"One ought, everyday at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture and speak a few reasonable words." --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wiseguy Wednesday - Humorous Authorless Quotes

"Politicians and diapers have one thing in common. They should both be changed regularly, and for the same reason."

"If 4 out of 5 people SUFFER from diarrhea... does that mean that one enjoys it?"

"Did you know that dolphins are so smart that within a few weeks of captivity, they can train people to stand on the very edge of the pool and throw them fish?"

"I didn't fight my way to the top of the food chain to be a vegetarian!"

Whenever I fill out an application, in the part that says "If an emergency, notify:" I put "DOCTOR". What's my mother going to do?

"Crowded elevators smell different to midgets."

"We have enough gun control. What we need is idiot control."

"Worrying works! 90% of the things I worry about never happen."

And my personal favorite: 
"Just remember...if the world didn't suck, we'd all fall off."

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wiseguy Wednesday - Steven Wright 2

"When I have a kid, I want to buy one of those strollers for twins. Then put the kid in and run around, looking frantic. When he gets older, I'd tell him he used to have a brother, but he didn't obey." 

"I bought a dog the other day... I named him Stay. It's fun to call him...
"Come here, Stay! Come here, Stay!" 

"I bought my brother some gift-wrap for Christmas. I took it to the Gift Wrap Department and told them to wrap it, but in a different print so he would know when to stop unwrapping." 

--Steven Wright

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Quotes by Topic: Gossip

“If you must speak ill of another, do not speak it, write it in the sand near the water's edge.”
--Napoleon Hill

“What you don't see with your eyes, don't witness with your mouth.”
--Jewish Proverb

“If it's very painful for you to criticize your friends - you're safe in doing it.  But if you take the slightest pleasure in it, that's the time to hold your tongue.”  
--Alice Duer Miller

“Whoever gossips to you will gossip about you.”  
--Spanish Proverb

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

--Eleanor Roosevelt

“What is told in the ear of a man is often heard 100 miles away.”
--Chinese Proverb

“Gossip needn't be false to be evil - there's a lot of truth that shouldn't be passed around.”
--Frank A. Clark

Artwork by: Mary Engelbreit
Quote: Although the illustration cites "Julie's Grandma" the actual author is Edward Wallis Hoch

Monday, August 22, 2011

Twenty Dollar Bill

"I wish I could show you, When you are lonely or in darkness, The astonishing light of your own being."

I have shared the following analogies with my children on countless occasions, but sometimes I forget the lesson myself. I figure, who doesn't need an occasional reminder that every person has a value that does not change, no matter what they do?

Perception is key in the stock market. It's what people think about the value of a company that ultimately determines it's worth. There is a common - VERY common - misconception that what we think of people determines their worth as well. But that's not the way it is at all. With people, perception is not the ruler. 

Think of an infant. He or she comes into the world with an awesome value that I feel so keenly that it often brings tears to my eyes when I hold one. Yet, the child hasn't made a single choice or acted at all. From this it can be concluded that the monumental value each human is born with is not based on choices and therefore does not expand or diminish regardless of a person's actions. People just get blinded by what you do and treat you like less, but you're never worth any less than the day you were born.

I try to remember this when I'm dealing with others. No one you encounter is worth any more or less than you, no matter what they've done. It is important to treat them as such. Even more important, to remember your own unchanging value and treat yourself like the Prince or Princess you are and the King or Queen you can become someday. Enjoy!

Twenty Dollar Bill

A well-known speaker started off his seminar by holding up a $20.00 bill. In the room of 200, he asked, “Who would like this $20 bill?” 

Hands started going up. 

He said, “I am going to give this $20 to one of you but first, let me do this.” He proceeded to crumple up the $20 dollar bill. 

He then asked, “Who still wants it?” Still the hands were up in the air. 

Well,” he replied, “What if I do this?” 

And he dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe. He picked it up, now crumpled and dirty. 

“Now, who still wants it?”

Still the hands went into the air.

My friends, we have all learned a very valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth $20.

Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way. We feel as though we are 
worthless, but no matter what has happened or what will happen; what you do or will do, you will never lose your value. Dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, you are still priceless.”

The worth of our lives comes not in what we do or who we know, but by WHO WE ARE and WHOSE WE ARE. You are special. You are worthy. You have a value that does not fluctuate on the whims of those around you. Don't EVER forget it!
--Author Unknown

Sunday, August 21, 2011

C.S. Lewis Sunday - Becoming a Palace

"Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of -- throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.

