Tuesday, 23 November 2010

How To Start a Conversation

This is a great article. What do you think about the advice?


Key Points
1. Begin by introducing yourself.
2. Be aware of your internal monologue.
3. Understand the secret to a good conversation.
4. Know how to ask an open question.
5. Put the location comment together with the open question and your conversation will be underway.
6. Know the stuff of small talk.
7. Use words of a sensory nature.
8. Synchronize.
9. Respond thoughtfully to someone who remains awkward or uncomfortable in your presence.
10. Maintain the equilibrium.
11. Practice getting conversations started.

• Speak with clarity and purpose. If you're mumbling, it makes conversing a lot harder.
• Reflect before speaking if it's your turn to talk and allow silence to also have its rightful place in your conversation. Don't be afraid of pauses – use them to change topics, re-energize the conversation, or to take a short breather even.
• Relax. Chances are that whatever small-talk you're making isn't going to stick out in anyone's mind a few months from now. Just say whatever comes into your head, so long as it's not offensive or really weird (unless, of course, the person you're attempting to converse with is into weird stuff).
• If you think of something in your head while you're talking, it's probably related.
• It will help if you watch some TV, listen to radio shows, and/or read a lot – newspapers, magazines, and/or books. Doing this will ensure that you have some idea of what's going on in the world.
• Remember and plan to share anything you like, think is funny, or find intriguing. This is a way of building up your own inner library of things that might be helpful to another person during a conversation someday. It can be amazing how you thread these interesting things when you least expect it, and make conversation an adventure instead of a dreadful task. If you take it to the next step and say things that you want the person to think of as adding value, and keep to yourself things that the person might not, you're actually honing your own personality to be appealing to the other person, and what is a greater act of kindness than that?
• If you're shy, it is helpful to have thought about a topic or two in advance that you feel comfortable talking about.
• A great entry into starting a conversation, especially for a guy approaching a girl, is to mention you can only talk briefly as you're meeting up with other friends. This relieves the girl of any fear of being uncomfortably stuck with someone she does not know, and gives you both an easy out if things don't progress well. If the conversation does progress well, you can always delay leaving your new friend for as long as you like. Remember not to overdo it, because she might think that you don't want to talk to her, but prefer to be with your friends.
• Follow the lead that your listener is expressing. If he or she appears interested, then continue. If he or she is looking at a clock or watch, or worse, looking for an escape strategy, then you've been going on for too long.
• Interesting and funny quotes or facts can lighten things up, and make way for things to talk about. You could also use a set of conversation starter question cards for inspiration.
• If talking over the phone, keep the person involved in the conversation at all costs. If you can't come up with a good topic, try the "questions" game. Just keep asking them questions; random questions work just fine as long as they are appropriate. This technique can save a phone conversation. The questions should be open ended questions that do not require a yes or no answer. For example "How do you know the hosts?" This way you can ask questions about what they just said or follow up with how you know the hosts (for example) instead of acting as if the conversation is an interrogation.
• Half of an effective conversation is the way you non-verbally communicate, and not necessarily what you say. Practice better non-verbal skills that are friendly and confident.
• Take a mental note of some amusing things that you saw or heard througout the day. For example, something funny someone said, a fun activity you did with your friends, or anything interesting. This can give way to future conversation.
• Watch some stand-up comedians or comedy shows to get an idea of how to start a conversation humorously. Usually, the leads you find will be funny, and you will not need much in common to talk about them.
• Remember, whoever you are talking to, you always have something in common. We all experience the weather, like good food, and enjoy a good laugh. When in doubt, just talk to them about what they are there for. For example, if you meet them at a bus stop, ask them where they are going. If they are from out of town, ask them about their life at home.

How To Add Google Gadgets To Your Blog

Thanks for this helpful "How to" tutorial:

Homer Simpson Quotes

• Operator! Give me the number for 911!

• Oh, so they have internet on computers now!

• Bart, with $10,000, we'd be millionaires! We could buy all kinds of useful things like...love!

• Just because I don't care doesn't mean I don't understand.

• I'm normally not a praying man, but if you're up there, please save me Superman.

