Saturday, June 15, 2013

My Father's Hands

When I was just a toddler, my first thoughts of my father were of how huge his hands were.  So big, I could sit in his palm, diaper and all, like a little bird.  It was a comfortable seat for me at that age.  He was strong, and his hands were huge and meaty.  He could hold me at arms length, and I still felt safe and secure.  As I grew older and bigger, I noticed that I could no longer fit so securely in his palm.  Still, his hands were big and strong.  He could lift heavy things with ease.  I marveled at his strength.  I often looked at those hands in amazement, watching him use them to perform fatherly tasks.  He was a great fixer, and could put a bicycle together, unclog a drain, sharpen a kitchen knife for my mother.  Those were talented hands.  He was especially adept at building cabinets and closets, repairing windows, leveling floors and laying tile.  His hands could measure and mark, cut and saw, hammer and screw wood together like an artist painting or a sculptor carving.

As I grew older still, I found that those same hands could be an instrument of punishment.  As any boy-child might, I occasionally transgressed.  Then those hands of his would be swung like a paddle, usually aimed at my backside.  I came to fear them, for they were still huge and strong-appearing to an eight or ten year old boy.  Not that I didn't deserve the swats, or that they were inflicted with unusual cruelty.  He was an old-fashioned father, who believed in instant correction for wrongdoing.  So, in that fashion, I learned moral and ethical lessons from those hands.

When I entered my teen years, I began to notice changes in my own hands.  They were becoming larger and bonier, and I often wondered if they would ever become as strong and capable as Dad's.  By now, he was entering middle age, and his hands did not seem so huge, but appeared to be getting meatier.  Ham-handed, I think they call it.  It was as if he had muscles bulging out around the finger and knuckle bones.  He certainly had a lot of strength in them, and Mom was always calling on him to open stuck jar lids.  Sometimes, though, I began to notice there were tasks he could not perform barehanded.  His need to resort to a wrench, or to a vise, or to a hammer, to accomplish some task, caused me to stop thinking of him as a superman.  His hands were beginning to demonstrate his mortality, and I was recognizing it for the first time.

When I graduated from Navy recruit training, my fathers' hands changed again.  Full of confidence, I returned home on leave feeling like I had at last attained manhood.  My father hugged me at first sight, then, embarrassed a bit, he stepped back and extended his hand.  We shook, and I realized that, at last, my hands were the same size as his.  Not quite as strong yet, but getting real close.  In later years, we worked together filing cars, doing yard work, building a house, undertaking renovations.  His hands were still strong and capable, but now I saw them as normal man's hands.  Large, calloused, strong.  He could work outdoors in cold weather, with his hands turning red, and never complain.  I learned stoicism from those hands in the cold of New England winters.

When I married, and had a child of my own, the circle of life began to close in on itself.  I held my daughter in my own palm one day, and realized that that was my first impression of my father.  I wondered if my daughter would remember me by my hands.  As I looked at them, I realized how much like my fathers' hands they had become.  Same size, same shape, same wrinkling of the skin.  As I stroked her hair, I wondered how many times my father had used his hands on me in the same fashion, while I slept, unaware.  A grandfather four times over by now, I noticed age creeping into my father's hands.  More wrinkles, less muscularity, an occasional brown spot.  Sometimes, he had to ask me to open a jar, or pick up a heavy object.  His hands were becoming weak and bony.  An old man's hands, crossed back and forth with blue veins, standing dearly under the loose skin.

Finally, his body began to malfunction.  Several times he had to be hospitalized, and it was painful to me to see his hands pierced by needles and swathed in tape and gauze.  Lifting a glass to his lips, his hands would shake, as if with the exertion.  He lacked the old confidence in their power and utility, and moved objects carefully, lest they be spilled.  Sometimes they did.  At the very end, in a hospital emergency ward, he seemed to have difficulty just lifting those hands to wave "hi".  Thin and bony, they remained motionless most of the time.  Early one morning, I was summoned to the hospital to say my final farewell.  As I took his lifeless hands in mine, and felt the warmth fading away, I realized how important those hands had been in my own life.  The comfort, the safety, the help, the lessons they had offered.  With a final comparison, I saw how much of him I had inherited.  When last I saw those hands, folded together across his chest, clutching his prayer beads, I couldn't resist laying my own on top of them, mentally saying, "Thanks, Dad, for lending me a helping hand while I was growing up."

- A narrative by Paul Clements:

Children - This Father's day, find few minutes to spend with him. Take your father's hands and and kiss them. Show him that you value those hands in bringing you up to where you are today. Not only your earthly father, but also your Heavenly Father will appreciate your token of love.

Happy Father's day.


