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1. You will receive a body

Make peace with your body
 ~ Accept its imperfections and respect what your body needs to runs its optimum performance

2. You will be presented with lessons

As you travel through life, you will encounter lessons unique to you. Be open to those lessons and chose actions that align with your true path

3. There are no mistakes, only lessons


View mistakes as opportunities to learn. Be compassionate, learn to forgive, live your life ethically and keep a sense of humor

4. A lesson is repeated until learned


Do you find yourself repeating the same patterns in your life? Learn to recognise the patterns and the lessons that they offer

5. Learning does not end

If you are alive, there are lessons to be learned. Embrace your role as a perpetual student of life

6. “There” is no better than “Here”


Live in the present. Dance the fine line between living in the here and now while holding in your heart the fondest dreams and aspirations for the future

7. Others are only mirrors of you


You cannot Love or hate something about another person unless it reflects something you Love or hate about yourself

8. What you make of your life is up to you


Every person creates his or her own reality. Imagine yourself at 90 years of age, looking back at your life. What do you want to see?

9. Your answers lie inside of you


All you need to do is look inside, listen and trust yourself

10. You will forget all of this at birth


Somewhere along your journey from the spiritual world to the physical one, you simply forgot these ten rules!

 

 

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Since childhood I have always sensed energizing, protective, and unseen guiding presences in my life.  For several years a lovely lady visited me regularly during my sleep – or at least, what I thought was my sleep.  Today, at age forty-seven, I can still vividly recall this kindly woman’s moments shared with me from the age of four years until I was nearing junior high.  Often, these meetings included singing without any concern for waking my parents.  Other times, stories were told, Bible stories about the heroes were read, poems recited, or general small talk shared.  It was a year or so into junior high school that I realized the sweet lady had not paid a visit.  It seemed, however, she had been replaced by other motivators in my life, mainly music.

One day, perhaps around my sophomore or junior year of high school, my grandmother pulled out old family photos.  Many, many Sundays were spent going through the treasure trove of our family’s history told through photographs, but this particular Sunday, there was a different box, one I didn’t recognize.  Grandma Donna handed me some photos and after thumbing through several I recognized the sweet lady who visited me as a child.  It was my great-grandmother, Thelma Daugherty Barmes.

Sadly, seven years before my birth, Grandma Thelma was involved in a fatal automobile-train accident, expiring the following evening, January 16th, 1957, at 5:05pm.

Grandma Thelma was a wonderful musician; a pianist and vocalist.  One of my first vocal lessons came from my Grandpa Leroy as he relayed watching his mother teach a voice lesson when he was a small boy – Grandma Thelma instructed the student to keep the tongue down, and to sing towards the teeth.

In college, I became fascinated with the possibility of angels.  Several professor friends recounted personal anecdotes related to angelic activities in their own lives, prompting me to wonder if the visits from great-grandmother were – well, angelic visitations.

There are so many arenas dedicated to the study of angels.  I’ve scoured the topics, the varying beliefs, and the Biblical history of angelic beings, and I finally decided that since there will never be one consistent consensus on the topic, it would be my choice to accept the fact angels exist, knowing they had personally appeared throughout my life.  Today, I still believe I have an angel team that assists me in a variety of activities throughout my life-journey.  I have no idea who they are, or whether or not the same ones continually accompany me. Quite simply, I do not doubt their presence, and I trust them.

Over the past twenty years, or so, I have also come to recognize that fellow humans also serve a similar purpose just as the unseen-beings on my “angel team.”  I have countless experiences of brief encounters where someone, or some unexplained incident, has briefly, even momentarily, appeared alongside me on my life-journey to offer guidance, encouragement, or specific information I needed at that moment.

Coincidence?  Perhaps.

God acting anonymously?  Perhaps.

I do believe these positive beings are off-shoots, working on behalf of The Great Spirit.

Regardless who they are, what they are, from where they came, whether they are winged or wear halos, they simply exist in my life.  And how damned lucky I am for these special moments!

Last summer I was terribly ill, and it took me through mid-Autumn to fully recover my strength, and stamina.  My spirits sagged because I just did not have the mind-effort to write on the Wright Brothers musical.  I would open the file.  I would look at the words that suddenly appeared foreign and click shut the file.  It seemed as though my great-passion for this particular craft had died a sudden, unexplainable death.  I began searching for answers to the questions I proposed:

Does this musical suck? (Considering the combined talents of my wonderful, patient co-writers, Gail & Leslie, I knew the lyrics and music elevated my work)

Am I suppose to even be doing this?

Is something trying to tell me I should do something else?

It was a frustrating Autumn, and early Winter.  The most infuriating thing is that I have the ideal life as a writer, something not often afforded my friends and acquaintances who have been published, or produced.  I have my mornings and early afternoons free, and teach private lessons from approximately 3:00pm until 8:00pm.  One day a week I am at a middle school.  Since my sons have always been involved in extra-curricular music activities that often keeps them busy on Saturdays – another full, free day of writing.

My life is ideally set to fully, and passionately embrace this craft.  However, from the end of July, before I discovered my illness, to early winter, I felt absolutely dead inside.  I coasted through the holidays, and my post-Christmas vacation still found me emotionally uninvested, and dealing with the same illness, again.

