A mix collection of inspirational stories gathered from the internet and personal experiences.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Trees from around the World -2

A 72-meter-tall Christmas tree stands at Praca do Comercio in downtown Lisbon (?Francisco Leong/AFP/Getty Images)
The largest Christmas tree in Europe (more than 230 feet tall)
can be found in the Praça do Comércio in Lisbon , Portugal .
Thousands of lights adorn the tree, adding to the special
enchantment of the city during the holiday season.
Chapel in winter,     christmas   tree, K  lais, near Garmisch-Partenkirchen in the Karwendel mountains (?Paul         Freytag/zefa/Corbis)
'Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree': Even in its humblest attire,
aglow beside a tiny chapel in Germany 's Karwendel mountains,
a Christmas tree is a wondrous sight.
Large Christmas tree inside the   Galeries Lafayette department store in Paris (?Marco Cristofori/Corbis)
Ooh la la Galeries Lafayette! In Paris , even the Christmas trees are chic.
With its monumental, baroque dome, plus 10 stories of lights and
high fashion, it's no surprise this show-stopping department store draws
more visitors than the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower
Faithful surround the Christmas tree in St. Peter
In addition to the Vatican 's heavenly evergreen, St. Peter's Square
in Rome hosts a larger-than- life nativity scene in front of the obelisk.
Christmas Tree    at Puerta del Sol in Madrid (?Marco Cristofori/Corbis)
The Christmas tree that greets revelers at the Puerta del Sol
is dressed for a party. Madrid 's two-week celebration makes
millionaires along with merrymakers. On Dec. 22, a lucky citizen
will win El Gordo (the fat one), the world's biggest lottery.

Trafalgar Square at night with Christmas tree, London (?Romilly Lockyer/The Image Bank/Getty Images)
A token of gratitude for Britain 's aid during World War II,
the Christmas tree in London 's Trafalgar Square has been
the annual gift of the people of Norway since 1947.
The Romer and Christmas tree at night in Frankfurt, Germany (?Wilfried Krecichwost/Stone/Getty Images)
Drink a glass of gluhwein from the holiday market at the Romer
Frankfurt's city hall since 1405 and enjoy a taste of Christmas past.
Three trees in forest decorated with lights, location unknown   (?Werran/Ochsner/Getty Images)

Against a backdrop of tall, shadowy firs, a rainbow trio of
Christmas trees lights up the night (location unknown).

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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Trees from around the World

Christmas at Rockefeller Center in New York (?N & S Silverman/Taxi/Getty Images)

Before the ball drops in Times Square , the Big Apple turns on its
holiday charm with the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center .

A holiday tree is shown lit in   front   of   the U.S. Capitol   building (?Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
The Capitol Christmas tree in Washington , D.C. , is decorated with 3,000
ornaments that are the handiwork of U.S. schoolchildren. Encircling
evergreens in the 'Pathway of Peace' represent the 50 U.S. states.
Italy,Umbria, Gubbio town, Christmas tree on hillside (?Fantuz Olimpio/SIME-4Corners Image      s)
The world's largest Christmas tree display rises up the slopes
of Monte Ingino outside of Gubbio, in Italy 's Umbria region.
Composed of about 500 lights connected by 40,000 feet of wire,
the 'tree' is a modern marvel for an ancient city

A 100-meter tall Christmas tree is illuminated on the wall of a Tokyo hotel for the upcoming holidays. (?Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty   Images)
A Christmas tree befitting Tokyo 's nighttime neon display is
projected onto the exterior of the Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka.
Czech Republic,   Prague, Teyn Church at Christmas time (?Schmid Reinhard/SIME-4Corners Images)
Illuminating the Gothic facades of Prague's Old Town Square,
and casting its glow over the manger display of the famous
Christmas market, is a grand tree cut in the Sumava mountains
in the southern Czech Republic .
Glass Christmas tree in Murano (?Sandra Raccanello/4Corners Images)
Venice 's Murano Island renowned throughout the world
for its quality glasswork is home to the tallest glass tree
in the world. Sculpted by master glass blower Simone
Cenedese, the artistic Christmas tree is a modern
reflection of the holiday season.
A Christmas tree is shining at the Manezh Square in Moscow (?Maxim Marmur/AFP/Getty Images)
Moscow celebrates Christmas according to the Russian Orthodox
calendar on Jan. 7. For weeks beforehand, the city is alive with
festivities in anticipation of Father Frost's arrival on his magical
troika with the Snow Maiden.

