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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What Change Will You Create in the World?

You have been assigned this mountain to show others it can be moved   Unknown

Does some wonderful, incredible dream burn within your heart? Do you know in the depths of your soul that there is something wonderful you are meant to accomplish with your time and talents?

Is that amazing feat that you are to accomplish lying in a hole, within your soul, enveloped with fear and doubts?

We all have come to this earth to do wonderful things with the gifts that God has given us. I hope you will free yourself from your doubts and fears and move forward with faith and fervor!

We don’t have to accomplish amazing feats in one day and sometimes we can work with others to do the wonderful things we were born to do.

I hope today’s story inspires you to do wonderful things!

The Amazing Story of the Man Who Literally Moved a Mountain

Dashrath Manjhi was a landless Indian peasant with nothing to his name but a couple of goats, a job as a laborer, and a wife he adored. They lived in the minuscule village of Gehlaur in India, remote and blocked from the nearest towns with any facilities to speak of by a steep mountain ridge slung between them like a giant’s speed bump. Travel from Gehlaur to that next town over was only five or so miles as the bird flies, but was only traversable for the inhabitants of the area by a treacherous climb along rocky and thin ledges, winding some fifty miles.

And in 1959 his wife, while bringing him lunch on the other side of the mountain where he worked, fell and was badly injured, dying later that year. Her death was largely because it was impossible to get her to the hospitals on the other side of the ridge. The love of his life gone, Manjhi did not wallow, though he mourned. Did not give up, though he gave up everything else. Did not turn to hating the world, but instead embraced a love for it.

He made the mountain his crusade.

Manjhi sold his goats for a handful of tools, quit his job, and then climbed to the top of the mountain and began chiseling. He beat the top of the mountain with a few bits of iron, all day, every day. He was mocked, he hurt himself at times, but always he returned to hammer at the stone. For 22 years, he carved a channel out of that immortal ridge, until his work was done. He received no help but an occasional donation. The government shrugged in indifference that a man was singlehandedly doing what they should, though the forest ministry considered arresting him since damaging the mountain was illegal.

Thirty feet deep and wide, three hundred and sixty feet long, there was a road where once there was only rock.

The nearest hospital was now five miles away instead of fifty. The children of the village could now attend school, suddenly only a couple of miles away instead of dozens. All told, over sixty villages now had a road to the wider world.

The government honored him once it was done. They gave him some land, which he donated for a new hospital. And he asked them repeatedly to tar the road so that it would not go to waste.

It took them 30 years to do that. Longer than it took one man to break a mountain with his own hands.

There are heroes in this world, men and women who are driven mad and channel it into something beautiful. The shame of our world is that we cannot believe that a mountain can be moved a pebble at a time, when in fact, it’s the only way they ever do. The long eons of rain can level the vastest mountain, can carve out the Grand Canyon, and wash it all away to the sea. We know this, we accept it as a truism. If only it didn’t take a mad man to realize that each of us is a river unto ourselves, then all the mountains might be leveled.

Today’s inspiring story was shared from the following website: the-man-who-literally-moved-a-mountain.php

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