Sunday, December 28, 2008

Wipers in the rain

One rainy afternoon I was driving along one of the main streets of town, taking those extra precautions necessary when the roads are wet and slick.

Suddenly, my daughter, Aspen, spoke up from her relaxed position in her seat. "Dad, I'm thinking of something."

This announcement usually meant she had been pondering some fact for a while, and was now ready to expound all that her six-year-old mind had discovered. I was eager to hear.

"What are you thinking?" I asked.

"The rain!" she began, "is like sin, and the windshield wipers are like God wiping our sins away." After the chill bumps raced up my arms I was able to respond. "That's really good, Aspen."

Then my curiosity broke in. How far would this little girl take this revelation? So I asked "Do you notice how the rainwater keeps on coming? What does that tell you?"

Aspen didn't hesitate one moment with her answer: "We keep on sinning, and God just keeps on forgiving us."

I will always remember this whenever I turn my wipers on.


Passbook of love

Have you ever pondered upon those small moments of selfless love you've got from someone special throughout these years of your life?

Monica married Hitesh the other day. At the end of the wedding party, Monica's mother gave her a newly opened bank saving passbook with Rs.1000 deposit amount, and gave her a small instruction

'My dear, take this passbook. Keep it as a record of your married life. When there's something happy and memorable happened in your new life, put some money in. Write down what it's about next to the line. The more memorable the event is, the more money you can put in. I've done the first one for you today. Do the others with Hitesh. When you look back after years, you can know how much happiness you've had.'

Monica shared this with Hitesh when getting home. They both thought it was a great idea and were anxious to know when the second deposit can be made. This was what they did after certain time:

- 7 Feb: Rs.100, first birthday celebration for Hitesh after marriage
- 1 Mar: Rs.300, salary raise for Monica
- 20 Mar: Rs.200, vacation trip to Bali
- 15 Apr: Rs.2000, Monica got pregnant
- 1 Jun: Rs.1000, Hitesh got promoted
... and so on..

However, after years, they started fighting and arguing for trivial things. They didn't talk much. They regretted that they had married the most nasty people in the world... no more love... kind of typical nowadays, huh?

One day Monica talked to her Mother: 'Mom, we can't stand it anymore. We agree to divorce. I can't imagine how I decided to marry this guy!'

Mother nodded 'Sure, girl, that's no big deal. Just do whatever you want if you really can't stand it. But before that, do one thing first. Remember the saving passbook I gave you on your wedding day? Take out all money and spend it first. You shouldn't keep any record of such a poor marriage.'

Monica thought it was true. So she went to the bank, waiting at the queue and planning to cancel the account. While she was waiting, she took a look at the passbook record. She looked, and looked, and looked. Then the memory of all the previous joy and happiness just came up her mind. Her eyes were then filled with tears. She left and went home. When she was home, she handed the passbook to Hitesh, asked him to spend the money before getting divorce.

The next day, Hitesh gave the passbook back to Monica. She found a new deposit of Rs.5000. And a line next to the record: 'This is the day I noticed how much I've loved you through out all these years. How much happiness you've brought to me.'

They hugged and cried, putting the passbook back to the safe. Do you know how much money they had saved when they retired? Nobody knows. I believe the money did not matter any more after they had gone through all the good years in their life.

When you fall, in any way, don't see the place where you fell, Instead see the place from where you slipped.


The touchstone

Habits. They die hard. And therefore its even more important to be watchful of things that we keep doing without giving them much thought... this story explains further:

When the great library of Alexandria burned, the story goes, one book was saved. But it was not a valuable book; and so a poor man, who could read a little, bought it for a few coppers. The book wasn't very interesting, but between its pages there was something very interesting indeed.

It was a thin strip of vellum on which was written the secret of the "Touchstone"!

The touchstone was a small pebble that could turn any common metal into pure gold. The writing explained that it was lying among thousands and thousands of other pebbles that looked exactly like it. But the secret was this: The real stone would feel warm, while ordinary pebbles are cold. So the man sold his few belongings, bought some simple supplies, camped on the seashore, and began testing pebbles.

He knew that if he picked up ordinary pebbles and threw them down again because they were cold, he might pick up the same pebble hundreds of times. So, when he felt one that was cold, he threw it into the sea. He spent a whole day doing this but none of them was the touchstone. Yet he went on and on this way. Pick up a pebble. Cold - throw it into the sea. Pick up another. Throw it into the sea.

The days stretched into weeks and the weeks into months. One day, however, about mid-afternoon, he picked up a pebble and it was warm. And off he threw it into the sea, before the next second shook him telling what disaster he had done just now!

He had formed such a strong habit of throwing each pebble into the sea that when the one he wanted came along, he still threw it away.

Well, so it is with opportunity. Unless we are vigilant, it's easy to fail to recognize an opportunity when it is in hand and it's just as easy to throw it away


Saturday, October 18, 2008

The man without email

An unemployed worker applies at a large corporation the position of a janitor. The HR chief invites him to an interview and subjects him to some tests. After a while, finally the manager declares to him "Congratulations, you got the job. Now, just give me your e-mail address so that I can send you the employment contract as well as the day and time when to start."

The man is distraught and answers that he has no computer and therefore also no email.

"What?!", the manager almost says in dis-belief. He tells him that if he has no email address he virtually does not exist and therefore cannot hold a job! The man leaves in a desperate mood without knowing what to do with his last $10 in his pocket.

Finally he decides to go into a supermarket and to buy a $10 box of strawberries. He starts out with door to door calls in order to sell those strawberries by the pound. He manages to double his capital in 2 hours. He repeats the deal 3 times more and goes home with $60 in his pocket.

He realizes that he can actually survive this way! So he starts every day early and comes home every day late selling strawberries with total faith that his hard work would pay one day. Sure enough, he triples or quadruples his money every day.

A short while later he buys a wheel barrow, then exchanges it later into a truck and sooner or later is the owner of a complete fleet of delivery trucks! Five years go by… and luck and hard work combined to make the man a proud owner of one of the largest food chains in the country.

Now he starts thinking about the future for him and his family and decides to buy a life insurance. He calls an agent and selects a good policy. At the end of the negotiations the agents asks him for his e-mail address to send him a confirmation of the policy. The man tells him that he doesn’t have an e-mail address.

"That is strange!" says the agent, "you have no e-mail and nevertheless you built this large empire. Can you imagine where you would be if you you had an e-mail address?"

The man smiles to reply "I would have been a toilet cleaner in a large corporation."

Technology does not solve all the problems in our lives. Don't let it rule you - make it your slave, not your master.


Monday, October 13, 2008

Source of the problem

A man feared his wife wasn't hearing as well as she used to and he thought she might need a hearing aid. Not quite sure how to approach her, he called the family doctor to discuss the problem. The Doctor told him there is a simple informal test the husband could perform to give the doctor a better idea about her hearing loss.

"Here's what you do," said the doctor, "stand about 40 feet away from her, and in a normal conversational speaking tone see if she hears you. If not, go to 30 feet, then 20 feet, and so on until you get a response."

That evening, the wife is in the kitchen cooking dinner, and he was in the den. He says to himself, "I'm about 40 feet away, let's see what happens."

Then in a normal tone he asks, 'Honey, what's for dinner?"

