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Introducing, …Kung Chew, a creation from my mind, a drawing that turned into a full blown character as the kids helped me to create his adventures. In 2007 he was all over our living room in different comic strips and in 2010 he came alive in a blender / computer graphics movie we all took delight in using our voices for the characters. The movie,…”Kung Chew and the Zen Gum ball

 

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Kung Chew and Master Bubble make a pilgrimage to obtain a Zen Gumball. On the trail they are attacked by the ABC gang (already been chewed) and get out of this by blowing a huge bubble and as it pops they disappear, with-out hurting anyone!

When they arrive in town, Kung Chew meets up with his girl friend, Chic as Master Bubble goes on to obtain the Zen Gumball. The Gumball machine is in POP’s candy store. Master Bubble places the quarter in, turns the knob and out comes a Gumball with words of wisdom stamped on it. (like a fortune cookie) Master Bubble saves the gumballs for emergencies and to spread the wise words for others to chew on mentally.

The opening has always been the same in the cartoon and the movie…However his adventures are still only begining.

 

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Deep in the forest of rubber trees and chic. (Chic is the tree for which Gum is made.

Kung Chew works hard, mastering his Art, wriggling through excercises.

He imagines himself dueling an army, defeating them single handedly, one by one, blow by blow.

When out of no-where a bee lands on his arm. Kung Chew became riddled with fear and ran as fast as he could …away!

Master Bubble was meditating nearby, watching with one eye open as Kung Chew and the Bee went flying by. He had a bewildered look on his face.

    

The Bee came and landed on Master Bubble’s leg…………..Kung Chew crept up with a big stick then swung to hit the Bee.

“Smack,” Master Bubble reached up and stopped Kung Chew from hitting the bee.

“You train to defend yourself against multiple attackers, yet you run like a rabbit from a one inch insect?”

“Perhaps the Bee was attracted to your sweetness and wanted to bite you rather than sting you.”

Kung Chew stood silent for a moment, with a bubble-dumb look upon his face, pondering Master Bubble’s words.

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I think the unique thing about this is that it grew from the family, ideas from my wife, the kids. The Movie has alot to it…I think it ended up being a little longer than 15 minutes, with music like… “I want candy!” and of course in the end they all play instruments and sing this song with dance and a great guitar scene.

Now when I say great remember, I am not a computer graphic guru, it was my first attempt and I learned alot about doing such a project. It took a year to make, with dubbing out voices and getting the mouths to match sound. In one scene, when Master Bubble turns around fast, he comes all apart and goes back together in the flash of an eye, the physics was to much for him, I tell the kids, but the wife knows, the physics was to much for me. (giggle)

Blender was not that easy to learn. (It is a free game making software that allows creation of graphics and has a movie mode) I spun off after kung chew and tried to make a movie called, “Thirteen Dragons,” (about the thirteen Shaolin fighting monks.) But that is when it got frustrating and I gave up on being a computer graphic designer since it takes so long for one person. When I watch a CP movie like pixel or ‘Kung Fu Panda’ I notice they have about 50 plus people to create a movie and that wouldn’t make it easier but probably a lot faster than a 15 minute clip taking an year to make.

I have now decided to try and make a childrens book with this charactor. Every one who comes to the house gets to see the movie and say’s it is a grand idea, do something with it. So, I am still churning out paper after paper with this little guy and his adventures, entangled with wisdom quotes, humor and traditional martial arts ethics and a message in every tale. I have placed Kung Chew into the Zendictive story of “Carrying your Burdens” and “House of a thousand mirrors.” Now, that I am down this week,  and can’t do much out of bed, I have picked up the pen again. When the body is down the mind still ticks. “You can’t keep a good man down!”…………so, what do you think???

As soon as I can figure out how, I will place clips of the movie on the blog, (remember, I’m still learning how to work with all this media stuff!) In fact I still can’t figure out how to burn it on a CD or DVD to get it off this computer!

(~_~)

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enjoy your day

(~_~)

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A pile of pennies ~ By Art~ 2012

A father was in the kitchen, washing dishes when the daughter came in running to the back room, then running into the kitchen. She plopped down a jar of pennies and emptied the jar onto the table. 

“Dad can you roll these pennies for me? I don’t have time, I have to shower, do my hair, do my nails, brush my teeth, paint my toe nails, do my homework, clean my room, call Jade, call Bobby, feed the dog (princess) then take these rolls of pennies and go to vacation bible school, put out the punch and cookies, set out the booklets and no telling what else.”

The father said, “Well, sounds like you are piling your pennies too high, too fast.”

“Rolls of pennies come in fifty dad,” she scoffed.

