Wednesday, December 30, 2009

ARK from a 10 year's old perspective!

This year my daughter Kailee has been wanting to start her own blog. I've been a little hesitant to allow her to begin this process because I am not sure how she will do and to be honest I don't think her desire to keep it out will continue.

Then I thought about it again and considered the reasons why I might want to reconsider. She has always struggled with writing in school and hates it when she is tasked with writing anything. However, if through blogging she can begin to start off small, gain some encouragement through people she meets in the blogging world and mom stays on top of what is going on at all times, who knows where this might lead for her. The next big author or perhaps a love a helping people which is evident in everything she does every day.

Her biggest excitement always comes in the form of telling me how she completed her ARK or Act of Random Kindness for the day. Today was no different. Despite the fact that her older sister rarely does anything nice for her, it doesn't change Kailee's attitude to help her sister out. She holds no grudges towards her.

Today she came in and told me she completed her ARK today by making up her sisters bed for her. She didn't announce it to her, she simply walked into her room while she was in the bathroom and made her bed. Just for no reason at all than to make her day just a little bit better.

Some nights she will turn down my covers for me, prop up all my pillows, place the remote to the TV on the bed and leave me a cup of ice water for me to take my medicine with.

She does all of this with no expectation of being thanked or even waiting for someone to do something nice for her. She does it the way Jesus would, with unconditional love for that person. I think we can all learn a lesson from her. She is priceless to us! Be out on the look out for her upcoming blog in 2010!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Finding the Courage to Encourage

I am sharing this beautiful article that I received a few months ago and hope it truly encourages you!

Finding the Courage To Encourage

Posted: 04 Sep 2009 09:51 AM PDT

Today I'm happy to share some tips on how to be an encourager from my sweet friend, Luann Prater. Luann is an amazing woman of God. She teaches deep truths from His Word, prays like she's going into battle and loves with abandon. She has the gift of encouragement, and I treasure that about her.

Those around us need to be encouraged. Luann's given us some great tips today on how to be most effective. If you like her tips, please visit Luann's blog and let her know. That would encourage her today. There's a link at the end of her bio.

1. Pray, Pray, Pray -
Before you can pour out blessings onto others, you need to be encouraged by the author of encouragement, Jesus Christ.
Philippians 2:1-2, “If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.”

2. Consult the Truth Then Tell the Truth
Throughout the teachings of Jesus he began his statements with "I tell you the truth." We must allow God's truth to penetrate our hearts and minds before we can offer encouragement to others.
2 Timothy 2:15, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”

3. Listen
It is often said, "People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care." Listening is a lost art. There is something so endearing about a friend who will simply lend an ear to a hurting heart.
James 1:19, “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”

4. Care and Coach
Gently provide healing words. Feel-Felt-Found approach. Get into their world with this statement in the back of your mind, "I know how you feel; I felt that way; here is what I've found." People who are hurting need to know that someone else has walked this path and there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Colossians 2:2-3, “My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge”.

5. Don't Judge
The quickest way to lose someone's confidence is to judge them, even with a look or reaction. Be careful to take gentle care of those God has entrusted into your life.
Matthew 7:2, “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

6. Love Deeply
Be ready for more than a pat on the shoulder and a fleeting, "How ya doin'?" Ask God during your prayer time to open your heart wide and allow Him to give you the capacity to love with His arms.
John 15:12, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”

7. Don't Expect to Have All The Answers
I love the song by Stacie Orrico, Don't Look at Me - because it says, I'll do my best to point you in the right direction, but don't look at me, look at Him. If we constantly point others to the source of our strength, then the responsibility for their needs rolls onto His shoulders. Lead them to the source of Light.
Ephesians 1:18, “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints.”

8. Be Consistent, It's a Marathon Not a Sprint
Obstacles will arise, bumps will trip us, life will scream from the sidelines, regardless we run. God has prepared us for this life-long race. We become witnesses to the runner who is stumbling when we offer encouragement to keep on going.
Hebrews 12:1, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”

9. Character is 3D
The tapestry of life is not two-dimensional. It has dips and valleys, hills and mountains. There are shadows and highlights but together, they produce a masterpiece that only God could construct. You are His divine treasure.
Romans 5:2-5, “through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”

10. Live it
Your life speaks louder than words. St. Francis of Assisi summed it up when he said, "Proclaim the Gospel of Christ to everyone; use words if you must."
John 3:21, “But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God."

Thursday, December 17, 2009

God Does Big Things With Small Deeds

God Does Big Things with Small Deeds
by Max Lucado

"Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin" (Zech. 4:10 NLT).

Begin. Just begin! What seems small to you might be huge to someone else. Just ask Bohn Fawkes. During World War II, he piloted a B-17. On one mission he sustained flak from Nazi antiaircraft guns. Even though his gas tanks were hit, the plane did not explode, and Fawkes was able to land the plane.

On the morning following the raid, Fawkes asked his crew chief for the German shell. He wanted to keep a souvenir of his incredible good fortune. The crew chief explained that not just one but eleven shells had been found in the gas tanks, none of which had exploded.

Technicians opened the missiles and found them void of explosive charge. They were clean and harmless and with one exception, empty. The exception contained a carefully rolled piece of paper. On it a message had been scrawled in the Czech language. Translated, the note read: "This is all we can do for you now."

A courageous assembly-line worker was disarming bombs and scribbled the note. He couldn't end the war, but he could save one plane. He couldn't do everything, but he could do something. So he did it.

God does big things with small deeds.

Against a towering giant, a brook pebble seems futile. But God used it to topple Goliath. Compared to the tithes of the wealthy, a widow's coins seem puny. But Jesus used them to inspire us. And in contrast with sophisticated priests and powerful Roman rulers, a cross-suspended carpenter seemed nothing but a waste of life. Few Jewish leaders mourned his death. Only a handful of friends buried his body. The people turned their attention back to the temple. Why not?

What power does a buried rabbi have? We know the answer. Mustard-seed and leaven-lump power. Power to tear away death rags and push away death rocks. Power to change history. In the hands of God, small seeds grow into sheltering trees. Tiny leaven expands into nourishing loaves.

Small deeds can change the world. Sow the mustard seed. Bury the leaven lump. Make the call. Write the check. Organize the committee.

A Love Worth GivingMoses had a staff.
David had a sling.
Samson had a jawbone.
Rahab had a string.
Mary had some ointment.
Aaron had a rod.
Dorcas had a needle.
All were used by God.
What do you have?

God inhabits the tiny seed, empowers the tiny deed. He cures the common life by giving no common life, by offering no common gifts. Don't discount the smallness of your deeds.

From Cure for the Common Life
Copyright (Thomas Nelson, 2006) Max Lucado

Today's Tip: Call a friend who is sick or down and offer to encourage them. You'll never notice the difference you will make in their lives.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Do You Have Team Spirit?

I am passing along this beautiful video that Divine Ms. D at Love Is A Verb passed along and thought I would share with all of you. What a great inspiration this would be to all our sports players.