This past Saturday morning I was reminded by my calendar text that there was a Writing Workshop set for Sunday at 2:30pm.  The workshop was geared for middle grade/young adult audiences, nothing actually to do with playwrighting.  I dismissed it.

Sunday morning something caught my eye while scrolling down Facebook. A terrific author, and inspiring personality, Katrina Kittle posted:

“Dayton Area Writers – TODAY (Sunday) at Books & Co from 2-3:30pm, hosting a free mini-writers’ workshop, taught by myself and the lovely Kristina McBride. The topic: Writing for Middle Grade and Young Adult Audiences.”

Meh.

I sort of dismissed it.

The sun, despite doing its thing on the opposite side of my house, was filling my bed/sitting room with a glowing radiance.  It seemed to beckon me for a hike with my teenage son and the three dogs. For several days I’d been dealing with a nasty situation involving an individual who felt compelled to self-appoint a mythical reign over a project for which I was serving as coordinator. That morning, after two nights of minimal sleep, pulsating pressure in the head, and the inability to fix the situation, I stepped back and handed over the reins.

Freedom.

A renewed energy quickly flooded my brain, my entire being.

Katrina Kittle’s reminder of the writer’s workshop reappeared on a later Facebook scroll.  For the first time in over six months I actually felt life creeping back into my soul.  I remember how invigorated I was when I heard Katrina speak about her novel, THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS, during one of our ACTION Adoption Service training sessions.  I had also attended several theatrical performances where Katrina played a psychologist assisting a patient through the horrors experienced both during the London Blitz of WWII, and years later on 9/11.  Katrina’s voice is captivating, and her spirit is invigorating, and infectious.

At this point I knew that my angel team was kicking in a God-wink.  Quintin and I discovered a movie he wanted to see (I did not) was at the same time, so we killed two birds with one stone. He hit the cinema, and I hit Books & Company.

As I grabbed my keys, preparing to leave the house, a song – one of my favorite songs – on Spotify began playing.  I sat down, and absorbed the message.

When a thing is wick, it has a life about it.
Now, maybe not a life like you and me.
But somewhere there’s a single streak of green inside it.
Come, and let me show you what I mean.

When a think is wick, it has a light around it.
Maybe not a light that you can see.
But hiding down below a spark’s asleep inside it,
Waiting for the right time to be seen.

You clear away the dead parts,
So the tender buds can form,
Loosen up the earth and
Let the roots get warm,
Let the roots get warm.

~ ~ ~

And all through the darkest nighttime,
It’s waiting for the right time.
When a thing is wick, it will grow!

The words to “Wick,” from THE SECRET GARDEN, was another God-wink for the day.

The workshop, led by Katrina Kittle and Kristina McBride, was my final remedy.  Within minutes of the workshop beginning, I realized the dead parts encasing my spirit were breaking through the earth.  That spark, as lyricist Marsha Norman explained in THE SECRET GARDEN, had been hiding down below, sleeping within… It was the right time.

After a meeting with a good friend I respect and admire, and another fun dinner with Quintin, I quickly returned home with the joy of the workshop’s reassurance beating within.  I opened my laptop, clicked on the file titled THE BIRD LET LOOSE, and opened the script.  Everything was familiar once again. There seemed to be a chorus of voices calling out from the pages, thrilled that I had returned. A reunion began.

It seems my angel team had led me, at the right time, to Sunday, January 8th, 2012.  Were Katrina and Kristina serving as angels?

Who can say.

For whatever reason, these two lovely ladies, as countless others throughout my life, were a piece of the puzzle that has continually courted me on this wonderful journey.  Perhaps some people, much like my family and teachers have always been, are the golden bricks that pave my own personal yellow bricked-road.

The passion is restored.  I am acknowledging, appreciating, and adoring my apprenticeship once again.

Can I say life is wonderful, and that I am so blessed?

You betcha!

Everything has its season
Everything has its time
Show me a reason and I’ll soon show you a rhyme
Cats fit on the windowsill
Children fit in the snow
Why do I feel I don’t fit in anywhere I go?

December 31st is always a day for reflection, and this day seems particularly meaningful… several additions to our family… several farewells… wonderful students and their families… several students moving on to college while many former students moved to New York City or into teaching positions… and always, more personal growth.

Rivers belong where they can ramble
Eagles belong where they can fly
I’ve got to be where my spirit can run free
Got to find my corner of the sky

The first four months of 2010 were difficult.

Just a few days into the new year a dear cousin, who had been somewhat of a hero throughout my childhood, passed away with pancreatic cancer. Steve Daughterty was an incredible individual, and is sadly missed.

Life brings on a natural drama, but often, people prefer to create drama.  Those are the individuals with whom I can do without, and through the course of this year, I have distanced my self, and my family, from those who prefer to infest their poor life choices and hideous personal drama into my family’s life.   The events of the first four months strengthened us as a family, and secured the understanding that our family does come first.  And life has been grand!  However, we were greatly aided last April by several loving, caring, and dedicated family friends.