He and his helper deliver gifts under

the New Year tree, or yolka, which is traditionally a fir.

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Thursday, December 25, 2008


I wonder why the press hasn't enlightened the public about it??

Arlington National Cemetery

Rest easy, sleep well my brothers.

Know the line has held, your job is done.

Rest easy, sleep well.

Others have taken up where you fell, the line has held.

Peace, peace, and farewell...

Readers may be interested to know that these wreaths -- some 5,000 -- are donated by the Worcester Wreath Co. of Harrington , Maine . The owner, Merrill Worcester, not only provides the wreaths, but covers the trucking expense as well. He's done this since 1992. A wonderful guy. Also, most years, groups of Maine school kids combine an educational trip to DC with this event to help out. Making this even more remarkable is the fact that Harrington is in one the poorest parts of the state.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

How to Learn Like a Genius

By Win Wenger, Ph.D.

: Project Renaissance

All of you reading this:
You have brains enough to run a galaxy. What are you doing with them?
One of the most frequently used paths to genius: find a knack that works for you. Get on a roll. Find ways to stay on that roll. Find ways to return to being on that roll, until so much else falls into that roll that even you begin to realize that you are, indeed, a genius.....

How to Learn Through a Periscope

We had enrolled our 4-year-old daughter in a neighborhood swim team, not for the sake of competing but simply for safety reasons, to ensure she would be competent in the water. During one of the team's meets, in one heat a clerical error had her swim as the only small kid among 8-, 9- and 10-year-olds. To our amazement, she swam far faster than ever before and finished right in the middle of the pack. "How did you do that?!?" we asked her. Her reply: "I made believe I was one of the big kids."

In the play Camelot, Merlin was working with Arthur, the young to-be king of England, at a point where Arthur was imagining himself to be a hawk. Asked Merlin of Arthur: "What does the hawk know, that Arthur does not know?" From "up there," young Arthur discovered that all those political boundaries everyone was always so worked up about simply weren't visible down there on the physical landscape — that England was one land. That was the beginning of his resolve in unifying England.

Like projecting your view through a periscope: let some aspect or part of you "become" a whole, distinct person who happens to be the world's greatest genius in what you are trying to learn. Through that new vantage point via periscope, see and understand easily what had been obscure to you before.

Just create such genius in the same sense that tribesmen of the Bear Clan wore the heads of bears to better understand the wilderness from which they made their living — while wearing a bear's head, discovering what would bears see in that landscape....

Or in the same sense that one young lad of our experience, about to "not make" his high school's baseball team, working with us during an hour of "putting on the heads" of his various baseball heroes, discovered through one of those "hero heads" how to get extra focus on the baseball by swinging not at the baseball itself but at an imaginary flyspeck on that baseball. He made the team; his first ten games he batted 800; at season's end he was voted MVP by not only his team but by his school's entire league.

Or in the same sense that in our very first 1977 experiment which launched Project Renaissance, a secretary starting to take violin lessons leaped from raw beginner to advanced student in two lessons by our special way of "putting on the head" of great violinists. She came by to visit our second experiment three weeks later and gave us a very nice concert. (ALL of us were getting similar results in our chosen areas even before we perfected this method!)
Each of the 47 diverse methods for such Periscopic Learning, through Project Renaissance's strategies of contextual projection and description, enables one to learn with understanding, or gain in skills, years' worth in only hours: truly "accelerated learning!"

Your "quick-hit" suggestion for this frame ... Imagine being a genius at what it is that you are trying to learn.

Imagine Being a Genius

While describing that genius to tape recorder or listener to make that experience more real to you, give special attention to imagining, as concretely as possible, in as sensory a way as possible, becoming that genius. Give special attention to the way it feels being that genius — that helps you discover the things which that genius would notice or discover. Especially physical feelings or sensations in the face and in the body, with the posture and gestures of that genius.

Hold onto the feeling of that particular genius while you are working at whatever you are seeking to learn. (Suggestion: also recover that feeling and bring it silently with you into the test or exam which usually accompanies the windup of such last-minute "learning emergencies.")

To discover how your deeper mind may represent a particular type of genius to you, try out several different types of genius first. Study what it might feel like in your body if, say, you were a genius mathematician. Describe all the differences in feeling in your body, posture and ways of moving when you are "being a genius mathematician" and being yourself.

