Words of Wisdom from Max Ehrmann

Sometimes I am faced with hard situations in life in which I find myself questioning how my life is unfolding, and am I really following the right path. 

In these times I take into consideration the inspirational words of some wonderful people who have come before me. For example I really enjoy “Wear Sunscreen” by Mary Schmich, or “If” by Rudyard Kipling. Charles Swindoll helped me through trying times in the past with his motivational prose, “Attitude” which reminds me that it doesn’t matter what someone does to me… the only power I truly have is how I react to what they’ve done.

By contrast, Desiderata is for me more of a list of attributes I aspire to.
I would be interested to know what others look to in turbulent times. Please feel free to add to the comments section those writings which you use for reflection.

Desiderata

— written by Max Ehrmann in the 1920s —
Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story. 


Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. 


Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism. 


Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass. 

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. 

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here. 


And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul. 
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

And for those who are more … visual

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The End of an Era

In the past few days I had the chance to see the final Harry Potter movie… in 3D, no less.

The word bittersweet comes to mind when I think of the end in a series which I really enjoyed watching.

I hated Snape, wished I’d had a leader like Dumbledore, wanted Ron to be good at Quidditch, understood Hermione, and knew that no matter what, Harry would do the right thing for the right reasons.

Being a wizard (or witch in my case) would have been sooo convenient. There have been times in my life where I wish I could use the “Reparo” spell. Of course “Accio TV Remote” would have been cool, or there are so many times I could have used the “Point Spell” which would make a wand into a compass. These spells even worked their way into my everyday conversation. I remember once telling a friend to stop being mean or I would “… get all Avada Kedavra on their ass”.

Not bad for a franchise that in the beginning I had poo poo’d.

When I first heard about Harry Potter it was the as “The Philosopher’s Stone” came out. I worked in morning radio at an “adult contemporary” station (read women/moms 25-45). It was our job to know the pulse of our listener, and these ladies were talking about a movie their kids had been begging to see. A British flick about some teenager who goes to a school to learn magic.

OK, so how do we “own this” as the jock used to say? Well, we could have a look-alike contest on the opening night. Sure. Who’s going to judge it? Um… none of us, we had NO idea what it was even about, let alone what the kid looked like. So we coupled with a local movie theater to give us a party room before the film, found a mom who seemed to know what she was talking about to judge the thing, got the theater to provide a prize package which we sweetened with some other stuff we had lying around. Alright, that’s settled… now who should go? Crickets.

Let’s send Snooker! Yes ladies and gentlemen, our high-priced talent would not be caught dead darkening such a scene… so they sent the producer who had actually put all the other stuff together, so surely she would be the best choice, right? Yeah, my job was pretty glamorous, haha.

The night of the movie premiere the place was swarming with kids. Out of all of them, there were about 20 who had been creative enough to enter the contest. Some had recycled Halloween vampire costumes and wore a scarf in what I later learned to be Gryffindor-colored stripes. Others had gone all out and found round glasses.

One kid – the winner it turned out – had actually used makeup to make a lightning-shaped scar on this forehead. It didn’t matter that he was blond, the judge-mom said that was the best idea, so he was the winner. (I really wish that I still had the pictures I took at these events) The rest of the kids ended up getting tickets and a free popcorn from the theater, they all received radio station bumper stickers… ’cause EVERY kid NEEDS a bumper sticker, you know.

No, sadly I didn’t watch the movie that night. I headed home after a super long day of work (morning radio starts before people wake up… ahem… dark thirty, so to speak). I came to regret that decision.

When the second movie came out, I allowed my curiosity to get the best of me and did a Dollar Theater visit. This was the Chamber of Secrets, and not a bad movie at all. OK, I said, I will catch up on the first one, and watch the others as they come out, which I did faithfully.

Once I made it to Germany in 2005 I found myself with lots of time on my hands which lead me to perusing my new wife’s book shelf. She had purchased the first Harry Potter and gotten partway through it before coming to the conclusion that she doesn’t really enjoy fantasy, and it had been gathering dust on the shelf ever since. I poured through it and hungered for more (like so many others before me). Not having much extra money, and seeing the waiting list after doing some research at the only English library in town, I realized that my options were limited.