Every man has his daydreams
Every man has his goal
People like the way dreams have
Of sticking to the soul
Thunderclouds have their lightning
Nightingales have their song
And don’t you see I want my life to be
Something more than long….

Sadly, I cannot remember much about this past Spring and Summer.  I know we had a ton of fun going to musicals, concerts, visiting family in Indiana, spending time with family friends here in Dayton, and kicking off Jose’s fourth, and final year of marching band.  We enjoyed visits to  Carillon Park, as well as many hours of hiking, and canoeing at Old River Park.

Rivers belong where they can ramble
Eagles belong where they can fly
I’ve got to be where my spirit can run free
Got to find my corner of the sky

June and July were somewhat busy with graduated students prepping for college.  I was also updating my home study through ACTION Adoption, half-heartedly, as I was not as hopeful of finding the right son to adopt.  Those roads seemed hopelessly closed.

The first of August I delivered Jose to his final marching band camp.  It was a tad bit wistful, but I also knew that the fall would bring on several more endings… so this was just the first.  Mother drove over to Dayton to celebrate the end of band camp with the parents’ show.

Then tragedy struck… August 24th, our beloved dog, Flyer, became gravely ill, and was suffering from pancreatitis.  We were told she would only have a few days with us, but through combined determination from our family, dear family friends and students, and tons of nursing, Flyer pulled through it.  By Labor Day she was acting as though nothing had ever happened.

The annual Labor Day Haasienda Celebration had adjustments due to my sister-in-law having three weeks remaining in her pregnancy.  Still, Mother made the trip, and Monday we enjoyed the parade and what has become our traditional potluck at the Lockharts’ home afterward.

With the start of school, the marching band season kicked into full gear. There were football games on Fridays and competitions on Saturdays through November.

The highlight of September came on the 21st and the 24th.

September 21st, my sister-in-law, Stacia, gave birth to a beautiful niece, Carolyne. Fortunately, that Saturday, my 46th birthday, was marching band contest-free, so Jose, Mother and I spent the day in Fowler with Destin, Stacia, Parker, Freddie and Carolyne.

September 24th, I spoke with a case worker from New Mexico who wanted to consider the prospects of matching me with a 15 year old Navajo boy on whom I had sent an interest form.

So many men seem destined
To settle for something small
But I won’t rest until I know I’ll have it all
So don’t ask where I’m going
Just listen when I’m gone
And far away you’ll hear me singing
Softly to the dawn:

Marching band and adoption took over my life throughout October and November.  As marching band began to wind down, the adoption process began to wind up.

October 22nd, Jose and I, along with several other matching band parents of senior members, walked across the football field for senior night.  Two Fridays later, I was fully matched with Quintin, and two hours later, with my full support, Jose was enlisted with the Ohio National Guard.

Life was changing, and what blessings these changes were becoming.  A new son was joining our family, and Jose was establishing the start of a childhood dream – to be in the military.

The following week, Jose performed in his last marching band competition at Lucas Oil Stadium, and completed his last band concert.  Thanksgiving was spent with Mother, and then on to Fowler for Freddie’s birthday celebration.

Within five days, Jose and I flew to Albuquerque, New Mexico to meet Quintin, his foster family, and the wonderful folks at Red Mountain Family Services.  We had one of the most remarkable, and memorable trips.

December 10th, Quintin and his foster dad, Jun, joined us in Dayton for the weekend.

And then December 20th finally arrived… Mother, Jose and I drove to Dayton International Airport to bring Quintin home.  We had a beautiful candle lighting ceremony led by New Mexico worker, Janis Melendez, witnessed by family and members of our god-parent team.

The past eleven days have been so fulfilling with the arrival of Quintin, many kindnesses shown our family by my students and their families, Christmas in Indiana, fun times with family friends here in the Miami Valley, and now, our final day of 2010.

Our family is finding its own corner of the sky as we journey into 2011.  I am thrilled for the prospects of this coming year, and am eager to get it started.  I have my own personal goals, and corners of the sky I will establish, and will continue to assist my sons in establishing their own corners.  Jose will graduate and leave for basic and advanced training with the military.  Quintin will start a new life entirely with many promises of new adventures.

Rivers belong where they can ramble
Eagles belong where they can fly
I’ve got to be where my spirit can run free
Got to find my corner of the sky

So here is to a new year… a continued journey with many opportunities and thrilling adventures… the continuation of my family… the continuation of my brother’s family… and many more wonderful experiences – those anticipated, and those unexpected.

Many blessings to all our wonderful family and friends…

Love,

Darin, Jose & Quintin

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Since my days at Ball State University, I have always marveled at the many individual journeys that meet at particular crossroads throughout our lives.

Crossroads are exciting!

We never know when certain fellow travelers will cross our own path, joining us on our own journey. Sometimes we travel together for the remainder of our earthly journey, while understanding that some paths are joined for a certain length of time.

Over the past few months I have neglected to recognize my own fantastic journey, and just how blessed I am with so many I know from this journey. The world of Facebook certainly allows me to connect, reconnect, and meet many wonderful fellow travelers. As the world becomes smaller through technology, our personal lives are enriched beyond measure.

