The Biggest “To Do” List in The World

This man knows that the only way to achieve a goal is to write it down.

At 15 he created a life list of 127 things he wanted to do, and like many young people, they were probably “unrealistic” to us adults.

But not to John Goddard.

In his early eighties now (and still going strong — we hiked the San Gabriel mountains together all day this past June and he never missed a step), he’s accomplished almost all of the original 127 goals PLUS more than 400 other ones he set along the way.


He climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, The Matterhorn, and most of the other major mountains of the world.

John has flown aircraft at the speed of sound, and still holds more than 40 civilian air speed records.

He dove the Great Barrier Reef where he photographed a 300-pound clam.

He learned to play the flute and violin, speak Spanish, French and Arabic, read the Bible cover to cover and almost the entire Encyclopedia Brittanica.

He was the first person in the world to go the full length (4,200 miles) of the Nile River. And he did it in a 16-foot kayak, battling crocodiles, hippos and unhappy natives the entire way.

And I could go on and on – including a goal he didn’t count on – beating cancer.

Its my frrm belief that the biggest reason for his succes is that he wrote his goals down.

Dreams only become goals when you write them down! And then you need to start taking small steps to impliment some of them!


There is always hope for your dreams!



 It has five leaves, stands 14 inches high and is nicknamed Methuselah. It looks like an ordinary date palm seedling, but for UCLA- educated botanist Elaine Solowey, it is a piece of history brought back to life. Planted on Jan. 25, the seedling growing in the black pot in Solowey’s nursery on this kibbutz in Israel’s Arava desert is 2,000 years old — more than twice as old as the 900-year-old biblical character who lent his name to the young tree. It is the oldest seed ever known to produce a viable young tree.  The seed that produced Methuselah was discovered during archaeological excavations at King Herod’s palace on Mount Masada, near the Dead Sea. Its age has been confirmed by carbon dating. Scientists hope that the unique seedling will eventually yield vital clues to the medicinal properties of the fruit of the Judean date tree, which was long thought to be extinct….  The Judean date is chronicled in the Bible, Quran and ancient literature for its diverse powers — from an aphrodisiac to a contraceptive — and as a cure for a wide range of diseases including cancer, malaria and toothache. For Christians, the palm is a symbol of peace associated with the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. The ancient Hebrews called the date palm the “tree of life” because of the protein in its fruit and the shade given by its long leafy branches. The Arabs said there were as many uses for the date palm as there were days in the year. Greek architects modeled their Ionic columns on the tree’s tall, thin trunk and curling, bushy top. The Romans called it Phoenix dactylifera — “the date-bearing phoenix” — because it never died and appeared to be reborn in the desert where all other plant life perished. Now Solowey and her colleagues have brought this phoenix of the desert back to life after 2,000 years.  The ancient seeds were found 30 years ago during archeological excavations on Mount Masada, the mountaintop fortress on the shore of the Dead Sea where King Herod built a spectacular palace. When the Romans conquered Palestine and laid waste to the Temple in Jerusalem, Masada was the last stand of a small band of Jewish rebels who held out against three Roman legions for several years before committing mass suicide in A.D. 73. Archaeologist Ehud Netzer found the seeds, which were identified by the department of botanical archaeology at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University. Then they were placed in storage, where they lay for 30 years until Sallon heard about the cache. “When we asked if we could try and grow some of them, they said, ‘You’re mad,’ but they gave us three seeds,” she said. Sallon took the seeds to Solowey, who has cultivated more than 3,000 date palms and rarities like the trees that produce the fragrant resins frankincense and myrrh. Solowey admits she was skeptical about the chances of success with this project. “When I received the seeds from Sarah, I thought the chances of this experiment succeeding were less than zero,” said Solowey, cradling the precious seedling in a specially quarantined section of her nursery on the kibbutz. “But Dr. Sallon insisted and I took this very seriously. Lotus seeds over 1,000 years old have been sprouted, and I realized that no one had done any similar work with dates, so why not give it our best shot — and we were rewarded.”  “It’s certainly the oldest tree seed that’s ever been sprouted. Wheat seeds from pharaohs’ tombs have been sprouted, but none of the plants have survived for very long. Before this, the oldest seed grown was a lotus from China, which was 1,200 years old,” she said. “I’m very excited. I wasn’t expecting anything to happen. I’m really interested in finding out what the DNA testing is going to show. I know that date seeds can stay alive for several decades. To find out that they can stay alive for millennia is astonishing.”  … When the Romans invaded ancient Judea, thick forests of date palms towering up to 80 feet high and 7 miles wide covered the Jordan River valley from the Sea of Galilee in the north to the shores of the Dead Sea in the south. The tree so defined the local economy that Emperor Vespasian celebrated the conquest by minting the “Judea Capta,” a special bronze coin that showed the Jewish state as a weeping woman beneath a date palm. Today, nothing remains of those mighty forests….  The ancient Judean date, renowned for its succulence and famed for its many medicinal properties, had been lost to history. Until now. ~Matthew Kalman, SF Chronicle Foreign Service.  