Today's Tip: Baked some homemade cookies and drop them off at your local police or fire station and let them know how much they mean to you and your community!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

It Just Keeps Going and Going...

It played like a scene from a holiday movie -- a mystery couple, who didn't leave their names or numbers, walked into a restaurant, finished their meal and then set-off a chain reaction of generosity that lasted for hours. That's just what employees at the Aramingo Diner in Port Richmond said a man and a woman did during their breakfast shift last Saturday morning. "It was magical. I had tears in my eyes because it never happened before. I've been here for 10 years and I've never seen anything like that," said Lynn Willard, a waitress.
Today's Tip: Pick up the tab for someone today or while you are out dining this week. Trust me, it will make all the difference in the world to someone you will never know.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Making the World a Better Place

Here is another heartwarming story I received in my email about wonderful ways we can all make a difference in our world and truly make it a better place.

"I often take my dog for a walk on the beaches near our home as she enjoys running around madly chasing the wind, the waves, and attempting to catch the sea gulls. She's never fast enough, but she so enjoys the time! Every time we go, we pick up trash. Often there's so much that we make a pile near the access trails we use, continuing on our walks, and then pick up the big pile as we head for the house. We carry some trash bags with us to contain it, so if there's a good amount from a recent storm, we can carry it all. Many times recently we have made our trash piles, but they are not there when we head back. There are other "beach angels" out there working to clean up our beaches and oceans, too. It's wonderful to know that others care enough to help by picking up what we've gathered and that we're not alone in trying to make our world a better place."

Today's Tip: Offer to clean up a part of the roadway, park or even something much larger and make the world a little bit more cleaner than the way you found it.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Lady's Hug

I got this story in my email this morning and wanted to share it with all of you. Please enjoy!

by Teri Goggin-Roberts

The traffic in town crawled. Shoppers walked faster than the bumper-to-bumper cars could move.

"Just a few more blocks," I muttered. There was so much to do and the heavy traffic was wasting precious time.

Mapes was one-of-a-kind store that sold hardware, sewing notions, corny greeting cards and household goods. It'd been a fixture in town for decades. The kids loved the toy aisle, which was
stocked with board games, puzzles and "must-have" items like silly
putty, jump ropes and slinkys.

This visit to Mapes had special significance because Christmas was just weeks away. Frankie, Sarah and Caitlin took the opportunity to verbally add things to their Christmas list as they went along. A school yard sage had informed them that Santa had super-duper ears
and that writing letters to the North Pole was old-fashioned.

After shopping we walked back to the car. A station wagon was double parked next to the car in front of me. Pulling out would be tricky. The space was tight, the traffic was thick and now, I had to maneuver around the double-parked car. The kids had gained energy from the toy aisle and the back seat chatter was escalating.

As I pulled out I heard a loud crunch. The car was suddenly silent. In the rear view mirror, three sets of eyes were wide with fear.

"It's okay," I said calmly. "I'm just going to take a look."

I got out and winced when I saw the cracked taillight and scratched paint on the other car.

"Just a few more inches and I would've been clear," I mumbled. Unbelievably, my Jeep was unscathed.

A woman climbed out of the station wagon. She was in her mid-sixties, with a brown hat that matched her knee-length coat. She surveyed the damage. Before she could say anything I blurted out an apology.

"I'm so sorry! I thought the car was clear! The kids..." The woman smiled. I stopped mid sentence. The smile was unexpected and so I waited, unsure what would happen next.

The woman's grin broadened as she touched her cracked taillight.

"Merry Christmas honey."

My confused look made the woman laugh. "I said, Merry Christmas honey. Don't worry about this here car. I'm fine and so are you. Go on and take care of those children. My husband will take care of this."

I suddenly noticed a gray haired man standing on the passenger side, nodding and smiling. Overcome with relief, I hugged the woman. The woman hugged back and whispered, "Merry Christmas sugar."

I got back in the car and watched the station wagon pull away. After hearing what happened, the kids chattered about how great "the Lady" was. The rest of the day took on a glow of grace because she gave us the gift of kindness. I was sure, although I'd never know her name, I would never forget her radiant smile.

Days passed and Christmas drew nearer.

One afternoon, Frankie seemed troubled when he came home from school.

"What's up?" I asked as Frankie slumped on the couch.

"Nothin'." Which, in boy-speak meant something. Frankie's feet kicked in an up and down rhythm that kept his body busy while his 9 year-old mind worked on an unnamed problem.

"Care to share?" I sat next to Frankie, carefully avoiding the scissor-chop movements of his snow boots.

"Nope." Frankie's feet stopped. "Maybe later." And then he was off to play.

At bedtime, Frankie didn't want to sing any songs, which he loved to do in the weeks before Christmas. Something was definitely up. I rubbed Frankie's head and asked, "Wanna talk about what's bothering you now?"

Frankie shrugged, but seconds later a question bubbled up. It was one of THE questions parents face. In the category of questions like, "Why do people die?" and "Where do babies come from?"

"Mommy, do you believe in Santa Claus?"

I silently prayed for the right words. Seconds later I saw the Lady's brilliant smile and felt her kindness wash over me. An idea came.

"What do you think?"

Frankie shrugged. "Some kids at school said Santa wasn't real. They said parents put the gifts under the tree."

"Are you asking me if there is a Santa, or if parents put the gifts under the tree?"

Frankie hesitated. "I guess I'm asking both."

I wrapped my arms around Frankie and gave him a big hug. "I am so proud of you!"

"For what?" Frankie looked puzzled as he sat up against his headboard.

"You're old enough now!"

I moved closer and continued. "You see Frankie, while there isn't a man in a red suit, there is something called the Christmas Spirit. But when children are very little, it's hard for them to
understand the Christmas Spirit so we say that someone named Santa is responsible for Christmas. Parent's know when a child asks whether Santa is real that they're old enough to understand the Christmas Spirit."

Frankie looked surprised. "What's the Christmas Spirit?"

"The Christmas Spirit is love -- pure and simple. Every year, right around December, there's a special feeling in the air. People are kinder, they give to those who have little and spend time with friends and family. Have you noticed a change recently?"

Frankie thought for a moment. "Everything seems prettier.

People seem happier."

"That's the Christmas Spirit at work. Do you remember the Lady at Mapes a few weeks ago?"

Frankie nodded and grinned. "Oh yeah! She was so nice!"

"She had the Christmas Spirit. She forgave me even though she didn't know me. She wished me a Merry Christmas and I can still feel that wish today. That's how I know she shared the Christmas Spirit with me. It's as real as if she'd given me a present with a pretty bow. The Christmas Spirit is a gift we all receive every year. And those who are most blessed, carry it with them all year."

"I felt her Christmas Spirit too!" Frankie beamed.

"Parents want their children to remember the gift of Christmas every year, so they put presents under the tree and say a man named Santa is responsible until each child asks the question you asked me tonight. Then they get to share the wonderful secret of the Christmas Spirit."

"A secret?" Frankie's voice was hushed with awe.

