Wednesday, June 27, 2012

38 Medly Song by Felicia Ricci & Sister

Felicia Ricci is a Yale English grad who, by chance,
 luck and other purveyors of fate,
 performed the lead role of Elphaba in WICKED over forty times.
She has a blog "Unnaturally Green"

This first video I saw on her blog back in 2010. 
I LOVED it!!  I hope you enjoy it, too.

This first video she posted in summer 2010
A Thirty-Eight Song Medley - Felicia Ricci and Tessa Ricci

This one she posted at the beginning of 2011
Medley Two! (the sequel) - Felicia Ricci and Tessa Ricci

And this one she posted at the end of 2011.
Medley Part Three (39 Songs!) - Felicia Ricci and Tessa Ricci

Check out her youtube channel Here

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

All the Good Things

He was in the first third grade class I taught at Saint Mary's School in Morris, Minnesota. All 34 of my students were dear to me, but Mark Eklund was one in a million.  He was very neat in appearance but had that happy-to-be-alive attitude that made even his occasional mischieviousness delightful.

Mark talked incessantly. I had to remind him again and again that talking without permission was not acceptable. What impressed me so much, though, was his sincere response every time I had to correct him for misbehaving:

"Thank you for correcting me, Sister!"
I didn't know what to make of it at first, but before long I became accustomed to hearing it many times a day.

One morning my patience was growing thin when Mark talked once too often, and then I made a novice teacher's mistake. I looked at him and said,

"If you say one more word, I am going to tape your mouth shut!"
It wasn't ten seconds later when Chuck blurted out, "Mark is talking again."
I hadn't asked any of the students to help me watch Mark, but since I had stated the punishment in front of the class, I had to act on it.

I remember the scene as if it had occurred this morning. I walked to my desk, very deliberately opened my drawer and took out a roll of masking tape. Without saying a word, I proceeded to Mark's desk, tore off two pieces of tape and made a big X with them over his mouth. I then returned to the front of the room. As I glanced at Mark to see how he was doing, he winked at me. That did it! I started laughing. The class cheered as I walked back to Mark's desk, removed the tape and shrugged my shoulders. His first words were, "Thank you for correcting me, Sister."

At the end of the year I was asked to teach junior high math. The years flew by, and before I knew it Mark was in my classroom again. He was more handsome than ever and just as polite. Since he had to listen carefully to my instructions in the "new math," he did not talk as much in ninth grade as he had in the third.

One Friday, things just didn't feel right. We had worked hard on a new concept all week, and I sensed that the students were frowning, frustrated with themselves — and edgy with one another. I had to stop this crankiness before it got out of hand. So I asked them to list the names of the other students in the room on two sheets of paper, leaving a space between each name. Then I told them to think of the nicest thing they could say about each of their classmates and write it down. It took the remainder of the class period to finish the assignment, and as the students left the room, each one handed me the papers. Charlie smiled. Mark said, "Thank you for teaching me, Sister. Have a good weekend."

That Saturday, I wrote down the name of each student on a separate sheet of paper, and I listed what everyone else had said about that individual. On Monday I gave each student his or her list. Before long, the entire class was smiling.

"Really?" I heard whispered. "I never knew that meant anything to anyone!"
"I didn't know others liked me so much!"
No one ever mentioned those papers in class again. I never knew if they discussed them after class or with their parents, but it didn't matter. The exercise had accomplished its purpose. The students were happy with themselves and one another again.

That group of students moved on.  Several years later, after I returned from vacation, my parents met me at the airport.  As we were driving home, Mother asked me the usual questions about the trip — the weather, my experiences in general.  There was a light lull in the conversation. Mother gave Dad a sideways glance and simply said, "Dad?"

My father cleared his throat as he usually did before something important.

"The Eklunds called last night," he began.

"Really?" I said. "I haven't heard from them in years. I wonder how Mark is."

Dad responded quietly. "Mark was killed in Vietnam," he said.

"The funeral is tomorrow, and his parents would like it if you could attend."
To this day I can still point to the exact spot on I-494 where Dad told me about Mark.