I downloaded the 2nd book, yes illegally… no, I don’t think JK Rowling will be hurt by it. Pre-Kindle days, books could be read on an Palm device, and I had a nice one. I had been reading Gutenberg-downloaded classics for a while, so it made sense to try. Google search brought me to a few places where I could download all HP books to date as .pdf and view them on my Palm, so that is what I did. One after the other, I read them. Carrying around my Palm and pulling it out whenever I had an extra three minutes… waiting for a train, standing in line, waiting for a movie to start, anywhere, anytime. I even read in bed, the backlight feature allowing me to read all night long if I wanted to, if my nose was cold I read under the covers… just like Harry. Well, I didn’t have the cool wand and the “Lumos” spell, but it was a close second.

Of course these .pdf’s were usually simply re-typed by some person with more time on their hands than typing talent, so there were errors, but that didn’t matter to me. Then there was the time I started reading “The Order of the Phoenix” and quickly realized that the writing quality was nothing like the magic of J.K. Rowling. It turned out to be a work of fan fiction, written by someone with a love of Harry coupled with a creative mind. I eventually read it all because it was rather interesting. Harry developed a love of jogging, really got back at Dudley Dursley in an evil way, and eventually got into Hermine’s pants. Whew… that was a wild ride, let me tell you!

Waiting for the last book was the hardest. A friend and I queued at the bookstore for the midnight release. I read the entire book in one weekend, laughed, cried, yelled in frustration, and generally had a lovely time. Poor Sweet No just kind of drifted in and out of my life that weekend, making fun of me as she passed the vacuum cleaner under my feet.

Not to introduce any spoilers, let’s just say that the movies were great but the books were still better. Character development was fantastic and the stories felt so believable. J.K. Rowling is rolling in money, and I am happy for her.

I really WANT to find out that there REALLY IS a Hogwart’s or something like it, even if I wasn’t invited. Am I alone? What about visiting the Harry Potter Theme Park in Orlando? Would you spend your hard-earned money to visit the studio where much of the film series was made?

And what of JK Rowling? There is a 19 year gap to fill, as well as the possibility to write about what happens to the kids of the magical trio. Would she, could she, SHOULD she write more about the adventures of Harry Potter?

Bittersweet indeed. But our ride on the Hogwart’s Express has been enjoyable.

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For the Book Freaks

I’m stealing this idea from Michele of Jeweled Concrete who in turn stole from G.
It is a list of books obviously loved by the British.
In bold you will find the ones I’ve read.
It seems I have a way to go on the British list.

The BBC list of the most beloved books:
1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman

4.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
5.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling
6.
To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
7.
Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
8.
Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis

10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë

11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller

12. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë

13. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks

14. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier

15.
The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
16.
The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
17.
Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
18.
Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
19. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Lo
uis de Bernieres Hated the movie… do I really NEED to read the book?
20. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
OMG -This really was a good read
21.
Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
22.
Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone, JK Rowling
23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling
24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling
25.
The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien
26.
Tess Of The D’Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
27. Middlemarch, George Eliot

28. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving

29. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck
– How similar to today’s world is all of this?
30. Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll – How similar to today’s world is all of THIS?
31. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
32. One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez

33. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett
34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
35.
Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
36.
Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
37. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute

38. Persuasion, Jane Austen

39. Dune, Frank Herbert

40. Emma, Jane Austen
41.
Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery
42. Watership Down, Richard Adams
Need to read this one again.
43.
The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas

45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh

46.
Animal Farm, George Orwell
47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
48. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy

49. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
50. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher

51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
52. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck

53.
The Stand, Stephen King I re-read this about every decade.
54. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
55. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
56. The BFG, Roald Dahl
57. Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome

58.
Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
59. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer

60. Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky

61. Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman
62. Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden
63.
A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
64. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
I just wanted to slap Father Ralph and tell him to wake up!
65. Mort, Terry Pratchett

66. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton

67. The Magus, John Fowles

68. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
– Read on suggestion of a friend… now I have MANY more books to read… such as number 69
69. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett

70.
Lord Of The Flies, William Golding Heard lots of wonderful things about it, had it in my hands once… just need to get it all together for this one.
71.
Perfume, Patrick Süskind
72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
73. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett

74. Matilda, Roald Dahl

75.
Bridget Jones’s Diary, Helen Fielding
76. The Secret History, Donna Tartt

77. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins

78. Ulysses, James Joyce

79. Bleak House, Charles Dickens
80. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson

81. The Twits, Roald Dahl

82. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith

83. Holes, Louis Sachar

84. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake

85. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy

86. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson

87.
Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
88.
Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
89. Magician, Raymond E Feist
90. On The Road, Jack Kerouac
How wonderful!
91. The Godfather, Mario Puzo
Didn’t read, but I did love the movies.
92.
The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel
93. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett

94.
The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
95. Katherine, Anya Seton

96. Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer

97.
Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez
98. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson

99. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot

100. Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie

How about it? Am I missing out on some awesome books here? What is your favorite from this list? What should BE on this list.

Random Tuesday – Slightly Chauvinistic version

Yes lads and ladies, it’s time for another round on the random wheel. It seems as though my life is all random these days, it’s been a busy few weeks. But let’s give this a go and see if the stuff rattling ’round in my head can make it out through my fingers without sounding toooooo crazy.

This year’s holiday spot for the Snooker and No will be both Tahiti and New Zealand. We will meet a friend on Tahiti and spend a good bit of our time there underwater taking in the incredible sea life. This morning I had a COOL video link in my mail to give me an idea of what awaits us in the ultra-blue waters around the atoll Rangiroa… ahem, sharks… lots of sharks… and LARGE WAVES (yes, I know it is a bit silly of me to be a diver and yet get seasick in big waves, but that’s JUST the way it is – stop laughing), and bottle nose dolphins, did I mention the sharks?

Oh, and other things that made my heart skip in the past week. I dragged took Sweet No to Beelitz-Heilstätten Sanatorium (official German website) which in the early 1900’s was the largest hospital complex in Europe. The fun part… it has been abandoned for 19 years! You guessed it, creepy! Photos from a Flickr group.

How do you get into a boarded up and abandoned building? Well, you hope that some enterprising punks have been there before you and have “paved” the way. Usually a window or a door has been broken or pried away from the building allowing access. In the case of this building we managed to get into a cellar window.

May I just tell you that falling into who knows what in the dark, with little or no ambient light, and having forgotten an important urban exploration tool (flashlight), we were treated with quite a heart pounder. Sweet No and I were walking blindly around the huge basement of a rotting corpse of a building trying to find a safe set of stairs leading upward with nothing but our cameras as a light source. (note, if you are ever in a similar dark situation, press your camera’s “take picture” button down halfway – this throws out a quite bright light which is supposed to check for focus. COOL and in this case, a life saver)

The rotating gif is me not so gracefully climbing out of one such window. And no, my jeans were not green… by this time of the day however they were quite dusty and still very blue. Gifs just suck that way.

We spent over two hours investigating just ONE BUILDING out of 60! Yes, it was illegal, yes it was like something out of a horror movie, yes we got dirty and dusty, (and the Monk side of No came out BIG TIME!) yes I filled up a 2GB memory card with photos which by and large remain unedited, yes I will post more of them Flickr, yes I will blog more about the entire experience, and YES it was FUN! I’m digging this urban exploration thing and will do it again.

I’m reading a book by R.J. Ellory named “A Simple Act of Violence” which is a crime-thriller wrapped around a secret program of the C.I.A. where trained killers are sent out to eradicate enemies, heads of state, up & coming people of power, and whoever else they deem necessary. The story itself goes back to Nicaragua and the Manuel Norriega scandal – Contras, drugs and Oliver North. How fracking interesting to see this crap popping into the news cycle all revolving around Puppetmaster Dick Cheney and his secret group of trained C.I.A. killers and how it was all kept on the lowdown by Tricky Dick II.