• Son, if you really want something in this life, you have to work for it. Now quiet! They're about to announce the lottery numbers.

• Well, it's 1 a.m. Better go home and spend some quality time with the kids.

• Maybe, just once, someone will call me 'Sir' without adding, 'You're making a scene.'

• Marge, don't discourage the boy! Weaseling out of things is important to learn. It's what separates us from the animals! Except the weasel.

• Doughnuts. Is there anything they can't do?

• You know, boys, a nuclear reactor is a lot like a woman. You just have to read the manual and press the right buttons.

• Lisa, if you don't like your job you don't strike. You just go in every day and do it really half-assed. That's the American way.

• When will I learn? The answer to life's problems aren't at the bottom of a bottle, they're on TV!

• Son, when you participate in sporting events, it's not whether you win or lose: it's how drunk you get.

• I'm going to the back seat of my car, with the woman I love, and I won't be back for ten minutes!

• [Meeting Aliens] Please don't eat me! I have a wife and kids. Eat them!

• What do we need a psychiatrist for? We know our kid is nuts.

• Marge, you're as beautiful as Princess Leia and as smart as Yoda.

• Kids, you tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try.

• The only monster here is the gambling monster that has enslaved your mother! I call him Gamblor, and it's time to snatch your mother from his neon claws!

• When I look at the smiles on all the children's faces, I just know they're about to jab me with something.

• I'm having the best day of my life, and I owe it all to not going to Church!

• Lisa, if the Bible has taught us nothing else, and it hasn't, it's that girls should stick to girls sports, such as hot oil wrestling and foxy boxing and such and such.

• I'm not a bad guy! I work hard, and I love my kids. So why should I spend half my Sunday hearing about how I'm going to Hell?

• Getting out of jury duty is easy. The trick is to say you're prejudiced against all races.

• It's not easy to juggle a pregnant wife and a troubled child, but somehow I managed to fit in eight hours of TV a day.

• Lisa, Vampires are make-believe, like elves, gremlins, and eskimos.

• I want to share something with you: The three little sentences that will get you through life. Number 1: Cover for me. Number 2: Oh, good idea, Boss! Number 3: It was like that when I got here.

• Oh, people can come up with statistics to prove anything, Kent. 14% of people know that.

• Remember that postcard Grandpa sent us from Florida of that Alligator biting that woman's bottom? That's right, we all thought it was hilarious. But, it turns out we were wrong. That alligator was sexually harrassing that woman.

• Old people don't need companionship. They need to be isolated and studied so it can be determined what nutrients they have that might be extracted for our personal use.

• How is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain. Remember when I took that home winemaking course, and I forgot how to drive?

• Television! Teacher, mother, secret lover.

• Homer no function beer well without.

• I've always wondered if there was a god. And now I know there is -- and it's me.

• Kill my boss? Do I dare live out the American dream?

• If something goes wrong at the plant, blame the guy who can't speak English.

• I'm never going to be disabled. I'm sick of being so healthy.

• I like my beer cold, my TV loud and my homosexuals flaming.

• [Looking at a globe map...country being Uruguay]
Hee hee! Look at this country! 'You-are-gay.'

• All my life I've had one dream, to achieve my many goals.

• Dad, you've done a lot of great things, but you're a very old man, and old people are useless.

• But Marge, what if we chose the wrong religion? Each week we just make God madder and madder.

• I think Smithers picked me because of my motivational skills. Everyone says they have to work a lot harder when I'm around.

• Dear Lord.. The gods have been good to me. For the first time in my life, everything is absolutely perfect just the way it is. So here's the deal: You freeze everything the way it is, and I won't ask for anything more. If that is OK, please give me absolutely no sign. OK, deal.

• That's it! You people have stood in my way long enough. I'm going to clown college!

• Beer: The cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems.

• If something's hard to do, then it's not worth doing.

• I'm in no condition to drive...wait! I shouldn't listen to myself, I'm drunk!

• 'To Start Press Any Key'. Where's the ANY key?

Homer's words, not mine, but some are funny.