I had never seen a serviceman in a military coffin before. Mark looked so handsome, so mature. All I could think at that moment was, Mark, I would give all the masking tape in the world if only you would talk to me. The church was packed with Mark's friends. Chuck's sister sang "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." Why did it have to rain on the day of the funeral? It was difficult enough at the graveside. The pastor said the usual prayers, and the bugler played taps. One by one those who loved Mark took a last walk by the coffin and sprinkled it with holy water.

I was the last one to bless the coffin. As I stood there, one of the soldiers who had acted as pallbearer came up to me. "Were you Mark's math teacher?" he asked.

I nodded as I continued to stare at the coffin.
"Mark talked about you a lot," he said.

After the funeral, most of Mark's former classmates headed to Chuck's farmhouse for lunch.  Mark's mother and father were there, obviously waiting for me.

"We want to show you something," his father said, taking a wallet out of his pocket. "They found this on Mark when he was killed. We thought you might recognize it."

Opening the billfold, he carefully removed two worn pieces of notebook paper that had obviously been taped, folded and refolded many times. I knew without looking that the papers were the ones on which I had listed all the good things each of Mark's classmates had said about him.

"Thank you so much for doing that," Mark's mother said.

"As you can see, Mark treasured it."

Mark's classmates started to gather around us.  Charlie smiled rather sheepishly and said, 
"I still have my list. It's in the top drawer of my desk at home."

Chuck's wife said, "Chuck asked me to put this in our wedding album."

"I have mine too," Marilyn said. "It's in my diary."
Then Vicki, another classmate, reached into her pocketbook, took out her wallet and showed her worn and frazzled list to the group.
"I carry this with me at all times," Vicki said, without batting an eyelash. "I think we all saved our lists."

That's when I finally sat down and cried. I cried for Mark and for all his friends who would never see him again.

By: Sister Helen P. Mrosla, written in 1991.  She first met Mark in 1959.

To learn more, go to the bottom of
 This Page

A Dad's Story

As I frequently do, I turned to the internet to check this story out and what I found was most interesting. The story below is a very good (true) story that will touch your heart. But there is more.

What circulates as a shortened form of “A Dad’s Story” was originally named “Free The Birdies”, a title that aptly described the thrust of the unabridged account. It was penned in 1994 by Lloyd Glenn, a Mormon then living in Mission Viejo, CA, about the accident that befell his son Brian, on July 22, 1993.

Read the story below then go to this page: Click Here for more info
to read the rest of the story. At the beginning of the page, is starts with the same story below. Scroll down the page and start with “origins” and I think you will find it very interesting.

