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Chinese Year of the Horse 2014

Chinese Year of the Horse 2014

Hi Everyone! I’m back!

It’s the Chinese year of the wood horse and to kick off this auspicious year, I’ve decided to write again for online sites.

In preparation for contributing to a newsletter for a leadership website, I’m going to develop the habit of writing regularly by resuming my articles for Nothing profound or inspiring, just mainly brief news about things I witness or read about.

Who knows? I might earn a few bucks every month for a cup of coffee. Yes, they pay contributors based on the readership their articles generate. Not the kind of money to get me a Ferrari, but it’s the habit of writing I’m after.

Please don’t expect too much as I will not be putting too much journalistic effort in it. I’m saving my creativity and inspiration for something more meaningful like the leadership newsletter or my Facebook posts.

Here’s my first article for It’s titled

Auspicious gadgets for the Chinese Year of the Horse

Happy reading!



Inspiration for the day – 13 Jan 2013

This (edited) quote provides the inspiration for a wonderful day!

Happiness quote
Have a joyous life!


A Fresh Start – 2013

Happy New Year!

It’s the new year and I feel it’s time for a fresh start to my blog. Many friends on Facebook have asked for photos of our recent Mediterranean cruise in December, and I thought it would be good to share them on my blog.

This will take a few days as I am in the process on migrating to my own host. Some minor issues to sort out first.

It was a great vacation. Our first time in Europe. Being on a cruise made it easier to relax. No packing and unpacking, considering we visited 6 ports – Palma Mallorca, Malta, Sicily, Naples, Cicitavechia (Rome) and Livorno (Florence.and Pisa).

Cruise Serenade of The Seas

Hana and me, prior to boarding the Serenade of The Seas

Organizing the photographs is taking time as I kept snapping away. Living in a digital age is real cool. I had a memory card that could store over 10,000 images. My bad for not bringing a spare battery. Thought I could charge it at night and it would last a day. Nope.

That didn’t stop me from taking over 1,000 photographs. Most photographs were taken in St Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museum. “Beautiful” doesn’t come close to describing the sculptures and paintings.

Every picture tells a story and that is why I decided to share them here rather than on Facebook. This will allow me to relive our vacation when I feel like doing so.

Well, it’s time to get back to work. Someone has to pay for our next cruise vacation. ūüėČ

Happy 2013 my dear friends.


Lord, forgive me when I whine

I heard this poem many years ago and I think it is a timely reminder that I found it again today.


Praying handsToday, upon a bus, I saw a very beautiful woman and wished
I were as beautiful.
When suddenly she rose to leave,
I saw her hobble down the aisle.
She had one leg and wore a crutch.
But as she passed, she passed a smile.
Oh, God, forgive me when I whine.
I have two legs; the world is mine.

I stopped to buy some candy.
The lad who sold it had such charm.
I talked with him, he seemed so glad.
If I were late, it’d do no harm.
And as I left, he said to me,
“I thank you, you’ve been so kind.
It’s nice to talk with folks like you.
You see,” he said, “I’m blind.”
Oh, God, forgive me when I whine.
I have two eyes; the world is mine.

Later while walking down the street,
I saw a child I knew.
He stood and watched the others play,
but he did not know what to do.
I stopped a moment and then I said,
“Why don’t you join them dear?”
He looked ahead without a word.
I forgot, he couldn’t hear.
Oh, God, forgive me when I whine.
I have two ears; the world is mine.

With feet to take me where I’d go.
With eyes to see the sunset’s glow.
With ears to hear what I’d know.
Oh, God, forgive me when I whine.
I’ve been blessed indeed, the world is mine.

Have a wonderful week!


Water Conservation Tips

This month, I begin a series of blog posts focusing on conservation of energy. The tips below may refer to the holidays, but apply in our everyday lives too.


From City of Tampa Online:

The Southwest Florida Water Management District shares six easy ways to prepare for your holiday meals and parties without running up your water bill.

“It is especially important to conserve water during the holidays, as they fall within our traditional dry season,” said Robyn Felix, the District’s media relations manager. “We can all make a difference by incorporating a few simple tips into our routines.”

During the holidays, water plays a role in everything from food preparation to the clean-up process. Here’s how to incorporate water conservation into your holiday preparations:

1. Defrost frozen foods in the refrigerator or the microwave instead of running hot water over them.

water conservation

Conserve water

2. Rinse vegetables and fruits in a sink or pan filled with water instead of under running water. This water can then be reused to water houseplants. A running faucet can use up to 4 gallons per minute.

3. When washing dishes by hand, fill one sink or basin with soapy water and fill the rinsing sink one-third to one-half full. Avoid letting the water run continuously in the rinsing sink.

4. Select the proper size pans for cooking. Large pans require more cooking water than may be necessary.

5. Scrape food scraps into the garbage can or a composting bin, rather than rinsing them into the sink’s garbage disposal. A garbage disposal uses up to 4.5 gallons of water per minute.

6. Run your dishwasher only when you have a full load. Dishwashers use between 7 and 12 gallons per load.

For more water conservation tips, visit the District’s website at

The “Parable” of Three Trees

Once there were three trees on a hill in the woods.

They were discussing their hopes and dreams when the¬†first tree said,¬†“Someday I hope to be a treasure chest. I could be¬†filled with gold, silver and precious gems. I could¬†be decorated with intricate carving and everyone would¬†see the beauty.”

Then the second tree said, “Someday I will be a mighty¬†ship. I will take kings and queens across the waters¬†and sail to the corners of the world. Everyone will¬†feel safe in me because of the strength of my¬†hull.”

