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The Race

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The Race

        attributed to Dr. D.H. “Dee” Groberg

 

      Whenever I start to hang my head in front of failure’s face,

 

          my downward fall is broken by the memory of a race.

 

      A children’s race, young boys, young men; how I remember well,

 

          excitement sure, but also fear, it wasn’t hard to tell.

 

      They all lined up so full of hope, each thought to win that race

 

          or tie for first, or if not that, at least take second place.

 

      Their parents watched from off the side, each cheering for their son,

 

          and each boy hoped to show his folks that he would be the one.

 

      The whistle blew and off they flew, like chariots of fire,

 

          to win, to be the hero there, was each young boy’s desire.

 

      One boy in particular, whose dad was in the crowd,

 

          was running in the lead and thought “My dad will be so proud.”

 

      But as he speeded down the field and crossed a shallow dip,

 

          the little boy who thought he’d win, lost his step and slipped.

 

      Trying hard to catch himself, his arms flew everyplace,

 

          and midst the laughter of the crowd he fell flat on his face.

 

      As he fell, his hope fell too; he couldn’t win it now.

 

          Humiliated, he just wished to disappear somehow.

 

      But as he fell his dad stood up and showed his anxious face,

 

          which to the boy so clearly said, “Get up and win that race!”

 

      He quickly rose, no damage done, behind a bit that’s all,

 

          and ran with all his mind and might to make up for his fall.

 

      So anxious to restore himself, to catch up and to win,

 

          his mind went faster than his legs. He slipped and fell again.

 

      He wished that he had quit before with only one disgrace.

 

          “I’m hopeless as a runner now, I shouldn’t try to race.”

 

      But through the laughing crowd he searched and found his father’s face

 

          with a steady look that said again, “Get up and win that race!”

 

      So he jumped up to try again, ten yards behind the last.

 

          “If I’m to gain those yards,” he thought, “I’ve got to run real fast!”

 

      Exceeding everything he had, he regained eight, then ten…

 

          but trying hard to catch the lead, he slipped and fell again.

 

      Defeat! He lay there silently. A tear dropped from his eye.

 

          “There’s no sense running anymore! Three strikes I’m out! Why try?

 

      I’ve lost, so what’s the use?” he thought. “I’ll live with my disgrace.”

 

          But then he thought about his dad, who soon he’d have to face.

 

      “Get up,” an echo sounded low, “you haven’t lost at all,

 

          for all you have to do to win is rise each time you fall.

 

      Get up!” the echo urged him on, “Get up and take your place!

 

          You were not meant for failure here! Get up and win that race!”

 

      So, up he rose to run once more, refusing to forfeit,

 

          and he resolved that win or lose, at least he wouldn’t quit.

 

      So far behind the others now, the most he’d ever been,

 

          still he gave it all he had and ran like he could win.

 

      Three times he’d fallen stumbling, three times he rose again.

 

          Too far behind to hope to win, he still ran to the end.

 

      They cheered another boy who crossed the line and won first place,

 

          head high and proud and happy — no falling, no disgrace.

 

      But, when the fallen youngster crossed the line, in last place,

 

          the crowd gave him a greater cheer for finishing the race.

 

      And even though he came in last with head bowed low, unproud,

 

          you would have thought he’d won the race, to listen to the crowd.

 

      And to his dad he sadly said, “I didn’t do so well.”

 

          “To me, you won,” his father said. “You rose each time you fell.”

 

      And now when things seem dark and bleak and difficult to face,

 

          the memory of that little boy helps me in my own race.

 

      For all of life is like that race, with ups and downs and all.

 

          And all you have to do to win is rise each time you fall.

 

      And when depression and despair shout loudly in my face,

 

        another voice within me says, “Get up and win that race!”

 

What Goes Around Comes Around!

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His name was Fleming, and he was a poor Scottish farmer. One day, while trying to make a living for his family, he heard a cry for help coming from a nearby bog. He dropped his tools and ran to the bog.

There, mired to his waist in black muck, was a terrified boy, screaming and struggling to free himself. Farmer Fleming saved the lad from what could have been a slow and terrifying death

The next day, a fancy carriage pulled up to the Scotsman’s sparse surroundings. An elegantly dressed nobleman stepped out and introduced himself as the father of the boy Farmer Fleming had saved.

‘I want to repay you,’ said the nobleman. ‘You saved my son’s life.’

‘No, I can’t accept payment for what I did,’ the Scottish farmer replied waving off the offer. At that moment, the farmer’s own son came to the door of the family hovel.

