For Where Your Treasure Is….

For where Your Treasure is, There will be Your Heart also Matthew 6:21There are so many treasures in life…but I can’t think of a single one that has monetary value. The fancier things in life, for me, are not the treasures.

Don’t get me wrong, I love convenience as much as anybody. However, I am perfectly content to give up convenience to have the things that matter most to me: my sweetheart husband, my family, and my friends.

My near-death experience taught me more about what is truly valuable than any earthly experience I have ever had.

As a result, I never want to depart from this world without those I love knowing with every fiber of their being that I love them.

What about you? Do you have anyone you need to express your love to? If so, don’t wait until it’s convenient, make sure you tell them today!

Today’s story is wonderful! I hope you enjoy!:

The Greatest Treasure

Like many career military spouses, I couldn’t wait until my husband retired. My husband and I were probably the worst couple in the active duty Navy to ever go through deployment separations. As much as my husband loved the sea, he missed me with a passion, and as much as I supported him in his chosen career, I hated every moment away from him.

I coped with our separations the best way that I could. I prayed for his safety, wrote letters every day, and I prepared for each deployment in advance. I made up dozens of small notes and packages for him, which I secretly tucked into his sea bag, so that he could discover them when he was out to sea. We both kept separate journals, which we wrote in every day, sharing tidbits of the lives we led apart. To this day those notes are still precious to us.

Finally in 1996 my husband retired from the Navy. We moved back to the Virginia mountains that we loved, unaware that we were diving into the longest separation of our marriage. My asthma made it impossible for me to live in the city, and the only job available for my husband was six-and-a-half hours away in Norfolk, Virginia.

We spent eight months apart. By this time email was available, so we finally were able to share our love every single day. That was our hardest separation, perhaps because we had planned to be together, and we had never planned to be apart. Louie came to visit as often as he could. We drove to be with him on Thanksgiving and Christmas. He continued to apply for jobs in the area in which we hoped to live, and we prayed that soon we would be able to be together as a family again.

One day Louie called me with the good news. He had a job opportunity in southwest Virginia, right in the heart of the Appalachian mountains. We were thrilled! Louie was hired immediately, and we would soon be a family again. There was only one small problem. Louie would have to live in a camper, while our daughters and I lived in a little house an hour-and-a-half away, until we could find just the right house.

Okay, I told myself. I know how to do this. We’ve been separated before. My resolve lasted three days. I turned to my daughters, both old enough to take care of themselves, and I announced, “Okay girls, you’re on your own! I’m going to be with my husband!”

In minutes I was packed, and I was on my way to be reunited with my beloved. I drove over mountain roads through a driving rainstorm. Night-blind and terrified, not even a police road block outside the state prison could keep me from my destination. God bless the Virginia State Police! They waved me through, before I could sob out my entire story.

There’s no doubt in my mind that angels guided me. I’d have never found that campground in the dark by myself. As I drove up, I could see my husband, reading by the light of a tiny lamp, framed by the camper window. I pulled to a halt, nearly killing myself getting out of the car, as he threw the camper door open. Louis’s hand reached out for me, as I stumbled into his arms. Such warmth and affection was worth a journey of a thousand miles!

Louie and I spent a glorious three-and-a-half weeks together. One morning after he had left for work, I sat alone in the camper trying to remember any possession that was as priceless as the time God had given us together. I couldn’t think of a single thing. We moved into that camper and lived there for a year, squeezed together like sardines. It was pure joy! I learned in that year that the greatest treasure I have is the time I’ve been given with the ones I love. The worldly treasures that we gave away? You know, I still can’t recall a single thing.

Written by Jaye Lewis

Today’s story shared from the following website: http://www.agiftofinspiration.com.au/stories/personalgrowth/Treasure.shtml

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Are You Thankful for Your Thorns?…Dealing with Adversity

rose bushes profile-girl-rose-young-girl-50998With Thanksgiving quick approaching, the last thing you may have on your mind is thorns. However, life is full of thorns and it is important to be thankful – even for some of the thorns! In that spirit, I share today’s story:

Sandra felt as low as the heels of her Birkenstocks as she pushed against a November gust and the florist shop door. Her life had been easy, like a spring breeze. Then, in the fourth month of her second pregnancy, a minor automobile accident stole her ease. During this Thanksgiving week, she would have delivered a son. She grieved over her loss. As if that weren’t enough, her husband’s company threatened a transfer. Then her sister, whose holiday visit she coveted, called saying she could not come. What’s worse, Sandra’s friend infuriated her by suggesting her grief was a God-given path to maturity that would allow her to empathize with others who suffer. “Had she lost a child? No – she has no idea what I’m feeling,” Sandra shuddered. Thanksgiving? “Thankful for what?” she wondered. For a careless driver whose truck was hardly scratched when he rear-ended her? For an airbag that saved her life but took that of her child?