On July 22nd I was en route to Washington , DC , for a business trip.  
It was all so very ordinary, until we landed in Denver for a plane change. As I collected my belongings from the overhead locker, an announcement was made for Mr. Lloyd Glenn (that’s me) to see the United Customer Service Representative immediately. 
I thought nothing of it until I reached the door to leave the plane and I heard a gentleman asking every male if he were Mr. Glenn. At this point I knew something was wrong and my heart sunk.  
When I got off the plane, a solemn-faced young man came toward me and said, "Mr.Glenn, there is an emergency at your home. I do not know what the emergency is, or who is involved, but I will take you to the phone so you can call the hospital."  
My heart was now pounding, but the will to be calm took over. 
Woodenly, I followed this stranger to the distant telephone where I called the number he gave me for the Mission Hospital . My call was put through to the trauma center where I learned that my three-year-old son had been trapped underneath the automatic garage door for several minutes and that when my wife had found him he was dead. CPR had been performed by a neighbor, who is a doctor, and the paramedics had continued the treatment as Brian was transported to the hospital. 
By the time of my call, Brian was revived and they believed he would live, but they did not know how much damage had been done to his brain, nor to his heart. They explained that the door had completely closed on his little sternum right over his heart. He had been severely crushed. After speaking with the medical staff, my wife sounded worried but not hysterical, and I took comfort in her calmness. 
The return flight seemed to last forever, but finally I arrived at the hospital six hours after the garage door had come down. When I walked into the intensive care unit, nothing could have prepared me to see my little son laying so still on a great big bed with tubes and monitors everywhere. He was on a respirator. I glanced at my wife who stood and tried to give me a reassuring smile. It all seemed like a terrible dream. I was filled-in with the details and given a guarded prognosis. 
Brian was going to live, and the preliminary tests indicated that his heart was OK, two miracles in and of themselves. But only time would tell if his brain received any damage.  
Throughout the seemingly endless hours, my wife was calm. She felt that Brian would eventually be all right. I hung on to her words and faith like a lifeline. All that night and the next day Brian remained unconscious.. It seemed like forever since I had left for my business trip the day before. 
Finally at two o'clock that afternoon, our son regained consciousness and sat up uttering the most beautiful words I have ever heard spoken.  He said, "Daddy hold me" and he reached for me with his little arms. 
By the next day he was pronounced as having no neurological or physical deficits, and the story of his miraculous survival spread throughout the hospital. You cannot imagine, when we took Brian home, we felt a unique reverence for the life and love of our Heavenly Father that comes to those who brush death so closely. 
In the days that followed, there was a special spirit about our home.
Our two older children were much closer to their little brother. My wife and I were much closer to each other, and all of us were very close as a whole family. Life took on a less stressful pace. 
Perspective seemed to be more focused and balance much easier to gain and maintain. We felt deeply blessed. Our gratitude was truly profound.
The story is not over (smile)! 
Almost a month later to the day of the accident, Brian awoke from his afternoon nap and said, "Sit down Mommy.. I have something to tell you". At this time in his life, Brian usually spoke in small phrases, so to say a large sentence surprised my wife. She sat down with him on his bed, and he began his sacred and remarkable story. 
"Do you remember when I got stuck under the garage door? Well, it was so heavy and it hurt really bad. I called to you but you couldn't hear me. I started to cry, but then it hurt too bad. And then the ' birdies ' came." 
"The birdies?" my wife asked puzzled.
Yes," he replied. "The birdies made a whooshing sound and flew into the garage. They took care of me". 
"They did?" 
"Yes," he said. "One of the birdies came and got you.  She came to tell you 'I got stuck under the door'.
A sweet reverent feeling filled the room. The spirit was so strong and yet lighter than air.  My wife realized that a three-year-old had no concept of death and spirits, so he was referring to the beings who came to him from beyond as "birdies" because they were up in the air like birds that fly.

"What did the birdies look like?" she asked. 
Brian answered, "They were so beautiful. They were dressed in white, all white. Some of them had green and white. But some of them had on just white." 
"Did they say anything?" 
"Yes," he answered. "They told me the baby would be all right".
"The baby"? my wife asked confused. 
Brian answered. "The baby laying on the garage floor".
He went on, "You came out and opened the garage door and ran to the baby. You told the baby to stay and not leave".
My wife nearly collapsed upon hearing this,  for she had indeed gone and knelt beside Brian's body and seeing his crushed chest whispered, "Don't leave us Brian, please stay if you can".
As she listened to Brian telling her the words she had spoken, she realized that the spirit had left his body and was looking down from above on this little lifeless form.
"Then what happened"?  she asked. 
"We went on a trip," he said, "far, far away".
He grew agitated trying to say the things he didn't seem to have the words for. My wife tried to calm and comfort him, and let him know it would be okay.  He struggled with wanting to tell something that obviously was very important to him, but finding the words was difficult. 
"We flew so fast up in the air. They're so pretty Mommy," he added. 
"And there are lots and lots of birdies"?
My wife was stunned. Into her mind the sweet comforting spirit enveloped her more soundly, but with an urgency she had never before known. Brian went on to tell her that the "birdies" had told him that he had to come back and tell everyone about the "birdies".  He said they brought him back to the house and that a big fire truck and an ambulance were there. A man was bringing the baby out on a white bed and he tried to tell the man that the baby would be okay.

