jwp_logo.gif (3595 bytes)Quotations

I am always on the lookout for quotations I find meaningful to my life. I like the oldest ones best. They show that while the trappings of life change, the meaningful part of life is the same for us as it was for our ancestors. I collect quotations and stories from everywhere. Many have been sent to me by friends. If you have one you would like considered for inclusion please send it to me at 

I also collect interesting facts and stories. One of my favorite is titled "How Military & Government Specs Live Forever." It demonstrates how something one might consider inconsequential can impact future decisions for centuries.

Another is A Story To Live By. It encourages us to live every day as a special day. We never know when they will run out.

Great Truths About Life That Little Children Have Learned

You can make a difference You may not be able to save the world, but you can make a difference

The Trouble Tree Don't take your work troubles home with you.

What Impact Do You Make? We may never know the impact we have on people. If we are fortunate we will help those we meet.

Another Lesson In Life An interesting lesson in time mangement for your life.

Real Friends A way to tell who are your true friends. Copy it and send it you yours.

Friends Through the Years What we look for in friends as we grow up doen't really change.

My Favorite Quotations Page with Quotations

A little humor to lighten your day Page with humorous facts, points to ponder and such


How Military & Government Specs Live Forever

The US Standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches. That's an exceedingly odd number. Why was that gauge used? Because that's the way they built them in England, and the US railroads were built by English expatriates. Why did the English people build them like that? Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the pre-railroad tramways, and that's the gauge they used.

Why did "they" use that gauge then? Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they used for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing.

Okay! Why did the wagons use that odd wheel spacing? Well, if they tried to use any other spacing the wagons would break on some of the old, long distance roads, because that's the spacing of the old wheel ruts.

So who built these old rutted roads? The first long distance roads in Europe were built by Imperial Rome for the benefit of their legions. The roads have been used ever since. And the ruts? The initial ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying their wagons, were first made by Roman war chariots. Since the chariots were made for or by Imperial Rome they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing.

Thus, we have the answer to the original questions. The United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches derives from the original specification (Military Spec) for an Imperial Roman army war chariot.MilSpecs and Bureaucracies live forever.

So, the next time you are handed a specification and wonder what horse's ass came up with it, you may be exactly right. Because the Imperial Roman chariots were made to be just wide enough to accommodate the back-ends of two war horses.



A Story To Live By
by Ann Wells (Los Angeles Times)
Courtesy of my friend Arlene

My brother-in-law opened the bottom drawer of my sister's bureau and lifted out a tissue-wrapped package.  "This," he said, "is not a slip. This is lingerie."  He discarded the tissue and handed me the slip. It was exquisite; silk, handmade and trimmed with a cobweb of lace. The price tag with an
astronomical figure on it was still attached.  "Jan bought this the first time we went to New York, at least 8 or 9 years ago. She never wore it. She was saving it for a special occasion.

Well, I guess this is the occasion." He took the slip from me and put it on the bed with the other clothes we were taking to the mortician. His hands lingered on the soft material for a moment, then he slammed the drawer shut and turned to me. "Don't ever save anything for a special occasion. Every day you're alive is a special occasion."

I remembered those words through the funeral and the days that followed when I helped him and my niece attend to all the sad chores that follow an unexpected death. I thought about them on the plane returning to California from the Midwestern town where my sister's family lives. I thought about all the things that she hadn't seen or heard or done. I thought about the things that she had done without realizing that they were special.

I'm still thinking about his words, and they've changed my life. I'm reading more and dusting less. I'm sitting on the deck and admiring the view without fussing about the weeds in the garden. I'm spending more time with my family and friends and less time in committee meetings. Whenever possible, life should be a pattern of experience to savor, not endure. I'm trying to recognize these moments now and cherish them.

I'm not "saving" anything; we use our good china and crystal for every special event-such as losing a pound, getting the sink unstopped, the first camellia blossom. I wear my good blazer to the market if I feel like it. My theory is if I look prosperous, I can shell out $28.49 for one small bag of
groceries without wincing. I'm not saving my good perfume for special parties; clerks in hardware stores and tellers in banks have noses that function as well as my party-going friends'.

