ended the music therapy program that I had already begun with my music education degree, I had enough coursework for a minor in counseling psychology. I opted for the counseling psychology track that included three components: counseling, motivational, and creative visualization. My three courses in creative visualization were packed with mostly male students who were hoping to one day become athletic coaches. Today, I recognize the names of fellow classmates who are leading coaches throughout the Midwest, high-powered attorneys, government officials, CEO’s, state representatives, city leaders, professors, performers, and many other successful ventures. 

I continue to incorporate creative visualization as a strong tool in my teaching repertoire, and many students have known incredible success as Broadway performers, entertainers, and music educators. Many of my former students who are educators also utilize creative visualization. 

                                                                                                                             The Secret website: Books by Robert Schuller:

  • The Be Happy Attitudes
  • It’s Up To Me: The Eight Principles of Positive Thinking
  • Getting Through What You Are Going Through

Books by Anthony Robbins:

  • Personal Power
  • Awaken The Giant Within

Books by Leo Buscaglia:

  • Love
  • Born For Love
  • Living, Loving, & Learning
  • Because I Am Human
  • Personhood

By Hal Urban:

  • Choices That Change Lives

Books by Norman Vincent Peale:

To understand how fear blocks creativity, take a moment to imagine yourself telling a story. First, imagine telling the story to someone you love and who loves you. You probably feel warmth and energy as you fill in the details of your tale to your friend’s delight. Now, imagine telling the same story to someone who, for whatever reason, makes you uncomfortable. The wonderful twists and turns, the fine points and colorful images that unfolded in your mind for your friend probably won’t present themselves. Instead of warmth, energy, and creativity, you will probably feel opposite sensations and a desire to close down. When we feel unsafe, whether we fear being judged, disliked, or misunderstood, our creative flow stops. Alternately, when we feel safe, our creativity unfolds like a beautiful flower, without conscious effort.

Knowing this, we can maximize our creative potential by creating the conditions that inspire our creativity. In order to really be in the flow, we need to feel safe and unrestricted. However, achieving this is not as simple as avoiding people who make us feel uncomfortable. Sometimes we can be alone in a room and still feel totally blocked. When this happens, we know we have come up against elements in our own psyches that are making us feel fearful. Perhaps we are afraid that in expressing ourselves we will discover something we don’t want to know, or unleash emotions or ideas that we don’t want to be responsible for. Or maybe we’re afraid we’ll fail to produce something worthy.

When you’re up against fear, internal or external, ritual can be a powerful-and creative-antidote. Before you sit down to be creative, try casting a circle of protection around yourself. Visualize yourself inside a ring of light, protective fire, or angels. Imagine that this protective energy emanates unconditional love for you and wants to hear, see, and feel everything you have to express. Take a moment to bathe in the warmth of this feeling and then fearlessly surrender yourself to the power that flows through you.

from Dr. Wayne Dyer

Share these pearls of wisdom with your Grad, your Dad, or anyone who may benefit from this practical advice for living a successful, positive life—everyday! Excerpted from Everyday Wisdom for Success.

Chasing success is like trying to squeeze a handful of water. The tighter you squeeze, the less water you get. When you chase it, your life becomes the chase, and you become a victim of always wanting more.

If you refuse to change your job (if you don’t like it), the only sensible thing you can do is practice loving it every day.

Enjoy everything that happens in your life, but never make your happiness or success dependent on an attachment to any person, place, or thing.

The more you see yourself as what you’d like to become, and act as if what you want is already there, the more you’ll activate those dormant forces that will collaborate to transform your dream into your reality.

Most people are searching for happiness outside of themselves. That’s a fundamental mistake. Happiness is something you are, and it comes from the way you think.

You are in a partnership with all other human beings, not a contest to be judged better than some and worse than others.

Life is never boring, but some people choose to be bored . . . boredom is a choice.

Treat yourself and others with kindness when you eat, exercise, play, work, love, and everything else.

Money—like health, love, happiness, and all forms of success that you want to create for yourself—is the result of living purposefully. It is not a goal unto itself.

The opposite of courage is not so much fear as it is conformity.

Try viewing everyone who comes into your life as a teacher.

Forgiveness is the most powerful thing you can do for yourself. If you can’t learn to forgive, you can forget about achieving true success in your life.

