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INSPIRATIONAL - SPIRITUAL STORIES

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The Box
The story goes that some time ago a mother punished her 5 year-old daughter for wasting a roll of expensive gold wrapping paper. Money was tight and she became even more upset when the child used the gold paper to decorate a box to put under the Christmas tree.
Nevertheless, the little girl brought the gift box to her mother the next morning and said, "This is for you, Momma."  The mother was embarrassed by her earlier over reaction, but her anger flared again when she opened the box and found it was empty.
She spoke to her daughter in a harsh manner. "Don't you know, young lady, when you give someone a present there's supposed to be something inside the package?"
She had tears in her eyes and said, "Oh, Momma, it's not empty! I blew kisses into it until it was full."
The mother was crushed. She fell on her knees and put her arms around her little girl, and she begged her forgiveness for her thoughtless anger.
An accident took the life of the child only a short time later, and it is told that the mother kept that gold box by her bed for all the years of her life. Whenever she was discouraged or faced difficult problems she would open the box and take out an imaginary kiss and remember the love of the child who had put it there.

In a very real sense, each of us, as human beings, have been given a Golden box filled with unconditional love and kisses from our children, family, friends and God. There is no more precious possession anyone could hold. 

Friends are like angels who lift us to our feet, when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly. 

"Never let your successes go to your HEAD and never let your failures go to your HEART."

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NAIL IN THE FENCE
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 back of 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. " A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one.

Friends are very rare jewels, indeed. They make you smile and encourage you to succeed. They lend an ear, they share words of praise and they always want to open their hearts to us.
Please forgive me if I have ever left a hole.

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A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds,
"What does love mean?"
The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined. See what you think:
  • "When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love." Rebecca - age 8
  • When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You know that your name is safe in their mouth." Billy - age 4
  • "Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other." Karl - age 5
  • "Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs." Chrissy - age 6
  • "Love is what makes you smile when you're tired." Terri - age 4
  • Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK." Danny - age 7
  • "Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. But they look gross when they kiss" Emily - age 8
  • "Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen," Bobby - age 7 (Wow!)
  • "If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate." Nikka - age 6 "Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday." Noelle - age 7
  • "Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well." Tommy - age 6
  • "During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn't scared anymore" Cindy - age 8
  • "My mommy loves me more than anybody. You don't see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night." Clare - age 6
  • "Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken." Elaine-age 5
  • "Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford." Chris - age 7
  • "Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day." Mary Ann - age 4
  • "I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones." Lauren - age 4
  • "When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you." Karen - age 7
  • "Love is when Mommy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn't think it's gross." Mark - age 6
  • "You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget." Jessica - age 8
  • And the final one-Author and lecturer Leo Buscaglia once talked about a contest he was asked to judge. The purpose of the contest was to find the most caring child. The winner was a four-year old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry the little boy went into the old gentleman's yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there. When his Mother asked him what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said, "Nothing, I just helped him cry."

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Interesting historical information about life in the 1500's
The next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water temperature isn't just how you like it, think about how things used to be.
Here are some facts about the1500s:

  • Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May, and still smelled pretty good by June. However, they were starting to smell, so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor. Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.
  • Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children. Last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it. Hence the saying, Don't throw the baby out with the Bath water.
  • Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof. Hence the saying . It's raining cats and dogs
  • There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house.. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That's how canopy beds came into existence.
  • The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying, Dirt poor. The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entranceway. Hence the saying a thresh hold.
  • In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while.  Hence the rhyme, Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old..
  • Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could, bring home the bacon.  They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and chew the fat..
  • Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.
  • Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or the upper crust.
  • Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up. Hence the custom of holding a wake.
  • England is old and small and the local folks started running out of  places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a bone-house, and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. So they  would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the graveyard shift.) to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be, saved by the bell or was considered a ...dead ringer.

And that's the truth... Now, whoever said History was boring ! ! !

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Subject: The Positive Side of Life
  • Living on Earth is expensive, but it does include a free trip around the sun every year.
  • How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door You're on.
  • Birthdays are good for you; the more you have, the longer you live.
  • Happiness comes through doors you didn't even know you left open.
  • Ever notice that the people who are late are often much jollier than the people who have to wait for them?
  • Most of us go to our grave with our music still inside of us.
  • If Wal-Mart is lowering prices every day, how come nothing is free yet?
  • You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.
  • Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once.
  • Don't cry because it's over; smile because it happened.
  • We could learn a lot from crayons: some are sharp, some are pretty, some are dull, some have weird names, and all are different colors....but they all exist very nicely in the same box.
  • A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.
  • Have an awesome day, and know that someone who thinks you're great has thought about you today!.. "And that person was me.".....

