This is a compilation of thoughts and quotes that I have found or written recently, as well as many that I've collected throughout the years. Most thoughts are posted randomly, as I feel inspired. A listing of quotes can be found alphabetically (check the 2008 and 2009 archives listing), or by source.

Feel free to suggest additions!

“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” – Proverbs 23:7

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Bank

A 92-year-old, well-poised and proud man, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o'clock, with his hair fashionably combed and shaved perfectly, even though he is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today. His wife of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary. After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, he smiled sweetly when told his room was ready.

As he maneuvered his walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of his tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on his window. "I love it,"' he stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.

"Mr. Jones, you haven't seen the room; just wait."

"That doesn't have anything to do with it," he replied.

"Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time.

Whether I like my room or not doesn't depend on how the furniture is arranged ... it's how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it.

"It's a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do.

"Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open, I'll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I've stored away….. Just for this time in my life."

"Old age is like a bank account. You withdraw from what you've put in. So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories!"

- Author Unknown

Five simple rules to be happy:
1. Free your heart from hatred.
2. Free your mind from worries.
3. Live simply.
4. Give more.
5. Expect less.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The High Place

The young man stood beneath the shade of the juniper, staring upward at the sheer face of the cliff. It reared its head above him, stretching nearly a thousand feet upward, to end in a sharp point that the old ones had called The High Place.

The hill had once been considered sacred, he knew, and this was actually the first time he had ever been this close to it. But today was the day he had determined to become a man, today he would ascend the cliff.

He had watched that cliff all his life, fearing it from the day he first realized that one day he must climb it. It wasn't so much the climbing that would make a man of him, he understood that. It was something unknown, something that would occur on The High Place, which would bring about that result.

Of his people, there were but few who had climbed it, and those who had done so refused to say much about it. Yet he and the others respected them tremendously, and more than all else he wished for the same kind of respect that was shown to them. Then too, those who had climbed it experienced a change somehow, and he desperately wanted that change in his life.

He thought of his parents, with whom he argued a great deal lately. He knew they loved him, for such was the way of his people, and he guessed he loved them also, but for some reason they could not get along with each other any longer.

The young man understood the problem very well; his parents were simply over-protective. They refused to trust his judgment, to allow him to make decisions of his own. They still thought of him as a child, little more than a baby, who would not be allowed to make his own way in the world.

It was like climbing this cliff. For years his parents had known he would one day do it, and both had worried themselves sick over it. His mother had pleaded that he not make the attempt, or if he must, to seek counsel from his father before trying. His father, never really against his climbing of the cliff, had adamantly insisted that when the young man decided to try, he involve his father in the climb. What a pathetic idea that was! He needed to do it on his own to gain the respect he desired. If his people found out that his father had helped, they'd laugh at him. There was no way he would allow that to happen.

So this morning he had crept from the house while his parents and little brothers had slept. He had totally fooled them and now he was ready to begin the ascent.

Smiling as he thought of what his friends would say when they learned of his accomplishment, he began climbing. At first it was not so bad, but then the sun appeared, and before long he was perspiring heavily. It also grew increasingly dangerous, and his pace grew slower by the hour. Before long his hands were torn and bloody, and so were his knees. From one handhold or toehold to another he inched his way upward, nearly falling several times and yet always managing, just barely, to cling to the face of the cliff.

At one point, for a hundred feet or so, he had easy going, for he found a chimney or crack in the face of the cliff through which he climbed. At another place he found a narrow ledge that wound its way upward for a short distance, and along that he simply walked. But those were the only easy places, and the remainder of the climb was a dangerous and grueling torture.

It was late afternoon when the young man, exhausted, bloody, and filled with terror at the thought of the descent still before him, finally dragged his battered body over the lip of the cliff to lie spent on the smoothly worn stone of The High Place. He had made it, he knew, but he also knew that he would spend the night there and would likely die the next day trying to get down. He was simply not capable of that descent.

At last he crawled to the edge and stared downward into the dizzy depths, and as he did, he no longer thought of the praise of his friends or of the honor, respect and glory his people would show him. He thought only of his parents and family, and of what his death would do to them.

Why, oh, why hadn't he asked his father for help, for advice? Bitterly he cursed himself, and then tears stained his cheeks as he wept openly, his grief a combination of fear, self pity, and genuine concern for his family.