Friday, 22 October 2010

How Louise L Hay Healed Her Cervical Cancer

A client came to me for hypnosis to help her relax and release anxiety. She has advanced cervical cancer so I started looking into how mind therapy can assist in the healing of cancer. I found Louise L Hay's own story:

Out of the work I was doing, I was inspired to put together the little book "Heal Your Body", which began as a simple list of metaphysical causations for physical illnesses in the body. I began to lecture and travel and hold small classes.

Then one day I was diagnosed with cervical cancer. With my background of being raped at five and having been a battered child, it was no wonder I manifested cancer in the Vaginal area.

Like anyone else who's just been told they have cancer, I went into total panic. Yet because of all my work with clients, I knew that mental healing worked, and here I was being given a chance to prove it to myself. After all, I'd written the book on mental patterns, and I knew that cancer was a dis-ease of deep resentment that has been held for a long time until it literally eats away at the body. I had been refusing to be willing to dissolve all the anger and resentment at “them” over my childhood. There was no time to waste; I had a lot of work to do.

The word incurable, which is so frightening to so many people, means to me that this particular condition cannot be cured by any outer means and that we must go within to find a cure. If I had an operation to get rid of the cancer and didn't clear the mental pattern that created it, then the doctors would just keep cutting Louise until there was no more Louise to cut. I didn't like that idea.

If I had the operation to remove the cancerous growth and also cleared the mental pattern that was causing the cancer, then it wouldn't return. If cancer or any other illness returns, I don't believe that it's because they didn't “get it all out”, but rather that the patient has made no mental change. He or she just re-creates the same illness, perhaps in a different part of the body.

I also believed that if I could clear the mental pattern that created this cancer, then I wouldn't even need the operation. So I bargained for time, and the doctors grudgingly gave me three months when I said I didn't have the money.

I immediately took responsibility for my own healing. I read and investigated everything I could find on alternative ways to assist my healing process. I went to several health-food stores and bought every book they had on the subject of cancer. I went to the library and did more reading. I checked out foot reflexology and colon therapy and thought they would both be beneficial to me. I seemed to be led to exactly the right people. After reading about foot reflexology, I wanted to find a practitioner. I attended a lecture, and while I usually sat in the front row, this night I was compelled to sit in the back. Within a minute, a man came and sat beside me--and guess what? He was a foot reflexologist who made house calls. He came to my home three times a week for two months and was a great help.

I knew I also had to love myself a great deal more than I had been. There had been little love expressed in my childhood, and no one had made it okay for me to feel good about myself. I had adopted “their” attitudes of continually picking on and criticizing me, which had become second nature.

I'd come to the realization through my work with the church that it was okay and even essential for me to love and approve of myself. Yet I kept putting it off--much like the diet you'll always start tomorrow. But I could no longer postpone it. At first it was very difficult for me to do things like stand in front of a mirror and say things like, “Louise, I love you. I really love you.” However, as I persisted, I found that several situations came up in my life where in the past I would have berated myself, and now, because of the mirror exercise and other work, I wasn't doing so. I was making some progress.

I knew I had to clear the patterns of resentment that I'd been holding since childhood. It was imperative for me to let go of the blame.

Yes, I'd had a very difficult childhood with a lot of abuse--mental, physical, and sexual. But that was many years ago, and it was no excuse for the way I was treating myself now. I was literally eating my body with cancerous growth because I hadn't forgiven. It was time for me to go beyond the incidents themselves and to begin to understand what types of experiences could have created people who would treat a child that way.

With the help of a good therapist, I expressed all the old, bottled-up anger by beating pillows and howling with rage. This made me feel cleaner. Then I began to piece together the scraps of stories my parents had told me about their own childhoods. I started to see a larger picture of their lives. With my growing understanding, and from an adult viewpoint, I began to feel compassion for their pain, and the blame slowly began to dissolve.

