The Gift of Ourselves

Preach the Gospel Always, and when necessary use words Preach the gospel always soldier-military-uniform-american Francesco of Assissi

Storm and Fire news is a consistent topic every time I listen to the news lately. Businesses I frequent have donation jars to assist those affected by our local and national disasters. I love that so many are willing to help.

However, I can’t help but think about those who need our help on a daily basis. Those who need a little patience, a pat on the back, a smile.

There are so many ways we can help each other on a daily basis. 🙂 Those small acts of kindness are some of the most meaningful ways we spend the “life time” we are allotted!

What has been your experience with simple acts of kindness? Has someone helped you in a small but meaningful way? I hope that your life is blessed with simple acts of kindness!

Please enjoy today’s story!:

Saving Memories
Rebecca Sell, Fredericksburg, Virginia

Three months after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Rebecca Sell, then 24, a photojournalist for Fredericksburg, Virginia’s Free Lance-Star who was on assignment covering the disaster, captured a distraught New Orleans couple sifting through waterlogged photo albums. As she snapped the photo, something within her clicked. “I told them I could take the ruined pictures, copy them and give them digitally restored photos,” she recalls. Although a bit skeptical, the couple agreed. Rebecca took their photos home with her once her assignment ended, restored them and took them to the couple at their temporary residence in Virginia. “It felt so good to be able to do that for them,” says Rebecca.

When her editor, Dave Ellis, saw the photo of the couple, he suggested they go back and restore damaged photos for even more people. So in January 2006, with paid time off from the paper, the two set up shop in the Pass Christian, Mississippi, public library, 65 miles from New Orleans (or rather, the double-wide trailer that now served as the library; the original had been destroyed in the hurricane). After posting a notice in the community newsletter, Rebecca and Dave were inundated with 500 photos in four days: water-spotted wedding pictures, baby photos crinkled with moisture. For each, the pair snapped a new digital picture, then used high-tech software to erase water spots and restore colors. “We worked from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day for four days,” says Rebecca. “It was a massive undertaking.” In a stroke of luck, a popular website linked to Dave’s blog about the experience, and soon Operation Photo Rescue, as it came to be known, had emails from hundreds of volunteers, including photographers, restoration experts and Photoshop whizzes, eager to help.

Though digital restoration is a painstaking process, mending irreplaceable family pictures means the world to victims like Emily Lancaster, 71, of Ocean Springs, Mississippi, who tossed out piles of ruined photo albums after Katrina, never thinking the mildewed mess could be salvaged. But she just couldn’t bear to part with a few treasured pictures, including a portrait of her father, who had passed away, and a photo of her husband as a boy. Then she heard about Operation Photo Rescue. “I didn’t have a whole lot of hope they could fix them, but they did,” Emily says. “Almost every day I think about all the pictures I’ve lost. I’m so happy to have these two.”

In the five years since Katrina, Operation Photo Rescue—now headquartered in Fredericksburg, Virginia, with more than 2,000 volunteers—has collected thousands of pictures ruined by floods, hurricanes and tornadoes in such states as Iowa, Georgia, Kansas, Texas and Louisiana. Volunteers make “copy runs” to disaster areas across the country to gather damaged photos from survivors; operating costs are covered by donations and grants. “It’s great to be able to give people some of their history back,” says Rebecca. “One person told me that thanks to us, her grandmother got to see her photos again before she passed away. Moments like that remind me why I do this.”

To volunteer or make a donation, go to OperationPhotoRescue.org. Photo: courtesy of David Ellis/Operation Photo Rescue

Today’s inspirational story shared from the following website: http://www.womansday.com/life/real-women/a2093/lending-a-helping-hand-112631/

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Heroes…Are Made by the Paths They (We) Choose

Heroes are made by the paths they choose, not the powers they are graced with Brodi Ashton

My life has been blessed with many heroes. Some have done things as simple as giving me a ride to church. Others have given me advice. Some have provided a positive example (often without even knowing it).

I hope your life has been blessed with heroes as well!

I believe in heroes and the positive impact they have on our world! I believe that some of the most important heroes the world has ever known has been those heroes that have been known by just one or two individuals. A hero does not have to be world famous to be a hero in my book.

I am especially thankful to those heroes who have overcome significant obstacles and who have persevered despite difficulties. Today’s story tells of one such hero. I hope it will inspire you as it has inspired me!

AN UNLIKELY HERO

CHILDHOOD

As an infant, he was largely abandoned to a nanny. His mother, in fact, rarely saw him. His dad almost never did.

At 7 years old, he was sent to a boarding school where he proved to be literally the worst in his class. His parents got reports that declared their son “seems unable to learn anything.”

He was punished severely, once being dragged into a room and beaten until bloody for school infractions. He changed schools after his nanny discovered welts on his back from the beatings once he was home on break.

He made no friends in school.