For a long time he lay there, but at length, his emotion spent, he rose to his knees to move back to the center of The High Place. But he couldn't move! He was so filled with terror that his legs refused to operate, and so at last he had to worm his way back to the center.

As he worked his way around, trying to get as comfortable as possible, he began to think about his accomplishment, and for the first time he realized how proud he was that he had stood on The High Place. Not many could say that, he knew, and at least, should he die tomorrow, he would be remembered as a hero, he who had climbed the...

A flash of white under the edge of a nearby rock caught his attention, and the young man wormed his way to it. It was a torn piece of paper, and as he unfolded it he wondered what great message some previous visitor had left him. At last, hands shaking, he opened the paper, and as he read he felt the change that would take him from boyhood to true manhood. The note said simply:

"Dear Son,
When we awoke this morning and found you gone, I came immediately to The High Place to await your arrival. But you had taken so long that your little sister, who came with me, needed to get home. We have started back. If you had only asked me this morning, I would have told you of the steps of the Old Ones carved on the south end of the cliff. That would have saved you all the grief and agony, and most of the day as well.
My son, the true test of manhood is not that you have climbed to The High Place. Anyone can do that. The true test is how you did it. When a man is humble enough to involve those around him in his climb, then he is a man.
Now hurry down the trail. We'll be going slow, waiting for you.
Love, Your Father"

- Unknown


I dedicate this to my sons. I hope they read this someday, and understand its message.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Twelve Rules For Happiness

Happiness is a habit, a by product of right thinking and living.

1. Live a simple life. Be temperate in your habits. Avoid self-seeking and selfishness. Make simplicity the keynote of your daily plans. Simple things are best.

2. Spend less than you earn. It may be difficult, but it pays large dividends in contentment. Keep out of debt. Cultivate frugality, prudence and self -denial. Avoid extravagance.

3. Think constructively. Train yourself to think clearly and accurately. Store your Mind with useful thoughts. Stand porter at the door of your mind.

4. Cultivate a yielding disposition. Resist the common tendency to want your own way. See the other’s viewpoint.

5. Be grateful. Begin the day with gratitude for your opportunities. Be glad for the privilege of life and work.

6. Rule your moods. Cultivate a mental attitude of peace and goodwill.

7. Give generously. There is no greater joy in life than to render happiness to others by means of intelligent giving.

8. Work with right motives. The highest purpose of your life should be to grow in spiritual grace and power.

9. Be interested in others. Divert your mind from self-centeredness. In the degree that you give, serve and help, you will experience the by product of happiness.

10. Live in a day tight compartment. That is live one day at a time. Concentrate on your immediate task. Make the most of today.

11. Have a hobby. Nature study, walking, gardening, music, golfing, carpentry, stamp collecting, sketching, voice culture, public speaking, foreign language, chess, books, photography, social service, travel, authorship. Cultivate an avocation to which you can turn for diversion and relaxation.

12. Keep close to God. True and enduring happiness depends primarily upon close alliance with him. It is your privilege to share his thoughts for your spiritual nourishment and to have constant assurance of divine protection and guidance.

- Grenville Kleiser

See also:
Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry Be Happy"

Friday, June 3, 2011

Dale Carnegie: A Man of Great Thoughts

Dale Carnegie was a great American writer, lecturer, and the developer of famous courses in self-improvement, salesmanship, corporate training, public speaking, and interpersonal skills. Born in poverty on a farm in Missouri, he was the author of How to Win Friends and Influence People , a massive bestseller that remains popular today. He also wrote How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, and several other books.

One of the core ideas in his books is that it is possible to change other people's behavior by changing one's reaction to them.

Many great quotes used in today's vernacular originated from this man of great thoughts. Here are some of his best:

Act enthusiastic and you will be enthusiastic.

Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain - and most fools do.

Are you bored with life? Then throw yourself into some work you believe in with all your heart, live for it, die for it, and you will find happiness that you had thought could never be yours.

Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.

Do the thing you fear to do and keep on doing it... that is the quickest and surest way ever yet discovered to conquer fear.

Don't be afraid to give your best to what seemingly are small jobs. Every time you conquer one it makes you that much stronger. If you do the little jobs well, the big ones will tend to take care of themselves.

