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Kenneth A. Larson has a quarter century of experience in design and construction of scenery for the Entertainment Industry and Theme Parks using Computer Aided and Traditional approaches to Design. Also experience in other areas of Design.
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Like most users of e-mail, I receive many humorous, thoughtful, or otherwise interesting e-mails. Once in a while, one really sticks out. I include some here. Since I don't know the source of most of these, I apologize for not giving proper credit. Feel free to let me know if you know the source of any of them


Adversity
Dog Love
Growing up is optional
I Am Thankful
Instructions for Life
Just for Today
Lessons I've learned...
Living Backwards?
Putting Our Heads Together
Sayings to Remember
Small Stuff
Something to Ponder
Take No One For Granted...
What A Mother Knows
What you Say!
Where Did It All Begin?


If God brings you to it,
He will bring you through it.


Growing up is optional

The first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn't already know. I stood up to look around, when a gentle hand touched my shoulder. I turned around to find wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with smile that lit up her entire being.

She said, "Hi handsome. My name is Rose. I'm 87 years old. Can I give you a hug?"

I laughed and enthusiastically responded, "Of course you may!", and she gave me a giant squeeze.

"Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?" I asked.

She jokingly replied, "I'm here to meet a rich husband, get married, have a couple of kids..."

"No seriously," I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age.

"I always dreamed of having a college education and now I'm getting one!" she told me.

After class we walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake. We became instant friends. Every day for the next three months we would leave class together and talk nonstop.

I was always mesmerized listening to this "time machine" as she shared her wisdom and experience with me.

Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went. She loved to dress up and she reveled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She was living it up.

At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet. I'll never forget what she taught us. She was introduced and stepped up to the podium.

As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her 3 x 5 cards on the floor. Frustrated and a little embarrassed, she leaned into the microphone and simply said, "I'm sorry I'm so jittery. I gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey is killing me! " I'll never get my speech back in order, so let me just tell you what I know."

As we laughed, she cleared her throat and began, "We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing. There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy, and achieving success. You have to laugh and find humor every day. You've got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die. We have so many people walking around who are dead and don't even know it! There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up. If you are 19 years old and lie in bed for one full year and don't do one productive thing, you will turn 20 years old. If I am 87 years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything, I will turn 88."

"Anybody can grow OLDER. That doesn't take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding the opportunity in change. Have no regrets. The elderly usually don't have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets."

She concluded her speech by courageously singing "The Rose." She challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them out in our daily lives. At the year's end Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those years ago.

One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep. Over 2,000 college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example that it's never too late to be all you can possibly be.

When you finish reading this, please send this peaceful word of advice to your friends and family, they'll really enjoy it! These words have been passed along in loving memory of ROSE.

REMEMBER: GROWING OLDER IS MANDATORY. GROWING UP IS OPTIONAL. We make a Living by what we get; we make a Life by what we give. God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage. If God brings you to it - He will bring you through it.

Editor note: I was 39 when I graduated. My wife hopes to graduate about age 38. It's never too late.


Small Stuff:

A philosophy professor stood before his class and had some items in front of him. When class began, wordlessly he picked up a large empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks, rocks about 2" in diameter. He then asked the students if the jar was full? They agreed that it was. So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks. The students laughed. The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled everything else.

"Now," said the professor, "I want you to recognize that this is your life. The rocks are the important things - your family, your partner, your health - anything that is so important to you that if were lost, you would be nearly destroyed. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, and your car. The sand is everything else. The small stuff."

"If you put the sand into the jar first, there is no room for the pebbles, and the rocks. The same goes for your life. If you spend all your energy and time on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your wife out dancing. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party and fix the disposal."

"Take care of the rocks first - the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."


Take No One For Granted...

There once was a little boy who wanted to meet God. He knew it was a long trip to where God lived, so he packed his suitcase with cupcakes, several cans of root beer and started on his journey.

When he had gone about three blocks, he saw an elderly woman. She was sitting on a park bench watching the pigeons. The boy sat down next to her and opened his suitcase. He was about to take a drink from his root beer when he noticed the lady looked hungry so he offered her a cupcake. She gratefully accepted and smiled at him. Her smile was so wonderful that he wanted to see it again, so he offered a root beer as well. Once again she smiled at him. The boy was delighted!

They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling without saying a word.

As it began to grow dark, the boy realized how tired he was and wanted to go home. He got up to leave but before he had gone no more than a few steps, he turned around and ran back to the old woman, giving her a big hug. She gave him her biggest smile ever.

