Monday, December 31, 2007


My Wish for You in 2008

May peace break into your house and may thieves come to steal your debts. May the pockets of your jeans become a magnet of $100 bills. May love stick to your face like Vaseline and may laughter assault your lips! May your clothes smell of success like smoking tires and may happiness slap you across the face and may your tears be that of joy. May the problems you had forget your home address! In simple words ............

May 2008 be the best year of your life!!! Until 2009, 2010, 2011..

Saturday, December 8, 2007


To all my Keepers!!!!!!! 
Their marriage was good, their dreams focused.
Their best friends lived barely a wave away.
I can see them now, Dad in trousers, tee shirt and a hat and Mom in a
house dress, lawn mower in one hand, and dish-towel in the other.

It was the time for fixing things. A curtain rod, the kitchen radio,
door, the oven door, the hem in a dress.
Things we keep.

It was a way of life, and sometimes it made me crazy.


All that re-fixing, eating, renewing, I wanted just once to be wasteful.
Waste meant affluence.

Throwing things away meant you knew there'd always be more.
But then my mother died, and on that clear summer's night, in the warmth
the hospital room, I was struc k with the pain of learning that sometimes
there isn't any more.

Sometimes, what we care about most gets all used up and goes away...never


While we have it... it's best we love it... And care for it.... And fix it
when it's broken..... And heal it when it's sick.
This is true... For marriage.... And old cars.... And children with bad
report cards..... Dogs and cats with bad hips.... And aging parents....
We keep them because they are worth it, because we are worth it. Some
we keep.

Like a best friend that moved away or a classmate we grew up with.
There are just some things that make life important, like people we know
are special.... And so, we keep them close!

Saturday, October 27, 2007


The Hugging Judge

By Jack Canfield and Mark V. Hansen

Lee Shapiro is a retired judge. He is also one of the most genuinely loving people we know. At one point in his career, Lee realized that love is the greatest power there is. As a result, Lee became a hugger. He began offering everybody a hug. His colleagues dubbed him “the hugging judge” (as opposed to the hanging judge, we suppose). The bumper sticker on his car reads, “Don’t bug me! Hug me!”

About six years ago Lee created what he calls his Hugger Kit. On the outside it reads “A heart for a hug.” The inside contains thirty little red embroidered hearts with stickums on the back. Lee will take out his Hugger Kit, go around to people and offer them a little red heart in exchange for a hug.

Lee has become so well known for this that he is often invited to keynote conferences and conventions, where he shares his message of unconditional love. At a conference in San Francisco, the local news media challenged him by saying, “It is easy to give out hugs here in the conference to people who self-selected to be here. But this would never work in the real world.”

They challenged Lee to give away some hugs on the streets of San Francisco. Followed by a television crew from the local news station, Lee went out onto the street. First he approached a woman walking by. “Hi, I’m Lee Shapiro, the hugging judge. I’m giving out these hearts in exchange for a hug.” “Sure,” she replied. “Too easy,” challenged the local commentator. Lee looked around. He saw a meter maid who was being given a hard time by the owner of a BMW to whom she was giving a ticket. He marched up to her, camera crew in tow, and said, “You look like you could use a hug. I’m the hugging judge and I’m offering you one.” She accepted.

The television commentator threw down one final challenge. “Look, here comes a bus. San Francisco bus drivers are the toughest, crabbiest, meanest people in the whole town. Let’s see you get him to hug you.” Lee took the challenge.

As the bus pulled up to the curb, Lee said, “Hi, I’m Lee Shapiro, the hugging judge.  This has got to be one of the most stressful jobs in the whole world.  I’m offering hugs to people today to lighten the load a little.  Would you like one?”  The six-foot-two, 230-pound bus driver got out of his seat, stepped down and said, “Why not?”

Lee hugged him, gave him a heart and waved good-bye as the bus pulled out.  The TV crew was speechless.  Finally, the commentator said, “I have to admit, I’m very impressed.”

One day Lee’s friend Nancy Johnston showed up on his doorstep.  Nancy is a professional clown and she was wearing her clown costume, makeup and all.  “Lee, grab a bunch of your Hugger Kits and let’s go out to the home for the disabled.”

When they arrived at the home, they started giving out balloon hats, hearts and hugs to the patients.  Lee was uncomfortable.  He had never before hugged people who were terminally ill, severely retarded or quadriplegic.  It was definitely a stretch.  But after a while it became easier, with Nancy and Lee acquiring an entourage of doctors, nurses and orderlies who followed them from ward to ward.