"The command Be ye therefore perfect is not idealistic gas. Nor is it a command to do the impossible. He is going to make us into creatures that can obey that command. He said (in the Bible) that we were 'gods' and He is going to make good His words. If we let Him -- for we can prevent Him, if we choose -- He will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or goddess...The process will be long and in parts very painful, but that is what we are in for. Nothing less. He meant what He said."
--C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Friday, August 19, 2011

Fortune Cookie Friday - Perfection

Wow! That's optimistic! I guess it just depends on your definition of "soon"! 

Thursday, August 18, 2011


When the Great Scorer comes to mark against your name, He writes not that you won or lost, but how you played the Game.
--Grantland Rice, Sportswriter 

I have never met a sports movie I didn’t like. I don’t even LIKE baseball, but I have always been a sucker for baseball movies. I think it’s because the movies - for me - aren’t about the game so much as the Team and the heroic character that is built in individuals as teams work together to overcome obstacles and reach a common goal. I find it so inspirational!

This video is no exception. It has everything I love about sports movies and more because it’s real. The sportsmanship, love, and kindness displayed make me want to be a better person. I hope it will do the same for you. Enjoy!

"Sportsmanship is not just about being nice. It is much more important than that. It's about realizing that you could not compete without an opponent and that she has the same goals as you."
--Stephanie Deibler

"No amount of ability is of the slightest avail without honor."
--Andrew Carnegie

"In the end, it’s extra effort that separates a winner from second place. But winning takes a lot more that that, too. It starts with complete command of the fundamentals. Then it takes desire, determination, discipline, and self sacrifice. And finally, it takes a great deal of love, fairness and respect for your fellow man. Put all these together, and even if you don’t win, how can you lose?"
--Jesse Owens

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wiseguy Wednesday - Wheelbarrow

Bill sat at the local bar, bragging about his athletic prowess. None of the regulars challenged him, but a visitor pipped up, 
"I'll bet you 50 bucks that I can push something in a wheelbarrow for one block and you can't wheel it back."
Bill looked over at the skinny stranger and decided it wasn't much of a challenge. 
"I'll take you on," he said.
The two men and a number of regulars borrowed a wheelbarrow and took it to the corner. 
"Now, let's see what you're made of," taunted Bill.
"Okay," said the challenger, "Get in."

 --Anne Victoria Baynas, 
quoted in Old Farmer's Almanac

Sunday, August 14, 2011

C.S. Lewis Sunday - Loving God: Response or Initiative?

"The world exists not chiefly that we may love God but that God may love us...It is good for us to know love; and best for us to know the love of the best object, God. But to know it as a love in which we were primarily the wooers and God the wooed, in which we sought and He was found, in which His conformity to our needs, not ours to His, came first, would be to know it in a form false to the very nature of things. For we are only creatures: our role must always be that of patient to agent, mirror to light, echo to voice. Our highest activity must be response, not initiative. To experience the love of God in a true, and not illusory form, is therefore to experience it as our surrender to His demand, our conformity to His desire: to experience it in the opposite way is, as it were, a solecism against the grammar of being."
--C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

Friday, August 12, 2011

Fortune Cookie Friday - Happiness

This can't be a coincidence! I crack open a fortune cookie to post today and of all the fortunes in the world I get one that promises Happiness, which I have been talking about in EVERY post for a week or so now! Amazing! Happy Friday!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

My Biscuits are Burnin'

When I was little, my mom liked to make breakfast food for dinner every now and then. And I remember one night in particular when she had made breakfast after a long, hard day at work. On that evening so long ago, my mom placed a plate of eggs, sausage and extremely burned biscuits in front of my dad. I remember waiting to see if anyone noticed! Yet all my dad did was reach for his biscuit, smile at my mom and ask me how my day was at school. I don't remember what I told him that night, but I do remember watching him smear butter and jelly on that biscuit and eat every bite!

When I got up from the table that evening, I remember hearing my mom apologize to my dad for burning the biscuits. And I'll never forget what he said: "Baby, I love burned biscuits."

Later that night, I went to kiss Daddy good night and I asked him if he really liked his biscuits burned. He wrapped me in his arms and said, "Your Momma put in a hard day at work today and she's real tired. And besides - a little burnt biscuit never hurt anyone!"

You know, life is full of imperfect things...and imperfect people. I'm not the best housekeeper or cook. What I've learned over the years is that learning to accept each other's faults - and choosing to celebrate each other's differences - is one of the most important keys to creating healthy, growing, and lasting relationships.

