Inspiration PreOctober 2001

Shortarmguy's Inspirational Page

On this page, I will post the most inspirational material I receive on any given day.  So email 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!

July 26, 2001

The Oklahoma City Bombing

Donna  worked the bombing site. She recently received an excerpt  of Timothy McVeigh’s book, and this is her response:

Dear  Friends,

I will not forward the excerpt from the book that has been  written by two reporters and a couple of shrinks about Tim McVeigh.   It was sent to me by someone I respect, and I have checked it out to be  sure that the quote was accurate. And, it was… I fully expected to  read this book. I wanted to know a lot of things. And, I believe  that the book is an accurate account of what Tim McVeigh has said. I  wanted to know why he picked Oklahoma City.

I wanted to know if he  implicated anyone else. I wanted to know if he took responsibility.  But, I won’t read the book. After reading the excerpt,  I know that  it doesn’t matter. It won’t change a thing. I have  to address this. So, buckle up, because here goes. And,  before I start this tirade, I want to say that what follows I know to be  fact, because I saw it…

My husband set up a tent across the street from  the building, right next to Little Caesar’s pizza, who also set up a  tent and made pizzas on the spot. Jim’s company donated all the coffee and  tea and equipment, and we funneled the water and cokes and other supplies  that were donate through that little blue tent and to the rescuers, and  the workers.

So, we saw what happened, and we know. My husband, whose  heart is so soft he swerves to miss a turtle on the highway, stood in that  carnage, unflinching, on a knee the size of a basketball and did  everything he could. This, to me, is the measure of a  man.  

Tim McVeigh says, and this is the only quote from the man you’ll  get from me; “It was my choice and my control to hit that building  when it was full…. I understand what they felt in Oklahoma City. I have  no sympathy for them.”

First of all, I don’t think Tim McVeigh  feels at all, and second, no one in Oklahoma City asked for any  sympathy of any kind, least of all Tim McVeigh’s.  While he was  cowering away from the scene, with ear plugs in his ears, the people of my  town were running toward the mess he had created. There were not just 168  bodies to be recovered. There were almost 1000 injured people to  be triaged and helped. That was done. And, it was done with a speed and an accuracy that stunned the people who came later to help us.

Our  construction companies had cranes in place within the first  hour.  Our hardware companies turned their shelves over to the effort. Vets  came to help with the rescue animals. Doctors came and worked along  side construction workers and lay people. Engineers kept that wreck  standing until all but three bodies were recovered. And no matter  what the conspiracy people say, that was a miracle.

When the wind  blew, even a little, that building swayed and groaned so loud, it was  audible for blocks. When other States sent rescue units to help us,  my town fed them, clothed them, held their heads when they vomited at  the carnage and comforted them when they cried.  Being close to that  building wasn’t easy during those 19 days. It was bloody, it stank, and  it was dangerous. And, in spite of this, we had trouble getting people  to stand down and take a rest.

Thank you, New York Urban, and Phoenix,  and Fairfax, and Dade County, and Denver, and Everyone else who  came. You showed up on our door step like a good neighbor, with  your equipment, and tears in your eyes, and we will forever be in your debt.  You are heroes to the person, and always in my prayers. Saint Michael’s  heart beats in you all.

Buildings around the site stood wide open. Their  foundations sprung to the extent that their doors wouldn’t lock.   But, locking the doors wouldn’t have mattered anyway, since the windows  were all gone… There was not one incident of looting. Not  one.

And, Joe Q. American did everything else. By midnight, that  first day, we had an ample supply of blood for all. I saw people lined up  around the Oklahoma Blood Institute. Hundreds of people lined up, waiting  for hours, to donate their blood. Businessmen in suits talked casually to  homeless people who felt the blast and came.

And, the rescuers  didn’t just exist on dry sandwiches. Oh no. Little Caesar’s, the  Outback, Subway, the local Barbecue and Steak houses, Hooter’s, Taco Bell,  Sonic, and others too numerous to mention, some from Texas and Kansas fed  everyone well. And for free.  This wasn’t easy. Food had to be  labeled as to date, origin & time of arrival, and kept clean and cold in  a very inhospitable environment.  And, this was done. Everyone at the  site was sick, but it was never because of the food.