After several hours they entered the last ward.  These were 34 of the worst cases Lee had seen in his life.  The feeling was so grim it took his heart away.  But out of their commitment to share their love and to make a difference, Nancy and Lee started working their way around the room followed by the entourage of medical staff, all of whom by now had hearts on their collars and balloon hats on their heads.

Finally, Lee came to the last person, Leonard.  Leonard was wearing a big white bib which he was drooling on.  Lee looked at Leonard dribbling onto his bib and said, “Let’s go, Nancy.  There’s no way we can get through to this person.”  Nancy replied, “C’mon, Lee.  He’s a fellow human being, too, isn’t he?”  Then she placed a funny balloon hat on his head.  Lee took one of his little red hearts and placed it on Leonard’s bib.  He took a deep breath, leaned down and gave Leonard a hug.

All of a sudden Leonard began to squeal, “Eeeeehh! Eeeeeehh!”  Some of the other patients in the room began to clang things together.  Lee turned to the staff for some sort of explanation only to find that every doctor, nurse and orderly was crying.  Lee asked the head nurse, “What’s going on?”

Lee will never forget what she said: “This is the first time in 23 years we’ve ever seen Leonard smile.”

How simple it is to make a difference in the lives of others.

Friday, October 12, 2007


Damaged Goods

By Joanna Slan

The dust mites danced in the ray of sunshine that provided the only light in the rabbi’s office.  He rocked back in his office chair and sighed as he stroked his beard.  Then he took his wire-rimmed glasses and polished them absent-mindedly on his flannel shirt.

“So,” he said, “you were divorced.  Now you want to marry this good Jewish boy.  What’s the problem?”

He nestled his grizzled chin in his hand and smiled softly at me.

I wanted to shriek.  What’s the problem?  First of all, I’m Christian.  Second, I’m older than he is.  Third - and not least, by any means - I’m divorced!  Instead, I looked back into his soft brown eyes and tried to form the words.

“Don’t you think,” I stuttered, “that being divorced is like being used?  Like being damaged goods?”

He settled back in the office chair and stretched so that he was looking at the ceiling.  He stroked the scraggly beard that covered his chin and his neck.  Then, he returned to his spot behind the desk and leaned toward me.

“Say you have to have surgery.  Say you have a choice between two doctors.  Who are you going to choose?  The one right out of medical school or the one with experience?”

“The one with experience,” I said.

His face crinkled into a grin.  “I would, too,” he locked his eyes with mine.  “So in this marriage, you will be the one with experience.  That’s not such a bad thing, you know.

“Often, marriages tend to drift.  They get caught in dangerous currents.  They get off course and head toward hidden sandbars.  No one notices until it is too late.  On your face, I see the pain of a marriage gone bad.  You will notice the drift in this marriage.  You’ll call out when you see the rocks.  You’ll yell to watch out and pay attention.  You’ll be the person with experience,” he sighed.  “And believe me, that’s not such a bad thing.  Not bad at all.”

He walked to the window and peeked between the slats of the blinds.  “You see, no one here knows about my first wife.  I don’t hide it, but I don’t make a big deal about it.  She died early in our marriage before I moved here.  Now, late at night I think of all the words I never said.  I think of all the chances I let pass by in that first marriage, and I believe I’m a better husband to my wife today because of the woman I lost.”

For the first time, the sadness in his eyes had meaning.  Now I understood why I chose to come talk to this man about marriage instead of taking an easier route and getting married outside both our religions.  The word “rabbi” means teacher.  Somehow I sensed he could teach me, or even lend me, the courage I needed in order to try again, to marry again and to love again.

“I will marry you and your David,” said the rabbi.  “If you promise me that you will be the person who yells out when you see the marriage is in danger.”

I promised him I would, and I rose to leave.

“By the way,” he called to me as I hesitated in his doorway, “did anyone ever tell you that Joanna is a good Hebrew name?”

