Saturday, August 18, 2012

Worthy



During a visit to the Beethoven museum in Bonn, a young American student became fascinated by the piano on which Beethoven had composed some of his greatest works. She asked the museum guard if she could play a few bars on it; she accompanied the request with a lavish tip, and the guard agreed.

The girl went to the piano and tinkled out the opening of the Moonlight Sonata. As she was leaving she said to the guard, "I suppose all great pianists who come here want to play on that piano."

The guard shook his head. "Padarewski [the famed Polish pianist] was here a few years ago and he said he wasn't worthy to even touch it."


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Friday, August 17, 2012

The Gift of Friendship


There is a gift of friendship
That God has given to me,
He put you there to help me
With the things I can not see,

A friend is someone special
Who’s always there for you,
In good times and in bad
A friend will see you through,

God’s the one who gives us friends
This is his special gift,
Our friends are always there
When we need that extra lift,

There are certain things
That only friends can share,
And also when I need you
I know that you’ll be there,

You know you have a friend
For you have a friend in me,
I’ll always be there to help you
With the things you can not see.




Credits: Melinda Tanner

The Rain Rain Rain

Making choices



A middle aged man went to his parents' house for dinner one evening. He mournfully turned the discussion to his many problems; “I’ve just left my third failed marriage, I can’t hold onto a job, I’m in debt up to my ears and will have to declare personal bankruptcy” he whimpered.

When things go wrong, it’s easy to blame others. Blaming others for our difficulties is the easy way out. That’s why it’s so popular. If you switch on the TV and tune into any daytime talk show and you’ll find endless examples of people blaming everybody and everything for the way their lives have turned out.

But the happiest and most successful people - the leaders who get things done and get on with their lives know that life is an endless series of choices, and take responsibility for these choices as well as the consequences of their actions.

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Few Hymns

Below are few hymns used by various professionals. Click on the link to listen to them.

The Dentist’s hymn: Crown Him with Many Crowns

The Electrician’s hymn: Send the Light

The Weatherman’s hymn: There Shall Be Showers of Blessings

The Contractor’s hymn: The Church’s One Foundation

The Tailor’s hymn: Holy, Holy, Holy

The Shopper’s hymn: Sweet By and By

The Golfer’s hymn: There Is a Green Hill Far Away

The Politician’s hymn: Standing on the Promises

The Optometrist’s hymn: Open My Eyes that I May See

The Gossip’s hymn: Pass It On




Butterfly, botanist and the bee



Once a man was looking outside through his window admiring the beauty of the garden, he saw a butterfly flitting from flower to flower. It spent a few seconds on the edge of a rose, then a daisy, and then a sunflower. The garden was a rainbow of fragrance and color, but the butterfly gained no particular benefit from any of the flowers there.

Next he saw a botanist with a large notebook and an equally large magnifying glass in his hand. As the botanist carefully observed each flower, he filled a great number of pages with his notes. But after hours of meticulous study, most of what he learned was shut up in his notebook and forgotten.

Then he observed a small bee. The bee enthusiastically entered a flower, was gone from view for a brief moment, and then emerged laden with pollen. It had left the hive that morning empty, but would return full, and in doing so would share his abundance. With that pollen, sweet honey would be made to sustain, not only himself, but the entire hive for the future.

The man pondered:
Some people are like butterflies, going from teacher to teacher, seminar to seminar, book to book. They are so very busy, and expend so much energy, but have little to show for their efforts. They remain unchanged in any significant way because they never really delve into things wholeheartedly. They’re content to simply flutter around the edges.

Others, like the botanist, may study in great depth but never apply what is learnt to their lives. Content to study, they know much, but receive little benefit. Striving for knowledge alone, they are unaffected by the knowledge they gain.

Our lives would be very different if we could only learn from the bee — visiting each flower with purpose and passion. To whole-heartedly dive in — to lose ourselves, to go into every opportunity with an open mind, determined to emerge fuller than when we began, to do more than simply flutter, to do more that simply take notes, but to take action. To joyfully give of our abundance so that others can make something sweeter, something that will sustain not only ourselves, but bless others as well.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Christian Prayer




An atheist was once taking a walk through the woods, admiring all that the evolution had created. "What majestic trees! What powerful rivers! What beautiful animals!", he said to himself.

As he was walking alongside the river he heard a rustling in the bushes behind him. He turned to look. He saw a 7-foot bear charge towards him. He ran as fast as he could up the path. He looked over his shoulder and saw that the bear was closing.

He ran even faster, so scared that tears were coming to his eyes. He looked over his shoulder again, and the bear was even closer. His heart was pumping frantically and he tried to run even faster. He tripped and fell on the ground. He rolled over to pick himself up but realized that he broke his leg during the fall. He saw the bear so close to him, raising his right paw to strike him.

At that instant the Atheist cried out "Oh my Lord!...."

Time stopped.
The bear froze.
The forest was silent.
Even the river stopped moving.

As a bright light shone upon the man, a voice came out of the sky, "You deny my existence for all of these years; you taught others I don't exist; and even credit creation to a cosmic accident. Do you expect me to help you out of this predicament? Am I to count you as a believer?"

