9 June 2013

posted 6 Jun 2013, 09:16 by C S Paul
9 June 2013

Quotes to Inspire

  • The main cause for failure and unhappiness is trading what you want most for what you want at the moment. 
  • Happiness sneaks in through a door you didn't know you left open. 
  • I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can't see from the center. - Kurt Vonnegut, Jr 
  • Change is not made without inconvenience, even from worse to better.
  • Compassion for others begins with kindness to ourselves. 
  • I look at what I have not and think myself unhappy; others look at what I have and think me happy. 
  • The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly and lie about your age. - Lucille Ball
  • love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece. 
  • Doubt whom you will, but never doubt yourself. 
  • Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things. 
  • Where the willingness is great, the difficulties cannot be great. Niccolo Machiavelli 
  • To accept ourselves as we are means to value our imperfections as much as our perfections. 
  • Think, what has this day brought me, and what have I given it? 
  • Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. - Mahatma Gandhi 

Hospital Windows

- Author Unknown

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room’s only window. The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back.

The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation.

And every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window. The man in the other bed began to live for those one-hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside.

The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color of the rainbow. Grand old trees graced the landscape, and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance.

As the man by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene.

One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade passing by. Although the other man couldn’t hear the band – he could see it in his mind’s eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.

Days and weeks passed. One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep. She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away.

As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone. Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the world outside. Finally, he would have the joy of seeing it for himself.
He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed. It faced a blank wall. The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window. The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall. She said, “Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you.”

The Fence
- Author Unknown

There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily, gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.

Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone.

The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said “you have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one.” You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won’t matter how many times you say I’m sorry, the wound is still there. Make sure you control your temper the next time you are tempted to say something you will regret later.

Regret City

- Author Unknown

I had not really planned on taking a trip this time of year, and yet I found myself packing rather hurriedly. This trip was going to be unpleasant and I knew in advance that no real good would come of it. This is my annual “Guilt Trip.”

I got tickets to fly there on “WISH-I-HAD” airlines. It was an extremely short flight. I got my “baggage,” which I could not check. I chose to carry it myself all the way. It was loaded down with a thousand memories of “what might have been.” No one greeted me as I entered the terminal to the Regret City International Airport. I say international because people from all over the world come to this dismal town.

As I checked into the “Last Resort” Hotel, I noticed that they would be hosting the year’s most important event — the annual “Pity Party.” I wasn’t going to miss that great social occasion. Many of the towns leading citizens would be there.

First, there would be the “Done” family; you know, “Should Have,” “Would Have” and “Could Have.” Then came the “I Had” family. You probably know old “Wish” and his clan. Of course, the “Opportunities” family; “Missed and Lost,” would be present. The biggest family there would be the “Yesterday’s.”

There are far too many of them to count, but each one would have a very sad story to share. Of course, “Shattered Dreams” would surely make and appearance. “It’s Their Fault” family would regale us with stories (excuses) about how things had failed in their life. Each story would be loudly applauded by the “Don’t Blame Me” and “I Couldn’t Help It” committee.

To make a long story short, I went to this depressing party, knowing full well there would be no real benefit in doing so. And, as usual, I became very depressed. But as I thought about all of the stories of failures brought back from the past, it occurred to me that this trip and subsequent “pity parties” COULD be cancelled by ME!

I started to realize that I did not have to be there. And I didn’t have to be depressed. One thing kept going through my mind, I CAN’T CHANGE YESTERDAY, BUT I DO HAVE THE POWER TO MAKE TODAY A WONDERFUL DAY. I can be happy, joyous, fulfilled, encouraged, as well as being encouraging.

Knowing this, I left Regret City immediately, and didn’t leave a forwarding address. Am I sorry for mistakes I’ve made in the past? YES! But there is no way to undo them.

So, if you’re planning a trip back to Regret City, please cancel all those reservations now. Instead, take a trip to a nice place called: “Starting Again.” I like it so much that I made it my permanent residence. My neighbors, the “Been Forgiven” and the “We’re Saved” are so very helpful. By the way, you don’t have to carry around the heavy baggage anymore either. That load is lifted from your shoulders upon arrival. But don’t take my word for it, find out for yourself.