“Then let me see you pile fifty pennies in one tower.” The Father was sorting the pennies as the daughter tried to walk away to do other things. “If you pile fifty pennies in one tower, I’ll do all the penny rolls for you.”

The daughter huffed back to the table and began placing pennies in a tower. She was in such a hurry that when she got half way with 25 pennies the tower fell over. “I don’t have time for this,” She blurted then tried again and got almost all the pennies towered when the tower fell over. “Dang -it.” She blurted out.

“Okay, watch,” the father said. He began making a tower, taking his time and ensuring the tower was straight and secure till he was able to place all fifty pennies in one tower. “The trick is to take your time, don’t rush. As if each penny was one of the jobs you said you had to do. Don’t rush one into the other in order to get them all done or the whole thing will fall like the tower. Take the time to do them right, one by one and everything will fall into place. Now try again.”

The daughter was frustrated but she took more time to place the pennies where they needed to be in order to make the tower stable until she finally got fifty pennies in one pile. “There,” she spat, then run off down the hall to go do the other things she had named.

The father began putting the pennies in rollers as he said he would when the daughter came back and gave her father a hug, “Thanks dad.” She began putting pennies in rollers as well.

“I said I would do this for you if you put fifty pennies in a pile,” The father said.

“I know, but you also taught me that four hands are better than two… remember.” They both smiled.

moral: when your plate gets full of things to do, don’t rush and miss the joy of each thing your doing or living. Find one steady pace and go through life at a pace to which you can still enjoy life and do what you have to, one by one. Don’t pile your ‘to do’ list too high. No higher than you can place pennies in a pile.

by Art~

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“When my sister and I were kids, she told me that if we put pennies under our pillows, they’d multiply.  Being young, I believed her.  I would count out some pennies, put them under my pillow, say the magic words with her, and then recount the pennies.  There would always be more pennies afterwards than there were before.  This might have been because I was too young to count properly, or because my sister was sneaking extra pennies into the pile, but it was still pretty cool to me.”

You’ve got to love older sisters and their tales of magic.  I’m pretty sure I terrorized both of my younger sisters with fake magical powers when we were younger.  For some reason, they both still like me.  Go figure. (more of this story found here)

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a penny saved is a penny earned

~Benjamin Franklin~

a penny for your thoughts

(~_~)

‘Life is like a roller coaster ride,’ … I have heard this before and it really stuck in my mind while the family and I spent our vacation at Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio the last last few days. The kids wanted to do nothing but go from roller coaster to roller coaster. The Rattler, Superman, Poltergiest and then there is the Boomerang.

My little girl who is no bigger than a minute had a hard time because some of the rides had height requirements based on the security restraints used to keep you in your seat while spinning 50 miles an hour upside down. However some rides had a restriction that stated if you are this size, (48” = 4 foot) you must be accompanied by an adult, like the Boomerang roller coaster.

She had been crying most of the day that, “it was not fair that she could not go on a roller coaster ride that did a loop and spun you upside down.” Then we found the Boomerang. This ride would allow her to ride if an adult went with her and the line was not long. So… I volunteered. (rolls my eyes … like I could really help her while traveling at such speeds)

This ride starts out by slowly pulling you back wards and up till you are nearly looking straight down. Holding on for dear life, then it releases and shoots you into loops and spins that have to be what the astronauts do going the speed of sound and yes, it loops upside down.

How horrific and thrilling at the same time. Life truly is the same way. So many times I just want to stop everything and reset my thoughts but life is moving so fast you can’t. Ever tried meditating on a roller coaster. My Lil sunshine wanted to ride this ride over and over because it was the only one that she was allowed to ride that went upside down so, I practiced meditating on a roller coaster, strange huh?

Life truly is like a roller coaster, you have to pay, stand in lines (traffic jams everyday) it spins and twists and goes faster than we want them to, (the day is gone before you know it) and it leaves you feeling exhilarated. When it is over, we reflect on the event. Thank goodness for Dramamine (~_~). All in all we had a great time and as always, we were making memories.

Art~

..this is the actual, “Boomerang,” roller coaster ride at Fiesta Texas.

It pulls you up and up then realeases you at a very fast speed.

“life… what a ride!”

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Life is full of challenges… hold on tight!

(~_~)

Memorial Day 2012

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 Looks Can Be Deceiving 

John Blanchard stood up from the bench, straightened his Army uniform, and studied the crowd of people making their way through Grand Central Station. He looked for the girl whose heart he knew, but whose face he didn’t, the girl with the rose.

His interest in her had begun thirteen months before in a Florida library. Taking a book off the shelf he found himself intrigued, not with the words of the book, but with the notes pencilled in the margin. The soft handwriting reflected a thoughtful soul and insightful mind. In the front of the book, he discovered the previous owner’s name, Miss Hollis Maynell.