On the wrong track?


The US standard railway gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet 8½ inches. That’s an exceedingly odd number.

Why was that gauge used?

Because that’s the way they were built in Britain, and British expatriates built the US Railways.

Why did the British build them like that?

Because the first railway lines were built by the same people who built the pre-railway tramways, and that’s the gauge they used.

Why did they use that gauge then?

Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they used for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing.

Why did the wagons have that particular odd wheel spacing?

Well, if they tried to use any other spacing, the wagon wheels would break on some of the old, long distance roads in Britain, because that’s the spacing of the wheel ruts.

So who built those old rutted roads?

Imperial Rome built the first long distance roads in Europe, including Britain, for their legions. Those roads have been used ever since.

And the ruts in the roads?

Roman war chariots formed the initial ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying their wagon wheels. Since the chariots were made for Imperial Rome, they were all alike as regards wheel spacing.

The US standard railway gauge of 4 feet, 8½ inches is derived from the original specifications for an Imperial Roman war chariot.

And so, bureaucracy lives forever!

So the next time you are handed a specification and wonder what horse’s rear-end came up with it, you may be exactly right, because the Imperial Roman army chariots were made just wide enough to accommodate the rear-ends of two war horses.

When you see a Space Shuttle sitting on its launch pad, there are two big booster rockets attached to the sides of the main fuel tank. These are solid rocket boosters, or SRBs.

The SRBs are made in a factory in Utah. The engineers who designed the SRBs would have preferred to make them a bit fatter, but the SRBs had to be transported by train from the factory to the launch site.

The railway line from the factory happens to run through a tunnel in the mountains. The SRBs had to fit through that tunnel. The tunnel is slightly wider than the railway track, and the railway track, as you now know, is about as wide as two horses’ behinds. So, a major Space Shuttle design feature of what is arguably the world’s most advanced transport system was determined over two thousand years ago by the width of a horse’s behind!

Are you doing anything based on “old” thinking/habits?

Imprisoned by our thoughts!


Life is what your thoughts make it.
Marcus Aurelius

     I had the privilege of speaking to a group of prisoners this morning. I was amazed at how quick they where  to recognize and how readily they accepted that they where responsible for the situation they are in. I mean that sounds obvious to us. They choose to do wrong, so now they have been caught and are being punished for it. That’s fair enough and again that seems obvious to us, but the Law of Attraction dictates that whatever situation we are in has been created by us. Whether you are in jail, in victory, in distress or in great relationships, you and only you have thought yourself there and you and only you can change your situation.

