The Gift of Ourselves

Preach the Gospel Always, and when necessary use words Preach the gospel always soldier-military-uniform-american Francesco of Assissi

Storm and Fire news is a consistent topic every time I listen to the news lately. Businesses I frequent have donation jars to assist those affected by our local and national disasters. I love that so many are willing to help.

However, I can’t help but think about those who need our help on a daily basis. Those who need a little patience, a pat on the back, a smile.

There are so many ways we can help each other on a daily basis. 🙂 Those small acts of kindness are some of the most meaningful ways we spend the “life time” we are allotted!

What has been your experience with simple acts of kindness? Has someone helped you in a small but meaningful way? I hope that your life is blessed with simple acts of kindness!

Please enjoy today’s story!:

Saving Memories
Rebecca Sell, Fredericksburg, Virginia

Three months after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Rebecca Sell, then 24, a photojournalist for Fredericksburg, Virginia’s Free Lance-Star who was on assignment covering the disaster, captured a distraught New Orleans couple sifting through waterlogged photo albums. As she snapped the photo, something within her clicked. “I told them I could take the ruined pictures, copy them and give them digitally restored photos,” she recalls. Although a bit skeptical, the couple agreed. Rebecca took their photos home with her once her assignment ended, restored them and took them to the couple at their temporary residence in Virginia. “It felt so good to be able to do that for them,” says Rebecca.

When her editor, Dave Ellis, saw the photo of the couple, he suggested they go back and restore damaged photos for even more people. So in January 2006, with paid time off from the paper, the two set up shop in the Pass Christian, Mississippi, public library, 65 miles from New Orleans (or rather, the double-wide trailer that now served as the library; the original had been destroyed in the hurricane). After posting a notice in the community newsletter, Rebecca and Dave were inundated with 500 photos in four days: water-spotted wedding pictures, baby photos crinkled with moisture. For each, the pair snapped a new digital picture, then used high-tech software to erase water spots and restore colors. “We worked from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day for four days,” says Rebecca. “It was a massive undertaking.” In a stroke of luck, a popular website linked to Dave’s blog about the experience, and soon Operation Photo Rescue, as it came to be known, had emails from hundreds of volunteers, including photographers, restoration experts and Photoshop whizzes, eager to help.

Though digital restoration is a painstaking process, mending irreplaceable family pictures means the world to victims like Emily Lancaster, 71, of Ocean Springs, Mississippi, who tossed out piles of ruined photo albums after Katrina, never thinking the mildewed mess could be salvaged. But she just couldn’t bear to part with a few treasured pictures, including a portrait of her father, who had passed away, and a photo of her husband as a boy. Then she heard about Operation Photo Rescue. “I didn’t have a whole lot of hope they could fix them, but they did,” Emily says. “Almost every day I think about all the pictures I’ve lost. I’m so happy to have these two.”

In the five years since Katrina, Operation Photo Rescue—now headquartered in Fredericksburg, Virginia, with more than 2,000 volunteers—has collected thousands of pictures ruined by floods, hurricanes and tornadoes in such states as Iowa, Georgia, Kansas, Texas and Louisiana. Volunteers make “copy runs” to disaster areas across the country to gather damaged photos from survivors; operating costs are covered by donations and grants. “It’s great to be able to give people some of their history back,” says Rebecca. “One person told me that thanks to us, her grandmother got to see her photos again before she passed away. Moments like that remind me why I do this.”

To volunteer or make a donation, go to OperationPhotoRescue.org. Photo: courtesy of David Ellis/Operation Photo Rescue

Today’s inspirational story shared from the following website: http://www.womansday.com/life/real-women/a2093/lending-a-helping-hand-112631/

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Giving Service is Like Giving Yourself a Gift!

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose Jim Elliot

Heaven seems to be minimized all too frequently in today’s world. Having made a premature visit there, I know just how wonderful and important heaven is.  🙂

It doesn’t take dollars or possessions to make your way back to heaven…it takes love and goodness!

