Finding Sunshine…and Gratitude in Our Lives

Keep your face to the sunshine and you will not see the shadows Helen KellerWhat do you do to make sure that there is sunshine in your life? I’m not talking about literal sunshine here…I am talking about finding gratitude and finding and recognizing the good things that are a part of your life! Do you always try to make sure that you find something to be grateful for? Perhaps, do you keep a gratitude journal?

I have found that as I have deliberately made an effort to notice and be grateful for my blessings, that both my peace and happiness have compounded exponentially! The more I find to be grateful for, the more I seem to have to be grateful for!

There are so many ways that we are blessed! Whether I get to see a beautiful rose or hold a precious bundle of baby, I love that there are so many ways my life is blessed – all I have to do is recognize those blessings as I receive them and presto chango – my  my joy is multiplied over and over!

Some of the simplest things we do can mean the most to others and vice versa!

I hope that you will enjoy the story I share today. And… be sure to watch the video! It is wonderful the things that we can do to make a difference in the lives of others!

This Is the Best Thing You Can Do to Make Someone’s Day

Every act of kindness, no matter how large, starts with something small, something we all can—and should—do every single day!

I’m Will Rubio, one of the hosts of BYUtv’s Random Acts show. We take hidden cameras to unexpected places to expose random acts of kindness. We’ve filmed acts big and small, from building handicap-accessible infrastructure for folks who need it but can’t afford it to small-time good Samaritans returning a lost wallet or helping a badly burned beach-goer escape further sun damage. 

And as someone whose job is literally to do nice things for people, I’m not only a very lucky guy, but I’m often asked the question, “Where can I start?” 

It truly takes a village to do what Random Acts does, but every act of kindness, big or small, starts exactly the same way: with one compassionate person seeing a situation that they can help improve.

On Random Acts, it may be a neighbor, a coworker, or a sister who recognizes a need and sets off an incredible chain reaction of service. Not every act of kindness will be as grandiose as a secret home renovation or a surprise helicopter ride, but every act of kindness starts small.

Take the story of Emmalene Meyers. Like many young girls, Emmalene dreamed of being a ballerina—but her cerebral palsy makes even everyday tasks a challenge. Instead of seeing a limitation, however, Emmalene’s thoughtful friend Lily saw an opportunity. Lily envisioned Emmalene’s dream being brought to life onstage and enlisted Random Acts to rally the troops and handle the logistics. I won’t give away the tear-jerking details, but you can watch the magic unfold on the video below:


Random Acts: Unforeseena Ballerina – BYUtv

So, where can you start? They key is to be like Lily: look for an opportunity to make a difference, no matter how small it may seem, and then take that first step towards making it happen. Being kind and doing service is just like any other attribute you want to cultivate or goal you want to achieve. You have to work at it. But the more you do it, the easier and more fulfilling it becomes. Take my word for it!

After two seasons of hosting Random Acts, the joy of easing burdens and brightening lives doesn’t wear off. I sometimes think Random Acts might lose its luster eventually, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. When I finally meet the person we’ve been working to surprise and see their genuine shock and appreciation, it hits me in the feels every time. I cry more than anyone else on the show—and I’m not ashamed to admit it! 

After all, every act of kindness starts with a single person having a single thought. Be that person–be the nice you want to see in the world!

Today’s inspiring story shared from the following website: http://www.rd.com/true-stories/inspiring/how-to-make-someones-day/

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Families…A Blessing to the World

Perhaps the greatest social service that can be rendered to anybody to the country and to mankind is to bring up a family George Bernard Shaw

I normally share an inspirational story but today, I just had to share a laugh!

Families are such a wonderful thing! I believe in that families are where we change the world for the better and leave our greatest legacy.

As you read today’s humorous article, I hope you will think about your family and the positive difference that you are making with all of your hard work!

25 Things My Mother Taught Me

1. My mother taught me TO APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE. “If you’re going to kill each other, do it outside.  I just finished cleaning.”

2. My mother taught me RELIGION. “You better pray that will come out of the carpet.”

3. My mother taught me about TIME TRAVEL. “If you don’t straighten up, I’m going to knock you into the middle of next week!”

4. My mother taught me LOGIC. ” Because I said so, that’s why.”

5. My mother taught me MORE LOGIC. “If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you’re not going to the store with me.”