"Yes, now that you asked about Santa, I know that you're old enough to understand the Christmas Spirit. But until other children ask their parents, you shouldn't tell them there's no Santa because they may not be old enough to understand yet."

"Oh, like Sarah is too young." Frankie nodded and winked. "I won't tell her I promise."

"When people ask if I believe in Santa, I say yes. I absolutely believe that there is a Christmas Spirit that visits each house at Christmas. Does it matter whether that Spirit is wearing a red suit? Or what we call it?"

Frankie shook his head. "Nope!"

"So congratulations! You are officially old enough to start learning about the Christmas Spirit."

Frankie crinkled his nose. "Start learning?"

"Yep. It takes the rest of your life to figure out how to keep the Christmas Spirit in your heart all year long."

"Like the Lady at Mapes."

I hugged Frankie and felt the warmth and brilliance of the Lady's hug once more. "Yes Bud, just like her."

Today's Tip: Pick up a poinsettia and leave it for a neighbor! What a nice way to spread some Christmas spirit!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Man Who Hated Christmas

For the Man Who Hated Christmas

--posted by Ben Lawder on Dec 20, 2008

[ Note: This story below was written by Nancy Gavin and originally published in the December 14, 1982 issue of Woman's Day magazine. ]

It’s just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past ten years or so.

It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas--oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it--overspending... the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma---the gifts given in desperation because you couldn’t think of anything else.

Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way.

Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was wrestling at the junior level at the school he attended; and shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church. These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes. As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler’s ears.

It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford. Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. And as each of their boys got up from the mat, he swaggered around in his tatters with false bravado, a kind of street pride that couldn’t acknowledge defeat.

Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, “I wish just one of them could have won,” he said. “They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them.” Mike loved kids - all kids - and he knew them, having coached little league football, baseball and lacrosse. That’s when the idea for his present came. That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church. On Christmas Eve, I placed the envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done and that this was his gift from me. His smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year and in succeeding years. For each Christmas, I followed the tradition--one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on.

The envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning and our children, ignoring their new toys, would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents.

As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the envelope never lost its allure. The story doesn’t end there.

You see, we lost Mike last year due to dreaded cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree, and in the morning, it was joined by three more.

Each of our children, unbeknownst to the others, had placed an envelope on the tree for their dad. The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing to take down the envelope.

Mike’s spirit, like the Christmas spirit will always be with us.

Today's Tip: Start your own white envelope tradition!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Wrong Number Miracle

Good News of the Day:

The day before Thanksgiving, Lucy Crutchfield left a message on her daughter's answering machine. The despair was evident in her voice. Crutchfield owed a mortgage payment on her home, but her daughter wasn't even able to afford food for the coming week. Crutchfield left her a message saying that she would send money for the groceries -- even though that meant she wouldn't have enough to pay her monthly mortgage bill. But as it turned out, she had dialed a wrong number, leaving her heartbreaking message on a stranger's machine...

Tip of the Day: Reach out to someone in need and offer to help today. It may be just a voice or a cup of coffee that is needed to make someone feel like they are not alone in the world.

Friday, December 4, 2009

A Challenge has been Thrown Down! Will You Answer the Call?

You all have known for a few months that I have been using this blog as an outlet of sorts to share with one another the kind things we do for one another, or for random strangers that do more than make their day better, it brightens yours as well.

Well Billy Coffey at What I Learned Today,is one of my most favorite places to sip sweet tea on his porch, while listening to him tell another wonderful story of his that always makes you smile a whole lot sweeter than that last bit of tea you've just finished, has offered a great way to join in the fun.

It's called the $ 10.00 challenge. You can click and read more about it here or by clicking on the button like the one at the top of my blog found on the left.

So I am sharing one that I did fairly recently with my daughter, before I got sick, so I hope you'll enjoy it and agree it meets with Billy's criteria! Enjoy, while I go get some more sweet tea!

I had an opportunity at Starbucks after picking up my daughter Caitlyn from school last Thursday to ARK someone. While waiting at the drive through I had $10.00 on me that day and looking in my rear view mirror noticed that the vehicle behind me had only one person in it. Since our order only came to $6.00 I waited til we got to the window to ask how much the order of the next customer was, she told me $2.00 so I told her I wanted to pay for him. The look on Caitlyn's face was worth that blessing and she started to cry. She said it was so nice to be able to do something nice for someone and if we could stay and see what the drivers reaction would be. I explained we had to go, but that God would bless this small act and it would not go unnoticed. While pulling away, she looked back to see the man attempt to pay but the cashier just handed his coffee while he proceeded to pull away.

Only God knows what that small act did for someone but I know if that same thing happened to me, I would feel so great the whole day no matter what happened that morning.

So if your interested in joining in on all the fun, click on Billy's link here and share your good news $ 10.00 challenge with all of us.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Giving and Receiving Gratitude on Thanksgiving!

"In helping others, we shall help ourselves, for whatever good we give out completes the circle and comes back to us." -- Flora Edwards

Here is another heartwarming story I found on the internet! I hope it inspires you to do something amazing today!

"Last year, I was driving home one night, just around the holidays. I was about to turn onto the highway when I noticed a rather dejected looking figure holding a sign. This man was obviously homeless and was completely exposed to the elements.

I had just purchased a new thermal blanket and it was in my car, still wrapped in plastic from the store. I thought for a moment, rolled down the window, and gestured to the man. He ran over to my vehicle. I told him that he looked cold, and he chuckled. I explained that while I didn't carry any cash, I did happen to have a new thermal blanket, and asked him if he could use it. He was thrilled. I told him that it was his, as long as he agreed to do something kind for someone else in return. I am pretty sure it made his day, and kept him warm through the evening. I know I felt the warmth."

Today's Tip: Donate to a family that will be doing without this Thanksgiving, whether it's offer a can of food or a whole meal, the feeling will last a life time in your heart!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Love Found in the Middle of a War!

Here is another proud story of someone who in the midst of war, found love from a complete stranger. I hope you enjoy!

Fact of the Day:

Josh Stieber was in middle school on 9/11. He vowed to enlist in the army after graduating high school, and by 2007, he was deployed to Baghdad. By April 2009, he had left the army, and engaged on a bike ride to spread some love: "I want to take a negative and invest it into a positive. So that's what I've set out to do and I hope that that love is contagious." Conor was a Marine patrol leader. On his orders they went house to house, destroying houses and terrorizing the people. After one such incident, a middle-aged man came out of his now-destroyed house, served them tea and in perfect English, asked Conor about his life and how Iraq was treating him. He had no trace of bitterness or anger in his voice. That was the day Conor decided to leave the military.

Today's Tip for the Day: Do something nice for your kids, bake them cookies, listen to their music being played or even take them out for coffee or ice cream.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Parsley at Seasons of My Mind was nice enough to allow me to repost something she had written on her blog from yesterday and I personally feel it fits right into the theme of ARK for God. Won't you join me and enjoy this as much as I did. Please stop by her blog if you haven't already. She is certainly one special lady!

