Wisdom Story – 212

by Paul on August 22, 2014

Teacher giving LectureThis story by Harvey Mackay from The Mackay MBA of Selling in the Real World is in Philip Chircorp’s Wisdom Stories To Live By.

The professor stood before his class of 30 senior molecular biology students, about to pass out the final exam. “I have been privileged to be your instructor this semester, and I know how hard you have all worked to prepare for this test. I also know most of you are off to medical school or grad school next fall,” he said to them.

“I am well aware of how much pressure you are under to keep your GPAs up, and because I know you are all capable of understanding this material, I am prepared to offer an automatic ‘B’ to anyone who would prefer not to take the final.”

The relief was audible as a number of students jumped up to thank the professor and departed from class. The professor looked at the handful of students who remained, and offered again, “Any other takers? This is your last opportunity.” One more student decided to go.

Seven students remained. The professor closed the door and took attendance. Then he handed out the final exam.

There were two sentences typed on the paper: “Congratulations, you have just received an ‘A’ in this class. Keep believing in yourself.”



Heightened Awareness

by Paul on August 21, 2014

FlyMost of the time, I bumble and stumble through life with barely more consciousness than a fly. Recently, however, I have had some experiences of the exaltation to which humanity is capable and, at the same time, a growing horror at the cruelty and depravity into which too many of our fellow humans can sink.

Think of the loving service that hundreds of medical personnel have been giving to victims of Ebola, the stunning brilliance shown by architects, musicians and other artists throughout history, the everyday kindness of so many people we encounter.

And, yet, we also have a tendency to wage war upon each other to an alarming extent, the physical and sexual abuse of children continues, there is widespread corruption in business and politics and — to speak only for myself – I do nothing much but impotently watch as it all happens before my eyes.

I sign petitions for or against this or that, but the last time I actually rallied for a cause was against the Second Gulf War… and that was a long time ago.  These days I feel so tired when I get home from work that I can barely keep my eyes open through Mass and dinner.

Where will I stand at the “Last Judgment”?  Will I be among the blessed who’ve helped release captives or will I be sent to join those who would not feed the hungry, clothe the naked or visit the imprisoned?

I wish I knew.


Seeing More – 6

by Paul on August 20, 2014

Another brilliant video from Seeing More, the website organized by the prodigious Nikolaas Sintobin. You may well have seen it before. If so, I bet you haven’t seen this extended version. If you are new to it, prepare to be surprised!




Saints I Know

by Paul on August 19, 2014

is_5308930LgIt struck me the other day that I have met a real, honest-to-goodness saint. Like millions of others, I met St. John Paul II – in fact, I had the privilege of standing next to him as we distributed Holy Communion during his visit to Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

I was rather overwhelmed by the fact that I had been so close to an “official” holy person.  But it only took me a few moments to realize that, each and every day of my life, I encounter people who are genuinely good and holy people.

I started to review the important people in my life and soon I had quite the list of people whom I consider to be saints.

How many “saints” have you met so far?


Monday Music Music – St. Elmo’s Fire

by Paul on August 18, 2014

Sometimes I think I am a parody of myself!  I can’t seem to escape from cheesy music of the 1970s and ’80s.  I came across this theme from St. Elmo’s Fire the other day and found myself playing it over and over.  Is there no help for me?


Wisdom Story – 211

by Paul on August 15, 2014

21ST03PTI’m taking this story, as I have many others, from Philip Chircop whose site, Wisdom Stories To Live By, has saved my blogging bacon on several occasions.  I’m very grateful to him.

Some people were attending a seminar. The speaker, wanting to wake up the group into full consciousness, decided to start with a  group activity. He gave each participant a colorful balloon. He continued by asking everyone to take some time to blow up the balloon and to write their name on it using the few indelible marker pens scattered around. Then all the balloons were gathered in an adjacent room.

The participants, now in the adjacent room with the balloons, were challenged to find the balloon bearing their name within 5 minutes. Everyone was frantically searching for their name, colliding with each other and pushing around others. There was utter chaos.

At the end of the 5 minutes hardly anyone had found the balloon.

The speaker now asked the participants to randomly pick any balloon and give it to the the person whose name was written on it.

Within minutes everyone had their own balloon.



I learned two new words…

by Paul on August 14, 2014

Thanks to Fran who knows I love time lapse photography, I got to learn two new words. As in the title of the video below, “London Noctilucent  Mesopheric Clouds.”

Noctilucent Clouds, accord to Wikipedia, “are tenuous cloud-like phenomena that are the “ragged edge” of a much brighter and pervasive polar cloud layer” and “Mesopheric” refers to that part of our atmosphere from about 20 to 50 miles above the earth’s surface.

Now that today’s meteorological lesson is complete, enjoy the time lapse video!


Seeing More – 5

by Paul on August 13, 2014

Nikolaas proposes for us a short animation called “El Pajaro y el Hombre” – “The Bird and the Man.”

I think that, like the poor man here, I too often try to squelch the little birds of happiness that come (are sent?) my way.




Don’t Be Shy

by Guest on August 12, 2014

This is a guest post by Linda Ricke.

shy childI was reading Henri Nouwen’s Bread for the Journey, in which he wrote about the intimacy of sharing a meal. He talked about how we offer ourselves to others in sharing food. One of the lines he used was, “Don’t be shy, enjoy it!” I understand full well what he was saying and agree with the sentiment, but what actually jumped off the page were the words, Don’t be shy.

I know that’s just an expression, but what is the hidden message behind it? What is not said is, “If you are shy, you can’t enjoy it. If you are shy you are missing out on living. If you are shy, something is wrong with you.”

But what if shy is how God made you? What if shy is the ability to watch and to listen and to be more attentive to others? What if shy is the ability to enjoy without calling attention to yourself and to take things in quietly and without fanfare?

God created each of us to be who we are. He didn’t make us all outgoing. He didn’t make us all the life of the party. He didn’t make us all the same. God knew exactly what He was doing.

Linda Ricke is a wife, a mother, and a grandmother who writes about everyday life from Monticello, Florida.


In 2010, the BBC Proms in London had a celebration for Stephen Sondheim’s 80th birthday.  Here Maria Friedman sings “Children Will Listen” from his musical, “Into the Woods.”