Finding Sunshine…and Gratitude in Our Lives

Keep your face to the sunshine and you will not see the shadows Helen KellerWhat do you do to make sure that there is sunshine in your life? I’m not talking about literal sunshine here…I am talking about finding gratitude and finding and recognizing the good things that are a part of your life! Do you always try to make sure that you find something to be grateful for? Perhaps, do you keep a gratitude journal?

I have found that as I have deliberately made an effort to notice and be grateful for my blessings, that both my peace and happiness have compounded exponentially! The more I find to be grateful for, the more I seem to have to be grateful for!

There are so many ways that we are blessed! Whether I get to see a beautiful rose or hold a precious bundle of baby, I love that there are so many ways my life is blessed – all I have to do is recognize those blessings as I receive them and presto chango – my  my joy is multiplied over and over!

Some of the simplest things we do can mean the most to others and vice versa!

I hope that you will enjoy the story I share today. And… be sure to watch the video! It is wonderful the things that we can do to make a difference in the lives of others!

This Is the Best Thing You Can Do to Make Someone’s Day

Every act of kindness, no matter how large, starts with something small, something we all can—and should—do every single day!

I’m Will Rubio, one of the hosts of BYUtv’s Random Acts show. We take hidden cameras to unexpected places to expose random acts of kindness. We’ve filmed acts big and small, from building handicap-accessible infrastructure for folks who need it but can’t afford it to small-time good Samaritans returning a lost wallet or helping a badly burned beach-goer escape further sun damage. 

And as someone whose job is literally to do nice things for people, I’m not only a very lucky guy, but I’m often asked the question, “Where can I start?” 

It truly takes a village to do what Random Acts does, but every act of kindness, big or small, starts exactly the same way: with one compassionate person seeing a situation that they can help improve.

On Random Acts, it may be a neighbor, a coworker, or a sister who recognizes a need and sets off an incredible chain reaction of service. Not every act of kindness will be as grandiose as a secret home renovation or a surprise helicopter ride, but every act of kindness starts small.

Take the story of Emmalene Meyers. Like many young girls, Emmalene dreamed of being a ballerina—but her cerebral palsy makes even everyday tasks a challenge. Instead of seeing a limitation, however, Emmalene’s thoughtful friend Lily saw an opportunity. Lily envisioned Emmalene’s dream being brought to life onstage and enlisted Random Acts to rally the troops and handle the logistics. I won’t give away the tear-jerking details, but you can watch the magic unfold on the video below:


Random Acts: Unforeseena Ballerina – BYUtv

So, where can you start? They key is to be like Lily: look for an opportunity to make a difference, no matter how small it may seem, and then take that first step towards making it happen. Being kind and doing service is just like any other attribute you want to cultivate or goal you want to achieve. You have to work at it. But the more you do it, the easier and more fulfilling it becomes. Take my word for it!

After two seasons of hosting Random Acts, the joy of easing burdens and brightening lives doesn’t wear off. I sometimes think Random Acts might lose its luster eventually, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. When I finally meet the person we’ve been working to surprise and see their genuine shock and appreciation, it hits me in the feels every time. I cry more than anyone else on the show—and I’m not ashamed to admit it! 

After all, every act of kindness starts with a single person having a single thought. Be that person–be the nice you want to see in the world!

Today’s inspiring story shared from the following website: http://www.rd.com/true-stories/inspiring/how-to-make-someones-day/

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What Can You Achieve with the Right Attitude?

Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude Thomas Jefferson

When creating a meaningful life, it is never a question of whether there will be difficulties but when. Life is filled with moments that we can allow to crush us or that we can use to build a better us.

One of the best tools I know of to utilize in building a happy, meaningful life is exercising gratitude.

Gratitude and acknowledging our blessings always makes our lives better – no matter how difficult the difficulties are.

Today, I share a wonderful article by Marc Chernoff. I hope you enjoy it!

6 Things Happy People Never Do

Happy people do a lot of things.  They spend time expressing gratitude, cultivating optimism, practicing kindness, nurturing loving relationships, committing to meaningful goals, savoring life’s little pleasures, and so on and so forth.