The story went on for an hour. 
He taught us that "birdies" were always with us, but we don't see them because we look with our eyes and we don't hear them because we listen with our ears. But they are always there, you can only see them in here (he put his hand over his heart).  They whisper the things to help us to do what is right because they love us so much.
Brian continued, stating, "I have a plan, Mommy. You have a plan.  Daddy has a plan. Everyone has a plan. We must all live our plan and keep our promises. The birdies help us to do that cause they love us so much".
In the weeks that followed, he often came to us and told all, or part of it, again and again.  Always the story remained the same.  The details were never changed or out of order.  A few times he added further bits of information and clarified the message he had already delivered.  It never ceased to amaze us how he could tell such detail and speak beyond his ability when he talked about his birdies. 
Everywhere he went, he told strangers about the "birdies".
Surprisingly, no one ever looked at him strangely when he did this. Rather, they always got a softened look on their face and smiled. 
Needless to say, we have not been the same ever since that day, and I pray we never will be. 
You have an Angel to watch over you.  Some people come into our lives and quickly go.  Some people become friends and stay a while . . . leaving beautiful footprints on our hearts ... and we are never quite the same because we have made a good friend.

The Little Girl

There was an atheist couple who had a child. The couple never told their daughter anything about the Lord. 

One night, when the little girl was 5 years old, the parents fought with each other and the father shot the mom right there in front of the little girl - then he shot himself. 

The little girl watched it all.  

She was then sent to a foster home. The foster mother was a christian and took the child to sunday school.  The foster mother told the teacher that the little girl had never heard of Jesus and to have patience with her. 

The teacher held up a picture of the lord and asked,

"Does anyone know who this is?"

The little girl said, "I don't know what his name is, but that's the man that held me the night my dad killed my mom".

The Smell of Rain

A cold March wind danced around the dead of night in Dallas as the Doctor walked into the small hospital room of Diana Blessing. Still groggy from surgery, her husband David held her hand as they braced themselves for the latest news.

That afternoon of March 10,1991, complications had forced Diana, only 24 weeks pregnant, to Danae Lu Blessing. At 12 inches long and weighing only one pound and nine ounces, they already knew she was perilously premature. Still, the doctor's soft words dropped like bombs.

"I don't think she's going to make it", he said, as kindly as he could.

"There's only a 10 percent chance she will live through the night, and even then, if by some slim chance she does make it, her future could be a very cruel one".

Numb with disbelief, David and Diana listened as the doctor described the devastating problems Danae would likely face if she survived. She would never walk, she would never talk, she would probably be blind, and she would certainly be prone to other catastrophic conditions from cerebral palsy to complete mental retardation, and on and on.

"No! No!" was all Diana could say. She and David, with their 5-year-old son Dustin, had long dreamed of the day they would have a daughter to become a family of four. Now, within a matter of hours, that dream was slipping away.

Through the dark hours of morning as Danae held onto life by the thinnest thread, Diana slipped in and out of sleep, growing more and more determined that their tiny daughter would live, and live to be a healthy, happy young girl. But David, fully awake and listening to additional dire details of their daughter's chances of ever leaving the hospital alive, much less healthy, knew he must confront his wife with the inevitable.

David walked in and said that we needed to talk about making funeral arrangements. Diana remembers - I felt so bad for him because he was doing everything, trying to include me in what was going on, but I just wouldn't listen, I couldn't listen.

I said, "No, that is not going to happen, no way! I don't care what the doctors say; Danae is not going to die! One day she will be just fine, and she will be coming home with us"!

As if willed to live by Diana's determination, Danae clung to life hour after hour, with the help of every medical machine and marvel her miniature body could endure. But as those first days passed, a new agony set in for David and Diana. 

Because Danae's under-developed nervous system was essentially raw, the lightest kiss or caress only intensified her discomfort, so they couldn't even cradle their tiny baby girl against their chests to offer the strength of their love. All they could do, as Danae struggled alone beneath the ultraviolet light in the tangle of tubes and wires, was to pray that God would stay close to their precious little girl.