In heaven, narcissism is out and benevolence is in. No more what’s in it for me. Instead, we love and honor each other and make our decisions based on how can I best serve the whole? God? Mankind? Sound horrible? It’s not – it’s glorious!!!

Heaven is not a place of scarcity – it is a place of abundance. In heaven, we can all have all of our hearts desire, as long as that desire is good and not hurtful to others.

Heaven is a place of honor and it is a place of stewardship. We honor each others gifts whether we have few or many. Each talent or gift that we have is not just a source of pride but an opportunity to serve in a special way.  Therefore, gifts and talents are cherished in heaven and great effort is made to develop them and share them.

I believe that the greater part of mankind wants to love and serve our fellow man. I think that often what gets in our way is that we think that we have to have great wealth or an abundance of extra time to help others out.

The reality is that we each have the ability to contribute in a positive way to the world around us – even if that contribution today can only be a kind word and a smile!

I love today’s story! I hope it will inspire your day and your life!

Christmas Angel

When Delwyn Collins was a kid growing up in the projects of Fort Worth, Texas, he was labeled handicapped with a learning disability and sent to a special education school. His teachers never suspected that Collins was a genius at caring: Today the 52-year-old cafeteria worker at Tampa General Hospital is nothing less than an angel to hundreds of foster children in Hills-borough County, Florida. These children—many with special needs and often moved from home to home—tug hard at Collins’s heart. Christmas 2010 will mark the 21st year he has set up a Foster Angel’s Giving Tree decorated with paper angels bearing the first names, ages, and gender of foster children and the gifts each child would like to receive.

Collins is a man of modest means, but each week he sets aside a portion of his paycheck to buy gifts to put under the tree. “I just want to show these children there is somebody out there in the community who loves them.” His unpretentious example has inspired the doctors, nurses, and administrators he works with to make the Giving Tree a priority. Hospital employees and visitors take an angel off the tree and buy the present the child has requested.

As Christmas nears, bicycles, dolls, clothes, and video games begin to overflow the cafeteria. In recent years, the program has begun to receive presents from donors throughout the county. More than 1,000 kids in foster care in and around Tampa received gifts in 2009. “My job is to help and give to others,” says Collins. “God doesn’t care if we’re rich or poor.”

Story Shared from the following website: http://www.rd.com/true-stories/inspiring/5-stories-that-celebrate-the-spirit-of-giving/2/

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The Heart of a Man…

It’s not the size of a man but the size of his Heart that matters Evander HolyfieldToday has been a busy day filled with lots to do and (thankfully!) the energy to do it all!Therefore, I am going to keep my comments brief! I hope you are having a wonderful day and that you are inspired by today’s story!

Big Feet and Big Heart

It was an unseasonably hot day. Everybody it seemed, was looking for some kind of relief, so an ice cream store was a natural place to stop.

A little girl, clutching her money tightly, entered the store. Before she could say a word, the store clerk sharply told her to get outside and read the sign on the door, and stay out until she put on some shoes. She left slowly, and a big man followed her out of the store.

He watched as she stood in front of the store and read the sign: ‘No Bare Feet’. Tears started rolling down her cheeks as she turned and started to walked away. Just then the big man called to her. Sitting down on the curb, he took off his size-12 shoes, and set them in front of the girl saying, “Here, you won’t be able to walk in these, but if you sort of slide along, you can get your ice cream cone.”

Then he lifted the little girl up and set her feet into the shoes. “Take your time,” he said, “I get tired of moving them around, and it’ll feel good to just sit here and eat my ice cream.” The shining eyes of the little girl could not be missed as she shuffled up to the counter and ordered her ice cream cone.

He was a big man, all right. Big belly, big shoes, but most of all, he had a big heart.

Story shared from the following website: http://www.skywriting.net/inspirational/stories/big_feet-big_heart.html

 

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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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Leadership and Teaching: Rule With the Heart of a Servant – Serve With the Heart of a King

I am grateful for the wonderful teachers that I have been blessed with in my life. I am also grateful for those individuals that have set the example of true leadership for me.

Virtually all of them have been both a teacher and a leader. Each of them is a priceless treasure I store in my heart. Though none of them has been perfect, they each have emulated, in some way, the example of leadership and heart that the Savior shared with mankind.

