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Van Gogh Museum – Netherlands

Our visit to the Netherlands, Van Gogh Museum.

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Words to live by

The most destructive habit………………….Worry
The greatest Joy………………………….Giving
The greatest loss…………….Loss of self-respect
The most satisfying work……………Helping others
The ugliest personality trait………….Selfishness
The most endangered species………Dedicated leaders
Our greatest natural resource……………Our youth
The greatest “shot in the arm”……….Encouragement
The greatest problem to overcome……………..Fear
The most effective sleeping pill……..Peace of mind
The most crippling failure disease………..Excuses
The most powerful force in life………………Love
The most dangerous pariah………………A gossiper
The world’s most incredible computer……..The brain
The worst thing to be without………………. Hope
The deadliest weapon…………………..The tongue
The two most power-filled words……………”I Can”
The greatest asset…………………………Faith
The most worthless emotion………………Self-pity
The most beautiful attire………………….SMILE!
The most prized possession…………….Integrity
The most powerful channel of communication…..Prayer
The most contagious spirit……………..Enthusiasm
The most important thing in life………………GOD

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A Psalm of Life

BPsalm of Life y Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

What the heart of the young man said to the psalmist

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream! —
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real!  Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world’s broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,— act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o’erhead!

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

Found in: Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. The Complete Poetical Works of Longfellow. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1893.

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Nails In The Fence

There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence. Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father about it, and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper.

The days passed, and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said “You have done well my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won’t matter how many times you say you’re sorry, the wound is still there. A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one.”

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Meredith and Abbey, A touching Story

It is not known who replied, but there is a beautiful soul working in the dead letter office of the   US postal service.

Our 14 year old dog, Abbey, died last month. The day after she died, my 4 year old daughter Meredith was crying and talking about how much she missed Abbey.. She asked if we could write a letter to God so that when Abbey got to heaven, God would recognize her. I told her that I thought we could so she dictated these words:

Dear God,
Will you please take care of my dog? She died yesterday and is with you in heaven. I miss her very much. I am happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she got sick.
I hope you will play with her. She likes to play with balls and to swim. I am sending a picture of her so when you see her You will know that she is my dog. I really miss her. Love, Meredith We put the letter in an envelope with a picture of Abbey and Meredith and addressed it to God/Heaven. We put our return address on it. Then Meredith pasted several stamps on the front of the envelope because she said it would take lots of stamps to get the letter all the way to heaven. That afternoon she dropped it into the letter box at the post office. A few days later, she asked if God had gotten the letter yet. I told her that I thought He had.

Yesterday, there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front porch addressed, ‘To Meredith’ in an unfamiliar hand. Meredith opened it. Inside was a book by Mr. Rogers called, ‘When a Pet Dies‘ Taped to the inside front cover was the letter we had written to God in its opened envelope. On the opposite page was the picture of Abbey & Meredith and this note:

Dear Meredith,
Abbey arrived safely in heaven. Having the picture was a big help. I recognized Abbey right away.  Abbey isn’t sick anymore. Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart.. Abbey loved being your dog.. Since we don’t need our bodies in heaven, I don’t have any pockets to keep your picture in, so I am sending it back to you in this little book for you to keep and have something to remember Abbey by… Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother for helping you write it and sending it to me. What a wonderful mother you have. I picked her especially for you. I send my blessings every day and remember that I love you very much. By the way, I’m easy to find, I am wherever there is love.

Love,
God

Scopes state the story is true: http://www.snopes.com/glurge/abbey.asp

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Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues

1. Temperance: Eat not to dullness and drink not to elevation.

2. Silence: Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself. Avoid trifling conversation.

3. Order: Let all your things have their places. Let each part of your business have its time.

4. Resolution: Resolve to perform what you ought. Perform without fail what you resolve.

5. Frugality: Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself: i.e. Waste nothing.

6. Industry: Lose no time. Be always employed in something useful. Cut off all unnecessary actions.

7. Sincerity: Use no hurtful deceit. Think innocently and justly; and, if you speak, speak accordingly.

8. Justice: Wrong none, by doing injuries or omitting the benefits that are your duty.

9. Moderation: Avoid extremes. Forebear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.

10. Cleanliness: Tolerate no uncleanness in body, clothes or habitation.

11. Chastity: Rarely use venery but for health or offspring; Never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.

12. Tranquility: Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.

13. Humility: Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

For more on how Ben Franklin worked to master the virtues see his Biography

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Life is a gift

There was a blind girl who hated herself because she was blind. She hated everyone, except her loving boyfriend… He was always there for her. She told her boyfriend, ‘If I could only see the world, I will marry you.’