Puppies for Sale

- Author Unknown

A store owner was tacking a sign above his door that read “Puppies For Sale.” Signs like that have a way of attracting small children and sure enough, a little boy appeared by the store owner’s sign. “How much are you going to sell the puppies for?” he asked. The store owner replied, “Anywhere from $30-$50.”

The little boy reached in his pocket and pulled out some change. “I have $2.37,” he said. “May I please look at them?” The store owner smiled and whistled, out of the kennel came Lady, who ran down the aisle of his store followed by five teeny, tiny balls of fur. One puppy was lagging considerably behind.

Immediately the little boy singled out the lagging, limping puppy and said, “What’s wrong with that little dog?” The store owner explained that the veteriarian had examined the little puppy and had discovered it didn’t have a hip socket. It would always limp. It would always be lame. The little boy became excited. “That is the little puppy that I want to buy.” The store owner said, “No, you don’t want to buy that little dog. If you really want him, I’ll just give him to you.”

The little boy got quite upset. He looked into the store owner’s eyes, pointing his finger, and said, “I don’t want you to give him to me. That dog is worth every bit as much as all the other dogs and I’ll pay full price. In fact, I’ll give you $2.37 now, and 50 cents a month until I have him paid for.”

The store owner countered, “You really don’t want to buy this little dog. He is never going to be able to run and jump and play with you like the other puppies.”

To this, the little boy reached down and rolled up his pant leg to reveal a badly twisted, crippled left leg supported by a big metal brace. He looked up at the store owner and softly replied, “Well, I don’t run so good myself, and the little puppy will need someone who understands!”

Did you know ?

  • About 10,000,000 people have the same birthday as you.  
  • About 100 people choke to death on ballpoint pens each year. 
  • About 20% of bird species have become extinct in the past 200 years, almost all of them because of human activity. 
  • About a third of all Americans flush the toilet while they're still sitting on it.  
  • About one-tenth of the earth's surface is permanently covered with ice. 
  • Abraham Lincoln had to go across the street to the War Department to get news from the battlefield because there was no telegraph in the White House.  
  • Abraham Lincoln's ghost is said to haunt the White House. 
  • Acupuncture was first used as a medical treatment in 2700 BC by Chinese emperor Shen-Nung. 
  • Adding sugar to coffee is believed to have started in 1715, in the court of King Louis XIV, the French monarch.  
  • Adjusting for inflation, Cleopatra, 1963, is the most expensive movie ever made to date (mid-1999). Its budget of $44 million is equivalent to 270 million 1999 dollars. 
  • An average of 100 people choke to death on ball point pens each year. 
  • The National Anthem of Greece has 158 verses. 
  • Barbie's full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts. 

Just for laughs

Copy Cat Liar

Police in Radnor, Pennsylvania interrogated a suspect by placing a metal colander on his head and connecting it with wires to a photocopy machine. 

The message, "He's lying," was placed in the copier, and police pressed the copy button each time they thought the suspect wasn't telling the truth. Believing the "lie detector" was working, the suspect confessed.


Seymour Schwartz was a good and deeply religious man. When Seymour passed away, God greeted him at the Pearly Gates. 

"Hungry, Seymour?" asked God. "I could eat," Seymour replied. So God opened a can of tuna and reached for a chunk of fresh rye bread and they shared it. 

While eating this humble meal, Seymour looked down into Hell and saw the inhabitants devouring huge steaks, lobsters, pheasants, pastries and many fine wines. 

Curious, but deeply trusting, Seymour remained silent. 

The next day God again invited Seymour to join Him for a meal. Again, they ate tuna and rye bread. Once again looking down, Seymour could see the denizens of Hell enjoying caviar, champagne, lamb, truffles and chocolates. Still Seymour said nothing. 

The following day, mealtime arrived and another can of tuna was opened. Seymour could contain himself no longer. Meekly, he said: "God, I am grateful to be in heaven with you as a reward for the pious, obedient life I led. But here in heaven all I eat is tuna and a piece of rye bread, whereas in that Other Place they eat like emperors and kings! Forgive me, Lord, but I just don't understand." 