Then imagine being a genius artist, and study those differences, then a genius in dealing with people, and so on. Once you've experienced directly for yourself how each type of genius feels differently to you, you can get the best defined patterns of feeling which go with the type of genius you need for this present occasion. "Wearing" that feeling, then, will let things occur to you or happen for you that otherwise would not, strengthening on this occasion your learning or test performance or general performance.

A similar suggestion, for when you are taking a test or exam: If you are good at one or more of the more involved computer games, or at chess, take that same cool, clear, positive-excited feeling with you into that exam. Re-create and "wear" that feeling there while you are working through that exam or test.

Understanding is the key here. These are not memorization techniques. These methods are not especially helpful in courses whose contents are mainly the memorization of things, especially the temporary memorization for tests and then forgetting — which typifies far too many classes and classrooms today. Don't turn to our kind of method if what you want is to memorize something for a test.

I hope that, whatever your schooling has been, you who are reading this still do positively value understanding.

By Win Wenger. This articles is excerpted from a much longer article title "Beyond Teaching and Learning" at Project Renaissance

Sunday, December 21, 2008

And now a word from our sponsor......

Once upon a time there lived a king.
The king had a
beautiful daughter, the PRINCESS.

But there was a problem. Everything the princess touched would melt.

No matter what;




Anything she touched would melt.

Because of this, men were afraid of her. Nobody would dare marry her.

The king despaired. What could he do to help his daughter?

He consulted his wizards and magicians. One wizard told the king, "If your daughter touches one thing that does not melt in her hands, she will be cured."

The king was overjoyed and came up with a plan
next day, he held a competition. Any man that could bring his daughter an object that would not melt would marry her and inherit the king's wealth.


The first brought a sword of the finest steel.

But alas, when the princess touched it, it melted, and t
he prince went away sadly .

The second prince brought diamonds.

He thought diamonds are the hardest substance in the world and would not melt. But alas, once the princess touched them, they melted. He too was sent away disappointed.


The third prince approached. He told the princess,

"Put your
hand in my pocket and feel what is in there."

The princess did as she was told, though she turned red.

She felt something hard. She held it in her hand.

And it did not melt!!!

The king was overjoyed. Everybody in the kingdom was overjoyed. And the third prince married the princess and they both lived happily ever after.

Question: What was in the prince's pants?

(Scroll down for the answer)



M&M's of course.
They melt in your mouth, not in your hand.

What were you thinking??


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Friday, December 19, 2008


By Jaye Lewis © 2001

We prowled through the second hand bookstore the day after Christmas, just my husband Louie, our daughters, Jenny and Helen, and me. This was a precious time for us. We would be splitting up as a family in just a couple of days. It had been a tough eight months since my husband had retired from the Navy. We hated every good-bye, so we had manipulated the military system while on active duty, preventing some. Now, we were retired, and we were eight months into our longest separation. We assured one another of our love, and we clung to our faith that this separation would soon come to an end.

Military families seem to fall into two categories: those who look for affectionate opportunities, and those who avoid close contact, because "good-byes" are painful. In our military career, we had become painfully aware that anything can happen during the briefest separation. We were shocked to discover that the only job available for Louie, after retirement was in the city of Norfolk, Virginia. Our dream was to live out the rest of our lives in the mountains of southwestern Virginia, six-and-a-half hours away. My asthma had gotten so bad, that it was impossible for me to stay with Louie in the city. We had finally settled for a separation, praying that a job would become available in the beautiful region that we love.

There we were, the day after Christmas, delaying another departure by passing time in a second hand bookstore, before the girls and I headed back to southwest Virginia. We were as broke as we'd ever been, with Louie supporting two households. Even so, we were thankful for every moment together, and we seized upon every opportunity for extra hugs, shared daydreams and laughter.

Besides the proprietor, there was only one other person in the bookstore, a lovely, well-dressed woman, about my age. I noticed her costly clothes, her shoes, and her expensive handbag. I wondered what it would be like, to be rich enough to walk into a bookstore and have the money to buy any book my heart desired. We were having so much fun, however, that I quickly forgot the woman.