There was never a moment when Danae suddenly grew stronger. But as the weeks went by, she did slowly gain an ounce of weight here and an ounce of strength there. At last, when Danae turned two months old, her parents were able to hold her in their arms for the very first time. And two months later-though doctors continued to gently but grimly warn that her chances of surviving, much less living any kind of normal life, were next to zero. 

Danae went home from the hospital, just as her mother had predicted.

Today, five years later, Danae is a petite but feisty young girl with glittering gray eyes and an unquenchable zest for life. She shows no signs, whatsoever, of any mental or physical impairment. Simply, she is everything a little girl can be and more - but that happy ending is far from the end of her story.

One blistering afternoon in the summer of 1996 near her home in Irving, Texas, Danae was sitting in her mother's lap in the bleachers of a local ballpark where her brother Dustin's baseball team was practicing. As always, Danae was chattering non-stop with her mother and several other adults sitting nearby when she suddenly fell silent. Hugging her arms across her chest, Danae asked, "Do you smell that?"

Smelling the air and detecting the approach of a thunderstorm, Diana replied, "Yes, it smells like rain."

Danae closed her eyes and again asked, "Do you smell that?"

Once again, her mother replied, "Yes, I think we're about to get wet, it smells like rain".

Still caught in the moment, Danae shook her head, patted her thin shoulders with her small hands and loudly announced, "No, it smells like Him. It smells like God when you lay your head on His chest."

Tears blurred Diana's eyes as Danae then happily hopped down to play with the other children.

Before the rains came, her daughter's words confirmed what Diana and all the members of the extended Blessing family had known, at least in their hearts, all along. During those long days and nights of her first two months of her life, when her nerves were too sensitive for them to touch her, God was holding Danae on His chest and it is His loving scent that she remembers so well.

If you would like more info on this story 
Click Here

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Few Fun Videos

Piano Stairs -
Will people take the stairs over the escalator
if it provides some music and fun?

Flash Mob - Antwerp Central Station
The Sound of Music

This video was made in the Antwerp, Belgium Central (Train) Station on the 23rd of March 2009 with no warning to the passengers passing through the station at 08:00 am a recording of Julie Andrews singing 'Do, Re, Mi' begins to play on the public address system. As the bemused passengers watch in amazement, some 200 dancers begin to appear from the crowd and station entrances. They created this amazing stunt with just two rehearsals!

"The Front Fell Off"
This guy is so funny . . . but he's not trying to be!!

This guy calls into work and sees something
he thinks is so funny . . .
This guys laugh will get you laughing . . .

Kids Trash House With Flour -
Mom was in the bathroom for 2 minutes . . .

The Table Cloth Trick . . .
I think these kids are in trouble!!!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Dick Clark's Home

This one bedroom home can be all yours for $3.5 mil.
He put it up for sale a month before he died.
He died on April 18, 2012.

An iconic celebrity needs an equally impressive home, and that is exactly what television legend Dick Clark has had.
The 82-year-old is selling his Malibu retreat and the house looks just like the Flintstones’ home in the famous cartoon.
Sitting on top of a very steep hill, the specially designed home is on the market for $3.5million but it’s appearance from the outside is not the biggest selling point it has to offer.

The unusual architectural retreat has huge glass windows in every room which give amazing views of the nearby Pacific Ocean, Channel Islands, Boney Mountains and Serrano Valley.

If you've ever dreamed of living in a Flintstones-style house and have $3,500,000 to burn, you might want to check out Dick Clark's Malibu digs -- they just hit the market.

Fred and Barney ain't got nothing on Mr. Rocking New Year's Eve.

Who knew that Dick Clark lived in a house reminiscent of the caveman era?

(Insert "Dick Clark is as old as the cavemen" joke here.)

Clark's Malibu abode is probably as one-of-a-kind as they come.

The Flintstone-eque home sits atop a remote bluff in Malibu -- a stoney crib that has 360 degree ocean and mountain views of the Pacific Ocean, Channel Islands, Boney Mountains and Serrano Valley, as well as the city of Los Angeles.

