A Hero…Is Someone Who Makes a Difference

A Hero is someone who has given his or her life to Something bigger than Oneself Joseph Campbell

The Power of Forgiveness

On June 8, 1972, during the Vietnam war, South Vietnamese forces dropped a napalm bomb onto the town of Trang Bang in North Vietnam. Photographer Nick Ut was there at the scene. He took a photo of a little girl, running away from her home village naked with a look of horror and pain on her face. Her clothes had been burned off. The photo became famous and won the Pulitzer Prize. The picture was a wake-up call to many about the horrifying reality of war and the damage done by the war in Vietnam.

The girl in the photo was Phan Thi Kim Phúc and she was 9 years old. She survived the incident, but with severe burn scars all over her body. The doctors doubted she would survive. Kim, only a little child, had to stay at the hospital for 14 months, going through many operations, and then had to go through years of therapy. But she survived, and eventually moved back to her home village to live a normal life with her family.

While at college, she met a man with severe burn scars on his arm from having rescued someone from a burning building. A girl she knew made a comment on his scars, saying that nobody would want to date someone with such ugly scars. Kim thought about how her scars were much worse. This caused her great emotional turmoil – she couldn’t bring herself to eat, sleep or study for 3 days. Eventually, through prayer and self-talk, she managed to pull herself together again. However, she didn’t think she would ever find a boyfriend or a husband. But she did find a boyfriend, whom she eventually married and had her 2 sons with. Her husband says that if anything, the scars make him love her more.

Kim admits she felt bitterness and hate over the incident, which left her with chronic physical pain. She often wondered why it had to happen to her. But she soon realized that she needed to overcome these negative emotions to find peace. She needed to forgive, so she could move on for good. After she had forgiven those that were responsible for the event, she felt at peace.

On Veteran’s day, 1996, Vietnam war veterans gathered to the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington. Kim was also there. She gave a speech about the attack she survived. She talked about how she no longer felt anger towards those responsible, as she had found the strength to forgive them. Suddenly, John Plummer, the pilot who was in the plane that dropped the bomb, stood up and started moving towards Kim. He shouted to her that he was responsible and that he was sorry. Kim came down from the stage and hugged him, and told him he was forgiven.

Kim believed she survived what happened because of a higher purpose, and that the event was necessary to teach her a lesson about helping and forgiving others. In 1996 she founded the Kim Phuc Foundation, that helps other child victims of war. That same year she also became a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador. She found joy in helping people, visiting other victims of war at hospitals and giving them hope. Her strength to forgive, positive attitude and tireless efforts to help others inspire everyone she meets.

Story shared from the following website: http://forinspiredlives.blogspot.com/2011/03/overcoming-tragedy-3-inspiring-stories.html

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The Most Useful Asset We Have…A Heart Full of Love

The most useful asset of a person is not a head full of knowledge but a heart full of love, with ears open to listen, and hands willing to helpThe story that I share today is fairly long. My intent is to always inspire and share those lessons I learned as a result of my near-death experience and other life experiences in which God has guided me.

Therefore, I will keep my part brief today and just encourage you to find a tissue! I love today’s story and I love that it shares what a circle life is. We all need help from time to time and it is true…we really are our brother’s keeper!

Please enjoy today’s story!

Kindness

One day a woman was walking down the street when she spied a beggar sitting on the corner. The man was elderly, unshaven, and ragged. As he sat there, pedestrians walked by him giving him dirty looks They clearly wanted nothing to do with him because of who he was — a dirty, homeless man. But when she saw him, the woman was moved to compassion.

It was very cold that day and the man had his tattered coat — more like an old suit coat rather than a warm coat — wrapped around him. She stopped and looked down. “Sir?” she asked. “Are you all right?”

The man slowly looked up. This was a woman clearly accustomed to the finer things of life. Her coat was new. She looked like that she had never missed a meal in her life. His first thought was that she wanted to make fun of him, like so many others had done before. “Leave me alone,” he growled.