“Good afternoon, can I help you?” The flower shop clerk’s approach startled her. “Sorry,” said Jenny, “I just didn’t want you to think I was ignoring you.” “I . . . . I need an arrangement.” “For Thanksgiving?” Sandra nodded. “Do you want beautiful but ordinary, or would you like to challenge the day with a customer favorite I call the ‘Thanksgiving Special’?” Jenny saw Sandra’s curiosity and continued. “I’m convinced that flowers tell stories, that each arrangement insinuates a particular feeling. Are you looking for something that conveys gratitude this Thanksgiving?” “Not exactly!” Sandra blurted. “Sorry, but in the last five months, everything that could go wrong has.”

Sandra regretted her outburst but was surprised when Jenny said, “I have the perfect arrangement for you.” The door’s small bell suddenly rang. “Barbara, hi!” Jenny said. She politely excused herself from Sandra and walked toward a small workroom. She quickly reappeared carrying a massive arrangement of green bows, and long-stemmed thorny roses. Only, the ends of the rose stems were neatly snipped, no flowers. “Want this in a box?” Jenny asked. Sandra watched for Barbara’s response. Was this a joke? Who would want rose stems and no flowers! She waited for laughter, for someone to notice the absence of flowers atop the thorny stems, but neither woman did. “Yes, please. It’s exquisite.” said Barbara. “You’d think after three years of getting the special, I’d not be so moved by its significance, but it’s happening again. My family will love this one. Thanks.”

Sandra stared. “Why so normal a conversation about so strange an arrangement?” she wondered. “Ah,” said Sandra, pointing. “That lady just left with, ah . . . ” “Yes?” “Well, she had no flowers!” “Yep. That’s the Special. I call it the “Thanksgiving Thorns Bouquet.” “But, why do people pay for that?” In spite of herself she chuckled. “Do you really want to know?” “I couldn’t leave this shop without knowing. I’d think about nothing else!” “That might be good,” said Jenny.

“Well,” she continued, “Barbara came into the shop three years ago feeling very much like you feel today. She thought she had very little to be thankful for. She had lost her father to cancer, the family business was failing, her son was into drugs, and she faced major surgery.” “Ouch!” said Sandra. “That same year, I lost my husband. I assumed complete responsibility for the shop and for the first time, spent the holidays alone. I had no children, no husband, no family nearby, and too great a debt to allow any travel.” “What did you do?” “I learned to be thankful for thorns.” Sandra’s eyebrows lifted. “Thorns?”

“I’m a Christian, Sandra. I’ve always thanked God for good things in life and I never thought to ask Him why good things happened to me. But, when bad stuff hit, did I ever ask! It took time to learn that dark times are important. I always enjoyed the flowers of life but it took thorns to show me the beauty of God’s comfort. You know, the Bible says that God comforts us when we’re afflicted and from His consolation we learn to comfort others.” Sandra gasped. “A friend read that passage to me and I was furious! I guess the truth is, I don’t want comfort. I’ve lost a baby and I’m angry with God.” She started to ask Jenny to “go on” when the door’s bell diverted their attention.

