It’s Time to Celebrate!!!

bright celebration christmas color
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My grandma was an awesome lady. She used to give my brother and I great words of advice and words of wisdom as we grew up…but that story is for another day. But there is one quote that she used to say to us…especially as she got older…that I am understanding more and more each day, “the older you get, the days get longer and the years get shorter.” WOW! Isn’t that the truth!!

It is hard to believe that it was almost six years ago, February, 2013, that I decided to start a little blog in which I could share motivational, inspirational, heartwarming, and entertaining stories that I would find on the internet or from other people. I used to thunk that if I ever posted 100 posts…that would be amazing…200 or 300 posts would be “out of this world.”

Well, today marks my 1,000 post on “Good Time Stories!”

I never imagined in a million years that I would ever post that many stories, etc. I have enjoyed every minute and every word of each one of them. For people that know me (and even if you don’t), there is nothing in the world that makes me happier, makes my life feel so fulfilled as helping and encouraging others! I truly believe that human beings are wired in such a way, that “it is truly better to give than to receive.” Think about it…when do you feel the best? When you receive something or when you give something to someone and see the joy and happiness in someone. The gratitude and joy that they send back to you is immeasurable…simply awesome. If you ever have a lousy day, try helping someone else or show them an act of kindness…it will change your whole day!!

So, my journey of finding and posting new words and stories of encouragement will continue. Hopefully, I will be able to continue to find these stories and anecdotes to brighten others in a world that primarily a dark place…and give them a reason to smile, laugh, and see that every life is beautiful and our amazing world is a good place to be!

Why Would God Really Want Me?

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Have you ever felt like a loser? Worthless? Have you ever felt like you are simply “spinning your wheels” and getting nowhere in your life? Have you ever asked yourself something like, What is the purpose of my life?”, or “What can’t I use the gifts and skills that I have?”

Maybe you say to yourself things like, “I’m not perfect.” “I have all kinds of problems.” “I have no ability.” “I have no gifts.” “I’m just not worthy. Why would God want me?”

Well, here are some interesting facts about many of the people that were mentioned in the Bible that God used in mighty ways DESPITE their shortcomings and weaknesses.

Did you know that?…..

Moses stuttered.
David’s armor didn’t fit.
John Mark deserted Paul.
Timothy had ulcers.
Hosea’s wife was a prostitute.
Amos’ only training was in the school of fig-tree pruning.
Jacob was a liar.
David had an affair.
Solomon was too rich.
Jesus was too poor.
Abraham was too old.
David was too young.
Peter was afraid of death.
Lazarus was dead.
John was self-righteous.
Naomi was a widow.
Paul was a persecutor of the church.
Moses was a murderer.
Jonah ran from God’s will.
Miriam was a gossip.
Gideon and Thomas both doubted.
Jeremiah was depressed and suicidal.
Elijah was burned out.
John the Baptist was a loudmouth.
Martha was a worry-wart.
Noah got drunk.
Did I mention that Moses had a short fuse?
So did Peter, Paul – well, lots of folks did.

But God doesn’t require a job interview for salvation. He’s our Heavenly Father. He doesn’t look at financial gain or loss. He’s not prejudiced or partial, not judging, grudging, sassy, or brassy, not deaf to our cry, not blind to our need. He knows who we are and what we are and loves us in spite of ourselves

SATAN SAYS, “YOU’RE NOT WORTHY.”
JESUS SAYS, “SO WHAT? I AM.”
SATAN LOOKS BACK AND SEES OUR MISTAKES.
GOD LOOKS BACK AND SEES THE CROSS.

He doesn’t calculate how you failed in in the past. It’s not even on the record.

Sure, there are lots of reasons why God shouldn’t call us. But if we are in love with Him, if we hunger for Him, He’ll use us in spite of who we are, where we’ve been, what we have done, or the fact that we are not perfect!

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Source: http://gatewaytojesus.com/

Growing Old: An Encouragement for Women (and Men)

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Bad news folks…we are all getting older!! The creaky bones, heavy legs, achy joints, blurry vision, and a host of other “jewels” that will adorn us throughout our “Golden Years” is either here or just around the corner. For many people, the realization that our bodies are getting older and that our aging is getting more apparent as time goes on, can be a troublesome thought, or sometimes, just downright depressing.

What we older people need is some encouragement !!

Well, I have good news! A friend of mine from college recently posted the following little ditty that I thought would be a good thing to share with everyone and encouragement all of us “old people” (I am going to be 56 in a couple weeks) that we have much to be proud of!