Friday, June 14, 2013

Worst charities

Certain charities are run like businesses under cover. On paper, they are are non profit organizations - charitable, educational and nonprofit as defined under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. Any donations made towards such organization is considered 'tax deductible' by uncle sam. Unfortunately, uncle sam cannot control where the actual money is going.

Reading an article on CNN, about the 'worst charities in America', it's interesting to learn that Almost 96 cents of every dollar raised by charities went towards solicitors. In the past 10 years, charities raised approximately $1.3 billion and about $1 billion of those funds were used towards it's 'management and solicitors'. Here are some interesting names:

Kids Wish Network (raised $127.8 million, paid $109.8 million to solicitors, and spent 2.5% of funds raised on direct cash aid);

Cancer Fund of America (raised $98 million, paid $80.4 million to solicitors, and spent 0.9% of funds raised on direct cash aid);

American Breast Cancer Foundation (raised $80.8 million, paid $59.8 million to solicitors, and spent 5.3% of funds raised on direct cash aid);

Breast Cancer Relief Foundation (raised $63.9 million, paid $44.8 million to solicitors, and spent 2.2% of funds raised on direct cash aid);

Children’s Cancer Fund of America (raised $37.5 million, paid $29.2 million to solicitors, and spent 5.3% of funds raised on direct cash aid).

Our churches are not far behind, where accounting is synonymous to muddy water. Bishops and priests notoriously rob God-fearing parishioners to facilitate their dream projects. Shamefully, modern church is an institution where God is not eligible to be around.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Men talk

Means: "I'm going to drink myself dangerously stupid, and stand by a stream with a stick in my hand, while the fish swim by in complete safety."

Means: "There is no rational thought pattern connected with it, and you have no chance at all of making it logical."

Means: "Why isn't dinner already on the table?"

Means: Absolutely nothing. It's a conditioned response.

Means: "I have no idea how it works."

Means: "I was busy admiring that redhead over there."

Means: "I can't hear the game over the vacuum cleaner."

Means: "Are you still talking?"

Means: "I remember the theme song to 'F Troop', the address of the first girl I ever kissed, and the vehicle identification numbers of every car I've ever owned, but I forgot your birthday."

Means: "The girl selling them on the corner was a real babe."

Means: "I have actually severed a limb, but will bleed to death before I admit that I am hurt."

Means: "And I sure hope I think of some pretty good reasons soon."

Means: "It didn't fall into my outstretched hands, so I'm completely clueless."

Means: "What did you catch me at?"

Means: "I haven't the foggiest clue what you just said, and am hoping desperately that I can fake it well enough so that you don't spend the next 3 days yelling at me."

Means: "I am used to the way you yell at me, and realize it could be worse."

Means: "Please don't try on one more outfit, I'm starving."

Means: "No one will ever see us alive again."


Home schooling

Fathers - those of you who have your own daughters, consider them a treasure from Lord. 

It's your duty to educate and train your sons to be wise and walk in the way of Lord. May they follow the example of Jesus Christ as their role model.  

And by the way, the most expensive gift you can provide your children is to love their mother and treat her with respect & dignity. 

Happy Fathers Day!!!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Guns and doctors

Here is more info on the above topic - an interesting read. Have some more free time - here is another supporting article on the same topic.

Consider this as humor and don't pay too much attention. Comparing doctor deaths to accidental firearm deaths is meaningless, especially because doctors are dealing with people who are sick in the first place, some of whom are at high risk for death or have gone through high risk medical procedures.

There was one more part to the original article, "Out of concern for the public at large, we withheld the statistics on lawyers for fear the shock would cause people to panic and seek medical attention."


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Empty Jar

Once an old woman found an empty jar which had lately been full of perfume and which still retained the fragrance of its former contents.  

She placed it several times near her nose, drawing it backwards and forwards. After few tries, she exclaimed, "Oh most delicious! How nice the perfume itself must have been, when the vessel which contained it has so sweet of a fragrance." 

Moral: The memory of a good deed lives on.

Memory is a good thing which Lord has provided. It's not perfect as memory gets erased over time. We tend to remember and treasure those wonderful moments we enjoyed with others. It's memory of the past that gives us hope and courage to carry on forward in our lives. Jot down your memory in a scrap book, album or so, enabling you to recall those moments in your lifetime while viewing life in the rear view mirror.


Monday, June 10, 2013

The Search for Wisdom

When I was still young, before I started out on my travels, I boldly prayed for Wisdom. I went to the Temple and asked for her, and I will look for her as long as I live. From my blossoming youth to my ripe old age she has been my delight. I have followed directly in her path ever since I was young. I received Wisdom as soon as I began listening for her, and I have been rewarded with great knowledge. I have always been a learner and am grateful to everyone who has been my teacher. I was determined to live wisely and was devoted to the cause of goodness. I have no regrets.