‘Is that your son?’ the nobleman asked.
‘Yes,’ the farmer replied proudly.

‘I’ll make you a deal. Let me provide him with the level of education my own son will enjoy If the lad is anything like his father, he’ll no doubt grow to be a man we both will be proud of.’ And that he did.

Farmer Fleming’s son attended the very best schools and in time, graduated from St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School in London, and went on to become known throughout the world as the noted Sir Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of Penicillin.

Years afterward, the same nobleman’s son who was saved from the bog was stricken with pneumonia.
What saved his life this time? Penicillin.

The name of the nobleman? Lord Randolph Churchill .. His son’s name?
Sir Winston Churchill.
Someone once said: What goes around comes around.

Work like you don’t need the money.

Love like you’ve never been hurt.

Dance like nobody’s watching.

Sing like nobody’s listening.

Live like it’s Heaven on Earth.

AN IRISH FRIENDSHIP WISH:

May there always be work for your hands to do;

May your purse always hold a coin or two;

May the sun always shine on your windowpane;

May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain;

May the hand of a friend always be near you;
May God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.

and may you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows you’re dead.

When Death Paid Me a Visit – by Rabbi Ephramim Shore

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When Death Paid Me a Visit

When Death Paid Me a Visit

This was no made-for-TV movie. It was real and shockingly happening to my life.

by Rabbi Ephraim Shore

Pain is hard to describe in words. They don’t do it justice. Hospitals use a sophisticated scale of “1-10.” Mine was at least 11.

Thursday I was biking around Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, rushing as usual. At the end of the day, I felt a bit of lower back ache, nothing unusual for a Type-A personality like me who regularly swims, mountain bikes and does yoga. I took a bath and went to bed.

Ehpraim and Esther Shore with their familyEphraim and Esther Shore with their family

Friday I woke up and it felt worse. I got out of bed and screamed as a massive spasm suddenly seared through my lower back. I collapsed on to the bed, blinded by the pain. It was like one of those awful leg cramps but way more intense and across my whole lower back. And the pain would not let up. In fact, the spasms were getting worse and worse. I had no idea that this kind of pain existed.

The slightest movement of any part of my body magnified the daggers plunging into me. My wife had just stepped out, so I made the massive effort to focus and struggled to call an ambulance.

Over the course of the next few hours I can only remember a few moments. I wasn’t unconscious but the pain was so overwhelming it left no room whatsoever for anything else to enter my consciousness. The only words I could force out between moans of torment were “I can’t” and “Need pain killer now!” Thank God none of our kids were home to witness this. My wife rushed home and was unfortunately not spared.

After a few days, utterly spent from the unrelenting suffering, I yearned only for deliverance.

I spent the next week in varying degrees of utter agony. The back pain was only minimally alleviated by morphine and other pain killers and within a day my entire body started breaking down. Water in my lungs, enlarged spleen and kidneys, fever, my mouth so parched I couldn’t swallow. IV, catheter, and oxygen tubes invaded my body.

Now I understand viscerally how torture works. Our frail bodies are just not equipped for this degree of pain. I would have done anything to escape it. After a few days, utterly spent from the unrelenting suffering, I yearned only for deliverance, no matter where it came from.

Ephraim on the rooftop of Aish HaTorahEphraim on the rooftop of Aish HaTorah

Doctors searched for an explanation. The usual suspects were eliminated fairly quickly. After six days, the doctors sat my family down with me and carefully offered their conclusion. “We believe you have multiple myeloma, a cancer of the blood.” They warned us not to Google it. My brother and parents flew in. My wife dropped everything and became my full time guardian and nurse.

I was transferred to the cancer ward where I was finally given the massive amounts of pain meds required to make my pain livable. Finally I was able to think of something other than my pain and it was time to come to terms with my new state in life.

I was in shock. I never thought I was the cancer type of person, if there is such a thing. I’m in good shape, eat healthy, and well, as someone who is constantly on the move, I never imagined cancer could ever tackle me. Boy, was I wrong. Two weeks prior I attended the funeral of a friend who died of cancer three weeks after his diagnosis, and that image filled my mind.

But the respite from pain was so soothing I couldn’t help but feel a certain joy of relief. Still locked to my bed, completely sapped from a week of agony that continued to revisit me in regular spasms, I had a lot to contemplate: taking a hard look at my life and the coming years of treatments, hospitals and life interrupted.

I looked out from that hospital bed onto my life…and possible death, a strange new visitor. One part of me (the exhausted, beaten down part) wanted to sink into the comfort of putting all the pain and hassles of life behind me.

