You Are a Child of God!

You are a child of God, and that alone make you worthyof care and love. If your guard is up, let it down. If you’ve constructed a defensive wall to protect yourself and keep all the bad guys out, don’t forget who that wall also prevents from getting in -- the Good Guys Brendan Burchard

You are a Child of God! I witnessed that fact during my near-death experience. We are all children of God. We all have personal power – the ability to make choices and determine the kind of person we will become.

I know that, at times, it can seem like the world is against us. Sometimes, it seems like the thing to do is to protect ourselves from the evil in the world. Evil does exist and we, for sure, do not want to invite it into our lives but there are appropriate ways of protection and ways of protection that backfire.

I have a perspective that has been guided by my interactions with my adoptive children. As small children, they were neglected and abandoned by their birth parents. They were hurt by the very individuals that they should have been able to place complete trust in. As a result, they have significant trust issues – especially with me and my husband. Does that seem contrary to you? My husband and I brought them into our family voluntarily. We did so because we loved them and wanted them to be part of our family. Our efforts on their behalf have been met with distrust, hurtful actions, and deliberate exclusion of us in their lives.

Additionally, they have, at times, protected themselves so completely from being hurt that they have also denied themselves incredible opportunities for joy.

You see, when you can’t get hurt and/or fail, you also can’t succeed. No action and walls we build around ourselves protect against hurt and failure but they also deny new experiences and success.

Initially, those walls, that they built ,were a device that successfully helped them to survive. Yet, as the years have passed, those walls have negatively affected their ability to be vulnerable and to have reciprocal relationships.

Where are you in your ability to give and receive? Are you able to allow yourself to be vulnerable? Do you exclude others from your life because you don’t already know them? Do you judge on outward appearances or do you attempt to judge as Jesus did (look at the heart)?

There is a lot of evil in our world. There is also much good 🙂

As we all seek and promote the good in this world, the resulting light will overshadow the darkness of evil! God is real! You are his child! Your light is meant to shine in this world!

I hope you enjoy today’s story!:

The Best Soccer Player 

By Angie Bergstrom Miller

I clenched my fists, bit my lip, and kicked the ball that was rolling toward me. Then I frowned as I watched it soar out of bounds instead of going into the goal.

A girl named Nan had been standing on the sidelines watching our game. She ran to pick up the ball, tripping in her excitement. Everyone laughed. No one thanked her as she threw the ball back to us.

I felt guilty. I knew Nan wanted to play, but I didn’t want to be the one to invite her.

Nan was quiet, with messy brown hair, thick glasses, and a squeaky voice. She didn’t have one friend in our whole class. It wasn’t that I didn’t like her. I had just never talked to her.

That afternoon our teacher announced that she was going to move our desks around. She would make a new seating chart. The room buzzed with excitement. My best friend, LeAnna, and I smiled at each other.

Just then Caroline leaned toward me. “I heard Nan tell Mrs. Martin she wants to sit by you. Gross!” I sat in shock. “Why me?” I wondered. I had never been mean to Nan, but I had never been nice to her either.

“Tell the teacher you don’t want to sit by her,” Caroline whispered. “Otherwise no one will want to sit by you.”

I looked at Nan. Her head was lowered. She must have known what everyone in the room was thinking.

Mrs. Martin called me up to her desk. I knew Nan was a child of God and that Jesus said to love everyone. But if I became friends with Nan, everyone would think I was weird.

“Who do you want to sit by?” Mrs. Martin asked me. “LeAnna,” I said. That was easy.
Mrs. Martin smiled. “Would you be willing to sit by Nan too?” I looked down at the oor and whispered, “I’d rather not.” Mrs. Martin looked surprised. “Are you sure, Angie?” “Yes,” I muttered. The next day our desks were rearranged. I sat by LeAnna. Nan was across the room. The two girls sitting by her pushed their desks away from hers so it looked like she was sitting alone. She looked like she was going to cry.

A few weeks later Nan changed schools. A girl in my ward went to that school, and I asked her if she had met a new girl named Nan. “I think so. What does she look like?” she asked. “Well, she’s really quiet. Her hair is messy, and she wears thick glasses. No one in my class liked her.” “Really? It must not be the same girl,” she said. “The new girl I know is really fun. Everyone likes her. She’s a great soccer player.”