One day, someone donated a pair of eyes to her. When the bandages came off, she was able to see everything, including her boyfriend.

He asked her,’Now that you can see the world, will you marry me?’ The girl looked at her boyfriend and saw that he was blind. The sight of his closed eyelids shocked her. She hadn’t expected that. The thought of looking at them the rest of her life led her to refuse to marry him.

Her boyfriend left in tears and days later wrote a note to her
saying: ‘Take good care of your eyes, my dear, for before they were yours, they were mine.’

This is how the human brain often works when our status changes.  Only a very few remember what life was like before, and who was always by their side in the most painful situations.

Life is a gift

  • Today before you say an unkind word – Think of someone who can’t speak..
  • Before you complain about the taste of your food – Think of someone who has nothing to eat.
  • Before you complain about your husband or wife – think of someone who’s crying out to GOD for a companion.
  • Today before you complain about life – think of someone who went too early to heaven.
  • Before whining about the distance you drive think of someone who walks the same distance with their feet.
  • And when you are tired and complain about your job – think of the unemployed, the disabled, and those who wish they had your job.
  • And when depressing thoughts seem to get you down – put a smile on your face and think: you’re alive and still around.
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Meet Me in the Stairway

You say you will never forget where you were when
you heard the news On September 11, 2001.
Neither will I.

I was on the 110th floor in a smoke filled room
with a man who called his wife to say ‘Good-Bye.’ I
held his fingers steady as he dialed. I gave him the
peace to say, ‘Honey, I am not going to make it, but it
is OK..I am ready to go.’

I was with his wife when he called as she fed
breakfast to their children. I held her up as she
tried to understand his words and as she realized
he wasn’t coming home that night.

I was in the stairwell of the 23rd floor when a
woman cried out to Me for help. ‘I have been
knocking on the door of your heart for 50 years!’ I said.
‘Of course I will show you the way home – only
believe in Me now.’

I was at the base of the building with the Priest
ministering to the injured and devastated souls.
I took him home to tend to his Flock in Heaven. He
heard my voice and answered.

I was on all four of those planes, in every seat,
with every prayer. I was with the crew as they
were overtaken. I was in the very hearts of the
believers there, comforting and assuring them that their
faith has saved them.

I was in Texas , Virginia , California , Michigan , Afghanistan .
I was standing next to you when you heard the terrible news.
Did you sense Me?

I want you to know that I saw every face. I knew
every name – though not all know Me. Some met Me
for the first time on the 86th floor..

Some sought Me with their last breath.
Some couldn’t hear Me calling to them through the
smoke and flames; ‘Come to Me… This way… Take
my hand.’ Some chose, for the final time, to ignore Me.
But, I was there.

I did not place you in the Tower that day. You
may not know why, but I do. However, if you were
there in that explosive moment in time, would you have
reached for Me?

Sept. 11, 2001, was not the end of the journey
for you. But someday your journey will end. And I
will be there for you as well. Seek Me now while I may
be found. Then, at any moment, you know you are
‘ready to go.’

I will be in the stairwell of your final moments.

God

During the next 60 seconds, stop whatever you are
doing, and take this opportunity. (Literally it
is only 1 minute.) All you have to do is the
following:

Stop and think and appreciate God’s power
in your life, for doing what you know is pleasing to
Him. If you are not ashamed to do this, follow the
instructions. Jesus said, ‘If you are ashamed of Me, I will be
ashamed of you before My Father’

Author – Unknown

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Washington DC and National Portrait Museum

Pictures from our visit to Washington DC and the National Portrait Museum.

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Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Spent a day at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston… A must if you’re in Beantown.

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