Miracles…They Are All Around Us

Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see C. S. LewisThose of you who follow my blog know that my granddaughter was critically injured last summer and that she is a walking talking miracle!

And, even though my life has been filled with miracles and events that God orchestrated, I think it is important to recognize that we are surrounded by miracles on a daily basis.

Today I share a story that reminded me in some ways of my experience with my granddaughter (think longer time line but she was saved by God nonetheless).

I hope that you will read and enjoy today’s story and that, as you look around, you will recognize the miracles that surround you!

Everyday Miracles

Tiffany Youngblood Gilliam – Seven years ago, my husband, Shane, who was a construction contractor and volunteer youth minister at Osage Baptist Church in rural Osage, Arkansas, called and said our little boy, Braedyn, had been in a wreck and was in terrible shape. I asked if Braedyn would be OK. My husband had no response, which alarmed me terribly. Waiting for my parents to drive me to the hospital, I felt so helpless. I dropped to my knees and began praying! Then, I started phoning everyone I knew and asked for prayer and they called other people. When I arrived at the hospital, my husband was crying in a way I had never seen a man cry. He didn’t want me to see Braedyn. When I did, it was terrible. His head was caved in on the right side. He had blood coming from his ears, eyes, nose and mouth. His pelvis appeared to be completely crushed. His catheter was full of blood, which means internal bleeding. The doctor told us the prognosis looked “very grave” and he might not make the flight to a big hospital in Springfield, Missouri. The thought of placing my baby on a helicopter by himself was just more than I could handle. The pilot asked if I wanted to ride, which is not usually allowed. I held onto my little boy’s arm and prayed during the whole flight that God would heal his broken little body. I told God I knew Braedyn was only on loan to me, but I wasn’t ready to not be his mommy. I fully trusted God that He would take care of my baby boy. When we landed, everything was so fast-paced. I was placed in a little room all by myself. There, I just continued to pray. After an eternity –  actually only about 40 minutes – the doctor came into the room. He seemed to be in shock!! All of the x-rays and tests had been redone and my little boy didn’t have a broken bone in his body. No internal bleeding. He was bruised and banged up very badly, but the doctor said “I can’t explain what happened. I thought I was going to be telling you there was nothing we could do, but instead I get to tell you that you are very lucky.” I said, “We are not lucky, we are BLESSED! Our God saved our little boy.” When we finally got to see him, his head was no longer caved in. He did have to be bed-bound for two weeks, but it was nothing we couldn’t handle. When we went for a check-up, our family doctor cried and hugged Braedyn. He said “I prayed so hard but I never thought I would see this little guy again.” God is so good! Braedyn is our little miracle boy!

Story shared from the following website: http://www.beliefnet.com/faiths/galleries/12-absolutely-amazing-miracles.aspx?p=5

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The Difference between Effort and Sincere Effort

is the key which will open the door through which you will see your separate parts, and you will see something quite new. You must go on trying to be sincere. Each day you put on a mask, and you must take it off little by little.

Have you noticed in your life that, at times, a certain life lesson seems to be a reoccurring theme? That often happens to me and my current reoccurring theme seems to be sincere effort.

The Lord seems intent on helping me see the vast difference that occurs between the sign posts called effort and sincere effort!

There are three examples that come immediately to my mind. One has to do with  teaching, one has to do with scripture study and the other has to do with exercise.

Example One

I teach a class of 8 year old children every Sunday. As of the first of January, I received a new class. As I taught the first few Sundays of January, I found myself missing my old class. I had nothing against my new class, I just wanted my old class back. I got down on my knees and prayed about the situation. I asked to love my new class just like I loved my old class.

Then, as I prepared the lesson for my class, I spent extra time thinking about each member of my new class and their family situations and the things they seemed to like. Keeping a prayer in my heart, I picked a video to share with them that logic told me was too geared to adults to be to their liking. Despite the logic, my heart told me it needed to be the one that I used with my lesson. Short story even shorter, my lesson with my new class was amazing. They loved the video and we shared a wonderful lesson together and I walked away from the experience feeling in love with my new class. I went to some extra effort and I was the blessed recipient.