While we  tended to the needs of the rescuers, the FBI, the ATF, FEMA, and the  Oklahoma City Police Department worked around us, and under  our feet, sometimes with tweezers, and plastic bags, picking up minute  pieces of the barrels that held the explosives, and pieces a big as the  axle of the Ryder Rental truck. They were professionals all, and sensitive  to our feelings.

When the authors wanted to donate a portion of the  proceeds from the book toour Memorial, the Memorial committee quietly  said “no thank you.” I am so glad, and so proud of them. No  sympathy, or no money needed here.  We’ll handle it, thank  you.


Send the $20 to the Memorial, or to the Red Cross,  or to the Education fund for the children of the victims, or to the  Oklahoma City Fire Department, or the Phoenix Fire Department, or Dade  County, or to Feed the Children.  This is not about Tim McVeigh.   It’s about the human spirit. And, it’s here, and it thrives, and it  asks no sympathy.

Love to All,

Donna Prather


June 30, 2001

The Trouble Tree

Do you take your troubles home with you?

The carpenter I hired to help restore my old farmhouse had a pretty rough first day on the job. A flat tire made him lose an hour of work in the morning. In the afternoon, his electric saw quit. At the end of the day, his ancient pick-up truck refused to start. As I drove him home, he sat next to me in stony silence.

When we arrived at his house, the carpenter invited me in to meet the family. As we walked toward the front door, he paused briefly in front of a small tree, and touched the tips of its branches with both hands. He then opened the door and underwent an amazing  transformation. His face was wreathed with smiles and his voice was filled with laughter. He hugged his two small children and gave his wife a kiss.

When my visit was over, the carpenter walked me to my car. When we passed the tree, my curiosity got the better of me. So I asked him about what he had done earlier.

“Oh,” the carpenter replied, “that’s just my Trouble Tree. I know I can’t help having troubles on the job,” he continued, “but one thing’s for sure, those troubles don’t belong in my house. That’s why every night when I come home, I just leave them outside by hanging them on the Trouble Tree. “In the morning when I head off to work, I just pick my trouble up again.” 

Smiling, the carpenter added, “The funny thing is, the troubles I pick up in the morning are not nearly as many as I remember hanging on the tree the night before.”

June 23, 2001

I know you have probably seen this one before, but the ending to this one has changed slightly to reflect today’s changing attitudes…..

A philosophy professor stood before his class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a large empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks, rocks about 2″ in diameter. He then asked the students if the jar was full? They agreed that it was.

So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was. The students laughed.

The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.  “Now,” said the professor, “I want you to recognize that this is your life. The rocks are the important things:  your family, your partner, your health, your children – things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, your car. The sand is everything else. The small stuff.”

“If you put the Sand into the jar first, there is no room for the pebbles or the rocks. The same goes for your life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out dancing. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party and fix the disposal.”

“Take care of the rocks first – the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

But then…..

A student then took the jar which the other students and the professor agreed was full, and proceeded to pour in a glass of beer. Of course the beer filled the remaining spaces within the jar making the jar truly full.  Which proves that no matter how full your life is, there is always room for a beer.

June 16, 2001 Inspirational Material

Recently I overheard a father and daughter in their last moments together. They had announced her departure and standing near the security gate, they hugged and he said, “I love you.  I wish you enough.”

She in turn said, “Daddy, our life together has been more than enough.  Your love is all I ever needed. ” I wish you enough, too, Daddy.”  They kissed and she left.  He walked over toward the window where I was seated.
Standing there I could  see he wanted and needed to cry.  I tried not to intrude on his privacy, but he welcomed me in by asking, “Did you ever say goodbye to someone knowing it would be forever?”

“Yes, I have,” I replied.  Saying that brought back memories I had of expressing my love and appreciation for all my Dad had done for me.  Recognizing that his days were limited, I took the time to tell him face to face how much he meant to me.  So I knew what this man was experiencing.

“Forgive me for asking, but why is this a forever goodbye?,” I asked.