I fought for Wisdom and was strict in my conduct. When I prayed, I sadly confessed how far short of Wisdom I fell. But I was determined to have her, and I found her by keeping myself free from sin. I have grown in Wisdom since first I found her, and I will never be without her. Because I was driven by the desire to find her, I have been richly rewarded. The Lord gave me a gift for words, and I have used it in his praise.

Come to me, all you that need instruction, and learn in my school. Why do you admit that you are ignorant and do nothing about it? Here is what I say: It costs nothing to be wise. Put on the yoke, and be willing to learn. The opportunity is always near. See for yourselves! I have really not studied very hard, but I have found great contentment. No matter how much it costs you to get Wisdom, it will be well worth it. Be joyfully grateful for the Lord's mercy, and never be ashamed to praise him.Do your duty at the proper time, and the Lord, at the time he thinks proper, will give you your reward.

- Sirach 51:13-30

The Book of Sirach, or Wisdom of Sirach also known as The Book Ecclesiasticus is a work of early ethical teachings (approximately 200-175 B.C).

'Wisdom' and 'Intelligence' are both ways of saying someone knows what to do. The difference is that 'wisdom' means one has a high average outcome across all situations, and 'intelligent' means one does spectacularly well in a few situations.Most of us we consider wisdom as something superior to knowledge and intelligence. Wisdom means light - illumining light - that which illumines our unlit consciousness. Graphically, if we were to plot a graph in which the x-axis represented situations and the y-axis the outcome, the graph of the wise person would be high overall, and the graph of the intelligent person would have high peaks.

You should seek wisdom that only God can provide. Simply ask Him for wisdom. When you ask God for guidance, He will never withhold it. Petition to Him sincerely. When your heart genuinely awaits to form a relationship with the Holy Spirit (the grantor of Wisdom), your Heavenly Father will guide your steps, enlighten your mind and illuminate your heart. Relax, breathe deeply and slowly, find your center of peace, and open the doors to your heart and mind with the aid of wisdom - it is fabulous.

You will be unable to acquire God's wisdom without obeying His commandments. The reason is that God's wisdom is not merely a collection of thoughts, rather a way of life.


Wise men of Gotham

There is a town in England called Gotham. One day, news was brought to Gotham that the king was coming that way, and that he would pass through the town. This did not please the men of Gotham at all. They hated the king, for they knew that he was a cruel, bad man. If he came to their town, they would have to find food and lodging for him and his men; and if he saw anything that pleased him, he would be sure to take it for his own. At that time in England, any road the king traveled on had to be made a public highway and the people of Gotham did not want a public highway through their village.What should they do?

They met together to talk the matter over.

"Let us chop down the big trees in the woods, so that they will block up all the roads that lead into the town," said one of the wise men.

"Good!" said all the rest.

So they went out with their axes, and soon all the roads and paths to the town were filled with logs and brush. The king's horsemen would have a hard time of it getting into Gotham. They would either have to make a new road, or give up the plan altogether, and go on to some other place.

When the king came, and saw that the road had been blocked up, he was very angry.

"Who chopped those trees down in my way?" he asked of two country lads that were passing by.

"The men of Gotham," said the lads.

"Well," said the king, "go and tell the men of Gotham that I shall send my sheriff into their town, and have all their noses cut off."

The two lads ran to the town as fast as they could, and made known what the king had said.

Everybody was in great fright. The men ran from house to house, carrying the news, and asking one another what they should do.

"Our wits have kept the king out of the town," said one; "and so now our wits must save our noses."

"True, true!" said the others. "But what shall we do?"

Then one, whose name was Dobbin, and who was thought to be the wisest of them all, said, "Let me tell you something. Many a man has been punished because he was wise, but I have never heard of any one being harmed because he was a fool. So, when the king's sheriff comes, let us all act like fools."

"Good, good!" cried the others. "We will all act like fools."

It was no easy thing for the king's men to open the roads; and while they were doing it, the king grew tired of waiting, and went back to London. But very early one morning, the sheriff with a party of fierce soldiers rode through the woods, and between the fields, toward Gotham. Just before they reached the town, they saw a queer sight. The old men were rolling big stones up the hill, and all the young men were looking on, and grunting very loudly.

The sheriff stopped his horses, and asked what they were doing.

"We are rolling stones uphill to make the sun rise," said one of the old men.

"You foolish fellow!" said the sheriff. "Don't you know that the sun will rise without any help?"

"Ah! will it?" said the old man. "Well, I never thought of that. How wise you are!"

"And what are you doing?" said the sheriff to the young men.

