God Can Calm All Storms…

sunrise over the earthI don’t know about you, but it seems to me that there is always some sort of “storm” in my life. I think it could also be called personal growth or personal challenges.

Less than three months ago, I sat in an intensive care unit beside the hospital bed of my granddaughter as her young body fought for life. Today, I watch her at home as she recovers and rebuilds her strength. I know without the smallest doubt that she and I and all of our family were assisted by angels  throughout those very difficult days.

Later today, I will sit in front of my computer and I will attempt to learn a new powerful software so that I can make my book available online again.

For you, today’s challenge will be different. Some of my challenges have been relatively easy to overcome (I am hoping that is the case with the new software today!). Others, have been very difficult – such as the 15 years it took to overcome my 24/7 migraines. I know now that life never was meant to be a cake walk. However, whether our current challenge is more similar to a sprint or a marathon – God can and will help us through it all.

There was a time when I was experiencing my migraine headaches that I wondered if I would ever know another day of life without skull crushing pain. Fifteen years is a very long time to have a headache.

Yet, a few days of headache pain would have never created the health advocate that I am today. Now, as I look back on that experience, it is easy to see that I was given incredible blessings through that trial. Somehow, I was enabled to function much better than I should have been able to function and step by step I was eventually led to the people and answers I needed to find health and healing once again.

Storms will be a consistent part of life but God can and will calm them all – if we ask and allow.  Sometimes, they may not disappear from our lives but where they remain, God will take us by the hand and help us walk above the waves.

Today’s story share’s a wonderful reminder of God’s watchful care. I hope you enjoy!:

THE FIRE

An article in National Geographic several years ago provided a penetrating picture of God’s wings.

After a forest fire in Yellowstone National Park, forest rangers began their trek up a mountain to assess the inferno’s damage. One ranger found a bird literally petrified in ashes, perched statuesquely on the ground at the base of a tree. Somewhat sickened by the eerie sight, he knocked over the bird with a stick. When he struck it, three tiny chicks scurried from under their dead mother’s wings.

The loving mother, keenly aware of impending disaster, had carried her offspring to the base of the tree and had gathered them under her wings, instinctively knowing that the toxic smoke would rise.

She could have flown to safety but had refused to abandon her babies. When the blaze had arrived and the heat had singed her small body, the mother remained steadfast. She had been willing to die so those under the cover of her wings would live.

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
Psalm 91:4 (NIV)

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No One Saves Us but Ourselves…Choose Your Path in Life

Are you waiting for someone to save you? Do you think perhaps that your faith in Jesus Christ is all you need? While I believe the Lord is essential in building a meaningful life – no one saves us without our own help. We choose our path. We are responsible for the paths we walk.

There are many people who have chosen to change their lives or who, when handed difficult circumstances, have made those choices which enabled them to overcome their obstacles. The Lord is both an essential and critical component but we are the ones in the driver’s seat.

If you are waiting around to win the lottery or for your knight in shining armor to show up – you might want to start the new year with a reality check. Perhaps the time has come for you to take charge and build the life you have always dreamed of!

In that light, I want to share a story today about a man who has chosen to create a meaningful life despite obstacles and difficulties! I hope you enjoy!:

Albert Frantz is a world-class pianist  from Pennsylvania who started playing at the extraordinarily late age  of 17. His early piano teacher told his mother to throw her money in the  garbage rather than spend it on piano lessons for Albert.

He discovered  his love for classical music while in high school and his passion made  him accomplish seemingly impossible things. He was the first pianist in  nearly a decade to win a Fulbright scholarship to study in Vienna just a  few years after starting out. This led him to study at the official  conservatory of the city of Vienna in Austria, the home country of many  of his musical idols.

Even before he could finish his education, he  started suffering from scoliosis, first discovered in his adolescence,  that virtually incapacitated his piano playing for more than six years.  Desperately looking for a therapy that would promise any amount of  relief, he found relief through Bikram yoga.

No sooner did he recover  from his back pain when he broke his left wrist upon getting hit in the  face by a tram on a cold and icy Thanksgiving weekend. Breaking a wrist  is a nightmare for a pianist. For Albert, it turned out positively in  the end, as the injury led him to play pieces by Charles-Valentin Alkan,  a 19th-century French virtuoso and one of the only composers to write  music for the right hand alone. His music was considered unplayable for  over a century and is regarded as the most athletically challenging  music ever written for the piano. Albert took it as a challenge, which  led to his critically acclaimed debut CD dedicated to Alkan’s music. His  debut album was an official jury nomination for the prestigious German  Record Critics Award, designed to recognize the “most rigorous standards  for supreme achievement and quality” in the field of music recording.