When the boy arrived home his Mother was surprised by the look of joy on his face. She asked, "What has made you so happy today?" He replied, "I had lunch with God."

Before his mother could respond he added, "You know what? She's got the most beautiful smile in the whole world!"

Meanwhile, the old woman, also radiant with joy, returned to her home. Her son was stunned by the look of peace on her face. He asked, "Mother, what has made you so happy today?" She replied, "I ate cupcakes in the park with God." And before her son could reply, she added, "You know, he is much younger than I expected."

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring; all of which have the potential to turn a life around.

People come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.

Take no one for granted and embrace all equally with joy!


Something to Ponder:

If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep ... you are richer than 75% of this world.

If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace ... you are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy.

If you woke up this morning with more health than illness ... you are more blessed than the million who will not survive this week.

If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation... you are ahead of 500 million people in the world.

If you can attend a church or synagogue meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death ... you are more blessed than three billion people in the world.

If your parents are still alive and still married ... you are very rare, even in the United States.

If you hold up your head with a smile on your face and are truly thankful ... you are blessed because the majority can, but most do not.

If you can hold someone's hand, hug them or even touch them on the shoulder ... you are blessed because you can offer a healing touch.

If you can read this message, you just received a double blessing in that someone was thinking of you, and furthermore, you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world that cannot read at all.

Have a good day, count your blessings, and pass this along to remind everyone else how blessed we all are.


Instructions for Life

1. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
2. When you lose, don't lose the lesson.
3. Follow the three Rs: Respect for self, Respect for others and Responsibility for all your actions.
4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.
6. Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
7. When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
8. Spend some time alone every day.
9. Open your arms to change, but don't let go of your values.
10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
11. Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll be able to enjoy it a second time.
12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.
13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don't bring up the past.
14. Share your knowledge. It's a way to achieve immortality.
15. Be gentle with the earth.
16. Once a year, go someplace you've never been before.
17. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
18. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.
19. Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.


Lessons I've learned...

I've learned that you cannot make someone love you. All you can do is stalk them and hope they panic and give in.

I've learned that it takes years to build up trust, and only suspicion to destroy it.

I've learned that you can keep puking long after you think you're finished.

I've learned that we are responsible for what we do, unless we are celebrities.

I've learned that regardless of how hot and steamy a relationship is at first, the passion fades, and there had better be a lot of money to take its place.

I've learned that sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you're down will be the ones who do.

I've learned that we don't have to ditch bad friends because their dysfunction makes us feel better about ourselves.


Just for Today...

Just for today I will live through the next 12 hours and not tackle my whole life problems at once.

Just for today I will Improve my mind. I will learn something useful. I will read something that requires effort, thought and concentration.

Just for today I will-be agreeable. I will look my best, speak in a well modulated voice. be courteous and considerate.

Just for today I will not find fault with friends, relatives or colleagues. I will not try to change or improve anyone but myself.

Just for today I will have a program. I might not follow it exactly, but I will have It. I will Save myself from two enemies -- hurry and indecision.

Just for today I will exercise my character in three ways. I will do a good turn and keep it a secret. If anyone finds out, it won't count.

Just for today I will do two things I -don't want to do, just for exercise.

Just for today I will be unafraid. Especially will I be unafraid to enjoy what is beautiful and believe that as I give to the world, the world will give to me.


Adversity

A daughter complained to her father about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved a new one arose.

Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen. He filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to a boil.

In one he placed carrots, in the second he placed eggs, and the last he placed ground coffee beans. He let them sit and boil, without saying a word.

The daughter sucked her teeth and impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing. In about twenty minutes he turned off the burners. He fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. He pulled the eggs out and placed them a bowl. Then he ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.

Turning to her he asked. "Darling, what do you see?"

"Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied.

He brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. He then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. She smiled as she tasted its rich aroma.

She humbly asked. "What does it mean Father?"

He explained that each of them had faced the same adversity, boiling water, but each reacted differently.

The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. But after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.

The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.

The ground coffee beans were unique however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

"Which are you?" he asked his daughter. "When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?"