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YOU Pack My Parachute
Charles Plumb was a U.S. Navy jet pilot in Vietnam. After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands. He was captured and spent 6 years in a communist Vietnamese prison. He survived the ordeal and now lectures on lessons learned from that experience.
One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said, "You're Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!"
"How in the world did you know that?" asked Plumb.
"I packed your parachute," the man replied.
Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude. The man pumped his hand and said, "I guess it worked!"
Plumb assured him, "It sure did. If your chute hadn't worked, I wouldn't be here today."
Plumb couldn't sleep that night, thinking about that man. Plumb says, "I kept wondering what he had looked like in a Navy uniform: a white hat, a bib in the back, and bell-bottom trousers. I wonder how many times I might have seen him and not even said 'Good morning, how are you?' or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot and he was just a sailor."
Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent at a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, holding in his hands each time the fate of someone he didn't know.
Now, Plumb asks his audience, "Who's packing your parachute?" Everyone has someone who provides what they need to make it through the day. He also points out that he needed many kinds of parachutes when his plane was shot down over enemy territory - he needed his physical parachute, his mental parachute, his emotional parachute, and his spiritual parachute. He called on all these supports before reaching safety.
Sometimes in the daily challenges that life gives us, we miss what is really important. We may fail to say hello, please, or thank you, congratulate someone on something wonderful that has happened to them, give a compliment, or just do something nice for no reason. As you go through this week, this month, this year, recognize people who pack your parachutes.

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The Mayonnaise Jar and the Coffee
A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front on him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed it was.
So then the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full.
They agreed it was. The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar and of course the sand filled up everything else up. He asked once more if the jar was full.
The students responded with an unanimous "yes." The professor then produced two coffee cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.
"Now," said the professor, as the laughter subsided. "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things - your family, your children, your health, your friends, and your favorite passions - 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, and your car. The sand is everything else - the small stuff. If you put the sand in the jar first, he continued, "There is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls.
The same goes for 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 spouse to dinner. Spend time with your parents for you won't always have them in your life. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first, the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.
One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represents? The professor smiled. "I am glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there is always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend."
So when things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the coffee. 

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Four Wives
In ancient times, there was a rich merchant who had four wives. He loved the fourth wife the most and adorned her with rich robes and treated her to delicacies. He took great care of her and gave her nothing but the best. He also loved his third wife very much. He was very proud of her and always wanted to show her off to his friends. However, the merchant was always in great fear that she might run away with some other men.
He too, loved his second wife. She was a very considerate person, always patient and in fact is the merchant's confidante. Whenever the merchant faced some problems, he always turned to his second wife and she would always help him out and help him through difficult times. Now, the merchant's first wife was a very loyal partner and had made great contributions in maintaining his wealth and business as well as taking care of the household. However, the merchant did not love the first wife and although she loved him deeply, he hardly took notice of her.
One day, the merchant fell ill. Before long, he knew that he was going to die soon. He thought of his luxurious life and told himself, "Now I have four wives with me. But when I die, I'll be alone. How lonely I'll be!"
Thus, he asked the fourth wife, "I loved you most, endowed you with the finest clothing and showered great care over you. Now that I'm dying, will you follow me and keep me company?" "No way!" replied the fourth wife and she walked away without another word. Similar responses came from the third and second wives.
Then a voice called out: "I'll leave with you. I'll follow you no matter where you go." The merchant looked up and there was his first wife. Greatly grieved, the merchant said, "I should have taken much better care of you while I could have!"

Actually, we each have four wives in our lives
4. The fourth wife is our body. No matter how much time and effort we lavish in making it look good, it'll leave us when we die.
3. Our third wife represents our possessions, status and wealth. When we die, they all go to others.
2. The second wife is our family and friends. No matter how close they had been there for us when we're alive, the furthest they can stay by us is up to the grave.
1. The first wife is, in fact, our soul, often neglected in our pursuit of material, wealth and sensual pleasure. – but in truth our real self.

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Friendship
His name was Fleming, and he was a poor Scottish farmer. One day, while trying to make a living for his family, he heard a cry for help coming from a nearby bog. He dropped his tools and ran to the bog. There, mired to his waist in black muck, was a terrified boy, screaming and struggling to free himself. Farmer Fleming saved the lad from what could have been a slow and terrifying death.
The next day, a fancy carriage pulled up to the Scotsman's sparse surroundings. An elegantly dressed nobleman stepped out and introduced himself as the father of the boy Farmer Fleming had saved. "I want to repay you," said the nobleman. "You saved my son's life.
"No, I can't accept payment for what I did," the Scottish farmer replied, waving off the offer.
At that moment, the farmer's own son came to the door of the family hovel.
"Is that your son?" the nobleman asked.
"Yes" the farmer replied proudly.
"I'll make you a deal. Let me provide him with the level of education my own son will enjoy. If the lad is anything like his father, he'll no doubt grow to be a man we both will be proud of."
And that he did. Farmer Fleming's son attended the very best schools and in time, he graduated from St. Mary's Hospital Medical School in London, and went on to become known throughout the world as the noted Sir Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of Penicillin.
Years afterward, the same nobleman's son who was saved from the bog was stricken with pneumonia. What saved his life this time? Penicillin. The name of the nobleman? Lord Randolph Churchill. His son's name? Sir Winston Churchill.

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Copyright 1999 - 2008. David Raphael Isaacson. No portion of information in this website may be reproduced or distributed in any form without prior permission from the author. All rights reserved.