Example Two

I am a fan of my elliptical machine. I have utilized it for several years now. The first couple of years, I rationalized that because I was generally quite active, 20 minutes a day was enough exercise. I thought that the claims that 20 minutes of exercise a day was a good amount of time to exercise. I have frequently read a book while I exercised or watched some sort of video presentation. A few months ago, I started watching movies while I exercised. One movie proved to be so entertaining that I stretched my exercise time from 20 to 30 minutes. In the short span of 3 or 4 days, I could feel a significant benefit from my 10 minute increase in exercise time. Thank goodness for that movie! From that time forward, I have set aside 30 minutes for my morning exercise and I feel so much better because of it!

Example Three

Back when I was suffering from severe depression, I needed all the strength I could muster to help me through those dark and dismal days. I had read my scriptures for years prior to my depression but it had mostly been an effort in which I spent just enough time reading my scriptures to justify my conscience in checking them off of “my should do” list. Life eventually became so difficult for me that I had to find a way to bring more light into my life. Scriptures became a part of that light. Instead of reading just a few verses – I would sometimes read for a few hours. A miracle occurred as I made a real and lasting place for scriptures in my life. Instead of being just a 5 minute effort I participated in to justify my conscience, they became one of my best friends and a secure and enduring source of strength. I was reading the same books and the same words but with a sincere approach. It made all the difference in the world and I truly believe the strength I received, as a result, saved my life.

If you are trying to work through difficult times, look at your life. Are you giving effort or sincere effort to those areas of your life that you are struggling with? Perhaps a few minor adjustments in your efforts can provide you with just the help you need!

Today’s story testifies to me of the importance of being sincere (and honest) in our lives. I hope you enjoy!:

The Zamindar’s Servant

A village zamindar (a landowner and village tax collector) and his wife had a number of goats. A servant, a young boy, looked after them. The zamindar liked the boy very much, but his wife was suspicious of him. Fortunately the lad did not know this. The wife was very clever. Outwardly she was kind, polite and affectionate to him, but inwardly she was hostile and mistrustful.

One day a friend came to the zamindar’s home and saw that he was very sad. The friend asked, “Why are you sad?”

The zamindar answered, “My wife and I are not getting along because of this servant. We each have a different opinion of him.”

The friend said, “Don’t worry. I can solve the problem and tell you whether he is good or bad.”

One day while the servant was watching the goats in a field, the master’s friend came up to him and said, “This particular goat is so beautiful. Will you sell it to me for five rupees?”

The boy answered, “No, I am sorry. I cannot sell it.”

The friend asked again, “Will you sell it to me for 10 rupees?”

The boy said, “No, I am sorry.”

“Twenty rupees?” the friend asked.

The servant said, “If you want to buy the goat, go to my master and give him the 20 rupees. If my master says he will sell it, then I will give it to you.

The friend said, “Who wants to go to your master? His house is quite far. Let me give You 30 rupees. I am sure that your master does not give you enough salary. Keep the 30 rupees and tell your master that the goat was stolen. Your master has so many goats. He won’t even know it is gone.”

“Oh no,” the boy said, “I can’t do that. He would know. And even if he didn’t notice, I know how many goats he has, so I would know that one was missing.”

The friend said, ‘Just take 30 rupees and give me the goat. Then go and give your master the money and tell him you have sold it.”

The boy said, “No, I am sorry. I can’t sell it without my master’s permission.”

“If I give you 100 rupees, will you give me the goat?” the friend said. “Then you can keep all the money.”

“I am not a thief,” the servant said. “I could never keep the money.”

The friend said, “You could give him 70 rupees and keep 30 for yourself. Or you could just tell him the goat was stolen and keep all the money for yourself.”

“I could never do that,” the young man said.

But the man persisted, and the servant finally conceded, “If you really want to give me 100 rupees for one goat, then I will accept the money and give it to my master.”

The zamindar’s friend was very curious to see what the servant would do with the money. He thought, “Either he will give his master a little less or tell him the goat was stolen. No matter what he does, I will be able to tell his master the true story.”

