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Anyone who can’t find inspiration isn’t looking very hard.

1) Natalie Merchant is both a great performer, and inspirational person:

Wonder

2) Griffin Latulippe and friends have started a company that will build devices to help the disabled.

From an article in the Christian Science Monitor by Rachel Signer – http://tinyurl.com/3sp479l

“Inspired by his own experiences living with muscular dystrophy, Griffin began imagining how wheelchairs and walkers could be improved. The company’s prototypes for a wheelchair that provides easier access to a rider’s backpack, and an adjustable walker, are now being finalized.

How did you come up with these assistive technology devices?
Griffin Latulippe: Along with four other high school students in the Junior Engineer Technical Society. I entered into the National Design Challenge. Our goal was to create a device to help disabled people in the workplace. We came up with the wheelchair first. It has an arm that swings around so you can easily grab things from the backpack most wheelchair users have to carry their things. Our interest in disabled people’s needs grew, and in the second year, we created a walker for going up and down stairs, with front legs that expand and retract.

What kind of distribution are you envisioning?
We will sell as many products as there’s need. If that means globally, we’d love that. The goal is not necessarily to make money. The goal is to help people.

3) Dominic Deng Diing, who escaped the violence in Sudan, raises funds to help schoolchildren there.

From another article in the Christian Science Monitor by Amy Liberman http://tinyurl.com/6djfcfh

“Dominic Deng Diing’s first teachers were his uncles, who sang the ABCs to the then 6-year-old as they undertook the painstaking walk from Sudan to Ethiopia in the mid-1980s.

Mr. Diing’s brief foray into education was cut short when his uncles and brothers died of starvation during the trek, along with thousands of other “Lost Boys of Sudan” children who fled on foot from the civil war that raged for nearly 20 years.

But the significance of the early lessons stuck with Diing, now a resettled refugee living in Buffalo, NY. He earned his high school degree in Kakuma, a refugee camp in Kenya, and later completed undergraduate and master’s programs in western New York. He’s currently working toward a doctorate degree in education.”

“Diing is trying to spare more than 3,000 children in South Sudan from his experience. They now attend the two-year-old New Hope Primary School, a project of Diing’s Buffalo-based nonprofit group Aid and Care for Africa.”

“Some 55 percent of the students are orphans, living with foster families. They include 10 of the 34 children Diing sponsors himself and his mother looks after. The remaining 24 live with two of his sisters in Kenya and Uganda, where they can receive care for various ailments.

In total, Diing supports about 50 people aside from his mother, including his deceased father’s seven other wives.

“I live a simple life here,” says Diing, speaking at a buffet restaurant near his tiny apartment just north of Buffalo’s downtown. “But it’s the same as my friends do – the little amount we make, we share.”

4) Some more Natalie Merchant “San Andreas Fault”, from a 1999 concert in New York City. I own a DVD of the concert, that I highly recommend.

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Looking at my calendar I see today, March 20th, is the first offical day of Spring. Looking outside I see the neighborhod kids have thrown off their winter coats and are playing in the sun. Of course when I walk outside the chilly wind tells my old bones that springtime weather hasn’t quite made it to my front door yet.

What is the first day of Spring like where you live?

Spring by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Nothing is so beautiful as spring—
When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;
Thrush’s eggs look little low heavens, and thrush
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring
The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;
The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush
The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush
With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.
What is all this juice and all this joy?
A strain of the earth’s sweet being in the beginning
In Eden garden.—Have, get, before it cloy,
Before it cloud, Christ, lord, and sour with sinning,
Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy,
Most, O maid’s child, thy choice and worthy the winning.

After the cold winds of winter Springtime is like a Carnival to our senses:

Natalie Merchant – Carnival – Live from a 1999 show in New York

The following is great advice to live by.  The world would be a much better place if we all lived by them.

2 Peter 1:4 thru 7 (King James Version):

4Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

 5And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;

 6And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;

 7And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

I can’t think of a greater promise than to spend eternity with those you love, who share your faith in God.  This is were having faith in God can give Christ Followers more comfort in their system of belief than I can mine, which is based on the forces in the world I live in.  For me my story ends at death.

Lust is a very powerful, corrupting, force.  Looking back at all my relationships it could be that I was more driven by lust, not love.  This could be why none ever lasted.  I don’t regret one minute in any of these relationships.  I do regret the pain I caused because I was too self centered to work hard enough at building any of these relationship into a loving one.

I have mixed feelings about the word temperance, which in the dictionary is defined as moderation in action, thought, or feeling.   Once I discovered how joyful, exhilarating, life can be, living life to it’s fullest, not in moderation, was more my goal.  I do try to factor in the risk of doing harm to either myself, or someone else.  Music, dancing, laughter, joy, love are not activities that are best experienced in moderation.  It is also true however, that my overindulgence in food, and drink, likely lead to my diabetes.  I guess the degree of moderation we should exercise depends on the activity. 

It took me a long time to learn the value of patience.  On more than one occasion I have been like Mr. Wile E. Coyote, with the resulting crash landing from leaping before I looked.  Life will always put up hurdles.  If the hurdle happens to be a railroad track, you are much better off waiting for the train to pass before you cross to the other side.  If your are trying to build something, including your plan for life, you had better take the time to read the blueprints, twice, before you start.  If you get the foundation wrong you had better have a lot of insurance. 🙂

Kindness and charity are two of the most beautiful words in the dictionary.  In terms of living in this world, acting with kindness, and charity, towards our fellow man may be the only two concepts we need.  Love is a word people use a lot.  If we don’t act with kindness, and charity, love is just a word.

Natalie Merchant – Kind and Generous

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