But they NEVER…

1.  Mind other people’s business.

Forget about what others are doing.  Stop looking at where they are and what they have.  Nobody is doing better than you because nobody can do better than you.  YOU are walking your own path.  Sometimes the reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes circumstances with everyone else’s public highlight reel.  We listen to the noise of the world, instead of ourselves.  So stop the comparisons!  Ignore the distractions.  Listen to your own inner voice.  Mind your own business.

Keep your best wishes and your biggest goals close to your heart and dedicate time to them every day.  Don’t be scared to walk alone, and don’t be scared to enjoy it.  Don’t let anyone’s ignorance, drama, or negativity stop you from being the best you can be.  Keep doing what you know in your heart is right, for YOU.  Because when you are focused on meaningful work and at peace within yourself, almost nothing can shake you.  (Angel and I discuss this in more detail in the “Passion and Growth” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)

2.  Seek validation of self-worth from others.

When you are content to simply be yourself, without comparing and competing to impress others, everyone worthwhile will respect you.  And even more importantly, you will respect yourself.

How are you letting others define you?  What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?

Truth be told, no one has the right to judge you.  People may have heard your stories, and they may think they know you, but they can’t feel what you are going through; they aren’t living YOUR life.  So forget what they think and say about you.  Focus on how you feel about yourself, and keep walking the path that feels best under your feet.

Those who accept you are your friends.  Those who don’t are your teachers.  If someone calls you something and it’s true, it’s not your problem because it’s true.  If someone calls you something and it’s not true, it’s not your problem because it’s not true.  Either way, whatever they call you is not your problem.  What other people call you is their problem…

What you call yourself, and who you decide to become, is your problem.

3.  Rely on other people and external events for happiness.

Unhappiness lies in that gap between what we have now and what we think we need.  But the truth is, we don’t need to acquire anything more to be content with what we already have.  We don’t need anyone else’s permission to be happy.  Your life is magnificent not because someone says it is, or because you have acquired something new, but because you choose to see it as such.  Don’t let your happiness be held hostage.  It is always yours to choose, to live and experience.

As soon as you stop making everyone and everything else responsible for your happiness, the happier you’ll be.  If you’re unhappy now, it’s not someone else’s fault.  Take full responsibility for your own unhappiness, and you will instantly gain the ability to be happier.  Stop seeking in vain to arrange conditions that will make you happy.  Simply choose to appreciate the greatness that is yours in this moment, and the right conditions will start to line up around the contentment you seek.

The greater part of your happiness or unhappiness depends upon your outlook, and not upon our situation.  Even if things aren’t perfect right now, think of all the beauty still left around you.  A good reason to smile is always one thought away; choose to tap into it any time you like.  (Read The Gifts of Imperfection.)

4.  Hold on to resentment.

Let today be the day you stop being haunted by the ghosts from your past.  What happened in the past is just one chapter in your story; don’t close the book, just turn the page.

We’ve all been hurt by our own decisions and by others, and while the pain of these experiences is normal, sometimes it lingers for too long.  Feelings of resentment urge us to relive the same pain over and over, and we have a hard time letting go.

Forgiveness is the remedy.  It allows you to focus on the future without combating the past.  To understand the infinite potential of everything going forward is to forgive everything already behind you.  Without forgiveness, wounds can never be healed and personal growth can never be achieved.  It doesn’t mean you’re erasing the past, or forgetting what happened.  It means you’re letting go of the resentment and pain, and instead choosing to learn from the incident and move on with your life.

5.  Spend prolonged periods of time in negative environments.

You can’t make positive choices for the rest of your life without an environment that makes those choices easy, natural, and enjoyable.  So protect your spirit and potential from contamination by limiting your time with negative people and the environments they inhabit.

When other people invite you to act like victims, when they whine and moan about the unfairness of life, for example, and ask you to agree, to offer condolences, and to participate in their grievances, WALK AWAY.  When you join in that game of negativity you always lose.

Even when you’re alone, create a positive mental space for yourself.  Make it a point to give up all the thoughts that make you feel bad, or even just a few of them that have been troubling you, and see how doing that changes your life.  You don’t need negative thoughts.  They are all lies.  They solve nothing.  All they have ever given you is a false self that suffers for no reason.