The servant went to his master and gave him the hundred rupees. He said, “Master, forgive me. Without your permission I sold a goat for a hundred rupees. I knew that the goat was only worth five rupees, but this man insisted

on giving me a hundred for it. I thought that you would be very happy to get 100 rupees for a goat that is worth only five. Now you can buy many more goats.”

The wife said to the servant, “I wish to speak to my husband privately for a minute. Would you please go away from here now?”

Then the wife said to her husband, “I don’t trust him. I tell you, he sold it at an even higher price and is giving us only part of it.” She did not know that it was the zamindar’s friend who had bought the goat.

Just then the zamindar’s friend arrived at his house and asked, “What is happening?”

The zamindar said, “Our servant tells us he sold a goat for a hundred rupees. I don’t suspect him of wrongdoing, but my wife, as usual, does. She feels that he has sold the goat for a still higher price and kept some money for himself. “

The friend said, “You will never find anybody in your lifetime as honest and sincere as this servant. It was I who bought the goat for a hundred rupees. I tried to persuade him to keep the money for himself. I was testing him. But each and every time he proved his honesty. I have examined him thoroughly. He is sincerity incarnate.”

The zamindar said to his wife, “I told you so!”

The wife said, “It is always good to test people in this way. From now on, I will trust this boy as my own son.”

from Garden of the Soul
by Sri Chinmoy

Shared from the following website: http://www.writespirit.net/stories-tales/stories-by-sri-chinmoy/tales-of-sincerity/the-zamindars-servant/

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Now When Jesus was Born in Bethlehem of Judea…

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem. As you read the Christmas miracle, do you wonder what made the wise men wise? Do you wonder how they knew that the Savior of the world had been born?

I believe that they were wise because they knew God – I believe that wisdom comes as we come to see the world as it really is – the world that God created.

One of the things that I have learned about miracles is that often ordinary people become key in the delivery of miracles. Have you ever wondered if a miracle depended on you? I think we often underestimate our importance in creating miracles and in making the world around us a better place. So often, it is in small acts of kindness that miracles are created.

Today’s story shares the creation of a miracles through an act of kindness. I hope you enjoy!

When my mother died at the age of eighty-four, my four sisters and I were heartbroken. How could we ever get over the loss of this warm and loving woman, a talented artist who enjoyed life in spite of its challenges and always doted on her husband, daughters and grandchildren?

For weeks after, my sisters and I would meet for dinner, laughing and crying over old memories. When it came time to sell the home my mother loved, we spent many days in disbelief, clearing out her belongings. I remembered reading an Ann Landers column years earlier that discussed how many siblings fight bitterly over the possessions left by their deceased parents. I thought, “How lucky we are that will never happen to us.” Somehow, we easily and peacefully divided Mom’s belongings—furniture, jewelry and household items—among ourselves and a few charities. Although I expected there might be a tug of war over her paintings, that never happened. Pretty good considering there were five daughters and four grandchildren. No conflicts, squabbles or disputes at all. Until we discovered the old nativity set in a box in Mom’s closet.

I remembered Mom telling the story of how she acquired the manger. An old friend who did carpentry work gave it to my mom and dad as a Christmas gift when they were first married. My sister, Eileen, however, remembers it differently. Mom told her she found the crèche in a garbage can belonging to Mrs. Bingham, the elderly lady who lived across the street from us.

Unlike some of the ornate versions found in today’s stores, this manger was crafted from dark wood and completely unadorned—just a roof, a floor and a railing surrounding it. Though beautifully crafted, there was one flaw: one side of the double gate in front was lopsided. Mom filled it with three figurines to start—Mary, Joseph and the Baby Jesus. For many years after, she continued to add others—the Wise Men, shepherds, angels, and animals. As kids, we loved the annual rites of the Christmas season, especially taking the nativity set and decorations down from the attic and carefully putting them in place. When the sisters all married and grandchildren came along, they added new characters of their own to the stable, including a set of the three little pigs.

After Mom’s death, when the nativity set emerged, no one was prepared for the battle that would follow. My sister Joanne was the first to claim the manger, insisting it was the only one of Mom’s possessions that she really wanted. Her wish was granted. But when my niece Mandy found out, she called from her apartment in California to voice her objection. She was clearly emotional as she repeated a decades-old promise made to her by my mother: “Nanny promised me that I could have the nativity set when she was gone,” she cried. “The nativity set belongs to me.” Joanne felt strongly that as Mom’s daughter, she had first dibs. Neither she nor Mandy would budge.