Besides  turning his interest to the works of Alkan and Liszt, his back pain  also led him to pursue an IRONMAN triathlon. This is especially notable,  as there were two situations in which he almost drowned during his  childhood. Swimming in open water made Albert panic throughout his adult  life. After a change of perspective, Albert found himself training for  one of the most challenging sports competitions in the world. He  finished his first IRONMAN triathlon – 3.8 km swimming, 180 km cycling  and a 42.2 km marathon – on June 28, 2015.

Source: http://www.dreama.tv/2015/10/alb…

Shared from the following website: https://www.quora.com/What-are-some-inspirational-short-stories-that-can-change-a-persons-life

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Attitude…Create Your Own Sunshine!

Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own SUNSHINE!  Anthony J. D'Angelo

Attitude – more correctly positive attitude is all about us! No one escapes trials and difficult days. Yet have you noticed that people can react those those problems very differently?

I love to see octogenarians who are full of smiles and laughs! I believe that if you have lived eighty plus years and still light up the world with your smile, you have figured out how to have a positive attitude no matter what life throws at you!

After seeing heaven, that is my goal: to always recognize my blessings no matter how difficult a day may be and to bring SUNSHINE to those that I encounter. I don’t always succeed but I keep trying and I think I am getting better and better at it!

What about you? Are you working at a positive attitude? Have you figured out how to smile even when life feels a bit sour? Remember, the one thing we all have complete control over is our attitude! I love the message about attitude in today’s story! I hope you enjoy!

Potatoes, Eggs, and Coffee Beans

Once upon a time a daughter complained to her father that her life was miserable and that she didn’t know how she was going to make it. She was tired of fighting and struggling all the time. It seemed just as one problem was solved, another one soon followed.

Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen. He filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Once the three pots began to boil, he placed potatoes in one pot, eggs in the second pot, and ground coffee beans in the third pot.

He then let them sit and boil, without saying a word to his daughter. The daughter, moaned and impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing.

After twenty minutes he turned off the burners. He took the potatoes out of the pot and placed them in a bowl. He pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl.

He then ladled the coffee out and placed it in a cup. Turning to her he asked. “Daughter, what do you see?”

“Potatoes, eggs, and coffee,” she hastily replied.

“Look closer,” he said, “and touch the potatoes.” She did and noted that they were soft. He then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. Its rich aroma brought a smile to her face.

“Father, what does this mean?” she asked.

He then explained that the potatoes, the eggs and coffee beans had each faced the same adversity– the boiling water.

However, each one reacted differently.

The potato went in strong, hard, and unrelenting, but in boiling water, it became soft and weak.

The egg was fragile, with the thin outer shell protecting its liquid interior until it was put in the boiling water. Then the inside of the egg became hard.

However, the ground coffee beans were unique. After they were exposed to the boiling water, they changed the water and created something new.

“Which are you,” he asked his daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a potato, an egg, or a coffee bean? “

Moral:In life, things happen around us, things happen to us, but the only thing that truly matters is what happens within us.

Which one are you?

Story shared from the following website: http://www.livin3.com/5-motivational-and-inspiring-short-stories

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Gratitude…Best Expressed by the Way We Live and Love

As we express our Gratitude, we must never forget that the Highest Appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.    John F. Kennedy

As we express our Gratitude, we must never forget that the Highest Appreciation
is not to utter words, but to live by them.     – John F. Kennedy

Gratitude is perhaps the most underrated component of a meaningful life. Heaven is full of love – but it is also full of gratitude. As I witnessed in heaven all of the abilities, talents and gifts which had been given to me by God, I recognized those incredible blessings with love and gratitude, not with arrogance or an air of superiority. I felt deep appreciation that those gifts I received from God would enable me to serve Him and help improve myself and others.

If I could wake up the world and help the world as a whole, I would want to ingrain the world with the understanding that this life is precious and an incredible learning opportunity. As such, it is too short to live chasing the golden eggs that have no lasting value or wallowing in self-pity and bitterness.

A meaningful life can be filled with wealth or poverty – but it is always filled with gratitude.

I hope you will choose to live your live with gratitude and love! You have the personal power to make that choice!

I hope you enjoy today’s story! It is a wonderful reminder of the importance of gratitude!:

Paid In Full

A young man was getting ready to graduate from college. For many months he had admired a beautiful sports car in a dealer’s showroom, and knowing his father could well afford it, he told him that was all he wanted. As Graduation Day approached, the young man awaited signs that his father had purchased the car.