Gift Giving Part 3

When I was still in highschool, our FBLA club went to a nursing home around Christmas time to serve them snacks, sing songs, and offer the residents a small $2 or under valued gift.

I had virtually NO money but I had lucked out shopping one day and found some simple knit gloves on sale. I used these as my gift.

At the nursing home, I got to play Santa. We had a group of about 20 girls, I was one of the thinner ones, but I was the only one willing to put on the Santa suit. I used my jacket as my belly. I'm sure I was a funny sight!

Gifts were randomly handed out. All of the girls were visiting the seniors and bringing them food. I was scanning the room for the one who had opened my gift. I saw her, crying.

I asked her if she liked her gift. She said she loved the gloves. She had lost one of her gloves and said her hands had been getting so cold. She had prayed for some gloves.

Friends, you can imagine what this did to me. My eyes are tearing up right now. God showed me so much that day.
God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called.

Today's Tip: Help a child or family out that will be unable to provide this year for their family. Make a donation, offer to purchase gifts or adopt a family and spread the true meaning of Christmas!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

When It All Goes Flat!

Here is another great heartwarming story that speaks volumes to not only what our actions can do for us, but the impact they have on others around us.

Lend a helping hand

We were coming home one Sunday afternoon from a fun filled weekend at our ranch in South Texas. I remember the conversation was starting to get a little grumpy in the car with my two girls. Mom and Dads tempers were as well.

As we were driving down a long stretch of deserted road, we came upon an elderly gentleman having trouble with a flat tire. I said we should stop and lend a hand for this poor guy. I got a resounding NO from my passengers. You should never stop out on deserted roads in the middle of nowhere Daddy, plus were hungry and the next DQ is coming up soon. Well…I did stop; I asked the girls to lock all the doors and said I would only be a minute.

The elderly man had been there for well over an hour in 95-degree hot humid weather. He was confused as to how all this new tire changing stuff worked. I smiled and asked if I could lend a hand. Well in no time I had his tire fixed and all his stuff put back in his trunk and he was on his way.

My girls watched this whole experience through the window of our suburban. My littlest commented that that was a really nice thing to do Daddy and it really didn’t take that long. The coolest thing that happened was the elderly man as it turned out was one of my wife’s father’s best friends from years ago. My father-in-law passed away 35 years ago but it sure made all of us feel good. Not to mention that building anger that was in the car before I stopped was gone, it was replaced with conversation on how to lend a hand when someone needs help!

Doug Ryder

Today's Tip: Leave comments on each blog you stop at and read today. Let the author know just how their post impacted you and what you enjoyed most from it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sharing is Caring!

If any of you would love to be a guest writer on any specific day or take an initiative and write on a dedicated day on this blog, I would love to share it with you. Please send me an email and let me know if you want to do a one time guest post, or become part of a dedicated team that will post faithfully each week with me and make this a truly God inspired project. My email is Stevenkat27@verizondotnet!

In keeping with the theme of this blog, I wanted to share a story I got in an email this morning and wanted to brighten your day with it. I hope you enjoy the effect it provided to Dorothy!

"One Saturday, I got a phone call and the woman on the phone sounded extremely anxious because her electricity wasn't working. I informed her that she had the wrong number and she apologized, and we said goodbye. After I hung up the phone I thought maybe I could help her so I dialed *69 to call her back and found out she was just one town over. When I got to her house, I told her I would help her, but I would not accept any money. Dorothy and Jacob, who were both retired, seemed surprised and said they never met anyone like me. I got the lights working, reset the breakers and re-lit the pilot light to fix the heater. After I was done, they thanked me and tried to give me some money. I told them I wouldn't accept anything, and that the best payment would be to find someone else to help out. They were both incredibly happy that I managed to solve their electrical problems quickly, but I think I was eve happier at the opportunity to help them."

Today's Tip: Offer to help your neighbors out somehow, watering their lawns, taking in their trash or moving some heavy items for them. You can even offer to make them some cookies and drop them off. Make a difference in the life of someone today!

Monday, November 16, 2009

How ARK Has Changed My Family!

I wanted to reach out and share with some of you wonderful readers that are following this blog and let you know just how much A.R.K. has changed my families perspective on how we get through the day.

We all now look for opportunities to ARK as we call it and can't wait to share the joy of bringing back our wonderful blessings to our family and let it know the differences it made to us and the people we blessed in the process.

I had an opportunity at Starbucks after picking up my daughter Caitlyn from school last Thursday to ARK someone. While waiting at the drive through I had $10.00 on me that day and looking in my rear view mirror noticed that the vehicle behind me had only one person in it. Since our order only came to $6.00 I waited til we got to the window to ask how much the order of the next customer was, she told me $2.00 so I told her I wanted to pay for him. The look on Caitlyn's face was worth that blessing and she started to cry. She said it was so nice to be able to do something nice for someone and if we could stay and see what the drivers reaction would be. I explained we had to go, but that God would bless this small act and it would not go unnoticed. While pulling away, she looked back to see the man attempt to pay but the cashier just handed his coffee while he proceeded to pull away.

Only God knows what that small act did for someone but I know if that same thing happened to me, I would feel so great the whole day no matter what happened that morning.

This weekend, our whole family was lucky enough to ARK, my youngest daughter Kailee's school. They offered a fund raiser breakfast at our local Applebee's. For $10.00 a person, you got all you can eat, eggs, bacon, sausage, and pancakes while the money went to help the school. In addition, any tip you left contributed as well. Let's just say not only did we completely enjoy being waited on my the schools teachers of Kailee's 5th grade, but it was a great opportunity to meet the teachers and bless them with a very large tip!

Kailee with her Math and Science teacher!

Kailee with her Language Arts teacher, who she adores! She was our waitress!

Steve had the opportunity to pass along some extra money he had to help a homeless organization just outside the grocery store. Just knowing that God will use this is more than enough for all of us.

Kailee's ARK this week, was being asked by a teacher on the playground to retrieve some balls that had rolled to the far end of the school yard. She happily agreed to do it, remembering she was ARKing, and in return the teacher gave her two red vine licorice pieces which she shared with her older sister when we picked her up on Friday.

I have noticed a willingness from my kids and family to give more freely knowing that God looks down on them from heaven with smiles and those small random acts will not go unnoticed and without blessing those that are touched by them.

Please share with me, how ARKing has changed the lives of people around you or how you have noticed what simple acts can do.

Please stop by and read Greg's blog, Greg's General Store, this morning for what he is doing to make a difference in the lives of children this Christmas.

Today's Tip: Send out a card or letter to someone who would love to hear from you. We all get so much junk mail and bills in our mailboxes that surprises and cards make all the difference in our day.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Another Great News Story!

Inspiration of the Day:

After 5-year-old Elena Desserich was diagnosed with an inoperable kind of cancer, she managed to spread a message of hope and healing. Elena knew that every coming day would be a gift, not to be wasted, so she created a to-do list of sorts -- swim with dolphins, drive a car and more. During her nine-month battle with cancer, Elena was planning an even greater gift for her family. She was hiding notes around the house, hundreds of them tucked in every corner to be discovered after she was gone.

