Shortarmguy's Inspirational Page
On this page, I will post the most inspirational material I receive on any given day. So email firstname.lastname@example.org the best stuff you get. Life can be darn tough sometimes and every now and then you might need a little happiness booster. I’m hoping this page may accomplish that. After you read a few of these, you can push back from your keyboard, throw your arms in the air, wave them back and forth and scream “I’m glad to be alive!” If this happens to you, please send pictures and I’ll post them here!
September 28, 2003
“MOMENTS IN LIFE”
There are moments in life when you miss someone so much that you just want to pick them from your dreams and hug them for real!
When the door of happiness closes, another opens; but often times we look so long at the closed door that we don’t see the one which has been opened for us.
Don’t go for looks; they can deceive.
Don’t go for wealth; even that fades away.
Go for someone who makes you smile, because it takes only a smile to make a dark day seem bright. Find the one that makes your heart smile.
Dream what you want to dream; go where you want to go; be what you want to be, because you have only one life and one chance to do all the things you want to do.
May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human, enough hope to make you happy.
The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way.
The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can’t go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches.
When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling.
Live your life so at the end, you’re the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying.
September 21, 2003
Like your site. And I truly like your spirit and life
attitude. Not sure if you’ve seen this photo or would
be interested in posting it, but it speaks volumes
about the need for everyone to be on board with the
hard choices our country must continue to make and
what 9-11 means for all of us. I thought getting it
on your site might allow it to be spread more quickly
on the internet.
The attached photo photo came from a link on Andrew
Sullivan’s blog. Here’s the line from website
(clicking on connected took you to the photo):
“THEY GET IT: Why can’t most of the Democratic
candidates see how Iraq and 9/11 are deeply
Here’s where “connected” took you:
September 14, 2003
A young man learns what’s most important in life from the guy next door.
It had been some time since Jack had seen the old man. College, girls, career, and life itself got in the way. In fact, Jack moved clear across the country in pursuit of his dreams. There, in the rush of his busy life, Jack had little time to think about the past and often no time to spend with his wife and son. He was working on his future and nothing could stop him.
Over the phone, his mother told him, “Mr. Belser died last night. The funeral is Wednesday.” Memories flashed through his mind like an old newsreel as he sat quietly remembering his childhood days. “Jack, did you hear me?”
“Oh, sorry, Mom. Yes, I heard you. It’s been so long since I thought of him. I’m sorry, but I honestly thought he died years ago,” Jack said.
“Well, he didn’t forget you. Every time I saw him he’d ask how you were doing. He’d reminisce about the many days you spent over ‘his side of the fence’ as he put it,” Mom told him.
“I loved that old house he lived in,” Jack said. “You know, Jack, after your father died, Mr. Belser stepped in to make sure you had a man’s influence in your life,” she said.
“He’s the one who taught me carpentry,” he said. “I wouldn’t be in this business if it weren’t for him. He spent a lot of time teaching me things he thought were important…Mom, I’ll be there for the funeral,” Jack said.
As busy as he was, he kept his word. Jack caught the next flight to his hometown. Mr. Belser’s funeral was small and uneventful. He had no children of his own, and most of his relatives had passed away.
The night before he had to return home, Jack and his Mom stopped by to see the old house next door one more time.
Standing in the doorway, Jack paused for a moment. It was like crossing over into another dimension, a leap through space and time. The house was exactly as he remembered. Every step held memories. Every picture, every piece of furniture….Jack stopped suddenly.
“What’s wrong, Jack?” his Mom asked.
“The box is gone,” he said
“What box? ” Mom asked.
“There was a small gold box that he kept locked on top of his desk. I must have asked him a thousand times what was inside. All he’d ever tell me was ‘the thing I value most,'” Jack said.
It was gone. Everything about the house was exactly how Jack remembered it, except for the box. He figured someone from the Belser family had taken it. “Now I’ll never know what was so valuable to him,” Jack said. “I better get some sleep. I have an early flight home, Mom.”
