Buy Jimmy Fallon’s Thank You Notes

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I couldn’t believe it when I stumbled across the Crane & Co. website. I’d been looking for these and even tried to recreate them because I couldn’t find where to purchase them online. My wife even tried searching for a couple hours and couldn’t locate them anywhere. That said, here they are in all their glory.

What Are Jimmy Fallon Thank You Notes?

Hmm… Well, just in case you’re not a Tonight Show fan, Jimmy Fallon “writes” (actually, he scribbles a few lines while he reads) thank you notes every Friday night to random things and people. They’re the equivalent to the Jack Handy Deep Thoughts from SNL, and Jimmy has his own way of making these “Thank You’s” hilarious. People love this segment and have dedicated Tumblr feeds to it as well as other online montages. I’ve embedded a YouTube video below, so you can watch what I’m talking about.

Anyway, if you have a Jimmy Fallon fan in your life, this would make a great gift. Buy Jimmy Fallon Thank you notes from Crane & Co.

The Happiness Equation

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Prosperity is Proportionate with Proximity to Productivity

Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. 3 For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth. 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. 3 John 1:2-4 NKJV

Prosperity of soul, or happiness, comes in many forms. We all know this because we seek it out daily. I don’t know that I’ve met anyone who did not want to prosper, but I meet relatively few who actually feel it.

With all the ‘things’ in life available to us, why are so few of us truly happy? Is there a formula for us to follow? Is there a way for us to dive into a task or circumstance and find that we love what we are doing?

Yes. It’s the formula that game companies have discovered and used to make us addicted to their $.99-turns-into-$99 apps. It’s the formula that psychologist have discovered and prescribed as treatment for depression. It’s why doing a seemingly menial task provides such a sense of reward. Some find it in prayer and spirituality, others in relationships, and others in work, sports or nature, but they all have something in common:

Proximity to Productivity

In my opinion and observation, this is the key. What do I mean by proximity to productivity? I mean that when your hands and knees are in the dirt of the garden that you tilled, you fertilized, you planned, you purchased seed for, you waited on rain for, you planted and now you’re harvesting, you are smack dab in the middle of your productivity. It was you. It was hard work. It was sacrifice, and it was beautiful. The sheer joy you received from being so closely tied to you the direct impact of your work could not have happened if you had hired a professional team to take care of the process from start to finish. I don’t understand it, but it’s simply the way we’re wired.

The list is infinite, but here’s a stab at a few things that give us such great joy (from a man’s perspective):

Working on cars
Playing with our children
Grilling
Giving advice
Playing music
Cleaning (on our terms)
Watching football
Mowing grass
Fishing
Working a shift in a soup kitchen
Intimacy
Writing

All of these things have a few things in common.

  1. We are involved
  2. Effort is tied to result
  3. Success is identifiable
  4. Success is measurable
  5. There is an emotional impact
  6. When we can directly impact the world around us, feel and measure the results, we as men, are deeply satisfied. It occurs all the time and if we can set ourselves up to measure and feel the positive results of our work, we are more likely to gain emotional prosperity out of every day life and work.

    The Equation at Work

    It’s not only restricted to non-work tasks, however. The formula applies in the 9-5 world, too. We just have different responsibilities and our paychecks hold us accountable to the primary tasks at hand, preventing us from doing some basic tasks that can be so fulfilling. So what is it at work that helps create prosperity? I’ll answer the question with a question: How long does it take for you to determine whether or not an action you take or a decision you make pays off? Better yet, how accurately can you determine the degree to which your decisions helped the company succeed?

    Our need to contribute to success is directly tied to these metrics. If you cannot measure your own success, you cannot take steps to improve. And if you cannot take steps to improve, then why do any work in the first place? As men, we need to feel valuable to our environment and measurement makes this possible. It’s the nature of business and in order to prosper in our work, we must create environments in which to succeed, but that success must be tied to accessible data that points to the correlation between our effort and its productivity.

    The post is not intended to dive into the myriad of measuring tools and methodologies in business, but that would be a great post for my Web Marketing blog if I ever get there.

    “But I’m a teacher,” you might be saying. “How can I even begin to measure to this degree? The system isn’t conducive to gathering metrics like this.”

