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Three Hairs, Two Hairs, One Hair, None

There once was a woman who woke up one morning,
looked in the mirror, and noticed
she had only three hairs on her head.

Well,” she said, “I think I’ll braid my hair today.”

So she did and she had a wonderful day.

The next day she woke up,
looked in the mirror and saw
that she had only two hairs on her head.

“Hmm,” she said, “I think I’ll part my hair down the middle today.”

So she did and she had a grand day.

The next day she woke up,
looked in the mirror and noticed
that she had only one hair on her head.

“Well,” she said, “today I’m going to wear my hair in a pony tail.”

So she did and she had a fun, fun day.

The next day she woke up,
looked in the mirror and noticed
that there wasn’t a single hair on her head.

“YES!” she exclaimed,

“I don’t have to fix my hair today!”

Attitude is everything.

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass.

It’s about learning to dance in the rain.

~ Author Unknown ~

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The Father’s Last Gift

Every Bosnian child knows the story of a poor woman who caught a golden fish, released it and in return gained wealth and happiness.

The 150 Muslim families in Jezero, a northwestern village surrounding a lake, lived a quiet life before the Bosnian war – except for holidays, when the men returned from jobs in Western Europe loaded with presents. In 1990 Smajo Malkoc came back from Austria with an unusual gift for his teenage sons, Dzevad and Catib: two goldfish in an aquarium.

Two years later, war arrived. As Bosnian Serb forces advanced on Jezero, the women and children fled and the men resisted. Malkoc was killed. When his wife, Fehima, sneaked back into the destroyed village to bury her husband and take what remained of their belongings, she spotted the fish in the aquarium.

She put them in the lake. “This way they might be more fortunate than us,” she recalls thinking.

In 1995, Fehima Malkoc returned with her sons to Jezero to find ruins, nothing left from the idyllic past except memories. When she turned toward the lake, she glimpsed something strange. She came closer – and caught her breath.

“The whole lake was shining from the many golden fish in it,” she said.

Fehima Malkoc and her sons started feeding the fish and then selling them. Now, homes, bars and coffee shops in the region have aquariums with fish from Jezero – some shiny gold, others with black and white spots like the original pair Smajo Malkoc brought home.

The Malkoc house, now rebuilt, is one of the biggest in the village. Other residents are welcome to catch and sell the fish. But most defer to the Malkocs and the last gift from their father.

“They threw the fish into the lake,” said a villager who identified himself only by his last name, Veladzic. “It’s their miracle.”

~ Los Angeles Times 1998 article “The Wartime Balkan Fairy Tale” ~

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The Hand of a Teacher

Thanksgiving Day was near. The first grade teacher gave her class a fun assignment, to draw a picture of something for which they were thankful.

Most of the class might be considered economically disadvantaged, but still many would celebrate the holiday with turkey and other traditional goodies of the season. These, the teacher thought, would be the subjects of most of her student’s art. And they were.

But Douglas made a different kind of picture. Douglas was a different kind of boy being frail and often unhappy. As other children played at recess, Douglas was likely to stand close by her side. One could only guess at the pain Douglas felt behind those sad eyes.

Yes, his picture was different. When asked to draw a picture of something for which he was thankful, he drew a hand. Nothing else. Just an empty hand.

His abstract image captured the imagination of his peers. Whose hand could it be? One child guessed it was the hand of a farmer, because farmers raise turkeys. Another suggested a police officer, because the police protect and care for people. Still others guessed it was the hand of God, for God feeds us. And so the discussion went, until the teacher almost forgot the young artist himself.

When the children had gone on to other assignments, she paused at Douglas’ desk, bent down, and asked him whose hand it was. The little boy looked away and murmured,

“It’s yours, teacher.”

She recalled the times she had taken his hand and walked with him here or there, as she had the other students. How often had she said, “Take my hand, Douglas, we’ll go outside.” Or, “Let me show you how to hold your pencil.” Or, “Let’s do this together.” Douglas was most thankful for his teacher’s hand.

Brushing aside a tear, she went on with her work.

The story speaks of more than thankfulness. It says something about teachers teaching and parents parenting and friends showing friendship, and how much it means to the Douglases of the world. They might not always say thanks. But they’ll remember the hand that reaches out.
~ Copyright 2004 by Steve Goodier who is publisher of many books as well as a free newsletter on sharing life and love at: http://www.lifesupportsystem.com. This story is used by permission ~

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Riding in a F-14 Tomcat

This is an article written by Rick Reilly of Sports Illustrated. He details his experiences when given the chance to fly in the back-seat of an Air Force F-14 Tomcat. Often top ranked U.S. athletes such as John Elway, John Stockton, and Tiger Woods are given this photo opportunity which helps promote both them and the U. S. Navy Air Force.