It had been about two weeks since Mr. Belser died. Returning home from work one day Jack discovered a note in his mailbox. “Signature required on a package. No one at home. Please stop by the main post office within the next three days,” the note read.
Early the next day Jack retrieved the package. The small box was old and looked like it had been mailed a hundred years ago. The handwriting was difficult to read, but the return address caught his attention.
“Mr. Harold Belser” it read.
Jack took the box out to his car and ripped open the package. There inside was the gold box and an envelope. Jack’s hands shook as he read the note inside.
“Upon my death, please forward this box and its contents to Jack Bennett.
It’s the thing I valued most in my life.” A small key was taped to the letter. His heart racing, as tears filling his eyes, Jack carefully unlocked the box. There inside he found a beautiful gold pocket watch. Running his fingers slowly over the finely etched casing, he unlatched the cover.
Inside he found these words engraved: “Jack, Thanks for your time! Harold Belser.”
“The thing he valued most…was…my time.”
Jack held the watch for a few minutes, then called his office and cleared his appointments for the next two days.
“Why?” Janet, his assistant asked.
“I need some time to spend with my son,” he said.
“Oh, by the way, Janet…thanks for your time!”
“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away.” – Unknown
Have a great day. Oh, and thank you for your time
September 7, 2003
A SPECIAL CAB DRIVER
Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living. It was a cowboy’s life, a life for someone who wanted no boss. What I didn’t realize was that it was also a ministry. Because I drove the night shift, my cab became a moving confessional. Passengers climbed in, sat behind me in total anonymity, and told me about their lives. I encountered people whose lives amazed me, ennobled me, made me laugh and weep.
But none touched me more than a woman I picked up late one August night.
I was responding to a call from a small brick fourplex in a quiet part of town. I assumed I was being sent to pick up some partiers, or someone who had just had a fight with a lover, or a worker heading to an early shift at some factory for the industrial part of town. When I arrived at 2:30 a.m., the building was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window. Under these circumstances, many drivers would just honk once or twice, wait a minute, then drive away. But I had seen too many impoverished people who depended on taxis as their only means of transportation. Unless a situation smelled of danger, I always went to the door. This passenger might be someone who needs my assistance, I reasoned to
myself. So I walked to the door and knocked.
“Just a minute”, answered a frail, elderly voice.
I could hear something being dragged across the floor. After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 80s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940s movie. By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.
“Would carry my bag out to the car?” she said.
I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman. She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb. She kept thanking me for my kindness.
“It’s nothing”, I told her. “I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated”.
“Oh, you’re such a good boy”, she said.
When we got in the cab, she gave me and address, then asked, “Could you drive through downtown?”
“It’s not the shortest way,” I answered quickly.
“Oh, I don’t mind,” she said. “I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice”.
I looked in the rearview mirror. Her eyes were glistening.
“I don’t have any family left,” she continued. “The doctor says I don’t have very long.”
I quietly reached over and shut off the meter. “What route would you like me to take?” I asked.
For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were
newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl. Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit
staring into the darkness, saying nothing.
As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, “I’m tired. Let’s go now.”
We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her. I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.
“How much do I owe you?” she asked, reaching into her purse.
“Nothing,” I said.
“You have to make a living,” she answered.
“There are other passengers,” I responded.
Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.
“You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,” she said. “Thank you.”
I squeezed her hand, then walked into the dim morning light.
Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.
I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly, lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift?
What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?
On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life. We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware–beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.
PEOPLE MAY NOT REMEMBER EXACTLY WHAT YOU DID, OR WHAT YOU SAID, …BUT
THEY WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER HOW YOU MADE THEM FEEL.
August 30, 2003
A Woman and a Fork
There was a young woman who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and had been given three months to live. So as she was getting her things “in order,” she contacted her Minister and had him come to her house to discuss certain aspects of her final wishes. She told him which songs she wanted sung at the service, what scriptures she would like read, and what outfit she wanted to be buried in. Everything was in order and the Minister was preparing to leave when the young woman suddenly remembered something very important to her.
