Lessons From Geese Sunday, Jun 24 2007 

Fact 1: As each goose flaps its wings it creates an “uplift” for the birds that follow. By flying in a “V” formation, the whole flock adds 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew alone.

Lesson 1: People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.

Fact 2: When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of flying alone. It quickly moves back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird in front of it.

Lesson 2: If we have as much common sense as a goose, we stay in formation with those headed where we want to go. We are willing to accept their help and give our help to others.

Fact 3: When the lead goose tires, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies to the point position.

Lesson 3: It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership. As with geese, people are interdependent on each others’ skills, capabilities, and unique arrangements of gifts, talents, or resources.

Fact 4: Geese flying in formation honk to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.

Lesson 4: We need to make sure our honking is encouraging. In groups where there is encouragement, the production is much greater. The power of encouragement (to stand by one’s heart or core values and encourage the heart and core of others) is the quality of honking we seek.

Fact 5: When a goose gets sick, wounded, or shot down, two geese drop out of formation and follow it down to help protect it. They stay with it until it dies or is able to fly again. Then, they launch out with another formation or catch up with the flock.

Lesson 5: If we have as much sense as geese, we will stand by each other in difficult times as well as when we are strong.

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A Good Story Sunday, Jun 24 2007 

Once there were three trees on a hill in the woods.  They were discussing their hopes and dreams when the first tree said, “Someday I hope to be a treasure chest. I could be filled with gold, silver and precious gems. I could be decorated with intricate carving and everyone would see my beauty.”

Then the second tree said, “Someday I will be a mighty ship.I will take kings and queens across the waters and sail to the corners of the world. Everyone will feel safe in me because of the strength of my hull.”

Finally the third tree said, “I want to grow to be the tallest and straightest tree in the forest. People will see me on top of the hill and look up to my branches, and think of the heavens and God and how close to
them I am reaching. I will be the greatest tree of all time and people will always remember me.”

After a few years of praying that their dreams would come true,  a group of woodsmen came upon the trees. When one came to the first  tree he said, “This looks like a strong tree, I think I should be able  to sell the wood to a carpenter,” and he began cutting it down. The tree  was happy, because he knew that the carpenter would make him into a treasure chest.

At the second tree the woodsman said, “This looks like a strong tree, I should be able to sell it to the shipyard.” The second tree was happy because he knew he was on his way to becoming a mighty ship.

When the woodsmen came upon the third tree, the tree was frightened because he knew that if they cut him down his dreams would not come true. One of the woodsmen said, “I don’t need anything special from my tree so I’ll take this one”, and he cut it down.

When the first tree arrived at the carpenters, he was made into a feed box for animals. He was then placed in a barn and filled with hay. This was not at all what he had prayed for.

The second tree was cut and made into a small fishing boat. His dreams of being a mighty ship and carrying kings had come to an end.

The third tree was cut into large pieces and left alone in the dark.  The years went by, and the trees forgot about their dreams. Then one day, a man and woman came to the barn. She gave birth and they placed the baby in the hay in the feed box that was made from the first tree. The man wished that he could have made a crib for the baby, but this manger would have to do. The tree could feel the importance of this event and knew that it had held the greatest treasure of all time.

Years later, a group of men got in the fishing boat made from the second tree. One of them was tired and went to sleep. While they were out on the water, a great storm arose and the tree didn’t think it was strong enough to keep the men safe. The men woke the sleeping man, and he stood and said “Peace” and the storm stopped. At this time, the tree knew that it had carried the King of Kings in its boat.

Finally, someone came and got the third tree. It was carried through  the streets as the people mocked the man who was carrying it.   When they came to a stop, the man was nailed to the tree and raised in the air to die at the top of a hill. When Sunday came, the tree came to realize that it was strong enough to stand at the top of the hill and be as close to God as was possible, because Jesus had been crucified on it.
The moral of this story is that when things don’t seem to be going your way, always know that God has a plan for you. If you place your trust in Him, He will give you great gifts. Each of the trees got what they wanted, just not in the way they had imagined. We don’t always know what God’s plans are for us. We just know that His ways are not our ways, but His ways are  always best.

Reminder to us all Friday, Jun 15 2007 

“If you need a job to give you life, then you either need a new job, or a new life”

Boredom is good Friday, Jun 15 2007 

Since I got back from Italy, I’ve not had the motivation to get any work done, instead I have run errands such as bringing the folks for their haircut, the domestic for her medical checkup, and of course, who can forget the packing.

Its bloody amazing the amount of stuff that is in this house. Unbelievable. The kind of things you find is just mindboggling. 1970s tea sets, and by tea I mean tea and crumpets/scones, kind of tea, tea cups and pots complete with floral prints and stuff. Amazing.

Oh well. Some days I’ve just been bored, and its a new feeling. I just told a friend I am happy to be bored.

Went for the odd interview, went pretty well but still haven’t really solved the problem of whether I can stay in school or not, so the limbo is still very much there.

Anyways, the holidays are almost over. I hope that next semester will not be as hellish as the second part of the last one.

I’ve been thinking about making a comeback in Scouting. Thinking quite seriously. I think I need to get back to something I enjoy doing, or used to enjoy doing, or enjoy but no longer do much of. Not that I’ve been away from it, but I’ve definitely been on hiatus for a long time. I need to find a greater meaning in my life. RCIA thus far has not given me that, I don’t feel called and its been a tough time keeping with the programme. I don’t think this is the way God wants me to serve Him. I don’t know, lector? Catechist? I think Scouter is a way, and its a way I’m gifted in, but its less direct, but no less a calling?

Back to Singapore Thursday, Jun 7 2007 

I’m back from Italy.  Been back for a couple of days already, almost to the hour.  I think some things have become clearer to me, even though I think its difficult and wavering occurs.

Italy was good fun, it was a very rushed trip, but I was still able to see new things, gain new perspectives.  I definitely want to go back to Italy again, maybe I will do it at the end of the year, and do a few weeks of Italian while I’m there.  It would be cool to retire there next time!  The beautiful scenic countryside, the idyllic lifestyle away from the hustle and bustle here.  This shall be my new target.

It was good to be able to live each moment again.  Haven’t had that luxury for a while and it felt good.  Of course there were times when it felt like work, but that is only inevitable.

Hopefully I can get things out of my system and rest enough for school reopening.  It looms large on the horizon.  This supposed 4 week break isn’t much of 4 weeks and isn’t much of a break, except for the waking up late, which I’m trying to work out of my system because of the jet lag.  After I clear the jet lag maybe I can sleep in more safely.  Yesterday it was quite a shock when I woke up at 11 am without any consciousness of the time.

I am still in a bit of limbo regarding next year, and I suspect this is the feeling I will have for the rest of the year.  I can’t say I enjoy it, and I think this uneasiness is a good reason to just take the pain and decide to leave from the onset.

Oh well, I shall try to relax over these few weeks, take things easy.