“To all my female friends of “age”… Most of us are going through the next stage of our lives. We are at that age where we see the wrinkles, gray hair, extra pounds. Menopause has already showed up or just waiting around the corner. We see the pretty 25-year olds and sigh. But, we were 25, too, just like they will one day be our age. What they bring to the table with their youth and zest for life, we bring with our wisdom, experience and good hearts. For all we’ve been through earning each gray hair… raising kids, bills and ills and whatever else life brought you/us over the 30s, 40’s, 50’s, & 60’s we are survivors… we are warriors… we are women (and men). Like a classic car or fine wine. While our exterior may not be what it once was, it is traded for our spirit, our courage and our strength to enter this chapter of our lives with grace and pride for all we’ve been through and accomplished. Never feel bad about aging. It is a privilege denied to many.”

Have a great day everyone and remember what Samuel Ullman once said,

“Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm, wrinkles the soul.”

The Things Money Can’t Buy

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In today’s world, many people spend many, many hours working hard to earn money that they will need. Unfortunately, many people put so much time and effort into their work that they quite often forget about the important things in life, spending quality time with their family and friends. Today’s story gives us a good reminder for all of us…time is precious. Don’t neglect the time that you should spend with your loved ones.

A man came home from work late again, tired and irritated, to find his 5-year old son waiting for him at the door. “Daddy, may I ask you a question?”

“Yeah, sure, what is it?” replied the man.

“Daddy, how much money do you make an hour?”

“That’s none of your business. What makes you ask such a thing?” the man said angrily.

“I just want to know. Please tell me, how much do you make an hour?” pleaded the little boy.

“If you must know, I make $20.00 an hour.”

“Oh,” the little boy replied, head bowed.

Looking up, he said, “Daddy, may I borrow $10.00 please?”

The father was furious. “If the only reason you wanted to know how much money I make is just so you can borrow some to buy a silly toy or some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room and go to bed. Think about why you’re being so selfish. I work long, hard hours every day and don’t have time for such childish games.”

The little boy quietly went to his room and shut the door. The man sat down and started to get even madder about the little boy’s questioning. How dare he ask such questions only to get some money. After an hour or so, the man had calmed down, and started to think he may have been a little hard on his son. Maybe there was something he really needed to buy with that $10.00 and he really didn’t ask for money very often. The man went to the door of the little boy’s room and opened the door.

“Are you asleep son?” he asked.

“No daddy, I’m awake,” replied the boy.

“I’ve been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier,” said the man.

“It’s been a long day and I took my aggravation out on you. Here’s that $10.00 you asked for.”
The little boy sat straight up, beaming. “Oh, thank you daddy” he yelled.
Then, reaching under his pillow, he pulled out some more crumpled up bills. The man, seeing that the boy already had money, started to get angry again. The little boy slowly counted out his money, then looked up at the man. “Why did you want more money if you already had some? ” the father grumbled.

“Because I didn’t have enough, but now I do,” the little boy replied.

“Daddy, I have $20.00 now. Can I buy an hour of your time?”
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Share $20.00 worth of time with someone you love…just a short reminder to all of us working so hard for our living. However, let us not let time slip through our fingers without having spent some quality time with those who really matter to us.
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Value Your Time.

Value Your Family.

Value Your Friends.

The Golden Slippers

Hilary McHone
Photo credit: Hilary McHone via CC Flickr

There are times in each of our lives when we need a reminder of the importance of having a spirit of giving and generosity towards others. Thus, is the case for the following story that I had posted on an old blog page of mine. While the author of this story is unknown, it is a beautiful story that I am sure will touch your heart and hopefully, remind all of us of the wonderful essence of a caring heart. (warning: tissues may be needed 🙂
It was only four days before Christmas. The spirit of the season hadn’t yet caught up with me, even though cars packed the parking lot of our local discount store. Inside the store, it was worse. Shopping carts and last-minute shoppers jammed the aisles. Why did I come today? I wondered. My feet ached almost as much as my head. My list contained names of several people who claimed they wanted nothing, but I knew their feelings would be hurt if I didn’t buy them anything. Buying for someone who had everything and deploring the high cost of items, I considered gift-buying anything but fun.

Hurriedly, I filled my shopping cart with last minute items and proceeded to the long checkout lines. I picked the shortest but it looked as if it would mean at least a 20 minute wait. In front of me were two small children — a boy of about 5 and a younger girl. The boy wore a ragged coat. Enormously large, tattered tennis shoes jutted far out in front of his much too short jeans. He clutched several crumpled dollar bills in his grimy hands. The girl’s clothing resembled her brother’s. Her head was a matted mass of curly hair. Reminders of an evening meal showed on her small face. She carried a beautiful pair of shiny, gold house slippers.