No response.

So the husband moves to closer to the kitchen, about 30 feet from his wife and repeats, "Honey, what's for dinner?"

Still no response.

Next he moves into the dining room where he is about 20 feet from his wife and asks, Honey, what's for dinner?"

Again he gets no response so, He walks up to the kitchen door, about 10 feet away. "Honey, what's for dinner?"

Again there is no response.

So he walks right up behind her. "Honey, what's for dinner?"

"James, for the FIFTH time I've said, CHICKEN!"

Moral of the story: The problem may not be with the other one as we always think, it could be very much within us!


Friday, October 3, 2008

Voice of God

Does God still speak to its people? Well, its a matter of faith - either you have it, or you don't. But this story presents this subject so beautifully...

A young man bought a religious book. The book shared message about listening to God and obeying His voice.

The young man couldn't help but wonder, "Does God still speak to His people?"

After that, he went out with some friends for coffee and pie and they discussed the message. Several different ones talked about how God had led them in different ways. It was about ten o'clock when the young man started driving home. Sitting in his car, he just began to pray, "God.. If you still speak to people, speak to me. I will listen. I will do my best to obey."

As he drove down the main street of his town, he had the strangest thought, stop and buy a gallon of milk. He shook his head and said out loud, "God is that you?"

He didn't get a reply and started on toward home. But again, the thought, buy a gallon of milk. The young man thought about a man and who didn't recognize the voice of God, and missed a good opportunity.

"Okay, God, in case that is you, I will buy the milk."

It didn't seem like too hard a test of obedience. He could always use the milk. He stopped and purchased the gallon of milk and started off toward home. As he passed Seventh Street, he again felt the urge, "Turn down that street."

This is crazy he thought and drove on pass the intersection.

Again, he felt that he should turn down Seventh Street.

At the next intersection, he turned back and headed down Seventh.

Half jokingly, he said out loud, "Okay, God, remember I....He drove several blocks, when suddenly, he felt like he should stop. He pulled over to the curb and looked around.

He was in a semi-commercial area of town. It wasn't the best but it wasn't the worst of neighborhoods either.

The businesses were closed and most of the houses looked dark like the people were already in bed.

Again, he sensed something, "Go and give the milk to the people in the house across the street."

The young man looked at the house.

It was dark and it looked like the people were either gone or they were already asleep.

He started to open the door and then sat back in the car seat.

"Oh Almighty, this is insane. Those people are asleep and if I wake them up, they are going to be mad and I will look stupid."

Again, he felt like he should go and give the milk.

Finally, he opened the door, "Okay God, if this is you, I will go to the door and I will give them the milk. If you want me to look like a crazy person, okay. I want to be obedient. I guess that will count for something but if they don't answer right away, I am out of here."

He walked across the street and rang the bell.

He could hear some noise inside. A man's voice yelled out, "Who is it? What do you want?"

Then the door opened before the young man could get away. The man was standing there in his jeans and T-shirt. He looked like he just got out of bed. He had a strange look on his face and he didn't seem to happy to have some stranger standing on his doorstep.

"What is it?"

The young man thrust out the gallon of milk, "Here, I brought this to you."

The man took the milk and rushed down a hall way speaking loudly in Spanish. Then from down the hall came a woman carrying the milk toward the kitchen. The man was following her holding a baby. The baby was crying. The man had tears streaming down his face.

The man began speaking, and half crying, "We were just praying. We had some big bills this month and we ran out of money. We didn't have any milk for our baby. I was just praying and asking God to show me how to get some milk."

His wife in the kitchen yelled out, "I asked him to send an Angel with some milk. Are you an Angel?"

The young man reached into his wallet and pulled out all the money he had on him and put in the man's hand. He turned and walked back towards his car and the tears were streaming down his face.

He knew that God, the Almighty still answers prayers and that God still speaks to His people.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Good news or bad news?

Good news or bad news? Well, it depends on how you see things. Hear this story:

Robert De Vincenzo, the great Argentine golfer, once won a tournament and, after receiving the check and smiling for the cameras, he went to the clubhouse and prepared to leave. Some time later, he walked alone to his car in the parking lot and was approached by a young woman.

She congratulated him on his victory and then told him that her child was seriously ill and near death. She did not know how she could pay the doctor’s bills and hospital expenses.

De Vincenzo was touched by her story, and he took out a pen and endorsed his winning cheque for payment to the woman. "Make some good days for the baby," he said as he pressed the check into her hand.

The next week he was having lunch in a country club when a Professional Golf Association official came to his table. "Some of the boys in the parking lot last week told me you met a young woman there after you won that tournament." De Vincenzo nodded. "Well," said the official, "I have news for you. She’s a phony. She has no sick baby. She’s not even married. She fleeced you, my friend."

"You mean there is no baby who is dying?" said De Vincenzo.

"That’s right," said the official.

"That’s the best good news I’ve heard all week.!" De Vincenzo said.

You can complain because roses have thorns, or you can rejoice because thorns have roses.

When you consistently maintain a positive frame of mind, you'll become known as a problem-solver rather than a complainer. People avoid complainers. They seek out problem-solvers.

You can give in to the failure messages and be a bitter deadbeat of excuses. Or you can choose to be happy and positive and excited about life. The difference between can and cannot are only three letters. Three letters that determine your life's direction.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Window

A young couple moved into a new neighborhood.

The next morning, while they were eating breakfast, the young woman saw her neighbor hang the wash outside.

"That laundry is not very clean", she said, "she doesn’t know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs better laundry soap".

Her husband looked on, but remained silent.

Every time her neighbour would hang her wash to dry, the young woman would make the same comments. About one month later, the woman was surprised to see a nice clean wash on the line and said to her husband,

"Look! She has learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her this!"

The husband gave a polite answer "I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows."

And so it is with life. What we see when watching others, depends on the purity of the window through which we look. Before we give any criticism, it might be a good idea to check our state of mind and ask ourselves if we are ready to see the good rather than to be looking for something in the person we are about to judge.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Inspiring Race

Successful people help others who are slow in learning so that they are not felt far behind.

It was a sports stadium. Eight Children were standing on the track to participate in the running event.

* Ready! * Steady! * Bang!

With the sound of Toy pistol, all eight girls started running. Hardly have they covered ten to fifteen steps, one of the smaller girls slipped and fell down, due to bruises and pain she started crying.

When other seven girls heard this sound, stopped running, stood for a while and turned back, they all ran back to the place where the girl fell down. One among them bent, picked and kissed the girl gently and enquired 'Now pain must have reduced'.

All seven girls lifted the fallen girl, pacified her, two of them held the girl firmly and they all seven joined hands together and walked together and reached the winning post. Officials were shocked. Clapping of thousands of spectators filled the stadium. Many eyes were filled with tears!

Yes this is a true story. This happened in Hyderabad, India at a sport event conducted by National Institute of Mental Health. All these special girls had come to participate in this event and they are spastic children. Yes, they were mentally retarded, but only in the eyes of world.

And do you know what they taught to this very same world? Teamwork? Humanity? Equality?

I guess, all of it.


Friday, July 4, 2008

The Optimist

This is a story of identical twins.