As Jose and I entered the lobby of Red Mountain Family Services, where we were to meet Quintin for the first time, Cindy, the director of the agency, stepped forward with a warm, generous smile to say, “We know who you are.”

Immediately, there was a new person joining my own journey. And within minutes of walking through the door, the world of the Haasienda grew extensively as we met Valerie, Dr. Davison, and several other staff members of Red Mountain. This is just not an ordinary staff of people who come to work in a building. It is very clear that Red Mountain is an ensemble of heaven’s earthly angels sharing their affection with all who cross the threshold, and giving their heartfelt devotion to countless children who struggle not only with life, but in finding hope to continue their own journey.

I don’t know how anyone could read the great teachings of Christ, and countless other teachers, or prophets, and not recognize that Red Mountain, like ACTION Adoption Services (from Dayton), is living proof that The Great Spirit, God, Allah, Jehovah, Creator of the Universe, the Supreme Composer is not only very real, but very much a part of each of us.

I wish I could bring Red Mountain and ACTION Adoption Services (from Dayton) together. I see the magic, the beauty of families formed all the time at ACTION; however, Thursday afternoon, I walked into an incredible world that offered me a glimpse of those who believe in others, and in this case, those who prepared a 15 year old boy to become part of my own family.

To me – this is magic! This is the stuff from which dreams are made!

When we believe our journey is one of solitude we have failed to recognize that The Great Spirit – or whatever title – is not only next to us – but inside us. So often we fail to recognize we are not simply followers, or students/disciples on our journey when we have actually been trained to be leaders. I cannot see how the ancient teachings could be interpreted differently.

Right now, I am at, yet, another wonderful crossroad on this fantastic journey. Several folks from New Mexico – the staff of Red Mountain, and Quintin’s beautiful foster family, Jun & Nina – have met Jose and I at this beautiful moment of our intertwined paths. I know we shall maintain contact once our individual journeys move in various directions to continue our missions, but oh, what a moment.

And of course, my new son, Quintin, is the reason for all these paths to merge. At 15, he probably doesn’t recognize how his own life has impacted so many others at this particular crossroad.

Peace to all….

 

This is incredible… take a few minutes to refresh your spirit, and your life.

A NEW PLEDGE by David Ault

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

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My high school English/Advanced Composition teacher, Darren Paquin, just sent this beautiful prayer! Man, does it speak volumes!

THE KNOTS PRAYER.

Dear God :
Please untie the knots that are in my mind, my heart my life.
Remove the have nots, the can nots and the do nots that I have in my mind

Erase all the will nots, might nots that may find a home in my heart .

Release me from the could nots and the would nots that obstruct my life .

And most of all, I ask that you remove from my mind, my heart and my life all the “am notsthat I have allowed to hold me back, especially the thought, that I am not good enough.

Amen.

Author Known to God.


Yesterday afternoon, I took Jose out to the front yard to help me measure the length in front of the shrubs where I want to put a little stone wall just a foot or so off the ground. I handed Jose the end of the tape measure, and walked to the opposite side. I then asked Jose what the measurement was.

He looked down, searchingly, looked up at me questioningly, and re-examined his end, and realized, I had the measurement on my end. I was howling to see his expression!

Last night I finished teaching around 8:00pm, and Jose and I went to Hothead Burrito for supper.  Ahh… I love their burritos. They are not that different from the famed Chipotle – but the prices, and discounted coupons are certainly different! We returned home, and I settled down with what I had taped of THE MIDDLE and MODERN FAMILY – they are two of my new favorite shows.

This morning, after another three hours of being wide awake from 4:00am-7:00am, I met my friend, Bill Hetzer, for breakfast at First Watch behind Towne & Country Shopping Plaza. From 8:30am until 11:15am, Bill and I, discussed politics, religion, family life, military life, our sons, house projects, music (current and past), musical theatre, and anything else that seemed of interest. This is my best therapy – meeting Bill for breakfast! Now, I just need to figure in a time to meet Kay, as her laughter and smile are both infectious, and I do tend to behave myself much better when I am with this Hetzer family member. With Bill, all behavioral bets are off.

We finished inside First Watch, and then moved outside to finish our conversation in the parking lot by Bill’s car. Grant it, lunch time at the feeding trough was upon us, but some of the incoming diners were quite rude as they prepared to park. Some would drive up, put their car into neutral, grip the steering wheel and lean forward as though to urge us on our merry way. Bill, or I, would wave them on, or indicate we were still chatting.

One gal drove up in her maroon limousine-esque vehicle, and was quite disgusted that Bill and I were talking. For some reason, she was intent on parking where Bill’s car was currently resting. Several times she even nudged us with a toot of her horn to which we waved her on. Had it been winter, or raining, we would have quickly ended the conversation for those more advanced in years, or mommies with children. However, it is the most gorgeous day – and it was already nearing 70-degrees. This lady drove around several more times, and would pull up behind where we stood. Finally, she decided that a parking space, directly opposite, and slightly closer to the door, would suffice. I began to wonder if for some reason she had scattered a late husband’s ashes where we were standing. Eventually, the aggravated lady un-wedged her supple girth from the driver’s side (without the “pop” sound trapped air makes upon release), and moved toward the door, calling to her waiting friend that “those two guys…” I had to chuckle… I am sure her frame had been the model for the 1939 World’s Fair sphere that served as the exposition’s centerpiece, later the seed for Disney’s EPCOT symbol for the world.