With time and effort he located her address. She lived in New York City. He wrote her a letter introducing him and inviting her to correspond. The next day he was shipped overseas for service in World War II. During the next year and one month the two grew to know each other through the mail. Each letter was a seed falling on a fertile heart. A romance was budding. Blanchard requested a photograph, but she refused. She felt that if he really cared, it wouldn’t matter what she looked like.

When the day finally came for him to return from Europe, they scheduled their first meeting – 7:00 PM at the Grand Central Station in New York. “You’ll recognize me,” she wrote, “by the red rose I’ll be wearing on my lapel.” So at 7:00 he was in the station looking for a girl whose heart he loved, but whose face he’d never seen.

I’ll let Mr. Blanchard tell you what happened: A young woman was coming toward me, her figure long and slim. Her blonde hair lay back in curls from her delicate ears; her eyes were blue as flowers. Her lips and chin had a gentle firmness, and in her pale green suit she was like springtime come alive. I started toward her, entirely forgetting to notice that she was not wearing a rose. As I moved, a small, provocative smile curved her lips. “Going my way, sailor?” she murmured.

 Almost uncontrollably I made one step closer to her, and then I saw Hollis Maynell. She was standing almost directly behind the girl. A woman well past 40, she had greying hair tucked under a worn hat. She was more than plump, her thick-ankle feet thrust into low-heeled shoes. The girl in the green suit was walking quickly away.

I felt as though I was split in two, so keen was my desire to follow her, and yet so deep was my longing for the woman whose spirit had truly companioned me and upheld my own. And there she stood. Her pale, plump face was gentle and sensible; her grey eyes had a warm and kindly twinkle. I did not hesitate. My fingers gripped the small worn blue leather copy of the book that was to identify me to her. This would not be love, but it would be something precious, something perhaps even better than love, a friendship for which I had been and must ever be grateful.

I squared my shoulders and saluted and held out the book to the woman, even though while I spoke I felt choked by the bitterness of my disappointment. “I’m Lieutenant John Blanchard, and you must be Miss Maynell. I am so glad you could meet me; may I take you to dinner?”

The woman’s face broadened into a tolerant smile. “I don’t know what this is about, son,” she answered, “but the young lady in the green suit who just went by, she begged me to wear this rose on my coat. And she said if you were to ask me out to dinner, I should go and tell you that she is waiting for you in the big restaurant across the street. She said it was some kind of test!” It’s not difficult to understand and admire Miss Maynell’s wisdom. The true nature of a heart is seen in its response to the unattractive.

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There is a web site… letters to soldiers where you can become a penpal to a lonely soldier. I for one am going to do my part, and wrote my first letter. Any one who knows me, knows I always wear a hat. My hat’s off to the men and women in our armed forces for the entire day of Memorial Day!

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Memorial Day is a day for us to remember our soldiers, the fallen, in-service, our veterans and not to be excluded; the families that live every day with not knowing rather they will ever see their loved ones again and those who live with the loss of a family member/soldier. War effects everyone, a necessity to keep our country safe and to liberate others from tyranny with the ultimate sacrifice, our soldiers.

Here are two YOUTUBE videos that are touching to say the least, dedicated to our soldiers and families. The first one got to me, (I don’t much care for ‘Rap’ music but this one was done nicely. I was watching these videos to make a post for today and some one may say, “That is too depressing,” (I hear this all the time) But what is depressing is to be over seas, in battle, far from home and not hear from anyone. Take a few minutes this day to honor those who have died (and those still serving) so that we can live the life we live, with freedom.

When You Come Home Dedicated to our soldiers

Comin’ Home an awesome song

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(~_~)

 

A father spent the weekend with his son trying to teach him to ride his bike. This was the first time the little boy tried to stay on the bike without assistance of training wheels. The father would run beside the boy holding the seat as he maneuvered the bicycle. Each time the father would let go the little boy would plummet to the ground. After a couple of hours of trying the little boy did not want to proceed.

The father went into the house disappointed that he was not able to teach his son to ride. Feeling like a failure he committed himself to teaching the young boy to ride.

The father was called away on a business trip that night for five days. When he returned to his surprise the little boy was riding the bike without training wheels. The father asked his son, “How did you learn to ride your bike?”