Putting Our Heads Together

by Nate Laufer
  1. Have a vision. You have heard that it is important to 'keep your eye on the prize.' if you don't know what the prize is, how can you keep focused on it? This becomes important in our relationships because we all need to make daily judgment calls on issues. It is important in the workplace because no one wants to follow someone who doesn't know where he or she is going.
  2. Be approachable. and build rapport. People want to see that you care about their needs and their input. Few people are looking for another person to have all the answers and dictate to them. They are looking for someone to listen to what they have to say. Remember, however, that equal say does not mean equal vote.
  3. Delegate and expand ownership. It takes bravery to allow others to use their own gifts. But when you give over the reins, you often find your self surprised by how much more excited people are to help and how talented they really are.
  4. Provide Feedback and Celebrate Accomplishments. Be sure to tell people how they are doing in a timely manner - not six months later. Make sure that you take time out to celebrate the victories and accomplishments that you have. People want to know that their hard work has been noticed.

Dog Love

by Ann Landers (I hope Ann doesn't mind me borrowing this)
RELEASE: WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 29, 2001

Dear Ann Landers: I am writing to ask a big favor of you. Last month, I lost my little canine companion of 14 years and, needless to say, this has been a very difficult time for me. Gretel was such a sweet little dog -- a miniature schnauzer. I could not have asked for a better pal.

When it became clear to me that her life was no longer fun and she was struggling to walk to the food dish, I knew I would have to make that dreaded decision. I was beside myself and didn't think I could get through it. The one thing that helped me, Ann, was rereading "Dogs Don't Have Souls, Do They?" in your column, which I had clipped.

I hope you will rerun that heartwarming essay again. It was such a comfort to me and will surely be of help to others. -- D.S. in New Albany, Ind.

Dear D.S.: My condolences on the loss of your faithful companion. There have been many requests that I run that piece again, and I do so with pleasure -- this time dedicated to your Gretel. It was written by Chuck Wells of Palmyra, N.Y.

---

Dogs Don't Have Souls, Do They?

I remember bringing you home. You were so small and cuddly with your tiny paws and soft fur.

You bounced around the room with eyes flashing and ears flopping. Once in a while, you'd let out a little yelp, just to let me know this was your territory.

Making a mess of the house and chewing on everything in sight became a passion, and when I scolded you, you just put your head down and looked up at me with those innocent eyes, as if to say, "I'm sorry, but I'll do it again as soon as you're not watching."

As you got older, you protected me by looking out the window and barking at everyone who walked by.

When I had a tough day at work, you would be waiting for me with your tail wagging just to say, "Welcome home. I missed you." You never had a bad day, and I could always count on you to be there for me.

When I sat down to read the paper and watch TV, you would hop on my lap, looking for attention. You never asked for anything more than to have me pat your head so you could go to sleep with your head over my leg.

As you got older, you moved around more slowly. Then, one day, old age finally took its toll, and you couldn't stand on those wobbly legs anymore. I knelt down and patted you lying there, trying to make you young again. You just looked at me as if to say you were old and tired and that after all these years of not asking for anything, you had to ask me for one last favor.

With tears in my eyes, I drove you one last time to the vet. One last time, you were lying next to me.

For some strange reason, you were able to stand up in the animal hospital; perhaps it was your sense of pride.

As the vet led you away, you stopped for an instant, turned your head and looked at me as if to say, "Thank you for taking care of me."

I thought, "No, thank you for taking care of me."


Living Backwards?

The most unfair thing about life is the way it ends. I mean, life is tough. It takes up a lot of your time. What do you get at the end of it? A death. What's that, a bonus? I think the life cycle is all backwards. You should die first, to get it out of the way. Then you live in an old age home. You get kicked out when you're too young, you get a gold watch, you go to work. You work forty years until you're young enough to enjoy your retirement. You do drugs, alcohol, you party, you get ready for high school. You go to grade school, you become a kid, you play, you have no responsibilities, you become a little baby, you go back into the womb, you spend your last nine months floating... you finish off as an orgasm.

Now, that's a life!


Sayings to Remember

Sayings we should all remember:

1. Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me, either. Just leave me the hell alone.

2. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a broken fan belt and a leaky tire.

3. It's always darkest before dawn. So if you're going to steal the neighbor's newspaper, that's the time to do it.

4. Sex is like air; it's not important unless you aren't getting any.

5. We are born naked, wet, and hungry. Then things get worse.

6. No one is listening until you make a mistake.

7. Always remember you're unique, just like everyone else.

8. Never test the depth of the water with both feet.

9. It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.

10. It is far more impressive when others discover your good qualities without your help.

11. If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments.

12. If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything.

13. If you lend someone $20, and never see that person again; it was probably worth it.

14. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.

