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!
January 25, 2004
January 6, 2004
At the Foot of the Cross – A Story You Haven’t Heard
Angel Tree, our Prison Fellowship program for prisoners’ children, is one of the great unheralded volunteer outreaches in America. Over the Christmas holidays these past few weeks, approximately 100,000 volunteers delivered Angel Tree gifts to more than 525,000 children of inmates. You didn’t read about this in the newspapers, nor would I expect that you should. It’s not really that newsworthy that Christians help people in need. But there are two of our volunteers, who delivered forty presents, that I thiWnk you should have read about but didn’t. For reasons best known to themselves, the media ignored the fact that two of the volunteers were President and Mrs. George Bush. And they delivered gifts to forty inner-city kids in a church basement three days before Christmas.
President and Mrs. Bush arrived at three-o’clock, Monday, December 22, at the Shiloh Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia. Now, presidents don’t move anywhere without a great deal of fuss. The police were out, the roads blocked, and Secret Service were roaming around the church. And when the president arrived, he was accompanied not only by his own team, but also by a pool of reporters, forty or so members of the press. For ten minutes they popped their flashbulbs, scribbled their notes, and then were ushered out. I remember from my days with President Nixon what photo opportunities
are: Get the picture and leave. So I thought the Bushes would shortly depart, but they didn’t. They stayed long after the cameras were gone to greet every child, to have their picture taken with them, their mothers, and their grandmothers, to talk with them, and to ask questions. Though the press didn’t report it, I noticed that both the President and Mrs. Bush talked to the Hispanic children in Spanish.
Just before the President left, I introduced him to Al Lawrence, a member of our staff. I told the President that I had met Al more than twenty years ago in a prison. Jesus had got hold of Al’s life, and he’s been working for us ever since. Then I told the President that Al’s son was now a freshman at Yale. At that point the President stopped, exclaimed, “We’re both Yale parents,” and threw his arms around Al Lawrence — an African-American ex-offender being embraced by the president of the United States in a church basement. The ground is indeed level at the foot of the cross.
I tell you this story because it’s a wonderful Christmas story, and you probably haven’t heard it. With all those reporters who crowded into that basement, the visit resulted in almost universal media silence. I suppose there are many explanations for this, but I’ll offer mine. The President is a Christian who really cares for “the least of these,” who does this not for photo ops, but because he’s genuine. That is something that his detractors in the media simply can’t handle. Conservatives caring for the poor? Never. It dashes the stereotypes. But surely Christians ought to be rejoicing that the most powerful man in the world and his wife, a couple of days before Christmas, had a wonderful visit with the most powerless people in our society.
After all, that echoes the Christmas message, doesn’t it? The most powerful came to be with the least powerful to give us hope.
January 18, 2004
By Edward I. Koch
Thursday, January 8, 2004
The following appears in the Jan. 9 editions of Forward
I am a lifelong Democrat. I was elected to New York’s City Council, Congress and three terms as mayor of New York City on the Democratic Party line. I believe in the values of the Democratic Party as articulated by Presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson and by Senators Hubert Humphrey, Henry “Scoop” Jackson and Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Our philosophy is: “If you need a helping hand, we will provide it.” The Republican Party’s philosophy, on the other hand, can be summed up as: “If I made it on my own, you will have to do the same.”
Nevertheless, I intend to vote in 2004 to reelect President Bush. I will do so despite the fact that I do not agree with him on any major domestic issue, from tax policy to the recently enacted prescription drug law. These issues, however, pale in importance beside the menace of international terrorism, which threatens our very survival as a nation. President Bush has earned my vote because he has shown the resolve and courage necessary to wage the war against terrorism.
The Democratic presidential contenders, unfortunately, inspire no such confidence. With the exception of Senator Joseph Lieberman, who has no chance of winning, the Democrats have decided that in order to get their party’s nomination, they must pander to its radical left wing. As a result, the Democratic candidates, even those who voted to authorize the war in Iraq, have attacked the Bush administration for its successful effort to remove a regime that was a sponsor of terrorism and a threat to world peace.
The Democrat now leading in the race, former governor Howard Dean, is a disgrace. His willingness to publicly entertain the slander that President Bush had advance warning of the September 11 attacks and his statement that America is no safer as a result of the capture of Saddam Hussein should have been sufficient to end his candidacy. But the radicals who dominate the primaries love the red meat that is thrown to them, even when it comes from a mad cow.