--Author Unknown

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wiseguy Wednesday - No Privacy

As a young married couple, my husband and I lived in a cheap [apartment] complex. Our chief complaint was that the walls were paper-thin and that we had no privacy. This was painfully obvious one morning when my husband was upstairs and I was downstairs on the telephone. I was interrupted by the doorbell and went to greet my neighbor. "Give this to your husband," he said, thrusting a roll of toilet paper into my hands. "He's been yelling for it for 15 minutes."
--Gail Gridley

Monday, August 8, 2011

Happiness is Giving

“There is a wonderful law of nature that the three things we crave most - happiness, freedom, and peace of mind - are always attained by giving them to someone else."

I recently saw a guy on the corner of a busy intersection with a sign that said, “Hungry Need Help,” and it got me thinking about the connection between Charity and Happiness.

What is your philosophy on giving to beggars and such? My personal philosophy is simple: if I have something to give, I give it. What I decided long ago – and what I teach my children – is that it is not my business or responsibility to judge whether or not there is actually a need. What is my business is how I act when someone is professing a need and asking for help. So, I do what I can to supply the need with whatever I have at my disposal at the time: money, food, a listening ear. I feel I will be judged by God and myself for what I do and the intentions in my heart and the person asking for the help will be judged on their intentions and actions as well. If they are professing a need when they really don’t have one, or if they’re just relying on the charity of others to support their lazy, alcoholic, and/or drug-addicted lifestyle, that’s their problem.  

There have been times when I’ve had an overwhelming feeling that I should not help someone, and I heed those feelings. But for the most part, probably some of the biggest regrets of my life have come from having something to give and withholding it.

I’ll share one of my experiences of regret and one of satisfaction.

As the mother of 4 children, there are times when I just need to get away and regenerate with some “me” time. So, I arranged for someone to sit with my kids and took my self out for a few hours of peaceful solitude. I don’t carry cash very often, so on my way I stopped at the bank and withdrew $10 so I could get some lunch at a place I knew did not take debit cards. But on the way to the place I had planned to spend the bulk of my time I encountered a sign-holding beggar at a freeway exit. I knew I had that ten-dollar-bill in my purse and my first inclination was to give it to the man. But there arose in my heart a string of rationalizations that prevented me from giving the man my lunch money. If I had two fives I feel confident that I would have given him half of my money without hesitation. But to sacrifice everything I had at that moment to a man that might be supporting an addiction…I just couldn’t do it. I latched onto that rationalization along with the vision of a peaceful lunch by myself at a favorite place and did not give the money. What I regret most about this whole experience is that my babysitter called with an emergency and I rushed home and never got that lunch anyway. I kept that ten-dollar-bill in my wallet for a long time to remind myself that I had an opportunity to give someone the shirt off my back and I willfully excused myself. The regret brings this quote to mind, "I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare." --C.S. Lewis

My satisfying giving experience happened one early morning in front of Wal-Mart. I was rushing to bring home some milk so my kids could have some cereal before school when I ran into a rather clean, yet obviously homeless man. I don’t know what made me stop and listen to him; maybe it was his downcast look, maybe it was his threadbare clothes. Whatever it was, I am so glad I stopped. He talked to me for about 15 minutes while my milk sat sweating in the cart. His story was a demoralizing tale of woe. I could just feel the hopelessness dripping off him as he described to me the difficulties of breaking the cycle of homelessness. He couldn’t get a job because he had no address. He couldn’t get an address without a job. The shelters cost $40 a week and all the churches he had talked to were kind to him, but wouldn’t help him long enough to break the cycle. Now, I realize this whole sob story could have been a well rehearsed act. Don’t believe for a second that it didn’t occur to me while I was standing there listening to him. But I pushed that aside and allowed myself to love the man for a second and I knew what I had to do. First, I listened to him and willingly gave him some of my time. I looked him in the eye and treated him like a friend. Then, I told him to hang on a second while I went back into the store to get some cash (because again, I hardly ever carry any). It’s hard to describe the feelings that coursed through my body when I was buying a pack of gum to get the $40 cash I wanted to give him. It felt a little like I was nervous because I was shaking, had clammy hands, and felt short of breath. But I wasn’t nervous, I was giddy with excitement! Here was an opportunity to give that I would boldly take! I nearly skipped out of the store to hand over my money for a week’s shelter for him. I knew it wouldn’t solve all of his problems, but it felt good to know that he’d have a bed for at least a week, and maybe even a little more hope to get him through it. And even if it was a well rehearsed swindle, I know I did the right thing and no one can take the joy I felt from me.