In addition, I hunted for a good nutritionist to help me cleanse and detoxify my body from all the junky foods I'd eaten over the years. I learned that junky foods accumulate and create a toxic body. Junky thoughts accumulate and create toxic conditions in the mind. I was given a very strict diet with lots of green vegetables and not much else. I even had colonics three times a week for the first month.
I did not have an operation; however, as a result of all the thorough mental and physical cleansing, six months after my diagnosis I was able to get the medical profession to agree with what I already knew--that I no longer had even a trace of cancer! Now I was able to affirm from personal experience that dis-ease can be healed if we are willing to change the way we think, believe, and act!

Sometimes what seems to be a tragedy turns out to become the greatest good in our lives. I learned so much from that experience, and I came to value life in a new way. I began to look at what was really important to me,

Anger, resentment, unhealthy sexual experiences, junk food - all factors Louise identified as possible causes of the dis-ease in her body which led to cancer.

Her little blue book "Heal Your Life" is an essential addition to anyone's bookshelf. She has also made a CD on "Cancer: Discover Your Amazing Healing Power". She recommends you listen to it every day for 30 days.

Find Louise L Hay's books and CDs at Amazon.co.uk

Read Louise L Hay's full story

Monday, 4 October 2010

When God Created Man

When God created man
he promised women
that good and ideal men
could be found in all corners of the world.

And then.......

...he made the earth round.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

To Be 6 Again

To Be 6 AGain...

A man was sitting on the edge of the bed, watching his wife, who was looking at herself in the mirror. Since her birthday was not far off he asked what she'd like to have for her birthday.

'I'd like to be six again', she replied, still looking in the mirror .

On the morning of her Birthday, he arose early, made her a nice big bowl of Lucky Charms, and then took her to Six Flags theme park. What a day! He put her on every ride in the park; the Death Slide, the Wall of Fear, the ScreamingRoller Coaster, everything there was.

Five hours later they staggered out of the theme park. Her head was reeling and her stomach felt upside down. He then took her to a McDonald's where he ordered her a Happy Meal with extra fries and a chocolate shake.

Then it was off to a movie, popcorn, a soda pop, and her favorite candy, M&M's. What a fabulous adventure!

Finally she wobbled home with her husband and collapsed into bed exhausted.

He leaned over his wife with a big smile and lovingly asked, 'Well Dear, what was it like being six again?'

Her eyes slowly opened and her expression suddenly changed.

'I meant my dress size, you retard!!!!'

The moral of the story: Even when a man is listening, he is gonna get it wrong.


Odd Eggs

We have three chickens, one of whom has laid four double-yokers in the two months she has been here.

The other day we found an egg without a shell. We were worried one of the chickens might be sick so I looked for advice and found that sometimes eggs come out as various oddities but there is rarely cause for concern.

Go to Poultry Help for info on double yokers, no yolk, egg within an egg, no shell, odd-shaped eggs, eggs with a tail and more.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

it's impossible to kid oneself indefinitely.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

World Cup Statistics


1.Brazil won the World Cup in 1994 & 1970(1994+1970 = 3964).
2.Argentina won its last World Cup in 1986 & 1978(1986+1978 = 3964).
3.Germany won its last World Cup in 1990 & 1974(1990+1974 = 3964).
4.Brazil also won its World Cup in 2002 & 1962(2002+1962 = 3964).

Conclusion = This year 3964 - 2010 = 1954.
The country that won in 1954 was Germany!!!See More

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Who Remembers The Magic Roundabout?

Here is an episode from the 1970s - Dougal, Florence, Dylan, Ermintrude but no Zebedee:

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Nick Clegg is Confirmed Deputy Prime Minister

Congratulations to David Cameron who must surely do a better job than Gordon Brown. "Goodbye Gordon" indeed.

This is a historic moment for the Lib Dems. In an ideal world we would be the government of choice but for that to happen in our lifetime, we need a fairer voting system and this will be the first step.

Nick Clegg has come from obscurity and irrelevance to the role of Deputy PM. What a wonderful achievement and one we could not have dreamed of a week ago.

Incidentally, I note with interest that Nick speaks the same languages as me: English, Dutch, French, Spanish and German. Another true European.

Not only Nick but other Lib Dems will have important roles in this coalition government. Stop back-stabbing please and give them your support.

I worked on Vince Cable’s winning campaign to take Twickenham from the Tories in 1997 so there is a personal delight for me.