We each have the opportunity to share our influence, our wisdom and our love. We never know the extent that our service, love and teaching will reach.

I think often of a friend who shared with me long ago that she didn’t remember well what she what was taught but she remembered well how a few of her most treasured leaders and teachers made her feel. That is the kind of teacher and leader I want to be!

Whether you are a school teacher, Sunday School teacher, friend, parent, or business person, etc. – our influence is felt daily by those we interact with. What we say and what we do makes a difference!

I hope you will join me in trying to be a positive influence in the world!

I also hope you enjoy today’s story! It is wonderful!

Mrs Thompson – The Teacher

Mrs. Thompson exemplifies the type of leadership we should all take notice of. She helped this little boy, Teddy, feel like he was important and changed his life. It’s amazing what kindness can do. Teachers are some of the greatest leaders there are. This is a great holiday; make you feel good, type of story. I hope it is meaningful to you in each of your leadership capacities at work, home, church or wherever.

As she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the very first day of school, she told the children an untruth. Like most teachers, she looked at her students and said that she loved them all the same. However, that was impossible, because there in the front row, slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard

Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he did not play well with the other children, that his clothes were messy and that he constantly needed a bath. In addition, Teddy could be unpleasant. It got to the point where Mrs. Thompson would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X’s and then putting a big ‘F’ at the top of his papers.

At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child’s past records and she put Teddy’s off until last. However, when she reviewed his file, she was in for a surprise.

Teddy’s first grade teacher wrote, ‘Teddy is a bright child with a ready laugh. He does his work neatly and has good manners… he is a joy to be around..’

His second grade teacher wrote, ‘Teddy is an excellent student, well liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle.’

His third grade teacher wrote, ‘His mother’s death has been hard on him. He tries to do his best, but his father doesn’t show much interest, and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren’t taken.

Teddy’s fourth grade teacher wrote, ‘Teddy is withdrawn and doesn’t show much interest in school. He doesn’t have many friends and he sometimes sleeps in class.’

By now, Mrs. Thompson realized the problem and she was ashamed of herself.. She felt even worse when her students brought her Christmas presents, wrapped in beautiful ribbons and bright paper, except for Teddy’s. His present was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper that he got from a grocery bag. Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one-quarter full of perfume.. But she stifled the children’s laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume on her wrist. Teddy Stoddard stayed after school that day just long enough to say, ‘Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my Mom used to.’

After the children left, she cried for at least an hour. On that very day, she quit teaching reading, writing and arithmetic. Instead, she began to teach children. Mrs. Thompson paid particular attention to Teddy. As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded. By the end of the year, Teddy had become one of the smartest children in the class and, despite her lie that she would love all the children the same, Teddy became one of her ‘teacher’s pets..’

A year later, she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that she was the best teacher he ever had in his whole life.

Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still the best teacher he ever had in life.

Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he’d stayed in school, had stuck w ith it, and would soon graduate from college with the highest of honours. He assured Mrs. Thompson that she was still the best and favorite teacher he had ever had in his whole life.

Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor’s degree, he decided to go a little further. The letter explained that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had. But now his name was a little longer…. The letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, MD.

The story does not end there. You see, there was yet another letter that spring. Teddy said he had met this girl and was going to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit at the wedding in the place that was usually reserved for the mother of the groom. Of course, Mrs. Thompson did. And guess what? She wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing. Moreover, she made sure she was wearing the perfume that Teddy remembered his mother wearing on their last Christmas together.

They hugged each other, and Dr. Stoddard whispered in Mrs. Thompson’s ear, ‘Thank you Mrs. Thompson for believing in me. Thank you so much for making me feel important and showing me that I could make a difference.’

Mrs. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back.. She said, ‘Teddy, you have it all wrong. You were the one who taught me that I could make a difference. I didn’t know how to teach until I met you.

Story shared from the following website: http://www.teamworkandleadership.com/2009/11/one-of-the-most-inspirational-teacherleadership-stories-ever-told.html

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