I thought about the day Nan had watched us playing soccer. She only needed a chance and a friend. And I could have given her both.

That day I made a promise to myself to always be nice to everyone and never let a girl like Nan slip by me without trying to be her friend.

Today’s inspirational story shared from the following website: http://media.ldscdn.org/pdf/lds-magazines/friend-march-2012/2012-03-29-for-older-kids-eng.pdf

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Are You Living the Life You Were Created For…or an Ordinary Life?

I can’t believe that God put us on  this earth just to be ordinary   Lou Holtz

If you feel like you are no one special and that you have nothing to offer, You have quit listening to your heart. In fact, maybe you don’t know that your heart speaks to you?

When my oldest daughter was born (also my first child), my husband made me a drawing of her. On the drawing, he included a quote that contained the following phrase, “Cause God doesn’t make any junk”.

It was a cute quote then…now I realize that it is profound. I hope that you know your value and I hope that in your heart, you, in some way, can feel of your worth and importance.

You were not born to be someone ordinary. You were born to be extraordinary!

I hope you enjoy today’s story! Have an inspiring weekend!

It Is Not What’s Gone – But What’s Given

Not too long ago a little girl in my neighborhood was born without a hand. She was born just after my own second daughter Ella was born. Her parents were obviously shaken up. About a week later, I saw them at a neighborhood function and they came over to me and asked what my thoughts were, if I had any advice, for them and for their daughter. My advice? This is their daughter’s life and they were asking my advice? Talk about humbling. What do you say? I had nothing very smart to say.

I told myself I wouldn’t let that happen again. That it was important that I could share what I have learned.

I’ve learned that there are millions of people out there ignoring disabilities and accomplishing incredible feats. I learned that you can learn to do things differently, but do them just as well. I’ve learned that it’s not the disability that defines you, it’s how you deal with the challenges the disability presents you with. I’ve learned that we have an obligation to the abilities we do have, not the disability.

I was born without my right hand. I have never felt slighted. As a kid I was pretty coordinated and growing up I loved sports. I learned to play baseball like most kids, playing catch with my Dad in the front yard. The only difference was that we had to come up with a method to throw and catch with the same hand. What we came up with, is basically what I continued to do my whole life. I used to practice by pretending to be my favorite pitchers. I’d throw a ball against a brick wall on the side of our house, switching the glove off and on, moving closer to the wall- forcing myself to get that glove on faster and faster. I imagined myself becoming a successful athlete.

Growing up, sports were my way of gaining acceptance. I guess somewhere deep inside I was thinking if I was good enough on the field then maybe kids wouldn’t think of me as being so different. Honestly I hid behind sports. I wanted the attention that comes from being successful, but I was very reluctant to draw any attention to my disability You know it’s funny, there was an article in the L.A. Times recently about a high school pitcher who has been doing very well— despite missing one hand. He mentioned my name as an example but went on to say he didn’t want to be like me, he wanted to be like Randy Johnson. At first my feelings were hurt, but then I understood. That’s exactly the same way I felt growing up. I didn’t want to be defined by a disability. Focus on my pitching and not my hand.

I loved throwing a baseball. It is so important to find something in life you feel crazy about. Because you are so passionate you naturally practice, the hard work that it takes to do something well will come easily.

You know how it worked out. I got to play baseball at the University of Michigan, 2 United States teams The 1987 Pan American team and the 1988 United States Olympic team. Even though I played in the major leagues for almost 10 years the Olympics are still one of my favorite memories.

You know in my career I once won 18 games in a year, I also lost 18 games in one year. I was fortunate enough to go straight from the Olympic team to the major leagues. Never spending a day in the minors. I was also sent down to the minor leagues after 8 years in the big leagues. In 1996 I went 2-18 with a 7 run era . I couldn’t get anyone out. I was in the first year of a long term contract with a team near my home. It was supposed to be easy. That following year I was fired. Drove back to California, crying all the way. I spent that summer up in Michigan hurting and wondering if my career was over. Somewhere deep inside I wasn’t sure. So I called the Chicago White Sox for a try out.

They gave me a chance to pitch again. I would watch the major leagues on t.v. with the rest of those kids and it felt like a million miles away. That had been my life. I was away from my family who I know thought I was crazy. Then I got the call I was going to Chicago back to the show. That was the good news, bad news your facing the Yankees Sat. night. They were about 100 and 15 at the time. I went on to win that game against the Yankees that night. In fact I went 5-0 the rest of that Sept.