As I don't live in the UK, I lost my vote. Only Brits with an address in the UK are allowed to vote for the government so in effect Brits (and Danes) are disenfranchised when working abroad. A Lib Dem MEP told me that anyone can register using a Citizens Advice Bureau address so I'll look into that.

What a historic night. Big smile on my face. :)

Saturday, 1 May 2010

To the Guy Who Tried to Mug Me in Downtown Savannah


To the Guy Who Tried to Mug Me in Downtown Savannah night before last.

Date: 2009-05-27, 1 :43 a.m. E.S.T.

I was the guy wearing the black that you demanded I hand over, shortly after you pulled the knife on me and my girlfriend, threatening our lives. You also asked for my girlfriend's purse and earrings. I can only hope that you somehow come across this rather important message

First, I'd like to apologize for your embarrassment; I didn't expect you to actually crap your pants when I drew my pistol after you took my jacket. The evening was not that cold, and I was wearing the jacket for a reason. My girlfriend had just bought me that Kimber Model 1911 .45 ACP pistol for my birthday, and we had picked up a shoulder holster for it that very evening. Obviously you agree that it is a very intimidating weapon when pointed at your head ... isn't it?!

I know it probably wasn't fun walking back to wherever you'd come from with that brown sludge in your pants. I'm sure it was even worse walking bare-footed since I made you leave your shoes, cell phone, and wallet with me. [That prevented you from calling or running to your buddies to come help mug us again.]

After I called your mother or "Momma" as you had her listed in your cell, I explained the entire episode of what you'd done. Then I went and filled up my gas tank as well as those of four other people in the gas station -- on your credit card. The guy with the big motor home took 150 gallons and was extremely grateful!

I gave your shoes to a homeless guy outside Vinnie Van Go Go's, along with all the cash in your wallet. [That made his day!]

I then threw your wallet into the big pink "pimp mobile" that was parked at the curb ... after I broke the windshield and side window and keyed the entire driver's side of the car.

Later, I called a bunch of phone sex numbers from your cell phone. Ma Bell just now shut down the line, although I only used the phone for a little over a day now, so what 's going on with that? Earlier, I managed to get in two threatening phone calls to the DA's office and one to the FBI, while mentioning President Obama as my possible target

The FBI guy seemed really intense and we had a nice long chat (I guess while he traced your number etc.).

In a way, perhaps I should apologize for not killing you ... but I feel this type of retribution is a far more appropriate punishment for your threatened crime. I wish you well as you try to sort through some of these rather immediate issues, and can only hope that you have the opportunity to reflect upon, and perhaps reconsider, the career path you've chosen to pursue in life. Remember, next time you might not be so lucky

Thoughtfully yours


Wednesday, 3 February 2010

AMAL - A Film To Warm Your Heart and Change Your Life

It’s been said that the best things in life are free – although in our hyper-consumptive culture, you’d be hard-pressed to find many people who would agree with you.

Our friends at Spiritual Cinema Circle www.coachingfromspirit.com/scc recently found a beautiful feature film entitled AMAL. It’s a modern-day parable that tells the story of a man named Amal – a simple, humble auto-rickshaw driver in the colorful, bustling city of New Delhi, India. Content with the small but vital role he plays in life, to drive his customers throughout the city as safely as possible, Amal is a man who lives simply to do “the right thing” in every situation.

One day Amal drives an eccentric billionaire who, disguised as a vagabond, is searching the streets for the last morsel of humanity; someone he can leave all his money to. His children are ungrateful spoiled brats and his colleagues are corrupt, money-sucking leeches. Despite all his wealth, the old man wanders the city hoping
to find the two things his money has never brought him – hope for humanity and peace for his soul. In Amal, he discovers a dying breed: a man who is honest, selfless, loving, and caring.

This riveting and surprising tale ultimately reveals that the poorest of men are sometimes the richest.

For just a small shipping fee, you can receive a free DVD ww.coachingfromspirit.com/scc
that includes AMAL plus three great short films, plus Mariel Hemingway’s very special in-depth interview with spiritual teacher Alan Cohen. Simply click here now!

