Trusting your basic goodness…

headshot-tara-brachTara Brach writes:

Einstein says the most important question we will ever ask ourselves is, “Is this universe a friendly place.” Do we trust that there is something essentially benevolent or good about this universe? That we are essentially good? These two talks explore what it means to trust basic goodness, and how this trust naturally emerges through cultivating a meditative presence…

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Make no little plans…

Daniel Hudson Burnham
“Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s bloodand probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency. Remember that our sons and grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon be beauty. Think big.”

Daniel Burnham, Chicago architect. (1846-1912)

If you’re not familiar with the name Daniel Burnham, you can find him in the Wikipedia;

Daniel Hudson Burnham, FAIA (September 4, 1846 – June 1, 1912) was an American architect and urban designer. He was the Director of Works for the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. He took a leading role in the creation of master plans for the development of a number of cities, including Chicago and downtown Washington, D.C. He also designed several famous buildings, including the Flatiron Building in New York City and Union Station in Washington D.C.

Read more here

American Minute for August 1st

English: Illustration from an early edition of...Bill Federer writes:

“There she blows!” cried the lookout, sighting Moby Dick.

Captain Ahab, driven by revenge, sailed the seas to capture this great white whale, who had bitten off his leg in a previous encounter.

The crew of the ship Pequod included Quaker chief mate Starbuck, second mate Stubb, Captain Boomer, a tattooed Polynesian harpooner named Queequeg, and Ishmael, the teller of the tale.

Ahab finally caught up with Moby Dick in the Pacific Ocean.

As fate would have it, when the harpoon struck Moby Dick, the rope flew out so fast it entangled Ahab, pulling him under.

This classic was written by Herman Melville, born AUGUST 1, 1819.

Continue reading: William J Federer’s American Minute for August 1st.

I read Melville’s classic during a vacation on the east coast where I visited places from the story like the Seamen’s Bethel in New Bedford and the island of Nantucket. If you’ve never read this classic story, give Netflix a rest this weekend and get a copy. The book is in the public domain so you can download it at no cost and read it on the very device you’re using now via Kindle software

A story about George Washington…

1795 - 1823

1795 – 1823 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Have you ever heard this one?

About a dozen years before the Revolutionary War, tensions increased in America between the British and the French with their Indian allies, resulting in battles.
The most notable period of the French and Indian Wars lasted from 1754 to 1763. It is considered the first global war, as allies of the French and English fought all around the world.
On July 9, 1755, about 1,400 British troops marched over the Appalachian Mountains to seize French Fort Duquesne, near present day Pittsburgh. As they marched through a deep wooded ravine along the Monongahela River eight miles from the fort, they were ambushed by French regulars, Canadians, and Potawatomi and Ottawa Indians.
Not accustomed to fighting unless in an open field, over 900 British soldiers were annihilated.
It was known as the Battle of the Wilderness or Battle of Monongahela.
23-year-old Virginia Colonel George Washington rode back and forth during the battle delivering orders for General Edward Braddock, the Commander-in-Chief of British forces in America.
Eventually, Braddock was killed and every officer on horseback was shot, except Washington.
Washington carried Braddock from the field.
Braddock’s field desk was captured, revealing all of the British military plans, enabling the French to surprise and defeat British forces in succeeding battles at Fort Oswego, Fort William Henry, Fort Duquesne, and Carillon. The Iroquois tribes of Senecas and Cayugas decided to switch their allegiance to the French.
Before he died, Braddock gave Washington his battle uniform sash, which Washington reportedly carried with him while serving as Commander-in-Chief and as President.
Washington presided at the burial service for General Braddock, as the chaplain was wounded. Braddock’s body was buried in the middle of the road so as to prevent his body from being found and desecrated.
Shortly thereafter, writing from Fort Cumberland, George Washington described the Battle of Monongahela to his younger brother, John Augustine Washington, JULY 18, 1755:
“As I have heard, since my arrival at this place, a circumstantial account of my death and dying speech, I take this early opportunity of contradicting the first, and of assuring you, that I have not as yet composed the latter.
But by the All-Powerful Dispensations of Providence, I have been protected beyond all human probability or expectation; for I had four bullets through my coat, and two horses shot under me, yet escaped unhurt, although death was leveling my companions on every side of me!”
An Indian warrior later declared:
“Washington was never born to be killed by a bullet! I had seventeen fair fires at him with my rifle and after all could not bring him to the ground!”