The Fun Theory ~ Piano Stairs?

Good News of the Day:
If stairs played musical notes when you walked on them, would you be more likely to take them? Volkswagen has launched a popular new campaign called "The Fun Theory" which is "dedicated to the thought that something as simple as fun is the easiest way to change people's behavior for the better." It turns out that 66% more commuters opted for stairs over the escalators! Take a look at this utterly clever (and fun!) idea.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Possibility Playground

Word travels quickly in the small fishing village of Port Washington, Wisconsin. So when Mardy McGarry wanted to build a playground for kids with special needs, she knew it wouldn't take long to generate interest in the project. But she never expected that 2,800 people—a third of the town—would roll up their sleeves and use their vacation days to bring her vision to life.

"A lot of learning comes through play," says McGarry, 52, a special education teacher for 28 years. But her students were too often left out. She'd seen the wood chips and sand of traditional playgrounds stop wheelchairs dead in their tracks.

McGarry started researching play equipment and contacting design firms. When a chunk of land became available, the city council agreed to designate a portion for a playground if she would build it. McGarry asked classrooms of kids for their wish list. "They all said pirate ships," she says. She also asked physical, occupational, and speech therapists for their input. And she brought on board her friend Sue Mayer, whose eight-year-old son, Sam, has Down syndrome. "Neither of us is good at math, which is why $450,000 didn't sound like a lot of money," McGarry says of the initial estimate.

Mardy McGarry (left) and Sue Mayer (right)
Sam Arendt/Ozaukee Press
Mardy McGarry (left) and Sue Mayer (right), with their playground advisers.
Her Kiwanis Club chapter came through with $7,000, and that's when the grassroots movement really got started. One woman gave $25,000 and had her company match it. Soon smaller businesses were chipping in. Families bought pickets for the fence at $30 apiece. Bricks for the walkways went for $50 to $750 each. There were silent auctions, T-shirt sales, a coin drive, and a run-walk-and-roll-athon. The local Pieper Family Foundation offered to donate half of the remaining $170,000 balance if McGarry could raise the rest.

The $450,000 covered materials, but the actual construction, the women learned, would cost an additional $900,000. Not an option. But the community could build it. The design firm they'd selected, Leathers & Associates, had sent a 164-page how-to binder. All McGarry needed now was 500 volunteers to work six 12-hour days.

On September 16, 2008, the first day of construction, they came. Two women heard about the project from a deejay on the way to work and took the day off to help. A couple in their 80s manned the tool trailer. Ten-year-olds sanded surfaces and stacked scrap lumber.

"It was truly an amazing week," says McGarry. "The site looked like an anthill. So many people can take ownership of this playground."

Only three "build captains," sent by Leathers & Associates, were paid. Volunteers with "build experience" became coordinators, those who could operate power tools formed a separate group, and so on—down to the "runners." One team served meals donated from local restaurants and churches, and another organized activities for the children of volunteers.

Today, Possibility Playground is one of the most popular destinations in Ozaukee County. The finished wonderland, the length of a football field, sits on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan. There's a giant rocking pirate ship, a lighthouse, a rock-climbing wall, high and low rings, monkey bars, palm drums, sandboxes, swings, slides, bridges, and ramps, ramps, ramps.

All children play shoulder to shoulder. "It's neat to see Tori fitting in," says Charlene Landing of her five-year-old wheelchair-bound daughter. "Some playgrounds have special equipment in a different section. Here, you see all the kids on the same playground having fun."

It's exactly what McGarry envisioned. "People used to ask, 'Why do you want to build a playground just for children with disabilities?'" she says. "They didn't get it. It's only when you build a playground for children with disabilities that you build one for all children."

From Reader's Digest - September 2009
Today's Tip: Bring your neighbors some fresh cut flowers just to brighten their day!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Let There Be Light....


About This Billboard

Thomas Alva Edison was born on Feb. 11, 1847 in Milan, Ohio, the youngest of seven children. As a child, Edison had an insatiable curiosity about how things worked and was a voracious reader. He ended up being home schooled when the teacher couldn’t handle his curiosity. When he was 11, he decided to read every book in his local library. His parents convinced him to be more selective instead. He was very interested in books on science.

Edison suffered hearing loss due to contracting scarlet fever and possibly being struck by a train conductor in his early teens. He left home to seek his fortune at age 15. He had already trained as a telegraph operator and traveled extensively working in telegraph stations. As he traveled, he began to invent.

He returned home briefly in 1868 and then moved to Boston to work for Western Union for several months. During this time, he met many other inventors and scientists as Boston was considered the hub of the scientific, educational, and cultural universe.

Edison then decided to move to New York City since it was the financial center of the United States. While he was homeless and hungry, Edison fixed a broken stock ticker for a panicked office manager. He was hired on the spot to do more repairs.

In 1877, he patented the first phonograph. He followed that with the development of the first practical incandescent light bulb in 1879, after trying 10,000 times. And if that wasn’t enough, in 1884, Edison introduced the world’s first economically viable system of centrally generating and distributing electric light, heat, and power. In other words, he developed the first power system that could deliver electricity at reasonable cost throughout a city.

Edison also created the first silent film in 1903 and later worked on combining audio with the silent moving pictures. In all, Edison obtained 1,093 patents. He died on October 18, 1931 at the age of 84. His optimism led him to try new ideas and keep trying despite the odds against him.

Today's Tip: When you feel like giving up, try one more time! You will never know how close you are to success if you give up!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Do You Validate?

This is an incredible video short that runs about 16 minutes. If you have the time to watch, it will completely change your day. If not, remember the link and watch it when you can.

Today's Tip: Pay a compliment to at least two people today. Make it meaningful and see what a difference it makes.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Your Kindness Quotient!

Your Kindness Quotient
by Max Lucado

How kind are you? What is your kindness quotient? When was the last time you did something kind for someone in your family--e.g., got a blanket, cleaned off the table, prepared the coffee--without being asked?

Think about your school or workplace. Which person is the most overlooked or avoided? A shy student? A grumpy employee? Maybe he doesn't speak the language. Maybe she doesn't fit in. Are you kind to this person?

Kind hearts are quietly kind. They let the car cut into traffic and the young mom with three kids move up in the checkout line. They pick up the neighbor's trash can that rolled into the street. And they are especially kind at church. They understand that perhaps the neediest person they'll meet all week is the one standing in the foyer or sitting on the row behind them in worship. Paul writes: "When we have the opportunity to help anyone, we should do it. But we should give special attention to those who are in the family of believers" (Gal. 6:10).