To his amazement, the woman continued standing. She was smiling — her even white teeth displayed in dazzling rows. “Are you hungry?” she asked.

“No,” he answered sarcastically. “I’ve just come from dining with the president. Now go away.”

The woman’s smile became even broader. Suddenly the man felt a gentle hand under his arm. “What are you doing, lady?” the man asked angrily. “I said to leave me alone.”

Just then a policeman came up. “Is there any problem, ma’am?” he asked.

“No problem here, officer,” the woman answered. “I’m just trying to get this man to his feet. Will you help me?”

The officer scratched his head. “That’s old Jack. He’s been a fixture around here for a couple of years. What do you want with him?”

“See that cafeteria over there?” she asked. “I’m going to get him something to eat and get him out of the cold for awhile.”

“Are you crazy, lady?” the homeless man resisted. “I don’t want to go in there!” Then he felt strong hands grab his other arm and lift him up. “Let me go, officer. I didn’t do anything.”

“This is a good deal for you, Jack,” the officer answered. “Don’t blow it.”

Finally, and with some difficulty, the woman and the police officer got Jack into the cafeteria and sat him at a table in a remote corner. It was the middle of the morning, so most of the breakfast crowd had already left and the lunch bunch had not yet arrived. The manager strode across the cafeteria and stood by the table. “What’s going on here, officer?” he asked. “What is all this. Is this man in trouble?”

“This lady brought this man in here to be fed,” the policeman answered.

“Not in here!” the manager replied angrily. “Having a person like that here is bad for business.”

Old Jack smiled a toothless grin. “See, lady. I told you so. Now if you’ll let me go. I didn’t want to come here in the first place.”

The woman turned to the cafeteria manager and smiled. “Sir, are you familiar with Eddy and Associates, the banking firm down the street?”

“Of course I am,” the manager answered impatiently. “They hold their weekly meetings in one of my banquet rooms.”

“And do you make a good profit from providing food at the weekly meetings?”

“What business is that of yours?”

“I, sir, am Penelope Eddy, president and CEO of the company.”

“Oh.”

The woman smiled again. “I thought that might make a difference.” She glanced at the cop who was busy stifling a giggle. “Would you like to join us in a cup of coffee and a meal, officer?”

“No thanks, ma’am,” the officer replied. “I’m on duty.”

“Then, perhaps, a cup of coffee to go?”

“Yes, ma’am. That would be very nice.”

The cafeteria manager turned on his heel. “I’ll get your coffee for you right away, officer.”

The officer watched him walk away. “You certainly put him in his place,” he said.

“That was not my intent. Believe it or not, I have a reason for all this.” She sat down at the table across from her amazed dinner guest. She stared at him intently. “Jack, do you remember me?”

Old Jack searched her face with his old, rheumy eyes “I think so — I mean you do look familiar.”

“I’m a little older perhaps,” she said. “Maybe I’ve even filled out more than in my younger days when you worked here, and I came through that very door, cold and hungry.”

“Ma’am?” the officer said questioningly. He couldn’t believe that such a magnificently turned out woman could ever have been hungry.

“I was just out of college,” the woman began. “I had come to the city looking for a job, but I couldn’t find anything. Finally I was down to my last few cents and had been kicked out of my apartment. I walked the streets for days. It was February and I was cold and nearly starving. I saw this place and walked in on the off chance that I could get something to eat.”

Jack lit up with a smile. “Now I remember,” he said. “I was behind the serving counter. You came up and asked me if you could work for something to eat. I said that it was against company policy.”

“I know,” the woman continued. “Then you made me the biggest roast beef sandwich that I had ever seen, gave me a cup of coffee, and told me to go over to a corner table and enjoy it. I was afraid that you would get into trouble. Then, when I looked over, I saw you put the price of my food in the cash register. I knew then that everything would be all right.”