The son replied, “I was trying to ride my bike and I kept falling. I cried and continued to get frustrated and decided to give up. During the time of giving up the neighbor’s dog started to chase me. My fear was pointed towards the dog biting me and not falling off the bike. At that moment I was peddling for my life trying to get home before the dog could catch me. When you were trying to teach me I didn’t have a reason to succeed; the dog gave me every reason to succeed.”

source: bike boy

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Isn’t that how life works? We are always guided toward a certain avenue in life by our parents or piers but initially it is up to us to get going. A new job or career for example; it seems a little shakey at first but once we get the hang of it we are taking the wheel and driving forward. I truely feel for those that never seem to get a handle on life and feel the need to succeed. My brother is a counciler for those with drug addiction problems and I’ve been with him on a couple of ventures to help those with a lack of will or motivation. The bottom line comes down to … it is up to us to want to achieve a better life, a quality life (I’m not necessarily saying become wealthy) but rather to enrich our lives, a reason to succeed.

….Train the body, sharpen the mind and enrich the spirit!

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Two people are lost in the desert. They are dying from hunger and thirst. Finally, they come to a high wall. On the other side they can hear the sound of a waterfall and birds singing. Above, they can see the branches of a lush tree extending over the top of the wall. Its fruit look delicious.

One of them manages to climb over the wall and disappears down the other side. The other, instead, returns to the desert to help other lost travelers find their way to the oasis.

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have a super-fabtabulous day

(~_~)

Making Sandcastles  ~Author Unknown

Hot sun. Salty air. Rhythmic waves.

A little boy is on his knees scooping and packing the sand with plastic shovels into a bright blue bucket. Then he upends the bucket on the surface and lifts it. And, to the delight of the little architect, a castle tower is created.

All afternoon he will work. Spooning out the moat. Packing the walls. Bottle tops will be sentries. Popsicle sticks will be bridges. A sandcastle will be built.

Big city. Busy streets. Rumbling traffic.

A man is in his office. At his desk he shuffles papers into stacks and delegates assignments. He cradles the phone on his shoulder and punches the keyboard with his fingers. Numbers are juggled and contracts are signed and much to the delight of the man, a profit is made.

All his life he will work. Formulating the plans. Forecasting the future. Annuities will be sentries. Capital gains will be bridges. An empire will be built.

Two builders of two castles. They have much in common. They shape granules into grandeurs. They see nothing and make something. They are diligent and determined. And for both the tide will rise and the end will come.

Yet that is where the similarities cease. For the boy sees the end while the man ignores it. Watch the boy as the dusk approaches.

As the waves near, the wise child jumps to his feet and begins to clap. There is no sorrow. No fear. No regret. He knew this would happen. He is not surprised. And when the great breaker crashes into his castle and his masterpiece is sucked into the sea, he smiles. He smiles, picks up his tools, takes his father’s hand, and goes home.

The grownup, however, is not so wise. As the wave of years collapses on his castle he is terrified. He hovers over the sandy monument to protect it. He blocks the waves from the walls he has made. Salt-water soaked and shivering he snarls at the incoming tide.

“It’s my castle,” he defies.

The ocean need not respond. Both know to whom the sand belongs…

I don’t know much about sandcastles. But children do. Watch them and learn. Go ahead and build, but build with a child’s heart. When the sun sets and the tides take – applaud. Salute the process of life and go home.

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food for thought~

With the phrase, “Letting go of the apron strings,” this comes to mind: ‘we are taught at an early age to hold on… ‘ As a child you learn very quickly to hold on tightly to the spoon or it will fall from your hand. So, subconsciously we are programed to maintain a grip on things, and possessions of things soon follow when your parent scolds you because you lost your lunch money or your left boot… IMAGINE : Mom yelling, “How do you loose one boot? Now what will you do with only one boot. One boot does you no good, Now go out and find that other boot or your going to be grounded and barefooted!!!” So… we learn to maintain possession of our possessions.

Then, as in the story above, we realize that … “you can’t take it with you when you go!” One of the hardest things to do in life is to filter through and box up a loved ones possessions after they have passed away. (I have witnessed a family’s fist fight over a loved ones belongings after a funeral, sadly enough)

So, we collect things till the day we die and they remain, while we pass on.  we could take a lesson from the animals that never go through this world carrying any thing with them. Like that of ‘Cain’ from the T.V. series, ‘Kung Fu’ who walked through this world with all that he owned in a bag, strapped over his shoulder.

I’M not saying shed all your items and walk from this day forward with nothing, but rather do not cling to tightly to your possessions, for one day, they will be some one else’s. Life is temporary and so are possessions.    Art~

Not your ordinary sand castle

Morning stretched itself awake as I made my way down to the shore and joined the handful of early risers. Lazy edges of waves lapped gently over my feet and I scrunched my toes in warm sand. Good time to build a sand castle. It was modestly done mostly for relaxation and meditation. Not a thing anyone would pause to admire. After I finished the basic shape, I began to decorate the form with shells. A boy about eight years of age walked up and began to kick at the castle. I wondered what was in his mind for him to do such a thing?