    Ah, great point! Let’s expand the definition of measurement in our equation to include the intangible. A teacher’s success can come from his students’ grades on standardized tests, but that really has minimal emotional reward (relief, yes, but that’s different than emotional prosperity). Intangible measures include simple things like smiles, “thank you’s”, respect and kindness. It’s not all about dashboard reporting. If you’re working environment is not capable of creating success metrics, then create your own set of emotionally oriented measurements and keep track. It can be as simple as, “Did student A turn in her paper on time this week?”

    Small, trackable measurements, which your efforts affect, that are linked to a single emotional payoff will increase happiness.

    Parenting the Equation

    When the student has become the teacher, the equation gets flipped. You are intentionally putting distance between you and measurable success.

    Let’s take it out of the business world and put it back into every day life–father life–specifically. When a father begins to teach his son about the ways of the world and how to survive and thrive, he intentionally creates a buffer between his own effort and its result. That buffer, also known as a child, contains infinite unknowns for which there is no accountability by the father. He places trust in his child to take the instruction he’s given and carry it out to its successful progression.

    This is, by nature, far more difficult, but the equation is amplified exponentially. The emotional prosperity attained from a child’s success makes your own pale in comparison. How? Because it’s your own flesh and blood. It’s your sacrifice. It’s your blood, sweat and tears that made it possible for this person to carry out the success you were able to. You blazed the trail before him and you created an environment in which the proximity to productivity was closer for someone else. It is your child’s emotional prosperity that now affects your own, and this is where happiness shoots through the roof.

    So this Father’s Day, find a way to increase prosperity. If you’re a father, look at the ways your children are succeeding and encourage them in it. If you’re a child, work on a car together with your dad, grill out together and ask his advice. Acknowledge the path that was blazed before you and do your best to say thanks.

    To my father, I say thank you with all my heart. You have built a foundation on which I can stand firm and work toward my own success. Happy Father’s Day, Dad. I love you.

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Bejamin Netanyahu – Transcript of U.N. Speech

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This is an incredible speech. It confirms my belief that our support for Israel is not only right, it’s well-deserved. This was sent to me in email, so I can only assume it is accurate. I have no reason to believe otherwise.

See transcript below:

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Delivers Remarks at the United Nations …ISRAEL
Sept. 23, 2011

Thank you, Mr. President.

Ladies and gentlemen, Israel has extended its hand in peace from the moment it was established 63 years ago. On behalf of Israel and the Jewish people, I extend that hand again today.

I extend it to the people of Egypt and Jordan with renewed friendship, for neighbors with whom we have made peace. I extend it to the people of Turkey, with respect and goodwill. I extend it to the people of Libya and Tunisia, with admiration for those trying to build a democratic future. I extend it to the other peoples of North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, with whom we want to forge a new beginning. I extend it to the people of Syria, Lebanon, and Iran, with all of the courage of those fighting brutal repression.

But most especially, I extend my hand to the Palestinian people, with whom we seek a just and lasting peace.

(APPLAUSE)

Ladies and gentlemen, in Israel, our hope for peace never wanes. Our scientists, doctors, innovators apply their genius to improve the world of tomorrow. Our artists, our writers enrich the heritage of humanity.

Now, I know that this is not exactly the image of Israel that is often portrayed in this hall. After all, it was here in 1975 that the age-old yearning of my people to restore our national life in our ancient biblical homeland, it was then that this was braided — branded, rather, shamefully as racism.

And it was here in 1980, right here, that the historic peace agreement between Israel and Egypt wasn’t praised. It was denounced.

And it’s here, year after year, that Israel is unjustly singled out from condemnation. It’s singled out for condemnation more often than all the nations of the world combined; 21 out of the 27 General Assembly resolutions condemn Israel, the one true democracy in the Middle East.

This is an unfortunate part of the U.N. institution. It’s the — the theater of the absurd. It doesn’t only cast Israel as the villain; it often casts real villains in leading roles. Gadhafi’s Libya chaired the U.N. Commission on Human Rights. Saddam’s Iraq headed the U.N. Committee on Disarmament.