When the disagreement showed signs of becoming a full-blown family feud, we realized something had to be done. Enter the family arbitrator, my sister Eileen, who somehow saw through the fog. But as Mandy’s mother and Joanne’s sister, could Eileen handle this dilemma fairly? Temporarily, she set aside the emotion of the dispute, and thought logically. The nativity set was just a wooden stable, not an irreplaceable masterpiece of art. The beauty was in the eye of the beholders, the perception of two people who coveted a simple item owned by someone they loved. Couldn’t a copy be created? Of course! She would order the wood from the lumberyard and get someone to build a second manger.

The following day, Eileen went to Centre Millwork and stood in line behind several contractors ordering lumber from a young man with a crew cut. He was wearing a tag with his name, Brett, written in green magic marker. When Eileen’s turn came, she had to shout over the sound of buzzing saws. She pointed to the nativity set in her arms and told him the story, explaining that it was causing a major rift between her sister Joanne and her daughter Mandy. Brett took the stable from her, held it up with one hand and laughed, “They’re fighting over this?”

“Yes,” Eileen explained. “I know it seems crazy, but it was my mother’s and they both loved her very much. Is there any way you could measure and cut some wood so we could have a duplicate built?

Brett said, “Leave it here. I’ll see what I can do.” Eileen left, hoping he could come up with a minor miracle. That’s what it would take to satisfy the two women in her life that were squabbling.

A few days later, she received a phone message saying that her order was ready. When Eileen arrived at the hardware store to pick up the wood, she couldn’t believe what she saw — two identical stables sitting side by side. Brett had not only cut and measured the wood, he had built a second manger. “I know you wanted them to look the same, so I added a couple of dings and flaws that were in the original. Hope that’s okay.”

Sure enough, the new stable had the same lopsided front gate. “Okay?” Eileen said in tears. “You have no idea what this will mean to my sister and my daughter. To the entire family. I don’t care what this costs. Your work has saved the day.”

“That will be $3.75 for the materials,” Brett said. When Eileen insisted on paying him more, he said, “I didn’t do it on company time. I built it at home so I won’t charge you for the labor.” He pointed to the new manger. “I hope this helps your family have a merrier Christmas.”

Eileen left Brett with a large tip and a big hug of thanks. When she got home and called Joanne and Mandy about her creative solution, they were very happy and extremely relieved that the problem was resolved. One phone call later, Joanne and Mandy had agreed that Joanne would take possession of the new stable as well as some of the old figurines—including Mary, Joseph and the infant. Mandy would get to keep the original—just as Nanny promised.

—Kathy Melia Levine

Reprinted by permission Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, LLC © 2013

Story shared from the following website: http://www.rd.com/true-stories/inspiring/christmas-stories-wonder-love/3/

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And Behold, He Shall Be Born of Mary…

And Behold, he shall be born of Mary

And Behold, He Shall Be Born of Mary… the whole story of Mary and the birth of our Savior is a miracle! I am so grateful for miracles and for the spirit of giving that prevails during this time of year! I am thankful for the many good hearts that live in this world and for their efforts to make this world a better place!

May the true spirit of Christmas reside in your heart today and all days!

I hope you enjoy today’s story!:

Christmas Miracle

This is a real Christmas miracle story, happened in December 1997 in Wisconsin, USA.

A little girl named Sarah had leukemia and was not expected to live to see Christmas. Her brother and grandmother went to the mall to ask Mark Lenonard who was a professional Santa Claus to visit the hospital to give Sarah the gift of hope through encouragement and prayer.

A year later Sarah surprised Santa by showing up at the mall where he worked. Here goes the story.


A little boy and his grandmother came to see Santa at The Mayfair Mall in Wisconsin. The child climbed up on santa’s lap, holding a picture of a little girl.

“Who is this?” – asked Santa, smiling. “Your friend? Your sister?”

“Yes, Santa.” – he replied.

“My sister, Sarah, who is very sick.” – he said sadly.