His mom rarely visited him and even forgot to send him Christmas presents; His dad also failed to visit him at school—ever—even when he was nearby and his son wrote letters asking him to stop by.

His letters were never even answered. Dear dad didn’t even know exactly how old his own son was.

TEEN YEARS

Later, as a teen, his father wouldn’t let him go to the best school saying his son would just embarrass him, that he was “such a stupid boy.” He just couldn’t accept that kind of public humiliation from that “damned impudent little idiot.”

Again, in high school, he did not fair too well. As if to underscore that fact, on parent visitation days, while other kids’ parents came to see their children, his never did.

The class would march out in rank order, from the highest score to the lowest. He was always dead last. His parents were embarrassed, so stayed home. He felt the sting of it, as he said, “sharply.” Certainly a gross understatement.

COLLEGE

When he proudly wrote his dad telling him he had been accepted into military college, his dad finally wrote back to say, “You are a constant disappointment to me …. Not only are you a complete failure … I see nothing ahead of you but failure… Do not write me anymore; I do not wish to hear anything more from you.”

The same year the son graduated from military college, his dad died in lingering pain and agony after being brought home in a straight jacket, perhaps reflecting the emotional straight jacket he had helped secure around his son’s psyche for so many relentless years.

So who is this failure of a son? Who was it that went nowhere and did nothing? Who was it that was hampered by a loveless childhood with a detached mother and verbally and emotionally abusive father who never understood or cared for his own son?

WHO WAS THIS HAPLESS SON FROM AN UNHAPPY FAMILY?

He was an artist, winning several awards under a pseudonym.

He was a very successful author of several books (one winning him the Nobel Prize) making him a wealthy man.

He was the lone voice who saw war coming in the appeasement policies Nevel Chamberlain brokered with Germany.

He was made Prime Minister of England twice and presided over a successful war against the spread of Nazism.

His name was Sir Winston Churchill.

 

You are endowed with all that’s needed to lift your own life from the past, making something wonderful out of the spare parts.

Caveat: No one’s life is exactly like anyone else’s. So we can’t assume any direct correlation between his and ours.

Still, to see someone who rose from such childhood obscurity with so many emotional obstacles in the way, to such heights of success is inspiring nonetheless.

My hope has been to inspire you to a level of confidence that will be the push behind the next step closer to the life that awaits you.

AFTERTHOUGHTS

So what advice might Churchill offer a person living below their potential, someone trapped in the pain of their childhood, someone who yearns for something better, more meaningful, happier than what they’ve settled for?

He might say what he once told a graduating class of high school students:

“Never give up. Never, ever, ever give up.”

Story shared from the following website: http://meanttobehappy.com/the-extraordinary-story-of-an-unlikely-hero-your-past-does-not-predict-your-future/

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Persistence and Determination

Energy and persistence alter all things Benjamin Franklin

I wonder how many people have had a dream and worked hard to accomplish their dream but gave up…just before they would have succeeded?

I love Thomas Edison – I love his determination and persistence. I especially love his attitude!

Do you have a dream in your heart? I believe we are all meant to leave our positive imprint on the world that we are a part of. I’m not talking about everyone having their day of fame or becoming incredibly wealthy. I’m talking about the day to day positive influence we can choose to give to those that we know, love and come in contact with.

I hope that when it comes time for my obituary to be written, that everyone I know can think of a kind word I shared or some way in which I made their life both better and happier. If I am successful in that endeavor, I will have been blessed with a wildly successful life!

What about your dream? Is your heart begging you to listen to it? Is there something wonderful you are meant to do for this world? Do you need to share a compliment? a kind word? some time?

As you think about the dream of your heart, I hope you enjoy today’s inspiring story!

Thomas Edison

When he was a young boy, Thomas Edison’s parents pulled him out of school after teachers called him “stupid” and “unteachable.” Edison spent his teenage years working and being fired from various jobs, culminating in his termination from a telegraph company at age 21. Despite these setbacks, Edison never deterred from his true passion, inventing. Throughout his career, Edison obtained 1,093 patents. And while many of these inventions — such as the light bulb, stock printer, phonograph and alkaline battery — were groundbreaking, even more of them were unsuccessful. Edison is famous for saying that genius is “1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.”

One of Edison’s greatest stories of perseverance occurred after he was already wildly successful. After inventing the light bulb, Edison began a quest to find an inexpensive light bulb filament. At the time, ore was mined in the Midwest, and shipping costs were incredibly high. To combat this, Edison opened his own ore-mining plant in Ogdensburg, New Jersey. For roughly a decade, Edison devoted all his time and money to the plant. He also obtained 47 patents for inventions designed to make the plant run more smoothly. And after all of that, Edison’s project still failed thanks to the low quality ore on the East Coast.