In contrast, President Bush has confronted the terrorist threat head on. Immediately following the September 11 terrorist attacks, the president presented the core principle of what has become known as the Bush Doctrine, an articulation of American foreign policy that rivals in importance the Monroe Doctrine, which barred foreign imperialism from the Western Hemisphere, and the Truman Doctrine, which sought to contain communism around the world. The Bush Doctrine, simply stated by the president, is: “We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them.”
President Bush has lived up to that credo. Under his leadership, Afghanistan was liberated from Al Qaeda’s patron, the Taliban. The president also has demonstrated, through the liberation of Iraq from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein, that he is willing to wage a preemptive war when he believes the national interests of the United States are endangered.
Even if we never find weapons of mass-destruction in Iraq — though I think that we will — our military campaign for regime change was justified. If the bodies of a quarter-million Iraqi dissenters killed by Saddam, some tortured with their eyes gouged and tongues cut out, is not proof enough, there is still Saddam’s undisputed use of weapons of mass destruction against his own people and Iran. That record is why Congress overwhelmingly voted to authorize the use of force in Iraq.
It is not only in Afghanistan and Iraq that President Bush has risen to meet challenges presented by our increasingly dangerous world. When the president labeled Iraq, Iran and North Korea an “axis of evil,” many commentators mocked him. When he threatened Syria, Iran and Libya with serious consequences if they continued to support terrorist groups, there were those who denounced him for being too bellicose. Now, however, it appears that the president’s hard line has begun to pay off. Recently, Libya agreed to dismantle its weapons of mass destruction programs and allow in international inspectors. There are even indications that Iran and possibly North Korea may permit international inspection of their nuclear programs.
Nor have the president’s critics stopped him from standing up for American interests. Many of those who oppose the Bush Doctrine also criticize the president’s opposition to the Kyoto Protocol, the International Criminal Court and his decision to withdraw the United States from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. These actions, however, are well-grounded.
President Bush was correct to oppose the Kyoto Protocol. The treaty would have exempted China and India, which have a combined population of more than 2 billion and are among the world’s largest polluters.
As for the new International Criminal Court, it would be downright irresponsible to give this new tribunal the right to indict and try our military personnel for war crimes, given all the enmity directed at the United States nowadays. Instead we should continue to rely on our military justice system, which has an excellent reputation.
President Bush also was right to withdraw from the ABM Treaty. That treaty would have prevented the United States from deploying a shield against nuclear missiles that could be launched by rogue states or terrorists. The president’s critics can pontificate about the importance of international institutions all they want, but we have to face facts. North Korea has nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them. Pakistan not only has nuclear weapons, but is suspected of having provided nuclear technology to North Korea, Libya and Iran. The two recent assassination attempts against President Pervez Musharraf highlight the dangers we face. Should Musharraf be removed or killed, no one knows who will ultimately control Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. It would have been negligent for President Bush to allow our hands to remain tied at a time when we need to be exploring every option to defend ourselves.
This record and the Democratic candidates’ irresponsible rhetoric are the reasons why I will vote for a second term for President Bush. This does not mean, however, that I have given up on my party and its principles. To the contrary, I will continue to fight against the president’s domestic agenda. I also hope to support the Democratic effort to take back the presidency in 2008, but it is up to the Democratic Party to show that it can be entrusted with our nation’s security.
Edward I. Koch, who served as mayor of New York City from 1978 to 1989, is a partner in the law firm of Bryan Cave.
January 11, 2004
Best Inspirational Email Of 2003
And they call some of these people “retarded”.
A few years ago, at the Seattle Special Olympics, nine contestants, all physically or mentally disabled, assembled at the starting line for the 100-yard dash.
At the gun, they all started out, not exactly in a dash, but with a relish to run the race to the finish and win.
All, that is, except one little boy who stumbled on the asphalt, tumbled over a couple of times, and began to cry.
The other eight heard the boy cry. They slowed down and looked back. Then they all turned around and went back…every one of them.
One girl with Down’s Syndrome bent down and kissed him and said, “This will make it better.”
Then all nine linked arms and walked together to the finish line.
Everyone in the stadium stood, and the cheering went on for several minutes.
People who were there are still telling the story. Why?
Because deep down we know this one thing: What matters in this life is more than winning for ourselves. What matters in this life is helping others win, even if it means slowing down and changing our course.
“A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.”
January 4, 2004
The value of a sister
Who doesn’t have one.
The value of ten years:
Ask a newly
The value of four years:
Ask a graduate.
The value of one year:
Ask a student who
Has failed a final exam.
The value of nine months:
Ask a mother who gave birth to a still born.
The value of one month:
Ask a mother who has
Given birth to a premature baby.
The value of one week:
Ask an editor of a weekly newspaper.