You might say that’s the past. Well, here’s what’s happening now, right now, today. Hezbollah-controlled Lebanon now presides over the U.N. Security Council. This means, in effect, that a terror organization presides over the body entrusted with guaranteeing the world’s security. You couldn’t make this thing up.

So here in the U.N., automatic majorities can decide anything. They can decide that the sun sets in the West — or rises in the West. I think the first has already been preordained. But they can also decide — they have decided that the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Judaism’s holiest place, is occupied Palestinian territory.

And yet, even here in the General Assembly, the truth can sometimes break through.

In 1984, when I was appointed Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, I visited the great rabbi of Lubavitch. He said to me — and, ladies and gentlemen, I don’t want any of you to be offended, because, from personal experience of serving here, I know there are many honorable men and women, many capable and decent people serving their nations here, but here’s what the rabbi said to me.

He said to me, “You’ll be serving in a house of many lies.” And then he said, “Remember that even in the darkest place, the light of a single candle can be seen far and wide.”

Today, I hope that the light of truth will shine, if only for a few minutes, in a hall that for too long has been a place of darkness for my country. So, as Israel’s prime minister, I didn’t come here to win applause; I came here to speak the truth.

(APPLAUSE)

The truth is — the truth is that Israel wants peace. The truth is that I want peace. The truth is that, in the Middle East, at all times — but especially during these turbulent days — peace must be anchored in security.

The truth is that we cannot achieve peace through U.N. resolutions, but only through direct negotiations between the parties. The truth is that, so far, the Palestinians have refused to negotiate. The truth is that Israel wants peace with a Palestinian state, but the Palestinians want — want a state without peace. And the truth is: You shouldn’t let that happen.

Ladies and gentlemen, when I first came here 27 years ago, the world was divided between East and West. Since then, the Cold War ended, great civilizations have risen from centuries of slumber, hundreds of millions have been lifted out of poverty, countless more are poised to follow, and the remarkable thing is that, so far, this monumental, historic shift has largely occurred peacefully.

Yet a malignancy is now growing between East and West that threatens the peace of all. It seeks not to liberate, but to enslave; not to build, but to destroy. That malignancy is militant Islam. It cloaks itself in the mantle of a great faith, yet it murders Jews, Christians and Muslims alike with unforgiving impartiality.

On September 11th, it killed thousands of Americans, and it left the Twin Towers in smoldering ruins. Last night, I laid a wreath on the 9/11 Memorial. It was deeply moving.

But as I was going there, one thing echoed in my mind: the outrageous words of the president of Iran on this podium yesterday. He implied that 9/11 was an American conspiracy. Some of you left this hall; all of you should have.

(APPLAUSE)

Since 9/11, militant — militant Islamists slaughtered countless other innocents, in London and Madrid, in Baghdad and Mumbai, in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and every part of Israel.

I believe that the greatest danger facing our world is that this fanaticism will arm itself with nuclear weapons, and this is precisely what Iran is trying to do. Can you imagine that man who ranted here yesterday — can you imagine him armed with nuclear weapons?

The international community must stop Iran before it’s too late. If Iran is not stopped, we will all face the specter of nuclear terrorism. And the Arab Spring could soon become an Iranian Winter. That would be a tragedy.

Millions of Arabs have taken to the streets to replace tyranny with liberty, and no one would benefit more than Israel if those committed to freedom and peace would prevail. This is my fervent hope.

But as the prime minister of Israel, I cannot risk the future of the Jewish state on wishful thinking. Leaders must see reality as it is, not as it ought to be. We must do our best to shape the future, but we cannot wish away the dangers of the present.

And the world around Israel is definitely becoming more dangerous. Militant Islam has already taken over Lebanon and Gaza. It’s determined to tear apart the peace treaties between Israel and Egypt and between Israel and Jordan. It’s poisoned many Arab minds against Jews in Israel, against America and the West. It opposes not the policies of Israel, but the existence of Israel.

Now, some argue that the spread of militant Islam, especially in these turbulent times, if you want to slow it down, they argue, Israel must hurry to make concessions, to make territorial compromises. And this theory sounds simple.

