It’s Not How Much We Do…Doing It With Love

It’s not how much we do, but how much love we put into the doing. It’s not how much we give, but how much love we put into the Giving Mother TeresaWhat we do every day makes a difference. All of our kind deeds,  all of our kind words, and even all of our kind thoughts make a difference.

I find that in working with people, many understand the impact and influence that others have on them but it is more difficult for them to understand the impact and influence they have on others.

As you read today’s story, be sure to think about the small, maybe seemingly insignificant ways that you make a difference for others!

All the Difference in The World

Every Sunday morning I take a light jog around a park near my home.  There’s a lake located in one corner of the park.  Each time I jog by this lake, I see the same elderly woman sitting at the water’s edge with a small metal cage sitting beside her.

This past Sunday my curiosity got the best of me, so I stopped jogging and walked over to her.  As I got closer, I realized that the metal cage was in fact a small trap.  There were three turtles, unharmed, slowly walking around the base of the trap.  She had a fourth turtle in her lap that she was carefully scrubbing with a spongy brush.

“Hello,” I said.  “I see you here every Sunday morning.  If you don’t mind my nosiness, I’d love to know what you’re doing with these turtles.”

She smiled.  “I’m cleaning off their shells,” she replied.  “Anything on a turtle’s shell, like algae or scum, reduces the turtle’s ability to absorb heat and impedes its ability to swim.  It can also corrode and weaken the shell over time.”

“Wow!  That’s really nice of you!” I exclaimed.

She went on: “I spend a couple of hours each Sunday morning, relaxing by this lake and helping these little guys out.  It’s my own strange way of making a difference.”

“But don’t most freshwater turtles live their whole lives with algae and scum hanging from their shells?” I asked.

“Yep, sadly, they do,” she replied.

I scratched my head.  “Well then, don’t you think your time could be better spent?  I mean, I think your efforts are kind and all, but there are fresh water turtles living in lakes all around the world.  And 99% of these turtles don’t have kind people like you to help them clean off their shells.  So, no offense… but how exactly are your localized efforts here truly making a difference?”

The woman giggled aloud.  She then looked down at the turtle in her lap, scrubbed off the last piece of algae from its shell, and said, “Sweetie, if this little guy could talk, he’d tell you I just made all the difference in the world.”

The moral:  You can change the world – maybe not all at once, but one person, one animal, and one good deed at a time.  Wake up every morning and pretend like what you do makes a difference.  It does.

Story shared from the following website: http://www.marcandangel.com/2013/05/21/4-short-stories-change-the-way-you-think/

 

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Adversity…Making Lemonade From Our Lemons

We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations. Charles R. Swindoll

Do you have individuals from history that you would love to spend time with and chat with for a few hours – maybe even a few days? Benjamin Franklin is one of those people for me.

There are many individuals who, through their example and legacy, continue to mentor me and my life even though I have never met them and most of them have long departed this world.

The one consistency that all mankind has faced and ever will is adversity. It is the stuff that growth and improvement is made of.

Yet, in regards to adversity, we all have a choice: To let our difficulties defeat us or to enable them to grow and refine us. I don’t always succeed as well as I would like, but I try to enable my challenges to create a better person of me.

As you read today’s story, I hope you will think about your own life. Is there something you can do better? Can you turn your lemons into lemonade? Remember, we are never defeated unless we give up! I hope you have a wonderful day!

Overcoming Obstacles: Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues Worth Learning

You may know Ben Franklin as the wise elder of the American Revolution, signer of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, Ambassador to France, Governor of Pennsylvania, as well as an ingenious inventor, scientist, and witty author.But you may not know his humble background and the obstacles he overcame to succeed. After all, most of our famous Founding Fathers came from rich, privileged backgrounds. Instead, a look at Ben Franklin’s life provides a worthy education in character.

Born and Raised

Born as Benjamin Franklin in Boston on January 17, 1706, he was the 15th of 17 children, the son of a soap and candle maker. After only two years of schooling, at age 10, he was forced to leave school and make candles for his father. As for further education, he was self-taught. At 12, he was apprenticed to an older brother James, who ran a print shop.