As the Christmas music sounded in the store’s stereo system, the girl hummed along, off-key but happily. When we finally approached the checkout register, the girl carefully placed the shoes on the counter. She treated them as though they were a treasure.

The clerk rang up the bill. “That will be $6.09,” she said.
The boy laid his crumpled dollars on top of the stand while he searched his pockets. He finally came up with $3.12. “I guess we will have to put them back, ” he bravely said. “We will come back some other time, maybe tomorrow.”

With that statement, a soft sob broke from the little girl. “But Jesus would have loved these shoes, “she cried.

“Well, we’ll go home and work some more. Don’t cry. We’ll come back,” he said.

Quickly I handed $3.00 to the cashier. These children had waited in line for a long time. And, after all, it was Christmas. Suddenly a pair of arms came around me and a small voice said, “Thank you, lady.”

“What did you mean when you said Jesus would like the shoes?” I asked.

The boy answered, “Our mommy is sick and going to heaven. Daddy said she might go before Christmas to be with Jesus.”
The girl spoke, “My Sunday school teacher said the streets in heaven are shiny gold, just like these shoes. Won’t mommy be beautiful walking on those streets to match these shoes?”

My eyes flooded as I looked into her tear streaked face. “Yes,” I answered, “I am sure she will.”

Silently I thanked God for using these children to remind me of the true spirit of giving.

A Story of Christmas Magic

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Photo Credit: Dragon Lady via Flickr

One of my favorite things to do during the Christmas season, is finding interesting and heartwarming stories that touch your soul and put a smile on your face. Well. today, I was reading some stories on the web page “The Gathering Place” and came across this story. Even though the author is unknown, I felt that it was a sweet little tale to share with you! Please be prepared…a box if tissues may be required.

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Three years ago, a little boy and his grandmother came to see Santa at Mayfair Mall in Wisconsin. The child climbed up on his 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 any way, 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 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.

“C’mon …. 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 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, IV tubes intact.

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 ad 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!”

Building the Castles of Our Lives

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We all have dreams and goals of the things that we would like to accomplish in our lives…building a successful business, establishing an effective career, having a positive, worthwhile job, the list can go on and on. The real question is HOW we go about attaining of life-long goals. How do we treat our family and friends? How much time and effort do we dedicate to achieving the material things in life like a nice house, fancy cars, good-looking clothes, lots of money, etc.?

Where is your heart? Your focus? Your priorities?

A short time ago, I came across the following story which, I hope, will serve as a helpful reminder that we should all be careful and wise when we are building the castles of our lives.

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A little while ago, on a nice, warm summer day, a little boy, on his knees, scoops and packs the sand with plastic shovels into a bucket during his time at the beach. He upends the bucket and dumps its contents on the beach and starts to work on his creation. After a short time, to the delight of the little architect, a castle tower is created. He spends the entire afternoon shoveling out the moat, packing the walls, and strategically placing the guards around the castle using bottle tops and building bridges with Popsicle sticks. With his hours of hard work on the beach, a sandcastle will be built.

Meanwhile, in a big city with busy streets and rumbling traffic, a man works in an office.  He shuffles papers into stacks, delegates assignments, cradles the phone on his shoulder and punches the keyboard with his fingers. He juggles with numbers, contracts get signed and much to the delight of the man, a profit is made. All his life he will work. Formulating the plans and forecasting the future. His annuities will be sentries and Capital gains will be his bridges. An empire will be built.

The two builders of the two castles have very much in common. They both shape granules into grandeur. They both make something beautiful out of nothing. They both are very diligent and determined to build their world. And for both, the tide will rise and the end will come. Yet that is where the similarities cease. For the little boy sees the end of his castle while the man ignores it. As the dusk approaches and the waves near, the child jumps to his feet and begins to clap as the waves wash away his masterpiece. There is no sorrow. No fear. No regret. He is not surprised, he knew this would happen. He smiles, picks up his tools and takes his father’s hand, and goes home.

The man in his sophisticated office is not very wise like the child. As the wave of years collapses on his empire, he is terrified. He hovers over the sandy monument to protect it. He tries to block the waves with the walls he made. He snarls at the incoming tide. “It’s my castle,” he defies. The ocean need not respond. Both know to whom the sand belongs.