What one misses with the video; ‘The Secret’ is that changing the way you think is hard work. It takes a lot of effort, it takes a lot of soul searching – what do I really want? What do I really think? What are the thoughts, the “life sentences” that are molding my life.  ‘Life Sentence’ are ideas and thoughts that we have accepted and we live by; sometimes someone has said something to us when we where younger or we have made a decision ourselves and we have lived by it ever since. This sentence could have been something like: “you are never going to make anything of yourself” or perhaps “you are good for nothing”  Two that have affect me are; ”We don’t want your type here” (said by someone that had no idea what type I was) and another “I only have one real male friend at a time” The first one has meant that I have struggled to feel wanted anywhere I went and the second has put me in a box of only being able to have one close male buddy. I have shared these two life controlling sentence in the hope that you would take a look at your life and see what the thoughts are controlling how you perceive yourself and in fact what happens in your life. As the quote above says: Life is what your thoughts make it and if your thoughts are faulty you could be stuck in a behavior pattern and indeed in a life that is less than ideal!

 After thought: When I first coined the term ‘Life Sentence’ I was referring to the grammatical term ‘sentence” but I see that it works well, very well, as the legal term; ‘sentenced to jail.’ So to be honest the dual use of the term was not intended but it works well! – We can certainly be imprisoned by our thoughts!

Our Deepest Fear

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light – not our darkness – that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’

Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. You playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightening about shrinking so that other people won’t feel unsure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us. It is in everyone.
As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear our presence automatically liberates others.”

from Nelson Mandela’s inaugural speech.

Love thy neighbour

huggingkids.jpg I recently had to write an article for our neighborhood Network. Our theme for next year is “Love thy neighbor” There’s always lot’s of jokes made about that phrase, but I would like to break it down a bit. There are four words used in the bible for love: eros, storgé, philos and agape. Eros of course is where our word erotic comes from, storgé means affection and philos is “brotherly love” which leaves “agape.”  I believe that the confusion comes in when we get mixed up with feeling and doing, we think that we have to like or even be affectionate to our neighbour and of course in the context of neighborhoods that just does not work. The thing is Agape is a verb, a doing word. Love in this context is something we do! Then love thy neighbour means doing something for him practically.

Let’s start with the “as thy self” bit,  love thy neighbor as thy self. I mean, look how we look after ourselves. Look how we “do” for ourselves. I can’t imagine anyone doing for our real physical neighbour anything near what we do for ourselves, but we should be coming close to doing the same for the neighbours that live in our house – spouse, children and parent’s and siblings. We should be loving them by doing for them, laying down our lives for them as much as we do for ourselves.Back to the guy next door! I can’t imagine anyone offering up that kind of sacrifice for the next door neighbour. Although I know that Carol the chairlady of our Neighbourhood Network comes close. Well done Carol!

If we look at the list of practical love dos and don’t in Corinthians 13 it will give us some ideas of what we should be doing: Love is Patient, so when the dog’s bark a lot and we have been to tell them a few time, we should still tell them a few more time; patiently! (of course if we are the neighbour with the barking dogs………)


Love is kind; That could mean that we need to mow their roadside lawn for them or pick up there junk- mail when they are away for a few days. Love keeps no record of wrong. I suppose this would mean that the words; “not another noisy party” should ever come out of our mouths.Well I think you are to getting the idea. You apply the specific action to the love verb listed. Here are a few more; Love is kind, love is not envious, it’s not conceited or rude. The Amplified bible version gets into some interesting ideas here; “Love does not insist in its own way and is not self seeking. It is not touchy or fretful or resentful.” My goodness if we where all like that what a great neighbourhood we would have. I would love to live next to a neighbour like that! So I suppose we need to be a neighbour like that: If we each swept in front of our own door soon the whole street would be clean. Let’s take a look at just how we are relating to our neighbours whether it be the guy next door or anyone we encounter in our daily lives. Let us be that great loving person living next door! Let’s love our neighbour as ourselves! 

This is Commitment!!

There’s not much more one can say about this video. This is just such an amazing example of paternal love and practical sacrifice for another.

And perhaps there is another thought here; Nothing is impossible for no one, never ever say you can’t!

Its just totally humbling, in all aspects