One was a hope-filled optimist. "Everything is coming up roses!", as he used to say often. The other was a said and hopeless pessimist. He thought that Murphy, as in Murphy's Law, was an optimist. The worried parents of the boys brought them to the local psychologist.

He suggested to the parents a plan to balance the twins' personalities. "On their next birthday, put them in separate rooms to open their gifts. Give the pessimist the best toys you can afford, and give the optimist a box of manure".

The parents followed these instructions and carefully observed the results.

When they peeked in on the pessimist, they heard him audibly complaining, "I don't like the color of this computer…I'll bet this calculator will break…I don't like this game…I know someone who's got a bigger toy car than this…"

Tiptoeing across the corridor, the parents peeked in and saw their little optimist gleefully throwing the manure up in the air. He was giggling. "You can't fool me! Where there's this much manure, there's gotta be a pony!"

Alright, life isn't fair to us always. It isn't a bed of roses. So what, we still have a choice to let it affect our attitude ...or not at all!


Richest man

What makes you the richest man in town? What makes people follow the path you take? You need power, money, education, or fame to do that, right?

Well, lets see:


Thursday, July 3, 2008

Secret of success

Its an old story - short and crisp, but has a lot of depth in it.

Once upon a time, a reporter asked a successful bank president:

"Sir, what is the secret of your success?"

"Two words", said the gentleman.

"And, Sir, what are they?"

"Right decisions."

"And how do you make right decisions?"

"One word."

"And, sir, What is that?"

"Experience. "

"And how do you get experience?"

"Two words"

"And, Sir, what are they?"

"Wrong decisions."


Thursday, June 19, 2008

The 4 Wives

Here's another wonderful read that narrates the importance of having right priroties in life..

There was a rich merchant who had 4 wives. He loved the 4th wife the most and adorned her with rich robes and treated her to delicacies. He took great care of her and gave her nothing but the best.

He also loved the 3rd wife very much. He's very proud of her and always wanted to show off her to his friends. However, the merchant is always in great fear that she might run away with some other men.

He too, loved his 2nd wife. She is a very considerate person, always patient and in fact is the merchant's confidante. Whenever the merchant faced some problems, he always turned to his 2nd wife and she would always help him out and tide him through difficult times.

Now, the merchant's 1st wife is a very loyal partner and has made great contributions in maintaining his wealth and business as well as taking care of the household. However, the merchant did not love the first wife and although she loved him deeply, he hardly took notice of her.

One day, the merchant fell ill. Before long, he knew that he was going to die soon. He thought of his luxurious life and told himself, "Now I have 4 wives with me. But when I die, I'll be alone. How lonely I'll be!"

Thus, he asked the 4th wife, "I loved you most, endowed you with the finest clothing and showered great care over you. Now that I'm dying, will you follow me and keep me company?" "No way!" replied the 4th wife and she walked away without another word.

The answer cut like a sharp knife right into the merchant's heart. The sad merchant then asked the 3rd wife, "I have loved you so much for all my life. Now that I'm dying, will you follow me and keep me company?" "No!" replied the 3rd wife. "Life is so good over here! I'm going to remarry when you die!" The merchant's heart sank and turned cold.

He then asked the 2nd wife, "I always turned to you for help and you've always helped me out. Now I need your help again. When I die, will you follow me and keep me company?" "I'm sorry, I can't help you out this time!" replied the 2nd wife. "At the very most, I can only send you to your grave." The answer came like a bolt of thunder and the merchant was devastated.

Then a voice called out: "I'll leave with you. I'll follow you no matter where you go." The merchant looked up and there was his first wife. She was so skinny, almost like she suffered from malnutrition. Greatly grieved, the merchant said, "I should have taken much better care of you while I could have!"

Actually, we all have 4 wives in our lives.

+ The 4th wife is our body. No matter how much time and effort we lavish in making it look good, it'll leave us when we die.

+ Our 3rd wife is our possessions, status and wealth. When we die, they all go to others.

+ The 2nd wife is our family and friends. No matter how close they had been there for us when we're alive, the furthest they can stay by us is up to the grave.

+ The 1st wife is in fact our soul, often neglected in our pursuit of material, wealth and sensual pleasure.

Guess what, it is actually the only thing that follows us wherever we go. Perhaps it's a good idea to cultivate and strengthen it now rather than to wait until we're on our deathbed to lament!


3 Wishes

Are you really running after things in life that you should not be? Wait a minute, read this story first, and decide for yourself.

A great king, after conquering many kingdoms, was returning home. Full of wealth and power, he basked in the pride of being greatest ruler on this planet now. But fate took a turn that moment. On the way, he fell ill, so much that despite best of medical treatment available at his command, his illness took him to his death bed.

With death staring him in his face, he realized how his conquests, his great army, his sharp sword and all his wealth were of no consequence. He now longed to reach home to see his mother's face and bid her his last adieu. But, he had to accept the fact that his sinking health would not permit him to reach his distant homeland. So, the mighty conqueror lay prostrate and pale, helplessly waiting to breathe his last.

He called his generals and said, "I will depart from this world soon, I have three wishes, please carry them out without fail."

With tears flowing down their cheeks, the generals agreed to abide by their king's last wishes.

"My first desire is that," said the Emperor, "My physicians alone must carry my coffin."

After a pause, he continued, "Secondly, I desire that when my coffin is being carried to the grave, the path leading to the graveyard be strewn with gold, silver and precious stones which I have collected in my treasury."

The king felt exhausted after saying this. He took a minute's rest and continued. "My third and last wish is that both my hands be kept dangling out of my coffin."

The people who had gathered there wondered at the king's strange wishes. But no one dare bring the question to their lips. The king's favorite general kissed his hand and pressed them to his heart. "O king, we assure you that your wishes will all be fulfilled. But tell us why do you make such strange wishes?"

At this moment, the wise King took a deep breath and said: "I would like the world to know of the three lessons I have just learnt. I want my physicians to carry my coffin because people should realize that no doctor can really cure any body. They are powerless and cannot save a person from the clutches of death. So let not people take life for granted.

The second wish of strewing gold, silver and other riches on the way to the graveyard is to tell people that not even a fraction of gold will come with me. I spent all my life earning riches but cannot take anything with me. Let people realize that it is a sheer waste of time to chase wealth.

And about my third wish of having my hands dangling out of the coffin, I wish people to know that I came empty handed into this world and empty handed I go out of this world." With these words, the king closed his eyes.


Saturday, May 24, 2008

Raising small souls

This presentation is dedicated to all teachers and parents who are raising young souls. If only our society, system, teachers and parents understood this, our young and budding children will never be driven to committing suicide..


The Park Bench

Life touches us in so many ways. If only we pay attention to its steps, like in this touching story...

The park bench was deserted as I sat down to read beneath the long, straggly branches of an old willow tree. Disillusioned by life with good reason to frown, for the world was intent on dragging me down.

And if that weren't enough to ruin my day, A young boy out of breath approached me, all tired from play.

He stood right before me with his head tilted down and said with great excitement, "Look what I found!"

In his hand was a flower, and what a pitiful sight, with it's petals all worn, not enough rain, or to little light. Wanting him to take his dead flower and go off to play, I faked a small smile and then shifted away. But instead of retreating he sat next to my side and placed the flower to his nose and declared with overacted surprise, "It sure smells pretty and it's beautiful, too. That's why I picked it; here it's for you."