“So you started your own business?” Old Jack said.

“I got a job that very afternoon. I worked my way up. Eventually I started my own business that, with the help of God, prospered.” She opened her purse and pulled out a business card. “When you are finished her e, I want you to pay a visit to a Mr. Lyons. He’s the personnel director of my company. I’ll go talk to him now and I’m certain he’ll find something for you to do around the office.” She smiled. “I think he might even find the funds to give you a little advance so that you can buy some clothes and get a place to live until you get on your feet And if you ever need anything, my door is always opened to you.”

There were tears in the old man’s eyes. “How can I ever thank you,” he said.

“Don’t thank me,” the woman answered. “To God goes the glory. Thank Jesus. He led me to you.”

Outside the cafeteria, the officer and the woman paused at the entrance before going their separate ways. “Thank you for all your help, officer,” she said.

“On the contrary, Ms. Eddy,” he answered. “Thank you. I saw a miracle today, something that I will never forget. And… And thank you for the coffee.”

She frowned. “I forgot to ask you whether you used cream or sugar. That’s black.”

The officer looked at the steaming cup of coffee in his hand. “Yes, I do take cream and sugar — perhaps more sugar than is good for me.” He patted his ample stomach.

“I’m sorry,” she said.

“I don’t need it now,” he replied smiling. “I’ve got the feeling that this coffee you bought me is going to taste as sweet as sugar.”

Author Unknown

Story shared from the following website: https://great-inspirational-quotes.com/kindness.html

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Leadership and Teaching: Rule With the Heart of a Servant – Serve With the Heart of a King

I am grateful for the wonderful teachers that I have been blessed with in my life. I am also grateful for those individuals that have set the example of true leadership for me.

Virtually all of them have been both a teacher and a leader. Each of them is a priceless treasure I store in my heart. Though none of them has been perfect, they each have emulated, in some way, the example of leadership and heart that the Savior shared with mankind.

We each have the opportunity to share our influence, our wisdom and our love. We never know the extent that our service, love and teaching will reach.

I think often of a friend who shared with me long ago that she didn’t remember well what she what was taught but she remembered well how a few of her most treasured leaders and teachers made her feel. That is the kind of teacher and leader I want to be!

Whether you are a school teacher, Sunday School teacher, friend, parent, or business person, etc. – our influence is felt daily by those we interact with. What we say and what we do makes a difference!

I hope you will join me in trying to be a positive influence in the world!

I also hope you enjoy today’s story! It is wonderful!

Mrs Thompson – The Teacher

Mrs. Thompson exemplifies the type of leadership we should all take notice of. She helped this little boy, Teddy, feel like he was important and changed his life. It’s amazing what kindness can do. Teachers are some of the greatest leaders there are. This is a great holiday; make you feel good, type of story. I hope it is meaningful to you in each of your leadership capacities at work, home, church or wherever.

As she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the very first day of school, she told the children an untruth. Like most teachers, she looked at her students and said that she loved them all the same. However, that was impossible, because there in the front row, slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard

Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he did not play well with the other children, that his clothes were messy and that he constantly needed a bath. In addition, Teddy could be unpleasant. It got to the point where Mrs. Thompson would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X’s and then putting a big ‘F’ at the top of his papers.

At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child’s past records and she put Teddy’s off until last. However, when she reviewed his file, she was in for a surprise.

Teddy’s first grade teacher wrote, ‘Teddy is a bright child with a ready laugh. He does his work neatly and has good manners… he is a joy to be around..’

His second grade teacher wrote, ‘Teddy is an excellent student, well liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle.’

His third grade teacher wrote, ‘His mother’s death has been hard on him. He tries to do his best, but his father doesn’t show much interest, and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren’t taken.

Teddy’s fourth grade teacher wrote, ‘Teddy is withdrawn and doesn’t show much interest in school. He doesn’t have many friends and he sometimes sleeps in class.’