“The Spiritual Cinema Circle is providing a great service to those who want to evolve and be entertained at the same time.” –Deepak Chopra

“It’s not often you can combine entertainment with personal growth, but that is exactly what The Spiritual Cinema Circle offers. These engaging films provide important messages about life, love, and the world we live in.” –Jack Canfield

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

The Choice

Would you ever take a journey, if you knew ahead of time that you'd become hopelessly lost, have your heart broken into pieces and sometimes wish you'd never been born?

Now, how about if you knew ahead of time that on that very same journey you'd also find yourself, fall passionately in love, and live happily ever after?

Yeah, I know, you made the same choice a long, long time ago.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Why Women Shouldn't Take Men Shopping (joke)

After I retired, my wife insisted that I accompany her on her trips to Target. Unfortunately, like most men, I found shopping boring and preferred to get in and get out. Equally unfortunate, my wife is like most women - she loves to browse. Yesterday my dear wife received the following letter from the local Target.

Dear Mrs. Samuel,

Over the past six months, your husband has caused quite a commotion in our store. We cannot tolerate this behavior and have been forced to ban both of you from the store. Our complaints against your husband, Mr. Samuel, are listed below and are documented by our video surveillance cameras.

1. June 15: Took 24 boxes of condoms and randomly put them in other people's carts when they weren't looking.

2. July 2: Set all the alarm clocks in Housewares to go off at 5-minute intervals.

3. July 7: He made a trail of tomato juice on the floor leading to the women's restroom.

4. July 19: Walked up to an employee and told her in an official voice, 'Code3 in Housewares. Get on it right away'. This caused the employee to leave her assigned station and receive a reprimand from her Supervisor that in turn resulted with a union grievance, causing management to lose time and costing the company money.

5. August 4: Went to the Service Desk and tried to put a bag of M&Ms on layaway.

6. August 14: Moved a 'CAUTION - WET FLOOR' sign to a carpeted area.

7. August 15: Set up a tent in the camping department and told the children shoppers he'd invite them in if they would bring pillows and blankets from the bedding department to which twenty children obliged.

8. August 23: When a clerk asked if they could help him he began crying and screamed, 'Why can't you people just leave me alone?' EMTs were called.

9.September 4: Looked right into the security camera and used it as a mirror while he picked his nose.

10. September 10: While handling guns in the hunting department, he asked the clerk where the antidepressants were.

11.October 3: Darted around the store suspiciously while loudly humming the 'Mission Impossible' theme.

12. October 6: In the auto department, he practiced his 'Madonna look' by using different sizes of funnels.

13.October 18: Hid in a clothing rack and when people browsed through, yelled 'PICK ME! PICK ME!'

14. October 21: When an announcement came over the loud speaker, he assumed a fetal position and screamed 'OH NO! IT'S THOSE VOICES AGAIN!'

And last, but certainly not least:

15. October 23: Went into a fitting room, shut the door, waited awhile, then yelled very loudly, 'Hey! There's no toilet paper in here.' One of the clerks passed out.

Visit Antonia Harrison’s blog for information, jokes, opinions, videos - anything that might be of interest.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Haiti Disaster Appeal

Here are important messages about the Haiti disaster from Al Gore and Christophe Poizat of the International Network of Social-Eco Entrepreneurs:

Following the recent catastrophic events in Haiti, one of our members, Rick Feineis, has an important message to share with you:

"Our water filtration systems (http://www.sea-pack.com/hydrowellvillage.html) are perfect for use in Haiti. I can explain later if you want me to. We have a patron that has offered to purchase $100,000 worth of HydroWell Village and HydroPack systems to send to Haiti. We have figured out the logistics, located the 501c to donate the money to a US-based Haitian relief organization with 40 years of service; we are in the process of making it happen.

We are looking to see if there is anyone else that wants to donate money to purchase and send systems to Haiti while we have this opening for the plane to get into the country. We have a limited amount of time to get the plane into Haiti. It will be leaving within the next 24 to 48 hours. Interested in helping us help those in need in Haiti? Please visit our website to donate $25.00 USD to this cause: http://www.sea-pack.com -- please spread the word."