Santa glanced over at the grandmother who was waiting nearby and saw her dabbing her eyes with a tissue.

“She wanted to come with me to see you, oh, so very much, Santa!” – the child exclaimed.
“She misses you.” – he added softly.

Santa tried to be cheerful and encouraged a smile to the boy’s face, asking him what he wanted Santa to bring him for Christmas.

When they finished their visit, the grandmother came over to help the child off his lap, and started to say something to Santa, but halted.

“What is it?” – Santa asked warmly.

“Well, I know it’s really too much to ask you, Santa, but ..” – the old woman began, shooing her grandson over to one of Santa’s elves to collect the little gift which Santa gave all his young visitors.

“The girl in the photograph… my granddaughter well, you see … she has leukemia and isn’t expected to make it even through the holidays.” – she said through tear-filled eyes.

“Is there anyway, Santa, any possible way that you could come see Sarah? That’s all she’s asked for, for Christmas, is to see Santa.”

Santa blinked and swallowed hard and told the woman to leave information with his elves as to where Sarah was, and he would see what he could do. Santa thought of little else the rest of that afternoon. He knew what he had to do.

“What if it were MY child lying in that hospital bed, dying?” – he thought with a sinking heart, “This is the least I can do.”

When Santa finished visiting with all the boys and girls that evening, he retrieved from his helper the name of the hospital where Sarah was staying. He asked Rick, the assistant location manager how to get to Children’s Hospital.

“Why?” – Rick asked, with a puzzled look on his face.

Santa relayed to him the conversation with Sarah’s grandmother earlier that day.

“Common….I’ll take you there.” – Rick said softly. Rick drove them to the hospital and came inside with Santa. They found out which room Sarah was in. A pale Rick said he would wait out in the hall.

Santa quietly peeked into the room through the half-closed door and saw little Sarah on the bed.

The room was full of what appeared to be her family; there was the grandmother and the girl’s brother he had met earlier that day. A woman whom he guessed was Sarah’s mother stood by the bed, gently pushing Sarah’s thin hair off her forehead.

And another woman who he discovered later was Sarah’s aunt, sat in a chair near the bed with a weary, sad look on her face. They were talking quietly, and Santa could sense the warmth and closeness of the family, and their love and concern for Sarah.

Taking a deep breath, and forcing a smile on his face, Santa entered the room, bellowing a hearty, “Ho, ho, ho!”

“Santa!” – shrieked little Sarah weakly, as she tried to escape her bed to run to him.

Santa rushed to her side and gave her a warm hug. A child the tender age of his own son — 9 years old — gazed up at him with wonder and excitement.

Her skin was pale and her short tresses bore telltale bald patches from the effects of chemotherapy. But all he saw when he looked at her was a pair of huge, blue eyes. His heart melted, and he had to force himself to choke back tears.

Though his eyes were riveted upon Sarah’s face, he could hear the gasps and quiet sobbing of the women in the room.

As he and Sarah began talking, the family crept quietly to the bedside one by one, squeezing Santa’s shoulder or his hand gratefully, whispering “Thank you” as they gazed sincerely at him with shining eyes.

Santa and Sarah talked and talked, and she told him excitedly all the toys she wanted for Christmas, assuring him she’d been a very good girl that year.

As their time together dwindled, Santa felt led in his spirit to pray for Sarah, and asked for permission from the girl’s mother. She nodded in agreement and the entire family circled around Sarah’s bed, holding hands.

Santa looked intensely at Sarah and asked her if she believed in angels, “Oh, yes, Santa… I do!” – she exclaimed.

“Well, I’m going to ask that angels watch over you.” – he said.

Laying one hand on the child’s head, Santa closed his eyes and prayed. He asked that God touch little Sarah, and heal her body from this disease.

He asked that angels minister to her, watch and keep her. And when he finished praying, still with eyes closed, he started singing, softly, “Silent Night, Holy Night…. all is calm, all is bright…”

The family joined in, still holding hands, smiling at Sarah, and crying tears of hope, tears of joy for this moment, as Sarah beamed at them all.

When the song ended, Santa sat on the side of the bed again and held Sarah’s frail, small hands in his own.