"Oh, we do the grunting while our fathers do the working," they answered.

"I see," said the sheriff. "Well, that is the way the world goes everywhere. " And he rode on toward the town.

He soon came to a field where a number of men were building a stone wall.

"What are you doing?" he asked.

"Why, master," they answered, "there is a cuckoo in this field, and we are building a wall around it so as to keep the bird from straying away."

"You foolish fellows!" said the sheriff. "Don't you know that the bird will fly over the top of your wall, no matter how high you build it?"

"Why, no," they said. "We never thought of that. How very wise you are!"

The sheriff next met a man who was carrying a door on his back.

"What are you doing?" he asked.

"I have just started on a long journey, " said the man.

"But why do you carry that door?" asked the sheriff.

"I left my money at home."

"Then why didn't you leave the door at home too?"

"I was afraid of thieves; and you see, if I have the door with me, they can't break it open and get in."

"You foolish fellow!" said the sheriff. "It would be safer to leave the door at home, and carry the money with you."

"Ah, would it, though?" said the man. "Now, I never thought of that. You are the wisest man that I ever saw."

Then the sheriff rode on with his men; but every one that they met was doing some silly thing.

"Truly I believe that the people of Gotham are all fools," said one of the horsemen.

"That is true," said another. "It would be a shame to harm such simple people."

"Let us ride back to London, and tell the king all about them," said the sheriff.

"Yes, let us do so," said the horsemen.

So they went back, and told the king that Gotham was a town of fools; and the king laughed, and said that if that was the case, he would not harm them, but would let them keep their noses.

Dr. Goldsmith

There was once a kind man whose name was Oliver Goldsmith (1730 - 1774). He had a gentle heart and wrote many delightful books. He was always ready to help others and to share with them anything that he had. He gave away so much to the poor that he was always poor himself. He was sometimes called Doctor Goldsmith; for he had studied to be a physician. This is the story of a true physician.

One day a poor woman asked Doctor Goldsmith to go and see her husband, who was sick and could not eat.

Goldsmith did so. He found that the family was in great need. The man had not had work for a long time. He was not sick, but in distress; and, as for eating, there was no food in the house.

"Call at my room this evening," said Goldsmith to the woman, "and I will give you some medicine for your husband."

In the evening the woman called. Goldsmith gave her a little paper box that was very heavy.

"Here is the medicine," he said. "Use it faithfully, and I think it will do your husband a great deal of good. But don't open the box until you reach home."

"What are the directions for taking it?" asked the woman.

"You will find them inside of the box," he answered.

When the woman reached her home, she sat down by her husband's side, and they opened the box. What do you think they found in it?

It was full of pieces of money. And on the top were the directions:


Goldsmith had given them all the money readily available at his house.

It took wisdom to understand the true medicine the woman's husband required and an even bigger heart to share his fortune.

As many of you aspire to be physicians one day, remember this story and try being like Dr. Goldsmith at least once during your lifetime. Experience the true 'joy of giving' to a needy, and I bet you'll love the feeling.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The dove and bee

Once upon a time during a warm summer day, a little bee felt thirsty. It flew towards a stream to drink a mouthful of water. In a hurry, the poor little bee fell into the stream and wet it's wings. The current in the stream was too strong for the bee. It tried to hold on something dry so that it won't drown. Unfortunately, the bee could not find anything in it's vicinity to hold on and let itself flow with the current.

A dove sitting on a tree branch saw the bee wearily struggling in the stream. With the sole goal of saving the bee, the dove hurriedly flew to pick a leaf and dropped it into the flowing stream.

The bee caught the leaf and climbed on it. “Thank you very much for saving my life, I will never forget,” the little bee told the dove.

Some days later, while the little bee was looking for food, it saw a hunter aiming his arrow at something high above. Then it saw the kind dove sitting on a branch of tree, unaware of the situation. The bee immediately stung the hunter’s hand making the crossbow fall off his hand. The dove was out of danger because of the bee whom she had saved his life.

From that day, both became close friends and helped each other ever after.

Moral: A friend who does good will receive good in return.

Today, how many of us will make an attempt to help others in distress. Most of us tend to think, "It's not my problem and let me not risk anything." If you've found a friend who has done good to you, and felt the warmth of such goodness, consider yourself blessed and try returning that goodness to someone else and share your love.

Jesus during the Sermon on the Mount said, “When you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret.  Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

But just a little earlier, Jesus says, “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Now here comes the tough question - Are we supposed to do our good deeds secretly, so that only God can see, or publicly, so that others will see and praise God?

My take: As long as our motive for giving is genuine, we will know when to give in secret and when to glorify God. The Holy Spirit will guide us during the process to take appropriate step(s).