I don’t write all of these things to regale others with my regrets and/or wonderfulness. I write them because through these experiences I learned that there is a connection between Charity and Happiness. The more we give, the more we get. Really, when I don’t give due to a judgment I have made of someone’s intentions, I deny myself a measure of Happiness. But you know what’s even better than giving for your own Happiness? Losing your “self” completely and giving for someone else’s Happiness.

“The words of Jesus, ‘Love one another as I have loved you,’ must be not only a light for us but a flame that consumes the self in us. Love, in order to survive, must be nourished by sacrifices, especially the sacrifice of self. Love, to be real, must cost—it must hurt—it must empty us of self.” --Mother Theresa

Sunday, August 7, 2011

C.S. Lewis Sunday - Blurred Vision

"When you come to knowing God the initiative lies on His side. If He does not show Himself, nothing you can do will enable you to find Him. And, in fact, He shows much more of Himself to some people than to others -- not because He has favourites, but because it is impossible for Him to show himself to a man whose whole mind and character are in the wrong condition. Just as sunlight, though it has no favourites, cannot be reflected in a dusty mirror as clearly as in a clean one.

"You can put this another way by saying that while in other sciences the instruments you use are things external to yourself (things like microscopes and telescopes), the instrument through which you see God is your whole self. And if a man's self is not kept clean and bright, his glimpse of God will be blurred -- like the Moon seen through a dirty telescope."
--C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Happiness and Ice Cream

"My advice to you is not to inquire why or whither, but just enjoy your ice cream while it's on your plate." 
--Thornton Wilder

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Happiness. It seems like such an enigmatic concept. The only real consistent definition of the thing seems to be that it defies definition.

I have found Happiness to be both sought and found, inside of me and in outside circumstances.  Sometimes a chosen attitude, sometimes it just…exists…for seemingly no reason at all.

Yeah. This is totally infuriating to a concrete thinker! I want it to be nailed down, dangit! To heck with all this elusive garbage, I want to define it and hold it in my hand and examine it. I want an equation. Then I want to apply it so I can be happy all the time.  Is that too much to ask? Apparently it is.

My husband is always harping on me because of this tendency. He’s always reminding me that if there were a fool-proof equation for everything, there would be no freedom. And he’s SO right! But that doesn’t make me want it any less.

Freedom of choice is such a pesky thing--like a double-edged sword! It requires the elusiveness which I detest, yet this very elusiveness plays such a huge role in emotions like Happiness.  

If at any time a person doesn’t feel fully in charge of the choices they can make in their life, there’s a definite decline in happiness. If the limitations are imposed from outside, people feel resentful and oppressed, not happy. However, if they feel like they had a fair say in choosing the limitation there is no loss of happiness. This is why democracy works.

But on the other hand, if we’re presented with an over-abundance of choices, we become overwhelmed and confused. Again, not happy.

Paul Rozin, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, “asked a cross-section of people from six countries (the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland) a simple question:

“‘Imagine that you feel like eating ice cream and that you have the choice between two ice-cream parlors. One offers a choice of ten flavors. The other offers a selection of fifty flavors. Which ice-cream parlor would you choose?’

“In only one country, the United States, did a majority (56 %) of respondents prefer the ice-cream parlor with fifty flavors. The Swiss were on the other end of the spectrum. Only 28% preferred the ice-cream parlor with more choices.” (The Geography of Bliss, Eric Weiner, pg 45).

Okay, so since the USA has lower levels of Happiness compared to Switzerland (according to the World Database of Happiness), we can deduce that at least one indicator of Happiness is choosing to limit choices. 

When presented with the ice-cream-flavor study, a friend of mine observed that if one willingly chose to limit their ice cream choices to just vanilla, infinite flavor opportunities become possible with toppings. That plain old vanilla ice cream can now become anything based on our ever-changing whims. What a concept! Skillfully limiting choices can open up more freedom and therefore, more happiness.  (This concept was addressed in a previous Savvy and Sage post entitled The Freedom Paradox. Click here to read). 

In part, Happiness is freedom of choice…as long as we feel that we have chosen our own limitations.

But lest you start thinking that Happiness can be defined by Freedom, it must not be overlooked that even if we were unable to choose the flavor of ice cream, Happiness could be achieved through attitude alone.  See? I know nothing!