And, here is a challenge--what about your enemies? With the boss who fired you or the wife who left you. Suppose you surprised them with kindness? Not easy? No, it's not. But mercy is the deepest gesture of kindness. Paul equates the two. "Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you" (Eph. 4:32 NKJV). Jesus said:

Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you.... If you love only the people who love you, what praise should you get? ... [L]ove your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without hoping to get anything back. Then you will have a great reward, and you will be children of the Most High God, because he is kind even to people who are ungrateful and full of sin. Show mercy, just as your Father shows mercy. (Luke 6:27-28, 32, 35-36)

Kindness at home. Kindness in public. Kindness at church and kindness with your enemies. Pretty well covers the gamut, don't you think? Almost. Someone else needs your kindness. Who could that be? You.

Since he is so kind to us, can't we be a little kinder to ourselves? Oh, but you don't know me, Max. You don't know my faults and my thoughts. You don't know the gripes I grumble and the complaints I mumble. No, I don't, but he does. He knows everything about you, yet he doesn't hold back his kindness toward you. Has he, knowing all your secrets, retracted one promise or reclaimed one gift?

A Love Worth GivingNo, he is kind to you. Why don't you be kind to yourself? He forgives your faults. Why don't you do the same? He thinks tomorrow is worth living. Why don't you agree? He believes in you enough to call you his ambassador, his follower, even his child. Why not take his cue and believe in yourself?

Be kind to yourself. God thinks you're worth his kindness. And he's a good judge of character.

Today's Tip: If you see someone in uniform, thank them for their service whether it's a firefighter, policeman or military personnel! They need to hear it even more now than ever before!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Landlord Who Wouldn't Evict!

The Good News of the Day:

September 23rd marked 41 days that the 6-foot, 4-inch tall guy with the tattoo of Jesus on his left arm and the gray ponytail has worked at Walgreens pharmacy on Celanese Road. "The 2-to-10 shift. Proud to do it," says Peirce. He is not your usual landlord. One of Pierce's tenants worked in construction and has a wife and two little kids. A second man worked in utilities contracting and has a baby in the house. Both tenants got laid off several months ago. When they could no longer pay rent what did Pierce do? He refused to evict them -- and instead went to work at Walgreens, "to help pay the bills on the properties."

Read even more about Ed Peirce by clicking on the link below!

Tip of the Day: Send a flower with your child to school to hand out to their teachers just to let them know how much they are appreciated.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Instead of Candy?

I got this idea from an email this morning from someone who works at an office and thought it would work perfectly with this blog.

"When I worked in a busy office, most of my co-workers kept jars of candy on their desks to enjoy and share with others. Constantly battling the "bulge," I hated these temptations, but neverthless often gave in to them. I decided to put out a jar of my own "feel good" stuff, with no calories.

I bought a beautiful jar with a lid and spent one whole weekend at home cutting up colorful strips of paper and writing down inspiring quotes. I filled the jar and put it on my desk. It took a while to catch on, but soon, everyone was stopping by my "food for thought" jar daily to fill up on something much better than empty calories. They would take one out, read it, smile knowingly, and then fold it up and replace it for the next co-worker. It's something that never needed to be replenished unless, I saw a new quote I wanted to add. If you work in an office environment, try this out and see how much everyone love it."

Today's Tip: Give three people a sincere, genuine compliment today! Sometimes just saying something nice, can make all the difference in someone's day!

Friday, October 30, 2009

An Experiment in Trust ~ Would You?

A student left a camera on a picturesque mountaintop in Snowdonia in an experiment into human trust.

Paul Bellis Jones, 24, left a note with the camera near the summit of Mount Tryfan, instructing walkers to take a picture then leave it for the next person.

He was keen to know if the camera would be returned to his home in Glan Conwy, near Llandudno, as per his instructions, of if it would be stolen instead.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Our Deepest Love Lasts A Lifetime!

I wanted to share a story I came across yesterday although the author is unknown but the message is so beautiful I had to share it with you.

A humble, kind young man fell hopelessly in love at first sight with a lovely young woman. Though they were friends, she hardly took notice of his love for her because the man's face was horribly scarred. Months and then more months passed. The man sent declarations of his love to her, but each time his words were gently declined.

One sunny fall day, as the leaves on the trees were just beginning to change into glorious colors, they walked together in the park. The man asked the young woman, "Do you believe that marriages are made in heaven?"

She was caught off guard, and after a few minutes she answered, "Why yes. Do you?"

The man replied, "Most certainly. In heaven, you see, at the birth of each boy, God chooses which girl he should marry and also what afflictions we must overcome to bring forth the beautiful character He has put within us."

Looking deeply into the face of his beloved, the man continued, "When I was born, God pointed out my future bride." With tears in his eyes he said, "But her appearance was to be marred at birth. 'God.' I pleaded, 'let her be beautiful, I beg you. Give me the scars instead.'"

There was a stunned silence as she, for the first time, looked past his scarred face into the kindest, gentlest, and most loving eyes she had ever seen. The glory of revelation filled the young woman's soul as she had flashing glimpses of the marriage to be, which was once designed in heaven.

True love comes from the heart. Look past every outward appearance and find the treasure of pure character hidden deep within. There can be much more to a person than meets the eye. You'll find it when you seek the depths of another's soul by sharing you own.

Today's Tip: Call your significant other and let them know just how much they mean to you. Offer to take them to lunch, make them dinner, or even enjoy a hot cup of cocoa later as you sit by the fire. Don't take love for granted!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What a Wonderful World!

I got this in my email today and thought I would share it since it goes perfectly with everything this blog is about. I hope it truly touches you and warms your heart.

I hear some actors keep a sad thought or memory tucked away to help them with scenes where they might need to cry. I think we should each try to find the opposite; a happy memory, something to lift us up on those inevitable down days. I’m saying this because I think I just found mine!

I had some work in Glasgow today. I was on a really tight schedule, which meant I would have no time for myself (or my own work) all day. I was having one of those days, the train was completely packed out and the conversation going on around me seemed to be particularly inane. On top of all that, I had a bit of a headache.
Walking briskly across the concourse, I fished some change from my pocket. There was usually someone at the exit selling The Big Issue (a magazine that helps homeless folk earn a living).
As the crowd parted ways at the bottom of the concourse, I saw someone selling the Big Issue. You had to be homeless to sell the Big Issue. She really looked like she’d been sleeping rough. Her clothes were ragged and she obviously hadn’t had a scrub up for quite a while.
As I approached the exit, I saw that she was also rocking from side to side. At first I thought maybe she was trying to keep warm against the biting wind. But she wasn’t, she was moving in time to a tune. I couldn’t hear her, but I could see her lips moving.
As I got closer, I saw a white cane hanging from her elbow and noticed that she had sunken eyes. She was blind, dirty and living on the streets. I came closer and through the noise of the traffic and the commuters I heard her sing the immortal line, “… and I think to myself, what a wonderful world!”
I bought her last magazine for twice what I’d originally intended. She thanked me, then she picked up her stuff and went tapping off along the pavement - still singing!
So, I have my happy memory for the day. And I think it will stay with me a long, long time. Feel free to borrow it if you like.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

True Story of Blogger's ARK

I wanted to share this story from one of my followers whom I absolutely love and adore, LaVoice from Thoughts from Meme's Corner. I am always looking for things you can share with me or events that have either happened to you or from you to inspire and show the world, there is still good in the world today. Here is the story I got yesterday from LV, please enjoy!