“There’s one more thing,” she said excitedly.
“What’ that?” came the Minister’s reply.
“This is very important,” the young woman continued. “I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand.”
The Minister stood looking at the young woman, not knowing quite what to say.
That surprises you, doesn’t it?” the young woman asked.
“Well, to be honest, I’m puzzled by the request,” said the Minister.
The young woman explained. “My grandmother once told me this story, and from that time on, I have always tried to pass along its message to those I love and to those who are in need of encouragement. In all my years of attending socials and dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say, ‘Keep your fork.’ It was my favorite part because I knew that something better was coming …like velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie. Something wonderful, and with substance!’ So, I just want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand, and I want them to wonder “What’s with the fork?” Then I want you to tell them: “Keep your fork … the best is yet to come.”
The Minister’s eyes welled up with tears of joy as he hugged the young woman good-bye. He knew this would be one of the last times he would see her before her death. But he also knew that the young woman had a better grasp of heaven than he did. She had a better grasp of what heaven would be like than many people twice her age, with twice as much experience and
knowledge. She KNEW that something better was coming.
At the funeral people were walking by the young woman’s casket, and they saw the fork placed in her right hand. Over and over, the Minister heard the question. “What’s with the fork?” And over and over, he smiled. During his message, the Minister told the people of the conversation he had with the young woman shortly before she died. He also told them about the fork and about what it symbolized to her. He told the people how he could not stop thinking about the fork and told them that they probably would not be able to stop thinking about it either.
He was right.
So the next time you reach down for your fork let it remind you, ever so gently, that the best is yet to come. Friends are a very rare jewel, indeed. They make you smile and encourage you to succeed. They lend an ear, they share a word of praise, and they always want to open their hearts to us. Show your friends how much you care. Remember to always be there for them, even when you need them more. For you never know when it may be their time to “Keep your fork.”
Cherish the time you have, and the memories you share… being friends with
someone is not an opportunity but a sweet responsibility.
And keep your fork.
August 25, 2003
POINTS TO PONDER:
1. I signed up for an exercise class and was told to wear loose-fitting clothing. If I HAD any loose-fitting clothing, I wouldn’t have signed up in the first place!
2. When I was young we used to go “skinny dipping”, now I just “chunky dunk”.
3. The early bird still has to eat worms.
4. The worst thing about accidents in the kitchen is eating them.
5. Don’t argue with an idiot; people watching may not be able to tell the difference.
6. Wouldn’t it be nice if whenever we messed up our life we could simply press ‘Ctrl Alt Delete’ and start all over?
7. Stress is when you wake up screaming and then you realize you haven’t fallen asleep yet.
8. My husband says I never listen to him. At least I think that’s what he said.
9. Just remember…if the world didn’t suck, we’d all fall off.
10. Why is it that our children can’t read a Bible in school, but they can in prison?
11. If raising children was going to be easy, it never would have started with something called labor!
12. Brain cells come and brain cells go, but fat cells live forever.
August 16, 2003
And You Thought You Knew EVERYTHING…
Mosquito repellents don’t repel – they hide you. The spray blocks the mosquito’s sensors so they don’t know you’re there.
Dentists have recommended that a toothbrush be kept at least 6 feet away from a toilet to avoid airborne particles resulting from the flush
The liquid inside young coconuts can be used as substitute for blood plasma.
No piece of paper can be folded in half more than 7 times.
Donkeys kill more people annually than plane crashes.
You burn more calories sleeping than you do watching television.
Oak trees do not produce acorns until they are fifty years of age or older.
The first product to have a bar code was Wrigley’s gum.
The king of hearts is the only king without a mustache.
A Boeing 747s wingspan is longer than the Wright brother’s first flight.
American Airlines saved $40,000 in 1987 by eliminating 1 olive from each salad served in first-class.
