Inspiration

- some stories and quotations to bring encouragement -

The Stone Cutter
by Benjamin Hoff

There was once a stone cutter who was dissatisfied with himself and with his position in life.

One day he passed a wealthy merchant's house. Through the open gateway, he saw many fine possessions and important visitors. "How powerful that merchant must be!" thought the stone cutter. He became very envious and wished that he could be like the merchant.

To his great surprise, he suddenly became the merchant, enjoying more luxuries and power than he had ever imagined, but envied and detested by those less wealthy than himself. Soon a high official passed by, carried in a sedan chair, accompanied by attendants and escorted by soldiers beating gongs. Everyone, no matter how wealthy, had to bow low before the procession. "How powerful that official is!" he thought. "I wish that I could be a high official!"

Then he became the high official, carried everywhere in his embroidered sedan chair, feared and hated by the people all around. It was a hot summer day, so the official felt very uncomfortable in the sticky sedan chair. He looked up at the sun. It shone proudly in the sky, unaffected by his presence. "How powerful the sun is!" he thought. "I wish that I could be the sun!"

Then he became the sun, shining fiercely down on everyone, scorching the fields, cursed by the farmers and laborers. But a huge black cloud moved between him and the earth, so that his light could no longer shine on everything below. "How powerful that storm cloud is!" he thought. "I wish that I could be a cloud!"

Then he became the cloud, flooding the fields and villages, shouted at by everyone. But soon he found that he was being pushed away by some great force, and realized that it was the wind. "How powerful it is!" he thought. "I wish that I could be the wind!"

Then he became the wind, blowing tiles off the roofs of houses, uprooting trees, feared and hated by all below him. But after a while, he ran up against something that would not move, no matter how forcefully he blew against it - a huge, towering rock. "How powerful that rock is!" he thought. "I wish that I could be a rock!"

Then he became the rock, more powerful than anything else on earth. But as he stood there, he heard the sound of a hammer pounding a chisel into the hard surface, and felt himself being changed. "What could be more powerful than I, the rock?" he thought.

He looked down and saw far below him the figure of a stone cutter.

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A wise woman who was traveling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream. The next day she met another traveler who was hungry, and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food. The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him. She did so without hesitation. The traveler left, rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime. But a few days later he came back to return the stone to the wise woman.
"I've been thinking," he said, "I know how valuable the stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me the stone."

"The Wise Woman's Stone," Author Unknown

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"People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the huge waves of the seas, at the long course of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars, and yet they pass by themselves without wondering."

St. Augustine, 354 430

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"This is the beginning of a new day. You have been given this day to use as you will. You can waste it or use it for good. What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever; in its place is something that you have left behind...let it be something good."

Author Unknown

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“The Real Meaning Of Peace”
Author Unknown

"There once was a king who offered a prize to the artist
who would paint the best picture of peace. Many artists
tried. The king looked at all the pictures. But there
were only two he really liked, and he had to choose
between them.
One picture was of a calm lake. The lake was a
perfect mirror for peaceful towering mountains all around
it. Overhead was a blue sky with fluffy white clouds.
All who saw this picture thought that it was a perfect
picture of peace.

The other picture had mountains, too. But these were rugged
and bare. Above was an angry sky, from which rain fell and in which lightning played. Down the side of the mountain tumbled a foaming waterfall. This did not look peaceful at all.

But when the king looked closely, he saw behind the waterfall a tiny bush growing in a crack in the rock. In the bush a mother bird had built her nest. There, in the midst of the rush of angry water, sat the mother bird on her nest - in perfect peace.

Which picture do you think won the prize? The king chose the second picture. Do you know why?

"Because," explained the king, "peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart. That is the real meaning of peace."

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I will permit no man to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him.

Booker T. Washington

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Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

Mark Twain

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“Come to the edge.”
“We can't. We're afraid.”
“Come to the edge.”
“We can't. We will fall!”
“Come to the edge.”
And they came.
And he pushed them.
And they flew.

Guillaume Apollinaire, 1880-1918

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When things go wrong as they sometimes will;
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill;
When the funds are low, and the debts are high
And you want to smile, but have to sigh;
When care is pressing you down a bit-
Rest if you must, but do not quit.

Success is failure turned inside out;
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt;
And you can never tell how close you are
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit-
It's when things go wrong that you must not quit.

"Don't Quit," Author Unknown

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What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.

Ambrose Redmoon

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The men who try to do something and fail are infinitely better than those who try to do nothing and succeed.

Lloyd Jones

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Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goals.

Author Unknown
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It is not the critic who counts;
not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled
or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man
who is actually in the arena,
whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood;
who strives valiantly;
who errs and comes short again and again;
who knows great enthusiasms,
the great devotions;
who spends himself in a worthy cause;
who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement,
and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while
DARING GREATLY
so that his place shall never be
with those timid souls
who know neither victory or defeat.


Theodore Roosevelt
26th President Of The United States

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The Difference He Made
By Randy Poole

Amidst the morning mist of the swift returning tide
I set out on my daily run, my walkman on my side.
Lost within my private world apart from cares and woes
I ran along the moistened shore, the sand between my toes.

In the distance, I saw a boy, as busy as can be.
He was running, stooping, picking up, and tossing in the sea.
Just what he threw, I couldn't tell, I looked as I drew near.
It seemed to be a rock or shell - as I approached him I could hear:

"Back you go, where you belong. Your safe now hurry home.
Your family's waiting for you little starfish, hurry on!"
It seemed the evening tide had washed the starfish on the shore,
And the swift receding water left a thousand there or more.

And this self-appointed savior, was trying one-by-one
To toss them back into the sea, against the racing sun.
I saw his plight was hopeless, that most of them would die.
I called out from my private world, "Hey Kid, why even try?"

"Must be at least a thousand here, strewn along the beach,
And even if you had the time, most you'll never reach.
You really think it makes a difference, to waste your time this way?"
And then I paused and waited, just to hear what he would say.

He stooped and took another, and looked me in the eye.
"It makes a difference to this one sir, this starfish will not die!"
With that, he tossed the little life, back where there was hope.
He stooped to take another. I could tell this was no joke.

The words that he spoke to me cut like a surgeon's knife.
Where I saw only numbers, he saw only life.
He didn't see the multitude of starfish on the sand.
He only saw the little life he held there in his hand.

He didn't stop to argue, to prove that he was right.
He just kept tossing starfish in the sea with all his might.
So I too stooped, and I picked up, and I tossed into the sea,
And I thought, just what a difference, that this boy has made in me.

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10 Things I Learned From My Dog

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A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him.
When the class began, he wordlessly 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 that it was.

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 again if the jar was full. They
agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of
course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar
was full. The students responded with an unanimous "yes."

The professor then produced two 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---and 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 into
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 out to
dinner. Play another 18. 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
represented. The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked.

It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's
always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend."

When things in your lives seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a
day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 cups of coffee.

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"Each second we live is a new and unique moment of the universe, a moment that will never be again. And what do we teach our children? We teach them that two and two make four, and that Paris is the capital of France. When will we also teach them what they are?

We should say to each of them: Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. In all the years that have passed, there has never been another child like you. Your legs, your arms, your clever fingers, the way you move.

You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel. And when you grow up, can you then harm another who is, like you, a marvel?

You must work, we must all work, to make the world worthy of its children."

Pablo Casals (1876-1973)

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