Sixteen years have passed since the rabbi married David and me on a rainy October morning.  And, yes, I have called out several times when I sensed we were in danger.  I would tell the rabbi how well his analogy has served me, but I cannot.  He died two years after our wedding.  But I will always be grateful for the priceless gift he gave me: the wisdom to know that all of our experiences in life make us not less valuable, but more valuable, not less able to love, but more able to love.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


To Achieve Your Dream, Remember Your ABC’s

* Avoid negative sources, people, places, things and habits.
* Believe in yourself.
* Consider things from every angle.
* Don't give up and don't give in.
* Enjoy life today, yesterday is gone, tomorrow may never come.
* Family and friends are hidden treasures, seek them and enjoy their riches.
* Give more than you planned to.
* Hang on to your dreams.
* Ignore those who try to discourage you.
* Just do it.
* Keep trying no matter how hard it seems, it will get easier.
* Love yourself first and most.
* Make it happen.
* Never lie, cheat or steal, always strike a fair deal.
* Open your eyes and see things as they really are.
* Practice makes perfect.
* Quitters never win and winners never quit.
* Read, study and learn about everything important in your life.
* Stop procrastinating.
* Take control of your own destiny.
* Understand yourself in order to better understand others.
* Visualize it.
* Want it more than anything.
* Xcellerate your efforts.
* You are unique of all God’s creations, nothing can replace YOU.
* Zero in on your target and go for it!!
-unknown author-

Thursday, September 20, 2007



If you can look at the sunset and smile, then you still have
If you can find beauty in the colors of a small flower, then
you still have hope.
If you can find pleasure in the movement of a butterfly, then
you still have hope.
If the smile of a child can still warm your heart, then you still
have hope.
If you can see the good in other people, then you still have
If the rain breaking on a roof top can still lull you to sleep,
then you still have hope.
If the sight of a rainbow still makes you stop and stare in
wonder, then you still have hope.
If the soft fur of a favored pet still feels pleasant under your
fingertips, then you still have hope.
If you meet new people with a trace of excitement and
optimism, then you still have hope.
If you give people the benefit of a doubt, then you still have
If you still offer your hand in friendship to others that have
touched your life, then you still have hope.
If receiving an unexpected card or letter still brings a pleasant
surprise, then you still have hope.
If the suffering of others still fills you with pain and
frustration, then you still have hope.
If you refuse to let a friendship die, or accept that it must end,
then you still have hope.
If you look forward to a time or place of quiet and reflection,
then you still have hope.
If you still buy the ornaments, put up the Christmas tree or
cook the turkey, then you still have hope.
If you still watch love stories or want the endings to be happy,
then you still have hope.
If you can look to the past and smile, then you still have hope.
If, when faced with the bad, when told everything is futile, you
can still look up and end the conversation with the phrase...
"yeah....BUT.." then you still have hope.

Hope is such a marvelous thing. It bends, it twists, it
sometimes hides, but rarely does it break. It sustains us when
nothing else can. It gives us reason to continue and courage to
move ahead, when we tell ourselves we'd rather give in.

Hope puts a smile on our face when the heart cannot manage.

Hope puts our feet on the path when our eyes cannot see it.

Hope moves us to act when our souls are confused of the direction.

Hope is a wonderful thing, something to be cherished and nurtured,
and something that will refresh us in return. And it can be found in
each of us, and it can bring light into the darkest of places.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007



Perhaps you have never heard of Katherine Lawes. Katherine was the
wife of Lewis Lawes, warden at Sing Sing Prison from 1920-1941.

Sing Sing had the reputation of destroying wardens. The average
warden's tenure before Lewis Lawes was two years. "The easiest way to
get out of Sing Sing," he once quipped, "is to go in as warden." In
his 21 years he instituted numerous reforms - and an important part of
his success was due to his wife Katherine.

Katherine took seriously the idea that the prisoners are human beings,
worthy of attention and respect. She regularly visited inside the
walls of Sing Sing. She encouraged the prisoners, ran errands for them
and spent time listening to them. Most importantly, she cared about
them. And as a result, they cared deeply about her.

Then one night in October of 1937, news was "telegraphed" between the
prison cells that Katherine was killed in an accident. The prisoners
petitioned the warden to allow them to attend her funeral bier. He
granted their strange request and a few days later the south gate of
Sing Sing swung slowly open. Hundreds of men - felons, lifers,
murderers, thieves - men convicted of almost every crime conceivable,
marched slowly from the prison gate to the bier, reassembled at the
house and returned to their cells. There were so many that they
proceeded unguarded. But not one tried to escape. If he had, the
others may have killed him on the spot, so devoted were they to
Katherine Lawes, the woman who daily walked into Hell to show the men
a piece of Heaven.

Katherine's strength was to see the men less as prisoners and more as
individuals. Thomas Moore has said, "We can only treat badly those
things or people whose souls we disregard."

To treat people well is to honor their souls. To honor their souls is
to understand what it means to love your neighbor.