“Hey, Phil!” shouted Jenny as a balding, rotund man entered the shop. She softly touched Sandra’s arm and moved to welcome him. He tucked her under his side for a warm hug. “I’m here for twelve thorny long-stemmed stems!” Phil laughed, heartily. “I figured as much,” said Jenny. “I’ve got them ready.” She lifted a tissue-wrapped arrangement from the refrigerated cabinet. “Beautiful,” said Phil. “My wife will love them.” Sandra could not resist asking, “These are for your wife?” Phil saw that Sandra’s curiosity matched his when he first heard of a Thorn Bouquet. “Do you mind me asking, Why thorns?” “In fact, I’m glad you asked,” He said. “Four years ago my wife and I nearly divorced. After forty years, we were in a real mess, but we slogged through, problem by rotten problem. We rescued our marriage – our love, really. Last year, at Thanksgiving, I stopped in here for flowers. I must have mentioned surviving a tough process because Jenny told me that for a long time she kept a vase of rose stems — stems! — As a reminder of what she learned from ‘thorny’ times. That was good enough for me. I took home stems. My wife and I decided to label each one for a specific thorny situation and give thanks for what the problem taught us. I’m pretty sure this stem review is becoming a tradition.” Phil paid Jenny, thanked her again and as he left, said to Sandra, “I highly recommend the Special!”

“I don’t know if I can be thankful for the thorns in my life, ” Sandra said to Jenny. “Well, my experience says that thorns make roses more precious. We treasure God’s providential care more during trouble than at any other time. Remember, Sandra, Jesus wore a crown of thorns so that we might know His love. Do not resent thorns.” Tears rolled down Sandra’s cheeks. For the first time since the accident, she loosened her grip on resentment. “I’ll take twelve long-stemmed thorns, please.” “I hoped you would, ” Jenny said. “I’ll have them ready in a minute. Then, every time you see them, remember to appreciate both the good and hard times. We grow through both.” “Thank you. What do I owe you?” “Nothing. Nothing but a pledge to work toward healing your heart. The first year’s arrangement is always on me.”

Jenny handed a card to Sandra. “I’ll attach a card like this to your arrangement but maybe you’d like to read it first. Go ahead, read it.” My God, I have never thanked Thee for my thorn! I have thanked Thee a thousand times for my roses, but never once for my thorn. Teach me the glory of the cross I bear, teach me the value of my thorns. Show me that I have climbed to Thee by the path of pain. Show me that my tears have made my rainbow.

-Author Unknown

Story shared from the following website: http://www.heavensinspirations.com/thankful-for-thorns.html

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Adversity – It Is Not What Happens to You…

It is not what happens to you but What happens Within you that counts

We all have adversity in our lives. Admittedly, some have greater loads of adversity to carry and to deal with in their lives but no one escapes the grasp of adversity.

Yet, it is adversity that makes us strong, that teach us lessons, and that can reveal the masterpiece that lies within each of us.

As you read today’s story, I hope you will remember the amazing potential that lies within you!:

The artist Michelangelo often stirred up the opposition of the contemporary artists of his day. Many of them envied his magnificent abilities. One example was the architect Bramante.

Pope Julius retained Michelangelo to build him a splendid tomb. Michelangelo gladly accepted the project and spent eight months in a marble pit personally cutting and selecting the most perfect stones. When he returned, he found the pope had second thoughts. Bramante had turned Pope Julius against the project. The Pope cancelled it.

Later the idea for another special project entered the Pope’s mind. Bramante saw the project as a time consuming trap for which there would be little public recognition. Bramante recommended Michelangelo for the job.

The great artist saw the trap. He knew what Bramante was up to. He wished to turn the project down but did not want to refuse the Pope’s request. So Michelangelo went to work. He spent many years doing the slow and tedious labor the project required. It was the Sistine Chapel.

The inspiration that flowed through Michelangelo can likewise flow through any human being. That is what the inspiration wants to do. It cannot be stopped. It is a living, powerful river that easily circumvents all obstacles.

Michelangelo collected his inner forces for a complete victory. Likewise, we must not fear to face the trickery of some people and expose it for what it is. This is not negative, but intelligent protection and spiritual perception.

In his many books on inner development author Vernon Howard refers to Michelangelo several times. He quotes him as saying, “The more the marble wastes, the more the statue grows.” And, “I released the statue from the stone.” He chiseled away all that was unnecessary, and David emerged.

By: Tom Russell

Story shared from the following website: http://www.inspirationalstories.com/7/715.html

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Stillness…A Time to Reflect

Do you take time for meditation? Do you allow some stillness to be a part of each day? Do you take time to reflect and design your life?