The weed before me was dying or dead. Not vibrant of colors, orange, yellow or red. But I knew I must take it, or he might never leave. So I reached for the flower, and replied, "Just what I need." But instead of him placing the flower in my hand, he held it mid-air without reason or plan. It was then that I noticed for the very first time that weed-toting boy could not see: he was blind.

I heard my voice quiver, tears shone like the sun as I thanked him for picking the very best one. You're welcome, he smiled, and then ran off to play, unaware of the impact he'd had on my day. I sat there and wondered how he managed to see a self-pitying woman beneath an old willow tree. How did he know of my self-indulged plight?

Perhaps from his heart, he'd been blessed with true sight. Through the eyes of a blind child, at last I could see the problem was not with the world; the problem was me. And for all of those times I myself had been blind, I vowed to see the beauty in life, and appreciate every second that's mine. And then I held that wilted flower up to my nose and breathed in the fragrance of a beautiful rose. And smiled as I watched that young boy, another weed in his hand about to change the life of an unsuspecting old man.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

APJ Kalam on managing failures

On March 22,2008, former President of India Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam was asked this question at Wharton India Economic forum in Philadelphia:

Could you give an example, from your own experience, of how leaders should manage failure?

And what Dr. Kalam said is worth reading again and again. He started by saying..

"Let me tell you about my experience. In 1973 I became the project director of India's satellite launch vehicle program, commonly called the SLV-3. Our goal was to put India's "Rohini" satellite into orbit by 1980. I was given funds and human resources -- but was told clearly that by 1980 we had to launch the satellite into space. Thousands of people worked together in scientific and technical teams towards that goal.

By 1979 -- I think the month was August -- we thought we were ready. As the project director, I went to the control center for the launch. At four minutes before the satellite launch, the computer began to go through the checklist of items that needed to be checked. One minute later, the computer program put the launch on hold; the display showed that some control components were not in order. My experts -- I had four or five of them with me -- told me not to worry; they had done their calculations and there was enough reserve fuel. So I bypassed the computer, switched to manual mode, and launched the rocket. In the first stage, everything worked fine. In the second stage, a problem developed. Instead of the satellite going into orbit, the whole rocket system plunged into the Bay of Bengal. It was a big failure.

That day, the chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization, Prof. Satish Dhawan, had called a press conference. The launch was at 7:00 am, and the press conference -- where journalists from around the world were present -- was at 7:45 am at ISRO's satellite launch range in Sriharikota [in Andhra Pradesh in southern India]. Prof. Dhawan, the leader of the organization, conducted the press conference himself. He took responsibility for the failure -- he said that the team had worked very hard, but that it needed more technological support. He assured the media that in another year, the team would definitely succeed. Now, I was the project director, and it was my failure, but instead, he took responsibility for the failure as chairman of the organization.

The next year, in July 1980, we tried again to launch the satellite -- and this time we succeeded. The whole nation was jubilant. Again, there was a press conference. Prof. Dhawan called me aside and told me, "You conduct the press conference today."

I learned a very important lesson that day. When failure occurred, the leader of the organization owned that failure. When success came, he gave it to his team. The best management lesson I have learned did not come to me from reading a book; it came from that experience.

Leaders, are you listening?


Monday, April 21, 2008

Celine Dion speaks

Her husband was her rock, her manager, her behind-the-scenes support system. Then came a stunning role reversal, and the singer discovered a voice (and an identity) she didn't know existed.

I am the youngest of 14 children in a close-knit family, so I had lots of people watching out for me and giving me loving support from a very early age. A brother or sister was always there to take me to school or help me with my homework. My mom wrote all my first songs, and when it became clear that singing was my dream, she arranged for me to meet with one of the best-known music producers in Canada, René Angélil. He agreed to become my manager, and my career was born.

From there, things took off so quickly that I didn't have time to stop and think about everything that was happening to me, but I never had to; René made all the decisions for me. He arranged the meetings and placed the phone calls. He picked my songs and planned when and where I would go on tour. I had to focus only on my passion: my singing. Even after we became husband and wife years later, we were happy to maintain that balance.

All that changed on March 30, 1999, my 31st birthday and the day that René was diagnosed with skin cancer. After nearly five years of marriage and 20 years of working together, my husband, who had always been the one to take care of me, suddenly needed me to take care of him. For the first time in my life, I was in charge. I was no longer merely the performer; I became the manager of both our lives. I placed the phone calls and made the decisions.

I coaxed him through the debilitating side effects of radiation and chemotherapy. I cared for him when he couldn't keep his food down or was too weak to get out of bed. I had to be his support and strength. I made sure we were going to embrace life.

Cancer was an incredible challenge for René to go through, and it allowed me to discover strengths that I had never before put into practice. I used to keep everything inside; today I speak up for myself. I pick my own songs. I'll tell a technician that I don't like the way he's lighting me. I've learned to say, This works for me…. That doesn't…. This is unacceptable…. This is how I'd like it to be done. At home I make decisions as a mother, and I communicate my feelings to my husband.

The most important thing I learned, though, is that my life is so much more than show business. Over the years, a lot of people have asked me what I would do if I could no longer sing; it's amazing to me that they think I would lose everything. They don't know—and perhaps I didn't, until this time—that my inner voice is a lot stronger than my singing voice. I am a mother, daughter, sister, and wife, and now I know that if anyone I love ever needs me, I can take care of them.

When people come to me and say, "I want to be just like you; the only thing I want in life is to sing," I tell them this: "Please don't make your career your life." Let it be your passion, let it bring you pleasure, but don't let it become your identity. You are so much more valuable than that.

Learn to build your foundations. Figure out your likes and dislikes, and don't ever be afraid to express them. If you can realize you are capable of many things, you'll be able to survive anything life throws at you.

— As told to Naomi Barr


Friday, April 18, 2008

Let's run through the rain

She had been shopping with her Mom in that store. She must have been 6 years old, this beautiful red haired, freckle faced image of innocence. It was pouring outside. The kind of rain that gushes over the top of rain gutters, so much in a hurry to hit the earth it has no time to flow down the spout. We all stood there under the awning and just inside the door of the departmental store. We waited, some patiently, others irritated because nature messed up their hurried day. I am always mesmerized by rainfall. I got lost in the sound and sight of the heavens washing away the dirt and dust of the world. Memories were a welcome reprieve from the worries of my day.

Her voice was so sweet as it broke the hypnotic trance we were all caught in, "Mom, let's run through the rain," she said.

"What?" Mom asked.

"Let's run through the rain!" She repeated.

"No, honey. We'll wait until it slows down a bit," Mom replied.

This young child waited about another minute and repeated: "Mom, let's run through the rain." "We'll get soaked if we do," Mom said. "No, we won't, Mom. That's not what you said this morning," the young girl said as she tugged at her Mom's arm.

"This morning? When did I say we could run through the rain and not get wet?"

"Don't you remember? When you were talking to Daddy about his cancer, you said, 'If God can get us through this, he can get us through anything!"

The entire crowd stopped dead silent. I swear you couldn't hear anything but the rain. We all stood silently. No one came or left in the next few minutes.