By now, Mrs. Thompson realized the problem and she was ashamed of herself.. She felt even worse when her students brought her Christmas presents, wrapped in beautiful ribbons and bright paper, except for Teddy’s. His present was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper that he got from a grocery bag. Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one-quarter full of perfume.. But she stifled the children’s laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume on her wrist. Teddy Stoddard stayed after school that day just long enough to say, ‘Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my Mom used to.’

After the children left, she cried for at least an hour. On that very day, she quit teaching reading, writing and arithmetic. Instead, she began to teach children. Mrs. Thompson paid particular attention to Teddy. As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded. By the end of the year, Teddy had become one of the smartest children in the class and, despite her lie that she would love all the children the same, Teddy became one of her ‘teacher’s pets..’

A year later, she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that she was the best teacher he ever had in his whole life.

Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still the best teacher he ever had in life.

Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he’d stayed in school, had stuck w ith it, and would soon graduate from college with the highest of honours. He assured Mrs. Thompson that she was still the best and favorite teacher he had ever had in his whole life.

Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor’s degree, he decided to go a little further. The letter explained that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had. But now his name was a little longer…. The letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, MD.

The story does not end there. You see, there was yet another letter that spring. Teddy said he had met this girl and was going to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit at the wedding in the place that was usually reserved for the mother of the groom. Of course, Mrs. Thompson did. And guess what? She wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing. Moreover, she made sure she was wearing the perfume that Teddy remembered his mother wearing on their last Christmas together.

They hugged each other, and Dr. Stoddard whispered in Mrs. Thompson’s ear, ‘Thank you Mrs. Thompson for believing in me. Thank you so much for making me feel important and showing me that I could make a difference.’

Mrs. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back.. She said, ‘Teddy, you have it all wrong. You were the one who taught me that I could make a difference. I didn’t know how to teach until I met you.

Story shared from the following website: http://www.teamworkandleadership.com/2009/11/one-of-the-most-inspirational-teacherleadership-stories-ever-told.html

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You are More Important than You Know!

We are more important than we know, stronger than we realize, and extraordinary in every way. He can see it, and I believe He wants us to see it too.  Michelle WilsonThere are so many things that I wish I could share (like in share a video or embed into the hearts of everyone who walks the earth) from my near-death experience. I wish everyone could know of the unfathomable love that God has for each of us. I wish that everyone could know of the divine and inherent gifts that are ours simply for being a child of God. I wish everyone could know of God’s complete and utter perfection. I wish that everyone could know in a ego-less  way how important we all are!

There are waaaaay too many people in this world who have been tricked into believing that they don’t matter, that they have no talents, or that you have to be wealthy, famous or a celebrity to make a difference. The truth is that we are all important and each of us makes an important impact on this world. We all recognize the impact others have on us but, somehow, many seem to miss the fact that we have an impact as well!

Think about the impact you have. Think about your importance! I am not talking arrogance or conceit here. I am talking about the the importance you have by virtue of being a member of the human race and a child of God. I am talking about the difference you make when you have a positive attitude or when you share a smile. I am talking about the day you make for someone else when you share a compliment or do a good deed. I am talking about the impact you have on family members, co-workers and loved ones just by the way you treat and talk to them!

Think about the gifts you have! Remember…gifts are not meant for keeping – they are meant for sharing!

I hope you will take a few minutes to think about the impact you can (an do) make on those around you! I hope as you read today’s story, you will recognize how important you are and gain a little better sense of the impact you have on those in your life!:

Late one afternoon in the San Jose, California, airport, people were milling around, waiting for the luggage to appear on the carousel, with few seats available for waiting. The usual airport noises added to the restlessness of the impatient travelers. A group of strangers, we were each interested in our own destinations.

Against the wall near the outside door, an elderly woman sat hunched over on one of the few benches in the waiting room, a couple of boxes tied with string tucked next to her feet. I moved over near her and watched. She seemed not to notice me. She wrung her frail hands, spotted with age, over and over again, while deep lines furrowed her face. Many people walked by with little notice as she kept a steady watch on the outside door.