Bill and I, while inside, had just been talking about the things in life that matter to us, as well as the minute items that simply waste too much time on our individual journey. I told Bill that the offended/offensive woman would probably be exasperated the remainder of her day, and complaining about “those two guys who…” to any one who wished to share in her misery.

After departing from one of my favorite souls on this earth, I ventured on to CVS to pick up my prescription. As I entered the pharmacy section, there sat a lady who I guessed to be in her late seventies, or early eighties. By seeing her walker, and the way she was seated in the chair, I could see she was not in the best of physical health – but her spiritual health, and attitude toward life appeared to be Olympian! I smiled, and was greeted by the most generous, welcoming smile that could make a bishop forget his prayers. Several times our eyes met, and I attempted to match the warmth in her smile.

Some day, in forty years, I hope I am just like that darling soul in CVS – not an old lady on a walker – but an older gentleman with a healthy attitude, and healthy spirit – and hopefully, a healthy body and system. As I was leaving Kroger next door to CVS, I saw the lady scooting across the parking lot on her walker. Her car was not parked in the handicap space in front of CVS, the pet store, or Kroger – but out in the middle of that huge parking lot. As she maneuvered her walker, taking careful steps, she smiled at people passing by her – some not even noticing – as well as the air around her… her life’s composition was sung silently, but the depth of her joyful melody thundered for all who could feel the vibrations.

This CVS lady made my day!

There is a fascinating young man in college. I never had him as a student, but saw a good deal of his set designs while he was still a high school student. They were incredible.

He posted something in his Face Book status that indicated he is terribly frustrated. I Googled a poem I was given in 7th grade by my band director, and found this inspirational video.

Enjoy!

http://www.thedontquitpoem.com/

 

1. Find meaning and inspiration in your work.

2. Work hard.

3. Discover the relationship between effort and reward.

4. Seek out complex work to avoid boredom and repetition.

5. Be autonomous and control your own destiny as much as possible.

A science professor begins his school year with a lecture to the students, “Let me explain the problem science has with religion.” The atheist professor of philosophy pauses before his class and then asks one of his new students to stand.

  

“You’re a Christian, aren’t you, son?”

 

“Yes sir,” the student says.

  

“So you believe in God?”

 

“Absolutely.”

  

“Is God good?”

 

“Sure! God’s good.”

  

“Is God all-powerful? Can God do anything?”

 

“Yes.”

  

“Are you good or evil?”

 

“The Bible says I’m evil.”

   

The professor grins knowingly. “Aha! The Bible!” He considers for a moment. “Here’s one for you. Let’s say there’s a sick person over here and you can cure him. You can do it. Would you help him? Would you try?”

  

“Yes sir, I would.”

  

“So you’re good…!”

 

“I wouldn’t say that.”  

  

“But why not say that? You’d help a sick and maimed person if you could. Most of us would if  we could. But God doesn’t.”

  

The student does not answer, so the professor continues. “He doesn’t, does he? My brother was a Christian who died of cancer, even though he prayed to Jesus to heal him. How is this Jesus good? Hmmm? Can you answer that one?”

  

The student remains silent.

 

“No, you can’t, can you?” the professor says. He takes a sip of water from a glass on his desk to

 give the student time to relax.

  

“Let’s start again, young fella. Is God good?”

 “Er…yes,” the student says.

  

“Is Satan good?”

 

The student doesn’t hesitate on this one. “No.”

  

“Then where does Satan come from?”

 

The student falters. “From God”

  

“That’s right. God made Satan, didn’t he? Tell me, son. Is there evil in this world?”

 

“Yes, sir.”

  

“Evil’s everywhere, isn’t it? And God did make everything, correct?”

  

“Yes.”

  

“So who created evil?”

  

The professor continued, “If God created everything, then God created evil, since evil exists, and according to the principle that our works define who we are, then God is evil.”

  

Again, the student has no answer. “Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things, do they exist in this world?”

  

The student squirms on his feet. “Yes.”

 

 “So who created them?”

  

The student does not answer again, so the professor repeats his question. “Who created them?” There is still no answer. Suddenly the lecturer breaks away to pace in front of the classroom. The class is mesmerized. “Tell me,” he continues onto another student. “Do you believe in Jesus Christ, son?’

  

The student’s voice betrays him and cracks. “Yes, professor, I do.”

The old man stops pacing. “Science says you have five senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Have you ever seen Jesus?”

  

“No sir. I’ve never seen Him.”

  

“Then tell us if you’ve ever heard your Jesus?”

 

“No, sir, I have not.”

  

“Have you ever felt your Jesus, tasted your Jesus or smelt your Jesus? Have you ever had any sensory perception of Jesus Christ, or God for that matter?”

  

“No, sir, I’m afraid I haven’t.”

 

“Yet you still believe in him?”

 

“Yes.”

  

“According to the rules of empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science says your God doesn’t exist. What do you say to that, son?”