Mom paused and thought for a moment about what she would say. Now some would laugh it off and scold her for being silly. Some might even ignore what was said. But this was a moment of affirmation in a young child's life. A time when innocent trust can be nurtured so that it will bloom into faith.

"Honey, you are absolutely right. Let's run through the rain. If God let's us get wet, well maybe we just needed washing," Mom said. Then off they ran. We all stood watching, smiling and laughing as they darted past the cars and yes, through the puddles.

They held their shopping bags over their heads just in case. They got soaked. But they were followed by a few who screamed and laughed like children all the way to their cars. And yes, I did. I ran. I got wet. I needed washing.

Circumstances or people can take away your material possessions, they can take away your money, and they can take away your health. But no one can ever take away your precious memories. So, don't forget to make time and take the opportunities to make memories everyday.

I hope you take the time to run through the rain.


Making the parrot talk

A woman bought a parrot to keep her company. She returned to the pet store the next day with a complaint: "This bird you sold me won't talk."

The pet store manager said, "Does he have a mirror in his cage? Parrots love mirrors. They see their reflection and they start up a conversation." So she bought a mirror and went home.

A couple of days later she was back. The bird still wasn't talking. "How about a ladder?" the manager asked. "A ladder will make your parrot happy, and a happy parrot is more likely to talk." She bought the ladder and left.

Two days later she returned. The bird still hadn't said anything. The store manager thought for a minute and said, "How about a swing? All parrots need a swing. A swing will loosen him up, and he'll be talking in no time." The woman reluctantly bought the swing and left.

She was back the next day, looking forlorn. "My parrot died," she said.

"That's terrible," the manager said. "Did he ever say a word?"

"Yes," the woman said, "Right before he died he said, 'Don't they sell any food at that pet store?"

Hope you're not doing the same with your loved ones. Whether at work, or at home, the food to survive is affection, genuine care, and lots of praise for good deeds. Don't let them stay deprived of it. Ever.


Struggle of butterfly

A man found a cocoon of a butterfly.

One day a small opening appeared. He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole.

Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could, and it could go no further.

So the man decided to help the butterfly.

He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time.

Neither happened!

In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly.

What the man, and perhaps many of us, in our kindness or haste, do not understand is that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were God's way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieves freedom from the cocoon.

Things take their own time, hurrying never helps. And when struggle challenges you, don't panic. Just remember God's wish behind the struggle of butterfly.


Two frogs

Once upon a time in the country of Japan there lived two frogs.

One of whom made his home in a ditch near the town of Osaka, on the sea coast, while the other lived in a clear little stream which ran through the city of Kyoto.

At such a great distance apart, they had never even heard of each other; but, funnily enough, the idea came into both their heads at once that they should like to see a little of the world, and the frog who lived at Kyoto wanted to visit Osaka, and the frog who lived at Osaka wished to go to Kyoto. This was just by coincidence.

So one fine morning in the spring they both set out along the road that led from Kyoto to Osaka, one from one end and the other from the other. The journey was more tiring than they expected, for they did not know much about traveling, and halfway between the two towns there arose a mountain which had to be climbed. It took them a long time and a great many hops to reach the top, but there they were at last, and what was the surprise of each to see another frog before him!

They looked at each other for a moment without speaking, and then fell into conversation, explaining the cause of their meeting so far from their homes. It was delightful to find that they both felt the same wish--to learn a little more of their native country--and as there was no sort of hurry they stretched themselves out in a cool, damp place, and agreed that they would have a good rest before they parted to go their ways.

"What a pity we are not bigger," said the Osaka frog; "for then we could see both towns from here, and tell if it is worth our while going on."

"Oh, that is easily managed," returned the Kyoto frog. "We have only got to stand up on our hind legs, and hold onto each other, and then we can each look at the town he is traveling to."

Osaka frog loved this idea so much that he at once jumped up and put his front paws on the shoulder of his friend, who had risen also. There they both stood, stretching themselves as high as they could, and holding each other tightly, so that they might not fall down. The Kyoto frog turned his nose towards Osaka, and the Osaka frog turned his nose towards Kyoto; but the foolish things forgot that when they stood up their great eyes lay in the backs of their heads, and that though their noses might point to the places to which they wanted to go, their eyes beheld the places from which they had come.

"Dear me!" cried the Osaka frog, "Kyoto is exactly like Osaka. It is certainly not worth such a long journey. I shall go home!"

"If I had had any idea that Osaka was only a copy of Kyoto I should never have traveled all this way," exclaimed the frog from Kyoto, and as he spoke he took his hands from his friend's shoulders, and they both fell down on the grass. Then they took a polite farewell of each other, and set off for home again, and to the end of their lives they believed that Osaka and Kyoto, which are as different to look at as two towns can be, were as alike as two peas.

The things around us change their meaning according to the perceptions that we carry about them. Its the same world, but the way optimist looks at it is very different from that of pessimist.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Ant and the feather

One morning I watched nearly for an hour a tiny ant carry a huge feather cross my back terrace.

Several times it was confronted by obstacles in its path and after a momentary pause it would make the necessary detour. At one point the ant had to negotiate a crack in the concrete about 10mm wide!

After brief contemplation the ant laid the feather over the crack, walked across it and picked up the feather on the other side then continued on its way. I was fascinated by the ingenuity of this ant - it served to reinforce the miracle of creation. Here was a minute insect, lacking in size yet equipped with a brain to reason, explore, discover and overcome. But this ant, like the two-legged co-residents of this planet, also share human failings.

After some time the ant finally reached its destination - a flower bed at the end of the terrace and a small hole that was the entrance to its underground home. And it was here that the ant finally met its match. How could that large feather possibly fit down small holeOf course it couldn't. so the ant, after all this trouble and exercising great ingenuity, overcoming problems all along the way, just abandoned the feather and went home.

The ant had not thought the problem through before it began its epic journey and in the end the feather was nothing more than a burden.

Isn't life like that?!

We worry about our family, we worry about money or the lack of it, we worry about work, about where we live, about all sorts of things. These are all burdens - the things we pick up along life's path and lug them around the obstacles and over the crevasses that life will bring, only to find that at the destination they are useless and we can't take them with us!


Four apples

A teacher teaching Maths to seven-year-old Arnav asked him. “If I give you one apple and one apple and one apple, how many apples will you have?” Within a few seconds Arnav replied confidently, “Four!”

The dismayed teacher was expecting an effortless correct answer (three). She was disappointed. Maybe the child did not listen properly, she thought. She repeated, Arnav, listen carefully. “If I give you one apple and one apple and one apple, how many apples will you have?”

Arnav had seen the disappointment on his teacher’s face. He calculated again on his fingers. But within him he was also searching for the answer that will make the teacher happy. His search for the answer was not for the correct one, but the one that will make his teacher happy. This time hesitatingly he replied, “Four¦”

The disappointment stayed on the teacher’s face. She remembered that Arnav liked strawberries. She thought maybe he doesn’t like apples and that is making him loose focus. This time with an exaggerated excitement and twinkling in her eyes she asked, “If I give you one strawberry and one strawberry and one strawberry, then how many you will have?”

Seeing the teacher happy, young Arnav calculated on his fingers again. There was no pressure on him, but a little on the teacher. She wanted her new approach to succeed. With a hesitating smile young Arnav enquired, “Three?”