But the overwhelming feeling was that I was deeply connecting with the beauty of life. I looked out the window and stared in wonder at the mountains and trees. I wanted to paint (and I don’t paint). I know this sounds cliché but for me it was profound. I suddenly saw the inherent majesty and meaning all around me. And I didn’t want to die.

I felt I had to grapple with the meaning of my illness and how I should be changing my life.

At the same time I knew that God was giving me a very heavy message. Brutally honest, personal reflection is difficult, and I was forced to stop and do it. I felt I had to grapple with the meaning of my illness and how I should be changing my life. When I thought about my life, the word that hit me was “hysteria.” Ambitious and driven at work, with wife and nine kids at home, my life is a non-stop maelstrom of running from one obligation to the next. And with all that running I seemed to be missing the point. It’s not just ‘get it all done so that it’s all done,’ a mad scramble to the finish line.

I committed that if God spares me and I have the chance to return to life again, I would not allow myself to lose sight of my ultimate goals – being aware of God in my daily life, giving my wife and kids more attention and love, appreciating what a great team of people I’m working with and what a special privilege it is to devote my life to helping the Jewish people – and not to get lost in the myriad means to reach those goals.

A Living Nightmare

I shared my room in the neurosurgery ward with eight others – the brain injured, the brain tumors, the strokes. Everyone was moaning for attention. It was a Third World setting: an understaffed ward, each person stuck in his curtained-off, five square meters, constantly encroached by everyone else’s visitors, sharing two filthy bathrooms with those lucky enough to be able to get there.

One thing we all shared in common was that we were all fighting for our lives, fighting through mountains of pain to get back to where we last stepped out of our lives.

Why? I asked myself. Why are we all fighting so desperately through life, through such sacrifice and even horror? To go back home, back to work and throw ourselves into the rat race once more? I hope not. We all instinctively know that it’s because life is precious, gorgeous, beautiful. Even if we ignore that 99% of the time.

Rabbi Noah Weinberg, zt”l, would ask people if they’d be willing to give up one of their kids for $100 million dollars. (“Come on, you’ll still have two left! What about the one who’s always kvetching?”) Naturally, no one ever replies in the affirmative.

“But think about all the pleasure you can buy with $100 million? Yachts, vacations, homes in Paris, New York and Palm Beach! Every gourmet meal imaginable!” That means, he would point out, each of our kids is worth more than $100 million. “So why aren’t we spending more time with them? Why aren’t we enjoying them?”

The culprit is not life and its endless responsibilities. The problem is with us and how we choose to experience our “mundane” (gorgeous, stunning) daily life. It’s our unwillingness to take a deep breath, send up our periscope from the depths of that hysteria and constantly remember that we’re doing all of this because of the meaning and pleasure inherent in it all. It’s far more comfortable to just get lost in the busy-ness of life than to make the ongoing effort to choose to focus on the good and genuinely love and embrace life. And every sick person fighting for his life is a testament of this truth. No one would endure such an intense battle unless they were deeply aware of the infinite value of life itself.

Retracted

After a week in the cancer ward, the doctors came to my room and informed me and my wife that there had been a misdiagnosis. I did not have myeloma! I was most likely suffering from osteomyelitis, an infection in the bones in my spine, treatable by an intense, long term treatment of antibiotics.

Looking back on this experience, I feel that God has given me one of the greatest gifts imaginable.

The wave of relief that rushed through me cannot be described in words. I was being given the gift of life again! And this wasn’t some made for television movie. It was my life.

Looking back on this experience, still taking small quantities of morphine, I feel that God has given me one of the greatest gifts imaginable. My death sentence was withdrawn and my life was renewed. Saved! A fresh start. All the benefits of a life-threatening disease without actually having to go through it.

When you check in for a couple weeks to a cancer or neurosurgery ward, chances are you’ll come out a different human being. It’s a trip worth much more than a vacation in Tahiti.

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My resolutions are many and I know, naively unrealistic. Those awful weeks in the hospital taught me so much about what I like and don’t like about myself. From now on I will be stopping regularly to taste the beauty in everyday, boring, simple, undramatic (please God, no more drama!) life. I’ll be patient and ever-so-expressively grateful with my wife (who was insanely devoted to my recovery), I’ll be spending more time with my kids and truly enjoying them, I’ll enjoy my prayers and remember that I’m actually talking to the Creator of the Universe, and I’ll ask Him to help me take pleasure in my day. I’ll smile to the cashier. And I’ll dance with joy at the gift that I can do meaningful work that is helping the Jewish People and Israel.