Clark's home sits on 22.89 acres, but here's the interesting part -- it only has one bedroom and two bathrooms!

The architectural design also includes massive amounts of glass to best showcase the impressive views seen from every room.

Vaulted ceilings in the living room and dining room open up the space and there's also a fireplace in the bedroom

The listing agent brags: "Malibu celebrity romantic retreat.... This is art as architecture at it's finest. This truly magical retreat offers seclusion, privacy & serenity yet minutes from the beach."

The views are impressive, and the interior really looks like a cave -- a high-end cave. You can bet Fred Flintstone never had it so good. And, come to think of it, Ryan Seacrest does look a little like Barney Rubble ...

What HONOR Looks Like

On 5/23/2012 a flight attendant announced the arrival of 
“Honor Flight of WWII Veterans” at Reagan National Airport.
She then asked if anyone would help greet the veterans.  A wonderful thing happened:

This video with "Thank You Soldier" Song Playing

This video with orginal sounds:

What honor looks like:
The flash mob at Gate 38 of Reagan National Airport
May 23, 2012     By Chris Muller
Honor is a hard term to describe. It doesn’t have a color or weight or shape. If someone were to ask me what honor looked like, I’d probably struggle with what to say.

But something happened on May 23, 2012 at 9:31 a.m. at Gate 38 of Reagan National Airport that might change that.  A flash mob of sorts broke out. But not like you’ve seen on YouTube with highly choreographed dance numbers or people singing a song in unison.  In fact, virtually all of the participants of this “flash mob” didn’t know they would be participating until moments before it happened.

Let me explain.  Shortly before 9:30 over the loud speakers, a US Airways gate attendant announced that an Honor Flight of World War II veterans would be arriving momentarily and encouraged anyone passing by to help greet them.  Five or six people looked like they were officially part of the welcoming committee, and the rest of the people in the secure section of the airport were regular old travelers going somewhere.  Then I had a terrible thought.  What if these veterans came off the plane and just those five or six individuals were there to greet them.  I walked a gate over to help see the veterans out.

But – then it happened and frankly, I wasn’t expecting it.  All throughout the terminal, people left their gates and gathered around gate 38.  A few active military personnel in plain clothes approached the gate attendant and politely asked if they could  join in the salute within the jet way as the heroes first stepped off the plane.  Every human being in the terminal stood at attention and faced the door.

Someone held up an old newspaper from 1945 that had a banner headline that said, “Nazis Quit!”  And when I saw that newspaper, I realized that World War II wasn’t just a chapter in a history book.  It was men and women who saw an evil like the world has never seen before and traveled across the world to meet that evil.  And they defeated it.

I wonder if in 1945, any of those brave soldiers could ever imagine that 67 years later, we’d still be basking in the freedom that they preserved.  And some of those heroes were about to walk through Gate 38.

The first soldier walked through the door.  Old, frail and needing help walking.  And every person I could see in the entire airport stood and applauded.  No – maybe cheered is more like it.

But here’s the thing – the applause didn’t stop.  For a full 20 minutes, as veteran by veteran stepped out of the jet way, the US Airways wing of Reagan National Airport thundered in appreciation.  Travelers stepped out for the opportunity to shake their hand while others held back tears.

This is the America we picture in our heads.  Heroes getting a hero’s welcome and those who enjoy the freedom adequately conveying their gratitude.

Now, I know what honor looks like.

Click Here to see original article.

2012 Solar Eclipse from Arizona

An annular solar eclipse took place on May 20, 2012 (May 21, 2012 in local time in the with a magnitude of 0.9439. A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun, thereby totally or partially obscuring the image of the Sun for a viewer on Earth. An annular solar eclipse occurs when the Moon's apparent diameter is smaller than the Sun, causing the Sun to look like an annulus (ring), blocking 
most of the Sun's light. An annular eclipse appears as a partial eclipse over a region thousands of kilometres wide. This is also known as Ring of Fire.  (From Wikipedia).

Click Here to see more info and lots of awesome pics from Wikipedia.

Above - Eclipse viewed from Middlegate, Nevada