There are limits to material growth, but there are no limits to inner enlightenment.

You can find these and more than 200 similar gems in Dr. Dyer’s Everyday Wisdom for Success—available everywhere books are sold. You can also order online from Hay House.

I love this time of the year, even with all its hecticness… concerts, musicals, baseball games, auditions, students rescheduling… it is sheer fun!

Last Friday morning, Jose, Flyer and I left the house at 7:30am en route for Indiana, with one stop at the dentist so Jose could have a spacer inserted. We were on I-70 by 9:00am, and in Elwood at 11:15am. We stopped at Edgewood Elementary School where Mother was having lunch with my nephew, Andrew, for Grandparents’ Day. I ran into my dear friend from high school, Stephanie Grimes Hoel. We met in the fall of 1974 when she moved into the Washington Elementary School district, and remained great friends ever since. Her husband, Tim, was one of my best friends in high school, and their four children, Megan (now in college), Brandon, Tiffanie, and Tyler, all call me “Uncle Darin.”

Dena, Jose, and I began painting Mother’s new house on South N Street; took a break to go to Andrew’s baseball game where I got to catch up with other dear family friends, Jack and Judy Barnes, and their married daughter, Ann. We returned to painting and finished up the day at 12:30am.

I woke Saturday morning early, and suggested a family breakfast at Jim Dandy. Afterwards, we were back at the paint job, finishing around 9:00pm.

Sunday, we had church, ran errands, and then Jose’s friend, Tom Manoussakis came over for the afternoon and remained until we had our monthly breakfast supper (pancakes with almond extract for flavor, eggs sunny side up, and ham), and watched THE SIMPSONS and FAMILY GUY. The boys worked on their show choir audition pieces, as well. I ended Sunday night with a great American Experience DVD on the life of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and ended up beginning the one on Eleanor Roosevelt.

Monday I was busy with everything imagineable. I began the day at 6:30am by watering all the flowers in the yard. Tom came home with Jose after school and stayed through supper – spaghetti – which Tom loved, and ate as though he had never had the Italian dish. I use a jar of sauce, and then add chopped onion, half jar of milk, a can of baked beans, a big squeeze of ketchup, and a little of Splenda’s brown sugar.

I woke Tuesday morning at 5:30am with a headache, and could not return to sleep. So, the flowers were watered, I ate breakfast and answered Email, tied Jose’s tie for the morning music department concert for the school, and then returned to my bed to work the remainder of the day. At Noon I prepared supper: rice, chicken, shredded carrots, celery, onion, mushroom soup, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper. I finished the Eleanor Roosevelt DVD, and completed one on Windsor Castle.

Then it hit:

  • 2:15 – began teaching

  • 3:45 – break in teaching

  • 4:00 – saw Jose, Tom Manoussakis, Patrick Barnes, Isaac Williams, and the Wheeler twins, Nathan and Justin crossing the high school parking lot.

  • I promptly began tossing ice cubes at the boys – much to their delight. I collected all the white shirts, sprayed them with water, and tossed them into the dryer with several dryer sheets. Shoved apples and water down the boys.

  • 4:30 – I returned to teaching at 4:15, and the boys went to the high school for a show choir dance clinic until 5:30pm.

  • 5:40 – boys return home, eat, and wash up

  • 6:30 – while teaching a saxophone lesson, I tied six sets of neck ties so the boys could return to Van Buren MS for the evening concert at 7:00pm

  • 7:00 – concert began, 6th grade opening

  • 7:15 – I finished teaching and headed to the middle school down the street, chatting with Mother for a few minutes on the cell phone.

    • Arrived in time for the 7th grade’s portion of the concert – choir, orchestra, band each do three numbers but rotate between the three – fast, simple, and to the point.

    • My friend, Valerie Lockhart, sat with me as her son, Jackson, plays trumpet with the 8th grade band. I have known the Lockharts since 1992 when Jackson was four months old. He and his sister, Sohpia, study piano with me, and much to the confusion of their classmates who do not realize Jose is adopted, refer to us as “uncle and cousin.” Valerie and I realized it would be our final concert with the boys… now on to high school and marching band for Jackson and Jose – both of whom I predict will be co-field commanders.