We joked as we continued our treasure hunt, clutching our spending money of five dollars apiece, all hoping to be the first to find the oldest, least expensive book. It was a bitter-sweet excursion. Frequently Louie and I would brush past one another, finding excuses to touch or to give one another's hand an extra squeeze. Jenny remembered that there was an ATM machine not far from the bookstore, and she decided that she needed another twenty dollars that she had squirreled away.

"No fair!" I cried, laughing. "The rest of us can only spend five dollars, and here you're going to have twenty-five dollars?!" We all laughed, and we began to tease Jenny mercilessly, but she was able to convince her Dad that she must have that twenty dollars, in order to get that irresistible book.

"Come on, Jenny," Louie laughed. "I'll drive you to the ATM." Then we did another round of hugging and kissing, not wanting to be apart for even a few minutes. It must have been a curious ballet, this emotional family scene, but we were oblivious to what others might think. Unmindful of the impression we made, we continued to give kisses and hugs all around. I have to admit that we are a "huggy-kissy" family, so looking back, I realize how odd we must have appeared.

Finally, in between another hug and kiss, I spied my perfect book! It was a hundred years old, and it was on my favorite time period, the Middle Ages. Oh, how I wanted that book!I quickly checked the inside cover for the price, and my heart fell.

It was twenty-five dollars! We just didn't have it. I looked up at Louie, already knowing the answer. He must have wanted me to have that book, because I could see the pain in his eyes. Louie reached out and gave me an extra hug.

I understood his "honey, we just can't afford it" message, so I leaned into his sheltering arms. I couldn't help but notice that the well dressed lady was touching the book that I wanted. Ah well, let her have it. I gave Louie an extra hug.

"Oooohh, I wish I were rich," I murmured, as my eyes locked with the woman's.

"It looks to me, as though you already are." She said, with a smile.

There was a pause that stretched through eternity, and my heart filled with comprehension. I looked up at my husband, and I gazed at my daughters, wrapped as we were in the arms of love, and I knew it. I was rich. Very rich. I quickly turned to thank the woman for her gentle reminder, but she was gone!

Who was she? I don't know, but what she did for my outlook was nothing short of miraculous. I will never forget her. Where did she disappear to? I can't say.

Strangely enough, within days my husband received a job offer in southwestern Virginia. In less than two weeks, he was hired and we moved to the place that is now our home. The job notice had been sent out two days before Christmas.

So, even as we hugged and kissed; even as I wished; even as I heard the words,
"It looks to me, as though you already are," events were already in motion to reunite our family.

I am quite certain that it was all part of God's plan to remind me of what being "rich" is all about .faith, love, family, and friends. When I get to heaven, I will not be at all surprised to discover that God sent an angel to a second hand bookstore, to give me this rich message, the day after Christmas, not so long ago.


Jaye Lewis is an award-winning writer and contributing author to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Jaye, who is a committed Christian, lives with her family in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains of Virginia. Visit Jaye's website at http://www.entertainingangels.org

or email her at jayelewis@comcast.net

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Why Dogs Bite People

My Idea of Christmas

My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or

modern,is very simple: loving others

Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for

Christmas to do that?

Bob Hope, American film actor and comedian

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

About Money

























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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Christmas gift suggestions:

To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect.

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Sunday, December 7, 2008


Author Unknown

The partner who hogs the covers every night,
because he Is not out with someone else.

The child who is not cleaning his room, but
Is watching TV, because that means he Is at
home and not on the streets.

For the taxes that I pay,
because it means that I am employed.

For the mess to clean after a party,
because it means that I have been
surrounded by friends.

For the clothes that fit a little too snug,
because it means I have enough to eat.

For my shadow that watches me work,
because it means I am in the sunshine.

For a lawn that needs mowing,
windows that need cleaning,
and gutters that need fixing,
because it means I have a home.

For the parking spot I find at the far
end of the parking lot, because It means
I am capable of walking and that I have
been blessed with transportation.

For my huge heating/cooling bill,
because it means I am warm/refreshed.

For the lady behind me in church that
sings off key, because it means that
I can hear.

For the pile of laundry and Ironing,
because it means I have clothes to wear.

For weariness and aching muscles at
the end of the day, because it means
I have been capable of working hard.

For the alarm that goes off in the
early morning hours, because it
means I am alive.

And finally...

For too much e-Mail,
because it means I have friends who
are thinking of me.

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Friday, December 5, 2008

Award Winning Construction

Nominees are...










& the winner is......





















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