Venus is the only planet that rotates clockwise.
Apples, not caffeine, are more efficient at waking you up in the morning.
The plastic things on the end of shoelaces are called aglets.
Most dust particles in your house are made from dead skin.
The first owner of the Marlboro Company died of lung cancer.
Michael Jordan makes more money from Nike annually than all of the Nike factory workers in Malaysia combined.
Marilyn Monroe had six toes.
All US Presidents have worn glasses. Some just didn’t like being seen wearing them in public.
Walt Disney was afraid of mice.
Pearls melt in vinegar.
Thirty-five percent of the people who use personal ads for dating are already married.
The three most valuable brand names on earth: Marlboro, Coca-Cola, and Budweiser, in that order.
It is possible to lead a cow upstairs…but not downstairs.
A duck’s quack doesn’t echo and no one knows why.
The reason firehouses have circular stairways is from the days when the engines were pulled by horses. The horses were stabled on the ground floor and figured out how to walk up straight staircases.
Richard Millhouse Nixon was the first US president whose name contains all the letters from the word “criminal.” The second was William Jefferson Clinton.
Turtles can breathe through their butts.
Butterflies taste with their feet.
In 10 minutes, a hurricane releases more energy than all of the world’s nuclear weapons combined.
On average, 100 people choke to death on ballpoint pens every year.
On average people fear spiders more than they do death.
Ninety percent of New York City cabbies are recently arrived immigrants.
Elephants are the only animals that can’t jump.
Only one person in two billion will live to be 116 or older.
Women blink nearly twice as much as men.
It’s physically impossible for you to lick your elbow.
The Main Library at Indiana University sinks over an inch every year because when it was built, engineers failed to take into account the weight of all the books that would occupy the building.
A snail can sleep for three years.
No word in the English language rhymes with “MONTH.”
Average life span of a major league baseball: 7pitches.
Our eyes are always the same size from birth, but our nose and ears never stop growing. SCARY!!!
The electric chair was invented by a dentist.
All polar bears are left-handed.
In ancient Egypt, priests plucked EVERY hair from their bodies, including their eyebrows and eyelashes.
An ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain.
TYPEWRITER is the longest word that can be made using the letters only on one row of the keyboard.
“Go,” is the shortest complete sentence in the English language.
If Barbie were life-size, her measurements would be 39-23-33. She would stand seven feet, two inches tall. Barbie’s full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts.
A crocodile cannot stick its tongue out.
The cigarette lighter was invented before the match.
Americans on average eat 18 acres of pizza every day.
Almost everyone who reads this list will try to lick their elbow.
August 9, 2003
HOW WE TREAT PEOPLE
Five lessons to make you think about the way we treat people.
1. First Important Lesson – Cleaning Lady.
During my second month of college, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions, until I read the last one: “What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?” Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade. “Absolutely,” said the professor. “In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say “hello”. I’ve never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.
2. Second Important Lesson – Pickup in the Rain
One night, at 11:30 p.m., an older African American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rainstorm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride. Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car. A young white man stopped to help her, generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960s. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxicab. She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his address and thanked him. Seven days went by and a knock came on the man’s door. To his surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered to his home. A special note was attached. It read: “Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes, but also my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband’s bedside just before he passed away. God bless you for helping me and
unselfishly serving others,” Sincerely, Mrs. Nat King Cole.
3. Third Important Lesson – Always remember those who serve.
In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10 year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him. “How much is an ice cream sundae?” he asked. “Fifty cents,” replied the waitress. The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied the coins in it. “Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?” he inquired. By now more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient. “Thirty-five cents,” she brusquely replied. The little boy again counted his coins. “I’ll have the plain ice cream,” he said. The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and left.
When the waitress came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the table. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies. You see, he couldn’t have the sundae, because he had to have enough left to leave her a tip.
4. Fourth Important Lesson – The Obstacles in Our Path.
In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king’s wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way. Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded.