I guess I’ll just have to settle for the advice in my title quote. Whether it’s sought or found, chosen or served up without my choice, I just need to shut up and enjoy my dang ice cream, already! ;)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wiseguy Wednesday - Will Rogers

Will Rogers, who died in a 1935 plane crash, was brilliant at teaching common sense to the common man during the Roaring Twenties and Great Depression. He wrote 4,000 syndicated columns and six books, becoming a prominent radio broadcaster and political commentator. He called politics "the best show in the world" and described Congress as the "national joke factory." His folksy humor and honest, intelligent observations about the government and America earned the respect of the nation.

Some of his sayings:

Never squat while wearing your spurs.

Never slap a man who’s chewing tobacco.

Common sense ain't common.

Never kick a cow chip on a hot day.

You know horses are smarter than people. You never heard of a horse going broke betting on people.

There are two theories to arguing with a woman. Neither works.

Buy land. They ain't making any more of the stuff.

Never miss a good chance to shut up.

Everybody is ignorant-- only on different subjects.

Always drink upstream from the herd.

Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.

If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.

All I know is just what I read in the papers, and that's an alibi for my ignorance.

The quickest way to double your money is to fold it and put it back into you pocket.

Everything is funny as long as it is happening to somebody else.

There are three kinds of men: The ones that learn by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence and find out for themselves.

The minute you read something that you can't understand, you can almost be sure that it was drawn up by a lawyer.

Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.

The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking spaces.

If you’re riding ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to make sure it’s still there.

If you feel the urge, don't be afraid to go on a wild goose chase. What do you think wild geese are for anyway?

Lettin’ the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier’n puttin’ it back.

After eating an entire bull, a mountain lion felt so good he started roaring. He kept it up until a hunter came along and shot him. The moral: When you’re full of bull, keep your mouth shut.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Ocean Air

In honor of my 100th post, I'm going to break the quoting-other-people mold and wax poetic for a minute. I wrote the following poem because I looked up into the sky one day and saw an airplane that looked like a whale at first glance. It got me thinking about how the sky looked like the ocean and what can I say? The thought inspired me. I know it's totally amateur, but I hope you enjoy it.

Ocean Air
Gaze up to a sea of delicate blue
That billows and swells to horizon.
White froth floats by
On the breath of a sigh
The current stirs among the blades.

Is that a creature that floats on the breeze?
It drifts as if suspended by string.
A slow, gentle giant
With bountiful eye
That shines amid glint of the light.

What is this liquid that blows in my hair;
The tempest that tears at my clothes?
What is the flood
That streams from above
And swells and crests at my feet?

It is the air of the ocean deep;
The tears of innumerable stars.
The wind that blows by,
The aircraft that fly
And the showers that break on the sand.
--Melissa McGowan

Monday, August 1, 2011

Lunch with God

I think the following is a really cute little story with a nice message. But I am posting it because it made me wonder: If I could have lunch with God, what would be on the menu? Would I even be able to eat? Would we talk? Or would we sit in silent companionship? Have I ever experienced the Divine within a mortal someone? Has anyone experienced it in me? Hmm. Thought provoking questions...and answers.  Enjoy!

Twinkies and Rootbeer

A little boy wanted to meet God. He knew it was a long trip to where God lived, so he packed his suitcase with Twinkies and a six-pack of Root Beer and he started his journey. 

When he had gone about three blocks, he met an elderly man. The man was sitting in the park just feeding some pigeons.
The boy sat down next to him and opened his suitcase. He was about to take a drink from his root beer when he noticed that the man looked hungry, so he offered him a Twinkie. 

The man gratefully accepted it and smiled at boy. His smile was so pleasant that the boy wanted to see it again, so he offered him a root beer. 

Again, the man smiled at him. The boy was delighted! They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling, but they never said a word.

As it grew dark, the boy realized how tired he was and he got up to leave, but before he had gone more than a few steps, he turned around, ran back to the man, and gave him a hug. The man gave him his biggest smile ever. 

When the boy opened the door to his own house a short time later, his mother was surprised by the look of joy on his face. She asked him, "What did you do today that made you so happy? 

"He replied, "I had lunch with God." But before his mother could respond, he added, "You know what? God's got the most beautiful smile I've ever seen!" 

Meanwhile, the elderly man, also radiant with joy, returned to his home. His son was stunned by the look of peace on his face and he asked," Dad, what did you do today that made you so happy?"

He replied, "I ate Twinkies in the park with God." However, before his son responded, he added," You know, he's much younger than I expected." 

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. People come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Embrace all equally!
~Author Unknown