Basically, it goes like this: Leave the territory and peace will be advanced. The moderates will be strengthened. The radicals will be kept at bay. And don’t worry about the pesky details of how Israel will actually defend itself. International troops will do the job.

These people say to me constantly, just make a sweeping offer and everything will work out. You know, there’s only one problem with that theory. We’ve tried it, and it hasn’t worked.

In 2000, Israel made a sweeping peace offer that met virtually all of the Palestinian demands. Arafat rejected it. The Palestinians then launched a terror attack that claimed 1,000 Israeli lives.

Prime Minister Olmert afterwards made an even more sweeping offer, in 2008. President Abbas didn’t even respond to it.

But Israel did more than just make sweeping offers. We actually left territory. We withdrew from Lebanon in 2000 and from every square inch of Gaza in 2005. That didn’t calm the Islamic storm, the militant Islamic storm that threatens us. It only brought the storm closer and made it stronger. Hezbollah and Hamas fired hundreds of rockets against our cities from the very territories we vacated.

See, when Israel left Lebanon and Gaza, the moderates didn’t defeat the radicals; the moderates were devoured by the radicals. And I regret to say that international troops, like UNIFIL in Lebanon and UBAN (ph) in Gaza, didn’t stop the radicals from attacking Israel.

We left Gaza hoping for peace. We didn’t freeze the settlements in Gaza; we uprooted them. We did exactly what the theory says: Get out, go back to the 1967 borders, dismantle the settlements.

And I don’t think people remember how far we went to achieve this. We uprooted thousands of people from their homes. We pulled children out of — out of their schools and their kindergartens. We bulldozed synagogues. We even — we even moved loved ones from their graves.

And then, having done all that, we gave the keys of Gaza to President Abbas.

Now, the theory says it should all work out and President Abbas and the Palestinian Authority now could build a peaceful state in Gaza. You can remember that the entire world applauded. They applauded our withdrawal as an act of great statesmanship, as a bold act of peace.

But, ladies and gentlemen, we didn’t get peace. We got war. We got Iran, which through its proxy, Hamas, promptly kicked out the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinian Authority collapsed in a day, in one day.

President Abbas just said on this podium that the Palestinians are armed only with their hopes and dreams. Yep, hopes, dreams, and 10,000 missiles and Grad rockets supplied by Iran, not to mention the river of lethal weapons now flowing into Gaza from the Sinai, from Libya, and from elsewhere. Thousands of missiles have already rained down on our cities.

So you might understand that, given all this, Israelis rightly ask, what’s to prevent this from happening again in the West Bank?

See, most of our major cities in the south of the country are within a few dozen kilometers from Gaza. But in the center of the country, opposite the West Bank, our cities are a few hundred meters or, at most, a few kilometers away from the — the edge of the West Bank.

So I want to ask you: Would any of you — would any of you bring danger so close to your cities, to your families? Would you act so recklessly with the lives of your citizens?

Israel is prepared to have a Palestinian state in the West Bank, but we’re not prepared to have another Gaza there. And that’s why we need to have real security arrangements, which the Palestinians simply refuse to negotiate with us.

Israelis remember the bitter lessons of Gaza. Many of Israel’s critics ignore them. They irresponsibly advise Israel to go down this same perilous path again.

You read what these people say, and it’s as if nothing happened, just keep repeating the same advice, the same formula as though none of this happened. And these critics continue to press Israel to make far-reaching concessions without first assuring Israel’s security. They praise those who unwittingly feed the insatiable crocodile of militant Islam as bold statesmen. They cast as enemies of peace those of us who insist that we must first erect a sturdy barrier to keep the crocodile out or, at the very least, jam an iron bar between its gaping jaws.

So, in the face of the labels and the libels, Israel must heed better advice. Better a bad press than a good eulogy. And better still would be a fair press whose sense of history extends beyond breakfast and which recognizes Israel’s legitimate security concerns.

I believe that, in serious peace negotiations, these needs and concerns can be properly addressed. But they will not be addressed without negotiations.

And the needs are many, because Israel is such a tiny country. Without Judea and Samaria, the West Bank, Israel is all of nine miles wide. I want to put it for you in perspective, because you’re all in this city. That’s about two-thirds the length of Manhattan. It’s the distance between Battery Park and Columbia University. And don’t forget that the people who live in Brooklyn and New Jersey are considerably nicer than some of Israel’s neighbors.

So how do you — how do you protect such a tiny country, surrounded by people sworn to its destruction and armed to the teeth by Iran? Obviously, you can’t defend it from within that narrow space alone. Israel needs greater strategic depth, and that’s exactly why Security Council Resolution 242 didn’t require Israel to leave all the territories it captured in the Six-Day War. It talked about withdrawal from territories to secure and defensible boundaries.

And to defend itself, Israel must therefore maintain a long-term Israeli military presence in critical strategic areas of the West Bank. I explained this to President Abbas. He answered that, if a Palestinian state was to be a sovereign country, it could never accept such arrangements.

Why not? America has had troops in Japan, Germany, and South Korea for more than half-a-century. Britain has had an air space in Cyprus — or, rather, an air base in Cyprus. France has forces in the three independent African nations. None of these states claim that they’re not sovereign countries.

And there are many other vital security issues that also must be addressed. Take the issue of air space. Again, Israel’s small dimensions create huge security problems. America can be crossed by a jet airplane in six hours. To fly across Israel, it takes three minutes. So is Israel’s tiny air space to — to be chopped in half and given to a Palestinian state not at peace with Israel?

Our major international airport is a few kilometers away from the West Bank. Without peace, will our planes become targets for anti- aircraft missiles placed in the adjacent Palestinian state? And how will we stop the smuggling into the West Bank? It’s not merely the West Bank; it’s the West Bank mountains. It just dominates the coastal plain, where most of Israel’s population sits below. How could we prevent the smuggling into these mountains of those missiles that could be fired on our cities?

I bring up these problems because they’re not theoretical problems; they’re very real. And for Israelis, they’re life-and-death matters. All these potential cracks in Israel’s security have to be sealed in a peace agreement before a Palestinian state is declared, not afterwards, because if you leave it afterwards, they won’t be sealed. And these problems will explode in our face and explode the peace. The Palestinians should first make peace with Israel and then get their state.

I’d also want to tell you this: After such a peace agreement is signed, Israel will not be the last country to welcome a Palestinian state as a new member of the United Nations. We will be the first.

(APPLAUSE)

And there’s one more thing. Hamas has been violating international law by holding our soldier, Gilad Shalit, captive for five years. They haven’t given him even one Red Cross visit. He’s held in a dungeon in darkness, against all international norms.

Gilad Shalit is the son of Aviva and Noam Shalit. He is the grandson of Zvi Shalit, who escaped the Holocaust by coming to the — in 1930s as a boy to the land of Israel. Gilad Shalit is the son of every Israeli family. Every nation represented here should demand his immediate release. If you want to…

(APPLAUSE)

If you want to pass a resolution about the Middle East today, that’s the resolution you should pass.

(APPLAUSE)

Ladies and gentlemen, last year in — in Israel, in Bar-Ilan University, this year in the Knesset and in the U.S. Congress, I laid out my vision for peace in which a demilitarized Palestinian state recognizes the Jewish state, yes, the Jewish state. After all, this is the body that recognized the Jewish state 64 years ago. Now, don’t you think it’s about time the Palestinians did the same?

The Jewish state of Israel will always protect the rights of all its minorities, including the more than 1 million Arab citizens of Israel. I wish I could say the same thing about a future Palestinian state, for as Palestinian officials made clear the other day — in fact, I think they made it right here in New York — they said the Palestinian state won’t allow any Jews in it. They’ll be Jew-free, Judenrein. That’s ethnic cleansing.

There are laws today in Ramallah that make the selling of land to Jews punishable by death. That’s racism. And you know which laws this evokes.

Israel has no intention whatsoever to change the democratic character of our state. We just don’t want the Palestinians to try to change the Jewish character of our state. We want to give up…

(APPLAUSE)

We want them to give up the fantasy of flooding Israel with millions of Palestinians. President Abbas just stood here, and he said that the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the settlements. Well, that’s odd. Our conflict has been raging for — was raging for nearly half-a-century before there was a single Israeli settlement in the West Bank.

So if what President Abbas is saying was true, then I guess that the settlements he’s talking about are Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jaffa, Be’er Sheva. Maybe that’s what he meant the other day when he said that Israel has been occupying Palestinian land for 63 years. He didn’t say from 1967; he said from 1948.

I hope somebody will bother to ask him this question, because it illustrates a simple truth. The core of the conflict is not the settlements; the settlements are a result of the conflict.

(APPLAUSE)

The settlements have to be — it’s an issue that has to be addressed and resolved in the course of negotiations. But the core of the conflict has always been — and unfortunately remains — the refusal of the Palestinians to recognize a Jewish state in any border.

I think it’s time that the Palestinian leadership recognizes what every serious international leader has recognized, from Lord Balfour and Lloyd George in 1917 to President Truman in 1948 to President Obama just two days ago, right here. Israel is the Jewish state.

(APPLAUSE)

President Abbas, stop walking around this issue. Recognize the Jewish state and make peace with us.

In such a genuine peace, Israel is prepared to make painful compromises. We believe that the Palestinians should be neither the citizens of Israel, nor its subjects. They should live in a free state of their own. But they should be ready, like us, for compromise.

And we will know that they’re ready for compromise and for peace when they start taking Israel’s security requirements seriously and when they stop denying our historical connection to our ancient homeland.

I often hear them accuse Israel of Judaizing Jerusalem. That’s like accusing America of Americanizing Washington or the British of Anglicizing London. Do you know why we’re called Jews? Because we come from Judea.

In my office in Jerusalem, there’s an ancient seal. It’s a signet ring of a Jewish official from the time of the Bible. The seal was found right next to the Western Wall, and it dates back 2,700 years to the time of King Hezekiah. Now, there’s a name of the Jewish official inscribed on the ring in Hebrew. His name was Netanyahu. That’s my last name.

My first name, Benjamin, dates back 1,000 years earlier to Benjamin, Binyamin, the son of Jacob, who is also known as Israel. Jacob and his 12 sons roamed these same hills of Judean Samaria 4,000 years ago, and there’s been a continuous Jewish presence in the land ever since.

And for those Jews who were exiled from our land, they never stopped dreaming of coming back, Jews in Spain, on the eve of their expulsion, Jews in the Ukraine fleeing the pogroms, Jews fighting the Warsaw ghetto, as the Nazis were circling around them. They never stopped praying. They never stopped yearning. They whispered, “Next year in Jerusalem. Next year in the promised land.”

(APPLAUSE)

As the prime minister of Israel, I speak for a hundred generations of Jews who are dispersed throughout the lands, who suffered every evil under the sun, but who never gave up hope of restoring their national life in the one and only Jewish state.

Ladies and gentlemen, I continue to hope that President Abbas will be my partner in peace. I’ve worked hard to advance that peace. The day I came into office, I called for direct negotiations without preconditions. President Abbas didn’t respond. I outlined a vision of peace of two states for two peoples. He still didn’t respond. I removed hundreds of roadblocks and checkpoints to ease freedom of movement in the Palestinian areas. This facilitated a fantastic growth in the Palestinian economy. But, again, no response.

I took the unprecedented step of freezing new buildings in the settlements for 10 months. No prime minister did that before, ever.

(APPLAUSE)

Once again — you applaud, but there was no response. No response.

In the last few weeks, American officials have put forward ideas to restart peace talks. There were things in those ideas about borders that I didn’t like. There were things there about the Jewish state that I’m sure the Palestinians didn’t like. But with all my reservations, I was willing to move forward on these American ideas.

President Abbas, why don’t you join me? We have to stop negotiating about the negotiations. Let’s just get on with it. Let’s negotiate peace.

(APPLAUSE)

I’ve spent years defending Israel on the battlefield. I’ve spent decades defending Israel in the court of public opinion. President Abbas, you’ve dedicated your life to advancing the Palestinian cause. Must this conflict continue for generations? Or will we enable our children and our grandchildren to speak in years ahead of how we found a way to end it? That’s what we should aim for. And that’s what I believe we can achieve.

In two-and-a-half years, we met in Jerusalem only once, even though my door has always been open to you. If you wish, I’ll come to Ramallah.

Actually, I have a better suggestion. We’ve both just flown thousands of miles to New York. Now we’re in the same city. We’re in the same building. So let’s meet here today, in the United Nations.

(APPLAUSE)

Who is there to stop us? What is there to stop us? If we generally want peace, what is there to stop us from meeting today and beginning peace negotiations?

And I suggest we talk openly and honestly. Let’s listen to one another. Let’s do as we say in the Middle East. Let’s talk dugli (ph). That means straightforward. I’ll tell you my needs and concerns; you’ll tell me yours. And with God’s help, we’ll find the common ground of peace.

(APPLAUSE)

There’s an old Arab saying that you cannot applaud with one hand. Well, the same is true of peace. I cannot make peace alone. I cannot make peace without you.

President Abbas, I extend my hand, the hand of Israel, in peace. I hope that you will grasp that hand.

We are both the sons of Abraham. My people call him Avraham. Your people call him Ibrahim. We share the same patriarch. We dwell in the same land. Our destinies are intertwined. Let us realize the vision of Isaiah.

(SPEAKING IN HEBREW)

The people who walked in darkness will see a great light. Let that light be the light of peace.

(APPLAUSE)

Staying Above the Conversation

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Staying Above The Conversation

Our world, if we pay attention to the media, is full of conversation. Sometimes this conversation can be toxic in tone and content. While it is tempting to point fingers and blame others, the greatest service we can provide the world around us is not to engage in this conversation and simply focus our attention on loving well. In doing this, we humbly submit our grievances to the only one who can truly affect change. Philipians 4:8 instructs us:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

The Lord expressed to me several months back, to “stay above the conversation”. After questioning Him about this instruction, the Lord made it clear to me that my value comes not from my ability to win an argument or convince a skeptic, but rather from my status as a son of God. My protection comes from abiding in Him daily, knowing anyone who attempts to pick a fight will be picking a fight first with the creator of the universe.

If we quietly go about our business, ignore the rhetoric, maintain emotional composure and preserve our ability to love well, we display a kind of leadership that the world thirsts for–a leadership that points to Christ.

Trust of Authority

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We are taught not to trust authority, especially politicians. Many people have nothing but hatred to speak of those on Capital Hill, while others despise the cops or the crooked judge or hypocritical pastor.

Many of these people shouldn’t be trusted because they haven’t earned it, but we tend to apply it across the board, instead of only where it is deserved.

Media only perpetuates this trend and then we end up where we are now as a nation of lonely, independent angry people with very little to call family. At the end of the day, however, family and God is the only thing we can rely on.

What will it take to bring us back to a place of trusting authority? Brokenness (the state of surrendering to a higher power) comes at the expense of great trial, but it brings people together. The step just before brokenness is humility. Before we are forced to suffer brokenness, let’s pursue humility, which begins with offering a little trust to those in authority. If they mess up, who knows, maybe we will have to learn to forgive.

No More Booing

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Have you ever been a player on the field and seen a teammate or even a player on the other team fall down? As a player, there’s a mutual respect. Unless the player needs medical attention, you walk over, offer a hand, and pull the other player up.

Nashville, the Titans may not be the team we were hoping they would be this year. I get that. It’s tough to get so excited for a great team that we all love and then get disappointed by a seemingly lackluster effort and sloppy penalties.

But as Titans fans, we’ve got an opportunity to get behind our players and encourage them to play to their highest level. If we go into the stadium and boo a team that represents some of the best of Nashville, we’re only serving to take the city down a notch.  We’re better than this.

What if we had gotten out there, seen the debacle on the field and started chanting, “Let’s go Titans! Let’s go Titans!”?  As Nashvillians, we essentially told anyone watching the game that we are just as petty and self-centered as we claim Vince Young is. COME ON, NASHVILLE!! NO MORE BOOING!!!

The next home game is against the Jaguars on December 5. This is going to be another high-pressure game.  Let’s be as respectful of our team (and our opponents) as we can. If the team gets down, doesn’t perform perfectly, or falls behind, don’t kick them–be the 12th player that goes over to his teammate, holds out a hand, and lifts him back up.

Google Politics

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An article that Matt Cutts of Google recently posted, asked for BIG IDEAS from people. “Pretend you are CEO of Google for a day,” says Cutts. He wants to know what we would do to improve society, Google or the Internet.  Below is my comment. Let me know what you think.

Google Politics

As CEO, I would create a non-profit, unbiased arm that functioned as the new way get political information, nominate candidates and elect them electronically.

Pieces of the puzzle:

– List a set of problems on politics.google.com (not being used currently)
– Party nominees submit solutions (we’ll assume we have nominees for simplicity)
– Solutions are crawled and distributed on a graph based on similarity by degree. (solution X is .8% off from solution Y).
– Radical and/or non-viable solutions are tossed
– Solutions get assessed for economic and political viability
– Topics are weighted for impact and immediacy
– People vote on the solutions during a pre-Primary period
– Nominees with the most highly voted ideas go into a candidate pool.
– Secure, Online Voting commences
– Candidates are elected from 2-3 parties and the process moves forward…

Something along these lines would reduce the waste, corruption and stupidity that occurs in the America electoral process. We deserve a system that doesn’t depend on how much money you can raise and how many special interests you can sleep with. Real, common sense ideas and a political system that actually carries them out would be a BIG IDEA from this Google CEO.

Being Ignored

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It’s quite possibly the worst punishment humans can undergo. When inmates are punished for unruly behavior, they are isolated in solitary confinement. This is meant to be the one way to protect other inmates as well as create an intense emotional situation for the unruly inmate. Without interaction with other people, inmates are likely to deal with greater levels of depression and anxiety as their thoughts and ideas of life have no one to confirm or deny their validity.

When a husband and wife get in a fight, the ending result is often silence for a period of time. This lack of communication can lead to a greater level of stress on the relationship than a verbally expressive disagreement.

At work, employees who are ignored or do not find their emails validated by a response get irritated and end up taking out their frustrations with others, creating drama among other workers.

God says he’s never going to leave us or forsake us. It’s difficult to feel ignored or to be left out of the loop, God will always be close by to provide comfort and an ear to hear our thoughts.

blogapy

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For someone who thinks so much, I blog very little, and inconsistently. I guess I chalk it up to not enough time, but when it comes down to it, blogging is therapy. I will call it blogapy.

Not that anyone will actually ever read this post, but if they do, they will be participating in a therapy session. It’s so important to get your thoughts out on paper! I don’t know why I forget this so quickly, but I do. It’s important for me to create a log of the things that go on in my head so they have a home. Blogapy provides that.

Here are some things that I need to get out on paper:

I’m tired of living a normal life. What’s so great about normal? I thought it’s what I wanted because my life had been so ABnormal for so long, but it’s overrated. Creatively putting yourself in situations where you risk your reputation, your comfort, and your life is what life is about. For me, it looks like finding ways to minister to people. I consistently feel like a failure because I don’t step out and risk often enough, but when I do, it’s the most fulfilling thing in the world. The other day I prayed for a girl’s foot because she had punctured it with something and it got totally well. Healed!!  Amazing!!

Another thing I need to get out is that my life and relationships are not in my hands. I don’t control them and they don’t control me. My Father, who loves me and wants good things for me, has been more than willing and able to handle that task for a long time. I gladly give him that ability after continually taking it back. But I don’t want it. It’s no fun to figure out every detail. Making decisions is a normal part of life, but I am okay with making decisions that make me happy instead of what (I perceive) makes other people happy.

It’s weird to be depended upon. My actions have not been the catalyst of someone else’s very often in my life. As the youngest child, I have had to react to other people’s decisions most of the time. Now, I’m in a situation where my moves are waited upon before other decisions are made. I guess that’s a normal part of a relationship, but it’s very different for me. And uncomfortable. But good. It makes me be intentional. It also means that I have the tendency to analyze my actions on another level and to consider how they affect not only me, but other people in the equation. This seems to have lead to some paralysis via analysis. I don’t like this. If I get too caught up in how others will react to my actions, I don’t do anything and I feel constrained. Not good. So it requires me to be confident in my choices and let others have the freedom to react however they decide to. After all, it’s their decision, not mine to react a certain way.

Wow, blogapy was good today.