God sighed and replied, "Let's be honest, Seymour. For just two people, does it pay to cook?" 


by Lew Wallace

Part Five 

Messala sends a letter to Valerius Gratus about his discovery that Judah is alive and well, however Sheik Ilderim intercepts the letter and shares its contents with Judah. He discovers that his mother and sister were imprisoned in a cell at the Antonia Fortress and Messala has been spying on him.

Ilderim is deeply impressed with Judah's skills with his racing horses and is pleased to choose him as charioteer.

Simonides the merchant comes to Judah and offers him the accumulated fortune of the Hur family business, of which Simonides has been steward. Judah Ben-Hur accepts only the money, leaving property and the rest to the loyal merchant. They each agree to do their part to fight for the Christ, whom they believe to be a political savior from Roman authority.

A day before the race Ilderim prepared his horses and Judah appoints Malluch to organize his support campaign for him. Meanwhile, Messala organizes his own huge campaign, revealing Judah Ben-Hur's real identity to the world as an outcast and convict. Malluch challenges Messala and his cronies to a vast wager, which, if the Roman loses, would bankrupt him.

The day of the race comes. During the race Messala and Judah become the clear leaders. Judah deliberately scrapes his chariot wheel against Messala's and Messala's chariot breaks apart. Judah is crowned winner and showered with prizes, claiming his first strike against Rome.

After the race, Judah Ben-Hur receives a letter from Iras asking him to go to the Roman palace of Idernee. When he arrives there, he sees that he has been tricked. Thord, a Saxon, hired by Messala, comes to kill Judah. They duel, but before it is over Ben-Hur offers Thord four thousand sestercii to let him live. Thord returns to Messala claiming he has killed Judah - so collecting money from both Messala and Judah, returning to Rome to open a wine shop. Being supposedly dead, Judah Ben-Hur goes to the desert with Ilderim to plan a secret campaign.


Malluch stopped at the door; Ben-Hur entered alone.

The room was the same in which he had formerly interviewed Simonides, and it had been in nowise changed, except now,close by the arm-chair, a polished brazen rod, set on a broad wooden pedestal, arose higher than a tall man, holding lamps of silver on sliding arms, half-a-dozen or more in number, and all burning. The light was clear, bringing into view the panelling on the walls, the cornice with its row of gilded balls, and the dome
dully tinted with violet mica.

Within a few steps, Ben-Hur stopped.

Three persons were present, looking at him--Simonides, Ilderim, and Esther.

He glanced hurriedly from one to another, as if to find answer to the question half formed in his mind, What business can these have with me? He became calm, with every sense on the alert, for the question was succeeded by another, Are they friends or enemies?

At length, his eyes rested upon Esther.

The men returned his look kindly; in her face there was something more than kindness--something too _spirituel_ for definition, which yet went to his inner consciousness without definition.

Shall it be said, good reader? Back of his gaze there was a comparison in which the Egyptian arose and set herself over against the gentle Jewess; but it lived an instant, and, as is the habit of such comparisons, passed away without a conclusion.

"Son of Hur--"

The guest turned to the speaker.

"Son of Hur," said Simonides, repeating the address slowly, and with distinct emphasis, as if to impress all its meaning upon him most interested in understanding it, "take thou the peace of the Lord God of our fathers--take it from me." He paused, then added, "From me and mine."

The speaker sat in his chair; there were the royal head, the bloodless face, the masterful air, under the influence of which visitors forgot the broken limbs and distorted body of the man. The full black eyes gazed out under the white brows steadily, but not sternly. A moment thus, then he crossed his hands upon his breast.

The action, taken with the salutation, could not be misunderstood, and was not.

"Simonides," Ben-Hur answered, much moved, "the holy peace you tender is accepted. As son to father, I return it to you. Only let there be perfect understanding between us."

Thus delicately he sought to put aside the submission of the merchant, and, in place of the relation of master and servant, substitute one higher and holier.

Simonides let fall his hands, and, turning to Esther, said, "A seat for the master, daughter."

She hastened, and brought a stool, and stood, with suffused face, looking from one to the other--from Ben-Hur to Simonides, from Simonides to Ben-Hur; and they waited, each declining the superiority direction would imply. When at length the pause began to be embarrassing, Ben-Hur advanced, and gently took the stool from her, and, going to the chair, placed it at the merchant's

"I will sit here," he said.

His eyes met hers--an instant only; but both were better of the look. He recognized her gratitude, she his generosity and forbearance.

Simonides bowed his acknowledgment.

"Esther, child, bring me the paper," he said, with a breath of relief.

She went to a panel in the wall, opened it, took out a roll of papyri, and brought and gave it to him.

"Thou saidst well, son of Hur," Simonides began, while unrolling the sheets. "Let us understand each other. In anticipation of the demand--which I would have made hadst thou waived it--I have here a statement covering everything necessary to the understanding required. I could see but two points involved--the property first, and then our relation. The statement is explicit as to both. Will it please thee to read it now?"

Ben-Hur received the papers, but glanced at Ilderim.

"Nay," said Simonides, "the sheik shall not deter thee from reading. The account--such thou wilt find it--is of a nature requiring a witness. In the attesting place at the end thou wilt
find, when thou comest to it, the name--Ilderim, Sheik. He knows all. He is thy friend. All he has been to me, that will he be to thee also."

Simonides looked at the Arab, nodding pleasantly, and the latter gravely returned the nod, saying, "Thou hast said."

Ben-Hur replied, "I know already the excellence of his friendship, and have yet to prove myself worthy of it." Immediately he continued, "Later, O Simonides, I will read the papers carefully; for the present, do thou take them, and if thou be not too weary, give me their substance."

Simonides took back the roll.

"Here, Esther, stand by me and receive the sheets, lest they fall into confusion."

She took place by his chair, letting her right arm fall lightly across his shoulder, so, when he spoke, the account seemed to have rendition from both of them jointly.

"This," said Simonides, drawing out the first leaf, "shows the money I had of thy father's, being the amount saved from the Romans; there was no property saved, only money, and that the robbers would have secured but for our Jewish custom of bills of exchange. The amount saved, being sums I drew from Rome, Alexandria, Damascus, Carthage, Valentia, and elsewhere within the circle of trade, was one hundred and twenty talents Jewish

He gave the sheet to Esther, and took the next one.

"With that amount--one hundred and twenty talents--I charged myself. Hear now my credits. I use the word, as thou wilt see, with reference rather to the proceeds gained from the use of the money."

From separate sheets he then read footings, which, fractions omitted,
were as follows:


  By ships............................... 60 talents.
   " goods in store......................110   "
   " cargoes in transit.................. 75   "
   " camels, horses, etc................. 20   "
   " warehouses.......................... 10   "
   " bills due........................... 54   "
   " money on hand and subject to draft..224   "
  Total..................................553   "   "

"To these now, to the five hundred and fifty-three talents gained, add the original capital I had from thy father, and thou hast SIX HUNDRED AND SEVENTY THREE TALENTS!--and all thine--making thee, O son of Hur, the richest subject in the world."

He took the papyri from Esther, and, reserving one, rolled them and offered them to Ben-Hur. The pride perceptible in his manner was not offensive; it might have been from a sense of duty well done; it might have been for Ben-Hur without reference to himself.

"And there is nothing," he added, dropping his voice, but not his eyes--"there is nothing now thou mayst not do."

The moment was one of absorbing interest to all present. Simonides crossed his hands upon his breast again; Esther was anxious; Ilderim nervous. A man is never so on trial as in the moment of excessive good-fortune.

Taking the roll, Ben-Hur arose, struggling with emotion.

"All this is to me as a light from heaven, sent to drive away a night which has been so long I feared it would never end, and so dark I had lost the hope of seeing," he said, with a husky voice.

"I give first thanks to the Lord, who has not abandoned me, and my next to thee, O Simonides. Thy faithfulness outweighs the cruelty of others, and redeems our human nature. 'There is nothing I cannot do:' be it so. Shall any man in this my hour of such mighty privilege be more generous than I ? Serve me as a witness now, Sheik Ilderim. Hear thou my words as I shall speak them--hear and remember. And thou, Esther, good angel of this
good man! hear thou also."

He stretched his hand with the roll to Simonides.

"The things these papers take into account--all of them: ships, houses, goods, camels, horses, money; the least as well as the greatest--give I back to thee, O Simonides, making them all thine, and sealing them to thee and thine forever."

Esther smiled through her tears; Ilderim pulled his beard with rapid motion, his eyes glistening like beads of jet. Simonides alone was calm.

"Sealing them to thee and thine forever," Ben-Hur continued, with better control of himself, "with one exception, and upon one condition."

The breath of the listeners waited upon his words.

"The hundred and twenty talents which were my father's thou shalt return to me."

Ilderim's countenance brightened.

"And thou shalt join me in search of my mother and sister, holding all thine subject to the expense of discovery, even as I will hold mine."

Simonides was much affected. Stretching out his hand, he said, "I see thy spirit, son of Hur, and I am grateful to the Lord that he hath sent thee to me such as thou art. If I served well thy father in life, and his memory afterwards, be not afraid of default to thee; yet must I say the exception cannot stand."

Exhibiting, then, the reserved sheet, he continued,

"Thou hast not all the account. Take this and read--read aloud."

Ben-Hur took the supplement, and read it.

"Statement of the servants of Hur, rendered by Simonides, steward of the estate.

  1. Amrah, Egyptian, keeping the palace in Jerusalem.
  2. Simonides, the steward, in Antioch.
  3. Esther, daughter of Simonides."

Now, in all his thoughts of Simonides, not once had it entered Ben-Hur's mind that, by the law, a daughter followed the parent's condition. In all his visions of her, the sweet-faced Esther had figured as the rival of the Egyptian, and an object of possible love. He shrank from the revelation so suddenly brought him, and looked at her blushing; and, blushing, she dropped her eyes before him. Then he said, while the papyrus rolled itself together,

"A man with six hundred talents is indeed rich, and may do what he pleases; but, rarer than the money, more priceless than the property, is the mind which amassed the wealth, and the heart it could not corrupt when amassed. O Simonides--and thou, fair Esther--fear not. Sheik Ilderim here shall be witness that in the same moment ye were declared my servants, that moment I declared ye free; and what I declare, that will I put in writing.
Is it not enough? Can I do more?"

"Son of Hur," said Simonides, "verily thou dost make servitude lightsome. I was wrong; there are some things thou canst not do; thou canst not make us free in law. I am thy servant forever, because I went to the door with thy father one day, and in my ear the awl-marks yet abide."

"Did my father that?"

"Judge him not," cried Simonides, quickly. "He accepted me a servant of that class because I prayed him to do so. I never repented the step. It was the price I paid for Rachel, the mother of my child here; for Rachel, who would not be my wife unless I became what she was."

"Was she a servant forever?"

"Even so."

Ben-Hur walked the floor in pain of impotent wish.

"I was rich before," he said, stopping suddenly. "I was rich with the gifts of the generous Arrius; now comes this greater fortune, and the mind which achieved it. Is there not a purpose of God in it all ? Counsel me, O Simonides! Help me to see the right and do it. Help me to be worthy my name, and what thou art in law to me, that will I be to thee in fact and deed. I will be thy servant forever."

Simonides' face actually glowed.

"O son of my dead master! I will do better than help; I will serve thee with all my might of mind and heart. Body, I have not; it perished in thy cause; but with mind and heart I will
serve thee. I swear it, by the altar of our God, and the gifts upon the altar! Only make me formally what I have assumed to be."

"Name it," said Ben-Hur, eagerly.

"As steward the care of the property will be mine."

"Count thyself steward now; or wilt thou have it in writing?"

"Thy word simply is enough; it was so with the father, and I will not more from the son. And now, if the understanding be perfect"--Simonides paused.

"It is with me," said Ben-Hur.

"And thou, daughter of Rachel, speak!" said Simonides, lifting her arm from his shoulder.

Esther, left thus alone, stood a moment abashed, her color coming and going; then she went to Ben-Hur, and said, with a womanliness singularly sweet, "I am not better than my mother was; and, as she is gone, I pray you, O my master, let me care for my father."

Ben-Hur took her hand, and led her back to the chair, saying, "Thou art a good child. Have thy will."

Simonides replaced her arm upon his neck, and there was silence for a time in the room.

to be continued