James was a cruel taskmaster, and would beat young Ben when displeased – which was often. When his brother started a newspaper, The New England Courant, James would not allow brother Ben to publish any of his own writing. So Franklin submitted 14 witty pieces under a made-up name, Mrs. Silence Dogood, and they delighted the paper’s readers. But when James discovered Franklin’s ruse, he was jealous and punished him severely again, eventually forcing Ben to escape his servitude – which was against the law.

Franklin ended up in Philadelphia, with just the wet and ratty clothes on his back and three pennies to his name. Hungry, he went in to a bakery shop and came out with three loaves of bread, one for his mouth and two tucked awkwardly under his arms. It was October 6, 1723, and as he devoured the bread, the bedraggled young man saw a charming young woman, Deborah Read, watching him. Little did either of them know that seven years later, they would be married!

An Early Lesson Revealed

In Ben Franklin’s famous Autobiography, he looks back on the mean treatment he received from his brother, and reveals an important lesson: a lifelong “Aversion to arbitrary Power.” This hard-earned lesson would match up well with the philosophy of the revolutionary movement. After all, just as Franklin got out from under his tyrannical brother’s beatings, so would the Colonies strive to gain independence from the tyrannical King of England’s “arbitrary power.”

The Philadelphia Years

That poor, 17-year-old boy pounded the pavements of Philadelphia and was able to find work, using his skills as a printer’s assistant and his many outstanding traits and talents to make his way in the world. He borrowed money and set up his own printing business. Before long, he was known as a tireless, honest, and diligent businessman, and Franklin gained attention and landed major jobs, setting up a thriving business.

After marrying his childhood sweetheart, Deborah Read, they set up their own dry goods store, and Ben opened up a book store. He didn’t stop there. At the ripe age of 23, in 1729, he bought a small newspaper, the Pennsylvania Gazette, and turned it into the most successful paper in the Colonies. He even created the world’s first political cartoon of himself! And, while getting involved in civic improvement groups, in 1733 he also launched Poor Richard’s Almanack, which became famous for its down to earth advice and witty writing, such as “A penny saved is a penny earned.”

Prominence and Inventiveness

The list of Franklin’s ideas and accomplishments goes on and on, and this only scratches the surface:

  • The nation’s first free library
  • Philadelphia’s first fire-fighting company (“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” was Franklin’s fire prevention advice).
  • A fire insurance company
  • The founding of the Pennsylvania Hospital and the University of Pennsylvania – both still in existence today
  • Inventions such as the heat-efficient Franklin Stove and bifocals
  • His famous experiments with a kite in a lightning storm verified the nature of electricity, and led to his invention of the lightning rod
  • He even played three instruments and composed music!

By age 42, Franklin’s inventive, industrious nature had brought him from rags-to-riches, enabling him to retire from business and devote his next four decades to the revolutionary politics for which we know him best.

Franklin’s 13 Virtues

As we’ve seen, Franklin overcame many obstacles at a young age. And when he was just 20, in 1726, Franklin took what he had already learned from adversity and developed a method to improve his character by what he called “13 Virtues.” It was something he worked on for the rest of his life. His idea was to focus on only one virtue each week, “leaving all others to their ordinary chance.”

His autobiography lists his 13 virtues as:

  1. “Temperance. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.”
  2. “Silence. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.”
  3. “Order. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.”
  4. “Resolution. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.”
  5. “Frugality. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.”
  6. “Industry. Lose no time; be always employ’d in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.”
  7. “Sincerity. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.”
  8. “Justice. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.”
  9. “Moderation. Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.”
  10. “Cleanliness. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloths, or habitation.”
  11. “Tranquility. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.”
  12. “Chastity. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.”
  13. “Humility. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.”

Franklin admitted that he fell short of these virtues many times, but believed that sincerely trying his best made him a better man, and contributed to his success and happiness. In his autobiography, he devoted more pages to the 13 Virtues than to anything else; in fact, he wrote, “I hope, therefore, that some of my descendants may follow the example and reap the benefit.”

We are all, in a sense, “descendants” of the great Founding Father, Ben Franklin. So by all means, take these virtues to heart, “follow the example and reap the benefit!

Today’s story shared from the following website: http://www.learningliftoff.com/overcoming-obstacles-ben-franklin/#.WTm0C8bMxBw

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God’s Gifts…Take Advantage of His Abundance!