Source: William J Federer’s American Minute for January 1st

The Liberty Bell…

Bill Federer writes:

The Liberty Bell got its name from being rung JULY 8, 1776, to call the citizens of Philadelphia together to hear the Declaration of Independence read out loud for the first time.

The Liberty Bell, weighing over 2,000 pounds, was cast in England in August of 1752.

The Pennsylvania Assembly ordered it to commemorate the 50th anniversary of William Penn founding the Colony in 1701, writing his Charter of Privileges.

In 1751, the colony’s Assembly declared a “Year of Jubilee” and commissioned a bell to be put in the Philadelphia State House.

Isaac Norris, Speaker of Pennsylvania’s Assembly, read Leviticus chapter 25 verse 10:

“And ye shall make hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof; it shall be a jubilee.”

Inscribed on the Liberty Bell is:

“Proclaim Liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.”

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John Adams on celebrating the 2nd of July

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-500px (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“The Second Day of July 1776 will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires, and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.” – John Adams to Abigail Adams, July 3, 1776. 1776 filled the calendar with dates deserving of remembrance and even celebration. John Adams, delegate from Massachusetts to the Second Continental Congress, wrote home to his wife Abigail that future generations would celebrate July 2, the date the Congress voted to approve Richard Henry Lee’s resolution declaring independence from Britain for 13 of the British colonies in America. Two days later, that same Congress approved the wording of the document Thomas Jefferson had drafted to announce Lee’s resolution to the world. Today, we celebrate the date of the document Jefferson wrote, and Richard Henry Lee is often a reduced to a footnote, if not erased from history altogether. Who can predict the future? (You know, of course, that Adams and Jefferson both died 50 years to the day after the Declaration of Independence, on July 4, 1826. In the 50 intervening years, Adams and Jefferson were comrades in arms and diplomacy in Europe, officers of the new government in America, opposing candidates for the presidency, President and Vice President, ex-President and President, bitter enemies, then long-distance friends writing almost daily about how to make a great new nation. Read David McCullough’s version of the story, if you can find it.)”

10 Things to Know About Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl

Sixty-six years ago today, the seemingly everyday, innocent thoughts of a teen girl were published. But they weren’t so everyday: they were the thoughts of Anne Frank, a 13-year-old in a unique position to make the world understand what it was like to have to hide your entire existence in exchange for a mere chance at surviving the Nazi regime. Her diary has since sold more than 30 million copies and has been translated into 67 languages. If you haven’t read The Diary of a Young Girl in a while (or even if you have), here are 10 things you should know.

Get the list here: 10 Things to Know About Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl | Mental Floss.

The only video of Anne Frank known to exist:

Anne Frank’s father [the only one of the 7 people hiding with Anne] speaks about the diary:

Another Way to Celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day

English: Saint Patrick stained glass window fr...

Carl Considine writes:

The life of Saint Patrick, the humble man from Britain who escaped Roman slavery and brought Christianity to Ireland in the fifth century, is celebrated annually on March 17. Despite Saint Patrick’s successful Christian missionary work and his designation as the primary patron saint of Ireland, the day we commemorate his life has become associated with wearing outrageous clothing, drinking pints of Guinness, and being excessively inebriated. Without taking away the joy and camaraderie that many people feel when they celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day, we should also remember Patrick’s admirable character by following his example and adhering to his moral teachings. Continue reading