I would like to tell those parents back in my neighborhood how wonderful my own parents were, and are. They encouraged me to participate, but didn’t dwell on every move I made. I don’t ever remember a concession to the fact that I had one hand. Maybe even a little more was expected. I will always be thankful that they never allowed my hand to be used as an excuse.

I would like to tell that little girl, “Go out and find what it is that you love. It may not be the most obvious choice or the most logical but never let that stop you.” Baseball was hardly the most the most logical choice for someone with one hand, but I loved it, so that’s what I pursued. No matter where the road takes you don’t give up until you know in your heart you done everything you possibly could to make your dreams come true. You owe nothing to disability, ignore it. When you fail, get back up and try again. Leave no room for an excuse. Don’t listen to what you can’t do. 99% of the time I never think of missing a hand. I have never been envious of someone with two hands. Listen to that voice deep within you, it knows, when you’ve done your best.

Somehow when things are said and done there will be some accountability imagine someone coming up to you at the end of your life and saying “you’ve been given these talents what did you do with them.” There is a certain potential we owe it to ourselves to live up to. Work hard, don’t look back, celebrate the blessings in your life.

– Jim Abbott

Today’s inspirational story shared from the following website: http://www.aboutonehandtyping.com/storiesfolder/jimabbottnotgone.html

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Increase the Positive Energy in the World with Some Praise!

Encouragement is oxygen to the soul   George Henry Adams

It can be difficult to measure the positive benefits of praise. However, I know of one immediate benefit: a smile!

We only have to look as far as our own lives to understand how important praise and gratitude is.

How well do you feel and how happy are you when you are grumpy and angry?

How well do you feel and how happy are you when you feel grateful and blessed?

Now, here’s a recommendation for you that maybe you have never heard before – You need to give yourself encouragement! You are the most important person to give yourself encouragement and praise. When you do, you will be much better at giving others praise and encouragement!

Look for your blessings! Even in the most difficult of circumstances, they are there! Pat yourself on the back and tell yourself you have done a good job when you know you have! If you need to make changes, exercise mercy. Tell yourself that you didn’t do the job that you wanted to do but you are determined to do better and better!

We are beings full of energy. We have the choice of being beings filled with love and positive energy or being beings that are resentful, angry and full of negative energy. What do you choose?

I hope you will think about it as you read today’s inspiring article! I hope you enjoy!

5 Benefits of Thanksgiving & Praise

Do you want to strengthen your spiritual life? Do you want to get God’s perspective on the issues you face? If so, then you want to understand thanksgiving and praise in a much deeper way.

Thanksgiving and praise involves more than just speaking lovely words to God.

Thanksgiving and praise means honoring God with your words and allowing those words to agree with what His Word says about Him. It’s means promoting the Lord’s mercy and compassion to those around you by telling them about the great things He has done in your life. And when you do that, it builds you and others up as it blesses the Lord.

Psalm 8:1-2 says, “O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth! Your glory is higher than the heavens. You have taught children and infants to tell of your strength, silencing your enemies and all who oppose you.”

Then in Matthew 21:16 Jesus quoted that psalm when He said, “Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise” (KJV). Notice, He equated praise with strength.

From these scriptures, you can learn how thanksgiving and praise can affect your life.

1.Thanksgiving and Praise Brings God on the Scene

Psalm 22:3 says God inhabits the praises of His people. When you enter into thanksgiving and praise, you invite God’s glory, His presence, to fill your life and your situation. At times of high praise, the Shekinah glory of God will fill the whole place with His sweet presence.

2.Thanksgiving and Praise Puts Challenges in Perspective

As Psalm 8:1 reminds you: “O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth! Your glory is higher than the heavens.” Thanksgiving and praise reminds you just how powerful your God is. He is the creator of all the world and the universe. Nothing is beneath His notice. If He is in your corner, how can you lose?!

3.Thanksgiving and Praise Focuses Your Mind on the Right Subject

When challenges arise, it’s easy to allow them to play on a loop inside your head. But thanksgiving and praise breaks that loop. It helps you to refocus your attention on the One who is greater than every challenge. Just read through King David’s psalms. Time and again he wrote of his troubles and of God’s glorious power. He was refocusing his attention on the One who had all the answers to his troubles.