The value of one hour:
Ask the lovers who are waiting to Meet.
The value of one minute:
Ask a person
Who has missed the train, bus or plane.
The value of one-second:
Ask a person
Who has survived an accident.
The value of one millisecond:
Ask the person who has
Won a silver medal in the Olympics.
To realize the value of a friend:
Time waits For no one.
Treasure every moment you have.
You will treasure it even more when
you can share it with someone special.
December 28, 2003
Each December, I vowed to make Christmas a calm and peaceful experience. I had cut back on nonessential obligations – extensive card writing, endless baking, decorating, and even overspending. Yet still, I found myself exhausted, unable to appreciate the precious family moments, and of course, the true meaning of Christmas.
My son, Nicholas, was in kindergarten that year. It was an exciting season for a six year old. For weeks, he’d been memorizing songs for his school’s “Winter Pageant.” I didn’t have the heart to tell him I’d be working the night of the production. Unwilling to miss his shining moment, I spoke with his teacher. She assured me there’d be a dress rehearsal the morning of the presentation. All parents unable to attend that evening were welcome to come then.
Fortunately, Nicholas seemed happy with the compromise. So, the morning of the dress rehearsal, I filed in ten minutes early, found a spot on the cafeteria floor and sat down. Around the room, I saw several other parents quietly scampering to their
seats. As I waited, the students were led into the room. Each class, accompanied by their teacher, sat cross-legged on the floor. Then, each group, one by one, rose to perform their song.
Because the public school system had long stopped referring to the holiday as “Christmas,” I didn’t expect anything other than fun, commercial entertainment – songs of reindeer, Santa Claus, snowflakes and good cheer. So, when my son’s class rose to sing, “Christmas Love,” I was slightly taken aback by its bold title. Nicholas was aglow, as were all of his classmates, adorned in fuzzy mittens, red sweaters, and bright snowcaps upon their heads. Those in the front row- center stage – held up large letters, one by one, to spell out the title of the song.
As the class would sing “C is for Christmas,” a child would hold up the letter C. Then, “H is for Happy,” and on and on, until each child holding up his portion had presented the complete message, “Christmas Love.”
The performance was going smoothly, until suddenly, we noticed her; a small, quiet, girl in the front row holding the letter “M” upside down – totally unaware her letter “M” appeared as a “W”. The audience of 1st through 6th graders snickered at this little one’s mistake. But she had no idea they were laughing at her, so she stood tall, proudly holding her “W”.
Although many teachers tried to shush the children, the laughter continued until the last letter was raised, and we all saw it together. A hush came over the audience and eyes began to widen. In that instant, we understood – the reason we were there, why we celebrated the holiday in the first place, why even in the chaos, there was a purpose for our festivities.
For when the last letter was held high, the message read loud and clear:
And, I believe, He still is.
By Candy Chand
December 21, 2003
Heavenly Father, Help us remember that the jerk who cut us off in traffic last night is a single mother who worked nine hours that day and is rushing home to cook dinner, help with homework, do the laundry and spend a few precious moments with her children.
Help us to remember that the pierced, tattooed, disinterested young man who can’t make change correctly is a worried 19-year- old college student, balancing his apprehension over final exams with his fear of not getting his student loans for next semester.
Remind us, Lord, that the scary looking bum, begging for money in the same spot every day (who really ought to get a job!) is a slave to addictions that we can only imagine in our worst nightmares.
Help us to remember that the old couple walking annoyingly slow through the store aisles and blocking our shopping progress are savoring this moment, knowing that, based on the biopsy report she got back last week, this will be the last year that they go shopping together.
Heavenly Father, remind us each day that, of all the gifts you give us, the greatest gift is love. It is not enough to share that love with those we hold dear. Open our hearts not to just those who are close to us, but to all humanity. Let us be slow to judge and quick to forgive, show patience, empathy and love.
December 15, 2003
An Email from a Captain in Iraq
We knew there was a dinner planned with ambassador Bremer and LTG Sanchez. There were 600 seats available and all the units in the division were tasked with filling a few tables. Naturally, the 501st MI battalion got our table. Soldiers were grumbling about having to sit through another dog-and-pony show, so we had to pick soldiers to attend. I chose not to go.
But, about 1500 the G2, LTC Devan, came up to me and with a smile, asked me to come to dinner with him, to meet him in his office at 1600 and bring a camera. I didn’t really care about getting a picture with Sanchez or Bremer, but when the division’s senior intelligence officer asks you to go, you go. We were seated in the chow hall, fully decorated for thanksgiving when aaaaallllll kinds of secret service guys showed up.