"Someday" and "one of these days" are losing their grip on my vocabulary. If it's worth seeing or hearing or doing, I want to see and hear and do it now. I'm not sure what my sister would have done had she known that she wouldn't be here for the tomorrow we all take for granted. I think she would have called family members and a few close friends. She might have called a few former
friends to apologize and mend fences for past squabbles. I like to think she would have gone out for a Chinese dinner, her favorite food. I'm guessing -- I'll never know.

It's those little things left undone that would make me angry if I knew that my hours were limited. Angry because I put off seeing good Friends whom I was going to get in touch with -- someday. Angry because I hadn't written certain letters that I intended to write -- one of these days. Angry and sorry that I didn't tell my husband and daughter often enough how much I truly love them. I'm trying very hard not to put off, hold back, or save anything that would add laughter and luster to our lives.

And every morning when I open my eyes, I tell myself that it is special. Every day, every minute, every breath truly is...a gift from God.

 


Great Truths About Life That Little Children Have Learned


* No matter how hard you try, you can't baptize cats.
* When your mom is mad at your dad, don't let her brush your hair.
* If your sister hits you, don't hit her back.  They always catch the second person.
* Never ask your 3-year old brother to hold a tomato.
* You can't trust dogs to watch your food.
* Reading what people write on desks can teach you a lot.
* Don't sneeze when someone is cutting your hair.
* Puppies still have bad breath even after eating a tic tac.
* Never hold a dustbuster and a cat at the same time.
* School lunches stick to the wall.
* You can't hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk.
* Don't wear polka-dot underwear under white shorts.
* The best place to be when you are sad is in Grandma's lap.

 


You can make a difference

From the Orlando NTC "Navigator", by LCDR Tom Cook, NTC Command Chaplain: 

Once there was a man walking down a deserted Mexican beach at sunset.   As he walked along, he began to see another man in the distance.  As he got closer, he noticed the man was picking up
starfish that had been washed ashore and, one at a time, he was throwing them back into the water.  When the man asked what he was doing, he said, "I'm throwing these starfish back into the ocean.  You see, it's low tide right now and all of these starfish have been washed up onto the beach.  If I don't throw them back, they'll die from lack of oxygen." "I understand," replied the visitor, "but there must be hundreds of starfish on this beach.  You can't possibly get to all of them.  And this is happening on hundreds of beaches all up and down the coast.   Can't you see that you really cannot make a difference?"  The man smiled, bent down and picked up yet another starfish, and as he threw it back into the sea, he replied, "Made a difference to that one."  Our lives do influence others...for good or bad.  Even small insignificant acts set in motion great things.   An encouraging word.  A cold soda.  The first, "Good Morning!"   A strong handshake.  Your every act or attitude will make a difference to just one!  ...In everything set them an example by doing what is good ...show integrity."


The Trouble Tree

The carpenter I hired to help me restore an old farmhouse had just finished a rough first day on the job.  A flat tire made him lose an hour of work, his electric saw quit and now his ancient pickup truck refused to start.

While I drove him home, he sat in stony silence.  On arriving, he invited me in to meet his family.  As we walked toward the front door, he paused briefly at a small tree, touching the tips of the branches with both hands.  When opening the door he underwent an amazing transformation.  His tanned face was wreathed in smiles and he hugged his two small children and gave his wife a kiss.

Afterward, he walked me to the car.  We passed the tree and my curiosity got the better of me.  I asked him about what I had seen him do earlier.

"Oh, that's my trouble tree," he replied.  "I know I can't help having troubles on the job, but one thing for sure, troubles don't belong in the house with my wife and children.  So I just hang them up
on the tree every night when I come home.  Then in the morning I pick them up again."  Funny thing is," he smiled, "when I come out in the morning to pick 'em up, there aren't nearly as many as I remember hanging up the night before.


WHAT IMPACT DO YOU MAKE?

Just a reminder of who we are and what we can do. Thought you might enjoy. It is long, but worth reading.

Jean Thompson stood in front of her fifth-grade class on the very first day of school in the fall and told the children a lie.  Like most teachers, she looked at her pupils and said that she loved them all the same, that she would treat them all alike.  And that was impossible because there in front of her, slumped in his seat on the third row, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard.

Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed he didn't play well with the other children, that his clothes were unkempt and that he constantly needed a bath. And Teddy was unpleasant.  It got to the point during the first few months that she would actually take delight in
marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X's and then marking the F at the top of the paper biggest of all.