What happened next, happened quickly. I held out my hand filled with shells and said, ‘Here, help me put these on.’ He stopped kicking, looked at me for several seconds, then took the shells and began to place them on the castle. We decorated in comfortable silence. I’m out of shells,’ he said after several minutes. ‘Get more,’ I replied. He did, giving some to me. After a while, another little boy came along and started to kick the castle. My little boy started to fight him. I said, ‘Give him some shells.’ The new boy worked with us for a couple of minutes, then left.

When the entire exterior was covered in shells and shell fragments, we stepped back to look at our work. ‘We did a good job,’ I said, ‘Thank you.’ He looked at me, looked at the castle, said it was time for him to go and he left. I watched for a while as he walked away and wondered how long our sand castle would remain in tact, then I left for the day. Early the next morning, I went down to the site. The shell-adorned castle, remarkably, had been allowed to just be. It was evident that only nature had touched it with its tide.

Thoughts about this moment in time with the little boy wove in and out of my consciousness that day. He must have been surprised when I didn’t yell at him to stop his kicking, or take even more aggressive action towards him. It certainly surprised me when I felt inspired to suggest he help. Yes, I extended my hand to him, but he chose to invest his time and energy into his ornamental efforts and then felt a need to protect the creation when someone sought to destroy it. He had put some part of himself into the project. I realized that perhaps for human consciousness, Investment equals Connection. I realized how different life might be if we assumed our connection first. Investment in each other and our world would be automatic.

As I gave this moment on the beach even more consideration, I thought that if we don’t feel or perceive our connection to something or someone, it’s easy to either not care about it or them, or to destroy without thought or awareness. I do accept what physics reveals to us: All in existence is comprised of the same energy that is everywhere in the universe. The only separation is, ultimately, in our minds. Quantum physics reveals that after we peel away all layers of manifestation, absolutely nothing is there. Nothing but the consciousness in all things – our shared consciousness, I would add – and the potential for manifestation. Whether we call that consciousness the Creator or we call it Pudding doesn’t matter. It’s real. It’s who we are. We just haven’t fully understood that yet.

From time to time, I wonder if that moment is one the boy remembers – if it had any influence in his life. He should be a young adult now. That moment is still a golden thread in my life’s tapestry. It was a lovely, peaceful solution. I realize still, that when someone gives me a challenge, if appropriate, I give them some ‘shells.’ If I and others, practice peaceful solutions with smaller problems, we may one day seek to find peaceful ways to deal with the really big ones.

Written by Joyce Shafer

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As summer approaches and trips to the beach begin… enjoy creating your sandcastles and remember; life is like a sandcastle, build and enjoy creating, then embrace the day nature erases all traces of what we have done.

all we are is dust in the wind… enjoy your day, my friend

(~_~)

 Happy Mother’s Day

 

the cake

Sometimes we wonder, “What did I do to deserve this?” or “Why did God do this to me?” Here is a wonderful explanation! A daughter is telling her Mother how everything is going wrong, she has failed in algebra, her boyfriend broke up with her and her best friend is moving away.
 
Meanwhile, her Mother is baking a cake and asks her daughter if she would like a snack, and the daughter says, “Absolutely Mom, I love your cake.”
 
“Here, have some cooking oil,” her Mother offers.
 
“Yuck” says her daughter.
 
“How about a couple raw eggs?”
 
“Gross, Mom!”
 
“Would you like some flour then? Or maybe baking soda?”
 
“Mom, those are all yucky!”
 