God's gifts put man's best dreams to shame Elizabeth Barrett BrowningI happen to believe that God is a God of abundance. Okay….I know that He is a God of abundance. I witnessed His abundance during my near-death experience.

Yet, I still have days in which it just seems like my ability to overcome the difficulties in my life has been put on hold.

Because of my near-death experience, I know how important life is, that each of us has been given gifts, and that we are to use those gifts in handling and creating our lives.

I know this – I witnessed our preparations for this life. I also know that waaaay too many of us don’t believe that they have anything to offer this world in which we live or some think that they know themselves and their abilities better than God.

The truth is that we could live for thousands of years and still not have the handle on ourselves that God has. Perhaps Methuselah was beginning to get a glimpse of his potential by the time he exited this life but the only way we have a chance to do that ourselves is to utilize faith and God’s superior wisdom.

I love today’s story. I think it provides each of us with some good things to think about. We all have gifts – are we putting them on the shelf or are we demonstrating to our Giver that we love them and are using them?!! I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Unopened Gifts

What would you think if you brought a valuable gift to a friend’s house only to have them put it on a shelf, unopened?

A story like that is told of a faithful but tired Christian man who died and went to heaven. An angel greeted him and offered a tour of heaven’s grandeur. Along the way, the man noticed an unusual building with no windows and only one door. Asking to see it, the man was advised that he really would not want to see what was inside. But the man pleaded to see inside the building. Once inside, he saw rows and rows of shelves from floor to ceiling, all filled with beautifully decorated boxes. Examining them further, he found one that had his name written on the tag. Again, against the warning of the angel, the man opened the box. Instantly, he recognized its contents. They were blessings God intended for him to enjoy on earth, but some, he never asked for, and others he had not accepted.

It is the same with us. God wants the very best for us, but we have to ask. And once offered them, we have to accept them. Otherwise, there is no blessing received. God tells us that if we, being mortal parents would give good things to our own children, how much more would our heavenly father give to us, His children?

We might not always FEEL it, but there is no end to God’s goodness. We just need to ask for it. I’m not talking about some name it and claim it prosperity gospel too often preached today. I’m talking about the goodness of God: his grace when we deserve none, his strength when we are oh so very weak, his truth when we face lies, his hope when we are in despair, his faithfulness when we feel betrayed.

Have you ever felt nudged by God to step out in faith but you declined, because it seemed awkward or weird? Unopened blessings are like that too. When we know what God desires for us, but don’t respond, we also miss out on blessings that remain instead unopened.

Do you really want God’s best for you? Ask Him and respond when he answers, no matter how awkward it feels. Tell Him that you want to experience His joy, even if you can’t hear him respond right away. Enjoying God’s goodness and enjoying the life he gives you are one and the same.

Believe God, seek him, desire His goodness, and it will be yours. Enjoy God and open the gifts he offers you each day.

Today’s story was shared from the following website: http://www.golightourworld.org/tag/unopened-gifts/

 

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Spending Time with Family and Loved Ones…You Will Never Regret It!

Happy family of father mother son and daughter smiling looking out wall isolated on white background with copy place

I am blessed with a husband that taught me the importance of making memories and spending time with family and loved one. I hope that you are able to spend time with your family and loved ones this holiday season. If not, I hope that you will make sure that they know of your love for them!

Today, I want to share a story I love!:

by Stephen on October 14, 2008

After 21 years of marriage, my wife wanted me to take another woman out to dinner and a movie. She said, “I love you, but I know this other woman loves you and would love to spend some time with you.”

The other woman that my wife wanted me to visit was my MOTHER, who has been a widow for 19 years, but the demands of my work and my three children had made it possible to visit her only occasionally. That night I called to invite her to go out for dinner and a movie. “What’s wrong, are you well?” she asked.

My mother is the type of woman who suspects that a late night call or a surprise invitation is a sign of bad news. “I thought that it would be pleasant to spend some time with you,” I responded. “Just the two of us.” She thought about it for a moment, and then said, “I would like that very much.”

That Friday after work, as I drove over to pick her up I was a bit nervous. When I arrived at her house, I noticed that she, too, seemed to be nervous about our date. She waited in the door with her coat on. She had curled her hair and was wearing the dress that she had worn to celebrate her last wedding anniversary. She smiled from a face that was as radiant as an angel’s. “I told my friends that I was going to go out with my son, and they were impressed, “she said, as she got into the car. “They can’t wait to hear about our meeting.”