Sidenote… This book is excellent. I think I’m in love with this R.J. Ellory guy. The first book I read was “A Quiet Belief in Angels” which I think I sailed through in about 3 days – all of that while working and having a life…. I’m not sure I slept during that time.

Speaking of books that I inhaled… Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is coming out at the theaters this week!!! Whoo Hooo! Yes, I’m a total spaz. (see how easily I revert back to the 80’s?) Yes, I already have my tickets. And YES I plan to see it more than once. Duh!

Prepare… I’m going to mention the King of Pop. For those wanting out, just skip to the next paragraph. OK, for those two still reading… We all know that Michael Jackson spent the last part of his life trying to keep the faces and lives of his children out of the media. Has anybody given it a second thought that over his dead body the kids were trotted out onto the stage at his memorial service… by his loving family? Isn’t it interesting to find out that Prince (who names their kid that, come ON) and Paris are not biologically his?

On to other things which are happening this week which excite me yet probably don’t do anything for anyone else… Berlin is getting its first HOOTERS! Yes, I know it is basically a shitty American restaurant known for its mega-breasted waitresses in orange spandex and required to wear hose no matter how hot it is. Yes, I know that it is a step backward on the evolutionary scale for womankind as a whole. But do you know that they have the best wings in this world?

OK, now it is official… I can stay in Berlin the rest of my life. No longer do I have to fill the refrigerators of my family with delectable hot wings every time I go back to visit the States… No longer do I have to explain my strange love of ranch dressing (not available in Germany) to my family. Now I can have my (10 hot and 10 three mile island, thank you) wings in the privacy of my own home! Whoo hooo! Don’t hate me because of my love of GOOD WINGS!

In slightly related news: brothels (totally legal) in Germany are being hard hit by the crappy world-wide economy. As a promotion stunt, a Berlin brothel owner is offering a discount to anyone arriving by bicycle. What a riot!

Is anyone else worried that the U.S. Budget gap has now topped $1 trillion?

Speaking of lots of money going into the air… The Pyromusikale kept the skies close to my home quite bright and LOUD this past weekend. I live very close to the Airport Tempelhof which was the staging point for the HUGE fireworks competition.

Really it kind of snuck up on us. We had forgotten that it was even going to happen… that is until around 10.00 pm on Thursday night when two of the largest explosions I’ve ever heard rattled our windows and caused things to move about in our living room prompting the following stimulating conversation: Snooker to No, “Whoa, what was that?” No to Snooker, “I have no idea but it was LOUD!”. These booms were followed shortly by the telltale signs of further fireworks, thus bringing us to the conclusion that there were no buildings being bombed (Berliners are a little skittish that way) and we were going to be treated to some lovely noises for a few minutes. HA! That night it went on 40 minutes. Not bad if you are outside enjoying them, (can’t see them from our balcony or windows on the other side, too many trees and our building is facing the wrong way) but if you are trying to sleep on a work night, um… not so nice.

The next night was even longer, I think it lasted over an hour, but this competitor wasn’t using the BIG boomers, just the normal ones. Finally on Saturday night I managed to be at home and have some time, so my FIL and I walked to the nearest vantage point (of course I got pictures, just no really nice ones) and enjoyed an hour of world-class fireworks. Next year, I will pay the 25 Euro entrance fee and be on the field for this festival of fireworks and music!

OK, so there ya have it. Head on over to the UnMom for her take on the Random Tuesday Madness and see how she manages time travel… No Doubt.

Life’s lessons

Not long after my mother kicked me out of the house, she went all soppy on me and sent me a book, “Life’s Little Instruction Book“. Strange thing from a woman who had only months before told me that she didn’t want to see me again.

I guess Ma was trying to reach out and teach me things she figured she wouldn’t be around for. How funny to expect a book to do that… a book which must be opened and ingested.

The time was not right for me and this book. Understandably it was a rough period in an already pretty shitty existence. I thumbed through the pages quickly, but none of the entries hit home in my stupid teenager mind so the cute little paperback went into a box and did not come out until years later.

When I was in my early 20’s I stumbled upon this book again. Even though it carried with it so many bad memories I read through each of the pages and considered each short sentence offering wisdom for life.