The teacher now had a victorious smile. Her approach had succeeded. She wanted to congratulate herself. But one last thing remained. Once again she asked him, “Now if I give you one apple and one apple and one more apple how many will you have?”

Promptly Arnav answered, "Four!"

The teacher was aghast. “How Arnav, how?”, she demanded in a little stern and irritated voice.

In a voice that was low and hesitating young Arnav replied, “Because I already have one apple in my bag.”

When someone gives you an answer that is different from what you expect don't think they are wrong. There maybe an angle that you have not understood at all. You will have to listen and understand, but never listen with a predetermined notion.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Riding the donkey

Different people have different perception. One man's meat could be another man's poison.

A couple bought a donkey from the market. On the way home, a boy commented, "Very stupid. Why neither of them rides on the donkey?"

Upon hearing that, the husband let the wife ride on the donkey. He walked besides them. Later, an old man saw it and commented, "The husband is the head of family. How can the wife ride on the donkey while the husband is on foot?"

Hearing this, the wife quickly got down and let the husband ride on the donkey. Further on the way home, they met an old Lady. She commented, "How can the man ride on the donkey but let the wife walk. He is no gentleman."

The husband thus quickly asked the wife to join him on the donkey. Then, they met a young man. He commented, "Poor donkey, how can you hold up the weight of two persons. They are cruel to you."

Hearing that, the husband and wife immediately climbed down from the donkey and carried it on their shoulders. It seems to be the only choice left. Later, on a narrow bridge, the donkey was frightened and struggled. They lost their balance ...and fell into the river.

You can never have everyone praise you, or condemn you, all the time. Thus, do not be too bothered by words of others if your own conscience is clear.


Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The exceptional cow

Once upon a time, a village witnessed one of the severest droughts ever. The crop failed and the villagers did not get anything in return from the landlord. Most of the villagers fled to the cities.

One of the villagers was particularly in a very bad state. His wife was suffering from malaria and in the absence of food or money he was desperate. He was desperate about ways to get some money to take his wife and his children to the town to get some work.

He then saw his cow wandering nearby munching the dried up patches of grass and bushes. He suddenly had a thought to sell his cow. "Surely someone would like to buy her", he thought.

The next day, early morning he started for the market. There, he stood under a tree and explained his plight to anyone who came and requested them to buy his cow. Nobody seemed to be the least interested. With sweat drenched dirty clothes and in the poor state of health he was in, he was looking a picture of the misery. As evening was approaching, he was losing all hope he had started with.

Out of nowhere, a merchant passed him. He looked at the peasant and with a sudden drive of compassion decided to help him sell the cow.

He asked a few questions and then, in a loud voice full of enthusiasm, he announced to the passers by, "Ladies and gentlemen, never let go an opportunity like this. This cow here, gives 2 bucketfuls of milk everyday, morning and evening. Do not be mistaken by her health. It is just because she has recently given birth to a young calf. This animal is of such an exceptional breed that last year she had won a prize during the agricultural exhibition of the neighboring village. My friend here, has come to an urgent situation and is willing to part with her for a price that seems to me ridiculous for such a prize animal. Who amongst you realize that an opportunity like this does not come everyday?"

Meanwhile, a small crowd gathered around them all willing to buy the animal. They all wanted to know the price. The merchant asked the peasant, "Well my friend, what is the price you expect? We have several buyers here".

The peasant stood up and with head held high, declared with pride and arrogance, "This animal is mine. She is too good to be sold. I shall keep her!"

Sometimes it is necessary to have the outside view to appreciate the value of what we have inside.


Monday, March 24, 2008

The numbers movie

Don't we care too much about numbers at times? Lets learn what numbers are more important than the numbers we get addicted to:


The love movie

The name says what it's about. You wouldn't be disappointed once you click:


A difficult judgment!

Interesting read, is all I would say...

In a small town, a person decided to open up his bar business, which was right opposite to the temple. The temple & its congregation started a campaign to block the bar from opening with petitions and prayed daily against his business.

Work progressed. However, when it was almost complete and was about to open a few days later, a strong lightning struck the Bar and it was burnt to the ground.

The temple folks were rather smug in their outlook after that, till the bar owner sued the temple authorities on the grounds that the temple through its congregation & prayers was ultimately responsible for the demise of his bar shop, either through direct or indirect actions or means.

In its reply to the court, the temple vehemently denied all responsibility or any connection that their prayers were reasons to the bar shop's demise. As the case made its way into court, the judge looked over the paperwork at the hearing and commented:

"I don't know how I'm going to decide this case, but it appears from the paperwork, we have a bar owner who believes in the power of prayer and we have an entire temple and its devotees that doesn't!!"


Friday, February 22, 2008


Not understanding the client requirements can be disastrous! See how:

In the days when you couldn't count on a public toilet facility, an English woman was planning a trip to India... She was registered to stay in a small guest house owned by the local schoolmaster. She was concerned as to whether the guest house contained a WC. In England, a bathroom is commonly called a WC which stands for "Water Closet". She wrote to the schoolmaster inquiring of the facilities about the WC.

The school master, not fluent in English, asked the local priest if he knew the meaning of WC. Together they pondered possible meanings of the letters and concluded that the lady wanted to know if there was a "Wayside Chapel" near the house... a bathroom never entered their minds.

So the schoolmaster wrote the following reply:
Dear Madam,

I take great pleasure in informing you that the WC is located 9 miles from the house. It is located in the middle of a grove of pine trees, surrounded by lovely grounds. It is capable of holding 229 people and is open on Sundays and Thursdays. As there are many people expected in the summer months, I suggest you arrive early. There is, however, plenty of standing room. This is an unfortunate situation especially if you are in the habit of going regularly.

It may be of some interest to you that my daughter was married in the WC as it was there that she met her husband. It was a wonderful event. There were 10 people in every seat. It was wonderful to see the expressions on their faces. We can take photos in different angle. My wife, sadly, has been ill and unable to go recently. It has been almost a year since she went last, which pains her greatly.

You will be pleased to know that many people bring their lunch and make a day of it. Others prefer to wait till the last minute and arrive just in time. I would recommend your ladyship plan to go on a Thursday as there is an organ accompaniment. The acoustics are excellent and even the most delicate sounds can be heard everywhere.

The newest addition is a bell which rings every time a person enters. We are holding a bazaar to provide plush seats for all since many feel it is long needed. I look forward to escorting you there myself and seating you in a place where you can be seen by all.

With deepest regards,
The Schoolmaster.

The woman fainted reading the reply, and apparently, never visited the place!


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tell the world for me

Some 14 years ago, I stood watching my university students fill into the classroom for our opening session in the theology of faith. That was the day I first saw Tommy. He was combing his hair, which hung six inches below his shoulders. My quick judgment wrote him off as strange - very strange.

Tommy turned out to be my biggest challenge. He constantly objected to, or smirked at the possibility of an unconditionally loving God. When he turned in his final exam at the end of the course, he asked in a slightly cynical tone, "Do you think I'll ever find God?"

"No," I said emphatically.

"Oh," he responded. "I thought that was the product you were pushing."

I let him get five steps from the door and then called out. "I don't think you'll ever find him, but I am certain he will find you." Tommy shrugged and left. I felt slightly disappointed that he had missed my clever line.