  • 8:30 – concert over; Tom, and his younger brother, Bill, a singer in the 7th grade choir, joined Jose and I for the traditional “after-concert” ice cream celebration.

  • 9:45 – homework for Jose, office work for me.

Now it is Wednesday. At 7:00am I watered my plants, talked to my neighbor lady, Kay, about breakfast Friday, and while Jose is prepping for school, am getting some blog time in. I will mow, trim, and use the blower on the yard.  By 9:30am, I plan on being at my desk writing the remainder of my day until it is time to teach at 2:45pm.

Thursday and Friday we have 7:45am rehearsals at Kettering Middle School for the choral contest at Kings Island this Saturday. Thursday will be crammed with all sorts of business, followed by teaching at 2:45pm.

Friday, Jose will attend the early morning rehearsal since he is helping out with the men’s section on Saturday. I will rush him back to Van Buren MS, meet my neighbor lady and her daughter, Laura, for an insane breakfast (Kay is one of the most darling, outrageously funny ladies I have ever known – and Laura is just as funny!), return to KMS for choir until 1:30pm, rush home to begin teaching at 2:15pm.

Mr. & Mrs. Manoussakis will drop off Tom and Bill at our house so they can head to Cincinnati to celebrate their anniversary. We will eat pizza, and maybe grab a movie at the Danburry Theatre.

Saturday morning, we rise are to be at the middle school at 6:30am – ugh – head to Cincy for the contest, and spend until 9:45pm at Kings Island. Thank God, I am not confined to chaperoning anyone but Jose, Tom, and Bill. All three of these young men are so polite, nice, mannerly, and fun to have around. Jose has two good friends in these two men.

Sunday is Sunday school and church, and hopefully a BIG nap.

Timed perfectly – Jose is leaving for school, and I am ready to tackle the yard work.

For all those who are reading this, have a fantastic Wednesday – make it great!

Top Ten Hillary Clinton Campaign Slogans
10. “Read My Lips — No New Interns”
9. “Reward Me For Putting Up With Bill’s Crap For So Long”
8. “Isn’t It Time You Were Disappointed By A Different Clinton?”
7. “Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You, Ask How You Can Illegally Contribute To My Campaign”
6. “Vote For Me Or My Husband Will Nail Your Wife”
5. “You Give Me A Vote, I’ll Get Vernon Jordan To Give You A Job”
4. “Still Not Indicted As Of Early ’99!”
3. “From Perjury To Albany”
2. “Building A Bridge To The 21st Century, And Pushing My Husband Over It”
1. “Oh Lord, Please Don’t Make Me Go Back To Arkansas”
Top Ten Hillary Clinton Internet Screen Names
10. Soon2BeSingle
9. NoDNAHere
8. CarpetBagger99
7. 2Powerful2Go2Jail
6. BiteMeTipper
3. RudySux
2. I’veNeverHeldElectedOfficeOrSetFootInNewYorkButIStillHaveTheGallToRun4Senator
1. Secrets2China
Top Ten Skeletons In George W. Bush’s Closet
10. Fathered half the players at this year’s Wimbledon.
9. Once killed a Lenscrafter clerk when his glasses weren’t ready in about an hour.
8. The “W” Stands for “Winky.”
7. In 1988 told dad, “I think Quayle would make a great vice president.”
6. He’s also married to Barbara Bush.
5. On April 9, 1968 actually had an opinion.
4. Calls brother Jeb “the one with the hick name.”
3. Recovering “Opraholic.”
2. From 1986 to 1991: Nothing but Nintendo and hookers.
1. Borrowed a skeleton from a local museum, put it in his closet, never returned it.

Top Ten Signs There’s Trouble in the Barbie and Ken Marriage
10. Ken overheard at bar saying he’d like to find “a woman with bendable elbows.”
9. Years-old feud about who can go longer without blinking.
8. After sex, she said, “You ain’t exactly Stretch Armstrong.”
7. Ken’s extensive collection of gay porn.
6. While Ken’s asleep, Barbie covers him with bacon grease so neighbor’s dog will chew him to shreds and bury him.
5. They’re arguing over custody of the Beanie Babies.
4. She wants the kids raised as dolls, and he wants them raised as action figures.
3. He’s been coming home late at night reeking of Silly Putty.
2. Personal ad reads, “Curvy blonde seeks anatomically-correct guy.”
1. Lewinsky!