6. My mother taught me FORESIGHT. “Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you’re in an accident.”

7. My mother taught me IRONY. “Keep crying, and I’ll give you something to cry about.”

8. My mother taught me about the science of OSMOSIS. “Shut your mouth and eat your supper.”

9. My mother taught me about CONTORTIONISM. “Will you look at that dirt on the back of your neck!”

10. My mother taught me about STAMINA. “You’ll sit there until all that spinach is gone.”

11. My mother taught me about WEATHER. “This room of yours look s as if a tornado went through it.”

12. My mother taught me about HYPOCRISY. “If I told you once, I’ve told you a million times.  Don’t exaggerate!”

13. My mother taught me the CIRCLE OF LIFE. “I brought you into this world, and I can take you out.”

14. My mother taught me about BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION. “Stop acting like your father!”

15. My mother taught me about ENVY. “There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don’t have wonderful parents like you do.”

16. My mother taught me about ANTICIPATION. “Just wait until we get home.”

17. My mother taught me about RECEIVING. “You are going to get it when you get home!”

18. My mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE. “If you don’t stop crossing your eyes, they are going to get stuck that way.”

19. My mother taught me ESP. “Put your sweater on; don’t you think I know when you are cold?”

20. My mother taught me HUMOR . “When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don’t come running to me.”

21. My mother taught me HOW TO BECOME AN ADULT. “If you don’t eat your vegetables, you’ll never grow up.”

22. My mother taught me GENETICS. “You’re just like your father.”

23. My mother taught me about my ROOTS. “Shut that door behind you. Do you think you were born in a barn?”

24. My mother taught me WISDOM. “When you get to be my age, you’ll understand.”

25. And my favorite: My mother taught me about JUSTICE . “One day you’ll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you.

Today’s humorous article shared from the following website: https://www.atimetolaugh.org/mothertaughtme.html

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Service…The Foundation of Positive Change

The thing that lies at the foundation of positive change, the way I see it, is service to a fellow Human Being   Lee IacoccaFor the past few days, I have shared stories about service. Service costs time and it needs a little bit of forethought. The wonderful thing about service is that is gives to both the provider and the receiver. It makes better people of all of us!

Would you like this world to be a bit of heaven on earth? You can make it a little more so with your choice to provide service!

Do you have a wonderful story about service that you have been involved in? If so, I would love to hear about it and possibly share it at a future date!

I hope you will enjoy today’s inspiring story! Service can come in so many different types of packages! 🙂

Shining a Light Through Dark Times

For any person, of any age, hospital stays can be scary. From the buzzing machines to the lonely hallways, it’s hard to imagine the experience ever being a pleasant one. The exception: The Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island. Here, overnight stays have become something to forward to thanks to a quirky local custom that turns the town into a magical spectacle every night before bedtime.

In 2010, Steve Brosnihan, a resident cartoonist at the hospital, told the last patient he saw that day—a teenager who he had bonded with over the kid’s long stay—to look out of his hospital room window at a certain spot after he left. It was the teen’s last night in the hospital and Brosnihan wanted to do something special to say goodbye. When he reached the indicated spot, he turned toward the hospital and flickered his bike light toward the teen’s window. To his surprise, the teen flickered his own room lights in response.

Since that first night, Brosnihan has shared his idea with hundreds of patients, and a growing number of kids looked for his signal and flickered their lights back at him. In 2015, Brosnihan began asking local businesses to join in, and the ritual has turned into a movement called “Good Night Lights.”

“It is all I look forward to basically all day,” said Abigail Waldron, 10, who has seen Good Night Lights during two extended stays for leukemia treatment. “It just shows you that somebody is helping you through your whole experience in the hospital.”

“It is all I look forward to basically all day.”

Nearly everyone Brosnihan has approached has agreed to participate, including local bars and restaurants, law enforcement, Brown University officials and more. Tugboats salute with their powerful searchlights. Skyscrapers downtown installed sophisticated automated lights to flash a greeting long after the workers in the building have gone for the evening. One building downtown has an LED screen that spells out “Good Night, Hasbro” nightly at 8:30 p.m.

“Because it was almost a personal thing between me and the kids I was visiting,” Brosnihan says, “I hadn’t really thought about the prospect of people joining me in flickering the lights until I thought about how much fun I was having and how much fun others could be having, including the kids.”

The children love the attention, because it reminds them that even though they’re sleeping in an unfamiliar place and enduring uncomfortable treatments, people in the community are thinking about them and wishing them well.