Later I heard that Tommy had graduated, and I was grateful for that. Then came a sad report: Tommy had terminal cancer. Before I could search him out, he came to me. When he walked into my office, his body was badly wasted, and his long hair had fallen out because of the chemotherapy. But, his eyes were bright and his voice, for the first time, was firm.

"Tommy! I've thought about you so often. I heard you were very sick," I blurted out.

"Oh, yes, very sick. I have cancer. It's a matter of weeks."

"Can you talk about it?"

"Sure. What would you like to know?"

"What's it like to be only 24 and know that you're dying?"

"It could be worse," he told me, "like being 50 and thinking that drinking booze, seducing women and making money are the real 'biggies' in life." Then, he told me why he had come.

"It was something you said to me on the last day of class. I asked if you thought I would ever find God and you said no, which surprised me. Then you said, 'But, he will find you.' I thought about that a lot, even though my search for God was hardly intense at that time."

"But, when the doctors removed a lump from my body and told me that it was malignant, I got serious about locating God. And when the malignancy spread into my vital organs, I really began banging against the bronze doors of heaven. But, nothing happened. Well, one day I woke up, and instead of my desperate attempts to get some kind of message, I just quit. I decided I didn't really care about God, an afterlife, or anything like that."

"I decided to spend what time I had left doing something more important. I thought about you and something else you had said: 'The essential sadness is to go through life without loving. But, it would be almost equally sad to leave this world without ever telling those you loved that you loved them.'

So, I began with the hardest Dad."

Tommy's father had been reading the newspaper when his son approached him.

"Dad, I would like to talk with you."

"Well, talk."

"I mean, it's really important."

The newspaper came down three slow inches. "What is it?"

"Dad, I love you. I just wanted you to know that."

Tommy smiled at me as he recounted the moment. "The newspaper fluttered to the floor. Then, my father did two things I couldn't remember him doing before. He cried and he hugged me. And then, we talked all night, even though he had to go to work the next morning."

"It was easier with my mother and little brother," Tommy continued.

"They cried with me, and we hugged one another, and shared the thing we had been keeping secret for so many years. I was only sorry that I had waited so long. Here I was, in the shadow of death, and I was just beginning to open up to all the people I had actually been close to."

"Then one day, I turned around and God was there. He didn't come to me when I pleaded with him. Apparently he does things in his own way and at his own hour. The important thing is that you were right. He found me even after I stopped looking for him."

"Tommy," I practically gasped, "I think you are saying something much more universal than you realize. You are saying that the surest way to find God is not by making him a private possession or an instant consolation in time of need, but rather by opening to love."

"Tommy," I added, "could I ask you a favor? Would you come to my theology-of-faith course and tell my students what you just told me?"

Though we scheduled a date, he never made it. Of course, his life was not really ended by his death, only changed. He made the great step from faith into vision. He found a life far more beautiful than the eye of humanity has ever seen, or the mind ever imagined.

Before he died, we talked one last time. "I'm not going to make it to your class," he said.

"I know, Tommy."

"Will you tell them for me? Will you . . . tell the whole world for me?"

"I will, Tommy. I'll tell them."


Monday, February 11, 2008

Old man's horse

There was an old man in a village, very poor, but even kings were jealous of him because he had a beautiful white horse.

Kings offered fabulous prices for the horse, but the man would say, "This horse is not a horse to me, he is a person. And how can you sell a person, a friend?" The man was poor, but he never sold the horse. One morning, he found that the horse was not in the stable. The whole village gathered and they said, "You foolish old man! We knew that someday the horse would be stolen. It would have been better to sell it. What a misfortune!" The old man said, "Don't go so far as to say that. Simply say that the horse is not in the stable. This is the fact; everything else is a judgment. Whether it is a misfortune or a blessing I don't know, because this is just a fragment. Who knows what is going to follow it?" People laughed at the old man. They had always known that he was a little crazy.

But after fifteen days, suddenly one night the horse returned. He had not been stolen, he had escaped into the wild. And not only that, he brought a dozen wild horses with him. Again the people gathered and they said, "Old man, you were right. This was not a misfortune, it has indeed proved to be a blessing." The old man said, "Again you are going too far. Just say that the horse is back... Who knows whether it is a blessing or not? It is only a fragment. You read a single word in a sentence. How can you judge the whole book?"

This time the people could not say much, but inside they knew that he was wrong. Twelve beautiful horses had come. The old man had an only son who started to train the wild horses. Just a week later he fell from a horse and his legs were broken. The people gathered again and again they judged. They said, "Again you proved right! It was a misfortune. Your only son has lost the use of his legs, and in your old age he was your only support. Now you are poorer than ever."

The old man said, "You are obsessed with judgment. Don't go that far. Say only that my son has broken his legs. Nobody knows whether this is a misfortune or a blessing. Life comes in fragments and more is never given to you."

It happened that after a few weeks the country went to war, and all the young men of the town were forcibly taken for the military. Only the old man's son was left, because he was crippled. The whole town was crying and weeping, because it was a losing fight and they knew most of the young people would never come back. They came to the old man and they said, "You were right, old man-this has proved a blessing. Maybe your son is crippled, but he is still with you. Our sons are gone forever." The old man said again, "You go on and on judging. Nobody knows! Only say this, that your sons have been forced to enter into the army and my son has not been forced. But only God, the total, knows whether it is a blessing or a misfortune...."

Similarly, judgment means a stale state of mind. And mind always wants judgment, because to be in process is always hazardous and uncomfortable. In fact, the journey never ends. One path ends, another begins. One door closes another opens. You reach a peak; a higher peak is always there. Only those who are so courageous that they don't bother about the goal but are content with the journey, content just to live the moment and grow into it, only those are able to walk with the total.


Friday, February 8, 2008

Test of love

John Blanchard stood up from the bench, straightened his Army uniform, and studied the crowd of people making their way through Grand Central Station.

He looked for the girl whose heart he knew, but whose face he didn't, the girl with the rose. His interest in her had begun thirteen months before in a Florida library. Taking a book off the shelf he found himself intrigued, not with the words of the book, but with the notes penciled in the margin. The soft handwriting reflected a thoughtful soul and insightful mind.

In the front of the book, he discovered the previous owner's name, Miss Hollis Maynell. With time and effort he located her address. She lived in New York City. He wrote her a letter introducing himself and inviting her to correspond. The next day he was shipped overseas for service in World War II.

During the next year and one-month the two grew to know each other through the mail. Each letter was a seed falling on a fertile heart. A Romance was budding.

Blanchard requested a photograph, but she refused. She felt that if he really cared, it wouldn't matter what she looked like.

When the day finally came for him to return from Europe, they scheduled their first meeting - 7:00 PM at the Grand Central Station in New York.

"You'll recognize me," she wrote, "by the red rose I'll be wearing on my lapel."

So at 7:00 he was in the station looking for a girl whose heart he loved, but whose face he'd never seen.

I'll let Mr. Blanchard tell you what happened:

A young woman was coming toward me, her figure long and slim. Her blonde hair lay back in curls from her delicate ears; her eyes were blue as flowers. Her lips and chin had a gentle firmness, and in her pale green suit she was like springtime come alive.