Each nation feels superior to other nations. That breeds patriotism - and wars.

Fear doesn't exist anywhere except in the mind.

Feeling sorry for yourself, and your present condition, is not only a waste of energy but the worst habit you could possibly have.

First ask yourself: What is the worst that can happen? Then prepare to accept it. Then proceed to improve on the worst.

Flaming enthusiasm, backed up by horse sense and persistence, is the quality that most frequently makes for success.

Happiness doesn't depend on any external conditions, it is governed by our mental attitude.

If only the people who worry about their liabilities would think about the riches they do possess, they would stop worrying.

If you believe in what you are doing, then let nothing hold you up in your work. Much of the best work of the world has been done against seeming impossibilities. The thing is to get the work done.

If you can't sleep, then get up and do something instead of lying there worrying. It's the worry that gets you, not the lack of sleep.

If you want to conquer fear, don't sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.

If you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive.

Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.

Instead of worrying about what people say of you, why not spend time trying to accomplish something they will admire.

It isn't what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about.

Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.

Most of us have far more courage than we ever dreamed we possessed.

One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.

Our fatigue is often caused not by work, but by worry, frustration and resentment.

People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.

Remember happiness doesn't depend upon who you are or what you have; it depends solely on what you think.

Speakers who talk about what life has taught them never fail to keep the attention of their listeners.

Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get.

Take a chance! All life is a chance. The man who goes farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare.

Tell the audience what you're going to say, say it; then tell them what you've said.

The essence of all art is to have pleasure in giving pleasure.

The expression a woman wears on her face is far more important than the clothes she wears on her back.

The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.

The person who goes farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare. The sure-thing boat never gets far from shore.

The person who seeks all their applause from outside has their happiness in another's keeping.

The royal road to a man's heart is to talk to him about the things he treasures most.

The successful man will profit from his mistakes and try again in a different way.

There are always three speeches, for every one you actually gave. The one you practiced, the one you gave, and the one you wish you gave.

There are four ways, and only four ways, in which we have contact with the world. We are evaluated and classified by these four contacts: what we do, how we look, what we say, and how we say it.

Those convinced against their will are of the same opinion still.

Today is life-the only life you are sure of. Make the most of today. Get interested in something. Shake yourself awake. Develop a hobby. Let the winds of enthusiasm sweep through you. Live today with gusto.

We all have possibilities we don't know about. We can do things we don't even dream we can do.

When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.

When fate hands you a lemon, make lemonade.

You can conquer almost any fear if you will only make up your mind to do so. For remember, fear doesn't exist anywhere except in the mind.

You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.

You never achieve success unless you like what you are doing.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Three Apprentices

Three apprentices were one day making swords for their Master, who had commanded them to do so. The Master also had given specific instructions on how they were to be made.

As the three apprentices worked they debated over what was really the proper procedure and the many secrets of making fine steel. The first apprentice said to the other two, as he pounded on the red hot metal:

"I think I am almost finished with this sword; just as soon as I cool it, I can begin to sharpen and shine it."

"The Master told us to wait until the glow of the metal is white to pound it out," said the third apprentice. "Then he said to fold it over and heat it until it is white again and then pound it out and to repeat it one hundred times. Your metal is only bright orange and you have only pounded it out five times; how can you say are almost done?"

"Mind your own business!" said the first apprentice. "I say it is finished and that we need not do everything the master has told us."

With that, the first apprentice took his newly-forged blade off to sharpen and shine it.

The other two apprentices continued on their own, heating the metal and pounding it out, folding it over and repeating the process until they had done it nearly one hundred times. This had taken several weeks and on the final day of their forging process, the second apprentice said:

"I can't take the heat any longer. I've done this almost a hundred times and I am too hot and tired to do it any longer. It's not fair of the Master to ask us to do this so many times when it is so hot and such a tiring process."

"I agree." said the first apprentice, who was just finishing his newly-shined and sharpened sword. "Look at this," he boasted. "It is sharp and it shines brightly. The Master will be very pleased and very proud, he'll never know that I didn't follow all of his instructions."

The second apprentice finished pounding out his blade for the last time, then he took the blade and stuck it in some very cold water. The third apprentice said:

"No, wait, the Master said that we should watch the metal until it stops glowing and crystals start to form on the crust, before we cool it in water. You cooled your blade while it was still glowing and very hot."