“I am old and she lives much too far away.  I have challenges ahead, and the reality is, the next trip back will be for my funeral,” he said.

“When you were saying goodbye I heard you say, “I wish you enough.”  May I ask what that means?”

He began to smile.   “That’s a wish that has been handed down from other generations.  My parents use to say it to everyone.”  He paused for a moment and  looking up as if trying to remember it in detail, he smiled even more.  “When we said ‘I wish you enough,’ we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them,” he continued and then turning toward me he shared the following as if he were reciting it from memory:

“I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
 I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
 I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
 I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.
 I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
 I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
 I wish enough “Hellos” to get you through the final “Goodbyes.”

 He then began to sob and walked away.

To all those who take the time to read this,  I am wishing  you enough. .

Written by Bob Perks:

June 8, 2001 Inspirational Material

Paul Harvey Writes:

We tried so hard to make things better for our kids that we made them worse.  For my grandchildren, I’d like better.

I’d really like for them to know about hand me down clothes and homemade ice cream and leftover meat loaf sandwiches. I really would.

I hope you learn humility by being humiliated, and that you learn honesty by being cheated.I hope you learn to make your own bed and mow the lawn and wash the car. And I really hope nobody gives you a brand new car when you are sixteen. 

It will be good if at least one time you can see puppies born and your old dog put to sleep.  I hope you get a black eye fighting for something you believe in.  I hope you have to share a bedroom with your younger brother. And it’s all right if you have to draw a line down the middle of the room, but when he wants to crawl under the covers with you because he’s scared, I hope you let him.  When you want to see a movie and your little brother wants to tag along, I hope you’ll let him.

I hope you have to walk uphill to school with your friends and that you live in a town where you can do it safely.  On rainy days when you have to catch a ride, I hope you don’t ask your driver to drop you two blocks away so you won’t be seen riding with someone as uncoil as
your Mom.

If you want a slingshot, I hope your Dad teaches you how to make one instead of buying one.  I hope you learn to dig in the dirt and read books. When you learn to use computers, I hope you also learn to add and subtract in your head.

I hope you get teased by your friends when you have your first crush on a girl, and when you talk back to your mother that you learn what ivory soap tastes like.  May you skin your knee climbing a mountain, burn your hand on a stove and stick your tongue on a frozen flagpole.
I don’t care if you try a beer once, but I hope you don’t like it. And if a friend offers you dope or a joint, I hope you realize he is not your friend.  

I sure hope you make time to sit on a porch with your Grandpa and go fishing with your Uncle.   May you feel sorrow at a funeral and joy during the holidays.  I hope your mother punishes you when you throw a baseball through your neighbor’s window and that she hugs you and kisses you at Christmas time when you give her a plaster mold of your hand.

These things I wish for you – tough times and disappointment, hard work and happiness.

To me, it’s the only way to appreciate life. Written with a pen.  Sealed with a kiss. I’m here for you.  And if I die before you do, I’ll go to heaven and wait for you. Send this to all of your friends. We secure our friends, not by accepting favors, but by doing them.

June 2, 2001 Inspirational Material


                                                                         by Francie Baltazar-Schwartz

Jerry was the kind of guy you love to hate.  He was always in a good mood and always had something positive to say.  When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, “If I were any better, I would be twins.”

He was a unique manager because he had several waiters who had followed him around from restaurant to restaurant.  The reason the waiters followed Jerry was because of his attitude.  He was a natural motivator.  If an employee was having a bad day, Jerry was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.

Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Jerry and asked him, “I don’t get it!  You can’t be a positive person all of the time.  How do you do it?”.  Jerry replied.  “Each morning I wake up and say to myself, Jerry, you have two choices today.  You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood.  I choose to be in a good mood.  Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it.  I choose to learn from it.  Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of life.  I choose the positive side of life.”

“Yeah, right, it’s not that easy,” I protested.  “Yes it is,” Jerry said.  Life is all about choices.  When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice.  You choose how you react to situations.  You choose how people will affect your mood.  You choose to be in a good mood or a bad mood.  The bottom line:  It’s your choice how you live life.”  I reflected on what Jerry said.  Soon thereafter, I left the restaurant industry to start my own business.  We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of simply reacting to it.