Passing on the tradition

hospitalThe experience doesn’t just connect the community to children in the hospital, it teaches Hasbro’s young patients about selflessness and giving back.

“Kids who are slightly older can’t believe that people are taking time to do something for them, people that they don’t know,” Brosnihan says. “The more thoughtful kids say they can’t wait to get out of the hospital so they can be on the other side of the windows flickering lights, which is a wonderful thing to hear.”

Brosnihan knows of plenty of families who have flashed Good Night Lights to patients after a hospital stay. He even knows of families that have flickered lights outside the hospital to honor the memory of a child that didn’t survive treatment.

“It’s a very powerful permutation of the signal,” Brosnihan says. “The families want to support those who are still in treatment, even in the wake of the loss that they have experienced.”

Today’s inspiring story shared from the following website: http://www.rd.com/true-stories/inspiring/nicest-place-finalist-providence-rhode-island/

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Everyone Can Be a Hero Through Service!

The truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it Norman Schwarzkopf

So many emotions wash over me when I think of service. So many joyous memories gladden my heart.

I remember grandparents including me on their trips so that I would feel loved and cherished. I think of clerks with unknown names who have gone out of their way to provide me with great service. I smile as I think of teachers – both at school and at church who went the extra mile and who made sure that their students had both a name and an understanding of their worth. Memories of my father and his service to individuals I do not know come to mind. Professionals who worked tirelessly in behalf of my granddaughter gamer a special niche in that place within my heart. And, in addition to the numerous happy memories which hide in the recesses of my mind are the recollections of times with my sweetheart and family, so many of them filled with moments of thoughtfulness and acts of service.

I came across a young couple in my local hospital just a few weeks ago. I continue to think of them. I rode an elevator with that young couple. They had a seven month old baby boy in a stroller – their son. This couple was not from my hometown of Billings. They were from Bozeman. I don’t know all of the circumstances of their dilemma but I know that they started out in a hospital in Denver, Colorado and then got transferred to the hospital in Billings. Their baby boy smiled sweetly at me; his upper lip carved with two surgical scars. He had a tracheotomy – oxygen was being fed to him through his throat. I assume this sweet little guy was born in Denver under much duress. His parents shared that he had already been through two open heart surgeries in his short lifetime. They also shared that they had not been home for seven months. That means seven months of the smells and sterile cold walls of hospitals, agonizing over the health of their little guy, and no opportunity to find true rest and respite at home.

Every so often, I like to take items to our local Ronald McDonald House. What I bring is never very much and the effort required is small on my part. As I learned that this couple was staying at the Ronald McDonald house in Billings, My heart did a double take. Most of the time, my little stops at the Ronald McDonald house are made with little or no knowledge of the residents that are being housed there. All of a sudden, I felt guilty for being so aloof. What if I had taken the time to be more in tune with the personal needs of the residents? If I had, could I have lifted the burden this sweet couple had been carrying for a very long seven months? Calculate that into hospital time and you have what feels like lifetime.

That experience of just a few minutes has carried with me. I can’t do everything but I can do something. We all can do something!

As you read today’s inspiring story, think about how you could make a difference. No money has to be spent – time could be spent sitting with a loved one so their caretaker can have a break. Stories can be read to children. Even sharing patience instead of a grumpy scowl counts! I hope you enjoy today’s story – I also hope it inspires each of us to be a little more mindful of others that we share this world with!

A Family Saved

Lt. Bobby Qualls was shopping when he received a text message: Fire on Beechmont, one-story house, child trapped inside. “I was picking out gifts for the family our engine house adopted for Christmas,” remembers Qualls, who has been fighting fires in Memphis for 24 years. “I had this sinking feeling as I got in my car and headed over.”

The last time Qualls had been on Beechmont Street was to install smoke detectors at the Bateman-Tubbs home. He’d been on a secret mission to see if they needed an extra boost during the holidays. There he discovered that the four Bateman-Tubbs children were sleeping on bare mattresses, and he found two of the boys playing outside in 30-degree weather with no shoes or coats.

Qualls learned that Leonard Tubbs was doing his best to make ends meet laying floors while Kimberly Bateman stayed home with the kids.

“When Bobby told me his team wanted to be Secret Santas and buy my kids toys, at first I thought we didn’t need any help,” Bateman recalls. “It really touched me. I told him what the kids really needed was warm clothes.”