And I'd like to share another message I received from Al Gore, Chairman of the Alliance for Climate Protection:

"The earthquake in Haiti has been catastrophic. More than three million people have been affected, and estimates are that over 50,000 have died. The human suffering is unimaginable. That's why I'd like to pause from our usual conversation and ask for your help.

Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with 85% of Haitians already living in desperate poverty. Now, with hospitals in ruin, dire shortages of even basic necessities like fresh water, and no way to find out whether family members are alive, the Haitian people urgently need our help. A number of organizations are already engaged in critical relief efforts, and I urge you to support as many of them as you can. One of them, Oxfam America, has an emergency response team of more than 200 people already on the ground.

The need for clean water and critical public health services is massive and immediate -- and our donations can help save lives. Make a donation to Oxfam's earthquake relief effort in Haiti:
Or, for a list of other organizations to donate to and ways to make a difference, see http://www.whitehouse.gov/haitiearthquake_embed.

There are moments when we, as human beings, must come together as a global community and as stewards of each others' health and welfare. It is that sense of interconnectedness that brought each of us to the climate movement, and it is moments like this that bring out the best in us -- as individuals, as a nation, and as a movement.

Let's make sure the people of Haiti do not face this disaster alone. Thank you for taking action in the face of this tragedy.

Al Gore Chairman Alliance for Climate Protection

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Two Choices

What would you do?....you make the choice. Don't look for a punch line,there isn't one. Read it anyway. My question is: Would you have made the same choice?

At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves children with learning disabilities, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question:
'When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does, is done with perfection. Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the natural order of things in my son?'

The audience was stilled by the query.

The father continued,
'I believe that when a child like Shay who was mentally and physically disabled comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other people treat that child.'

Then he told the following story:
Shay and I had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, 'Do you think they'll let me play?' I knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but as a father I also understood that if my son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.

I approached one of the boys on the field and asked (not expecting much)if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance and said, 'We're losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning.'

Shay struggled over to the team's bench and, with a broad smile, put on a team shirt. I watched with a small tear in my eye and warmth in my heart. The boys saw my joy at my son being accepted.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three.

In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as I waved to him from the stands.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay's team scored again. Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled
to be next at bat. At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game?

Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball. However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing that the other team was putting winning aside for this moment in Shay's life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least make contact.

The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher. The game would now be over.

The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game. Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the first baseman's head, out of reach of all team mates. Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling,
'Shay, run to first! Run to first!' Never in his life had Shay ever run that far but he made it to first base.

He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled. Everyone yelled,
'Run to second,run to second!' Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second,gleaming and struggling to make it to the base.

By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball. The smallest guy on their team who now had his first chance to be the hero for his team.
He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher's intentions so he, too, intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman's head.

Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home. All were screaming, 'Shay, Shay, Shay,all the Way Shay'
Shay reached third base because the opposing shortstop ran to help him by turning him in the direction of third base, and shouted,
'Run to third! Shay, run to third!'

As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams, and the spectators, were on their feet screaming,
'Shay, run home! Run home!' Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the grand slam and won the game for his team

'That day', said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, 'the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity in to this world'.

Shay didn't make it to another summer. He died that winter, having never forgotten being the hero and making me so happy, and coming home and seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!

We all have thousands of opportunities every single day to help realize the
'natural order of things.' So many seemingly trivial interactions between two people present us with a choice:

Do we pass along a little spark of love and humanity or do we pass up those opportunities and leave the world a little bit colder in the process?

A wise man once said every society is judged by how it treats it's least fortunate amongst them.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Mutual Admiration

A note from the universe today:

It only seems like others have it all figured out, Antonia; that their challenges are simpler, their friends are jollier, and their grass is greener. But, Antonia, you should hear how they admire you.

Funny that. I've told people how much I admire them, their successes, their character and so on only to hear how much they admire me back. One woman said, "Are you kidding? I'm totally in awe of you."