Hello Kat,

After reading your post today, as I said on my comment, I think you will enjoy this story. It is very true.

Back in 2006 ,as you will see, my sister and I were having lunch at a nice tea room. Most every Saturday, that is our quality time together. We always bless our food before eating. After we were finished eating, I asked the waitress for our check and she informed us it had been paid for. In turn, she handed me the attached note from a complete stranger. The person that wrote this did not wish us to know who it was. However, later we did learn it was a young lady that we did not know or she know us. I was so impressed and touched, I have kept this letter in my bible. I hope the attachment turns out where you can read it.

Best wishes,

Today's Tip: Wave at the kids in the cars you pass! It completely makes their day!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Picking Up the Tab

I happened across this in my email this morning and thought it fit right into our random acts of kindness. I wanted to share it with all of you.

"I was sitting in Billy's Downtown Diner one morning. While eating my breakfast, I had been fretting over the rising cost of tuition and housing at college. I kept dwelling on how it was affecting my mood, and how it was making me unhappy. Then, it came to me: perhaps my plight should be the means for someone else's happiness. I noticed a mother and daughter sitting across the way from me. I went up to the waitress and asked for their check as well as my own. I headed for the counter, and paid for their meal. I didn't bother to stick around for any sort of reaction. I was so excited and had such a great feeling that my legs were shaking. I would just like to think they were able to enjoy the surprise." --KindFool

Today's Tip: Do something nice for someone. Give a flower to a neighbor, make your significant other a cup of coffee or even pay for someone's else's tab! Today with so many hurting, you will make a difference.

NOTE ~ ARK UPDATE: We donated my oldest daughters dresser to the first person to come by and pick it up in front of our house. We could have sold it at our yard sale but since we have been talking so much about ARK lately in our house, we thought we would bless someone instead. There was absolutely nothing wrong with it, she just wasn't using it any longer. Within 30 minutes our neighbors across the street came over with a dolly and took it away. They couldn't believe we were just giving it away. What a nice way to bless the neighbors!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Dad Fixes Everything!

I just wanted to share this very heartwarming video with all of you. Even though we may not have our earthly fathers any longer, we can still reach out to the people in our lives that offer this same kind of love and support.

Today's Tip: Call Someone Just Because...see what a difference it makes in their life today!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Positive Thinking

I loved this. It came in my email this morning and love some of these quotes contained within the video. Enjoy!

Today's Tip: Take your neighbors trash can in on trash day!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Inspiration and Change for the Day!

Inspiration of the Day:

Sometimes, we get the most from giving without receiving. In Mali, villagers have embraced this idea for centuries in their vibrant gift economy, called 'dama'. It encourages Malians to maintain social connections with family, friends, and complete strangers, by providing goods and services with no expectation of a return gift. Instead, the villagers understand that a gift will be "paid forward," and that the individual sacrifice will make the community as a whole stronger and better connected. In a nation where the government provides minimal services, Mali's dama protects the poor and the sick, helping those ignored by a traditional economy. Read more about the success of this gift economy.

Today's Tip: Be The Change: Give a gift to a stranger without expecting anything in return.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Going the Extra Mile!

Here is a great good news story, and I hope you all enjoy it!

For Brian Tapp, not even having a horror day could overcome his bowerbird instincts. Driving along Alison Road in Randwick last month, the 59-year-old florist was contemplating failure: evicted from his Clovelly shopfront that morning, he was transferring some effects to his base in Kingsford. As he passed the entrance to Randwick Racecourse, Mr Tapp noticed something on the road. He pulled over. It was 10.15am. His day was about to change.

Adam Morison's day was about to change too, but he didn't know it yet. If anyone in eastern Sydney was feeling worse than Mr Tapp it was Mr Morison, who had arrived at Sydney Airport at 10am for a noon flight to Bali. As he got out of his car, he went into a panic: he did not have his wallet, his passport, his money or his itinerary. "I was gutted," he said. "The surfing holiday was over before it had started."

Mr Tapp has been a self-described bowerbird for years. ''I just like picking things up. Sometimes they're things that you can't find their owner, like a silver Parker pen I found 30 years ago. But twice I've found mobile phones on the street and located their owners. One was very grateful. She'd been having a fight with her boyfriend and he'd chucked it out of the car.''

This time, he found "a wallet waiting to be run over" on six-lane Alison Road, a passport and travel itinerary. Before looking inside the wallet - "I didn't even count the money" - Mr Tapp read the itinerary. "The first thing I noticed was that the owner of the passport was on a flight leaving at midday. It was 10.15 when I found it, and I just thought, 'This bloke's going to be at the airport in a bit of a state. So I'll see if I can find him.'" He went to a phone box - not to change into his cape, but to call the airline on the itinerary.

Mr Tapp told Pacific Blue, which did not have Mr Morison's number, that he would drive to the airport. Pacific Blue called the wife of one of Mr Morison's travelling partners, who in turn called him. By then Mr Morison was despondently retracing his earlier journey, contemplating the end of his holiday and the loss of passport, credit cards, other valuables and a substantial amount of cash. "I was just thinking, you idiot. I'd been looking forward to the trip so much that in my excitement I must have left my wallet and passport on the roof of the car."

About 10.30, he received a call telling him that a bearded Good Samaritan had saved his day - if he could get back to the airport in time. Mr Tapp said: "I'd pulled up in the departures area and put my hazard lights on. I was looking at the time, thinking this bloke's going to miss his flight." At 10.45, Mr Morison arrived to the vision of "this angel with a beard. I still can't believe it. I'm a perfect stranger, and he's having a shocking day, yet he's picked up my passport, my wallet, all my stuff, found a way of contacting me, and has gone out of his way to make sure I get my flight."

Yet Mr Tapp's work wasn't finished. After thanking Mr Tapp and trying to gather himself to check in, Mr Morison realised some cash and cards were missing. "Don't worry," Mr Tapp said. "I'll find it." So, while Mr Morison raced to board his flight, Mr Tapp drove back to Alison Road. "I found the money, a Medicare card, a MasterCard, and his barrister's identification card. Amazingly, they were still lying on the road."

While Mr Morison flew out, still unable to believe his luck, Mr Tapp delivered the lost effects to Mr Morison's home. "It's what I'd expect anyone to do," Mr. Tapp said. "I'm a person who really hates losing things, so I can put myself in the place of the owner." Beyond that, he has no real explanation for his altruism: no firm religious or ethical practice, no moralising. "It's just the way I was brought up, I suppose."

Mr Morison has been doing his best to drum up business for Mr Tapp. In the four weeks since the incident, Mr Tapp says business has improved. "That's not why I did it anyway. I just know how much I hate losing things."