Because Teddy was a sullen little boy, no one else seemed to enjoy him, either. At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child's records and put Teddy's off until last.  When she opened his file, she was in for a surprise. His first-grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is
a bright, inquisitive child with a ready laugh.  He does his work neatly and has good manners...he is a joy to be around."

His second-grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is an excellent student well-liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle."

His third-grade teacher wrote, "Teddy continues to work hard but his mother's death has been hard on him.  He tries to do his best but his father doesn't show much interest and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren't taken."

Teddy's fourth-grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is withdrawn and doesn't show much interest in school.  He doesn't have many friends and sometimes sleeps in class.   He is tardy and could become a problem."

By now Mrs. Thompson realized the problem but Christmas was coming fast.  It was all she could do, with the school play and all, until the day before the holidays began and she was suddenly forced to focus on Teddy Stoddard.  Her children brought her presents, all in beautiful ribbon and bright paper, except for Teddy's, which was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper of a scissored grocery bag.

Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one-quarter full of cologne.  She stifled the children's laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume behind the other wrist.

Teddy Stoddard stayed behind just long enough to say, "Mrs.Thompson, today you smelled just like my mom used to." After the children left she cried for at least an hour.

On that very day, she quit teaching reading, and writing, and speaking.  Instead, she began to teach children.  Jean Thompson paid particular attention to one they all called "Teddy." As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive.  The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded.  On days there would be an important test, Mrs.Thompson would remember that cologne.  By the end of the year he had become one of the smartest children in the class and...well, he had also become the "pet" of the teacher who had once vowed to love all of her children exactly the same.

A year later she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that of all the teachers he'd had in elementary school, she was his favorite.

Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still his favorite teacher of all time.

Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he'd stayed in school, had stuck with it, and would graduate from college with the highest of honors. He assured Mrs. Thompson she was still his favorite teacher.

Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor's degree, he decided to go a little further.  The letter explained that she was still his favorite teacher but that now his name was a little longer.  The letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, M.D.

The story doesn't end there.  You see, there was yet another letter that spring.   Teddy said he'd met this girl and was to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering...well, if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit in the pew usually reserved for the mother of the groom. And guess what, she wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing.

And I bet on that special day, Jean Thompson smelled just like ... well, just like the way Teddy remembered his mother smelling on their last Christmas together.

THE MORAL:   You never can tell what type of impact you may make on another's life by your actions or lack of action. Consider this fact in your venture thru life.


Another Lesson in Life

A while back I was reading about an expert on the subject of time management. One day this expert was speaking to a group of business students and, to drive home a point, used an illustration those students will never forget.As this man stood in front of the group of high-powered overachievers, he said, "Okay, time for a quiz."

Then he pulled out a one-gallon, wide-mouthed mason jar and set it on a table in front of him. Then he produced about a dozen fist-sized rocks and carefully placed them, one at a time, into the jar.

When the jar was filled to the top and no more rocks would fit inside, he asked, "Is this jar full?"

Everyone in the class said, "Yes."

Then he said, "Really?" He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. Then he dumped some gravel in and shook the jar causing pieces of gravel to work themselves down into the spaces between the big rocks.

Then he asked the group once more, "Is the jar full?"

By this time the class was onto him. "Probably not," one of them answered. "Good!" he replied.

He reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand. He started dumping the sand in and it went into all the spaces left between the rocks and the gravel. Once more he asked the question, "Is this jar full?"

"No!" the class shouted. Once again he said, "Good!"

Then he grabbed a pitcher of water and began to pour it in until the jar was filled to the brim. Then he looked up at the class and asked, "What is the point of this illustration?"

One eager beaver raised his hand and said, "The point is, no matter how full your schedule is, if you try really hard, you can always fit some more things into it!"

"No," the speaker replied, "that's not the point. The truth this illustration teaches us is: If you don't put the big rocks in first, you'll never get them in at all."

What are the 'big rocks' in your life?
A project that YOU want to accomplish?
Time with your loved ones?
Your faith, your education, your finances?
A cause?
Teaching or mentoring others?
Remember to put these BIG ROCKS in first
or you'll never get them in at all. ---

So, tonight or in the morning when you are reflecting on this short story, ask yourself this question: What are the 'big rocks' in my life or business? Then, put those in your jar first.


REAL FRIENDS

A pause for reflection - Anyone can stand by you when you are right but a Friend will stand by you even when you are wrong....

A simple friend identifies himself when he calls.
A real friend doesn't have to.

A simple friend opens a conversations with a full news bulletin on his life.
A real friend says, "What's new with you?"

A simple friend thinks the problems you whine about are recent.
A real friend says, "You've been whining about the same thing for 14 years.Get off your duff and do something about it."

A simple friend has never seen you cry.
A real friend has shoulders soggy from your tears.

A simple friend doesn't know your parents' first names.
A real friend has their phone numbers in his address book.

A simple friend brings a bottle of wine to your party.
A real friend comes early to help you cook and stays late to help you clean.

A simple friend hates it when you call after he has gone to bed.
A real friend asks you why you took so long to call.

A simple friend seeks to talk with you about your problems.
A real friend seeks to help your with your problems.

A simple friend wonders about your romantic history.
A real friend could blackmail you with it.

A simple friend, when visiting, acts like a guest.
A real friend opens your refrigerator and helps himself.

A simple friend thinks the friendship is over when you have an argument.
A real friend knows that it's not a friendship until after you've had a fight.

A simple friend expects you to always be there for them.
A real friend expects to always be there for you!

From your true friend.
Pass this on to anyone you care about...if you get it back you have found your true friends!


Friends Through the Years

 

1. In kindergarten your idea of a good friend was the person who let you have the red crayon when all that was left was the ugly black one.

2. In first grade your idea of a good friend was the person who went to the bathroom with you and held your hand as you walked through the scary halls.

3. In second grade your idea of a good friend was the person who helped you stand up to the class bully.

4. In third grade your idea of a good friend was the person who shared their lunch with you when you forgot yours on the bus.

5. In fourth grade your idea of a good friend was the person who was willing to switch square dancing partners in gym so you wouldn't have to be stuck do-si-do-ing with Nasty Nicky or Smelly Susan.

6. In fifth grade your idea of a friend was the person who saved a seat on the back of the bus for you.

7. In sixth grade your idea of a friend was the person who went up to Nick or Susan, your new crush, and asked them to dance with you, so that if they said no you wouldn't have to be embarrassed.

8. In seventh grade your idea of a friend was the person who let you copy the social studies homework from the night before that you had forgotten about.

9. In eighth grade your idea of a good friend was the person who helped you pack up your stuffed animals and old baseball cards so that your room would be a "high schooler's" room, but didn't laugh at you when you finished and broke out into tears.

10. In ninth grade your idea of a good friend was the person who went with you to that "cool" party thrown by a senior so you wouldn't wind up being the only freshman there.

11. In tenth grade your idea of a good friend was the person who changed their schedule so you would have someone to sit with at lunch.

12. In eleventh grade your idea of a good friend was the person who gave you rides in their new car, convinced your parents that you shouldn't be grounded, consoled you when you broke up with Nick or Susan, and found you a date to the prom.

13. In twelfth grade your idea of a good friend was the person who helped you pick out a college, assured you that you would get into that college; helped you deal with your parents who were having a hard time adjusting to the idea of letting you go...

14. At graduation your idea of a good friend was the person who was crying on the inside but managed the biggest smile one could give as they congratulated you.

15. The summer after twelfth grade your idea of a good friend was the person who gave you a reason to get out of the house when you just couldn't deal with your parents, assured you that now that you and Nick or you and Susan were back together you could make it through anything, helped you pack up for college and just silently hugged you as you looked through blurry eyes at 18 years of memories you were leaving behind, and finally on those last days of childhood, went out of their way to come over and send you off with a hug, a lot of memories, reassurance that you would make it in college as well as you had these past 18 years, and most importantly sent you off to college knowing you were loved.

16. Now, your idea of a good friend is still the person who gives you the better of the two choices, holds your hand when you're scared, helps you fight off those who try to take advantage of you, thinks of you at times when you are not there, reminds you of what you have forgotten, helps you put the past behind you but understands when you need to hold on to it a little longer, stays with you so that you have confidence, goes out of their way to make time for you, helps you clear up your mistakes, helps you deal with pressure from others, smiles for you when they are sad, helps you become a better person, and, most important, loves you!

Pass this on to those friends of the past, those of the future... and those you have met along the way... It seems that friends become more significant as we grow older! =)

 


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Joseph W. Pitt.
Copyright 1997 . All rights reserved.
Revised: February 15, 2005
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