4.Thanksgiving and Praise Strengthens Your Faith

Romans 4:20 says, Abraham “grew strong and was empowered by faith as he gave praise and glory to God” (AMPC). As you praise God and speak of His marvelous works, you are reminded of all that God has done, and your faith in God and His plan for you increases.

5.Thanksgiving and Praise Is a Weapon Against the Enemy’s Maneuvers

Psalm 9 says: “I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will show forth all thy marvellous works. I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High. When mine enemies are turned back, they shall fall and perish at thy presence. For thou hast maintained my right and my cause; thou satest in the throne judging right” (verses 1-4, KJV). When you praise God, your enemies have to turn back. (Read 2 Chronicles 20 for an example of this.)

Look at these elements again. Consider how they can empower and affect your spiritual and physical life if you act on them. Thanksgiving and praise brings God on the scene, puts challenges in perspective, focuses your mind on God, strengthens your faith in Him and allows you to combat negative spiritual forces that come against you. It prepares you to handle the situations in your life with His perspective—remembering that He is in control and that you are prepared to handle whatever comes your way!

Today’s Inspirational article shared from the following website: http://www.kcm.org/real-help/spiritual-growth/learn/5-benefits-thanksgiving-praise

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Adversity…Making Lemonade From Our Lemons

We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations. Charles R. Swindoll

Do you have individuals from history that you would love to spend time with and chat with for a few hours – maybe even a few days? Benjamin Franklin is one of those people for me.

There are many individuals who, through their example and legacy, continue to mentor me and my life even though I have never met them and most of them have long departed this world.

The one consistency that all mankind has faced and ever will is adversity. It is the stuff that growth and improvement is made of.

Yet, in regards to adversity, we all have a choice: To let our difficulties defeat us or to enable them to grow and refine us. I don’t always succeed as well as I would like, but I try to enable my challenges to create a better person of me.

As you read today’s story, I hope you will think about your own life. Is there something you can do better? Can you turn your lemons into lemonade? Remember, we are never defeated unless we give up! I hope you have a wonderful day!

Overcoming Obstacles: Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues Worth Learning

You may know Ben Franklin as the wise elder of the American Revolution, signer of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, Ambassador to France, Governor of Pennsylvania, as well as an ingenious inventor, scientist, and witty author.But you may not know his humble background and the obstacles he overcame to succeed. After all, most of our famous Founding Fathers came from rich, privileged backgrounds. Instead, a look at Ben Franklin’s life provides a worthy education in character.

Born and Raised

Born as Benjamin Franklin in Boston on January 17, 1706, he was the 15th of 17 children, the son of a soap and candle maker. After only two years of schooling, at age 10, he was forced to leave school and make candles for his father. As for further education, he was self-taught. At 12, he was apprenticed to an older brother James, who ran a print shop.

James was a cruel taskmaster, and would beat young Ben when displeased – which was often. When his brother started a newspaper, The New England Courant, James would not allow brother Ben to publish any of his own writing. So Franklin submitted 14 witty pieces under a made-up name, Mrs. Silence Dogood, and they delighted the paper’s readers. But when James discovered Franklin’s ruse, he was jealous and punished him severely again, eventually forcing Ben to escape his servitude – which was against the law.

Franklin ended up in Philadelphia, with just the wet and ratty clothes on his back and three pennies to his name. Hungry, he went in to a bakery shop and came out with three loaves of bread, one for his mouth and two tucked awkwardly under his arms. It was October 6, 1723, and as he devoured the bread, the bedraggled young man saw a charming young woman, Deborah Read, watching him. Little did either of them know that seven years later, they would be married!

An Early Lesson Revealed

In Ben Franklin’s famous Autobiography, he looks back on the mean treatment he received from his brother, and reveals an important lesson: a lifelong “Aversion to arbitrary Power.” This hard-earned lesson would match up well with the philosophy of the revolutionary movement. After all, just as Franklin got out from under his tyrannical brother’s beatings, so would the Colonies strive to gain independence from the tyrannical King of England’s “arbitrary power.”