That’s exactly what Qualls was shopping for on December 9, 2008: winter jackets for Christopher, seven; JoJo, four; Madison, one; and two-month-old Charles. While driving over to Beechmont Street, he dialed Bateman’s cell phone. She answered on the first ring, screaming, “The house is on fire—JoJo’s trapped inside!”

By the time Qualls reached the house, the family had gotten out, but their home was severely damaged. His coworkers had found JoJo hiding under a pile of clothes in a back bedroom. He had stopped breathing and had been given CPR and rushed to the hospital. Qualls learned that JoJo was now on life support and might not make it through the night. He rushed to the hospital with Lt. Mark Eskew, who placed a stuffed teddy bear in a firefighter’s suit on JoJo’s bed.

“I just kept praying my little boy would open his eyes,” Bateman recalls. “There was nothing else I could do. They were pumping soot as black and thick as tar out of his lungs and stomach for days.”

After a few days, though, JoJo regained consciousness, and the tubes were taken out of his throat. While he began to slowly recover, the local newspaper and TV stations got hold of the story, and the Secret Santa mission of Qualls and his fellow firefighters snowballed. Before long, the fire station was overflowing with boxes of toys, food, toiletries, towels, and clothes. People called, wanting to donate furniture and appliances too. By December 23, Bateman and Tubbs had moved their kids into a new rental home. By Christmas Eve, JoJo was ready to leave the hospital, and the firefighters were ready to deliver the family their very own Christmas miracle.

“These guys aren’t just firefighters,” says Bateman, “they’re our guardian angels. If they hadn’t installed a smoke detector that first day they came to our house, we wouldn’t have known when the fire started. Then they went the extra ten miles to give us a Christmas.”

Story shared from the following website: http://www.rd.com/true-stories/inspiring/5-stories-that-celebrate-the-spirit-of-giving/2/

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Giving Service is Like Giving Yourself a Gift!

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose Jim Elliot

Heaven seems to be minimized all too frequently in today’s world. Having made a premature visit there, I know just how wonderful and important heaven is.  🙂

It doesn’t take dollars or possessions to make your way back to heaven…it takes love and goodness!

In heaven, narcissism is out and benevolence is in. No more what’s in it for me. Instead, we love and honor each other and make our decisions based on how can I best serve the whole? God? Mankind? Sound horrible? It’s not – it’s glorious!!!

Heaven is not a place of scarcity – it is a place of abundance. In heaven, we can all have all of our hearts desire, as long as that desire is good and not hurtful to others.

Heaven is a place of honor and it is a place of stewardship. We honor each others gifts whether we have few or many. Each talent or gift that we have is not just a source of pride but an opportunity to serve in a special way.  Therefore, gifts and talents are cherished in heaven and great effort is made to develop them and share them.

I believe that the greater part of mankind wants to love and serve our fellow man. I think that often what gets in our way is that we think that we have to have great wealth or an abundance of extra time to help others out.

The reality is that we each have the ability to contribute in a positive way to the world around us – even if that contribution today can only be a kind word and a smile!

I love today’s story! I hope it will inspire your day and your life!

Christmas Angel

When Delwyn Collins was a kid growing up in the projects of Fort Worth, Texas, he was labeled handicapped with a learning disability and sent to a special education school. His teachers never suspected that Collins was a genius at caring: Today the 52-year-old cafeteria worker at Tampa General Hospital is nothing less than an angel to hundreds of foster children in Hills-borough County, Florida. These children—many with special needs and often moved from home to home—tug hard at Collins’s heart. Christmas 2010 will mark the 21st year he has set up a Foster Angel’s Giving Tree decorated with paper angels bearing the first names, ages, and gender of foster children and the gifts each child would like to receive.

Collins is a man of modest means, but each week he sets aside a portion of his paycheck to buy gifts to put under the tree. “I just want to show these children there is somebody out there in the community who loves them.” His unpretentious example has inspired the doctors, nurses, and administrators he works with to make the Giving Tree a priority. Hospital employees and visitors take an angel off the tree and buy the present the child has requested.

As Christmas nears, bicycles, dolls, clothes, and video games begin to overflow the cafeteria. In recent years, the program has begun to receive presents from donors throughout the county. More than 1,000 kids in foster care in and around Tampa received gifts in 2009. “My job is to help and give to others,” says Collins. “God doesn’t care if we’re rich or poor.”

Story Shared from the following website: http://www.rd.com/true-stories/inspiring/5-stories-that-celebrate-the-spirit-of-giving/2/

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