Some of them were quite down to Earth:
“Check for toilet paper before sitting down.” (uh huh, I’ve rarely been burned on that one)
“Marry a woman you love to talk to. As you get older her conversational skills will be as important as any other” (I think that I’ve managed this quite well, thank you)
“Accept a breath mint if someone offers you one.” (usually this is a thinly veiled suggestion, one which I often use myself when faced with someone who suffers from temporary halitosis)
“Never cut things which can be untied” (yeah, this is true on so many levels)

While others were more abstract, and gave me pause:
“Don’t confuse comfort for happiness.” (ooo… this took a while to understand)
“Life will sometimes hand you a magical moment, savor it.” (very much like the roses thing, but more succinct – I use this often)
“Let some things remain mysterious.” (I have a harder time with this one)

Even with what I often feel is a swiss cheese brain, these short and simple sentences have remained front and center in my thoughts for years. People have told me that I should have studied philosophy or something, they say it because I have a different way of looking at life. What I secretly think is that I’ve taken to heart many of the things found in this book. Even if it weren’t for the book, I think I would have a different outlook on life simply because of the way I’ve lived it.

But the one simple saying from the book which I remember the best, the one that prods me the hardest:
“Live your life as an exclamation, not an explanation.”
Oh Honey! This is it. It says so much, but without pointing fingers.
It goes right along with the train of thought that says you should take responsibility for your own actions, and I love it. The world would be a better place if people were to automatically take responsibility for their own actions.

Another “life lesson” which was not in the book in so many words, but certainly keeps hitting me in the head is “You’re right about that”.

In my 30’s I was a HUGE PBS (public television) viewer/supporter. One of the specials I would clamor to watch was Dr. Wayne Dyer. Here’s a guy I could really wrap my brain around. His concept that just allowing someone to be right is a powerful idea. He said things like, “If you have the choice to be right or to be kind… always choose to be kind.”

One of his monolougues was heavy with the thought that arguing over the little things makes no sense and could possibly be counterproductive when the bigger things come along. If you have no idea how to bend and be flexible with the minutiae of life, the serious crap is going to make you snap. I’ve found this to be true in so many divisions of my life, not just with my partner, but with family members, coworkers, everyone. “You’re right about that”… try it, it doesn’t hurt too badly.

This brings me to the thing that got me started on all of this. I don’t even know who’s blog it was that I saw this… only that they said the writer was 90 when in actuality she’s just turned 50. Whoops.

As I read this it occurs to me that there are some sections of my life in which I could really use some work. Namely #’s 4, 9, 28, 29, and 42.
How about it, what do you think you could do better in your life?

Written By Regina Brett, of The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio . “To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most-requested column I’ve ever written. My odometer rolled over to 50 in August, so here is the column once more:”

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

4. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.

8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.

12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don’t compare your life to others’. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God never blinks.

16. Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.

17. You can get through anything if you stay put in today.

18. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.

19. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: “In five years, will this matter?”

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive everyone everything.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.

35. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.

36. Growing old beats the alternative – dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.

38. Read the Psalms. They cover every human emotion.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.

41. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

42. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.

43. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

44. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

45. The best is yet to come.

46. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

47. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

48. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

49. Yield.

50. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.

Amy Goodman in Berlin

Award-winning journalist Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! was in Berlin to mark DN’s 12th anniversary and to promote her newest book, “Standing Up To the Madness – Ordinary Heroes in Extraordinary Times“.

The theme of her speech was the importance of a free and independent media and it really resounded with me. Being back in the States just a few weeks ago reminded me how much the American people are fed only what the government wants them to hear. This was not news. I saw Brittney Spears on NBC Nightly News… this is just shameful.

You may remember Ms. Goodman. She along with many others was arrested while reporting on the Republican National Convention in St. Paul earlier this year. So much for the American free press. The video doesn’t tell the whole story, for that you will have to go here.

The speech was great, and I picked up her “Standing Up to the Madness” book (which I got signed of course) for later reading. She’ll be in Munich Saturday night. If you are in the area, I highly suggest checking it out.

Been reading: