Web Inspirations

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Dreams of Flying by Jan von Holleben

Crossing the desert on the back of a dog, or searching for lost treasures on the bottom of the ocean. Jan von Holleben’s photographs make nostalgic dreams come true.

Jan brings the influences of his parents – a cinematographer and child therapist – to his work. His focus on the visual representation of childhood, 'Child-History' and concepts of 'Playing', come from his teacher training course and he combines these theories with his personal experience and childhood memories. Inspired by classic childhood books as well as modern superheroes, he produces ‘Dreams of Flying’ since 2002 with children from his local neighbourhood in South West Germany – ongoing!

Click here to view them

The older I get, the more I enjoy Saturday mornings. Perhaps it's the quiet solitude that comes with being the first to rise, or maybe it's the unbounded joy of not having to be at work. Either way, the first few hours of a Saturday morning are most enjoyable.

A few weeks ago, I was shuffling toward the garage with a steaming cup of coffee in one hand and the morning paper in the other. What began as a typical Saturday morning turned into one of those lessons that life seems to hand you from time to time. Let me tell you about it.

I turned the dial up into the phone portion of the band on my ham radio in order to listen to a Saturday morning swap net. Along the way, I came across an older sounding chap, with a tremendous signal and a golden voice. You know the kind. He sounded like he should be in the broadcasting business.

He was telling whomever he was talking with something about "a thousand marbles." I was intrigued and stopped to listen to what he had to say. "Well, Tom, it sure sounds like you're busy with your job. I'm sure they pay you well, but it's a shame you have to be away from home and your family so much. Hard to believe a young fellow should have to work sixty or seventy hours a week to make ends meet. It's too bad you missed your daughter's dance recital," he continued. "Let me tell you something that has helped me keep my own priorities. And that's when he began to explain his theory of 'a thousand marbles.'"

"You see, I sat down one day and did a little arithmetic. The average person lives about seventy-five years. I know, some live more and some live less, but on average, folks live about seventy-five years."

"Now then, I multiplied 75 times 52 and I came up with 3,900, which is the number of Saturdays that the average person has in their entire lifetime. Now, stick with me, Tom, I'm getting to the important part."

"It took me until I was fifty-five years old to think about all this in any detail," he went on. "And by that time, I had lived through over twenty-eight hundred Saturdays." "I got to thinking that if I lived to be seventy-five, I only had about a thousand of them left to enjoy. So, I went to a toy store and bought every single marble they had. I ended up having to visit three toy stores to round up 1,000 marbles. I took them home and put them inside a large, clear plastic container right here in the shack next to my gear."

"Every Saturday since then, I have taken one marble out and thrown it away. I found that by watching the marbles diminish, I focused more on the really important things in life. There is nothing like watching your time here on this earth run out to help get your priorities straight."

"Now, let me tell you one last thing before I sign off with you and take my lovely wife out for breakfast. This morning, I took the very last marble out of the container. I figure that if I make it until next Saturday, I have been given a little extra time. And the one thing we can all use is a little more time."

"It was nice to meet you, Tom. I hope you spend more time with your family, and I hope to meet you again here on the band. This is a 75-year-old man, K9NZQ, clear and going QRT, good morning!"

You could have heard a pin drop on the band when this fellow signed off. I guess he gave us all a lot to think about. I had planned to work on the antenna that morning, and then I was going to meet up with a few hams to work on the next club newsletter.

Instead, I went upstairs and woke my wife up with a kiss. "C'mon, honey. I'm taking you and the kids to breakfast."

"What brought this on?" she asked with a smile.

"Oh, nothing special. It's just been a long time since we spent a Saturday together with the kids. And hey, can we stop at a toy store while we're out? I need to buy some marbles!"

--Unknown

You heard about the sign posted on a rancher's fence? On the other side of the fence resides the biggest, meanest looking bull you can imagine. The sign is intended to strike fear into the hearts of would-be trespassers. It reads: "Don't attempt to cross this field unless you can do it in 9.9 seconds. The bull can do it in 10 flat!"

Don't try to cross that field unless you are prepared! And isn't that the way it is in life? We have to be ready when the opportunity arises or else we will have little chance of success.

Sixth-grade schoolteacher Ms. Shelton believed in readiness. Students remember how she walked in on the first day of class and began writing words of an eighth-grade caliber on the chalkboard. They quickly protested that the words were not on their level and they couldn't learn them.

Their teacher insisted that the students could and would learn these words. She said that she would never teach down to them. Ms. Shelton ended by saying that one of the students in that classroom could go on to greatness, maybe even be president some day, and she wanted to prepare them for that day.

Ms. Shelton spoke those words many years ago. Little did she know that someday one of her students - Jesse Jackson - would take them seriously ("Leadership," Summer 1992). She believed that if they were well prepared, they could achieve high goals.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "People only see what they are prepared to see." If that's true, then it is also true that they only become what they are prepared to become. And a lot of life is just about getting ready.

"I want to be doing something more significant with my life than what I am doing now," a young man once said to me. He felt like what he was doing was just not that important. Other people have said things to me such as, "I only wish I had a meaningful relationship." And, "I'd really like to get a better job, but I just don't see how."

You fill in the blanks. What is it you would like to happen that isn't happening? Perhaps the answer is that you are not yet ready. Maybe you need more time to prepare before you are truly ready for that which you desire.

Think of today as another chance to prepare yourself for that exciting future you are looking for. Today is not wasted. If you desire more from life, then you can use today as training. For you will experience only what you are prepared to experience. Something wonderful can happen. And you can use today to get ready for tomorrow.

-- Steve Goodier

I like what Miguel de Cervantes, the author of DON QUIXOTE, said, "Love not what you are, but what you may become." There is hope that I can always change for the better. I can become more self confident, more in charge of my life, healthier, happier -- you get the idea. And there is hope that I can change a situation -- like finding a new career or going after a new life-style.

If you're like me, making any big changes can be scary. We will have to COMMIT. And we may have to take a risk.

Let me illustrate what I mean:

Consider a performer on a trapeze. She swings back and forth. And then she encounters another trapeze bar. It is swinging toward her and it is empty. Now she has a decision to make. She may continue to hang onto her present bar, or let go and grasp the new one. But she can't do both! She can't hang onto the old and grasp the new with her other hand. She HAS to decide which she wants.

If she chooses to let go of the past and grasp the future, she finds herself suspended for a moment in mid-air. Scary! It's too late to go back and she has not yet latched onto the other bar. She is vulnerable and at risk. But she has decided to take that risk in order to move forward.
Life is like that. Sometimes you have let go of something if you want to latch onto something else. Maybe you will need to let go of an old job in order to take a new one. Or you may have to let go of an old relationship before fitting a new one into your life. You have to let go of other priorities on your time or money before grasping that new opportunity.

And for a while you may feel suspended in mid-air. You've committed to something new and let go of the past, but you have not yet grasped what is ahead. You feel vulnerable and you may be frightened. But you know that the only way you can reach the new "bar" is to let go of the old one.

But like Pumba (from "The Lion King") says, "Ya gotta put your behind in your past." Then you're ready for whatever comes next.

-- Steve Goodier

Father Forgets
by W. Livingston Larned

Listen, son; I am saying this as you lie asleep, one little paw crumpled under your cheek and the blond curls stickily wet on your damp forehead. I have stolen into your room alone. Just a few minutes ago, as I sat reading my paper in the library, a stifling wave of remorse swept over me. Guiltily, I came to your bedside.

There are things I was thinking, son: I had been cross to you. I scolded you as you were dressing for school because you gave your face merely a dab with a towel. I took you to task for not cleaning your shoes. I called out angrily when you threw some of your things on the floor.

At breakfast I found fault, too. You spilled things. You gulped down your food. You put your elbows on the table. You spread butter too thick on your bread. And as you started off to play and I made for my train, you turned and waved a hand and called, "Goodbye, Daddy!" and I frowned, and said in reply, "Hold your shoulders back!"

Then it began all over again in the late afternoon. As I came up the road, I spied you, down on your knees, playing marbles. There were holes in your stockings. I humiliated you before your friends by marching you ahead of me to the house. Stockings were expensive - and if you had to buy them you would be more careful! Imagine that, son, from a father!

Do you remember, later, when I was reading in the library, how you came in timidly, with a sort of hurt look in your eyes? When I glanced up over my paper, impatient at the interruption, you hesitated at the door. "What is it you want?" I snapped.

You said nothing, but ran across in one tempestuous plunge, and threw your arms around my neck and kissed me, and your small arms tightened with an affection that God had set blooming in your heart and which even neglect could not wither. And then you were gone, pattering up the stairs.

Well, son, it was shortly afterwards that my paper slipped from my hands and a terrible sickening fear came over me. What has habit been doing to me? The habit of finding fault, of reprimanding - this was my reward to you for being a boy. It was not that I did not love you; it was that I expected too much of youth. I was measuring you by the yardstick of my own years.

And there was so much that was good and fine and true in your character. The little heart of you was as big as the dawn itself over the wide hills. This was shown by your spontaneous impulse to rush in and kiss me good night. Nothing else matters tonight, son. I have come to your bedside in the darkness, and I have knelt there, ashamed!

It is a feeble atonement; I know you would not understand these things if I told them to you during your waking hours. But tomorrow I will be a real daddy! I will chum with you, and suffer when you suffer, and laugh when you laugh. I will bite my tongue when impatient words come. I will keep saying as if it were a ritual: "He is nothing but a boy - a little boy!"

I am afraid I have visualized you as a man. Yet as I see you now, son, crumpled and weary in your cot, I see that you are still a baby. Yesterday you were in your mother's arms, your head on her shoulder. I have asked too much, too much.

Here are some photos that i took during the Preview on 2 Aug 2008


View of the stage, floating platform


Red Lions coming in to land and the performance on the waterfront

Contigents forming up outside, preparing to march in


Parade formed up and ready for inspection, Sir


Singapore Flag Flypast


The Finale - Fireworks



Cheers to Singapore

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