So, go ahead and build your dreams but build with a child’s heart. When the sun sets and the tides take – applaud. Salute the process of life and go home with a smile.

——————-

Source: All Time Short Stories

Stop Your Quacking!

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A little while ago, I found a story that has been one of my favorites for quite some time. I decided to pass this story along. It is a beautiful little story that shows us the value of life and the depth of a mother’s love for her children.

It was a typical hectic wet spring Saturday and I was driving to a local department store in search of a baby shower gift for my daughter, she was having my first Grandchild. I told my husband I would only be gone a short while cause I kind of knew what I wanted to buy. As most rainy spring Saturday’s would have it, the traffic was heavy and everyone seemed to be in a mad hurry.

As I was leaving BABIES ARE US, and scampered across the parking lot to my car, I noticed a large brown duck circling a sewer grid. As I approached the duck she came waddling up to me frantically quacking. As soon as she knew she had my attention, she turned and waddled back to the sewer grid. As I looked down into the sewer I counted eleven tiny yellow ducklings. I thought for a moment saying out loud that I was very late and very wet and there was nothing I could do. Besides, the sewer grid was much to heavy for me to move. Even out loud, no excuse sounded good enough, I knew I couldn’t leave. This was a mother duck and her ducklings were in trouble and she came to me for help. As I stood there helpless, other people approached to see why I was standing in a parking lot talking to a duck. She circled me relentlessly quacking. It was quite the spectacle.

Just then a young man and his pregnant wife approached me and I began explaining the situation. Without coaxing, the young man took action. He carefully lifted off the grate and went in after the ducklings. One by one he lifted them to me. An employee from a nearby store came out with a box and we began filling the box with the little quackers. Seven ducklings filled the box and the young man assumed his rescue feat was completed. As he returned the sewer grid and turned to me he saw the sadness in my face, I knew in my heart I had counted eleven ducks, four were still lost…

By now a small crowd had gathered to watch the rescue. With seven ducklings in the box I set the box on the ground and moved away. The mother duck cautiously entered the box of quackers and quieted them down. A couple from the crowd volunteered to take the box to a nearby pond. When they tried to pick up the box the Mother duck flew from the box in noisy fright. Again, the employee from the nearby store ran through the rain with a top for the box. As the Mother duck settled down the second time in the box of quackers I quickly placed the cover on top. Although, the Mother duck protested, the couple put the box in their car and set off for the pond. Everyone seemed happy, applauding everyone’s efforts and then left. But I couldn’t! There were four more baby ducks down there.

I stood quietly listening and worrying… they were baby ducks! A half hour had passed as I stood the rainy vigil with no sounds from the sewer, except the gushing water. Two new people came by to ask me why I was standing near the sewer staring down. I explained what happened and that four ducklings were still missing. The woman and her daughter then lifted the grate and suddenly we heard the low quacks of the ducklings calling for their Mother over the gushing water.

The man with his pregnant wife came to the rescue again, this time armed with a flash light. He smiled at me and said, “Four more huh!” He disappeared again into the sewer drain and was gone for several minutes. The rain had picked up and the sewer was again being filled with water. The pregnant young woman began to openly worry about her husband being in the sewer and how wet he would be. Suddenly, his head popped out of the sewer drain followed by a huge smile. In his jacket were 4 ducklings quacking their heads off.

We covered the sewer drain and got into our cars. He waited until we lined up to follow him in his truck to the nearby pond where the mother duck and the other ducklings had been released. With lights on high-beam and windshield wipers flapping, as though in a parade, we approached the pond. Standing near the water, the quacking of the four stragglers brought the mother duck and her brood to the shore line to be re-united. My heart was singing and everyone was smiling like we had all just won the million dollar lottery.

I didn’t ask any of the rescuer’s names or what made them want to get involved with saving eleven tiny ducklings on a very wet busy Saturday in spring, I only know I felt as though the mother duck and God were counting on us.

When I finally arrived home dripping wet my husband looked at me with some annoyance saying “where were you for so long.” I just smiled and said, “Someone quite small reminded me just how precious life is and the love that bonds mothers and their offspring, so just stop your quacking! I’m going to be a GRANDMOTHER!”

Source: Truthbook.com

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Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. ~Mother Teresa

A Pleasant Reminder of the Reason for Thanksgiving

img_20131128_182723One of my favorite time of each year is the celebration of Thanksgiving and all that it entails. Meeting with family, friends, and relatives…eating the Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixings…playing football in the cool weather then coming into a warm house and smelling all of the scrumptious food…watching NFL football games on TV…or simply going around the dinner table and listening to each person share the things that they are thankful for.