Top Ten Other Disney World Attractions Being Closed for Renovations
10. It’s a Small, Vermin-infested World
9. The Lion King’s Litter Box
8. Mickey’s “Loose Bolts” Roller Coaster
7. Spinning Tea Cups Full of Scalding Coffee
6. 101 Dalmatians Get Spayed and Neutered
5. The Country Bear “When Animals Attack” Jamboree
4. Computer Software Pirates of the Carribean
3. Journey through Goofy’s Pancreas
2. Hall of Presidents of the Hair Club for Men
1. Robert Downey Jr.’s Wild Ride
Top Ten Things That Would Be Different if Clinton Had Been Our First President
10. Instead of “President,” highest office in the land is called, “Burger King ”
9. Indiana and Ohio known as “East and West Bubbaland”
8. Preamble to Constitution contains 23 references to cheese fries
7. His early morning jogs would have been enough to scare off the entire Indian population
6. The first amendment: “You have the right to get, like, totally stoned”
5. Schoolchildren learn about how Clinton chopped down a cherry tree, then ate it
4. The term “Father of Our Country” would have an entirely different meaning
3. Instead of man wearing powdered wig, dollar bill features man holding powdered donut
2. Washington Monument would be anatomically correct
1. Our national bird: the Chicken McNugget

Top Ten Signs You Won’t Be Getting Into College
10. On visit to campus, you accidentally kill the school mascot
9. Instead of a cap and gown, your high school gives you a McDonald’s uniform
8. After four years of Spanish, you still can’t place an order at Taco Bell
7. You took an S.A.T. preparation course that was advertised by Sally Struthers
6. Your list of school activities includes words “Comet Hale-Bopp” and “castration”
5. You tell admissions officer you’re looking forward to “some good, honest book-larnin'”
4. Instead of application, you send in a Where’s Waldo? book with all the Waldos circled
3. You insist interviewer call you by your nickname: “Glue-Sniffin’ Eddie”
2. Last time you picked up a book, Michael Jackson was black
1. Your classmates voted you “Least Likely to Get into College”
Top Ten Signs You’re at a Bad Camp
10. Lifeguard is a mannequin with a whistle
9. Many of the counselors are still wearing their prison uniforms
8. At the end of the tetherball rope is a sun-bleached human skull
7. Bonfire fueled entirely by documents from old lawsuits
6. At meal time, they send you into the woods with a hunting knife and say, “Bon appetit, you little bastards!”
5. Baseball clinic is run by last place New York Mets
4. The strange-looking kid who keeps biting everyone turns out to be a giant mosquito
3. Dead horse + 1,000 volts = 8 seconds of horseback riding
2. They give you a special repellent to prevent bites by Mike Tyson
1. Camp motto: remember Waco
Top Ten Good Things About Rooming With the President’s Daughter
10. Bitchin’ motorcade from history class to language lab
9. She shows up with beer coasters hand-knit by Betsy Ross
8. Your summer job next year: Ambassador to Belgium
7. Secret Service guys always available to buy you beer
6. Her care packages always include a tray of dad’s “special” brownies
5. You become fourth in line for Presidency
4. At some point, you find yourself playing “quarters” with Ted Kennedy
3. When ordering from Domino’s, you can take advantage of the President’s volume discount
2. If you receive poor mark on test, you can have professor slapped around by Janet Reno
1. Somehow, you’re not so embarrassed about your own father
Top Ten Things The Founding Fathers Would Say If They Were Alive Today
10. “Remember that electoral college thing we made up when we were drunk? They’re still using it!”
9. “Maybe that ruthless monarchy thing in England wasn’t such a bad idea after all…”
8. “Good to see Florida is still using the same old voting machines”
7. “That’s odd — in my day, we also had a senator named Strom Thurmond”
6. “So that’s the Washington Monument? Yeah, in his dreams”
5. “Giuliani has really wrecked Times Square”
4. “We risk our lives to form this great nation and you wanna let George W. Bush run it?!”
3. “Back in our time there certainly wasn’t anyone as man-tastic as Ricky Martin”
2. “He did what in the Oval Office?”
1. “Screw this, we’re going to Canada”