We went to a restaurant that, although not elegant, was very nice and cozy. My mother took my arm as if she were the First Lady. After we sat down, I had to read the menu. Her eyes could only read large print. Half way through the entries, I lifted my eyes and saw Mom sitting there staring at me. A nostalgic smile was on her lips. “It was I who used to have to read the menu when you were small,” she said. “Then it’s time that you relax and let me return the favor,” I responded. During the dinner, we had an agreeable conversation – nothing extraordinary but catching up on recent events of each other’s life. We talked so much that we missed the movie. As we arrived at her house later, she said, “I’ll go out with you again, but only if you let me invite you.” I agreed.

“How was your dinner date?” asked my wife when I got home. “Very nice. Much more so than I could have imagined,” I answered.

A few days later, my mother died of a massive heart attack. It happened so suddenly that I didn’t have a chance to do anything for her. Some time later, I received an envelope with a copy of a restaurant receipt from the same place mother and I had dined. An attached note said: “I paid this bill in advance. I wasn’t sure that I could be there; but nevertheless, I paid for two plates – one for you and the other for your wife. You will never know what that night meant for me. I love you, son.”

At that moment, I understood the importance of saying in time: “I LOVE YOU” and to give our loved ones the time that they deserve. Nothing in life is more important than your family. Give them the time they deserve, because these things cannot be put off till “some other time.”

Story shared from the following website: http://academictips.org/blogs/give-time-to-our-family/

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Friendship…The World Needs More Love One Another

The World is Round so that Friendship may encircle it

I don’t understand bias based on color of skin or religion. I have been a victim of prejudice many times and every time, it has seemed silly to me. When my spirit left my body – I noticed no color. I’m pretty sure that Good and Bad – Selfless and Selfish can be found in every race and every religion. Friendship is a gift that is best received when given.

I think a better way to judge people is by their ability to love. We are all connected more than most can even imagine. When we love each other, we improves our own lives and we improve the lives of those we share this world with.

I love today’s story! It embraces the true meaning of friendship! I hope you enjoy!:

Friends in Heaven

— Author unknown

An old cowboy was riding his trusty horse followed by his faithful dog along an unfamiliar road. The man was enjoying the new scenery, when he suddenly remembered dying, and realized that the dog beside him had been dead for years, as had his horse.

Confused, he wondered what was happening, and where the trail was leading them.

After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall that looked like fine marble. At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch topped by a golden letter “H” that glowed in the sunlight. Standing before it, he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother-of-pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like gold.

He rode toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side. Parched and tired out by his journey, he called out, ‘Excuse me, where are we?’

‘This is ranch, Heaven, sir,’ the man answered.

‘Wow! Would you happen to have some water?’ the man asked.

 ‘Of course, sir. Come right in, and I’ll have some ice water brought right up.’

As the gate began to open, the cowboy asked, ‘Can I bring my partners, too?’

‘I’m sorry, sir, but we don’t accept pets.’

The cowboy thought for a moment, then turned back to the road and continued riding, his dog trotting by his side.

After another long ride, at the top of another hill, he came to a dirt road leading through a ranch gate that looked as if it had never been closed. As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book. ‘Excuse me,’ he called to the man. ‘Do you have any water?’

‘Sure, there’s a pump right over there. Help yourself.’

‘How about my friends here?’ the traveler gestured to the dog and his horse.

‘Of course! They look thirsty, too,’ said the man.

The trio went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old-fashioned hand pump with buckets beside it. The traveler filled a cup and the buckets with wonderfully cool water and took a long drink, as did his horse and dog. When they were full, he walked back to the man who was still standing by the tree. ‘What do you call this place?’ the traveler asked.

‘This is Heaven,’ he answered.

‘That’s confusing,’ the traveler said. ‘The man down the road said that was Heaven, too.’

‘Oh, you mean the place with the glitzy, gold street and fake pearly gates? That’s hell.’

‘Doesn’t it make you angry when they use your name like that?’

‘Not at all. Actually, we’re happy they screen out the folks who would leave their best friends behind.’

Story is shared from the following website: http://www.inspire21.com/stories/friendshipstories/FriendsinHeaven

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