Thanksgiving is truly a time to give thanks. We have SO MUCH that we should be thankful for but sometimes, we can forget just how much we have been blessed. The following story, that was conveyed by Cary Schmidt, is a cute little story that (I hope) will serve as a reminder to the many blessings that we have been given.

Two old friends met each other on the street one day.  One looked forlorn, almost on the verge of tears.  His friend asked, “What has the world done to you, my old friend?”

The sad fellow said, “Let me tell you:  three weeks ago, my uncle died and left me forty thousand dollars.”

“That’s a lot of money.”

“But you see, two weeks ago, a cousin I never even knew died, and left me eighty-five thousand dollars, free and clear.”

“Sounds to me that you’ve been very blessed.”

“You don’t understand!” he interrupted.  “Last week my great-aunt passed away.  I inherited almost a quarter of a million from her.”

Now the man’s friend was really confused.  “Then, why do you look so glum?”

“This week . . . nothing!

That’s a problem with receiving something on a regular basis.  Even if it is a gift, we eventually come to expect it.  The natural tendency is that if we receive a gift long enough, we come to view it almost as an entitlement.  We feel hurt, even angry if we don’t receive it any longer.

It is the same way with the blessings God gives us every day.  I don’t deserve the comfortable home that I live in, the beautiful scenery around me, the clean water I drink.  But after receiving these gifts (and a multitude of others) for years, I sometimes fail to be grateful.  I’ve come to expect these good things.  And when one of them is removed for a short time (like water or electricity or the internet going down), I get upset.

Let’s make an effort today to recognize the blessing we’ve come to take for granted.  Focus on what we have rather than on what we don’t have, and see if it doesn’t improve our attitudes.

A Marvelous Kind of Medicine

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There is a medicine that has been around for thousands of years and has been used by millions of people around the world in every culture known to man. It is known for its power to change the way people feel about themselves and have a powerful and positive effect on people that are experiencing anxiety, low self-esteem, anger, depression, and a host of other issues.

The great thing about this medicine is that it will cost you nothing and is available for your use at any time, anywhere.

What is this marvelous medicine? Where can you find it?

Simple. It is called kindness. It is available at any time of day and you can use it wherever you may be.

You see, kindness is an amazing and powerful thing, The simple act of being kind to people and developing a habit of thinking of others instead of focusing on ourselves can have a huge, positive effect on an individual’s total well-being.

Let’s see what the positive impact kindness can have on a person who consistently uses this practice…

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Like many medicines that treat depression, kindness stimulates the production of serotonin which is known as the “feel-good” chemical. Seratonin assists in healing wounds, relaxation and is responsible for making people happy.

Acts of kindness can be very contagious. Once someone witnesses another person perform an act of kindness to another individual, they, in turn, will use it to help others. You can see this happen quite often. For example, a person is going to enter a building and the person in front of them stops and holds the door open for them. Sometime later, that person holds the door open for someone else. These actions can create “domino effect” and can improve the day of many people!

It has been shown that kindness can actually reduce a certain amount of pain that a person may be experiencing. When an individual does something nice, their brain releases hormones called endorphins to the nervous system. These hormones interact with receptors in the brain to reduce our perception of pain and act similarly to drugs such as morphine and codeine.

It that been found that people who are kind have 23% less cortisol in their bodies than people who are living under stressful conditions. This results in a person’s ability to have lower blood pressure and stress levels. Cortisol is also known as the “stress hormone” and can have adverse effects on the cardiovascular and immune systems. Perpetually kind people also age slower! According to Dr. David Hamilton, not only does acts of kindness lower blood pressure, but it also creates emotional warmth, which releases the “love hormone” called oxytocin. Oxytocin causes the release of the chemical nitric oxide, which dilates the blood vessels. which in turn reduces blood pressure and protects the heart.

Research from Emory University proved that when people are kind to another person, an individual’s brain’s pleasure and reward centers “light up”…as if that person was the recipient of the good deed…not the giver. This phenomenon is otherwise known as the “helper’s high.”

In a study done by the University of British Columbia, it was demonstrated that a group of people who were classified as “highly anxious individuals” performed as little as six acts of kindness a week for a month. After that one month, participants reported an increase in positive moods, relationships, and a decrease in socially anxious people.