I’m still human. All that may not all happen immediately, but I do hope some of it will stick. Not just hope – I plan on God-willing working hard on that. For now, I’m relishing the slowly receding pain in my back (I can now brush my teeth and put my own pants on!). And I’m enjoying the effort to bite my tongue when my wife drives too slowly and to smile when my kids are fighting.

It’s the struggle for sanity and I’m back in the ring.

Are You at Peace

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If you are depressed, you are living in the past

If you are anxious, you are living in the future

If you are at peace, your are living in the present

by Lao Tzu

ATTITUDE

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“The longer I live, the more i realize the impact of attitude on life.  Attitude to me, is more important than facts.  It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances,  than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do.  It is more important than appearances, giftedness, or skill.  It will make or break a company…a church…a home.  The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.  We cannot change the past…we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way.  We cannot change the inevitable.  The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude…i am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.  And so it is with you…we are in charge of our ATTITUDES”

-Charles Swindoll

$5 Lamp Could Shed Light to Those in areas still Without Electricity!

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This $5 lamp is powered by gravity (and just destroyed

its funding target on Indiegogo)

This $5 lamp is powered by gravity (and just destroyed its funding target on Indiegogo)
December 26, 2012 2:29 PM

A lamp for $5 that does not require any electrical power source?

It may sound like an impossible dream, but two designers in London have built functioning prototypes of GravityLight, a cheap way for people in developing countries t0 light homes, recharge batteries, or power a radio. And they just exceeded their Indiegogo fundraising goal by more than 500 percent with 21 days left in their campaign, so they’ll have the resources to mass-produce the light for less than $5 a unit.

The GravityLIght comes in the bag that will be filled with dirt or stones to power it

The GravityLIght comes in the bag that will be filled with dirt or stones to power it

Martin Riddiford and Jim Reeves have spent four years developing GravityLight, which uses the Earth’s gravity to generate enough power to light an LED bulb for half an hour — no electrical grid, batteries, or any external generator required.

Using the GravityLight simply requires removing the small white lamp from its bag, hanging it up, filling the bag with about 20 pounds of dirt or rocks, and attaching the bag to bottom of the device.

Gravity powers a generator, light fills your room, and every 30 minutes, you hoist the bag back up.

The goal is to provide clean, efficient light for the 1.5 billion human beings on this planet who still do not have reliable access to electricity and use kerosene-powered lamps. According to Riddiford and Reeves, the use of kerosene results in vastly higher cancer rates due to smoke inhalation, and 2.5 million burn victims due to dropped or jostled lamps every year in India alone. Not to mention the cost: 10 percent to 20 percent of a household’s income in the developing world can go to fuel for lighting.

The initial run of 1,000 GravityLights will be distributed for free to villagers in Africa and India, the designers say. Based on the results, they will tweak the product and then seek NGO and non-profit organizations’ help in distributing it even more widely.

Here’s their explanatory video:

Thousands of backers have contributed anywhere from $10, which gets a thank-you, to $100, which pays for three GravityLights to be sent to needy villages in developing nations, a GravityLight of your own, and several other perks. And four sponsors have signed up at the $5,000 level to help the project succeed — and get their names and logos on the initial run of devices.

Image credits: GravityLight Project

Read more at http://venturebeat.com/2012/12/26/this-5-lamp-is-powered-by-gravity-and-just-destroyed-its-funding-target-on-indiegogo/#2hj4vy3L9zLWfso8.99

This World Needs Leaders

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an excerpt from John Maxwell’s book, “Developing the Leader Within”

This world needs leaders…

who use their influence at the right times for the right reasons,

who take a little greater share of the blame and a little smaller share of the credit;

who lead themselves successfully before attempting to lead others,

who continue to search for the best answer, not the familiar one;

who add value to the people and organizations they lead;

who work for the benefit of others and not for personal gain;

who handle themselves with their heads and handle others with their hearts;

who know the way, go the way and show the way;

who inspire and motivate rather than intimidate and manipulate;

who live with people to know their problems and live with God in order to solve them;

who realize that their dispositions are more important than their positions;

who mold opinions instead of  following opinion polls;

who understand that an institution is the reflection of their character;

who never place themselves above others except in carrying responsibilities;

who will be as honest in small things as in great things;

who discipline themselves so they will not be disciplined by others;

who encounter setbacks and turn them into comebacks;

who follow a moral compass that points in the right direction regardless of the trends