That was my first clue, because Bremer’s been here before and his personal security detachment is not that big. Then BG Dempsey got up to speak, and he welcomed ambassador Bremer and LTG Sanchez. Bremer thanked us all and pulled out a piece of paper as if to give a speech. He mentioned that the President had given him this thanksgiving speech to give to the troops. He then paused and said that the senior man present should be the one to give it. He then looked at Sanchez, who just smiled.
Bremer then said that we should probably get someone more senior to read the speech. Then, from behind the camouflage netting, the President of the United States came around. The mess hall actually erupted with hollering. Troops bounded to their feet with shocked smiles and just began cheering with all their hearts. The building actually shook. It was just unreal. I was absolutely stunned. Not only for the obvious, but also because I was only two tables away from the podium. There he stood, less than thirty feet away from me! The cheering went on and on and on.
Soldiers were hollering, cheering, and a lot of them were crying. There was not a dry eye at my table. When he stepped up to the cheering, I could clearly see tears running down his cheeks. It was the most surreal moment I’ve had in years. Not since my wedding and Aaron being born. Here was this man, our President, came all the way around the world, spending 17 hours on an airplane and landing in the most dangerous airport in the world, where a plane was shot out of the sky not six days before.
Just to spend two hours with his troops. Only to get on a plane and spend another 17 hours flying back. It was a great moment, and I will never forget it. He delivered his speech, which we all loved, when he looked right at me and held his eyes on me. Then he stepped down and was just mobbed by the soldiers. He slowly worked his way all the way around the chow hall and shook every last hand extended. Every soldier who wanted a photo with the President got one. I made my way through the line, got dinner, then wolfed it down as he was still working the room.
You could tell he was really enjoying himself. It wasn’t just a photo opportunity. This man was actually enjoying himself! He worked his way over the course of about 90 minutes towards my side of the room. Meanwhile, I took the opportunity to shake a few hands. I got a picture with Ambassador Bremer, Talabani (acting Iraqi president) and Achmed Chalabi (another member of the ruling council) and Condaleeza Rice, who was there with him.
I felt like I was drunk. He was getting closer to my table so I went back over to my seat. As he passed and posed for photos, he looked my in the eye and “How you doin’, captain.” I smiled and said “God bless you, sir.” To which he responded “I’m proud of what you do, captain.” Then moved on.
December 7, 2003
GREAT TRUTHS THAT LITTLE CHILDREN HAVE LEARNED:
1) No matter how hard you try, you can’t baptize cats.
2) When your Mom is mad at your Dad, don’t let her brush your hair.
3) If your sister hits you, don’t hit her back. They always catch the second person.
4) Never ask your 3-year old brother to hold a tomato.
5) You can’t trust dogs to watch your food.
6) Don’t sneeze when someone is cutting your hair.
7) Never hold a Dust-Buster and a cat at the same time.
8) You can’t hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk.
9) Don’t wear polka-dot underwear under white shorts.
10) The best place to be when you’re sad is Grandpa’s lap.
GREAT TRUTHS THAT ADULTS HAVE LEARNED:
1) Raising teenagers is like nailing Jell-O to a tree.
2) Wrinkles don’t hurt.
3) Families are like fudge…mostly sweet, with a few nuts.
4) Today’s mighty oak is just yesterday’s nut that held its ground.
5) Laughing is good exercise. It’s like jogging on the inside.
6) Middle age is when you choose your cereal for the fiber, not the toy.
GREAT TRUTHS ABOUT GROWING OLD
1) Growing up is mandatory; growing old is optional.
2) Forget the health food. I need all the preservatives I can get.
3) When you fall down, you wonder what else you can do while you’re down there.
4) You’re getting old when you get the same sensation from a rocking chair that you once got from a roller coaster.
5) It’s frustrating when you know all the answers but nobody bothers to ask you the questions.
6) Time may be a great healer, but it’s a lousy beautician.
7) Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
THE FOUR STAGES OF LIFE:
1) You believe in Santa Claus.
2) You don’t believe in Santa Claus.
3) You are Santa Claus.
4) You look like Santa Claus.
At age 4 success is . . . not peeing in your pants.
At age 12 success is . . . having friends.
At age 16 success is . . . having a drivers license.
At age 20 success is . . . having sex.
At age 35 success is . . . having money.
At age 50 success is . . . having money.
At age 60 success is . . . having sex.
At age 70 success is . . . having a drivers license.
At age 75 success is . . . having friends.
At age 80 success is . . . not peeing in your pants.
Inspiration from the past