The atheist looked directly into the light "It would be hypocritical of me to suddenly ask You to treat me as Christian now, but perhaps could you make the bear a Christian?"

"Very well," said the voice.

The light went out.
The river ran again.
And the sounds of the forest resumed.

"Thank you, Lord!" exclaimed the atheist.

And to his bewilderment, the bear sat down, brought both paws together bowed his head and prayed:

"Lord, for this food which I am about to receive, I am truly thankful...AMEN!"

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Oops



Misspelling names could be either a sign of sloppiness or lack of attention and is very impolite.

Melvin Durai's comment on my blog yesterday struck a chord with me. He corrected my error pleasantly and without making an issue of it - rather presenting it in an humorous fashion.

Having similar names at workplace can lead into similar confusion often times. While leading a project in Charlotte, North Carolina, our CIO's first name was Jakob and mine spelled Jacob. In meetings there used to be a confusion as to which Jakob/Jacob said so, since both are pronouced alike. The next answer would be the 'Big one'. That again left everyone perplexed as both of us were over 6 ft tall.  Ultimately, I told everyone, let's crown Jakob as the 'Big one' considering his rank and degree of toughness.

Soon after the christmas party - I emailed one girl asking how she enjoyed the party and to meet me for a working lunch the following week. I got an affirmative response righ away.  I met her in the hallway and reminded her of our lunch the previous day - just to ensure we were on track. That's when she realized it was me and not the 'Big Jakob'. I still remember the way she received it, along with the disappointment on her face, asking, "That was you - eh?"

Anyway, Melvin - thanks for pointing out my error and giving me an opportunity to stay corrected.

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Assumption of Mary - day 15


Today, August 15. we commemorate the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary - the death of Mary and her bodily assumption into Heaven.

May all your prayers be answered and may your family be blessed by the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Confidence



Bobby Leach was a stuntman who performed amazing feats. Once, he went over Niagara Falls in a specially designed steel drum and lived to tell about it. Although he suffered minor injuries, he survived because he recognized the tremendous dangers involved in the feat, and because he had done everything he could to protect himself from harm.

Several years after that incident, while skipping down the street in New Zealand, Bobby Leach slipped on an orange peeling, fell, and badly fractured his leg. He was taken to a hospital where he later died of complications from that fall. He received a greater injury walking down the street than he sustained in going over Niagara. He was not prepared for danger in what he assumed to be a safe situation.

Moral: Confidence, coupled with negligence, can lead to bad consequences.


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Assumption of Mary - day 14

Monday, August 13, 2012

India Enjoys Most Successful Olympic Games Ever



Here is a column I came across, written by Melwin Durai - an accomplished India-born, North America-based writer and humorist. Melwin's writings will make anyone laugh and is often thought provoking.  Enjoy the article!
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India is basking in the glory of its most successful Olympics campaign ever, with four of its athletes going home with bronze medals, two with silver medals, and one with Usain Bolt’s autograph.

India’s Sports Minister Ajay Maken congratulated the Olympic team on their “super success” at the London Olympics. “At a single Olympics, you have won more medals than at the previous three Olympics combined,” he said. “Thanks to you, we have gone from winning 20 Olympic medals in our history to 26, which means that India, in terms of world ranking, is now well-ahead of Michael Phelps.”

His reference to Phelps was a deliberate response to critics who had compared the American swimmer’s all-time record haul of 22 medals to that of India, whose athletes in previous decades would win a single medal at each Olympics with such regularity, many Indians believed there was a quota system in play. “It was never a question of whether we would win one medal,” said sports historian Abdul Ibrahim. “It was always a question of who would win that medal.”

Indian sports fans had brushed aside the comparison to Phelps, saying it didn’t bother them at all, but soon after wrestler Sushil Kumar won a silver medal, the 26th in the country’s history, thousands of ecstatic fans poured into the streets of New Delhi, some of them waving signs that said “Sorry, Michael Phelps — you’ll never catch India!” and “India leaves Michael Phelps in the dust.”

Kumar also won a bronze medal at the Beijing Olympics, making him the first Indian to win multiple medals in an individual event. Indian athletes recorded several other firsts in London:  Saina Nehwal became the first Indian to win a medal in badminton, Mary Kom became the first Indian woman to win a medal in boxing, and tennis players Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi became the first Indians to run victory laps after each other’s loss.

“Even those who did not win medals gave it their best effort and made us proud,” Maken said. “Two of our athletes reached the final in discus throw, two of our boxers came within one victory of winning a medal, and our field hockey team … well, they were on time for all six matches.”

India has now won six medals in boxing and wrestling in its history, and would have won many more, experts believe, if not for Gandhi’s messages of nonviolence. “When Mary Kom won her medal in boxing, an American friend said to me, ‘Gandhi must be rolling in his grave,’” Ibrahim recalled. “And I said, ‘Well, it’s a good thing that he was cremated.’”

India even did well in a speed event in London, with Irfan Kolothum Thodi finishing in the top ten in the 20 km walk. A confident Thodi, who broke the Indian national record, threw out a challenge to Usain Bolt, the fastest man in the world: “You might be able to outrun me, Usain, but I can out-walk you. Just organize a walk. Anywhere, any place, I am ready for you.”