Finally, on the morning of his graduation, his father called him into his private study. His father told him how proud he was to have such a fine son, and told him how much he loved him. He handed his son a beautifully wrapped gift box. Curious, and somewhat disappointed, the young man opened the box and found a lovely, leather-bound Bible, with the young man’s name embossed in gold. Angry, he shouted at his father and said “with all your money, you give me a Bible?” and stormed out of the house.

Many years passed and the young man had become very successful in business. He had a beautiful home and wonderful family, but realized his father now was getting old, and thought perhaps he should go see him. He had not seen him since that graduation day.

Before he could make arrangements, he received a telegram telling him his father had passed away, and willed all of his possessions to his son. He needed to come home immediately and take care of things.

When he arrived at his father’s house, sudden sadness and regret filled his heart. He began to search through his father’s important papers and saw the still gift-wrapped Bible, just as he had left it years ago. With tears, he opened the Bible and began to turn the pages.

His father had carefully underlined a verse, Matt.7:11, “And if ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Heavenly Father which is in Heaven, give to those who ask Him?” As he read those words, a car key dropped from the back of the Bible. It had a tag with the dealer’s name, the same dealer who had the sports car he had wanted. On the tag was the date of his graduation, and the words PAID IN FULL.

– Author Unknown

Story shared from the following website: http://www.motivationalwellbeing.com/motivational-stories-7.html

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Coming Together, Keeping Together, and Working Together…Creating Unity

Coming together is a beginning. Keeping Together is progress. Working together is Success. Henry Ford

Coming Together, Keeping Together, and Working together is the mindset that I found prevailed in heaven during my near-death experience. Can I just share that the atmosphere and love that existed in heaven was more glorious than words can describe?

I think it is the glorious conditions there (in heaven) that make so many of us who have had a near-death experience want to return and/or never leave. But earth and life on earth has a purpose. We have come here to learn to love, support and grow ourselves and others.

Yet, that never happens successfully where there is conflict instead of love, lashing out instead of support and shrinking from challenges instead of growth.

The media has been sharing and deliberately creating lots of division in the last several months. Perhaps it originated with the presidential election and the various elections throughout the country. Perhaps it started much earlier.

I would not normally hone in on the media but from my vantage point, the division in this country does not seem to be between the citizens of my community. Nor does it seem to be with those I call friends and acquaintances who live far away from me. Instead, it seems to be mostly prevalent on the various forms of media where it appears that extraordinary effort is made to find divisive stories.

The power of unity lies with each of us. We can build unity with our families, we can build unity in our workplaces, we can build unity in our communities and in the world. We must be the ones who come together, keep together and support each others successes.

May we each choose to be a part of a unified world and may today’s story inspire you to be a part of the teamwork called unity!:

Teamwork in the workplace can be difficult. Teams at work often consist of a variety of conflicting personalities and styles. Getting to a point in which a team can collaborate and work in harmony can be a difficult task for a leader and takes time.

I love the following metaphor on teamwork from Steve Jobs I recently found.

He tells the story of a widowed man he had gotten to know in his eighties who lived up the street from him when he was a young boy.

One day the older man said to him, “come on into my garage, I want to show you something.” He pulled out a dusty and old rock tumbler that consisted of a motor and a coffee can with a little band between them, Jobs recollected.

He then invited him to the backyard where they collected some very regular and old ugly rocks. They put them in a can with a little bit of liquid and some grit powder. The old man then closed the can, turned the motor on and said, “come back tomorrow.”

Jobs remembered the can making a big racket as the stones went around in the can.

He came back the next day and when they opened the can and took out the rocks they were amazingly beautiful and polished. He states, “The same common stones that had gone in, through rubbing against each other like this (clapping his hands), creating a little bit of friction, creating a little bit of noise, had come out these beautiful polished rocks.” Teams, he states, are like these stones.

Individually we can be fairly normal, ordinary and even a bit rough. But through the process of teamwork we can end up in a very different state.

Jobs states that teams consisting of incredibly talented people who are passionate and are working hard towards something often times bump up against each other, argue, sometimes fight and make some noise. By working together they polish one another and their ideas and in the process create beautiful stones.

I love this metaphor. Have you built up enough trust on your teams to allow bumping up against one another and passionately arguing on occasion?

Passive, “follow the leader” types of teams are destined to fail. Each member of a team brings something unique. They are unique in their gifts, ideas and arguments. Team members must feel like they can express themselves without embarrassment or retribution.

Leaders who embrace the process of “tumbling stones” on their teams create more efficiency, better ideas, better problem solving and ultimately better teamwork.

Story shared from the following website: http://www.teamworkandleadership.com/2014/10/teamwork-and-collaboration-a-powerful-metaphor-and-story-to-share.html

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