  

“Nothing,” the student replies. “I only have my faith.”

 

“Yes, faith,” the professor repeats. And that is the problem science has with God. There is no evidence, only faith.”

  

At the back of the room another student stands quietly for a moment before asking a question of His own. “Professor, is there such thing as heat?”

  

“Yes,” the professor replies. “There’s heat.”

 

“And is there such a thing as cold?”

 

“Yes, son, there’s cold too.”

 

“No sir, there isn’t.”

 

The professor turns to face the student, obviously interested. The room suddenly becomes very quiet. The student begins to explain. “You can have lots of heat, even more heat, super-heat, mega-heat, unlimited heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat, but we don’t have anything called ‘cold’. We can hit up to 458 degrees below zero, which is no heat, but we can’t go any further after that.  There is no such thing as cold; otherwise we would be able to go colder than the lowest -458 degrees. Everybody or object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or transmit energy. Absolute zero (-458 F) is the total absence of heat. You see, sir, cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold. Heat we can measure in thermal units because heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it.”

  

 Silence across the room. A pen drops somewhere in the classroom, sounding like a hammer.

  

“What about darkness, professor. Is there such a thing as darkness?”

  

“Yes,” the professor replies without hesitation. “What is night if it isn’t darkness?”

  

“You’re wrong again, sir. Darkness is not something; it is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light, but if you have no light constantly you have nothing and it’s called darkness, isn’t it? That’s the meaning we use to define the word.”

   

“In reality, darkness isn’t. If it were, you would be able to make darkness darker, wouldn’t you?”

  

The professor begins to smile at the student in front of him. This will be a good semester. ‘So what point are you making, young man?”

 

“Yes, Professor. My point is, your philosophical premise is flawed to start with, and so your conclusion must also be flawed.”

  

The professor’s face cannot hide his surprise this time. “Flawed? Can you explain how?”

  

“You are working on the premise of duality,” the student explains. You argue that there is life and then there’s death; a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, science can’t even explain a thought. It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one. To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of life, just the absence of it.”

  

“Now tell me, professor. Do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?”

  

“If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, young man, yes, of course I do.”

  

“Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?”

  

The professor begins to shake his head, still smiling, as he realizes where the argument is going. A very good semester, indeed.

  

“Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor, are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you now not a scientist, but a preacher?”

  

The class is in uproar. The student remains silent until the commotion has subsided.

  

“To continue the point you were making earlier to the other student, let me give you an example of what I mean.”

  

The student looks around the  room. “Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the professor’s brain?” The class breaks out into laughter.

  

“Is there anyone here who has ever heard the professor’s brain, felt the professor’s brain, touched or smelt the professor’s brain? No one appears to have done so. So, according to the established rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol, science says that you have no brain, with all due respect, sir.”

  

“So if science says you have no brain, how can we trust your lectures, sir?”

  

Now the room is silent. The professor just stares at the student, his face unreadable.

  

Finally, after what seems an eternity, the old man answers. “I guess you’ll have to take them on faith.”

  

“Now, you accept that there is faith, and, in fact, faith exists with life,” the student continues.

 

“Now, sir, is there such a thing as evil?”

  

Now uncertain, the professor responds, “Of course, there is. We see it every day. It is in the daily example of man’s inhumanity to man. It is in the multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world. These manifestations are nothing else but evil.”

  

To this the student replied, “Evil does not exist sir, or at least it does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God. It is just like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of God. God did not create evil. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God’s love present in his heart. It’s like the cold that comes when there is no heat or the darkness that comes when there is no light.”

  

The professor sat down.

 

 

I have always been a fan of Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, and of course, Dr. Robert Schuller. As a boy my grandfather introduced me to these two incredible individuals, and I have since read, and studied their work from about the age of twelve. What is amazing to me is how similar their teachings are to the concepts we read in THE SECRET. The major difference is packaging. In THE SECRET, I feel as though I am watching an info-mercial. THE SECRET’s book is more exciting to read, for me, than watching the movie.

This morning I opened my on-line Guidepost, and discovered an article by Norman Vincent Peale. When I was in high school my grandmother always brought me her Guideposts once she was finished reading. When I went to college, I began receiving a subscription each month, a gift from my grandmother. I still love reading Guidepost.

 

Define Your Goals

Two principles that can ensure success

By Norman Vincent Peale

What’s your goal in life?

It’s important to constantly ask, “Why was I born? For what purpose did I come into this world? What am I supposed to do here?” Answers to these questions will shape your life goal, which will bring meaning to your life.

But, you may ask, how do you reach your goal? By the application of twin principles: to will and to believe. Will power is the process by which you tap the enormous force that’s in you. Believing is the process by which you surrender yourself to the power of God. So “to will” means to bring out your personal power; “to believe” means to bring out God’s power. If you really begin to practice these principles, you’ll find that your achievements can be astonishing.

A friend of mine told me a story about a young California couple. Things were difficult, but they had a goal: They wanted to have a home that would be filled with love and beauty. They talked about the house they wanted. It was the big goal in their early life.

One night the wife sat down and drew a picture of the house—a complete floor plan, upstairs and down—and mapped out a garden. She showed it to her husband and said, “This is my dream house.”

