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!