After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the King indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many of us never understand! Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition.
5. Fifth Important Lesson – Giving When it Counts.
Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare & serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year-old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, “Yes I’ll do it if it will save her.” As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the color returning to her cheeks. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded. He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, “Will I start to die right away?”. Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her.
“Work like you don’t need the money, love like you’ve never been hurt, and dance like you do when nobody’s watching.”
August 2, 2003
During the waning years of the depression in a small Idaho community, I used to stop by Mr. Miller’s roadside stand for farm fresh produce as the season made it available. Food and money were still extremely scarce and bartering was used extensively.
One day Mr. Miller was bagging some early potatoes for me. I noticed a small boy, delicate of bone and feature, ragged but clean, hungrily appraising a basket of freshly picked green peas.
I paid for my potatoes but was also drawn to the display of fresh green peas. I am a pushover for creamed peas and new potatoes. Pondering the peas, I couldn’t help overhearing the conversation between Mr. Miller and the ragged boy next to me.
“Hello Barry, how are you today?”
“H’lo, Mr. Miller. Fine, thank ya. Jus’ admirin’ them peas … sure look good.”
“They are good, Barry. How’s your Ma?”
“Fine. Gittin’ stronger a lla’ time.”
“Good. Anything I can help you with?”
“No, Sir. Jus’ admirin’ them peas.”
“Would you like to take some home?”
“No, Sir. Got nuthin’ to pay for ’em with.”
“Well, what have you to trade me for some of those peas?”
“All I got’s my prize marble here.”
“Is that right? Let me see it.”
“Here ’tis. She’s a dandy.”
“I can see that. Hmmmmm, only thing is this one is blue and I sort of go for red. Do you have a red one like this at home?”
“Not zackley … but almost.”
“Tell you what. Take this sack of peas home with you and next trip this way let me look at that red marble.”
“Sure will. Thanks Mr. Miller.”
Mrs. Miller, who had been standing nearby, came over to help me. With a smile she said, “There are two other boys like him in our community, all three are in very poor circum-stances. Jim just loves to bargain with them for peas, apples, tomatoes, or whatever. When They come back with their red marbles, and they always do, he decides he doesn’t like red after all and he sends them home with a bag of produce for a green marble or an orange one, perhaps.”
I left the stand smiling to myself, impressed with this man. A short time later I moved to Colorado but I never forgot the story of this man, the boys, and their bartering.
Several years went by, each more rapid that the previous one. Just recently I had occasion to visit some old friends in that Idaho community and while I was there learned that Mr. Miller had died. They were having his viewing that evening and knowing my friends wanted to go, I agreed to accompany them.
Upon arrival at the mortuary we fell into line to meet the relatives of the deceased and to offer whatever words of comfort we could. Ahead of us in line were three young men. One was in an army uniform and the other two wore
nice haircuts, dark suits and white shirts … all very professional looking.
They approached Mrs. Miller, standing composed and smiling by her husband’s casket. Each of the young men hugged her, kissed her on the cheek, spoke briefly with her and moved on to the casket. Her misty light blue eyes followed them as, one by one, each young man stopped briefly and placed his own warm hand over the cold pale hand in the casket. Each left the mortuary awkwardly, wiping his eyes.
Our turn came to meet Mrs. Miller. I told her who I was and mentioned the story she had told me about the marbles. With her eyes glistening, she took my hand and led me to the casket.
“Those three young men who just left were the boys I told you about. They just told me how they appreciated the things Jim “traded” them. Now, at last, when Jim could not change his mind about color or size … they came to pay their debt.”
“We’ve never had a great deal of the wealth of this world,” she confided, “but right now, Jim would consider himself the richest man in Idaho.”
With loving gentleness she lifted the lifeless fingers of her deceased husband. Resting underneath were three exquisitely shined red marbles.
Moral: We will not be remembered by our words, but by our kind deeds.
Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath.
Inspiration from the past