To which the mother replies: “Yes, all those things seem bad all by themselves. But when they are put together in the right way, they make a wonderfully delicious cake!

~~~

Life works the same way. Many times we wonder why did we go through such bad and difficult times.  We just have to have faith and, eventually, they will all make something wonderful!

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Once there was an elderly widow, Chen Ma, who lived with her only son inside a forest in the Shanxi Province. Her son was one of the tiger hunters licensed by the local magistrate, following the same profession of his father and grandfather before him. His share of the profits from the sale of tiger skins, meat and bones was sufficient to keep the small mud hut well provisioned for himself and his old mother.

All was well until a particularly bitter winter. During a snowstorm, Chen Ma’s son was separated from his fellow hunters and became food for a hungry tigress.

After her initial shock and grief subsided, Chen Ma took stock of her own utterly desperate situation — an old woman left all alone. She went and implored the magistrate to provide her with compensation for the loss of her son, who was her only source of support. The magistrate decreed that henceforth, she would have a small share of profits from the kill of each tiger by the hunters. Needless to say, his decision was not taken well by the hunters, who had plenty of mouths of their own to feed — both old and young.

So, when the hunters succeeded in killing the tigress that ate Chen Ma’s son, they decided not to give her a share of the profits. Instead, they brought her the tigress’ newborn cub. He was a small quivery ball of golden fur with wobbly legs and toothless gums.

The rope they tied around his neck was so tight that it was practically choking him. Instantly, Chen Ma’s heart went out to this helpless creature, whose jade-green eyes were glistening with tears.

After the hunters left, the tiger cub wobbled to where Chen Ma sat and lay at her feet. She bent down to rub his ears and he licked her shoes with his soft tongue.

The elderly widow looked at the tiger baby and sighed. “They told me to butcher you, to salt and smoke your flesh for my meat supply. Your skin would make warm boots for my feet; your bones are good for making Tiger Bone Wine to ease the pain in my joints. But oh, how can I bear to kill you? You are so young and vital, while I am so old and frail.”

And so, Chen Ma untied the rope from the little tiger’s neck and fed him a paste of cooked roots with her fingers. Her son had a good supply of grains and roots in the attached shed and she planned to stretch the food out to last the winter.

When the store of the firewood was running low, Chen Ma was unable to keep her bedroll on top of the kang warm (a kang is a bed base built of bricks with space for a small fire). So she slept curling against the baby tiger, whose soft fur was cozy and warm.

Once ever so often, women from nearby villages would bring sewing for Chen Ma to do. She was very handy with a needle. They paid her for her labor with dried venison and small sacks of grain. At first they did not find the little tiger’s presence alarming; he was no bigger than a piglet. However, when spring came, he had grown into the size of a calf, showing a full set of teeth and claws. The women told their hunter husbands and the men came to kill the young tiger.

Chen Ma armed herself with her son’s hunting spear and threatened to gut anyone who dared to harm her beloved pet.

“I’ve lost both husband and son. This tiger is the only companion I have now. I shall go to the magistrate and request to adopt him as my son.”

The hunters thought the old woman had become mad and jeered at her. But since she was so determined, they dared not kill her tiger without the magistrate’s permission. So they followed Chen Ma and her tiger all the way to the official’s judgment hall.

“Venerable Mother,” said the magistrate. “Your request is most unusual. Are you not afraid that some day the tiger might revert to his wild nature and devour you?”

“Honorable sir,” replied the old widow with tears in her eyes. “What is there to fear? I have lived too long. The only worry I have now is being left utterly alone. Please let me adopt this young tiger, for he has become like a son in my affections.”

The kindly magistrate did not have the heart to refuse such an ancient woman’s pleading. So he had his assistant draw up a document for the tiger’s adoption.

In order to protect the tiger from the hunters’ arrows and spears, the magistrate ordered a large copper pendent made to hang around the beast’s neck. The words “Fu Chee” were engraved on the pendent meaning Tiger Son. To show her deep gratitude, Chen Ma knelt down in front of the magistrate and knocked her forehead three times. Then she led Fu Chee back to their home in the forest.

By next winter, Fu Chee had grown into his maximum size. Chen Ma’s hut was in danger of collapsing whenever the tiger became playful. Reluctantly, she allowed Fu Chee to make his home inside a cave nearby.

However, the affectionate tiger came back to visit his adopted mother often, always bearing a gift in his mouth — a dead deer or a large piece of tree branch. Also, he still liked to lick her shoes and to have his ears rubbed. Chen Ma’s needs were being cared for just as if her natural son was still alive!

After Chen Ma died at the ripe old age past one hundred, the hunters noticed Fu Chee guarded her tomb nightly. They left him unmolested as he had never attacked any humans or domestic animals. This went on for a number of years and then one day the tiger was seen no more.

Out of deep respect and admiration for the filial tiger son, the hunters erected a small stone monument at Chen Ma’s tomb with Fu Chee’s story engraved on it. Henceforth, Fu Chee became a household legend in that part of Shanxi Province.

~ ~ The End ~ ~

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Hug Your Mother…
 
 
 
 

Every now and then, science and intuition converge and seem to affirm things we knew all along. ……..

