Your Freedom is the Most Expensive Thing You Have….

your-freedom-is-the-most-expensive-thing-you-have-soldiers-1010631From the time that I first stepped foot on Russian soil – during the Kosovo conflict, I have treasured my freedom and my U.S. citizenship. It was not until that moment that I understood what lack of freedom was or that it was even possible to lose it. The freedoms that this nation enjoys has come at a cost. I hope that each one of us who walks the soil of America as free citizens will cherish the gift that has been given to us by the soldiers of this nation and the inspired United States Constitution. Today, I am including just a brief portion of my book that addresses the trip my husband and I made to Russia to adopt our two youngest children. May freedom be a gift that we all enjoy forever!

From my book:

Greg and I were a little nervous about flying to Russia, but that  nervousness increased dramatically when our plane made its first  landing on Russian soil. Our first landing was made in Khabarovsk,  Russia. We were surprised to see that the airport seemed more like an  abandoned military base. Old weathered airplanes with questionable  functionality dotted the tarmac. Our initial astonishment turned to  tension as armed men in military type uniforms drove up to our  airplane and one of their commanders barked harsh words at the  flight attendants and demanded possession of their passports. Our  first touchdown in Russia made it painfully clear to us that while  on Russian soil, we would not have the same freedoms that we were  accustomed to in the United States.

Our second landing was just outside the city of Vladivostok,  the destination for our adoption. Though friendlier than our initial  landing, going through customs verified our initial impressions that  as foreigners in their country, we were not welcome visitors. 

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Accomplishments…Plan, Promises and Personal Power

Every Accomplishment begins with a decision to try. John F. Kennedy

Every day is a gift! An opportunity to start anew or to continue to grow in knowledge and understanding! Every day is another chance to accomplish something worthwhile. The catch is that we must make the decision to try – to do something – possibly to do something we have never done before!

Any worthwhile accomplishment will present difficulties. Yet, every worthwhile accomplishment can begin – with a decision to try.

During my near-death experience, I watched many of us choosing the life experiences that we would have on earth. We were making plans and promises and we understood that we would always have the gift of personal power to make those plans and promises come to fruition. We knew that with God’s assistance, our personal power made it possible for us to keep every promise we made and realize the accomplishment of each of our plans.

You might be surprised to know that our plans did not include things like a vacation to the Bahamas or a brand new Mercedes in the garage. Our plans and promises were designed to make us, those around us and the world we live in better. They were eternal plans and promises.

Those promises might be as small as expressing love to our loved ones and as ambitious as successfully sharing our loving influence with the entire world.

Those plans and promises reside in our hearts. When we listen to our hearts, we will know what we are to do. If you haven’t already, I hope you will make the decision to listen to your heart and start accomplishing those plans and promises starting today!

I hope you enjoy today’s story!:

Regret City

I had not really planned on taking a trip this time of year, and yet I found myself packing rather hurriedly. This trip was going to be unpleasant and I knew in advance that no real good would come of it. This is my annual “Guilt Trip.”

I got tickets to fly there on “WISH-I-HAD” airlines. It was an extremely short flight. I got my “baggage,” which I could not check. I chose to carry it myself all the way. It was loaded down with a thousand memories of “what might have been.” No one greeted me as I entered the terminal to the Regret City International Airport. I say international because people from all over the world come to this dismal town.

As I checked into the “Last Resort” Hotel, I noticed that they would be hosting the year’s most important event — the annual “Pity Party.” I wasn’t going to miss that great social occasion. Many of the towns leading citizens would be there.

First, there would be the “Done” family; you know, “Should Have,” “Would Have” and “Could Have.” Then came the “I Had” family. You probably know old “Wish” and his clan. Of course, the “Opportunities” family; “Missed and Lost,” would be present. The biggest family there would be the “Yesterday’s.”

There are far too many of them to count, but each one would have a very sad story to share. Of course, “Shattered Dreams” would surely make and appearance. “It’s Their Fault” family would regale us with stories (excuses) about how things had failed in their life. Each story would be loudly applauded by the “Don’t Blame Me” and “I Couldn’t Help It” committee.

To make a long story short, I went to this depressing party, knowing full well there would be no real benefit in doing so. And, as usual, I became very depressed. But as I thought about all of the stories of failures brought back from the past, it occurred to me that this trip and subsequent “pity parties” COULD be cancelled by ME!

I started to realize that I did not have to be there. And I didn’t have to be depressed. One thing kept going through my mind, I CAN’T CHANGE YESTERDAY, BUT I DO HAVE THE POWER TO MAKE TODAY A WONDERFUL DAY. I can be happy, joyous, fulfilled, encouraged, as well as being encouraging.

Knowing this, I left Regret City immediately, and didn’t leave a forwarding address. Am I sorry for mistakes I’ve made in the past? YES! But there is no way to undo them.

So, if you’re planning a trip back to Regret City, please cancel all those reservations now. Instead, take a trip to a nice place called: “Starting Again.” I like it so much that I made it my permanent residence. My neighbors, the “Been Forgiven” and the “We’re Saved” are so very helpful. By the way, you don’t have to carry around the heavy baggage anymore either. That load is lifted from your shoulders upon arrival. But don’t take my word for it, find out for yourself.