India’s medal winners were promptly rewarded with cash awards and promotions. Many of the country’s top athletes support themselves through government jobs. Kumar, the wrestler, works for Indian Railways, where he — appropriately enough — takes care of pins. Kom, a five-time world boxing champion, is a Deputy Superintendent of Police. She is occasionally called upon to interrogate suspects, but they usually confess before they get to meet her.

Sports Minister Maken was in such a celebratory mood after the Olympics that he even extended warm wishes to Madhura Nagendra, the Olympic gatecrasher who walked with the Indian team at the opening ceremony. “We did so well at the London Olympics that we have invited her to walk with us again in four years.”



Credits: Melwin Durai (c) Copyright 2012 Melvin Durai. All Rights Reserved.  - http://MelvinDurai.com 

Class has started

Welcome the newest batch of 11th graders. Yesterday was our first day of class. We went over the general guidelines that I mandate in my class. The central theme for our class this year is:

Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me. - Psalms 27: 10

Here are few points for you to note:

Dress neatly:  I want all of my students to dress neatly.  Be at your Sunday best. You are coming into the God's temple and you certainly want to be at your best.

Attend Church: I want my class to attend church service first, prior to coming to Sunday school. I won't entertain anyone just coming to Sunday school (by skipping church) for the sake of learning. The idea of Sunday school is learn about God and to forge an everlasting bond with Him.

Bring your tools: Bring your tools to the Sunday school - Bible, pen/pencil, notebook, textbook and your smiley face. On the same note, silence your cell phones and other electronic gadgets prior to entering the class. While you are here to learn about God, I want your complete focus and attention.

Text book: The textbook provided to you will constitute about 40% of what we cover in our class. We will be covering and completing all those lessons, but will discuss a major chunk of related material from other sources as well.  This is to provide a 360 degree view of the practical world we live in this country - to make you better citizens.

Online learning: We will have all our lecture notes, projects and other assignments available online. In the unlikely event of you missing any class, our activities posted online should serve as reference, for your convenience.

Communication: Most of you have gmail accounts and we'll be communicating via gmail.  It has several good features and is spam-free with no space limitation. Feel free to call me anytime and I will address your call at the earliest.

Questions: Do not be afraid to ask questions if you do not understand something.  I will do my very best within my resources to address your queries. My class usually tends to be longer - yes I do hear when the bell goes off, but am paying more attention to the subject area that's being discussed (than the bell).

Parent involvement: Parents are your earthly guardians, Lord has entrusted you with.  They are here with the sole aim of making you excel at what you do. I will be having an on-going dialog with your parents - a periodic update. At first, I will discuss the topics with you so that it is no surprise for you. In order for us to be successful, the student, parents and teacher - all three of us will have to work as a trio. This partnership is essential for your continuous improvement.

Grades: Please do not come to my class with the sole aim of securing grades.  For that, all you need to do is cram the textbook and reproduce the answers on the test.  Come to my class to learn much more than that - to discover your hidden talent, to experience the joy of being successful and to ultimately be connected to God. He is the one who ultimately grades us, and our objective should be to pass His judgement.

Spiritual and Professional growth: My class tends to discuss many of the practical problems faced by students in your age group - the ones that bother you and serve as a hindrance during your spiritual and professional journey. I look forward to forging a long term friendship with each of you even after the end of this year and would like to see you being successful in your life - both spiritually and professionally.

I am excited to have you in my class - I take this opportunity to learn from you as well. In our next class, we will discuss the results of the test we had yesterday.

Sit tight, buckle up and be ready for the ride.

Assumption of Mary - day 13

Casting shadow




Peter, in the early days of Christianity had become such an influential, powerful man of God, that people would bring sick people on pallets and cots in the streets where he might pass by, hoping his shadow would fall over them and, hopefully, they would be healed. Such was the aura of greatness around that man.

Do you ever think about your shadow? You should, because our shadow goes with us wherever we go, never falling on us, but on someone else. We're rarely aware of where it falls. We all influence someone - parents influence kids, coaches influence players, teachers influence students.

What kind of shadow do you cast? Is it for good, or for evil? To build up, or tear down? To encourage, or discourage? To help, or to hurt? Does it point people to God, or just to yourself?

As you think about the life that you live, think about the legacy you want to leave. What kind of shadow do you cast - so that people remember you?




Credits: RFTH

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Olympic Medals



Congratulations to Team USA for winning a total of 104 medals - 46 Gold, 29 Silver and 29 Bronze. One US medalist mentioned there is so much sweat, blood, tears and prayers behind these medals.

China has a prominent place in the Olympics. They even secured a second place in the medal race. Looks like they use the same two athletes for every event - every Chinese athlete can be classified under one of the two hair styles. They probably made all of the uniforms and equipment for the London Olympics.

Mexico won the coveted soccer gold medal. They announced the reason for its poor performance at the 2012 games: "Pretty much everyone who can run, jump, or swim has already left the country (into USA)."


Sunday school reopens today