We all see traits in others that they don't see in themselves and vice versa.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

378 Predictions for Business in 2010

I found an interesting ebook for free download:
"378 Predictions for Business in 2010"

on The Corporate Toolbox.

Many of my fellow networkers on Ecademy are contributors to this book. The Corporate Toolbox site also has training resources, articles, quotes, book suggestions etc.

I liked this quote,
"Limitations are like holograms: you recreate in your head the whole image of something which isn't there."

Monday, 11 January 2010

Il Divo First Perform Regresa A Mi

Here is a recording of the first time we ever saw Il Divo, their world première of "Regresa A Mi" shown on Parkinson on 19 September 2004. I've loved them ever since that first moment.

Visit Antonia Harrison’s blog for information, jokes, opinions, videos - anything that might be of interest.

Love Changes Everything

Be grateful for every single time you ever fell in love.

Whether or not it was obvious. Whether or not it lasted. And whether or not you were loved back.

It changed everything.

Monday, 4 January 2010

What People Say About One Another

One day a teacher asked her students to list the names of the other students in the room on two sheets of paper, leaving a space between each name.

Then she told them to think of the nicest thing they could say about each of their classmates and write it down.

It took the remainder of the class period to finish their assignment, and as the students left the room, each one handed in the papers.

That Saturday, the teacher wrote down the name of each student on a separate sheet of paper, and listed what everyone else had said about that individual.

On Monday she gave each student his or her list. Before long, the entire class was smiling. 'Really?' she heard whispered. 'I never knew that I meant anything to anyone!' and, 'I didn't know others liked me so much,' were most of the comments.

No one ever mentioned those papers in class again. She never knew if they discussed them after class or with their parents, but it didn't matter. The exercise had accomplished its purpose. The students were happy with themselves and one another. That group of students moved on.

Several years later, one of the students was killed in Vietnam and his teacher attended the funeral of that special student. She had never seen a serviceman in a military coffin before. He looked so handsome, so mature. The church was packed with his friends. One by one those who loved him took a last walk by the coffin. The teacher was the last one to bless the coffin.

As she stood there, one of the soldiers who acted as pallbearer came up to her. 'Were you Mark's math teacher?' he asked. She nodded: 'yes.' Then he said: 'Mark talked about you a lot.'

After the funeral, most of Mark's former classmates went together to a luncheon.. Mark's mother and father were there, obviously waiting to speak with his teacher.

'We want to show you something,' his father said, taking a wallet out of his pocket 'They found this on Mark when he was killed. We thought you might recognize it.'

Opening the billfold, he carefully removed two worn pieces of notebook paper that had obviously been taped, folded and refolded many times. The teacher knew without looking that the papers were the ones on which she had listed all the good things each of Mark's classmates had said about him.

'Thank you so much for doing that,' Mark's mother said.. 'As you can see, Mark treasured it.'

All of Mark's former classmates started to gather around. Charlie smiled rather sheepishly and said, 'I still have my list. It's in the top drawer of my desk at home.'

Chuck's wife said, 'Chuck asked me to put his in our wedding album.'

'I have mine too,' Marilyn said. 'It's in my diary'

Then Vickie, another classmate, reached into her pocketbook, took out her wallet and showed her worn and frazzled list to the group. 'I carry this with me at all times,' Vickie said and without batting an eyelash, she continued: 'I think we all saved our lists'

That's when the teacher finally sat down and cried. She cried for Mark and for all his friends who would never see him again.

The density of people in society is so thick that we forget that life will end one day. And we don't know when that one day will be..

So please, tell the people you love and care for, that they are special and important.. Tell them, before it is too late...

And One Way To Accomplish This Is: Forward this message on. If you do not send it, you will have, once again passed up the wonderful opportunity to do something nice and beautiful.

If you've received this, it is because someone cares f or you and it means there is probably at least someone for whom you care.

If you're 'too busy' to take those few minutes right now to forward this message on, would this be the VERY first time you didn't do that little thing that would make a difference in your relationships?

The more people that you send this to, the better you'll be at reaching out to those you care about.

Remember, you reap what you sow. What you put into the lives of others comes back into your own.

May Your Day Be Blessed As Special As You!