…….”Hugs”, physical contact of this nature is associated with measurable and meaningful attenuation of blood pressure and heart rates in adults. If hugs from significant others can help blunt our physiologic response to life’s inevitable stressors, perhaps repeated instances of warm contact and feelings of closeness to others may mitigate the negative effects that life’s hassles can inflict on bodily systems… more

……Oh—and don’t forget to give mom a big hug on Mother’s Day (and another to dad on Father’s Day). You’ll both be better for it…

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have a zen-sational day
 
(~_~)
 
 
Wishing to encourage her young son’s progress on the piano, a mother took her boy to a Paderewski concert. After they were seated, the mother spotted a friend in the audience and walked down the aisle to greet her. Seizing the opportunity to explore the wonders of the concert hall, the little boy rose and eventually explored his way through a door marked “NO ADMITTANCE.”

When the house lights dimmed and the concert was about to begin, the mother returned to her seat and discovered that the child was missing. Suddenly, the curtains parted and spotlights focused on the impressive Steinway on stage. In horror, the mother saw her little boy sitting at the keyboard, innocently picking out “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.”

At that moment, the great piano master made his entrance, quickly moved to the piano, and whispered in the boy’s ear, “Don’t quit. Keep playing.” Then leaning over, Paderewski reached down with his left hand and began filling in a bass part.

Soon his right arm reached around to the other side of the child and he added a running obbligato. Together, the old master and the young novice transformed a frightening situation into a wonderfully creative experience. The audience was mesmerized.

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a music lesson

Have you ever been in a position where you were expected and required to participate in music lessons even though you had absolutely no interest?

The situation was this: my father was a professional music teacher specializing in teaching Hawaiian and Spanish guitar, as well as the accordion. My mother was an accomplished piano player and, in fact, the whole family was very musical. I was the only one who had not been involved, yet, in learning to play a musical instrument.

And, as a lot of families do, I was enrolled in piano lessons even though I had absolutely no interest in learning how to play it. So, it started. Lesson after lesson I endured but rebelling at the time it took to practice – I’d rather have been outside playing with my friends. Finally, I just quit practicing and my piano teacher told my parents that I was hopeless. Great – no more piano lessons.

Now, I was free from practicing piano, but my parents still desired that I learn a musical instrument. The long and short of it was this: I wasn’t interested at this time, nor was I interested in learning an instrument that they picked for me. I guess I was a bit headstrong but, at the same time, I knew what I wasn’t interested in.

The musical story doesn’t end here, it goes on to where I decided what I wanted to learn, to play and that ended up being the drums. I loved playing the drums and went on to play in several bands for many years after that.

The point here is this, and a point that speaks to a great many things about life: if you are not ready to do something no matter how much someone else wants you to do it, you won’t do it. Or, at the very least, you will certainly not put your heart and soul into it and will surely fail.

This aptitude to do what you desire when you desire is also prominent in beginning a career, choosing to study, deciding where you want to live, or how you relate with those around you. We all make choices sooner or later but those choices cannot be forced on you with any success.

The other truth about deciding and making your own choices is that you will make them on whatever basis and for whatever reasons when you are good and ready. Some people take longer than others to make these choices. I know this can be frustrating to parents, friends, wives and husbands but that is the way of life. Now, that doesn’t mean you just have to sit on your hands while you hope someone makes a good choice. It means, instead, that you offer to talk, to discuss, to banter ideas, or thoughts, or issues. After all, whether you know it or not, what you say does have an impact but only if you are not trying to cram your ideas down someone’s throat.

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have a lyrical day

The woman handed her son the egg. “Now take care and carry it over the hill to the poor people on the other side.” she said.

“Yes, Mother.” The boy cradled his hands carefully, taking the egg with great delicacy. He walked out of the door with a look of determination to fulfill his important mission as his mother smiled proudly.

It was a hot day, the hill was steep and the boy was glad to reach a level shelf of land. He sat down in the shade of an old ruin. Nearby, some other boys were shouting and playing. The boy stared enviously at them, looked up at the hill and wondered. The other boys waved and beckoned to him, so he got up and walked towards them.

“Wanna play?” one asked.

“Yeah, but…” the boy’s voice trailed off as he looked at the egg.

“Oh, you don’t need that”, grinned the other lad.

The boy stood, frozen in a moment as the others looked on, inviting and impatient. Then he decided, turned, and not caring to think, hurled the egg at the wall of the ruin. The other boys cheered as he ran over to join them.

When he got home much later, he was dusty, tired, and very worried about what might be said about the egg. His mother fussed about his clothes but hugged and praised him for doing so well. The boy was mightily relieved and smiled a secret smile. When his father came home, the boy’s mother proudly told of the boy’s achievement. The father put his hand on the boy’s shoulder and looked deep into the boy’s eyes.

“You walked all that way?” he asked.

The boy quaked inside but, emboldened by his success so far, held his ground and looked straight back. “Yes, father.” he said, as innocently as he could.

His father frowned, but congratulated the boy on his determination and effort. The boy turned away, both troubled and exultant.