15. If you drink, don't park. Accidents cause people.

16. Some days you are the bug, some days you are the windshield.

17. Don't worry, it only seems kinky the first time.

18. If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.

19. Don't squat with your spurs on.

20. Good judgment comes from bad experience and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.

21. The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your pocket.

22. Timing has an awful lot to do with the outcome of a raindance.

23. A closed mouth gathers no foot.

24. Duct tape is like the force, it has a light side and a dark side and it holds the universe together.

25. Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.

26. There are two theories to arguing with women. Neither one works.

27. Never miss a good chance to shut up.

28. Generally speaking, you aren't learning much when your mouth is moving.

29. Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes

30. Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

31. Don't be irreplaceable; if you can't be replaced, you can't be promoted.

32. Don't mess up a good apology with an excuse.


Where Did It All Begin?

Let's see...I think it started when Madeline Murray O'Hare complained that she didn't want any prayer in our schools, and we said OK.

Then someone said you had better not read the Bible in school-the Bible that says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said, OK.

Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem. And we said, an expert should know what he's talking about so we won't spank them anymore.

Then someone said that teachers and principals better not discipline our children when they misbehave. And the school administrators said no faculty member in this school better touch a student when they misbehave because we don't want any bad publicity, and we surely don't want to be sued. And we accepted their reasoning.

Then someone said, let's let our daughters have abortions if they want, and they won't even have to tell their parents. And we said, that's a grand idea.

Then some wise school board member said, since boys will be boys and they're going to "do it" anyway, let's give our sons all the condoms they want, so they can have all the "fun" they desire, and we won't have to tell their parents they got them at school. And we said, that's another great idea.

And then some of our top elected officials said that it doesn't matter what we do in private as long as we do our jobs. And agreeing with them, we said it doesn't matter to me what anyone, including the President, does in private as long as I have a job and the economy is good.

And then someone said let's print magazines with pictures of nude women and call it wholesome down-to-earth appreciation for the beauty of the female body. And we said we have no problem with that.

And someone else took that appreciation a step further and published pictures of nude children and then stepped further still by making them available on the Internet. And we said they're entitled to their free speech.

And the entertainment industry said, let's make TV shows and movies that promote profanity, violence, and illicit sex. And let's record music that encourages homosexuality, rape, drugs, murder, suicide, and satanic themes. And we said it's just entertainment, it has no adverse effect, and nobody takes it seriously anyway, so go right ahead.

Therefore, now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves. Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with...

"we reap what we sow."

(This was passed on by a man named Clarence Schultz, who wrote down some of his thoughts. He is a minister and retired Navy chaplain -- lots to think about! Pass it on if you think it has merit).


What you Say!

A group of frogs were traveling through the woods, and two of them fell into a deep pit. All the other frogs gathered around the pit. When they saw how deep the pit was, they told the two frogs that they were as good as dead.

The two frogs ignored the comments and tried to jump out of the pit with all of their might. The group of frogs kept telling them to stop because they were as good as dead.

Finally, one of the frogs took heed to what the other frogs were saying and gave up. He fell down and died. The second frog continued to jump as hard as he could. Once again, the crowd of frogs yelled at him to stop the pain and just die.

He jumped even harder and finally made it out. You see this frog was deaf, unable to hear what the others were saying. He thought they were encouraging him the entire time.

This story teaches a lesson...

There is the power of life and death in the tongue. An encouraging word to someone who is down can lift them up and help them make it through the day.

A destructive word to someone who is down can be what it takes to kill them. Be careful of what you say. Speak life to those who cross your path. The power of encouraging words... can go such a long way.

May your words be a blessing to someone today.


I Am Thankful

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

For the child who is not cleaning their room, but is watching TV, because it means they are at home, and not on the streets.

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

For the mess to clean after a party, because it means 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 all the complaints I hear about the Government, because it means that we have Freedom of Speech.

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

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

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

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


What A Mother Knows

AGE 4: My Mommy can do anything!

AGE 8: Let's ask Mom, she knows everything!

AGE 12: My Mother doesn't know everything.

AGE 14: My Mother doesn't understand anything.

AGE 16: My Mom is hopelessly old-fashioned.

AGE 18: My old lady? She's so out of date, she just doesn't get it!

AGE 25: Maybe Mom knows something about it.

AGE 35: Before we decide, let's get Mom's opinion.

AGE 45: I wonder what Mom would do?

AGE 65: I wish I could talk it over with Mom.


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This page last updated: Sunday, 11-Aug-2013 00:26:22 PDT

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