6.  Resist the truth.

It is a certain deathtrap when we spend our lives learning how to lie, because eventually these lies grow so strong in our minds that we become bad at seeing, telling and living our own truth.  Lives come apart so easily when they have been held together with lies.  If you resist the truth, you will live a lie every day as the truth haunts your thoughts every night.  You simply can’t get away from your truth by moving dishonestly from one place to the next.

So don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to hide the truth with deception; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion of what’s popular.  It is better to offer no explanation or excuse than a false one.  It takes courage and strength to admit the truth, but it is the only way to truly live.  Accept what is, embrace it fully, and live for the possibilities that lie ahead.

Today’s inspiring articles shared from the following website: http://www.marcandangel.com/2013/07/16/6-things-happy-people-never-do/

 

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Gratitude…It Has Power to Empower!

Gratitude is so empowering that it ignites us to action Ed J. PinegarI carry a card with me everywhere I go – it is not a credit card or a gift card – it is a card with special meaning for me.

It is a Ronald McDonald room card. It reminds me of the kindness of strangers and the miracle of my granddaughter’s survival. Both fill me with gratitude!

During those weeks that I remained away from home and assisting with my granddaughter the kindness of strangers surrounded me. Sometimes it was a group from a business that was extending their support by cooking and providing breakfast for residents of the Ronald McDonald house. Other times, it was someone just asking how my granddaughter and all of our family was doing. Always, the support and kindness we received from others warmed our hearts and made a difficult situation more easily bearable.

The healing power of gratitude and kindness are undeniable to me – I have seen their effect too many times to discount them!

I was not surprised, when I read the book recently called The 22 Non-Negotiable Laws of Wellness by Greg Anderson, that one of those laws was the law of gratitude!

I hope you will join me in making it a daily habit to find something to be grateful for! Reasons to be grateful surround us no matter our circumstances!

I hope you will enjoy today’s story!:

The Train Story – a journey, an experience, and a feeling!

I was traveling by train from Circular Quay to Central (in Sydney) one morning some years ago. Quietly sitting there reading, I found myself suddenly listening to the train guard’s announcements. Now train travellers reading this will readily testify that when the guard makes an announcement, rather than the recorded message, it’s often quite dull or hard to understand. Whether it’s the recorded message or the guard’s message, few people (apart from tourists) listen to these messages.

This one was different.

As I looked up from my paper, I noticed that other passengers (previously engrossed in their smart phones or tablets) were also looking up and appeared to be listening. Not only that, everyone was smiling!

Why was so much attention being paid to this message?

As best I can recall, the guard said something along these lines, ‘Good Morning Ladies, Gentlemen and Children, this is the 7.35am from Penrith to Central and you’ll be pleased to know that we are right on time. This means that we’ll get you to where you’re going in plenty of time. And what a lovely morning it is in Sydney today. The sun is shining, temperature is about 21 degrees, birds are singing, and all’s right with the world. I trust you have a great day wherever you’re going. Thanks for catching my train this morning and I hope to see you again soon. Have a great day.’

Wow! Have you ever heard an announcement like that? I certainly hadn’t.

And how contagious was it? As well as getting everyone smiling, there were quite a few people (obviously previously strangers) who started talking to one another. They were all talking about the guard’s fabulous message and how good it had made everyone feel.

I started thinking about this and as I exited the train at Central, I approached the Guard’s cabin and started to thank him, to which the guard replied ‘Don’t know what you’re talking about mate, I’ve just come on’. So I asked where the other guard had gone and he pointed to the exit stairs.

I raced down the stairs, taking them two at a time, and caught the young guard at the bottom. He had obviously finished his shift and was on his way home.

I tapped him on the shoulder and said ‘Were you the guard on the 7.35 from Penrith?’

The guard seemed a bit stunned at first replying, ‘Yes, yyyyes.’ (In hindsight I think I too would have been a bit stunned if someone had approached me like that).

Pressing on I said ‘Well, I just wanted to thank you for your fabulous message this morning on the way from Circular Quay to Central. The message was so upbeat and pleasant. Most importantly, it got everyone’s attention and had everyone smiling. Thank you so much for giving me and the other passengers such a good start to the day. Please keep doing it.’

There are two messages for me in what happened that day. Firstly, when people are happy in their work it shows in what they do and say.

Secondly, the story highlights the benefits that can accrue from thanking people for something they’ve done, particularly when it’s not expected. Can you imagine the conversation that guard would have when he got home . . .  ‘Guess what happened to me today – a customer actually thanked me!’