The Philadelphia Years

That poor, 17-year-old boy pounded the pavements of Philadelphia and was able to find work, using his skills as a printer’s assistant and his many outstanding traits and talents to make his way in the world. He borrowed money and set up his own printing business. Before long, he was known as a tireless, honest, and diligent businessman, and Franklin gained attention and landed major jobs, setting up a thriving business.

After marrying his childhood sweetheart, Deborah Read, they set up their own dry goods store, and Ben opened up a book store. He didn’t stop there. At the ripe age of 23, in 1729, he bought a small newspaper, the Pennsylvania Gazette, and turned it into the most successful paper in the Colonies. He even created the world’s first political cartoon of himself! And, while getting involved in civic improvement groups, in 1733 he also launched Poor Richard’s Almanack, which became famous for its down to earth advice and witty writing, such as “A penny saved is a penny earned.”

Prominence and Inventiveness

The list of Franklin’s ideas and accomplishments goes on and on, and this only scratches the surface:

  • The nation’s first free library
  • Philadelphia’s first fire-fighting company (“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” was Franklin’s fire prevention advice).
  • A fire insurance company
  • The founding of the Pennsylvania Hospital and the University of Pennsylvania – both still in existence today
  • Inventions such as the heat-efficient Franklin Stove and bifocals
  • His famous experiments with a kite in a lightning storm verified the nature of electricity, and led to his invention of the lightning rod
  • He even played three instruments and composed music!

By age 42, Franklin’s inventive, industrious nature had brought him from rags-to-riches, enabling him to retire from business and devote his next four decades to the revolutionary politics for which we know him best.

Franklin’s 13 Virtues

As we’ve seen, Franklin overcame many obstacles at a young age. And when he was just 20, in 1726, Franklin took what he had already learned from adversity and developed a method to improve his character by what he called “13 Virtues.” It was something he worked on for the rest of his life. His idea was to focus on only one virtue each week, “leaving all others to their ordinary chance.”

His autobiography lists his 13 virtues as:

  1. “Temperance. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.”
  2. “Silence. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.”
  3. “Order. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.”
  4. “Resolution. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.”
  5. “Frugality. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.”
  6. “Industry. Lose no time; be always employ’d in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.”
  7. “Sincerity. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.”
  8. “Justice. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.”
  9. “Moderation. Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.”
  10. “Cleanliness. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloths, or habitation.”
  11. “Tranquility. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.”
  12. “Chastity. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.”
  13. “Humility. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.”

Franklin admitted that he fell short of these virtues many times, but believed that sincerely trying his best made him a better man, and contributed to his success and happiness. In his autobiography, he devoted more pages to the 13 Virtues than to anything else; in fact, he wrote, “I hope, therefore, that some of my descendants may follow the example and reap the benefit.”

We are all, in a sense, “descendants” of the great Founding Father, Ben Franklin. So by all means, take these virtues to heart, “follow the example and reap the benefit!

Today’s story shared from the following website: http://www.learningliftoff.com/overcoming-obstacles-ben-franklin/#.WTm0C8bMxBw

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Truth…Believe in God and He Will Show You Truth!

the thing about truth is that it exists beyond belief. It is true even if nobody believes it. Dieter F. UchtdorfWhat do you believe is true? What do you believe about yourself? Do you know it is true that God exists? Do you know that He loves you perfectly even though your imagination cannot grasp what that really means? Do you seek for truth in all areas where it is to be found? Do you understand all of the many truths that God is waiting to share with you?

My understanding of truth continues to grow and expand. I have found that God is willing to show me truth…a continuous step at a time. Often, I find that truth (or an understanding of it) has been right in front of my eyes ready to be discovered.  It is usually some bias or personal quirk that I have had that has prevented me from recognizing and receiving it sooner. I keep working at understanding all truth. I is my hope that there will come a day when the flood gates open wide and I will receive truth in waves rather than in steps!

In the meantime, I will keep diligently seeking to understand truth in all its forms and then to use it in my life. I hope you will do the same!

Today’s story is a video. If you are having doubts about yourself or what you can do, take a moment to watch today’s video – I think it will teach you a lot about self-imposed limitations!

Video shared from the following website: http://www.godvine.com/The-Truth-About-This-Man-Makes-Him-The-Most-Unlikely-Farmer-On-Earth-And-Most-Inspirational-Whoa–5588.html

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