“Now, Sarah,” – he said authoritatively, “you have a job to do, and that is to concentrate on getting well. I want you to have fun playing with your friends this summer, and I expect to see you at my house at Mayfair Mall this time next year!”

He knew it was risky proclaiming that to this little girl who had terminal cancer, but he ‘had’ to. He had to give her the greatest gift he could — not dolls or games or toys — but the gift of HOPE.

“Yes, Santa!” – Sarah exclaimed, her eyes bright. He leaned down and kissed her on the forehead and left the room.

Out in the hall, the minute Santa’s eyes met Rick’s, a look passed between them and they wept unashamed.

Sarah’s mother and grandmother slipped out of the room quickly and rushed to Santa’s side to thank him.

“My only child is the same age as Sarah.” – he explained quietly. “This is the least I could do.”

They nodded with understanding and hugged him.

One year later, Santa Mark was again back on the set in Milwaukee for his six-week, seasonal job which he so loves to do. Several weeks went by and then one day a child came up to sit on his lap.

“Hi, Santa! Remember me?!”

“Of course, I do.” – Santa proclaimed (as he always does), smiling down at her. After all, the secret to being a ‘good’ Santa is to always make each child feel as if they are the ‘only’ child in the world at that moment.

“You came to see me in the hospital last year!”

Santa’s jaw dropped. Tears immediately sprang in his eyes, and he grabbed this little miracle and held her to his chest.

“Sarah!” – he exclaimed. He scarcely recognized her, for her hair was long and silky and her cheeks were rosy — much different from the little girl he had visited just a year before.

He looked over and saw Sarah’s mother and grandmother in the sidelines smiling and waving and wiping their eyes.

That was the best Christmas ever for Santa Claus.

He had witnessed –and been blessed to be instrumental in bringing about — this miracle of hope. This precious little child was healed. Cancer-free. Alive and well. He silently looked up to Heaven and humbly whispered, “Thank you, Father. ‘Tis a very, Merry Christmas!”

By Susan Morton Leonard, Santa’s wife
Santa’s name: Mark Leonard or Santa Mark

Story shared from the following website: http://academictips.org/blogs/christmas-miracle-real-story/

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Therefore the Lord Himself Shall Give You a Sign…

Signs surround this busy world of us. The problem is that too many of us are too busy to notice. Those of us familiar with the books in the New Testament, that share the story of the Savior’s birth, know that many signs attended his entrance into our world. What we may not know is that signs continue to provide evidence of our Savior’s existence.

I believe that signs follow those who believe. I think those signs can range from the simplest squeeze of the hand to splitting of the Red Sea. I believe it doesn’t really matter the size of the sign – it matters more the belief in the heart.

In that spirit, I will be creating and sharing memes this week that chronicle our Savior’s birth. In addition to the memes – the inspirational stories that I share will be stories of Christmas miracles. Truth be told, we are all a miracle in our own right. I hope that miracles and blessings are a daily part of your life like they are mine!

If you find that you have a hard time believing in signs and miracles, I hope you will ask for God to give you a heart of understanding and then I hope you will listen carefully…with your heart.

I hope you enjoy today’s story!:

Fate Threw a Tree at Us

During the hustle and bustle of Christmastime 1958, we told our children, ages 3 and 4, about the beautiful Christmas tree we would have in a few days. On Christmas Eve, at the bakery we had recently purchased, we counted the receipts, cleaned the shop and headed for home with our two sleepy children.

Suddenly, we remembered we had not gotten a tree. We looked for a vendor who might have a tree left, to no avail.

About a mile from home, we stopped for a red light. Suddenly, a gust of wind blew, and something hit the front of our truck. My husband went out to investigate.

The next thing I knew, my husband was throwing a good-sized evergreen into the back of the truck. He went into the mom-and-pop store at the corner where we were and asked the proprietor how much he wanted for the tree. He said he wasn’t selling Christmas trees that year.

We never did find out how the tree got in the middle of the road, but somehow we feel we know. Incidentally, it was the most beautiful tree we have ever had. —Gertrude Albert, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Story shared from the following website: http://www.rd.com/true-stories/inspiring/christmas-miracles-true-stories/

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