– Author Unknown

Story shared from the following website: http://www.motivationalwellbeing.com/motivational-stories-6.html

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Looking on the Bright Side…The Power of Positive Thoughts

Looking on the bright side and the power of positive thoughts should not be underestimated. We each have been born with the ability to choose what we think about.

It is through those thoughts that our actions are determined.

One of the lessons I learned in heaven is that God never takes our personal power away. We can choose to give it away through choices that lead to addiction, etc but it cannot be forced from us.

I love the work of Barbara Ireland, another near death experiencer. Her work is with mind looping. We may not have been trained as a child to direct our thoughts in positive ways but we can choose to learn that skill – whatever our age!

I hope that you enjoy today’s story! It is a great example of how the power of positive thought can and will bring blessings!:

This Is Good

An old story is told of a king in Africa who had a close friend with whom he grew up. The friend had a habit of looking at every situation that ever occurred in his life (positive or negative) and remarking, “This is good!”

One day the king and his friend were out on a hunting expedition. The friend would load and prepare the guns for the king. The friend had apparently done something wrong in preparing one of the guns, for after taking the gun from his friend, the king fired it and his thumb was blown off. Examining the situation the friend remarked as usual, “This is good!” To which the king replied, “No, this is NOT good!” and proceeded to send his friend to jail.

About a year later, the king was hunting in an area that he should have known to stay clear of. Cannibals captured him and took him to their village. They tied his hands, stacked some wood, set up a stake and bound him to the stake. As they came near to set fire to the wood, they noticed that the king was missing a thumb. Being superstitious, they never ate anyone that was less than whole. So untying the king, they sent him on his way.

As he returned home, he was reminded of the event that had taken his thumb and felt remorse for his treatment of his friend. He went immediately to the jail to speak with his friend. “You were right,” he said, “it was good that my thumb was blown off.” And he proceeded to tell the friend all that had just happened. “And so I am very sorry for sending you to jail for so long. It was bad for me to do this.”

“No,” his friend replied, “This is good!” “What do you mean,’This is good’? How could it be good that I sent my friend to jail for a year?” “If I had NOT been in jail, I would have been with you.”

– Author Unknown

Story share from the following website: http://www.motivationalwellbeing.com/motivational-stories-4.html

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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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Adversity…In the Middle of Difficulty lies Opportunity

In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. Albert Einstein

Adversity – so often we think that it’s only use is to frustrate us and make life difficult. So many times adversity is our door to opportunity. So many times adversity serves as a step to bring us closer to God.

When you understand that this life is about growing and about becoming more and more like God – loving, giving service, sharing our gifts and talents; then adversity’s gift becomes much more valuable.

We learn to play beautiful music after an extended time of practicing and producing less than beautiful music. We develop strong muscles and coordination after falling down as an infant and grueling work outs when we are older. We receive a small taste of what is must be like for God to watch us grow as we watch our own children through their struggles and triumphs.

The older I become, the more I am able to see that more often than not, my greatest source of adversity is myself. So very often, God takes me by the hand (figuratively speaking) and shows me that I just need to look at my life or a situation from a little different perspective. I should be used to it by now, but every time that happens, I continue to be amazed at how quickly the issue disappears with just a change in my understanding.

My burdens become much easier to carry when I allow God to give them their true size and significance rather than trying to assess them all by myself.

I hope that today’s story will leave a smile on your face and a taste of God’s love for you in your heart!:

Pancakes
Six-year-old Dan decided one Saturday morning to fix his parents pancakes. He found a big bowl and spoon, pulled a chair to the counter, opened the cupboard and pulled out the heavy flour canister, spilling it on the floor.

He scooped some of the flour into the bowl with his hands, mixed in most of a cup of milk and added some sugar, leaving a floury trail on the floor which by now had a few tracks left by his kitten.

Dan was covered with flour and getting frustrated. He wanted this to be something very good for Mom and Dad, but it was getting very bad.

He didn’t know what to do next, whether to put it all into the oven or on the stove, and he didn’t know how the stove worked! Suddenly, he saw his kitten licking from the bowl of mix and reached to push her away, knocking the egg carton to the floor. Frantically, he tried to clean up this monumental mess but slipped on the eggs, getting his pajamas white and sticky.

Just then he saw Dad standing at the door. Big crocodile tears welled up in Dan’s eyes. All he’d wanted to do was something good, but he’d made a terrible mess. He was sure a scolding was coming, maybe even a spanking. But his father just watched him.

Then, walking through the mess, he picked up his crying son, hugged him and loved him, getting his own pajamas white and sticky in the process. That’s how God deals with us. We try to do something good in life, but it turns into a mess. Our marriage gets all sticky, we insult a friend, we can’t stand our job, or our health goes sour.

Sometimes, we just stand there in tears because we can’t think of anything else to do. That’s when God picks us up and loves us and forgives us, even though some of our mess gets all over Him.

But just because we might mess up, we can’t stop trying for God or for others. Sooner or later, we’ll get it right, and then they’ll be glad we tried.

Story shared from the following website: http://varietyreading.carlsguides.com/christian-stories/pancakes.php

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