Written by Bob Selden

Story shared from the following website: http://www.agiftofinspiration.com.au/stories/attitude/index.shtml

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Angels….Are There to Help Us!

Angels play a prominent part in the Lord’s plan in all dispensations. Our own dispensation is no exception. In fact, our dispensation has been a period of extraordinary angelic activity Donald W. ParryI believe in angels – I have to – I have seen them more than once.

The first time came when my husband and I saw our unborn children. The second came when my angel took me back to heaven to witness my meeting with God.

The angels, that I have witnessed, did not have wings but their visits did have purpose and were orchestrated by God.

Knowing what I know, I realize that I see angels on a daily basis. It’s just that all of the angels I see daily have bodies now and are having a mortal experience. The mortal angels I see daily have mostly forgotten where they came from and the purpose for their being here. (If they only knew their true identity!)

I know and I have witnessed, many occasions, events and occurrences in which angels were involved. I know that my deceased father saved my granddaughter when she was caught in a rock slide. I know that angels surrounded her in her hospital room and gave her much needed strength and healing. I know that angels facilitated the miraculous search and adoption of my two children from Russia. I have heard the voices of angels, seen them and felt them. Would you be surprised to know that I believe that manifestations through feelings is most important?

Feeling is believing…after my near-death experience, I have come to recognize how important it is to give feelings credibility. It is even more important to give God credit for the work He does in our lives.

I suspect that once I return to that heavenly realm from whence we all came that I will see that my encounters with heavenly angels were much more frequent than I even knew. I will not be surprised if I find that all of us are helped and assisted by angels in some way on a daily basis.

As a result of my near-death experience and encounters with angels, I have learned to give thanks for my angels and to ask for their assistance. I know that they are a great blessing in my life. I hope you will join me in giving thanks to God for the angels who assist us!

I hope you enjoy today’s story!

Paris

This story takes places on February 3, 2001. My best friend is a flight attendant for a Canadian Airline and she took me to Paris with her for my 40th birthday as my present. It was a whirlwind trip but very special and very memorable for many reasons but specifically this one. We had walked from our hotel over the bridge of the Thames River to the old side of Paris. We stopped at the flame of Princess Diana and shed a few tears looking at all the letters, candles, etc. that were there for her. We went to a restaurant and had dinner. When we went to go home we couldn’t decide whether to walk or take a taxi. It was drizzling some but we decided to walk anyway.

When we got back to the site of Diana’s flame, we got into a very deep discussion about death and why good people get taken away at such a young age. My sister-in-law had died in her early 40’s of leukemia a few years prior. I am a Christian and my best friend was just starting to believe so it was a very interesting conversation. In front of her flame, we crossed the street and were walking along the sidewalk very close beside the Thames River which was flowing very fast and high because of the rain and time of year. My friend had warned me earlier in the day to hold onto my purse because there were a lot of muggings in Paris. I had never been mugged before even though I had lived in places like Mexico City, Acapulco and downtown Toronto so I honestly didn’t think much of it.

Well, as we were walking along in this deep spiritual conversation, someone ran up to me and pushed me really hard towards the river and tried to grab my purse. It was like out of a movie or something. I felt like I was standing back while it was happening kind of in slow motion. I screamed very loud and so did my friend, I held onto my purse for dear life and all of a sudden, out of what seemed like nowhere, a very tall (over 6’5″ tall) very handsome man came along, enveloped both my friend and I in his arms and asked us if we were okay. We screamed at him too unfortunately just because we were so distraught and afraid and when the mugger ran in the opposite direction after turning back and looking at us, we turned around to thank the man and he was gone – just like that.

It was all open so we couldn’t figure out where he went so quickly. We both looked at each other after, both of us shaking like leafs and we both said at the same time, “Was that an angel that helped us?”. And if so, we hadn’t been very kind to him. I guess he understood our fright. Both of us maintain, to this day, the mugger looked back and saw the man with us and ran away because of him. Once his job was done, the man was gone. I still believe he was an angel and I’m very thankful. I could very easily have been pushed into the river and swept away. Merci to whoever it was . . . 🙂

Story shared from the following website: http://www.angels-online.com/

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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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