Taking a few steps closer, I asked, “Could I be of any help to you?” She looked up, startled, then said, “I’m supposed to meet my daughter out in front. She said she would come and pick me up, but I don’t know where to go, and I can’t carry my things.”

Together we got through the big door with her packages and found a bench near the area where people were being picked up. I wondered how long she had been waiting, and if her daughter knew how frightened and unsure her mother was in this unfamiliar place. Might better arrangements have been made for this elderly woman who seemed so alone, frightened, and unsure? The anxious traveler slowly sat down once again and pulled her packages close to her. Looking up through her wire-rimmed glasses, she asked, “Who are you anyway? You must be somebody.”

I told her my name and then asked this stranger bent with age and the care of years, “Who are you?” “Oh, I’m nobody,” she said. Nobody? I thought. You’re somebody’s mother and you’re . . . At that moment a car pulled up, and a middle-aged woman in fine clothes got out of the driver’s seat and hurried toward the elderly woman. “That’s her. That’s my daughter,” the mother told me. . . .

Since that day in San Jose, I hear ringing in my ears a tired voice, saying, “Oh, I’m nobody.” Just how many nobodies are there in this world? And how many somebodies? And how do you tell the difference?

In London, England, on a beautiful day in April, that question popped into my mind again. We arrived at Heathrow Airport and took a taxi to our hotel by way of Buckingham Palace. It was three o’clock in the afternoon, and large numbers of people were moving toward the palace. As we rode down the street opposite the palace entrance, we saw uniformed policemen mounted on beautiful black horses. Lines of school children in navy uniforms with brass buttons, looking as official in their uniforms as the officers of the law, were carrying beautiful bouquets of bright yellow daffodils. “Surely this is not a regular occurrence,” I said, and the taxi driver informed me that it was a celebration for Queen Elizabeth’s birthday. The celebration was to begin at four o’clock, when the children would gather in front of the great palace and begin singing. Fifteen minutes later the Queen of England, Queen Elizabeth II, would appear on the balcony and everyone could participate in this historic event by singing happy birthday to her.

You can be sure that at four o’clock, I was at Buckingham Palace. I looked around at the people – young and old, poor and well-to-do. I watched as they stood with eyes riveted on the balcony, which was decorated with red, white, and blue bunting. At four o’clock the children began to sing. Fifteen minutes later a hush fell over the crowd. The balcony doors opened, and out stepped six uniformed buglers in fancy attire. They raised their instruments, with long banners hanging from each horn, and played a stirring fanfare. Then the people in the courtyard cheered as the queen came into view. She was dressed in a bright yellow suit, and as if by signal, the children waved their bright yellow daffodils and sang the special birthday song. The queen waved to the people, many of whom had tears in their eyes. There stood the Queen of England, a real somebody surrounded by her subjects, her kingdom, and her empire.

I supposed no one had ever asked Queen Elizabeth, “Who are you?” If they had done so, everyone could answer, “She is the Queen of England.” No more would need to be said.

Is it power and authority, popularity, prestige, and position that makes one a somebody? My mind raced by from the Buckingham Palace in London to the airport in San Jose, from the Queen of England to the elderly woman who told me, “Oh, I’m nobody.”

I wanted to tell the old woman in San Jose that she could become a queen. I wanted to tell her about the gospel of Jesus Christ. I wanted to tell the Queen of England that she too could become a queen – not just the Queen of England, but a queen forever in God’s kingdom.

As I watched the crowds of people at the Queen’s birthday, I wished I could stand on the balcony of Buckingham Palace and shout to every young woman within the sound of my voice, “You are a somebody!” I wish that I could talk to every young woman personally. I would say, “You are a daughter of a Heavenly Father who loves you and who has an eternal plan for you that is centered in Jesus Christ your Savior.” I would tell her that she has a divine nature and has inherited divine qualities…. No one is a nobody! Everyone is a somebody in our Heavenly Father’s kingdom! We are all daughters of God.