But as it turned out, one of the aforementioned 47 inventions (a newly-designed crushing machine) revolutionized the cement industry and earned Edison back nearly all of the money he lost. In addition, Henry Ford would later credit Edison’s Ogdensburg project as the main inspiration for his Model T Ford assembly line, and many believe that Edison paved the way for modern-day industrial laboratories. Edison’s foray into ore-mining proves that dedication and commitment can pay off even in a losing venture.

Today’s inspiring story shared from the following website: http://www.growthink.com/content/7-entrepreneurs-whose-perseverance-will-inspire-you

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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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Living an Inspired Life

As soon as you seek to Inspire others, it Inspires the best in you Brendon Burchard

I don’t know that I can adequately explain why, but ever since my near-death experience, I have been entranced by the influence of simple acts. Think of a small pebble being thrown into a calm lake and the ripples that extend from the spot at which the pebble enters into the water – how can you quantify the influence of that small pebble?

Today’s story resonates with me. I, too, have had those experiences in which just a small kind act of a stranger has made all the difference in the world.

I remember the day after my father died. I had to run to the store. I had visited that store many times. Yet, as I wandered the aisles, it was a different world that I lived in. My world had been changed as my father had taken his last breath. My world would never be the same. I wondered how many of the strangers that surrounded me in the store could sense my loss. I guessed that my loss was invisible to those around me. And I wondered, how many times had I been that stranger in the store – oblivious to the loss or devastation that someone in my circle of influence had experienced? How many times could a little more patience or warm smile have helped a stranger in need?

Could there be a chance for me to spread love and light every time I enter the doors of my local supermarket? What about the help team I access online? Could my sincere gratitude for their help make their day – even if it is their job to provide me with that help?

I am going to make a conscious effort to be more kind, to smile more, and to exercise more patience. I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Please enjoy today’s story as I did!:

Love is in the Moment  By Annie

It was early morning, yet already it had been a stupendously bad day. One thing after another. The downward spiral continued when a large pitcher of orange juice slid from my hands and smashed to the floor.Glass and sticky juice spewed to the farthest corners of the kitchen, slithering down cabinets and appliances, puddling at my feet.

Stunned, I looked at the mess. Then I dropped dejectedly down to the floor, my eyes filling with overdue tears. The tears came from begrudging and angry acceptance that “today is just not my day.”

Bad day or not, errands had to be done. Filled with angst and negative mental baggage, I got in my car to drive into town. In the few minutes it took to travel to the bank I made a decision. I would be careful not to pass my bad day off to anyone else. I would be cordial and polite. And I would NOT retaliate when that harried driver pulled quickly and rudely in front of me causing me to slam on my breaks, dumping the contents of my drink onto the front car seat!

Standing in line at the bank, I was silently talking to myself. Actually, I was scolding myself. All of the events that had accumulated and contributed to my bad day were, in reality, so very minor and trivial. I was over-reacting. I was indulging in self-pity. I tried to imagine the innumerable, individual lives that had been affected by 9/11, by war, by hurricanes, earthquakes, and other natural disasters.

For the second time that day my eyes filled with tears as I realized how disconnected I felt from all those individuals who are trying to cope with truly traumatic events in their lives. They all seemed so distant and unknowable, and this justified and intensified my belief that I was being self-centered and selfish. I was sure that all my efforts to be a caring and loving person were for naught.

A voice broke through my mental distractions. Somehow I had mechanically finished my bank transaction and the teller was trying to get my attention. “Young lady,” she was saying, “Young lady!”

I looked up and into the eyes of the bank teller, a silver-haired grandmother with a gentle beauty. Her keen eyes reflected concern as she leaned forward and softly said, “I don’t know what is happening inside of you, but please, believe me when I tell you that – everything will be okay.”

And then she did something quite marvelous. My hands were resting on the counter. She took her hands and placed them gently on top of mine. The touch was quick but electric. And in that moment my world shifted.

In the moment of her touch my self-doubt vanished. I found understanding and acceptance. I knew that love was being channeled through the heart of this beautiful woman directly into my heart. I was infused with a profound awareness – that I am loved. I was speechless. I smiled. It was my first smile of the day. But it would not be my last, as from that moment on my entire day was transformed.

Perhaps without even knowing it, the kind-hearted bank teller allowed herself to be a conduit of divine love. She was instrumental in transforming a day that seemed destined to be a day of tears into a day of smiles. The seemingly small gesture of a this gentle woman not only changed the course of my day, it became a powerful reminder in my life. The profound effect of that one simple, loving touch remains in my heart to this day.

More people than not scoff at the idea of world peace. Laugh if you wish. As for myself, I believe it is possible to transform our world … one act of loving kindness at a time. Remember: A simple smile. A warm handshake. A kind word. A gentle hug. Through these, we open the transformative power of love.

Today’s inspiring story is shared from the following website: https://www.personalgrowthcourses.net/stories/ttinspiringstories


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