Top Ten Signs You’ve Hired A Bad Easter Bunny
10. Costume is made from rabbits he hit on the interstate
9. Not really a hop — more of a drug impaired stumble
8. Before kids get candy they have to sit through a presentation about timeshare condos
7. Keeps saying, “Jesus? No doesn’t ring a bell…”
6. He’s been wearing the suit since November
5. Easter basket is filled with menthol cigarettes
4. Hides five eggs and the body of a drifter
3. He’s wearing a yarmulke
2. Tells you for an extra thousand bucks he won’t rat you out to the New York Post
1. He disappears for hours with Whitney Houston
Top Ten Most Popular Shows at the Vatican
10. “Friends…Of The Lord”
9. “World’s Scariest Popemobile Chases”
8. “Kids Say The Darndest Things and as a Result Go To Hell”
7. “Platonic Love Boat”
6. “Live! With Jesus & Kathie Lee”
5. “Sabrina, The Teenage Witch Who Was Burned At The Stake”
4. “Beverly Hills IXOCCX”
3. “Everybody Loves Praying”
2. “Virgin Mary Tyler Moore”
1. “M*A*S*S”
Top Ten Things Overheard Outside “The Da Vinci Code”
10. “So what other movies has Da Vinci done?”
9. “Would Jesus prefer Good & Plenty or Raisinets?”
8. “I’ve seen a fair number of codes in my day, but that was the Da Vinciest!”
7. “I couldn’t see anything over the Pope’s crazy hat”
6. “They want us to believe fishsticks were served at the last super?”
5. “Can I get a discounted ticket if my name is Vince?”
4. “Nine bucks a ticket, now that’s blasphemy – – am I right, people?”
3. “They could have done without the cameo by Larry the Cable Guy”
2. “Are you sure L. Ron Hubbard didn’t have anything to do with this?”
1. “One senior citizen ticket, Mr. Letterman?”

Last year, our pastor, Monte Stevens, gave a fantastic sermon that began with components of Walt Disney’s life. Since working with Larry Boye and Fritz Mountford, who were both directors for Walt Disney & EPCOT, I have had an even greater fascination for Walt Disney. Chris Stevens and I were talking about how much we loved Mr. Disney, and I tried to recall several quotes – of course, I could not at the time. So I Googled Disney’s quotes and found these. How blessed America was to have grown such an inspiring man!


“I am interested in entertaining people, in bringing pleasure, particularly laughter, to others, rather than being concerned with ‘expressing’ myself with obscure creative impressions.””We are not trying to entertain the critics. I’ll take my chances with the public.”

“You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.”

“When you’re curious, you find lots of interesting things to do. And one thing it takes to accomplish something is courage.”

“Somehow I can’t believe there are any heights that can’t be scaled by a man who knows the secret of making dreams come true. This special secret, it seems to me, can be summarized in four C’s. They are Curiosity, Confidence, Courage, and Constancy and the greatest of these is Confidence. When you believe a thing, believe it all the way, implicitly and unquestionably.”

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”

“Why do we have to grow up? I know more adults who have the children’s approach to life. They’re people who don’t give a hang what the Joneses do. You see them at Disneyland every time you go there. They are not afraid to be delighted with simple pleasures, and they have a degree of contentment with what life has brought – sometimes it isn’t much, either.”

-“The era we are living in today is a dream of coming true.”

“There is more treasure n books than in all the pirates’ loot on Treasure Island and at the bottom of the Spanish Main … and best of all, you can enjoy these riches every day of your life.”

e1.jpgDo what you feel in your heart to be right- for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.

Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.

In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.

It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.

Life must be lived and curiosity kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life.

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.

We are afraid to care too much, for fear that the other person does not care at all.

We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot.

When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’

You have to accept whatever comes and the only important thing is that you meet it with courage and with the best that you have to give.

You must do the things you think you cannot do.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

~ Robert Frost

After numerous requests from family, friends, and former students, I am returning to the life of a blogger. I had MySpace and Blogspot, and I tended to have great difficulty in uploading photos – and for those who know, (in a thick Scottish brogue) “I do love me photos.”

Now, I have to figure out just when I will blog… summer is coming and that tends to offer me a good deal of free time; so we shall see.

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May 2007
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