(Ardeth Greene Kapp, I Walk by Faith, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1987].)

Story shared from the following website: http://www.ldsliving.com/FHE-Divine-Nature/s/3791

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Good Deeds Never Go Out of Style!

How Far that Little Candle Throws His Beams So Shines a Good Deed in a Weary World Williams ShakespeareI am sooo very grateful for the good deeds of others – both from those I call friends and from those I call strangers. My life has been abundantly blessed by their care, concern, and service! My post must be short today as my IP service is being less than reliable!

I hope that your life has been blessed by good deeds! I also hope that you will pay those kindnesses forward! We all are blessed by the goodness in this world!

I hope you enjoy today’s story!:

Friday morning, after I dropped my son off at school, I had a phone meeting with one of my favorite colleagues, mental health advocate Gina Nikkel of the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care. Suddenly, there was a loud crash; I abruptly ended the call. A car had rear-ended me.

I was okay, and the other driver, she was fine, too — physically at least. My car was only slightly affected, but the woman’s car was in bad shape. Her hood was completely damaged and bright, yellow-green fluid had started to pour out from underneath the car. I asked for her insurance information, but the woman said she didn’t have any; when I asked for her driver’s license, it turns out that she didn’t have a valid license either.

The appropriate thing to do was to call the insurance company and, maybe, the police, but I couldn’t.

The truth is that this easily could have been me in her spot. This week, I’ve worked 14-hour days, fallen asleep on the couch in my clothes, and have had bouts of insomnia as I prepare for four events on the East and West Coasts. I have been tired and stressed and functioning on less than a full cylinder. I have also been very openhearted and hopeful these past few days, as I’ve been working with the Fountain House, an inspiring mental health organization who we are collaborating with this weekend for Good Deeds Day. I was tired, but more importantly I was also inspired as we worked towards our shared mission of filling Herald Square with post it notes with messages of #flawlesslove to the world on social media and specifically to the members of Fountain House.

I remember another time in my life like this. It was a few years ago on a day that happened to be a spiritual double header — Good Friday and the first night of Passover. I was confronted by a man, who was not in touch with reality, in a dark corner of a gas station. Another person might have been scared, but because of how I frail I was feeling in that moment, my guard was down and I saw the perfection in that man: Our humanity connected us, and I’ll never forget the tender exchange that followed when he broke down and cried with tears of gratitude when I gave him the money he had requested.

Today was the same. Immediately I sensed that this woman was struggling, and with just a few questions, I found out that she was a retired veteran, that her husband had just left her, and that her license had been suspended because she didn’t have the money to pay for the tickets. She’d been driving to a doctor’s appointment at the VA hospital when she had crashed into my car.

All of the logistical questions — like what to do about the damage to my car, what to do about her lack of insurance and her suspended license — melted away in the rush hour traffic as we just stood together in a moment of pure connection on the side of the highway. I told her that I run a mental health organization and, after I gave her my card, I put my hand on her shoulder as we stayed locked in a powerful glance of affection and said goodbye.

Should I have called the police? Perhaps. Did I do enough to help her? Probably not. But in those few minutes, when time stood still, by seeing the perfection and light in this woman, I made space for this one, small, good deed, acknowledging our common human frailty. After all, it turns out I know just how important it was for her to get to her appointment at the VA hospital. I pray that she made it.

I have to see the perfection in my choice which may not have been logical in this situation but in my heart felt like the right thing to do. Not holding this woman up on her way to her appointment at the VA Hospital was my good deed. As we celebrate Good Deeds Day worldwide tomorrow, what will you do to spread the #flawlesslove?

Story shared from the following website: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/janine-francolini/a-crash-of-flawlesslove_1_b_9651552.html

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