Finally the third tree said, “I want to grow to be the¬†tallest and straightest tree in the forest. People¬†will see me on top of the Hill and look up to my¬†branches, and think of the heavens and God and how¬†close to them I am reaching. I will be the greatest¬†tree of all time and people will always remember me.”

After a few years of praying that their dreams would come true, a group of woodsmen came upon the trees.

When one came to the first tree he said,¬†“This looks like a strong tree, I think I should be¬†able to sell the wood to a carpenter,” and he began¬†cutting it down. The tree was happy, because he knew¬†that the carpenter would make him into a treasure¬†chest.

At the second tree the woodsman said, “This looks like¬†a strong tree. I should be able to sell it to the¬†shipyard.” The second tree was happy because he knew¬†he was on his way to becoming a mighty ship.

When the¬†woodsmen came upon the third tree, the tree was¬†frightened because he knew that if they cut him down¬†his dreams would not come true. One of the Woodsmen¬†said, “I don’t need anything special from my Tree,¬†I’ll take this one,” and he cut it down.

When the first tree arrived at the carpenters, he was made into a feed box for animals. He was then placed in a barn and filled with hay. This was not at all what he had prayed for.

The second tree was cut and made into a small fishing boat. His dreams of being a mighty ship and carrying kings had come to an end.

The third tree was cut into large pieces, and left alone in the dark.

The years went by, and the trees forgot about their dreams.

Then one day, a man and woman came to the barn. She gave birth and they placed the baby in the hay in the feed box that was made from the first tree. The man wished that he could have made a crib for the baby, but this manger would have to do. The tree could feel the importance of this event and knew that it had held the greatest treasure of all time.

Years later, a group of men got in the fishing boat¬†made from the second tree. One of them was tired and¬†went to sleep. While they were out on the water, a¬†great storm arose and the tree didn’t think it was¬†strong enough to keep the men safe. The men woke the¬†sleeping man, and He stood and said “Peace” and the¬†Storm stopped. At this time, the tree knew that it¬†had carried the King of Kings in its boat.

Finally, someone came and got the third tree. It was carried through the streets as the people mocked the man who was carrying it. When they came to a stop, the man was nailed to the tree and raised in the air to die at the top of a hill.

When Sunday came, the tree came to realize that it was strong enough to stand at the top of the hill and be as close to God as was possible, because Jesus had been crucified on it.

The moral of this story is that when things don’t seem¬†to be going your way, always know that God has a plan¬†for you. If you place your trust in Him, God will¬†give you great gifts.

Each of the trees got what they wanted, just not in the way they had imagined.

We don’t always know what God’s plans are for us. We¬†just know that His ways are not our ways, but His ways¬†are always best.

Please keep this moving. Pass it on, so God may inspire more people.

May your day be blessed. And until we meet again, may God cradle you in the palm of His hand.


[This was forwarded to me by my aunt Meg]

How much does a miracle cost?

This gem was shared on Facebook by Jeanelle Knecht. Thanks Jeanelle!


A little girl went to her bedroom and pulled a glass jelly jar from its hiding place in the closet.

She poured the change out on the floor and counted it carefully. Three times, even. The total had to be exactly perfect. No chance here for mistakes.

Carefully placing the coins back in the jar and twisting on the cap, she slipped out the back door and made her way 6 blocks to Rexall’s Drug Store with the big red Indian Chief sign above the door.

She waited patiently for the pharmacist to give her some attention, but he was too busy at this moment. Tess twisted her feet to make a scuffing noise. Nothing.

She cleared her throat with the most disgusting sound she could muster. No good. Finally she took a quarter from her jar and banged it on the glass counter. That did it!

“And what do you want?” the pharmacist asked in an annoyed tone of voice. “I’m talking to my brother from Chicago whom I haven’t seen in ages,” he said without waiting for a reply to his question.

“Well, I want to talk to you about MY brother,” Tess answered back in the same annoyed tone. “He’s really, really sick … and I want to buy a miracle.”

“I beg your pardon?” said the pharmacist.

“His name is Andrew and he has something bad growing inside his head and my Daddy says only a miracle can save him now. So how much does a miracle cost?”

“We don’t sell miracles here, little girl. I’m sorry but I can’t help you,” the pharmacist said, softening a little.

“Listen, I have the money to pay for it. If it isn’t enough, I will get the rest. Just tell me how much it costs…”

The pharmacist’s brother was a well-dressed man. He stooped down and asked the little girl, “What kind of a miracle does your brother need?”

“I don’t know,” Tess replied with her eyes welling up. “I just know he’s really sick and Mommy says he needs an operation. But my Daddy can’t pay for it, so I want to use my money.”

“How much do you have?” asked the man from Chicago.

“One dollar and eleven cents,” Tess answered, barely audible.

“And it’s all the money I have, but I can get some more if I need to.”

“Well, what a coincidence,” smiled the man. “A dollar and eleven cents – the exact price of a miracle for little brothers.”

He took her money in one hand and with the other hand he grasped her¬†mitten and said, “Take me to where you live. I want to see your brother and meet your parents. Let’s see if I have the miracle you need.”

That well-dressed man was Dr. Carlton Armstrong, a surgeon, specializing in neuro-surgery. The operation was completed free of charge and it wasn’t long until Andrew was home again and doing well.

Mom and Dad were happily talking about the chain of events that had led them to this place.

“That surgery,” her Mom whispered, “was a real miracle. I wonder how much it would have cost?”

Tess smiled. She knew exactly how much a miracle cost … one dollar and eleven cents … plus the faith of a little child.

In our lives, we never know how many miracles we will need.

A miracle is not the suspension of natural law, but the operation of a higher law.


Let us all be grateful for the little miracles in our lives that often go unnoticed.