Though the couple had little money, he said, “Let’s hold to our dream and to the belief that one day we’ll have that house.” They looked everywhere trying to find such a home. Real estate agents showed them one house after another, but they did not find it. So they sat down and prayed about it and visualized themselves being led to it.

One night they were talking with friends about their dream house. One of the friends said, “Why, the house you are describing is well known to me; it belongs to a Mr. Davies. His wife died, but he continues to live there. He has turned down offers for three times its price. He won’t sell it until he finds a couple who will love the house as he and his wife did.”

“Please take us there,” the couple said. When they saw the house, the man and his wife were overwhelmed. It was exactly as it had been pictured in their diagram. Mr. Davies, a kind man, saw the love for this house in the eyes of this young couple. “I’ve turned down everyone else, waiting for the couple to come along for whom this house was intended,” he said.

They were thrilled. But they had to face reality; it was beyond their means.

“Some things are more important than money,” said Mr. Davies. “This is your dream house, isn’t it? All right, you write your own terms, and I will help you to have this house.” The contract was drawn. This couple had practiced the great law: Belief is visualization, dreaming, conviction and will. As a result, they reached their cherished goal.

Believe, dream, will—and put it all in the hands of God. Work, struggle, visualize! These are the great principles bound up in the text, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” Get it into your mind and get going, and you will reach your greatest goals.

If these techniques fail, as they sometimes will, ask yourself: “Have I failed because I have some ‘dirt’ in the mind?” By “dirt” I mean wrongdoing. Something that clogs, accumulates, creates “carbon” in the mental processes and corrodes the soul.

A young salesman once came up to me and said, “I’m worried that I don’t succeed because something is wrong with me personally. I wish you’d talk with me and see if you can get at it.” Well, the fellow’s conversation was filled with profanity. It was clear that his drinking was out of control. And he told me he was “mixed up with a couple of women.”

It so happened I had a quotation in my pocket that I had copied from an advertisement for motor oil. It may have just been a coincidence that I had it with me, but God works in coincidences, so I handed the young man the slip of paper. On it was written: “A clean engine delivers power.” I could tell from the look on his face that he got the message.

Whatever your goal, if it is a good and honorable one, you have it in you to attain it. If you’re specific about your goal, if you clarify it and blueprint it, and if it is within God’s righteousness, you can attain it. This I sincerely believe.

In 1908, Wilbur Wright, demonstrating the Wright flying machine for the French government, captured the attention, and imagination of the entire world. Wilbur, along with his brother, Orville, who was preparing for the United States’ demonstration at Fort Myer in Virginia (outsideWashington, DC), had released man’s bonds with earth five years before. Taunted by skepticism, as well as fear of rivals seizing their design, the brothers stopped flying for three years.

Now, in 1908, it was time to prove to the world that man could fly. And in doing so, the brothers, along with their sister, Katharine, became the Twentieth Century’s first international celebrities.

One hundred years later, in Beijing, China, the United States has another international celebrity – Michael Phelps.

I have watched, with great interest, enthusiasm, and awe how this young man has broken records, and ties, to become an international icon.

To me, Wilbur, Orville, and Michael are so much more than heroes and legends – they are examples re-claiming, even shouting, the age old mantra that each of us is capable of great things. We do not need Kitty Hawk or Beijingto fulfill our dreams. What we do need is faith, determination, passion, desire, guts, vision, and perseverance.

“Lord, give me the ingredients to fly as high as the Wrights, and as fast as Phelps. Amen.”

For the past several months, or so, I have been experiencing a feeling – as John Adams called it in the musical 1776 – “discontentment.” As I was writing a good friend earlier this afternoon, I feel like all these major musical theatre characters singing about the excitement festering within.

Here are some examples:

Tony in WEST SIDE STORY:

Could be!
Who knows?
There’s something due any day;
I will know right away,
Soon as it shows.
It may come cannonballing down through the sky,
Gleam in its eye,
Bright as a rose!

Who knows?
It’s only just out of reach,
Down the block, on a beach,
Under a tree.
I got a feeling there’s a miracle due,
Gonna come true,
Coming to me!

Could it be? Yes, it could.
Something’s coming, something good,
If I can wait!
Something’s coming, I don’t know what it is,
But it is
Gonna be great!

With a click, with a shock,
Phone’ll jingle, door’ll knock,
Open the latch!
Something’s coming, don’t know when, but it’s soon;
Catch the moon,
One-handed catch!

Around the corner,
Or whistling down the river,
Come on, deliver
To me!
Will it be? Yes, it will.
Maybe just by holding still,
It’ll be there!

Come on, something, come on in, don’t be shy,
Meet a guy,
Pull up a chair!
The air is humming,
And something great is coming!
Who knows?
It’s only just out of reach,
Down the block, on a beach,
Maybe tonight . . .

Jekyll in JEKYLL & HYDE:

This is the moment!
This is the day,
When I send all my doubts and demons
On their way!

Every endeavor,
I have made – ever –
Is coming into play,
Is here and now – today!

This is the moment,
This is the time,
When the momentum and the moment
Are in rhyme!