Several years later, I heard that Jerry did something you are never supposed to do in the restaurant business:  he left the back door open one morning and was held up at gun point by three armed robbers.  While trying to open the safe, his hand, shaking from nervousness, slipped off of the combination.  The robbers panicked and shot him.  Luckily, Jerry was found relatively quickly and rushed to the local trauma center.

After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care. Jerry was released from the hospital with fragments of the bullets still in his body.  I saw Jerry about six months after the accident.  When I asked him how he was, he replied, “If I were any better, I’d be twins.  Wanna see my scars?”

I declined to see his wounds, but did ask him what had gone through his mind as the robbery took place.  “The first thing that went through my mind, obviously, was that I should have locked the back door,” Jerry replied.  Then, as I lie on the floor, I remembered that I had two choices:  I could choose to live, or I could choose to die. “I choose to live.”

“Weren’t you scared?  Did you lose consciousness?” I asked.  Jerry continued, “The paramedics were great.  They kept telling me I was going to be fine.  But when they wheeled me into the emergency room and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared.  In their eyes, I read, “He’s a dead man.”  I knew I needed to take action.”

“What did you do?” I asked.

“Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me,” said Jerry.  “She asked if I was allergic to anything.  “Yes,” I replied.  The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply.  I took a deep breath and yelled, “Bullets!”  Over their laughter,  I told them, “I am choosing to live.  Please, please, operate on me as if I am alive, not dead.”

Jerry lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude.  I learned from him that every day we have a choice to live fully.

Attitude, after all, is everything.

May 19, 2001 Inspirational Material

Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air.

You name them—work, health, friends, and spirit, and you’re keeping all of these in the air.  You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball.  If you drop it, it will bounce back.  But the other four balls:  family, health, friends and spirit are made of glass.  If you drop these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged, or even shattered.  They will never be the same.  You must understand that and strive for balance in your life. How?

Don’t undermine your worth by comparing yourself with others.  It is because we are different that each of us is special.

Don’t set your goals by what other people deem important.  Only you know what is best for you.

Don’t take for granted the things closest to your heart.  Cling to them as you would your life, for without them, life is meaningless.

Don’t let your life slip through your fingers by living in the past or for the future.  By living one day at a time, you live all the days of your life.

Don’t give up when you still have something to give.  Nothing is really over until the moment you stop trying.

Don’t be afraid to admit that you are less than perfect.  It is by taking chances that we learn how to be brave.

Don’t shut love out of your life by saying it’s impossible to find.  The quickest way to receive love is to give it; the fastest way to lose love is to hold it too tightly; and the best way to keep love is to give it wings.

Don’t run through life so fast that you forget not only where you’ve been, but also where you are going.

Don’t forget that a person’s greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated.

Don’t be afraid to learn.  Knowledge is weightless, a treasure you can always carry easily.

Don’t use time or words carelessly.  Neither can be retrieved.

Life is not a race, but a journey to be savored each step of the way.

Yesterday is History, Tomorrow is a Mystery, and Today is a gift; that’s why we call it “The Present”.

May 12, 2001 Inspirational Material

From Andy Rooney, a man who has the gift of saying so much with so few words.

I’ve learned….
That the best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.

I’ve learned….
That when you’re in love, it shows.

I’ve learned….
That just one person saying to me, “You’ve made my day!” makes my day.

I’ve learned….
That having a child fall asleep in your arms is one of the most peaceful feelings in the world.

I’ve learned….
That being kind is more important than being right.

I’ve learned….
That you should never say no to a gift from a child.

I’ve learned….
That I can always pray for someone when I don’t have the strength to help him in some other way.

I’ve learned….
That no matter how serious your life requires you to be, everyone needs a friend to act goofy with.

I’ve learned….
That sometimes all a person needs is a hand to hold and a heart to understand.

I’ve learned….
That simple walks with my father around the block on summer nights when I was a child did wonders for me as an adult.

I’ve learned….
That life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.