Another interesting fact about the power of kindness was reported by Mr. Stephen Post of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine who discovered that when we give of ourselves, everything from life satisfaction to self-realization and physical health is significantly improved. Mortality is delayed, depression is reduced and well-being and good fortunes are increased.

In addition to the aforementioned information, people which practice consistent acts of kindness also enjoy other attributes of a quality life. In a 2010 Harvard Business School survey of happiness in 136 countries found that people who were altruistic…in this case, people who were generous with their money…were the happiest overall.

Lastly, individuals who steadily show kindness to others can have a longer lifespan. According to Christine Carter, Author, “Raising Happiness in Pursuit of Joyful Kids and Happier Parents”, people who volunteer their time, tend to have fewer aches and pains. giving help to others protects overall health twice as much as aspirin protects against heart disease. People 55 and older who volunteer for two or more organizations have an incredible 44% lower likelihood of dying early…and that’s after eliminating other contributing factors such as physical health, smoking habits, exercise, gender, and a host of other things.

(Resource: http://www.randomactsofkindness.org)

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There are two great quotes about kindness from two well-known people that I would like to leave with you…

The great philosopher, Aesop, once stated one of my favorite quotes regarding kindness…“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”

Mark Twain, the legendary American author, once said about kindness… “Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” 

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So, increase your quality of life today…go out and be kind to someone today. It will make you feel great, make your life happier, increase your physical well-being, build your self-esteem, and lead to good fortune!

 

 

Conquering the Barriers of Life

selective photo of gray shark
Photo by GEORGE DESIPRIS on Pexels.com

Discouragement. Frustration. Exasperation. Defeated. These are just a few words that describe the way many people feel when they fall short of achieving a goal that they have set for themselves. Failing to reach a goal can test one’s patience to its limits and, if not attained, can lead to an individual to just quit and give up.

It is an important concept to remember that the “answer” or the accomplishment of achieving your goal may be just around the corner…if you are persistent and don’t give up.

Consider the following story…

A marine biologist was involved in an experiment with a shark. He placed a shark in a tank along with other small bait fishes.

As expected, the shark ate every single fish.

The marine biologist then inserted a clear fiberglass to create two sections within the tank.  He placed the shark in one section and smaller fished in the other section.

The shark quickly attacked, but then he bounced off the fiberglass. The shark kept on repeating this behavior. It just wouldn’t stop trying.

While the small fish in the other section remained unharmed and carefree. After about an hour, the shark finally gave up.

This experiment was repeated several dozen times over the next few weeks. Each time, the shark got less aggressive. Eventually the shark got tired and simply stopped attacking altogether.

The marine biologist then removed the fiberglass. The shark, however, didn’t attack. It was trained to believe in the existence of a barrier between it and the bait fish.

It is good to remember that many of us, after experiencing setbacks and failures, emotionally give up and stop trying. Like the shark, we chose to stay with past failure and believe that we will always be unsuccessful. We build a barrier in our heads, even when there is no ‘real’ barrier between where we are and where we want to go. Don’t give up. Keep trying because success may be just a try away.

I Went to See A Friend Today

backlit dawn foggy friendship
Photo by Helena Lopes on Pexels.com

I recently came across a poem about friends and friendship the other day that is, in some ways, related to a previous post of mine, “Do It All the Way”. Friendships and the passing of time, are things that we need to consider more and more each day. The following poem was posted on May 6, 2016 by oldmainer It serves as a great reminder to us all!

 I Went to See A Friend Today

I went to see a friend today
A friend I had not seen
Since he was in his twenties
And I was still a teen

We were both inseparable then
See one, you’d see the other
Sharing everything we did. 
He was like a brother

But as so often happens
Too soon there came the day
When he decided to remain
And I to move away

We wished each other good luck
Recalled good times we’d shared
Said that we would keep in touch
See how each other fared

But of course that didn’t happen
The days just came and went
No phone calls were ever made
No greetings ever sent

How quickly the time passes
And friendships start to dim
Although we went our separate ways
I often thought of him

I wondered how he looked today
How he had weathered life
Did he still live in our old home town
Did he ever take a wife

One day I got a letter
And when I looked inside
I read I regret to inform you
That your friend has died

I went to see a friend today
As I’ve often said I would
To visit for a little while
My promise to make good

I wish that I could tell him
How bad I feel that I
Never took the time to say hello
Before I said goodbye

Friendships are precious. Be sure to take some time to visit the people that are special in your life. Enjoy the time you spend together and remember the good memories from the past.

 

“There is nothing on this earth more prized than true friendship.” ~ Thomas Aquinas

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