I started toward her, entirely forgetting to notice that she was not wearing a rose. As I moved, a small, provocative smile curved her lips.

"Going my way, sailor?" she murmured.

Almost uncontrollably I made one step closer to her, and then I saw Hollis Maynell. She was standing almost directly behind the girl. A woman well past 40, she had graying hair tucked under a worn hat. She was more than plump, her thick-ankled feet thrust into low-heeled shoes. The girl in the green suit was walking quickly away.

I felt as though I was split in two, so keen was my desire to follow her, and yet so deep was my longing for the woman whose spirit had truly companioned me and upheld my own.

And there she stood. Her pale, plump face was gentle and sensible, her gray eyes had a warm and kindly twinkle. I did not hesitate. My fingers gripped the small worn blue leather copy of the book that was to identify me to her.

This would not be love, but it would be something precious, something perhaps even better than love, a friendship for which I had been and must ever be grateful. I squared my shoulders and saluted and held out the book to the woman, even though while I spoke I felt choked by the bitterness of my disappointment.

"I'm Lieutenant John Blanchard, and you must be Miss Maynell. I am so glad you could meet me; may I take you to dinner?"

The woman's face broadened into a tolerant smile.

"I don't know what this is about, son," she answered, "but the young lady in the green suit who just went by, she begged me to wear this rose on my coat. And she said if you were to ask me out to dinner, I should go and tell you that she is waiting for you in the big restaurant across the street. She said it was some kind of test!"

Love comes in unexpected forms. Never judge it with your limited perceptions of the world.


Tuesday, February 5, 2008

You are fired!

Does management know their staff as much as they should? Well, not in this story at least!

On walking into the company, the CEO noticed a young guy leaning against the wall, doing nothing. He approached the young man and calmly said to him, "How much do you earn?"

The young man was quite amazed that he was asked such a personal question, he replied, none the less, "I earn Dhs. 2000.00 a month, Sir. Why?"

Without answering, the CEO took out his wallet and removed Dhs. 6000.00 cash and gave it to the young man and said, "Around here I pay people for working, not for standing around looking pretty! Here is 3 months' salary, now GET OUT and don't come back".

The young man turned around and was quickly out of sight. Noticing a few onlookers, the CEO said in a very upset manner, "And that applies for everybody in this company".

He approached one of the onlookers and asked him, "Who's the young man that I just fired?"

To which an amazing reply came of, "He was the pizza delivery man, Sir!"


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Be just who you are

A woman has a near death experience in the hospital. She sees God and asks, "Is it time for me to die?"

"Not at all," God replies, "you have 38 years, 2 months and 26 days to live."

Elated by the good news, she regains strength and has a variety of extra procedures done before she leaves the hospital. She has a facelift, a tummy tuck and liposuction, and has the hospital hair dresser dye her hair bright red for good measure.

Feeling fit for her next 38 years, she checks out of the hospital and is promptly run over by an ambulance and killed.

A short while later she sees God and cries, "What happened!? You said I had 38 years more to live. Why did you let that ambulance run me over?"

"Oh, sorry." replied God. "I didn't recognize you!"

Life offers each of us a pathway to learning, growth and giving. Don't waste your time trying to be someone you're not.

Acknowledge what you love, enjoy what turns you on, and pursue whatever brings out the very best in you. Discover, and then be who you are.


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Its how you take it

There were two brothers in a small village in the Eastern Cape. The twin brothers grew up knowing nothing else but poverty. Their father was an alcoholic and their mother a domestic worker. They grew up with very little.

Bad luck crushed their hopes even further. On their way home one day, their parents died instantly in a bus accident. No wonder the brothers' condition became even worse. At age 17 they separated.

Years and years later a family member decided to find them for a family reunion. One of the brothers was a wealthy engineer owning a construction company. He had a wife and three beautiful kids. However, the other was an alcoholic with no sense of direction for his life.

The family member asked the engineer, "How did your life turn out like this?"

"My father was an alcoholic. My parents died when I was small. I had no option but to come out of this desperate situation I was in. What did you expect with a childhood like mine?" he answered.

She moved on to the other brother with the same question.

"My father was an alcoholic. My parents died when I was small. This is how life treated me. What did you expect with a childhood like mine?" was his answer.

People are not disturbed by the things that happen, but by their perception of the things that happen.


Interview with God

What if, in one of those dark and deep moments of reflection, you get a chance to have a heart-to-heart talk with God himself? What would he have to say to your doubts, your fears, and those unresolved questions?

Here's the reply: Click to see

Enjoy the presentation.


Saturday, January 5, 2008

Idol & Stepping Stone

In a temple, when the priest had gone for lunch, the idol of the Lord and the stepping stone started conversing.

Stepping Stone: "What a good fate you have. We both were the same lump of rock for millions of years. The sculptor carved an idol out of you and every one is worshipping you. And look at me, I am a stepping stone and every one stands on me and stamps on. What kind of life is this?"

The Idol kept smiling and never bothered to answer this, now, routine murmur from the stepping stone. But the stepping stone will never stop his constant bickering.

The Idol finally replied: “But do you remember that when the sculptor set out to carve an idol, it was you he chose, first. You were so impatient. In one strike, you broke in to two . But when he tried on me, I grinned and bore all the hammers and chisel strikes with patience . Here I am the worshipful and happy idol and you are the Stepping Stone."

The difference between success and failure is patience and persistence.


Thursday, January 3, 2008

Survivors of Sep 11

After Sept. 11th, one company invited the remaining members of other companies who had been decimated by the attack on the Twin Towers to share their available office space.

At a morning meeting, the head of security told stories of why these people were alive, and, would you believe, all the stories were about small 'little' things. Such as:

The head of the company survived that day because his son started kindergarten.

Another fellow was alive because it was his turn to bring donuts!

One woman was late because her alarm clock didn't go off in time!

One of them missed his bus!

One spilled food on her clothes and had to take time to change!

One's car wouldn't start.

One went back to answer the telephone.

One had a child that dawdled and didn't get ready as soon as he should have. One couldn't get a taxi.

The one that struck me was the man who put on a new pair of shoes that morning, took the various means to get to work but before he got there, he developed a blister on his foot. He stopped at a drugstore to buy a Band-Aid -- and that is why he is alive today!

Now when you are stuck in traffic, miss an elevator, turn back to answer a ringing telephone... all the little things that annoy you, just say to yourself: Maybe, this is exactly where God wants me to be at this very moment.

So next time your morning seems to be going wrong, the children are slow getting dressed, you can't seem to find the car keys, you hit every traffic light, don't get mad or frustrated. Just say to yourself:

Maybe, just maybe, this is exactly where God wants me to be at this very moment.


Wednesday, January 2, 2008


Koi is a species of Japanese fish. The fascinating thing about the Koi is that if you keep it in a small fish bowl, it will grow to be only about two to three inches long. Place the Koi in a larger tank or small pond and it will reach six to ten inches. Put it in a large pond, and it may get as long as a foot and a half. However, if you put it in a huge lake where it can really stretch out, it has the potential to reach sizes up to three feet.

People, like the Koi, will grow to the dimensions of their boundaries. Fortunately, unlike Koi, we have the advantage of helping our people select their boundaries. And it is the leader's job to set the kind of boundaries that allow people to reach their full potential.