"What difference could that possibly make?" said the second apprentice. "I have applied enough heat and tempering to my sword and I say it will be fine."

With that, the second apprentice joined the first in sharpening and shining his blade.

The third apprentice continued to finish forging his blade until he had completed the process one hundred times. When he had finished pounding the metal for the last time, he held the metal close to his face and watched carefully as the metal turned from a bright orange, to a bright red, then to a dull red and finally the metal went black. After a moment the metal began to crackle and small white crystals began to form on the blackened crust. The apprentice knew the time was right and he thrust the blade deep into the cold water. The metal crackled and hissed as it hit the water, but when the blade was cooled it was hard and strong.

The third apprentice sighed with relief, his face was streaked with sweat and caked on ashes. He also had many blisters from flying sparks during the forging process. But he was glad the metal was now ready for the final touch and he took the blade and joined the other two who were shining and finishing their swords.

The day finally came when the Master arrived to check on their work and to collect their swords. The three apprentices stood side by side anxious to see which sword the Master would choose to be his sword. The Master stood in front of the first apprentice and took the sword from his hand. He then drew it from its sheath.

The first apprentice's jaw dropped open in disbelief, for his sword was no longer bright and shining, but had turned to a dull gray. The Master looked up and said:

"You thought you could fool me, but you have only fooled yourself. It is plain to see that you did not apply enough heat to the metal and therefore you failed to burn off the impurities in the metal and it will not hold it's shine for long."

The Master then took the sword and chopped it into a tree three times. Then he ran his thumb along the edge of the blade. The blade was bent and dulled and the Master said:

"You also have failed to fold the metal over and over one hundred times, therefore the metal is weak and soft." The Master then struck the tree with the flat of the sword and the sword bent almost around the tree.

"Leave me." said the Master. "You have not heeded my words nor did you have the patience to even test my wisdom and see if it was true."

The Master then stood before the second apprentice and took the sword from his hand. The second apprentice, having seen his comrade fail to hide his slothfulness was not so at ease as he was before. The Master drew the sword from its sheath and held it up to the light. The second apprentice let out a sigh of relief, for the blade was smooth, untarnished and it shined beautifully in the sunlight.

The Mast held the sword for a moment and then again did as he had done before by chopping the blade into a tree. When the Master pulled the blade from the tree he again ran his thumb along the edge of the blade. The sword was still sharp, but to the second apprentice's surprise there were small nicks in the edge of the blade where it had struck the tree. The Master looked up as the second apprentice in an inquisitive manner and said:

"You too have deceived yourself. You have done well in heating and folding the metal, but because you thought your wisdom was greater than mine you cooled the metal while it was still much too hot."

When the Master had said this he struck the tree with the flat side of the sword and to the second apprentice's dismay the blade broke into three pieces and scattered across the ground.

"Because you cooled the blade with water while it was still much too hot," said the Master, "the metal has become hard yet very brittle and as you can see it was easily broken. Your blade on the outside was beautiful and bright, but beauty and brightness do not make it strong, effective and useful."

"Leave me also," said the Master to the second apprentice, "for if a man were to use either of these first two swords in battle, they would have surely perished."

The Master then stood before the third apprentice and took his sword also. He then drew it from its sheath. The blade was smooth, brightly shined and there were also many characters and symbols beautifully engraved into the bottom.

The Master was in awe at the sight of the sword he held, but he being angry because of the first two swords, struck the tree with the blade again and again to see if the third had also neglected his council. Upon inspecting the blade the Master found it to still be very sharp and smooth.

The Master then struck the tree with the flat of the blade not once, but five times, each time harder than the others. The sword rang out loudly, but it did not break, bend or blemish in any way.

Humbled by what he had just seen, the Master held the sword out for all to see and said to the third apprentice:

"Come with me. For you have heeded my council and have endured the long hours of heat, pain and tempering and have produced a blade worthy of praise and because you have done this, I will show you even greater things. For you have now learned that through much time, heat, tempering and patience comes the finest metal and then it is ready to be used by the Master's hand."

The Moral
We should ever be mindful that God is continually working with us in an effort to mold us into our greatest potential.

But we must be patient and endure the trials and temptations that he sees fit that we should endure.

Our lives are like metal which need proper tempering.