I have found that quiet time – that time to reflect and to enjoy stillness to be very important in my life. It is during those times that I can most easily feel God with me. Feeling God with me enables me to be receptive to truth and wisdom whatever source it comes from

I hope you will take time to find the divinity within you – the peace it brings is priceless!

Enjoy today’s story!:

Thoughts While Alone

I met an old friend today that I’ve known since my earliest remembrances, and we took a drive. I could immediately discern that he was very wealthy. I don’t mean wealth by economic standards, but I could see an aura about him that reflected the joy, the happiness, the comfort, and peace that filled his very being. He didn’t have much to say, but I could tell he was in deep thought and this silence told me volumes. He told me about the many things that he no longer took for granted. He shared with me how fortunate he was to recognize what he had that he never questioned before.

I wasn’t surprised, as I continued to listen to him. After all, he had so much and he had taken his station in life simply as his reward for being good. He told me how thankful he was to have had Christian parents, who nurtured him, fed him, clothed him, and unconditionally loved him through his formative years. He told me about his Father who had died shortly after retirement and of his Mother and how she had lived a long and fruitful life.

He spoke of his family and how proud he was of his wife, his children, and his grandchildren. He spoke of the greater love of the entire family and how they all enjoyed gatherings for birthdays and holidays. He had great appreciation for the accomplishments of his family.

His wife had designed and built their home. His children had families and jobs they enjoyed going to each day. There was love and harmony in each family. He advised of his need to minister to others in this difficult world. He explained how his service was rewarded by God and His people. He reminisced about his church and his retirement. He became overwhelmed with emotion as he discussed the cancer, which had followed him since 1982, and how God told him all would be well. He told me of the joy he found in music and in writing. He had taken so much for granted, but today, he recognized and shared of his riches.

I listened to him all the way home and was so happy that he’d recognized his blessings and wanted to express thanks for his wealth. As I got out of the driver’s seat, I thanked God for this time to be myself and, as importantly, that this lifelong friend was and will always be me.

Copyright © 2013 Bob Stoess
Bob Stoess is a Retired CEO, prolific writer and wonderful mentor.
Story shared from the following website: http://www.motivateus.com/stories/thoughts-while-alone.htm

 

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Dreams Grow Only if You Grow…

Dreams Grow Only if You Grow...

Dreams grow only if you grow…have you ever thought about that? Have you thought about the condition that we must be in in order to grow and flourish? We must be open to change and to learning new things, and even be open to a new mindset.

Perhaps your dreams hinge on you letting go of who you think you are and recognizing who you really are! I witnessed during my near death experience that each of us made plans for this life and made promises to God. Then, last but not least, we each have been given the power to choose. I like to call that gift Personal Power. No matter what our circumstances or or condition, we can choose and we can grow.

I think that today’s story helps us all understand perspective. In order to pursue and accomplish our dreams, we often have to change our perspective. Sometimes, just a change of mindset it all we need to see our dreams as possibilities! I hope you enjoy!

The Weight of the Glass

Once upon a time a psychology professor walked around on a stage while teaching stress management principles to an auditorium filled with students.  As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the typical “glass half empty or glass half full” question.  Instead, with a smile on her face, the professor asked, “How heavy is this glass of water I’m holding?”

Students shouted out answers ranging from eight ounces to a couple pounds.

She replied, “From my perspective, the absolute weight of this glass doesn’t matter.  It all depends on how long I hold it.  If I hold it for a minute or two, it’s fairly light.  If I hold it for an hour straight, its weight might make my arm ache a little.  If I hold it for a day straight, my arm will likely cramp up and feel completely numb and paralyzed, forcing me to drop the glass to the floor.  In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it feels to me.”

As the class shook their heads in agreement, she continued, “Your stresses and worries in life are very much like this glass of water.  Think about them for a while and nothing happens.  Think about them a bit longer and you begin to ache a little.  Think about them all day long, and you will feel completely numb and paralyzed – incapable of doing anything else until you drop them.”

The moral:  It’s important to remember to let go of your stresses and worries.  No matter what happens during the day, as early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down.  Don’t carry them through the night and into the next day with you.  If you still feel the weight of yesterday’s stress, it’s a strong sign that it’s time to put the glass down.

Story is shared from the following website: http://www.marcandangel.com/2013/05/21/4-short-stories-change-the-way-you-think/

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