Give me this moment –
This precious chance –
I’ll gather up my past
And make some sense at last!

This is the moment,
When all I’ve done –
All the dreaming,
Scheming and screaming,
Become one!

This is the day –
See it sparkle and shine,
When all I’ve lived for
Becomes mine!

For all these years,
I’ve faced the world alone,
And now the time has come
To prove to them
I’ve made it on my own!

This is the moment –
My final test –
Destiny beckoned,
I never reckoned,
Second Best!

I won’t look down,
I must not fall!
This is the moment,
The sweetest moment of them all!

This is the moment!
Damn all the odds!
This day, or never,
I’ll sit forever
With the gods!

When I look back,
I will always recall,
Moment for moment,
This was the moment,
The greatest moment
Of them all!

Something is festering inside – a burning desire to be doing something else. The past month I have had some strange “reminders” about the Mary Todd Lincoln musical… why? Who knows…

I am so ready for this next great adventure – whatever it is. The signs continue to herald that the time is near. Perhaps it is already here and I am not recognizing it… maybe there is nothing to recognize. Maybe I am supposed to just dig in and work…

PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania (AP) — Randy Pausch, a Carnegie Mellon University computer scientist whose “last lecture” about facing terminal cancer became an Internet sensation and a best-selling book, died Friday. He was 47.

Pausch

Randy Pausch emphasized the joy of life in his “last lecture,” originally given in September 2007.

Pausch died at his home in Virginia, university spokeswoman Anne Watzman said. Pausch and his family moved there last fall to be closer to his wife’s relatives.

Pausch was diagnosed with incurable pancreatic cancer in September 2006. His popular last lecture at Carnegie Mellon in September 2007 garnered international attention and was viewed by millions on the Internet.

In it, Pausch celebrated living the life he had always dreamed of instead of concentrating on impending death.

“The lecture was for my kids, but if others are finding value in it, that is wonderful,” Pausch wrote on his Web site. “But rest assured; I’m hardly unique.”

The book “The Last Lecture,” written with Jeffrey Zaslow, leaped to the top of the nonfiction best-seller lists after its publication in April and remains there this week. Pausch said he dictated the book to Zaslow, a Wall Street Journal writer, by cell phone. The book deal was reported to be worth more than $6 million.

At Carnegie Mellon, he was a professor of computer science, human-computer interaction and design, and was recognized as a pioneer of virtual reality research. On campus, he became known for his flamboyance and showmanship as a teacher and mentor.

The speech last fall was part of a series Carnegie Mellon called “The Last Lecture,” where professors were asked to think about what matters to them most and give a hypothetical final talk. The name of the lecture series was changed to “Journeys” before Pausch spoke, something he joked about in his lecture.

“I thought, damn, I finally nailed the venue and they renamed it,” he said.

He told the packed auditorium he fulfilled almost all his childhood dreams — being in zero gravity, writing an article in the World Book Encyclopedia and working with the Walt Disney Co.

The one that eluded him? Playing in the National Football League.

“If I don’t seem as depressed or morose as I should be, sorry to disappoint you,” Pausch said.

He then joked about his quirky hobby of winning stuffed animals at amusement parks — another of his childhood dreams — and how his mother introduced him to people to keep him humble: “This is my son, he’s a doctor, but not the kind that helps people.”

Pausch said he was embarrassed and flattered by the popularity of his message. Millions viewed the complete or abridged version of the lecture, titled “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams,” online.

Pausch lobbied Congress for more federal funding for pancreatic cancer research and appeared on “Oprah” and other TV shows. In what he called “a truly magical experience,” he was even invited to appear as an extra in the new “Star Trek” movie.

He had one line of dialogue, got to keep his costume and donated his $217.06 paycheck to charity.

Pausch blogged regularly about his medical treatment. On Feb. 15, exactly six months after he was told he had three to six months of healthy living left, Pausch posted a photo of himself to show he was “still alive & healthy.”

“I rode my bike today; the cumulative effects of the chemotherapy are hurting my stamina some, but I bet I can still run a quarter mile faster than most Americans,” he wrote.

Pausch gave one more lecture after his Carnegie Mellon appearance — in November at the University of Virginia, where he had taught from 1988 to 1997.

Pausch often emphasized the need to have fun.

“I mean I don’t know how to not have fun. I’m dying and I’m having fun. And I’m going to keep having fun every day I have left. Because there’s no other way to play it,” he said in his Carnegie Mellon lecture. “You just have to decide if you’re a Tigger or an Eeyore. I think I’m clear where I stand on the great Tigger/Eeyore debate. Never lose the childlike wonder. It’s just too important. It’s what drives us.”

Born in 1960, Pausch received his bachelor’s degree in computer science from Brown University and his Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon.

He co-founded Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center, a master’s program for bringing artists and engineers together. The university named a footbridge in his honor. He also created an animation-based teaching program for high school and college students to have fun while learning computer programming.

In February, the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences in California announced the creation of the Dr. Randy Pausch Scholarship Fund for university students who pursue careers in game design, development and production.

He and his wife, Jai, had three children, Dylan, Logan and Chloe.

Read the rest of this entry »

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: http://thesecret.tv 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:

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