The U.S. Navy invited me to try it. I was thrilled. I was pumped. My pilot would be Chip (Biff) King of Fighter Squadron 213 at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach. Whatever you’re thinking a Top Gun named Biff King looks like, triple it. He’s about six-foot, tan, ice-blue eyes, wavy surfer hair, finger-crippling handshake like the kind of man who wrestles alligators in his leisure time.

Biff King was born to fly. His father, Jack King, was for years the voice of NASA missions. “T-minus 15 seconds and counting.” Remember? Chip would charge neighborhood kids a quarter each to hear his dad.

Biff was to fly me in an F- 14D Tomcat, a ridiculously powerful $60 million weapon. I was worried about getting airsick, so the night before the flight I asked Biff if there were something I should eat the next morning.

“Bananas,” he said.

“For the potassium?” I asked.

“No,” Biff said, “because they taste about the same coming up as they do going down.”

The next morning, out on the tarmac, I had on my flight suit with my name sewn over the left breast. No call sign like Crash or Killer. But, still, very cool. I carried my helmet in the crook of my arm, as Biff had instructed. If ever in my life I had a chance to nail Nicole Kidman, this was it.

A fighter pilot named Psycho gave me a safety briefing and then fastened me into my ejection seat, which, when employed, would “egress” me out of the plane at such a velocity that I would be immediately knocked unconscious.

Just as I was thinking about aborting the flight, the canopy closed over me, and Biff gave the ground crew a thumbs-up. In minutes we were firing nose up at 600 mph.

Those first 20 minutes were the rush of my life. Unfortunately, the ride lasted 60 minutes. It was like being on the roller coaster at Six Flags Over Hell. We did barrel rolls, snap rolls, loops, yanks and banks. We dived, rose and dived again, sometimes with a vertical velocity of 10,000 feet per minute. We chased another F-14, and it chased us.

We broke the speed of sound. Flying at 200 feet above the sea we did 90-degree turns at 550 mph, creating a G force of 6.5, which is to say I felt as if 6.5 times my body weight was smashing against me.

And I egressed the bananas. And I egressed the pizza from the night before. And I egressed a box of Milk Duds from the sixth grade. I went through not one airsick bag, but two.

I thought I used to know “cool.” But now I really know “cool.” Cool are guys like Biff, men with cast-iron stomachs. I wouldn’t go up there again for Derek Jeter’s black book, but I’m glad Biff does every day, and for less a year than a rookie pitching reliever makes in a single game.

A week later Biff called. He said he and the other fighter pilots had the perfect call sign for me. Said he’d send it on a new patch for my flight suit.

What is it? I asked in excitement. Then he gave it to me…

“Two Bags.”

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The $25,000 Idea

In 1912 efficiency expert Ivy Lee met with his prospective client, Charles Schwab who was President of Bethlehem Steel, and outlined how his organization could benefit the company. Lee ended his presentation by saying:

“With our service, you’ll know how to manage better.” Schwab then stated:

“We don’t need more ‘knowing’ but need more ‘doing.’ If you can give us something to help us do the things we already know we ought to do, I’ll gladly pay you anything within reason you ask.”

“I can give you something in twenty minutes that will step up your doing at least fifty percent,” Lee answered.

“Okay”, Schwab said, “show me.”

Lee then handed Schwab a blank sheet of paper and said:

“Write down the six most important tasks you have to do tomorrow in order of their importance. The first thing tomorrow morning look as item one and start working on it until it is finished.”

“Then tackle item two in the same way; and so on. Do this until quitting time. Don’t be concerned if you have only finished one or two. Take care of emergencies, but then get back to working on the most important items. The others can wait.”

“Make this a habit every working day. Pass it on to those under you. Try it as long as you like, then send me your check for what you think it’s worth.”

In a few weeks, Schwab sent Lee a check for $25,000 with a letter stating that he learned a profitable lesson.

After five years this plan was largely responsible for turning the unknown Bethlehem Steel Company into the biggest independent steel producer. Schwab purportedly made a hundred million dollars and became the best known steel man in the world.

~ Author Unknown ~

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