In the following days, the mother gave the boy more eggs and he went up the hill to meet his friends and play. Smashing the egg was turned into a ritual game and sometimes a mock debate would be held as to whether the boy should continue with his mission, but the result was always the same: the egg would be thrown against the wall and cheers would precede play. And nobody thought about the people on the other side of the hill.

Sometimes his friends would not be there, but he still smashed the egg and either sat morosely (for he could not go home) or went for a walk by himself. When he asked them on other days why they did not come or did not tell him, they just laughed and told him that they did not always feel like playing with him.

It was on one of those walks, not long after setting out, that he turned a corner and bumped into his parents coming the other way. After the initial shock and some very quick thinking, he blurted out an excuse.

“Er, hello, um, I, ah, got lost.”

“But you have carried eggs over the hill many times.” said his mother, her brow furrowing in puzzled concern.

“Ah, I fell over and it broke. I banged my head and got dizzy, which is why I got lost!” he said, recovering his wits.

“Where? Let me see.” asked his mother, concerned.

“No! Don’t touch! It hurts.” The boy stepped back, hand to his head. “I’ve got a headache. I want to go home.”

His father’s eyes narrowed. “Let’s go by the hill path.” he said.

The boy tried to argue, using every emotional lever he could, but it was no good. His father even offered to carry him, but he refused this indignity and trailed reluctantly behind.

When they came to the old ruins, his parents stopped, shocked beyond belief at the sight of the wall where a fresh patch of egg yolk glistened in the sun and the floor was littered with the shells of many eggs.

“This is nothing to do with me!” the boy said, indignantly, “I go another way. I’ve never seen this before.”

And as they all stood there, perchance one of the boy’s friends dashed past.

“Hi!” sang the friend, “Can’t play today. My, you got the wall in a new place–good egging!” Finally, the friend noticed the boy’s horrified look and the shocked parents, and sped up, disappearing around the corner with a giggle.

Cornered at last, the boy knew that confession was his only way out.

“It was me. I’m sorry.” he said.

And as his mother wept. His father spoke.

“You were given an important task, to help other people.” he said. “And you have deliberately chosen not to complete that task. You have strayed from the path without consideration for those you have betrayed.”

“I’m sorry,” said the boy, earnestly, “I won’t do it again.”

“Trust is like a delicate egg,” said his father, stooping to gather a handful of shell remains. “Once broken, it cannot easily be repaired.”

And as realization began to dawn on the boy’s face, the father pointed at the mass of broken shells of the floor. “And you have been trusted many times, and many times have you broken that trust, and many times have you dashed the hopes of people you do not know.”

As the father looked from the shells to the boy to the continued path up the hill, the boy tried one more ploy.

“But I was scared! I knew you would be cross. I didn’t dare say.” he faltered.

The father looked at the wall, glazed and glistening in the lowering sunlight, and he looked at his son with contempt and pity.

“Like the yellow on this wall, you cannot hide what you have done, and seeking to blame others for your own misdeeds is a terrible and cowardly act.” he said, gravely.

And the boy sunk to the ground, weeping deep tears of remorse as at last he could no longer hide and the enormity of what he had done and the weight of responsibility struck home with full force.

“I just wanted people to like me.” he sobbed.

His parents sat either side of him and his mother put her arm around him, but it was no longer a refuge. His father spoke, gently and firmly.

“To live in this world with respect from others is not without serious cost. You are judged first and last by your actions.” he said. “The price of respect is integrity, and the cost of betrayal is too great to countenance. Integrity is not a whim but a deep and impenetrable determination to do the right thing, every time, even when nobody else is there. You are always present and integrity is the only route to respecting yourself. It is about who you are, through sun and storm. It is the inviolable rules that you choose for yourself.”

And as his parents stood up and walked back down the hill, the boy chose. Shaking and sobbing in remorse and determination, he started to pick up the pieces of eggshell, one by one.

***

 ~by David Straker~

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may your path be that of integrity

A grieving mother approached Buddha, carrying the body of her dead child in her arms. She begged him, “I know you can bring him back to life.”

 Buddha replied, “Death is inevitable; I cannot restore his life.” The woman was devastated, and was not prepared to accept this answer. Seeing her pain, Buddha said, “I can bring your child back to life, but only if you bring me mustard seeds from a person who has never had a death in his family.”

Hearing these words, a hope was awakened within the grieving mother’s heart. Immediately she rushed out to beg. She knocked at the first door and asked for some mustard seeds. The middle-aged lady answering the door was very kind and asked her to wait a moment. The woman asked, “There has not been a death in your family, has there?”

The lady started crying and said, “Six months ago my husband died in his sleep.” The mother was disappointed and she moved on.

The second person she approached was a young man, who said that his grandfather had passed away only a few days earlier. The third was an old woman whose grown up son and daughter-in-law had been killed in an accident. One after the other, the woman found that someone or the other had died in every family.

By the time the woman returned to Buddha, she had made peace with her son’s death. She had accepted the inevitable.

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Acceptance is the key to tranquility

may acceptance come easy for you this day!

Art~

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