The Sydney Morning Herald
September 26, 2009

Monday, October 19, 2009

Tell Me A Story...

by Charles R. Swindoll

Matthew 13

Stories transport us into another world. They hold our attention. They become remarkable vehicles for the communication of truth and meaningful lessons that cannot be easily forgotten. If a picture is better than a thousand words, a story is better than a million!

Some of the best stories are those spun from everyday life or from our past. Family histories are held together and handed down from generation to generation in stories. And these strong cords of memory actually become the ties that bind.

Biographies drip with interesting accounts worth passing on. For example, Human Options by the late Norman Cousins is a treasure house of his recollections, impressions, and encounters distilled from his dozen or more trips around the world. He calls it an "autobiographical notebook."

Stories, real and imagined, told with care and color, can say much more than a planned speech. It is probably not surprising, then, that the use of story was Jesus' favorite method of preaching: "he did not say anything to them without using a parable" (Matt. 13:34, NIV).

In fact, I've never heard a great preacher who couldn't tell a good story. Woven into the tapestry of the strong message is the ability to communicate solid stuff through an attention-getting story.

Had I lived in Spurgeon's day, I would no doubt have subscribed to his material. He published one sermon per week for every year of his ministry, from 1855 until his death in 1892. So prolific was this prince of the pulpit, that at his death there were still so many unpublished Spurgeon sermons, they continued to be printed at the same rate for twenty-five more years. Many include wonderful, memorable stories.

Are you interested in getting truth to stick in your child's head? Use a story.
Can't seem to penetrate your teenager's skull? Try a story.
Need a tip for making your devotional or Sunday school lesson interesting? Include a story.
Want to add some zest to your letter-writing ministry? A brief story will do the trick.
Want to learn how to tell them so folks will stay interested? Listen to Paul Harvey.

Best of all, read your Bible. His Story is one you won't be able to put down.

Grandparents (and parents, too) need to be reminded that our little ones love to hear about how it was and what it was that brought us to this moment.
Tell your stories!
Consider recording them or writing them down for future generations.

Today's Tip: Take time to read and share a story with your family or a little one!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Your Time... It's all that matters!

A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove...but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.

Today's Tip: Make Time for Your Kids! It's the only thing they want the most from you. If you don't have kids, do something for a child today!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Laws of the Lighthouse

Laws of the Lighthouse
by Max Lucado

The first of the year is known for three things: black-eyed peas, bowl games, and lists. Some don't eat black-eyed peas. Others hate football. But everybody likes lists.

The Bible certainly has its share of lists. Moses brought one down from the mountain.

There are lists of the gifts of the Spirit. Lists of good fruit and bad. Lists of salutations and greetings. Even the disciples' boat got into the action as it listed in the stormy Sea of Galilee. (If you smiled at that, then I've got a list of puns you'd enjoy.)

But the greatest day of lists is still New Year's Day. And the number one list is the list I call the Laws of the Lighthouse.

The Laws of the Lighthouse contain more than good ideas, personal preferences, and honest opinions. They are God-given, time-tested truths that define the way you should navigate your life. Observe them and enjoy secure passage. Ignore them and crash against the ragged rocks of reality.

Smart move. The wise captain shifts the direction of his craft according to the signal of the lighthouse. A wise person does the same.

Herewith, then, are the lights I look for and the signals I heed:

-- Love God more than you fear hell.
-- Once a week, let a child take you on a walk.
-- Make major decisions in a cemetery.
-- When no one is watching, live as if someone is.
-- Succeed at home first.
-- Don't spend tomorrow's money today.
-- Pray twice as much as you fret.
-- Listen twice as much as you speak.
-- Only harbor a grudge when God does.
-- Never outgrow your love of sunsets.
-- Treat people like angels; you will meet some and help make some.
-- 'Tis wiser to err on the side of generosity than on the side of scrutiny.
-- God has forgiven you; you'd be wise to do the same.
-- When you can't trace God's hand, trust his heart.
-- Toot your own horn and the notes will be flat.
-- Don't feel guilty for God's goodness.
-- The book of life is lived in chapters, so know your page number.
-- Never let the important be the victim of the trivial.
-- Live your liturgy.

To sum it all up:
Approach life like a voyage on a schooner. Enjoy the view. Explore the vessel. Make friends with the captain. Fish a little. And then get off when you get home.

Today's Tip: Donate unused books to a library or church bookstore.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Looking for The Silver Lining

One of my most favorite things about the rain is when there is a break in the storm and the sun begins to shine, you get to see the most fabulous promise of God. I remember seeing one so brilliant it looked almost glow in the dark with all the brilliant, bright colors. However just when you attempt to capture that one film, it never does come out quite like you are seeing it.

We have to care enough to look for the beauty in each day, search for the good, and rejoice in the best. If we don't, we'll miss it, as I might have missed the rainbow that day. It will pass us by and may be lost to us forever.

Though the sky may be rainy and the sun hidden from view by dark clouds, there are still treasures to be discovered. Do not give in to weakness and weariness - rise in your strength. Remember, the rainbow is a symbol of the promise of God. He gave it to Noah as a promise never to destroy the earth by flood again, as we read in Genesis 9:13-17.

God's Word is full of promises, so lift your eyes and look for the rainbow. It will brighten your heart, dry your tears, and restore your faith.

Here is the key. Get into the habit of looking for the silver lining of the storm clouds and focus on the beauty of life and you will surely find it. Don't let anyone else put blinders on your soul. Don't be discouraged, no matter how distressed you are or how confusing things appear to be. Look for the rainbow. Your sorrow will vanish deep in the center of each gorgeous hue.

Stop telling God how big your storm is; instead, tell your storm how big God is! Say aloud the following scriptures verses: "My God shall supply all my need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19 NKJV); or "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28 NKJV); or "Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid...for the Lord, your God, He is the One who goes with You" (Deuteronomy 31:6 NKJV).

The bigger you make God, the smaller your problems become. Each promise is a rainbow designed from the heart of the Fathers' love, and that love is always with you, whatever the circumstances may be.

He will take you by the hand, stand by your side, and see you through difficult times. How wonderful it is that we can look to a loving Father who will take care of us.

Trust Him, enjoying each day; and look ahead, expecting wonderful things to materialize. God has an assignment for you to accomplish. He is a miracle worker, and He know what He is doing. "I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me." Psalm 16:8 NLT.

A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather someone with a certain set of attitudes. Continually look up to God. Happiness is being aware of His great love for you. Cheerfulness is a natural attribute of that awareness.

You have the ability to choose your response in any given situation. Nothing of value in life ever comes easily. Life is a testing time. You can never pass the test without studying the Book and knowing the promises. Believing in them will get you an A+.

God has given you the extraordinary power to choose the way you think, act, and achieve. Trust in the goodness of God. A strong, faith-filled, optimistic outlook will help you feel better through a medical crisis, whatever the physical outcome.

Whatever we do...everything is going to turn out great! Now that is true optimism.

Today's Tip: Encourage a friend, a loved one or family member that is feeling down and out. Help them to look for the rainbow today.