I’ve learned….
That we should be glad God doesn’t give us everything we ask for.

I’ve learned….
That money doesn’t buy class.

I’ve learned….
That it’s those small daily happenings that make life so spectacular.

I’ve learned…
That under everyone’s hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved.

I’ve learned….
That the Lord didn’t do it all in one day. What makes me think I can?

I’ve learned….
That to ignore the facts does not change the facts.

I’ve learned….
That when you plan to get even with someone, you are only letting that person continue to hurt you.

I’ve learned….
That love, not time, heals all wounds.

I’ve learned….
That the easiest way for me to grow as a person is to surround myself with people smarter than I am.

I’ve learned….
That everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile.

I’ve learned….
That no one is perfect until you fall in love with them.

I’ve learned….
That life is tough, but I’m tougher.

I’ve learned….
That opportunities are never lost; someone will take the ones you miss.

I’ve learned….
That when you harbor bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere.

I’ve learned….
That I wish I could have told my Mom that I love her one more time before she passed away.

I’ve learned….
That one should keep his words both soft and tender, because tomorrow he may have to eat them.

I’ve learned….
That a smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.

I’ve learned…
That I can’t choose how I feel, but I can choose what I do about it.

I’ve learned….
That everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.

I’ve learned ….
It’s best to give advice in only two circumstances; when it is requested and when it is a life threatening situation.

I’ve learned….
That the less time I have to work with, the more things I get done.

May 5, 2001 Inspirational Material


The government recently calculated the cost of raising a childfrom birth to 18 and came up with $160,140 for a middle-income  family.  Talk about sticker shock! (That doesn’t even touch college tuition.) For those with kids, that figure leads to wild fantasies about all the things we could have bought, all the places we could have traveled, all the money we could have banked.  For others, that number might confirm the decision to remain childless.

But $160,140 isn’t so bad if you break it down.  It translates into:
> > >   $8,896.66 a year,
> > >   $741.38 a month or
> > >   $171.08 a week.
> > >   That’s a mere $24.44 a day. Just over a dollar an hour.  

Still, you might think the best financial advice says don’t have children if you want to be rich. It’s just the opposite.

What do you get for your $160,140?
> > >   – Naming rights. First, middle and last.
> > >   – Glimpses of God every day.
> > >   – Giggles under the covers every night.
> > >   – More love than your heart can hold.
> > >   – Butterfly kisses and Velcro hugs.
> > >   – Endless wonder over rocks, ants, clouds and warm cookies.
> > >   – A hand to hold, usually covered with jam.
> > >   – A partner for blowing bubbles, flying kites, building sand castles and skipping down the sidewalk in the pouring rain.
> > >   – Someone to laugh yourself silly with no matter what the boss said or how your stocks performed that day.

For $160,140, you never have to grow up.
You get to finger-paint, carve pumpkins, play hide-and-seek, catch lightning bugs and never stop believing in the impossible.   You have an excuse to keep reading the adventures of Piglet, Pooh and Tigger too, watching Saturday morning cartoons, going to Disney movies and wishing on stars. You get to frame rainbows, hearts and flowers under refrigerator magnets and collect spray-painted noodle wreaths for Christmas, hand prints set in clay for Mother’s Day and cards with backward letters for Father’s Day.

For $160,140, there’s no greater bang for your buck.
You get to be a hero just for retrieving a Frisbee off the garage roof, taking the training wheels off the bike, removing a sliver, filling the wading pool, coaxing a wad of gum out of bangs and coaching a baseball team that never wins but always gets treated to ice cream regardless. You get a front-row seat to history to witness the first step, first word, first bra, first date, first time behind the wheel. 

You get to be immortal.

You get another branch added to your family tree, and if you’re lucky, a long list of limbs in your obituary called grandchildren. You get an education in psychology, nursing, criminal justice, communications and human sexuality no college can match.

In the eyes of a child, you rank right up there with God.  You have the power to heal a boo-boo, scare away monsters under the bed, patch a broken heart, police a slumber party, ground them forever and love them without limits, so one day they  will, like you, love without counting the cost.